Hey everybody! It’s @TheMagnumDA with another Raw Report. A couple of Twitter shout-outs, if I may.
First, hello and well-wishes to @YujiTsuruta. Yuji is the son of Japanese Wrestling Legend Tomomi “Jumbo” Tsuruta. Jumbo was the first ever AJPW Triple Crown Champion. It was a somber anniversary this past weekend for Yuji, but I wanted to take a moment and let him know that I’m thinking about his family right now. Yuji, your Father was one of the best ever. Also, a shout-out to @Tom_Feldman. Tom will be joining me this July at the National Wrestling Museum Hall of Fame ceremonies held in Waterloo, Iowa. Looking forward to seeing Paul Orndorff, Gerry Brisco, and many more! Hope you enjoyed Smackdown in Des Moines, buddy.
We recap Roman and Braun from last week. The program begins Raw with the General Manager Kurt Angle! He mentions that Braun Strowman was put in the hospital because of Roman Reigns. Braun has a cracked elbow, and he will be out for six months. I knew it was bad! Don’t be surprised if Braun’s back by SummerSlam, though. Kurt shows graphics on the Titantron of the top five contenders to the WWE Universal Championship. They are: Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, and Bray Wyatt. The GM proclaims that at the next PPV (Extreme Rules), there will be an Extreme Rules Fatal 5-Way match for the #1 contendership. They each come out and take turns with promos. Seth comes out last, and then challenges Samoa Joe. All five contenders brawl around the ring, ending with Finn Balor catching the Sling Blade on Roman Reigns. Balor gets a running start and then hits a magnificent dive onto Wyatt and Rollins. My only comment on this: They could’ve done this the other way around, with everyone jockeying for position leading up to the announcement of a Fatal 5 Way.
Backstage, the GM books Rollins vs. Wyatt and Roman vs. Balor. No action for Joe, eh?
Match #1 – Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy
If these two men are true professionals, Jeff’s going to be giving Sheamus a receipt. It’s only a matter of when and where. Hardy charges and throws rights at Sheamus. Sheamus recovers, but misses a Brogue Kick. Jeff sends him to the outside, but Sheamus takes control and throws Jeff into the barricade. After the break, Sheamus hits a huge knee drop for two. Sheamus puts Hardy in a headlock as the fans cheer Brother Nero on. “Delete” chants! Hardy fights up, but gets powerslammed for two. Hardy gets his foot caught by Sheamus, but he dropkicks out of it. He hits a signature series of moves, leading to the legdrop and the sitting dropkick for two.
Hardy’s Twist of Fate is countered and Sheamus BLASTS Jeff with a knee to the mouth. This guy is getting dangerous with his carelessness. TONE IT DOWN, DUDE. Hardy fights back and sends Sheamus in the corner. Sheamus kicks him away and goes to the top. Jeff catches him coming off the top! ONE, TWO, NO! Cesaro gets on the apron and Matt pulls him off. Sheamus completely whiffs his kick, and Matt no-sells it. Well, that was awkward. He gets Matt on the second attempt, but Jeff is ready with a Twist of Fate. Swanton Bomb from the top! ONE, TWO, THREE!
Winner: Jeff Hardy (*3/4)
Match #2 – Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox
I freaking love this feud. Maybe it’s just me. Sasha catches a go-behind which is reversed. Sasha elbows her right in the mush. Banks catches Alicia’s kick and chops her in the chest. Fox counters with a BRUTAL kick to the eye. Alicia hits that crisp Northern Lights Suplex for two. Fox gets Banks in a chinlock, but Banks is able to get to her feet. Banks gets some momentum with clotheslines and headscissors.
Banks hits the double knees on Sasha, but Fox is able to turn in a sunset flip for two. Sasha tries a sleeperhold, but Fox takes Sasha over the top rope, sending Sasha to the floor. I think Banks hit her Knee or Hamstring. Back inside, Banks tries a roll-up but only gets two. Suddenly, Alicia hits the Harlem Sidekick for the ONE, TWO, THREE!
