Raw Review – Poor Writing Sends Raw into Third-Hour Tailspin

5/9/16 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Steph and Shane: Friends again?

The main story arc on this week’s Raw centered on the surprisingly cordial relationship between Shane and Stephanie McMahon. Y2J opened the show with the Highlight Reel, saying that his guest was supposed to be Dean Ambrose, but that he couldn’t be there because of Jericho’s own attack on him last week. Jericho revealed the remains of Mitch the plant to further mock Ambrose, but Big Cass interrupted.

Cass told Jericho not to overlook him just because he’s young, and challenged Jericho to a fight, knocking him off the apron with a big boot. Y2J complained to Steph backstage, but she told Jericho that she wasn’t going to do anything about it. Steph told Y2J that she and Shane are on the same page, and that they both think Jericho should face Cass in the main event later.

Throughout the show, WWE expanded on the theme of Steph and Shane getting along. Charlotte and Ric Flair visited Shane backstage, trying to get him to reverse Steph’s decision to ban Ric from ringside at Extreme Rules. Shane responded by saying he agreed with Steph regarding Extreme Rules, and even expanded Ric’s ban to cover tonight’s Raw.

Later, Steph and Shane decided together to book a triple threat between Cesaro, Owens and Miz for Extreme Rules. Zayn interrupted and said that he deserves a shot too, proposing that he face Miz in a match, with Zayn entering the IC Title match at Extreme Rules if he wins. Steph and Shane agreed, and granted Zayn the opportunity.

Sami Zayn def. The Miz (w/ Maryse) by pinfall; Zayn entered into Intercontinental Championship match at Extreme Rules

Zayn hit an early hurricanrana, then hit Miz with an impressive springboard moonsault off the barricade. Zayn repeatedly drove Miz into the barricade, but Miz sent him into the ring steps, nearly causing Zayn to be counted out. Miz attacked Zayn relentlessly when he returned to the ring, hitting a DDT for a near-fall. Zayn responded with a Michinoku Driver, but Miz kicked out.

Miz locked in a Figure Four, but Zayn reached the ropes to force a break. Miz tried to use the ropes for leverage on a pin attempt, but the referee spotted him and stopped counting. Zayn responded with an exploder suplex and a Helluva Kick to defeat Miz and earn a spot in the IC Title match at Extreme Rules. Zayn winning the match was predictable, but it was still very fun. Miz has not-so-quietly put together a string of very high-quality matches lately.

Kevin Owens def. Zack Ryder by pinfall to keep his spot in Intercontinental Championship match at Extreme Rules

After the Zayn/Miz match, Zack Ryder and Owens argued in Shane’s office. Ryder made his case to be in the IC Title match, and Owens berated Shane for giving out opportunities to people who don’t deserve them. Shane told Owens that if he loses to Ryder later tonight, Ryder will take his spot in the Fatal Four-way.

The action quickly spilled outside, with Ryder hitting a back bodydrop onto the floor. Back in the ring, Ryder added a missile dropkick and an ElBro Drop, but Owens kicked out. Owens avoided a Rough Ryder and hit a superkick, followed by a pop-up powerbomb to finish Ryder off. This was well done, as Ryder’s ultimate underdog status is an effective heat magnet for his opponents.

Roman Reigns and The Usos def. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson by disqualification

Jey hit Anderson with a scoopslam, but Anderson took advantage of a cheap shot by Gallows to roll Jey up. Jimmy very quickly got revenge, rolling Anderson up and pinning him. During the commercial break, AJ apparently hit Jimmy with a Phenomenal Forearm and pinned him. Reigns hit Gallows with a Superman punch and — you guessed it — pinned him.

Anderson attacked Reigns with a chair, getting AJ disqualified and mercifully ending the match. Reigns speared both Anderson and Gallows, and brawled around the ring with AJ for a bit. AJ eventually slid out of the ring when Reigns went after him with the chair.

What should have been the best part of the show was among the worst. The eliminations were way too quick and the finish was awful. Finally, Gallows looked weak as hell getting pinned after a Superman punch, because I cannot remember one single time the Superman punch has ever been used as a finisher.

Paige def. Charlotte by pinfall

With Natalya sitting in on commentary, Paige hit a running knee strike and a superkick. Both women climbed up top, and Paige hit an impressive superplex, but Charlotte kicked out. Paige tried to lock in a PTO, but Charlotte reached the ropes. Charlotte tried for a leverage pin, but Natalya jumped up on the apron to stop her.

Paige hit a fallaway slam for two, and Ric Flair entered, despite being banned from ringside. Shane appeared with several referees to escort Ric backstage, and Paige took advantage of a distracted Charlotte to roll her up and pin her. This was a bit of a cluster, but it was still probably the most entertaining part of the Charlotte/Natalya feud thus far — largely because Paige, a better worker than Natalya, was the one squaring off with Charlotte in the ring.

  • Dean Ambrose attacks Jericho: Ambrose stole Jericho’s jacket as he entered for his match with Big Cass, and finished his entrance. Jericho fought Ambrose off and took his jacket back, but Cass tossed him back into the ring, where Ambrose hit Y2J with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose cut Jericho’s jacket in half with a pair of scissors. For a supposed main-event segment, this fell so flat that I didn’t even find it worthy of a two-paragraph write-up.
  • Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler by pinfall: Ziggler actually went on offense first, dropkicking Corbin over the barricade outside. Back in the ring, Ziggler added a neckbreaker and a Famouser for a near-fall. Corbin answered with a tremendous Deep Six spinning side slam, followed by End of Days, earning the pinfall. A solid match, but one that would have benefited from another couple minutes, as the finish felt a bit rushed.
  • Sin Cara (w/ Kalisto) def. Rusev (w/ Lana) by pinfall: Rusev hit two double-underhook suplexes, but Sin Cara answered with a leaping tornado DDT and a springboard moonsault. Sin Cara came up empty on a senton bomb, and Rusev nailed him with a superkick. Kalisto and Lana both jumped up on the apron, and Kalisto hit Rusev with an enziguiri when the referee turned his back. Sin Cara took advantage of his partner’s cheap shot to pin Rusev. The finish was very awkward because the referee took a long time to get in position to count the pinfall, forcing Rusev to squirm around and pretend to try to kick out for way too long.
  • Dudley Boyz def. New Day by pinfall: The Dudleyz kept New Day grounded early, and The Vaudevillains entered to attack New Day. D-Von hit a brutal clothesline on Kofi to earn the pinfall, and The Vaudevillains hit Kofi with a Whirling Dervish after the match.
  • Dana Brooke debuts: Emma confronted Becky Lynch backstage, telling Becky that her black eye isn’t nearly as dangerous as the lack of eyes in the back of her head. Dana Brooke then attacked Becky from behind. Ugh. Emma’s been on a roll lately, and I don’t see why it’s a good idea to stick her with Dana again like they did in NXT.
  • R-Truth (w/ Tyler Breeze) def. Fandango (w/ Goldust) by pinfall: Truth hit a Lie Detector to pick up the squash victory after inadvertently knocking Breeze off the apron.