TALKING RAW – Extreme Rules Editon: Samoa Joe hypes match against Lesnar, Miz reacts to IC win, Boss & Swann chat

By Craig Elbe, PWTorch contributori


JUNE 4, 2017

Duration: 20 minutes, 41 seconds

Renee Young, soon to be joined by Cory Graves, exclaimed all the happenings from the Extreme Rules show. There are new tag team champions, a new Intercontinental Champion, and Samoa Joe is the no. 1 contender to the Universal Title. Speaking of the Intercontinental Title, the new champion came to the desk, chanting “seven times, seven times!”

First Guests: The Miz with Maryse

The first guest was the most missed person from Talking Smack, this side of Daniel Bryan. Miz and Maryse asserted themselves at the desk, newly won title belt properly propped up for display. Miz soaked in Renee’s congratulations, but held his right index finger as his left hand navigated Twitter. He found Renee’s tweet about his title win being rubbish, quoting it word for word. Asked to explain, Renee admitted her bias, then added he won the title less that honorably. Miz disagreed; he won a match of the year candidate where Dean Ambrose gave him everything he had. Miz asked what was rubbish about that. Renee cited Maryse as his decoy but he heelishly justified his actions. Maryse was banned then hit Ambrose with his Skull Crushing Finale! Maryse asked what she did. The footage was shown where Miz told Maryse to slap him. He claimed he was saying he loved her but she slapped him from being caught up in the moment, but he likes getting slapped.

We got an unsolicited vouche from Maryse. Renee kept on how Miz used the DQ stipulation. He begged to differ as he won by pinning Ambrose. Unfortunately for Ambrose, in Miz’s world, the referee was just out of position. Miz argued the match had that DQ stipulation because Ambrose “kicked me where no one should ever be kicked!” Renee countered that Miz would have done the same if the roles were reversed. Miz emphatically disagreed, saying Ambrose’s Intercontinental Tile reign was rubbish, barley defending the title for having it over 100 days. Miz defended it many times when he held it on Smackdown due to Bryan putting him through the ringer and having him defend it week after week.

Miz feels Ambrose got lucky when he got beat by him during that ringer of a time. Miz thought Ambrose had potential to earn his way, as an Intercontinental Champion should. In the ring, Ambrose isn’t rubbish, but outside the ring he looks like a fan with a wife beater, jeans, and a tank top. Renee is just fine with her man’s wardrobe, but Miz was adamant a champion should look, walk, and talk like a star. Gone are the days of being a “wrassler.” They are entertainers and superstars now, so much above and beyond what a Dan Ambrose provides.

Renee’s idea of an Intercontinental Champion is that of a grinding, hardworking WWE Superstar. Miz agreed with that, but Ambrose didn’t live up to that standard as Intercontinental Champion. Miz looked straight to the camera for the sake of being on the record, that he promises to “be a fighting Intercontinental Champion, for you, as your Intercontinental Champion. As I’ve always been.” Renee pandered a bit and asked Miz what makes him such a great Intercontinental Champion, as he had been claiming he’d revitalize the title after he wins it. Miz said he did, but Maryse spoke up. She knows and can feel Renee’s discomfort and reluctance to being around them and talking to them, adding “my man is the man, and your man is not.” Renee managed a mere “wow.”

Miz raised the stakes, accusing Renee of being an unprofessional broadcast journalist with her bias. For the second time, Renee admitted her bias for this situation, but she’s still there doing her job. She congratulated Miz on his title win tonight, but he returned a sarcastic voice and face in gratitude. He made her say “Miz is Intercontinental Champion.” She did. His next directive for Renee was to say, “And Dean Ambrose is not.” Renee proclaimed human, not puppet status. He eventually got her to say “Dean Ambrose lost the Intercontinental Championship.” With great pride, Miz told her that must have hurt. Renee apologized for her tweet, then Miz remarked how that’s one of the most unprofessional things you could do.

Renee plead her association with Ambrose had nothing to do with her criticism of Miz. Miz piled on, that Twitter gets a lot of people in trouble. She laughed at that notion, then he claimed she was making fun of him, a champion and a Superstar! Renee tried to diffuse the tension, that she’s just trying to move the show along smoothly and doesn’t know where to go from there. Miz told Renee she’s embarrassed herself enough, then looked at the camera again, saying “tomorrow night, on Monday Night Raw, the Miz Intercontinental Championship Comeback Tour will begin, and it’s going to be the biggest celebration of all-time. It will be must see, and it will be, (with Maryse joining him) awesome.” Miz and Maryse then pecked each other on the lips, in a nice PG friendly way. Thank God for that.

