WWE Raw 05/29/17 is the go home show for Sunday’s Extreme Rules PPV. Yep, that’s right, it’s Summer, creative is allegedly out of ideas, so it’s time to have a PPV every two weeks! Already ahead of tonight’s episode, WWE announced Sasha Banks & Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar in a mixed tag for Extreme Rules. Goldust vs. R Truth seems like it will also get added over the course of tonight’s three-hour marathon. Also, “who beat up Enzo” may (or may not) get revealed and may (or may not) end up being another last-minute addition to Extreme Rules.
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WWE Raw 05/29/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a John Cena narrated Memorial Day tribute video.
Standard Raw opening credits, pyro, and we’re live from Greenville, SC. Later tonight? Two main events! Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Samoa Joe & Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins.
The Miz & Maryse are out first for a Miz TV segment. Miz reminds us that if Dean gets DQed on Sunday, that Miz will get yet another IC title reign. Miz’s guests tonight? Sheamus and Cesaro. They’re out, Miz puts them over, and Sheamus alleges that the fans have turned their backs on Cesaro and are fickle. This gets a “delete” chant and prompts Miz to cut a promo on the crowd until Dean’s music hits.
Ambrose is out and stays near ringside, calls everyone in the ring “buttheads”, and threatens to shut their mouths. Miz points out that it’s “3 on 1”, but Dean has come armed with some wild Hardyz who then appear. Team Extreme Dean rush the ring, clear it of heels, and we head to break.
Back from break, a six-man tag match is joined in progress.
Match #1: Dean Ambrose & The Hardyz vs. The Miz (w/ Maryse) & Sheamus / Cesaro
The big take away from this match for me was how well that Dean Ambrose would work in the “Broken Hardy Universe”. Both teams actually work well together and this is your standard Raw six-man fare. Not super exciting, but not awful. We get the expected break down, but it’s decidedly babyface-centric with Hardy signature moves getting used left and right. Dean tags Cesaro with a Dirty Deeds, takes out Sheamus with a dive, and the Hardyz go over with the Twist of Fate into Swanton combo finisher – on the Miz – to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I actually enjoyed the pairing of the Hardys and Dean Ambrose, something I wasn’t expecting. Miz taking the loss is telling when it comes to Sunday’s title match I’d imagine.
Post-match, the announcers are talking about the match. However, Corey Graves is preoccupied by something he’s reading on his phone. He gets up and leaves commentary saying that he needs to go take care of something.
Later tonight? Alexa Bliss presents “Bayley, This Is Your Life”. More, a lot more, on this later – but Alexa really should have demanded an Alan Smithee credit on this.
Back from break, Kurt Angle is backstage looking distressed at Corey Graves’ cell phone. Apparently, someone has information on Kurt that will be an embarrassment to the WWE. The threat uses the word “besmirch” so already my “evil Regal returns as Raw GM and Kurt is forced to wrestle again – win / win situation” gears are turning. Regardless, Graves claims he’s showing Kurt this out of the goodness of his heart (yeah, right). Kurt says he appreciates Graves bringing this to his attention and if it’s true, it could ruin him.
We cut to Elias Samson in the ring singing a song. Okay, alternate theory is that Graves has concocted this whole thing so he can avoid having to call a Drifter match. Just as plausible, right? Tonight, the role of “Braun Strowman in the squash match” will be played by Elias Samson.
Match #2: Elias Samson vs. Zac Evans
I actually remember a Samson NXT squash match having almost the exact same layout as this one. Points for consistency I suppose. Otherwise, this is just Samson dismantling some random dude and going over with his swinging neckbreaker finisher.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Hey, at least Samson is working matches on TV. With Braun out someone has to utterly destroy a dude each week.
Post-match, Graves returns to commentary and won’t talk about what we just saw him tell Kurt. See, this was all perfectly timed to miss the Drifter.
Up next? Triple Threat “main event” is now!
