Raw is 1,200: A Recap

As we’ve discussed before, I don’t do too well staying awake the night after a PPV to get all the way through Raw.  With Extreme Rules, I was up later than usual following the event just reveling in the awesomeness that was the return of Seth Rollins to deliver the Pedigree to Roman Reigns and stand tall with the title he never lost to close out an already damned solid main event match (all smark complaints aside).

Without any further adieu, here is your Raw recap.


Episode 1,200 comes to you from Baltimore, Maryland.  That’s right, Monday Night Raw has been going for 1,200 straight Mondays.  At 52 weeks a year, that’s just over 23 years.  This show has been going since 1993.

Monday, May 23, 2016 was all about starting the four week setup for Money in the Bank, presented live from Las Vegas where our very own Jeremy and Michele will be in attendance.  This episode started incredibly strong, hit the usual lull in the middle, then closed out with a great main event match.

The Man, The Guy, The Money

67351340c6e4944e26ffc078280047f3_crop_northAs you may have expected coming off Extreme Rules, Seth Rollins opened the show to an amazing pop, which he, in his heelish awesomeness, managed to turn into a roaring chorus of boos before Roman’s music hit, at which point the boos completely changed direction and Rollins was suddenly the hero again.  Make all the smark claims you need to make at this point, about how they need to just make Roman heel and let Rollins be the good guy, but that won’t completely work because above all else, Seth Rollins is the bad guy and he plays the character like a champion.

There was a lot of good here, Roman marches to the ring and is ready for another “big fight” but as he gets in the ring, Seth Rollins rolls out.  He’s been back 15 minutes and he’s already right where he left off, with one big difference, “the title he never lost.”  If you haven’t watched Raw yet, just know you’re going to hear that exact damn phrase probably 34 times.  That line is going to run into the ground faster than “bad guy, good guy, THE guy.”

Shane O’Mac to the rescue.  Because Shane understands a money match, no sense booking it on the show that he’s in control of.  He just goes ahead and schedules it for Money in the Bank, which I’m fine with, as long as we don’t have to see them in 7 randomly assigned tag team matches between now and MITB like we had to see with Roman and AJ.

Here’s hoping, but in any event, one champion is back, and THE CHAMP IS 6 DAYS AWAY.


Qualifying for the Big Show

No, this isn’t about a group of guys attempting to qualify to have a match against Paul Wight.  Five of the qualifying matches to get individual guys into the Money in the Bank ladder match took place last night, and the matches were great, even if somewhat expected outcomes from most of them.

The Miz vs Cesaro:  Great match, again, from these two guys.  Cesaro gets the win because Miz undoubtedly has to defend his belt at MITB.  Either way, I’ve already got my favorite dog in the MITB fight.  Miz comes off the top rope and eats a SUPER UPPERCUT.  CESARO

Dolph Ziggler vs Dean Ambrose:  I really thought this one was going to go Ziggler, but as soon as JBL decided to start pointing out that if Ambrose had the briefcase, the entirety of The Shield could potentially be involved in the main event.  Way to telegraph the ending of that one.  Is it just me or is Ambrose wearing on anybody else?  Just me?  That’s fine.  I’m bored, and his new cocky attitude isn’t working for me.  You can’t be the scrappy dog in the fight and be that cocky.  Ambrose

Sheamus vs Sami Zayn:  Sheamus cut a weird promo in the back, then got beat in a pretty good match against Sami Zayn.  Then he lost his shit.  Apollo Crews was in the back cutting a promo and Sheamus came out of nowhere and just mauled him.  It makes sense with Sami being a fan favorite right now and Sheamus likely needing to be used sparingly so he can do press circuits for TMNT2, but the biggest flaw here, even if they’re setting up for a Sheamus vs Apollo Crews Kick-Off Show Parade, was that when Apollo Crews came out for the next match, it was like nothing had happened.  JBL and Michael Cole were trying to talk up the fact that he’d been beaten up in the back by Sheamus, but Apollo didn’t even try to show signs of having already taken a beating….  Sami Zayn