Winner: Alicia Fox (*)
Oh no…that’s not good news at all. They went RIGHT to the finish. They even took the cameras off Sasha Banks. I hope she’s okay. Otherwise, why was she booked to lose like THAT to Alicia freaking Fox?
Match #3 – WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. The Miz
Immediately, Miz backs himself into the corner, but Dean pulls him out and back in the ring. Dean chops Miz and hits the bulldog. They’re flying out there. Miz tries the SCF early, but it’s countered by Dean. Dean rolls up for two, but Miz kicks out. Irish whip leads to two clothesline counters, as Dean catches a neckbreaker for two. This is a breakneck pace! I never thought I would say that about a Miz match, but it’s true! It’s true!
After the break, Miz hits the clothesline in the corner, followed by an axe handle off the top! ONE, TWO, NO! Miz gets a sleeper locked in, but Dean fights to his feet. Dean carries Miz to the corner but Miz counters for the two! Maryse is looking fine! Miz continues to kick Dean while he’s down. Miz does the Daniel Bryan kicks, but Ambrose rolls up Miz for two! Ambrose tries Dirty Deeds, but Miz fights out. Miz is tossed outside, and Dean hits the suicide dive to the outside! Dean throws him back in and hits a set of running clotheslines. Splash in the corner and a bulldog by Dean! ONE, TWO, NO! That was an awesome cradle.
Dean puts Miz up in the corner as Booker T starts FEELING IT on commentary. His “I’MMA TELLYA” count is up to 22! Okay, I’m exaggerating. Slightly. Miz and Dean fight up top, and Miz knocks Dean off. Dean catches Miz from the top and hits the Dirty Deeds! Dean counters and hits the top rope elbow to the face! ONE, TWO, NO! Corey talks about his feelings on the match, and Booker is ON Corey, asking him, “What are you talking about!?!” Great sequence where Dean misses the middle rope lariat, leading to the SCF by Miz! ONE, TWO, NO! Miz tries the SCF again, and Dean gets another roll up for two. Dean knocks Miz outside and tries to go from the top rope! Unfortunately, Maryse was put in the way. DEAN JUMPS ANYWAYS! Maryse runs for her life as Dean drills Miz! They both get up at the 9 count back into the ring. Miz tried a low blow, but Dean blocked it! Dean returns serve with a kick square in the balls! The ref DQ’s Dean instantly. Sorry Miz…you lose your shot at the belt and your gonads as well. Hate the DQ finish, but I loved the pace. Dean was a madman here.
Winner by DQ: The Miz (**3/4)
Okay, next week I should totally have a special Booker T. “I’MMA TELLYA” count. Our first backstage segment at 9:07 PM! Wow! Charly is backstage with Finn Balor. Balor says that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. It might be Roman’s “Yard”, but this is Balor’s universe.
The WWE Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, is on her way to the ring! She insults the audience and calls everyone failures. Bayley comes out to invoke her rematch clause. Alexa says that she wants this to be “Extreme Rules”. Alexa tells Bayley to take her seat at the kiddies table, and WE HAVE A FIGHT. Alexa takes advantage and grabs a Kendo Stick. She PLASTERS Bayley, sending her crashing to the outside. Props to the fan that asks, “Are you okay, honey?” This could be a fantastic match, and it could show a new side of Bayley.
Backstage, Miz demands satisfaction from Kurt Angle. No, not like that. He wants another match with Dean Ambrose, but this time the title can change hands on a DQ. Why not just do something with a No DQ stipulation at Extreme Rules instead?
Match #4 – WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville & TJP vs. Austin Aries & Gentleman Jack Gallagher
Whoever edited Aries’ music: You blew it. Aries and Neville start. Strike that…TJP gets tagged in. Aries chops TJP and knocks Neville off the apron. TJP is thrown in the corner and Gallagher is tagged in. They hit a double team move on TJP, and then Aries is thrown by Jack over the top rope right onto Neville and TJP! After the break, TJP picks up Aries and slams him to the ground. Neville tags in and stomps down Austin Aries. I think that was a “We Want Jack!” chant! Neville tries another nearfall after a double team sneak attack, but only gets two.
