05/16 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Usos, Charlotte and Natalya contract signing, Shining Stars debut, final hype for Extreme Rules

Logo_Raw_dnBy Jason Powell

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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Greensboro, North Carolina at Greensboro Coliseum

[Q1] The opening video kicked off the show… Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. They hyped the Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Usos tag match…

AJ Styles made his entrance as the broadcast team recapped his recent storyline and hyped his title match against Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules. Styles stood in the ring with a mic and listened to the live crowd, which eventually started chanting his name.

Styles said he has to set the record straight because he’s tired of Reigns calling him a liar. He said he’s heard it at the airport and on social media. He said people think there’s some sort of a master plan in place with Anderson and Gallows to make him the new champion. AJ directed people to the video wall that had examples of tweets from fans who think Styles is up to no good.

AJ said he has headlined the Tokyo Dome in front of 60,000 fans and has been a champion all over the world. Styles said he didn’t need anyone’s help to get to where he is. Roman Reigns’ music interrupted him. Reigns came out to more cheers than boos. JBL raved about the ovation and used the John Cena line about “whether you love him or hate him” you feel passionately about him.

Reigns spoke about Styles winning championships and said none of it matters to him unless you’ve won “the championship.” Reigns said Styles is phenomenal at lying. Reigns said he would be in the corner of The Usos and asked if Styles would be with Anderson and Gallows. Styles said he would be there and everywhere else Reigns goes until he gets the title around his waist.

Styles delivered Roman’s “the guy” line for him and then said, “That I’m going to beat this Sunday at Extreme Rules.” Roman asked him if he think he’s going to outwrestle him in a wrestling match. Reigns said it’s a fight and spoke about how he can put him through the table and beat him with a steel chair. “If you add all that up it means I can and will beat your ass at Extreme Rules,” Reigns said. Roman said The Club will be there and the Usos will too. “You’ll figure out the hard way that the bloodline is stronger than The Club.” Styles said he plans to wrap a chair around Roman’s head.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance. However, the Usos showed up in the ring unbeknownst to Styles, who turned into a punch from Reigns. Styles rolled to ringside and was held back by Anderson and Gallows. Roman held up the title and mugged at Styles…

The broadcast team hyped the tag match, Dean Ambrose calling out Chris Jericho, and a contract signing with Charlotte and Natalya… The Miz and Maryse made their entrance…

Powell’s POV: It appears WWE has shifted from The Family to The Bloodline as a name for Reigns and The Usos. I thought it might be a throwaway line, but WWE is capitalizing the name when using it on social media. It’s an improvement over the generic Family name. Styles didn’t do much in the opening segment, but he didn’t seem to be favoring his ankle, so hopefully the weekend off was just what he needed.

[Q2] [C] The Miz and Maryse were at ringside for Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro match. Kevin Owens came out and joined them on commentary while sitting at the other side of the table, then Zayn and Cesaro made their entrances…

1. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro. Footage aired from Smackdown of Sami accidentally catching Cesaro with a Helluva Kick during a tag match against Owens and Miz. Owens boasted that he has a Six Star Frogsplash. Zayn sent Cesaro to ringside early and set up for a suicide dive. Cesaro moved, so Zayn flipped off the ropes.

Owens ended up grabbing Miz and tossing him to the floor. Owens started to leave with the IC Title belt, but Miz stopped him. They fought into the ring and fought with the babyfaces.

Sami Zayn fought Cesaro to a no-contest in 1:40.

Shane McMahon made his entrance and did his little dance on the stage to a strong ovation. Shane said everyone has had it with the those four. Shane had to pause while the fans chanted his name. Shane booked a Smackdown rematch with Owens and Miz vs. Cesaro and Zayn. “He’s the worst one!” Owens yelled. Hilarious.

Stephanie McMahon made her entrance and joined Shane on the stage. Shane asked if she didn’t think he could handle this one. She suggested Miz and Cesaro vs. Owens and Zayn instead due to what happened on Smackdown. Shane agreed that match is better. Stephanie said that if Owens even thought about walking out on Zayn, he shouldn’t even show up on Sunday. She said it might even rekindle their friendship. Shane said the match would start immediately… [C]

Powell’s POV: I was happy to see Stephanie change the match to make it unique rather than going with the Smackdown rematch. In fact, I would have found a way to sell this match throughout the show rather than going to it immediately. Owens and Zayn being forced to team together is a nice hook even for viewers who only know their WWE history.

2. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro and The Miz (w/Maryse). The match was joined in progress. Zayn mocked Owens’ performance while he was in the ring with Cesaro. Owens gave him a hard slap and told him to see if he could do better.

[Q3] Owens made a blind tag and performed a senton on Miz, then got up and mocked Zayn by telling him, “I’m legal.” Zayn reentered the match and was distracted by Maryse while standing on the apron, allowing Miz to shoulder block him to ringside. [C]

At 9:25, Owens performed a cannonball on Miz and got a two count. Cesaro tagged in and hit a series of running uppercuts on Owens. Later, Miz set up to perform the Swing on Zayn, but Cesaro broke it up by performing the Skull Crushing Finale on Miz. Owens pulled Cesaro to ringside, then Zayn caught Miz with the Hulluva Kick and pinned him. Afterward, Owens blindsided Zayn with a superkick and made the referee raise his arm…

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn beat Cesaro and The Miz in 11:20.

Powell’s POV: The Cesaro vs. Zayn bait and switch was a letdown, but that was a really fun tag match with a unique dynamic caused by the pairing of babyfaces and heels as partners. Owens continues to be the MVP of WWE. He stole the show despite working with three really talented performers.

The broadcast team hyped Extreme Rules and the Shane McMahon interview that Mick Foley will conduct next week for WWE Network…

Backstage, Renee Young asked Chris Jericho what he thinks Dean Ambrose will say when he goes to the ring. Jericho said he will apologize for destroying his jacket. Jericho said he could have Ambrose arrested “in this dump tonight” but he is giving him one chance to apologize. Jericho said he would make him very sorry if he did not… The broadcast team hyped the Shining Stars…

Powell’s POV: I went into the interview wondering if they were going to have Jericho call out Young for dating Ambrose, but so far that’s not something they bring up on the main television show. I hope they keep it that way. However, I suspect they will be bringing it up now that it’s been acknowledged on the website and will apparently be part of Total Divas.

[Q4] [C] A brief Apollo Crews hype video aired…

The Shining Stars were introduced as Primo and Epico along with their new tag name. They carried flowers to the ring and said the ring becomes their Puerto Rico. They told their enhancement worker opponents that they wanted to share a little piece of their island paradise with them…

3. The Shining Stars vs. John Skyler and Corey Hollis. No introduction for Skyler and Hollis. Primo and Epico won the match with Total Elimination, which is now called The Shining Star. Afterward, they invited everyone to visit Puerto Rico…

The Shining Stars defeated John Skyler and Corey Hollis in 1:45.

Powell’s POV: The live crowd was very quiet during their introduction and it’s hard to blame them. They just talk about their love of Puerto Rico. I can see it developing into go away heat once they really run it into the ground, but it’s going to take more than that to get real heat. The finisher they use is the finisher that The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus) used in ECW. Skyler and Hollis are a pair of talented North Carolina based independent wrestlers.

A graphic hyped John Cena returning to Raw in two weeks as Cole and the crew hyped it up…

Dean Ambrose made his entrance and spoke about how something snapped when Jericho put him in the straightjacket on Smackdown. Ambrose said he had to talk to Jericho and called him out. There was a vocal Y2J chant.

[Q5] Jericho complained about Ambrose destroying a piece of his history. Jericho said will take $15,000 out of Ambrose’s ass. Jericho said he is the true lunatic of WWE. He said he has faced every madman, mutated giant, pro athlete, and street fighter that WWE has thrown at him and he has beaten them all.

Jericho said he will punish Ambrose with a smile on his face without a tear in his eye. “No remorse, Ambrose,” Jericho said. He said he will give him the gift of Jericho, then struck his awesome pose and told him to drink it in. “Good,” Ambrose replied. He said he had a gift for Jericho.

A cage lowered from the ceiling with a straightjacket and other objects on top. Ambrose said Jericho put him in the hospital, so now he’s going to put him in the asylum. Ambrose said Shane agreed to let him have any type of match he wanted. The weapons hanging from the cage included nunchakus, a leather strap, kendo stick, a barbwire baseball bat, a mop, and a fake potted plant. Ambrose said there is no escape from the cage. He said that Jericho will never be the same again…

The broadcast team reacted to the match and then turned their attention to Reigns vs. Styles at Extreme Rules, and the Usos vs. Gallows and Anderson match for later on Raw…

Backstage, Dana Brooke pretended to laugh along with a few unidentified people backstage. She mocked one of the men for the way he dressed, then Cole hyped her match against Becky Lynch… [C]

Powell’s POV: Ambrose got really corny with his delivery, which matches the background music they used. I liked the segment until they got around to announcing the actual match, which feels like a warped singles version of TNA’s silly Lethal Lockdown cage match with weapons. Despite the hokey setup, I have some degree of confidence that Ambrose and Jericho will make it work.

