WWE Raw Live TV Review: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship, Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. No Way Jose in a Men’s MITB qualifier, Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley vs. Mickie James in a Women’s MITB qualifier

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

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped on May 14, 2018 London, England at 02 Arena

[Hour One] Raw opened with footage from the NBC Upfronts where Nia Jax confronted Ronda Rousey and asked if she could be the Raw Women’s Champion… The broadcast team was Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T. It was announced last week that Jonathan Coachman would not appear on this episode. Cole noted that there were 17,341 fans in attendance…

Roman Reigns made his entrance and was booed. He was introduced by ring announcer JoJo. The broadcast team recapped Jinder Mahal interfering in Roman’s match last week. Roman looked around the building and smirked as the boos continued. Graves said it was a typical United Kingdom reception for Reigns.

Powell’s POV: You know, because he’s not booed in North America.

Reigns said he was robbed in his match against Brock Lesnar and now he was robbed by Mahal. Reigns told Mahal that if he wants to be more relevant than he’s ever been in his career then he should come out and face him like a man. Reigns dropped the mic.

Raw general manager Kurt Angle made his entrance led the “you suck” chants. Once in the ring, Angle said Mahal would not be coming out. Angle said he was wrong to deny Mahal the Money in the Bank qualifying match. Angle made it clear that he was reciting a speech given to him by Stephanie McMahon by pausing and saying, “That’s what’s best for business.”

Angle said Mahal will face Bobby Lashley and Elias in a MITB qualifier. Reigns asked to be in the match. Angle said WWE management made it clear that Reigns won’t be given another shot. Angle said it sucks and he won’t blame Reigns if he’s upset with him. Reigns said Angle is just doing what he has to do, then added that now he’s going to do what he needs to do. Reigns left the ring and walked to the back as the fans sang the “na na na goodbye” song.

The cameras followed Reigns backstage where he found Mahal and Sunil Singh. Mahal attacked Reigns and ran him into the wall and put the boots to him and then threw a trash container at him. Reigns came back by whipping Mahal into the wall and a catering table. Reigns worked over Mahal and then rolled a crate at him.

Mahal went to the side of the Raw stage in front of the crowd and Reigns followed him onto the stage. Reigns delivered a Superman Punch and the boos continued. Angle, Adam Pearce, Jamie Noble, and two referees came out to calm down Reigns, allowing Mahal to flee. Roman’s music played and there were more boos…

Cole hyped Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Another week of Reigns being booed and another implied excuse from the broadcast team. By the way, don’t worry about me spoiling anything from the tapings today. No one sent us results so I avoided the spoilers.

The broadcast team recapped the opening angle… Ring introductions for the IC Title match took place. Rollins received a big ovation as Graves spoke about how he’s been on fire and Cole said he’s been on perhaps the biggest roll of his career. Owens was booed, though there were some clappers…

1. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Owens took a powder. Rollins went for a suicide dive. Owens caught Rollins on his shoulders and tossed him into the ring post and then back inside the ring where he performed a senton for a two count at 2:05. Rollins was dumped to ringside moments later heading into a break. [C]

At 12:20, Owens went for a senton, but Rollins put his knees up. Rollins connected with a knee to the head for a two count moments later. Rollins went up top and frogsplashed onto the knees of Owens, who rolled him into a pin for a near fall. Owens went to the ropes and was cut off by Rollins, who ended up taking a fisherman’s buster from the ropes and rolling to ringside. Owens brought Rollins back to the ring, but Rollins recovered and Stomped him for the win…

Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens in 14:55 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

The broadcast team hyped the previously advertised MITB qualifiers. Graves hyped additional footage from the NBC Upfronts that led to Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship at WWE MITB… [C]

Powell’s POV: Rollins keeps his streak of quality televised matches going with another fun one here with Owens. The presentation left something to be desired in that it would have been cool to hear from both men before the match. Owens is such a good talker that I’m sure he would have made his match feel even bigger if given the opportunity. The absence of Sami Zayn from KO’s corner was logical given that Owens didn’t help him during last week’s Raw main event.

