Bayless’ WWE RAW Rundown 5/1/17

May 1, 2017
From the Golden One Center in Sacramento, CA
Your hosts are Booker T, Corey Graves, and Michael Cole

The show starts off with the RAW Women’s roster in the ring awaiting the arrival of the new Champion, Alexa Bliss. Bayley appears misty-eyed as we see still photos of how she lost the title last night. Alexa thanks everyone for coming out and does say she told GM Kurt Angle to have everyone out. Alexa does not want to refer to herself as the queen but as a goddess. She then talks about being unhappy the way she was handed the title last night then acts sarcastic towards Mickie James and starts with Sasha but accidentally bumps into Nia Jax as she stops joking and sucks up to her a bit. She then addresses Bayley and thanks her for being out here today before taking pride in how her family was crying when reacting to her loss and it almost took away from her championship win. Alexa keeps going on then Bayley flips her off of the podium and attacks as we head to commercial.

Alexa was good here and luckily it ended before it went on too long because it was getting too repetitive towards the stretch. I think Alexa is a fantastic character and had a good match last night but still needs work when it comes to entertaining in the ring. Either way they’ve presented her well since being drafted on RAW. Also, I thought having Bayley lose clean last night was just terrible and having her almost cry here after losing the title clean is not going to garner much sympathy. The title reign of Bayley was booked about as poorly as humanly possible and the dynamic with Sasha possibly turning on her seems to have been put on ice, making the build to last night’s title match seem pointless in hindsight. 

Alexa Bliss & Alicia Fox & Nia Jax & Emma vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks & Mickie James & Dane Brooke

Alexa quickly tags out as Emma beats on Bayley, who fights back and works the arm. Dana tags but Emma quickly tags out as Alicia Fox is now in the match. Dana hits a few handspring moves then Sasha is in and works the arm of Fox. The face team continues to work over Fox and this lasts for a while then all four teams have a staredown outside of the ring as we head to break. We return as Fox has Sasha in a chinlock as we saw a clip of Nia running over Sasha that took place during the break. Fox gets two with a Northern Lights suplex then tags out soon after that as Nia is in control. Nia overpowers Sasha before applying a chinlock. The crowd rallies behind Sasha but Nia takes her back down. Alexa is in now as she stands and stomps on Sasha but Sasha finally makes the tag as Bayley runs wild on Alexa. She gets two with a Saito suplex but Nia breaks that up then the match breaks down with everyone knocked outside besides Alexa and Bayley but Alexa rakes the eyes and hits a DDT for the win (13:53) **.

Thoughts: Bayley gets pinned again as they are establishing Alexa strong during her first 24 hours as champion. There wasn’t a whole lot to this match and they kept it simple for the most part although the end did get a bit sloppy.

We will get a medical update on Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman later on in the show.

Enzo Amore & Big Cass come out. Enzo says they are tired from beating Gallows & Anderson last night and promises to beat Gallows again but Gallows & Anderson run out for a sneak attack. Cass fights back and clears the ring as we head to break.

Enzo Amore w/ Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows w/ Karl Anderson

Gallows takes Enzo down with a big boot then starts stomping away. Enzo struggles to get up then Gallows applies an armbar. Gallows swats away a dropkick then hits a clothesline using a hammerlock on the mat. He hits a hammerlock slam then taunts the crowd before going back to the arm. Enzo fights back but Gallows takes him down with an armbreaker and once again goes back to the arm. Enzo comes back with a bulldog off the middle rope then hits a wind-up punch before taking Gallows down with a low dropkick. Enzo hits a soccer kick then counters a suplex with a small package that gets two. Enzo boots Gallows in the face and heads up top but Anderson distracts him and that allows Gallows to hit a flapjack for the win (5:46) *.

Thoughts: These guys just appear to be trading wins at this point. The match itself was not very good at all, either, as Gallows worked over the arm all match long to win with a flapjack.

Neville is in the locker room where TJ Perkins shows up. Perkins says other people are calling him out for being afraid of Aries and that he intentionally got disqualified. Neville tells Perkins to tread lightly and refers to his feud against Aries as “ours” then tells Perkins he can only help him out so much and will never be the #1 Contender as long as Aries stands in his way. Neville then tells him to beat Aries in their match tonight. It appears that Perkins vs. Aries will be for the right to fight Neville, who is one of the more entertaining acts in the company.

