Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Raw didn’t have much to do at Money in the Bank, so they did an R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley match. On PAY-PER-VIEW. But Drew McIntyre got a handshake out of the deal, and Asuka won a briefcase by being the best at going upstairs.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for May 11, 2020.
Best: Becky Lynch Takes A Pregnant Pause
This week’s most important announcement is that Becky Lynch is pregnant in real life, taking time off to “go be a mother,” and relinquishing the Raw Women’s Championship to the Money in the Bank winner, Asuka. The only real “analysis” anyone needs to give this is a congratulations to the real people who play Lynch and Seth Rollins on TV.
From a fan standpoint, I’ll be sad to see Becky’s title reign end without any “closure” or whatever — in the Best and Worst of Money in the Bank from just yesterday I wrote that I wanted, “anything but Becky Lynch’s reign ending without someone beating her in a real match” — but when it comes to real life love and happiness, that shit is irrelevant. With pro wrestling it’s especially hard to differentiate the performers from the characters they play, considering they’re still technically “playing their characters” when you meet them in real life and the etiquette is to always call them by their wrestler names, but I think it’s valuable to spend moments like these remembering how theater in the round with stage combat isn’t the most important thing in the world, and what YOU get out of watching it is considerably less so.
The face of WWE being a woman is an unprecedented situation, as is that face taking time off to have a baby. It’s not a sad situation, though. It’s not really something to get upset and argue about on the Internet, like we do everything else in wrestling. To quote our own Emily Pratt, “getting pregnant is getting pregnant, it’s not an ACL tear.” And the only reasonable way to even equate it to what we’ve seen before in WWE is to compare it to the last time a female star got pregnant, which involved her sobbing in the middle of the ring while everyone stared at her, getting called fat by the Bella Twins, and being embarrassed out of the promotion forever. Sometimes it feels like WWE hasn’t actually made any progress, but … yeah, there’s been a little, thanks to people like Becky.
As a bonus, hey, Asuka is Raw Women’s Champion! That means she’s been Raw Women’s Champion, Smackdown Women’s Champion, NXT Women’s Champion, Women’s Tag Team Champion, a Royal Rumble winner, and a Money in the Bank winner. “First ballot Hall of Famer Asuka” has a nice ring to it. And oh man, if you didn’t get a lump in your throat watching Asuka react to the very real news that her friend and co-worker is going to be a mom, you might want to check your pulse. The genuine emotion between Becky and Asuka is the kind of heartwarming, graceful humanity it’s hard to find suck inside your house during a global pandemic. All my love to both of them.
So now that we’ve typed that out, let’s talk about the show that usually makes you feel the exact opposite of Asuka and Becky Lynch hugging about motherhood: Monday Night Raw.
Best: Seth Rollins Is Handling Fatherhood Well
If you’re wondering what Seth Rollins is up to following the announcement that he’s going to be a father, he’s handling it as well as he handles anything else: he’s becoming a VIOLENT SOCIOPATH.
Earlier in the show, Rollins hears his name and wanders into a Rey Mysterio promo. Mysterio, famously the father of NXT UK Champion WALTER, shoots on fatherhood and wishes Seth the best. Seth just stares at him with extreme “my life is over” energy and walks away.
Later, when Rollins is supposed to be teaming with Buddy Murphy against Mysterio and Aleister Black, Rollins just stands there on the apron all catatonic until Rey elbows him in the gut. Seth’s completely rational response to being attacked once during a wrestling match is to throw Mysterio on the floor, poke him in the eyes a couple of times, and then force his eyeball into the corner of the ring steps, Lucio Fulci’s Zombie-style. After the match, Rollins goes back to the trainer’s room to try to apologize to the man he just heinously blinded, apparently claiming temporary insanity. Aleister Black decides to beat up Murphy about it, presumably because he wants to keep both of his eyes.
