It’s the first Raw in the month of May as we head towards Money in the Bank on May 19th. The only thing advertised for Raw is that Smackdown’s Roman Reigns will be on the show and other Smackdown stars are supposed to be there too. Ratings are down, so WWE brings back Smackdown people even though there’s supposed to be a brand extension.

Live from Cincinnati, Ohio, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1353 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner above.

There was a shot of the live crowd in Cincinnati and we were welcomed to Raw by Michael Cole.

Let’s Hear from Vince McMahon and Others

Vince McMahon made his entrance with the fans singing his “No Chance” theme song. Vince did a promo saying this is a Raw that will be one for the ages and that nobody will ever forget it…here comes Roman Reigns.

Roman Reigns made his entrance. Vince McMahon was not happy to see him there. Reigns is a Smackdown superstar, but here he is on Raw because WWE ratings have been down, so they are ignoring the brand extension concept at least for now.

Vince said that if Roman is thinking about giving Vince a Superman Punch again, he’s got the Cincinnati Police back there waiting for him. Vince asked Reigns who he thinks he is going on Raw since he has been assigned to Smackdown.

Reigns told Vince to watch his tone. Reigns said that he is on Smackdown, but he’s been on Raw for four or five years. Reigns said when he was on his hiatus, Vince and family said that the fans would be in charge. Reigns told Vince that is a lie. Reigns said that it’s over now because he doesn’t take Vince’s orders – he takes his orders from the WWE Universe now. The fans cheered.

Vince said Roman thinks he’s going to show up any time, any place and the people will like it huh? Reigns said that he’ll show up every Monday as long as they keep making noise. Vince said it would be anarchy if that happened.

Daniel Bryan’s music hit as the former WWE Champion walked down to the ring. Bryan is a Smackdown superstar as well. Vince asked Bryan what he was doing.

Bryan said ever since the travesty of WrestleMania when he was robbed of the WWE Title by Kofi Kingston, he has spent the last month in solitude and in meditation. Bryan said that when he heard that Roman, the Big Dog, was showing up on Raw, he thought he could have an intellectual conversation with Vince.

Kofi Kingston interrupted the promo as he ran around the ring with the WWE Championship. Vince had a shocked look on his face. Kingston was alone.

Kingston said he needed to celebrate with his people. Kingston said that if Bryan had a problem with the way things went down at WrestleMania, you could have come to Kofi because he is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Bryan said that Kingston is an undeserving champion that should have never gotten a title shot at WrestleMania and his win was a fluke. Bryan told Kingston that his 11-year journey was hard because a pancake tossing novelty act never should have gotten there in the first place. Kingston said yet there he is with the WWE Title around his waist.

Vince said that he had an epiphany. Vince said what if they had a wild card rule. Vince said that what if he allowed three members of Smackdown coming to Raw and then three members of Raw could go to Smackdown.

Kingston said that all he knows is he saw Roman Reigns on social media. Kingston said since Big E and Woods are on the mend, he thought he should show up to Monday Night Raw too.

Bryan said that there is nothing about Raw that is fun (valid point), he is not there for fun. Bryan said he is there to get a rematch for his WWE Championship. Bryan suggested that he punches Kingston in the face.

Drew McIntyre was up next for this promo fest and he’s actually a Raw superstar. Drew said that if nobody in the back has the set to do anything about this, I guess it’s up to him. Drew said this is not Smackdown presents Raw. Drew talked to Roman saying he thinks he can do whatever he wants like when Reigns showed up even though the company told him not to show up. McIntyre said that Roman thinks it’s okay to punch his boss in the face. Drew called Reigns an egomaniac and said he’s going to Claymore Kick him. Reigns said that it didn’t work out for him at WrestleMania, so maybe he can try it again tonight.

Vince made a WrestleMania rematch with Reigns facing McIntyre. Vince also said that Kofi Kingston will face Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. Vince: “I’m brilliant. This will be a night you will never forget.”

AJ Styles made his entrance in his wrestling gear and they went to break there.

