WWE Raw Results: Ruby Riott Breaks Out and Top Takeaways
The Memorial Day episode of Raw is routinely a throwaway show with little or no implications on ongoing booking or storytelling. That was not the case Monday, as WWE Creative put together a show that was engaging, featured solid wrestling and gave opportunities to fresh faces to headline the broadcast.
From an emphasis on female talent to the first hint at the Intercontinental Championship program fans can expect on June 17 at Money in the Bank, the show did just enough to shake all prior assumptions of irrelevance.
Which segments and Superstars left the greatest impression?
Find out now with this recap of the May 28 broadcast.
Ruby Riott Shines in Women's Division Main Event
Say what you will about The Riott Squad's booking since arriving on Monday nights, but the Memorial Day episode of Raw brought with it Ruby Riott's best performance since her SmackDown Women's Championship match against Charlotte at February's Fastlane pay-per-view.
The tattooed badass of the faction eliminated Bayley, kicked math right out of Dana Brooke's head and dispatched of hometown heroine Mickie James, much to the dismay of the Richmond fans.
It was her work with Sasha Banks in the final fall of the Gauntlet match that really stood out.
Not only did the artist formerly known as Heidi Lovelace dominate the action, she demonstrated an in-ring chemistry with The Boss that helped elevate the overall quality of the match.
Riott was the glue that held the match together, the central figure in a match that included three former women's champions. That is a hell of a seal of approval from management considering the real concerns that existed about Riott getting a fair shake on the main roster considering she does not look like the prototypical star of WWE's women's division.
Let's hope this is the beginning of a substantial run for Riott and her teammates because the Raw brand is missing genuine heels beyond Alexa Bliss, and if the Michigan native can continue delivering between the ropes, there is no reason she should not benefit considerably with a push toward the forefront of the division.
Intertwining Money in the Bank Contenders
Too many times, WWE books its annual Money in the Bank match and then forces the Superstars together in tag team and singles bouts that show off the competitors who will compete for the coveted briefcase but do so in a manner that is far too convoluted to strike a chord with fans.
That has not been the case thus far in 2018.
Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens and Bobby Roode have been beautifully and effectively intertwined with each other. Owens has been the catalyst for everything, the instigator of spots and angles that have brought the Superstars together.
Monday was no different.
The Prizefighter annoyed Strowman, attacked and set up a match on next week's show with Balor and defeated Roode later in the night. By the time the show came to a close, though, he had endured his comeuppance and, unbeknownst to him, led to Strowman flattening Roode and setting up a battle between them.
The manner in which WWE Creative has utilized Owens to bring the Superstars together on a weekly basis, creating tension and fresh matchups, has been refreshing and made for smarter television than fans are used to at this time of year.
When all is said and done, the Raw writing team may have laid the foundation for future booking of Money in the Bank build with the manner in which they have handled this year's hype.
Elias Is the Perfect Opponent for Seth Rollins
The sinister songster that is Elias sent a message loudly and clearly to intercontinental champion Seth Rollins, blasting The Architect with a guitar and sending him off the Raw stage just moments after he had been interrupted by the popular babyface.
It was a money angle that came on the heels of Rollins unloading on Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh with a steel chair and immediately creates intrigue for an Intercontinental Championship match.
Elias has been floating aimlessly, remaining a significant part of the Raw brand but doing nothing of any real note. He has been beaten down by Bobby Lashley, worked Bobby Roode in a brief feud and continues to serenade the audiences when he is not being interrupted by his latest opponent.
The ignition of the rivalry with Rollins gives The Drifter something of substance to do. It puts him in title contention for the first time and positions him to work with the hottest in-ring talent in all of WWE. It is a recipe for a breakout performance from the Pittsburgh native and a legitimate opportunity to give him his first championship, if WWE Creative opts to head in that direction.
A Not-So-Awful Holiday Episode
To say WWE has a long history of presenting less-than-stellar episodes of television on holidays would be an understatement. All too often, it relies on gimmicky segments and holiday-themed matches to kill time. Monday's show did not settle into that routine.
Instead, the company provided an entertaining three hours that spotlighted the women's division, featured solid in-ring action from the four Superstars in the Money in the Bank ladder match and delivered a red-hot angle involving Seth Rollins and Elias.
The show never overstayed its welcome, as so many of the holiday disasters of years gone by tend to do, nor did it bog down.
Even the BBQ segment featuring the B Team and the rest of the Raw tag team scrubs was short enough not to offend.
Considering how the show could have gone, the fact that we were privy to a solid, focused show is a breath of fresh air.