5/29 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Bray Wyatt, final hype for Extreme Rules

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Greenville, South Carolina at Bon Secours Wellness Arena

[Q1] Raw opened with the annual Memorial Day video package (available on our main page)… The live crowd chanted USA as various crowd shots were shown… The Raw opening aired… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T with ring announcer JoJo…

Pyro shot off on the stage and then Cole welcomed viewers to the show and Graves joined in hyping the double main event…

The Miz and Maryse made their entrance and headed to the ring for a Miz TV segment. Miz spoke about his title shot against Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules and the fact that the Intercontinental Title will change hands if Ambrose is disqualified. Miz set up footage of him costing Ambrose the match on last week’s Raw against Elias Samson.

Miz introduced Cesaro and Sheamus as his guests. Once Cesaro and Sheamus arrived in the ring, Miz spoke about how the Hardys stole the spotlight from them at WrestleMania. Shemaus said all the fans turned their backs on Cesaro when the Hardys showed up. Sheamus said the fans like new toys, but they are going to break those toys and take back the tag titles.

Miz said the Intercontinental Title needs a comeback, and once he takes it back he will have a comeback tour. Dean Ambrose interrupted Miz’s rant and headed to the ring wearing the IC Title. Ambrose said he doesn’t always make the best decisions, but he just can’t help it. He said he saw the three guys in the ring and thought someone needed to come out and shut their mouths. Miz told Ambrose to do the math. Ambrose said he might be crazy, but he’s not stupid.

[Q2] Matt and Jeff Hardy made their entrance and joined Ambrose in hopping at ringside before entering the ring to brawl. Cole noted that Miz retreated quickly. The babyfaces cleared Sheamus and Cesaro from the ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid opening even if the end result was predictable. I assume this leads to a six-man tag match coming out of the break. On a side note, members, the Q&A thread is open in the forum for Tuesday’s audio show.

1. Dean Ambrose, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz (w/Maryse), Sheamus, and Cesaro. The match was joined in progress. Cole noted that it was made during the break by general manager Kurt Angle. Ambrose went to the ropes at 4:10. Sheamus caught him on the ropes and delivered a knee to the face that sent Ambrose tumbling to ringside heading into a break. [C]

[Q3] Ambrose struggled to get to his corner. Miz pulled Jeff off the apron. Matt went after Miz. Ambrose was left without anyone to tag and was worked over by Sheamus and Cesaro. At 11:10, Ambrose clotheslined Cesaro and made the hot tag to Jeff. A short time later, Matt tagged in and hit Twist of Fate on Miz for a two count. Matt hit a second one a short time later, then Jeff went up top and hit the Swanton for the win…

Dean Ambrose, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy beat The Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro in 12:20.

Powell’s POV: A bit clunky at times. Ambrose did the big leaping dive for the hot tag and missed Jeff’s hand, so he had to reach up and and tag him off the miss. There was also some odd staggering by Miz as he and Matt set up one of the Twists of Fate. Anyway, the live crowd didn’t seem to mind and were hot for the babyface trio. It was surprising that they didn’t do something to put heat on the heels heading into the pay-per-view, but I suppose that could change before the end of the night.

The broadcast team spoke at their desk about the match. Graves was texting on his phone. Cole threw to him for generic talk, but Graves told him “sorry” and then left the table. Cole hyped a segment with Alexa Bliss called “Bayley, This Is Your Life”… [C]

The broadcast team spoke at their desk about the match. Graves was texting on his phone. Cole threw to him for generic talk, but Graves told him “sorry” and then left the table. Cole hyped a segment with Alexa Bliss called “Bayley, This Is Your Life”… [C]

Kurt Angle was shown staring at a phone backstage. The camera pulled back to show Graves standing next to him. Angle read something about besmirching his status as a gold medalist. Angle asked how he got the message. Graves told him that people tell him things. Graves said he would help if he can. Angle said that if it’s true, it could ruin him…

Powell’s POV: I have no idea where that’s going. I just know that over two hours of Booker as the lone color commentator could ruin the show more than that info could ruin Angle, so hopefully Graves will be returning soon.

“The Drifter” Elias Samson sat on a stool in the ring and sang his song while playing the guitar. His opponent Zac Evans stood in the corner behind him…

2. “The Drifter” Elias Samson vs. Zac Evans. Samson dominated from the start and won the squash match with a swinging neckbreaker…

“The Drifter” Elias Samson beat Zac Evans in 2:40.

