WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 20
On the heels of a Money in the Bank pay-per-view that saw titles successfully retained, a new champion crowned and the shocking return of Brock Lesnar during the night's namesake men's ladder match, WWE Raw hit the USA Network airwaves with the chance to build momentum for itself.
What would the red brand have in store for its fans?
Based on the announcement Sunday that Mick Foley would introduce a new championship, history would be made.
How did AJ Styles respond to his defeat to universal champion Seth Rollins? Would Becky Lynch avenge her loss to Charlotte Flair at the hands of Lacey Evans? Does anyone care about The Miz after another loss to Shane McMahon?
Those questions would be answered Monday.
Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston Confront Brock Lesnar
Paul Heyman and new Mr. Money in the Bank, Brock Lesnar, kicked off the show.
The advocate for the former universal champion was braggadocios in his celebration of Lesnar's victory and then threatening, as he warned new universal champion Seth Rollins and WWE champion Kofi Kingston of the danger that awaits them with Lesnar as the waiting predator.
Rollins interrupted and came face-to-face with The Beast Incarnate.
He spewed a line or two about being an inspirational champion, to which Heyman said Rollins will wait..and wait...and wait—like waiting seven hours for his girlfriend to headline a show he could only dream of main-eventing.
Kingston interrupted, saying he wants to cement his status as the greatest WWE champion of all time and he can only do that by beating The Beast. So, he implored Lesnar to cash in on him.
Heyman teased a potential cash-in later in the night because Rollins and Kingston were in action and Lesnar was not going anywhere.
Heyman is a master salesman. In one segment of television, he did more to sell the entire three-hour show by teasing the cash-in than the rest of the creative team has in the last three weeks.
His promo hinted at Lesnar toying with the champions, making them wait until the moment he pounced like the beast he is while also providing a quality Becky Lynch-inspired dig at her real-life beau.
Elsewhere, Rollins almost came off as half-cocked, a champion emotionally inspired to confront Lesnar while Kingston knew what he was doing when he came face-to-face with The Beast. It was an interesting dichotomy that bears watching going forward.
Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn
A week after Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin were responsible for Braun Strowman missing out on his opportunity to win the Money in the Bank briefcase, Zayn battled The Monster Among Men in singles competition to kick off the in-ring portion of the show.
Strowman was unstoppable in his pursuit of revenge, bumping Zayn around the ringside area, but a missed charge in the corner slowed his momentum.
Zayn tried to capitalize with a Helluva Kick, but Strowman flattened him with a clothesline and finished him off with a powerslam.
Strowman defeated Zayn
Yes, Strowman got his revenge on Zayn, but it came at the expense of a heel who was finally starting to build some creative momentum for himself.
Suffering this type of beatdown while yelling like a scared child is essentially the same spot Zayn found himself prior to his injury last year.
This accomplished nothing, improved neither Superstar's standing and, if anything, hurt the heel, who was pummeled into the ground.
The Lucha House Party Looks for Revenge Against Lars Sullivan
One night after Lars Sullivan obliterated them at Money in the Bank, Lucha House Party interrupted an exclusive interview seeking revenge.
The trio made a go of it, but Sullivan was still physically superior, tossing the luchadors around the squared circle. He sought to punish Lince Dorado, but Kalisto and Gran Metalik were able to pull him to safety to end the segment.
Remember that time Sullivan was poised to feud with John Cena heading into WrestleMania 35?
Now, he's feuding with Lucha House Party.
That is quite the drop for a Superstar once figuring prominently into WWE's plans.
Yes, he probably still has big things in his future, but this has to be considered a step back.
Ricochet vs. Cesaro
Ricochet sold the injuries he incurred in Sunday's Money in the Bank ladder match as he squared off with Cesaro on Monday.
Ricochet dodged a steel-post shot and stunned Cesaro. The Swiss Superman showed off his strength, though, catching his high-flying opponent and driving him into the ring apron.
His back and ribs further damaged, Ricochet was forced to fight from underneath. He did, downing Cesaro with a headscissors as the crowd came alive.
Cesaro, though, caught Ricochet in midair with a wicked clothesline. He followed moments later with the Neutralizer and scored a quality upset victory.