Analysis: That was an eventful start to the show with some fresh faces on Raw. They also set up two huge matches for later that are WrestleMania rematches. The “Wild Card Rule” that Vince mentioned will mean that Raw wrestlers can appear on Smackdown and vice versa every week going forward, so it’s a way to set up some fresh matchups once in a while. Bryan was great with his promo. The crowd was solidly behind Kingston and Reigns as well. Vince did a good job as usual. I don’t think the Wild Card Rule is some great idea that is going to turn business around. I think it’s just some short term thing WWE is going to do, but the novelty will wear off soon. They need better long term booking.

(Commercial)

AJ Styles was in the ring alone with Vince McMahon. Styles asked Vince what he was doing. Vince said that the explanation is that it’s the Wild Card Rule that he just came up with. AJ said he spent years building up Smackdown as the house that AJ Styles built and now that he’s on Raw, Vince brings in Roman Reigns, who is the best friend of Seth Rollins. Styles said that maybe he can go over to Smackdown Live and he can bring a couple of his friends to Raw. Vince re-iterated that the Wild Card Rule means three people can go Smackdown to Raw and three people can go Raw to Smackdown. Here comes Seth Rollins with the interruption.

Seth Rollins walked down with the Universal Title in his hands. Rollins said that last week was the last time AJ will be one step ahead of him. Rollins pointed out that Smackdown has been around for 20 years and had 1,000 episodes while telling Styles that Smackdown was fine before he got there and fine since he left. Rollins said that this is his show, this is Monday Night Rollins. Vince: “Actually it’s my show.”

Styles told Rollins he knows where he is and he knows exactly what he did to Rollins last week. Styles said he tried to shake Seth’s hand and Seth shoved that title in his face. Styles said if you won’t treat him like a man, Styles said that he’s a man that kicked his ass. Styles reminded Rollins that he put him through a table after a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles said he’ll be standing over Rollins as the new Universal Champion.

Vince said that let’s do it tonight. They wanted a singles match. Vince told Seth and AJ to have a tag team match. Seth said he didn’t want to have a tag team match with Styles. Vince said that it’s going to be brilliant and he asked for the fans to cheer him. The fans booed. Vince went to the back to find a team for Seth and AJ to face.

Analysis: Good promos from Seth and AJ to continue to build up their rivalry. I like how it’s a rivalry between two faces trying to see who the better man is. Just because they are faces doesn’t mean they have to be friends, so I like how competitive they acted in that segment. This segment took us to 8:25pmET with no matches yet.

(Commercial)

The first opponent in this tag team match is Bobby Lashley, who no longer has a manager. His partner is…Baron Corbin. Yawn.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young tried to put over how tough Lashley and Corbin are as a team. It took 31 minutes to get to the first match on this show.

Seth Rollins and AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley

Lashley with a shoulder tackle on Styles and Styles came back with a dropkick. Rollins tagged in with a kick to Lashley and a clothesline that sent Lashley out of the ring. Styles with a clothesline that sent Corbin out of the ring. Rollins with a slingshot dive over the top to take out Rollins on the floor. Styles went over the top with a forearm as the faces tried to outdo the other guy. That led to Styles and Rollins arguing, which led to a break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

