The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 7/2/18: The Small Counsel


Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Bayley went ape on her friend after months of being halfway heel-turned, and ended up in counseling like no other wrestler ever. Lots of stressful conversations about Raw the past few weeks.

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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for July 2, 2018.

Worst: Roman Wrestles Two Tag Team Matches And Creative Didn’t Finish Either Of Them

The A-story of this episode is that Roman Reigns is the Toughest and Strongest Adult Man Around, so he wants to wrestle his tag team match with Bobby Lashley against The Revival, fight Bobby Lashley, and team up with Seth Rollins to fight Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. To his credit, Ziggler and McIntyre goaded him into it by pointing out several (several) problems with his character’s vibe and entitlement, and this first match happened organically due to the Ziggler/Rollins matches and last week’s finish. Also to his credit, Reigns is doing a pretty awesome job of feuding with the entire roster at once. He’s got issues with Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, The Revival, WWE management, and now Ziggler and McIntyre. If you’re building a story about an entitled guy who thinks everything “goes through him,” it’s kind of ingenious to have him sorta stick his nose in everybody’s business until he’s feuding with a dozen people at a time. Overload him, you know?

Anyway, I thought this and the actual Rollins/Reigns vs. Ziggler/McIntyre tag match were watchable to good. Watchable for the opening, which is still awkward as the day is long, and good for the wrestling, because duh. The problem comes with how that match ends, and what that means for the rest of the show.

So we get almost 16 minutes into a tag team match on a 3-hour show where no other match goes longer than 9 and change, and The Revival runs in to cause a disqualification. On paper, the idea is that The Revival wants to “wear down” Roman, since they’ve got to wrestle him again later in the night. In practice, we followed up last week’s “long match leading to a DQ finish” with another long match leading to a DQ finish, to set up another match leading to a DQ finish on the same show. The same show.

Later in the night we get mismatched tag team partners Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns in their third tag team match in three weeks against The Revival. The first match was basically a squash for the faces. The second match only ended in a loss for them because of miscommunication. If you’re building to Lashley vs. Reigns, the logical thing is to have Reigns try to stay in the ring the entire time and lose clean to the fresh, better tag team, enforcing his entitlement issues and “proud warrior” ego while actually giving Lashley something to be upset about, right? Instead, we have Lashley walk out on the match leaving Roman alone, and then Roman WINNING THE GODDAMN MATCH because the Revival wouldn’t stop kicking his ass.

Yep, the famed “double team in the corner and the referee has never seen this before and has to end the match immediately” finish. “Kicking too much ass” is the worst WWE finish, and to combine it with basically three long matches in a row with empty DQ finishes, Reigns essentially winning a handicap match, The Revival going down 1-2 in the feud by choice because they “don’t care about wins and losses” all of a sudden, and Lashley being upset at Roman for winning the match for them makes it even worse.

I feel like maybe this whole thing could’ve worked if you’d done it in reverse. Maybe Roman’s hubris costs him an opener against The Revival, and then they run out to attack him again at the end of the second match because they’re dicks and hate him, and don’t care about the “wins and losses” of teams other than themselves. That could even work as a way to say Wilder and Dawson want to make sure that the new Ziggler/McIntyre super team gets an unfair L on their record to keep them out of title contention. A way to “beat” them without actually being them, you know? Or hell, have The Revival win the first match and hurt Roman so he loses the second. That could create some strife between Reigns and Seth Rollins, who appears to be the only guy left around who thinks Roman’s a Cool Dude. Really anything other than “it’s two disqualifications, the wrestling you just watched doesn’t matter, and the character motivations don’t make any sense.”

Best/Worst: Shelby Comin’ Round The Mountain

Maybe the sole highlight of this week’s show is the guest appearance of Dr. Shelby, Daniel Bryan and Kane’s former anger management coach who pops in on social media every now and then to provide helpful advice to WWE Superstars. He’s maybe the best WWE NPC ever, and my biggest complaint is that they didn’t really do anything with him, and anyone could’ve been in this role.

All he does is tell them to be friends, and when they don’t, he gets mad. It’s the super Cliff’s Notes version of Daniel Bryan and Kane. Bayley and Sasha are in “the friend zone,” get it? One of them’s doing an impersonation of the other, get it? It’s … not great. It doesn’t even seem to be happening for a reason. Bryan was and Kane is an irrational cartoon character. Putting them in a goofy therapy segment is funny because it’s so absurd. Bayley and Sasha Banks are just friends who have legitimate problems with each other. It’s not the same note.

