Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review right here on TJRWrestling. It’s the post-Stomping Grounds edition of Raw. There were some pretty good matches, but there wasn’t anything “must see” on the show. I thought it was slightly above average for a WWE PPV. Check out my review here. The next WWE PPV is Extreme Rules on July 14.
Here’s what WWE has advertised for Raw:
- Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch will start the show.
- US Champion Ricochet vs. AJ Styles in a non-title match.
- WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn in a non-title match.
- Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon in a handicap match.
There was a report from this weekend that WWE is planning on cutting back on matches that go into a commercial break, so it will be interesting to see how long they stick to that. Will it improve the show? I don’t know, but last week’s Raw was pretty good. Get used to 2/3 Falls matches for longer TV matches while other matches will be kept shorter.
Live from Everett, Washington, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1360 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.
Raw began with a shot of the crowd and Seth Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Championship in his hands. The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young welcomed us to the show by summarizing what happened at Stomping Grounds. The recap of what happened took a couple of minutes.
Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch
Rollins said about last night at Stomping Grounds, Baron Corbin thought he would take this title from him and here comes the Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, who is Seth’s girlfriend as WWE mentioned a few times already in the first five minutes. Huge pop for Becky and some “Becky” chants.
Rollins noted that she interrupted him, she asked “did I?” and he said you did. Rollins said he had to give Corbin some credit because he was smart enough to know that he could get a referee that Seth couldn’t smash in with a steel chair (since a man like Rollins can’t hit a woman like Lacey Evans). However, he wasn’t smart enough to realize that Seth has the best backup on the planet.
Lynch said it pays to be The Man’s Man (that would be Seth). Lynch said that Evans had nothing when it came to fighting, so she tapped out. Lynch said that Evans was not going to cost Seth his title and that’s why The Man (that would be Becky) came around to slap her head.
Baron Corbin’s music hit, but it was Lacey Evans from behind Lynch with a double axehandle to the back. Evans was in street clothes meaning the high heels were on. Lynch fought back with punches on Evans. Lynch went after Evans with forearms. Corbin went to the ring and Rollins took him down with a Slingblade. Lynch hit the Bexploder Suplex on Evans to send her out of the ring. Rollins and Lynch stood tall in the ring while the heels were on the floor.
Corbin said that Becky saved him again and Seth should give Becky the title. Corbin told Rollins to make a sandwich for The Man, referring to Becky. Evans told Lynch to get her little girl out of there unless Becky wants Evans to get her hands on Rollins again (with a punch). Corbin said that if it wasn’t for Lynch, he would be Universal Champion. Corbin said he would pick Evans to be his partner in a mixed tag team match. Evans wanted the match at Extreme Rules.
Lynch said they can do the match, but only if Corbin and Evans get no more chances against them. No more titles shots. Corbin said they’ll agree to the stipulation and Evans said she’ll even raise them one. Rollins said he didn’t care what it was – challenge accepted.
Corbin said that at Extreme Rules, it’s going to be Winners Take All for the Universal Championship and Raw Women’s Championship. Rollins and Lynch seemed to accept it.
Analysis: I’m not a fan of singles titles being on the line in tag team matches although I doubt there will be title changes in that match. I’m also tired of Corbin as a contender for the title when he’s already lost twice and the same goes for Evans. It’s too repetitive. If the rivalries were great then give us all the rematches and I won’t complain, but when the matches are just average at best, I would rather get something different.
The announcers went over what’s to come on Raw and there’s an 8-Man Elimination Tag Team Match up next. Daniel Bryan and Rowan entered for the tag team match. Bryan was cheered in his home state of Washington.
The other teams made their entrances to begin the tag team match.