Apollo Crews vs Chris Jericho:  Jericho was selling the shit out of the thumb tack damage he took Sunday night.  He was bandaged like his Humvee had been hit by an IED and he’d taken a shitload of shrapnel.  Jericho is still putting on pretty great matches (when he can, it’s not like every match is going to be a winner and the randomness of the Asylum Match is proof of that), and Apollo is a super athletic babyface who needs to work on his promo game and he’ll work his way up the card.  In the end, Codebreaker and Jericho pinned that stupid idiot.  Jericho

AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens:  This match was as good as you’d imagine it was.  Back and forth, quality Kevin Owens banter, at one point he started calling Michael Cole “Mike” which Cole didn’t seem to appreciate.  In the end, Styles took the loss for reasons I’ll get in to in a moment, and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are bound to battle forever, so they both had to go to Money in the Bank so they can repeat Extreme Rules and distract each other from the prize while one of the other guys (Cesaro) wins.


I don’t know what I liked more in that moment, the straight up denial and that look of WTF on Rollins’ face, or Kate’s follow up.  (If you don’t follow Kate, her takes during Raw are fire).



Following his concussion, or “strong sneeze” as he referred to it, the Smacktalker Skywalker was out to remind us all that The Dudley Boyz ain’t nothin’ but a couple of hatas.  And that if he had a dime for every time he got knocked down and didn’t get back up he’d have ZERO DIMES!  HOW YOU DOIN?

Big Cass beat Bubba Ray Dudley in a match that didn’t matter much at all.  But Enzo was back with a microphone in his hand, so that is why this gets it’s own section in the recap.

All the Rest:

New Days Celebrates Raw:  Raw was 1,200 yesterday.  New Day, in an attempt to do something that gets over because they’ve had some big whiffs lately, brought out a birthday cake and made jokes about how cakes don’t fare well in the ring, so Big E gets out of the ring and pulls the cake from harms way, so of course someone is going to jump Xavier and Kofi, and for some reason it’s the Social Outcasts.  Of course, 3 on 3 match coming back from commercial, and as would be expected, the Social Outcasts eat a loss, and Heath Slater gets the cake smashed across his face.  Big E makes everything more fun, but they need to find a way to freshen up The New Day.

Breaking up is hard to do:  So AJ, just prior to his qualifying match, worked his WCW-esque promo awesomeness, touted how great a performer Roman is, and then said that had it not been for The Club and The Usos, he’d be champion.  This, as would be expected, didn’t sit well with Anderson and Gallows, who came out and disbanded The Club and ended their friendship with AJ.  Sad Emoji.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that you can just expect AJ to find a friend and go into a Tag Team Match against his former friends at MITB, that’s why he had to lose to KO.

There was no Flair in this segment:  Remember that moment when Shawn Michaels hug pinned Ric Flair in the retirement match as the two cried?  Remember how painful watching Ric Flair cry was?  Now imagine his obnoxious ass daughter spent 15 minutes in the ring, in front of the entire Universe, berating the old man for never being around and how she only saw him on TV and now he’s trying to stand in the glow of her spotlight.  I got this text message during the Ric-Charlotte segment:

“When Ric Flair cries, and angel descends into hell.”

That’s what it felt like.  This whole segment just made me hate Charlotte even worse, and while I get it, they need to find a way to get her away from Ric, they didn’t have to go this route, especially considering he didn’t do anything wrong.  Had he cost her the belt or something, maybe, but this was just forced and stupid and uncomfortable.  And worse, 15 minutes of TV time and nobody came out to make a challenge for MITB or just slap the shit out of her.

Best I can remember, because I was half asleep, that’s the show.  The matches were incredibly solid, even that lame ass New Day vs Social Outcasts 3 on 3 was good.

I’m going to call this a four star Raw out of five, but I just Raw on a much softer scale than I judge PPVs so take that as you will.  Lots of good contests here, and what I generally prefer on the longer broadcast is to have a lot of good matches and a lot less unnecessary talking and bullshit, so this one delivered.