Last week, WWE Raw followed up on the Payback pay-per-view event and several weeks of solid shows with one of the series’ best episodes of the year. There was solid in-ring action and forward momentum on the company’s major storylines. Suffice to say, the series returned this past Monday night with momentum on its side. However, it would unfortunately be squandered.
The driving force of the mini-creative renaissance Raw has gone through since Wrestlemania has been the main event angle between champion Roman Reigns and AJ Styles. The layered storyline has featured questions about the challenger’s motivations and also involved Reigns’ cousins, The Usos, and Styles’ former Bullet Club comrades Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Unfortunately, the story simply spun its wheels on Monday night. The group wrestled in a six-man tag match for the third consecutive show, ending with a face off between Reigns and Styles. While the in-ring action was solid, it felt like more of the same from last week’s Raw and Smackdown matches. The ending left the story exactly where it was going in, with the two unsure of each other going into their match at Extreme Rules.
WWE’s other major storyline over the last two weeks has been the burgeoning Intercontinental Championship scene. While it became obvious last week that The Miz would defend his championship against Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn in a fatal four way match at the upcoming pay-per-view, the company locked in the match tonight by having Zayn defeat Miz for a spot in the title tilt. The two had an outstanding — for television — match that was easily the best contest of the night. Owens also put his spot on the line in a match against Zack Ryder, with the former coming out victorious.
- WWE set up a main event of Chris Jericho versus Big Cass early in the show and hyped it throughout the night as a confrontation between the old guard and “new era,” only for it to be a bait-and-switch with the show ending on an attack on Jericho by Dean Ambrose. I almost always hate it when a wrestling company doesn’t deliver on an announced main event, and this was no exception.
- Speaking of the so-called “new era”, WWE was really pushing that buzz phrase throughout the night.
- The McMahon siblings storyline continues to drag on and on with little redeeming value.
- Paige vs Charlotte was an entertaining match that further cemented the storyline that the latter will not be able to successfully defend her championship against Natalya at Extreme Rules without her father’s help.
- The R-Truth/Goldust/Fandango/Tyler Breeze angle is somehow still getting TV time, which is mind-boggling to me.
- NXT wrestler Dana Brooke debuted on the main roster and reunited with her developmental tag partner Emma in an attack on Becky Lynch. It wouldn’t shock me in the least if Becky seeks out Sasha Banks to aide her in dispatching the two.
WWE had a golden opportunity to continue their upward momentum with the May 9 Raw. However the company dropped the ball, leaving their top angle spinning its wheels while the undercard (outside of a couple of exceptions) failed to deliver much in-rain or story wise.