Monday Night Raw
Date: May 23, 2022
Location: Ford Center, Evansville, Indiana
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We’re in a bit of a different era these days, as we now have unified Tag Team Champions, plus the lack of Sasha Banks and Naomi. I know WWE got their chance to complain about Banks and Naomi last week, but why do it once when you can do it again? Other than that, we might actually get something new set for the pay per view next weekend. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the Usos beating RKBro to win the Raw Tag Team Titles. The Bloodline wrecked RKBro after the match.
Here is Riddle for a chat, because that’s how long a post match beatdown lasts for these days. Riddle talks about how things have been hard for Randy Orton in the last few years. His back was messed up before the unification match and he could barely walk. Riddle isn’t happy with “that tribal piece of trash” Roman Reigns and he wants revenge on all of the Bloodline. Vengeance is sworn and he knows that Orton is watching at home. The RKBro chants take us to a break. Serious Riddle is different and while he wasn’t the most natural, I bought it.
Riddle/Street Profits vs. Sami Zayn/Usos
The Usos get in a quick promo about how great they are, plus a special entrance, announcing them as FROM THE BLOODLINE. The brawl is on at the stage and we take a break before the bell. Back with the opening bell, giving us a cliffhanger time of about 2:53. Sami backs away from Dawkins to start as Riddle and Ford trade places on the apron for some unclear reason.
Dawkins takes him into the corner and hands it off to Riddle, with Zayn going after the bad ribs. Riddle fights up and hands it off to Ford for some house cleaning, only to have him get sent outside. A whip into the steps leaves Ford down and we take a break. Back with Ford still in trouble as Riddle’s ribs are dropped onto the barricade by the Usos. Ford fights up and brings in Riddle, which might not be the smartest tagging choice. Everything breaks down and Ford hits a flip dive onto the Usos. Riddle hits Zayn with the hanging DDT as the Usos walk off. The RKO finishes Zayn at 12:38.
Rating: C. This was about making Riddle look like a serious threat and they did it work enough. He had the bad ribs but survived and won here, as he had Zayn beaten before the Usos left. Riddle as the next challenger to Roman Reigns makes sense, though I’m still not sure why I should believe he has an actual chance at winning.
We look back at Bobby Lashley beating Omos in a cage last week, almost by accident.
Here is Bobby Lashley for the Almighty Challenge to MVP and Omos, the latter of whom he is facing at Hell In A Cell. Cue MVP and Omos, who don’t think much of Lashley. Here’s the challenge: a match tonight, with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for the pay per view match. Lashley wants MVP tonight and after a little goading, gets MVP to agree. MVP and Omos come to the ring but then leave without doing anything.
Crown Jewel is back on November 5.
We look back at Asuka becoming the new #1 contender last week.
Dana Brooke wants Carmella but runs into Becky Lynch (in an….odd shirt). After an exchange of cattiness, Lynch says she wants Asuka. That’s cool with Adam Pearce, who makes a rematch for tonight. If Becky wins, it’s a triple threat match at Hell In A Cell.
Here is the Judgment Day for a chat. Damian Priest talks about how they had an open call for new members last week but now those people need to help themselves. Rhea Ripley rants about how she doesn’t like Liv Morgan before Edge talks about how the team is power. Edge says everyone is a sheeple and afraid to get everything you can out of life. Now the question is who joins the team next. Maybe it’s Tommaso (yes Tommaso) Ciampa, Corey Graves or Drew McIntyre (Edge: “Surprised you with that one didn’t I?”). Or maybe AJ Styles, who can learn to call him Uncle Edge.
Liv Morgan/AJ Styles vs. Rhea Ripley/Damian Priest
Priest works on Style’s arm to start but Styles is back up with the tag off to Morgan to clean elbow Ripley in the corner. Ripley pulls her out of the air and tries a suplex, which is reversed into a Backstabber. That’s enough to send Ripley outside and Morgan hits a dive. A heck of a knee from Styles drops Priest on the floor but Ripley runs Morgan over back inside. It’s back to the men with Priest sending Styles into the corner. That’s fine with Styles, who knocks him to the floor but glared at by Ripley.
