This is the last edition of Raw before Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. It was taped several hours earlier due to the time difference in England, so spoilers were out before Raw aired tonight. I glanced at them, but I didn’t really check out the details. I watched Kawhi Leonard’s series-winning jumper for my Toronto Raptors from Sunday about 47 times today. It was amazing. Sorry Philly fans. Bring on the Bucks.

There was some WWE news on Monday with the official announcement that WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins is dating Raw and Smackdown Women’s Becky Lynch, which WWE posted on their website. I knew about it a few months ago, but it was one of those things they were trying to keep quiet. Now that it’s out, I wonder if that will lead to some storyline on Raw. It’s possible, but I’m not sure if WWE wants to go down that route with the championship couple. Anyway, best of luck to Seth and Becky in their relationship endeavors.

Live from London, England (on tape delay), this is the Raw Deal for episode #1354 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner above. This review is sponsored by ICOPRO. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present.

There was a shot of the crowd in London and the show began with The Miz making his entrance for his talk show. There’s no ramp as usual on WWE TV shows, but they have the big screens and the UK flags. A replay aired from Smackdown with The Miz attacking Shane McMahon. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young talked about the situation.

Miz TV with Roman Reigns

The Miz welcomed us to this international edition of Miz TV here in London. Miz said Money in the Bank happens once per year, in that briefcase is a contract and the contract is the equivalent to the infinity stone. Miz said he has cashed in that contract and it brought his career to new heights. Miz talked about the MITB match leading to a man and woman getting the briefcase. Miz talked about his MITB opponent, Shane McMahon, which drew boos for Shane. Miz said that this Sunday they will be locked inside a steel cage and as much as he wants to talk about himself, let’s get to the guest. Miz said that this man is a wild card that came over from Smackdown and his story has inspired millions across the globe.

Roman Reigns made his entrance to mostly cheers from the crowd. Reigns is a Smackdown guy that’s here on Raw due to the Wild Card Rule that allows four Smackdown stars on Raw on a given week and four Raw stars on Smackdown. Reigns faces Elias at Money in the Bank on Sunday. Reigns got a nice ovation as he entered the ring.

Miz asked Reigns what can we expect from the Big Dog against Elias on Sunday. Reigns said Elias is young, strong, charismatic and very talented as fans sang the “Walk With Elias” song. Reigns said if you need a karaoke performer or wedding singer then Walk With Elias and he said Elias hasn’t done anything in WWE. Reigns mentioned Elias hasn’t won any championships in WWE. Miz said that they have a lot in common by saying he’s a movie star while Reigns will be in the Hobbs & Shaw movie, they should get together to do a buddy comedy and Reigns asked what he was doing. Reigns said he was sounding like the old Miz, who he liked to punch in the mouth. Reigns said he’s there to talk to the new Miz that stands up to authority and chased Shane McMahon all around the arena. Reigns asked for a replay to remind Miz.

A clip aired from last week on Raw when Shane McMahon and Elias attacked Reigns, which led to Miz making the save.

Reigns said that’s The Miz we all want to talk to. The fans cheered followed by a “yes” chant. Miz said that he’s never been on the same page with Reigns or the WWE Universe, but he knows it’s about earning respect from his peers and the WWE Universe. Miz said that after 13 years, he has started to earn that respect. Miz called Shane McMahon a daddy’s boy that has been handed everything with a silver spoon in his mouth. Miz said that facts are facts, he knows how to win and he brings a fight. Miz talked about how Shane has attacked his father and run from him at every turn, but none of that will matter because Shane will be in a steel cage with Miz where there will be nowhere to run or hide. Miz said that Shane will go down faster than his old man (Vince) went down to a Superman Punch. Reigns nodded in approval as if to say he liked this babyface side of Miz. Shane McMahon showed up for the interruption.

Analysis: It was not much of an interview. Good promo from Miz since he did most of the speaking and Reigns didn’t say that much. It was also a way to make Reigns and Miz allies as faces after they had been rivals in the past.

