By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on April 29, 2019 from Lexington, Kentucky at Rupp Arena
[Hour One] Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young welcomed viewers to the show… Alexa Bliss was introduced by ring announcer Mike Rome. Bliss headed to the ring to announce Raw’s entrants in the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank matches. The MITB briefcases were hanging above the ring.
Bliss introduced Braun Strowman as the first entrant in the men’s MITB match. Cole noted that Strowman won last year’s MITB ladder match. Ricochet was introduced as the second Raw entrant. The fans popped and there was a chant for him once he was in the ring. Drew McIntyre was introduced as the third entrant in the men’s ladder match. Baron Corbin was introduced as the final Raw entrant in the men’s ladder match. Cole noted that Corbin won the 2017 MITB ladder match.
Corbin walked to the ring with a mic in hand and joined Bliss and the other entrants. Fans booed Corbin, who said he could tell they will enjoy it when he becomes a two-time MITB winner. Ricochet pointed out that Corbin could become a two-time loser given that he was unsuccessful when he tried to cash in. Corbin started to mock Ricochet, but McIntyre said Ricochet had a point. McIntyre also took issue with Corbin stealing the pin in their Triple Threat match last week.
Ricochet said McIntyre and Corbin could talk about each other’s failures, but he didn’t show up to talk. McIntyre told him to shut up. McIntyre told Ricochet to leave the business talk to the grownups or he would drop him where he stood. McIntyre went back to complaining about Corbin stealing the win from him last week. Both men went face to face. Corbin started to speak before he was cut off.
“Shut up,” Strowman barked. He said the others could argue about who is going to win, but none of them “have what it takes to stop me (long pause) Mr. Monster in the Bank from winning.” Strowman challenged Corbin and McIntyre to face him and Ricochet in an immediate tag match… [C]
Powell’s POV: So we’re going to have an eight-man MITB ladder match, assuming Smackdown has an equal number of entrants. The segment was fine, but I’m surprised they didn’t save the MITB entrants announcement for later in the show since that was the only real hook in the Raw advertising.
1. Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin. Corbin worked over Ricochet, who fought back with a nice flurry of offense. Ricochet went for a springboard move and Corbin caught him in the air with a punch going into a break. [C]
Strowman chased Corbin around the ring and ended up running into a Claymore Kick from McIntyre. Ricochet finally made it to his corner, but Strowman was selling the kick on the floor. Strowman eventually took a hot tag and worked over McIntyre briefly. Strowman charged at McIntyre in the corner. McIntyre moved and Strowman crashed into the post. Ricochet tagged in and ate a headbutt from McIntyre, who set up for his finisher.
Corbin tagged himself in only to let Ricochet tag in Strowman, who hoisted Corbin onto his shoulders. Ricochet tagged in. Strowman powerslammed Corbin, then Ricochet performed a shooting star press and scored the clean pin…
Braun Strowman and Ricochet defeated Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin in 14:00.
Powell’s POV: Barring double duty, at least Corbin won’t be in the Raw main event this week. Perhaps last week’s viewership numbers low enough that Vince McMahon finally got the message about closing Raw with Corbin matches. Anyway, the match was fine with Ricochet getting in spurts of offense, but mostly selling for the heels to set up the tag to Strowman. It was a nice touch to give Ricochet the pin. I also like that there’s issues between McIntyre and Corbin, as their alliance with Bobby Lashley felt flat.
Cole hyped Becky Lynch having double trouble in the form of two title matches at the pay-per-view. He said viewers would find out what she was thinking. Plus, Bliss would reveal Raw’s women’s MITB ladder match participants, and Bobby Lashley will appear on Miz TV… The Usos made their entrance… [C]
2. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Cole said Gallows and Anderson were moved to Raw in the Superstar Shakeup. They received a televised entrance and even had a pre-taped promo that included Anderson saying they are bulletproof. Gallows and Anderson were on the offensive going into a break. [C]
Jimmy was isolated by Gallows and Anderson, who picked up a near fall that no one bought into. Jimmy caught Gallows with a spinning kick and made the tag to Jey, who worked over Anderson. The heels fought back and set up for the Magic Killer finisher, but Jimmy ran interference. The Usos threw a double superkick at Gallows. Jey took out Anderson with a suicide dive, then Jimmy performed a top rope splash on Gallows and pinned him…
The Usos defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in 11:30.
