Monday Night Raw – June 4, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 4, 2018
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, David Otunga

We’re less than two weeks away from Money in the Bank and that means it’s time to probably hit the brakes with the Money in the Bank build. That’s the case tonight as we have Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Roode. Oh and we get to find out who is next up to challenge Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Elias, who carries wind in his fists and a guitar across his chest. It should be no surprise that Elias is the first face you see tonight because he is the most valuable asset. When he wins the Intercontinental Title, everyone will know what WWE stands for. Sure he attacked Rollins last week, but imagine how Elias felt. That was one of his favorite guitars!

We see some different angles of Rollins being hit with the guitar last week and here’s Rollins in person to interrupt. Rollins pulls out a chair and it’s a standoff until one shot knocks the guitar out of Elias’ hands. Elias starts to panic but here’s Jinder Mahal for the beatdown. Cue Roman Reigns (to a positive reaction, as Mahal is that bad) for the save and Kurt Angle comes out to make the tag match RIGHT NOW.

Jinder Mahal/Elias vs. Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins

We get the multiple tags and switches before any contract and it’s the Shield guys getting violent early on. Rollins dives onto Mahal and we settle down to Reigns coming in (and there are the boos) to elbow Mahal in the face. Elias comes in and takes Rollins down for a chinlock, which doesn’t exactly look painful. A missed knee drop isn’t enough for the tag to Reigns but a missed charge from Mahal certainly is.

The ten corner clotheslines rock Mahal but everyone heads to the floor. The apron dropkick is knocked out of the air by an Elias ax handle and we take a break. Back with Reigns fighting out of a chinlock but getting punched in the corner for his efforts. To mix things up a bit, Mahal comes in for a chinlock of his own and Elias gets two off a knee drop. Mahal grabs ANOTHER chinlock as we might as well have a clock counting how much time they’ve killed so far.

Reigns “creates separation” with a Samoan drop and it’s off to Rollins so things can finally have some energy. A Blockbuster and Falcon Arrow give Rollins two each and there’s a Superman Punch to Mahal. The apron dropkick hits Elias but Sunil Singh’s distraction breaks up the Stomp.

Reigns takes care of him so Mahal throws Reigns over the barricade. An enziguri puts Elias down and Rollins dives into Mahal, only to hit the barricade head first. Singh loads up a chair but gets chased into the ring, allowing Elias to DDT Rollins onto the chair. The referee looks at him do it and even yells at him, but counts the three off Drift Away at 17:38. I’d love to see the rules for a DQ around here sometime.

Rating: D+. The ending makes sense and Rollins won’t be at 100% going into the title match but my goodness the ending was stupid and the chinlocks felt like they went on for an hour. Mahal just isn’t interesting no matter what they do with him and Elias isn’t exactly on fire when he’s in the ring. Still though, good ending to set up the title match.

There are a bunch of tacos and other Mexican food at ringside.

Curt Hawkins vs. James Harden

Before the match, Hawkins says he’s at 199 losses in a row and if it gets to 200, everyone gets a free taco. Harden (the name of the Houston Rockets’ star player) is from right here in Houston. Hawkins sends him into the corner to start and says that it’s over. A spinning slam has Harden in trouble and he runs into a boot in the corner. One heck of a clothesline takes Harden’s head off but here’s Baron Corbin to lay out Harden and give him the DQ win at 1:44.

Post match, Corbin hits Hawkins with a taco and turns the table over.

Back from a break with Corbin in Angle’s office, saying he’ll explain that later. He’s tired of being left out around here so he went to Stephanie McMahon herself. She’s sent a message with him: there’s going to be a checks and balances system, meaning Corbin is the new Constable of Raw to enforce the rules.

Natalya vs. Nia Jax

Non-title with Ronda Rousey on commentary. Nia runs her over and knocks Natalya to the floor as we take a break. Back with Natalya fighting out of a chinlock and scoring with a jawbreaker. A discus clothesline puts Nia down for two but Natalya hurts her knee on the step over into the dropkick. The Samoan drop ends Natalya in short order at 7:22.

Rating: D. I’m still not sure why I’m supposed to be interested in seeing if Ronda can armbar Nia when she’s already armbarred HHH but you can’t expect them to keep continuity for a full two months. Nia’s rather abrupt heel turn and Rousey suddenly being friends with Natalya are both stretches but I’ve seen worse from this company before. Just keep the match at Money in the Bank short and they should survive.