Shane reminded The Miz that he is his boss. Shane said that as of now, Miz TV is now over. Elias and Bobby Lashley attacked Miz and Reigns with forearms to the back. Elias and Lashley left. Shane told Miz and Reigns that they had a match against Lashley and Elias. That match is up next.

Analysis: It was a typical opening segment that set up a match after the break. It’s standard for what we usually see on Raw. A match is either set up for after the break or later in the show. This has been happening for over two decades now. It’s very repetitive with the holla holla tag team match playa Teddy Long special to set up the tag team match.

(Commercial)

The match started after the break. If you want to keep track, Reigns and Elias are both Smackdown guys that are on Raw due to the Wild Card Rule.

The Miz and Roman Reigns vs. Elias and Bobby Lashley (w/Shane McMahon)

Miz worked over Elias with a knee to the ribs followed by the gentle backbreaker and neckbreaker combo. Reigns tagged in, so Elias bailed to the floor and Lashley tagged in so Elias avoided Reigns. Lashley with a shoulder tackle on Reigns, but Reigns came back with shoulder tackles against the turnbuckle. Reigns hit a Samoan Drop on Lashley for a two count. Reigns hit the corner clotheslines on Lashley followed by Miz tagging in with a clothesline. Miz worked over Lashley and Elias with the weakest looking kicks in WWE. Lashley tried a slam, Elias drove Miz throat first into the top rope and Lashley hit a flatliner on Miz for a two count as they went to break about four minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Shane McMahon leading to the usual bickering by the announcers. Elias did an Undertaker rope walk off the top rope leading to a double knee attack for a two count. Lashley tagged in with a shoulder tackle on Miz followed by a delayed suplex. Miz tried to break free, Elias punched him, Reigns punched Elias and Miz hit a DDT on Elias. Lashley tagged in to prevent Miz from tagging out. Lashley missed a shoulder attack against the turnbuckle because Miz moved and Shane pulled Reigns off the apron leading to a DQ because the referee saw it. That ended the match after 11 minutes.

Winners by disqualification: The Miz and Roman Reigns

Analysis: ** It was a basic tag team match that ended before they could get to the hot tag spot. That’s why Shane McMahon was there at ringside leading to the DQ finish because the story was about the heels wanting to weaken the faces. Miz did a good job as the face in peril.

Post match, Shane whipped Reigns into the steel steps at ringside. The trio of Shane, Reigns and Elias worked over Miz at ringside with punches. Reigns made the save for Miz by doing a dive from over the top onto the three heels outside the ring. Shane managed to take down Reigns again. Elias and Lashley went in the ring to go after Reigns. Miz went back in the ring with chair shots to Elias and Lashley in the back. Reigns hit a Superman Punch to Elias and Lashley while Shane escaped.

Analysis: The heels were in control, but then the faces made the comeback. The key thing was that Miz didn’t manage to get his hands on Shane because Elias and Lashley took the blows with the chair while Shane ran away. Miz should get the win over Shane at Money in the Bank on Sunday.

They advertised Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre for later on Raw plus the women’s championship double contract signing.

Seth Rollins was shown backstage talking to some guy in a suit with Cole saying we’ll get a closer look at Seth vs. AJ Styles at Money in the Bank after the break.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: It’s WWE Money in the Bank week, so to celebrate one of my favorite gimmick matches ever (that would be MITB), I’m posting my reviews of every Money in the Bank match in WWE history. In addition to the matches, I am also writing about the cash-in moment of the briefcase winner along with some thoughts on that individual’s championship reign if they had one. My reviews for the first Money in the Bank from 2005 up until 2010 are up right now in our Money in the Bank section on TJRWrestling. You can also my star ratings for every MITB and a list ranking them in order from best to worst. Check it out now and keep visiting TJRWrestling.net daily as every Money in the Bank match will be posted before Sunday’s PPV takes place.

The announce team was shown on camera setting up a video package about Rollins vs. Styles.