For the record, having Seth Rollins kick the shit out of people and not talk is a great call. I’m all-in on the “I’m in the ZONE” Ken Shamrock version of Rollins who blacks out and destroys folks. Pretty cool that he was a fan favorite dipshit until he got humiliated by The Fiend, which sent him into a weird downward spiral of failure and unpopularity until he ended up being a fake cult leader who sometimes turns into a monster. Give me a Firefly Fun House match where Rollins turns Wyatt’s own shit against him and makes him disappear.
About Those Murders From Money In The Bank
Remember on Sunday night when King Corbin tried to win a wrestling match by throwing two of his opponents off the roof of a seven-story building? It turns out he didn’t actually kill them, they were saved by a “secondary roof” that was “only on that side of the building.” Having Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black be totally fine and completely unaffected by saying they fell six feet onto an additional roof has some real, “James Storm didn’t murder Mickie James with a train, he just emotionally distressed her with the train” energy. Although if they had AJ Styles get buried in an undisclosed location in the middle of the night and show up to work a couple of weeks later, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they bait-and-swtiched a couple of falling deaths.
Seriously though, King Corbin’s supposed to be on next week’s show* to face Drew McIntyre, and if Mysterio and Black don’t jump him the second he walks through the door and beat him within an inch of his life for trying to actually kill them, they should’ve just rolled their weak asses off the secondary roof and died of shame.
*Survivor Series is the one time each year when Raw and Smackdown go head-to-head.
Speaking Of AJ Styles, He Pulls Up A Chair To Watch An Undetaker Commercial And Then Gets Pissed When It’s About The Undertaker
Don’t be upset! You got to watch the commercial on that cool round TV!
Best: Shayna Baszler, Mother Of The Year
Shayna is all “F*ck Them Kids” sksksksk pic.twitter.com/ZYRobIm7XD
— 💕✨ (@AnnetteReid247) May 12, 2020
“How stupid do you have to be to get knocked up when you’re the champion? Here’s a fact, ten out of ten mothers will try to convince you that pregnancy didn’t ruin their careers. You’re trying to tell me Becky Lynch becomes the longest reigning Raw women’s champion and throws that all away just to house some miserable parasite? Imagine, The Man … barefoot, fat, on the couch eating bon-bons. That kid’s gonna suck. You know who the father is? I rest my case.”
Shayna just Britt Baker’d that kid and it’s not even born yet. Later, Natalya shows up to defend motherhood and not only gets shaded for never having kids and letter her family legacy die, but gets kneed in the face. Shayna Baszler’s out here like the Boogeyman smashing biological clocks on her head.
After the match, Natalya is upset and kicks the ropes. Sorry, Nattie, you lost, that means motherhood is meaningless. Way to ruin it for everybody.
Worst: NBA 1K AD
The Viking Raiders want to prove that anything the Street Profits can do, they can do better. They’re really good at basketball, so they [checks notes] intentionally lose a basketball game 74-2. Then, once the game’s over and nothing matters, Ivar hits a bunch of logo threes and a slow motion dunk to show how they could’ve won if they’d wanted, which I thought was the point?
I guess nothing says WWE like a team losing a match to prove they can win a match. The Viking Raiders pretending to be terrible so they can show off how good they are when they don’t have to pretend is so meta I think I just traveled through time.
Best: The Beat Down Clan
Bobby Lashley submits Humbert Carrillo to his new finisher, the LASHTERLOCK, in this week’s opening match. Full nelson submission wins are nice, but give me a wrestler who can win off dropkicks and hip-tosses, 1960s-style. But anyway, MVP approaches Lashley afterward and is rightfully like, “why are you even wrestling Humberto Carrillo, you are literally in the same spot you were in in this company 13 years ago, get your shit together.” He even drops some truth on Lana, who aimlessly screams about it.
“Who do you think yOU AAAAAARE! WHO-WUH! How dare YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-WUH! [long pause] DAAH!!!”
Is there something you can win for acting worse than a Razzie? Lana’s acting makes old school Maria Kanellis look like Frances McDormand. What a cursed world we live in where Rusev’s unemployed but Lana’s still shouting her way through Bobby Lashley romance segments?