After the match, the Usos took the mic. They set up footage on the big screen from earlier today of Dash Wilder shaving the back of Scott Dawson. The Revival duo show came out and complained about an invasion of privacy Dawson spoke about how he is a man and justified having Wilder help him out. Wilder said he has Dawson’s back and Dawson has his. The Usos mocked them. Wilder said they had a match with the tag champions later in the show and then they would be coming for the Usos…
Powell’s POV: What the f— was that? Seriously, a feud over heels being embarrassed by babyfaces because one of them shaved the other’s back? It takes an army of writers to come up with this nonsense? It sure seems like the plan is to make the Revival look like the biggest goofs possible. And it’s tough for the Usos to be edgy and cool when they are written to be anything but.
Cole hyped Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio in a WrestleMania rematch for later in the show. Footage aired of Joe beating Mysterio at WrestleMania while the broadcast team noted that Mysterio was battling an ankle injury at the time.
The Miz made his entrance for the Miz TV segment with Bobby Lashley… [C] An NXT ad hyped the NXT debut of Kushida…
Cole hyped a contract signing between Seth Rollins and AJ Styles for their WWE Universal Championship match at MITB…
The Miz stood in the ring and did his usual talkshow introduction. Miz said he’s been rejuvenated since the Superstar Shakeup and is excited about new challengers and new guests. Miz introduced Lashley, who headed to the ring without Lio Rush, which was not mentioned by the broadcast team.
Lashley cut off Miz. He referred to himself in the third person and said he would only answer the questions that he would like to answer. Miz called him out on speaking in the third person. “Bobby Lashley thinks you need to watch your tone, Miz,” Lashley said. Miz raved about Lashley’s physique and talent.
[Hour Two] Miz said there are people who feel like Lashley has yet to put it all together and reach his full potential. Lashley said he’s been back in WWE for a year and he’s already a two-time Intercontinental Champion. Lashley asked Miz what he has done. Miz said the old Miz would have run through his title count (and he did) and said you could check his Wikipedia list and be there for a very long time. Fans cheered.
Miz said no one is questioning his potential. “If anything, I’m an overachiever,” Miz said. “Have you seen my wife?” Miz said he’s done what he’s done without being blessed with Lashley’s athletic ability. Lashley brought up Shane McMahon punching Miz’s dad. Lashley said Miz had an opportunity for payback, but he screwed it up. “No wonder your father thinks you’re worthless,” Lashley said.
Miz attacked Lashley and ended up clearing him from the ring. Miz threw his talkshow chairs to ringside at Lashley, then removed his jacket and said “let’s go” heading into a break. [C]
3. Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz. The match was joined in progress. Miz went on a run of offense and then became distracted when Shane McMahon’s music played and he walked onto the stage. Shane tased running to ringside. Miz continued to get the better of Lashley and DDT’d him for a two count. Miz threw his kicks at Lashley and then Shane climbed onto the apron. Shane pointed to a photo of Miz’s father on the big screen. Lashley speared a distracted Miz and pinned him.
Bobby Lashley pinned The Miz in 2:45 of television time.
After the match, Shane entered the ring and taunted Miz. When Miz went after Shane, Lashley worked over Miz and left him lying, then Shane punched and kicked Miz and forced him to look at the photo of his dad on the big screen. Shane applied a submission barked at Miz, who passed out. Shane was handed a mic and reminded Miz that he is the best in the world…
Powell’s POV: Was Lio Rush moved back to 205 Live in the Superstar Shakeup that may never end? Shane’s antics received good heat and they are clearly building to another match between him and Miz. Lashley left after leaving Miz lying for Shane, so I didn’t come away from this thinking that they’ve formed an actual alliance.
