Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: WWE prepared to invade Saudi Arabia with an arm wrestling match, a Money in the Bank cash-in bait-and-switch, and a Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans match so bad you’d swear they were competing for the Divas title circa 2009.
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Up first, let’s catch you up with what happened at In Your House: Just Deserts.
Before We Begin
Here’s everything you need to know about WWE Super Showdown, performed under 100+ degree heat for the benefit of half a stadium full of people who’ll only recognize you if you competed between 1975 and 2005. The people in charge of bringing the show in aren’t even there this time, and are presumably at home wondering why their requests for Yokozuna weren’t honored.
Goldberg And The Undertaker Had A Sad Old Man Fight For The Ages
Check out this highlight reel:
The Saudi Arabia show before this one ended with 45 minutes of old men farting around in circles and ripping each others’ muscles off the bone, so it’s only fitting that this one featured two even older men trying to give each other brain damage. You know you’re creating great content when one half of the main event of your regime-ordered exhibition is apologizing for shitting the bed and endangering the life of himself and others because he can’t stop headbutting doors for fun and running prefrontal cortex-first into enormous metal posts.
In case you missed it — congratulations — Goldberg busted himself open on the post because he doesn’t know or remember what he’s supposed to do in a wrestling ring, took a Kota Ibushi-style Tombstone piledriver onto his neck, and gave The Undertaker WrestleMania 25 dive flashbacks by trying to paralyze him with a fucked-up Jackhammer. All you really need to know is that the match created THIS face:
Shane McMahon Pinned Roman Reigns, So, You Know, Nothing Matters Anymore
Remember when The Miz and Shane McMahon were doing a tag team angle and Shane turned heel on him, getting great heat and setting up a WrestleMania blowoff where Miz kicks his ass? Well, for whatever reason Shane McMahon won that WrestleMania match, then won again at Money in the Bank, sending a previously hot character in The Miz into under-card third-wheel talk-show-segment oblivion.
Now the scrotal-headed sweat monster is doing the same with Roman Reigns, who he DEFEATS IN A WRESTLING MATCH in Saudi Arabia. The story is that he got an assist from Drew McIntyre and now Roman’s mad at Drew, meaning Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre to set up him losing to Shane McMahon, just to set up him beating Drew McIntyre again. Somehow a character who previously had John Cena levels of nigh-invulnerability, now empowered with a great personal story and a miraculous increase in public speaking ability, is taking high profile one-on-one losses to a 49-year old non-wrestler in windbreaker pants and Jordans who I wouldn’t trust to walk up a flight of steps without his lungs collapsing.
Also Now Even Brock Lesnar Is A Total Loser
In the past couple of weeks, Brock Lesnar:
- announced a Money in the Bank cash-in for Raw, had it advertised
- unannounced the cash-in when it was revealed he didn’t know the rules
- made his bosses mad off-screen (?), leading to
- another announced and advertised Money in the Bank cash-in for Raw
- murdered Seth Rollins, but didn’t cash in for some reason so he could cash in on the Friday show
- flew across the world on Friday to get his ass kicked and not cash in
That’s followed by even worse developments on Raw (which we’ll get to), but I just want to point out how this guy’s so creatively turned around that he flew 36 hours round-trip to not have a match and get punched in the balls, giving him his third aborted Money in the Bank cash-in two and a half weeks. This guy got beat so bad they threw it to a WWE Shop commercial, aired an advertisement for the upcoming WWE Super Shoe-down, and played some Jeddah tourism board B-roll and he was STILL in the ring whimpering.
All you need to know about the rest of the show is that no titles changed hands, a low-level NXT guy won a 50-man battle royal because he’s local, and a Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler match was shockingly used to set up another Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler match.
And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for June 10, 2019.
Jobbers Of The Week
Nia Jax getting double knee surgery and Sasha Banks walking out on the job lowered the number of WWE women’s tag teams from four to two, and since Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville are heels, the IIconics are getting booked against jack and shit every week. The past two months have been a wash, so they’re restarting the same angle they tried to start on April 9 by announcing there’s no competition and defeating jobbers.