Elimination Tag Team Match: Daniel Bryan, Rowan and The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. New Day’s Xavier Woods & Big E and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso)
There were “Daniel Bryan” chants because it was his home state of Washington, so Dawson tagged himself in to piss off the crowd. Big E and Woods hit a double team splash/leg drop on Dawson. Big E with a belly to belly on Dawson, Rowan tagged in and hit a clothesline followed by a uranage slam on Big E. Rowan dumped The Usos over the top to the floor. Rowan missed a splash when Big E moved out of the way. Woods and Bryan tagged in with Bryan hitting a running clothesline followed by a clothesline that sent Woods out of the ring. Bryan hit a suicide dive, Woods moved and Bryan hit Dawson by accident. Bryan with a forearm to Woods in the ring and Bryan with a missile dropkick followed by Yes Kicks, Bryan got a rollup and Wilder hit Bryan with a forearm on purpose so Woods rolled up Bryan to eliminate Bryan.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan were eliminated
The Revival attacked Woods quickly after that fall and hit the Shatter Machine double team move. Wilder pinned Woods to eliminate him.
The New Day were eliminated
Analysis: That was a creative way of getting to the break without having action during the commercial. When you make it an elimination match, it can stretch across multiple segments easily.
The match returned with The Usos hitting dives over the top onto The Revival on the floor. There was a back body drop on Dawson on the floor. The bell rang to restart the same match that as already going on. Back in the ring, Jey hit a cross body block on Wilder for two. Jimmy tagged in with a double team neckbreaker. They are using some different camera angles for the match with a camera guy on the apron to shoot closer to the action. Wilder hit a powerslam on a leaping Jimmy for a two count. Dawson with a hard chop to the chest of Jimmy, who came back with a headbutt on Wilder. Dawson tagged in for a bulldog off the top rope for two. Jimmy hit an enziguri kick on Dawson. Jimmy went up top, Dawson punched him, Jey tagged in and Dawson hit a superplex on Jimmy. Jey went up the other turnbuckle, he jumped off Wilder’s back and hit a Uso Splash on Dawson. Jey covered Dawson for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
The Revival were eliminated
Winners by pinfall: The Usos
Analysis: *** Good tag team match with The Usos getting the win to set up a title match against The Revival soon. The finish was really well done with Jey making the blind tag, neither of the Revival guys saw it and Jey took advantage with the splash off Wilder’s back. It was timed well and it worked well. This will probably set up The Usos challenging The Revival for the Raw Tag Team Titles likely at Extreme Rules.
Later on Raw: Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley in a “Tug of War” battle.
A recap aired of Reigns beating McIntyre at Stomping Grounds leading to the Handicap Match later.
The Miz was shown walking backstage and one of Bray Wyatt’s dolls from the Firefly Fun House (Abby) was behind him although the announcers didn’t mention it.
— WWE (@WWE) June 25, 2019
There was a clip from earlier today with Strowman pulling on a rope that was connected to a truck. That was some impressive truck pulling.
Miz TV with R-Truth and Carmella
The Miz was in the ring hosting Miz TV and he introduced the 24/7 Champion R-Truth and Carmella. Truth is now a 7-time 24/7 Champion. Miz told Truth that nobody can challenge Truth while he’s on Miz TV. Miz recapped some of the places where the title changed hands like on a golf course, on an airport tarmac, on a plane and then this past week. There was a clip of R-Truth pinning Drake Maverick (the 24/7 Champion at the time) right after Drake’s wedding. Drake did legitimately get married on Thursday, but they filmed that angle after the wedding. Miz asked Truth “really?” repeatedly.
R-Truth said that this 48/7 European TV Championship (his gimmick is to mess things up) ain’t no joke. Truth said that he hasn’t been able to eat, drink or be merry. Truth said he can’t go to the grocery store or picnics without looking over his back and even WWE superstars showing up at his crib…his house. He claimed people dressed like the police telling him to turn his music down and his car was on fire. Truth said he’s smarter than that. Carmella said that interrupting Drake’s wedding is extreme, but it shows how important the title is.
Drake Maverick showed up with his tie around his head along with dress clothes, which tries to sell the idea that he hasn’t changed his clothes since losing the title. Drake said that winning the 24/7 Title was the biggest moment of his career and his wedding day was supposed to be the biggest moment of his life and Truth ruined it. Drake said his wife won’t talk to him or go on their honeymoon and they haven’t…”what” from the crowd…consummated the marriage. Truth: “Fiber is good for that.” Truth thought he said constipated and everybody laughed. There was a brief “constipated” chant from the crowd. Drake said that he wanted a chance to win back his life and said he wants a shot at the 24/7 Title.
