Liam Hoofe reviews this week’s Raw…
Raw opens with Elias sat in the middle of the ring. Elias says he has a song about his attack on Seth Rollins last week. He sings a song about Rollins while a video of his attack plays on the monitor. Rollins’ music hits to a big pop and the Intercontinental Champion makes his way down to the ring. Rollins circles the ring, before grabbing a chair and squaring up to Elias, who is holding his guitar. Just as the two men go to brawl, Jinder Mahal attacks Rollins from behind, which leads to a brief beatdown before Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring. Reigns clears house and Kurt Angle then comes out and makes a tag match between the four men to kick off the show. This was a perfectly fine opening segment. Elias and Rollins are both super over, Jinder and Reigns really aren’t, so at least combining the feuds mean the WWE can claim that the latter two are getting good reactions.
The match kicks off with a big brawl between the four men and then slows down into a more normal rhythm. They are given plenty of time to show what they are capable of here, and the crowd are fairly invested throughout the bout. Sunil Singh also gets himself involved at various points during the match and has an amusing moment when he jumps out of Rollins’ path straight into the waiting arms of Roman Reigns. The finishing sequence is fun enough, and Elias picks up the victory for his team after he DDT’s Rollins onto a steel chair. (Rating: ***) The match was a nice way to kick off the show, and everyone involved looked fairly decent. Jinder has definitely looked better in the ring since sharing it with Rollins in recent weeks. This also gives Elias a big win heading into his match with Rollins at Money in the Bank.
Curt Hawkins is out next. Hawkins says that he is now on 199 straight defeats and it is time to end that. He has tacos at ringside, that he says he will give everyone when he wins. He introduces a jobber, James Harden. The two men have a brief match, which Hawkins dominates. Hardin teases a comeback but before he can, Baron Corbin walks to the ring, attacks Hardin and gives Hawkins the DQ loss, rounding him up to 200. Corbin then beats up Hawkins and throws the tacos on him. What a load of nonsense.
Backstage, Kurt Angle is in his office, and Baron Corbin arrives to explain his actions. He says that Stephanie has made him the new constable of Raw, whatever that means. This time last year, Corbin was about to win the Money in the Bank briefcase. Talk about a fall from grace.
Ronda Rousey is out next to support her friend, Natalya, who is going one on one with Nia Jax. The two women have a very sloppy match and Natalya gets ‘injured’ at one point, leading to Nia picking up the victory with a Samoan drop (Rating: * 1/2). After the match, Rousey comes to check on Natalya and helps her leave the ring. This was pretty terrible, and the feud between Nia and Rousey has no heat whatsoever.
— WWE (@WWE) June 5, 2018
Bobby Roode is being interviewed backstage about his appearance in the Money in the Bank match. He cuts his usual promo, which basically just consists of him shouting glorious. Roode says that he puts Strowman over to finish the segment.
After the break, and Strowman is out for his match against Roode. Now, maybe I was just tired of the whole show by this point, but I found this match to be fairly tiresome. Braun did his usual, and seeing him smash a ladder in half was fun, but the rest of the match was very so-so. Seeing Roode booked like such a goofball is really irritating. He needs a heel turn, and quick. Obviously, Braun picked up the victory with a running power-slam. (Rating: * 3/4)
Kevin Owens is being interviewed backstage, and he runs down his Raw opponents for Money in the Bank. He mocks Finn Balor before their match later tonight. Owens has been great these last few weeks, and he’s a shining light on Raw right now.
The Deleters of Worlds are out with their tag titles next. They cut a brief promo before the match, and they do their usual woken shtick. Matt asks Renne if she is woken and she says yes, which he says is wonderful. The WWE has done nothing with these two since they won the belts in Jeddah, and their crowd reaction said it all.
The two men leave the ring for the tag team battle royal, which frankly, was a farce. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre were eliminated first, then Drew beat everyone down before they left. The rest of the match was just the usual battle royal affair, only with added comedy spots thrown in, because that’s where we’re at with the tag team division right now. The B Team win after another ‘comedy’ finish, and they will face Hardy and Wyatt for the titles in the coming weeks. (Rating: *) The state of the Raw tag team division makes me sad. The Authors of Pain are just sat backstage doing nothing, and everyone else is being booked to look ridiculous. Things need to change.
Speaking of ridiculous, Bobby Lashley is out next for another promo with Sami Zayn. Lashley gets in the ring and calls Sami out. Lashley is dressed like he’s an older brother trying to be cool at a graduation and frankly, it’s not working. Sami Zayn comes out and tries his best to redeem this whole feud but this has just been a disaster. The segment ends with Zayn questioning whether or not Lashley was really in the army, which makes Bobby very angry indeed. This feud stinks, and Lashley is being booked to look ridiculous. The WWE has a lot of repair work to do after Money in the Bank.
— WWE (@WWE) June 5, 2018
Reigns and Jinder cut a duelling backstage promo from two different places in the arena. Reigns says that Jinder has had everything handed to him and the usual stuff. He says he’s going to kick Jinder’s ass. Reigns finds Jinder and the two men brawl.
Time for a 6 women tag match. Alexa Bliss, Ember Moon and Sasha Banks are up against The Riott Squad. Bliss gets ‘injured’ early in the match, so she leaves the ring and leaves Moon and Banks to fend for themselves. The Riott Squad dominate the majority of the match, until Bayley runs out, hits a Belly to Bayley suplex and picks up the pin for the team. (Match Rating: ** 1/2) The match was fine, the ending was a bit strange, and the WWE clearly has zero idea what is happening with Sasha and Bayley anymore.
Backstage, Baron Corbin tells Kurt that he must reverse the decision to the match because Bayley wasn’t officially involved. He threatens to get Stephanie involved if Kurt doesn’t do. Man, this is so lame.
Main event time- Finn Balor Vs Kevin Owens. These two had some awesome matches back in NXT, and while they obviously don’t hit those heights here, this match was solid. Finn and Kevin have been two of the best things on Raw in recent weeks, so it was nice to see them getting a decent stretch of time to close the show. The DQ finish was a bit of a nuisance, and neither man was at their best, but this was still better than the rest of the show. (Rating: ***) The two men brawl after the match, and Finn hits an impressive Coup De Grace off the top of the ladder before climbing up and grabbing the briefcase to close the show.
Verdict: Raw is a huge mess right now, and this week’s Raw was the worst since The Shake-Up. The opening match and the main event were fine, but everything else was poor. The build to Money in the Bank, outside of the actual MITB match, has been horrendous and so many of the feuds feel lifeless. The tag division continues to be a joke, and Bobby Lashley will be wishing he’d stay in Impact at this point. Hopefully, things will pick up after Money in the Bank as we head towards SummerSlam.