Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: It was time for Money in the Bank, at which every Raw Champion either retained or didn’t defend, and Brock Lesnar won the men’s Money in the Bank briefcase. They already can’t decide if they wanna call him “Money in the Beast,” or, “Beast in the Bank.”
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for May 20, 2019.
Worst: Brock Lesnar Is Headed To Jeddah [Country Redacted]
This week’s major A-story is that Brock Lesnar won the Money in the Bank briefcase, which he’s already turned into a hilarious meme by pretending it’s a boombox.
The story they’re trying to tell is that Brock Lesnar is already this nigh-unstoppable force of nature who gets whatever he wants, so adding the Money in the Bank briefcase to that has completely overpowered him. He knows it, we know it, the champs know it. He’s instantly able to lord it over the heads of not only the Universal Champion but the WWE Champion as well, and they’re both so immediately shook by it that they open Raw trying to bait him into fighting one or both of them on a level playing field tonight. Brock doesn’t come to wrestling shows to wrestle, though, he comes to get paid, so he pulls his usual move and does nothing.
Two pretty lame things here:
- Heyman’s burn on Seth Rollins “waiting around for seven hours at WrestleMania for your girlfriend to main-event the show that you’ve dreamt of main-eventing” gets a big “oooh” out of the Married … With Children studio audience because it’s a shoot, brother, but Rollins did technically main-event WrestleMania 31 and end the show as champion, and who the hell wouldn’t want to date Becky Lynch and stick around to support her in a history-making moment at the job you both work
- Lesnar’s already been announced for Saudi Arabia and the show that’s BIGGER and EVEN BETTER than WrestleMania if you’re an asshole, so assuming he’s still working a Brock Lesnar schedule, nothing of consequence involving Brock is going down until then
Heyman might as well have dropped a, “you kissed a girl? That is so GAY,” on Rollins while he was at it. And as an aside, an entire arena full of people sat through seven hours of WrestleMania to watch the main event. That’s why it was the main event. It caused a local panic, didn’t you hear?
Anyway, yeah, it’s a perfectly fine opening segment that’s devoid of drama because we’ve had the rhythm of WWE pay-per-view cycles burned into the frontal lobes of our brains for years. With the stories of how disorganized and unfinished the show was while it was airing going around, I’m shocked they had the creative wherewithal to open it with a promo parade that sets up a match for later like they always do.
The main event is fine, as Seth Rollins is on fire again and can basically do no wrong and Baron Corbin’s still riding that little burst of physical momentum he picked up kicking ass in the Money in the Bank ladder match, but it’s par for the course. Nothing really happens. The champions team up to beat a couple of non-champions who are only really around to lose matches to more important characters, and Lesnar shows up at the end to tease a cash-in, but does nothing. Lesnar seriously needs an ARRIVE. DO NOTHING. LEAVE. t-shirt with his big gross smiling face on the back.
With the wild card rule in play, the new championship causing a pack of random jobbers to run around screaming at each other, and the only available pay-per-view build being for a Saudi Arabia show none of us are going to watch or talk about, the next couple of weeks of WWE TV might as well come out and announce themselves as a wash. Ah well, at least we still have NXT. Unless they send them overseas for NXT TakeOver: The Greatest War Games, or whatever.
Worst: The Seattle SuperSonics Present The WWE Softcore Championship
The other major story of the week is the debut of the ’24/7 Title,’ which is so ill-advised, pointless, and hideously ugly that it gets booed the second it starts existing. Poor Mick Foley has to pretend it’s the Hardcore Championship without the “hardcore” part, and that wrangling up the 10 least paid-attention-to and least successful characters on the show so they can crawl around on the ground screaming like idiots is something anybody wants. I think my favorite part is that they left room for custom side plates.
Seriously, the first champion is crowned because they were able to do a Jeff Jarrett-style reverse battle royal and pick up the title. Jarrett totally put this together, didn’t he? I’m surprised there isn’t a “penalty box” involved. It doesn’t help that it looks like a menthol cigarette company opened a 24-hour diner, or that the first-ever champion — the guy most famous for falling down in Saudi Arabia — embarrassed himself publicly en route to walking backwards up the ramp and immediately getting pinned. Why would anyone want this title? What’s the prestige of it? You don’t get anything. It’s not like if you keep it for 30 days you get a title shot or whatever, or that you even have to defend it. You’re just winning a meaningless accessory that makes everyone you work with want to attack you from behind, and the only peers you’re proving you’re better than are No Way Jose and Mojo Rawley. It’s like that John Mulaney joke about having a Rite Aid rewards card on your keychain. It would be cooler to just lose the money.
