Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal Review. This is the last Raw before Friday’s WWE Super Showdown event that takes place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Thank you for the kind words last week for what was the 10 year anniversary of my Raw Deal reviews. I received a lot of emails, tweets, Facebook comments and so on over the last week. I really appreciate it. As I have said many times, I try to be consistent in my writing and try to put a smile on my face when I write because even when a show is bad, it’s important to find a way to laugh about it because in the end, it’s pro wrestling. It’s supposed to be fun. That’s why we watched it in the first place when we were kids. Thank you again for your support. It means a lot to me.
Live from Austin, Texas, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1357 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. This review is sponsored by ICOPRO.
The show began with a shot of the live crowd at the University of Texas. Roman Reigns made his entrance with the announcers saying the Wild Card Rule is in effect to explain Reigns on Raw. Reigns faces Shane McMahon at Super Showdown this Friday. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young welcomed us to the show.
The announcers said there was “breaking news” that Brock cashes in the Money in the Bank contract on Raw tonight. They also told the story of Brock Lesnar disrespecting Money in the Bank according to Stephanie McMahon. Speaking of a McMahon, Shane O Mac arrived on the stage.
Analysis: The storyline is ridiculous. A person holding the Money in the Bank contract can cash in whenever they want and if they lie about it, so what? The fans know the guy holding Money in the Bank can cash in any time without telling people, yet WWE tries to push this to keep teasing a cash in. It’s lame storytelling.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon asked ring announcer Mike Rome to give him a special introduction with Rome doing the “best in the world” intro. Shane said he can’t wait to shut up Reigns at Super Showdown. Shane claimed he was a fine wine that gets better with age and when he’s ready, he’s going to deliver the Coast to Coast to Reigns. Shane said he’ll either pin Reigns or slap on a triangle choke to make Reigns tap out for the first time ever in his career. Shane said that the last thing Roman will hear is the winner and best in the world…Reigns told him to shut up.
Reigns said he would love Shane to try to tap him out. Reigns said if Shane tried that, he’ll pick his ass up and slam him through this mat. Reigns told Shane that the only reason he’s still out there is he relies on help from people like Drew McIntyre. Reigns said that at Stomping Grounds (the next PPV on June 23), he’ll beat McIntyre’s ass as well.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance where he joined Shane on the stage. Drew said he didn’t like the attitude of Texas, so the fans booed. Drew agreed with what Shane said about beating Reigns at Super Showdown and then at Stomping Grounds, McIntyre will end Reigns. McIntyre said he had an idea. McIntyre said he didn’t need his partners because they’ll take out Reigns right now.
The Revival attacked Reigns from behind, so McIntyre and Shane joined them. The Usos ran out for the save by attacking The Revival to send them out of the ring. The heels escaped to the floor while a referee was in the ring, so the match was ready to begin. Matthew McConaughey was at ringside with his kids. Wrestlers on social media were posting pics with him.
Analysis: That was an eight-minute opening segment, so it was shorter than usual. That’s fine with me. The promos were okay. They really didn’t even need to do any promos since the match was announced over the weekend, but Vinny Mac loves to book the opening promo and has done it that way for over 20 years.
Roman Reigns and The Usos vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Shane McMahon) and The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson)
The faces were in control as they went to break right after the bell.
Jimmy was in control of Wilder, but then the heels did some distraction work and Wilder took out Jimmy. McIntyre with a suplex on Jimmy as fans chanted “We Want Roman” for Reigns. McIntyre with an overhead belly to belly suplex on Jimmy. Dawson worked over Jimmy a bit, but then Jimmy hit a belly to back suplex. Dawson prevented a tag and he hit a spinebuster for a two count. They went to another commercial.
Reigns tagged in (during the break - how can you miss the hot tag?) for the first time as he charged at McIntyre, but Drew moved and Glasgow Kiss by McIntyre. Jey did a blind tag. Jey went up top, but Shane tripped him up. Reigns left the ring and went after Shane, so McIntyre hit Reigns with a Claymore Kick. McIntyre went back in the ring, Jimmy tried to save Jay, but The Revival hit the Shatter Machine double team move on Jey. McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick on Jey for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre (w/Shane McMahon) and The Revival
Analysis: *** The match was good, but I hated how they timed the commercials because a match that goes 14 minutes should only have one break rather than two. Let us see more of the match. Time it better. Shane getting involved to help the heels win wasn’t that much of a surprise since he’s always playing a big role. They put over McIntyre, which is fine because he needs the win since he's facing Reigns at Stomping Grounds later this month.