The match returned with the heels in control as Lashley whipped Rollins into the turnbuckle. Lashley hit a flatliner for a two count. Lashley dumped Rollins out of the ring with Rollins bumping into the barricade. Corbin tagged in and he drove Rollins back first into the barricade. Corbin slapped on a chinlock. When Rollins broke free, Corbin did his run out of the ring and go back in spot leading to a clothesline. Corbin set up for a superplex, Rollins with a headbutt and a Blockbuster off the turnbuckle. Styles got the tag against Lashley as Cole said: “AJ and Styles are now legal.” Oops. Styles with a clothesline. Lashley drove Styles into the turnbuckle. Corbin went after Styles on the apron and Lashley hit a Spear on Styles on the apron leading to Lashley bumping to the floor as well. That was a rough landing for Lashley, but he got up looking fine. That’s a spot Big E usually does well. Back in the ring, Styles wit ha dropkick on Lashley, Corbin got the tag, Styles with a Pele Kick on Lashley and a Styles kick to Corbin’s head. Lashley went after Rollins so Corbin hit Styles in the back and kicked him out of the ring. They went to break with Styles and Rollins on the floor.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Lashley hitting a back body drop on Styles. Corbin tagged in, Styles went for an attack off the apron and Corbin punched Styles in the face. Styles managed to avoid a back suplex, he tagged in Rollins and Rollins was on fire with a suicide dive on Lashley. Rollins hit a Slingblade on Corbin and a clothesline to send him out of the ring as the crowd made a lot of noise. Rollins hit a suicide dive onto both guys on the floor. Rollins went up top and hit a jumping crossbody on Corbin for two as Lashley broke up the pin. Styles with a forearm on Lashley followed by a running dropkick. Corbin with a rollup on Rollins. Rollins with a step up kick to the face and a step up kick to the jaw. Rollins teased The Stomp, Styles was on the apron and Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, Corbin moved and Styles hit Rollins with the forearm to the face with the idea that it was an accident. Styles walked up the ramp to the back. Rollins stared at Styles walking away. Corbin hit the End of Days on Rollins for the pinfall win after 19 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley

Analysis: **3/4 It was a pretty good tag team match that got a lot of time. The heels have lost to Rollins with different partners many times, so it was a surprise to see a heel win. Styles walking away makes him look like a jerk because he didn’t have issues with Rollins during this match, yet Styles chose to leave. It doesn’t mean Styles is a heel, but it does make him look like less of a face. They should have had a few spots where Styles and Rollins messed up earlier leading to Styles leaving because then it would have made more sense. I think Rollins should have taken a move from Lashley and Corbin to lose the match rather than just Corbin. Anyway, the win by Corbin will probably lead to his rumored feud with Rollins down the road.

A clip aired from last Monday on Raw when Shane McMahon distracted The Miz causing Bobby Lashley to beat Miz. After the match, Shane beat up Miz thanks to Lashley’s help.

There was a shot of “The Best in the World” Shane McMahon’s locker room backstage. The Miz grabbed a chair and sat outside the door.

Sami Zayn made his entrance doing his ridiculous dancing. He was not in his ring gear, so it’s another promo coming from him.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Sami Zayn

Zayn asked the fans what they are going to complain about tonight. Zayn said we get Roman Reigns on Raw, plus Kingston vs. Bryan for the WWE Title. Zayn said that the difference between the fans enjoying something and him enjoying something is that “you are still you” while adding that you have to live with that all the time. Zayn said that fixing yourself is hard work. Zayn said that the fans are all cowards. Zayn said that he can already hear the critics weighing in…and here comes Braun Strowman.

Strowman walked down to the ring as Zayn took off his jacket and looked like he wanted to fight him. When Strowman went into the ring, Zayn left the ring. Strowman left the ring, so Zayn went into the crowd. Strowman cut Zayn off when he was in the crowd. Zayn went back to the arena, Strowman chased him and they went to the back right by the announcers.

Analysis: It was a shorter promo from Zayn this week. Braun Strowman isn’t the best choice as a rival because Zayn will look weak against him, but at least it’s somebody for Zayn to feud with.

Lucha House Party made their entrance for a match.

There was a shot of Zayn and Strowman in the backstage area. Zayn ran towards a garage door that wouldn’t open, so Strowman managed to get a hold of him. The garage door opened up and there was a camera on the other side. Zayn told Strowman that this had nothing to do with him. Strowman picked up Zayn and tossed Zayn into a dumpster. That led to a truck coming up and dumping the contents of the dumpster into the truck. It appeared as thought it was not the same dumpster that Zayn was thrown in, but the announcers acted as if it was.