The Miz claimed he was getting a message from the earpiece in his ear and if Truth is willing to defend the title right here, no other competitors can try to challenge Truth during the match. Truth told “Hornswoggle” he’s got the match. The Miz said that the match is next.
Analysis: R-Truth makes me laugh. He’s the funniest guy on WWE TV these days, so I’m all for his comedic skills being showcased because of this title. The “constipated” chant was funny too. Good job by the crowd reacting to it. Drake is also funny in his role as well. I’m warming up to the 24/7 Title because they aren’t shying away from making it a comedy title. Funny is better than lame.
24/7 Championship: R-Truth vs. Drake Maverick
Truth won with a flatliner and covered for the win after about twelve seconds.
Winner by pinfall: R-Truth
Analysis: Match of the year! No point in rating that.
After the match was over, midcard wrestlers went down to the ring to try to challenge Truth for the 24/7 Title. Cedric Alexander hit a springboard kick for a two count, but No Way Jose broke up the pin. Other wrestlers got into a brawl. Truth put Carmella on his back and ran away through the crowd.
Drake Maverick was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso. She asked if he had any thoughts, but he said nothing. Drake cried as he went up the ramp.
Analysis: I liked Drake as a manager for AOP. If they don’t put him back with them, get him another wrestler to manage. They need more managers in WWE.
Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage for his match after the break.
A replay aired of the opening promo with Rollins/Lynch against Corbin/Evans to set up a match at Extreme Rules.
The match is official for Extreme Rules for the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans.
Evans went up to Corbin backstage. Corbin said he’ll enjoy stomping on Rollins again and Evans said as long as they keep their head in the game, they’ll be alright. Corbin said that people think Rollins is like Superman, Evans said that Becky is his kryptonite and they can get the job done. Corbin said that maybe they (he and Evans) can be the new power couple in WWE. Corbin left.
Analysis: I don’t expect a double title change at Extreme Rules, but I guess there’s a possibility that it could happen.
Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre made their entrance for the handicap match. Mike Rome did not give Shane a spectacular introduction, so Shane made him say it better. Shane informed the referee and Rome of the rule change. It is now a 2 on 1 match, which means that Reigns has to face Shane and Drew at the same time with no tags. Reigns got a pretty good pop for his entrance.
Two on One Match: Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns tried to attack, but he was overwhelmed quickly and McIntyre whipped Reigns into the steel steps. Shane shoved Reigns into McIntyre, who hit Reigns in the head with the steps. Back in the ring, Shane with kicks to the ribs followed by McIntyre stomping on Reigns in the head. Shane tossed McIntyre across the ring with McIntyre hitting a Claymore Kick. McIntyre picked up Reigns and Shane hit a Spear on Reigns, who was down on the mat. McIntyre hit another Claymore Kick on Reigns. Cole called this a disgusting, pathetic display by Shane and Drew. McIntyre held Reigns against the turnbuckle and Shane went up top for the Coast to Coast, but The Undertaker’s music hit! The lights went out. When they came back on, The Undertaker was in the ring!
Undertaker hit a Chokeslam on Shane. Taker with a boot to the face of McIntyre and he sent Drew out of the ring with a clothesline. The crowd popped huge when Undertaker showed up. Undertaker hit a clothesline that sent Shane out of the ring. Undertaker did his throat slash gesture followed by a pose in the ring. It went about four minutes when Taker showed up.
Match Result: No Contest
The Undertaker and Reigns were in the ring together while Shane and Drew were in the aisle. The show went to break there.
Analysis: 1/2* The match didn’t matter that much. This was all about bringing back The Undertaker, who is in great shape for a 54-year-old part-timer. That was a nice surprise because I had no idea it was coming and neither did the crowd. It looked like Shane was going to finish off Reigns, but then Undertaker showed up out of nowhere to even up the odds. The fans loved it. I thought it was pretty cool too. That was really well done as a surprise angle. Do they need to feature younger talent better? Sure, but I thought I thought this was good as the kind of surprising moment that Raw needs more often. I’m sure Undertaker will be motivated to do well after the bad match with Goldberg earlier this month.
A replay aired of The Undertaker’s surprising return from before the break.
Braun Strowman made his entrance for the Tug of War competition. Bobby Lashley entered second. They showed a Tale of the Tape listing their information to show how powerful they were.