Post match, The Revival hit the Shatter Machine on Reigns in the ring. McIntyre followed up with a Claymore Kick. Shane asked his buddies to hold up Reigns and Shane hit a Spear on Reigns followed by Shane mocking the Reigns yell. The heels celebrated.
Analysis: I think Reigns beating Shane at Super Showdown is very likely, but I also picked against Shane in his two PPV matches against Miz and he won those. I just don’t think Reigns should do a job to Vince’s boy. McIntyre will probably get involved to tease a possible Shane win.
Still to come: The Undertaker is there, Randy Orton goes face to face with Triple H and Brock Lesnar is on Raw again with the potential Money in the Bank cash-in.
There was a shot of the parking lot area because they are waiting for the arrival of Brock Lesnar. Seth Rollins is up next as a guest on Miz TV. Also tonight, Firefly Fun House with Bray Wyatt.
They showed Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey and former Tour de France winner (that cheated, lied about it and eventually admitted it) Lance Armstrong at ringside with their kids. Both guys are big-time Texas Longhorns football supporters.
Miz TV with Seth Rollins
The Miz started his promo with “alright, alright, alright” which is the famous catchphrase of McConaughey. Miz was in a suit, so that meant he wasn’t going to get booked into a match on his talk show this week. Miz introduced Seth Rollins.
Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Championship around his waist and he got a good pop. Rollins shook Miz’s hand and sat in the chair provided in the ring.
Miz noted that Rollins will be defending the Universal Championship against Baron Corbin at Super Showdown. Rollins was asked about the Lesnar cash-in attempt. Rollins noted that Miz is assuming that Lesnar would show up and reminded us that Paul Heyman never tells the truth. Miz said there is something in Seth’s eye that is weighing on his mind. Miz reminded Rollins that the MITB contract is in the hands of the dominant Brock Lesnar. Rollins said he understands the gravity of the situation, but if Lesnar cashes in, he would be relieved. Rollins said he is focused on facing the #1 contender to the Universal Title, Baron Corbin. The crowd barely reacted. Rollins said that he’s got to focus on Corbin and stomping his head into the mat.
There was a shot of a Suburban truck pulling up to the arena with Brock Lesnar emerging from the truck with Paul Heyman, who told Brock “let’s cash it in.” Rollins and Miz turned to face the camera. Lesnar walked into the arena near the entrance way, but then he stopped and they walked back into the locker room. Rollins had a frustrated look on his face while fans chanted “burn it down” for him. They went to break.
Analysis: It was just a tease to get fans thinking that Lesnar may show up later on Raw to try to cash in on Rollins. It’s fine as a tactic designed to keep viewers tuned in for the cash in attempt. I know some fans hate Lesnar, so they aren’t going to like anything he does, but the guy does have star power and his presence helps the show.
PLUG TIME: You can check out my detailed review of WWE NXT Takeover XXV from Saturday night right here. I had a lot of fun watching that show. I rated it 9 out of 10 and thought it was an excellent wrestling show from top to bottom. The Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole main event was five stars out of five and may have topped their Takeover match from two months ago. I also liked the Tag Team Ladder Match a lot. They picked a great choice for an opener with Matt Riddle facing Roderick Strong as well. NXT always delivers the goods.
The Lucha House Party trio made their entrance. They face Lars Sullivan at Super Showdown on Friday. Lars Sullivan made his entrance. The announcers tried to tell us it was a tag team match, but that’s not what we’re getting here.
Sullivan went into the ring and tossed around Metalik, Kalisto and Dorado. Kalisto tried a springboard attack, but Sullivan hit him and Dorado with a clothesline. Metalik went for a cross body block, Sullivan caught him, three straight dropkicks from the LHP boys and then the three LHP guys hit a triple dropkick to send Sullivan out of the ring. Sullivan landed on his feet. Sullivan yelled at them from ringside. He stayed out of the ring to end it.
