WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins meet, exciting U.S. title match

WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins meet, exciting U.S. title match
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If Raw did nothing else this week, it pulled off an excellent job of building to the WWE championship match between Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. The two men closed the show with a contract signing for their clash for McIntyre’s title on Sunday, May 10. While the signing ended with the expected brawl, the journey to that moment was a wonderful example of both men playing to their strengths.

While the closing segment was strong, there was a misstep in the only other segment advertised ahead of the show. A planned triple threat match between Money in the Bank ladder match competitors Nia Jax, Asuka and Shayna Baszler never actually took place. Before the match, the three women brawled at ringside before Jax was able to use a ladder to take out both women. Instead of a triple threat match with no disqualifications, fans were treated to a brief scrap and disappointing lack of … well, an actual match.

The stars of the night were Andrade and Apollo Crews, who were on camera for more than one-third of the show between a six-man tag to start the show, a United States championship match later in the night and several backstage segments. It was unexpected amount of usage for both, but neither man had a misstep in or out of the ring while displaying some true “superstar qualities.”

Let’s take a look at what went down from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando on Monday night.

WWE Raw recap, grades

MVP opened the show by welcoming the three Raw competitors in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match to the “VIP Lounge.” With Apollo Crews, Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black seated in the ring, MVP began directing questions before being cut off by Zelina Vega, Andrade, Austin Theory and Angel Garza. Vega pushed the Money in the Bank entrants to back out of the match and let her crew take their spots. Things quickly broke down into a brawl after Mysterio said it seemed they didn’t come for their spots, they came for a fight. This, of course, led to a six-man tag match.

Apollo Crews, Rey Mysterio & Aleister Black def. Andrade, Angel Garza & Austin Theory via pinfall after a sit-out powerbomb by Crews on Andrade. The six men dominated the entire first 40 minutes of the show between the opening segment and this match, which was fast-paced tag with six tremendous wrestlers. The action built to the only logical conclusion: the Money in the Bank participants winning less than two weeks out from their PPV match. While the match was very good, it’s a shame that Vega’s team has been presented as a threat while routinely losing and being left to look completely ineffective as a threatening group of heels. Grade: B+

Andrade and Vega were interviewed backstage after the loss. Andrade was asked what happened and Vega told Andrade his “amigos” had let him down. Andrade then said that his opponents could not have beat him one-on-one. Shortly after, Crews said he would beat Andrade again … in a singles match later in the night. Crews slapped Andrade after being told he didn’t deserve a shot, leading Vega to take him up on the challenge while setting up a U.S. title match later in the evening.

The planned match between Asuka, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler did not take place after a ringside brawl. Asuka was out first to cut one of her unhinged Japanese promos, but did say in English that she had fought Jax in the past. Baszler jumped Asuka before the match, leading all three women to brawl on the outside. After a brief, wild melee, Jax knocked the other two women from the ring using a ladder and her music then hit. Unfortunately, the match never actually started, allowing Jax a “big moment” without anyone having to take a loss before Money in the Bank. Jax was interviewed backstage later in the night. When asked about her actions, she asked Charly Caruso what she, Asuka or Shayna Baszler could about her actions before screaming “nothing” and walking off.For the only promoted match on the card to go this direction is a let down. Grade: D+

Bobby Lashley def. Denzel Dejournette via pinfall after a spear. Lashley asked Lana not to come to the ring with him, and while Lana hesitated at first, Lashley won her over by insisting that it was only because she is so beautiful that she distracts him. Dejournette tried to get back at Lashley after an early slap by delivering one of his own. That turned out to be a mistake and Lashley delivered a spear for a quick win moments later. Grade: C+

Liv Morgan def. Ruby Riott via pinfall after hitting the Oblivion springboard Flatliner. Morgan managed to kick out of an early Riott Kick, and while that seemed to only make Riott mad, Morgan was able to hit Oblivion moments later for the pin. After the win, Morgan was interviewed and said that she has already had so many “chapters” in her career but is still trying to figure out who she is and what that means. She was confident, however, that she would do just that. The potential of the Riott Squad split has been squandered in so many odd ways, but the real issue with this segment was the aimless Morgan promo after the extremely short match. Grade: C-

A Viking Raiders promo aired with Erik and Ivar telling Raw tag champions The Street Profits that they’ve only won titles when the Raiders were out of action. “The world may call you champions, but we know the truth,” they said. “And the truth is, as long as the Viking Raiders are around, you’ll only be second best. But we dare you to prove us wrong. Because we want the smoke.” Later in the night, The Street Profits cut a promo responding to The Viking Raiders. Rather than crack jokes, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins laid down a challenge for next week on Raw, looking to prove wrong the Raiders’ claims the Profits are “second best.”‘