Cole narrated footage from the NBC Upfronts and WWE’s involvement. They aired footage of Cathy Kelley congratulating Ronda Rousey on her success at WrestleMania. Charlotte Flair showed up and they hugged. Nia Jax showed up and asked if she can be Raw Women’s Champion. Rousey said she hopes so and time will tell. Jax said only time will tell. Jax said she has an obligatory title defense at Money in the Bank. Rousey said she’s only had one match and there are other women who deserve the opportunity. Jax persisted and Rousey ended up accepting her challenge. Charlotte got between them and said, “This is going to be good.” The three of them walked away together…

Powell’s POV: I hope this means Jax will be turning heel again. There were no signs of it in the exchange since they all walked away together, but I found her to be more effective in that role than she’s been as a babyface thus far.

Backstage, Angle was on the phone talking about the Raw Women’s Championship match when Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas showed up and told him they want to be known as the A-Team. Angle informed them that they couldn’t go by that name because of the old television series. Axel and Dallas said they’d go by the B-Team and they asked for a title shot. Angle pointed out that they were just beaten by Raw Tag Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. Angle said he wouldn’t give them a title shot, but he would give them a match if they promised to leave him alone for the rest of the night…

No Way Jose made his entrance with the Rosebud Rejects… [C] Baron Corbin and then Bobby Roode made their entrances…

2. Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. No Way Jose in a Money in the Bank qualifier. The men’s and women’s MITB briefcases both hung over the ring. They cut to a break just over a minute into the match. [C]

[Hour Two] There was a brief chant for Jose. Corbin hit a chokeslam backbreaker on Jose for a two count. Corbin had Roode pinned a short time later, but Jose broke up the pin. In the end, Roode cleared Corbin from the ring and then hit a Glorious DDT on Jose for the win…

Bobby Roode defeated No Way Jose and Baron Corbin in 10:45 to qualify for the MITB match.

Powell’s POV: A solid and yet forgettable match. Roode joins The Miz, Braun Strowman, and Rusev in the men’s MITB match. One more Raw wrestler will be added later tonight, and there will be two additional Smackdown wrestlers added.

Backstage, Owens complained to Angle and said that he deserves a rematch against Rollins. Owens threatened to call Stephanie McMahon. Angle said he was tired of Owens threatening him. Owens said it wasn’t a threat and pulled out his phone. Angle entered a room where Mahal was being treated by trainers. Mahal complained about Reigns attacking him. Angle said he gave Reigns the rest of the night off, but added that the qualifier must happen on this show. Mahal protested while wincing in pain…

Cole hyped the B-Team in tag action for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The MITB qualifying match has to happen tonight? Not that I really care, but it’s an odd statement with the MITB pay-per-view still a little over a month away. I guess we need to pay attention to Angle being forced to read a prepared statement earlier and now two heels protesting his decisions in this segment. I just wish they would cast a general manager to act like he or she doesn’t need the job and will thus stand up to the McMahon family. Angle would have been strong in that role. He was much more effective in as an authority figure in TNA than he has been in WWE because he’s just the latest legend to play a desperate pushover.

3. “The B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango. Cole said Breezango will live tweet the royal wedding. Cole said the B-Team has never won a match. There was a chant in support of the B-Team as the match started. The fans amused themselves by singing a song. In the end, Dallas and Axel hit a double team move that resulted in a neckbreaker and scored the pin.

Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas beat Tyler Breeze and Fandango in 3:45.

Dallas and Axel celebrated the win as if they won the Stanley Cup. Charly Caruso entered the ring and interviewed them. “That just happened!” Axel exclaimed. Dallas said anything is possible. They said they were coming for the Raw Tag Titles. They led the crowd in a B-Team chant…

An ad for Smackdown hyped AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura and questioned who will prevail… [C]

Powell’s POV: If the London crowd is any indication, the fans will are willing to support the lovable losers. It puts Hardy and Wyatt in a tough spot as a duo trying to get over as babyfaces if they are booked to go against the B-Team. I’m curious to see where this goes and to see if WWE will get behind the duo if the fans rally behind them. Meanwhile, I have no idea what they are doing with Styles and Nakamura given that Shane McMahon advertised them in a match at MITB, yet the ad made it seem like they are having a match on Smackdown tomorrow night.

