WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 17

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2021

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 17

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sunday's WrestleMania Backlash pay-per-view featured some great action, one title change and the first zombie outbreak in WWE history.

    Monday's Raw dealt with all of the fallout from Sunday's show while beginning the buildup for the next PPV on June 20, Hell in a Cell.

    Did The Miz and John Morrison escape the zombies unharmed?

    What's next for Bobby Lashley after defeating Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman?

    Can R-K-Bro continue to coexist?

    What kind of surprises did Alexa Bliss have in store for Natalya and Tamina on Alexa's Playground?

    Let's take a look at what happened on Monday's show for answers to these questions and much more.

Opening Segment

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    Raw opened with Lashley coming to the ring flanked by five women. MVP welcomed him and played a clip of his win from Sunday. MVP claimed Strowman and McIntyre were unable to attend the show because of their injuries.

    Lashley gave MVP permission to issue an open challenge, but before MVP could get the words out, McIntyre's music hit, and he marched to the ring looking uninjured.

    McIntyre accepted the challenge, but MVP said he and Strowman were exempt from it. Lashley took a swing, but McIntyre ducked and sent him out of the ring.

    Grade: C+

                              

    Analysis

    Sometimes simple is best. This is a basic storyline of two rivals. One has a belt, the other wants it. Wrestling is built on stories like this. The talent either succeeds or fails in making it entertaining.

    MVP and Lashley are great together, and McIntyre is a perfect rival for Lashley, but this feud might only have one more PPV left in it before WWE needs to have both men move on.

    This was a decent segment but didn't do much to advance the storyline or set up anything for the future.

Elias vs. AJ Styles

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    Elias went right after AJ Styles as soon as the bell rang, but The Phenomenal One quickly turned the tables with a dropkick. Elias answered back with a stalling vertical suplex.

    Jaxson Ryker and Omos looked on as Styles dropped Elias with a backbreaker. The show went to a break with Styles in control after hitting a springboard forearm from the ring to the floor.

    We returned to see Elias in the driver's seat after a huge back-body drop. Elias countered a Styles Clash and hit a spinning suplex for a close two-count.

    Ryker yanked Styles off the apron to cause a disqualification. Omos tried to go after Ryker while Elias threw Styles into the steel steps.

    Grade: C+

                                

    Analysis

    Both of these men are heels, which tells you everything you need to know about the Raw tag team division. It's so thin that WWE can't even properly set up heel vs. babyface feuds without The New Day. These guys were literally partners in a match last week.

    Or, WWE is trying to turn Omos and Styles babyface in the hopes that nobody will remember they were just heels. We're going to need a promo or interview to determine what we are supposed to think about the tag champs.

    Weird booking aside, this was a good match with a lackluster finish. They kept a steady pace and both men were able to get in plenty of offense as they went back and forth. Styles sold more for Elias than you would expect considering he is a former world champion.

    It wasn't a classic and nobody will be talking about it in a day or two, but this was a serviceable bout between two great athletes.

Angel Garza vs. Drew Gulak

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    Drew Gulak took control right away with an abdominal stretch, but Angel Garza quickly turned things in his favor. Gulak tried to fight back, but a huge right hand from Garza rocked him.

    The Latin Lothario hit a backbreaker and a running kick to the face before dropping Gulak with the Wing Clipper for the win.

    Grade: C

                                

    Analysis

    Usually, the content of a storyline would dictate a lot about how we perceive it, but at this point, anything that gets Garza and Gulak on Raw is a good thing.

    These are two of the most underutilized stars on the Raw roster, but they have been getting more attention in recent weeks.

    This was short but still managed to be entertaining. Part of that is the talent of the stars in the ring and part of it is just being able to see two guys get screen time who will benefit from it.

    With five more minutes, this would have easily been the Match of the Night.

Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton

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    After a backstage altercation, Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston agreed to a match. Riddle just wanted everyone to get along, but he still accompanied The Viper to the ring. Xavier Woods was right there by Kingston's side as usual.