Tug of War Competition: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
There was a rope in the ring that they hooked around their waists. A red line was in the middle of the ring and then there was a marker in the middle of it with John Cone as a referee. Lashley was in control, Strowman reached the middle of the ring and Lashley attacked Strowman when Lashley was about to lose.
Lashley whipped Strowman into the ring post. Lashley put the rope across Strowman’s face and pulled back on it. Strowman was on the floor, Lashley charged and Strowman hit him with a shoulder tackle. Lashley came back with a knee to the back of Strowman to send him into the barricade.
Analysis: That was boring. This feud, which appeared to be finished, is apparently going to continue. Yawn. Strowman has probably been the worst booked superstar in the company this year considering how popular he is with the crowd. I feel bad for the guy because he should be featured way more.
AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Styles talked about how he was ready to come back. Styles said that he hated sitting at home and he put over Ricochet having an incredible match with Samoa Joe. The music of No Way Jose started with Gallows and Anderson dancing with them. Styles asked what they were doing. Styles mentioned they had a match with the Viking Raiders later. Anderson said that they were at the top of their game and Styles mentioned they lost last week. Styles asked what happened to them. Gallows said that those two guys will prove Styles wrong right now. Their match is next.
Analysis: I am all for a reunion of Styles with Gallows and Anderson. I would like it even more if all of them were heels because it would freshen up Styles and be good for the team too.
The announcers mentioned that there’s a WWE category at the ESPYS this year.
— WWE (@WWE) June 25, 2019
I think Kofi Kingston’s WWE Title win at WrestleMania was the best match and moment in a traditional sense, but I would vote for Roman Reigns coming back from cancer.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
Gallows started with Ivar and Anderson quickly tagged in. Ivar with a body slam on Anderson and then Erik slammed Ivar onto Anderson. Anderson came back with a running clothesline on Ivar. Gallows back in with a kick to the gut of Erik followed by a chinlock as AJ Styles was shown watching on a TV backstage. Anderson tagged in for the Boot of Doom double team for a two count on Erik. Erik broke free with a punch, Ivar tagged in and hit a double boot to Anderson, a cartwheel and a clothesline on Gallows. Ivar with a suicide dive on Gallows outside the ring. Erik tagged in, launched Anderson into Ivar and Ivar hit a powerslam, known as the Viking Experience, for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)
Analysis: *1/2 A solid win for the Viking Raiders while G&A put up a fight for a couple of minutes. The announcers tried really hard to mention how good G&A looked while they were on offense, but then it fell apart quickly. At least Gallows and Anderson are on TV more regularly.
Alexa Bliss was backstage talking with Nikki Cross. They talked about Bayley and Bliss said she had to come up with a plan, so Cross left.
The women’s locker room was shown where Natalya and Naomi went up to Nikki Cross. Natalya and Naomi warned Cross about Bliss, so Cross tried to speak up when Bliss showed up. Naomi told Cross she can learn about Bliss the hard way. Naomi challenged Bliss to a match later.
Mojo Rawley and Heath Slater were in the ring for a match when R-Truth showed up with other midcard wrestlers chasing after him. Truth with a back body drop on Kalisto and Truth sent Rawley out of the ring. Slater hit a neckbreaker on Truth and pinned him to win the 24/7 Title.
Winner and New 24/7 Champion: Heath Slater
EC3 pulled Slater out of the ring and Rawley tackled EC3 outside the ring. Slater ran back into the ring and Truth dropped him and pinned him to win the 24/7 Title.
Winner and New 24/7 Champion: R-Truth
Cedric Alexander went into the ring and hit the Lumbar Check on R-Truth to win the 24/7 Title.
Winner and New 24/7 Champion: Cedric Alexander
EC3 hit Alexander with his face first One Percenter move on the floor and covered to win the title.
Winner and New 24/7 Champion: EC3
Carmella went up to EC3 and took the 24/7 Title from him. R-Truth gave EC3 the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on the ramp for the pinfall win to regain the title.
Winner and New 24/7 Champion: R-Truth
R-Truth and Carmella ran to the back.