An ad for Smackdown hyped that Kofi Kingston will open the show, and the brand’s entrants in the MITB ladder match will be announced…
The Viking Raiders made their entrance as a pre-taped promo aired. The Lucha House Party trio was at ringside and attacked them…
4. “The Viking Raiders” Ivar and Erik vs. “Lucha House Party” Gran Metalik and Kalisto and Lince Dorado. Erik (Rowe) pressed Kalisto into the air and Ivar (Hanson) caught him and slammed him to the mat and scored the pin. Dorado and Metalik tried to fight them after the match, but they were quickly destroyed…
The Viking Raiders beat Lucha House Party in 1:50.
Powell’s POV: Although not acknowledged by the broadcast team, it appears we got the one night return of the Lucha House Party rules. It didn’t help and they lost a handicap match they had the advantage in, but that’s still better that the back shaving bullshit we saw earlier.
Cole hyped the latest episode of the Firefly Funhouse for later in the show, and Bliss announcing Raw’s female MITB ladder match entrants… [C]
Alexa Bliss sat at her talkshow set on the stage and introduced the Raw women who will be in the MITB ladder match. Natalya was introduced first. She took the other seat and said she’s never been Raw Women’s Champion but that will change once she wins the briefcase. Dana Brooke was introduced as the second entrant. She spoke about it being a great opportunity. Natalya took issue with Brooke and questioned if she was accusing her of holding her back.
Bliss introduced Naomi as the third entrant. Naomi said she’s a two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion and her only goal on Raw is to be the Raw Women’s Champion. Natalya and Brooke bickered. Bliss told them they are worse than the men. Bliss said there was a colleague hoping and praying that she would get the same opportunity to change her life. Bliss stood and introduced herself as the final entrant.
Bliss told them to leave so she could get the attention she deserves. Naomi called for a preview match by facing Bliss in a singles match on the spot. Bliss said she would do it, but she didn’t want to. She also cited having borrowed shoes. Naomi goaded her into taking the match…
The Firefly Funhouse video aired. Bray Wyatt wore a beret while painting on the children’s talkshow set. He said he loves to paint and it helps him express himself. He said when you express yourself then no one can truly hurt you. A new rabbit puppet popped up and Wyatt showed him the photo, which was of Sister Abigail’s shed burning down. Abbey the puppet wasn’t happy. Wyatt told the rabbit to run.
Abbey scolded Wyatt for screwing around in the funhouse and for being a bad boy. Wyatt said all of that was in the past. “All of you forgive me, right?” Wyatt asked. Children applauded. Wyatt walked away from Abbey and whispered that she’s a bit of a sociopath. The rabbit popped up and declared that sociopath is the word of the day. Wyatt closed by saying he’ll light the way, all you have to do is let him in… Cole hyped Bliss vs. Naomi for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Bliss talkshow segment was bad. The live crowd didn’t care about Natalya and Brooke bickering. Wyatt’s funhouse video was compelling again this week, but it still remains to be seen whether this will transition well once he returns to the ring. And given the poor quality of the rest of this show, I don’t have high hopes for Wyatt’s new persona.
5. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi. The match was joined in progress. Bliss’s shoe was untied. Naomi grabbed her by the feet and both shoes came off. Bliss complained to the referee about her shoes. Naomi caught a distracted Bliss with the Rearview and followed up with a split-legged moonsault before scoring the pin.
Naomi pinned Alexa Bliss.
Powell’s POV: The ‘ol faulty footwear finish. Wait, what? Seriously, what the hell has happened to Raw? This is just painful to watch.
Rey Mysterio was backstage with his son Dominic, who pumped him up for his match with Samoa Joe. Charly Caruso entered the room and asked Rey about being embarrassed at WrestleMania. Rey said he felt like he let down his fans, friends, and his son. Mysterio said he was leaving that in the past and showing that he’s a better man…
Powell’s POV: Will this be the night that Joe destroys Dominic?!?
Becky Lynch made her entrance while Cole wondered why she wants to defend both of her titles on the same night at MITB… [C]
Lynch stood in the ring and a “Becky” chant broke out. Caruso was in the ring with her and asked her about defending both of her titles at MITB. Fans chanted “Becky Two Belts.” Lynch said the fans were answering that question for her. Lynch said that there’s nothing impulsive about what she’s doing. She said she could try to protect what she has or fight. She said she only knows how to fight. Caruso brought up odds. Lynch asked if she’d be standing there as double champion if she cared about odds.
