Monday Night Raw – July 9, 2018

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 9, 2018
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman

It’s the go home show for the mostly non-extreme Extreme Rules. Instead we’re currently focused on Kevin Owens being locked in a portable toilet and being covered in blue liquid, because that’s what the end of last week’s show spent ten minutes setting up. I wonder what thrills we have on tap this week. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Bobby Lashley’s original WWE career, leading into his return and feud with Roman Reigns.

Lashley and Reigns are in the back, arguing about Reigns going to the ring. Lashley wants Reigns to call him out as a DANIEL BRYAN chant drowns out some of whatever they’re saying. Lashley steps to the side and tells Reigns to carry on.

Here’s Reigns in the ring for a chat and he wastes no time in calling Lashley out. Before anything can happen though, here’s Kurt Angle, flanked by Baron Corbin, to interrupt. Angle wants them to save it for Sunday but the brawl is on anyway. A bunch of midcarders can’t break it up and the fight breaks out over and over again. Reigns is finally taken to the floor as Finn Balor gets in a shot on Corbin for a nice bit of continuity.

The fight keeps breaking out with even more people coming out and failing to separate them. Lashley keeps punching and throws Reigns inside but is finally pushed to the back. Reigns isn’t done though and hits the BIG dive over the top to take out about twenty people at the same time. Reigns’ music plays but he comes back AGAIN and dives at Lashley. Really, really solid segment here but it’s going to be annoying when this headlines again over the World Title. Also, they need to bring this intensity to the match instead of the boring match Reigns and Samoa Joe had at Backlash.

Nia Jax/Natalya vs. Mickie James/Alexa Bliss

Natalya wastes no time in trying a Sharpshooter on James but gets kicked away, allowing the tag to Bliss. The same Sharpshooter attempt sends Bliss bailing to the floor so Natalya baseball slides both villains down. Back from an early break with Natalya being sent into the corner so Bliss can hit her running slap. We hit the chinlock so IT’S TIME FOR AN INSET PROMO FOR SUNDAY! Sweet, I was worried that we wouldn’t get these stupid things again. Back to full screen with Natalya getting over for the hot tag to Nia, who starts wrecking Mickie. The splash in the corner sets up the big leg to give Nia the pin at 8:09.

Rating: D. Well what we saw was decent, but the inset promo felt like a second commercial. That and Nia just running over everyone has been done, especially since it’s a near guarantee that she loses on Sunday, allowing Bliss to go to Summerslam and hang with Ronda Rousey for a long match. Just not enough content here to make it work.

Immediately after the pin, Bliss hits Jax in the back with a kendo stick. The stick is quickly taken away and broken as Bliss runs away in a hurry.

Post break, Nia promises to use the extreme rules to get back at Bliss for everything she’s done to her in the last few months because anything goes.

We recap Braun Strowman tormenting Kevin Owens last week.

Owens comes in to Angle’s office and complains about Angle allowing all of this to happen. He threatens Angle with various legal issues over last week but has a doctor’s note banning him from competing tonight. Therefore, he’ll be hanging out in Angle’s office to hide from Strowman. And he even brought his own chair. I’m still not sure why Owens is supposed to be the heel in this whole thing.

No Way Jose vs. Mojo Rawley

The long awaited rematch. Mojo shrugs off some early forearms and runs Jose over with a shoulder. We hit the chinlock and thankfully don’t go to an inset ad for Sunday. A running splash in the corner sets up another chinlock as this is already dragging. Jose fights up with some right hands but gets caught with a wicked Alabama Slam for the pin at 4:14.

Rating: D+. Mojo continues to grow on me but they need to do something with him already. This “feud” has been going on for a few weeks now and we’re not exactly anywhere further than we were before. Let Rawley see what he can do in a slightly bigger feud and maybe this can go somewhere.

Earlier today, Bayley and Sasha Banks had more therapy in the same office with a different therapist. Bayley blames Banks for everything and that’s it for now.

Jinder Mahal tells Seth Rollins to search for inner peace. Rollins seems to get it and breathing ensues but Rollins sneaks out.

