Welcome to the WWE round-up of the week. Everything that happened this week on RAW and SmackDown. This week’s episodes are the fallout shows from WrestleMania Backlash that saw Edge and Cody Rhodes confirm their dominance on, respectively, AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. Ronda Rousey is the new SmackDown Women’s Champion, showing a more devilish side of herself in an epic match that allowed us to defeat Charlotte Flair. And The Bloodline remain on top of the Blue brand to a point we can ask ourselves when it will end.
This is the SteelChair weekly look at the WWE RAW and SmackDown episodes of the week, come with us on board.
MONDAY NIGHT RAW – MAY 09, 2022
- RK-Bro defeated The Street Profits to retain the RAW Tag Team Championship.
- Rhea Ripley defeated Liv Morgan, with the support of her Judgment Day fellow.
- Finn Balor defeated Damian Priest via DQ when Ripley and Edge interfered in the match. AJ Styles was at ringside too and attacked Edge after the match. Edge delivered a Spear to take AJ out again.
- Alexa Bliss defeated Sonya Deville.
- Ken Owens (well, Kevin Owens dressed as) vs Ezekiel never really started. Owens and The Alpha Academy beat him down.
- Veer Mahaan defeated Frank Lowman.
- Cody Rhodes defeated Austin Theory via DQ, as Rollins attacked Cody from behind. Meanwhile, Theory is still the US Champ.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks & Naomi defeated Doudrop & Nikki A.S.H.
- Ciampa defeated Mustafa Ali with The Miz as the special guest referee.
- RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair defeated Asuka via DQ as Becky Lynch attacked Asuka.
The Noticeable Moments
- Austin Theory reminded us he is the youngest United States Champion and said he’s already great and is barely scratching the surface of his full potential. He also said he doesn’t give a damn about Cody or the past because he is the future and all he cares about is himself.
- Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest and WWE Hall of Famer Edge explained they formed The Judgement Day because they were tired of being sheep, like all of us. Edge stated that “he’s bigger than the Hall of Fame.” For him, The Judgement Day can look in any mirror, and they like what they see (he also insulted AJ Styles…). Priest added truth hurts as, individually, he and Edge were able to destroy all of our favourites, but together they are something more, something else, but imagine adding an instrument of brutality, which they did in Ripley. Rhea confirmed, saying joining the group was the easiest decision of her life. She saw the two of them change for the better and she wanted that for herself. Edge dubbed his “saints of fate” Priest as The Punishment and Ripley as The Eradicator.
- Kevin Owens and The Alpha Academy were still on the Ezekiel/Elias case when Owens revealed he has an older brother, Ken, who will take care of Ezekiel tonight.
- VIP Lounge time, with MVP saying that Omos is the best when Cedric Alexander interrupted him. An angry Lashley followed, destroyed the VIP Lounge set and trapped Alexander in the Hurt Lock.
- Adam Pearce made Sonya Deville a competitor again.
- Asuka asked Adam Pierce for a title shot, commenting on how she more than deserves it. Lynch appeared to say she still hasn’t received a rematch. Pearce said Asuka must defeat the champion in a non-title match tonight, then she earns a title shot. Asuka and Lynch argued to follow.
SMACKDOWN LIVE – MAY 14, 2022
- Riddle defeated Sami Zayn
- Ronda Rousey defeated Raquel Rodriguez and retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
- Sasha Banks & Naomi defeated Natalya & Shayna Baszler to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
- Butch defeated The New Day’s Kofi Kingston.
The Noticeable Moments
- Orton and Riddle were excited to be there, but also sick and tired that the SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos don’t have the balls to make decisions for themselves, and it’s obvious that Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is the only one who’s making decisions for The Bloodline. Riddle said it’s obvious that whenever The Usos can’t handle business, Reigns comes in and gets the job done for them. Orton and Riddle demanded the chance to become the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. They wanted Reigns to come to the ring but Sami Zayn did. As a locker room leader, he was happy to address this on Reigns’ behalf. He spoke for The Bloodline, the locker room and the entire WWE Universe when he says no one wants to see this title unification match. He suggested they take their titles and go back to RAW, and don’t come back. Orton asked if Sami is Reigns’ errand boy and Riddle called Sami “Rusty” because his hair looks like rust. After more blah, Sami vs. Riddle was made and if Riddle wins, RK-Bro gets the title unification match. Sami refused to let the match happen tonight, Adam Pearce said the match begins now.
- Backstage, The Bloodline were celebrating. Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns asked Paul Heyman why they’re on his show, they must be desperate.