The one on the left who looks like she shops exclusively at Nyla Rose’s yard sales is Lisa Lace. The Lubbock Babe on the right who looks like she bought her gear in the pajamas section at Target is Mia Sweets, competing under the name “Aleyah Mia” but still wrestling in a t-shirt that says “SWEET.” I guess the name was too sweet for WWE. They lose and it’s all pretty lame, but at least amazing backstage IIconics interview followups still exist.
IIconics catchphrase power rankings:
1. “You gotta be joking me!”
2. “HEY KAYLA!”
3. “Thanks for coming out.”
4. Fandango-style references to “journalism”
5. their ongoing misunderstanding of how personal space works
Also representing the Jobbers of the Week is this elevator of wonderful people — R-Truth, Carmella, EC3, Drake Maverick, Cedric Alexander, and Heath Slater … basically the six people I’d ask to see more of if you polled me on Fix Raw Dot Org — doing a 24/7 Championship bottle episode.
You know, I don’t think the 24/7 Championship has become one of the best parts of the show because of anything related to the actual championship, as like zero aspects of it make any sense to me, but because it allows at least a moment’s focus on the lesser seen and utilized characters on the show. This is the first week these characters actually get any real mic time or get to do anything beyond running around like goobers and trying to schoolboy each other, and it’s EXCEPTIONAL. This is the content I want to see from the Open the O-Raw-ai Gate Championship, because wacky side characters having unique relationships is extremely my jam.
In these bits this week we get R-Truth calling his belt the “48/7 Television European Championship” (which is Larry Sweeney levels of appreciating your low-level championship belt), Carmella continuing to be the most level-headed character on the show by trying to organize the conversation, the story of Drake Maverick’s upcoming wedding, Truth repeatedly thinking Drake is Hornswoggle, Cedric Alexander as the straight man, Heath Slater as the TOO straight man who can’t stop screaming about his kids, and, most importantly, EC3 almost immediately resorting to cannibalism and revealing that he keeps a fork in the back of his trunks (WHERE, EXACTLY) in case of CANNIBALISM-RELATED EMERGENCIES.
Sadly this ends in another scramble for the championship when the elevator doors open, but even if they’re impossibilities, I want two developments from the elevator gag:
- the slow, developing idea that the entire Carter family is secretly cannibals, which gives “Panda Energy” a whole new meaning, and
- the bond these six shared turning them into a faction, with the four challengers and Carmella banding together to help R-Truth keep the championship
I want backstage plotting, military strategies, the works. Treat it like one of those Community episodes where the world is introduced to a stupid concept and everyone just accepts it and goes full-tilt bonkers making it work. Basically a paintball or blanket fort episode, as six months of pro wrestling.
Things That Were Pretty Good But Done At The Wrong Time
This is going to sound like I’ve completely lost my mind, but I thought the Lars Sullivan vs. Lucha House Party 3-on-1 elimination handicap match was a lot of fun. For once they had Lars actually look like a monster, do monstrous things to the Lucha House Party, and divide and conquer them in a way that might actually lead to him winning a 3-on-1 handicap match. He gets them on opposite sides of the ring, does actually violent things to them to incapacitate them, and basically does that thing from the GTA V opening tutorial where he holds a gun on hostages at a bank and switches between them so nobody can do anything.
This is the match they should’ve done back at Money in the Bank, when Lars Sullivan fought the Lucha House Party 3-on-1. Or on the May 20 edition of Raw, when Lars Sullivan fought the Lucha House Party 3-on-1. Or on the June 3 edition of Raw, where Lars Sullivan fought the Lucha House Party 3-on-1. Or at Super Showdown, where Lars Sullivan fought Lucha House Party 3-on-1.
A recommendation for WWE: Spend some time thinking about the best version of the segment you’re about to do and then do the best version, instead of doing a bad version over and over for a month until we’re so sick of seeing it we don’t want the best version. If you need to do a setup week that’s fine, but go from point A to point B, not from point A to point A to point A to point A to point A to point A to point B.
Do you know how much of a bummer Raw’s got to be for me to not enjoy The Revival winning the Raw Tag Team Championship?