Analysis: It was just a quick angle to build up their Super Showdown 3 on 1 match. Sullivan will win that match. If he doesn’t, it would be a big surprise.
The IIconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were in the locker room mocking Nikki Cross. They mocked that “mutt” Becky Lynch and then Alexa Bliss walked into the screen beside Cross. Royce said she has a match with Cross that will be iconic. The IIconics left. Bliss said she was going to get a coffee and she asked Cross if she wanted one. Bliss said she knows Lynch can’t stand her and nobody can stand her. Cross said that Bliss has been a friend to her. Bliss said she’ll be in Nikki’s corner later.
Analysis: It could be a face turn for Bliss, which would be fresh because she has been a heel for about three years on the main roster.
Later on Raw: Rey Mysterio gives up the US Title, Braun Strowman faces Bobby Lashley in an Arm Wrestling Match and The Undertaker returns.
Becky Lynch made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Championship and she got a good pop as usual. A replay was shown from Money in the Bank when Evans hit a cheap shot punch on Lynch to help Charlotte Flair win the Smackdown Women’s Title. Lynch will get some promo time after a break.
Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch
Lynch said that “The Man” wants to make some changes. Lynch noted that she was home this weekend and it had been 63 days since she had been home. Lynch noted she went on a tour of Europe, she switched brands and she won the main event of WrestleMania. There were some “you deserve it” chants. Lynch said that she has never been more content in her entire life.
Lynch said that contentment is the worst thing that can happen to a fighter like her because content fighters get hurt or they get beaten. Lynch said that when Lacey Evans helped Charlotte Flair beat her at Money in the Bank for the Smackdown Women’s Title, it pissed her off and there’s not a woman in the business that can keep her down. Lynch told Evans she will get her hands on her and she will fight until…here comes Evans.
Lacey Evans made her entrance in her ring gear. Evans said that Lynch is like a dog chasing a car and just a like a dog, she wouldn’t know what to do if she caught it. Evans claimed that Becky 2 Belts shouldn’t represent the women of WWE. Lynch told Evans to come in the ring so she can rip her arm off. Evans told Lynch that she is not Charlotte Flair, but she is the reason why Lynch didn’t walk out with the Smackdown Women’s Title. Evans told Lynch that she won’t let Lynch represent the women’s division and Evans will be the next Raw Women’s Champion. Here comes Charlotte Flair.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance with Cole mentioning the Wild Card Rule again. Flair reminded Lynch that she beat Lynch and Flair became the nine-time Women’s Champion followed by a “Woo.” Lynch asked Flair where her title is now. Flair said she’s not the champion now and Evans asked why Flair she is there. Evans told Flair that she is a daddy’s girl that needs attention. Flair told Evans she struts like a peacock because she is more than halfway to breaking her daddy’s World Championship record. Flair trash talked Evans for making tea and how she kicked Evans last week. Evans called Flair yesterday’s news and claimed she (Lacey) is the face of WWE. Evans told Flair to go back to Smackdown unless she wants to be educated by a Woman’s Right and Evans punched Flair into the ropes. A referee went into the ring to separate the women while Lynch left the ring.
Analysis: It was a decent promo exchange. Lynch showed a lot of fire as usual. I like how they went back to emphasizing the point that Evans cost Lynch the Smackdown Women’s Title because that was something that was ignored in the last few weeks. When you mention something like that and that it upset Lynch, that makes the titles seem more important, which is how it should be. Setting up the impromptu Flair vs. Evans match is okay with me after Flair and Evans got into a bit of a fight last week.
Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans
It’s a rare heel vs. heel match. Flair went after Evans with forearms. Flair worked over Evans with kicks to the ribs and tossed Evans out of the ring while Lynch watched from ringside. Flair and Evans exchanged some holds on the mat and Flair whipped Evans into the turnbuckle, so Evans went to the floor leading to a break.