- Backstage, a disappointed Sami Zayn was walking when Shinsuke Nakamura said Roman Reigns might be The Head of The table but Sami is the table’s ass. Nakamura laughed and walked off.
- Rousey took the mic and said Flair being a 13-time champion is impressive, but she’s got the title now. She gave it up for Flair as being one of the toughest competitors she’s ever fought. She had to break Flair’s arm to get her to quit, and Rousey herself would rather die than say those words, but that’s just her. Rousey said she wants to be a fighting champion, so she’s issuing an Open Challenge right now. Rousey looked to the back and asked who wants to make history tonight.
- Backstage, Shotzi told Adam Pearce that Raquel Gonzalez stole her opportunity. Shotzi asked what Pearce is going to do about this. Aliyah approached and accused Shotzi of locking her in a room, so she couldn’t answer Rousey’s challenge. They both had words and argued about a title shot.
- Kayla Braxton introduced the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner Madcap Moss. Moss said defeating Corbin at WrestleMania Backlash is by far the biggest win of his career. Moss said Corbin is powerful, physically imposing, and can really wear you down with his terrible personality. He probably would’ve tapped out from boredom if Corbin told him one more story about the cost of his watch. He also talked about Corbin’s tattoos and bald head. Braxton asked Moss what’s next for him in WWE. Moss said his WWE career is just beginning, and he wants to do it all – form a mixed tag team with WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion called Madcap Boss, climb the ladder and win the Money In the Bank contract, replace title belts with title suspenders, and… Corbin attacked him from behind with a steel chair. Moss went down and Corbin delivered more chair shots while he was down. Corbin then wrapped a chair around Moss’ neck and then smashed it with the base of the André trophy. WWE officials rushed to the ring to check on Moss as Corbin exited the ring, laughing from the ramp.
- Backstage, Drew Gulak told Ricochet his last few weeks have been rough. He asked Ricochet if he has any advice. Ricochet said the only person who can help Gulak is himself. Gulak said Ricochet is right and this version of himself won’t let Gunther chop him down to size, and the next time he sees Gunther he will put him in his place. Gulak ran into Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser. Kaiser asked Gulak to repeat what he said he might do to Gunther. Gunther attacked Gulak against a door and chopped him down to the floor.
- The Bloodline were standing tall in the middle of the ring. They won at WrestleMania Backlash. The Tribal Chief is untouchable, Reigns said, and Heyman agreed. Reigns talked about the challenge on the table for The Usos. Randy Orton and Riddle came to the ring. After a lot of blah and insults, The Usos accepted the title unification match, but not tonight. Next Friday the match is on, and then The Usos will be the new Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, they said. The Usos went on about how each of them will then have two titles. Reigns raised both of his titles in the air but Riddle leapt up out of nowhere, smashing Reigns in the face with a knee strike. Riddle and Orton quickly retreated to the ramp.
The Talking Points of The Week
- Cody Rhodes’ Road from WrestleMania
With Cody Rhodes having just come off his second PPV appearance since his return to WWE, it seemed a good time to assess the way he has been presented so far. Prior to his re-debut, it was feared that perhaps Rhodes was simply returning to fill a mid-card slot on one of the two big WWE main roster brands. Yet here we are, a month in and he has two marquee wins over Seth Rollins, a former multi-time WWE World Champion, in pretty decisive fashion on both occasions. He has also been presented as one of WWE’s big players on the RAW brand, opening the show the night after WrestleMania, placed in highlighted segments and generally being treated as a big deal.
Cody has even been pushed as the face of the upcoming Money in the Bank show, during the commercial that played out at WrestleMania Backlash. Rhodes is being positioned for something big, and his frequent references to winning the WWE Championship, in a company so micromanaged as WWE feel like a signpost, should this momentum continue. So far so good, and surprisingly so, but a pleasant surprise for viewers and likely Rhodes himself. Thus far, Cody looks to be on track to superstardom on the red brand.
In many ways, Cody as the face of one of the brands WWE makes a whole lot of sense. He has a marketable look, even with the neck tattoo, he is more than serviceable in the ring, has a connection with the crowd and can wrestle the “WWE-main event style” really well, and he can cut a strong promo. Plus he has the lineage of his family name, which will always provide storyline possibilities. It seems that WWE agree, based on how he has been presented since returning, and hopefully it will continue.
- Alexa Bliss is Back!
