The Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff, have challenged Monday night’s Tag Team Turmoil winners, Sheamus and Cesaro, making for a dramatic end to the WWE Raw European tour in London’s O2 Arena.
Storylines were listless during Monday night’s face-offs, leaving viewers disappointed at the lack of gripping intrigue. Three hours of grueling confrontations lacked pace and featured comparatively little action, which made the final event of WWE Raw’s European tour seem like a sluggardly drag rather than an edge-of-your-seat showdown.
A lackluster effort by the WWE Raw writing team resulted in a pretty uniform episode, with most of the fights feeling much the same as the others.
Before the start of the initial confrontation, WWE Raw GM Kurt Angle called Dean Ambrose to officially make him the GM for the duration of the London final. But the moment was short-lived when The Miz appeared to declare that he’d been made co-General Manager by WWE Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon.
A confident Braun Strowman made his way into the ring to smugly announce that he would be destroying his adversary, Roman Reigns, saying that “as long as Roman Reigns can walk, [he’s] not finished with him.” Strowman also took the opportunity to challenge Brock Lesnar, before Kalisto strolled into the ring to spoil the party. Kalisto reminded Strowman that he’d lost to him in a recent WWE Raw Dumpster match, and Strowman’s bruised ego rose to the occasion by committing to another bout with Kalisto.
The whole opening affair lacked energy and was a preview of the somewhat boring episode to come.
Braun Strowman suffered another injury after Roman “The Big Dog” Reigns removed his elbow splint and proceeded to mount a brutal attack – persistently going for Strowman’s week spot – in what seemed like a savage revenge assault. Subsequently, Strowman will reportedly be out of action for at least eight weeks.
Before the Tag Team Turmoil, R-Truth was psyched up by Goldust. “The Golden Truth” duo were soon in the ring, joined by Enzo Amore and Big Cass, who were all talk. The ultimate champions, Sheamus and Cesaro, entered the ring next and managed to dominate the fight and annihilate their first enemies fairly quickly.
Next up, the heels faced Heath Slater and Rhyno outside the ring. Rhyno was destroyed, after which Slater single-handedly took on the heels. However, within no time, Slater was slammed out of the WWE Raw competition.
After that, Cesaro and Sheamus were up against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who were practically hurled out of the O2 Arena with a series of savage kicks and blows.
WWE Raw allowed this bout the necessary time to play out, giving Cesaro and Sheamus the opportunity to gain much-needed momentum and shine as real stars of WWE wrestling. Even though the two were the victors, their moment was stolen by Matt and Jeff Hardy who sent the heels fleeing from the arena.
— WWE (@WWE) May 9, 2017
An Achilles Heel to Monday night’s WWE Raw was the clash between Finn Balor and The Miz. Initially, Balor seemed to be in charge of the WWE Raw match. However, Maryse interrupted the action to give The Miz a chance to recover. Balor was brutally attacked by the heel, who asked the referee to disqualify his opponent. However, a weak writing idea resulted in Ambrose blocking the request and banning Maryse from interfering with the rest of the bout. Ultimately, The Miz’s sudden return to form was not enough to win the fight, and Finn Balor walked away victorious.
Third on the evening’s roster was Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James. Backstage Nia Jax declared her allegiance to Bliss, saying that, for now, she has “just got [herself] a new best friend.” As for James, she had Bayley on her side as a backup. Nevertheless, Bayley wasn’t much help in the end after failing to thwart Jax’s contribution to the bout.
Bliss kept up a sustained assault on her opponent and ended up taking the win after what was a low-energy display of bravado and future WWE Raw match build-up.
Taking over from the ladies, Braun Strowman pulled a fast one on Kalisto after pretending to refuse the game as a result of his injury. After Strowman had leaped onto Kalisto, Roman Reigns entered the ring to face Braun with a stare that was so intense that the loathing between them was palpable. The two battered each other, focusing mainly on each other’s injuries.
This one ended in a no-contest but certainly aided in advancing the build-up between Strowman and Reigns.
The face-off between Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins started with a good clobbering of Joe, resulting in WWE Raw referees needing to get Rollins off of his opponent. Alternating between the inside and outside of the ring, the two rivals engaged in a series of rapid-fire hits, flurries, and chokes. A smackdown into the exposed steel of the guardrail led to the eventual disqualification of Joe, who subsequently refused to stop choking Rollins even after the referee intervened.
Even though Joe promised Rollins that he would “hear every ligament pop” and “every joint break,” Rollins won by disqualification.
The pace of the WWE Raw episode picked up momentarily as Jack Gallagher hammered TJP from the get-go. After The Gentleman’s initial advantage, TJP managed to steal a win by holding onto Gallagher’s tights. After the bell, Austin Aries stomped into the ring and helped TJP secure a victory via pinfall.
Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks smacked each other around violently at the start of their bout. Fox attacked and aggressively foiled Banks’ onslaught. It wasn’t good enough though because Banks won the contest with an underwhelming pinfall.
The Miz helped Bray Wyatt gain the upper hand in a reasonably entertaining Tag Team Turmoil against Dean Ambrose, who was ultimately defeated.
Following a slow start, Wyatt slammed Ambrose onto the floor and repeatedly smashed into the WWE Raw Intercontinental Championship title holder. Ambrose aggressively launched himself at The Miz when his main adversary walked up to the ring. The Miz thwacked Ambrose, which gave Wyatt an advantage and a chance to eliminate his mysterious nemesis, Sister Abigail, “whose touch could save the world, but whose kiss burns it to the ground.”
Towards the end of the match, Ambrose was once more attacked by The Miz, who proclaimed that “The Intercontinental Championship meant something when [he] had it.” Ambrose will have to step up his game if he’s to prevent The Miz from taking the gold during their WWE Raw match next week. A post-match confrontation between the two contenders certainly ratcheted up the tension by a few notches.
The post-Wrestlemania WWE Raw European tour, which usually ends in London, is a cash-cow – with an average ticket price of $116 – for the behemoth wrestling brand. However, ratings for the O2 Arena event have dropped over the last few years. WWE Raw broadcasts from London have declined at a rate of about 6.5 percent a year.
[Featured Image by WWE]