The video package aired promoting Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Universal Championship at Money in the Bank on Sunday. They showed clips of Rollins from his youth, his journey in WWE and Rollins winning the Universal Title from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania when he realized his dream. It also focused on AJ Styles showing clips and images from his career before WWE followed by his work in WWE in the last three years. Styles is back on Raw with his sights set on the ultimate prize. There were clips from the last few weeks of Raw with Styles putting Rollins through a table at the contract signing and Styles hit Rollins with an accidental forearm. It hyped up Money in the Bank saying that only one man can become champion.

Analysis: It was an excellent hype video, which is common from WWE. They always do a great job with them. A lot of people whine to me about WWE these days and I am frustrated with things too, but let’s think about positives like the fact that we get Rollins vs. Styles on PPV this Sunday. That’s pretty cool.

Later in the show, there will be exclusive interviews with Rollins and Styles.

A clip aired from last week when Braun Strowman put Sami Zayn in a dumpster.

Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage when Charly Caruso asked him about last week. Strowman said he wished Zayn was compacted into a cube. Strowman claimed that nobody will be able to stop him from being Mr. Monster in the Bank for the second year in a row. A dude walked up to Strowman with a headset on and he told Strowman that Shane McMahon wanted to see him. Strowman left.

(Commercial)

Sami Zayn was shown in Shane McMahon’s office. Zayn complained about the toxic environment caused by the WWE Universe that cheers Strowman for acting like a monster. Strowman showed up in the office. Zayn said that Shane will replace Strowman’s place in the Money in the Bank ladder match, but Shane said he can’t do that. Zayn told Shane he will fight him for it tonight and Zayn said he can make it a Falls Count Anywhere match. Shane said Braun was going to face Drew McIntyre. Zayn told him to make the match. Shane said that it’s Strowman vs. Zayn in a Falls Count Anywhere match and the winner is in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match on Sunday. Strowman told Zayn he’s going to eat him alive. Strowman had his right biceps taped up, so I don’t know if there’s an injury there.

Analysis: It sets up a new main event for this week’s show. I’m fine with it because Sami is my favorite guy on Raw.

Mojo Rawley vs. Apollo Crews

Mojo has some face paint that represents a broken mirror. What a lame gimmick. Apollo Crews is from Smackdown, so he’s here from the Wild Card Rule. Crews did a move off the ropes and he sold a left knee injury. Rawley with a tackle to the knee, a running corner attack and a slam leading to Rawley getting the pinfall win. It went about one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Mojo Rawley

Analysis: 1/2* Easy win for Rawley. Crews looked like such a loser here.

Alexa Bliss was backstage talking the phone talking about how she lost her luggage. She yelled at somebody to find her luggage. Nikki Cross walked up to her. Nikki was looking normal instead of crazy. Bliss said not everybody there is as nice as Cross. Nikki said she didn’t think anybody noticed she was there for the last four weeks. Bliss rambled on, Cross stopped her and said that Bliss can talk to her. Bliss whined about her shoes being untied, now her gear isn’t there and she didn’t want to be laughed at again. Cross said maybe the McMahons will find her a suitable replacement. Bliss asked if Cross can take her place. Cross seemed confused and Bliss said she’ll tell the McMahons that Cross will take her place.

Analysis: This was okay, but there was some poor dialogue too. Cross looked more natural instead of her usual crazy gimmick. That’s a change for her. It’s also her first time on Raw since the Superstar Shakeup, so it’s good to see Nikki involved. Bliss losing luggage is a way to keep her out of the ring again. I think that’s WWE looking out for Bliss due to her injury issues in the last year.

Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage for the contract signing.

(Commercial)

Double Contract Signing for Becky Lynch’s Money in the Bank Matches

Michael Cole was in the ring to moderate the contract signing segment. The “Sassy Southern Belle” Lacey Evans made her entrance wearing a traditional dress while Young and Graves argued about her. Evans challenges Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank. Charlotte Flair entered as the challenger for the Smackdown Women’s Champion, so she is the fourth Smackdown competitor on Raw this week.

Becky Lynch made her entrance with the Raw and Women’s Championship. The fans cheered loudly for “Becky 2 Belts” as “The Man” Lynch walked down to the ring showing a lot of confidence. Lynch sat on one side of the table while Flair and Evans sat on the same side.

