WWE Raw Live TV Review: Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn in a Men’s Money in the Bank qualifier, Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riott in a Women’s Money in the Bank qualifier

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on May 7, 2018 from Uniondale, New York at Nassau Coliseum

[Hour One] Raw general manager Kurt Angle made his entrance. Meanwhile, the broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman checked in quickly from their desk and noted that it’s Money in the Bank season.

Angle boasted that WWE never stops. He said they run 52 weeks per year “and we do it for all of you.” There were a few scattered cheers. Angle said there would be MITB ladder matches for the men and the women. He said the matches would “kick some real butt.” He hyped the previously advertised Triple Threat MITB qualifying matches.

Braun Strowman’s music played and he made his entrance. Once in the ring, he asked Angle if he ever told him about when he was a kid and the other kids spoke about making a treehouse. He said they never asked him for help and they talked about how they had a stupid handshake to get into the treehouse. Strowman said he waited for them to get in the treehouse and then he knocked the tree down. Angle spoke about the roll that Strowman has been on.

Kevin Owens made his entrance and spoke from the stage about how he deserves to be in the ladder match. Owens said he’s Raw’s MVP. Angle said he was about to tell Strowman that he was going to get a spot in an MITB qualifying match. Owens told Angle that Stephanie McMahon was watching and he should announce him as the first entrant in the MITB match. Angle booked Strowman vs. Owens in an MITB qualifier that would start immediately… [C]

Powell’s POV: A decent opening. Angle’s line about how WWE runs 52 weeks per year for the fans was a bit much. You know, it’s not because it puts money in Vince McMahon’s pockets to have his crew on the road all year long, it’s all about the fans. It’s as much of a turnoff as the way they spent time last night talking about the ridiculous travel schedule that the talent has had lately, which is about to become even worse when they head to Europe later this week. I feel for the talent, but obviously the company has the power to not book them on such an insane schedule.

1. Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens in a Money in the Bank qualifier. Strowman shoved Owens, who tumbled into the referee to start the match. The referee popped up quickly so it wasn’t a classic ref bump. There were a pair of times that Owens was wiling to take a win via count-out, but Strowman beat the referee’s count both times. [C]

At 10:45, Owens dodged a charging Strowman in the corner and then superkicked him. Owens performed a top rope frogsplash for a near fall. A short time later, Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, but Strowman stuffed it and clotheslined Owens, who headed to ringside. Strowman followed and delivered a big shoulder block that Owens sold with a big bump. Rinse and repeat with two more shoulder blocks. Back in the ring, Strowman performed a running powerslam for the win…

Braun Strowman defeated Kevin Owens in 13:40 to qualify for the Men’s Money in the Bank match.

The broadcast team hyped the other MITB qualifiers for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: A much longer and more competitive match that anyone would have anticipated. Owens still showed fear of Strowman and would have been content to take a count-out loss, but this was certainly better than a typical squash style loss for Owens. It’s also nice that they broadcast team is not gushing over the lousy Backlash pay-per-view. It seems like the company made the call to move on from that show quickly even though there are six weeks between the events.

Backstage, Mike Rome approached Roman Reigns, who had his head down while standing at his locker. Rome noted that Reigns “handled your business” last night and asked about his mindset heading into tonight’s match. Reigns complained about being the uncrowned WWE Universal Champion. He said for some reason WWE management disagrees. He said he can’t handle the politics, but he’s in control once the bell rings. He said he’s made a career out of silencing the haters and doubters. He said to ask Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar, or Samoa Joe. He said he wouldn’t want to be Sami Zayn or Finn Balor. He said he would control his yard, dominate, and win. He said he would win MITB and then he’d be in full control of his destiny and will then take back the Universal Championship…

Powell’s POV: Reigns showed better fire than usual. It didn’t stop the live crowd from giving him the “What?” treatment. But, you know, he’s silenced the haters.

Selfie style promos aired with Bayley, and Fandango and Tyler Breeze about the MITB matches…

Backstage, Goldust told Angle he wanted an opportunity to qualify for the MITB match. Jinder Mahal showed up with Sunil Singh and bitched that he wasn’t in the Triple Threat match, yet Roman Reigns was. Mahal said Reigns has received opportunity after opportunity while he has received none. Angle pointed out that Mahal has yet to win a match since he returned to Raw. Angle told him to have a good showing against Chad Gable and he would consider MITB.

No Way Jose made his conga line entrance along with Titus Worldwide. Cole said they would face Baron Corbin and The Revival after the break… [C]

2. Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson, and Dash Wilder vs. No Way Jose, Titus O’Neil, and Apollo Crews (w/Dana Brooke). A portion of Corbin’s entrance was televised while the Revival stood in the ring. In the end, Corbin made a blind tag unbeknownst to Jose. Corbin hit End of Days on Jose and pinned him…

Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson, and Dash Wilder beat No Way Jose, Titus O’Neil, and Apollo Crews in 4:55.