The Last Week Sorta Follow-Up Lightning Round

A lot of this week’s show is devoted to doing whatever we did last week with a slightly different finish — see The Revival vs. Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns — which, uh, was what last week’s show was devoted to. See The Revival vs. Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns. Anyway, here’s a rundown of things we sorta passed on from last week, and what was done.

The Deleters of Worlds vs. B-Team feud is awfully clumsy. In the first week after the pay-per-view, the B-Team dressed up as Hardy and Wyatt. A week later, they dressed up as them again, this time with Axel pulling off an accidental win on Hardy via a botched superplex. This week, they dress up as them again, and Axel pulls of an on-purpose win with a finisher and everything. I’m not sure if this is WWE’s idea of a “slow build,” but “one half of the challenging team defeats one half of the champions in a singles match to show that can happen” is step one in a very average tag team story. What they’ve done here is take three weeks to give us steps 1A, 1B, and 1C. Maybe this week was originally supposed to be Dallas vs. Wyatt to finally hit step two, and the car accident messed that up?

Regardless, it seems weird to book a fluke win with Axel having zero agency and follow it up with Axel winning in nine minutes with his finish. As of today, at least, Axel’s Wikipedia page doesn’t even have an “in wrestling” section; that’s how infrequently we see him do wrestling moves.

Last week, the Authors of Pain squashed a team of Christmas luchadors and Titus Worldwide made the save. This week, the Authors squash Titus Worldwide. It’s a good decision, I guess, and probably would’ve worked a lot better if you’d done it the second and third week after WrestleMania, instead of doing the Sanity thing where you “debut” a team and then forget them for a month.

And while we’re on the subject of this match, why’s Apollo Crews always taking pins for Titus Worldwide? Can’t Titus take a few of these? It’s not like WWE’s noticed him or prepared him for anything beyond “getting suspended for touching his boss” and “falling down once.” Can we bring back Tozawa and put Titus at ringside again? That was a pretty solid idea.

You know, I make a lot of jokes about WWE creative having a dry erase board, writing a bad segment on it in permanent marker and having to do that segment every week until it wears off, but this is ridiculous.

Last week’s segment:

  • No Way Jose wants a rematch against Mojo Rawley
  • Mojo Rawley takes out his anger on one of the conga line members, who is dressed like a cheeseburger
  • Mojo Rawley refuses the match and cheap shots No Way Jose

This week’s segment:

  • No Way Jose wants a rematch against Mojo Rawley
  • Mojo Rawley refuses the match and cheap shots No Way Jose
  • Mojo Rawley takes out his anger on one of the conga line members, who is dressed like a cheeseburger

They just flipped steps two and three. What’s the point of this feud, that Mojo Rawley’s confident he can win matches, but doesn’t want matches? He only wants to face serious opponents? On RAW, in the under-card? The most serious under-carder there is a guy whose entire gimmick is “wears a sparkly robe, likes the word glorious.” Maybe Mojo just hates cheeseburgers? They couldn’t even get a different cheeseburger costume for this week. Even the damn Rosebuds switched up their props sometimes. What party is No Way Jose leading that conga away from, anyway? A restaurant opening in Rapture?

Worst: Detached Irish Daniel Bryan Vs. Reformed Trailer Park Big Cass

This segment has two things working against it: it’s essentially a rehash of the “I’m tall and you aren’t” feud we just lived through with Daniel Bryan and Big Cass minus Daniel Bryan, and it’s asking two guys who aren’t especially good at delivering “quippy” WWE dialogue to humorously quip at each other to set up a match. Corbin wants an apology for a thing nobody should have to apologize for. Finn’s response is to make fun of his hair and clothes, which frankly are huge improvements over what he’d been wearing for his first several years in the company. He looks like a bald waiter, you see! Baron’s response should’ve been, “at least I’m not staring off into the distance smiling at everything.”

And just like the Bryan feud, the actual physicality is built around the big guy saying he’s big over and over, then getting terrified and bailing as soon as a guy 1/3 his size pulls off a couple of wrestling moves. I like the idea that a smaller athlete with skill can beat a bigger athlete who isn’t as good, but sometimes WWE forgets the actual “competition” part of an entertainment sports story and the whole thing becomes a turn-based snaps battle. It’s like WWE Champions, but in real life. Finn only hit that Sling Blade because the guy controlling him got a bunch of jewels in his combo.

