Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: Money in the Bank ladder match participants were announced, The Usos made fun of The Revival for grooming themselves, and Becky Lynch got into a fight with Golden Age Charlotte Flair.
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And now, here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for May 6, 2019.
Worst: A Mentally Waning 73-Year Old Republican Billionaire Presents 30 Minutes Of Rule Changes And Promo Parades
I made it this far without bone-sawing my skull open and scooping out bits of my brain matter with a melon baller, so let’s talk about Monday Night Yard™.
You know how Raw sometimes (read: almost always) opens with a “promo parade,” where someone shows up to talk only to be interrupted by someone, and then they get interrupted, and then they get interrupted, and an authority figure shows up to put them in a match for later tonight? And the whole time you’re like, “lol, I guess they didn’t have anything booked for the first half hour, thank goodness one of the wrestlers took it upon themselves to make a big declaration at the top of the show and get the match-making going?” This week’s show starts with two of those. Back-to-back, with a commercial break between them. Last week they did two Money in the Bank ladder match announcements leading to promos to set up matches, so maybe they’re going for some kind of dualism theme?
Anyway, it starts with Vince McMahon. Vince, who throughout his career as been one of the most bulletproof on-screen performers in wrestling, is now, quite frankly, a dying old man. He looks like someone dressed a basset hound in a grandpa suit, has the casual speaking voice of a Tom Waits song, and can’t seem to move naturally or remember half of what he’s supposed to say. He’s the promo equivalent of Farewell Tour Kurt Angle, where you still love him and want to see him be great, but it’s just not happening.
He’s interrupted by Roman Reigns, who briefly points out some inconsistencies and plot holes until Vince is like, “ACTUALLY TURNS OUT I’VE MADE SOME RULE CHANGES ON THE FLY, GET THIS, WE NOW HAVE A ‘WILD CARD RULE.'” The “wild card rule” states that, somewhat randomly and to quote Vince, “three members of Smackdown could be invited to Raw, three members of Smackdown could be invited to Smackdown … you understand what I’m trying to say.” Firstly, nobody understands what you’re trying to say. Secondly, Vince calls himself a “genius” for the remainder of the show for coming up with the idea that WWE should have a brand split, but that people should be able to ignore that and do whatever they want, it’s fine.” That’s his genius idea. The guy that owns all the wrestlers and can put them wherever he wants segregated them into separate rosters three weeks ago just to announce that also, hey, maybe he won’t. They should’ve had Dana Warrior walk around the ring like a boxing ring girl with a sign over her head that says WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO WRITE, SORRY.
Roman, who is not on Raw, interrupts Vince. Then Daniel Bryan, who is not on Raw, interrupts Roman and Vince. Then Kofi Kingston, who is also not on Raw, interrupts Roman and Bryan and Vince. Drew McIntyre, who is on Raw, interrupts all of them, and Vince — the same guy who announced “no more automatic rematches” not that long ago — announces two WrestleMania rematches, because he is a smart genius.
AJ Styles then interrupts (the fifth interruption, if you’re keeping score) and Raw goes to commercial, only to come back with most of the wrestlers having vanished and Styles starting up another promo parade. He’s interrupted by Seth Rollins, and Manipulative Authority Figure Vince puts them in a “can they co-exist” tag team match against Raw’s generic heel army despite this very segment and episode opening with Roman Reigns pointing out how Vince said the fans were the authority and was bullshitting us by still being an evil boss character.
So now 30 minutes have passed, an entire half hour, to set up two matches we’ve already seen as rematches from a month ago, a Baron Corbin tag team match, and a random, badly-explained rule that negates the Superstar Shake-Up from also less than a month ago. Incredibly, this is all the fifth or sixth worst thing on the episode.
Jesus take the motherfucking wheel.
Oh, And That New Rule Doesn’t Even Last An Entire Episode
The first of the WrestleMania rematches is Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre, and it asks you to devote 15 minutes in a match just to have it end with Shane McMahon and Elias (who are not on Raw) running in for a disqualification. Miz ends up chasing Shane away and they do some WWE 2K19 backstage brawling, and dumb babyface Miz leaves Reigns to get attacked 2-on-1 in the ring.
