Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 5/22: It’s Every Man For Himself As Team Red Goes Extreme During A Raw Featuring Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt

May 23, 2017

By Steven Flora


As Extreme Rules approaches, all five superstars competing in the fatal-5 way match, one week from Sunday, look to make a statement. With a vengeful hugger and a seething lunatic in attendance, Raw superstars turn up the volume as they prepare to take it to the extreme.


Joe & Wyatt make a statement

Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt def. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns


The big story coming out of Raw was the colossal main event featuring four out of the five superstars competing in the fatal-5 way match at Extreme Rules.


Rollins and Wyatt start things off, Rollins sends him to the floor and Reigns does not look impressed as Rollins works over Wyatt & Joe. Joe distracts Rollins, allowing Wyatt to shove him off the apron and send him to the barricade. Sling blade to Joe, and then kicks Wyatt back to the floor and then sends Joe out with him, Rollins hits the suicide dive to both. Rollins back in, heads up top, Joe cuts him off and follows him up alongside Wyatt. Rollins fights them off and hits the high cross onto both. Wyatt then cuts him off, but Reigns returns to make the save. It breaks down, Joe sidesteps Reigns and Reigns takes out Rollins with a missed superman punch. Wyatt pulled Reigns to the floor, Joe locks the clutch on Rollins as the ref calls for the bell. Winner: Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt.


Side Note: A great main event with the former Shield brothers getting a great reception from the Michigan crowd. Post match, General Manager Kurt Angle announced next week will be two matches. Match one will be Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Bray Wyatt, which should be a compelling contest between three talented individuals. Match two will pit Rollins against Reigns, which should completely steal the show and a match I’m looking forward too. As of now Raw is doing well in carrying stories over the next week. It doesn’t feel rushed and with time on their side, they can develop the variety of stories that are intertwined with the main event of Extreme Rules.


Balor Club gains momentum heading into Extreme Rules

Finn Balor def. Karl Anderson


I should note that before the match began Paul Heyman and Balor exchanged words pertaining to the Universal Champion. This segment was quite interesting, including the line Heyman delivered: “[Finn Balor] you are the most talented superstar in WWE today,” which was nice to see. Balor clearly doesn’t fear the beast and teases a possible matchup between the two in the near future.


Ex-Bullet Club members face off as Gallows distracts Balor, allowing Anderson to hit a clothesline and then choke out Balor in the ropes. Gallows got in a cheap shot, and Anderson covers for 2. Balor looks to fire up, only for Anderson to cut him off and ground him with the side headlock. The side back breaker follows as Anderson keeps Balor grounded. Anderson follows with uppercuts, but Balor hits an up kick and both men are down. Balor follows with clotheslines and dropkicks, the chops follow. Balor takes out Gallows with a PK. He cuts off Anderson, up top and Anderson avoids the double stomp and hits the spinebuster for 2. Balor then counters a powerbomb and hits the jumping double stomp; the tope wipes out Anderson & Gallows. Sling blade and the corner dropkick follow; the top rope double stomp finishes it. Winner: Finn Balor.


Side Note: I felt this match should’ve gone on longer, especially with the chemistry both have which would have made for great television. Balor gains momentum heading into the Raw before Extreme Rules, however, Gallows and Anderson (G&A) seem to have lost their momentum. Though many WWE fans have stated that Lesnar and Balor would seem TOO one sided, maybe the formation of the Balor Club with G&A will give the added backup needed to keep Lesnar at bay.


The Miz continues making life miserable for the Lunatic Fringe

Elias Samson def. Dean Ambrose (c) via DQ (Non-Title Match)


I was so excited to see this debut. Knowing how good Samson was in NXT, especially in his last match against Kassius Ohno, I was expecting a solid debut, which indeed delivered. Ambrose controlled early, but the Drifter stunned him off the rope and took control hitting a running knee strike. Post break, the Drifter took the heat and scored some near falls. Ambrose finally starts to fire back, and hits the neck breaker for the double down. Ambrose then connects with clotheslines, heads up top but jumps into a high knee strike from the Drifter, who covers for 2 as Ambrose counters with a crucifix. Ambrose hits the jawbreaker lariat and Miz hits the ring and attacks the Drifter to get Ambrose DQ’d. Ambrose then chases Miz away and looks to attack but the Drifter makes the save and hits a neck breaker to lay Ambrose out. Winner: Elias Samson.


Side Note: A great in-ring debut for Elias Samson. Having seen him live at NXT Takeover: London in 2015, he has this mysterious aura about him that catches the imagination of the WWE universe. Ambrose and Miz continue their feud, but it has been played out so much they need to take the title of Ambrose, so that he can alter his gimmick as it’s becoming noticeably stale.