Coachman hyped the women’s Triple Threat as coming up after the break… An ad for Smackdown Live hyped Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz, Rusev vs. Daniel Bryan, Peyton Royce vs. Charlotte in MITB qualifiers…

Powell’s POV: The six-man tag was essentially a showcase for Corbin, who got his win back from Jose.

3. Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riott (w/Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan) in a Triple Threat Money in the Bank qualifier. Riott got a couple of near falls and Cole gushed about how impressed he’s been by her.

[Hour Two] Late in the match, Banks took out Logan and Morgan with a dive. Riott caught her with a missile dropkick from the apron. Moon performed a suicide dive on Riott. The fans became distracted by something and started chanting “Yes” and “you deserve it”. Logan and Morgan roughed up Moon. banks had Riott pinned when Logan and Morgan hit the ring to break up the pin. The broadcast team pointed out that there were no disqualifications in a Triple Threat. Bayley ran out to help Banks, but she was quickly outnumbered. Moon returned to hit an Eclipse that took out both opponents and she pinned Riott to win the match…

Ember Moon defeated Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks in 10:40 to qualify for the Money in the Bank match.

Cole hyped the men’s Triple Threat MITB qualifier. Graves hyped Renee Young’s sit-down interview with Bobby Lashley for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The crowd was very quiet for a good portion of the match. The women deserved better for the strong match and effort. In the fans’ defense, the Banks character has been all over the place lately and Moon is new to the main roster, so they really didn’t have a reason to choose sides Of course, they eventually became distracted by something happening amongst them and many fans seemed to miss the cool sequence that started with the Banks dive onto Logan and Morgan. The fans react to the finish, but it’s a shame they didn’t give this match their full attention because it was really fun.

A trailer aired for The Miz and Mrs., which will premiere this summer on USA Network…

Backstage, Charlie Caruso approached Ember Moon and asked about what some may consider an underdog victory. She said she’s over the moon (ugh). She said they can say whatever they want, but she proves people wrong and rises to the challenge every time. She said this was only the beginning and she would rise and grab the MITB match…

A video package aired on Bobby Lashley that focussed on his amateur wrestling, enlisting in the Army and being part of their wrestling team. It also noted that an untimely knee injury ended his Olympic hopes. The video noted that he was 15-2 in MMA competition after he left WWE the first time. Now he’s back and intent on leaving a mark on WWE.

Young conducted the sit-down interview with Lashley and asked him who he is. Lashley said he’s extremely blessed and he’s about his family. He spoke about not feeling close to his family when he was younger and being tied to a tree by his sisters. He spoke about his oldest sister chasing him with a broom. He said his other sister had a security white towel that she carried around even after it was dirty and started to stink. Lashley said a bully took it to her and then he took it from the bully and shoved it down the bully’s throat.

Lashley spoke about his youngest sister carrying her father’s helmet with her. Lashley said he hid it from her one day. He pointed to a scar below his eye and said that taught him not to mess with her. He said he now has an extended family known as the WWE Universe and they are going to have a lot of fun together. Lashley looked into the camera and told his sisters that he loves them…

Powell’s POV: He’s a heel!!! Who do they think this ultra nice guy act appeals to? Cheer for Lashley because he loves his sisters? They are laying this on so thick that I want to believe it’s because they intend to turn him heel, but I didn’t come away from this feeling like that’s what they have in mind.

Backstage, Sami Zayn complained to Kevin Owens about a conspiracy. Owens recalled Zayn slapping him in the face at Backlash. Zayn said that was yesterday. He said they need to be in a position of power and the way to do that is to win MITB and the WWE Universal Championship. Zayn apologized for what happened at Backlash. He added that they would both be sorry if neither one of them won the MITB match. Zayn noted that his Triple Threat match was a No DQ match. He asked if Owens had his back. Owens unenthusiastically said yes…

Jinder Mahal made his entrance for his match against Chad Gable… [C]

4. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Chad Gable. Gable’s entrance was televised, but he was greeted by the sound of silence from the crowd. Ouch. Coach said he sees a young Kurt Angle when he sees Gable. Um, so did a lot of us before they went with Jason Jordan as Angle’s storyline son. Mahal won clean with the Khallas.

Jinder Mahal defeated Chad Gable in 4:10.

After the match, Singh taunted Gable, who pie-faced him away. Mahal attacked Gable and dumped him to ringside…

More MITB selfie videos aired. Alexa Bliss is going to overcome Nia Jax’s bullying, and The Ascension somehow think they are going to win the briefcase… Graves hyped the men’s Triple Threat… [C]

Powell’s POV: Gable received a couple of hope spots, but they gave Mahal his first win since returning to Raw. As high as I am on Gable, they really have to start doing something with their heels. Most of the Raw heels came over from Smackdown severely damaged and they really haven’t done anything on Raw to rehabilitate them yet. Meanwhile, is there going to be a battle royal for the last MITB qualifier or the first ever tag team MITB match or something? Why else would Breezango and The Ascension be featured talking about the MITB match?

