Liam Hoofe reviews this week’s Raw…
Kurt Angle is out to open this week’s Raw. Angle says that there will be two co-branded Money in the Bank matches, one for men, and one for women. Angle says that things will get started on tonight’s show, with two qualifying bouts. Braun makes his way to the ring during the segment. Braun tells a story about his friends building a tree-house and him knocking the whole three down, which, I guess is supposed to be a metaphor for the Money in the Bank? Not sure, but anyway, Angle says Braun does deserve to qualify.
Kevin Owens then interrupts the segment and says that he deserves a shot in the match. Owens runs his mouth with some rubbish excuses for a few minutes before Angle announces that Braun Vs Kevin is going to take place next- with the winner earning a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
So, Braun Vs KO is our first match of the night. These two have spent plenty of time together in the ring over the last few weeks, and this match featured the standard spots we’ve come to expect from the pair. Braun’s new move on the outside is always fun to watch, and Owens sells it like a pro. Owens got in some good offence here and wasn’t made to look too weak. He played his usual heel role against Braun here, working a solid match before finally being defeated with the running power-slam. (Grade: C+) Braun moves on to Money in the Bank, which probably means Reigns is going to be facing Lesnar at the event.
We see Reigns being interviewed backstage. His new gimmick of claiming he should be the Universal Champion is really not going to help endear him to fans, he’s just coming across like a bit mardy really.
— WWE (@WWE) May 8, 2018
Goldust is backstage talking with Kurt Angle. Goldust says he deserves a spot in the Money in the Bank match when he is interrupted by Jinder. Jinder says he deserves to be in the main event qualifying match but Angle says that he has to have a rematch with Chad Gable, who defeated him last week.
— WWE (@WWE) May 8, 2018
No Way Jose is out next and Titus Worldwide are out with him for the second night in a row, is this a new thing? They’re up against The Revival and Baron Corbin. The match was a very standard tag team bout, and no-one really got to look that great. Jose ate the pinfall from Corbin. (Grade: C-) This was painless enough, but it’s clear that Raw has no idea what to do with their new members.
Up next is the first women’s qualifying match, which is a triple threat between Ember Moon, Sasha Banks and Ruby Riott. I really enjoyed this bout and all three women looked really strong, it’s a shame that they won’t all be in the MITB match. There were some good spots here, and having The Riott Squad attack Sasha, only for Bayley to come out, sets up what should be a fun tag team match, probably at MITB. Ember Moon picking up the win was a good way to continue to build her, and she could be a good outside choice to win the match (Grade: B-) This was easily the best thing on the show.
— Ember Moon (@WWEEmberMoon) May 8, 2018
Next, we get a very strange backstage interview with Lashley. The company talks about parts of his WWE career, and then claim that he left to pursue a career in MMA. That’s strange because I could have sworn I’ve seen him wrestling for another promotion…
Anyway, the whole thing is very strange, and Lashley talks about his family for a little bit. This was a really odd segment, and I’m not sure they know what to do with Lashley at the moment.
Jinder Vs Chad Gable is up next. The two men basically have a re-run of last week’s match, just with Jinder picking up the win instead of Gable. Once again, Gable looked great here whereas Jinder was Jinder. I’m really hoping he doesn’t rise to the top of the card on Raw, his run on SmackDown was horrible. (Grade: C-)
Heath Slater and Rhyno are out for their weekly squash match next. This week, it’s the turn of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, the latter of which is making his in-ring return. Drew looks in great shape, and the duo make quick work of their opponents. The commentators sell them entering the tag division, so expect to see them with gold around their waste in the coming months, if that is the case.
Elias is out for his usual segment. He talks about how he was rudely interrupted at Backlash and then, of course, he is interrupted by Bobby Roode, which sets up a match between the pair. The two men get given a good ten minutes to put on a match, and while it is not terrible, the whole thing feels fairly flat. Roode is such a natural heel, and having him play such a straight babyface is really damaging him. He did pick up the win here, but I’m not really sure it does him any favours. (Grade: C)
Seth Rollins is out next. He talks about his match at Backlash and gets a ‘you deserve it’ chant. He talks about how he is going to be a fighting champion and announces an open challenge. He waits for a few seconds before the challenge is excepted by Mojo Rawley. Rawley comes down to the ring and says that this is now ‘Monday Night Rawley’ before accepting Rollins’ challenge.
The match gets underway and it’s a reasonably average encounter. Rollins keeps the crowd invested, and it’s nice to see he has now developed his own little finishing sequence. Rawley was his usual self here, bouncing around, full of energy, but not really doing all that much. Rollins picks up the win with the Curb Stomp (Grade: C) I hope this open challenge becomes a weekly thing, it has worked wonders for mid-card titles in the past, and Rollins is on fire right now.
Curt Axel and Bo Dallas are in the ring next, and it appears that they have finally dropped The Miztourage name. Their opponents are the tag team champions, Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy. Of course, this is basically a glorified squash match. I’d love to see Dallas teaming up with those two, as I feel he has so much more to give as a character. Axel is kind of at a loose end now, and I don’t really see what they can do with him. The tag champs picked up the easy win, with a new finishing move, which is basically a double Sister Abigail.
Main Event time, and it’s the second men’s Money in the Bank qualifying match of the night between Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, and Finn Balor. The three men fight into the crowd fairly early on, and Balor and Zayn team up to take out Roman, leaving him lying in the crowd. Balor and Zayn have some nice exchanges before Roman makes his inevitable comeback towards the end of the match. Reigns then begins to pick up some momentum but is stopped by Jinder Mahal, who pulls his leg, allowing Balor the chance to hit the coup-de-grace on Zayn for the victory. (Grade: C+) This was a fun main event, but please, please, don’t give us a feud between Roman Reigns and Jinder Mahal this summer.
Verdict: This was a strange edition of Raw in a lot of ways. Plenty happened, but it felt like nothing really progressed. The Money in the Bank stuff was fun but everything else felt like filler. The brand has a huge mid-card, and it is clearly struggling to find things to do for all of them.
Photo credits: WWE