WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 6
The May 6 episode featured a WWE Creative team trying anything it possibly could think of to halt the ratings downturn, including the implementation of a wild-card stipulation that essentially erases everything the Superstar Shake-up accomplished just two weeks ago.
The wild-card gimmick, introduced by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon at the top of the show, allowed Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston and Lars Sullivan to appear and impact Monday's show.
What were those Superstars up to, what matches did fans have to sink their teeth into this week and what reactions did the creative decisions generate?
Find out with this recap of Monday's broadcast.
Roman Reigns Kicks off Raw
After tweeting that he would appear on Raw, Roman Reigns did just that, bucking authority and confronting Mr. McMahon at the top of the broadcast.
Reigns said he isn't going to listen to the chairman's spoiled kids anymore. Instead, he will listen to the WWE Universe, a statement that generated a big pop from the fans.
The segment became more chaotic with every Superstar who interrupted, from Daniel Bryan claiming to have been in solitude since losing at WrestleMania 35 to WWE champion Kofi Kingston wondering why Reigns should be the only one coming to Raw and having fun.
Drew McIntyre interrupted the proceedings and claimed Reigns went to SmackDown Live to avoid him. He claimed he would deliver a Claymore Kick that would knock The Big Dog back to earth.
The back-and-forth between the Superstars led to McMahon announcing three things: a wild-card stipulation in which three stars from Raw and three from SmackDown could move freely between the brands, a WWE Championship match between Kingston and Bryan, and Reigns vs. McIntyre.
There may be no better example of WWE Creative booking things on the fly than this segment.
A wild-card stipulation? WrestleMania rematches featuring stars from both brands just weeks after a Superstar Shake-up? All smack of desperation.
With that said, this was an interesting start to the show. More importantly, it creates some genuine intrigue as to whether the company would actually switch the WWE title on Raw to try to get fans to invest in the product.
It may have been a segment full of cheap ploys, but it worked.
AJ Styles and Seth Rollins' War of Words
After the break, AJ Styles voiced his frustration with Mr. McMahon, suggesting it was quite convenient that Reigns comes back to Raw just as The Phenomenal One is about to challenge his best friend, Seth Rollins, for the Universal Championship at Money in the Bank.
He hinted at going and getting some of his "friends" before Rollins interrupted.
The Beastslayer came face-to-face with his top contender, and they nearly came to blows. McMahon, the master manipulator, booked Rollins and Styles in a tag team match against unnamed opposition.
Ooh...tag team partners who hate each other. Was Vince Russo booking Monday night's show?
This did nothing that could not have been accomplished by McMahon in the night's first promo segment rather than devoting another 10 minutes to setting up the same tired tag team match we have seen countless times over the last six months.
Worst of all? This did nothing to make Rollins vs. Styles any more or less appealing to fans.
A total waste of a segment.
Seth Rollins and AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin worked over Rollins for the majority of the bout, isolating him and cutting off the ring from Styles. The former WWE champion finally received the hot tag and sparked an energetic final stretch for the bout.
Late in the match, Styles wiped out Lashley at ringside while Rollins had Corbin prone in the center of the ring.
Rollins teased the stomp, but before he could put away the former Raw general manager, Corbin ducked a Phenomenal Forearm and Styles flattened The Beastslayer.
The Phenomenal One bailed on the match, leaving Rollins to endure End of Days as Corbin scored the pinfall victory for the heels.
Corbin and Lashley defeated Styles and Rollins
The match itself was the same, mostly good tag match we see out of any number of WWE Superstars from week to week, with some quality intensity thrown in.
The biggest takeaway here, though, is the miscommunication spot that led to Styles abandoning Rollins as he continues to show flashes of a heel turn. Whether WWE Creative pulls the trigger and goes all-in with the turn remains to be seen, but for now, that is the most interesting aspect of this Universal Championship program.
Expect Corbin to build on his win here and use it to get a championship opportunity soon.
Sami Zayn Addresses the WWE Universe
Sami Zayn wasted little time grabbing the microphone and addressing the fans.
