By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on May 27, 2019 from Kansas City, Missouri at Sprint Center
[Hour One] Raw opened with a quote fro George S. Patton and a video package for the Memorial Day holiday in the United States… The live crowd stood, applauded, and chanted USA…
Brock Lesnar was shown standing backstage with Paul Heyman and the Money in the Bank briefcase. Michael Cole, who was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Renee Young, said Lesnar had promised to reveal whether he will use his MITB contract to challenge the WWE Champion or the WWE Universal Champion…
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston made his entrance. Highlights aired from Smackdown of Paul Heyman toying with Kingston on Tuesday’s Smackdown, which allowed Dolph Ziggler to attack Kingston from behind. The fans chanted for Kingston, who told them that he loved them. Kingston said Kevin Owens attacked Big E and damaged his injured knee. Kingston said Ziggler tried to end him, but he didn’t finish the job.
Kingston said he’ll deal with Dolph Ziggler when the time is right, but he was at Raw for Mr. Money in the Bank. Kingston said he’s a fighting champion and he wants to be considered one of the great champions and he can’t think of a better way to do that is to beat Lesnar. Kingston called for Lesnar to come out and cash in his MITB contract on him.
WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins made his entrance. Rollins joined Kingston in the ring and called for Lesnar to come out and make his decision. Lesnar’s entrance music played. The song changed and Lesnar carried the MITB briefcase like a boom box. In fact, the back of the briefcase has been changed to look like a boom box. Lesnar also had a “Brock Party” t-shirt with a green and yellow boom box on it.
The New Day music played and Lesnar danced. Rollins’ music played and Lesnar continued to dance while Heyman played air guitar until Brock told him to stop. Rollins left the ring. Heyman said it was just like Rollins to pee on everyone’s parade. Heyman said Lesnar was going to reveal who he would challenge, but Rollins ruined the Brock Party. Heyman told Kingston not to blame him and Lesnar, blame Rollins. Lesnar and Heyman left the ring.
Dolph Ziggler showed up and attacked Kingston from behind. Ziggler knocked Kingston out of the ring and then performed a Zigzag on the entrance ramp. Ziggler grabbed a chair. Xaiver Woods ran out and fought Ziggler briefly. Ziggler rolled into and out of the ring and exited via the crowd… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see Lesnar do something different, but I can’t say the Brock Party with the new boom box look of the MITB briefcase does much for me. That said, I hope the plan isn’t for Lesnar to announce that he’s cashing in on Rollins at the WWE Super ShowDown event. They could have simply booked a Rollins vs. Lesnar rematch and given the briefcase to someone else. And before anyone points out that they don’t do automatic rematches anymore, the authority figure that allowed Lesnar to enter the match at the last minute could just as easily be scripted to give him a rematch.
Kingston was being helped to the back by referees. Ziggler returned and attacked Woods on the stage while Kingston was taken to the back. Woods fought back and rolled Ziggler inside the ring. Woods worked over Ziggler in the ring, at ringside, and then threw him over the barricade where the fight continued. Woods got the better of it until he threw Ziggler over the barricade and tried to follow. Ziggler kicked Woods and slammed his face onto the ring steps.
Ziggler grabbed a chair and slammed it over the back of Woods twice. Ziggler picked up Woods and rolled him into the ring. Ziggler, who suffered a facial cut of some kind, followed Woods and slammed the chair over his back again. Ziggler put Woods’ head inside the chair. Kingston ran out with a chair, which scared off Ziggler… [C]
Powell’s POV: Woods is in the little buddy zone now in that heels attack him to get to Kingston.
Ziggler stood on the stage with a mic and addressed Kingston, who was in the ring with Woods. Ziggler said he thought he knew Kingston. Ziggler said Kingston is spending all of his time worrying about Lesnar and the MITB contract when he should be worried about defending his title against him at the WWE Super ShowDown. Ziggler told Kingston celebrate like he’s never celebrated before for the next eleven days.
Ziggler said Kingston is the best WWE Champion he can remember, but every time he sees the title on Kingston it reminds him that it should have been him. Ziggler said he admires Kingston. He said Kingston had two friends who watched his back every step of the way. Ziggler said he defended Kingston against B+ Player labels because he knows how good he his. Ziggler asked what happens to the fans supporting Kingston when he takes the title from him. Ziggler said it should have been him at WrestleMania, and it will be him at Super ShowDown…
Cole hyped Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics. He also hyped The Miz vs. Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Lashley in a four-way with the winner getting a title shot against Rollins at Super ShowDown. Cole noted that AJ Styles was scheduled to be in the match, but he was out due to injury and replaced by Corbin…
Powell’s POV: It’s encouraging that there’s a four-way for the title shot at Super ShowDown, but there’s nothing stopping them from having Lesnar interrupt the match to set up the match with Rollins. Here’s hoping that’s not the plan.
