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Monday Night Raw Review (05/23/2016)

Recap

Raw is coming off an exciting Extreme Rules PPV on Sunday and hopes to continue the momentum. Roman Reigns defeated A.J. Styles in the main event to retain the WWE World Championship but that wasn't the main story. Seth Rollins made his return from injury to attack Reigns. Hooray for the potential of a much better episode of Raw tonight! Fingers are crossed.

Seth Rollins opens the show to a fairly positive response. The crowd reaction changes as Rollins cuts a heel promo trashing them. Rollins claims to have set all the "get well" cards on fire and let us know there's only room on the Seth Rollins bandwagon for one person - Seth Rollins. Roman Reigns enters the arena as Rollins runs out of the ring. Shane McMahon names Reigns vs. Rollins as the main event for Money in the Bank. Very cool start to the show and MITB is already looking outstanding.

There will be various exciting matchups for MITB Ladder Match spots tonight: Kevin Owens vs. A.J. Styles, Cesaro vs. The Miz, Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler, Apollo Crews vs. Chris Jericho and...

Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus

One of the issues with Raw recently has been the stale and repetitive matches. This bout has given us a nice change of pace of a first-time match with something important on the line. A good back and forth contest ends with Sami Zayn hitting the Helluva Kick! The new era is truly continuing with a NXT call-up getting the win over a former WWE World Champion. Sheamus expressed frustration after the match with commentary emphasizing on how far he has fallen in the past year. What could it mean?

Match Winner: Sami Zayn 

Match Rating: 6.5/10

Apollo Crews is getting interview backstage by the always delightful Renee Young until Sheamus attacks. So, that's what it meant. Sheamus sends a message to the new era by attacking a new face to Raw.

The New Day brings a cake to the ring to celebrate Raw's 1200th episode. This spells trouble for their opponents. Big E threatens to throw the cake on JBL, Byron Saxton and various fans before The Social Outcasts show up. Yes, they are still a thing.

New Day vs. Social Outcasts

This was a predictable and uneventful match meant to fill time with some comedy and New Day love. The action was very limited in a short bout that saw New Day get the not-so-big win and cake Heath Slater.

Match Winners: New Day

Match Rating: 4/10

We have another MITB qualifier match up with The Miz and Maryse cutting a promo bragging about retaining the Intercontinental Championship before...

The Miz vs. Cesaro

Cesaro's somersault flip from the apron onto Miz outside the ring set the tone for the match. The title wasn't on the line which gave us a good idea into Cesaro being able to pick up the win. It just makes more sense for Cesaro to be a viable contender for the MITB and Miz can defend the title against someone else in a singles match.

Match Winner: Cesaro

Match Rating: 6/10

Seth Rollins tried to buddy up with Stephanie McMahon backstage but gets shut down. She claims the days of The Authority have changed and things are on a new playing field. They are really trying to convince us that Stephanie is now a face.

Chris Jericho vs. Apollo Crews

Chris Jericho is sporting about a dozen bandages on his back to sell falling on thumbtacks last night against Dean Ambrose. Apollo Crews was attacked by Sheamus earlier so neither man is at 100% in the storyline. The match is still quite exciting and the cool merging of talents meeting for a first time just adds to the show. Crews looked impressive getting out of the Walls of Jericho but saw his demise when Jericho hit the Codebreaker out of nowhere. Nice showing by both guys but it was predictable considering WWE set up a Sheamus vs. Crews story just about an hour ago.

Match Winner: Chris Jericho

Match Rating: 7/10

Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler have a backstage interaction. Ziggler talks about being the better technical wrestler and Corbin mocks him following their prior matchup at Extreme Rules. Another match is set up for next week. Yawn. Corbin at least showed more personality than ever with an intense and captivating promo finally showing us who he is.

Big Cass vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

Enzo Amore is back! The partner of Big Cass is in his corner for the singles match. Big Cass beat up the Dudleyz by himself last night so it's hard to take this singles match seriously. Devon attacked Enzo outside the ring to give Bubba an advantage early on but that didn't last too long. Enzo took out Devon and Big Cass got the pin on Bubba following a Big Boot followed by the Empire Elbow.

Match Winner: Big Cass

Match Rating: 4/10

Charlotte came to the ring with Ric Flair and her new enforcer Dana Brooke. Ric talked about his love of Charlotte but she turned on him saying this was her spotlight now. She told him to get out of "her ring" and upped her heel character by breaking association with Ric. Ric cried his eyes out. The segment was hard to watch but that is what they were looking to accomplish so I guess it's a success. I'm more interested in seeing what she does next.

Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler

The crowd was out of this one following the prior segment of seeing Ric Flair's heart break. Both men tried their best to put out an exciting match with various counters to some of their noteworthy moves. Ziggler superkicked Ambrose into the ropes where Ambrose did a rebound clothesline. The ending saw Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds for the win to advance to MITB.

Match Winner: Dean Ambrose 

#DeanAmbrose is in. The Lunatic is headed to #MITB! #WWE #Raw

A post shared by WWE (@wwe) on

Match Rating: 6/10

Ric Flair was shown walking out of the arena as the other wrestlers looked on in sadness. Arn Anderson gave him a hug. Sad stuff, yo.

A.J. Styles cut a promo before his MITB qualifier. Styles said he respects Roman Reigns after their brutal match and that he would be champion if not for the interference of the Usos and The Club. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came to the ring and all three men argued before deciding they were no longer friends.

A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens

A match between these two is a guaranteed success and the formula followed through once again. Things got off to a hot start from the get-go with the two going back and forth in a long match. Kevin Owens got the advantage with a Pop-Up Powerbomb on the stars outside the ring. Styles recovered and took command of the match until Owens hit another Pop-Up Powerbomb to get the win. The match was excellent and KO is headed to the MITB Ladder Match.

Match Winner: Kevin Owens

Match Rating: 8.5/10

Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn and Cesaro have all qualified for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Hello, new era?

Raw was much improved from last week with new direction for most talents and things are looking up as we head into Money in the Bank.

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Monday Night Raw Review (05/23/2016)