Monday Night Raw
Date: June 25, 2018
Location: Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
We’re getting closer and closer to Extreme Rules and that means we need to know who will be in the multi-man match for the right to face Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. Other than that we have an Intercontinental Title match tonight as new champion Dolph Ziggler (Huh?) faces Seth Rollins in a rematch from last week. Let’s get to it.
Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin are in the ring, but first we have to hear a lengthy introduction for all of Corbin’s job titles. Angle talks about the upcoming #1 contenders match but shifts towards a recent Facebook post from Paul Heyman, saying no one was worthy of facing Lesnar. Before he can make an announcement though, here’s Roman Reigns to interrupt. Bobby Lashley interrupts as well, with Reigns not being able to get to say anything.
Lashley says he wants Lesnar and Reigns has had three years of chances. That means it’s time to move on, but Reigns says Lashley moved on ten years ago. About ten years ago, Lashley was in the main event of Wrestlemania (well, pretty much) but then he decided to go to MMA and become famous. What has Lashley done around here since then? Reigns is the guy who has been main eventing Wrestlemania four years in a row and it’s going to be five. Lashley tells him not to disrespect his background but he’s ready for anyone Angle throws at him.
Angle says there was a snag in the details and the multi-man match is off at Extreme Rules. Reigns goes on a rant about Lesnar not wanting to be here unless he gets paid, but Lashley thinks Lesnar just wants a real challenge and is sick of seeing Roman’s face. Lashley: “Just like all these people here.” A challenge is issued and they’re ready to fight, but Angle says he’s willing to take a singles match between the two of them under advisement. Cue the Revival again though and we’re having a rematch from last week.
Revival vs. Roman Reigns/Bobby Lashley
Rematch from last week. Wilder gets sent outside to start and it’s a double shoulder to drop Dawson instead. A cheap shot from Wilder knocks Lashley into Reigns though and it’s Lashley, who loses the headband and reveals his rather large forehead, in trouble. More stomping in the corner doesn’t do much good for Revival as it’s quickly off to Reigns. That’s not very interesting to the announcers though so they read portions of Heyman’s Facebook post.
Reigns hits the apron boot on Wilder and we take a break. Back with Reigns in the same trouble Lashley was in earlier as Revival takes turns stomping away. The announcers talk about Lesnar some more as Wilder and Dawson talk trash and kick Reigns in the head. A Samoan drop gets Reigns out of trouble and it’s back to Lashley for that dreaded vertical suplex. It’s delayed and everything. Lashley loads up the spear but Reigns tags himself in for the Superman Punch to Wilder. Reigns loads up the spear but sidesteps a blind tag. Dawson’s charge hits Reigns but the distraction lets Wilder roll Reigns up at 13:03.
Rating: D+. Somehow, I’ll gladly take this, even if it might mean a third match next week and will mean nothing for the Revival because they’re not one of the featured tag teams at this point so they’re not going anywhere. Reigns and Lashley have some chemistry together as long as Lashley isn’t allowed to talk for very long, but their match might be a little rough.
Reigns and Lashley yell at each other.
Matt Hardy liked last week’s B Team parody, which he hasn’t seen done as well since he was sharing a tart with Bill Shakespeare. Bray Wyatt comes in and laughs about what the B Team did, promising consequences.
Matt Hardy vs. Curtis Axel
Before the match, the B Team parodies Matt and Bray again, this time choking on the smoke and lowering themselves with the lamp. They trade shots to the face to start with Matt putting him on the turnbuckle for more right hands to the jaw. A superplex doesn’t work for Matt as Curtis falls on top….for the pin at 1:54.
Post match Matt and Bray declare that a WONDERFUL win for the B Team.
Stills of last week’s Bayley vs. Sasha Banks incident.
The Authors of Pain (hey, they exist) shove a production guy and get talked down to by Titus Worldwide.
Bayley welcomes Alicia Fox back (uh, yay) but Angle comes in to tell Bayley that she and Sasha are teaming up again with Ember Moon against the Riott Squad. You can imagine Bayley’s reaction.
Authors of Pain vs. Rich Gibson/Rex Gibson
The Gibsons are in red and green, meaning the Authors are about to beat up some Christmas trees. They’re knocked/thrown to the floor in short order and the Last Chapter ends Rich at 1:03.
Titus Worldwide comes in to break up the post match beatdown.
Angle and Corbin are bickering in the back when Finn Balor and Braun Strowman come in. Braun talks about beating up Kevin Owens last week but now he wants to be his friend tonight. Therefore, it’s Braun/Owens vs. Balor/Corbin tonight. Yes they really are just taking the same people and shuffling them for different matches.