He continues to stomp down Aries as the fans boo. Neville tags in TJP as there is a fan being kicked out. TJP attacks Aries and puts him in a sleeper. Aries fights out as a “CM Punk” chant breaks out. Aries gets kicked in the gut, and sent to the apron. Aries fights off both Neville and Perkins, and hits the earclapper on TJP. Gallagher tags in A HOUSE OF FIRE! Series of suplexes by Gallagher! ONE, TWO, NO! TJ is put in a reverse front Full Nelson. TJP fights out and his throw is countered by Jack. All four men get in the fracas, and Aries gets injured again! They hit crazy spots, including Aries hitting a dive on Neville! Jack hits the HUGE headbutt and goes for the dropkick, but Neville grabs him! Aries fights him off. Jack sees all of this happening, so TJP capitalizes with the Detonation Kick on Gallagher! ONE, TWO, THREE!
Winners: Neville & TJP (**1/2)
Backstage, Kurt Angle and Bayley go back and forth about the Women’s Championship match at Extreme Rules. At first, it’s booked as a regular match. Angle then does an about-face, turning the match into a “Kendo Stick on a Pole Match.”
Really? Did we have to Russo this whole thing up? Just make it an Extreme Rules match!
Meanwhile, Goldust motivates R-Truth in preparation for their match against Gallows and Anderson.
Match #5 – Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns
Roman takes control in the corner to start. They lock up and Roman catches a fierce elbow. He follows this up with tossing Balor across the ring. Roman throws a right, but Balor counters and attacks. Roman takes control in the corner again. Balor is launched AGAIN as Roman attacks Finn in the corner. Roman is kicked in the face, and Balor hits some forearms before flying right into a Samoan Drop. Dueling chants by the crowd. Balor crawls to the apron, and Roman tries to pick him up. Balor is kicked in the face, and he hits a series of forearms followed by a kick to the face. Balor charges in the corner with a chop, but Roman drills him and knocks him back. Reigns charges to the corner but lands shoulder first! It’s the injured shoulder! Balor capitalizes and attacks the injured areas of Reigns’ body!
After the break, Reigns and Balor trade offense, with Balor catching a kick to Reigns on the apron. Balor makes a charge, but Reigns picks him up and slams him into the post! Roman breaks the count and throws Balor into the barricade. Reigns hits the Drive-By with Balor’s back propped against the post! ONE, TWO, NO! Reigns gets Balor in the corner and hits the signature lariats! Balor dodges the Superman Punch, but gets hit with the Spinning Power Bomb for his troubles. Reigns misses another Superman Punch, and Balor hits a combo! Reigns tries to regain advantage and go for a Power Bomb, but Balor reverses with a Double Stomp! ONE, TWO, NO! Sling Blade! Balor gets in position, but Roman hits the Superman Punch! ONE, TWO, NO! Balor kicks out! Roman tries to hit his move, but Balor catches him with a knee and another Sling Blade! Balor goes up top, but Reigns throws him off the ropes back into the ring! Balor gets up but Reigns is waiting with the Spear! ONE, TWO, THREE! Very good, but they had some built-in psychology to help guide them.
Winner: Roman Reigns (***1/4)
I know Roman going over was Vince’s call, but why would you have a “24” Special for Finn on a night where he goes down cleanly? Just a thought.
The announcers talk about Raw, when Bray Wyatt interrupts for a promo. Ramble on…sing my song…After this, Charly interviews Seth Rollins. Seth says that Bray will not stand in his way on his path to becoming Champion.
Match #6 – The Golden Truth vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
The Golden Truth come out to the cheers of the crowd. Right after R-Truth calls out to the city of Newark, Goldust TURNS on him! Goldust slowly destroys Truth and throws him into the barricade. This crowd is stunned. Goldust continues to batter him down…and then he grabs the house mic. “THAT’S…what’s up.” I think Goldie might get one last singles push! Wouldn’t that be something?