Cesaro defeated Ricochet
Cesaro has consistently been one of the best wrestlers on the planet, yet for whatever reason, singles pushes have been hard to come by. While this win may not net him that elusive push, he can build momentum from it.
Ricochet loses nothing in defeat, as he had the built-in excuse of the injuries suffered Sunday. If he had been healthy, the outcome may have been different. That is an interesting story steeped in realism that WWE should present more often rather than some of the convoluted fare it tries for.
Shane McMahon Interrupts Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns entered to a big pop, 24 hours after decimating Elias in short order at Money in the Bank.
Before he could say a word, Shane McMahon interrupted and said The Big Dog makes him sick for attacking his father the way he did. Reigns responded, voicing his dislike for "spoiled rich kids."
McMahon suggested Elias is not done with the former universal champion. He then teased walking to the ring and squaring off with Reigns before stopping and introducing him to his Super ShowDown opponent: Drew McIntyre.
The familiar foes ended the segment staring each other down, with excitement for another match between them at the complete opposite of a fever pitch.
McIntyre continues to support crooked authority figures despite the fact it never really benefits him.
It has come at his expense, robbing him of character development and not letting him get over with fans at the level of a future world champion.
He does not need McMahon to buy him heat. The last time that happened, he ultimately ended up one-third of a jobber rock band.
Another match with Reigns that probably won't end well for him is not helping matters.
The Usos vs. The Revival
The rivalry between The Revival and The Usos came to a head Monday night, as two of the greatest tag teams of this generation squared off in a barnburner of a match.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder isolated Jimmy Uso, working him over while occasionally taunting Jey from across the ring. They expertly grounded Jimmy, working quick tags to keep him discombobulated and unable to make the hot tag.
When he finally did, Jey exploded into the match, taking the fight to both opponents. Even when uppercuts by Dawson momentarily stunned him, a superkick allowed him to tag Jimmy back into the fray.
The action broke down, including a tornado DDT by Dawson at ringside and a flying Jimmy wiping out The Revival.
Back inside the squared circle, Dawson rolled up Jimmy, held the tights and scored the win.
The Revival defeated The Usos
This was a fun wrestling match and something this show needs more of.
The Revival and The Usos delivered an old-school tag team match with some new-school flare, and the result was a PPV-quality match that would have been even better with a few more minutes to let some of the spots breathe.
Dawson and Wilder winning is a nice surprise given their treatment of late and gives hope to fans that this is not the last time we will see these teams do battle.
'A Moment of Bliss' with Becky Lynch
Alexa Bliss began this week's "Moment of Bliss" by manipulating Nikki Cross into fetching her coffee before introducing Raw women's champion Becky Lynch.
Before The Man could say anything, The IIconics appeared and poked fun at Lynch losing the SmackDown Women's Championship to Charlotte Flair.
Lynch threatened to take Peyton Royce and Billie Kay to the ring, beat them down and become Becky Three Belts.
Lacey Evans joined in the festivities and took credit for Lynch not being Becky Two Belts anymore.
The Irish Lass Kicker reminded Evans she tapped her out Sunday night and then challenged the heels to a match. She suggested Bliss and Cross join her, and the match was on.
This was another lazy promo segment designed to set up a match because WWE Creative does not know how to tell any other story.
With that said, it at least gave us a fresh match with a mix of Superstars one would not expect to see sharing the squared circle.
Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Lacey Evans and The IIconics
Alexa Bliss, unwilling to participate in the match, watched from ringside and enjoyed coffee as Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross battled The IIconics and Lacey Evans.
The formulaic match saw the heels beat down and cut off Cross from her partner before a hot tag led to Lynch's explosive comeback.
The Man unloaded Bexploders before watching a frustrated Evans walk to the locker room, leaving her partners to endure the wrath of the former SmackDown women's champion.
Lynch ultimately pinned Billie Kay following a top-rope leg drop.
After the match, Bliss tried to join in on the celebration, but The Man left.
Lynch, Cross and Bliss defeated The IIconics and Evans
For the record, the women's tag titles were not defended Sunday, and worse, when Kay and Royce got television time, they lost what was essentially a three-on-two handicap match to two women who have not tagged on television.
Good thing they took those titles off Bayley and Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 35.