Lynch said no one a year ago thought she would headline WrestleMania, but she did. Lynch said Ronda Rousey was unbeaten in WWE and people thought she was unbeatable until she beat her to become Becky Two Belts. Lynch said the people know that her entire career has been a long shot, but nothing she has done has been an accident. She said she ran her mouth about Charlotte Flair holding the division hostage and so there’s no way she will do that now. Lynch said she didn’t make history by dodging anybody, she made it by beating everybody.
Lynch said she still has Charlotte’s number. She said Lacey Evans is a great athlete with a great right hand, but she’s making a mistake by punching someone who likes it. Lynch said her beating is coming at MITB. Caruso played the footage of Evans hitting Lynch with the Woman’s Right twice on Raw last week. Lynch took the mic and called out Evans for a little payback.
[Hour Three] Evans made her entrance. Lynch said it’s just like a man to want what he wants when he wants it. She said she was trying not to lose her manners. She said she warned Lynch about not letting her emotions get the best of her and she didn’t listen, so she’s done talking. Lynch and Evans brawled at ringside while several referees and agents tried to pull them apart. They eventually succeeded after a few failed attempts…
Powell’s POV: Finally, a good segment. Lynch delivered her best promo in weeks. She put over both opponents rather than acting dismissive of them like she did last week. She had the fans with her throughout the promo and did a good job of rallying them behind her. The Lynch and Evans pull apart was well done and I’m looking forward to their match.
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder headed to the ring for a match against The Revival… [C]
The broadcast team recapped the previous segment and then stood behind their desk and set up a video package on a Make A Wish child who had a WWE related wish…
6. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. The Revival’s entrance was not televised. A “shave your back” chant broke out early on. He already did, you dopes. Late in the match, Ryder and Dawson collided. Dawson fell on top of Ryder, who countered into a pin of his own for the win…
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder beat The Revival in 4:20.
Sarah Schreiber interviewed The Miz backstage. Miz challenged Shane McMahon to a steel cage match…
Sami Zayn made his entrance. Cole said Zayn requested more time to address the critics of the WWE Universe… [C]
Zayn stood in the ring and spoke about how he had time to learn about psychology and it helped him understand the fans. He had the definition of psychological entitlement listed on the big screen. He said the fans have been fed the lie that the customer is always right. Zayn said fans believe what they want is right and whatever they want should be given to them. He said that if they don’t get what they want they throw “little baby tantrums.”
Zayn recalled a five year-old boy being encouraged to ask him for his autograph at an airport. Zayn said he naturally declined. Zayn said it didn’t make him feel good that child cried. He said it made him sick because the kid already believes at age five that he is owed something. Zayn said he didn’t owe the kid and he doesn’t owe the fans a damn thing. Zayn said he’s been more than generous with three shoulder surgeries and 17 years of five star matches.
Zayn said the new dynamic of his relationship is that he will give the fans whatever he wants and they will take it. Zayn played up fans suggesting he quit if he doesn’t like it in WWE. He asked the live crowd if that’s what they wanted. “Believe me when I tell you, quitting WWE would be amazing,” Zayn said. “It would be amazing, but do you know what would be just a little more amazing? Coming out here week after week and holding every single one of you accountable for your actions.” Zayn referred to himself as the critic of the critics. He said the fans have been drunk with power and now he’s taking the power back. Zayn’s music played to end the segment…
Samoa Joe made his entrance for his match against Rey Mysterio…. [C]
Powell’s POV: Zayn continues to deliver strong and passionate promos, but I’m still waiting to see where this goes in terms of who steps up to defend the fans.
Joe stood in the ring and cut a promo. He said he sees shame when he sees Dominik because his father lost so quickly at WrestleMania. Joe said there will be a reckoning and what he does to Mysterio will pale in comparison. Mysterio made his entrance…
7. U.S. Champion Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio in a non-title match. Mysterio put Joe down at ringside and then went for a sliding splash, but Joe put his knees up. They cut to a commercial a minute into the match.
