WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 29
MAY 30, 2017
The May 29 episode of Raw had one goal in mind: hype the ever-loving hell out of Extreme Rules, just six days away from the Baltimore event.Despite a star-studded lineup that featured two enormous main events of Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Bray Wyatt in a Triple Threat match and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, the show failed to generate the necessary excitement and anticipation pay-per-views demand.
Another run-of-the-mill episode featured the aforementioned main events, another convoluted tag match set up by an in-ring promo, a rushed cruiserweight match, an unnecessary showdown between Kalisto and Titus O’Neil and a rather painful modern take on the classic Raw angle This Is Your Life.
The overall disappointing nature of the show notwithstanding, there were individual segments and matches that were effective in at least delivering entertaining television and solid in-ring work.
Just days from an important, potentially brand-altering show, relive the events from Raw and find out how each match and segment graded out and why.
The Miz and Maryse Kick Off Raw
1 OF 9
Miz TV kicked off this week’s show, the namesake of the talk show and wife Maryse making their way to the squared circle to a chorus of boos.
The Miz went over the terms of Sunday’s Intercontinental Championship match against Dean Ambrose and reminded fans that if The Lunatic Fringe gets himself disqualified, he will lose his title.
Miz introduced his guests, Sheamus and Cesaro, ahead of their Steel Cage match for the Raw Tag Team Championships against The Hardy Boyz.
Sheamus criticized fans for turning their backs on Cesaro when Matt and Jeff Hardy returned. Miz compared the No. 1 contenders to himself, the three of them victimized by fans.
Ambrose cut off a lengthy, self-centered rant by Miz, to the delight of the audience. He called all three of the heels “buttheads” (yes, buttheads) before a six-man tag team match pitting Ambrose and The Hardy Boyz against The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro was coincidentally set up.
The six Superstars brawled before the babyfaces stood tall heading into the break.
A week after the Raw writing team kicked off a show with a promo segment that ultimately descended into a brawl that resulted in a tag team match being booked for the show, it literally did the same thing this week with different players but the same, tired result.
There is a reason last week’s Raw ratings was in the toilet, and that is the stale, formulaic format of the show.
No matter how great Miz is on the microphone, nothing he says makes up for the almost insulting manner in which management treats its audience by relying on the same exact opening to the show on what feels like a weekly basis.
Dean Ambrose and The Hardy Boyz vs. The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro
2 OF 9
The impromptu tag team match you did not need to be Nostradamus to know was coming was underway as Raw returned from the commercial timeout.
The heels isolated Matt Hardy until a hot tag to Ambrose turned the tide in the favor of the babyfaces. A leaping knee to the face knocked the IC champion to the arena floor heading into another break, allowing Sheamus and company to regain control.
The villains wore down Ambrose, even using double-team maneuvers to try to put down the champion to no avail.
The action broke down late, Ambrose diving through the ropes and wiping out Sheamus at ringside.
Back inside the squared circle, Jeff Hardy pinned Miz off a Swanton Bomb and the babyfaces picked up the victory.
The Hardy Boyz and Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro.
This was a match.
To expand upon that, it is a match that fans have witnessed a million times between Superstars thrown together to promote individual matches on an upcoming pay-per-view card.
The Hardy Boyz won again, ensuring they continue getting over on Sheamus and Cesaro at every possible turn. Miz eating the pin was interesting considering he is the closest thing to a legitimately over heel not named Braun Strowman the Raw brand currently has.
It was a fine match but nothing memorable beyond its conclusion, nor did it effectively build heat or anticipation for Sunday’s midcard title bouts.
Elias Samson vs. Zac Evans
3 OF 9
“The Drifter” Elias Samson serenaded the audience with a haunting rendition of the same song he sings every week.
From there he obliterated the young, scrawny Zac Evans, tossing him around the ring and slamming him chest-first into the ring apron.
Samson ultimately finished Evans off with the Roll of the Dice inverted neckbreaker.
Elias Samson defeated Zac Evans.
Unlike his squash matches in NXT, which often relied too heavily on unnecessary rest holds right in the middle of the action, this was a vicious and violent assault that mercifully ended with Samson’s neckbreaker finisher.
Rather than a guitar-playing jobber, he looked like a dangerous entity whose presence will be felt in the coming weeks and months, to the dismay of a Raw roster unready for the pain, punishment and ruthless aggression he will bring.
A troubled artist, a disturbed wanderer, he is hitting the right notes thus far in his main roster run.
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe
4 OF 9
The first of two advertised main events took to the squared circle just before the top of the hour as Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt squared off in a Triple Threat match.
