Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Brock Lesnar went full b-boy and danced to music played through the wrong side of an imaginary boombox. Oh, also there wasn’t a real wrestling match on the show until an hour-16 in.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for June 3, 2019.
Worst: There Have Only Been 8 Matches In The Last 6 Hours Of Raw
While this week’s episode improves upon last week’s debacle by getting to a match during the first half hour, it still only gave us four actual wrestling matches in 180 minutes of television. Even if you stretch it to nine by saying the Shane McMahon jobber squash was a “match,” I added up roughly 41:55 of wrestling last week and only 40:25 this week. So the amount of wrestling involved has actually gone down somehow. Just wanted to throw out some actual stats while we’re goofing on, “that’s good shit, pal,” and the like. Their plan to improve the show was to include less of what the show is about.
Worst: I Can’t Believe Nitro Would Bait And Switch Us Like This
Over the past week, WWE’s been pushing this odd story about how Brock Lesnar had “disrespected” the Money in the Bank contract by not cashing it in when he said he would, even though being able to cash in whenever and however you’d like is the entire point of the Money in the Bank briefcase. So WWE management was mad at him, and demanded satisfaction. It’s such a random, illogical plot point that even members of the Raw announce team were shitting on it on social media. Think of it like poor Peter Dinklage doing his best during Game of Thrones season 8 to keep his composure and not flip out about how Tyrion’s big idea for safety against a guy who can raise the dead is to hide in the crypts, with all the dead people.
So they do a Miz TV segment where Seth Rollins is rightfully like, “Lesnar said he was going to cash in on Raw, I’m Raw’s world champion, let’s go ahead and get this over with.” Lesnar teases cashing in, but doesn’t.
Later in the episode, Rollins shows up to bait Lesnar into cashing in on him again and ends up getting the End of Days from evil Olive Garden bartender Baron Corbin. That frees Lesnar to show up and absolutely MURDER Rollins with suplexes, chair shots, deadly blows from the decorative Halliburton, the works. With Lesnar’s road to the championship as easy as nudging Rollins’ corpse with his foot and pinning him, Brock — who last week got mad at Heyman because he didn’t realize he had an entire year to cash in — re-re-announces his cash in for this Friday in Saudi Arabia.
To recap, Brock Lesnar won the Money in the Bank briefcase in a match he wasn’t in, and didn’t participate in at all until the last 15 seconds. They then treated Money in the Bank like he had to make a decision on who to cash in on RIGHT NOW and cash it in RIGHT NOW. Brock realizes he’s got a year to cash in and peaces out completely, because that’s how Brock Lesnar works. He doesn’t want to have to do anything. And then WWE management gets mad at him for understanding the rules of their match prize and pressures him into cashing in right away anyway. Brock agrees, beats the champion within an inch of his life, and then decides to just not win the Universal Championship easily so he can fly 16 hours to another country and work 2 1/2 minutes there, losing the element of surprise and the illusion that he wants to be champion at all.
Best: The Cinematography Was Great, Though
I really loved this shot. It’s got a real “Spider-Man No More!” vibe, except Lesnar walked away and left the Universal Championship in the garbage.
Rollins does a full-on stretcher job to sell the attack, and honestly it’d be pretty funny if he just bailed on the Saudi Arabia trip due to injury and made Brock sit on a plane for 32 hours for nothing. Also you can tell WWE has fully poisoned my brain, because when Rollins was being loaded into the ambulance I either wanted (1) Dean Ambrose to randomly be driving with no explanation, or (2) John Cena to jog up, smash the EMTs’ heads into the back of the vehicle, and start trying to kiss Becky Lynch.
“I think sports-entertainment is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, pro wrestling created an aspect of wrestling separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are Superstars that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our promotion to do is deny our programming, stop signing, walk hand in hand into AEW, one last midnight — brothers and sisters opting out of a Monday Night Raw deal.”
Alright alright alright.
Best, Mostly: The Four Actual Matches
I have to give Raw some credit for getting to the first match a lot quicker than usual — only about eight minutes of promo parade this week, leading straight into a six-man tag team match (even though it’d already been announced) — but it’s still three minutes of Reigns walking to the ring, a heel interruption, a sneak attack, and somebody making the save. It’s just the Reader’s Digest version of the normal Raw opening. I prefer that if I have to pick one or the other, but Michael Cole’s call of, “Roman Reigns is set tonight for a six-man tag team match-up to kick us off on Monday Night Raw, he’s going to team with his cousins the Usos to take on the Scottish Psychopath Drew McIntyre and The Revival,” was enough. That’s all you have to say, and then the match starts. I don’t think you’re taking away anyone’s good time by opening ONE of your 52 yearly Raws without characters wandering out to music and monologuing at each other.