Backstage, Zack Ryder made a pitch to Angle about getting a qualifier in his hometown. Jinder Mahal showed up and wanted to be added to the Triple Threat. “The answer is no, bro,” Angle told him. Jinder stormed away and then Angle and Ryder had a laugh…

5. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno. The entrance of Slater and Rhyno was not televised. There was a brief 3MB chant when McIntyre and Slater ended up in the ring together (ugh). McIntyre held Slater upside down over the ropes and then Ziggler superkicked him from the floor. In the end, they hit their Claymore and Zigzag combo on Slater, and McIntyre pinned him…

Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler beat Heath Slater and Rhyno in 2:40.

Elias strummed his guitar backstage while Cole geeked out over him. Graves hyped Elias vs. Bobby Roode for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: McIntyre and Ziggler are an interesting team and they’ve already worked out a couple of cool spots, but McIntyre has the potential to be a breakout singles star for the company. I honestly have no idea why they are wasting their time with him in the tag team division.

Elias sat in the ring and played his guitar and spoke to the crowd. He complained about being interrupted by pancakes and Bobby Roode the night before. He played the Billy Joel card since they were on Long Island. A Rusev Day chant broke out. He said Rusev doesn’t have a damn thing on him. Elias started playing his guitar and sang until he was interrupted…

6. Bobby Roode vs. Elias. Roode caught Elias with an enzuigiri that knocked him to ringside heading into an early break. [C]

[Hour Three] In the end, Roode hit the Glorious DDT out of nowhere and scored the pin…

Bobby Roode beat Elias in 10:25.

After the match, Roode told Caruso that he hopes to be in line for a Money in the Bank opportunity…

A shot aired of a smiling Seth Rollins walking backstage while Graves hyped his appearance for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m fairly convinced that someone was watching the Penguins vs. Capitals game backstage and forgot to give the go home cue for the Roode and Elias match. The live crowd never seemed to get invested in the match and I can’t say it was any easier at home.

Seth Rollins made his entrance and delivered a promo. He said love him or hate him, The Miz took him to the limit. Rollins spoke about making the Intercontinental Title the title on Raw. He said he might be able to make an opportunity for someone else. Rollins announced an open challenge for the IC Title on the spot.

Mojo Rawley made his entrance. He said it’s the Raw debut that deserves. He said when opportunity knocks he knocks people down. A hometown chant for Zack Ryder broke out. Rawley said he would knock Rollins down just like he did Ryder. Mojo saw he would beat Rollins, qualify for MITB, and win the contract. He said it’s now Monday Night Rawley. “Come on in and get your ass kicked, son,” Rollins said. Cole was quick to point out that Ryder is from Long Island so no one got the crazy idea that people outside his home area actually like him…

7. Seth Rollins vs. Mojo Rawley for the Intercontinental Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Rawley performed a running shoulder block at ringside that drove Rollins into the barricade heading into an early break. [C] Rawley remained on the offensive coming out of the break. Rollins came back and hit a couple of suicide dives. Back in the ring, Rollins performed a Blockbuster for a two count.

Rawley came back with a couple of near falls and blew a gasket when the second one didn’t get the three count. Rawley performed his running tackle. Rollins came back and hit the Stomp for the win…

Seth Rollins defeated Mojo Rawley in 10:55 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Seth Rollins delivered a selfie style promo about his Triple Threat MITB qualifier…

Powell’s POV: A nice match. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Rawley’s best outing to date came when he was in the ring with Rollins. Even so, it was a good showing for Rawley.

Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel were in the ring for a match. Cole noted that they’re no longer want to be a called the Miztourage. A pre-taped promo aired. Dallas said they are no longer supporting actors, they are leading men in their breakout roles…

8. Raw Tag Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel in a non-title match. Wyatt set up for a move on Axel. Dallas ran in to break it up, but Wyatt kicked him to ringside. Cole said there was no brotherly love there. Hardy and Wyatt ended up hitting a double Sister Abigail-like move on Axel for the win…

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt beat Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel in a non-title match in 2:40.

More MITB selfies aired. Natalya told her cat that the contract is coming home. Baron Corbin recalled winning the match last year and said this year will be no different… Graves hyped the main event…

Powell’s POV: Most of the Raw heels need to be tossed into the Lake of Reincarnation. This brand is in a bad place without strong heels. Anyway, the match was fine and the broadcast team had a little fun with Wyatt and Dallas being brothers in real life.