Jinder Mahal def. Akira Tozawa via pinfall after hitting the Khallas in Mahal’s return to action for the first time since last June. He dominated Tozawa in a complete squash but looked to be in fantastic shape for his return. Grade: B-

United States Championship — Andrade (c) def. Apollo Crews via referee stoppage to retain the title. Crews suffered a worked injury to his knee on a missed moonsault to the floor at ringside, leading Andrade to target the challenger’s leg relentlessly going forward. Crews tried to fire back but was cut off as his knee couldn’t hold up long under the assault of the champ. A near replay of Crews’ counter that scored him the pin in the opening six-man tag failed to net Crews the title, and when he tried a splash off the top rope, his leg gave out again. The referee stopped Andrade from capitalizing on the injury any further, waiving off the match and awarding the champ the win by stoppage after an exciting title match. Crews was later interviewed backstage. He was on crutches with ice on his knee and in tears as he shook his head before leaving without answering any questions. Grade: B+

Ricochet & Cedric Alexander def. Ever-Rise via pinfall with a combination dropkick and hammerlock Flatliner. This was a typical babyface team squash match with Ricochet playing the “face in peril” until a hot tag to Alexander for explosive offense to lead to the finish. After the match, MVP was shown on the screen with Brendan Vink and Shane Thorne, challenging Ricochet and Alexander to a match with his new team on next week’s Raw. Grade: B-

WWE champion Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins signed the contract for their title match at Money in the Bank. The signing was hosted by Jerry Lawler, who was off main commentary duties for the night in favor of Samoa Joe. Rollins was out first, followed by McIntyre who told Lawler, “you know how these things go,” and suggesting Lawler leave the ring. McIntyre signed the contract quickly before handing the contract to Rollins. Rollins hesitated and said — much as he had last week — that he doesn’t want but instead needs it because McIntyre is not a leader. McIntyre would say that Rollins’ message was clear, and he was clearly “full of s—.” McIntyre continued by saying he would not allow Rollins to win the title under any circumstances. Rollins signed the contract, and before he could deliver his final message to the champion, McIntyre bounced Rollins’ head off the table and set up for a Claymore Kick. Before he could deliver, McIntyre was blindsided from behind by Murphy. Rollins embraced Murphy but quickly ducked out of the way and allowed his disciple to eat a Claymore before retreating up the entryway. Rollins’ promo work has been very strong through the program, and tonight was no different in building his character and expressing clear motivation behind his actions. Grade: B+

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WWE champion Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins signed the contract for their title match at Money in the BankThe signing was hosted by Jerry Lawler, who was off main commentary duties for the night in favor of Samoa Joe. Rollins was out first, followed by McIntyre who told Lawler, “you know how these things go,” and suggesting Lawler leave the ring. McIntyre signed the contract quickly before handing the contract to Rollins. Rollins hesitated and said — much as he had last week — that he doesn’t want but instead needs it because McIntyre is not a leader. McIntyre would say that Rollins’ message was clear, and he was clearly “full of s—.” McIntyre continued by saying he would not allow Rollins to win the title under any circumstances. Rollins signed the contract, and before he could deliver his final message to the champion, McIntyre bounced Rollins’ head off the table and set up for a Claymore Kick. Before he could deliver, McIntyre was blindsided from behind by Murphy. Rollins embraced Murphy but quickly ducked out of the way and allowed his disciple to eat a Claymore before retreating up the entryway. Rollins’ promo work has been very strong through the program, and tonight was no different in building his character and expressing clear motivation behind his actions. Grade: B+

Apollo Crews was interviewed backstage. Crews was on crutches with ice on his knee and in tears as he shook his head before leaving without answering any questions.

Ricochet & Cedric Alexander def. Ever-Rise via pinfall with a combination dropkick and hammerlock Flatliner. This was a typical babyface team squash match with Ricochet playing the “face in peril” until a hot tag to Alexander for explosive offense to lead to the finish. After the match, MVP was shown on the screen with Brendan Vink and Shane Thorne, challenging Ricochet and Alexander to a match with his new team on next week’s Raw. Grade: B-

The Street Profits cut a promo responding to The Viking Raiders. Rather than crack jokes, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins laid down a challenge for next week on Raw, looking to prove wrong the Raiders’ claims the Profits are “second best.”

United States Championship — Andrade (c) def. Apollo Crews via referee stoppage to retain the title. Crews suffered a worked injury to his knee on a missed moonsault to the floor at ringside, leading Andrade to target the challenger’s leg relentlessly going forward. Crews tried to fire back but was cut off as his knee couldn’t hold up long under the assault of the champ. A near replay of Crews’ counter that scored him the pin in the opening six-man tag failed to net Crews the title, and when he tried a splash off the top rope, his leg gave out again. The referee stopped Andrade from capitalizing on the injury any further, waiving off the match and awarding the champ the win by stoppage after an exciting title match. Grade: B+

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