Monday, 31 May 2021

WWE Raw Highlights 31 May 2021

 

WWE Raw 5/31/21 May 31st 2021





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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 31

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    Credit: WWE.com

    We're still a few weeks away from the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, so WWE has been taking its time booking matches for the show.

    Monday's Raw continued to build on established storylines while taking a few in new directions. One example of a change has to do with the former women's tag team champions.

    After losing a rematch for the titles last week, Shayna Baszler finally lost her cool and challenged Reginald to a match on this week's Raw.

    The other tag champs on Raw, AJ Styles and Omos, put their belts on the line this week against Elias and Jaxson Ryker.

    We also saw Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair appear on Miz TV, and Drew McIntyre battled Kofi Kingston for a WWE title shot at the HIAC PPV.

    Let's take a look at everything that happened on Monday's Raw.

Miz TV and Charlotte vs. Nikki Cross

1 OF 9

    Raw opened with a nice video honoring Memorial Day before we went live in the ThunderDome. The Miz and John Morrison were in the ring to kick the show off with Miz TV.

    The Miz began by apologizing for not being there last week but said it was because he was injured for the first time in his career during his Lumberjack match against Damian Priest.

    They brought out Ripley and Charlotte and they immediately started trading insults. The A-Lister asked what Ripley was all about and she called herself a nightmare for everyone in the women's division. 

    The Queen mocked her for losing to Nikki Cross last week in the two-minute challenge. Cross made her way out with a huge smile on her face and apologized for interrupting The Miz, who had a huge smile on his face, too, when he found out Cross was a big fan of his show. 

    Cross got into it with Charlotte and it led to them having a two-minute challenge after the break. Cross rolled out of the ring and started mocking The Queen to kill some time. 

    She lasted the full two minutes to win over Charlotte. Ripley applauded from ringside. 

    Grade: C-

                                  

    Analysis

    JoMo wearing a necklace full of garlic to ward off vampires after he was attacked by zombies would have been a dumb joke in anyone else's hands, but he made it funny. 

    Charlotte and Ripley did not have anything important to add to their feud, so their exchange felt a bit forced and repetitive. Cross, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air.

    The former women's tag team champion is one of the most underutilized talents on the roster. Seeing her thrown into the middle of the title feud has been a pleasant surprise. Her enthusiasm is infectious. 

    However, Cross needs to come out of this storyline proving she can hang with the best. None of this will matter if she continues to be treated as an easy stepping stone for others. 

    The interview and match did not add up to much, but a few laughs were produced, so that's something. 

Randy Orton vs. Xavier Woods

2 OF 9

    Riddle accompanied Randy Orton to the ring for his match again Xavier Woods, but Kofi Kingston chose not to be ringside for Woods despite being in the arena. 

    Woods took control first, but Orton quickly turned things around by dropping him onto the top turnbuckle. He suplexed Woods onto the announce table as the show cut to a break. 

    We returned to see Woods beginning to make a comeback until The Viper beat him back down. Riddle cheered on his partner as Orton set up for the rope-hung DDT. Woods used the delay to counter into an armbar. 

    Orton picked up Woods and hit him with Riddle's Bro Derek finisher for the win. 

    Grade: B

                                    

    Analysis

    This was a solid match between two guys who are known as great workers. Woods always delivers when he gets the chance to work a singles bout.

    The game of one-upmanship between Riddle and Orton could become fun if they continue going back and forth like this. 

    The New Day was a good choice to feud with Riddle and Orton because Kingston and Woods can make anyone look good whether they win or lose. The eventual tag team showdown should be highly entertaining. 

Shayna Baszler vs. Reginald

3 OF 9

    After costing the former women's tag team champions one too many wins, Reginald found himself in Baszler's crosshairs this week. 

    Reginal reassured Jax that he would be fine before heading to the ring alone. He tried to talk some sense into Baszler, but she didn't want to hear it. After he flipped a few times to avoid her, she took him down with one good right hand.

    He popped up and body-slammed her, but all it did was piss her off. She grabbed his leg and snapped it to take away his agility. The MMA practitioner continued to focus on his left leg as he struggled to keep himself from tapping out. 

    Reginald countered an ankle lock and sent her into the corner. He took her down and climbed to the top rope. He missed a moonsault and when he landed on his feet, his bad leg gave out. Baszler grabbed him in the Kirifuda Clutch but broke it when an explosion went off. Reggie rolled her up for the upset win. 

    Grade: C-

                                   

    Analysis

    We all knew what this was going into it. This was a comedy match designed to keep the storyline going and make Reginald look lucky. 

    Baszler was the only person who could come remotely close to making this segment work. She is the most convincing badass on the roster, so it's not a stretch to think Reginald would be afraid of her.

    Jax and Baszler probably won't be a team for much longer if Jax continued to favor Reginald over her own partner. This segment had some entertainment value, but not much. 

Mace and T-Bar vs. Lucha House Party

4 OF 9

    T-Bar started out against Lince Dorado. He got in a few big moves before Dorado put him in a sleeper hold. Gran Metalik tagged in and hit a splash from Dorado's shoulders.

    Mace tagged in and they destroyed Metalik with a sweep/clothesline combo. The former Retribution heavies continued to dominate until they hit a double chokeslam for the win.

    Grade: C

                                  

    Analysis

    Mace and T-Bar haven't been a regular presence on Raw since Retribution disbanded. This was a dominant performance, but it was a little too short to be a good match.

    Lucha House Party is a great team that needs to be in the title scene more often. They are among the best high-flyers in the world, so there is no reason why they shouldn't be taken seriously. 

