Raw Review, 6/25

OPENING SEGMENT: KURT ANGLE & BARON CORBIN

I really like how good Baron Corbin is at getting heat. Roman comes down before Kurt can even get going, and I think we’re gonna see him wrestle Baron Corbin tonight. As expected, Lashley immediately follow before Kurt can get out his next sentence. Don’t be surprised to see Kevin Owens momentarily leading to an Owens-Lashley match tonight. Lashley is so bad on the mic. Roman runs down Lashley’s MMA career. I really like when the promos get personal because it feels real. I want to believe what these guys are saying and tonight, I believe whatever Roman says because this is one of his best promos ever.

Kurt announces that Lesnar’s contract allowed him to pull out of the championship match so there will be no number one contender match at Extreme Rules. Lashley’s promo would cut deep if I felt what he was saying, but he’s a fucking robot out there and sounds like he’s reading off a teleprompter. The Revival comes down and challenges Roman and Lashley to a rematch.

Reigns Promo Rating: Six Stone Colds

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Lashley Promo Rating: Eight Sids

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Segment Rating: Three This Is Your Lifes

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THE REVIVAL VS. ROMAN REIGNS & BOBBY LASHLEY

The Revival gets the best of Lashley early on and Roman cleans house. Back from the commercial break and The Revival has Roman in trouble. It’s a big vote of confidence to Dash and Dawson to have them work with Reigns and Lashley two weeks in a row. Lashley gets the hot tag and goes wild with suplexes. Reigns and Lashley get into a spat over tags and Roman spears the wrong man, then gets rolled up by Dash Wilder and loses the match in a huge upset. Lashley dresses Roman down in the ring and leaves. The match was ok but it was more about the storyline between Reigns and Lashley, which I’m not very interested in.

Match Rating: Four Gold Medals

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MATT HARDY W/BRAY WYATT VS. CURTIS AXEL W/BO DALLAS

I’m becoming a total mark for The B-Team’s Deleter of World’s parody. It’s hilarious to me. Matt supposedly slips off the top rope going for a superplex and Axel lands on him for the pin. They get praise from the tag team champions. It’s not about the match, it’s about the booking, which is really good here.

Match/Segment Booking Rating: Seven Dustys

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Looks like WWE finally remembered that the Authors of Pain exist.

Alicia Fox is back. Cool. Bayley is teaming up with Sasha again tonight. WHY? WHY WHY WHY?? They’ve screwed with the fans on this feud for too long.

 

AUTHORS OF PAIN VS. RICH & REX GIBSON

This is gonna be short. I often wonder what these local jobbers think when WWE calls. They probably ask to be paid in ice packs and Percocet. That was short. Titus and Apollo will probably stand up for the little guys. And yep, here they come, and AOP… backs off? That’s weird, I don’t understand them walking away from the fight. That’s really shit booking to have the monster heels run away from basically a jobber tag team.

Match/Segment Booking Rating: Five Kevin Sullivans

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IN-RING SEGMENT: ALEXA BLISS & MICKIE JAMES

It still boggles my mind how many cheers Alexa gets. I’m sure it’s the same people who boo Roman no matter what and chant CM Punk and Rusev Day. After Bliss runs down Nia and Rousey, Natalya comes out for a match vs. Alexa with Nia Jax in tow. So Nia is face again. I guess she was just semi-heel for a few weeks during the Rousey feud. Nice heel promo by Alexa as usual.

Alexa Bliss Promo Rating: Four Roddy Pipers

Pipers Pit vs SnukaPipers Pit vs SnukaPipers Pit vs SnukaPipers Pit vs Snuka

 

NATALYA W/NIA JAX VS. ALEXA BLISS W/MICKIE JAMES

Why is Alexa beating Natalya in mat wrestling? Natalya, who graduated from THE DUNGEON, can’t counter Alexa’s scissor hold? That’s some illogical match booking. I’m fine with Alexa having control of the match, but make it believable. Natalya finally starts to show her superior technical skills. The roll-up following Mickie James’ distraction and the forearm to the face are much more believable ways for Alexa to get ahead in the match. Turnabout is fair play as Nia grabs Alexa’s leg just like Mickie did to Natalya, and it leads to a sharpshooter and a win for Nattie. Good match after the illogical beginning.

Match Rating: Six Gold Medals

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SASHA BANKS, BAYLEY & EMBER MOON VS. THE RIOTT SQUAD

This should be a good match but Sasha and Bayley are the real story. Ember does most of the work herself early on, she is so damn good. Amidst a ton of chaos and bodies on the outside, Sasha gets rolled up by Ruby Riott and takes the lost. Almost instantaneously, Bayley starts beating the shit out of Sasha. This is a Randy Orton-like beat down. Bayley is certainly the heel here but the crowd is fully on her side. I always thought it would be Sasha who would do that. Nice swerve, and finally they give us the moment we’ve been clamoring for with these two. I can say it was worth the wait. Very well done.

