This Week in WWE: Raw E. Dangerously
Chris Novak: I’m super excited for people to overreact if nothing happens on this Raw after it was announced that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff were becoming showrunners. Anyways, let’s get off and running. There was a production error while the show was beginning, showing that… The Street Profits, the NXT Tag Team Champions, were in the house. What does this mean? Time will tell. It’s time for the first match of the month of July though, which will be Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. I’m totally here for this.
Robert O’Neill: I don’t particularly like either of these guys but I’ve really enjoyed their feud.
Chris Novak: HOLY… okay, so this match ended abruptly. Why? Because Bruan ran in and drove Lashley THROUGH THE DAMN SET!! There were a few explosions, Corey Graves cussed, and now they need a new set. Maybe I wasn’t on to something in the beginning. Paul E. is wasting littlet ime.
Robert O’Neill: I know they said it wouldn’t be right away for Heyman and Bischoff, but it’s hard to watch this match/segment and think of anything BESIDES 2002-03 WWE where Paul Heyman had a significant creative voice. That was incredible stuff. People are gonna be talking about it for a while.
Chris Novak: Viking Raiders vs. The New Day is next. Because we’re just getting right down to it.
Robert O’Neill: It doesn’t really get going because Samoa Joe comes out and attacks the New Day, which brings out Kofi Kingston! I imagine we’ll get six man tag action on the other side of the break.
Chris Novak: Okay, that six-man tag team match was great. Samoa Joe choked Kofi Kingston out to give him his first loss since March 19. The setup for this match, as well as the match itself, were well put together.
We pivot backstage. Drake Maverick actually brought his wife, indie wrestler Renee Michelle, to Raw! She gives him an ultimatum after realizing she’s at Raw (she was blindfolded, Drake said he was taking her on their honeymoon). It’s either her, or the 24/7 Championship! Maverick assured her everything would be fine, and hugged her. Naturally, R-Truth showed up and told Maverick he was a sucker for romance and wouldn’t intervene.
Robert O’Neill: Good lord, these two are so entertaining all the time. AJ Styles is backstage talking to The Club about how they’re still letting him down, but perhaps they’ll improve soon.
No Way Jose is facing Cesaro, but Truth and Maverick are both out here as well. Truth taunts Drake but the locker room comes out to try and get the 24/7 title! In the meantime Cesaro hits No Way Jose with a Neutralizer on the floor and continues to beat him up.
Charly Caruso is backstage with THE STREET PROFITS! They’re ready to face whoever, and they had a very entertaining interview.
Chris Novak: This is delightful. The Street Profits absolutely deserve to be up here. Especially Angelo Dawkins. God bless him, he finally made it up to WWE TV proper. I’m legitimately happy for him.
A segment with Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon is next. Well, we can’t fix everything quite yet.
Miz is interviewed before this segment. He expresses more regret for helping to cultivate the monster that is Shane McMahon. They’re doing Miz vs. Elias ⅔ Falls again, for the record. He says Shane will need a new lackey after the match.
Shane touts the fact that he’s been in the ring with Taker before and says that Taker did indeed surprise them, but there won’t be any surprises at Extreme Rules. Eventually after a bit of talking, there’s some ~SCARE TACTICS~ dished out by The Undertaker. From… wherever he might be. Taker’s music then hits, and naturally everyone goes into a tizzy. And he does, indeed, show up. This leads to Drew Mac and Shane running scared.
Robert O’Neill: Undertaker actually cut a pretty good promo saying he’s the reaper of wayward souls and while Roman didn’t ask him for help, he’s doing it because he doesn’t respect Shane or Drew.
We go backstage where Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans cut a promo on Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins, featuring Lacey saying Seth Rollins has “wandering eyes” and Seth is gonna be focused on her during her upcoming match with Natalya.
Chris Novak: Surprisingly (?) this was pretty good! Corbin got involved and tripped Nattie up, which eventually led to Evans hitting her with the Women’s Right. I gotta be honest, I definitely enjoyed that sequence a lot more than I thought I would. A nice surprise!