The match returned with Evans hitting a fireman’s carry takeover. Flair worked over Evans with some chops. Evans came back by slamming Flair’s head into the middle turnbuckle. Evans with a corner attack. Flair came back with a kick followed by an overhead throw across the ring. They battled by the apron with Evans tripping her up with a leg sweep. Evans missed a slingshot elbow, Flair moved and Evans had a weak looking bump into the mat. Flair with a modified backbreaker followed by a clothesline. Evans countered a Figure Four attempt by kicking Flair into the turnbuckle. Evans with a neckbreaker. Flair with a kick to the ribs followed by both women running the ropes leading to a double cross body block spot. Flair rolled by the ropes, so Lynch tossed Flair out of the ring. That led to the DQ finish. The match went about 10 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Charlotte Flair
Lynch went into the ring and hit the Manhandle Slam on Evans. Lynch’s music played to end it.
Analysis: * This was rough and I don't say that about Flair matches, but they just weren't on the same page. The match was awkward in the first few minutes, then it was just decent after that and the finish was poor. Most Flair matches that go ten minutes are better than that, but Evans still needs to develop more. If they were going to have Lynch cause the DQ ending, at least have Evans kick her or punch her at some point. The way this was done was so random although I guess it's payback from Money in the Bank over two weeks ago. I can see why they did it to not have Flair or Evans do the job, but it was still a weak ending.
Up next is Rey Mysterio giving up the US Title.
There was a video showing The Undertaker’s debut from Survivor Series 1990. I was 10 years old and remember it well.
Rey Mysterio’s US Title Announcement
Rey Mysterio made his entrance with the US Title in his street clothes and his left arm in a sling. They showed a clip from Money in the Bank when Rey pinned Joe for the US Title even though Joe’s shoulders were not down. The real story is they went to the finish early because of Joe’s blood loss. After the match, Joe hit Rey with two uranage slams and that’s what caused the shoulder injury.
Analysis: The uranage slams looked sloppy. It was tough for Rey to land properly because Joe tossed him around. I’m not necessarily blaming Joe, but two veterans like these guys should have done that spot better.
Mysterio said that he has been part of WWE for a long time and WWE has been a part of his family. Mysterio talked about how his son Dominick is training to do what he does and he has complete trust that he will carve a path of his own. Mysterio said that tonight he has to set an example by doing the right thing as a man and as a champion. Mysterio said that due to his previous shoulder injury, he’s here tonight…and here comes Joe.
Samoa Joe went into the ring saying he didn’t want to ruin this pure and honorable moment by telling the people a lie. Joe said that Rey isn’t relinquishing the title because of injury, it’s because Rey can’t beat Joe.
Mysterio said he’s not there to have a moment or to fool anybody. Mysterio said this is not the moment that he wanted it to be. Mysterio reminded Joe that he’s won championships his entire career through pain and through injuries. Mysterio said if he’s man enough to do that then he’s man enough to do this tonight. Mysterio said that due to his current shoulder injury at Money in the Bank, he’s here to relinquish the United States Championship to…Samoa Joe.
Mysterio put the US Title down on the mat in front of Joe and told him to pick it up if he wants it. Mysterio told Joe that he’ll be back. Mysterio tried to leave, so Joe went after Mysterio and slapped on the Coquina Clutch submission where Joe took Rey down to the mat. Referees went into the ring to break it up. Joe grabbed the US Title and left with it.
Analysis: It was as predictable as you would expect with Mysterio giving up the title and Joe getting the title back. They could have said that the title was vacant, but Joe had a legit gripe since his shoulders weren't down during the pin at Money in the Bank. I have no problems with Joe as the champ. He's one of the best heels in WWE. What I would have liked to see is the next challenger for Joe come out to make the save instead of having referees break it up. I would like to see Joe vs. Ricochet as a US Title feud with Ricochet winning the title, so we’ll see if they go in that direction.
There was a shot of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman backstage with Lesnar putting on his MMA gloves to show he was ready for a fight.
Braun Strowman made his entrance for the Arm Wrestling Match against Bobby Lashley.
Cesaro did a cell phone promo about how he is going to have another match with Ricochet and Ricochet is a great talent, but he’s naïve to think he can beat Cesaro again. Ricochet said that tonight is a preview of a rivalry that could last a decade, he proved he can beat Cesaro and he’ll try his best to do it again.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance for the Arm Wrestling Match. He was in his ring gear for this non-match segment.
Analysis: I have never enjoyed arm wrestling. It’s boring, but I’m sure Vince McMahon loves it. At least they don’t do it often in today’s WWE. These two are in a match at Super Showdown.