Seth Rollins heads out to the ring and gets a strong reaction. He talks about feeling really good for the first time in months despite having a physical match against Samoa Joe. Seth goes on about having to embrace your lows as much as the high points and figure out who you are and who you want to be and do something about it if it does not line up. He talks about slaying the king at WrestleMania and getting payback on Samoa Joe last night and that leaves one thing left to do as he wants Brock Lesnar and the Universal Championship. The crowd goes nuts then Finn Balor interrupts. Balor talks about respecting Rollins and that he was the one-legged man who won at WrestleMania. However, he was the one-armed man who became the very first Universal Champion then asks Rollins if he remembered that. Since he never lost the title, Balor believes he should get the first title shot. Dean Ambrose comes out now and says they sound like a couple of chickens before talking about fighting Lesnar before but the problem is he does not fight that often. Ambrose then says he is the #1 Champion on RAW and a fighting champion but The Miz interrupts with Maryse by his side. Miz says Balor and Rollins have not earned anything then calls Ambrose an embarrassment of a champion before saying he deserves the Intercontinental Title and the only one who made the title mean something but Balor interrupts to say Miz was the first member of the “Finn Balor Kicked My Ass Club” as Miz calls him a cheap shot artist then makes fun of Ambrose and Rollins. Miz says the reason everyone hates him is because he’s the biggest threat on RAW then everyone tells him to shut up. Ambrose says he will defend the title against anyone then talks about loving to see the Miz get beat up and asks the crowd if they want to see Balor or Rollins kick his ass before he calls up Kurt Angle. Ambrose said Angle was not happy about the call but made a match and its Miz vs. Balor vs. Rollins, with the winner becoming the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Title.

The segment itself was alright but it sets up an intriguing triple threat match with Miz as the hated heel and Balor and Rollins together in the ring for the first time since SummerSlam, which creates an interesting dynamic too. They also seemingly established the Intercontinental Title as the top title on RAW in the sense that the Universal Title will be more of a special attraction. 

Cole lets us know that Kalisto is rehabbing from the injuries when Strowman wheeled him off of the stage while he was inside of a dumpster.

We get a video package on last night’s Strowman vs. Reigns match at Payback.

Tony Nese & The Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar vs. Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa & “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher

Gallagher comes out with three umbrellas here and passes them out to his teammates as they have some fun with that. Tozawa and Kendrick slug it out in silence to start. Tozawa gets some in the crowd to mimic is chant but Nese tags in and hits an elbow smash to the face. Tozawa escapes and tags Swann then Dar tags in too and they do not do much of anything. The faces then clear the ring and mock Nese’s bicep flex pose as we head to break. The action returns with Kendrick grounding Tozawa. The heels cut off the ring then Tozawa escapes from a torture rack by Nese and hits a suplex after Nese was mocking Swann & Gallagher. Dar tags in and cuts off a tag but Tozawa escapes and tags out as Swann runs wild. The action finally picks up as Nese breaks up a pinfall off of a headbutt then Tozawa breaks up a Captain’s Hook attempt. Swann and Dar take out Nese and Dar with dives to the floor then Gallagher hits the Gentleman’s Dropkick on Kendrick for the win (10:36) **1/4.

Thoughts: Up until the last two minutes, this match was very slow-paced and dull, a style that will never get over the Cruiserweight Division. The crowd got into the very end and loved the dives to the floor that the camera pretty much missed. The Cruiserweight Division continues to struggle and the characters are not strong enough to carry them through the matches. You got to let them loose a bit.

We are shown a video package on last night’s RAW Tag Team Title Match at Payback where the Hardy Boyz retained after defeating Cesaro & Sheaums, who ended up attacking them from behind as they were celebrating. We also saw Jeff Hardy lose a tooth courtesy of Sheamus. After the break, Cesaro & Sheamus will explain their actions as we see them smiling as they walk backstage.

Cesaro & Sheamus head out to the ring. Cesaro ditched the suit for a look similar to his partner. Sheamus says he has been living in a fog for the past few months and that he never liked any of us. He then says that Cesaro had his “Cesaro Section” and believed the fans having their backs could put them over the top. However, at WrestleMania, the Hardy Boyz returned and stole their moment. We get a “delete” chant that Sheamus calls cute then Cesaro calls out the fans for living in the past and pining for nostalgia as he says last night the Hardy Boyz proved they are nothing more than novelty acts. Cesaro promises they will regain the Tag Team Championships as they do not set the bar because they are the bar. The Hardy Boyz then come out as Matt has the mic. He thanks Cesaro & Sheamus for their explanation and how its absurd they believe their own words. They then are about to give their response as they run out to the ring after using the delete handwave but Cesaro & Sheamus escape and head up the ramp. The Hardy Boyz teased their delete characters with their handwave as it appears that will be coming back in some form. I did like Cesaro explaining why he turned on the fans too.