Alexa Bliss made a surprise return to WWE RAW this week. Bliss came out carrying her Lilly doll and was all smiles as she posed on the apron. She placed Lilly on the top turnbuckle and quickly defeated Deville in a squash match. It was surprising to see her still in her “Fiend” universe character. When it comes to Deville, the gimmick remains the same.
Bliss had been off WWE TV since the Women’s Elimination Chamber Match on February 19. She returned for that match following a series of vignettes that came after she’d been sidelined for months. She took another pause to get married. It was also a comeback to the ring for Sonya Deville who took a non-wrestling role in January 2021 after being defeated by Mandy Rose at SummerSlam in August 2020.
- The Judgement Day Continue Their Rise
At WrestleMania Backlash, we saw Rhea Ripley assist Edge defeat AJ Styles, becoming the third member of the group now known as ‘The Judgement Day’. The trio appeared on RAW with an entrance that is eerily similar to AEW’s House of Black faction. After emerging from darkness, one by one, Edge, Ripley, and Damien Priest shared what their intentions were.
Edge, sporting a new haircut, says they were individually tired of being sheep, and that he’s bigger than the WWE Hall of Fame. He called out the fans “keyboard warriors”, before doing the usual “you fans in this city are stupid”. Priest comments that together, the trio are stronger, especially with “an instrument of brutality” like Ripley. While the Aussie wrestler states joining The Judgement Day was the easiest decision she ever made, and she’s done with being used. Edge goes on to explain why he wanted Ripley to join; he saw potential in her and teaming with Liv Morgan was holding her back. He concludes that “his movement” isn’t done, and he’s looking for more.
The addition of Rhea Ripley is an interesting dynamic. Going beyond the usual all-male/female faction template, it gives the group the opportunity to crossover storylines and feuds while maintaining their purpose. As a group, The Judgement Day have plenty of presence and potential. While Edge’s generic heel promos border on corny, his experience will surely benefit Priest and Ripley, taking them to the next level. Seemingly, TJD aren’t finished and could be expanding in the near future.
After Ripley defeated Morgan with some help from Priest and Edge, Finn Balor (with Styles) faced Priest. With Balor gaining momentum, Edge interfered with a spear, leading to a disqualification. As chaos ensued between Edge, Priest, Balor, and Styles, the Phenomenal One caught the attention of Ripley and hesitated to hit her, meaning the Judgement Day’s beatdown continued. As the dark trio posed proudly in the ring, it looks like The Judgement Day’s reign of terror is only just beginning.
- Winners Take All… Again
What was scheduled to happen at WrestleMania Backlash will take place next week. The Usos and RK-BRo will face off next week on SmackDown in a Winners Take All Match. One team with two titles. After Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, The Usos are given a chance to follow in the footsteps of The Head of The Table. Even if we learned this week that Roman Reigns is meant to work less than before, to the point of missing Hell in a Cell PPV.
USA and FOX made clear they wanted their Champs, on their shows. But WWE are flipping the table and giving one World and Tag Team Champions to both their major shows. Does that mean the Women’s Championship is next? This time, I’m a bit puzzled and we can be worried for the wrestlers who would have to defend twice a week on TV and twice a week on live events…
- Ronda Rousey and the Growing SmackDown Women’s Championship Picture
Having disposed of Charlotte Flair for the foreseeable future at WrestleMania Backlash, it’s Ronda Rousey ruling the roost in SmackDown Women’s division. Although she has captured the gold, Rousey now has a target on her back and plenty of challengers waiting to step up.
We saw the first of these this week as Raquel Rodriguez answered Rousey’s open challenge. The former NXT champion had an impressive showing against “the Baddest woman on the planet”. A variety of domineering moves made it difficult for Rousey to eventually retain her title. While a powerbomb reversal into a hurricanrana pin gave Rousey the win, Rodriguez’s performance shouldn’t go unnoticed. In short, she’s not on SmackDown to make up the numbers, she’s here to make a name for herself.
Elsewhere, Shotzi and Aaliyah made their claim to challenge Rousey after both failed to answer her open challenge. Considerably not major names, but with Charlotte absent, Sasha Banks focusing on teaming with Naomi, and Bayley yet to return, it is a great opportunity for Shotzi, Aaliyah, and other new faces like Xia Li to get noticed. Furthermore, with Rousey’s star power, she can help elevate these new challengers.
What About Next Week?
As of today, Lashley said he wants Omos trapped inside a Steel Cage. We know RK-Bro and The Usos are set for a Winner Takes All Title Unification clash. That’s another story we’ll tell you all about next week…
Words by Steph Franchomme, Sêan Reid and Tom Mimnagh – All pics and videos courtesy of WWE