The match is pretty good, too, although I wonder how good it could’ve been with an extra five minutes or so from the opening promos added in and the multiple commercial breaks removed. I think the most frustrating thing about Raw going to commercial so often is that it feels like they’re in a rush to get from one break to the next, and the actual content of WWE Raw The Television Show is less important than the amount of time we see Popeye’s chicken and The Radkes. I couldn’t remember half the matches from Raw this morning, but I can tell you that the woman from The Radkes thinks online shopping is rad, and kale is bad. And I know that guy getting openly insulted on a date should’ve taken his Popeye’s chicken and gone home.
It’s also hurt by the ongoing multiple Shane McMahon storylines going on on both shows. I’d really like to see the notes on the meeting where WWE creative decided the top two villains on their 3-hour long flagship pro wrestling program should be a 49-year old non-wrestler in novelty baseball jerseys and windbreaker pants who looks like he’s going to collapse from exhaustion walking to the ring and a 6-foot-8 restaurant host who thinks being insufferable to watch at work is heat. It’s not, man, you’re just filling up the lobby with pissed-off customers. Seat some of those two-tops at the bar and stop trying to be the point of everything.
Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross is fine, but not as good as the pre-match moment where the IIconics add dramatic whooshing away to their signature taunt:
The selling point here, oddly, is that Alexa Bliss now has a full-on barista gimmick. Last week she drank coffee at ringside and we kinda liked it, so now it’s monetized out the wazoo with her own coffee line, coffee as a hobby and a socialization technique, t-shirts with her coffee brand’s logo, a production person bringing her branded coffee in a branded cup by request. It’s like the Gregory Helms Titantron where he wore sunglasses on TV once so “SUNGLASSES GUY” became his only marketable identity.
I should also probably point out (again) that the IIconics are the biggest losers in the entire world after winning the Women’s Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania, and that it’s a shame the Women’s Tag Team Championship is dead in the water four months into existence. I have no idea why WWE is still so obsessed with the idea of making people who have become champion completely helpless in wrestling matches, and why the champ needs to lose in some form or another for six weeks in a row to the same opponent to set up a match. You’re kinda sorta killing our desire to see anybody do anything, because we don’t trust the system enough to respect the characters it routinely embarrasses while asking us to respect them and the titles they hold. Jesus, at least let them beat some jobbers again before they lose the belts.
The men’s Tag Team Championship has been built around back shaving goofs and making someone rub Icy Hot on their balls, I guess I shouldn’t expect the women’s Tag Team Championship to be built on anything more engaging than, “we made the lady in white pants sit in the coffee.”
The best night of the match again, by a pretty wide margin, is Cesaro vs. Ricochet. They’re stuck in that WWE 2K Universe Mode booking where two guys are feuding so they face each other in the same match every week on every show for six months, but it’s Cesaro and Ricochet, and they’re competing in an otherwise desolate athletic wasteland, so I’ll allow it. Cesaro continues to be a great base for Ricochet’s most ridiculous ideas, and Ricochet’s the perfect size to let Cesaro look physically strong without looking like he’s fighting someone half his size. The match ends with Ricochet grabbing a roll-up out of what looked like a gently botched round-the-world headscissors takedown. Bless the only part of the show that feels like it belongs in pro wrestling in 2019.
After the match, 24/7 Championship shenanigans ensue. I was kinda hoping that Cesaro would drop the table with Truth on it, pull another one out from under the ring, and realize it’s the board Aleister Black uses for his super spoopy entrance. Black could be resting on it just like Truth. Since Little People’s Court got torn down, they should establish that Under The Ring is some kind of weird cryogenic freeze where they put you when they “don’t have anything for you” creatively.
Anyway, what’s the payoff for these Cesaro/Ricochet matches? Are they getting a pay-per-view match out of it? Can they run them 2-out-of-3 falls and re-do the Cesaro/Sami Zayn NXT feud with Ric on Raw?
Worst: Arsenic And Old Lacey
The worst match of the night (and one of the very worst Raw matches of the year so far) was Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans. Based on what we’ve seen, that shouldn’t be that bad of a match, should it? Charlotte’s usually pretty good, and only really bad on rare occasions, and while Lacey’s still green and in over her head, she’s serviceable when she’s in the ring with someone who can help her keep it together.
Instead of … any of that, we get Charlotte weirdly no-selling everything Lacey tries to do, possibly because of the awkward punch to Flair that started the match, and Lacey totally falling apart over it. It’s such a deeply awkward match, from the catch-as-catch-can’t shoot-fighting against the ropes to the horrible timing on even basic moves to straight-up botching. A total disaster. I think my favorite moment is when Lacey’s supposed to counter Charlotte’s figure-four attempt but forgets to, and Charlotte just kinda stands there presenting her butt for too long.
Becky Lynch randomly ending the match on a disqualification ended up being the biggest babyface move of the night. This is the kind of match Paul E. Dangerously would’ve sent 911 to the ring to end with chokeslams.
Best: I Wanna Meet That Dad, Doo Doo DOO Doo!