Analysis: Congrats to all the new champions for their brief title reigns and to Truth for regaining his title. Congrats to the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for being deadly again. Fun.
They showed images from Stomping Grounds of Ricochet beating Samoa Joe for the US Title.
Ricochet was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber in the backstage area. Ricochet said that winning that US Title was a feeling that he doesn’t want to go away. He said that it really took the full support of his friends, family and all the Ricochet fans in the WWE Universe. Ricochet said he looked up to Styles his entire career. He said that Styles was a trailblazer for superstars like himself and he intends to prove that he’s worthy to hold this championship.
Analysis: Ricochet’s strength is his wrestling, but he’s a capable talker too. It was fine for a babyface champion promo.
The WWE Champion Kofi Kingston was shown backstage because he’s up next. Mercy the Buzzard from Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House was in the background.
The WWE Champion Kofi Kingston made his entrance on his own with a tray of pancakes that he tossed into the crowd as he made his way into the ring. There was an image of Kingston jumping out of the ring to win the Steel Cage match over Dolph Ziggler at Stomping Grounds.
Kingston was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso or at least she tried to interview him, but Sami Zayn made his entrance. Charly left the ring. Zayn had Kevin Owens with him.
Zayn said let’s not waste our time with the softball journalism. Zayn said that Owens came prepared and he told “not Renee” her presence was not required. It was an impromptu “Sami and Kevin Show.” Owens asked why is he here, who does he think he is and why don’t you just get the hell out of there, man? Owens comically read it off the cards. Kingston told Owens that he’s got a humungous zit on the side of his head that was bleeding.
Zayn wondered why Kingston uses his friends to help him retain the WWE Championship. Zayn talked about how they beat Kofi’s friends Big E and Xavier Woods at Stomping Grounds. Zayn asked why Kofi he uses his friends.
Kofi said that he has a brotherhood with Woods and Big E that nobody can break. Kofi said that at Money in the Bank, he beat Owens all by himself. Kofi said that last week he beat Dolph Ziggler at Stomping Grounds all by himself just like tonight when he beats “Sam Zayn” all by himself.
Zayn mocked Kingston for his arrogance by saying he won by himself. Zayn said that Kingston needs a dose of reality and who better to give it to him than Sami Zayn? Kofi said that it’s not about ego, it’s about perseverance. Kingston said that this title isn’t all about him, it’s about all of them (the fans). Kingston told Zayn to come into the ring and get another Trouble in Paradise kick across the dome courtesy of the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Kingston told him to start the match right now, baby! That match is next.
Analysis: The match was already announced, so they didn’t need to do the promos to set up the match. However, Raw is a three-hour show and they have time to do promos like that. All three guys are very good talkers, but it did drag on a bit. I enjoy the heel schtick of Owens and Zayn a lot. I’m glad they won at Stomping Grounds and I hope there are more wins in their future.
This was the top of hour three match. This is not for Kofi’s WWE Championship.
Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn (w/Kevin Owens)
Zayn was aggressive early on with punches and kicks against the turnbuckle. Kingston with a dropkick followed by a jumping clothesline followed by a Boom Drop leg drop. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, Zayn ducked it and got a rollup for two. Cole mentioned that Kingston has held a title in WWE for 1500 days. Only four others have held championships for that long. Zayn bailed to the floor to avoid an attack. Zayn drove Kingston’s throat across the top rope followed by Owens stomping on Kingston and Zayn rolled Kingston into the ring. Zayn gave Owens a high five and KO yelled “HIGH FIVE” because they rule. Zayn slapped on a headlock. Zayn with a running clothesline. Kingston with a jumping clothesline to knock Zayn down. Zayn grabbed Kingston by the turnbuckle and hit an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle. Kingston went for a jumping attack, Zayn moved and Zayn hit a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Zayn charged, but Kingston came back with a jumping double knee attack to knock Zayn down. Zayn sent Kingston to the apron where Kingston tried a springboard attack, but Zayn stopped his momentum with a boot to the face for two. They each countered some moves and Kingston got a sunset flip into a pin for the victory after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **1/2 Solid action with Kingston winning with a move that wasn’t his finish to show how close it was. Zayn got in a decent amount of offense, but I didn’t expect him to win. Zayn loses singles matches all the time while Kingston has been on a roll for about three months now. He wins every match, which is how a champion should be booked.
