Monday Night Raw was LIVE on 5/23/16 from The Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD!
-Raw starts with highlights of last night’s incredible Extreme Rules PPV and the return of “The Architect” Seth Rollins.
-Rollins music hits and he is out to a MASSIVE pop! Seth rockin’ the all black suit as he enters the ring and grabs the mic. “Welcome back” chant from Bmore. Seth has envisioned what it would feel like to step in the ring, in HIS ring once again. For 7 months, he has waited to come back and take back the strap he never lost. He fired the first shot at Reigns at Extreme Rules. “Thank You Rollins” chant from the anti-Roman crowd. “Did You Miss Me Or What?” A “Yes” chant follows. Seth says that it wasn’t always that way. Crowd didn’t love him when he destroyed the Shield with a steel chair shot. Seth reminds the crowd that they called him the weakest champion of all time. Seth says the crowd discredited his title reign. Something profound happened. His knee buckled, it crumbled under the weight of carrying the company on his back for so freakin’ long. Brilliant line. Getting flowers and fan mail in the hospital. He tossed all that crap in a garbage can and lit it on fire. He doesn’t need any of the people. Didn’t need anybody to win the title or defend it. He says there is only room of the Seth Rollins bandwagon for one dude, and that’s Seth Rollins. Roman Reigns out and they spit “The Guy” line for the eightieth time and he gets booed. Heck of a match last night for the champ though. Reigns in the ring and Rollins in out through the ropes. Shane O’ Mac’s music hits and he’s out. Into the ring and a mic in hand. “You Still Got It” chant for Shane. He does folks, he does. Shane references Rollins cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase in the Reigns/Lesnar title match at ‘Mania. Shane doesn’t beat around the bush, he books the main event for MITB and we’ll see Roman defending against Rollins in four weeks time. Roman holds the belt up and receives a chorus of boos for his efforts. Rollins makes his exit.
-A slew of MITB qualifying matches tonight and after a commercial break, we’ll get the first and it’ll be Sami Zayn competing against Sheamus!
-Before the match, Sheamus cuts a promo on Sami Zayn’s name and he tells the parents to get their kids to leave the room, what he’s gonna do isn’t going to be suitable for all ages.
MITB Qualifying Match:
Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus
-Early chain wrestling highlighted by Sami Zayn taking control with strikes before Sheamus turns the tides and puts the boots to him. Head scissors takedown by Zayn followed up with action on the outside and a beautiful moonsault off the barricade by Zayn onto Sheamus. After a commercial, Sheamus is in control and executes the Irish curse backbreaker, but it only nets him a two count. Crowd behind Zayn and he roars back with a wicked clothesline on Sheamus. Wow! He hits a Michinoku driver on Sheamus. That was impressive! A slugfest ensues and Zayn climbs the ropes, but Sheamus kicks the bottom rope and Zayn is down and out. Brogue Kick attempt, it is ducked and Zayn takes Sheamus to the outside. Sheamus counters, but out of nowhere, Zayn hits the Helluva kick and a three count. Zayn earns himself an opportunity to compete for MITB briefcase!
Winner: Sami Zayn
-Sheamus is seething in the ring as they show a graphic for a segment to take place later where Charlotte will address the state of the women’s division.
-Renee Young is backstage with Apollo Crews. Apollo excited for action against Chris Jericho and before he can comment, he is handed a colossal rear end kickin’ by the Celtic Warrior Sheamus.
-AHHHHH BMORE! Big E.’s booming voice brings the world tag team champions out to the ring. “New Days Rocks” chant. Lillian Garcia introducing a six man tag match. Before the match can get underway, there’s a cake in the ring. Woods starts it off by highlighting their title defense last night against The Vaudevillians. It’s a bday cake for the fact that RAW is celebrating its 1200th episode. Happy Bday Raw! Big E. says a WWE ring is never safe for a cake. Woods and Kofi tease the cake falling in a kid’s face or maybe JBL? Byron Saxton? Crowd is reacting. Before anything can happen, the Social Outcasts are out and they attack the champs. Commercial.
6 Man Tag Team Match:
The New Day vs. The Social Outcasts
-No Adam Rose obviously as he was future endeavored earlier in the day. It’ll be Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Heath Slater competing tonight. Back from the commercial and Kofi Kingston in charge. The unicorn stampede follows on Heath Slater as the New Day dominate early. Woods even takes the time to play Francesca 2 for a few moments. The Outcasts take a battered Heath Slater for a “Bo-Train” but not before it’s derailed by Woods and a tandem maneuver seals the day. The damage isn’t done though as the cake finds its mark, the face of Heath Slater. A dominant victory for the champs in a six man affair.
Winners: The New Day
-Up next we’ll see another qualifying match for MITB. This one will have the IC Champ, The Miz, competing against the Swiss Superman himself, Cesaro!