4. Sasha Banks, Natalya, and Ember Moon vs. “Riott Squad” Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. The heel trio stood at ringside at 2:30 heading into a break. [C] Riott Squad isolated Banks for a stretch. Natalya took a hot tag and cleaned house. Natalya caught Morgan with a discus clothesline and went for a Sharpshooter, but Morgan countered into a pin for a two count. Banks and Moon took out Riott and Logan, then Natalya applied the Sharpshooter on Morgan and got the submission win…

Sasha Banks, Natalya, and Ember Moon defeated Riott Squad in 11:20.

The broadcast team hyped Braun Strowman and Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre for later in the show… A Ziggler and McIntyre promo aired. McIntyre spoke about how the locker room has gone soft. Ziggler complained about smoke and mirror entrances and stunts used by Balor and Strowman… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid match that seemed designed to give Natalya a win and to fill television time. Also, is it time for Ziggler to eat a Claymore Kick yet? Probably not, but I can dream.

A Superstar Stats graphic noted that Sheamus played soccer and Gaelic football and was a bodyguard for Bono and U2…

5. Raw Tag Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder in a non-title match. Cole called the match a huge opportunity for The Revival. The B-Team were shown watching the match and taking notes. Wyatt performed a uranage on Dawson at 4:05. Matt tagged in and performed a Twist of Fate on Wilder, then he and Wyatt hit the Kiss of Deletion on Wilder for the win…

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt beat The Revival in a non-title match in 4:45.

Bayley was walking backstage when Sasha Banks approached her and wished her luck in her match. Bayley said thanks… [C]

Powell’s POV: Remember how great The Revival were in NXT? Hey, maybe after years of being wasted on the main roster they can form the C-Team and get a quirky little run as lovable losers. Ugh. What a waste.

Sami Zayn stood in the ring with a mic and told the singing crowd, “That’s enough of that.” He asked the fans if it’s occurred to anyone else that Prince Harry looks a lot like him. He said he hears Prince Harry is a big fan of his. Zayn turned the focus to Bobby Lashley and grumbled about fans cheering when Lashley performed a vertical suplex on him.

[Hour Three] Zayn asked if the fans thought about what effect it had on him. Zayn said it led to him experiencing vertigo. He pulled out a note from his doctor and put on his reading glasses before reading the description of vertigo. He claimed he would have won the Greatest Royal Rumble and his MITB qualifier were it not for vertigo and Lashley victimizing him.

Zayn had them play “highlights” of Lashley’s interview with Renee Young from last week. Zayn said Lashley targeted him because Lashley wants to be him. Zayn pointed out that Lashley wore a hat like his. Zayn said his instincts told him that Lashley had something to hide, so he reached out to his sisters and they had a story to tell.

Zayn said the sisters are nothing like Lashley described them to be, nor is Lashley the person he portrays himself to be. Zayn said he invited Lashley’s sisters to appear on Raw next week to help him expose the real Bobby Lashley…

Ring entrances for the women’s MITB qualifier took place. The crowd was quiet for the first two. Bayley received a better reaction…

6. Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. The London crowd sang their once fun Bayley song heading into the break. [C] Bliss watched as James had Bayley in a chinlock coming out of the break. When Bayley stood up, Bliss kicked her leg out from under her.

A short time later, James tried to roll up Bliss for a pin. They shoved one another before turning and kicking Bayley simultaneously. At 8:35, Bayley hit her finisher on Bliss, but James pulled Bayley to ringside. James covered Bliss, but Bayley pulled James to ringside. When Bayley returned to the ring, Bliss hit her and then DDT’d her and scored the pin…

Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley and Mickie James in 9:10 to qualify for the Money in the Bank match.

Powell’s POV: A decent match with the heels working together against Bayley for most of the match. By the way, the Zayn promo was really good but that part about bringing in Lashley’s sisters left me fearing the worst.

The broadcast team set up a video that recapped the opening segment with Roman Reigns, Kurt Angle, and Jinder Mahal…

Backstage, a trainer wrapped the ribs of Mahal, who stood up and limped out of the room only to be speared through a wall by Reigns…

Powell’s POV: Please tell me this doesn’t end with a masked wrestler named Ramon Reigns winning the MITB qualifier.