After the match, Kevin Owens said that he didn’t think Kofi was as great of a champion as he thinks he is. Owens challenged him to a match right here, right now. Kingston was in the aisle, he walked down to the ring, Cole said he had nothing to prove and Kingston went into the ring to have the match.
Analysis: It showed that Kingston was a fighting champion even though he didn’t need to do it.
Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (w/Sami Zayn)
Owens with a superkick and he went up top with a Frog Splash, but Kingston got the knees up to block. Owens with another superkick. Owens went out of the ring where Kingston gave him a back body drop on the floor. They battled on the floor where Kingston hit the SOS slam at the bottom of the ramp, so Owens’ head hit the steel. Kingston got back in the ring while the referee counted them out, so Kingston got back in the ring to win by countout. It went about two minutes.
Winner by countout: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: *1/4 A quick match to put over Kingston without hurting Owens that much since it was only a countout. That SOS on the bottom of the ramp looked and sounded painful.
Post match, Zayn tried to attack, but Kingston tossed Zayn out of the ring. Kingston hit a dive over the top onto Owens and Zayn at ringside.
Analysis: This was not a good night for Zayn and Owens in terms of making them look like credible threats because Kingston handled them easily.
Kingston celebrated on the ramp. Samoa Joe ran up behind him with a forearm to the back. Joe drove Kingston’s upper body into the screen on the top of the ramp. Joe picked up Kingston and gave him a uranage slam on the steel stage. Referees checked on Kingston. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch submission on Kingston. Referees checked on Kingston some more. There was no sign of the other New Day guys. The announcers criticized Joe for the cheap attack even though Graves is a heel announcer that usually supports the bad guys.
Analysis: It looks Kingston vs. Joe for the WWE Title as Kofi’s next feud. That’s fine with me because it’s fresh. Joe’s a Raw guy while Kingston is on Smackdown, but the Wild Card Rule is ignored now, so it doesn’t really matter anymore.
There was a replay of The Undertaker showing up to save Roman Reigns earlier in the show.
A new match was announced for Extreme Rules: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon. At least Shane is a few years younger than Goldberg. That’s my analysis.
Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross) vs. Naomi
Bliss with a clothesline followed by a hair whip takedown. Naomi came back with a jumping leg drop and a baseball slide dropkick on Cross because Bliss moved. When Naomi went back into the ring, Bliss hit her with a DDT for the pinfall. It went just over one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to lead to another match.
Post match, Bliss stomped away on Naomi. Bliss wanted Cross to attack Naomi, but Cross wasn’t interested in doing it. Natalya made the save. It’s holla holla holla tag team match playa.
Natalya and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
I missed the first minute or so. Sorry. Stuff happens. Natalya hit a slam on Bliss off the ropes. Natalya charged, Cross got in her face and Bliss got in a kick to take control. Natalya came back with a Michinoku Driver sitout slam on Bliss for two. Natalya with two suplexes on Bliss. Cross tagged in, whipped Natalya into Naomi and hit a bulldog out of the corner for a two count. Cross kicked Natalya down followed by a cross body block off the top for a two count. Natalya drove Cross into the corner, Bliss tagged and Cross hit a swinging neckbreaker. Bliss covered Natalya for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Bliss and Cross celebrated with the announcers making the point that Cross did all the work while Bliss got to make the cover.
Analysis: *1/2 Good night for Bliss with two wins and this one was all thanks to Cross. It was weird seeing a tag team match without a hot tag by the faces. Naomi was barely in the ring. The story was that Cross carried the team while Bliss didn’t do much, yet she got the pin. It fit Alexa’s persona. This is going to be a long term storyline to set up Cross realizing Bliss is using her and Cross will become a big face out of it.
AJ Styles and Ricochet were shown on a split screen for the main event match up next.
AJ Styles was up first to a good ovation from the crowd as usual. Ricochet was next with the US Title for this main event match and he got a nice reaction as well. The announcers put over Ricochet as the new US Champion.
Ricochet vs. AJ Styles
This is not for the US Title held by Ricochet. They started with about 18 minutes left in the show.