So now we get a bunch of wacky segments of people running around backstage, and before the episode in which it first appears is over, the 24/7 Championship has already turned into a joke that happens in the background behind people actually doing something with their careers. They also manage to reuse the same shot of Shane McMahon from like a week ago, because I guess Vince thought it was funny. It’s like Wile E. Coyote, pal! Ho ho!
I don’t know. Given the crowd and fan response, it’s mostly a waiting game to see how long it takes them to retire the championship. My best idea is for them to have someone bring the title to Jeddah with them, and after Brock Lesnar fails to cash in Money in the Bank or whatever you have them make fun of him backstage for not having a title. He immediately destroys them, wins the 24/7 Championship, and then disappears for a year with the understanding that nobody would dare go to his house and challenge him for it. If he ever comes back again, you can just not mention it, or have him wear it as an accessory nobody can challenge for. It gets the belt off TV, and you let Brock live his fantasy of being a wrestling champion who never wrestles.
Either that, or have Mohammad bin Salman give R-Truth the Hidden Blade and give him a participation trophy to hang up in one of his Bluth Company model homes.
Best: Firefly Funhouse Gets An Extended Theme
Not much going on with the Funhouse this week, but the theme song gets extended lyrics. Honestly, I prefer the original Swedish version of the show where kids had “let the right one in” written on their faces.
Worst: Sami Zayn Gets Thrown In The Garbage Again
Well, at least it wasn’t literally the garbage this time. Is … is this really the best creative decision you have for one of the best talkers, actors, and in-ring performers in the world? A guy whose wrestling helped build the foundation of your best brand? I guess I don’t need to ask when you’ve got 17-year veteran EC3 who can talk and wrestle and looks like a billion dollars as a stupid, helpless, background mute rolling around on the ground trying to win a big-ass skee-ball token.
Best: The Actual Wrestling Parts Of The Wrestling Show
Fun note: There was only 6:35 of actual wrestling during the first hour of the 3-hour wrestling show. The crowd sat on their hands for 100% of the dumb comedy bullshit WWE’s still trying to pass off as “entertainment,” but got HYPE for all the wrestling parts. It’s like … it’s like fans are trying to tell you that they’re more into the sports than the entertainment right now, company that swears they listen to the fans.
The match of the night was The Usos vs. The Revival. Hey, get this: when you put two teams who are really good at tag team wrestling into a tag team match and let them tag team wrestle, you get a good match that people like and care about. Whoever decided to start this feud off with body shaming lulz and the hilarity of accidentally rubbing parody Icy Hot on your dick should be fired. And by “fired” I mean catapulted from the roof of WWE Headquarters. Imagine how much cooler this would be if you hadn’t spent the past 6-18 months telling us how shitty and embarrassing The Revival is?
Also absolutely killing it this week is the few minutes we get of Ricochet vs. Cesaro. Ricochet’s coming off the Money in the Bank ladder match, in which he was basically cannon fodder for big guys to toss around whenever Finn Bálor was too irreparably paralyzed to do a spot, so Cesaro beating him quickly makes sense. Also, for the love of God, look at these spectacular humans:
Awesome. There was a … small problem, though.
Worst Ever: The Secret Goddamn Life Of Pets
Do you know that Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2® is in theaters starting June 7? No? What if we gave you two “special looks” at Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2® during Raw? What if we immediately cut away form wrestling matches after 20+ minutes of talking to show you a commercial for Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2®? What if some of the commercials were disguised as wrestling segments, wherein WWE Superstars talk to you about Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2®? What if The Miz talked about how his pets could star in Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2®?
What if we cut to a picture-in-picture of the trailer for Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2® during the big high spot of the Ricochet vs. Cesaro match, put the match in the smaller screen, and played the Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2® audio on top of it?
I said this on Twitter last night, but the ad campaign changed my feelings on Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2® from, “indifferent,” to, “wants to burn down every theater playing it.” I know you have to sell ads for TV shows. I know Raw has more commercials than necessary, and I’ve been calling it a “three-hour fried chicken commercial” for ages. But for real, this shit is a bridge too far. At some point Raw just completely stops being a “sports-entertainment” show and starts becoming bad commercials for WWE sprinkled into a three-hour show about how much you’d rather be doing anything else.
Worst: Raw Production Doesn’t Even Remember What They’re Putting On Screen
Before one of the many, many commercial breaks in hour one, we get a quick scene of Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross talking backstage. The announce team mentions that there’s a special edition of A Moment Of Bliss coming up later tonight. Then, in hour two, we get another segment between the two, this time with audio, with Cross walking up and starting with, “Hi Alexa, you wanted to talk to me?”
Yeah, she wanted to talk to you, which is why she was talking to you like 30 minutes ago? Can a globally broadcast prime-time production team not remember the shit they shot in the episode that’s currently airing live? Did neither Bliss nor Cross pull someone aside and say, “hey, it doesn’t make sense for us to be talking for the first time tonight since we were JUST talking a minute ago?” Does ANYBODY care?