Long recap of Ronda Rousey going insane last week and beating down Angle and Alexa Bliss.
Here are Alexa and Mickie James to brag about Bliss getting the title back and laugh off the idea of Rousey being a threat. Now Bliss gets to face the big bully in Nia Jax, assuming Nia’s arm is healthy by then. Bliss talks about how the mean girl overcame the pretty and popular one because it works in Hollywood. This is the real world though and Bliss knows how to overcome obstacles. She’s overcome Jax and Rousey and is still champion so boo her all you want.
Cue Natalya to say the countdown is on because we’re 23 days away from Rousey returning to deal with Bliss. That earns Natalya a lecture about posting her whole life on social media, because that’s the appropriate response here. Natalya isn’t done though, because she gets to face Bliss right now.
Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya
Non-title and Natalya has Nia Jax in her corner. Joined in progress with Bliss holding her in a bodyscissors before the moonsault knees to the ribs get two. Some stomps to the back give Bliss two but both seconds offer failed interference. Natalya uses the distraction to hit a discus lariat, followed by the Sharpshooter for the tap at 4:07.
Rating: D. In theory this should go somewhere for Natalya, who is still sniffing around the Rousey story, which could be a good idea for Rousey down the line. I’m never a fan of the champing tapping clean like this but it’s such a common practice to have a champion lose these days that it’s not even worth getting upset about anymore.
We look back at Ziggler cheating Rollins out of the Intercontinental Title last week.
Rollins promises to get the title back tonight.
The Riott Squad takes over a Jinder Mahal photo shoot and break the camera.
Sasha Banks/Bayley/Ember Moon vs. Riott Squad
Banks starts fast with the Meteora to Logan so it’s off to Liv vs. Moon. Everything breaks down in a hurry and the Squad bails to the floor, leaving Moon to dive onto Riott and Morgan. Back form a break with Banks coming back in to clean house with clotheslines but Riott cuts her off with a kick to the face. Bayley makes a save and everything breaks down with Moon elbowing Logan in the face. Banks rolls Riott up for two but has to knock Morgan off the apron, allowing Riott to small package Sasha for the pin at 7:02.
Rating: D+. So you remember all those time where Bayley and Sasha can’t get along and it’s been going on for about four months now? This is the latest version. They really, really need to go somewhere with this already because it’s gone on for so long already and the energy from the whole thing is gone.
Post match Bayley snaps and beats the heck out of Sasha as the fans want tables. Banks gets tossed into the steps twice and the fans cheer for Bayley. The announcers treat this like a heel turn but Bayley is loudly cheered and it’s the result of Banks stabbing her in the back over and over. That doesn’t sound heel turnish to me.
Owens is worried about teaming with Strowman but Angle tells him not to worry.
No Way Jose vs. Mojo Rawley
Hang on though as Mojo doesn’t think much of having a rematch. You have to earn the right to come down the ramp to a WWE ring and neither Jose nor the conga line has done that yet. Mojo mocks a guy named Todd who is dressed like a cheeseburger, saying he’ll never get a WWE contract. We’re not having a match, but Mojo does deck Jose. No match, though Mojo continues to interest me.
Bayley tries to explain to Angle but gets sent to counseling next week instead. I rolled my eyes and sighed when I heard that, because it’s going to be bad.
Braun Strowman/Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor/Baron Corbin
Owens and Corbin start things off with Baron running him over without much effort. It’s off to Balor, who gets in one arm crank before Corbin tags himself back in. The chokebreaker is escaped and Owens tags Strowman in for a change. Corbin tries a kick to the ribs but gets punched in the face for his efforts. Strowman orders Owens to get back in and this time Balor gets to stay inside for more than a few seconds.
That means a quick chinlock on Balor but Corbin breaks up the Cannonball. Instead Strowman comes in and splashes Balor while Owens Cannonballs Corbin, sending us to a break. Back with Balor working on Owens’ arm until Corbin comes in for more of the same. Owens gets in a shot to the face and brings Strowman in, meaning things are going bad in a hurry. Strowman cleans house, including the forearm to Balor’s chest.
With Corbin and Balor on the floor, Strowman heads outside for the running shoulders, which he’s managed to get over quite well. Owens gets the tag and tries one of his own, only to have Corbin drop him with a clothesline. That’s not cool with Strowman, who sends Corbin into the barricade for ruining his fun. Back in and Corbin makes one too many blind tags, earning himself a kick to the head. Corbin breaks up Balor’s dive and they fight up the ramp for the countout at 11:41.
