Monday Night Raw – July 2, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 2, 2018
Location: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Commentators: Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman, Michael Cole

We’re getting closer to Extreme Rules but we’re missing a lot of the extreme. At the moment we have one match with any kind of a gimmick announced with Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler in an Iron Man match. Other than that we might get to find out what Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley are fighting for since Brock Lesnar might not be working Summerslam. Let’s get to it.

The opening recap looks at Lashley and Reigns’ issues, including losing a match to the Revival to even their series. The third match is tonight. We also look at the Intercontinental Title match with Drew McIntyre costing Seth Rollins his rematch.

Here’s Reigns for a chat. He knows Lashley is a tough guy and that means he wants a fight right here right now. Lashley is an egomaniac so let’s do this. Instead here are Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, to say Reigns couldn’t mind his own business last week. The fight is on in a hurry with the numbers taking Reigns down until Rollins runs in for the save.

Back from a break with Rollins and Reigns running into Kurt Angle in the back. The tag match is made for next week. Reigns wants it tonight but Reigns and Lashley are teaming up against the Revival. AGAIN. Actually hang on though as Angle makes Rollins/Reigns vs. McIntyre/Ziggler tonight. No word on if the Revival match is still on or not.

Matt Hardy vs. Curtis Axel

Bray Wyatt isn’t here tonight because of a car wreck on Friday, but of course WWE can’t possibly blame his absence on the B Team. That might make too much sense and they might have to write something original so it’s not in the cards. Nah instead here’s the B Team parodying Wyatt and Hardy again because it’s funny (pal). Matt shoves him down and Bo Dallas offers Curtis some advice.

A neckbreaker gives Matt two but it’s too early for the Twist of Fate. Back from a break with Axel hitting a bad looking dropkick and a backbreaker gets two. Hardy sends him into the buckle and grabs the Side Effect for two. The Twist of Fate is loaded up but Dallas offers a distraction, allowing Axel to post Hardy. The Axhole ends Hardy at 9:30.

Rating: D. This feud started off with some potential and has gotten old very fast because it’s a two note story: the B Team are a couple of schmucks and they parody Hardy and Wyatt. That’s the entirety of the story and there’s no hint that they’re going anywhere else. It comes off as more lazy writing and another case of coming up with the lone idea then putting up your feet and saying “back in a month”. This is becoming a bigger and bigger problem on Raw and this feud does it almost as badly as anything else.

Reigns and Rollins are talking about Seth’s Iron Man match when Lashley comes in. He wants to fight Reigns too but they’ll get it together tonight. Reigns says all Lashley has to do is stand on the apron and smile while collecting the win. Lashley is ready to fight now but they’ll work together tonight.

We recap Sasha Banks and Bayley exploding (again) last week.

Earlier today, Bayley went to counseling and Sasha was there too. Dr. Shelby (of Team HELL NO anger management fame) is their therapist and is ready to take them into the friend zone. Inside his office, Shelby goes over the seven tenants of friendship. More on this later because we have a running joke.

Titus Worldwide vs. Authors of Pain

Titus actually powers Rezar into the corner to start and brings Apollo in with Akum following him. A Dominator plants Crews as Cole spits out adjectives to describe the Authors. You know, because a team of powerful monsters need descriptions. There’s a powerbomb/neckbreaker combination to Crews and Titus is sent shoulder first into the post. The Last Chapter ends Crews at 2:56.

Kevin Owens is just arriving and looks very nervous about leaving his car. A valet comes up and asks for his keys but Owens says no chance.

Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre

Ziggler and Rollins start with an early cradle getting two on Seth. Another rollup gets the same so Seth dropkicks him into the corner. Drew comes in to run Rollins over and a shove by the throat puts him down again. It’s off to Reigns who is powered into the corner so Drew can punch him in the head.

The Samoan drop is broken up and McIntyre runs Reigns over again. A superkick gives Ziggler two but one heck of a right hand knocks him out of the air. That’s enough for the hot tag off to Rollins as the pace picks up. A suicide dive hits McIntyre and an apron kick into the frog splash gets two with McIntyre diving in for the save. Rollins and Ziggler exchange rollups until Dolph is sent to the floor.

