Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 5/23/16: Professional Separation

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez


“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.






(Aired 5/23/16)

Professional Separation

– Fresh off Extreme Rules, the main event scene was about to transition from “The Club vs. The Bloodline” to what WWE originally had planned for Survivor Series – WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns against Seth Rollins. The story has surprise now, with Rollins in a return role from injury, out to get the belt he never lost. Of course, Reigns was now “the guy” instead of the “good guy” he was back in November. That said, it’d be key to see the follow-up from the end of Extreme Rules, where Reigns feigned off a fiery AJ Styles to retain the gold when Rollins dropped him with a friendly Pedigree.

– Perhaps one day Rollins will get to be that top babyface, but now isn’t the time. Luckily for WWE, they could play this up because his character never actually turned face or feuded with Triple H as originally planned. He got to have his return moment to a hot crowd and played to them brilliantly. He soaked in the cheers before he reverted back to “classic” cocky Rollins and reminded everyone how he was discredited as World Champion for how he hid behind the Authority and stuck it in our faces that he didn’t come back for the people, just to get back what was his. Rollins was masterful here in terms of his mic work and did the hard job, but besides that, the rest of the segment didn’t bring us anything we already didn’t anticipate. All it did was have Shane McMahon interact with the two men (Reigns came out briefly, only for Rollins to escape the ring) and officially book the two for the World Title at Money In The Bank. This more or less was the show’s peak disappointingly.

– It seemed as if Sheamus was in dead waters after the breakup of The League Of Nations, but he gained purpose once more as he became enraged about the “new era” in a backstage promo that hyped his Money In The Bank Qualifying match against Sami Zayn. He also made conscious insults towards Zayn’s fashion choices and previewed a beating that wouldn’t be “suitable for all ages.” Or is he suddenly being used again because of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie?

– The MITB Qualifier between Zayn and Sheamus was alright for what it was. The right guy went over, even if the pace wasn’t excitable. Zayn seemed a bit sloppy compared to past outings, but he did enough where the crowd was engaged in his “gutsy victory.” Also liked how Sheamus’ frustrations were shown after the bell, as he went into a tantrum.

– We wondered if they were telling a story with Sheamus and that was all confirmed when he attacked Apollo Crews during his backstage promo that hyped his own MITB Qualifier against Chris Jericho later on. Poor Crews only got to utter that it was his “biggest match to date” before ‘ol Red Rooster put the boots to him, but we liked how it tied into what we just seen. New feud? Crews can’t possibly win this match now.

– Yes, folks. It was the 1200th episode of Raw and WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day brought out a big strawberry shortcake birthday cake to celebrate the occasion. They lightly mentioned how they beat The Vaudevilains the night before and transitioned into B-Day celebration mode. There was a tease of “cake face” as Big E walked with the cake around ringside, but Social Outcasts put in a sneak attack on Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods in the ring. Poor New Day are always so vulnerable. That said, the six-man tag between New Day and Social Outcasts was time-filler to keep the Champions hot, but it was fine for what it was. In case you wondered, it was Slater who got cake-faced. Will this become a regular thing? Surprised that they haven’t used the Booty-O’s box as a weapon yet. Nope, no establishment of new contenders yet either.

– Headed back from the previous night where Cesaro made WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz tap out – an accomplishment that went unrewarded because of Maryse’s outside interference, we had some story headed into the next MITB Qualifier between Miz and Cesaro. Miz’s pre-match promo was handled well, as we expected him to brag about how he won a match with a 25% mathematical chance. He also smartly tied it into the MITB talk with how he used the briefcase in 2010 to become WWE Champion way back when and felt “on a roll” and could do it again if he wanted to. Cesaro had another good showing, yet his explosive offense was halted by the heel who worked on his repaired shoulder. It was a well-worked contest that eventually ended in a sudden Neutralizer to get Cesaro into the MITB match. It also set up an IC Title match for SmackDown since he pinned the Champion.