Later, Lars Sullivan shows up to beat up No Way Jose and his conga line in the battle of Already Forgotten Characters. Lars hasn’t been around for a month and he’s already gone from attacking Kurt Angle to attacking men in hot dog hats. In a couple of weeks he’ll be “coming soon” again and nobody will remember what happened.
Both of these segments pay off in a backstage bit where Vince McMahon’s having a fake telephone conversation with his inner monologue about how he’s a genius for coming up with the “wild card rule,” and makes sure to note that “Elias doesn’t count,” because you’re only supposed to have three people from Smackdown show up on Raw. Lars Sullivan walks in and stands in Vince’s personal space doing and saying nothing, and Vince is suddenly like, “actually, there should be four Smackdown guys allowed to show up on Raw.” Which, again, doesn’t include Elias (the fifth Smackdown guy) or Shane McMahon (the sixth). Plus, Vince has routinely stood up to folks like the Undertaker and the Big Show. Lars Sullivan’s six whole feet of sweaty hairy titty is going to intimidate him into rule changes?
The only way this entire thing would’ve been worth it is if they’d gotten a shot of Vince’s phone while he was looking at Lars and it was just a game of Angry Birds he’d turned up the volume on and held up to his ear.
The show opening segment was right about two things:
- Monday Night Raw is a “yard,” in that it’s full of dog shit and nobody’s maintained it for years
- It’s a Raw “for the ages” that we’ll “never forget” because it’s one of the worst episodes they’ve ever done
Now let’s get to the BAD stuff!
Worst: Sami Zayn Is Literally Garbage, And WWE Still Doesn’t Know How Garbage Trucks Work
Sami Zayn is here again to tell us at length why we’re actual real-life horrible people for choosing to patronize and react to the show, which feels great when you’re already mad at yourself for choosing to watch Raw. To quote Mike Lawrence, WWE has done an amazing job of making wrestling as embarrassing and stupid to lifelong fans as it is to the people that will never watch it.
Sami — who I should point out is still not wrestling and is just cutting 10-minute promos, which makes me wonder why he had to be off-screen while he was injured and get healed up and medically cleared just to come back and never get physical — is interrupted by Friend Of The People Braun Strowman, who chases him to and through the backstage area. This culminates in Sami Zayn being thrown into a dumpster, and raises the questions, “isn’t Sami Zayn cutting promos on how awful the FANS are, not the company,” and, “if Braun Strowman is throwing Sami in the garbage, does that mean WWE agrees with the antithesis of Sami’s argument, which amounts to the fans being correct and WWE itself being what’s terrible?”
Anyway, once Zayn’s been in a big empty dumpster for like five seconds, a garbage truck drives up to the back of a sports arena currently hosting a sporting event at like 9 PM at night to pick up the garbage. At least when Sting was throwing Seth Rollins statues in the garbage you assumed Sting called someone with a trash truck and got them to show up at Raw so he could do his bit. This seems to be a randomly occurring garbage truck, sentiently arriving to empty the dumpster because it heard garbage being taken out like a big ass Roomba.
If there was any justice in the world, WWE giving Sami Zayn a “say the FANS are the reason these shows are so bad” gimmick and then literally throwing him in the garbage while people sit on their hands would be the company’s “that’s gonna put butts in seats.”
Worst: Congratulations On Signing New 5-Year Contracts, Revival
If that’s not humiliating enough, The Revival shows up for a match against Gallows and Anderson only to discover that they’ve been given “Ucey Hot,” an Usos-branded (?) version of Icy Hot that they’ve apparently been masturbating with, because their balls and buttholes are suddenly on fire. Cool?
They then pour bottles of water on their dicks, but the Usos inform them that Ucey Hot is “sweat activated,” and that “water makes it worse.” That turns Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder into Ace Ventura and Ace Ventura 2, and they do Home Alone scared faces and tumble around on the stage like idiots.