Here’s Rollins for a chat. He loves the nicknames he’s built up over the years but right now the most important is FORMER Intercontinental Champion. This Sunday is all about becoming the Iron Man and the Intercontinental Champion again, but Dolph Ziggler is going to bring the Scottish Wookie Drew McIntyre with him. Rollins is SETH FREAKING ROLLINS though and cue Ziggler and McIntyre for a rebuttal. Ziggler says he’ll bring his skills, the psycho McIntyre and the title, where he’ll walk out as still champion.

Sure, Rollins is great but he’s not Ziggler. Maybe Dolph can win 100-0 on Sunday to really hammer the point home. He botches a line about Rollins having no dignity left and then talks about his victories as a college wrestler. Rollins thinks Drew helped him win there too but then asks why McIntyre sticks with Ziggler. Maybe Ziggler has pictures of McIntyre getting friendly with sheep in Scotland? That’s enough for a challenge from McIntyre so Rollins accepts, saying he’s a baaaaad man.

The B Team impersonates Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt. Again.

Here’s the B Team for a match and another impersonation, this time with Bo Dallas wondering what he can eat alongside the world on Sunday. Matt and Bray pop up on screen to say the time for fun and games is over. Laughter and fear are contagious so let’s do this right now.

Bo Dallas vs. Matt Hardy

An angry Matt starts hammering away in the corner to start as the Revival is watching in the back. That would be a rather nice development indeed. A suplex on the floor keeps Axel in trouble and we take a break. Back with Matt holding a cravate and an inset promo for Asuka vs. Carmella on Sunday. Matt takes him to the floor for a Side Effect onto the steps and some posing back inside. A neckbreaker across the ropes is broken up by a Curtis Axel distraction though and Dallas gets the pin at 8:39.

Rating: D. You know all those times that we’ve seen this before? Well this is the most recent version. I really hope we get to the Revival getting the titles out of this as neither of these teams are exactly interesting. At least we might get something entertaining from the Revival. Sure the impressions were funny at first, but repeating them for a month isn’t entertaining.

Post match Matt and Bray clean house.

We look back at the opening segment.

Lashley wants Reigns to fight on Sunday because Reigns isn’t walking out. Believe that.

Tyler Breeze offers the Riott Squad some fashion advice but they rip up the Breezango shirts.

Bliss can’t wait to hurt Nia again, this time in front of Ronda Rousey.

Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan

Ember shouts a lot and runs Liv over a lot, knocking her outside as we take an early break. Back with Morgan keeping Moon in trouble with a cross arm choke and doing some screaming of her own with the blue tongue on full display. Cole asked Morgan why she had the blue tongue. Morgan: “I like blue.” Back up and Liv busts out a Matrix move to avoid a clothesline but gets sent face first into the middle buckle off a headscissors from the mat. Moon hits a springboard right in the corner and grabs a quick Jackknife rollup for the pin at 7:52.

Rating: D+. Another short match with the commercial cutting out the majority of whatever value we might have gotten from it. Neither of these two have anything going on at the moment so it’s not like this is going to lead anywhere. The Squad isn’t much without Ruby around to give them a voice, but Morgan has gotten better in the ring.

Finn Balor isn’t worried about tonight’s tag match but here’s partner Bobby Roode to say the two of them are similar. They’ll be partners tonight and it will be GLORIOUS. Balor doesn’t like Corbin and he’ll take it out on him in the ring.

Owens complains about Angle’s office when McIntyre and Ziggler come in. Angle cuts them off and says if McIntyre loses tonight, he’s banned from ringside on Sunday.

Here’s Elias to say he hasn’t performed in two weeks but it’s been for a reason. He’s been in the studio recording his debut album, which is happening because WWE stands for WALK WITH ELIAS. As you might expect, the song mocks Boston and the Boston accent, with Elias saying Tom Brady told him to just pretend to like the Boston fans like he’s done for so many years. Cue Corbin, to say he’d like to sing a bit as well, which means we get a version of Itsy Bitsy Spider mocking Balor’s size. In other words, it’s the warmed over Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass feud all over again.