    They started with a basic lockup and headlock takeover. Orton knocked Kingston down with a shoulder. They screwed up a leapfrog, and Kingston hit Orton in the face with his hip.

    Orton maintained the upper hand but didn't resort to many of his heel tactics to do it. He was almost working the way he would as a babyface for most of the fight.

    Woods distracted Orton with his trombone so Kingston could roll him up for the surprise win. Riddle kept Orton from attacking Kingston after the match, but he also shoved Woods before leaving.

    Grade: B-

                                    

    Analysis

    This is one of the few feuds WWE has visited a few times over the past decade but never drove into the ground. Kingston and Orton are veterans of the same company who have somehow avoided each other for the majority of their careers.

    Their chemistry was still there aside from the one mistake they made early in the match. Orton is always the more physically dominant, and that lets Kingston play up his underdog qualities.

    This was a little shorter than expected but not to the detriment of the match. They did a good job keeping it competitive before the roll-up finish.

Natalya and Tamina vs. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

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    After winning the women's tag titles Friday, Natalya and Tamina faced Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler in a rematch on Monday's Raw. Reginald was there to do whatever it is Reginald does.

    The challengers took control of Natalya and cornered her for some double-team offense. Baszler immediately started focusing on her arm to soften her up for a submission.

    The Queen of Harts took down Jax with a discus clothesline before she brought in Tamina. Jax bodyslammed her cousin and climbed to the top rope. Tamina nailed her with a superkick to knock her to the floor.

    Alexa Bliss appeared on the stage and set off some flames that blinded Reginald. The distraction allowed Natalya and Tamina to score the win.

    Grade: C

                                  

    Analysis

    It's great to see the women's tag team division getting so much attention on both brands recently, but this match fell short of their encounter from SmackDown.

    The inclusion of Bliss seems to indicate she has her eyes on the women's tag titles. Is WWE about to let her win the belts with Lilly? Is a doll going to be a champion in WWE?

    This segment should have led to Baszler dumping Jax and Reginald so she can return to singles action, but that will have to wait.

Sheamus vs. Ricochet

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    Sheamus came down to the ring looking heated. He grabbed a mic and demanded Ricochet return the hat and coat he stole from him. A backstage interview revealed Ricochet did indeed steal his hat and coat from the locker room.

    Sheamus tried to attack him in the aisle, but Ricochet tripped him. The ref finally called for the bell when they got into the ring. The One and Only used his speed to hit a series of strikes before one clubbing blow from The Celtic Warrior took him down.

    Sheamus caught him as he flew over the top rope and threw him into the timekeeper's area. We returned from a break to see Sheamus still dominating his opponent.

    Ricochet hopped up to the top turnbuckle and brought Sheamus down with a Spanish Fly for a two-count. The Celtic Warrior blocked a moonsault with his knees and rolled up Ricochet for a near-fall.

    A huge forearm from the top rope to the floor took the United States champion down hard. Ricochet put him back in and hit a springboard 450 for another two-count. The Irishman hit a huge knee strike as Ricochet flew off the ropes, but he couldn't get the pin.

    Sheamus eventually hit the Brogue Kick for the pin to end a great match.

    Grade: A-

                                 

    Analysis

    The reason this match took place was a little dumb, but the match itself was a fun contest between one of WWE's best high-flyers and one of the most consistent performers of the pandemic era.

    This match was entertaining, physical and set up a title feud that will carry them through Hell in a Cell. There isn't much more to say. This was great. What will be interesting to see is if Humberto Carrillo or Mansoor enters the picture again.

    Ricochet was in black pants with shoes again, so this appears to be his new look. It's basic, but it kind of works for him.

Asuka vs. Charlotte

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    When Charlotte Flair asked Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville for a rematch for the Raw women's title, they told her she would have to beat Asuka first.

    The match started with The Empress coming out of the gate hot before The Queen nailed her with an elbow to the face. Asuka hit a hip attack from the floor to the apron for a quick two-count.

