Stew’s Thoughts On Monday Night Raw, 5/17/21

At the risk of throwing my schedule into another day’s worth of disarray, I am actually going to record my thoughts on Raw tonight. The reason for this is simple.

WWE has chosen to introduce in-canon zombies.

And I know–I KNOW!–that expecting these zombies to become a “thing” is a fool’s errand. Their appearance was a one-off cross-promotion of Batista’s new movie during a midcard nothing match at [WrestleMania] Backlash. It’s not like there are just going to be zombies appearing throughout Raw and affecting the show.

But man… I really want there to be.

Few things have I done as quick of a turn around on as I have these WWE zombies. I went from “Oh, seriously, they can’t be doing THAT” to “Okay, this is fine for what it is” to “THIS IS LITERALLY ALL I WANT NOW” in the span of an hour last night. Turning Monday Night Raw into some weird fan fiction of wrestlers having to fight off the suddenly VERY REAL THREAT of zombies could literally only improve the show.

I mean… are you going to be mad if you don’t get a typical episode of Raw? Be honest with yourself.

I really want to see Matt Riddle interact with zombies.

All right, I have ten more minutes until Raw, and I am HYPED, so indulge me in sharing the results of the recent art project my wife and I have been working on:

Don’t mind Stephen Kat; I couldn’t get him to stay off.

We re-purposed our old kitchen table into a super snazzy gaming table of (wait, I always forget this word) decoupaged comic book covers!

I bought a bunch of books just for this purpose when my comic shop had a sale and all of their dollar books were fifty cents. I think it turned out pretty snazzy!

We are having friends over this weekend to play games, and I’m secretly hoping the table is busy enough that it will distract everyone else, thereby allowing me to win all games.

There’s more of the table to come, too! We decorated the leaf insert separately, but it’s still awaiting the resin treatment.

All right, it’s about to start! Time for The Rawing Dead!

Monday Night Raw really buries the lede by opening with Bobby Lashley and his successful WWE Title Defense at WB. As if this was what we were here for! Lashley has a bevy of beautiful models on his arm and OH MY GOD one of them is going to be the Raw Final Girl tonight, right? How great would it be if this entire episode is about one of these girls having to survive a terrifying scenario of undead superstars?

Wait, is the implication that these women are escorts? MVP is insinuating that he got those girls as a present for Bobby. They don’t appear to be party clowns…

This degenerates into a brawl with Drew McIntyre when Bobby issues an open challenge but excludes Drew and Braun from accepting it.

So far, no zombies. But I get it, Raw! Keep me in anticipation! You can’t just give zombies away right off the bat!

Following that opening, we are getting a heel vs heel match? AJ Styles vs Elias? That is unusual. WWE doesn’t do much of that. Be a reeeaaal good time for zombie intervention…

I’m actually surprised in the no-fans era we haven’t gotten more intra-alignment matches. When you don’t have to worry about chilling down a crowd, why not play around with that? Could have been fun, but the time to do so is quickly running out.

I miss when moves had names. I think 40% of all moves nowadays are called “OH, across his back!” or “That move hits hard on the neck!”. That’s been a thing for years, but I kept noting it during this contest (which ends in a disqualification when Jaxson Ryker broke up the Phenomenal Forearm).

We are building to a full-on heel vs heel tag team title feud, eh? Intriguing!

Two backstage segments up next! We see Riddle try to build himself a little stable with Randy, Woods, and Kofi, but no one else is amenable to the idea of RK-Bro Day. Instead, we get Kofi challenging Orton to a match tonight.

Following that is Alexa’s Playground, featuring the new Women’s Tag Champions, Tamina and Natalya. You know what would be better than this?


What is… I don’t get this at all. What are we doing with Alexa? Where is The Fiend? Man, Bray Wyatt’s got a nice deal if you can get it. He’s wrestled one match in the last half-a-year, and it was at WrestleMania. He gets the spend the rest of his time at home with his family and cashing paychecks.

I feel bad for having been excited for the slow-burn build of The Fiend’s storyline after Randy cooked him, but it’s become clear that this isn’t long-form storytelling; it’s Raw just making everything up as they go.

You will never convince me a zombie outbreak wouldn’t be better than whatever they are doing with Alexa.

Then Angel Garza squashed Drew Gulak in, like, 2 minutes. And shoved a rose in his gullet.

I feel like I should personally apologize to Drew Gulak for having watched that. Remember when he was a dominant Cruiserweight champ? Or Daniel Bryan’s trainer?

Anyway, we get more non-moves here. Garza executes a double-undertook stalling backbreaker which commentary just referred to as “Oh, a backbreaker!”. I mean… that’s like 33% of the move, sure. Good effort, Graves.

Following that is ZOMBIES, FINALLY!

Just kidding, it’s a 24/7 Title segment between R-Truth and Akira Tozawa, and honestly? It was worth it entirely for Tozawa’s ludicrous slither-crawl he did down a staircase to sneak up on Truth. That was some quality physical comedy.

