Raw Review, 5/14

OPENING SEGMENT

Kurt cuts a McMahon-inspired, balls-in-a-jar-on-Stephanie’s-desk promo. They’re going all-in with the attempted Daniel Bryan storyline with management against Reigns, and it’s likely going to fail miserably. I really don’t understand a feud with Jinder Mahal, because the crowds mostly hate both of them, so if you REALLY want a match they will shit all over, look no further. If I had the ability to fully tune out the crowd I’d be able to enjoy the angle and the feud more because I am interested to see where they take the “management says no” storyline. It would have been a great turn if he had attacked Kurt.
Segment Rating (crowd reaction notwithstanding): Three Gold Medals

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INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: KEVIN OWENS VS. SETH ROLLINS

A match that I found to be pretty lacking based on my expectations for these two. I never really got into it, though the last few minutes were decently good. They often do a title change overseas, but I didn’t expect one here, Rollins can do too much for the IC title with the Universal Championship still being held hostage.

Match Rating: Four Gold Medals

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MITB QUALIFIER: NO WAY JOSE VS. BARON CORBIN VS. BOBBY ROODE

I swear for the five minutes I didn’t even realize it was a triple threat match. Jose spent so little time in the ring early on that I thought he was just out there to annoy Corbin. Then it became Corbin’s time to sell a punch outside the ring for 10 minutes, because no more than two guys wrestling at once in a three-man match. I honestly can’t figure out why WWE does triple threat match anymore or who is the booker for those matches, because the formula is more like a match where guys keep taking turns getting out of the ring until it’s time to break up a pin. The shots that don’t even knock a guy down in a singles match keep someone down on the outside for minutes at a time in these multi-person matches. They’re so bad they’ve become insulting, and this one was just awful.

Match Rating: No Gold Medals

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THE B-TEAM VS. BREEZANGO

Dallas and Axel have a snappy new name. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Fandango go like that in the ring. Still can’t believe he beat Jericho in his debut at mania. Not a great match, just something to get the B-Team a win. Breezango isn’t an important enough team to be hurt by a loss to these guys. The finisher looked weak as hell, but extra points for getting the limeys to stop singing and trying to put themselves over.

Match Rating: Two Gold Medals

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SASHA BANKS, NATALYA, & EMBER MOON VS. THE RIOTT SQUAD

This one didn’t get out to a great start as Sarah Logan seemed really out of sync with both Ember and Sasha. Really smart strategy by the Riott Squad, tagging in and out almost immediately so they can continue to double team Sasha in the corner. The timing seemed to be off in this match until Ruby and Liv got in there with Sasha. Natalya really steps up the action after the hot tag, she’s so damn good. Following a couple dives from Sasha and Ember, Natalya ends the best match of the night so far with a sharpshooter.

Match Rating: Five Gold Medals

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THE REVIVAL VS. DELETER OF WORLDS

It can be hard to judge a match when the crowd is more interested in trying to sing (and failing miseraby at it), but The Revival put on a pretty solid match with the tag team champs. Matt and Bray’s “Kiss of Deletion” finisher is awesome. These last couple matches are definitely better than the early ones.

Match Rating: Five Gold Medals

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SAMI ZAYN PROMO

He plays a great whiny bitch heel. It’s always pretty painfully bad whenever a heel does a segment making fun of the face’s family, so I’m not too hopeful for that being a good segment next week.

 

MITB QUALIFIER: ALEXA BLISS VS. MICKIE JAMES VS. BAYLEY

Why can the women have a quality triple threat match, but the men can’t? The obvious difference is that this one was booked more like a handicap match for much of the match, but it’s definitely a much better example of what a triple threat match should be. All three of them kept the action in the ring until the very end when Alexa pulled out an opportunistic win with a nasty DDT.

Match Rating: Six Gold Medals

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FINN BALOR & BRAUN STROWMAN VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER & DREW MCINTYRE

Strowman elevates the entertainment level of every match or segment he’s in just by being there. Telling Finn, “GET UP, YOU’RE FINE!” and both of them posing for the crowd show how he gets the little things about how to entertain the crowd. At least he got in before the 10-minute mark this time. That’s not the norm in his tag matches. Great job building the anticipation for Ziggler and McIntyre to GET THESE HANDS. Finn and Dolph really click in the ring, I’d like to see them have a singles match. I am loving that every Strowman match now must involve at least one running block on the outside. That serves them right for constantly putting that trophy out there for weeks after the Greatest Royal Rumble has passed.

Math Rating: Six Gold Medals

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A note about Rousey getting a title shot: I understand there’s a lot of strong opinions about it. I’ve come to accept this isn’t the slow build WWF/E we were used to back in the day. And sorry Ronda, but I don’t believe you when you say “this is my life now.” We’d probably see her wrestling every week and on house shows and she’d actually BE ON THE EUROPEAN TOUR if that was the case. So, I think it’s likely that they’re going to give her the Lesnar treatment where they maximize the dates they have with her. There’s not time to do a slow build, so they’re jumping at the opportunity to cash in on her mainstream appeal. It’s smart from a business standpoint, regardless of how hardcore fans feel about it. The biggest problem I have with it is that I love having Nia as champion. Other than that, I’m just strapping in for the ride and seeing where this goes, hoping to be entertained

 

MITB QUALIFER: ELIAS VS. BOBBY LASHLEY VS. KEVIN OWENS

I like Kevin Owens pulling heel moves to weasel his way into the match, but the aspect of I don’t like about this arc is how Kurt is refusing to stand up for himself to Stephanie. I hope that it’s leading to something rather than being an ongoing theme of his GM tenure. This is another well-booked triple threat match, having me hopeful that the god awful one earlier tonight is going to become further from the norm. They turn the “Bobby’s sisters” chants from the crowd into some good heel commentary from Graves. Elias attempting to perform a mid-match concert was gold. Awesomely done to get Owens into the ladder match with a ton of heat in quintessential heel fashion with help from Zayn.

Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals

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A show that I thought was going to be pretty terrible after the first hour but gradually got better and better and turned into a really good one overall.

Overall Show Rating: Six Gold Medals

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