The early portion of the match saw Balor pair off with Wyatt and gain the upper hand thanks to a flurry of kicks. Joe slid into the ring to break up the hold as the match adopted the formulaic “one man on the outside, two in the ring” setup.
In one of the more tired tropes of Triple Threat matches, the Superstars engaged in the Tower of Doom spot that ended with Wyatt powerbombing Joe into a superplex of Balor.
The leader of Balor Club delivered a tope that laid out the heels at ringside as the show headed to commercial.
Wyatt and Joe beat down Balor, wearing the smaller and more ferocious competitor down with their considerable size advantage.
With Joe out on the arena floor, Balor created separation with a Pele Kick. He battled back into the match, firing off some offense until Joe exploded back into the match and re-established dominance.
Balor unloaded with a series of dropkicks at ringside as he found his second, third or fourth wind. A uranage suplex halted his comeback.
Joe, distracted by Wyatt’s theatricality, ran right into Sister Abigail. Balor answered with Sling Blade and the corner dropkick before following up with the Coup de Grace. Joe, ever the opportunist, tossed Balor to the floor and scored the pinfall victory.
Samoa Joe defeated Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor.
While the bout followed the formula of a typical Triple Threat match, the right man went over and the action was strong enough to overcome its flaws.
Joe was in need of a signature win, and on the heels of last week’s tag team victory, he is finally on somewhat of a roll as Extreme Rules approaches. Even if it was cheap, it establishes him as an alert, aware and opportunistic wrestler who will not stop until his arm is raised in victory.
The only babyface in the match, Balor shined, fighting from underneath and finding himself in the position to score the win late.
The action was solid, if somewhat methodical, and the match was a nice appetizer for Sunday’s main event, which figures to be more wild and chaotic than Monday’s bout.
Rich Swann (with Sasha Banks) vs. Noam Dar (with Alicia Fox)
5 OF 9
Just days before a huge mixed tag team match that will pit Rich Swann and Sasha Banks against Noam Dar and Alicia Fox, Swann and Dar squared off in singles competition.
Dar attacked before the bell and immediately worked over the left arm of the former cruiserweight champion.
Swann fought his way back into the match, firing off a series or strikes utilizing only his healthy right arm. A flipping leg drop to the back of the head earned him a count of two. At ringside, Banks cut off an interfering Fox, allowing Swann to deliver a Phoenix Splash for the win.
Rich Swann defeated Noam Dar.
Dar’s arm work was solid and Swann sold his arm spectacularly during his comeback. Banks and Fox’s interaction at ringside was a nice sample of Sunday’s match, and the finish, Swann’s phenomenal Phoenix Splash, was a nice exclamation point on the segment.
Unfortunately, the match was more rushed than it should have been. As usual, the cruiserweights are cut short for time, forcing them to speed through spots without the chance to let them breathe.
That is part of the issue facing the division and its inability to get completely over with the audience.
A few more minutes and the match would have been performed at a steadier pace, which likely would have led to a better, tighter match.
Kalisto vs. Titus O’Neil
6 OF 9
Former United States champion Kalisto attempted to make it 2-0 against The Titus Brand as he squared off with Titus O’Neil this week.
The masked luchador took the fight to O’Neil from the opening bell.
A wheelbarrow roll-up attempt was countered by the former Florida Gator, who sat down on his opponent and grabbed a handful of tights for the win.
After the match, Apollo Crews reluctantly joined the victor in the center of the ring for a selfie.
Titus O’Neil defeated Kalisto.
There was no reason for this match to exist on this show.
Sure, O’Neil gets to brag to Crews about his victory while slowly converting his client to the dark side of cheating and chicanery, but it was so rushed that its impact was minimal. There is a reason these D-level stories never work, and the lack of quality television time given to them and the Superstars involved typically are at the top of the list.
This Is Your Life, Bayley
7 OF 9
Six days before a Kendo Stick on a Pole match in which she will defend the Raw Women’s Championship, Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring to address Bayley and present a modern take on This Is Your Life.
Bliss poked fun at a few Bayley artifacts, including a sportsmanship trophy and her high school yearbook. From there, she introduced the WWE Universe to Bayley’s fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Flapper, who told a story of Bayley attending school with her father.
Why? Because she could not be away from her dad for too long.
Next up was Bayley’s childhood friend, Tracy. She spoke of some teenage drama before attention turned to Bayley’s ex-boyfriend, Phil Johnson. The crowd became restless as the male actor told the story of Bayley’s father interrupting their first date.
“This is hard to watch,” Booker T said on commentary, echoing the sentiment of the audience.