Rating: D+. The match was watchable, though swapping the people in and out isn’t the most thrilling thing in the world. It would be nice if these guys had something to fight over other than “well, they’ve been fighting for weeks”, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon because everything else (as in all two or three things they could fight over) are occupied. I’m sure we’ll see these guys together again soon.
Post match Owens celebrates with Strowman, who isn’t pleased. Strowman chases the terrified Owens off. Just announce Balor/Owens vs. Corbin/Strowman for next week already.
After a graphic for the Intercontinental Title match, Owens hides in a closet and Strowman interrogates people. Strowman: “THE GUY WHO LOOKS LIKE HE’S GOT A BOWLING BALL UNDER HIS SHIRT!”
Post break Owens has security escort him to the exist. Even as he leaves, he’s still looking for Owens but the valet doesn’t have his keys. Strowman beat him there of course….and has turned Owens’ car upside down.
Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins is challenging and, after Big Match Intros, wastes no time in dropkicking Ziggler out to the floor. Some chops rock Ziggler and it’s off to an early armbar as they have about half an hour if not more. That’s broken up in a hurry and Ziggler hits his big jumping elbow for an early two. A headlock keeps Rollins in trouble and the pace slows a good bit. Rollins finally fights up and Ziggler bails to the floor, only to have McIntyre fail as a shield.
A staredown with McIntyre takes us to a break. Back with Rollins holding his knee and another chinlock keeping things slow. Rollins fights up and sends him into the corner for a breather and both guys are down. Ziggler backdrops him over the top to further the knee injury but Seth is back up for stereo crossbodies. Rollins’ knee is fine enough for a Sling Blade but McIntyre offers a distraction. That’s enough for an ejection, allowing Rollins to suicide dive onto both of them.
Back in and Ziggler crotches him on top for two and we take another break. We come back again with Rollins hitting the Ripcord Knee but Ziggler gets his foot on the rope. They fight to the apron where a DDT knocks Rollins senseless with the announcers declaring it over. Do they really think we buy lines like that anymore? Rollins knees him down again for a close two but gets caught on top.
Ziggler gets shoved down and the frog splash gets another close two and the fans are losing their minds. The Stomp and the Zig Zag both miss and Ziggler’s rollup with tights gets two. Now the Zig Zag connects for two and Ziggler is stunned. They head up top again and Rollins tries a superplex to the floor but has to settle for the superplex into the Falcon Arrow for an even closer two instead with McIntyre pulling the referee out for the DQ at 27:38.
Rating: B. And so, it’s going to continue, likely in some form of gimmick match at Extreme Rules. As usual, I would rather be seeing McIntyre in Ziggler’s spot but for some reason he’s just there as muscle and not even bothering to put him in the ring more often than not. As long as this leads to McIntyre dropping Ziggler and either winning the title or moving on to bigger and better things, everything will be fine. Just get Ziggler away from the spotlight already.
As for the match, it was much better after the second break but that first half was just filling time that the match really didn’t need to have. I would always prefer a hot seventeen minute match over a twenty seven minute match where about half of it feels like a waste of time. The ending didn’t help things either, but some of those near falls were great.
Post match the beatdown is on until Roman Reigns makes the save. A Superman Punch puts McIntyre back on the floor to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. I don’t know if it was the UK show earlier today wearing me down but this show felt like it was about 19 hours long with the especially long and not great main event not exactly helping things. I’m not sure where they’re heading with the major story, but I do appreciate the idea of a singles match instead of another multi-man match at the pay per view. Other than that, the show wasn’t too bad but it dragged a lot, which makes for a rough sit when there are two more shows tomorrow.
I’m worried about the lack of Lesnar though, as the entire rule book is thrown out the window when he’s involved. While I don’t think they’re crazy enough to just let him vacate the title and never come back, they’re dumb enough to go with something really bad at Summerslam that is nowhere near as good as it should be. In other words, just get the Lesnar vs. Reigns graphics back up again.
Revival b. Roman Reigns/Bobby Lashley – Rollup to Reigns
Curtis Axel b. Matt Hardy – Crossbody
Authors of Pain b. Rick Gibson/Rex Gibson – Last Chapter to Rich
Natalya b. Alexa Bliss – Sharpshooter
Riott Squad b. Bayley/Sasha Banks/Ember Moon – Small package to Banks
Kevin Owens/Braun Strowman b. Baron Corbin/Finn Balor via countout
Seth Rollins b. Dolph Ziggler via DQ when Drew McIntyre interfered
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