Charly Caruso is with The Miz & Maryse and asks him about tonight’s match. Miz mentions Seth costing Balor eight months of his career then looks away and talks about himself but turns around as we see Ambrose in Caruso’s place as he asks Miz if his hair gel gets in his eyes when he wrestles. Miz gets pissed then leaves as Ambrose signs off to “Gene and Bobby.” I thought this was amusing. Plus, Miz and Ambrose play off each other well.

Heath Slater w/ Rhyno vs. Apollo Crews w/ Titus O’Neill

This match was made after Titus became upset when Crews went to Slater looking for advice on how to become a father. These two start off going back-and-forth on the mat. Slater catches Crews with an armdrag but Crews comes back with one of his own then a dropkick. Slater rams Crews into the corner then dumps him outside as Rhyno and Titus stare each other down. Back inside, Slater covers for two then applies a chinlock. Crews escapes then runs wild then connects with an enziguiri before the sitout powerbomb gets the win (3:35) *.  After the match, Titus celebrates and takes a selfie with Apollo and himself but gets photobombed by Rhyno.

Thoughts: The match was not much at all as Crews is not over at all in the slightest and at this point they should go all the way with him as a heel because he’s floundering as a babyface and its going to get worse if they keep him down this path. Maybe they stumble onto something with Titus by his side so its worth a shot at least.

Tomorrow night on “205 Live” we will see TJP (Looks like TJ Perkins is now going by that here, the same name he used in EVOLVE) vs. Lince Dorado, Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak, and Noam Dar vs Rich Swann.

Kurt Angle heads back to the ring. He lets us know that Reigns had internal injuries and Strowman tore his rotator cuff. However, both men have made it clear they are not done feuding with each other and after talking to WWE Officials all day long, we will get answers soon but Bray Wyatt interrupts. The lights stay out as Bray introduces himself as he extends his hand then talks about Randy Orton being trapped inside of his House of Horrors forever but will do something new on RAW as he is now reborn. Bray tells Angle he needs him but has to know if he will be allowed to do his work. Angle says he has no idea what Bray has planned but to remember this is his show. Bray laughs and says Angle needs to understand that this is his world.

This was the same promo style Bray has used for years and its tough to get excited about his character anymore, especially after an underwhelming feud against Orton. If they completely retool this gimmick, then they might have my interest but I’ll believe that when I see it happen. 

Rollins is warming up backstage when Ambrose appears to interview him. They do some comedy bit where Ambrose tries to come up with a new show name and the ones he suggests are either already taken or just terrible. After that Rollins talks about winning the match as Ambrose brings up when Rollins turned on The Shield. He signs off by saying “Back to you, Gorilla.”

Austin Aries vs. TJP

Aries takes TJP down then hammers away. He then catches him with a bell clap then we see Neville watching the match backstage as Aries is in control. Aries gets two with a missile dropkick but Perkins fights off a Last Chancery attempt. Aries knocks TJP down then heads up top but TJP cuts him off then targets the knee as we head to break. The match returns as TJP is still in control. Aries tries to fight back but his knee gives out as TJP used an Irish whip. TJP uses a hanging half crab on the top rope after avoiding a charge then takes his time as he is about to wrap his legs around the post but Aries pulls him into the post then flies out with a tope as both men are out on the floor. back inside, Aries chops TJP then hits a gutbuster/STO combo. He hits a pair of elbow drops as that gets two as Aries is now shaking out his knee. TJP escapes a shinbreaker then kicks Aries in the gut misses a roundhouse kick as Aries hits the shinbreaker then uses an overhead throw. TJP blocks the discus forearm with a low kick and tries for the Detonation Kick but Aries counters and hits a DDT then tuns that into the Last Chancery for the win (11:22) ***1/4. After the match, TJP attacks Aries’ knee then applies the knee bar. He finally breaks and gets booed as he rips off his wrist tape and tosses it at Aries.

Thoughts: Good match. I liked the finish and thought it was creative and the post-match attack with TJP softening up Aries knee for Neville looked great too. The Neville/Aries feud still has some legs left.