It’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s remembering the disappointment of their previous run. It’s remembering the brutal booking of the tag team division since Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan won the belts way back in 2017, when everything suddenly felt empty and pointless and set up a referee’s 10-year old son winning and vacating the championship. It’s the constant embarrassment of The Revival, and WWE thinking they can just hop back and forth between “embarrassing loser idiots” and “best tag team in the world” as much as they want. It’s the weird title run of Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, where they won the titles in New Jersey because they’re from New York, and then did nothing until it was time for them to lose two months later. It’s the very real idea that The Revival just won last night to transition them to the Usos at Stomping Grounds. Oh, and The Revival are now trying to please Shane McMahon for some reason? They want the Tag Team Championship so they can party with one of their four evil bosses?
Man, I don’t know. It’s a good thing happening at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons.
Worst: Your Regularly Scheduled Promo Parades
The Lars Sullivan squash is the only pro wrestling happening during the first hour of Raw. The entire first hour.
The show opens with promo parade #1. Seth Rollins shows up to aimlessly discuss Brock Lesnar failing to even attempt a Money in the Bank cash-in at Super Showdown, which brings out Baron Corbin. Rollins says nobody likes Baron Corbin, which brings out Sami Zayn. Rollins threatens Zayn, which brings out Kevin Owens. It’s just a revolving door of dudes showing up and saying nothing, ultimately to help set up a Rollins vs. Corbin stipulation to help sell a pay-per-view championship match featuring a challenger nobody wants to see.
In that spirit, you can go ahead and lump in the Brock Lesnar-less Paul Heyman promo about how Brock MIGHT or maybe MIGHT NOT be the special guest referee at Shoe-down in with this. The announce team trying to push, “is Brock Lesnar here, maybe, who knows???” thing even though every time Brock’s actually here he’s a foot to Heyman’s right, hopping in place.
At the end of hour one we get an even MORE revolving door promo parade #2 where Samoa Joe guesting on Miz TV gets interrupted by Braun Strowman. Before Strowman can do anything, they’re all interrupted by Bobby Lashley. Before Lashley can do anything, they’re all interrupted by Ricochet. Before Ricochet can do anything, he’s interrupted and punched by Cesaro. This, for whatever reason, causes everyone in the promo parade to start fighting.
So the first hour of Raw features:
- two full-on promo parades to set up matches, one of them being dressed up as a talk show segment
- a Teddy Long-style on-the-fly booking of a tag team match
- the fifth Lars Sullivan vs. Lucha House Party confrontation of the month
- “special looks” at a pay-per-view they should’ve been embarrassed to have their name on
Total lazy bullshit. I don’t have a funny way to phrase it.
Worst: Stop Appreciating Shane McMahon
Things don’t get much better creatively from there, as we have the latest in a seemingly never-ending series of Shane McMahon Appreciation Nights. The crowd spends the entire time murmur booing, which basically equates to them talking among themselves about how much they don’t like what they’re being forced to watch, and Shane doing that really obnoxious Stephanie McMahon thing where the crowd chants “this is boring” because they HATE THIS CONTENT and he says some heel shit and thinks he’s “working them.” The crowd chanting “this is boring” isn’t heel heat, man, it’s an attempt at a deliverable message.
I just don’t understand what the end game is supposed to be here. What’s the end goal of this Shane McMahon superman push? The blowoff should’ve been The Miz kicking his ass and putting him away at WrestleMania, but it didn’t happen. So then the blowoff became The Miz kicking his ass in a steel cage at Money in the Bank, but it didn’t happen. Shane won both matches. Then you’re like, “okay, maybe Roman Reigns will just Superman punch him to death and that’ll be it,” but nope, Shane won that, too. This non-wrestler has won three straight marquee singles matches against top competitors and is dancing on their graves, so what’s left? What’s the goal? There isn’t anyone bigger than Roman Reigns on the regular roster to step up and give him his comeuppance, and it’s not even like they’re playing Shane up as that much of a master manipulator like Vince. He’s just going in there and winning matches, and everyone’s treating him like he’s amazing. He won that “Best in the World” trophy as a face, if you’ll remember.
If Miz couldn’t win the feud built around the guy turning heel on him and assaulting his father, and if Roman Reigns can’t win the feud beyond beating up Shane’s much bigger and younger and stronger and better henchman multiple times, what gives? Who’s the ultimate hero? Triple H? This is some straight-up Vince Russo booking himself to win the World Heavyweight Championship and shaving Ric Flair’s head shit, and I’m blown away that nobody seems to realize it.
