04th Jul2018

WWE Raw – July 2nd 2018: Results & Review

by Nathan Favel

2018-raw-logo

Welcome to this week’s RAW review. I’m Nathan Favel I say we jump right into the action.

Match #1: Curtis Axel w/ Bo Dallas beat Raw Tag Team Champion “Woken” Matt Hardy

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

No Woken O’s this time: Curtis Axel got a good-natured round of applause from “Woken” Matt Hardy last week after what was deemed a “fluke” victory over the Raw Tag Team Champion, but this week produced a much more decisive — and much more upsetting — victory for the “Son of Perfection.”

Not only did the latest bout of B-Team mimicry (they did “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”) leave Hardy much less amused than usual, the absence of Bray Wyatt hurt The Woken One down the stretch when Bo Dallas decided to get involved on Axel’s behalf. Dallas’ brief distraction as Hardy began to close in on the win gave Axel just enough breathing room to rally and take the match. The B-Team didn’t hesitate to partake in one of their now-signature celebrations, though judging by Hardy’s reaction, the fun and games are clearly over for him. Whether B-Team gets that message may well determine the final chapter of their Cinderella story.

My Take: This was miles ahead of their match last week, if only because it lasted for longer than a minute. There wasn’t any-thing ground-breaking here, but this match served to make Axel look a little more powerful. The loss of Bray Wyatt was unfortunate and I can only imagine how distraught Bo must have felt working on live television knowing his brother was in a bad way. Hardy was pretty giving here and didn’t mind giving Axel the time of day out in the ring, if you know what I mean. As far as what to expect with action, this is what JBL and Taz called “smash-mouth” wrestling, which means that these guys just whack each other with their massive forearms.

Match #2: The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) beat Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews) w/ Dana Brooke – Tag Team Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Titus Worldwide made it a point last week to try and teach The Authors of Pain the unwritten rules of the locker room. This week, they were the ones learning the lesson.

While Akam & Rezar made themselves scarce before they could throw down in earnest against Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews last week, the former NXT Tag Team Champions had no such hesitance when it came to pulverizing Titus Worldwide in a match on Raw. Flashes of brilliance from Titus & Apollo aside, the entire contest was basically a showcase for AOP’s blistering tag team maneuvers, up to and including the Last Chapter that downed Crews for the victory. AOP may not be well-versed in the classic bylaws of sports-entertainment, but clearly, the old rules may no longer apply.

My Take: Akam and Rezar seem lost without Paul Ellering. They are very talented, but The Authors of Pain have now been forced to alter a good portion of their act just because Vince McMahon thinks managers are useless. I liked the AOP here, with their brute strength being their biggest selling point right now, but it all seems moot because the AOP don’t have some-one to sell what they are making, which is hard-hitting mayhem. As for Titus Worldwide, Apollo Crews deserves so much better than what he’s doing. In any other company, Crews would be in the main event, but for Vince, he’s jobber number five. Overall, this was over and done before either team could wear out their welcome.

Match #3: Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins def. Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler & Roman Reigns in a Tag Team Match via Disqualification

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins made it a point to single out Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre, and to their credit, they got the win, albeit by disqualification (more on that in a minute). But the match that ensued was both a reminder of the very legitimate threat Ziggler & McIntyre pose to the Raw locker room as a whole and the kind of effort it will take to even come within striking distance of a victory against them.

The Intercontinental Champion and his enforcer made an example of Reigns at the start; a superhuman rally from Rollins saved the match and slowed their opponents down the stretch. Reigns was ready to make good on his brother’s handiwork when The Revival struck from the audience, hauling Reigns off the barricade before he could tag in to bring about the disqualification and leaving Rollins to the mercy of Ziggler & McIntyre.

The performance of Rollins was a stark reminder that, with a 30-minute WWE Iron Man Match on the horizon in two weeks, Ziggler has his hands full. The appearance of The Revival — and the final Shatter Machine they hit on The Big Dog at the end of the beating — was a reminder that, with another match on the horizon in a matter of hours, Reigns does too.