We take a break and come back with Morgan dropkicking Ripley, setting up a springboard spinning Codebreaker for two, as Edge puts the boot on the rope. Styles decks Edge but Priest makes the save. That leaves Liv to try Oblivion but Edge holds Ripley back, allowing her to stack Liv up for the pin at 10:31.
Rating: C. It isn’t a good sign that Judgment Day is only really interesting when they are adding someone new or not wrestling/talking. They have a great look and presence, but the “we’re better than you and you’re all stupid” isn’t exactly inspired stuff. Maybe it works better once they get beyond the AJ feud, though it isn’t grabbing me so far.
Post match the big beatdown is on, with Styles and Liv being left laying.
Miz says he doesn’t trust anyone with a neck tattoo and Cody Rhodes’ ego is out of control. He has more pyro than the 4th of July and it is time to take him down a peg.
Here is Jerry Lawler for the King’s Court. He hypes up Veer Mahaan as a monster and brings him out to ask some questions. Mahaan doesn’t have anything to say, but Lawler asks if that is because of what the “Dominiks” did to him last week. Lawler asks if it’s because Mahaan is so hairy that when he goes outside to walk his dog, people pet him instead. Mahaan grabs the mic and says this isn’t about being funny. Violence is threatened but the Mysterios run in for the save. They knock Mahaan to the floor where he yells at them a lot.
Alexa Bliss is glad to be back and laughs at Sonya Deville’s recent issues. Maybe Deville should try some therapy. As of tonight, she gets to beat up Nikki Ash, who dressed up like a super hero while Bliss talks to a doll. Bliss: “It sounds weird when I say it.”
Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Ash
Doudrop is here with Nikki Ash. Bliss takes her down to start and sends Ash outside so posing can ensue. Back in and Ash gets in a shot of her own to set up a chinlock, which is broken up rather quickly. A running Blockbuster gives Bliss two but Ash catches her on top. That is broken up and Twisted Bliss finishes Ash at 2:58.
Seth Rollins is asked about his issues with Cody Rhodes and how they escalated this far. Rollins talks about fans cheering for him every week and singing his song but now all he hears are CODY chants. Now there is even a countdown clock for Cody. WHERE DOES IT STOP??? The countdown is on for Rollins as well, and it’s ticking down.
Video on Asuka.
Asuka says Becky Lynch wasn’t ready for Asuka last week and mocks her crying. Tonight, she’ll beat Becky again and turn her into the Big Time Baby.
Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz
Miz grabs a headlock to start but Cody is right back up with an early rollup. A dropkick puts Miz on the floor but he blocks a dive with a shot to the face. The threat of the Figure Four is broken up and Cody hits some running knees to the ribs. Miz kicks him off the apron though and we take a break. Back with Cody hitting a powerslam and the Cody Cutter, setting up the Figure Four. Miz gets out so Cody goes up, only to get shoved off the top by Seth Rollins for the DQ at 8:52.
Rating: C. They might as well have put up a big sign to Rollins interfering and that is more or less what Rollins promised before the match. It’s a good enough match, but at the same time, you can’t have Cody pin Miz? Maybe that happens next week or the week after, but there is something a little strange about Cody not being able to get a pin here.
Post match Rollins sends Cody knees first into the steps and then steals a weightlifting belt from the fan Cody handed it to. That means a heck of a whip to the back and Rhodes is left laying. With Rollins gone, Cody gets up and limps to the back, making sure to hand the belt back to the fan on the way.
Ezekiel vs. Chad Gable
Kevin Owens and Otis are here too. Gable takes him to the mat to start as Owens shouts about barbecue sauce. Ezekiel comes back up with the chops and sends Gable into the corner. After Gable escapes an electric chair, Otis gets in a chop block and Gables goes after the knee. There’s a dragon screw legwhip and Gable gets to pose. Gable takes him down again but the moonsault hits raised boots. Ezekiel gets a kick out of the corner but Otis offers another trip. That’s enough for an ejection so Owens tries to come in as well, only to get ejected too. Distraction, rollup, Ezekiel wins, 4:22.