Winner: No Match (No Stars)
Enzo & Cass comes out for a Homecoming! Well, for Enzo at least. This is interrupted by Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews! Apparently, Titus got his booking mixed up, as he thought it was Crews vs. Enzo. Mr. O’Neil is wrong. It’s a shame he’s going to have to wrestle in that $3000 suit.
Match #7 – Titus O’Neil vs. Big Cass
Titus beats down Cassidy and then takes him to the corner. Titus takes the belt off and threatens to whip him with the belt. Enzo tells Titus not to do it, and that’s enough of a distraction for Cass to hit the BIG BOOT for the three.
Winner: Big Cass (No Stars)
Good segment after the match, as Apollo Crews gets upset at Enzo for taunting Titus while he was down. He hits the Ghetto Blaster on Enzo, effectively turning heel in his own right. That’s two in this hour alone!
Main Event – Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Incredibly, Booker says “I’MMA TELLYA’ twice IN THE SAME SENTENCE. This man is META. Bray hits a headbutt charge out of an Irish whip. Rollins gets a headlock, a knee, and snapmare. He follows up with a kick to the chest. Rollins chops Wyatt in the corner, and sends him into the ropes. Wyatt misses a side press and falls outside the ring. Seth hits a dive on the outside, and sends Bray into the barricade. Rollins gets in position to his a springboard, but Bray catches him with a shot, followed by a Uranage Slam into the barricade as we go to break.
After the break, Wyatt hits a NASTY front jawbreaker for the two-count. Booker gets in a “Crossfit” reference, questioning it as a method of training. He’s killing it tonight. Rollins and Wyatt fight up in the corner, leading to a Superplex by Wyatt for the ONE, TWO, NO! Wyatt continues to go after Rollins’ back with headbutts and a chinlock with one knee applied to the back. Rollins fights up, but gets a knee to the ribs. Rollins throws Bray outside the ring and tries a suicide dive. Wyatt was waiting for him and hit him with a punch. Back inside, Rollins counters a whip in the corner with a boot and the Blockbuster. They interrupt the main event to show a caption of the main event for the PPV. Why? Sling Blade by Rollins, followed by a Single Arm DDT into the middle corner post. Rollins hits the dropkick through the second rope, followed by the suicide dive onto Wyatt.
Back inside, Rollins hits a springboard clothesline for the ONE, TWO, NO! Rollins tries to suplex Wyatt, but Bray counters with a Sister Abigail attempt. Seth fights out and makes a dash for the ropes. He gets PELTED with a clothesline by Bray for the ONE, TWO, NO! Rollins fights back but walks into the Uranage Slam by Bray for ONE, TWO, NO! Sister Abigail attempt is countered into a roll-up for the two! FALCON ARROW onto Wyatt! ONE, TWO, NO! Rollins climbs to the top, but Bray rolls outside. Seth catches him outside the ring with a flying press! SAMOA JOE appears for the DQ!
Winner: Seth Rollins by DQ (**3/4)
After the match, Samoa Joe hits the HEADROCKER on Rollins. After this, Samoa Joe and Bray have a staredown. They turn their boots to Rollins. Wyatt turns on Samoa Joe with the Sister Abigail! Rollins gets one for good measure! Wyatt poses alone in the ring with both men down. We go to credits!
Final Thoughts: Raw apparently drew less than Smackdown on the European Tour, and it’s easy to see why. The things that encouraged me a few weeks ago…are in a holding pattern. There was some pure booking garbage at times, so I feel inclined to bring you the “Extra Cynical I’MMA TELLYA” Edition of Raw next week. I am glad that Brock is coming back soon, because this show desperately needs a World Champion. Err..uh..Universal Champion. One last thought…I don’t like that Rollins/Balor both use the Sling Blade, while both Samoa Joe/Bray Wyatt use the Uranage Slam. I think it should be kept to one guy. Just my thoughts. Have a good week, see you next Monday!