Analysis: I thought this was lame, but it’s WWE always wanting to do a little bit more with Strowman in terms of using vehicles. Poor Zayn was made to look like such a a loser here. I wish they booked him stronger.

Lucha House Party vs. Three Guys With No Chance

The three opponents were not named. Dorado hit a top rope cross body block. Kalisto hit a splash off Dorado’s shoulders, Dorado hit a splash and Gran Metalik hit a missile dropkick. Kalisto hit the Salida del Sol, Metalik with a top rope elbow and Dorado hit a Shooting Star Press for the pinfall win after about one minute.

Winners by pinfall: Lucha House Party

Analysis: 1/2* Easy win by Lucha House Party over three guys with no chance. I like Lucha House Party, but it’s not the creative team ever books them well on a consistent basis.

The announcers appeared on camera hyping up the two WrestleMania rematches coming up later.

A video package aired about Roman Reigns beating Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania last month. The match was just average.

Ricochet made his entrance to a good pop. They had some sound effects as part of his theme song. He is in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match at Money in the Bank. Cole said that Ricochet is putting his spot on the line against Robert Roode after a break.

(Commercial)

Naomi and Natalya were in the locker room with letters. They read a letter from Lacey Evans telling them to be at ringside for their match later while specifying what kind of attire she wanted them to wear. Naomi wasn’t thrilled about it. Dana Brooke showed up with her letter. Naomi said it’s not a coincidence that they are in the Money in the Bank match. Naomi smelled the invitation to find out it smelled like peach cobbler and they were not impressed.

Robert Roode and his glorious mustache made his entrance. It was announced that if Roode wins, he gets Ricochet’s spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match because Roode beat Ricochet two weeks ago.

Analysis: I mentioned last week how poorly WWE set up the Money in the Bank matches. If Ricochet was going to be in it then he should have beat Roode two weeks earlier.

Ricochet vs. Robert Roode

Roode was aggressive early on. Ricochet went for a springboard attack, Roode shoved him and Ricochet bumped to the floor. Roode drove Ricochet’s neck into the ring apron. Roode slapped on a headlock on Ricochet. Roode hit a clothesline followed by another headlock. Roode sent Ricochet to the second rope leading to a moonsault press from Ricochet. Ricochet with two running forearms and he ran the ropes right into a spinebuster from Roode for two. Roode set up for a superplex, Ricochet punched him down and Ricochet hit a 630 Splash off the top rope for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricochet

Analysis: *1/2 The match was boring, which is rare for a Ricochet match, but it was. Roode was on offense for most of it. I thought they could have set up the finish better with more offense from Ricochet. It was basic since Ricochet won with a simple shove off the ropes and then his finish. They could have done more to show off Ricochet’s offense.

It’s official for Money in the Bank: Samoa Joe defends the United States Championship against Rey Mysterio.

Rey Mysterio was shown walking backstage with his son Dominick. Heath Slater walked up to them to greet Rey and comment on how grown Dominick was. Rey was at his locker room, he told Dominick to get some water, then Dominick walked down a hall and Samoa Joe showed up following him…leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Samoa Joe was shown backstage with Dominick. Joe said that last week, Dominick was out there celebrating with his dad Rey at WrestleMania last week. Joe told Dominick to take a message to his father – Joe said that he looks forward to defending that US Title against him at Money in the Bank. Dominick tried to speak at one point, but Joe yelled at him. Dominick walked away.

Analysis: I believe Dominick is a trained wrestler now, but it’s not known if he has a WWE deal yet.

Lacey Evans made her entrance in her ring gear. A replay aired of her brawl with Becky Lynch last week on Raw. Evans faces Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank.

Naomi made her entrance in her street clothes. Dana Brooke was out next to no reaction from the crowd. Natalya was the third woman to walk down to the ring. Lastly, Alexa Bliss was up as the fourth Raw woman that’s part of the Money in the Bank ladder match. Bliss got the biggest reaction of the four women.