[Q6] 4. Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke. Footage aired of Dana’s debut on Raw last week. Cole noted that Emma is out indefinitely with a back injury. He questioned what that would mean for Brooke. There was a brief “Let’s go Becky” chant. Lynch threw some early dropkicks and then Brooke rolled to the floor and said she was leaving. Lynch leapt off the apron, but Brooke avoided it and then ran her into the barricade before throwing her back inside the ring.

Later, Lynch got the crowd behind her before throwing a forearm and then a kick in the corner and following up with an exploder suplex for two. Brooke caught Lynch going up top. Lynch tried to roll her up, but Brooke sat down and hooked the legs to get the win…

Dana Brooke beat Becky Lynch in 3:45.

Powell’s POV: Brooke is super obnoxious and I mean that in a good way. She’s a female blowhard. She’s easy to dislike. There’s a chance they could go too far with it and turn it into go away heat, but there’s a better chance it works well if they find the right groove. Lynch continues to impress me. She seems to lose more matches than she wins on television, but the fans continue to stick with her.

The broadcast team hyped the Charlotte and Natalya contract signing and said that Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon would preside over it… [C] A Darren Young and Bob Backlund pre-tape aired. It’s the same video that aired on Smackdown with Backlund being bothered that Young uses a phone rather than a watch…

Backstage, Shane liked the idea of the “Make Darren Young Great Again” campaign. Steph entered the room and asked if he was talking to someone. Steph was bothered that Shane didn’t clear the asylum match with her. Shane pointed out that she didn’t run it by him when she changed his tag match.

The Dudley Boyz entered the room and shook hands. Steph asked how they could help them. Bubba said they can’t, but they could help Steph and Shane. Bubba brought up the new era and spoke about Attitude Era guys showing them. D-Von asked for a couple of little North Carolina wrestlers so they could show them how to wrestle. Steph said that’s not how things are done anymore. Shane said one of them would face Big Cass. He told them to decide which one of them would face Cass. Shane impersonated Enzo and told Steph he loves the job. Steph laughed and said there’s something wrong with Shane…

[Q7] The broadcast team set up a video package on R-Truth and Goldust becoming The Golden Truth… R-Truth and Goldust made their entrance. Truth sang his song while Goldust danced awkwardly… [C]

Powell’s POV: Yes, they actually produced a video package to recap all of the nonsense we’ve seen from R-Truth and Goldust. Dorky Shane and Smiling Stephanie might actually be worse than The Golden Truth.

5. R-Truth and Goldust vs. Fandango and Tyler Breeze. JBL said Goldust was gone for a little while, but he’s made a bigger comeback than John Snow (Game of Thrones). Late in the match, Truth tried to hit Breeze with a kick, but Breeze ducked and Goldust took the kick. Breeze pinned Goldust…

Fandango and Tyler Breeze beat R-Truth and Goldust in 2:15.

Powell’s POV: JBL congratulated “Breeze-Ango” rather than going with the “Fabreeze” name that writes itself. Breeze and Fandango won, but it felt like it was more about Golden Truth losing than it was about Breeze and Fandango winning. As usual, I imagine Vince McMahon and company backstage laughing harder than anyone watching at home.

[Q8] Backstage, R-Truth told Goldust “don’t be like that, man.” Goldust said he told Truth he didn’t want to his partner. Truth said the pretty boys got one over on them, but they need to get their creative juices flowing and some other silliness. Truth said the WWE Universe wants the Golden Truth. Fans cheered. Yes, really. Breeze and Fandango showed up and welcomed “the golden girls” to the new era and said it’s passed them by. Goldust said he thinks Truth is right. They hugged…

Powell’s POV: They will deny it publicly, but no one in Greensboro was cheering louder for the Golden Truth than Bruce Mitchell and Jonny Fairplay.

A large object was covered in the ring. New Day made their entrance to an enthusiastic response. They uncovered the object and it was a cardboard box with gadgets attached. Xavier Woods called it a time machine. They all climbed inside. There were funky sound and visual effects. Kofi came out and his old music played and he spoke with a Jamaican accent. They went further back in time and the screen was black and white. They said they were in a bygone era. The Vaudevillains showed up and attacked New Day. The color picture returned to the screen as they beat New Day down and left them lying…

Cole hyped the Usos vs. Gallows and Anderson match for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Big E’s line about BootyO’s being Derriere Squares was cute. The rest of this was bad enough that they seemed to lose a live crowd that was excited to see them. The Vaudevillains came off like heroes for ending the segment.