Arm Wrestling Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman
They tried to lock up, but Lashley slapped his hand away leading to the table getting knocked over. The referee set the table up again. They locked hands, it was even and their hands separated. Referee John Cone had a bucket with chalk in it, so they put it on their hands. The wrestlers locked their hands again, it was even, Strowman got the advantage, Lashley came back and Strowman won the arm-wrestling competition.
Winner: Braun Strowman
After the match, Strowman turned his back like a dumbass and Lashley threw chalk into Lashley’s eyes. Lashley shoved Strowman into the turnbuckle and Lashley hit a Running Powerslam, which is Strowman’s finisher.
Analysis: It was okay for a quick angle to hype up their Super Showdown match. At least the Arm Wrestling Match was kept pretty simple, the babyface Strowman won and it set up the cheap heel attack. Strowman will probably win at Super Showdown.
There was a video of R-Truth getting attacked by Jinder Mahal for the 24/7 Title on a golf course on Sunday. Mahal won the title and then Truth won the title back with each man using the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! because it’s so deadly.
They showed Carmella walking backstage looking for her buddy R-Truth. Drake Maverick was there with EC3 and a referee saying they’ll follow Carmella to get to R-Truth.
Analysis: If you’re trying to keep track of Smackdown wrestlers on Raw per the Wild Card Rule, it’s obvious that WWE has already ignored the “four person” rule they made up. I’m not surprised that they ignored it. I just wish the creative team was better.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross made their entrances with Cross set to have a match after a break.
The end of Peyton Royce’s entrance with Billie Kay was shown.
Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay) vs. Nikki Cross (w/Alexa Bliss)
Royce hit a spin kick on Cross with Graves pointed out The IIconics as the longest reigning Women’s Tag Team Champions while Young complained about The IIconics not defending the titles. Royce put her foot against the throat of Cross, who came back with a rollup. Royce with a clothesline. Royce with a weak looking knee on Cross followed by a submission pulling on the limbs of Cross while she was up against the ropes. Cross jumped on Royce’s back, but Royce slammed her down and hit a knee to the back. Kay was wearing both Women’s Tag Team Titles at the same time. Cross had a bloody lip or tooth. When Cross got back up, Royce did a hair whip to send her into the mat. The crowd was dead for this match. Royce whipped Cross into the corner, Cross with an elbow, a kick, three forearms and running clothesline. Cross with a running splash in the corner followed by a bulldog for two. Cross went up top and missed a cross body block, but Royce moved and Cross hit the mat. Bliss had coffee delivered by a guy from the backstage area. Royce complained about it. Royce kicked the coffee to the mat. Kay shoved Bliss on her butt and Bliss had white jeans on, so Bliss went into the coffee. Cross came back with a neckbreaker with Royce’s feet on the ropes and that was good enough for the win. It went six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross
Analysis: *1/2 The match was boring with Royce on offense for most of it, then the lame coffee angle at the end and the crowd woke up for it because of how silly it was. Cross got the win, but I don’t think the finish helped anybody. I would have had Cross look stronger as the winner.
Post match, Bliss was angry about her coffee being spilled. Bliss went into the ring and hit a dropkick to the back of Kay. Bliss hit a DDT on Kay. Cross celebrated with Bliss, who was reluctant at first and then Bliss embraced it.
Analysis: I think that cements Bliss as a face now, which is fine. Bliss and Cross is a unique tag team that can work as a bit of an odd couple. They can use Alexa’s star power to help Cross become more popular.
Brock Lesnar was shown backstage in the locker room with Paul Heyman with Lesnar warming up.
Seth Rollins was shown walking down a hallway with the Universal Title because he’s up next.
A commercial aired for the WWE 24 special about Ronda Rousey on WWE Network. It premieres after Raw and on-demand after that.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins was in the ring as we reached the bottom of the second hour. Rollins started his promo as Brock Lesnar’s music hit, but there was no sign of Lesnar. Rollins talked about how he’s sick of this. Rollins looked at the hard camera. Rollins said that Lesnar used to be one of the most feared men on planet Earth, but now he’s just a shell of that. Rollins dared Lesnar to cash in the Money in the Bank contract right here and right now.