Lacey Evans vs. Allie Catrina

Evans kicked the poor woman into the turnbuckle. Cole said the name of the opponent is Allie Catrina. Evans hit the Woman’s Right punch to the face for the pinfall win after one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Lacey Evans

Analysis: 1/4* Easy win to put over Evans. Not much to it. Evans needs wins over opponents with bigger names, but I guess WWE wanted to have a few squash matches this week.

Post match, Evans said they just witnessed the future Raw Women’s Champion. Evans said that she is aware that one of them may win the Money in the Bank ladder match. Evans told them they would come up short against her just like “The Man” will come up short.

Analysis: Boring promo, but Evans is tall and blonde, so Vince McMahon likes that.

Becky Lynch aka The Man made her entrance to a big pop as she walked down to the ring with the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Titles. Lynch went into the ring and attacked Evans with punches. Evans left the ring, Lynch went after her and Lynch sent Evans into the ring. Lynch went for the armbar, Evans escaped and left up the ramp.

Analysis: The brawl was pretty basic and I’m not surprised that it would end quickly without either woman having a big advantage.

Daniel Bryan was shown standing in the backstage area alone. Bryan stared at the camera doing a promo saying that Kofi Kingston’s constant shilling of consumerism is a threat to our very existence. Bryan said he has to eliminate Kingston as a role model, he’s not a champion and he’s masquerading as both. Bryan said that he’s there to regain the WWE Championship because he was born to be the Planet’s Champion.

Analysis: Good promo from the man that makes the planet proud.

The Viking Raiders were up next for tag team action.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: In addition to writing about the current WWE product, I also write weekly Raw and Smackdown reviews of the WWF in the year 2000 at TJRWrestling. That’s my favorite year in WWF/E history. Over the last few days, I posted reviews of the May 29, 2000 edition of Raw featuring Too Cool winning the WWF Tag Team Titles (they were very popular) along with Kane making his return. I also wrote about the June 1, 2000 edition of Smackdown with Kane, The Rock and The Undertaker all winning matches to get a shot at the WWF Champion, Triple H. The 2000 King of the Ring PPV is coming up soon, so please check out our WWF in 2000 section regularly for two reviews every week.

The Usos were shown backstage probably looking for The Revival.

The Raw Tag Team Champions were in the ring without an entrance. These guys are not booked well as champions.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)

This is not for the Raw Tag Team Titles.

There was a double team neckbreaker by Ryder and Hawkins. Hawkins hit a dropkick on Ivar and Ryder got in a kick too. Ivar came back with a double foot attack on Hawkins while Erik tagged in with a knee to the face. Ryder tagged in, knees to Erick and a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Ivar was sent out of the ring while Hawkins followed up with a clothesline on the floor. Erik with a knee to Hawkins on the floor. Ryder with a dropkick on Erik. Back in the ring, Erik hit a double knee attack. Ivar tagged in and they hit the Viking Experience double team move for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders

Analysis: * It was an easy win for The Viking Raiders that made the champs look like losers. The crowd was dead for the match. The Viking Raiders will probably win the Raw Tag Team Titles at Money in the Bank unless WWE decides to do the title change next week on Raw.

The announcers shilled the matches coming up, which led to another commercial.

(Commercial)

Firefly Fun House Week Three

Bray Wyatt was back in the Firefly Fun House. Wyatt went over to Mercy the Buzzard, who was eating something in a box. Abby the Witch asked what was up and Mercy called her an old hag. Wyatt grabbed what was in the box and it was a beheaded Rambling Rabbit. Wyatt told Mercy it’s okay to express yourself whether it’s painting, flying a contain or ripping Rambling Rabbit to threads. Wyatt said that Mercy should be rewarded. They showed some kids in the Fun House this time while none of the kids looked happy to be there. Wyatt said that he’ll always light the way and all we have to do is let him in. The kids were not happy as Bray said bye to us.

Analysis: It’s hard to really analyze this. The new thing this week was that there were kids in the Fun House and they were not actually having fun. I’m ready for Bray to return to the ring, but there’s no indication of when that might be.