Sheamus vs. Ricochet and Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo

5 OF 9

    Sheamus talked for a moment about being attacked by Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo last week. He dared one of them to come out and face him, so Ricochet ran right to the ring to answer the challenge. 

    The Celtic Warrior used his power to control the pace for about 10 seconds before Ricochet's speed became too much to handle. Sheamus yanked him out of the ring and threw him into the barricade. 

    Carrillo came out to distract Sheamus, allowing Ricochet to roll him up for the win. After the break, Sheamus was in a second match against Carrillo

    Sheamus hit a huge backbreaker to take control. Ricochet tried to give Carrillo some words of encouragement from ringside, but it did not appear to help when Sheamus was clubbing his chest. 

    Carrillo busted Sheaus open with a stiff forearm, but The Celtic Warrior did not let it slow him down. Ricochet returned the favor and distracted Sheamus so Carrillo could get the pin. 

    Grade: C

                               

    Analysis

    Sheamus is a great heel when he has decent material to work with, but this is not one of those times. It feels like WWE doesn't know who it wants to feud with Sheamus, so it just grabbed a couple of guys without storylines and threw them at the Irishman.

    Ricochet and Carrillo have done their best to look like worthy challengers in these segments, but so far, Sheamus appears to have their number unless they team up on him in some way. 

    That said, the short matches we saw here were fine for what they were. Sheamus is an underrated storyteller and has the ability to make his opponents look good when he needs to. He doesn't appear to have much of an ego about needing to look like a monster. 

Naomi and Lana vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke

6 OF 9

    The women's tag team division was back in the spotlight when Naomi and Lana faced Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. Lana and Brooke started for their teams.

    Natalya and Tamina watched from the commentary table as Naomi tagged in and scored a two-count. Rose got the tag and hit a flapjack with Brooke for a near-fall. 

    Lana tried a few different pinning combinations on Rose before she was cornered and hit with a neckbreaker. Brooke made the cover and got the pin. 

    Grade: C+

                                  

    Analysis

    Some might find this hard to believe, but this wasn't bad. It was a little on the short side but all four Superstars put forth maximum effort.

    Rose and Brooke are better choices to challenge for the titles than Lana and Naomi right now, so it was nice to see them pick up the win.

    The women's tag team division still needs work. WWE is giving them time and it seems to be paying off. 

Cedric Alexander vs. Shelton Benjamin

7 OF 9

    After each man scored a win over the other in recent weeks, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander met for a rubber match this week.

    Alexander quickly hit a thumb to the eye before getting the pin. 

    Grade: D-

                                  

    Analysis

    When you stick two of the best in-ring performers in the ring together and make it last 30 seconds, you get a bad grade. Plain and simple. The only reason this didn't get an F is that Benjamin sold everything like a champ. 

    This was a waste of everyone's time and did nothing to make either competitor look good. It might make sense for a heel like Alexander to cheat, but that doesn't mean they can't have a competitive exchange first. 

AJ Styles and Omos vs. Elias and Jaxson Ryker

8 OF 9

    Ryker looked like he was in a trance as he and Elias made their way out to challenge Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Team Championships. 

    Elias took control of Styles and put him in the corner for some forearm shots. The Phenomenal One countered him after an Irish whip and took him down with a snap suplex for a two-count. 

    We returned from a commercial to see Ryker keeping Styles grounded. Both men went for a tag but when Elias saw Omos get in the ring, he jumped off the apron and left Ryker to deal with the giant himself.

    Omos decimated him as Elias watched from the ramp. Styles got the tag and finished Ryker off with a Phenomenal Forearm to retain the titles. 

    Grade: B-

                                  

    Analysis

    By default, this was one of the best matches of the night, but that was a low bar to clear this week. Omos looked like an absolute beast during his short time in the ring.

    Elias abandoning Ryker could be the first sign of a breakup, which is probably for the best. They weren't making strides as a tag team, and Elias has always been more popular as a solo act. 

Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston

9 OF 9

    After Bobby Lashley interfered last week, McIntyre and Kingston met for a rematch this week to determine which man would earn a shot at the WWE title at Hell in a Cell.

    When the bell rang, McIntyre picked up Kingston and planted him in the corner so he could start hitting him with strikes. Kingston slipped away and rolled him up for a couple of two-counts.

    We returned from a break right before McIntyre hit a massive headbutt. He lifted Kingston from the mat to deliver a vertical suplex. 

    Kingston began to rally with the SOS, but McIntyre kicked out at two. McIntyre was back in control after a second commercial break. He sat Kingston on the top rope, but Kingston countered with a powerbomb to send McIntyre down hard. 

    McIntyre swung Kingston around before spiking him with a Future Shock DDT for a close two-count. Kingston countered a superplex and hung McIntyre from the rope. The Scottish Warrior sat back up and sent Kingston flying. 

    Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise, but McIntyre grabbed the bottom rope to break the count. McIntyre hit the Claymore for the win after a nice sequence. Kingston shook his hand in a show of respect. 

    Grade: A

    Analysis

    WWE did a good job hyping this up throughout the night. We saw a few moments dedicated to making it feel like this match belonged in the main event slot. 

    Unsurprisingly, this was the Match of the Night. They were given a substantial amount of time and used every minute to make this bout entertaining. 

    Kingston has great underdog instincts. He knows when to sell big and when to make his comeback at the perfect moment. As always, McIntyre did everything well.

    This week's show was on the weak side but the segments that worked were worth watching. 

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