The Usos were shown hosting a Memorial Day party for some of the wrestlers. Most of the partygoers were having fun, but EC3 didn’t look very pleased…
Charly Caruso approached Shane McMahon backstage and expressed surprise that he was wrestling on Raw. Shane, who was accompanied by Drew McIntyre, said he has Roman Reigns coming up and would beat him down just like he’ll beat down his opponent tonight. Shane and McIntyre walked through the back and made their entrance together, but Shane backed up and had McIntyre join him in returning backstage… [C]
The broadcast team stood behind their desk and spoke briefly about Memorial Day, then set up a Triple H and Randy Orton video package to promote their match for WWE Super ShowDown…
Shane and McIntyre were in the ring together. Ring announcer Mike Rome introduced Shane as “best in the world.” Shane spoke about the respect that has existed between his family and the Samoans over the years. He questioned how Reigns could strike down his father. Shane said the history goes back to Peter Maivia. Shane also mentioned The Rock, Yokozuna, the Headshrinkers, The Usos, and the Wild Samoans Afa and Sika.
Shane said he grew up knowing Afa and Sika well and perhaps he knows them better than Reigns knows his own father Sika. Shane said his father was always there to clean up Afa and Sika’s mistakes. Shane asked who from the Samoan dynasty could come out and face the best in the world… [C]
1. Shane McMahon (w/Drew McIntyre) vs. Lance Anoa’i. Graves noted that Anoa’i is a cousin of Reigns. As the referee was talking with Shane, McIntyre pulled Anoa’i to ringside and slammed him into the barricade and the ring repeatedly. Shane insincerely acted like he was trying to talk down McIntyre, who continued to work over Anoa’i. McIntyre eventually rolled Anoai’ into the ring and Shane called for the bell to start the match.
Shane threw punches at Anoa’i in the corner and kicked his knee. Anoa’i fired back briefly, but Shane went back on the offensive with punches, knees, and kicks. Anoa’i threw punches at Shane and then dropkicked him. Anoa’i set up for a superkick, but Shane avoided it and ended up putting Anoa’i in a triangle submission for the win.
Shane McMahon defeated Lance Anoa’i.
After the match, Shane put the hold on again and taunted Anoa’i by saying he’d be doing the same thing to Sika. He said the biggest mistake Sika ever made was spawning Roman Reigns. Roman’s entrance music played and he came out and gave McIntyre a Superman Punch at ringside, then chased Shane and caught him trying to go over the barricade. Shane landed an elbow, but Reigns gave him a Superman Punch off the ring steps. Reigns rolled Shane into the ring and set up for his spear, but McIntyre pulled Shane to ringside… [C]
Powell’s POV: Anoa’i is the son of Samu. He’s worked in MLW and recently had a tryout at the WWE Performance Center. He’s a prospect, but he’s not ready for prime time on a regular basis. In other words, I don’t expect him to become a regular on WWE television at this time.
[Hour Two] Cole noted that they were in Kansas City while some art of the city and a shot of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes appeared on the screen…
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Cole noted that a WWE referee was waiting in the ring. Cole wondered if that meant that a cash-in was on the verge of taking place. Heyman introduced himself as the advocate for Mr. Money in the Bank 2019. Heyman said he had a referee come out at his client’s request because the time has come for Lesnar to inform the champion that he will be cashing in his MITB contract on. Heyman held up the contract.
Seth Rollins made his entrance while Lesnar laughed. Rollins said Lesnar is making a mockery of the situation because he is a joke. Rollins said he stomped Lesnar’s head at WrestleMania and he could do it again. Rollins said Lesnar was the most feared man in combat history and now he hides behind Heyman. Rollins told Lesnar that if he wanted to prove him wrong then he should cash in.