Lynch started off by saying it feels great to be back in London as fans chanted “Becky Two Belts” for her. Lynch talked about how they are bigger than her and more athletic, but Lacey will feel the pressure while the champ stomps on the back of her neck. Lynch called Flair the “twin sister” of Evans.

Flair said that Lynch never learns as fans chanted “Becky” for Lynch. Flair said that Lynch has everything she has ever wanted, but she still has to make digs. Flair said that the same big mouth of Lynch got her in the situation and she can’t win. Evans said it’s a contract signing, not a fight in a barn. Lynch mentioned to Evans she’s never done one of these before.

Lynch reminded Flair that she made the history that Flair thought she was owed. Lynch mentioned that Flair hasn’t been delivering against Lynch and she really has to bring this one home. Lynch told Evans she can’t afford to lose her first title match while Flair can’t afford to lose her millionth title match. Lynch signed both contracts as fans chanted “Becky Two Belts” for her.

Flair pointed out that Lynch got her storybook ending, she beat the baddest woman on the planet and it’s still not enough for her. Flair said that Lynch built up a reputation that she can’t live up to. Flair said that all of this is going to come crashing down and frankly…Flair finds it hilarious. Flair said that not even these two titles can hide Lynch’s jealousy and insecurities. Flair said that at Money in the Bank, Lynch can blame her stubborn pride when she bows down to the Queen. Flair signed her Smackdown Title match contract.

Evans said that the WWE Universe deserves a legitimate lady to set the example of a champion. Evans said that we have the young women being led astray by Lynch’s classless, confusing behavior. Evans claimed she’ll give class to the Raw Women’s Championship. Evans told Lynch she pretends to swing around something she doesn’t have (referring to “The Man” name and a certain body part on a man), but she’ll have trouble beating Evans and Flair.

The woman stood up as the fight began. Lynch sent Evans into the ring post. Lynch delivered knee strikes to the ribs of Flair. Lynch teased a Powerbomb, but Evans got back in the ring and Flair got in a cheap shot boot to the face. Flair whipped Lynch into the turnbuckle. The blond heels set up the table in the ring. Flair picked up Lynch, Evans helped her and they gave Lynch a Powerbomb through the table.

With Lynch out on the broken table, Flair held up the Smackdown Women’s Championship while Evans held up the Raw Women’s Championship. Flair’s music played to end it.

Analysis: Good promo work from Lynch as usual, Flair did well with her lines and Evans wasn’t as strong, but that’s just because it’s a different kind of gimmick. The result of the contract signing was the most predictable outcome you would expect with the two heels putting Lynch through a table and standing tall to end the segment. The problem with this is we saw Seth Rollins getting put through a table by AJ Styles two weeks ago on Raw. It’s not very creative to do the same “put a champion through a table” spot two weeks after they just did it. Give us something different, please.

The announcers shilled what’s still to come including another edition of the Firefly Funhouse.

(Commercial)

Baron Corbin was in the ring for a match. Ring announcer Tom Phillips read a card for the special introduction for Corbin, which drew boos from the crowd.

Ricochet made his entrance as Baron Corbin’s opponent. They are both in the Money in the Bank match on Monday representing the Raw brand. Good pop for him. They aired a pre-taped promo from Ricochet saying he’ll do everything he can to win at Money in the Bank.

Baron Corbin vs. Ricochet

Ricochet with a dropkick that sent Corbin to the mat. Corbin sent Ricochet to the turnbuckle, they each avoided moves and Ricochet hit a cross body block. Corbin bailed to the floor, so Ricochet ran at him. Corbin sent Ricochet to the apron leading to Ricochet hitting a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle onto Corbin on the floor. Back in the ring, Corbin decked Ricochet with a clothesline leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Corbin was in control as the announcers did their usual “almost guaranteed” talk about the winner of Money in the Bank even though Corbin failed a few years ago and Strowman failed last year. They did mention the Corbin thing earlier. Ricochet hit a nice roll through into a dropkick. Ricochet with knees to the face followed by a springboard clothesline by Ricochet for a two count. Ricochet countered a slam into a pinfall for two. Corbin hit the Deep Six Slam that got him a two count as usual with that move. Corbin went for a slam, but Ricochet countered with an athletic DDT for a two count. Ricochet went up top for the 630 Splash, he jumped, Corbin got out of the way and Ricochet hit a hurricanrana off the top. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Ricochet was stunned that wasn’t enough to win. Ricochet rang the ropes, Corbin countered a move and hit the End of Days slam for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: **1/4 The match was okay with the big man Corbin winning with a sweet counter. Corbin isn’t a great worker by any means, but he is better against a smaller wrestler like Ricochet. I thought Ricochet had some sweet moves including counters, but he wasn’t able to get the win.  Losing on the last Raw before MITB is better than winning if you want Ricochet to win at MITB, so I’m not too upset about it.