The announce team discussed it with Cole claiming the Firefly Fun House has taken social media by storm.

Replays aired of Seth Rollins and AJ Styles losing earlier.

Rollins did a promo saying that Styles hit him in the mouth for the second straight week. Rollins told Styles the next time he walks away from him, it’ll be with two black eyes and a broken face.

Analysis: It’s interesting that WWE decided to have Bryan and Rollins do backstage promos where they just talked to the camera instead of using interviewers. I think Charly Caruso is good at interviews, so I hope she will remain in that role.

Roman Reigns made his entrance. He faces Elias at Money in the Bank in two weeks.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns

McIntyre sent Reigns into the turnbuckle and Reigns came back with a punch. Reigns hit the corner clotheslines. McIntyre drove Reigns into the turnbuckle leading to a belly to belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre with a back elbow that knocked down Reigns followed by a suplex while Reigns was down on the mat. Cole screamed about how impressive that looked, but the fans didn’t react to it at all. McIntyre slapped on the armbar of Reigns. McIntyre with a forearm to the nose, Reigns with a clothesline and McIntyre tossed Reigns across the ring leading to Reigns bumping to the floor. McIntyre sent Reigns face first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Reigns countered a suplex into a suplex of his own. Reigns sent McIntyre out of the ring. Reigns went for the Drive By kick on the floor, but McIntyre stopped that with a boot to the face. McIntyre gave Reigns the reverse Alabama Slam into the ring apron so Reigns bumped with his hands hitting the apron. Reigns was down on the floor leading to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Reigns looking like he was going for a Superman Punch, but McIntyre countered into a spinebuster for two. They got into a slugfest with McIntyre hitting a Glasgow Kiss headbutt for a two count. McIntyre got a backslide into a two count. Reigns came back with a DDT for two. Reigns doesn’t do DDTs often, but McIntyre sold that well doing a headstand. Reigns went for a Superman Punch on the floor, but McIntyre kicked him and whipped Reigns into the steel steps. Back in the ring, McIntyre hit a spinning sitout slam for a two count. McIntyre went to the top rope, he jumped off and Reigns decked him with a Superman Punch for two as McIntyre got his right shoulder up. Good nearfall even though Reigns rarely wins with that. Reigns went for the Spear, McIntyre with a kick, they each got a punch, McIntyre with a headbutt and Reigns hit a Spear on McIntyre. Shane McMahon showed up to attack Reigns to break up the pin. It went 15 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **1/2 The first half was boring, but then it picked up from there. Decent match that went longer than their WrestleMania match and it was better too. The way they build it up made it seem obvious that Reigns would do the big comeback leading to the win. Reigns did win, but it was a DQ finish due to the heels attacking. I don’t mind a DQ here because it protects McIntyre from being pinned when Drew is a favorite to win Money in the Bank.

Elias entered through the crowd and joined Shane in attacking Reigns. The Miz ran out to ringside with a chair. He chased Shane over the barricade and they went running out of the arena.

Elias held up Reigns and McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Reigns. Elias and McIntyre stood tall over the fallen Reigns.

Analysis: It was weird that nobody tried to help Reigns. Seth Rollins should have shown up to chase the heels off. I guess WWE wanted to have the heels stand tall this week. Also, Vince McMahon said that the Wild Card rule meant three people from Smackdown, but with Elias showing up that’s four guys. Vince is a heel, so heels lie of course.

Shane McMahon was shown running down a hallway backstage. The Miz ran down another hallway because I guess he didn’t realize the camera guy filming Shane. Charly Caruso and a camera crew showed up trying to do an interview. Shane walked away. Shane went over to a limo where Miz hit Shane in the back with a steel chair. Miz and Shane got into a brawl by the limo. Shane kicked Miz in the groin, Shane went into the limo and he was driven away while Miz was down.

Analysis: That was a decent brawl. I’m not that excited about their Steel Cage Match at Money in the Bank, but at least it has been a long term rivalry.

