WWE Raw Results: Stephanie McMahon's Triumphant Return and Top Takeaways
The May 21 episode of WWE Raw was a show brimming with matches and angles, almost too many to be effective.
A bloated show, it featured the furthering of several feuds—for better or worse—and the continuation of the road to Money in the Bank on June 17.
With matches featuring Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, the in-ring content was fine but not among the biggest takeaways from Monday's USA Network broadcast.
What were those takeaways and why did they stand out among everything else that went down on a show that felt long and too jam-packed with in-ring content?
Find out now with this recap of Monday's exhausting episode of WWE's flagship show.
Stephanie McMahon Makes Everything Better
Stephanie McMahon is a treasure.
Criticize her if you will, but there is no denying the fact she enhanced every segment of television she was involved in Monday night.
The opening promo involving Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens and Kurt Angle was given more significance because of her return to television. The contract signing between Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax was as good as it was because of The Billion Dollar Princess' constant manipulation of the situation.
Complain about her voice, which may or may not resemble a cat in distress, or the manner in which she tends to overshadow her co-stars just as her father did for so many years, but the truth of the matter is she outshines those around her because of the quality of her performance.
Her presence alone, coupled with the manner in which she played Jax and Rousey against each other, added heat to a match that had none before Monday's show. She created conflict by playing to the egos of the women, and as a result fans now have something to invest in whereas it was just a match nonsensically thrown together before.
A polarizing figure for sure, it is undeniable the effect McMahon has on the show when she pops up. It will be interesting to see if she remains part of Raw going forward or if she was merely a plot device this week, utilized to better a contract signing that was significant to the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
If the writing team is wise, it will be option A.
A Bloated Show
Sometimes too much of something is a bad thing.
Monday's three-hour Raw had too much going on for fans to really digest any of it.
Yes, it was a wrestling-heavy show and that is always appreciated, but the sheer number of matches and angles only helped make the show feel even longer than it already was.
By the time Braun Strowman and Finn Balor took to the squared circle for the main event, it felt like a marathon that had been on for 180 days as opposed to 180 minutes.
Slowing the pace down, letting the segments breathe a little and allowing fans to take in what they have just seen is essential to the quality of the show.
Having 14 different stories to pack into a show is a good thing in that it means the creative team is motivated. Deciding how to properly fit them into the broadcast without overloading it is the key.
There was a tag team match pitting Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins against Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens that easily could have been held off for next week, rather than overexposing The Big Dog and KO, who had just had a match moments earlier.
By the time Strowman and Balor started, it was easy to forget Ember Moon beat Alexa Bliss or The B Team had scored another victory. No one would have blamed you for forgetting Baron Corbin vs. No Way Jose was a thing that happened.
In a day and age when there is already an oversaturation of WWE programming, packing two shows' worth of stuff into one three-hour broadcast does the audience no favors.
The Lashley Sisters Equal the Worst TV Segment of 2018
It does not take long to recognize you are watching bad television. Such was the case Monday night when Sami Zayn introduced the Lashley sisters to the WWE Universe.
Three men clad in women's clothing, the "sisters" were a poor attempt at a humorous angle and an even less effective setup to beatdown Bobby Lashley, who overcame the numbers game and left Zayn scurrying to the back like a dog with its tail between its legs.
Zayn did everything he could to help the segment, but even his insincerity and sarcasm were no match for creative content that would have been out of place on a Saturday morning re-run of Blue's Clues, let alone a pro wrestling show in 2018.
The segment did nothing to enhance the Lashley-Zayn program, nor did it help the former gain any kind of heat as his comeback run continues to flounder.
Let Lashley kick ass without resorting to bad comedy, let Zayn be the intolerable, loudmouth heel and you will have a story the fans can easily invest in.
Roman Reigns Is a Whiny Loser
If you thought Roman Reigns was unlikable before, that incarnation of the character has nothing on the guy who walks sullenly to the ring every week, whines about the bosses playing favorites and conveniently forgets the fact he lost clean in the center of the ring to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34.
The so-called Big Dog has become an unrecognizable character, a whiny babyface who has seemingly made an excuse out of Lesnar's favorable schedule and the McMahon family's willingness to make certain concessions to keep him under contract.
He uses the "playing favorites" excuse like a crutch, and the result is an almost delusional and entitled good guy who still has yet to come to terms with the fact he lost, fair and square, to Lesnar on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Monday night, he accused Stephanie McMahon of playing favorites, to which the boss' daughter responded by reminding Reigns he lost his Money in the Bank qualifier and thus will not be competing for a title opportunity on June 17.
When Stephanie, the heel, starts schooling the babyface with logic, there is something wrong with the creative behind Reigns' character.
There always has been.
Now, almost entirely unlikable save for his work ethic, Reigns is a character who has strayed so far from the silent badass of The Shield that WWE may have no choice but to take the whiny sad sap and turn him heel, a la Bret Hart in 1997.