That means a dive off the post to both villains and we take a break because the match needs to keep going instead of going home after a hot ten minutes. Back with Rollins fighting out of Ziggler’s sleeper and sending him into the corner. McIntyre is right around the other side to pull Reigns off and break up the hot tag, so Rollins kicks him in the face. Now it’s time for the hot tag but the Revival pulls Reigns off the apron for the DQ at 15:49.

Rating: C+. Good match here and they got the ending right. You don’t want the champ, McIntyre or Rollins taking a fall here and Reigns isn’t going to lose so the DQ is as good of an idea as you can get. This was starting to rock before the break and would have been great if they just wrapped it up there but I’ll take what I can get.

Post match the Revival beats Reigns down as Rollins takes the Claymore/Zig Zag combo. Reigns takes a Shatter Machine for a bonus.

We look back at Strowman flipping Owens’ car last week.

Owens complains to Angle about Strowman so Angle makes a match between them for tonight.

Bayley and Sasha are still at therapy with Bayley ranting about something we can’t hear.

Here’s Constable Baron Corbin to talk about how his job is to make everyone better. Last week he pulled Finn Balor from the ring because Balor was clearly tired. When he tried to talk strategy with Balor, he was attacked so the fight was on. Corbin wants Balor to come out here and apologize so here’s Balor, who doesn’t seem interested in apologizing.

Instead Corbin goes first and gives him some backhanded compliments, with Balor insulting Corbin’s clothes and haircut. That sends Corbin over the edge so Balor accuses him of being Stephanie’s stooge. Corbin punches him in the face but gets knocked to the floor, only to leave before Balor can dive. This is all fine as long as it doesn’t lead to Stephanie showing up to collect Finn’s balls.

Elias is playing in the background when the Riott Squad comes up. He plays a bit more as they wreck stuff.

Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan

Liv slaps her hard to start so Ember tosses her to the floor for a very early break. Back with Ember going for an ankle lock but getting enziguried for her efforts. Liv actually wins a slugout and shouts that Moon is nothing, earning her a toss into the corner. A double stomp brings her out of said corner and the Eclipse gives Moon the pin at 7:26.

Rating: D+. Morgan got in a lot of offense here and that’s a positive sign for her going forward. She wasn’t a great worker when she started and while she’s still a work in progress, it seems that they have some confidence in her. Moon is still fine with the Eclipse, but that’s only going to carry her for so long.

Back in the office, Dr. Shelby is at his breaking point but he has the two of them talk as each other. This of course required them to imitate each other because that’s funny see. They argue again and Shelby screams a lot.

Revival vs. Bobby Lashley/Roman Reigns

Reigns and Dawson start things off with Roman powering him into the corner. Dawson takes a breather on the floor and Reigns refuses to tag Lashley in. Back in and Dawson punches away at Reigns’ ribs, which were banged up earlier tonight. Some stomps set up a bodyscissors to keep Reigns in trouble as he can’t get anything going.

A gutbuster gives Wilder two and another shot to the ribs cuts off Reigns’ comeback. There’s a hard whip into the corner to cut Dawson off but Reigns still won’t tag. Instead it’s Lashley coming in without a tag for a pair of spinebusters but Reigns shakes off the offer of a tag. Revival unloads on him in the corner and that’s a DQ at 7:11.

Rating: C. It was much more about the angle than the match but I’ll take the Revival not looking like a pair of losers for a change. I could go for a lot more of the Revival, but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards around here. Reigns vs. Lashley should be fine and if they make Revival look a little more valuable in the process, so be it.

Post match Lashley walks away while Reigns takes another Shatter Machine and a top rope splash. Fans: “ONE MORE TIME!”

Owens begs Angle to cancel the match tonight, offering to organize his office or give him some Shania Twain tickets while Owens babysits his kids. Angle says no, so Owens says Angle doesn’t deserve Shania Twain tickets.

Back from a break and we look at Reigns getting beaten down again.

Reigns comes in to see Lashley and the match is on for Extreme Rules.

No Way Jose is in the ring for a match with Mojo Rawley but Rawley says he’s paid too many dues to let something like this happen. He’s sacrificed everything for this opportunity and all Jose can do is dance. Mojo decks him from behind and beats up a member of Jose’s conga line. They brawl some more and Mojo gets the better of it. I find myself more and more interested in this story every week.