Ambrose approaches Balor backstage. Balor says he eats nervousness and produces results before vowing to bring the Intercontinental Title to the Balor Club. Ambrose then hands Balor a donut and begs him to eat a carb as Balor takes a bite then hands it back before walking off. Ambrose eats the donut as The Drifter strolls by and plays his guitar as Ambrose bobs his head and asks him if he knows any Pearl Jam. Drifter completely ignores him and walks away. These Ambrose segments have been fairly amusing. He is good in these types of off beat roles.

Backstage, the Golden Truth pitch a movie idea to Angle then asks for a title shot. Angle says he cannot sanction the match due to their win and loss record. Goldust tells Angle his return has lit a fire underneath them and they need this. Angle says next week they will have a tag team turmoil match with the winner becoming the #1 contender. I don’t mind the storyline of the old veterans gunning for one last shot at the titles.

We are shown some of Chris Jericho’s farewell celebration as he is off to Smackdown Live after winning the United States Title.

Intercontinental Title #1 Contender Match: Finn Balor vs. The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Seth Rollins

Miz immediately bails after they all squared off. He stays out and gets caught trying to sneak back in as Balor and Rollins go back-and-forth. Rollnis and Balor head outside and corner Miz then they have him in the ring. Miz tries to work out a deal with them and tries to hit Balor, who blocks the attack as Miz gets tossed outside. Rollins sneaks up and rolls Balor up for two. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and hits a basement dropkick as he is in control of the match. Balor avoids a charge and hits an enziguiri on the apron but Miz yanks him off. Rollins kicks Miz off of the apron then is about to dive outside but Miz uses Maryse as a shield. Balor is about to attack as Miz turns Maryse around to him but that allows Rollins to take Miz out with a pescado. Everyone is inside now as Rollins gets shoved off of the top rope to the floor by Miz as we head to break. The match returns with Miz putting Balor in a chinlock. Rollins comes off the top with a crossbody and his thigh hits Balor in the face. Rollins misses a charge in the corner and hits the post as Miz goes to work. Balor is out on the floor then crawls back inside where Miz stomps away. Miz then hits both men with the Daniel Bryan kicks but the crowd chants “no.” Balor ducks a kick then shoves Miz at Rollins and dropkicks Rollins, who had Miz in a front facelock as he gets DDT’d. Balor runs wild and dumps both men outside where he drills Miz with a running soccer kick from the apron then sends Rollins into the guardrail with a running dropkick. Back inside, Balor hits Rollins with the 1916 but Miz makes the save. Balor dumps Miz back outside after a tussle then hits Rollins with the sling blade. Miz grabs Balor from behind and crotches him against the post and heads back inside where Rollins blocks the Skull Crushing Finale with a cradle for two. Miz kicks Rollins in the leg and hits a DDT for two as he goes to work on the leg before applying the figure four. Balor breaks that up with a soccer kick for a two count as all three men are down on the mat. A “this is awesome” chant breaks out as Rollins hits a few super kicks but cannot get the win. Rollins hits a double blockbuster that did not quite hit cleanly then hits Balor with a frog splash for a nearfall. Rollins dumps Balor outside then runs up and hits Miz with a superplex/Falcon Arrow combo for another nearfall. Rollins goes nuts and hits both men with topes but Samoa Joe comes out and plants Rollins with a uranage. Miz is shocked then turns around as Balor hits a sling blade then a shotgun dropkick but Bray Wyatt interrupts as he launches Balor off of the top and hits the Sister Abigail before leaving. Miz starts crawling over to Balor then covers and gets the win (22:24) ****.

Thoughts: This was an excellent match. All three men did a great job. I liked Joe screwing over Rollins but the Wyatt interference was overkill to me. They teased a feud between Balor and Wyatt a few weeks ago so I guess I should have seen it coming. Anyway, do yourself a favor as the action was incredible and crowd was really into everything they did.

Final Thoughts: I thought the third hour was pretty good but the first two hours were nothing special. The main event rocked at least but a Bray vs. Balor feud does nothing for me right now and the direction of the Women’s Division remains a mess, although they are putting over Bliss strong and she is running with the ball.

They also established the Intercontinental Title as a major prize tonight and said called out how current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar so the IC Title will be elevated as its on RAW more often. At least they focused more time on the Cruiserweight Division but that six-man tag was a disappointment.

We also know that there is a Reigns vs. Strowman rematch scheduled too for the future. They do have some direction heading out of this show and hopefully they can build off of that.