Backstage, Sunil Singh stood over Mahal, who was being tended to by trainers. Angle told Singh that the MITB qualifying match must go on and he needed to find a replacement for Mahal…

Ring entrances for the tag match took place. Braun Strowman’s “handsome trophy” from the Greatest Royal Rumble was at ringside. Ziggler came out to a record scratch and his shitty music, which is different than his recent scratch, pause, and shitty music entrance. McIntyre’s music took over and spared the world from hearing more of Ziggler’s shitty music…

7. Braun Strowman and Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. Strowman and McIntyre glared at one another once they were both in the ring. Balor and Ziggler started the match. The big men tagged in quickly. McIntyre tagged out before they could lock up. [C] The heels isolated Balor until Strowman took a hot tag at 10:20. Strowman worked over Ziggler briefly, but Ziggler avoided him charging into the corner.

Balor tagged back into the match and fought with Ziggler. Balor had Ziggler down and started to go up top, but McIntyre reached up and stopped him. Strowman took out McIntyre with a shoulder block on the floor, but Ziggler took advantage of the distraction and hit the ropes. Balor fell to the match and was pinned by Ziggler…

Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler defeated Braun Strowman and Finn Balor in 12:25.

Powell’s POV: Down goes the “handsome trophy”! McIntyre rolled over from taking the shoulder block from Strowman and his foot knocked the Greatest Royal Rumble trophy over. The trophy broke and a fan held up part of it. Here’s hoping that McIntyre won’t be stoned if he goes to Saudi Arabia. The match was fun in that it was a fresh matchup. They were wise not to give away too much of Strowman and McIntyre, which could be a money match down the road after they get McIntyre away from Ziggler.

The broadcast team set up a recap of the Rousey and Jax angle at the NBC Upfronts. Cole recapped some of the media attention the match announcement received…

Angle was back on his phone talking with Stephanie McMahon about Rousey, Mahal, and sending Reigns away. Angle said he thought he had the perfect replacement. Apparently, Stephanie told him that someone else would receive another opportunity…

Bobby Lashley and Elias were shown walking backstage while Cole said we’d find out who their opponent is after the break… [C]

8. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Elias in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. Cole said Stephanie was sticking it to Angle by giving Owens another shot even though he lost a qualifying match last week and an Intercontinental Championship match this week. Lashley cleared the ring and received some boos heading into an early break. [C]

[Overrun] There was a “Bobby’s Sisters” chant as he was working over Owens. Elias cleared the ring and asked for a mic, which drew a big pop from the fans. Elias grabbed his guitar and sat on the apron and told JoJo to hold the mic while he sang. The fans cheered, but Owens broke it up before he could sing.

At 10:20, Lashley set up Elias for his vertical suplex, but Owens broke it up. Lashley suplexed both men and the fans booed. Lashley performed running shoulder blocks on both men in opposite corners until Owens lifted a boot.

Later, Lashley hit the Dominator on Elias, but Sami Zayn came out and pulled him from the ring and ran him into the post. Zayn hit Lashley with a Helluva Kick. Owens hit a top rope frogsplash on Elias and pinned him to win the match…

Kevin Owens defeated Bobby Lashley and Elias in 13:00 to qualify for the Money in the Bank match.

Powell’s POV: I guess Owens failing to have the back of Zayn in last week’s main event meant nothing. I want to believe that WWE put Lashley in the ring with two popular heels because they wanted him to be booed because they intend to turn him heel. I doubt that’s actually the plan, but I really want to believe it since Lashley is so much better as a heel and this brand needs strong heels. As bizarre as the three sisters segment could be, I am actually looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

Overall, Raw dragged again this week. It was a wrestling heavy show and some of the matches had something at stake because of the MITB qualifying, but the shortage of strong heels on the brand continues to be an issue. Hopefully they have a plan to address this as quickly as possible. The biggest talker going into the show was the Jax and Rousey match. The chummy approach they took to setting up the match left me feeling less excited about the match than I was when it was simply announced this afternoon. I will have more to say in my audio review of Raw for members later tonight. Check out my interview with Jim Ross in the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell below.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. “but that part about bringing in Lashley’s sisters left me fearing the worst” – Yeah. I suppose it could be great sports entertainment but it has that “Bayley This Is Your Life” smell on it, doesn’t it?

    The only bright side is I tend to think Zayn would say no to anything racist and anything really career-killingly cringeworthy.

    Surely the Nia-Charlotte-Rousey thing is a setup for either Nia or Charlotte to turn. They could even turn together.

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