Post match Nia checks on the downed Natalya and Rousey comes in to keep things safe. Natalya is all frustrated as Rousey helps her out. Nia didn’t get physical after the match and looked concerned.

Bobby Roode is ready to win Money in the Bank and promises that it will be Glorious. As for Braun Strowman tonight….yeah he’s nervous but his goal is just to survive.

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Roode

Strowman throws him around to start and the fans start a GET THESE HANDS chant. An overhead belly to belly has Roode in even more trouble but he avoid a charge into the post. With Strowman down, Roode bridges a ladder between the barricade and the apron. The chase is on and Roode ducks underneath the ladder….so Strowman punches the ladder in half. Roode is stunned and gets powerslammed for the pin at 4:48.

Rating: C-. So he can break ladders with fists like Wreck It Ralph. Well of course he can. I mean, I can’t imagine him winning Money in the Bank (they’ve pushed it way too hard) so we might as well give him some superpowers before he keeps falling down the ladder. But hey, at least he gets to do something cool in this nothing match, right?

Kevin Owens is ready to take care of everyone in Money in the Bank, starting tonight with Finn Balor.

Natalya is getting her knee iced when Nia comes in to apologize again. Rousey tells her to leave and Natalya says she needs a minute to herself.

Here are Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt to say they’re ready to destroy everyone who faces them because they’ll have fireflies. Matt asks Renee Young if she’s woken and yes she is. Matt: “THAT IS WONDERFUL!” Matt loads up the prepare the battlefield but Bray promises to make the winners suffer before their deletion. Cole: “I have no idea what just happened.”

Money in the Bank rundown.

Tag Team Battle Royal

Ascension, Breezango, Revival, Heath Slater/Rhyno, Titus Worldwide, B Team, Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre

The winners get a title shot at some point in the future. Jojo starts the introductions and the fight is already on, giving us a very odd visual. Like seriously, pay attention people. Ziggler and McIntyre hang out on the apron for a bit before going in to join the fight. Random fighting ensues with Ziggler doing his usual parade of false finishes until Breeze dropkicks him out, meaning McIntyre is out as well. Drew cleans house before leaving and Ziggler joins him for some superkicks.

The Claymore into the Zig Zag drops Rhyno and a bunch of referees tell them to get out. We take a break and come back with Titus Worldwide having been eliminated. Ascension and Breezango are out too and we’re down to three. Rhyno casually tosses Wilder and it’s Slater/Rhyno vs. the B Team. Rhyno gets sent to the floor and Slater picks Axel up for a slam, only to knock Rhyno out to give the B Team the win at 7:26.

Rating: D. Now I don’t know why the Authors of Pain weren’t in this, but my guess is because they sneezed backstage or something and Vince hasn’t yet forgiven them. They can’t even get in a battle royal with the entire division but Rhyno of all people can get one of the last spots. The B Team is funny but I have no idea why the Authors have been banished from Raw for whatever reason.

Here’s Bobby Lashley to call out Sami Zayn….who comes through the crowd. He has a debilitating hand injury that prevented him from doing the simple, everyday tasks like cooking his tofu steaks. Despite being injured though, Sami has never stopped scouting Lashley so he’s been on Instagram this week.

Sami has found some inspirational quotes that Lashley has posted, such as one about finding no box when being told to think outside the box. Next is telling people to do things that scare you because they’re worth it. These quotes touched him so Sami, as a fan, sent him a direct message on Instagram, which sent him a link to the Bobby Lashley VIP fan club, full of expensive merchandise.

Lashley asks what the point of all this is (the voice of the voiceless) and isn’t sure if he should laugh at Sami or feel sorry for him. Sami says everything about Lashley is a lie and he doesn’t even know if Lashley has sisters. Was he even in the army? That’s a step too far for Lashley, who takes off the white jacket….and nothing else is said. Is this supposed to be some big inside joke or are they actually wanting to make me see this match? Either way, it’s really not working.

We look back at the opening segment.

Jinder Mahal says the storm is coming for Reigns.

