WWE RAW PRIMER 5/25: Memorial Day Edition, “Crews”-ing Towards the U.S. Title, Welcome to the Lounge Champ, Triple Threat to Determine Asuka’s Challenger

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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
MAY 25, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST  

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe  

Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show: 

Overview and Items Advertised by WWE

We continue towards Backlash and know about four matches now.  Edge takes on Randy Orton after he accepted his challenge last week.  Drew McIntyre defends the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley.  Lashley, along with MVP, watched Drew defeat Smackdown’s King Corbin in a non-title match in the main event last week.  Asuka will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against an opponent who will be determined tonight.  From Smackdown, Braun Strowman defends the Universal Championship against Miz and John Morrison in a handicap match.  Here’s what’s on tap for tonight thus far:

United States Champion Andrade defends against Apollo Crews
Drew McIntyre joins MVP on “The VIP Lounge”
Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax, and Natalya battle for the right to challenge Asuka at WWE Backlash

U.S. Championship: Andrade (champ) vs. Apollo Crews

Last week, both Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews returned to Raw.  Owens brought back the Kevin Owens show, and had to work with a set destroyed by Natalya who had just lost a submission match to Shayna Baszler.  Owens’ guests were Zelina Vega, U.S. Champion Andrade, Angel Garza, and Austin Theory.  Owens later brought in his “other guest,” which happened to be Apollo Crews.  We hadn’t seen Apollo since he was injured in a U.S. Championship match against Andrade several weeks ago.  That forced Apollo to miss Money in the Bank.  Owens & Apollo later defeated Garza & Andrade in a short match.  Following that, Andrade and Garza beat down Theory, extricating him their group.  He would later align with Seth Rollins during a match between Aleister Black and Murphy.  Rollins found Theory sitting ringside distraught after the beatdown, just like Murphy had done months ago when he joined Rollins.

Later, Charly Caruso interviewed Apollo who said he didn’t know what hurt more between missing Money in the Bank or the injury itself.  He then challenged Andrade to a U.S. Championship match, and that takes place tonight.  Apparently, this is Apollo’s last shot according to Andrade:

WWE put up a video of Apollo talking about his WWE journey:

Frank’s Analysis:  I’m for journeys to winning championships, and I loved the tone of the video, although we’ve seen this sort of thing before.  Hopefully, they don’t hold off too long and give him a run either starting tonight or soon (Backlash).  Apollo is a different type of talent than we’re used to in WWE.  Not everyone has to have a glowing personality or gimmick.

MVP Lounge: Guest WWE Champion Drew McIntyre

WWE Champion Drew McIntyre defeated King Corbin in a non-title match with Bobby Lashley and his apparent manager MVP watching.  At Backlash, Drew defends the title against Lashley.  They have history working together along with King Corbin going back to late 2018 and scattered throughout 2019.  They mostly feuded with the Shield and Braun Strowman.

MVP and Drew’s history goes back a little further, as they were both members of WWE upon Drew’s arrival in 2007.  MVP left the company three years later but returned at the Royal Rumble earlier this year.  He offered Drew his services on a previous episode of the MVP Lounge prior to his challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania but was rejected.  Now, MVP has offered his expertise to Lashley.  MVP initially said he and Lashley wouldn’t do business because of his preoccupation with his wife Lana and R-Truth.  Seeing how Lashley manhandled R-Truth, MVP had a change of heart.  MVP welcomes his client’s target, Drew, into the MVP Lounge once again tonight.  Here’s Drew after beating King Corbin last week:

Frank’s Analysis:  This is straight-forward and a step towards the match at Backlash.  Drew and MVP should have some good dialogue.  I’m much happier with the way Lashley has been presented these days as opposed to what they’ve done since he returned a little over two years ago.
Triple Threat Match: Winner Faces Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at Backlash
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax vs. Natalya

Last week, Asuka celebrated becoming Raw Women’s Champion along with her Kabuki Warrior partner Kairi Sane.  Nia Jax interrupted the proceedings and was none too pleased saying she was handed the title.  Asuka knocked Nia out of the ring.  Later, Nia went after Kairi followed by Asuka going after Nia.

Meanwhile, NXT Women’s Champion defeated Ruby Riott in a non-title match.  As I mentioned earlier, Shayna Baszler defeated Natalya in a submission match.  Natalya threw a fit after the match.  Tonight, Natalya, Charlotte, and Nia go at it in a triple threat match to determine whom will face Asuka at Backlash for the Raw Women’s Championship.

To paint some history, Nia and Asuka had matches back in early 2018 including one at Elimination Chamber.  Natalya and Asuka had matches late last year and earlier in the year when Asuka and Kairi were WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.  In fact, in a bit of irony, Charlotte and Natalya teamed to face Asuka and Kairi in a non-title match back in early November.  Charlotte and Asuka have a long history.  Asuka won the first women’s Royal Rumble in 2018 and challenged Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania.  She came up short, and her undefeated streak was ended.  Charlotte took the same title from Asuka in the run-up to WrestleMania last year.  Here’s Charlotte after beating Ruby last week:

Frank’s Analysis:  Why does Natalya get a chance to wrestle for the title if she’s lost to Shayna two weeks in a row?  I get she’s probably there to eat the pin, but she’s still being rewarded after losing several matches.  I could live with Charlotte being involved, although why not give Liv Morgan a shot?  She’s been winning lately and hung in there against Charlotte a few weeks ago.  In fact, she even beat Natalya at WrestleMania.  Nia has been built up strong recently, so she belongs for sure. 

Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week

Murphy defeated Humberto Carrillo.
Liv Morgan said she was just like mother, who didn’t have much of a savings account or resume, but rather determination.  She will be Raw Women’s Champion one day.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated the IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay) via DQ to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championship.
Raw Tag Team Champions the Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) and the Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) continued their comedic ways and faced off in an axe throwing contest.  Personally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank creator of the DVR and fast forward button.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think Charlotte Flair on multiple shows is what the doctor ordered.  You can call it what you want, I call it overexposure.  I’m looking forward to the program between Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley, especially with MVP’s involvement.  I didn’t necessarily like how they got there, but Austin Theory aligned with Seth Rollins is a good direction.  I have no use for what’s going on between the Street Profits and the Viking Raiders.  I don’t even know what’s going on, so there’s nothing for which to have use!  Watch what they do with Shayna Baszler.  Her lack of involvement in the triple threat match tonight is not an issue, but it’s a curiosity.  We continue towards Backlash, and week two of the brand to brand invitational era.


Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani.  Questions and discussion are welcome!  Thank you for reading.


CATCH UP… HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 5/18: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including McIntyre vs. Corbin, IIconics vs. Bliss and Cross for the women’s tag team titles, an axe throwing contest, and more

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