WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 23!
Welcome to Bleacher Report’s coverage and recap of WWE Raw on May 23.
Hell in a Cell is coming up in just under two weeks on June 5, so WWE has been using a lot of time to build up the feuds that will occupy the card.
Bobby Lashley was back in the ring with MVP and Omos this week, but this time, The All-Mighty was the one who had a surprise in store for his former associate and his new client.
Becky Lynch responded to losing the No. 1 Contender’s match against Asuka last week, and Cody Rhodes took on The Miz as he prepared for one final showdown against Seth Rollins at HIAC.
Let’s look at what went down during Monday’s show.
The Usos and Sami Zayn vs. Street Profits and Riddle
Raw opened with Riddle coming out by himself to give a promo. He said Randy Orton has been having a hard time physically for the past couple of years, especially with his back. It sounds like WWE is setting up for The Viper to take some time off with this speech.
Riddle vowed to have vengeance against Roman Reigns and The Usos before getting an RK-Bro chant going to send the show into a break. We returned to see him joined by The Street Profits to take on The Usos and Sami Zayn.
We didn’t have enough time to get to the match before another commercial because WWE played a video package, had the Usos deliver a promo, and had everyone make their entrance. We didn’t see anyone throw a punch for almost 20 minutes.
The match finally got started after the break with Angelo Dawkins and Zayn squaring off. Once The Bro tagged in, he ended up taking the brunt of the punishment from the heels before he began to make a comeback.
After yet another commercial break, Zayn and The Usos had fully regained the upper hand, but once Riddle and his partners began to take control again, The Usos abandoned Zayn to take an RKO from Riddle to end the match.
The promo from Riddle was decent and the fight that followed was entertaining, but it all lasted a little too long. At least the match had the right result and got the crowd in a good mood to get the show going.
Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley vs. AJ Styles and Liv Morgan
After a promo segment with Lashley, Olmos, and MVP, Judgment Day came to the ring to talk a bit before Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley faced Liv Morgan and AJ Styles in a mixed tag match.
Edge made it sound like he was looking to recruit more members and teased several possible names, including Morgan and Finn Balor.
Priest and Styles had a stiff exchange to show how much more aggressive The Archer of Infamy is now that he is with Edge. When Ripley and Morgan tagged in, The Nightmare used her significant power advantage to dominate her former partner.
The match remained competitive all the way until the finish. After Edge helped Ripley escape a pin by putting her foot on the bottom rope, she was able to pin Morgan for the win. After it was over, Judgment Day beat Styles and Morgan down some more.
Mixed tag matches are usually filler content, but this one actually advanced the ongoing storyline and featured some great action, so it worked better than most. Apparently, Finn Balor had other plans and did not show up to help his friends.
The King’s Court, Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki A.S.H.
Jerry Lawler hosted an episode of The King’s Court this week, and his special guest was none other than Veer. Rey and Dominik Mysterio eventually came down to save Lawler. Veer did not go down after several dropkicks, but he ended up being the one to leave before the fight was over.
We’ll keep this short. Lawler’s jokes were bad and this segment didn’t accomplish anything or advance the feud. Rey and Dom are back, but it’s not like they were going to be gone for long.
The next bout saw Alexa Bliss take on her former tag team partner and best friend, Nikki A.S.H. Doudrop was there to offer Nikki support as her new tag team partner.
They kept a quick pace throughout the match, but there were some moments where both women seemed to be slightly off a step. They didn’t botch anything, but they need to rebuild their chemistry.
The Goddess was able to pick up a win with Twisted Bliss from the top rope. Dewdrop had no impact on the outcome.
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes faced The Miz in his second match after returning to WWE, and they stepped back into the ring this week as The American Nightmare prepared to face Rollins at HIAC.
Rhodes controlled the first couple of minutes, but predictably, The A-Lister was able to rally and put him on defense for an extended period of time.
The American Nightmare almost made him tap out with a Figure Four. As he climbed to the top rope, Rollins ran down and shoved him to the ground to cause a disqualification.
He and The Miz continued to attack Rhodes, and Rollins even used his own weight belt as a weapon. Rhodes eventually limped away and gave his belt to a young fan at ringside.
The match had some highlights, but the DQ finish hurt the overall quality because it felt like we just saw the same thing recently.
Chad Gable vs. Ezekiel
In a rematch from last week, Chad Gable took on Ezekiel with Otis and Kevin Owens at ringside to be in Gable’s corner.
Just when it looked like Zeke was picking up some steam, Otis tripped him and allowed Gable to start focusing on his leg to set up for an Ankle Lock.
The ref was forced to eject Otis and KO from ringside after both men tried to interfere. This paved the way for Ezekiel to roll up Gable for the win.
This was decent but completely also forgettable and repetitive. Owens finally challenged Zeke to a match at Hell in a Cell, so it looks like this feud might be coming to an end soon. It’s for the best. Everyone needs to move on.
MVP vs. Bobby Lashley
During the first hour, Lashley threw down a challenge for MVP with the stipulation stating that whoever won got to pick the type of match Lashley has against Omos at HIAC. During the third hour, they did battle to determine who would get that right.
This was not nearly as competitive as it could have been. This was mostly about showing how dominant Lashley is, so he destroyed his former manager while Omos lurked around the ring.
The referee ended up counting out Lashley while he was fighting Olmos, so MVP scored the win and gets to pick the HIAC stipulation.
A count-out right after a DQ feels like poor scheduling on WWE’s part.
Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
That main event was another match with a Hell in a Cell spot on the line. If Lynch was able to defeat Asuka, she would be added to the Raw women’s title match at the pay-per-view.
Big Time Becks tried to embarrass Asuka at first, but she quickly realized she would be unable to do that with The Empress. Lynch found herself trying to avoid an armbar within a few minutes of the match beginning.
Bianca Belair watched from the commentary table as Lynch kept trying to win by any means necessary. As the match progressed, both women became more aggressive. By the time we had reached the final few minutes, they were beating the life out of each other.
Becky avoided a kick at ringside that connected with Belair, but when they got back into the ring, Lynch rolled The Empress into a pin to score the win.
The ending was a little sudden, but the match as a whole was great and probably the best one of the night. Asuka and Lynch have the kind of chemistry that takes years of matches to build up.