This is another great example of why the “if you don’t like it, don’t watch” attitude some fans have and the broad acceptance and defense of anything shoveled down our throats isn’t going to help WWE get better. They need to be called out on shit like this, because they managed to brute force every other meaningful wrestling promotion into bankruptcy and/or oblivion, and if they remain the only game in town while purposefully, indifferently breaking down the art they’ve demanded to be the only ones creating, we’re either going to lose pro wrestling completely, or become numb to the thing we all love becoming a lazier, stupider version of the fucking Teletubbies. Brought to you by Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2®.
The actual A Moment Of Bliss segment is fine. Nikki Cross might be the most adorable person on television, Bliss is good at what she does even when the material is terrible, and the IIconics got some screen time. It still doesn’t have a ton of internal logic, though, especially when it’s based around Raw’s heels heeling on Becky Lynch for … only being the Raw Women’s Champion? Especially when it’s coming from Lacey Evans, who lost her championship match clean last night and didn’t even come out on top on the second match beatdown, and from the IIconics, who have won like one match against jobbers in the 5 or so they’ve had since becoming champions of WWE’s most immediately abandoned division. Nobody’s got any real motivations or points to make, and everything comes out feeling placeholder and pointless.
And again, the match is fine. The IIconics lose again, because of course they do, even with a 3-on-2 advantage for most of the match. You’d think even 2-on-2 they’d be able to beat a singles star and a lady who’s only had two matches on the main roster since being called up since, you know, they’re Women’s Tag Team Champions, but nobody loses more matches in WWE than WWE Champions.
Alexa Bliss being bored at ringside and standing around drinking coffee while everyone else goes through the motions is a whole-ass mood, though.
I don’t know. I really just don’t ever know anymore.
Also (Bad) On This Episode
Didn’t get enough of the throwaway segment from Money in the Bank where Lars Sullivan beat up a bunch of minorities who spoke up against him having been a shoot racist? Here’s another one exactly like it, only it’s dressed up as an “exclusive interview,” except he doesn’t actually say anything, and the minorities do okay trying to fight him 3-on-1 before getting beaten up again. Somebody likes this, and I don’t think it’s any of us.
Not getting enough of Shane McMahon being the focus of three or four pay-per-views in a row, winning two singles matches in a row against The Miz, and showing up on both Raw and Smackdown every week? What if I told you he’s now also in a feud with Roman Reigns? Would that help?
Yeah, no, Shane McMahon — as I said in the Money in the Bank column, a “visibly dying 49-year old non-wrestler” — is in two concurrent feuds with top, active WWE Superstars. He’s still feuding with The Miz, and interferes in his matches to make sure he loses, and he’s also heading into a marquee singles match in the desert kingdom of Jeddah, Nebraska, to wrestle Roman Reigns. In what world should Shane McMahon in his current state last more than five seconds with either of those guys? Roman Reigns pinned Elias in 10 seconds. One Superman Punch should knock Shane’s soul of his body like he got palm-struck by the fucking Ancient One.
And, uh, that’s Raw.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week, Brought To You By Illumination’s® The Secret Life Of Pets 2®
We don’t even know what the new title is but Bray Wyatt and Rusev have already lost matches for it.
Ricochet’s push was aborted so quickly that even Alabama’s governor was ok with it.
The Usos could steal the Revival’s identity, destroy their credit history, frame them for murder, implicate them in domestic terror and have them sent to Gitmo, and Cole would still insist “Some of it was kinda fun, you have to admit!”
Let the Wyatt One In
poor Alexa is feeling left out by not having a ridiculous accent
Seth has a chair.
WATCH YOUR BACK KOFI!
becky enlisting the help of notorious turncoat alexa bliss is only adding to the fact that she’s stone cold with sting’s brain
The Real Birdman
“You’ll pay for that one”
*8 more Corbin segments scheduled for tonight*
John Oliver: “Give WWE Wrestlers an off season.”
Vince McMahon: “Keep WWE Wrestlers on the clock 24/7.”
Corey Graves: “This is Raw. This is not okay.”
Vince: “This is Raw.”
Everyone: “This is not okay.”
Before we go, check out this hilarious GIF from Secret Life Of Pets 2. SLOP, in theaters June 7!
That’s it for Raw. You should be used to this by now.
Thanks for reading, at least. Drop a comment down below to let us know how excited YOU are to see this really creative CGI kids movie about what non-human things do when humans aren’t around, and share the column on social media to spread the word about Illumination’s somehow less impressive, non-Minion efforts. And make sure to join us in a couple of weeks when Gru goes to Saudi Arabia! It doesn’t go well!