Later in the episode, MVP teams up with his favorite NXT Live jobbers Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink to lose to Cedric Alexander, Ricochet, and R-Truth. Truth brings back his “Pretty Ricky” character this week, which you may remember from over a decade ago. It’s just Truth crossing his eyes and wearing fake hillbilly teeth you can get out of those quarter machines at the grocery store. If the name sounds familiar, please enjoy having ‘Grind With Me’ stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Anyway, Lashley shows up after the match to turn Truth inside out with a spear. He wants to talk to MVP. I hope MVP’s response is, “hey I appreciate the spear but couldn’t you have done that like 30 seconds earlier? I’m out here tagging with fucking Brendan Vink.” Presumably Lana is backstage during this, scrolling Instagram and shaking her fists and screaming CUUUUUUUUUUTE-HUH! at every puppy she sees.
As a fun note, the pairing of MVP and Bobby Lashley brings back lots of sweet Beat Down Clan memories for anyone who watched TNA in the first half of the ’10s. They’re easily Impact Wrestling’s best faction to not include biker weddings, CM Punk slumming it as a cult fanboy, or AJ Styles in a feathery robe. I really hope this leads to them enlisting fellow former BDC member Samoa Joe to the team, as he could really use something in his life greater than being asked to get wrestlers over between dismissive Byron Saxton quips. Although that didn’t work out well for Bob the last time, so forget I said anything.
BEST: THE IICONICS HAVE PINNED THE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS
This week’s best news not revolving around the miracle of childbirth is the return of The Goddamn IIconics, who show up for the first time in months and months to randomly challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Well, to challenge for a non-title match they’re obviously going to win so they can then challenge for a match for the Women’s Tag Team Championship.
As much as I love seeing Billie Kay and Peyton Royce on my TV again, I have to give a quick supplemental Worst for being the fifth main roster show in a row (not counting the pay-per-view) to feature a challenger pinning the champion to get a championship match.
- 4/27 Raw – Apollo Crews pinned the United States champion Andrade
- 5/1 Smackdown – Forgotten Sons pinned the Smackdown Tag Team Champions The New Day
- 5/4 Raw – The Viking Raiders pinned Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits
- 5/8 Smackdown – Tamina pinned Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley
- 5/11 Raw – The IIconics pinned Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
As a quick side note, they need to write some better material for poor Nikki Cross. She’s great, but who knew the difference between being a feral rage monster and being NXT Bayley after she fell down and hit her head on the coffee table was, “having one friend?”
It’s so good to have these two true weirdos back on the show. A lot of people who review WWE shows hate them, but there’s no accounting for taste. They’ve got a new finisher — an inverted Magic Killer, because it’s not like the corpses of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are going to be using it any time soon — and Peyton’s wearing pre-Crisis Roman Reigns contact lenses, so you know they’re serious about staying on TV.
Please enjoy the above video, wherein Billie Kay shares her emotional thoughts on Becky Lynch’s announcement: “She’s preggers. Great. The IIconics are back, that’s what matters.”
Worst/Best: LIJ Central Florida Is Only Here To Job To The Stars
Firstly, I can’t believe they made Zelina Vega work so soon after the tragic death of her husband.
Secondly, Mr. Monday Night Akira Tozawa continues being brilliant on Wednesdays and the world’s easiest opponent on Raw with a loss to Angel Garza. Garza’s not even paying attention for most of the match because he’s arguing with Austin Theory about a tweet he didn’t like. Definitely worth the continued shit-canning of a guy in the middle of a title tournament on your other show.
After the match, Drew McIntyre shows up and knocks out both Theory and Garza with Claymore Kicks to remind them what the pecking order is, and to make sure NOBODY in that match came out looking good.
That leads into another Drew McIntyre vs. Andrade match, which is pretty good as always but basically the same match they had last month. It still ends with Andrade losing to the full countdown taunt version of the Claymore, and the United States Champion (and the posse he runs with) looking like glorified extras. If Sami Zayn’s not going to come to work, I guess somebody has to be the Sami Zayn.