Rating: D. This is the kind of match that can get rather annoying because you could see almost every step they were going to take from the second the match started. They then did exactly what you would have expected, but even then the match felt a bit clunky. It wasn’t a disaster or the worst match of the year, but it was a boring wait to get to the ending, which didn’t look great either.
Post match Ezekiel bails into the crowd but Owens says cut the music. All he cares about is beating the heck out of Ezekiel, Elias, Giuseppe, or whatever he calls himself. The challenge is on for Hell in a Cell with Ezekiel agreeing.
We look at Seth Rollins taking Cody Rhodes out not that long ago.
Cody Rhodes gets out of the trainer’s room and says this isn’t just Rollins’ second chance, but his shot at going 0-3 against the American Nightmare. Rhodes will be waiting in the Cell. Good fire from Cody here.
Bobby Lashley vs. MVP
The winner gets to pick the stipulations for Omos, at ringside, vs. Lashley at Hell in a Cell. MVP bails to the floor to start and then hides in the corner as well. The third stalling is on the floor again, with Lashley going after him. Omos gets in a cheap shot this time, and now MVP is fine enough to hit the running boot in the corner. Lashley is right back up and posts MVP but another Omos distraction means Lashley can’t beat the count at 3:06.
Rating: D+. This was a good example of a smoke and mirrors match, as MVP wasn’t exactly doing much here. Maybe his knee isn’t better or maybe they were trying to make it feel one sided, but they were keeping it simple here. They did a good enough job of setting up the pay per view match, assuming you can accept that there is any reason for Lashley vs. Omos to be happening again.
Post match Lashley grabs the Hurt Lock on MVP for about five seconds.
Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
Bianca Belair is at ringside and if Becky wins, the Women’s Title match at Hell in a Cell is a triple threat. Corey Graves seems to get annoyed at Mike Rome for some reason during the entrances and it’s Asuka driving her into the corner to start. The threat of the armbar sends Lynch outside but the sliding knee misses. Lynch sends her hard into the post and we take an early break.
Back with Asuka being knocked off the apron but managing to get back inside. A shot in the corner staggers Asuka but she is is back with a German suplex for two. Becky goes up but dives into a Codebreaker, setting up the cross armbreaker. That sends Becky to the rope but Asuka superplexes her down for two.
The running hip attack in the rope misses so Becky cranks on the arm, earning herself a dragon screw legwhip. Now it’s the hip attack sending Lynch to the floor, where Asuka kicks Belair by mistake. Becky takes her down and slides in, with Asuka beating the count. That’s fine with Becky, who grabs a rollup for the pin at 10:52.
Rating: C. There’s your 50/50 booking, as Asuka and Becky now both go in to face Belair with a loss to the other. I don’t know how that is supposed to make me believe either has a real chance of winning the title but they have done dumber things. This is where the countout should have taken place, though I can accept not wanting to do two of them (plus a DQ) on the same show.
Overall Rating: C-. This wasn’t a very strong show and a lot of that is due to it feeling like they are dragging the Wrestlemania stories out one more time. AJ vs. Edge, Belair vs. Lynch, Lashley vs. Omos and probably more are all going to be stretched out to a third month, even if they weren’t that interesting at the second. Things should change a bit once they get towards Money in the Bank, but that doesn’t exactly give me hope for next week’s show.
Riddle/Street Profits b. Sami Zayn/Usos – RKO to Zayn
Rhea Ripley/Damian Priest b. AJ Styles/Liv Morgan – Rollup to Morgan
Cody Rhodes b. Miz via DQ when Seth Rollins interfered
Ezekiel b. Chad Gable – Rollup
MVP b. Bobby Lashley via countout
Becky Lynch b. Asuka – Sunset flip
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