So now the Usos, one of if not the best and most accomplished tag teams in WWE history, are Logan and Jake Paul, and The Revival, the team that brought good tag team wrestling back into the mainstream and defined an era in NXT, are embarrassing Nickelodeon cartoon characters. Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Usos and the Revival met each other backstage and we let ourselves get excited for like half a second and how good those matches could be?
Isn’t it weird how everyone wants to leave WWE? Seriously, fuck everyone involved in this. Grow up. This isn’t even good content for stupid people and children it was made for.
Worst: Challenger Has Pinned The Whatever Champion!
Raw’s ratings keep going down every week, so they solve that problem by opening us up with another Baron Corbin appearance. That’ll fix things, won’t it?
The dynamic between Seth Rollins and AJ Styles isn’t really doing it for me, but I know their pay-per-view match will be good, so I’m fine with it. Here, Styles “accidentally” hits Rollins with a Phenomenal Forearm and bails on the match, leaving Rollins to get eaten up by Corbin and a possibly broken-necked Bobby Lashley. Renee Young insists that it was “clearly a mistake,” despite a slow motion replay showing Styles seeing styles in front of him and still choosing to bring his elbow all the way across his body and smash Rollins in the face. Wrestling moves aren’t animations that have to be completed, guys, and there’s a big difference between not being able to stop a chair swing because someone ducked at the last second, and a six-foot-eight guy completely moving out of the way while you’re gently hopping forward. Also the whole “walking out on the match” thing.
If anything, I hope this feud keeps Rollins babyface (which he’s great at) and moves Styles back to heel (which he’s great at) instead of playing them face vs face and ending the PPV title match with a goofy non-finish to “protect” them both.
If “Baron Corbin has pinned the Universal Champion” in the opening match wasn’t enough, here’s “The Viking Raiders have pinned the Raw Tag Team Champions!” During the match, Michael Cole’s like, “you’d think if the Viking Raiders could pull off a win here it would put them into consideration for a future tag team title shot!” Yeah, you’d think. You’d also think that pinning the champion means you’re the champion, but that’s not how it ever works.
You’ve gotta love the black hole of Raw. Before the Superstar Shake-Up it felt like the Raw tag team division was the worst thing in the world. Then they added The Usos but turned them into finger-pointing goober assholes, added the War Raiders but immediately turned them into a meme joke we can never take seriously again, added Gallows and Anderson to have them stand in the background during comedy segments, turned the best tag team they had into a joke about putting Icy Hot on your dicks and assholes, and have had 0-260-whatever Curt Hawkins keep losing matches while somehow being tag champs. GREAT TIMES FOR EVERYONE.
Also On This Episode
Samoa Joe finally meets Rey Mysterio’s son and … doesn’t kill him? WTF?
Raw’s really doing everything they can to make Ricochet a boring non-factor. It’s good that they remembered Robert Roode’s the only guy to pick up a singles win against him on the main roster and tried to parlay that into something relevant for Money in the Bank, but really all we’re left with is a boring Bobby Roode match and the illusion of consequence. “Why would Ricochet put his Money in the Bank ladder match spot on the line in a random singles match on Raw when nobody else in the match has to” is instantly negated by the fact that Ricochet just wins, so we could’ve just made it a rematch instead of putting lipstick on a pig.
RIP Rambling Rabbit, April 29, 2019 – May 6, 2019
I’m actually pretty jealous of Rambling Rabbit for getting murdered halfway through the show and not having to live through the entire thing.
Jobbers Of The Week
While Braun Strowman’s busy ecologically disposing of Sami Zayn’s career, the Lucha House Party get an exciting, 15-second win over a trio of jobbers, seen here in pretty much the clearest shot of them we get. It’s honestly kinda lame and disrespectful of WWE to not even give these guys a second of TV facetime and put their names on the screen.