A video aired showing highlights of Kofi Kingston beating Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.

Kingston vs. Bryan for the WWE Title is the main event.

(Commercial)

A replay was shown of Braun Strowman attacking Sami Zayn and putting him in a dumpster.

The Revival vs. Anderson and Gallows was the next match. A clip aired from last week showing The Usos watching The Revival in the showers with Wilder shaving Dawson’s back.

The Usos showed up saying that The Revival call themselves the hottest tag team in WWE. They laughed about it. The Usos had something called Ucey Hot saying that when you perspire, you’re on fire. The Revival were acting like they were hot. Dawson and Wilder were flopping around the ringside area like they were fish. Jimmy told Jey he didn’t know it would happen that quick and that fast. Dawson and Wilder poured the water down their tights. The Usos said it was sweat activated. You’re not supposed to pour it on you. You’re supposed to drink it. Dawson and Wilder went to the back while The Usos music played and The Usos laughed. No match. In other words, The Usos gave The Revival this stuff and The Revival were dumb enough to use it, so they were embarrassed by it.

Analysis: This was fucking awful. I don’t swear that much in my reviews, but I have to do it in this case. It was atrocious and whoever thought this was a good idea made the wrong decision. I know why it’s happening since The Revival have turned down new contracts offered by WWE, but that doesn’t mean we need to be subjected to these terrible skits. The crowd didn’t even laugh about it, but I’m sure Vince McMahon loved it. I feel bad that The Usos are associated with it too because they are one of the best teams in WWE history, yet they are here acting like this was some great comedy bit. It sucked and everybody that was a part of it should feel terrible that they thought it was a good idea. Be better, WWE. You shouldn’t put on shit like this. It was lame.

Kofi Kingston did a promo about how he’s going to remain the WWE Champion later tonight. It was a basic promo. Sorry for the lack of details. I was still in awe of the awful segment before it.

No Way Jose made his entrance with his conga line. Lars Sullivan showed up. Sullivan beat up the guys in the conga line with clotheslines. Sullivan sent a guy into the barricade and he sent another guy into the steel ring post. Sullivan sent Jose over the barricade. Jose went back into the ring to save a guy, but Sullivan decked him. Sullivan tossed a dude over the top to the floor. Sullivan hit a running sitout Powerbomb on Jose. Sullivan stood tall in the ring making his angry faces.

Analysis: More destruction from Sullivan. There’s another Smackdown superstar on Raw. I guess the Wild Card rule doesn’t apply this week and maybe they’ll start it next week.

There was a clip of Naomi being honored by the Boys & Girls Club Alumni Hall of Fame. Congrats to her.

Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title is up next.

(Commercial)

Vince McMahon was shown in his office talking on a cell phone. Vince talked to whoever was on the phone saying that it will be three individuals going from Raw to Smackdown and Smackdown to Raw. If not, he’ll fire that person. Lars Sullivan showed up, he stared at Vince, so Vince went on the phone again and said let’s make it four people.

Analysis: It was actually five Smackdown people this week with Reigns, Kingston, Bryan, Elias and Sullivan, but I guess the way out of that is to say it was just the first week with Vince coming up with it tonight.

Kofi Kingston entered with the WWE Title and a tray of pancakes with Kofi tossing the pancakes into the crowd. Daniel Bryan entered as the challenger without the big man Rowan by his side. They stood in the ring as Mike Rome did the champion introduction for them. Cole kept saying first WWE Championship match on Raw in three years. That’s wrong since they did Rollins vs. Kingston on Raw three weeks for the Universal and WWE Titles in the same match.

