The May 23, 2016 Edition of RAW is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's RAW brand, which took place on May 23, 2016 at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. This was the 1,200th episode of Monday Night RAW.
BALTIMORE - Miss Seth Rollins? Well, he didn’t miss you. One night after obliterating Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, The Architect returned to Raw with a few things on his mind. First among them was the fact that the WWE Universe — in his opinion — didn’t see the value of him as champion until he got hurt, which means he had no use for any of the Johnny-Come-Lately support they threw his way. And second was the WWE World Heavyweight Title that he never lost, currently in possession of the man Rollins was slated to face when he got hurt in the first place: Reigns.
As for “The Guy” himself, Reigns was more than willing to throw down in response to Rollins’ sneak attack the night before, but Rollins made himself scarce before Reigns could get to him. Happily, Shane McMahon was on hand to capitalize by officially announcing Reigns vs. Rollins for the title at Money in the Bank. So it’s The Guy vs. The Man. Place your bets.
So it turns out Sheamus isn’t much for the New Era. Well, the New Era just cost him an opportunity at winning his second consecutive Money in the Bank Match, fella. Specifically, it was Sami Zayn, who rebounded nicely from a heart-wrenching Intercontinental Title loss at Extreme Rules by thwarting The Celtic Warrior in what Sheamus was convinced would be a walk. The Irishman promised to put a beating on Zayn that “wasn’t suitable for all ages.” Although he certainly had Zayn scouted well, Sheamus underestimated both his opponent’s resilience and the effects of his speeding boot, which Zayn blasted into Sheamus’ chin in an out-of-nowhere Helluva Kick that left Sheamus fuming in the ring and looking for someone to take it out on. And what luck! Apollo Crews just happened to be backstage waiting for his Money in the Bank qualifier ...
Having dispatched The Vaudevillains and mutilated Tom Phillips’ shirt, The New Day came to Raw in search of a celebration. The cause for such revelry was simple enough, as the night after Extreme Rules marked Raw’s 1,200th (whoa) episode. But New Day’s attempt to celebrate with a birthday cake was pre-empted by The Social Outcasts, who jumped ya boys before they could shove the dessert in the Raw commentary team’s face.
The New Day happily rectified that in the subsequent match, which was going the Outcasts’ way until Heath Slater suffered a Unicorn Stampede. Xavier Woods then dove over the ropes to demolish the Bo Train and fed Heath Slater into the Midnight Hour. And after the bell, they smashed the cake in Slater’s face.
For years now, there’s been talk of Cesaro climbing to grab the brass ring. Maybe he’ll settle for a golden briefcase. After being swindled out of Intercontinental Title Matches against The Miz for two pay-per-views running, The King of Swing upended The A-lister to punch (or uppercut) his ticket to his second Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
The Miz was all smiles before the match over retaining his title at Extreme Rules (and rightly so), but The Swiss Superman was quick to knock the smile off Miz’s face. The champion’s only advantage came when a stalled suplex tweaked Cesaro’s taped-up shoulder and Miz was able to capitalize. Of course, Cesaro’s uppercuts are ambidextrous, so he just blasted Miz with one of those when the champion went off the top rope and transitioned quickly into the Neutralizer. Brush up those suits, Cesaro: a night in Las Vegas awaits.
As anyone with a basic knowledge of the internet can attest, Chris Jericho invented — among other things — Money in the Bank. Now he’ll have a chance to win it. The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla went from human pincushion to potential champion-in-waiting on Raw when he defeated Apollo Crews in a qualifying match, earning the six-time World Champion a spot in the match he helped conceive.
He might just owe an assist to a frustrated Sheamus, who beat up Crews before the bout to give Jericho an early leg up. Even though Crews seemed to have shaken off the effects and ultimately found success by targeting Jericho’s thumbtack wounds, it’s unlikely he’d have been caught by a Codebreaker had he not taken such a pummeling earlier. But Jericho probably wouldn’t want us to dwell on that. Money in the Bank has gotten the “Gift of Jericho.” Drink it in, man.