After doing a little bit of research, the identities of the trio are:
- two-time OVW Television Champion Randall Floyd, who is what would’ve happened if Claudio Castagnoli had shown up to train at Chikara and was the same size as everybody else
- the “Iron Demon” Shane Mercer, who has the best belly-to-belly suplex I’ve ever seen and really should’ve launched one of these Lucha House Party dudes into the stratosphere
- “Immaculate” Mike Micas, who is what happens when Cedric Alexander and Lio Rush have a baby and is good enough to be tasked with taking about 12 of the 15 seconds of offense
Lacey Evans defeats Allie Katrina — more like Allie Tor-tilla — and shout-out to Allie for repping the Guardians of the Independent Scene by not only getting a first and last name, but having it mentioned on TV. She looks like she tried to get to Full Sail to lose to Shayna Baszler and took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Quick note: Firstly, thumbs down to Natalya, Naomi, and Liv Morgan cosplayer Dana Brooke for shading Lacey Evans’ handwritten, scented match invitations. Sorry she put some effort into something. Secondly, how can something be “peach cobbler scented?” Wouldn’t it just smell like peach? Did it have hints of vanilla in it? Did y’all work at the Yankee Candle before becoming wrestlers? Lacey’s the worst and she’s got me up in arms defending the south. Is this how politics work?
Worst: We Had To Watch The Entire 30-Minute Promo Parade And The Butthole Burning Segment In Its Entirety But Here’s A Bunch Of Stuff We Missed During The Commercials
Fried chicken won’t sell itself, so we missed an appearance from The IIconics in which they speak in iiconic pentameter about how Cincinnati is overrun by bees. It’s not particularly good or funny, as I think they’re still being micromanaged, but at least seeing William and Peyton’s faces on TV for a second might’ve been a nice reprieve.
We also missed a Kentucky Derby promo from Titus O’Neil and actual character development from the Luna Vachon varicose vein version of Mojo Rawley, who I guess only gets to be a character off-screen. Again, any of this would’ve been better than Vince mumbling new rules out of oblivion, a conga line attack, a great performer being lobbed into the garbage, or taints afire.
Best, But Too Damn Late: Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston
And here we are: ending a show with DANIEL BRYAN, my favorite wrestler of all time, in a rematch of the best match from WrestleMania, challenging Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship in a consequential, 17-minute main event that I can’t get into because I’ve been made to feel like a goddamn fool for two and a half hours. This is life now.
Brother’s out here in burgundy and I can’t even pop for it. It’s got a clean ending and everything, and I’m spending the whole match internally like GET TO THE PART WHERE KEVIN OWENS INTERFERES. But I guess the three-four star Wild Card Rule can only justify six people from Smackdown showing up, and two Smackdown stars wrestling for the Smackdown championship in the main event of Raw.
Kofi wins. It’s good, but not good enough to salvage this barge-fire disaster. I dunno.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
“There is nothing about Monday Night Raw that is fun” Daniel Bryan really is the voice of the people
Lacey3 – The perfect couple. One is in the top 1%. The other isn’t but keeps voting to protect his tax cut.
This Usos segment finally made me realize: Ferris Bueller is a truant, Revenge of the Nerds glorifies questionable sexual encounters, and Zack Morris should never have graduated.
I think that’s called “adulthood.”
Charly is so savage she was probably going through attics back in Poland like “so tell me do you think you’ll be able to elude the SS forever?”
Welcome to Raw: where everything’s made up and the brand split doesn’t matter
Raw or Chernobyl: At the time, no one knew what was happening. Everyone was desperately looking for an exit.
Not A Crook
the most telling thing about how broken this show is that they spent the first half hour making their own arbitrary rule about how many Smackdown guys could appear on Raw and then they broke the rule in less than two hours
ANYBODY WITH A POPULARITY RATING OVER 62 GET IN THE RING NOW!
The Real Birdman
I’m supposed to feel bad for Zayn like rolling around in a dumpster isn’t a better option than watching Raw
Raw, everybody. Sorry.
- comment, even though it was terrible
- share, even though it was terrible
- come back next week and read the column again even though everything’s terrible
- pray that one random week the rating is 0.0 and it forces them to finally put Vince in a home
See you next week, unless I happen to find any tall bridges in my area.