Ratings are down, so that means Vince McMahon is out to open the show. Thankfully McMahon didn’t get too far into his promo when Roman Reign’s music hit & the ‘Big Dog’ (who was moved to Smackdown just a few, short weeks ago) was back on Raw.
Reigns immediately confronted the chairman, saying he was tired of the McMahon’s running the show & he only takes orders from the WWE universe.
Then all of a sudden, the Smackdown floodgates opened, and Daniel Bryan’s music hit for the first time since Wrestlemania. Bryan claimed he wanted to have an intellectual conversation with the chairman.
However, Kofi Kingston’s music would cut Bryan off, and the WWE Champion made a beeline to the ring. This now put three of Smackdown’s top stars in the middle of the ring on Monday Night Raw.
McMahon acted like this was all his idea and called his epiphany the “Wildcard Rule” which means three Smackdown stars can appear on Raw from time to time.
Reigns’ opponent from Wrestlemania then was the next superstar (and first Raw superstar) to appear. Drew McIntyre came to try and take control of the situation, calling Roman an “egomaniac” before McMahon made a Wrestlemania rematch.
But to top that, McMahon announced Kofi would defend his championship against Bryan on this night as well.
People seemed to be quick to bash this rule, as it essentially makes the Superstar Shakeup less impactful. But I am interested to see how this “Wildcard Rule” plays out over the coming weeks. They could have some fun with this rule & liven things up a bit with the uncertainty of several Superstars appearing on both shows.
The rest of Monday Night’s Raw events are below, ranked in the order of best to worst.
Firefly Funhouse shines once again:
Bray Wyatt and his companions were back for another episode of the Firefly Funhouse. The Rambling Rabbit was shredded to bits by Mercy the buzzard, all while Abbey watched on in silence.
Wyatt did not criticize Mercy for mauling Rambling Rabbit, instead of praising the buzzard for his handy work. Wyatt then walked toward the children sitting in on this episode, who all looked hypnotized.
Unlike most backstage acts, this is one that can remain backstage and away from the ring for quite some time. This has Wyatt’s fingerprints all over it & he is killing it with these segments. Maybe he should be the head writer for Raw moving forward?
This segment was again quite creepy, but I am still intrigued, and the Firefly funhouse continues to be the best thing going on Raw.
Reigns and McIntyre do battle yet again:
I was more into this match than the one that took place at Wrestlemania last month. These two had a true heavyweight bout in the middle of that ring and traded big shots.
McIntyre looked like that big-time star Vince McMahon envisioned when he brought the Scottish Psychopath up to the main roster. He is arguably one of the few NXT call-ups from recent memory that is actually working out.
After both McIntyre and Reigns gave each other their best shots, it was Roman hitting a spear. But before he could get the cover, Shane McMahon and Elias would charge the ring & beat up the ‘Big Dog’ before Miz came out to chase Shane off.
Reigns, who was dazed from the first beat down, was then hit with a devastating Claymore kick by McIntyre, with Elias watching on with a smile.
Shane, who looked to escape harm, made his way to a private limo waiting for him, only to be attacked by Miz. I am enjoying how they are melding the Shane McMahon feuds into one segment. It is solid storytelling and gives us a different look from how WWE often tells stories nowadays.
Rollins and Styles team up against some familiar faces:
The combination of Rollins & Styles worked well, and they started the match by getting one up on the pair of Corbin and Lashley. However, they each kept their attention on one another throughout the match.
After the commercial break, Corbin was in the middle of working Rollins over for a few minutes. Styles was able to get himself in this match, and just when it looked like AJ was getting the upper hand, Lashley hit a vicious spear through the ropes & sent Styles flying.
Later on, Rollins was able to get back into the mix and went on an offensive flurry, which got the crowd on their feet. However, just as Seth went for the win. Styles attempted to hit Corbin with the ‘Phenomenal Forearm’ but connected with Rollins. He then rolled out of the ring while Rollins ate the pin from Corbin.
Overall, this tag match was rather good for Raw, and it built on the Rollins/Styles championship storyline while continuing the apparent push of Corbin to try and legitimize him to the WWE Universe. Not really a Corbin fan, but this match was an overall success in my eyes.
Lacey Evans sends a message:
Evans quickly disposed of a local competitor in the ring, then with the four Raw Women who will compete in the MITB ladder match standing ringside, cut a rather stellar promo, warning them not to cash in the briefcase on her after she beats Becky Lynch in two weeks.