We recap Ronda Rousey snapping into a suspension.

Earlier today, Rousey said she’ll be in the front row at Extreme Rules.

Mickie James vs. Nia Jax

Alexa Bliss is with Mickie. Before the match, Nia talks about thinking she was done with Bliss for ever but we’re right back where we started. This needs to end so let’s make it an Extreme Rules match. Reality seems to set in for Bliss but it gets worse as Nia brings out Natalya to be in her corner. Mickie can’t do anything with Nia to start and gets thrown down in a heap. A trip tot he floor doesn’t go well for Mickie either and it’s a big staredown as we take a break.

Back with Mickie baseball sliding her off the apron and kicking away at the leg. A kick to the head keeps Nia in trouble and a running dropkick takes the knee out again. With Nia down, Mickie goes with just punching the knee but Nia grabs a bodyscissors for an escape. Mickie’s kick to the head is blocked so she slaps Nia in the face. A sitout powerbomb crushes Mickie and Natalya intercepts Bliss. The Samoan drop is good for the pin on James at 9:51.

Rating: C. The knee work was better than usual as Mickie mixed things up a bit but Nia winning was the right call. You have buddies like Mickie for reasons just like this and it’s a good enough way to advance the feud. Since we can’t use jobbers for the most part, this is about as good as it’s going to get.

Owens is trying to learn breathing techniques from Jinder Mahal but gets interrupted by an interviewer. Tonight, Owens is going to show the world how to destroy a monster.

We take another look at Reigns getting beaten down.

Lashley says Reigns got what he asked for. Reigns never would have been the guy if Lashley had been here.

Pay per view rundown.

Remember earlier tonight when we looked back at Owens’ car being destroyed? Well here it is again.

Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman

Owens gets shoved down, rolls outside and runs away for the countout at 51 seconds.

Strowman gives chase so Owens runs into his car, only to not have his keys. Instead, he hides in a well placed portable toilet as Strowman arrives. The fans try to tell Strowman where Owens is as Strowman looks into the car window. He teases going back inside but puts the pieces together. Using a falsetto voice, Strowman asks if anyone is in there and Owens gives himself away.

Strowman wraps duct tape around the thing to seal Owens inside before dragging the toilet and Owens back into the building. We watch as Strowman drags him all the way back into the arena (which takes a good few minutes) and up onto the stage. Of course it’s knocked off the stage and Owens emerges covered in blue liquid. If you listen carefully, you can hear Vince dying with laughter about Owens being “COVERED IN BLUE STUFF” for the next five hours to end the show.

Overall Rating: D-. Oh dear this was a rough one and a lot of that comes back to the lack of Brock Lesnar. Right now you have Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley fighting to be the top star on the roster but with no title to go after, which for some reason requires two Reigns matches. Finn Balor couldn’t have teamed with Rollins instead? Oh no because we need Corbin to have witty exchanges with Balor instead, making them both look and sound like idiots.

Then there’s Strowman, who is picking on Owens because there’s nothing better for him to do and no World Champion to stalk with the briefcase. At the moment this is at least going to be the case until after Extreme Rules and hopefully the rumors about Lesnar not working Summerslam are untrue. Other than that we had Nia being a jerk to Alexa because Bliss used the briefcase as it was intended to be used, the B Team parodying Hardy and Wyatt again, and Ziggler being pushed as the bigger deal over McIntyre.

It feels like some combination of bad writing and just not caring and that makes for a long sit. Smackdown is better, mainly because they don’t seem to put in as much effort into making us sit through this horrible writing. The show felt like they were just throwing stuff out there that made them laugh and put in as little effort as possible, which continues the trend of this being a very rocky few months. It wasn’t so much bad as much as it was lazy and uninspired, which is often a lot worse.

Results

Curtis Axel b. Matt Hardy – Axhole

Authors of Pain b. Titus Worldwide – Last Chapter to Crews

Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins b. Drew McIntyre/Dolph Ziggler via DQ when the Revival interfered

Ember Moon b. Liv Morgan – Eclipse

Roman Reigns/Bobby Lashley b. Revival via DQ when Revival double teamed Reigns

Nia Jax b. Mickie James – Samoan drop

Braun Strowman b. Kevin Owens via countout

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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