Four sides of Steel

Choose the Stipulation Match: Matt Hardy def. Sheamus


The winner gets to pick the stipulation for the Extreme Rules tag title match. I like that instead of it being just another singles match between the team members to fill time. Jeff & Cesaro are at ringside. Sheamus looks to overpower Matt early, takes him to the ropes and follows with a shoulder block. Matt fights back, hitting a clothesline and sending Sheamus to the floor, he takes a powder and talks with Cesaro. Matt follows, but Sheamus clams him to the apron and then pulls him to the apron and lays in the 10 beats. Sheamus then shoulder blocks Matt off the apron and to the barricade. Jeff distracts Sheamus, allowing Matt to hit the tornado DDT for 2. Sheamus fights off the bulldog, but Matt hits the side effect for 2. Sheamus fights off the twist of fate and hits a knee strike for 2 as Matt gets the ropes. Matt avoids the brogue kick, slides to the floor and Jeff takes out Cesaro. Sheamus kicks Jeff down, allowing Matt to hit the twist of fate for the win.  Winner: Matt Hardy.


Post match, The Hardy Boyz declared the stipulation of their match with Shesaro to be contested inside a steel cage. Quite shockingly I predicted TLC which I’m glad they didn’t go with as it would have been expected by fans.


Side Note: Overall a great match with both superstars putting on a hellacious performance. I do feel that if Sheamus & Cesaro don’t win at Extreme Rules, they should crown new number one contenders for the next PPV as there are other tag teams that deserve a chance now.


Is Bayley extreme enough?

Alexa Bliss (c) def. Mickie James (Non-Title Match)


James makes her way out to a scary lack of reaction, which has been happening a lot of late. They work standing switches, with Bliss getting the ropes. They lock up, work to the corner and Bliss lays the boots to James. She celebrates, but James fires up with strikes, a series of kicks and then the neck beaker for 2. James then lays in cross face strikes, hits the running kick but Bliss counters the head scissors and drops James with a straight right; the DDT finishes it. 


Post match, Bliss sends a message to Bayley by hitting James in the back of the head with the Kendo stick. Bayley looks to make the save, gets the kendo and Bliss begs off and bails. Bayley couldn’t pull the trigger, which seems to be a big part of the story heading into their match, can she go extreme, can she play Bliss’ game and can she do what needs to be done to win the title back?


Side Note: A short match that never really got going. If anything it did nothing for Bliss in the long term and for James in the immediate term. The story as mentioned above is if Bayley can get extreme and take back her WWE Raw Women’s Championship.


Other notable moments

  • Kalisto took on Apollo Crews in quite a short and pointless matchup. Firstly Crews hit the delayed suplex, covering for 2. Crews then grounds Kalisto, working a front facelock, Kalisto fires back but runs into the dropkick and Crews covers for 2. Kalisto counters the Crews bomb into a cradle for 2. Titus yells at Crews, distracting him, and Kalisto then hits Salida del Sol for the win. Winner: Kalisto.

  • Austin Aries took on Tony Nese in a solid match. Neville is in the ring, hyping up Nese, hoping that he’ll destroy Aries prior to their PPV match. Neville distracts Aries, allowing Nese to attack. Aries cuts that off, hits the elbow off the ropes and covers for 2. Aries grounds Nese and starts to work submissions, getting in some prep for his rematch with Neville. Nese then escapes the last chancery, but Aries follows with a plancha to the floor. Back in and Neville distracts Aries again, and Nese attacks the knee. Aries counters a suplex, favours the knee and they trade strikes. Aries off the ropes, but Nese cuts him off with a jumping elbow. Nese looks for a suplex, but Aries escapes with a guillotine. Nese powers up, but Aries locks in the last chancery for the win. Winner: Austin Aries.

  • Cruiserweight action graced Monday Night Raw as Tozawa took on the Persian Prince Ariya Daivari. They trade strike back and forth, with Tozawa taking control and hitting the senton for 2. Daivari then fires up and hits a clothesline, and then lays the boots to him. They trade knees and kicks, Tozawa hits the RANA and German suplex. Tozawa up top and hits the big senton and that’s that.  Winner: Akira Tozawa.

  • Sasha Banks & Alicia Fox continue their feud this week as they face off in yet another short singles match (why?). The match really isn’t that interesting and somehow Noam Dar is involved in this feud, possibly because he hasn’t got anything going for him up in the cruiserweight division. Dar continually distracts Banks until she fails to capitalize with Banks hitting the double knees for the win. Winner: Sasha Banks.

  • Enzo got jumped from behind backstage with a worrying Cass demanding to know who did it. Rumors began surfing on social media that The Revival was backstage and they may have assaulted Enzo, leading to a feud between the two teams. Other reports suggest that Big Cass himself attacked Enzo. This would be no surprise seeing as though Cass looks like a star in the making and Enzo has been criticized regularly for his lack of in-ring skills. We’ll have to wait till next week to see what actually did happen to Enzo Amore.

  • Finally Goldust made an appearance; the classic shattered dreams production appearance that was prominent during the late 1990’s. This segment was well received by WWE universe over social media, as they demanded that Goldust be given one last run at a WWE title. Hopefully this new found resurgence will ignite a fire inside Goldust, to deliver some quality matches before he retires.                                                                                  


Overall Raw Rating: C


Things to look forward to next week

  • How will Finn Balor survive against the coalition of Joe & Wyatt?

  • What’s next for The Drifter?

  • Who will gain extra momentum heading into Extreme Rules?

  • What’s next for Elias Samson?

  • How will R-Truth react to the resurgence of Goldust?


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