Miz TV with guests Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn was announced for Smackdown…

[Q8] 6. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles) vs. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso (w/Roman Reigns). The Usos cleared the ring while Reigns clapped. Styles huddled up with Styles briefly. Cole stressed that if Styles were to use Anderson and Gallows on Sunday, it would be within the rules of an Extreme Rules match.

At 5:00, one of the Usos became distracted by Styles for no good reason. The Uso turned into a punch from Gallows. Reigns walked over and jawed with Styles heading into the break. [C]

Jey Uso performed a top rope cross body block on Anderson for a near fall. Anderson took a Samoan drop, then Uso caught him with a running, um, ass to the face like father before him. Anderson caught Uso on the top rope with a nice boot to the face. Anderson performed a spinebuster on Jey for a good near fall. The Usos came back with simultaneous superkicks on both opponents. Jimmy went up top and hit a top rope splash for the win…

Jimmy and Jey Uso defeated Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in 13:00.

After the match, Reigns and Styles came face to face. Gallows struck Reigns from behind and knocked him into Styles. The Usos cleared Anderson and Gallows from the ring. However, Anderson and Gallows got the better of them on the floor. Styles recovered and picked up a chair and went to hit Reigns with it, but Reigns knocked him down with a punch, which drew way more boos than cheers.

[Q10] Reigns picked up the chair and struck Styles with it. Gallows punched Reigns, who responded with a Superman Punch and then delivered one to Anderson. Styles picked up the chair and hit Reigns with it several times. Styles performed a Styles Clash on top of the chair in mid-ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: Styles stood tall in the end, but I don’t know if it was enough to convince the masses that he has a shot to win. Reigns schooled all three members of The Club again before Styles finally got the better of him. I’m excited about the match. My interest in Anderson and Gallows decreases with each loss. I really hope I’m missing something and they have something in mind to make them feel important once the Reigns vs. Styles feud runs its course.

The broadcast team recapped Styles getting the better of Reigns at the end of the previous segment, then hyped their Extreme Rules match…

Big Cass made his entrance and said the Dudleys have a problem with the new era, but he has a problem with them. He compared D-Von to Steve Urkel and Bubba to Fred Flintstone before the Dudleys made their entrance…

Powell’s POV: And you thought my references were dated?

7. Big Cass vs. D-Von Dudley (w/Bubba Ray Dudley). Bubba distracted Cass, giving D-Von a brief offensive run. Cass came back with a big boot to knock Bubba off the apron, then hit East River Crossing on D-Von for the win. After the match, Cass delivered the sawft line that the Dudleys interrupted prior to the match…

Big Cass beat D-Von Dudley in 1:00.

[Q11] Cole hyped the contract signing and questioned whether Charlotte can beat Natalya without help from her father… [C]

Powell’s POV: Enzo Amore can’t return soon enough. He’s cool enough to make those dated references work. Cass is over, but he needs better material if it’s going to stay that way.

A John Cena video package aired. It focussed on his injury, recovery, and hyped his return for Memorial Day…

8. U.S. Champion Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match. Del Rio made a play for Kalisto’s mask and took it halfway off again. Sin Cara was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. At 2:10, Kalisto went for a huracanrana off the ring apron, but Del Rio caught him on the floor and flung him into the barricade. [C] Rusev attacked Sin Cara backstage.

[Q12] Del Rio took control and then set up for his double stomp. Somehow, the production team missed the shot of Kalisto knocked Del Rio down. Rusev brought Sin Cara to ringside and continued to attack him. Lana walked out behind to enjoy the show. Rusev ran Sin Cara into the ring post. Del Rio performed a Backstabber on Kalisto and pinned him. Afterward, Rusev put Kalisto in the Accolade while four referees yelled at him to stop…

Alberto Del Rio beat Kalisto in 11:05.

Cole hyped the contract signing between Charlotte and Natalya, and emphasized that Stephanie and Shane would be there… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m fairly certain that WWE is contractually obligated to have Del Rio and Kalisto trade television wins. The audience might actually feel pity for Sin Cara if they didn’t see him get his ass kicked like that in 90 percent of the matches he works. Rusev really pulled back on Kalisto while he had him locked in the Accolade. It looked good and the broadcast team played it up big.