Ricochet was interviewed backstage. The Club intervened and kinda bullied the US Champion a little bit. They talked up AJ Styles to him. Afterwards, AJ Styles met with The Club again backstage. They asked where Styles’ spark was and this seemed to fire him up. That led to Styles going up to Ricochet. This led to a US Championship Match being made between Styles and Ricochet… tonight! Ricochet offered his hand, but Styles slapped him across the face. Ricochet slapped him RIGHT back. Hey… this is fun!
Robert O’Neill: Absolutely down for this feud continuing AND AJ going heel again and realigning with The Club. Love it. Think the match tonight is gonna be awesome.
Speaking of awesome, Miz and Elias are having a ⅔ falls match!
Chris Novak: Miz won after making Elias tap out with the Figure Four Leg Lock. Honestly… just a fine TV match. Nothing more, nothing less. Miz took out some extra punishment on Elias after the match was over, as is customary.
Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins were interviewed by Charly Caruso. She asks them if they though their decision was impulsive. This segment went on as it were, and then Mike and Maria Kanellis showed up! Of course Heyman pulled Maria up to the main roster. Basically, this leads up to a mixed tag match later on tonight. Maria called Mike Kanellis her bitch. That… was something else.
Robert O’Neill: That was a very weird and bad segment but it’s cool that Mike and Maria has something to do now? I guess?
So they have a match and Seth tags Becky in, but Maria isn’t gonna compete. Instead she gets on a mic and yells at Mike for being awful, then yells that she’s pregnant. Then Seth gets the win and Maria yells at Mike even more, then says next time she’ll have Becky impregnate her This is some VERY Paul Heyman stuff.
Chris Novak: Oh Lordy… that was… that was something! Um. That’s all I can really say.
Robert O’Neill: Speaking of Heyman, he’s talking to Charly about the fact that maybe Brock Lesnar will cash in tonight, but the Street Profits come and interrupt and roast him a bit and say they’re going to the ring right now. Love it.
Chris Novak: The Street Profits are total gems. Love it.
A Moment of Bliss with Nikki Cross is next. Worth noting that Alexa’s dressed to compete. We shall see what happens here. They look back at Nikki’s win this past week on SmackDown, and she says that Alexa was the first person to open herself up to Nikki and be a friend for her. Carmella then arrives and chides Alexa for saying that she’s not actually her friend.
This leads to… a match that only lasted a couple seconds. Uh, yeah. I’m not really a fan of that but we’re gonna keep it moving.
Robert O’Neill: Well, “keep it moving” likely means Nikki vs. Carmella here. Let’s see. Yup, there we go.
Nikki gets the victory over Carmella, and Alexa is happy for her. How nice!
Chris Novak: Okay… I’m fine with pushing a narrative that all Nikki does is win for Alexa while all Alexa does is lose. I just think you can accomplish that while not having her get pinned in a couple of seconds. Whatever. The way this is progressing should prove interesting.
Afterwards, we saw Alexa and Nikki backstage. They both seem to be chipper. Sarah Schreiber comes up and goes to interview Nikki. She points out that the WWE Universe wants to see Nikki face Bayley INSTEAD of Alexa. Bliss, pissed off, er, blissed off I should say, angrily says “No Comment!” and drags Nikki away. I like where this all this is headed honestly.
Robert O’Neill: It’s time for the main event, as AJ Styles is facing Ricochet. Styles gets a pinfall in the first few minutes and the match seems to be over, but Ricochet’s foot was under the rope! Match restarts. Eventually Gallows and Anderson come down to spectate and Ricochet gets a pinfall on Styles after a creative sequence. Wow. Survive and advance. Gallows and Anderson question AJ after and Ricochet looks ready to help AJ fight them, but AJ punches Ricochet! The Club is back! Holy crap Styles did a Styles Clash on Ricochet from the second rope to end the show.
Robert O’Neill: I like most episodes of Raw so maybe I’m not the best source, but I loved this one. Everyone wanted it to feel different, and it sure did. From the content, to the script, to the production, you can tell changes have been made. Not everything resonated with me (the Becky and Seth stuff was very bad) but it was an entertaining three hours that flew by, bookended by great moments. A
Chris Novak: I won’t quite go there yet with an A for Raw, although I found it to be an enjoyable program. I’ll comfortably give it a high B+. I’m still not really sure I’m sold on this “no wrestling through commercial breaks” thing as it disrupted the flow of a few things and, evidently, appears to also be doing some damage to women’s wrestling matches too. Still, there were some great highs here.