Heyman read a portion of the MITB contract to the referee. Lesnar stopped Heyman from finishing. “I got a year to cash in?” Lesnar asked. Heyman said yes. Heyman slapped Heyman with the contract. “You didn’t know?” Heyman asked. Lesnar was censored. “I got a whole year,” Lesnar said over the mic. “And I gotta make a decision now? Seth Rollins, screw you.” Lesnar dropped the mic and left the ring…
Powell’s POV: As much as I cringe at the thought of a year of seeing the MITB briefcase looking like a John Deere boom box, this is the right call. It would have been a mistake to have Lesnar cash in the contract at Super ShowDown. Here’s hoping this sticks and it’s not a swerve.
R-Truth and Carmella hopped the barricade and were followed by Eric Young, Drake Maverick, EC3, Mojo Rawley, and others. R-Truth ended up putting Carmella on his back and running away without dropping the WWE 24/7 Title…
Caruso interviewed AJ Styles, who said he felt a pop in his lower back at the MITB event. Styles said he loved to say he’s ready to go, but that’s not the truth. He said he wanted the spot in the four-way, but it won’t happen. She asked how long he expects to be sidelined. Styles said more tests need to be run. Baron Corbin silenced Styles with a punch to the head. A trainer quickly covered Styles and told Corbin to leave…
Becky Lynch made her entrance for the women’s tag team match. The Firefly Fun House graphic appeared. Cole said the latest edition of Bray Wyatt’s show would air tonight… An ad aired for the NXT Takeover: XXV event that will be held on Saturday night… [C]
Cole hyped the sponsor of the WWE Stomping Grounds event…
2. WWE Women’s Tag Champions “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross in a non-title match. The entrances of the IIconics and Cross were not televised. Kross got the better of Kay and ended up performing a cross body block off the apron onto both opponents heading into a break. [C]
Cross was isolated coming out of the break. Lynch took a hot tag and worked over Royce and knocked Kay off the apron. The IIconics came back briefly and Royce threw a tantrum when it didn’t lead to a three count. Nikki took out Kay on the floor. In the ring, Lynch performed a uranage and scored the clean pin. Cole said Lynch told them earlier the move is called The Man Handle Slam.
Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross defeated The IIconics in a non-title match in 9:55.
After the match, Lacey Evans did a runway walk to taunt Lynch, who went back to celebrating with Cross after Evans went backstage…
The Usos block party continued with Naomi showing up and having a long staredown with Tamina Snuka. Tamina smiled and then hugged Naomi. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder showed up and bickered with the Usos until Naomi said she invited them. Dawson and one of the Usos had a tense handshake…
3. Ricochet vs. Cesaro. Graves acknowledged that Cesaro beat Ricochet last week and noted that Ricochet was still recovering from injuries suffered in the MITB ladder match. Cole said Ricochet and Cesaro will both be in the 50-man battle royal at the Super ShowDown event. Young said to imagine the bragging rights for the winner if he can top 49 other men. Ricochet jumped out to a fast start and performed a dive over the top rope onto Cesaro less than a minute into the match. [C]
Ricochet went for a sunset flip, but Cesaro grabbed him by the neck and suplexed him. Cool spot. Ricochet came back with a superkick. Ricochet followed up with a springboard clothesline that led to a two count. Ricochet stood up and performed a standing shooting star press for a two count. Ricochet dragged Cesaro to the corner and then went up top for his 630 finisher, but Cesaro caught him with an uppercut at 7:35.
Cesaro threw a second uppercut and then went for a superplex, but Ricochet threw knees at his head to break it. Ricochet knocked Cesaro off the ropes and then went for his 630 splash finisher. Cesaro rolled out of the way. Ricochet landed on his feet, but Cesaro blasted him with an uppercut for a good near fall. Cesaro put Ricochet in a torture rack and then set up for a powerbomb, but Ricochet countered into a Code Red for a near fall. A short time later, Ricochet performed a Frankensteiner type move and scored the clean pin…
Ricochet pinned Cesaro in 9:45.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match with some unique spots from both men. Before anyone complains about parity booking, let’s see if they book a rubber match between the two. They work well together and I’d like to see another match between the two.