How you doin’? Much better, now that Enzo Amore has returned. The certified G and bona fide stud made his comeback less than a month after getting sidelined by a concussion — or as he called it, a hard sneeze. And while “Smacktalker Skywalker” didn’t mix it up in the ring just yet, he was more than happy to hype and back up his fellow realest guy in the room, Big Cass, in a one-on-one match with Bubba Ray Dudley.
Amore’s presence almost came back to haunt Cass when D-Von Dudley cheap-shotted him on the outside, distracting the 7-foot Superstar and giving Bubba a brief opening. It was all too brief, though. Cass roared back with a monster clothesline, threw Enzo into D-Von once he had recovered and flattened Bubba with the Empire Elbow in short order.
So Charlotte retained her WWE Women’s Championship without Ric Flair’s help at Extreme Rules — she had Dana Brooke’s help, mind you, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, she did it without The Nature Boy’s help, which means her use for her father/life coach has officially reached its end. That’s right, Charlotte — in a somewhat unfathomable move — dismissed The Dirtiest Player in the Game in what could generously be called a firing, but would more accurately be termed an emasculation.
Showing nothing remotely resembling mercy, Charlotte accused her father of missing out on her childhood only to return in her prime to feed off her spotlight so he could stay relevant. She even claimed her heritage was less a confidence boost than an albatross, and Extreme Rules was the first time she realized she could succeed without him. The tirade reduced Flair to tears, and the two-time Hall of Famer ultimately did as his daughter commanded and sulked off into the night.
A second Money in the Bank contract will have to wait for Dolph Zigger, because Dean Ambrose is headed to Las Vegas instead. Fresh off tearing Chris Jericho to pieces in the Asylum, The Lunatic Fringe upended The Showoff in a qualifier to head to his third Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The bout was a dead-heat between the two fan-favorites, though Ambrose admittedly had a bit more steam given he was coming off a win and Ziggler had taken a Baron Corbin uppercut to the nether regions one evening prior.
It’s also possible Ziggler wasn’t all the way in the game, given that he’s slated to face Corbin in a technical wrestling match next week. Either way, the bout came down to whoever would land the big move first, and that ended up being Ambrose, who survived a superkick and a Famouser, narrowly dodged a Zig Zag and pounced with Dirty Deeds to end it.
If not for Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson’s interference, AJ Styles might have been able to defeat Roman Reigns one-on-one at Extreme Rules. If not for their absence on Monday, however, he might be headed to Money in the Bank. Ironic, isn’t it? Now, it’s Kevin Owens who’ll head to Las Vegas after Styles more or less dissolved The Club and elected to go it alone against The Prizefighter.
He probably regretted that decision when all was said and done, because Owens was a house on fire from the jump. Styles was hardly a slouch himself, attempting to tap into the savagery he utilized at Extreme Rules. Owens was ready to match him there, ultimately seizing victory by superkicking the ropes out from under Styles as he prepped for the Phenomenal Forearm. A stunned Styles was easy picking for the Pop-up Powerbomb moments later, but would that have happened with his good brothers by his side? It’s hard to say, but definitely some food for thought.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sami Zayn defeated Sheamus in a Money in the Bank qualifying Match (10:03)
- The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated The Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (1:58)
- Cesaro defeated The Miz (w/ Maryse) in a Money in the Bank qualifying Match (11:17)
- Chris Jericho defeated Apollo Crews in a Money in the Bank qualifying Match (7:46)
- Big Cass (w/ Enzo Amore) defeated Bubba Ray Dudley (w/ D-Von Dudley) (3:16)
- Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler in a Money in the Bank qualifying Match (12:10)
- Kevin Owens defeated AJ Styles in a Money in the Bank qualifying Match (16:31)
Other on-screen talent