WWE Raw results, review: Ring collapse adds to continued rise of Braun Strowman
The end of Raw was spectacular ... but the rest of the show? Not so much
Short on big reveals or significant storyline development just one week after its "superstar shakeup," WWE simply put the ball back in Braun Strowman's hands on Raw and let him run roughshod over its roster, ring and anything else in his way.
The result was an incomplete yet ultimately memorable three hours which featured a healthy dose of Strowman from start to finish. After an opening promo, multiple backstage attacks and a rousing main event match with The Big Show, Strowman put a resounding exclamation point on the episode by exploding the ring with a superplex.
For the most part, Raw was lacking in terms of buzz outside of Strowman, who followed last week's brutal attack on Roman Reigns to garner more heat. The quality of in-ring wrestling, however, certainly had its moments to help offset that, from a fatal 4-way women's match to determine a No. 1 title contender to a strong singles match between Jeff Hardy and Cesaro.
Let's take a look back at what happened and what impact the major moments played on the overall show.
WWE Raw results
In the ring -- Braun Strowman and Kurt Angle: Strowman said he's proud to have left Roman Reigns with a separated shoulder and cracked ribs as he's ready to show the entire locker room he is "a monster among men." Angle, the general manager interrupted to officially announce Reigns-Strowman match for Payback on April 30 before telling Strowman to go home. After saying the match will be Reigns' funeral, Strowman threatened Angle to produce more competition "or else."
Samoa Joe def. Chris Jericho via submission: With Seth Rollins on commentary discussing the emotional damage caused by Samoa Joe's attack last month, Joe broke out of the Walls of Jericho to force a tapout via Coquina Clutch. After the match, Joe reminded Rollins of what it sounded like when he made his Raw debut. "It's the sound of your ligaments and your joints popping as you collapsed to the ground," Joe said. "At Payback, when you step into the ring it's not going to be business, it's going to be personal -- very, very personal." Rollins countered that Payback "will be a bitch."
It's difficult to just forget that WWE did nothing with Joe at WrestleMania despite how big of a hand he played in the buildup against Rollins. While Joe was strong both in the ring and on the microphone here, Rollins' babyface dialogue segments still feel forced.
Backstage -- Braun Strowman attack No. 1: After "The Drifter" Elias Sampson was spotted playing guitar on a road case, Strowman delivered a vicious blindside attack on The Golden Truth. In the locker room, referee John Cone reminded Strowman that Angle gave him the night off. "I'll leave when I want to, unless you have a problem with that," Strowman said.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. Enzo Amore & Big Cass via pinfall: Following a United Airlines joke from Anderson, Enzo and Cass made a surprise entrance as replacement opponents for The Golden Truth. After a hot tag to Cass cleaned house, the fast-paced match came to an end when Anderson caught a leaping Amore in mid-air and awkwardly tossed him onto the top turnbuckle knee first to set up the pin.
In the ring -- Miz TV with Dean Ambrose: Crashing the party before his introduction, Ambrose received an earful from The Miz, who said he's a disgrace to what a WWE superstar should be. Ambrose countered that he has heart and doesn't care about movies or endorsement deals because he loves what he does. "I'm not a brand; I'm Dean Ambrose," he said. Maryse stepped in to call Ambrose a "dirty, little street rat" before a brief brawl ensued with The Miz taking a Dirty Deeds before escaping.
It's hard to fault the energy in this one between two likeable superstars with history. The problem is that history is a bit too recent. Ambrose's dialogue also felt too familiar, as if it was copied and pasted from the John Cena playbook. This is obviously setting up an intercontinental title match at Payback.
Backstage -- Braun Strowman attack No. 2: Strowman dragged Kalisto by one arm in the loading dock area before kicking in the stomach and tossing him into a dumpster. "Roman Reigns is garbage, and now you are, too," he said. The Big Show landed a running shoulder tackle, knocking Strowman into a garage door and onto the ground, before telling him to pick on someone his own size.
Using the diminutive Kalisto was a nice touch to double down on Strowman's heel heat, as was giving an in-shape Big Show something important to do after he was relegated to a brief battle royal appearance at WrestleMania.
TJ Perkins def. Jack Gallagher via pinfall: With Neville and Austin Aries watching from ringside, Perkins continued to solidify his recent heel turn in an entertaining two-segment match. With umbrella in hand, Gallagher landed his seated vertical senton off the top rope and onto the floor. But after TJP threw Gallagher into Aries on the floor, taking him out, he landed a Detonation Kick inside the ring for the pin, just as Neville attacked an angry Aries.
Backstage -- Titus O'Neill and Apollo Crews: O'Neill handed Crews, who just moved over to Raw from SmackDown, a business card and attempted to sell him on how much the "Titus Brand" could help his career. Shortly after, Cesaro and Sheamus crashed a Hardy Boyz interview to officially welcome the brothers to Raw, calling them "the innovators of TLC." Neither segment made much sense.
Alexa Bliss def. Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Nia Jax via pinfall in a fatal 4-way match: Two-time SmackDown women's champion Bliss became the No. 1 contender for Bayley's Raw title, securing a match at Payback. All four superstars had their moments in this one. Late in the match, following a Samoan Drop from Jax on Banks, Bliss drop kicked Jax out of the ring and pinned Banks.
Good match here with a near pay-per-view level feel. A continued big push for Bliss here made sense considering her NXT history with Bayley. She looked the part on Monday, yelling, "This is my division now," in the face of Banks in believable fashion.
Finn Balor def. Kurt Hawkins via pinfall: Brief squash match for Balor, who quickly proved he had recovered from the reported concussion he suffered against Jinder Mahal last week. Balor landed his Coup de Grace to set up the pin.
Backstage -- Chris Jericho: In an interview with Mike Rome, Jericho said that America deserves better than Kevin Owens as United States champion. After Rome corrected Jericho for repeatedly calling him "Tom," Jericho's attempt to put him on the list was interrupted by Sampson, who drifted by. Jericho called him a "strange straggling strummer" and "weird wandering wayfairer" before putting him on the list.
On the TitanTron -- Bray Wyatt: In a "sermon to the snake" promo, Wyatt meandered promo to WWE champion Randy Orton ahead of their "House of Horrors" match at Payback. Wyatt told an absent Orton, "You will know pain, you will know fear, and you will know horror." He went on to say the match "will forever be the nightmare at the end of your dreams."
Amid a creepy mix of interspersing images playing on the screen, Wyatt was his normal dark and illogical self. That doesn't mean the segment actually worked or accomplished anything. Considering the dud that was their WrestleMania match, Wyatt and Orton will need to deliver huge at Payback to save this feud.
Jeff Hardy def. Cesaro via pinfall: Strong multi-segment match with plenty of fun spots and near falls. In the end, Hardy landed a patented swanton bomb from the top rope for the pin. After the match, Jeff joined brother, Matt Hardy, in a long in-ring staredown with Cesaro and Sheamus until all four shook hands, teasing their Payback match.
Braun Strowman and The Big Show fought to a no contest: This match was physical from the onset as Strowman attacked Big Show on the ramp before the bell. Both big men traded slams of different varieties with Big Show twice teasing superplex attempts that were blocked. Strowman leaped off the top rope late and got caught by a knockout punch for a two count. But it was Strowman who ultimately cashed in on the superplex spot, breaking the ring upon impact (while catapulting the referee off of it). No winner for the match was officially declared, although Strowman was the last one standing with his music playing.
This may have been the third time WWE has used this ring explosion spot involving Big Show throughout his career, but the incredible visual impact always justifies the means. From an in-ring perspective, this match wasn't as good as their February Raw main event, but the ending made it even more memorable.
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