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Raw Rundown: Queen of the Ring Round 1

Updated: May 21


Damian Takes a Victory Lap  

Didn't Matter:⭐️ ⭐️

Damian Priest Raw

This was a boring segment for the opening of Raw. Damian did a speech that boiled down to haha, I beat Jey. There was a tease of attention on the Judgment Day, but then Pearce came out and revealed Drew was too injured to compete in King of the Ring and Balor would be fighting Jey Uso Instead. The Jey Uso/Drew McIntyre announcement is the only reason this segment matters. 


King of the Ring Round 1, Jey vs. Finn Balor: Poor Balor  

Mattered: ⭐️.5  

Finn Kicks Jey

This only matters because it's part of the King of the Ring tournament. Finn has been booked as if he sucks. He's an afterthought in Judgment Day. Even JD and R-Truth were better, and now not only has he been losing and gone from having a first-round bye to losing in the first round. This man was once a Universal and NXT champion. What the hell happened? The match itself was very boring and very long. The only interesting part is that Drew appears at the end and watches Jey, whom he despises, advance from the spot where Drew was supposed to be.


CM Punk's & Drew's Saga Continues 

 Didn't Matter: ⭐️ ⭐️

Cm Punk Watch

Drew went to the back to complain to Adam Pearce about being pulled, and Adam stood his ground. Then, Drew sped off in his awesome batomobile-like sports car. Then CM Punk pulled in and had a brief word with Adam Pearce. He pounded fist with Gable on his way to the ring and told everyone to tweet at Drew to get him to turn around his car and come back. In the meantime, CM Punk cut a promo saying Drew copies everything Punk does. CM Punks claims Drew actually hates himself. Drew never showed, and Punk called him a coward.   

CM Punk points

This segment had positive elements, but they didn't add up to be a good segment. For example, I like that WWE is peeling back the curtain, showing us more backstage stuff, and showing different characters crossing paths. It makes the characters feel real and expands the world of WWE. However, there was little happening backstage that was worth seeing. I like that CM Punk took over the ring and threatened to hold the show hostage until Drew came out. I even like that he told everyone to tweet at Drew. Having everyone participate in real-time during a promo is cutting edge.   

Cm Punk light

However, as lame as it sounds, WWE shouldn't suggest that Drew is scrolling Twitter while driving. It's not a good look. Also, CM Punk didn't really have anything to say that hasn't been said already. If he's gonna take over, say something that makes us look at Drew as less of a man for not showing up cause it was that venomous. CM Punk needs more edge to be effective. This happy-go-lucky Punk isn't quite hitting as he should. Also, CM Punk knew Drew left, which undermines the segment because it tells us CM Punk clearly waited til Drew was gone to talk tough. Lastly, Drew never showed, and yet, and still, CM Punk didn't hold up the show like he said he would. 


Ricochet and Braun 

Didn't Matter ⭐️ ⭐️

Braun Stroman

Ricotet was talking about getting back to the top and becoming champion, and Braun came in and endorsed Ricotet. The only thing I found interesting was how Braun subconsciously patronizes Ricotet. He called him the little guy he had to stand up for and said go get him, kiddo, like Ricochet isn't a grown-ass man. Ricotet didn't react negatively to this, but we should keep an eye on this situation. 


Queen of the Ring Round 1, Natalya vs IYO  

Mattered ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️.5

Natalya Kicks IYO

Queen of the Ring Round 1, thank god for the women once again making Raw good. Natalya put on a great show. Her family has a rich history with the King of the Ring, and you can see how much respect she has for it by the way she wrestled. She was rocking IYO and just kicking her can all over the place. Natalya hit her with a powerbomb superplex off the top rope. Natalya had IYO's number, and it looked like she was going to win. 

IYO Sky moonsault

However, Dakota jumped on the apron, and even though she was stopped from interfering, that brief moment was enough time for IYO to throw Natalya into the corner before she could lock in the Sharpshooter. Then, as Natalya was reeling from the hit to the back of the head, she got two knees to the face. Then there was a moonsault and that was all she wrote for Natalya. It was sad to see Natalya fail. A win would have been a great story for her, but it makes sense that IYO won. The women started the tournament off right.

Damage Control

After the match, Dakota cut a promo explaining that she would be taking Asuka's spot in the tournament because Asuka was hurt. Then she called Liv Morgan a charity case and said that after Liv's title match, Damage Control would be coming for Becky. Dakota Kai is in top form right now.


King of the Ring Round 1: Dragonuv vs Ricotet  

Mattered ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 

Ricochet Dragonuv dive

King of the Ring Round 1. This match was on another level. It was an interesting matchup between two very exciting wrestlers, one a former NXT champion and another the WWE speed champion. These two delivered a PPV-level match. They did everything they could to each other, but the story wasn't really about what they did. It was about what they endured. Ricotet hit Dragonuv with a top shelf hurricaneranna and three separate suicide dives, and he didn't go down till the third. Ricochet was falcon arrowed off the top rope and then hit with Dragonuv's signature H-Bomb punch, and when he tried to hit the headbutt to finish off Ricotet, Ricotet turned it into a Recoil. 

Dragonuv Hbomb

It became about who could outlast the other, and Dragonuv just had more in him. If you missed it, then it's worth going back to. It was a big moment for Dragonuv, but I think it was the wrong choice. Ricotet is absolutely excellent, and I think he has put in the work to prove he's ready to move on to something greater than just being a good hand. Ricotet could be King of the Ring, but he definitely shouldn't have lost in the first round; he's better than that.


Sheamus Talks Gunther 

Didn't Matter: ⭐️ ⭐️

Sheamus Backstage Interview

This interview was nothing special. Sheamus is ready to finally beat Gunther. It sets the stage for later, but it could have been more interesting in the moment.


