Welcome to The Raw Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth anniversary edition right here.
We kick things off with the Memorial Day video that aired on Smackdown and then the Raw intro plays.
We kick things off at center ice with the Kevin Owens Show. The ring and ramp are surrounded by plexiglass and the planted NXT fans are in the crowd to make some noise. It’s about time they thought of doing this. Asuka is the guest and she is the great Asuka. We need more Kevin Owens and Asuka banter in our lives. Charlotte Flair shows up because she is in the triple threat number one contenders match tonight because you know. Charlotte goes on about how the title should have been handed to her because Asuka has never beaten her, except for that one time when Asuka spit the green mist in Charlotte’s face and pinned her. Anyway, Natalya shows up to apologize to Owens for ruining his set last week before Nia Jax shows up. Owens leaves and Asuka knocks Nia out of the ring. Charlotte and Natalya fight but Natalya stands tall in the ring. A decent opener to promote the triple threat for later. Natalya should have just gotten to the point and announced that she would be eating the pinfall in the match because, heaven forbid, should Charlotte actually put talent over that’s not in the Four Horsewomen group.
The lovely Kayla Braxton was backstage to catch a few comments from Apollo Crews before his US Title match.
It was US Title match time. The crowd made decent noise for the proper heel/face assignments. Vega takes an early bump to likely set up her split from Andrade. While the match was going on, we get a mid-match promo from Angel Garza essentially hitting on Kayla. Charly must have turned him down. You can do better, Kayla. Back to the match and Crews pins Andrade with the standing moonsault/standing shooting star press combo. The match was good for the time given and I’m happy Crews has finally won a title in WWE. Crews celebrates with Charly Caruso in the ring while Andrade is shown backstage throwing stuff around with no sign of Vega. Let’s hope this is the start of some good things for Apollo Crews.
Good promo from Seth Rollins explaining his group and why he added Austin Theory to it.
Charly Caruso was backstage to interview Charlotte and Asuka showed up to tell Charlotte red was not her color. Go Asuka.
The IIconics were up next for promo time. First, they kissed and made up after last week’s miscue in their Woman’s Tag Team Title match. They then turn their attention to the office’s favorite blonde, Alexa, and Nikki. Sorry, Charlotte is the #1 blonde and Alexa is #2. Charlotte tall, Alexa short. Vince likes tall with fake ones. Short and fake is his second choice. Anyway, that brings Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross out. Nikki cuts an amazing promo that leads to the expected fight with the IIconics coming out on top. If they can make the IIconics half way serious, you could build off of that. But, I think they are destined to Breakup City and sorry Billie, you are the Jannetty of the team.
The top of hour two showed the “In Memory of Shad Gaspard” graphic. RIP hero.
The VIP Lounge is up next with Drew McIntyre as the guest. This was more of just hyping the WWE Title match at Backlash than anything. No physical contact between Lashley and McIntyre and MVP ate another Claymore instead.
Up next is Kevin Owens taking on Angel Garza. Zelina Vega was out at ringside after her bump earlier. Garza did the cheap sneak attack for the match. This leads to a quick match with Owens putting Garza over after taking a Wing Clipper. I wonder if Charlotte was taking notes?
Since we have time to kill, The Street Profits defeated the Viking Raiders in golf because why not?
Bad acting from Lana follows that up and can we ask why did we do the whole divorce angle with Rusev again? The only one to really benefit from it was Rusev because he was granted his release.
Tag team action is next with Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo taking on Murphy and Austin Theory. The match was short but okay. I wonder if Theory wished he was back in Vega’s Jobber Group to get beat up by Drew McIntyre instead of being kicked all over by Black. Theory pinned Carrillo, of course, to pick up the win for his team. After the match, Seth Rollins goes all preachy to explain why they need to stop interfering in his business. I like Carrillo, but he loses way too much to be taken seriously any more.
Excellent promo from Edge to hype the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” at Backlash. It was intense and delivered in a real way. It should be a really good match.
The Street Profits are back from golfing and poking fun at MVP and Lashley, who issues a challenge to make the main event for the show.
Up next is the number one contender’s triple threat match between Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax, and Natalya. Asuka is out to join the commentary team. The match was really good with a couple of impressive spots, the Tower of Doom and Charlotte and Natalya powerbombing Nia into the announce table. Charlotte really needs to stop doing moonsaults because they just look awful. The end comes with Nia breaking up the Figure Eight with a leg drop on Charlotte and Samoan Drop on Natalya for the win. Nia will face Asuka at Backlash for the title.
Somebody remembered the 24/7 Title is (was) still a thing and R-Truth tried to sell it really hard. Gronk read prepared comments off a teleprompter and I really could care less.
Ric Flair tried to sell us on how great Edge/Orton will be before Liv Morgan told us about her self-worth.
Main event time with The Street Profits taking on MVP and Bobby Lashley. This was a basic paint by numbers tag match to help The Street Profits get some heat back after that terrible golfing segment earlier. Match ends on a DQ when Lashley refuses to release Ford from the full nelson. Drew McIntyre showed up and the fight is on. A couple of fans rush the ring because John Cone called them for help. They get dispatched and more NXT guys rush in and we get a good old fashioned pull-apart brawl to close out the show. Excellent use of the planted fans there. I can’t wait to see their match at Backlash.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows:
The NXT planted fans were the liveliest Raw crowd in years. They did an excellent job making noise and being used in the pull apart brawl at the end.
The pull-apart brawl at the end was the right way to close out Raw and to hype the WWE Title match at Backlash. The Let’s Make Bobby Lashley Great Again tour is working. Let’s just hope he can drop the dead weight and keep the momentum going.
The Street Profits win the serious sports. I can only imagine what is in store for us next week. The golf spot was pretty lame. Can we just get the tag title match out of the way, please?
Stay safe and stay home. The world will be right again someday.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.