    Rhea Ripley's music hit, and she came out to watch the action for herself. She was seated next to the commentators when we returned to see Charlotte keeping Asuka down in a headlock.

    The Empress of Tomorrow began to fight back with some forearms and kicks. Ripley laughed as she watched Asuka take Charlotte down for a couple of near-falls.

    They traded control several times before Ripley ended up taking a big boot from Charlotte on the apron. Asuka was able to get the win with a roll-up.

    Grade: A-

                                    

    Analysis

    Despite being a former double champion with the Raw women's title and Women's Tag Team Championships, it doesn't feel like WWE sees Asuka as a top star, and that is a shame because she is one of the best.

    Whether she is winning or losing, Asuka always gives her all to every match. She deserves better than the booking she has received over the past six months. She's always portrayed as tough but loses more than she should. Seeing her get the win here was satisfying after she took the loss Sunday.

    With that said, this was a fantastic match. These two know each other as well as anyone on the roster, and they always manage to make their encounters must-see TV.

Damian Priest vs. John Morrison

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    Damian Priest faced John Morrison in a Lumberjack match, but instead of zombies, it was WWE Superstars around the ring. Nikki Cross was the only woman in the crowd.

    Priest took control with an arm drag into an armbar. JoMo backed him to the corner with some body shots and forearms to the head. He threw Priest out of the ring, and the lumberjacks took a few shots before rolling him back in.

    The Archer of Infamy nailed Johnny Drip Drip with a few kicks to knock him out of the ring. Cross was the one to roll him back in with a huge smile on her face.

    Morrison went for an armbar, but Priest was too strong. The Miz's best friend was able to keep the upper hand with a springboard kick and a knee to the face.

    Cedric Alexander went after Shelton Benjamin as chaos started to break out. The Archer of Infamy superplexed Morrison onto all of the lumberjacks at ringside. Priest hit his finisher for the pin and the win while the lumberjacks continued to fight.

    Grade: B-

                                   

    Analysis

    The whole zombie thing Sunday was a bit of a train wreck, but you have to admire WWE for not just ignoring it and having Morrison make reference to feeling empty inside after being bitten. It's stupid in a way that could potentially be hilarious if management commits to it.

    This match was decent but didn't need to include lumberjacks. Morrison and Priest have great chemistry and would have worked better without having to worry about everyone else.

    Let's hope Priest moves on to a new feud because this one has run its course and then some.

Bobby Lashley Open Challenge

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    Several Superstars said they were going to accept Lashley's open challenge for the WWE title, but the man who ended up answering the call was Kingston.

    Lashley looked like he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Before the ref could ring the bell, MVP said he never declared this would be for the title, so this became a non-title bout.

    Kingston got in a few cheap shots before the bell. Lashley hit a huge slam right away for a two-count. The tag team specialist hit a couple of kicks to knock the champ out of the ring.

    We returned from a break to see Lashley controlling the pace. Kingston countered a sloppy attempt at something else into a DDT to get a two-count. Woods started playing the trombone to distract Lashley, and it allowed Kingston to take him down on the apron.

    Lashley countered the S.O.S. with a huge slam. He ran Kingston into the ring post before rolling him back into the ring. McIntyre came out of nowhere and hit Lashley with MVP's cane while the ref was distracted. Kingston rolled up Lashley for the win.

    Grade: B

                                

    Analysis

    This match was good, but there were a couple of sloppy spots because both men tried to go too quickly. Whenever they slowed down a bit, they looked great.

    Pulling the rug out from under Kingston when he accepted the challenge made it obvious he would win since the title was not on the line. What matters is what happens next.

    If WWE is serious about pushing Kingston, he would be perfect to play the underdog against Lashley. If this was just a one-off, then it means nothing.

    This was an uneven show with a few standout performances. Ricochet vs. Sheamus, Orton vs. Kingston and Asuka vs. Charlotte are all worth taking the time to watch if you missed the show.

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