My Take: This was a good match that was the first of two for Reigns. It’s hard to argue with people who feel like Reigns is being shoved down their throats when the man is in two matches on one card, as well as numerous interviews and vignettes. The action here was crisp and fluid, with Rollins and Ziggler as the stars here. The feud between Rollins and Ziggler is quickly becoming one of the better angles of the year and has already yielded some of the best wrestling from the WWE so far this year. Reigns looked good here, but he came across as some-one that no one paid to see, which is the kiss of death in wrestling. McIntyre, despite all of his obnoxious interviews since returning to the WWE (the ones to the radio/pod-cast shows) McIntyre hasn’t really done much to suggest he’s any better than when he was here the last time (even though he actually is). McIntyre needs to pick up his slack if he’s going to make claims to the media that the whole roster has no work ethic or needs to get hungry, because McIntyre wrestles like he just came back from a very productive dinner at a buffet. All in all, expect solid transitions and coherent action that made for a good match.

Match #4: Ember Moon beat Liv Morgan – Women’s Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Ruby Riott missed Raw with an injury, but the rest of The Riott Squad can still cause plenty of mayhem on their own. (They trashed the backstage area while Elias supplied them with some sweet riffs). Unfortunately, they couldn’t close the in-ring gap, though Liv Morgan was very impressive in a loss to Ember Moon that showcased both the potential of the blue-tongued brawler from New Jersey and the heart and skill of The War Goddess. Even though Ember was dropped to the mat by a flailing offensive press from Morgan, the former NXT Women’s Champion rallied with a jaw-dropping Eclipse to close out the match.

My Take: This was a quick match that made Ember Moon look good. Liv did her job and even got some solid offense in to show what she should do. Ember continues to be very impressive and deserves so much better than just being a segment on Monday Night RAW. This was a good little match.

Match #5: Roman Reigns & Bobby Lashley beat The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) in a Tag Team Match via Disqualification

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Roman Reigns gave Bobby Lashley the terms for their match against The Revival: He starts the match, finishes the match and wins the match, and Lashley just stands on the apron and collects the W. Give him this: He started the match, he finished the match, and he won the match — albeit via disqualification — but Lashley wasn’t exactly happy about the way it went down.

The Revival were all over Reigns from the jump; the lingering effects of their earlier attack left The Big Dog about three steps slower than usual, and Dash & Dawson didn’t hesitate to target his tenderized ribs. And yet, even in his exhausted state, Reigns — who refused to tag in Lashley throughout the entire match — proved a little too much to handle down the line. So, The Revival opted to make a statement rather than get the win when they double-teamed The Big Dog to the tune of a willingly-taken disqualification loss.

Lashley didn’t even budge when The Revival continued their post-match mobbing of the former WWE Champion, throwing up his hands and leaving Reigns to suffer a Shatter Machine and Frog Splash from the two-time NXT Tag Team Champions. So, Reigns kept his in-ring promise, and The Revival made good on their own vow to display their tag team efficiency. Of course, Lashley had made a promise of his own: To hold Reigns accountable if the match didn’t go their way. Now that Kurt Angle has sanctioned their match at WWE Extreme Rules, the only question is if, and how, he’ll do so.

My Take: This match happened because people pay a lot of money to see Roman Reigns… wait… no they don’t. I like Roman, but this match didn’t do him any favors. Roman just comes across as some-one who doesn’t know what he’s doing, which is actually the opposite of the truth. Roman should be working as the giant version of Homicide, not John Cena 2.0. Poor Bobby Lashley keeps getting forced to cut all of these promos that hurt his legitimate shooter appeal that made him a happy buck when was working in Total Non-Stop Action/Impact Wrestling and his crowd reaction, like the one he (did not) have here, shows it. At least, I can say with pride, that The Revival looked good here. This team would’ve cleaned house in 1970s Jim Crockett Promotions. Overall, this was a decent match that should’ve been allowed to go longer and have more autonomy.

Match #6: Mojo Rawley No Way Jose – No Contest

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Mojo Rawley has made his feelings on No Way Jose very clear over the last couple of weeks: He doesn’t like him, and he thinks he’s too jokey to call himself a WWE Superstar. And, as evidenced tonight, while he still has no desire to compete with Jose in a rematch of their bout from two weeks ago, he’s more than willing to cheap-shot The Dominican Dancing Machine and antagonize the cheeseburger in his conga line.