Cole recapped Rey Mysterio beating Samoa Joe for the U.S. Championship and then taking a post match beating. Cole announced that Mysterio suffered a separated shoulder and will appear next week to give up the championship. Samoa Joe’s music played and he came out and approached the broadcast team. Joe said Mysterio is doing the right thing by relinquishing the championship and he’ll be waiting to take back what is rightfully his…
Graves hyped The Electric Chair experience. He said it would be an interview with Sami Zayn where no topics are off limits… An ad aired for WWE Super ShowDown and continued to claim it will be “as good as or exceed WrestleMania”… [C]
The Usos and The Revival played a game of cornhole (sounds perverted but it’s not) at the block party…
The Miz delivered a promo from backstage. He mentioned that he and Maryse will be having naother baby girl. He said he’s a champion outside the ring and now it’s time to earn a championship inside the ring. Braun Strowman was shown backstage where he delivered a promo before making his entrance for the four-way match. The broadcast team acknowledged that Strowman is scheduled to face Bobby Lashley at Super ShowDown, then spoke about how things could change based on the outcome of this match. The Miz made his entrance. Corbin made his entrance while ring announcer Mike Rome ran through his usual credentials. Finally, Lashley made his entrance while a pre-tape aired with him declaring himself championship material… [C]
A teaser was shown for the Firefly Fun House…
4. Braun Strowman vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Lashley in a four-way elimination match for a WWE Universal Championship match at Super ShowDown. Strowman and Lashley cleared Corbin and Miz from the ring and then squared off during the opening minute. Strowman had Lashley by the throat when Corbin returned to the ring to attack Strowman.
[Hour Three] Lashley and Corbin teamed up for a double superplex on Miz, but Strowman returned to turn it into a tower of doom spot. Strowman covered Lashley for a two count. Strowman went to ringside and ran slowly toward Corbin and then Lashley cut him off and knocked him down. Corbin and Lashley threw Miz into the barricade, then doubled up up Strowman with a suplex onto the entrance ramp. [C]
The Miz got the better of Lashley and hit him with three running clotheslines in the corner. Corbin cut off Miz and hit the Deep Six for a near fall. Strowman and Lashley fought their way intot he crowd and out of the arena. Corbin hit Miz with End of Days and pinned him…
Baron Corbin defeated The Miz, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman in an elimination match in 16:10 to earn a WWE Universal Championship match at Super ShowDown.
Cole hyped the Firefly Fun House for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: An elimination match with only one pinfall? Cole explained that Lashley and Strowman took themselves out of the match when they brawled out of the arena. It’s been well established that there are no disqualifications or count-outs in three or four-way matches, so they’re just making it up as they go. Why didn’t they just make this a traditional four-way match rather than bill it as an elimination match if they didn’t want to pin or submit Lashley or Strowman? Anyway, it’s worth noting that Corbin is also featured in local advertising as challenging Rollins at WWE Stomping Grounds and Extreme Rules. Here’s hoping the “card subject to change” slogan comes into play.
The Usos continued to play cornhole with The Revival at the block party. Dawson blocked a shot by one of hte Usos, which led to them bickering. R-Truth showed up and was rolled up by a couple of people and kicked out. The contenders are started fighting amongst themselves, and R-Truth slipped away…
Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House aired. Wyatt hid behind a paper plate that had a scary face drawn on it. Wyatt pulled the plate down and was smiling as he said hello and asked if people liked his secret. Children could be heard cheering. “I knew you would,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said he finds it hard to be confident and brave when he’s all alone. He said that when he does this (holds the plate mask over his face) he can be anything that he wants to be. The witch puppet asked what he was talking about and noted that he doesn’t want them to see how much of a sicko he is. Wyatt said he’s not a sicko and said she knows that. She asked if he’s a doctor now.
Wyatt ducked and when he popped up he was dressed like a doctor. He said the diagnosis was that Abby the Witch is a bully. She asked why he won’t let her rest and said she doesn’t want to be stuck in this limbo anymore. Wyatt laughed and said he’ll never let her rest, then asked if someone said limbo. Wyatt crab walked under a limbo stick that children were holing up while he delivered the “All you have to do is let me in” line…
Powell’s POV: The Fun House videos have been creative and fun. And it seems like WWE is very excited about them given the number of plugs they gave for throughout this show before showing the new video. The question remains whether this will work once the time comes for Wyatt to return to the ring.
Sami Zayn made his entrance for the Electric Chair interview. Graves said the questions come from the WWE Universe. He said that neither he nor Zayn know what the questions will be… [C] Cole hyped Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens for Tuesday’s Smackdown television show…
Graves and Zayn stood in the ring with an electric chair set up in between them. Graves said no questions would be off limits. Graves had Zayn sit on the electric chair while Charly Caruso had a fan named Eric ask his question. The fan asked Zayn’s retirement date. Zayn asked the man if his father and mother are related.
Kayla Braxton was with a young female fan who asked if he misses the Ginger Snaps from Mixed Match Challenge. Zayn asked if she was asking about Becky Lynch. “Duh” she replied. The crowd laughed.