Bayley interrupted and hit the ring. She withstood a few stomps before taking it to the women’s champion. Bliss used that stunning, hard right hand to catch Bayley off guard. Bayley fought back and stood tall before motioning to the kendo stick hanging from the pole.
Bliss pulled her Extreme Rules opponent from the ropes and grabbed her own kendo stick from under a table set up in the center of the ring. She blasted Bayley with another vicious shot before standing tall, the title in her grasp as the segment came to an end.
The segment died a slow, painful death. It was too long and featured wooden performances from the actors hired to play the roles of the teacher, friend and boyfriend. This despite another fantastic performance by Bliss, who came across as confident and natural on the microphone as she interacted with the woefully unprepared people around her.
Even the kendo stick shot felt anticlimactic after weeks of the same, repetitive booking.
Bliss and Bayley will likely deliver come Sunday’s pay-per-view spectacular, but they were done no favors by WWE Creative, which fumbled the ball mightily Monday night.
Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher vs. Neville and TJP
8 OF 9
The cruiserweight rivalry once considered one of Raw’s better programs continued to limp toward Sunday’s submission match for the Cruiserweight Championship as Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher battle Neville and TJP.
The heels isolated Gallagher and worked him over coming out of the break. Neville dug his shin into the face and throat of Gentleman Jack while taunting Aries, arrogant in his assault of his smaller opponent.
TJP delivered a tope con hilo that continued the heels’ control of the bout. The winner of the Cruiserweight Classic wore Gallagher down with an armbar that worked his shoulder, but the Brit blasted him with a headbutt and made the hot tag to Aries.
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived exploded into the match and almost instantly scored a near-fall.
Neville missed a twisting splash from the middle rope, and Aries responded by tapping the cruiserweight champion out to his Last Chancery finisher for the victory.
Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher defeated Neville and TJP.
The cruiserweight tag team match did as it intended in that it put Aries and Neville on opposite sides ahead of their submission match this Sunday and ended with the No. 1 contender proving her could tap out Neville to his signature submission hold.
It was wise booking that now creates doubt about Neville’s ability to retain his title one more time against his toughest challenger.
TJP continues to impress under his heel persona, and his story, including what simply must culminate in a match with Neville, should make for one of the more entertaining elements of Raw in the weeks and months to come.
That is, as long as the writing staff does not abandon that story as part of its continued mishandling of the cruiserweight division.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
9 OF 9
Former Shield mates and WWE champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins headlined Monday’s show.
After some early stalemates, Reigns caught Rollins with a nasty right hand and followed up with the Drive-By, which sent Rollins ribs-first into the steel post. Rollins shook off the pain to catch Reigns with a dive and seize control ahead of the commercial timeout.
Reigns worked his former tag team partner’s ribs and midsection, showing an in-ring arrogance not typically associated with The Big Dog.
Rollins fought back, delivering a dive to the arena floor that rendered Reigns vulnerable. Rollins launched himself off the ropes and right into the Superman Punch, which only scored Reigns a count of two.
Rollins recovered and countered the Spear into a roll-up for two, then blasted Reigns with a kick to the face. The Kingslayer delivered a corner powerbomb, but Reigns bounced right out of the corner with a second Superman Punch.
Back in control, Rollins delivered a frog splash, but the rib injury that plagued him throughout the match led to a brief hesitation that may have cost him the victory.
Late, Rollins tried for the Phoenix Splash, but Reigns rolled out of the way. Reigns caught Rollins with the Spear to score the win.
Roman Reigns defeated Seth Rollins.
Reigns’ victory capped off a pay-per-view quality match that electrified fans for the first time since the Triple Threat match earlier in the show.
The chemistry between the two was responsible for a strong match that saw each man take control, get their stuff in and convince fans they might actually win before Reigns put an end to Rollins’ chances with the Spear.
The only complaint was the lack of Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt. A show-closing brawl might have put over the Extreme Rules main event on a night when the pay-per-view was not nearly hyped enough. At the same time, that would have been predictable and formulaic, something this writer has accused Raw of being far too often in recent months.
Reigns winning and positioning himself as the clear favorite to win creates underdogs of his four opponents, and should one of them win, the reaction will be thunderous.
If nothing else, this created a genuine want for more Reigns vs. Rollins sometime in the near future.
This weeks RAW was a bit stale… they did matches that we’ve all seen before a million times… segments that just plain sucked… and matches that were good wrestling wise but lacked a point, if you will.
I hope Extreme Rules turns out to be a good PPV though! With a 5-Man main event for the No.1 Contender to be decided, it should make for an epic PPV. But only time will tell…