Meanwhile, Joe is backstage watching a taped version of Balor’s entrance. I guess that’s how he psyches himself up for a match? Just glaring at a monitor showing his opponent’s entrance? Charly Caruso shows up to make it a little less awkward and Joe cuts a promo on Finn vowing to break his body again. He’s interrupted by Bray Wyatt, who is in a dark room with no smoke. I suppose Balor’s entrance happening every week now gets the “fog juice priority”. Bray’s promo is the typical Wyatt-speak stuff and he again reminds us that only he can beat Lesnar.
Balor is out for the “main event” next and we go to break.
Back from break, Joe is mid-entrance. Wyatt enters last.
Match #3: Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Bray Wyatt
I’ll give this show one thing tonight – both advertised main events delivered. The triple threat tend to be overused on WWE TV, especially in the build to a PPV, but this one was a fun watch. The two larger heels teamed up for a large chunk of the match, really making it feel like a true “underdog” moment for Balor. Eventually, Wyatt turns on Joe to send us towards the finish. Finn goes on a nice run, Bray hits a charging Joe with a Sister Abigail, but Balor is able to hit the Coup de Grace on Wyatt while Joe was out of the ring. On cue, Joe slides in, shoves Balor into the post, and covers Wyatt for the win off of Finn’s finisher.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Well booked. I liked how Wyatt turning on Joe came back to bite him at the end. A very even match that made everyone look good heading into Extreme Rules.
Meanwhile, Mike Rome is backstage with Rollins. Seth says he and Roman have had good times and bad times, but when they’re in a ring together – it’s war! Seth claims he “owns” Roman and will send a message to everyone in the Fatal Five Way match tonight.
Hey, Sasha Banks and Rich Swann are hanging out backstage exchanging dance moves. Swann and Dar go one on one, next!
Back from break, Dar & Fox (w/ Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox highlights) are out. Swann enters next and waits on the stage for Sasha, who enters to her music.
Match #4: Rich Swann (w/ Sasha Banks) vs. Noam Dar (w/ Alicia Fox)
A really quick match. When Swann mounts a comeback, Fox gets up on the apron, and is dropped by Sasha for her troubles. Swann hits the Phoenix Splash for the win. Somewhere backstage, a single tear rolls down Cedric Alexander’s cheek.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Again, I want to like this Fox / Banks / Dar / Swann program, but the quick matches with nothing too them makes it hard.
Post-match, Swann gets Sasha to dance and they do a synchronized routine.
Later tonight? Roman vs. Seth.
Back from break, Charly is with the Revival. Dash shows off his wired jaw, which looks like a rapper’s grill, and they deny they had anything to do with last week’s attack on Enzo Amore.
Next, we see footage of the Tozawa / Kendrick match from last week’s 205 Live to give Big Cass enough time to come out and threaten Graves. You see, Graves made an off-handed comment about Cass being responsible for Enzo’s attacks after the Revival segment. Graves is able to talk himself out of the hole he dug and he and Big Cass shake hands. Wow, Graves yet again – he’s sure the belle of the ball tonight.
Back from break, Kalisto (w/ footage of him beating Apollo Crews last week) is out. Titus O’Neil (w/ Apollo Crews & an “earlier today” interview) is out next.
Match #5: Kalisto vs. Titus O’Neil (w/ Apollo Crews)
Kalisto gets in a ton of offense very quickly. He then dives into Titus’ arms and Titus just sort of sets Kalisto down and pins him. Well then.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Not feeling this program at all.
Post-match a selfie happens.
Up next? Alan Smithee presents “Bayley, This Is Your Life”.
So. It’s like creative said, “Remember the Mankind hosted ‘Rock, This Is Your Life’ from 1999? Let’s do that, only awful”. Seriously, this is incredibad. This is “Hey, at least the House of Horrors had the fridge spot” bad. This is “At least the Dungeon of Doom had water that’s not hot” bad. Seriously, this is “David Arquette being world champ wasn’t that bad” bad.
I’d say “watch the clip” but WWE literally omits nearly 10 minutes of the segment and starts up when Bayley finally intervenes. I feel terrible for Alexa having to attempt to get this segment over. It’s just… brutal. We see “trinkets” from Bayley’s past. Hear from her teacher. And then from a “best friend” and “first boyfriend” who inexplicably start making out at the end of it.