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan

The match started with about 18 minutes left in the show. Kingston sent Bryan out of the ring and then he hit a dive over the top to take out Bryan on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Bryan working over Kingston with kicks. They ran the ropes with Kingston hitting a back elbow. Kingston with a kick to the chest followed by a splash off the ropes for a two count. Bryan hit a monkey flip out of the corner, Kingston landed on his feet and Bryan tossed Kingston over the top to the floor. Bryan sent Kingston shoulder first into the steel ring post two times. Back in the ring, Kingston with a boot to the face. Kingston went for an attack off the top, but Bryan caught him and hit a double underhook slam into an armbar on the left arm. Kingston kicked Bryan in the face to break free. They ran the ropes leading to a double crossbody block spot and that set them up for the commercial.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Kingston hitting a kick to the chest of Bryan. When Kingston charged, Bryan gave him a back body drop over the top to the floor. Kingston landed hard on the back of his head. The referee checked on him on the floor. Bryan whipped Kingston into the barricade. When Bryan tried to whip Kingston into the steps, Kingston climbed to the top rope and jumped off with a crossbody attack on Bryan on the floor. Back in the ring, Kingston went up top with a Frog Splash onto the back of Bryan for a two count. Kingston was on offense as Bryan took him down and slapped on the LeBell Lock submission. Kingston managed to get his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Bryan had a crazed look on his face. Bryan kicked the left arm of Kingston repeatedly. Kingston came back with punches and kicks. A corner attack missed by Kingston, he hit the turnbuckle and Kingston came back with a leaping clothesline. Kingston with a boom drop leg drop. Kingston set up for Trouble in Paradise, but Bryan dropkicked him in the leg. Bryan with a bridging German Suplex that got a two count. Bryan went for the running knee, Kingston moved, Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, Bryan moved, they each went for moves and Kingston managed to hit Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston

Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a very good match that featured some nice psychology with Bryan working on Kofi’s left arm the entire time and Kingston managed to overcome it for the clean win. I admit that I expected Kevin Owens to show up leading to a DQ, but since they already did that finish earlier with Roman and Drew, it probably would have been too repetitive. Bryan doing the clean job is surprising just because I thought they might want to do this feud again. Instead, Kingston won clean and it seems like Bryan is out of the title picture. Kingston did need a big win like that, though, so no complaints here. I just didn’t expect it to be as clean as it was.

Kingston celebrated the win while Cole wondered what Raw superstars will show up on Smackdown tomorrow for Wild Card Rules. That was it for Raw.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kofi Kingston
  2. Daniel Bryan
  3. AJ Styles

 

The Scoreboard

4 out of 10

Last week: 5

2019 Average: 5.53 (Smackdown is 6.97)

Last 5 Weeks: 5, 6.5, 6.5, 6.5, 5.5

2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)

2019 Low: 4 (February 11, May 6)

 

Final Thoughts

This week’s Raw gets a 4 out of 10.

Bad show. Boring night of Raw. I want it to be better, but it just drags on and isn’t exciting enough. There were a few good matches on the show and a good main event, but there were still a lot of boring parts and that awful segment where The Revival were humiliated again. The Kingston/Bryan match was the definite highlight in the ring. It was still a below average edition of Raw in a week where it needed to be better.

That Revival angle is going to be remembered as one of the stupidest and worst things that has ever aired on Raw. It was just really lame, but I’m sure Vince McMahon found it hilarious. That’s all that matters to him. Seriously though, what the fuck was that? I know they want to humiliate The Revival because they haven’t signed new deals, but have them lose matches or some shit. Booking them in bad comedy bits will make people turn off Raw even more than they already are. It should never have made it on the show.

The “Wild Card Rule” that they introduced to allow Raw people on Smackdown and Smackdown people on Raw might lead to some fresher matches once in a while, but I don’t think it’s a solution to the problem that has made Raw a boring show. We need more exciting segments. It’s not a “must see” show and it’s not a talent issue, really. It’s up to the creative team to be better because right now, they aren’t doing a good enough job.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Money in the Bank on May 19 in Hartford, CT. Here’s what we know so far.

Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. AJ Styles

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Ali, Randy Orton, Andrade, Finn Balor

Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Naomi, Dana Brooke, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, Carmella

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

Roman Reigns vs. Elias

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans

Steel Cage Match: Shane McMahon vs. The Miz

United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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