Baron Corbin showed up for the introduction looking like a waiter at a restaurant, which is his wrestling gear. Corbin said that he’s the dream crusher that is taking Seth’s Universal Champion. Corbin got into the ring. Rollins said that Corbin can’t beat him and Rollins said that the only way he can do it is to pry it from his cold dead hands. Corbin reminded Rollins he was the guy that retired Kurt Angle and he can retire Seth’s ass too.
Rollins went after Corbin with a microphone shot to the head, but Corbin came back with a punch. They got into a brawl with Rollins hitting a leaping kick to the head followed by a suicide dive. Brock Lesnar’s music hit again, but Corbin went back in the ring and he hit the End of Days finishing move. Rollins was down on the mat as Corbin left. Lesnar’s music hit and this time Lesnar showed up.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance with a steel chair in hand with the advocate Paul Heyman with the Money in the Bank contract and they had a referee with them.
Lesnar went into the ring and kicked Rollins with a low blow kick to the groin. Lesnar hit Rollins with a steel chair to the back of Rollins three times. Lesnar hit a German Suplex on Rollins. Lesnar told Heyman not now. Lesnar hit Rollins in the back with a steel chair again. Lesnar tossed Rollins out of the ring. Lesnar hit Rollins with a F5 on the floor. Lesnar told Heyman not yet even though Heyman thought it was a good time for it. Back in the ring, Lesnar worked over Rollins with two more chair shots to the back. Heyman said now is a good time, but Lesnar didn’t agree. Heyman asked what he was doing. Lesnar with another German Suplex on Rollins. Lesnar shook his head no. Heyman asked what he was doing, Lesnar said: “Friday, Friday” so that means at Super Showdown. Lesnar picked up the Universal Title and tossed it onto the fallen Rollins. Lesnar left the ring.
Lesnar went back towards the ring. Lesnar grabbed the Money in the Bank contract and hit Rollins in the back with it. Lesnar hit Rollins two more times with the steel chair. Lesnar left up the ramp with the Money in the Bank briefcase along with a big smile on his face.
There were EMTs that went into the ring along with referees and WWE producers like Fit Finlay and Jamie Noble to check on Rollins. They put Rollins on a stretcher as the announcers used SERIOUS VOICES~! while wondering what condition Rollins will be in for Super Showdown on Friday.
Analysis: I thought it was a good angle. Remember in the storyline that Paul Heyman said Lesnar was going to cash in the Money in the Bank contract, but Lesnar never said it and Lesnar made it clear he wants to do it on Friday, which is when Super Showdown is. I like the way they booked it. Will it piss off fans that there was no cash in even though Heyman “promised” it? Sure, it might upset people, but Lesnar is a heel like Heyman is and doing things that piss off the fans is what heels are supposed to do. What we don't know is why Lesnar refused to do the cash in here after he beat up Rollins and could have won the title. My guess is that WWE won't have Lesnar explain it while continuing to tease cash-in attempts. It may be months until it happens and when it does, it could even be on the WWE Champion Kofi Kingston or whoever the champ is. With Smackdown going to Fox in October, maybe WWE wants Lesnar as WWE Champion when that happens, so they can use Money in the Bank to tell that story.
Replays aired of Lesnar’s attack on Rollins.
There was as hot of Rollins on the stretcher in the backstage area. Becky Lynch was shown with the EMTs, referees and producers because Becky is dating Rollins. Lynch went into the ambulance with Rollins.
The announcers talked about the situation and were worried about Seth’s condition.
Firefly Fun House
Bray Wyatt was in the Firefly Fun House saying he was going to teach us about exercise with his “Wyatt Gym” tank top. Wyatt had “Huskus” the pig on the set and he was eating chocolate. Wyatt told Huskus that one day he’ll be great, people will say he’s a genius and people will say you can have the whole world in your hands. Huskus was excited. There was a Vince McMahon-like masked figure with devil horns saying they need to get their act together. Wyatt did some “muscleman dance” featuring his crew in what looked like a 1980s music video. Wyatt said they’re ready for a night on the town and all you have to do is let him in.
Analysis: The Huskus thing was interesting because it was a nod to Bray’s former Husky Harris gimmick while making fun of his former personality for not being in great shape. There was a wink into the camera. There was a bit of a tease of the dark mask character, but it was brief.