He ran down the announcements from Mr. McMahon earlier in the night, including the WrestleMania rematches, and criticized the WWE Universe for its criticisms. The self-proclaimed Critic of the Critics tore into the fans until Braun Strowman's music interrupted him, much to the delight of Renee Young on commentary.
Zayn abandoned the ring and escaped through the same fans he spent minutes criticizing, only for a rushing Strowman to cut him off. Zayn bailed and The Monster Among Men sprinted after him, straight out of the arena.
Backstage, Strowman continued to stalk Zayn, finally catching him and slamming him into a dumpster.
At least this gave us an idea of what we can expect from the Zayn storyline after weeks of cutting harshly critical promos.
The Monster Among Men being the first Superstar to attempt to silence Zayn makes sense given his role of babyface, but the execution felt a lot like the same ol', same ol' we have seen from Strowman for the last two years.
Hopefully, this was but the first chapter of their story and not the end of Zayn's promos, which have been a bright spot on otherwise nondescript Raws.
The Lucha House Party in Action
Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado were in action Monday against unnamed opponents, only one of whom actually got in the ring.
All three babyfaces unloaded with their finishers, and the team scored a pinfall victory in short order.
The Lucha House Party defeated unknown opponents
Enhancement matches can be effective in this era, as we see fairly routinely in NXT, but why WWE Creative decided to go with Lucha House Party getting that treatment here is puzzling. The trio itself has been utilized as enhancement talent itself, putting others over more than itself.
Unless there is a push of some sort in store for the trio—and one can hope that is not the case given the returns of the last few attempts to feature the group—this made little sense.
Ricochet vs. Robert Roode
Ricochet's opportunity in the Money in the Bank ladder match on May 19 was up for grabs Monday when The One and Only battled "The Glorious" Robert Roode in a rematch from two weeks earlier.
Roode dominated the action, keeping Ricochet grounded throughout.
It was when he crotched his opponent on the top rope and tried for a super Glorious DDT that it came back to bite him. Ricochet fought out, sent Roode crashing to the mat below and finished him off with the 630 for the win.
Ricochet defeated Roode
This was not nearly as good as their previous bout, probably because of the time constraints placed on it. Then again, that WWE Creative would book such a high-stakes match without any kind of prior build suggests it had no real interest in this existing for any other reason than to give Ricochet a win.
It was a waste of Roode, who appeared to have a renewed push waiting for him but now looks like a midcard also-ran.
Lacey Evans in Action
Naomi, Dana Brooke, Alexa Bliss and Natalya accepted Lacey Evans' invitation to be at ringside during her contest, watching as The Sassy Southern Belle squared off against an unnamed opponent.
Evans made short work of the unknown wrestler, pinning her following the Woman's Right.
After the match, she issued a warning to her audience, telling the women not to try to cash in their Money in the Bank opportunity on her or they will risk losing their one chance at gold.
Raw and SmackDown women's champion Becky Lynch entered to a huge ovation and went right after Evans, engaging her in a short-lived brawl before the No. 1 contender retreated.
Evans defeated an unknown opponent
This was a rare hit on Monday night's show thanks to two important elements: It put over Evans' Woman's Right as a crushing finisher that can be hit from out of nowhere, and it continued to build the intensity of Evans and Lynch's rivalry through yet another brawl.
Their upcoming match is one that no one really knew they wanted but is among the most intriguing on the entire card.
Non-Title Match: Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins vs. The Viking Raiders
Raw tag team champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins had the unenviable task of battling the seemingly unbeatable Viking Raiders in a non-title match.
A one-sided beatdown gave way to a spirited back-and-forth match as the bout progressed and Ryder mounted a comeback.
Ivar blocked a Rough Ryder attempt and joined Erik in finishing Long Island Iced Z with the Viking Experience to pick up the victory.
The Viking Raiders defeated Ryder and Hawkins
And with that, we are one step closer to Ivar and Erik scoring the Raw Tag Team Championships that would coronate them as the undisputed top tandem on the flagship.
Ryder and Hawkins showed great fire here as they tried to fight back into the match, but the fury of the NXT exports overwhelmed them and they suffered the same fate as every team that has crossed the Viking Raiders.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
In the first of two WrestleMania 35 rematches, Roman Reigns battled Drew McIntyre.