[Q4] Cole and Booker recapped the match. Graves returned and said whatever he and Angle were talking about was “private.” Cole hyped the Triple Threat match while a graphic listed as coming up next… [C] An ad for Lucha Underground’s return on Wednesday on El Rey Network aired during the commercial break…

Powell’s POV: Samson’s pre-match song didn’t get the heat that it has in NXT or even that it received last week. The squash match was a good idea in that casual viewers who only watch the main roster are just now being introduced to his moveset and finisher. It seems like Cole is being paid by the number of times he says “young man” tonight. I like the Graves and Angle mystery. There’s no telling where it’s going, but it has me interested in finding out.

A plug aired for the Money in the Bank sponsor…

Samoa Joe was watching footage of Finn Balor’s entrance and a backstage monitor when Charly Caruso showed up. Joe said that while everyone was watching Balor’s “24” special, he was learning from it. He said he’s broken Balor before and will break him again.

The Wyatt video flashed. Bray Wyatt interrupted with a promo stating that he’s the devil that Joe doesn’t know. Joe was shown watching the promo on the same monitor. Wyatt said Joe and Balor can give in to their fears and run…

Balor made his entrance for the Triple Threat… [C] A Memorial Day video aired on gold star pins. A portion of Joe’s entrance was shown. Wyatt’s entrance was fully televised…

[Q5] 3. Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Bray Wyatt in a Triple Threat. Wyatt ducked out to let Balor and Joe fight. Joe eventually went to ringside and tossed Wyatt inside to face Balor. Joe returned to the ring to break up an early Balor pin attempt on Wyatt.

At 4:15, they did a tower of doom spot with Balor on top and Wyatt on bottom. Wyatt set up for his finisher on Balor, but Joe applied the Coquina Clutch on Wyatt. Balor broke it up with a kick. Balor performed a flip dive onto both men at ringside heading into a break. [C]

Joe and Wyatt worked together to rough up Balor, who temporarily blocked their punches and hit them both. Joe cut him off with a kick and a senton. Joe ran the ropes and Wyatt clotheslined him. Wyatt went for a uranage on Balor, who avoided it and caught Wyatt with a nice kick. Joe returned and went after both men.

[Q6] Balor cleared both men to ringside and caught Joe with a kick from the apron and then performed a running dropkick on Wyatt. Fans chanted it was awesome. Joe caught Balor with a uranage back inside the ring. Balor came right back with a double stomp at 15:00. Wyatt went for his finisher, but Balor avoided it and double stomped him.

Joe performed a cool suplex on Balor, who rolled to the floor. Joe turned to Wyatt and flashed a look of concern when Wyatt did the crab walk. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail on Joe. Balor attacked Wyatt from behind and then caught him with a sling blade clothesline. Balor performed a running dropkick on Wyatt and followed up with the Coup de Grace. Joe returned and ran Balor into the post and then covered Wyatt for the win…

Samoa Joe defeated Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor in a Triple Threat in 16:50.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match that was laid out nicely in terms of the heels working against and with each other, and Balor showing good heart in fighting both men regardless of the circumstances. Joe looked a little dopey for being manipulated by Wyatt again during the match, so it was good to see him pick up the win here. However, WWE booking history suggests that the rest of this match means Joe won’t be winning on Sunday.

Backstage, Mike Rome interviewed Seth Rollins, who spoke about his “complicated history” with Roman Reigns. Rollins said they have wars because they both want to be the best. He said he owns Reigns and will be sending a message to him and everyone else in the five-way match. Rollins said he is no stranger to changing the course of WWE history and he’s primed to do it again at Extreme Rules…

A shot aired of Sasha Banks and Rich Swann backstage. Graves hyped the mixed tag match for Sunday and said that Swann will face Dar next… [C]

4. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Rich Swann (w/Sasha Banks). Dar jumped Swann from behind right as the bell rang.

[Q7] Swann performed a nice flip into a legdrop to the back of Dar’s head. Fox climbed onto the apron. Banks pulled her down and roughed her up. Swann performed a Phoenix Splash for the win. Afterward, Swann danced and then pointed to banks, who joined him…

Rich Swann pinned Noam Dar in 2:50.

Powell’s POV: The involvement of Sasha added something to the match in terms of keeping the crowd engaged more than they tend to be during most cruiserweight matches.

