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Monday Night Raw Review (05/16/2016)

This is the final episode of Raw before the Extreme Rules event this Sunday. We get right into the show this week with no video packages as a nice change of pace.

A.J. Styles opens the show and wants it to be known that his friendship with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows is not a master plan to cheat Roman Reigns out of the title. Reigns interrupts to a loud response of boos and declares Styles a liar. If you forgot, Reigns wants you to know he is “THE Guy” and he doesn’t believe Styles for a second. The segment ends with Reigns hitting Styles to even more hatred from the crowd. The Usos with Reigns will face Anderson and Gallows with Styles in their corner later.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro and The Miz

The match was originally scheduled to be Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn. Kevin Owens and The Miz are out for commentary and attack each other before the match can get going. Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon both come out to change the match to a tag match – Owens and Zayn vs. Cesaro and Miz.

This was the first time Zayn and Owens have teamed together in WWE and the first time in general since they were on the independent circuit together in 2013. The match was highly entertaining with the tag partners trying to coexist despite hating each other. All four men have been doing great work together over the past few weeks. Owens and Zayn got the win but Owens attacked Zayn after the match with a superkick as the last man left standing.

Match Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Match Rating: 7/10

We finally get the reintroduction of Primo and Epico as The Shining Stars. They cut a heel promo that was quite boring on their way to the ring.

The Shining Stars vs. Scott Jackson and Brian Kennedy

Primo and Epico defeat the unknown jobbers in about two minutes. It was an old school squash match but aggressively uninteresting. Mark my words – This will be another gimmick fail for the Colobs. Poor writing by WWE as usual when it comes to these two. They are trying to use the concept of showing over the top pride in being from Puerto Rico as a way to get heat but no one cares in the slightest.

Match Winners: The Shining Stars

Match Rating: 2/10

Dean Ambrose enters the arena to call out Chris Jericho after Jericho tied him in a straitjacket and beat him down on Smackdown. A match is made for Extreme Rules as both men try to prove they are the true lunatic. Ambrose announces it will be the first ever "Asylum Match" in what looks like a Cage Match with straitjackets and weapons hanging at the top of the cage. This adds some intrigue to the match and gives us a first ever match stipulation.

Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke

Dana Brooke debuted last week in a rather lackluster fashion and followed it up with more mediocrity here. She has potential to improve in the future but is currently the definition of average. The match was nothing special and felt like a way to fill the time. That’s one of the worst things you can feel about a match.

Match Winner: Dana Brooke

Match Rating: 5/10

Shane and Stephanie are engaging in banter backstage. The Dudleyz approach them about wanting a match but will have to choose between the two of them to face Big Cass later tonight. A video package airs showing the long road to R-Truth and Goldust finally becoming a tag team. They will have their first tag match tonight.

Golden Truth vs. Fandango and Tyler Breeze

A very pointless match until R-Truth accidentally hit Goldust giving Breeze and Fandango the win. Hopefully the return of John Cena, Seth Rollins and others in the next month or so will cut out matches and segments like these. Three-hour editions of Raw are already tough to get through but filler segments like this kill any momentum.

Match Winners: Fandango and Tyler Breeze

Match Rating: 4/10

There was another segment between Golden Truth and Breezedango backstage continuing the feud. Stop the pain.

The New Day are here. Hooray! They have a time machine made from a refrigerator box. Kofi Kingston comes out of the box talking with his old Jamaican accent dropping the best line of the night: “2009 was my best year.” Hilarious. Xavier Woods pulls him back in to go back in time even further. They come back out with fake beards mocking the Vaudevillans gimmick setting up their match at Extreme Rules. The Vaudevillains attack and destroy all three men. This was the first time they have looked like credible threats since coming up from NXT. The Vaudevillains needed this badly.

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows w/ A.J. Styles vs. The Usos w/ Roman Reigns

We have seen these teams have this same match the last couple of weeks so it was nothing remarkable. The main purpose here was to add intrigue to Styles and Reigns’ match on Sunday and they did the job. The Usos pulled off the victory over The Club but the aftermath was where things picked up. A big fight broke out after the match that ended with Styles beating Reigns with a chair and hitting a Styles Clash. The post-match was superb and the Extreme Rules main event has the feel of a huge match.

Match Winners: The Usos

Match Rating: 7/10

Big Cass vs. Devon Dudley

The Dudleyz tried to use the numbers advantage in their favor but Big Cass outsmarts them to get the quick win. This was just a way to make Cass look strong. It wasn’t that entertaining of a match but they are doing a nice job having Big Cass continue to make a name for himself until Enzo Amore returns to reform the tag team.

Match Winner: Big Cass

Match Rating: 4/10

A video package airs reminding us John Cena will return in two weeks on Memorial Day. The star power is definitely going to be helpful.

Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio

Good grief. These two are wrestling yet again. Kalisto’s partner Sin Cara gets attacked by Rusev backstage and drags him to the ringside area. Alberto Del Rio took advantage of the distraction to get the win over a concerned Kalisto. Rusev delivered a brutal beatdown to Kalisto after the match to set up the United States Championship bout at Extreme Rules. The segment fell flat but at least WWE is investing in Rusev being a top heel once again. That's progress for the one time tremendous heel.

Match Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Match Rating: 5/10

A contract signing between Natalya and Charlotte is strangely the main event segment with Shane and Stephanie in charge of it. The lack of chemistry or heat in this feud doesn’t seem warranting the final segment of an important show but here we are. Ric Flair flips out and trash talks Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie slaps Flair and security escorts him out as Natalya locks in the Sharpshooter on Charlotte to end Raw.

Roman Reigns vs. A.J. Styles is the best storyline in WWE right now and they should have a tremendous main event at Extreme Rules. The finish will be interesting to watch play out given the different ways they can go about it.

John Cena's return in two weeks is a nice reason to have excitement about the future. Cena is desperately missed and it will be rather fascinating to find out what his first feud will be.

There were "We Want Rollins" chants towards Reigns early in the show that Reigns tried to shut down by saying the fans won't get Rollins. Seth Rollins is rumored to return in three weeks and fans are waiting on him to stand against Reigns. That seems like a huge money making feud for the summer.

The Intercontinental Championship picture is a joy to watch. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Cesaro and The Miz are bringing out the best in each other and trying their best to make the title relevant again. Hopefully this focus on the midcard championship is still a thing after Extreme Rules.

The other midcard title is not looking as great. Kalisto and Rusev will have to deliver a great match on Sunday to help elevate the United States Championship and they probably will given their talent.

The Vaudevillains had their best moment on the main roster attacking New Day but there's still no momentum in their tag title match. This may be a one and done situation for them where they lose the title shot and get featured less.

Speaking of getting featured less, where in the world is Apollo Crews? Why bring him up to the main roster if you're not going to use him?

Primo and Epico are doomed and this gimmick will be given up on by July at the latest.

The Women's Championship deserves a better build up considering WWE wants it to be viewed as a main event level match. No one believes Natalya has a realistic chance at winning and the weak segments revolving around Ric Flair and the McMahon kids aren't helping.

Extreme Rules has potential on paper but the more exciting future is what happens after the PPV. The next few weeks of Raw will give us new storylines, main event stars returning and hopefully more interesting content than tonight.

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