Post match, Corbin set up a ladder in the ring to reach up for the contract. When Corbin reached the top, Ricochet shoved the ladder over leading to Corbin bumping into the ropes. Ricochet’s music played while Corbin left.

A clip aired of Samoa Joe trash talking Rey Mysterio’s son Dominick last week on Raw.

Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Mysterio claimed Joe crossed a line by threatening his son. Cesaro complained about Rey talking trash about Joe when he’s not there. Rey mentioned that Dominick was training to wrestle and traveling. Cesaro said he didn’t care about Dominick and he claimed Dominick looks more like Samoa Joe. Cesaro asked Rey if he was sure if Dominick was really his son. Mysterio brawled with Cesaro as referees broke it up. Mysterio yelled about how you shouldn’t mess with his family.

Analysis: The line by Cesaro about Rey not knowing if Dominick is his son is a nod to the Rey storyline with Eddie Guerrero in 2005. That was a big angle at the time. I’m all for Cesaro becoming an ally of Joe although I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

An interview with AJ Styles is next.

(Commercial)

A video package aired about Roman Reigns that took about four minutes.

Analysis: It was a good video. It was also the same video that was on Smackdown last week. I don’t know why they need to repeat it, but it’s a three-hour show. They have time to kill.

AJ Styles was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Styles said people are questioning if he hit Seth Rollins with a forearm, but he said it was meant for Baron Corbin. Styles mentioned that Seth claimed this was his show…at least until AJ showed up. Styles said he came to WWE with a huge chip on his shoulder and it gave him an opportunity to face the Universal Champion. Styles said this Sunday he walks in as the challenger, but he’ll walk out as the new Universal Champion.

Analysis: The promo was fine. Basic stuff. He can’t do his “house that AJ Styles built” catchphrase on Raw, though, so it was a bit different from his typical Smackdown promos.

Naomi entered for the women’s four-way match.

(Commercial)

Naomi did a pre-taped promo. Dana Brooke made her no entrance to no reaction and did a pre-taped promo claiming she deserved to win. Natalya was up next and she got to do a pre-taped promo about how her experience will pay off since this will be the fourth Money in the Bank match and she has been in all of them.

Nikki Cross made her entrance and she was back to doing her crazy acting. Cross is from Scotland, so she got some love from the UK crowd. Alexa Bliss did a pre-tape promo about how she’s going to be Miss Goddess in the Bank again.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance in her street clothes to watch the match since the storyline is she lost her luggage. Bliss joined commentary for this match.