The Scottish Psychopath controlled the match's first half, working over Reigns and keeping him within arm's length on the mat, much like he did at The Showcase of the Immortals.
At every turn, McIntyre cut him off, taking a little more fight out of The Big Dog with every strike or slam.
Reigns fought his way back into the match, delivering a big Superman Punch and rebounding off a headbutt with a spear. Before he could capitalize and score the win, Shane McMahon and Elias hit the ring, drawing the disqualification.
After the match, the SmackDown Live heels beat down on Reigns, ending with a big Claymore Kick from McIntyre.
The Miz hit the ring from the crowd, using a steel chair to chase off McMahon and Elias. Backstage, he chased after his rival only for McMahon to drop him. The Prodigal Son jumped into a limousine and hightailed it out of the arena.
Reigns defeated McIntyre via DQ
How many people is McMahon feuding with? Why is he so heavily featured these days? And are we really going back to the well with Reigns and McIntyre?
What felt like the start of, at the very least, a fresh rivalry between Reigns and Shane-O-Mac now feels like we're splintering off to the same two feuds that led to WrestleMania bouts.
McIntyre got to stand tall to close out the in-ring portion of the match, but his booking has been so 50-50 of late it is hurting his credibility with fans. At some point, he has to win, or he is just one of a handful of bad guys who get over on TV just to put the babyface over on PPV.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. The Revival
Before the scheduled match between The Revival and Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows could get underway, The Usos appeared and revealed they had put "Ucey Hot" in Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder's tights.
The former tag team champions sold the itchiness before Jimmy and Jey Uso feigned helping them out with water, something that only made the effects worse.
Two of the most gifted tag teams of their generation are engaged in a feud over back-shaving and Ucey Hot.
Let that sink in for a moment and then ask yourself why Raw is suffering ratings lows.
Lars Sullivan Obliterates No Way Jose
Lars Sullivan interrupted No Way Jose's fun Monday night, cutting off his entrance and pummeling the members of his conga line.
In the ring, he beat down Jose and left him lying with the Freak Accident.
An intense Sullivan was left seething over the fallen body of his fellow NXT export to close out the segment.
Whereas the idea of a wild-card stipulation feels like a cop-out by WWE Creative to make up for sagging ratings, the notion of Sullivan running amok and beating the hell out of anyone he pleases is a welcome addition to WWE TV and one that may help him get even more over in the long run.
In late 1997/early 1998, Kane got over with audiences by interrupting at random and beating down anyone stupid enough to stick around the ring while he made his entrance. It helped set him up for a colossal showdown with mega-good guy The Undertaker at WrestleMania XIV.
If WWE is smart, it will play up the chaos that accompanies Sullivan and use it to create genuine excitement for a showdown between him and his first main event opponent.
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan
A rested, reinvigorated Daniel Bryan battled Kofi Kingston in the main event of Monday's Raw, with the WWE Championship up for grabs.
A big spill to the outside by Kingston after the final commercial of the night led to Bryan sending him into the guardrail. The champion recovered, though, and delivered a top-rope dive that wiped out the challenger and allowed him to score a two-count back inside the squared circle.
Moments later, Bryan applied the LeBell Lock and tried to force the tapout, but Kingston made his way to the ropes, forcing the break.
A fired-up Kingston looked to build momentum off the Boom Drop and set up for Trouble in Paradise. Bryan caught him with a dropkick out of nowhere and a German suplex for a near-fall. He would try for another LeBell Lock, but Kofi countered and delivered Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall victory.
Kingston defeated Bryan to retain
It lacked the heat of the WrestleMania match, but this was another superb wrestling match between two guys who have serious in-ring chemistry.
It was interesting to see WWE officials book Bryan to drop his first match back, but the company was desperate to pop a rating, and with Kevin Owens in line for the next title shot, it made sense to put this rivalry behind them.
Kingston as the resilient babyface who pulls out victories against even the most talented opposition is a gimmick that has worked for him far better than it ever did Roman Reigns, who was miscast from a booking standpoint for years.
Here's hoping WWE does not blame the ratings on him and book the inevitable change out of frustration.