Ring entrances for the main event took place. Cole hyped next week’s Raw in London. They noted that Coachman would not be making the trip and would be replaced by Booker T for next week’s show…

9. Roman Reigns vs. Sami Zayn vs. Finn Balor in a Triple Threat Men’s Money in the Bank qualifier. The fans sang along with Zayn’s entrance and booed Reigns. Roman punched Zayn, who rolled to ringside and then squared off with Balor. Reigns caught him with an uppercut. Zayn returned and took an uppercut too. The fans booed heading into the break. [C]

Balor and Zayn put the boots to Reigns and the crowd roared in approval. All three wrestlers fought into the crowd and over by the prodcution tables. Zayn caught Reigns with a Helluva Kick that knocked Reigns over the barricade. Balor followed it up with a Coup de Grace.

[Overrun] Balor and Zayn headed back to the ring. The fans sang the Ole song (they must have spotted El Generico in the crowd or something). Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Balor for a two count. Later, Zayn tossed Balor to the floor and Balor sold knee pain. Balor popped right up and went back on the offensive for a minute, but Zayn cut him off with a kick.

The fans started booing, which can mean only one thing. Yep, Reigns leapt off the barricade and onto Zayn at ringside. Reigns ran Zayn into the post. The fans cheered when Balor ran Roman into the steps. Balor caught Zayn with a kick and then went for a Coup de Grace, but Zayn moved. Zayn hit an exploder suplex into the corner.

Zayn set up for his finisher, but he ran into a Superman Punch from Reigns, who was booed again. Reigns let out the primal scream and took a sling blade clothesline and then a running dropkick from Balor. Finn went for his finisher. Reigns moved and connected with a Superman Punch. Reigns set up for a spear, but Jinder Mahal showed up and tripped him in the corner. Zayn hit a Helluva Kick on Reigns. Balor dropkicked Zayn and hit the Coup de Grace for the win…

Finn Balor defeated Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns in 15:30 to qualify for the men’s Money in the Bank match.

Powell’s POV: Yes, there were some cheers when Mahal tripped Reigns. And this sets up Vince McMahon’s dream match of 2017 with Reigns facing Jinder at some point. Mahal is one of those heels they brought over from Smackdown who seems less likely than most to be cheered against Reigns. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the fans will actually cheer for Reigns, so it will be interesting to see how they actually react. The main event was entertaining, but Raw felt flat overall and they have a major shortage of meaningful heels. I don’t know if it’s because Backlash was so disappointing or just the state of Raw, but this felt like one of those marathon shows that would not end. I will have more to say in my audio review for members later tonight and in my WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell featuring my interview with Shawn Daivari fresh off his appearance in the Greatest Royal Rumble.

Readers Comments (11)

  1. Has there ever been a less believable plot point than the idea that WWE management isn’t on Roman’s side? It’s the most remarkably tone deaf position they could have Roman take.

    • I am in total agreement with you on the whole management against me stance… Not credible and comes off whiney

    • I have a feeling he’s going to qualify for MiTB, and we’re going to be hearing that a lot more. The funny thing is I used to be more neutral on Roman, but they’re starting to really make me dislike the guy since the Mania build started, because they’re trying to insult every viewer’s intelligence with his Stone Cold Lite act.

  2. I am in total agreement with you on the whole management against me stance… Not credible and comes off whiney

  3. Agreed on your POV about RAW lacking heels on the mens side, and the brand being in a bad place. The irony is if they’d turn Roman, they’d have the biggest heel in wrestling to work with. And if they’d slot Lashley properly, he’d be a strong #2 heel.

    I wish Vince would go spend all of his time on the XFL, and let HHH and Steph run the WWE.

  4. Will Urbanovitch May 7, 2018 @ 10:35 pm

    Off topic but they just used TNA footage on the latest Table for 3 of Angle vs Styles from Hard Justice 2008. They must be truly desperate for cash

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave the footage for nothing. It’s free promotional for their GWN.

  5. Well, Vince did the impossible. He managed to find a way to get fucking Jinder Mahal of all people cheered. Can’t wait for Chicago to eat both men alive assuming they’re setting this match up for MITB.

  6. It’s pretty simple really. Turn Roman, Lashley, and Bobby Roode heel. That’s literally all you have to do to give Raw the boost it needs with credible heels.

    • Jack C Catalano May 7, 2018 @ 11:16 pm

      I agree. But then wouldn’t you have too many heels? That goes with KO, Zayn and Mahal. I think having 6 top heels would make somebody get lost in the shuffle.

      And who would you have for babyfaces besides Rollins and Strowman?

      • Balor, and Ambrose, when he returns, gives you four.

        And I’d actually turn either Drew McIntyre and/or Elias babyface. Drew is a proven babyface, and he can cut an amazing promo- and Ziggler is pulling him down. Elias might be a reach, but I feel like the crowd responds to his catchphrase. I think he’s pretty talented, and could maybe work as a face on par with Mahal.

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