Finn Balor and Braun Strowman

THE RAW RECAP – 21/05/2018

Welcome to another Monday Night RAW recap. We’re still weeks away from Money in the Bank, but the build is in full swing. The RAW half of the men’s ladder match has been decided but there are still places in the women’s match, one more will be filled tonight. There are hints of an Intercontinental Championship open challenge, more from Roman Reigns and Jinder Mahal, and Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey have a contract signing. And, of course, Sami Zayn says he has invited Bobby Lashley’s sisters to the show.

I’m Amanda, and I’m here to make sure you catch the important bits of RAW.

The Opening Segment

Kurt Angle opened the show. He announced the contract signing and a fatal four-way qualifier for the women’s Money in the Bank match, then was interrupted by Stephanie McMahon.

She told him there are no hard feelings about WrestleMania because she’s a leader who will always do what’s best for business. The crowd chanted ‘you tapped out’, and she agreed. She said Angle is a mid-level leader, but with her help he could be better. He lets his emotions get the better of him, so she will preside over the contract signing.

Angle agreed he could use more guidance. McMahon used Roman Reigns as an example of his emotional judgement, Angle has given him too many chances. As if he heard his name, Reigns appeared.

Roman Reigns, Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon
photo credit: wwe.com

Reigns told her if she’s got something to say, say it to him. She said she doesn’t understand his hostility. He was the big dog, a leader, but if he doesn’t watch the Samoan temper, he might have to look for another line of work.

He told her she should watch her tone when she speaks to him and show a little respect, or he might take that Samoan temper backstage and destroy all her favourite superstars.

She said she doesn’t play favourites, she does what’s best for business. She manages multiple revenue strains with the sort of money most people can’t even imagine.

Reigns wanted to talk about her favourite revenue stream, Brock Lesnar. She said she’d taken his concerns to her father. He told her to cut the corporate crap and tell him the truth. They don’t want him anywhere near the Universal Championship. or the Money in the Bank contract

She said the truth is he lost his qualifying match, so if he wants to take it up with someone, take it up with Jinder Mahal.

Reigns smirked and said he already did.

Kevin Owens arrived and said he almost feels indebted to Reigns for taking out Mahal so he could step up and qualify for Money in the Bank. And Kevin Owens winning the briefcase is best for business.

He said he wanted to tell the truth about how people feel about Reigns, and unlike most, he’s man enough to admit it – He likes Roman Reigns. He tried to get a ‘Thank you Roman’ chant going but, unsurprisingly, it didn’t take. According to Owens, he’s the proof Stephanie McMahon doesn’t play favourites because, despite his problems with her brother and father, she knows talent when she sees it and positioned him as the cornerstone of her roster

He’d rested an arm on her shoulder and she told him never to touch her again. To show she really doesn’t play favourites she set a match – Roman Reigns versus Kevin Owens, starting immediately.

Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens

The early part of the match was largely Roman Reigns slapping Kevin Owens around and Owens looking shocked he was being outpowered. Everything Owens threw at him, Reigns shrugged off.

Owens turned things around when he dodged the drive-by and kicked Reigns in the face. His speed served him well when he moved out of Reigns’ way and DDT’d him, but he only got two. Reigns got two counts from a Samoan drop, and from a Superman punch.

Roman Reigns slaps Kevin Owens
photo credit: wwe.com

When Reigns went for the spear Owens rolled out of the ring, so Reigns followed and speared him on the outside. When he was trying to put him back in the ring, Jinder Mahal ambushed him.

Mahal got Reigns in the ring, Owens joined him, and they set to beating him down. Seth Rollins came to make the save. By the time we came back from another break, we had a tag match.

Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal

After a bit of Rollins versus Mahal, Roman Reigns tagged in and ended up in the opposition corner. He worked his way back, only for Mahal to pull Rollins off the apron and slam him into the barricade as Reigns went for the tag. Owens delivered a cannonball to Reigns, and he was still being dominated by Mahal and Owens when we came back from another break.

Eventually, Rollins came in and cleaned house. He nearly got pinned after Sunil Singh distracted him, and again at the hands of Kevin Owens, but Reigns stopped the pin.

Seth Rollins flies at Jinder Mahal
photo credit: wwe.com

After a beautiful exchange of dodges and counters with Kevin Owens, Rollins hit the Blackout Stomp and the match was done.

As Rollins and Reigns were leaving, Jinder Mahal reappeared with a chair and attacked them both. He knocked Rollins off the stage, then tried to break it across Reigns’ back before driving it into his gut. After all that, when Reigns music played, there were still boos. I think it’s become a conditioned response at this point.

That was the entire first hour.

Roman Reigns versus Jinder Mahal has been confirmed for Money in the Bank.

The Other Stuff

– Sami Zayn’s exposé segment – I genuinely don’t know what to say. Three guys dressed as women contradicted everything Lashley said in the interview. Bobby Lashley came down and tried to be humorous. Zayn called him garbage. Sami Zayn tried to run away, Lashley grabbed him and got attacked by all four. Lashley took them all down in ‘amusing’ ways. I’ve already given the segment more than it deserves.