Naomi vs. Nikki Cross vs. Dana Brooke vs. Natalya

Naomi with a running splash against the turnbuckle. Natalya with a clothesline on Brooke. Cross dumped Natalya out of the ring. Naomi with a full nelson slam on Brooke. Cross trapped Natalya against the ring apron and attacked her with punches. Naomi hit a corkscrew cross body block over the top onto the three women leading to a break two minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Natalya giving Brooke a surfboard submission. Cross went up top, Naomi knocked her down and Naomi kicked Natalya for a two count. Cross was sent out of the ring by Naomi. Natalya and Brooke slammed Naomi. Cross went back in the ring with a belly to back suplex on Brooke, she sent Natalya out of the ring and Cross got a two count on Natalya. Cross slapped on an arm submission on Naomi. Bliss talked about how nice Cross was. Naomi cleaned house with punches and the Rear View ass attack on Natalya and Cross. Naomi kicked Brooke. Naomi put Brooke on Natalya, Naomi went up top and hit a split legged moonsault on Natalya because Brooke moved, which got a two count from Naomi. Brooke sent Naomi out of the ring. Brooke grabbed a steel ladder from under the ring. Natalya knocked Brooke down and Cross hit a Spear on Natalya on the floor. Brooke climbed the ladder, referee Mike Chioda held the ladder for her and Brooke went near the top of the ladder with a cross body block by Brooke onto the other women on the floor. That drew a big pop from the crowd. It looked impressive. Brooke yelled that she belongs here, so Natalya whipped her into the barricade and a Natalya hit a clothesline on Naomi. Back in the ring, Cross hit a spinning neckbreaker on Natalya for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross

Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay with a few sloppy moments, but the finish was done well. Cross getting the win was interesting since it’s her first time on Raw since the Superstar Shakeup, so maybe there’s a plan with her. Give Dana Brooke some credit for that ladder dive because that’s something people are going to remember about her. Keep doing stuff like that to stand out. Natalya and Naomi were just there to keep the match going. Cross pinning Natalya gave Cross some credibility in her first Raw match.

Post match, Bliss and Cross set up a ladder in the ring under the MITB briefcase. Cross wanted to climb, but Bliss told her no and Bliss climbed up. Bliss grabbed the briefcase when she got to the top of the ladder.

Analysis: The story seems to be that Bliss is going to use Cross to try to help her win at Money in the Bank, but it probably won’t work and it should set up a feud with Cross as a face against Bliss. Since Cross has the crazy woman gimmick, she can be the face that refuses to help Bliss when she realizes Bliss is using her.

Sami Zayn did a backstage promo talking to the camera saying he fights for a cause. Zayn said that Strowman is an imagination for us wanting to be big and strong. Zayn said that being right is better than being big and strong. Zayn claimed he would find a way to beat Strowman to win and be in the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Analysis: Sami Zayn is my favorite promo guy on Raw like Daniel Bryan is my favorite promo guy on Smackdown. Neither guy was known as a strong talker before their WWE days, but they have developed into elite trash talking heels.

Rey Mysterio entered for his match with Cesaro. He challenges Samoa Joe for the US title at Money in the Bank on Sunday.

(Commercial)

A Samoa Joe cell phone promo was shown with Cole noting he was on the other half of the WWE tour of Europe. Joe noted that Rey crossed the line when he brought Dominick to WWE. Joe told Rey he’ll see him at Money in the Bank and he said he hopes he sees Dominick there too.

Analysis: Samoa Joe is one of my favorite promo guys in WWE too, just in case you are keeping track of my favorites.

Cesaro vs. Rey Mysterio

Mysterio with a headscissors off the ropes. Cesaro came back with a spinning backbreaker for a two count. Cesaro had Rey on his shoulders, they went over the top rope with Rey still on the shoulders and Rey sent Cesaro into the barricade. Mysterio went for a sliding attack on the floor, but Cesaro grabbed Rey and swung him into the barricade two times in a row. They battled on the apron with Rey avoiding a charge and Cesaro hit the turnbuckle with his shoulder. Mysterio went up top, but Cesaro crushed him with a forearm. Cesaro grabbed Mysterio from the apron leading to a vertical superplex from Cesaro for a two count. That was impressive.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Cesaro going for a swing, but Mysterio countered with a DDT. Mysterio with a seated senton off the top followed by a spinning armbar and a cradle pin for a two count. Mysterio sent Cesaro into the ropes, Cesaro blocked a 619 and did the Cesaro Swing to a big pop from the crowd. Cesaro sent Rey to the ropes with an uppercut. Cesaro went for a 619, but Mysterio avoided it and turned it into a sunset flip into a pin for a two count. Great spot there. Cesaro hit a forearm to block a Mysterio attack. Mysterio managed to send Cesaro to the ropes, Mysterio with a 619 and Mysterio went up top with a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: ***1/4 Great match for the time given and it made me want to see them in a longer match. I’m not surprised that they had awesome chemistry in the ring considering Cesaro’s ability to adapt to any style and Rey’s still moving at a quick pace in every match. Rey got the win since he’s wrestling at the MITB PPV while Cesaro is not, so I’m fine with that decision.