Mick Foley Introduces the 24/7 Championship
Hardcore legend Mick Foley returned to Raw for a very special introduction of the latest WWE title: the 24/7 Championship.
The titleholder would have no days off, would be subject to attack from any Superstar across WWE's brands and could lose his status as champion at any time.
Foley instructed Superstars to surround the ring, and whoever got to the title would be its first champion. Among the competitors vying for it were Cedric Alexander, Titus O'Neil, EC3, Eric Young, Mojo Rawley, Karl Anderson and No Way Jose.
The Superstars battled and brawled, but in the end, O'Neil was able to thwart Drake Maverick's last-minute involvement to grab the strap and become the first 24/7 champion.
Robert Roode came from out of nowhere and rolled up O'Neil to win the title. He hightailed it to the back to close out the segment but ended up losing the belt to R-Truth later in the show.
O'Neil won the title; Roode defeated O'Neil to win the title; R-Truth then wins title from Roode
On the one hand, at least it's different.
On the other, this feels like a disaster of epic proportions that will end with someone like EC3 winning the belt 22 times because of house-show title changes, further devaluing the idea of a champion.
As long as WWE Creative can resist the urge to turn it into too much of a joke, it will...who am I kidding? This thing is comedic relief and nothing more.
The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre
Shane McMahon's new henchman, Drew McIntyre, battled the prodigal son's No. 1 foe, The Miz, in the next singles match of the night.
The physically imposing Scottish Psychopath controlled the heart of the match, wearing down The A-Lister and overwhelming him with his size and power advantage.
A powerbomb by Miz allowed him to create some space and mount a comeback. He targeted the injured leg of McIntyre and even applied the Figure-Four at one point. Later, he even managed to chase McMahon through the crowd.
He sent McIntyre into the guardrail and was rolling until McMahon reappeared and leveled his foe. This allowed the Scot to finish Miz with the Claymore Kick.
After the match, the heels double-teamed Miz before Roman Reigns made the save. The Big Dog leveled McIntyre with a Superman Punch before a hesitant McMahon joined his personal psychopath on the ramp to end the segment.
McIntyre pinned Miz
No, the match did not warrant an "F" grade. What did was the fact that McIntyre could not defeat Miz without the help of McMahon.
The same McIntyre who unleashed hell in the ladder match Sunday night and was well on his way to victory; the same McIntyre who, not that long ago, looked like a Superstar who could believably defeat Brock Lesnar. He could not beat the same guy who has been unable to beat Shane freaking McMahon on two occasions.
How in the hell is anyone supposed to buy him as a credible threat to a guy who has already beat his ass on two separate occasions, including a fairly uneventful and one-dimensional WrestleMania match?
And why does the McMahon family always have to be presented as formidable foes to legitimate wrestlers?
This isn't the Attitude Era, it isn't cute and it's all done at the expense of McIntyre—again.
No DQ Match: Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston vs. Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley
Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley viciously and unapologetically attacked WWE champion Kofi Kingston and universal champion Seth Rollins as they entered the arena for Monday's match, looking to get a head start on victory.
They pummeled the titleholders, controlling the majority of the bout. When The Architect tried to mount a comeback, Corbin grounded him, tossed him to ringside and buried him under a pile of steel chairs. This left Kingston to combat two of the top heels on Raw by himself.
The resilient Kingston fended off the heels, benefited from Rollins' return late in the match and his pairing-off with Lashley, and delivered Trouble in Paradise to The Lone Wolf for the win.
After the match, the heels attacked, and Brock Lesnar's music played. The Beast teased cashing in, but the beaten Kingston and Rollins stood tall in the center of the ring, waiting for the Money in the Bank winner to try an attack.
He did not. Instead, Paul Heyman was overheard revealing they will announce when Lesnar cashes in next week.
Kingston and Rollins defeated Corbin and Lashley
This was every other tag team main event you have seen over the last two years, with the no-disqualification stipulation thrown in for good measure.
The grade comes from the Lesnar tease and the revelation that The Beast will have a major announcement regarding his cash-in next week. That is episodic television that keeps audiences coming back rather than shows happening from week to week with no rhyme or reason.
That helped elevate this when, otherwise, it would have been a repetitive tag team main event that did nothing to create any sense of excitement for next week's broadcast.