Crews has become champion (Photo: WWE)
Professional wrestling is a form of live entertainment – and an audience is vital to that.
However, this week’s Raw saw NXT superstars and new recruits – all observing social distancing – filling the training facility and it made the world of difference.
Apollo Crews had the match – and moment – of his career, the culmination of 11 years hard work, and it wouldn’t have been the same without a cheering crowd.
In one of the night’s most significant moments, the rising star defeated Andrade for the United States Title in a fantastic moment showcasing his skill.
It’s no surprise to see Apollo and El Idolo deliver a great match, as fans know exactly what they’re capable of.
What lifted this to the next level was the wrestlers surrounding the ring cheering and booing, giving them emotional reactions to feed off as the contest rolled on.
Zelna Vega was at her typical best at ring side herself, cheering on her man, but in the end this was about Crews and his rise up the WWE ladder.
This was a real feel good moment for someone who, before the current PC shows, appeared to be an after thought in WWE.
The grind never stops!!! And it wonât stop now!! Hereâs where the hard work really begins! Thanks to anyone who has supported me since day 1! Letâs make this the first of many!! #AndNew #unitedstateschampion #WWERaw @usa_network @WWE pic.twitter.com/dxeVHLVlb4
— Apollo (@WWEApollo) May 26, 2020
Now, he’s set to be a focal point of its Raw programming going forward, and the sky really is the limit for one of the company’s most talented in-ring performers.
The one thing he appeared to be missing was a character and a reason to care – outside of his obvious skill – but he’s become likeable and deep, with more to pull on than just smiling and waving at the fans.
Long may it continue!
Best of the rest
The show kicked off with a Memorial Day package, leading into a shot of the PC featuring a live crowd for the first time since the middle of March.
Kevin Owens started proceedings with The KO Show with Raw Women’s Champion Asuka as his guest – before her NXT counterpart Charlotte Flair made her way out and claimed she should have been handed the title.
Natalya also joined the fun, apologising to Owens for trashing his set last week – but things quickly went south as Nia Jax follows and sparks a brawl between all four men with Asuka standing tall.
Later in the night, the three potential challengers came together in a pretty great Triple Threat Match, although Jax was a predictable winner to set up her title bout at Backlash.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) May 26, 2020
Elsewhere in the show, the IIconics made their way to the ring to apologise to each other for their row last week as they hyped up their journey and why they should be Women’s Tag Team Champions.
The titleholders headed out, but Alexa Bliss stood back as Nikki Cross took the lead and delivered an incredible promo about the sacrifices she’s made for the business.
In the end, a fight broke out with Peyton Royce and Billie Kay coming out on top – and hopefully Rhea Ripley’s fears of a split won’t be realised.
Up next, Drew McIntyre was a guest on the VIP Lounge as he tour apart the set and looked ready for a fight – but MVP reminded him he tried to be a friend last time they were on the talk show before WrestleMania.
— WWE (@WWE) May 26, 2020
In a fantastic moment, he insisted being hit with the Claymore made him realise that not only was McIntyre set to become champion, but MVP was now determined to cost him the gold.
Bobby Lashley did come out, but a swift kick to MVP brought the segment to an end.
We also saw a very fun match between Kevin Owens and Angel Garza – who was accompanied by Vega – as the pair put on a cracking bout.
— WWE (@WWE) May 26, 2020
Garza managed to hit the Wing Clipper for a surprise win, and arguably the biggest of his Raw career to date.
There was more Viking Raiders and Street Profits silliness, which was decent enough and broke up proceedings as the two tandems clashed at golf.
We also saw Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo fall to the new team of Murphy and Austin Theory as Seth Rollins’ disciples picked up momentum.
— WWE (@WWE) May 26, 2020
After the match, the Monday Night Messiah delivered one of his absolute best promos as he insisted Rey Mysterio was injured for the greater good as he threatened to do the same thing to Carrillo before Black intervened.
Edge also addressed Randy Orton backstage as he admitted doubt over his own ability but he’s determined to dig deep and do all he can to rediscover his past form to beat the Viper in a wrestling match at Backlash.
Later, Ric Flair weighed in and revealed former Evolution stable mate Orton as his pick for the match.
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Finally, MVP and Lashley ended up challenging Raw Tag Team champs the Street Profits to a match, which ended up being a highly entertaining clash.
The champs won by DQ, and Drew McIntyre saved the day as he brawled with his Backlash opponent until several wrestlers came out to keep them apart as we went off the air.
- United States Title: Apollo Crews pinned Andrade (c)
- Angel Garza beat Kevin Owens
- Murphy and Austin Theory defeated Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo
- Raw Womens’s Title Number One Contenders Match: Nia Jax beat Natalya and Charlotte Flair
- The Street Profits defeated Bobby Lashley and MVP via DQ
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