They showed clips of The Usos laughing at the expense of The Revival over the last two weeks.

The Revival did a promo from the locker room. Dash Wilder said that Scott Dawson needed him, so he shaved his back. Dawson said that the ball’s in The Usos court and said that if they want to find out who the best tag team is, they aren’t hard to stop, but the embarrassment to The Revival stops right now.

Analysis: The embarrassment to The Revival stops now? Does that mean they signed new contracts with WWE? I don’t know if they did and I have my doubts that they would, but it’s also something that they will keep private. I’m ready for some Usos vs. Revival matches soon.

Seth Rollins was shown backstage because he’ll be interviewed shortly. Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse is next.

(Commercial)

Firefly Funhouse (or Firefly Fun House) with Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt was on the set of his kids show saying “Yowie Wowie” as usual. He had Mercy and Abbey with him. They told him to hurry it up because they had stuff to do. Wyatt said it’s almost time to show the world what he’s really been working on, but he needs help from the fireflies. The kids cheered even though no kids were shown. Wyatt said that he learned how to harness it and control it while images of darkness were shown. Wyatt asked if we want to see his secret. They showed images of kids toys, then he said “let me in” repeatedly. A grotesque figure was shown with a mask on his face. It said “Yowie Wowie” at the end, I think.

Analysis: What I like about Bray Wyatt’s creepy character is that it’s different from anything else on the show. It makes him stand out. Too many people don’t even have gimmicks. Wyatt is some creepy split personality guy. I’m not even a huge fan of comic books or those kinds of movies, but I do appreciate it once in a while if it’s a creative character. Let’s see it develop more. The important thing is that when he gets back into the ring, he should win every match and be booked as an unstoppable character. If he loses, then that will kill his credibility. Book him strong whenever he wrestles again.

A replay aired of the women’s contract signing segment with Lynch getting put through a table by Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans. The announcers shilled some of the Money in the Bank matches.

Seth Rollins was interviewed in the interview area by Sarah Schreiber, so he was standing there for about five minutes. Rollins said he gave Styles the benefit of the doubt and claimed it wasn’t about respect, it’s personal. Rollins talked about how they had a singles match 15 years ago in a small building in a small building in a small town. (A clip aired of that match in a small venue.) Rollins said that it was the first time his family and friends believed in him. Rollins talked about how it’s not about proving something to his family and friends now, it’s about himself, the WWE Universe and proving himself to AJ Styles that he is the backbone of Raw. Rollins said that 15 years ago he looked up to AJ Styles, but on Sunday it will be Styles looking up to him.

Analysis: Good promo from Rollins talking about his motivation going into Money in the Bank and wanting to prove he’s better than Rollins.

Braun Strowman made his entrance. It’s worth nothing Strowman has a big black brace on his right biceps.

(Commercial)

Sami Zayn made his entrance doing his ridiculous dancing routine. Zayn grabbed a fan’s Strowman sign and stepped on it. A clip aired from last week with Strowman putting Zayn into the dumpster.

Falls Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn

This match started with about 16 minutes left in the show. If Zayn wins then he gets to replace Strowman in the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Zayn hit two running splashes on Zayn to start the match. Zayn left the ring, so Strowman ran him over with two running shoulder tackles. Zayn jumped over the barricade and ran up the stairs. Strowman followed him. Zayn threw a drink on Strowman, so Zayn went up in the concourse level. Strowman followed Zayn as the camera showed Zayn hitting Strowman in the upper body with a garbage bin. Strowman whipped Zayn into a concrete pole. Strowman covered with his foot on Zayn’s chest for a two count. Baron Corbin showed up from behind Strowman and beat him up with trash cans as fans chanted “holy shit” for it. Zayn covered Strowman for two. The announcers mentioned how Corbin wanted Strowman out of the Money in the Bank match. Corbin picked up Strowman and slammed him through a merchandise table. Strowman got back up, shoved Zayn away and whipped Corbin into a merchandise stand as the match went to break.