The difference this week was that Jose got the chance to fight back after Rawley obliterated the burger, though Rawley quickly snuffed out Jose’s flurry when he slammed his nemesis back-first on the ring apron. The beat goes on, but the crescendo of this dance may be soon approaching.

My Take: There was no match, so there’s nothing to review. Both of these guys are good, but nothing can really come from just brawling with each every week if they are not already over.

Match #7: Nia Jax w/ Natalya beat Mickie James w/ Alexa Bliss – Women’s Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Alexa Bliss didn’t seem too perturbed by Ronda Rousey’s announcement that she’ll be sitting ringside at WWE Extreme Rules with a personally-bought ticket (she’s suspended from Raw, not the pay-per-view). The announcement that Bliss’ Raw Women’s Title rematch against Nia Jax from the same event would be an Extreme Rules Match left her a little more shaken. But nothing seemed to show Bliss the gravity of her situation than Jax’s victory over Alexa’s friend Mickie James on Raw.

With Natalya backing up Nia at ringside, The Irresistible Force was a force to be reckoned with against the six-time Women’s Champion. If there was any bright spot for Alexa, it was that Mickie’s targeted attack of Nia’s knee left open a slight window as to how Jax might be beaten, but Jax nevertheless reversed the Mick Kick into a tremendous sitout powerbomb and sealed the win with the Samoan Drop.

The specter of Ronda Rousey looms large in the distance. The reality of Jax poses the more immediate threat. And Alexa Bliss is fast realizing she’ll have to deal with both before all is said and done.

My Take: Mickie James was the star of this match. James has so much latent wrestling ability that it baffles me that we don’t have more opportunities for men to wrestle women. Jax still needs work, but at least she knows when to let the athlete with more experience take over and do their job. I bet Jax gets a whole hell of a lot better within the next few years and when she does, it will be because she let the pros give her all of this great on the job training. Expect lots of strikes and submissions from James and see how well Jax sells all of it. This was the best match on the card, without question.

Match #8: Main Event – Braun Strowman beat Kevin Owens via Count-out

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Kevin Owens tried everything to get away from a match with Braun Strowman. He tried showing up late to the arena, which landed him in the match in the first place. Then he tried to bribe Kurt Angle with Shania Twain tickets to get the match canceled. (That didn’t impress him much). Then he tried to psych himself up with some breathing techniques from Jinder Mahal. Then, when the bell rang, he decided to simply up and run away to placate Strowman with a count-out win. None of it worked.

As Owens should have realized when Strowman flipped his car over last week, once Mr. Monster in the Bank has you in his sights, he won’t be satisfied with mere victory. So, he shouldn’t have been entirely surprised when, after Owens attempted to hide from Strowman in a portable toilet outside the arena (he refused to give the valet his keys and didn’t have them on him when he bailed), Strowman duct taped the door shut, hauled the stall back into the building and plowed it over the stage with KO inside. The former Universal Champion — writhing in pain and covered in the blue liquid from the stall — was extracted from the wreck, and if he’s lucky, Strowman will be finished with him. Of course, Kevin Owens hasn’t been that lucky for a while now, and the worst thing about this night may end up being that it’s only the beginning.

My Take: There wasn’t any match here, but Strowman did make Owens into a shit-house bitch. As an angle, this was interesting to look at, but a waste of time overall.

News of the Night:

  1. Bayley and Sasha Banks are in therapy with Dr. Shelby, who once did the same for Team Hell No. These segments were terrible.
  2. A feud between Finn Balor and Baron Corbin was teased.
  3. Bray Wyatt was injured over the weekend and was not there.
  4. Ruby Riott was injured recently and was not there.
  5. A 30-Minute Iron-Man Match was booked between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules.
  6. The Bobby Lashley/Roman Reigns feud culminates at Extreme Rules in a singles match.

Final Verdict: This was a lousy episode of RAW that was saved by a brief, yet great fight between Mickie James and Nia Jax.

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