Raw Recap: May 22, 2017
S2017 episode 1252 Aired on May 23, 2017

In just two weeks, Roman Reigns, Finn Bálor, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Samoa Joe will battle in an Extreme Rules Fatal 5-Way that just might change the course of the New Era. And apparently, none of them feels like waiting until then to fight.

In the middle of a match between Reigns and Wyatt — sanctioned by Kurt Angle after Reigns interrupted The Reaper of Souls’ opening sermon, wherein he claimed he was the only man who could defeat Brock Lesnar — Samoa Joe crashed the ring and locked The Big Dog in the Coquina Clutch, much to Wyatt's delight.

The interference made Reigns the winner via disqualification, and Joe doubled down by locking Wyatt in the hold when the former WWE Champion tried to Sister Abigail him for the second consecutive week. Moments later, Seth Rollins rounded out the fray, and the former Shield brothers expelled Wyatt and Joe from the ring, leading Angle to sanction a tag team match between Rollins & Reigns and Wyatt & Joe for later tonight.

Goldust may have abandoned his Tag Title pursuits for a return to eerie, directorial form, but reigning Raw Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz have swept their No. 1 contenders in singles action. Matt Hardy piggybacked off of his brother Jeff’s win over Sheamus to hand The Alabaster Gladiator his second loss in the last two weeks, and this one came with a hefty price tag, too: It gave the Hardys the right to choose the stipulation for their title defense against Cesaro & Sheamus at Extreme Rules.

The Celtic Warrior had been rolling against Hardy, until a timely interference by Jeff gave Matt enough room to brawl his way back into the match. Jeff once again made his presence known, taking out Cesaro at ringside before The King of Swing could get involved and diverting Sheamus’ attention long enough for Matt to seal the win with the Twist of Fate. And what stipulation did they select for their troubles? A Steel Cage Match.

It’s every man for himself in two weeks at Extreme Rules, but on Raw’s main event, two teams of the Extreme Rules Fatal 5-Way competitors had to coexist. That’s a lofty goal, especially when the teams are Bray Wyatt & Samoa Joe (who’ve been trading cheap shots for two weeks) or Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (everyone knows the history there).

Oddly enough, the newer team was the more polished one: Rollins & Reigns were arguing from the start over who would begin the match, and a miscommunication doomed the team after The Architect — who had singlehandedly been holding off Wyatt & Joe — caught an accidental shoulder block from Reigns following a missed Superman Punch. The action screeched to a halt following the ensuing disagreement, and Wyatt quickly hauled Reigns out of the ring and hit him with Sister Abigail, while Joe put The Kingslayer to sleep with the Coquina Clutch for the win.

Once again, conspicuous by his absence was Finn Bálor, who made it a point to tell Raw General Manager Kurt Angle that he wanted in on the action next time around. Finn asked for a match against one of the competing Superstars, and The Olympic Hero did him one better, sanctioning Bálor vs. Bray vs. Joe for next week’s Raw, as well as a one-on-one showdown between Rollins and Reigns.

In other action … Akira Tozara def. Ariya Daivari … Elias Samson def. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose via Disqualification … Paul Heyman confronted Finn Bálor … Finn Bálor def. Karl Anderson … Sasha Banks def. Alicia Fox … Kalisto def. Apollo Crews … Austin Aries def. Tony Nese … and Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss def. Mickie James.

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