MITB Qualifying Match:
The Miz (w/ Maryse) vs. Cesaro
-Pre-match promo by the Miz about retaining the belt at Extreme Rules. Love fest by Miz and Maryse. Cesaro makes his way out and we’re underway. Uppercut train early and Cesaro keeps control of the match leading into the first commercial break. After the return, Miz has taken charge, but ultimately, he falls victim to the Neutralizer after a great piece of action and Cesaro joins Zayn in the MITB match!
-Highlights of the earlier confrontation between Reigns, Rollins and Shane McMahon setting up the title match for MITB.
-Backstage interview with Renee Young and Seth Rollins. Rollins talks about winning MITB and cashing in, and at this year’s MITB, he’s gonna take back the title that he never lost. Stephanie McMahon is there as Rollins goes to embrace her, but she puts on the brakes and tells him that their business relationship has changed. She welcomes him back, but that’s that.
MITB Qualifying Match:
Chris Jericho vs. Apollo Crews
-Jericho out first looking quite bitter after the thumbtack bump in the Asylum cage match with Ambrose last night. Jericho has tape all over his body covering the wounds. He prepares for action against Apollo Crews as we hit another commercial break. We’re back and despite the earlier attack from Sheamus, Crews makes his way out to the ring. Jericho throws the shirt at him and trash talks him as the bell sounds. Crews with some athletic maneuvers, including a topei con helo that nets him a two count. Crews with right hands and a big scoop slam working the back of Y2J. “Y2J/Let’s Go Apollo” dueling chants. The action continues and if you can believe it, there is a “We Want Ralphus” chant. Great memory Baltimore. How about the forgotten Jericho ninja? Apollo gaining momentum with boots and a clothesline. Springboard off the turnbuckle by Jericho misses as Crews hits a standing moonsault off the apron that hits its mark. Beautiful. Powerbomb attempt by Crews countered into a Walls of Jericho but a rope-break keeps Apollo in it. Jericho goes for a moonsault, but Apollo mistimes it and kips up early, but has enough to still eat the moonsault. That was not a bad recovery from an obvious botch. Codebreaker by Jericho meets its mark shortly thereafter and the Ayatollah of Rock N’ Rolla earns an opportunity to compete for a shot to win his seventh world title.
Winner: Chris Jericho
-Backstage, Renee Young tries to get a word from Sheamus on Crews losing and he just laughs.
-Life lessons segment with Bob Backlund and Darren Young hyping the “Make Darren Young Great Again” package.
-Backstage interview with Baron Corbin done by Jojo. Highlights of Corbin winning last night with the low blow and the End Of Days. He doesn’t care if people had a problem with the low blow. He did it because he can. Ziggler shows up and says he’s a tool and they have words. They set up another match for next week on Raw, but Ziggler tells Corbin to watch his MITB qualifier with Ambrose later. He says he’s gonna steal the show.
-Back in the arena and the crowd erupts as Big Cass’ music hits and he’s out on the ramp. ENZO IS BACK! The crowd erupts! He’s frantic and he’s all over the place. Awesome! Great to see his return. “How You Doin” chant by the Bmore faithful as they do their shtick and the crowd loves it. “OH, ENZO AMORE” chant from the crowd. Enzo works the stick like only he can. Says he forgot to pay the electric bill and they cut his lights out. Great line. Doctors diagnosed him with a concussion. He calls it a hard sneeze, and Cass says bless you. “If I had a dime for every time I got knocked down and didn’t get back up, I’d have zero dimes”. Enzo is great. They call out Bubba and Devon. Big Cass says putting his boot upside Bubba’s head is like throwing a basketball into a swimming pool ’cause he ain’t gonna miss. S-A-W-F-T line follows and the Dudleys are out and we’ve got a singles bout. Comemrcial.
Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Big Cass
-After the return, Cass works over Bubba and stays in control until Devon takes out Enzo outside the ring. Bubba with a back suplex, but Cass gets control back with a clothesline and a shoulder tackle. Big splash by Big Cass to follow. Enzo charges from the opposite side of the ring and Cass rocket launches him into Devon. Bubba goes up top but is dumped by Cass who follows it up with a yakuza kick and the Empire elbow. Three count and this one’s over.
Winner: Big Cass
-Backstage shot of the women’s champion Charlotte, Dana Brooke and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair heading to the ring. Commercial.