Backstage, Caruso interviewed “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. She noted they haven’t been on Raw in nearly six weeks. Dawson pointed to Wilder’s mouth as he showed off his wired shut jaw. Dawson said the wires will be cut soon. Caruso set up footage from last week of her interviewing Banks. Dawson and Wilder could be seen walking behind them, which contradicted what Dawson had to say about not being present due to Wilder’s injury. Dawson said Enzo Amore is a bottom feeder and they don’t waste their time with people like him…

The broadcast team spoke about the angle. Cole said he hopes Kurt Angle had a chance to see the footage. Graves said he knows Big Cass has seen the footage. Booker asked what he meant by that and asked him to elaborate. Cole let Graves off the hook and set up footage of Akira Tozawa beating Brian Kendrick on 205 Live…

Big Cass showed up on the broadcast team’s set and confronted Graves. He asked if Graves was insinuating that he had something to do with the attack on someone he considers to be his little brother. Graves said he knows that Angle is investigating, and said he knows Cass will be doing his own as well. Cass shook Graves’s hand and walked away…

Cole hyped Reigns vs. Rollins as the main event… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped the women’s five-way to determine the No. 1 contender to the Smackdown Women’s Championship…

[Q8] 5. Kalisto vs. Titus O’Neil (w/Apollo Crews). Footage aired from earlier in the day of Titus telling Crews to watch what he does and do what he says and the Titus Brand can take him to the top of the mountain. Titus held the tights while getting the pin. Crews called him on it afterward, but Titus was in celebration mode and took a selfie of the two of them…

Titus O’Neil pinned Kalisto in 0:50.

A shot aired of Alexa Bliss walking backstage… [C]

Bliss made her entrance to the ring, which had a table set up with photos of a young Bayley with various wrestlers, dolls, trophies, stuffed teddybears, and other childhood momentos. There were also three unidentified people in the ring. Bliss spoke about her kendo stick on a pole match with Bayley for Extreme Rules. Bliss said Bayley couldn’t pull the trigger when she had the kendo stick in her hand last week.

Bliss said that in order to know Bayley, she had to dig deep into her past. The fans gave Bliss the “What?” treatment. Bliss announced the segment as “This Is Your Life” for Bayley. Bliss held up Bayley’s first doll, said she thinks she’s still plays with it, and tossed it aside. She held up a trophy and mocked it for being for best sportsmanship. Bliss pointed out Bayley’s yearbook and said she was voted most likely to apologize.

Bliss said the three people in the ring were from Bayley’s past. She introduced a woman as Bayley’s fourth grade teacher Mrs. Flapper, who said Bayley was a nice girl and had perfect attendance. She said Bayley sat in the front row right next to her father. She explained that Bayley couldn’t be away from her father for long or she would cry.

Bliss introduced Bayley’s childhood best friend Tracy, who said Bayley was the nicest girl ever. She said some people took advantage of that and Bayley did other people’s homework and she took the blame when others got in trouble. She said their friendship fell apart because Bayley always wanted to watch Raw and Smackdown rather than hang out with her.

[Q9] Bliss introduced the third person as Bayley’s first boyfriend Phil Johnson. He said Bayley was a nice girl. Bliss asked for details about their first date. He said it was okay, but she always brought her father along. He claimed he closed his eyes and went for a kiss only to open his eyes and see Bayley’s father in front of him. Phil told Tracy that he dated Bayley to get close to her. They ended up making out.

Bayley’s music played and she walked to the ring minus the usual entrance routine. Bayley charged the ring, but Bliss put the boots to her. Bayley recovered quickly and threw punches at Bliss. Bayley suplexed Bliss and then pointed to the kendo stick that was hanging from the pole.

Bliss pulled Bayley down from the ropes before she could grab it. Bliss pulled a kendo stick out from under the table in the ring and stuck Bayley with it. Bayley ended up at ringside and sold the pain…

The broadcast team hyped the Extreme Rules event and that MITB would be included in a 30-day free trial for new subscribers. They also hyped Reigns vs. Rollins… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Rock and Mick Foley are more than safe when it comes to having the best “this is your life” bit on Raw. The bits with the phony teacher and childhood friends was neither comical nor heat generating. Bayley received a nice reaction once she came out, but that may have been more about her ending the misery.

Enzo Amore was laid out backstage again. Big Cass believed The Revival did it, but Kurt Angle said he saw them left the building…

Powell’s POV: This whole thing is making my head hurt. Angle is worried about his job because of something that Graves showed him. Does that play into the mystery of Enzo being laid out twice in two weeks or is that unrelated? I would assume unrelated if it wasn’t for Cass confronting Graves over something that didn’t even seem accusatory.

[Q10] 6. Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher vs. Neville and TJP.  They went to break a couple minutes into the match. [C] Neville and TJP isolated Gallagher. TJP goaded Aries into entering the ring and then gouged the eyes of Gallagher while the ref was caught up with Aries.

Gallagher made the hot tag and Aries worked over Neville. Aries removed his elbow pad and set up for the five-arm, but TJP tripped him. Aries backdropped Neville onto TJP and Gallagher on the floor, then performed a suicide dive onto both heels. Cole noted that Aries was limping (selling his knee injury).

Neville avoided a missile dropkick attempt by Aries, who then avoided a corkscrew dive from Neville. Aries put Neville in the Last Chancery. Neville tapped out…

Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher beat Neville and TJP in 12:40.