Finn Balor/Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin/Elias

Joined in progress with Roode taking Elias down into a headlock but making the mistake of going after Corbin on the apron. The distraction lets Elias knee Roode in the face and it’s Roode in early trouble. We hit the chinlock and this time it’s an ad for Reigns vs. Lashley. Back to full screen with Roode fighting up for the hot tag to Balor, who gets distracted by Corbin so Elias can send him into the corner as we take a break.

Back with Elias grabbing another chinlock because we haven’t seen one of those in five minutes. Balor fights up and Sling Blades Corbin, allowing the hot tag off to Roode. House is cleaned for a bit until Roode dives into a chokebreaker with Balor breaking up the count. The Blockbuster gives Roode two as Elias makes a save of his own but the Coup de Grace is broken up. Instead it’s the End of Days to put Roode away at 13:07.

Rating: C-. That’s a match that happened as Corbin continues to get a push while having one of the lamest feuds you can have in wrestling. Roode continues to be stuck in the same role he’s been in for months now and while a heel turn would help, it depends on what he goes after that. Not a terrible match, but it could be more about the match getting some time.

Owens is having a sandwich when Strowman comes in. Angle is tired of Owens running so on Sunday, it’s a cage match. Strowman sprays Owens with air freshener.

Sasha and Bayley are still in counseling and they’ll have to report to Angle next week. Dang it this could have been good.

Reigns says Lashley’s physical gifts don’t matter in a fight. When your gifts are in wrestling and fighting, yeah they kind of do. After Sunday, Lashley can be the guy somewhere else.

Extreme rules rundown. Still needs a lot more gimmicky stuff to live up to the name.

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre

If Rollins wins, Drew is banned from ringside on Sunday. McIntyre powers him into the corner with ease to start, allowing McIntyre to do his kneeling pose. A dropkick has almost no effect and McIntyre runs him over with a shoulder. It’s off to an armbar with McIntyre in full control so far. A chinlock keeps Rollins in trouble and McIntyre chops him back down to set up another armbar.

McIntyre drives him back first into the apron and we take a break. Back with Rollins flying off an overhead belly to belly and some stomps to the arm setting up yet another armbar. Rollins fights up and finally gets a breather by sending McIntyre face first into the middle buckle. McIntyre heads to the floor for back to back suicide dives, followed by the middle rope Blockbuster for a near fall of his own.

A charge in the corner goes badly for Rollins though as McIntyre grabs a reverse Alabama Slam, sending Rollins face first into the mat on a nasty looking landing. A sitout powerbomb gets two more but McIntyre gets caught up top, allowing Rollins to kick him into the Tree of Woe. That’s fine with Drew, who sits up and superplexes Rollins right back down.

The Claymore is blocked with a superkick into the Falcon Arrow to rock McIntyre. It doesn’t rock him enough though as McIntyre scores with a headbutt, which seems to fire McIntyre up all over again. Rollins is fine enough to hit a Buckle Bomb and low superkick, followed by a curb stomp to an invading Ziggler. The distraction is enough for McIntyre to hit the Claymore for the pin at 21:06.

Rating: B. Now that’s more like it as this show was needing a long, good match to really boost things up. Thankfully they seem to have started planting the seeds for McIntyre to split from Ziggler but that needs to happen around Summerslam or so because Ziggler is already getting way too much focus by comparison. At least McIntyre won here though, as a loss would have been a rather bad idea.

Overall Rating: C-. The Reigns vs. Lashley stuff was rather good though I’m not wild on the idea of having them close the show over another World Title match. Of course that’s the most likely scenario because you have to keep Reigns strong so he can continue doing nothing but that’s a different story for later. The rest of the show wasn’t exactly inspiring stuff, especially with the idea of Rollins vs. Ziggler in another thirty minute match. The cage match is a nice addition but I’m really not feeling anything extreme about Sunday. I’m sure that expecting a lot of extreme things on a show called EXTREME RULES is just a mistake though.

Results

Nia Jax/Natalya b. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James – Legdrop to James

Mojo Rawley b. No Way Jose – Alabama Slam

Bo Dallas b. Matt Hardy – Hanging swinging neckbreaker

Ember Moon b. Liv Morgan – Jackknife rollup

Baron Corbin/Elias b. Bobby Roode/Finn Balor – End of Days to Roode

Drew McIntyre b. Seth Rollins – Claymore

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