Hello fans! Welcome to tonight’s Memorial Day edition of Monday Night Raw, LIVE from Richmond, Virginia. A special thank you to all of our troops, as today is the day we honor their ultimate sacrifice. I’m @TheMagnumDA, and I’ll be taking you on this magical mystery tour for the next three hours. Well, it’s not quite a tour…it’s a very brief recap with opinions.
How did I get off-subject this quickly? Enough talk. ON WITH THE SHOW.
Braun Strowman Promo: Braun declares himself to be “Mr. Monster in the Bank”, and that no one is going to stop him from destroying Brock Lesnar. This brings out Finn Balor, who reminds everyone that he’s the first Universal Champion and that he was never defeated for the title. Braun smiled and said, “You put up a good fight for a little guy.” After slapping Balor across the chest, Kurt Angle comes out and books Finn vs. Braun in a rematch from last week!
1. Finn Balor defeated Braun Strowman by DQ. (***) Just as good as last week’s bout, but without a decent finish. KO comes in to interrupt Finn’s attempt of a second Coup de Grace. We get Finn vs. KO next week!
Elias Promo: Elias stalls through a commercial break before Seth Rollins’ entrance interrupts his performance. This leads to our IC title match!
2. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) defeated Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins by DQ, so Rollins retains the Intercontinental Championship. (***1/4) This ended when Rollins, who was attacked twice by Mahal/Singh with a chair in recent weeks, took revenge into his own hands by smashing Mahal with some wicked chairshots.
Post-match Attack by Elias: After the match, Rollins is celebrating and posing on the announcer’s table when Elias destroys a guitar over Seth’s back! This causes Rollins to do a somersault off the table onto the floor. I think we have our next IC title program lined up. The medics attend to Rollins as fans sing “Happy Birthday” to him. Really? There’s a time and a place for that, kids. Rollins refuses to be carried off, opting to leave under his own power. The fans go crazy for that.
Nia Jax Exhibition: Ronda Rousey is viewing the proceedings from the announcer’s table. For the exhibition, Nia lets Michelle Webb (former Judo champion) put her in the armbar. Nia picks her up – using the arm that’s locked in the armbar – and then DROPS Webb to the mat with force. From there, she hits the legdrop and has a good, long heel laugh about it. Finally, Jax flattens Webb with a rolling senton. This is a different Nia Jax from “Backlash”, wouldn’t you say? Ronda and Nia have a staredown as their title match at MITB is only weeks away.
3. Raw Tag Team Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated the Ascension in a non-title match. (*1/4)
4. Kevin Owens defeated Bobby Roode. (**1/2)
Sami Zayn Promo: Sami came out and apologized for his actions last week, but then he turned it around on the fans. Sami said he was being honest, and that if anyone was a liar, it was Bobby Lashley. This brought out Lashley, who saluted the troops and challenged Sami Zayn to a match at MITB. Sami accepted via handshake, and Bobby crushed his hand like a grape. Well, that was a nice turnaround from last week!
5. Drew McIntyre (w/Dolph Ziggler) defeated Chad Gable. (**1/2)
Memorial Day Tag Team BBQ: You know what? Just read the “Ugly” section at the end.
6. Sasha Banks wins the ‘Money in the Bank’ Last Chance Gauntlet Match to qualify for the MITB Ladder Match. (**3/4)
– Bayley defeated Liv Morgan with a belly-to-belly in 11 seconds. Reminded me of my namesake, Magnum TA!!
– Bayley defeated Sarah Logan with a victory roll at the 1:25 mark of this match. Afterwards, the Riott Squad destroys Bayley.
– Ruby Riott pinned Bayley at the 6:03 mark with the Riott Kick.
– Ruby Riott defeated Dana Brooke at the 6:59 mark with another Riott Kick. Ruby’s killing it out there.
– Ruby Riott defeated Mickie James at the 13:22 mark with an inside cradle (and a handful of trunks). The Richmond crowd was PISSED about this, as this is Mickie’s hometown.
Final Match: Sasha Banks defeated Ruby Riott at the 19:14 mark by tapout (Bank Statement) to win the Gauntlet Match.
Fine Night for the Underrated: I consider Ruby Riott and Chad Gable to be two of the most underrated wrestlers on Raw. Tonight, they got a chance to have another decent outing, and they did not disappoint. Ruby had a spectaular run in the Gauntlet Match, and I am convinced that Vince/HHH have a soft spot for Ruby. Think about it: She was the set-up girl for Charlotte prior to WrestleMania XXXIV, and she was the set-up girl for Sasha Banks prior to MITB. They obviously have a lot of trust in her. As for Gable? For the second week in a row, Gable had you believing that he could beat a member of “The Show”. Yes, decisive wins were picked up by Ziggler and McIntyre, but I like where this is going. Now, if only Gable could find a tag team partner to face these guys…
Lashley Keeps It Simple: Last week’s “Three Sisters” segment will go down as one of the lamest promos of the year. Thankfully, Lashley stepped it up this week by BEING SIMPLE. That’s all he had to do in the first place! He thanked our veterans, which got a fantastic pop from the Virginia crowd. From there, he challenged Sami Zayn to a one-on-one match at Money in the Bank, and then he crunched Sami’s hand after a disingenuous handshake. Short and sweet. It wasn’t anything memorable, but Bobby needed to get back to basics after last week’s debacle.
The Gauntlet Match Concept: I was actually entertained by the main event last night, but I couldn’t help but think about the last time there was a Gauntlet Match for the men (from February of this year). That match went over an hour, and it truly felt like a marathon. Seth Rollins went over an hour in that match! Tonight’s main event felt like they were moving through matches as quickly as possible – especially with Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, and Dana Brooke. Don’t get me wrong…I would not want to watch those three in long matches, but they deserve longer than 11 seconds, 76 seconds, and 55 seconds. Give them at least a couple of minutes!
Memorial Day BBQ: This has all of the hallmarks of a segment produced by Vince. Announcers giggling the whole time? Check. Holiday food fight? Check. Someone getting food dumped on them like it was “slime” on the Nickelodeon network? Double check. Now, with all of that said, this segment exposed a dirty little secret…there’s not much of a tag team division on Raw. There’s really only two teams worthy of being the tag champions – the Hardy/Wyatt duo, and the Ziggler/McIntyre team. Everybody else in that division is a geek! It also seems pretty obvious that Dallas and Axel are winning the tag team battle royal next week, but the question is…will they actually win the straps? If they do, they wouldn’t be anything other than transitional champions to Ziggler and McIntyre.
Alright folks, that’s going to do it for the Memorial Day edition of Monday Night Raw! Next week, we get Finn vs. KO, the tag team battle royal for the #1 Contender’s spot, Bobby Roode vs. Braun Strowman, and Nia Jax vs. Natalya. See you tomorrow for the Smackdown Live TV report. JOE VS. BRYAN! @TheMagnumDA, signing off.