WWE RAW – May 23rd

Following Extreme Rules, RAW had some explaining to do, as well as deal with the overwhelming ovation for the returning Seth Rollins. He may not be a good guy. He may not be a bad guy. But he is our guy!

The Architect started the show with a promo designed to confirm his status as a heel. However, the introduction of Roman Reigns was met with deafening boos which can only mean Seth is the babyface in this situation. In just 10 minutes, Rollins showed more charisma and character than Roman in his entire run as “the guy”. We want a new champion, and we might just get one at Money in the Bank when Rollins faces Reigns.

This week saw the beginning of qualifying for the Money in the Bank match at the next PPV. Firstly, we were treated to Sami Zayn versus Sheamus. Since taking a backseat roll, and not spending too long on the mic, Sheamus’ performances have really improved. The guy is a good wrestler cursed with terrible talking skills. After the announcement of this match, we knew there could be only one winner: Sami Zayn. The Underdog from the Underground doesn’t seem capable of putting on a bad match, and this was a great start to the show.

I am guilty of saying that The New Day have become a little predictable and stale, and I am very sorry for that. The trio put on a fantastic segment – involving a birthday cake for RAW (this was show 1200) – before their match with The Social Outcasts. This was the first outing for the Outcasts following the firing of former member Adam Rose, and it lasted little more than five minutes before Kofi picked up an easy win. Slater, Axel and Dallas remain very much in the C-list category of the roster and I don’t see them being promoted any time soon.

The second of the qualifying matches for the MITB match saw Intercontinental Champion The Miz pitted against Cesaro. The Swiss Superman took no time at all to get the  Upper-Cut train rolling in a dominant opening period. However, the recovering shoulder injury seemed to take it’s toll as he couldn’t lock in his Cesaro Swing for more than two revolutions but did managed to take victory with the Neutralizer. That’s two competitors already booked into the ladder match on June 19th – both of them babyfaces.

Qualifier number three saw the undefeated Apollo Crews take on the battered Chris Jericho. Crews suffered a first loss following an attack by Sheamus, meaning Jericho will progress along side Zayn and Cesaro. Hopefully, however, this could start a storyline for Apollo against the brutish Irishman. Although I would have preferred AC to come away victorious, at least this means we shall see more of him on our screens in the coming weeks.

Enzo Amore returned to WWE programing this week to watch his partner, Colin Cassidy, beat Bubba-Ray Dudley in singles action. As much as I like Big Cass, he isn’t nearly as fun to watch on his own as he is with Enzo. Amore may still be a couple of weeks away from competing in-ring, but to have him back smack-talking is very welcome.

If there is one thing I have learned about Charlotte recently, it is that she is not very good on the mic and is very one-dimensional. Her break-up with father and coach Ric Flair came with little reason and with very little passion behind her words. To put her on the same show as Rollins with his comeback speech really didn’t work out well at all.

Next, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose faced off to win the fourth spot in the Month in the Bank ladder match. I don’t know what it is about Ambrose’ current run, but I am very uninterested in a lot of his matches. They are predictable and boring. I feel he is in desperate need of a break to come back with a different angle. Dean did, of course, pick up victory over the Show Stopper, but this was much less a match than a formality.

The main event for the night was preluded by the separation of AJ Styles from The Club before his match against Kevin Owens. The two men put on a fine technical display in a great match with good storytelling. A bout which would rival any RAW main event of the last twelve months saw Owens pick up a clean victory and earn his place at Money in the Bank. This is AJ’s second clean loss in as many days, and it will be very interesting to see how he picks himself up after this one.

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