-Back and the trio make their way out to the ring for words on the state of the women’s division. Ric starts things off by conveying how proud he is of his daughter. Charlotte wants to thank one person and that’s herself. She tells Dana that she made the right call by aligning with her. Dana said she’s glad to be standing in the ring with the dirtiest player in the game. Charlotte says she remembers thanksgivings, Christmas’s, birthdays that she spent alone by Dad was never there. Charlotte chastises the “what” chants. If only the CLB would have answered the phone so many years ago when Austin called him. Charlotte continues before kicking her Dad out of “her” ring. Ric stands there and he begins to get emotional. Charlotte says Ric never wanted to leave the spotlight. She was compassionate enough to let him bask in her spotlight. She calls him “Charlotte’s Dad”. Wow. Good line. Ric asks why she is saying this? The waterworks flow as Ric cries crocodile tears as Charlotte calls him the second dirtiest player in the game. She mocks the tears. She doesn’t need Ric anymore. Charlotte says Ric abandoned her for the last thirty years. She says that Ric may be immortal to them, but he’s dead to her. Ice cold. She says if Ric wants to see her, then he should watch her on TV. She does the “nah nah nah nah, hey, hey goodbye” chant. Charlotte is on fire tonight! We head to commercial.
MITB Qualifying Match:
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
-Match starts as JBL makes a reference to Baron Corbin pulling a Draymond Green on Ziggler last night. Gold. Fantastic back and forth affair between the two as expected with many near falls and a great many of their signature spots. Ambrose leaps off the top rope and eats a Ziggler dropkick towards the end before getting another near fall after a sunset flip. Ambrose comes back and hits Dirty Deeds and we’ve got another man qualifying for a chance at the title!
Winner: Dean Ambrose
-Ric Flair is shown backstage leaving the arena as he walks past Titus O’Neil and Zack Ryder before embracing his good friend Arn Anderson. Ric declines to comment on what happened and he makes a graceful exit as they show the graphic for the main event up next!
-Promo from the Shining Stars on how successful their debut was last week. They invite us all to enjoy a trip to Puerto Rico.
MITB Qualifying Match:
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
-AJ out first to a huge reaction. Deservedly so, every time he’s in a big match situation, he delivers. AJ has the stick and a huge “AJ Styles” chant breaks out before he can talk. He puts over Roman Reigns, saying that honestly he believes that Roman Reigns is everybit the man he says he is. Very classy. He says that Reigns still isn’t “phenomenal”. He says if it wasn’t for the outside interference, he’d be the champion right now. He doesn’t live in the past, and he wants to beat Owens on his own. The Club music hits and Gallows and Anderson make their way out. Anderson has taken offense to AJ blaming the Usos and the Club for the loss. AJ says this isn’t Japan, things have changed. Anderson says if this was Japan, AJ would have bought a round of drinks in Roppongi last night. That’s an amazing line for NJPW fans. AJ says he wants to build a legacy, but Gallows says if they didn’t drop everyone that AJ had a problem with, he wouldn’t have made it to Extreme Rules. He says professionally they need to seperate. He says they need to do them, and he’ll do him. He says the Club is done. Crowd hates that and AJ doesn’t care. Anderson says that the friendship is dead and AJ says then we don’t need to be in the ring and that it’s his ring. The Good Brothers leave and we have a volatile situation developing. Another commercial before the actual match. Kevin Owens is out to a good reaction and he heads down to the ring ready for action. Shoves to start things off and a flurry of rights and lefts. KO with a headlock and he actually yells out “headlock master”. Classic. Owens EATS a dropkick by Styles. Beautiful. Leaping knee drop by Styles and a two count. Repeated chops and into the ropes, but a dropkick counter by Owens. Hurricanrana takeover by Styles and Owens is sent through the ropes. Styles taken down outside as Owens teases a diving maneuver of his own, but instead, he trolls the crowd, puts on the brakes and hits a massive clothesline. KO talking trash, but AJ, back in the ring, springboards up and over, hitting Owens with a phenomenal forearm shot. AJ sends Owens shoulder first into the steel ring steps as they head to the final commercial break. Back with Owens in control with a headlock. AJ brought outside where Owens tries for a powerbomb onto the steel ring steps. AJ drives Owens back first into the apron. In the ring, AJ in control and he takes Owens down with a spinning back fist. Two count. Back suplex into a reverse faceplant. Nice move! Styles Clash countered into a back body drop by KO. Cannonball splash by Owens. KO says “Shut up Cole, I can hear you from here!” His timing was impeccable! German suplex by Styles and an inzaguri. Knee to the back of the head and a cover, kickout at two by Owens. Owens hits a steenalizer into the knee. That always looks so brutal. Owens heads up top for the frog splash, but Styles cuts him off. Springboard moonsault by Owens and Styles moves. Styles with a springboard 450 splash and we’ve got a sound piece of business here tonight. What a contest! “This Is Awesome” chant. Yes it is. Both men outside and Styles charges Owens and eats a powerbomb onto the steel ring steps. AJ about to be counted out and he makes it in before ten. Popup powerbomb attempt countered by a pele kick. Styles looking for the phenomenal forearm, but Owens crotches him and then hits a Popup powerbomb. Three count to follow and he’s got it. What a match!
Winner: Kevin Owens
-Quick words promoting the tell-all podcast to follow RAW with Shane McMahon and hosted by Mick Foley. That’s it for Raw!
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