Cole announced Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler in a No DQ match as the Kickoff Show match for Extreme Rules…

Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon stood in the ring for the contract signing. Shane tried to get the crowd going with the back and forth cheers for him and boos for Steph. “Stephy Mac,” she said. Stephanie started to introduce Charlotte as being from the Queen City. Ric Flair walked out and told the fans to stand up and show the proper respect for the apple of his eye and the envy of every eye, Charlotte. Flair and Charlotte headed to the ring together. Once they were in the ring, Charlotte thanked “daddy” for the introduction and asked where she signs.

[Overrun] Shane said someone was missing. Shane introduced Natalya while Cole reminded viewers that Flair will be banned from ringside and noted that it will be a submission match. Natalya received a flat reaction in Flair country.

Natalya said she would sign the contract, but there’s something she needs to get off her chest. Natalya asked what happened to Charlotte. She said she respected her and she had integrity once. Natalya said Charlotte beat her to win her first championship in NXT. She said Charlotte did it “without your creepy father” and said he didn’t win that for her. Natalya said she doesn’t think that Charlotte exists.

Shane asked Natalya to sign the contract, which she did. Charlotte said Natalya is delusional. Charlotte said the people are not at Raw to cheer for Natalya, they are her people. She said the people won’t cheer anything Natalya does. Charlotte said she could punch all of their best friends in the face and they wouldn’t do anything because they worship the ground that she walks on.

Charlotte said she could do anything and still be chaired. There were some boos. “You don’t boo at a Flair,” Charlotte said. She boasted that there were two legends in the ring. She said the fans love her because her last name is Flair. “But you’re just Nattie,” Charlotte said. She wooooed and Flair tried to do the same, but Charlotte stopped him and said it’s her ring.

Charlotte said Natalya will tap on Sunday. She said it’s actually a waste of time to talk about it and asked if they could move on. Shane asked Charlotte to sign the contract. Charlotte examined the contract and teased signing before asking about a specific line. Flair looked at it and asked what Steph and Shane were up to.

Shane said it was an added stipulation. Shane said that after what happened last week, if Flair comes out to ringside on Sunday, then Charlotte will forfeit the women’s championship. Shane called for security for precautionary reasons. Steph said it’s just business. Stephanie said that if they don’t sign the contract, then Charlotte will forfeit the title. “Well, I guess I’ll sign then,” Charlotte replied.

Stephanie said it was official. Flair said it wasn’t. Flair said he’s tried to like Stephanie because of who her husband is. “You are the worst businesswoman of all-time,” Flair said. Shane interrupted and politely asked for Flair to stop. Flair got worked up and took his jacket off, then strutted and got in Shane’s face. Shane begged Flair and said he’s a legend and mentioned his history in the building.

Stephanie interrupted and said Shane might have too much respect for Flair. “But I don’t,” Stephanie said before slapping Flair. The fans chanted Stephanie’s name. Charlotte moved toward Stephanie, but Natalya tackled her and put her in the Sharpshooter. Charlotte tapped and then Natalya’s music played…

Powell’s POV: I like that Charlotte’s ego is so out of control that she is starting to boss around her father a bit. It’s cool that they are not diving into that, but her actions earlier in the show combined with her telling Flair not to woooo because it’s her ring definitely started her down the path. It’s certainly a way to write out Flair, but I think there’s money in having Flair become sympathetic as he takes his daughter’s abuse. Charlotte was the star of the segment. I could have done without Steph slapping Flair in Flair Country and getting her name chanted, but I get the idea of having Steph and Shane in the ring at the end if they felt they were necessary to keep viewers watching.

Overall, Raw was a very good show…for the first 45 minutes. It was very inconsistent as the night went on and they failed to get me more excited about the Extreme Rules main event. They did increase my interest in the women’s title match, but they actually did more to make Charlotte feel like a heel star. I like that she went for heat in Flair Country and she managed to get it. I will have more to say in the member exclusive audio review later tonight.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. So you mention the boos that Reigns got, but no mention of the boos that Styles got for doing the Styles clash on Reigns.

    • Yes, it’s because I hate Roman Reigns so much, not because someone in the building even pointed out that “90 percent” of the fans were booing Reigns. It’s all a conspiracy against Roman. He’s actually the most beloved man in the universe.

      • You don’t have to be an ass about it. Just mention someone actually getting booed for doing something against Reigns instead of always mentioning just the reaction that Reigns gets.

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