This Week In The Women’s Division

Not much moving forward in the women’s division this week. The most notable thing is the absolutely bizarre decision to have NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler show up backstage, have her mention how she’s Ronda Rousey’s friend, then not use her for anything in favor of teaming up Nia Jax (who was heeling on Rousey a couple of weeks ago) and Natalya (who was injured by Jax a couple of weeks ago) as Best Friends In Service Of Ronda.

That’s the general point of Nia Jax vs. Mickie James. Mickie’s supposed to be Alexa’s friend (which still honestly doesn’t make a ton of sense), so having Mickie and Alexa out at the same time provides a Damned Numbers Game for Nia. With Rousey suspended, there’s nobody to back her up on a 2-on-1 attack, so Natalya shows up. Not taking into consideration that Rousey wouldn’t back up the woman who insulted her and tried to punk her out last month, or that Natalya was “injured” in that Jax match and used as emotional collateral for that Jax/Rousey feud. It’s just faces we’ve decided are faces helping other faces we’ve decided are faces to “even the odds” against smaller, less powerful opponents. Lashley and Reigns vs. The Revival, basically.

We also get a Liv Morgan vs. Ember Moon match. Two compliments I can give it:

  • I like the Riott Squad as a group of wandering anarchists who want to just riot and break shit all the time. Elias giving them “pump up” music so they can knock over a bunch of clangy poles or whatever is funny. It’s not a deep gimmick, but at least it gives them a point besides “extra Absolution.”
  • Liv does the Mickie James landmine sell of the Eclipse at around the 1:25, which is a billion percent the best way to sell that move.

Worst: Blue Man Poop

Finally we have our “main event.” They build up Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman for an entire episode, then end the match with Owens running away in fear and getting counted out in about 45 seconds. If he was gonna do that I’m not sure why he didn’t just calmly leave the arena earlier and lose via forfeit, but sure, this sets up what could be another memorable Braun Strowman monster attack.

Instead of, say, flipping a semi-truck with his bare hands or using a grappling hook to attemped murder his opponents with a lighting rig, Strowman tapes Owens into a port-a-potty, awkwardly drags it all the way back into the arena, then body checks it off the stage.


Not his coolest moment. Braun occasionally dips into self-parody with these things, and him doing all this work to flip over a port-a-potty instead of, say, immediately picking up the thing with his hands in the parking lot and throwing it into a river or whatever is the antithesis of what makes Braun cool. He’s supposed to be unchecked cartoon rage. When he orchestrates these elaborate schemes, it feels more like a creative decision for a “cool moment” than Braun actually being cool and creating cool moments. I hope that makes sense.

To make it worse, the payoff to Owens in the big match john is him covered in … blue liquid. You guys couldn’t clear “doo-doo brown” with the censors? Instead of looking like a guy getting knocked over in a port-a-potty, it looks like they rented a forever-unused potty, something brand new, and 2,000 Flushes’d it into oblivion.


It looks like the man’s covered in Smurf diarrhea. And that’s the image they leave us with after three hours of a Raw: what fictional character would crap blue paint. Is he an Inkling? Was a giant octopus trying to take a shit before Owens barged in, and they got smushed together? I can’t believe I’m breaking down the non-believability of prop poop on a wrestling show.

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week

The Real Birdman

I guess we know why Liv’s tongue is blue now

Titus & Apollo should be used to writers doing them bad by now


*Bayley walks by the port-o-john, notices nothing coming out of it.*


Shitter’s full.


this will all be worth it if Raw goes off the air with Kevin Owens popping the door open and screaming “THE ARISTOCRATS!”


Bailey should have imitated Sasha by delivering that promo staring at the ceiling, then jumping off the couch head first onto the floor.

IC Champion PdragolphZiggler

“I’m the legit boss! My mailman’s third cousin is Snoop dog!”
Fucking surprise ether from Bayley


I really do think Ruby will have a movie about her family produced by Batista one of these days.

Obi Wan Jabroni

Corbin looks like a member of the “came with the frame family” from those old-timey dress-up photo joints on every boardwalk on the East Coast.

Dave M J

Worst Wrestling GMs, ranked

12. You
11. Can’t
10. Really
9. Rank
8. Them
7. Because
6. They
5. Have
3. And
2. Weaknesses
1. Kurt Angle


That’s it for this week. Make sure to drop a comment below to let us know what you thought of the show, and share the column on social media to help us out.

Join us next week for Matt Hardy vs. Curtis Axel, Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns teaming up to take on The Revival, and No Way Jose asking for another rematch against Mojo Rawley. And more therapy jokes!