Powell’s POV: They spent time tonight talking about how quickly Joe put away Mysterio at WrestleMania and yet they cut to a commercial a minute into this match?
Joe performed a powerslam for a two count. Graves pointed out that Mysterio had already lasted longer than he did at WrestleMania. Mysterio avoided a Joe senton attempt. Mysterio went for a moonsault. Joe caught him, but Mysterio countered into a DDT for a near fall. Mysterio performed a 619 to Joe’s abdomen.
Mysterio followed up with a regular 619 attempt, but Joe blocked it. Joe went for his finisher, but Mysterio avoided it. Joe performed a uranage. Joe set up for another move, but Mysterio countered into a pin for the win. Dominik came out and celebrated with his father, and hoisted him onto his shoulders…
Rey Mysterio pinned Samoa Joe in 7:20 in a non-title match.
Cole hyped the contract signing for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Mixed feelings. It was obviously a nice win for Mysterio, but it’s another example of Joe being booked to be more bark than bite.
Cole stood in the ring next to the contract signing table and chairs. Cole introduced challenger AJ Styles followed by WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins. Styles said Smackdown was good to him for two years and he’s proud of what he did there, but Raw is where it’s at. Styles said the craziest fans are on Raw, which drew some cheers.
Styles said he’s always liked Rollins, liked him, and thinks he’s a good guy. “But you’ve got something I want,” Styles said. “I want the Universal Championship.” Styles said that when you want something bad enough you will do some unexpected things to get it. Styles said winners find a way and Rollins is a winner and the Universal Champion. Styles wondered how many times it’s been said that Rollins will be the new Styles. Styles said Rollins is stronger, faster, and younger, but the truth is that he will never be him.
Rollins said Styles is right, there’s only one Styles. Rollins said he never wanted to be the next Styles, he wanted to be the first Seth Rollins. He said he appreciated the compliment and the enthusiasm. He said things are different on Raw and noted that it’s Monday Night Rollins. Styles smiled and said that’s true. Rollins said Styles will need to be better than phenomenal if he wants to take the title from him at MITB.
Styles said he knows how much the title means to Rollins. He recalled Rollins proving he was a workhorse and asked him at what cost. “How are you holding up?” Styles asked. A “burn it down” chant started. Styles said they will burn it down and he will build it back up. Styles said he was asking how Rollins was holding up because his brotherhood is no longer there to hold him up. Styles said Rollins went through hell at WrestleMania. “The problem is, I don’t think you have much left,” Styles said.
Styles said he’s ready to go now. He said he would be a bulldog and would sink his teeth in and not let go until he stood over Rollins as the new champion. Styles stood up and signed the contract. Rollins stood up and said they have things in common, but there’s also a lot of differences between them. He said their success stories may be similar. Rollins said the thing that separates them is that he beat Brock Lesnar, and that’s why he’s holding the title and Styles is trying to take the title from him. Rollins said he was at his best when he beat Lesnar, and he’ll be at his best when he beats Styles. Rollins signed the contract.
Styles picked up the Universal Title belt as Cole left the ring. Styles looked at the belt and jawed off-mic with Rollins before handing him the belt. Rollins held up the title and jawed more with Styles, who punched him. Rollins fired back and ended up kicking Styles out of the ring. Rollins performed a suicide dive and then returned to the ring. Styles returned to the apron and punched Rollins, then put him through the table with the Phenomenal Forearm. Styles’s music played and he posed over Rollins to end the show…
Powell’s POV: A good contract signing that built in intensity before things got physical. I like the tease of Styles doing unexpected things to get what he wants. He did that here by throwing the first punch and the question now is how much further his character will go to take the title. Unfortunately, this was one of the only good segments on the show. A back shaving tag team and a faulty footwear finish were painfully bad, and there were a lot of just plain dull moments during this three-hour marathon. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review, which is available late Monday nights.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Dave Lagana discussing the NWA Crockett Cup pay-per-view, the NWA’s relationship with Ring of Honor, the future of the NWA, and more.