It’s 9:00pm, and WWE has been a lot more of this:

The Rock Thanks Fans, WWE Releases Rare Rock Clips, Jaxson Ryker & Elias In  Action, Riddle - Wrestling Inc.

Than this:

Miz & Morrison eaten by zombies at WrestleMania Backlash - Cageside Seats

I’m beginning to think WWE has hoodwinked me by not in any way promising what I convinced myself they night deliver regardless! The cads.

We do get a promised Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton bout, though. Which is as good as things are likely to get.

You would think.

But the match is uninspired and featured a weird botch where Kofi hit Randy in the face with his ass. Kofi wins with a roll-up after a trombone distraction from Xavier. This led to some post-match jaw-jacking and aggression from Riddle, who shoves Woods down.

Oh no! The venom of Randy Orton is infecting Matt Riddle! It’s coursing through his body and changing him. He’s losing all sense of who he really is as he develops an unquenchable hunger for human bra–

For villainy, I mean. He’s becoming villainous.

NOT an undead.

Because we haven’t gotten those tonight.


It had been so long, I had forgotten that Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are Raw-specific superstars and don’t just get to appear on every show just because. Now the they’ve lost the women’s tag titles, they are stuck at home. Which means that Raw has Charlotte, Asuka, Rhea, Alexa, Shayna, Naomi, and Nia. That’s a decent division with a fair amount of promise and potential for angles.

Smackdown as Bianca, Bayley, and Sasha. And while I want little more than Triple Threat matches between those three immense talents from now until I die, they don’t have much else.

Alexa Bliss interferes in the tag title match to set off pyro in almost the same zip code as Reginald, and Nattie and Tamina retain. Afterwards, we get a looped audio of Alexa giggling.

I would like to point out the current score for Raw tonight:

Spoopy Alexa segments: 2

God damn zombies, COME ON: 0

Sheamus and Ricochet are going to feud over a jacket and hat. Which I’d be more upset about, but it led to Ricochet shouting out ERNEST THE CAT MILLER, thereby making this no worse than the third best Raw of 2021 so far because reminding me of The Cat brings me no end of joy.

Ernest Miller Reveals What Went Wrong During His WWE Run | 411MANIA
Pictured: The next best thing to zombies

They end up having EASILY the match of the night to this point, and holy mother of pearl, Sheamus’ last, what? Eight months or so? What an insane run he has been on. Dude is flat-out one of the company’s MVPs these days.

Asuka and Charlotte saw the contest Sheamus and Ricochet had and said “Hey, we’re pretty great, too”, and they had themselves a pretty damn good match as a follow-up! Which just makes sense; how many matches do you think these two have had against each other over the last several years. They’ve had singles feuds. Triple Threat feuds with Becky and Rhea. Tag team feuds with Becky and Kairi. And hell, they were tag champs for a while. No pairing outside of Sasha and Bayley have been put together as often as Flair and Asuka.

I was surprised because this match had Generic Raw DQ Finish written all over it, but nope… Asuka won with a roll-up (to be fair: another Raw favorite).

WAIT! John Morrison is backstage!

Damien Priest vs John Morrison in another Lumberjack Match after the break, you say? GUYS, THIS COULD BE IT.

It turns out that it is not happening. The Lumberjacks are just regular low-end talents. Raw, I am disappoint.

Okay, it’s okay! No worries here! No problems! They are clearly saving the zombies for Lashley’s open challenge. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Lashley Vs Zombies. That works.

The Lumberjack match wasn’t bad. I’m a fan of both Morrison and Priest, so I might have liked it more than others would have. They are both such talented guys. Watching Morrison flip and sail around like a madman never gets old.

Going into the open challenge main event, Sheamus, Priest, Mace, and T-Bar have all teased answering the call of a free world title match. So one of two things is going to happen:

-Some kind of shenanigans


Just… let me have this, guys. It’s 10:35 and really put all my Raw eggs in the Z basket…

After all the teases and everyone saying they wanted Lashley… there is a hesitation where no one responds to the challenge. Hahaha, all right; I guess they all forgot they had plans? But it’s a short hesitation before Kofi returns to answer!

Anyway, we get the shenanigans when MVP announces that the match will NOT be for the title.

Lashley hits a professional wrestling move that Corey Graves calls “a faceful of canvas”. Just… call the moves, guys. I know they have names. Hell, make up names! Call that move “Steve” for all I care.

Anyway, Kofi gets his SECOND distraction roll-up win of the night (this time with help from Drew McIntyre). What an odd night’s work. Kofi gets to pin both Orton and Lashley in the same night, but doesn’t get to look wildly deserving in either.

And with that, Raw comes to an end. With nary a zombie in sight.

I have to go to bed and think long and hard about all my life choices that have brought me to this very moment.

Until next time… take care!

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