Queen of the Ring Round 2, Ivy Nile vs. Zoey Stark  

Mattered:⭐️ ⭐️

Stark jumps on Ivy

This wasn't it. Both Ivy and Zoey have been floundering. Neither one of them fits on the roster like they did in NXT. They didn't have a great match, especially Ivy Nile. She got dominated and missed a few moves.


R-Truth Does R-Truth Things  

Mattered: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Dan Hurley

Truth tried to set up a champion vs champion match with the men's UConn team. R-Truth is absolutely hilarious. He said they are from a small up-and-coming wrestling promotion called the NCAA. Sadly, the coach of the Huskies didn't think the match was such a great idea. Don't worry, Truth, I see the vision. Afterward, Pearce brought Bron Breakker into his office to explain why he wasn't in King of the Ring. Although we didn't know what he said, it sounded like he was saving him for a larger opportunity.  


Judgment Day Strays  

Mattered: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ .5 

Dominik Mysterio

Dominik brought Carlito to Judgement Day to try and expand, but Damian shut it down because he had a history with Carlito. Carlito helped Bad Bunny beat him in Puerto Rico. The big story is that Dom has been continuously shut down from exploring interest with the Latin groups out there. I think eventually Dominik will get tired of hearing no and leave Judgement Day, hopefully with Liv Morgan. 


Chad vs. Bronson Reed  

Mattered: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Reed slams chad

I hated that Sami came into this match and ruined it right after Chad Gable pulled off a phenomenal move. Chad belly-to-belly suplexed Reed off the top rope. Then it turned into a brawl where Sami stood tall briefly, then Gable, then Bronson got the last laugh, walked to the back, and told Pearce he knew what he needed to do. I hate that the match was interrupted, but it served its purpose. It left me wanting more. All this action is a preview of the triple threat we all know is coming. 


Lyra  

Mattered:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Lyra Valkyria wallpaper

 Lyra got a brief introduction to give people who don't know her a reason to root for her. It was nothing special, but it served its purpose.   


Gunther Speaks on Sheamus.  

Didn't Matter: ⭐️ ⭐️

Gunther

Gunther said he doesn't care about bangers. He cares about winning. If this segment never happened there wouldn't be any damage done to the show.   


Becky Interviewed  

Mattered: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Becky Interview Raw

This barely squeaks into a passing grade. Becky came out and showed off all the reasons she shouldn't be champion. She's talking about Nascar and welcoming women to slap her in the face. It was a dreadful interview that showed Becky isn't in champion mode. She's in cooperate ambassador mode. Liv came out and saved the segment. Becky had also been talking up Lyra, and Liv took issue with the fact that she wasn't mentioned, and she was right. She reminded everyone of her accomplishments, and Becky reminded Liv that she had never beaten her. The stage was set. Liv can win the title at Queen of the Ring and add to her revenge tour. But then Damage Control came out and made the segment even better by complaining about Liv getting the match and surrounding the ring to attack Liv and Becky. Then Liv abandoned Becky, which was hilarious. Liv's new heel or tweener character suits her very well. Lyra ran out to save Becky, and they fended Damage Control off. I see what WWE was trying to do for Lyra, but they should be careful. They have been over-pushing her since NXT, even before Becky got there. Lyra is very good, but it feels like WWE is telling us to like her, and it feels forced.


Sami Makes it Official. 

 Mattered:  ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Sami Zayn Raw

 Sami outlined that his problem with Gable is personal, but he's watching his back with Reed because he knows he's all business and wants that title. Sami made it official. We are getting the triple threat IC match.


Queen of the Ring Round 1, Lyra vs Dakota  

Mattered:  ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️.3

Lyra Dakota Kai

This match was good but it felt like there was another gear they could have reached but the match ended too soon. It seems like WWE is telegraphing this tournament for Lyra. She got a big win and will move onto the next round. Hopefully, she can live up to all this hype WWE is giving her.


Kofi Kingston

Mattered: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️

Kofi Kingston fist

Kofi got serious and talked about how Gunther mercilessly brutalized Woods' knee, robbing Woods of a chance to compete in King of the Ring and defend his title. Kofi is out for revenge, but first, he has to go through Rey. Kofi is such a good and believable character that I was immediately rooting for him to win this tournament for Woods and get his revenge. Now that Kofi is alone, it will be interesting to see what WWE does with him.


King of the Ring Round 1, Sheamus vs Gunther  

Mattered:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kizer kicks Sheamus

 This match was very good. It started physical but then went to the next level when Kizer injured Sheamus's leg. Gunther took over, but Sheamus refused to quit. It seemed impossible that he could win after the leg injury, but he rose up and caught lightning in a bottle, surging back and hitting Gunther with two huge kicks before collapsing and climbing over to Gunther to get the upset win. But Gunther kicked out. He was able to get Sheamus in a leg submission, and Sheamus gave it everything he had, but after trying to push to the ropes, he had to tap. It was a sad end to a hard-fought battle.   

Gunther Sheamus tap

Triple H is pushing the next generation, which makes a ton of sense. I see the vision, but in this instance and a few others, it felt like the vets deserved the wins. Sheamus has been the King of Ring night in and night out, and now that there's a tournament, he has to lose in the first round. It sucks. I'm not mad. Gunther won because he's a heel. I'm mad he won because it wasn't very exciting. Certainly a less exciting candidate than Sheamus.


Final Grade 6.99/10 D+

Jey Uso Crowd

This Raw had a lot of average to below-average moments/ The booking of the King and Queen of the Ring is nowhere near as exciting as the SmackDown side, and the tournament matches were the highest-graded moments. Maybe it's the effect of having a 3-hour show, but Raw is not very exciting right now—Raw needs more drama.

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