(Commercial)

When the match returned, Zayn was shown running back towards the ring with Strowman chasing after him. Zayn managed to get a hold of a chair leading to a chair shot to the back of Strowman. Zayn hit Strowman with another chair shot to the back. Strowman came back with a punch to the face. Strowman grabbed a ladder that was positioned by the entrance, so Zayn went to the backstage area near the locker rooms. Zayn was selling exhaustion, so Strowman hit him with a clothesline from behind. Strowman threw Zayn into a garage door. Drew McIntyre showed up with a cheap attack that included a headbutt to the head of Strowman. McIntyre gave Strowman a DDT onto a steel chair. The referee counted the pin and Strowman kicked out at two. Strowman shoved McIntyre into a TV monitor and tossed an ice box onto McIntyre. Zayn was crawling his way back to the ringside area, Strowman chased after him and they were back by the entranceway. Strowman kicked Zayn in the head. Strowman jabbed Zayn in the ribs with a ladder and a ladder to the back by Strowman. Strowman tossed four ladders onto Zayn. Corbin and McIntyre showed up again to go after Strowman since they were in the Money in the Bank match with him. McIntyre jabbed Strowman in the ribs with a ladder. McIntyre and Corbin gave Strowman a suplex into a ladder that was bridged up against the barricade. McIntyre followed with a Claymore Kick to Strowman’s head. Corbin pulled Zayn onto Strowman and Zayn covered Strowman with McIntyre and Corbin with a cheap pin after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ** It is tough to rate it as a regular match since it was basically Strowman in a 3 on 1 handicap match where he wasn’t able to overcome the odds. It was a cheap win that didn’t hurt Strowman at all while making Zayn look cheap as the winner. It’s an easy way to get heat because the fans won’t see Zayn as a star due to the cheap way he won the match. I think as an angle, it accomplished its goal.

The win by Zayn meant that he has replaced Braun Strowman in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

Analysis: I’m glad Zayn is in Money in the Bank now. I hope he wins it. I don’t know if he’s going to be my pick, but I would love to see it happen.

When Strowman got back up, Corbin shoved Zayn down from the backstage area. Strowman brought Zayn over to the Raw announce table. Strowman picked up Zayn and gave him a Chokeslam through the announce table. Strowman yelled in celebration as Raw ended there.

Analysis: It was a way to give Strowman some quick revenge. I think the show should have ended with Strowman down and Zayn celebrating, but I guess WWE felt like doing a babyface ending. It doesn’t matter too much. I think Corbin shoving Zayn out there makes Corbin look like a smart heel because it weakened Zayn, who is in the MITB match.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Sami Zayn
  2. Rey Mysterio
  3. Cesaro

 

The Scoreboard

5 out of 10

Last week: 4

2019 Average: 5.5 (Smackdown is 7.01)

Last 5 Weeks: 4, 5, 6.5, 6.5, 6.5

2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)

2019 Low: 4 (February 11, May 6)

 

Final Thoughts

This week’s Raw gets a 5 out of 10.

It felt like a typical Raw episode in 2019 where there were a bunch of average matches, but nothing really stood out. The promos were okay. The build to Money in the Bank was solid throughout the night, but I’m not sure there was anything that is really going to captivate the average fan at home.

The most newsworthy item was that Sami Zayn has replaced Braun Strowman in the Money in the Bank ladder match. I’m not sure why they did it, but I am happy Zayn is in the MITB match and I hope he wins it.

Also, I liked the Bray Wyatt segment because it felt like there might be an in-ring return for him soon. I want to see how he is booked because they need to book him strong like a big star. Raw needs it.

Lastly, the England fans really love chanting things to the tune of the “Seven Nation Army” song by the White Stripes. People really love that song. I do as well, but they should try some other songs too.

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, Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Ali, Randy Orton, Andrade, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn

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

Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese (c) vs. Ariya Daivari

We will have a preview of WWE Money in the Bank on TJRWrestling on Friday.

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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