Roman asks what Jinder has done around here lately and that he expects to be handed everything. We cut back to Jinder, who says Reigns wouldn’t say that to his face. Reigns says he’d say it to his face so Mahal can stay there so Reigns can come shut his mouth for him. A few seconds later the fight is on with Reigns beating Mahal down until referees break it up. This was our big reward for everything else we’ve sat through tonight?

Alexa Bliss/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon vs. Riott Squad

Moon takes Riott down to start but Bliss tags herself in, only to tweak her hamstring. That’s enough for Bliss and she takes a walk as we go to a break. Back with Moon fighting out of a Morgan chinlock but getting tossed back into the corner. Moon gets pulled down by the hair but gets over for the tag a few seconds later anyway. Sasha cleans house and everything breaks down with Logan knocking Moon into the barricade. Back in and a double Meteora puts Morgan and Logan down so here’s Bayley to take the tag from Banks. This is perfectly acceptable as Bayley cleans house and finishes Logan with the Bayley to Belly at 7:07.

Rating: D. I mean, it’s not even the most questionable ending on the show so far tonight and at this point I just want the show to be over already. It seems that they’ve just dropped the Bayley vs. Sasha feud (again) as they’re completely focused on Money in the Bank and, as usual, that’s all that matters for everyone involved in the match. More boring action here in another match that was longer than it felt.

Corbin tells Angle to go fix this because he’ll tell Stephanie otherwise.

Post break, Ember, Bayley and Sasha are happy with their win. Moon wants Bayley and Sasha to hug this out but Angle comes in and says it’s a DQ loss. Moon: “Seriously?” Well duh Ember. Why did you think that would work? Sasha seems to blame Bayley. Allow me to paraphrase: Well duh Sasha. Why did you think that would work?

Corbin yells at the referee.

Bis Show (looking slim) is here with some Special Olympians. That’s always cool to see.

Next week: four way matches between the Raw Money in the Bank participants! In other words, even less stuff to fill in the three hours!

Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens

Owens easily takes him down to start and asks if that was too sweet. A headlock has Balor slowed down and we switch to a chinlock to really mix things up. Balor fights up into an armbar but Owens whips him hard into the corner to cut him off again. Back from a break with Owens holding another chinlock and Balor fighting up in short order. The kick to the head looks to set up the Coup de Grace but Owens rolls outside.

A snap of the arm over the rope puts Balor in more trouble and it’s off to an armbar. Balor fights up with an elbow to the face but gets superkicked back down. The shotgun dropkick knocks Owens into the corner, only to have him pop back up to crotch Balor. Owens stomps away and that’s a DQ at 18:34.

Rating: D-. So yes, after this horrible show, we’re really supposed to be interested in a DQ finish to a long and really boring match. These two are capable of so much more but since it’s Money in the Bank season, it’s time to sit around and do the boring matches for the sake of building momentum or whatever nonsense we’re supposed to care about this week.

Post match Owens hits the frog splash and climbs the really big ladder. He takes forever teasing the big splash off the ladder but Balor gets up and pulls him down. A Coup de Grace off the ladder crushes Owens and Balor pulls down a briefcase to end the show.

Overall Rating: F. That’s the worst episode I can remember since….well since last year’s Money in the Bank build. This was HORRIBLE with nothing interesting, a bunch of matches that meant nothing (Cole: “Could this be a sign of things to come at Money in the Bank?” NO! BECAUSE IT NEVER IS YOU NITWIT!), were downright stupid (“I’ve been on INSTAGRAM!”) or made wrestlers look like idiots (of course you can just run in on our tag match and get a pin that counts). It’s a terrible time to be a WWE fan and this felt like it went on for nine hours. Don’t worry though as next week will be even worse. Lucky us.

Results

Elias/Jinder Mahal b. Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins – Drift Away to Rollins

James Harden b. Curt Hawkins via DQ when Baron Corbin interfered

Nia Jax b. Natalya – Samoan drop

Braun Strowman b. Bobby Roode – Running powerslam

B Team won a Tag Team Battle Royal last eliminating Heath Slater/Rhyno

Riott Squad b. Alexa Bliss/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon via DQ when Bayley interfered

Finn Balor b. Kevin Owens via DQ when Owens wouldn’t stop attacking in the corner

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of the NXT The Full Sail Years Volume III (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

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