Robert O’Neill: Remember when Raw didn’t start with an elongated promo and talking segment? Anyway, here’s Kevin Owens with his Kevin Owens show guests Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. Owens says the two are probably in some trouble against Roman and Undertaker, then Dolph Ziggler comes out and Owens says no one cares about Ziggler (true) and Kevin asks Shane to make a #1 contenders match between Owens and Ziggler. Shane refuses, but Shane says they can team up to face Heavy Machinery and if they win they can be added to the tag titles match at Extreme Rules.
Chris Novak: Thanks for the extensive recap of the first part here while I was briefly away Rob.
Big E vs. Daniel Bryan is next. The match was pretty fun. Bryan won after Rowan got involved, throwing him into the ringpost. Bryan then hit the Running Knee after Rowan decked Xavier Woods as he was trying to go over to him. Strong showing for both here.
Robert O’Neill: That was as good as I thought it would be. Great stuff.
R-Truth is backstage with Kayla Braxton and he’s very distraught about losing the 24/7 Title, but he vows to get it back!
Chris Novak: Alexa Bliss says that Nikki Cross is going to host A Moment of Bliss. She wants her to do it because she’s done such a good job lately. Well, this could potentially be interesting. The guest is Bayley. That’s three times for Bayley on this show. Clearly, Alexa has a high opinion of the SmackDown Live Women’s Champion.
Alright, that did not go as I thought that it would. Bayley won clean as a sheet with no meddling from Alexa. Which… is interesting? Sort of? I don’t know what to really make of it.
Robert O’Neill: Yeah that was weird. Probably not the direction I would have taken, but the match itself was good.
Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe are in the ring for a face to face interaction. Joe doesn’t take Kofi seriously, and he thinks Kofi will need the New Day’s help. Kofi says he won’t. But then the tone gets a bit more serious as Kofi says Joe will NEVER have a moment at Wrestlemania to share with his kids like Kofi had. Joe wants Kofi to shake his hand, but Kofi, after pondering it, flips him off instead. What an edgy week of WWE programming!
Chris Novak: The bird wasn’t even censored. What a time to be alive.
Heavy Machinery had a very good backstage interview prior to their tag team match later on tonight.
Andrade vs. Apollo Crews is next. This match was a nice surprise, in that it was pretty fun! Andrade won with the Hammerlock DDT, but not after Zelina Vega got involved and hit Apollo with a hurricanrana after she jumped off the apron. Seriously though, really fun match! Worth seeking out if you ask me.
Robert O’Neill: Loved that! Nice to see both guys get some TV time. Definitely agree with seeking out the match.
Chris Novak: Aleister Black essentially says that someone played ding dong ditch with him. That’s kinda rude. He said he’ll be waiting for someone at Extreme Rules? I guess we’ll be seeing him in action for the first time in three months. How exciting.
Robert O’Neill: Ember Moon continues her feud with Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille, this week facing Mandy. And Ember gets a quick victory! Hey alright.
Chris Novak: If nothing else, the two of them went hard in the small time they were given. I can at the very least like that. Now… as far as why the matches are running shorter these days? That’s another discussion.
Robert O’Neill: Time for the main event! Will Owens and Ziggler get added to the tag titles match at Extreme Rules? Bryan and Rowan and The New Day are out to watch the proceedings up close. The match goes back and forth until Ziggler gets taken out and HM hit a Compactor on Owens for the victory. After the match, Ziggler comes back in the ring and Owens hits him with a stunner and yells at him to end the night.
Robert O’Neill: While I preferred Raw, Smackdown was a fine show. Oddly enough, it felt like it dragged at points where Raw didn’t, but the in-ring stuff was good as usual and the Shane/Drew stuff was palatable. I would like the women to get more time, as Chris noted, but hopefully that’ll come. B-
Chris Novak: SmackDown wasn’t a bad show, but I’m not sure it was a great show either. Probably closer to just “good” at best here. Still a bit miffed about the women’s time here, and I was confused at the development in the Bayley/Alexa/Nikki program. That all said, there was still some fun stuff here. B- for me here too.