The latest edition of Firefly Funhouse introduces us to:
- Huskis the Pig, a gluttonous pig puppet
- a Vince McMahon devil puppet leaning into the room to make everyone feel scared and bad
- an extremely subtle allusion to Husky Harris’ relationship with Vince and being pressured into getting in shape, don’t know if you picked up on any of that
- a full-on Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! music video wherein Bray tells us to pull up our pants and “do the muscle man dance”
- PENTAGRAM STAR-WIPES
I wish I could go back in time to 2013 when I was sitting in the bleachers at Full Sail listening to Bray Wyatt get treated like a hero while cutting an amazing promo about how he’s going to, “bring down the machine,” and show myself this GIF without any context.
Study question: If the paper plate demon represents current Bray, Abby the Witch represents Sister Abigail, Mercy the Buzzard represents the “follow the buzzards” Cape Fear era Bray, and Huskis the Pig Boy represents Husky Harris, who is Rambling Rabbit supposed to be? Curtis Axel? Matt Hardy? That Bray who cut rambling nonsense promos every week for months and never did anything? The Bray That Laughs? I’m trying to piece together all the psychological symbolism.
Note: I hope this ends like Dark Nights: Metal with evil Bray Wyatts from multiple WWE Universes converging on ours to destroy it.
Best: States Rights
There wasn’t much they could do with Rey Mysterio’s injury and Joe’s shoulder being way, way up at Money in the Bank, so having Mysterio relinquish the United States Championship back TO Joe and having Joe be a dick about it was the best option.
I still don’t know Dominick’s been a character in the WWE Universe this long without getting beaten to death with his own ripped-off arms, but it is what it is. Maybe Dom can start following Joe around while dad’s away, and Rey can come back and get mad about how his kid’s completely forgotten the fashion-forward values of the Mysterio family in favor of wrestling in gym shorts.
Also On This Episode
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley arm wrestled, and Lashley fulfilled the propechy by attacking his opponent. If pro wrestling ever had an arm wrestling competition that didn’t end with the heel getting mad and attacking the face, it’d tear a hole in the fabric of reality. Wrestlers would be able to eat birthday cake without being smashed into it and everything.
Lars Sullivan still hates those pesky minorities!
I think we don’t give Lucha House Party enough credit for being one of the saddest, dead-end concepts in the WWE. They took three talented wrestlers, including a guy who was on top of the American indies not that long ago, a Chikara veteran, and Máscara fucking Dorada and all they can think to do with them is win 3-on-2 handicap matches, lose 3-on-1 handicap matches, and carry piñatas to the ring because they’re Mexican.
The Undertaker and his book of Satanic Mad Libs sent a CHILLING MESSAGE to Goldberg that, “he’s next.” I’m so excited to not watch this!
Speaking of things I’m excited to not watch, Triple H and Randy Orton finally come face-to-face to try to figure out what the hell they’re having a marquee match about in Saudi Arabia. It turns out they’re wrestling about which one still has balls. You know, I was really hoping that when Orton dropped the “get your balls out of your wife’s purse” line, Triple H would’ve responded with, “I tried to reach in there and grab them but somebody shit in the bag.” I’m just a blogger, though, “YOU are the one without the balls,” is probably a total mic drop.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Baron Von Raschke
Becky is officially a WWE Champion! She was just the third most important person in a segment in which she was involved.
Brock: Fridays. I want to go to Fridays.
Heyman: damn it… I knew Corbin was going to distract you from cashing in!
The Real Birdman
I like Bray’s new gimmick of “Got high & watched Adult Swim”
Oops Pow Surprise
Put the 24/7 title on Undertaker you cowards
I swear….18 more Raws this bad and I’m out!
The Real Birdman
“You think those guys are on steroids?” – Lance Armstrong in the crowd, probably
“They retread the same matches over and over. Some guys just don’t ever get used”. But the guys that get used, are “over-used” and they retread the same matches over and over. So you see a PPV calibre match- but three weeks in a row…a lot of the top stars would prefer to give somebody else a shot, rather than wrestle the same opponent three weeks in a row. (Mentioned Tyler Breeze, Chad Gable and Apollo Crews as talent that doesn’t get used, but should be used instead of seeing “Dean Ambrose vs Drew McIntyre” three weeks in a row.)”
In case anyone is wondering, my 7 year old said nothing but “Oh my God” 12 times during that Firefly Funhouse segment, and finished with “That was the greatest” when it ended. Bray Wyatt, over with the children.
On this very special episode of Firefly Funhouse Abby the Witch gets addicted to diet pills.
Bray turned into Johnny Karate so gradually I didn’t even notice
That’s it for this week’s Raw. It’s not getting any better, but I think I’m getting used to its specific idea of bad.
Thanks for reading, as always. Drop a comment below to let us know what you thought of the show, give the column a share on social media to keep us in business, and we’ll see you next week when Saudi Arabia III’s over and we can get back to a normal wrestling show … he typed, trying to end his column on an optimistic note.