Match/Segment Booking Rating: Nine Dustys

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NO WAY JOSE VS. MOJO RAWLEY

Mojo should roll over Jose again, but I have a bad feeling that Jose will win so they’ll get a third match that we don’t need. Jose is not a character that needs wins. To my pleasant surprise, Mojo denies Jose the rematch, dresses down one of Jose’s entourage, then punches Jose in the mouth and leaves. That was a good segment.

Segment Rating: Six This Is Your Lifes

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Kurt says Bayley starts counseling next week or she’s fired. Shit, I had hope for this storyline but this makes me feel like it’s gonna be idiotic.

 

BRAUN STROWMAN & KEVIN OWENS VS. FINN BALOR & BARON CORBIN

Very interesting mix here, another match tonight where the story isn’t who wins the match but how the teammates interact with each other. It must be I hate my partner night, since we’ve already seen Roman & Bobby Lashley implode, and we just saw what Bayley did to Sasha. Already seeing issues on the Corbin/Balor side as Corbin tags in Finn then immediately tags himself back in. I’m sure we’ll see him tag Finn back in as Braun comes in, but Finn is not holding the tag rope, which I’m sure is not an oversight. I popped when Braun screamed “GET IN THERE!” at Owens as he was hesitating to tag into the match. He didn’t hesitate after that. I know these guys pull their punches, but I have to wonder what Braun’s strikes feel like. I have to imagine showing up and finding out you’re working with Braun tonight can give you a sick feeling. I enjoy that Corbin keep tagging himself in instead of Finn tagging him in. It’s part of the match psychology that shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s good heel work and keeps it in people’s minds that they are not a cohesive unit. Braun hits his running shoulder blocks, then tells KO to do it, and he hilariously runs into a clothesline from Corbin. This match is supremely entertaining. Inevitably, Finn and Baron start fighting up the ramp and get themselves counted out. Bad news for Owens because now he’s alone with his “partner” Braun. Braun stares at him and Owens sprints up the ramp. He sprints to the back and Braun runs after him. That whole match was great.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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Braun seems to have flipped over Owens’ car. I love Strowman so much.

 

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: SETH ROLLINS VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER (c) W/DREW McINTYRE

McIntyre is such a weapon for Dolph in this match, especially with the champion’s advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rollins have the match won and McIntyre cause a DQ so that Dolph keeps the title. Good mat wrestling early on from two of the best in the business. Dolph keeps it boring with rest holds for a bit before Seth gets going and the pace picks up. Seth has a lot to worry about in this match. Dolph is an excellent wrestler so normally you’d say his focus should be 100% on his opponent, but he was to keep an eye on McIntyre without losing his concentration, and also has to make sure the the ref doesn’t get distracted by either Ziggler or McIntyre because the other will be sure to take advantage. Rollins does take his eyes off of McIntyre and it costs him, as he has his back to him when he runs the ropes and takes a hammer fist in the back. The ref ejects McIntyre but misses a roll-up by Seth which could have won Rollins the match. McIntyre still hasn’t left. If this is the main event, at the moment I’m writing this there’s at least 10 minutes left in the show, so they’re giving it A LOT of time, which is great.

Back from commercial and McIntyre is gone. Rollins can now concentrate 100% on Ziggler. Ziggler may be at a disadvantage since I’m sure his game plan involved having McIntyre in his corner throughout the match. Rollins reverses a superkick into a buckle bomb and kicks Ziggler in the face for a heart-stopping two count. The two fight on the top fope and it’s gonna lead to something awesome. Yep, frog splash, TWO COUNT! This is thrilling. The crowd is on its feet and chanting “THIS IS AWESOME!” Rollins misses the Stomp, Ziggler misses the Zig Zag, both guys get two counts on roll-ups, Ziggler hits the Zig Zag, TWO COUNT! Excellent, EXCELLENT action. I’m starting to wonder if someone other than McIntyre is going to come down and cost Rollins the match to start a new feud. I’m also wondering if Rollins will regain. This match is so good that it has so many ending scenarios running through my head.

More fighting on the top rope. Something awesome coming. SUPERPLEX INTO FALCON ARROW! Well, my original prediction came true and Drew McIntyre came back down and pulled the official out of the ring to cause the DQ. It’s a highly disappointing but also a highly logical finish. As they beat up on a helpless Rollins, Roman comes out to make the save, hitting a brutal spear on Ziggler outside the ring. I’m all for a Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre feud, but I also feel like the fans will ruin it. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Seth & Roman vs. Drew & Dolph next week on Raw. It’ll probably be the dark match main event tonight too. God damn this match had me more excited than any match I can remember in recent history. Such great storytelling and presentation. There’s a reason the crowd was on its feet. These guys tore the house down.

Match Rating: Ten Gold Medals

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Really, really good show tonight. In my opinion it’s one of the best Raws of the year so far.

Overall Show Rating: Eight Gold Medals

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