– The backstage segment with Rollins and Stephanie McMahon was also decent, as it tied into their past history as “business partners” and Rollins got to show his old confident swagger on the mic in his explanation of how the MITB brought him good things. As far as Steph’s assurance that their relationship was to be “business,” we’ll have to see down the road how it holds up, but it’s intriguing in the meantime.

– The MITB Qualifier between Jericho and Crews was okay, a bit slow-paced. Jericho maybe did oversell the tacks from the Ambrose Asylum with bandages all over his back and arms, but better to oversell than no-sell. Also, Crews had his best performance to date on the main roster and he had a slight out with Sheamus’ backstage attack prior. That Sheamus watched from backstage and laughed at the result told us that a Sheamus-Crews feud was the goal and this would be a clean Jericho victory. Just what happened. At least Crews got to get out of the Walls Of Jericho before he athletically succumbed to the Codebreaker.

– The Baron Corbin-Dolph Ziggler backstage segment was dreadful. This was a feud we hoped culminated at Extreme Rules with Corbin on top thanks to a low-blow. The only good to come out of this was that Ziggler hyped his MITB Qualifier against Dean Ambrose later on. We brushed the lame jokes and “steal the show” catchphrases aside. Also, only still shots from the pre-show match? Really? Now we knew that these two would face off again on the next week’s Raw.

– Enzo Amore had his sudden return to a big pop and while he was wildly energetic, his mic work was okay compared to what we’d seen in the past. This was more to set up the Big Cass-Bubba Ray Dudley match, which was also okay. We liked how D-Von attacked Enzo on the outside, only to get Enzo launched at him a few minutes later. Cass again won with a Big Boot/Empire Elbow combination. Will this turn into a #1 contender’s feud?

– With subtle hints in previous weeks, we finally had WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte turn on her father Ric Flair in heartless fashion, as she embraced a new partner in Dana Brooke. The man cried tears, but because he was the deciding heel factor in Charlotte’s recent defenses, hadn’t garnered enough sympathy on the basis of rejection alone. That said, Charlotte was vocally strong on the mic, as she tore down her dad with her humungous ego. Flair being inconsolable felt a little over-the-top, but it’ll be interesting to see if they have him support anybody else.

– The MITB Qualifier between Ambrose and Ziggler was a good match shaped as a physical stalemate, but despite the competitive spots and near-falls, it felt subpar for what we know both men can do. We liked how JBL played up the idea if Ambrose were to win MITB and cash-in to face his two other former Shield partners. With Ziggler having unfinished business with Corbin, it made sense for Ambrose to go over here, as Jericho was also in the MITB match. They can loosely continue the program without another one-on-one match.

– The Shining Stars must be falling along when they’re reduced to cutting promos in front of a green screen, Yup, they invited everybody (in front of a hibiscus flower) to “Puerto Rico, the shining star of the Caribbean.” Fun.

– In the theme of “breakups,” we had another one in the form of Styles and Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows before the MITB Qualifier main event between Styles and Owens. It made sense for commentary to play up on “Styles’ rough 24 hours” as a reason for him to want to professionally separate from Anderson/Gallows, who took exception and called themselves the reason why Styles got as far as he did. The fact that they called themselves no longer friends would be cool to follow up as we head into SmackDown and where they go as a team. As far as the Owens-Styles match, it was a technically sound main event complete with a general crescendo of near-falls towards the end. Perhaps a notch below their the matches, but still strong. Even better, Owens won the match cleanly. MITB would turn out to be the three IC Title contenders from Extreme Rules and Jericho/Ambrose respectively. The frustrations also continued for Styles, so that’d be something to watch.






Quick Results

  • Money In The Bank Qualifying Match – Sami Zayn def. Sheamus via pinfall
  • Six-Man Tag – The New Day def. Social Outcasts via pinfall
  • Money In The Bank Qualifying Match – Cesaro def. The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
  • Money In the Bank Qualifying Match – Chris Jericho def. Apollo Crews via pinfall
  • Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) def. Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D-Von Dudley) via pinfall
  • Money In The Bank Qualifying Match – Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
  • Money In The Bank Qualifying Match – Kevin Owens def. AJ Styles via pinfall 

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on June 5, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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