I think Booker T summed it up best when he said, near the end, “This is hard to watch.” Damn straight, Booker. I mean if you ever want to see a “sports entertainment segment” die on the vine, track this one down. Considering the YouTube clip edits it out – I imagine it may be tricky to find as WWE seems to already be retconning it – but it’s some definite modern day “WrestleCrap” and probably the worst thing we’ll see on Raw all year.
Bayley “saves” the segment by getting angry and rushing the ring. She handles Bliss and goes to climb the ropes as the “Kendo Stick on the Pole” is there for the segment – for reasons. But, Alexa produces a second kendo stick from under the table that held the trinkets from Bayley’s past and gives Bayley another whack on the upper back.
I dunno, man. This was just so embarrassingly bad I feel awful for everyone involved, but mostly for Alexa since they just left her out there to die for so long.
Later tonight? Reigns vs. Rollins.
Back from break, Enzo has been laid out again. Big Cass seems super defensive when he interacts with Kurt Angle about it. I kind of like “super defensive ‘on the cusp of a heel turn’ Cass”. It’s a good look for him.
Purple ropes time. Aries is out first, followed by Jack Gallagher. TJP is out first for the heels, followed by Neville.
Match #6: Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher vs. Neville & TJP
So, Gallagher has the life debt to Aries until the Extreme Rules match. TJP is Neville’s unwitting, in over his head, protegé. Tell me this match isn’t Han Solo & Chewbacca vs. Emperor Palpatine & Anakin Skywalker. Anyway, we get a standard Raw tag match. The big takeaway here is that TJP is unable to intervene and Neville is forced to tap out to Aries’ Last Chancery. That finish on this show should have big implications for Sunday.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Other than the funny Star Wars parallel I noticed, this match was about on par with the typical Raw Cruiserweight stuff. Okay, but not nearly as good as the main events we get on 205 Live.
Post-match, Aries mocks Neville tapping out by tapping on the ring apron.
Later tonight? Reigns vs. Rollins.
Meanwhile, Roman is in the locker room. Rome approaches him, Roman is not in the mood, and says no man owns him. Tune in later to see if a Kingslayer can slay a dog in its own yard!
Back from break, Neville is backstage and he’s… angry walking! Charly tries to get a word from him, but he just looks disgusted and leaves.
Next, we see the Goldust heel turn from two weeks ago. We’re sent to another Goldust “Shattered Dreams Productions” video which is similar to last week’s, however, R Truth cuts in with a dueling vignette that is a parody on the Goldust one. Now, this is the kind of stuff I love to see. Truth vows to “get” Goldust, but unfortunately no Extreme Rules match is announced tonight.
Next, Rollins is out for the second main event and we head to break.
Back from break, we learn that Sasha Banks is on tomorrow night’s 205 Live. I hope she taps Noam Dar out, but really, she’s going to get powder in her face, isn’t she?
Hey, Big Dog is out. Let’s do this main event.
Match #7: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Like I said earlier, the two announced main events delivered. If you don’t like Roman Reigns, you’re probably going to have a bad time with this match though. Roman goes over, goes over clean, and dare I say, it was the right call? Seth has felt like he’s been missing something since the injury earlier in the year. I don’t know if he’s not 100% or his booking in the Samoa Joe and Triple H programs was bad. However, tonight he and Roman clicked and these two guys put on a Hell of a show. In fact, the way both “main events” were booked actually did a great job setting up the match on Sunday as a true “free for all”. Roman seems to make the least sense to win at Extreme Rules, so it made perfect sense to have him dodge Seth’s new finisher and hit the Spear tonight.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – One of the better matches both guys have worked so far this year. Also bonus points for not having a predictable Joe or Wyatt run in to end the show.
Post-match, Roman poses in the ring.
So, as long as we forget the “Bayley, This Is Your Life” segment ever existed this wasn’t that bad of a Raw.
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