Triple H was shown backstage walking in a suit because he’s there for a face to face with Randy Orton up next.
This week on Smackdown, Goldberg is there to promote his match with The Undertaker at Super Showdown. It will be Goldberg’s first time on Smackdown.
The announcers promoted Super Showdown this Friday.
Face to Face with Triple H and Randy Orton
Triple H entered in a grey suit. He’s facing Randy Orton one more time at Super Showdown on Friday. Good pop for him while some fans chanted “NXT” for him. That’s nice. NXT is great. Hunter was about to speak when he was interrupted.
Randy Orton made his entrance in his ring gear. He’s another Smackdown wrestler on Raw. Orton did a slow walk into the ring where he did his signature posing on the turnbuckle.
Triple H said that they have been through a lot. He rounded up saying it’s been 20 years and they’ve said everything they need to say to eachother. Hunter told Orton not to let the suit fool him because he is coming to Jeddah to kick Randy’s ass.
Orton told Hunter he is not Batista. Orton said that he is the Legend Killer, Hunter knows that better than most and he will gladly beat Triple H at Super Showdown and put another notch on his belt.
Hunter said that it’s interesting what they have been through for 20 years (rounded up – it’s more like 15 years) and he has watched the videos about their careers with Hunter saying Orton was a diamond. Hunter said that Orton has become one of the best ever and the fans cheered. Hunter said that a lot of people tried to put him down, they’re all gone, but he’s still here. Hunter told Orton that he is not the one…to put Hunter down. Hunter went to the apron.
Orton asked Hunter if he can promise him something. Orton wondered if Hunter could retrieve his balls from Stephanie’s purse. That drew a big pop with some laughs. Hunter went back into the ring. Hunter said that’s a hell of an idea while saying that they are so big and it’s a burden carrying them around. Hunter added that he might put his balls in the overhead compartment on the plane because they're so big - good line. Hunter said that it’s really a burden because Randy has never had any (balls). Hunter said he’ll see Randy in Jeddah and he tossed the microphone at Randy. Hunter left while Randy smirked in the ring. No physicality as Hunter left.
Analysis: That was okay. It was a pretty simple segment where they did some trash talk with Orton taking the first shot and Hunter firing back. If they didn’t do this segment then the match at Super Showdown would have no hype. At least they did this and it’s about proving who the better man is. I think Orton will win and he’ll probably feud with Roman Reigns soon. Hunter doesn’t need wins since he barely wrestles.
Still to come: The Undertaker returns.
Baron Corbin was shown walking backstage where Charly Caruso showed up for an interview. Corbin said he was shaken up because Seth Rollins left in an ambulance and Corbin laughed. Corbin said that Lesnar did him a favor because Rollins probably has cracked ribs. Corbin claimed that you’re looking at the next Universal Champion and he left.
Ricochet made his entrance for his match against Cesaro.
Cesaro made his entrance. I’m still getting used to the new theme song, but I like it.
Ricochet vs. Cesaro
They wrestled the last two weeks on Raw with Cesaro getting the first win two weeks ago and Ricochet won last week. Cesaro hit a backbreaker to counter a Ricochet attack. Cesaro whipped Ricochet into the turnbuckle followed by a chinlock. They did a cool spot where Cesaro launched Ricochet in the air and Ricochet took him down with a headscissors. They were out of the ring with Ricochet hitting a headscissors takedown on the floor. Ricochet was on the apron and he hit a moonsault off the middle ropes onto Cesaro on the floor leading to a break.
The match continued with Cesaro still in control, but Ricochet hit a sunset flip for two. Cesaro charged, Ricochet moved and Cesaro hit the ring post. Ricochet went up top, so Cesaro decked him with an uppercut to the chest. Cesaro hit an impressive superplex for a two count. Ricochet drove Cesaro throat first into the top rope. They did this amazing spot where Ricochet jumped onto Cesaro’s shoulders, then there were some great counters, Ricochet landed on his feet and Cesaro did the Cesaro Swing for about ten revolutions. Cesaro hit a running uppercut for a two count as Ricochet got his shoulder up. Ricochet with a knee to the face, kick to the face, another knee strike and Ricochet hit a springboard cross body with Cesaro getting a two count out of it. Ricochet got a two count. They did another spot where Cesaro tried a slam, Ricochet kept getting away, he was going for something, you could tell that it wasn’t what they wanted and Ricochet did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with his body on top for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: ***1/4 The match was pretty good. They were trying something special for the finish with Ricochet countering some move into a pin, but then there was a slip or something. I still liked the match a lot, the crowd seemed to be into it and Ricochet was the right guy to get the win here. These guys have incredible chemistry with Ricochet using his aerial skills while Cesaro is one of the strongest guys in WWE and Cesaro's also capable of bumping for Ricochet's offense to make Ricochet look credible against a bigger guy.