Styles was in control by a wrist lock followed by a headlock. When they got back up to their feet, they did a counter of moves. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson walked down to the ring. Anderson tried to grab Ricochet’s foot, Ricochet avoided it and Styles asked them what they were doing. Styles left the ring. Styles did a promo telling Gallows and Anderson they aren’t going to ruin this match, so it won’t continue until they leave…now. Gallows and Anderson left, so Cole said they would restart the match after the break.
Analysis: There wasn’t much action there, so this was a way for WWE to kill some time before going to the last commercial break of the show.
The bell didn’t ring again, but the match restarted here with about 12 minutes left in the show.
Ricochet vs. AJ Styles (Restart)
Ricochet slapped on a headlock as Graves put them over as two of the best athletes in the business. Ricochet with a headscissors into a dropkick followed by an armbar. Styles stunned Ricochet with a strike to the face followed by the Pele Kick to the head to knock down Ricochet. Styles with a kick to the back followed by a huge back body drop. Ricochet with a dropkick that sent Styles out of the ring. Ricochet with a running dive over the top where he turned in the air and landed onto Styles on the floor. Back in the ring, Ricochet with a jumping kick to the face for two. Styles with a hard suplex into the turnbuckle that got him a two count. Ricochet with forearms, kick to the face, Styles with a back fist and Ricochet with a step up enziguri leading to both guys down on the mat. Ricochet with a running forearm followed by a headscissors takeover. Ricochet up top with a springboard clothesline followed by a standing Shooter Star Press for a two count. Styles avoided a suplex, back to the corner and Styles hit a reverse DDT for a two count. Ricochet with a jackknife cover for two and Styles came back with a clothesline for two. Ricochet with a suplex into a neckbreaker followed by the moonsault off the middle ropes (Lionsault) for a two count. Ricochet went up top, jumped off with the 630 Splash, Styles moved and Ricochet went tumbling into the mat. Styles with a forearm to the face and Styles with a springboard off the ropes leading to the Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall win after 11 minutes. It looked good with Ricochet selling it perfectly.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 That was very good for the time given. The obvious thing to say is I want more, but I think when you have Styles win non-title like that, the whole point is to build to a longer match at Extreme Rules in a few weeks. That’s when we’ll get to see them really put on a show. When Ricochet was on offense, the announcers were really pushing the point about his athleticism and being a one of a kind athlete while Styles showed he can hang with the guy that was a decade younger than him. Ricochet came close to winning a few times, but Styles figured out a way to get the victory. I liked the story of the match. The bad thing about it is that Ricochet lost his first match after winning the US Title. What makes it okay is that Styles is a top guy, so it’s not like Ricochet is hurt that much by it.
Post match, Styles helped Ricochet to his feet and Styles gave Ricochet the US Title back. Styles raised Ricochet’s hand to put him over and they hugged as a sign of respect. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: I think as the story develops, Gallows and Anderson will either turn heel on Styles to cost him the US Title or Styles will turn heel with them. Either way, I’m intrigued to see how it plays out.
Three Stars of the Show
1. AJ Styles
3. (tie) The Usos
3. (tie) The Revival
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2019 Average: 5.56 (Smackdown is 6.8)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 5.5, 5.5, 3.5, 6.5
2019 High: 7.5 (January 14)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets a 6.5 out of 10.
It was a slightly above average edition of Raw with a lot of short matches due to the format change of no action during the commercial breaks. The elimination tag team match was very good and the main event was a lot of fun too. I didn’t mind most of the other matches even though they were short. The Undertaker’s return was a nice surprise that I didn’t see coming either, so that gave the fans in the arena a cool moment to remember forever.
They have already given up on the Wild Card Rule because the announcers didn’t mention it all night long and if they did, it was only briefly like when Kofi Kingston entered. I’m not surprised by that. It’s WWE in 2019 where plans change all the time and they can’t stick to their own rules. Rest in Peace, Wild Card Rule. They tried to enforce you for about eight weeks, but we now wish you the best in your future endeavors. See that WWE? I am good at using your language too.
The next WWE PPV is Extreme Rules on July 14 in Philadelphia. Here’s what we know so far.
For the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans
Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon
More matches will be added soon.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Thanks for reading.