Powell’s POV: A good finish with Cole emphasizing that it proved that Neville would tap to Aries’ finisher. Graves tried to defend Neville by saying that he may have been simply trying to save himself for Sunday, but Cole blew that off.

The broadcast team hyped the Reigns vs. Rollins main event… A shot aired of Reigns sitting in his locker room backstage. He stood for an interview with Mike Rome and then cut him off. Reigns said he doesn’t care if they are best friends or worst enemies, there’s not a man in the world who owns him. He said he would show Rollins and the rest of the world why he is the big dog and why it is his yard…

Powell’s POV: I’m not sure what Reigns fans see in him at this point. This isn’t even an anti-Reigns commentary. Rather, it’s an honest question of what is likable about his personality now that he is stone-faced whenever he’s on camera. There’s nothing fun or engaging about his character right now. If WWE wants him to get those mixed reactions, then they need to have him give his fans more to latch onto. If they want to turn him completely heel then they are on the right path.

[Q11] [C] Caruso caught up with Neville backstage and pointed out that he lost by submission for the first time since joining the cruiserweight division. She asked if it concerns him heading into his submission match against Aries on Sunday. Neville threw a fit off camera…

The broadcast team recapped Goldust turning on R-Truth… The latest “Shattered Dreams Productions” video aired with Goldust talking about being back in the director’s chair where he’s always belonged. He said R-Truth knew that a star like him was way to big for a supporting role. Goldust accused Truth of wanting the spotlight all to himself. Goldust labeled him a selfish man and said Golden Truth has reached its final crescendo…

The footage cut to an “R-Truth Presents” graphic. Truth said that if Goldust wants to play around with the movies, then allow him to retort. He said movies allowed him to escape where he came from. He spoke about Shaft, Dolemite, and Julius Winfield. “I’m a bad mother… shut your mouth!” Truth said he will shut Goldust’s mouth…

Seth Rollins made his entrance for the main event. Cole hyped that Rollins vs. Reigns was coming up after the break… [C] Sasha Banks was advertised for 205 Live… Roman Reigns made his entrance and jawed at Rollins from the ramp…

[Q12] 7. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins. Rollins performed an early standing moonsault into a cover. Booker called it a “beautiful dismount.” Graves jumped in with the right name. Reigns came back with a punch. He also performed a Drive By kick that drove Rollins into the post from the apron. Rollins let out his primal scream and ran into a boot from Rollins, who followed up with a dive over the top rope and onto Reigns on the floor. [C]

Reigns was back in offensive control coming out of the break as he ran Rollins into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Reigns, who had a big red mark under his right eye, jawed at Rollins as he sold. Reigns did the “locked and loaded” fist slam in the corner to mostly boos, then ran into a superkick from Rollins at 10:15.

Rollins performed a suicide dive at 11:25 and then rolled Reigns back inside the ring. Rollins performed a springboard into a big Superman Punch from Reigns, who got a two count. Reigns went for a spear, but Rollins side stepped him and rolled him up. Rollins connected with a superkick to a kneeling Reigns for a two count. A short time later, Rollins performed a Buckle Bomb, but Reigns bounced out of the corner with a Superman Punch before he sold the move.

[Overrun] At ringside, Reigns charged Rollins, who moved, causing Reigns to crash into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Rollins performed a Blockbuster for a two count. Rollins, who sold rib pain, went back to the top rope and performed a frogsplash for another two count. Reigns avoided a Phoenix Splash. Rollins landed on his feet. They traded big shots. Reigns speared Rollins and pinned him clean…

Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins in 18:15.

Powell’s POV: A good main event. I wondered whether this would be more of an angle than a match. As the match went on, I was content with the amount of in-ring action they gave viewers, yet still assumed we’d be seeing some sort of interference to avoid a clean finish. Thus, the clean finish was a surprise and it did not do major damage to Rollins in that it’s not like he had major momentum going into the match anyway.

Overall, Raw delivered some good in-ring action via the double main event. They failed to make Extreme Rules feel like a must see show, but Raw was better than passable in terms of being an entertaining three-hour show. It was a mixed bag when it came to final hype for the pay-per-view, which I will discuss in my All Access audio review on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me.



The Best of The Boom features Jim Ross joining Jason Powell in this May 9, 2018 discussion regarding his relationship with Vince McMahon, why Vince sticks with Roman Reigns, how Triple H has changed over the years, and more. New episodes of the Boom are typically available mid-week...


Readers Comments (1)

  1. I had a feeling it was Cass himself who attacked Enzo last week. And after this week, I’m even more sure it was him.

    As for the This is Your Life segment, didn’t they just do this not too long ago with Charlotte showing pictures of Bayley with various wrestlers??

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