Sami Zayn and 'Lashley's sisters'
photo credit: wwe.com

– Alexa Bliss vs Ember Moon – Bliss was asked pre-match if she was worried because Moon has already beaten her. Bliss explained that was only because Moon had the element of surprise, by telling a story about Rome. Mickie James was with Bliss, and her distraction gave Bliss chance to throw Moon into the barricade, damaging her shoulder. Mickie James was caught by the ref about to hit Moon with her shoe, Moon punched her and nearly got rolled up by Bliss. It didn’t work, Moon hit the Eclipse and got the pin.

– Backstage, in what was Kurt Angle’s office, Stephanie McMahon spoke with Finn Balor and Braun Strowman. They asked for a rematch against Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. She said she thinks Balor blames Strowman for the loss last week, so she gave them a match against each other. Strowman celebrated by crushing an apple.

– Baron Corbin vs No Way Jose – Really good match. It’s a decent pairing for both of them and should get people used to the idea Jose is more than just a gimmicky entrance. Corbin won with this one with the End of Days.

No Way Jose and Baron Corbin
photo credit: wwe.com

– Chad Gable caught Kurt Angle backstage. Angle revealed he had wanted him to replace Mahal last week. They were interrupted by Ziggler and McIntyre. Gable and Ziggler got in each other’s faces, so they have a match later.

– The B-Team vs Breezango – A rematch from last week, same result. Curtis Axel pinned Fandango off a double team while Bo Dallas prevented Breeze making the save. Breezango deserve better. The B-Team celebrations were fun though. Dallas rolled down the ramp on an announcer’s chair with Axel on his lap and it tipped over.

– RAW Women’s Championship match contract signing – When Ronda Rousey came out Stephanie McMahon looked a little nervous, especially when Rousey asked how her arm was. McMahon asked Rousey how it felt to leapfrog an entire division of women Rousey herself said were more deserving. Rousey said she knew what she was trying to do, but Jax challenged her not them. McMahon asked why and suggested Jax is trying to make a name at Rousey’s expense by taking advantage of her inexperience. To stir the pot further, she suggested to Jax that she took 15-20 minutes to finish Alexa Bliss because she’s lazy. She carried on until Nia Jax stopped her and said that she will make a name for herself by beating Rousey. They signed the contract, Rousey moved the table aside and offered Jax a handshake. With their hands clasped, she told Jax she will take her title, and her arm.

Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax square up
photo credit: wwe.com

– Chad Gable vs Dolph Ziggler – Slightly disconcerting when a match starts during the ad break. This is another pairing with potential, it was short but decent. Ziggler finished it with a superkick then Drew McIntyre came in and gave Gable a Claymore kick.

– Liv Morgan vs Sarah Logan vs Dana Brooke vs Natalya – Women’s Money in the Bank qualifying match – It looked like Morgan and Logan were going to fight when they found themselves alone in the ring, but they laughed and went after Natalya instead. Dana Brooke pulled Liv Morgan out of the ring and they took each other out with a double clothesline. Natalya got distracted by Ruby Riott when she was trying to put Logan in the Sharpshooter and got caught by Logan. Brooke broke that up, but Logan threw her into the post. Natalya flattened Logan with a discus lariat and locked her in the Sharpshooter. Logan tapped. Natalya joins the ladder match. Post-match she talked about Ronda Rousey being her training partner. She said that after Money in the Bank they’ll have new names – RAW Women’s Champion and Miss Money in the Bank.

Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan double team Natalya
photo credit: wwe.com

– Elias vs Bobby Roode – Elias got the crowd to do a call and response thing with him before. Bobby Roode interrupted with his entrance. As payback, Elias attacked Roode from behind while he was doing the glorious pose. When the ref started the match Roode threw his robe over Elias’ head and beat on him for a bit. It was a good match after that. Elias won with Drift Away. Sadly, for Elias, he ran into Braun Strowman as he was heading backstage and got shoulder barged halfway across the stage.

The Closing Segment – Braun Strowman vs Finn Balor

It was fairly good-natured at the start. Balor did the only thing he could, try to outmanoeuvre Strowman and take his legs out. He did ok for a few seconds until Strowman levelled him.

That was the story of the early part of the match. Every time Balor got up he went for Strowman’s legs, sometimes he connected then got flattened, sometimes he just got flattened.

Balor had a good run of landing kicks to Strowman’s head, but they didn’t seem to have any effect. Every bit of momentum Balor gathered was squashed until Strowman ran around the ring to get to him and got caught with a slingblade. Balor manged land enough to get Strowman down, including a Coup de Grace from the barricade, and went for the count out victory. Strowman made it in a nine.

For the finish, Strowman hit the running powerslam. No-one gets up from that.

After the match, Strowman picked Balor up and propped him in the corner as a grudging kind of respect.

Braun Strowman stands tall, Balor in the corner
photo credit: wwe.com

That was a RAW of highs and lows. Good matches, and the awful Bobby Lashley segment. It feels like they’ve gone too hard too soon on the Money in the Bank build, but we’ll see what the next few weeks bring.