This, of course, would bring ‘The Man’ out, and these two picked up right where they left off last week. Lynch gained the upper hand and took it to the ‘Sassy Southern Belle’ who had to retreat up the ramp.
I am really liking how WWE is booking this feud so far. Evans is beginning to look like a legit player in the Women’s division, and her mic skills are above average. Lynch will undoubtedly have her hands full come May 19th.
Ucey Hot was on fire:
The Usos continued their feud with the Revival, and after last week’s shenanigans, the twin brothers took the tomfoolery to the next level. They introduced ‘Ucey Hot’ which was sweat activated, and shortly the Revival was scooting around the ring in severe discomfort.
I enjoy comedy segments such as this one. It adds a nice mix into the show, and the Revival and Usos are both pretty good actors. Especially coming right before the main event, it was a nice change of pace.
Samoa Joe sends a message to Rey Mysterio:
Fresh off of a win against the United States Champion last week, Rey Mysterio & his son Dominick were in a good mood backstage. Everything seemed all fine & dandy until Dominick walked off, but hot on his heels was Samoa Joe.
The visual of Joe seemingly stalking Dominick from behind gave this story a whole different twist. I like where they are going with this Joe/Mysterio storyline, and the addition of Rey’s son likely adds a family aspect into this feud similar to what we saw with Joe & AJ Styles last year.
WWE Championship match/Wrestlemania rematch:
Kofi and Bryan have great in-ring chemistry, and it showed once again in this title match here.
Though it wasn’t the quality of their Wrestlemania 35 match, it was one of the better TV matches Raw has produced in quite some time.
These two pulled off some rather impressive spots, and in the end, Kofi would successfully retain his title. Seeing these impromptu title matches on Raw was rather refreshing, and something I hope WWE takes advantage of from time-to-time.
After all, seeing Kofi come to Raw & defend his title and Rollins maybe even venture over to the blue brand would be a nice twist every now and then.
Sami Zayn cuts another passionate promo:
Zayn continued his emotional rants about the WWE universe. If you actually listen to what he’s saying, Zayn is not entirely in the wrong. Some of those within the WWE Universe has a tendency to be overly critical of the product we all see week to week. I 100 percent agree with Zayn here, as often times I see wrestling fans be highly critical of one thing after another.
Nonetheless, Zayn’s promo was cut short by none other than Braun Strowman, who came to quiet Sami. After chasing Zayn around the arena, Strowman corned Zayn and disposed of him in a dumpster, effectively “taking out the trash.”
It looks like we may have our first Sami Zayn storyline in the works here, I just don’t know if Strowman is the right man for this feud. But in a way, it makes sense, as he seems to be playing the role of ‘enforcer’ and will look to keep the “critic of the critics” on his toes.
By the way, Lucha House Party had a match in the midst of all of this, which was pretty much an afterthought.
AJ Styles takes a turn confronting the Boss:
Before his tag-team match, Styles told the Boss his “Wildcard Rule” came at a pretty convenient time. He hinted at Rollins getting his buddy Roman back on the show & said he may have to go over to Smackdown and grab a couple friends of his own.
This would bring the Universal Champion out to the ring. Rollins told Styles that last week was the only time Styles would get one-up on the ‘Beast Slayer’ and Raw was just fine without the ‘Phenomenal One’ showing up.
Rollins & Styles came face-to-face and looked to do battle right there in the ring. However, McMahon had another “epiphany” and said they would be forced to be tag partners against what turned out to be Bobby Lashley & Baron Corbin (yawn).
The Glorious Mustache makes another appearance:
Ricochet put his Money in the Bank spot on the line in a rematch against the artist formerly known as Bobby Roode. There was nothing overly spectacular about this matchup, and Roode spent the majority of the match working over Ricochet.
The highflying Ricochet would gain the late advantage and kept his Money in the Bank ladder match spot. It seemed random why this stipulation was added to this match, for Roode to not become victorious, but I guess they need to try and fill three hours.
Viking Raiders dominate the tag champs:
Well, the run of WWE making their various champions looking less than stellar continued on this night, as the Viking Raiders disposed of Hawkins and Ryder in a matter of minutes.
It seems inevitable that Hawkins and Ryder will be dropping the belts sometime soon, but will it be to the Viking Raiders or another team like the Usos?
Vince McMahon “came up” with this new Wild Card rule, which I don’t have an issue with, and am interested to see how this plays out over the coming weeks. It was a good piece of storytelling by WWE to have Vince change the rule when Lars Sullivan made an appearance.
By no means was this a memorable episode of Raw, but it was still entertaining for me nonetheless.
My rating: 3.25 out of 5.