Post match, Cesaro hit Ricochet with a forearm to the back followed by stomps. Cesaro grabbed a ladder from under the ring and then Cesaro pulled out a table from under the ring. R-Truth was laying on the table with the 24/7 Title around his waist. That was funny. Ricochet dropkicked Cesaro into the crowd. The idea was that Truth was hiding under the ring all night. Carmella ran out to the ring to go after Truth. The midcard wrestlers ran down to the ring after Truth and Cedric Alexander hit a somersault dive onto all the wrestlers. Truth went back into the ring to face off with tiny man Drake Maverick and Carmella hit Drake with a superkick. Truth and Carmella ran away with the other wrestlers chasing them.
Analysis: I’m surprised it took them 2 hours and 48 minutes to feature the 24/7 Title on the show, but there it was.
There was a commercial for the WWE 24 special on Ronda Rousey that premieres after Raw and is on demand on WWE Network after that.
The Undertaker made his slow walk to the ring with about five minutes left in the show. His entrance took a few minutes as usual. By the time he got into the ring, there were two minutes left.
The fans chanted “Undertaker” as the purple light remained on Undertaker in the ring.
The Undertaker: “Do you ever what happens when you become face to face with death for the first time? Does the sky go dark, does the ground rip apart at your feet or do you choke at the stench of the souls that are already gone? Goldberg, this Friday you will get the answers to all those questions, but when I stand across the ring for the very first time, I don’t want Goldberg the family man as his wife and son look up beaming with joy. I want the unstoppable, mythical, icon Goldberg. I promise you this, if you bring anything less, our first match will be your last.” He said he’ll unleash brutality that Goldberg has neve felt. Undertaker: “I will claim your soul for all of eternity. Goldberg, you’re next.” End show.
Analysis: It was okay for a quick promo. The Undertaker wanting the best of Goldberg is what you would expect him to say there. They should have timed this better so that he didn’t have to be so rushed. He didn’t even get to say “rest in peace” with the fans saying it with him like usual.
After Raw, The Undertaker said his "rest in peace" catchphrase and left. They ended Raw ten seconds before he could get his catchphrase off.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Seth Rollins
2. Brock Lesnar
3. (tie) Ricochet
3. (tie) Cesaro
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 3.5
2019 Average: 5.45 (Smackdown is 6.98)
Last 5 Weeks: 3.5, 6.5, 5, 4, 5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 5.5 out of 10.
It felt like an average edition of Raw with only a couple of good matches (the opening tag and Ricochet/Cesaro) while other matches were disappointing. There was clearly an effort to push the Super Showdown matches all night long. With names like The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and Randy Orton on the show it also felt bigger than a typical Raw.
I thought the angle with Lesnar and Rollins was really well done. As I said in the review, it’s going to piss people off that there was no cash in, but I think it’s smart to build up to it at Super Showdown on WWE Network. From a performance standpoint, Rollins and Lesnar were the best part of the show with Rollins selling everything so well and Lesnar looking like a badass heel.
The Wild Card Rule has already become a joke where they don’t follow their own stipulations for it with four people from Smackdown on Raw because it was a lot more than that. Also, the Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins have been ignored for the past month along with the Viking Raiders tag team. It’s a shame, but that’s why I say there are too many titles now that they added the 24/7 comedy title.
Overall, the build for Super Showdown was pretty good. I'm just not that interested in any of the matches. It's a weak lineup.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Super Showdown this Friday, June 7th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Here’s what we know so far.
The Undertaker vs. Bill Goldberg
Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
Intercontinental Championship: “Demon” Finn Balor (c) vs. Andrade
Lars Sullivan vs. Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado)
50-man battle royal
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays. Thanks for reading.