Sarah Schreiber held the mic while a fan named Mike asked Zayn how it felt when Braun Strowman destroyed him. Zayn said he’d prefer to punch the fan in the face. Zayn said they were in America and therefore the fan wouldn’t have the balls to face him, he’d tie him up in litigation because that’s what Americans do. Zayn also took a jab at the American healthcare system. Zayn said the fan could have asked him about his love life or if he’s a good kisser. Zayn said he’s a tender lover.
A fan named Thomas asked why Zayn hasn’t won the Universal Championship since he returned. Zayn said he could win it whenever he wants, but he’s not that interested right now. He mocked the fan and said he could have asked him about anything, including AEW, which led to what sounded like some adult male cheering.
Seth Rollins made his entrance and Zayn fled to ringside. Rollins picked up the electric chair and tossed it to ringside where it broke on impact. Cole said Rollins would face Zayn after the break… [C]
5. WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn in a non-title match. Cole referred to it as an impromptu match. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were shown in their backstage dressing room. Rollins worked over Zayn at ringside early on. When Rollins rolled Zayn back inside the ring, Zayn rolled back to ringside. Rollins followed and knocked him down again.
Powell’s POV: WWE is trying to make the third hour feel bigger by turning down some of the lighting and placing the black Raw logo on the big screen. Rather than make the hour feel special, it comes off as counterproductive in that it actually looks like they are going more low budget during the third hour.
Back inside the ring, Zayn went on the offensive and threw rapid fire kicks at Rollins. Zayn ended up shoving Rollins into the ring post heading into a break. [C] Rollins performed a Blockbuster on Zayn, who rolled to ringside to avoid being pinned. Rollins performed a suicide dive.
Rollins went back to the ring and performed another suicide dive. Rollins came up limping, which was played up by the broadcast team. Both men returned to the ring where Rollins set up for a buckle bomb, but his knee gave out. Zayn performed a DDT for a near fall.
Zayn targeted Rollins’ injured knee. Rollins pulled Zayn face first into the corner and then superkicked him. Rollins set up for a stomp, but sold knee pain. Zayn applied a figure four. Rollins eventually rolled it over, and Zayn grabbed the ropes to break the hold.
Rollins performed a step-up enzuigiri, but Zayn came right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Zayn set up for a move on the ropes, but Rollins shoved him down. Rollins went for a frogsplash, but Zayn put his knees up and then covered Rollins for a near fall. Zayn taunted Rollins and then the wrestlers traded punches with Rollins getting the better of it.
Zayn took Rollins down and went for a figure four, but Rollins kicked Zayn to ringside. Zayn returned and took a Stomp from Rollins, who sold his bad knee. “This is my life!” Rollins yelled twice. Rollins waited for Zayn to get to his knees and then gave him another stomp before pinning him.
Seth Rollins defeated Sami Zayn in 20:00 in a non-title match.
Graves said it was a gutsy win, but questioned at what price it occurred. Cole hyped Rollins vs. Corbin for Super ShowDown (in Saudi Arabia), then noted that Lesnar still had the trump card in the form of the MITB contract. Rollins posed in the ring with the title belt to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A well worked main event that felt a little flat due to being a non-title match. Sure, the threat of Lesnar cashing in was there, but they didn’t do anything to tease it strongly and so I assume most viewers didn’t take the threat seriously. That said, it is a nice hook to keep viewers at least checking in on the show just in case Lesnar cashes in.
Overall, this was an ordinary edition of Raw in 2019 with some good in-ring work from the wrestlers and the now usual oddball booking from Vince McMahon. The elimination match with no eliminations was bizarre when they could have accomplished what they wanted to with a standard four-way. The Usos block party was pointless, yet tame compared to the usual WWE holiday madness standards. There’s just not enough to be truly excited about on Raw these days. There are some very good wrestlers who have been damaged by creative mistakes and it will be tough for modern day Vince McMahon to work his way out of this hole. How sad is it that WWE has two of the best tag teams in the world in the Usos and The Revival and they’ve now been involved in back shaving silliness, Ucey Hot nonsense, and now a game of cornhole? I’ll be by later tonight with my members’ exclusive audio review.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Gursinder Singh (a/k/a Tony Gill), who explains why he asked for his release from Impact Wrestling. He also discusses his background, being trained by Lance Storm, being in the Desi Hit Squad, his future, and more.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...