This is the downside to watching WWE every week. If you only watched every now and then and didn’t see them repeat stuff over and over, or do five non-title match losses for champions in a row, you’d probably have a much brighter outlook on how they’re doing and where they’re going. Please remember that it’s not that I’ve “soured” on WWE or need a break from it, it’s that I actually watch it, and have to pay attention.
Don’t Hinder Jinder 2K20
Jinder Mahal is happy for the championship successes of his former 3MB bandmates Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater, and wants to earn respect as a former champion as he plans a “hero’s journey” back to the top of the promotion. I’ll be honest with you, I think we’re ready for babyface hero champion Jinder Mahal. He’s no great shakes in the ring, but he’s got a good wrestling mind, and a body that could give a Bowflex an eating disorder. There’s a real spot for him on these shows beyond Singh Brothers run-ins and contrarian Twitter threads about how good his bad title reign actually was. Plus, I want at least the backup members of 3MB to be friends again. I don’t see Jinder as Denzel, but I could see him as Denzel’s friend, is what I’m saying.
Hilarious Worst: Randy Orton Dreams The Impossible Dream
Finally, here’s Randy Orton challenging Edge to a regular match at Backlash. I hope they’ve got something really clever planned for that, because if not, they’re doing the feud backwards. You don’t start with a 40 minute emotional street fight at WrestleMania that ends with a con-chair-to on top of a production truck and a man crying about the terrible things he’s done to his former friend and then do a NORMAL MATCH. It’s the creative equivalent of downhill skiing. You started at the top, and you’re just letting gravity take you to the bottom.
Charly Caruso ends the segment with maybe the least true line of dialogue ever spoken on Raw, a show that in just the past month has ret-conned a literal burial and two “secondary roof” murders:
“If this does happen it may just be the greatest wrestling match ever.”
Yeah Charly, it’s Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat 2-out-of-3 falls at Clash 6, Kandori and Hokuto from Dream Slam, and then Edge vs. RANDY ORTON in a Regular Match at the WWE Performance Center. This shit’s only happening because Orton had to wrestle for 40 minutes at WrestleMania and wasn’t allowed to do any slow-ass chinlocks. Who watched that and was like, “this is good, but it would be better if Randy could do more ‘methodical stomps.'” I hope this DOES turn out to be the greatest wrestling match ever, only to be topped by Jinder Mahal vs. King Corbin in a best 0.5 Falls Out Of 1 Match at 25% Capacity SummerSlam.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Wow. Becky is now 2-0 against Ronda.
If Seth was truly Plan B, this pregnancy doesn’t happen.
If the Viking Raiders play Street Profits in Basketball they really should play a game of NORSE
Baron Von Raschke
Dana is watching this at home thinking, “If I had won the match last night, I would have been pregnant? Is that right?”
Becky: “I’ll fight anyone who wins.”
TV: “The winner of the Miss Money in the Bank, Asuka”
Becky: “Welp, I’m pregnant.”
Million Dollar Dan
Natalya: From one mother to another…
Natalya: BEING A CAT MOM IS TOTALLY THE SAME THING.
“Oh my God! Congratulations Becky!” -The entire roster
“Once agaaaaaaain….yoooooooooou try to steal myyyyyyyyyyyy spotlight, Becks.” -Charlotte Flair
Missed opportunity to have Dominic show up wearing Rey’s mask and no one commenting on how Rey is suddenly 2 feet taller.
WWE Proudly announces more Baron Corbin.
That does it for another episode of The Best and Worst of Quarantine Raw. Writing about it today I found that I liked more about it than I disliked, but watching it I felt like I’d been sitting in my chair for a day and a half. Some of the content is there, but the presentation is still wack.
Anyway, as always you can help us out tremendously right now by sharing the column on social media, as well as dropping down into our comments section to let us know what you thought of the show. I will keep trying to watch these and say something constructive about them, but if I fall into existential, nihilistic despair waiting for real episodes with fans to return, try to laugh at my thinly-veiled cries for help.
See you next week for Baron Corbin’s triumphant return to the show he ruined, and the IIconics not winning the Women’s Tag Team Championship!