WWE RAW Review (5/15): Who Won This Week's MVP?, Roman Reigns, The Miz, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt

Standout Moments

1) There Can Be Only One - Kurt Angle got the party started by announcing at Raw's next PPV there will be an Extreme Rules Fatal 5-Way match to determine the number one contender to Brock Lesnar's Universal title. The participants will be Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and Roman Reigns, and to put it simply, this one is going to be a ton of fun to watch. It really is an amazing group to be put together and lays out a story of just how many people could legitimately come for Brock's title.

We then had Reigns slump his way out to the ring to plead his case about already being the top dog for the title, after beating Undertaker at WrestleMania and taking Braun out. This week, Reigns was very much down the middle in his presentation with the usual mixed reaction from the crowd. Balor then made his way to the ring to sell a really solid case about how he never technically lost his title and he defeated Reigns when he first came to Raw. Joe talked about "action," Bray said everyone was scared, and Rollins went right after Joe with everyone brawling all over the ring. With Brock not scheduled to be around until the (sigh) Great Balls of Fire PPV, WWE is going really top heavy with the Extreme Rules main event and fan reaction online was very positive to the booking of this match.

2) *High Pitch Voice* "Awesome!" - Miz has had a slew of great matches in recent months, but for Ambrose, I haven't enjoyed much of his recent in-ring work, other than his match against Baron Corbin on SmackDown. Really enjoyed this one, loved the false finish with the Skull-Crushing Finale, thought Miz had him there. Maryse attempted to block an elbow drop by Ambrose and she ended up bailing out of the way as he went for it anyways. Now that she's done that, no wrestler should ever stop because she gets in front of Miz, she'll move. Maryse went for a second distraction with Miz going for a lowblow, Dean blocked it, and kicked Miz right in the "Mizies" for the DQ. I didn't love the ending, felt out of character for Ambrose to do that, even if it's a meant extending the feud until their PPV match.

3) Alexa Rules After swiftly destroying the live crowd, Alexa put the boots to Bayley both verbally and physically, with the assistance of a kendo stick. Bayley has been in her fair share of wars (at least in NXT), while Alexa has already worked a cage match and has a gimmick built for brutality. Can Bayley overcome her usual "good girl" personality to get down in the dirt with the champ? I look forward to seeing her eventually "break" and beat the snark out of Alexa. Later on in the night Kurt tried to tell Bayley she will have a straight up singles match against Bayley, but she said no way Jose! Since she dared backtalk the Raw General Manager, Kurt proceeded to put her and Alexa in a stupid match for punishment. Okay, maybe that's not quite how it went, but a Kendo Stick on a Pole Match? Come on, what year is it? Let's hope WWE checked social media after that decision, there's still time to change things up.

4) Co-Main Events Roman Reigns and Finn Balor sure have some amazing chemistry, Reigns' power vs. Balor's agility is a sight to see. Loved the physicality between each competitor, Reigns plowed into the ring post early on, drive-by into the ring post, and Balor took some viscous hits in the later stages. Reigns got the win, but Balor was equally impressive in this one, no shame in taking the loss. These guys are two-for-two in their TV matches thus far. I fully expected Samoa Joe to get involved in Rollins vs. Wyatt, so it was tough to get into this match from the start. It was enjoyable watching Bray first team up with Joe and then hit Sister Abigail. I'll chalk it up to Joe being "New," but every wrestler should know at this point never to trust Bray.

5) Goldust, No! Just when I was actually caring about these two, Goldust had to go and take out his partner in dramatic fashion. I mean, the live crowd didn't really care, but I popped for the turn. Felt like we could have seen a few more inspirational segments between these two. Not exactly sure how they will blossom in singles competition once this feud ends though.

Trending Up

Alicia Fox Happy that WWE put Alicia and Sasha on earlier this week, actually paid quite a bit of attention to it this time around. They put on a solid contest with Alicia getting the surprising (and clean) win over Sasha. Crowd barely reacted, but it tied the series up 1-1 and I wouldn't mind if they just cut a few promos to build tension until having a third match at Extreme Rules.

Trending Down

Sasha Banks Not to hate on Alicia, but let's be real, when Sasha beats her because the ref missed the kick-out and then outright lost, that's a rough two weeks against a lower tier wrestler. I'm sure she'll get the win that matters at a PPV, but Sasha has been stagnant for quite awhile, going back to her role as a third wheel when Bayley and Charlotte were feuding.

This Week's MVP

Elias Samson Probably could have gone with Reigns, Alexa, maybe even Goldust this week, but have to give props to Samson. This pick is not so much for this week's performance, but his drifting appearances week after week are always a hit. I actually thought he was going to say something this time around, instead, he just played another tune and bounced. He was a surprising call-up from NXT, but it looks like (so far) WWE has a plan for the guy.

Overall Thoughts

WWE has to kill time, but when tag feuds have singles matches, it's zone out time for me. Titus mocking Enzo with his dance was pretty funny, probably the best thing we've seen from him in awhile. Maryse needs to cuss more people out in French. I want that to be a thing going forward. WWE tested the waters with another Cruiserweight tag match that included some of the top stars in the division. The live crowd was more interested in beach balls and chanting random things, not a good look. Meanwhile, Neville continued to hold that carrot out to keep TJP close. In totality, I appreciate how quickly Raw put together their Extreme Rules PPV, booking four matches throughout the show. A very watchable episode as they settle into some new feuds.

Grade (out of 10): 6.5 (Last Week: 4)


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