Worst: An Overbooked Mess
Speaking of WCW, let’s quickly discuss the main event.
Seth Rollins faces Kevin Owens with Sami Zayn as the special guest “ringside enforcer” or second referee or whatever, which is already going places. Rollins inadvertently hits Zayn while he’s diving onto Owens and hits Owens with a stomp, but Zayn pulls the referee out of the ring. They argue about Rollins accidentally hitting Zayn, which causes Zayn to get in the ring, confront Rollins, and then outright disqualify him for grabbing his shirt. Rollins beats up Zayn, so Baron Corbin does a run-in. Rollins then immediately wins the heel beatdown, essentially showing that the heels are so ineffectual they can’t even beat him up 3-on-1 — a running theme on Raw for the past year or so, for some reason — and then beats down Zayn with a chair while Corbin cowers.
As a reminder, this match with a special guest referee and the heel challenger cowering is to set up the heel challenger in a championship match with a special guest referee. An unannounced special guest referee, by the way, because they probably aren’t sure if Brock Lesnar’s going to agree to do it even though it’s only two weeks before the pay-per-view. So maybe one of these limp-ass heels will have to do it instead. Or maybe SHANE MCMAHON will do it. And then Shane can be champion!
The Wrestling In The Middle Of The Show Was Okay, At Least
The MIz TV promo parade numero dos at least set up a fun six-man tag team match for hour two, with Ricochet, Braun Strowman, and The Miz teaming up against Bobby Lashley, Cesaro, and Samoa Joe. It seems like it’d be pretty hard to put these six in the ring together and not get something watchable, and honestly the match is the only time this entire episode of Raw feels like it’s built to advertise pro wrestling. It feels like the point of the pro wrestling show should be to convince people that pro wrestling is a fun thing they should watch and be interested in, doesn’t it?
It’s only marred by two small things:
- Samoa Joe “walking out” on his team, which is the most by-the-numbers tag team loss explanation shit they do these days, and
- Ricochet pulling a Billy Kidman and hitting a wild and dangerous 630 senton to Cesaro’s goddamn legs, nearly injuring himself and crippling Cesaro at the same time
The good news is that Cesaro’s not seriously injured, but if Ricochet starts using a DDT as his finishing move next week, you know what happened.
Bayley and Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss and Lacey Evans is also pretty good, but got a little loosey goosey at times. Lacey Evans still probably isn’t good enough to be in the highest of high profiles on WWE’s flagship television show, but it was a big improvement over last week’s mad jumble with Charlotte. The accidental highlight was probably Renee Young thinking Alexa Bliss called Bayley a “San Jose hooker.” H/to to Reddit:
There was also a Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans side-by-side promo that didn’t really accomplish anything or say anything new, but these are the kinds of segments you’re gonna get when you’ve only got two weeks and a world of international travel between pay-per-views.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Truth: Before we get started, does anybody want to get out?
Wait KO is on Raw tonight? I thought they said they wouldn’t punish wrestlers who refuse to go to Saudi Arabia!
MIZ: I want the US title.
BRAUN: I want the US title.
RICOCHET: I want the US title. C
ESARO: (Beats up Ricochet). I WANT IN THE G1
Am I smarter than a 5th grader? Well, I still watch Monday Night Raw, so, no.
NXT commercials are consistently the best part of Raw.
The Real Birdman
Sami calling the match for Kevin getting beat up too much would be some amazing poetic justice
Bobby Lashley trying to be intimidating:
Dawson: Hey Shane! We have titles! Can we drink now?!
Shane: No, I said gold. Those titles are clearly silver. Go think about your mistake.
The intro video for Stomping Grounds should just be Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes for how out of date this writing is.
Carmella whispers “Hail Hydra” and walks out with the 24/7 title.
There was also a Firefly Funouse where Bray puts on a clown nose and uses a mallet to turn a rabbit puppet into marmalade, and all you really need to know about it is-
That’s it for Raw. Join us next week for … [checks notes] Raw.
Make sure to drop a comment down below to let us know how you attempted suicide during this episode, and give us a share on social media to keep my head out of the oven for another week. Thanks for reading! Sorry!