We heard clapping, then saw Cory Graves come to the desk. He offered his kind review for Miz’s performance and apologized for his tardiness. He didn’t offer a reason for it, but caught the end of Miz and Renee talking. Miz was happy to see Graves as Renee was rude and unprofessional. Graves conceded, Renee has her moments. Miz showed Renee’s tweet on his phone. Seeing it for the first time, Graves thought Miz’s win was the polar opposite of rubbish. Miz got Graves to say it was in the conversation of match of the year. Graves informed Renee he, as her teammate, must let her know her mistakes. Miz invited Graves to his celebration tomorrow night, and Renee isn’t invited. She pretended to be shocked and unhappy, telling him she hopes it lasts longer than the last one! Miz and Maryse leave, hi-fiving each other.

Graves continued putting over the Miz and Maryse. Renee stayed to the contrary, that they’re the most obnoxious pair of people she’s ever met. Graves wanted to kiss Maryse’s hand but feared her huge ring would force an emergency dentist visit.

Renee officially welcomed Graves, wishing he was there earlier to rescue her from the bus she was thrown under. Graves used the big arena as an excuse of not getting there sooner, but he just added his paid-for opinion upon arrival.

Renee found herself calling the Alexa Bliss vs Bayley match unbelievable after putting down her invisible WWE Kool-Aid thermos. The hesitation of Bayley using a kendo stick during tonight’s match was shown. According to Graves, it was Bayley’s downfall tonight. She proved not able to take it to the extreme for the Women’s Title. Bayley should now go to the back of the line for title matches, no matter how well like she is by fans or how great a person she is. Lacking a killer instinct cost her the match tonight.

On the other hand, Graves loved the killer instinct of the first Goddess of WWE, Alexa Bliss. She’s earned any nickname she wants to give herself with the accolades of being the first to hold the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Titles. Renee confirmed Graves’s thoughts line up with hers; Bliss has earned her respect after tonight’s win and what she’s been putting together.

Renee acknowledged the next guests, already present but not on camera.

Second Guests: Rich Swann and Sasha Banks

Sasha did a brief rendition of her dance upon introduction, choosing to continue standing in case the dance bug bites her again, or perhaps when she forgets her lines. Renee marveled at Swann’s reaction tonight. Swann was happy to relive that supportive hometown greeting, as he was born and raised in Baltimore. Sasha declared they broke the hometown curse, and the system, when Swann pinned Noam Dar! Renee perceptively noticed Sasha’s and Swann’s chemistry together.

Sasha teased their commonality, then teased it some more, then finally gave in to temptation and revealed it is sparkles that bond her and Swann! (All these revelations at once, I can’t handle this!) Graves felt responsibility to warn longtime acquaintance Sasha about all the catfish stuff Swann does from time to time on 205 Live. Sasha claimed awareness as she was on 205 (but not Live?) last week. Graves went further, in case she missed past instances. Swann implored his strategy was just for his homies, as in Cedric Alexander in this instance when Alicia Fox was messing with him.

Sasha was sad about her pal Bayley losing tonight. As a kendo stick “expert” from using one on Charlotte Flair, Sasha guessed she could have helped Bayley. But, Bayley just couldn’t do it tonight. Sasha is ready to give Bayley a big hug of reassurance. Going forward, Sasha still claims to be the revolution in the Women’s Revolution. Swann added she started it all. In case we forgot, Sasha reminded us she beat Alicia Fox, also pre-champion Alexa Bliss. Renee referenced a pre-show Nia Jax claiming she’s next in line for a title shot. Sasha put Jax in the line of women she’s beaten after she pretending not to know who Jax was.

Graves suggested Swann may be wanting a Cruiserweight Title shot after tonight’s win. Swann would love to get back in that picture, still harboring resentment toward Neville for beating him for that title at the Royal Rumble. Sasha seemed elated at the notion of being simultaneous champions with Swann again! So much so, she offered another inspiring dance number that Swann joined in on! Well, I was only half right. They danced!

Renee congratulated them on their win, then prompted them both to put on their shades. Graves suggested a celebration dinner date in Baltimore. As a married woman, Sasha frowned on a date. Renee and Graves felt no harm is had with a meal between friends. Swann indicated their others could be invited while Graves elaborated metaphorically; being on a diet doesn’t restrict one from looking at a menu. Sasha joined the metaphor game and flexed her bicep muscle, perhaps signifying her insecure husband needed the televised reassurance. Renee thanks Swann and Sasha for being on the show.

Regarding the tag team steel game match, Graves thought the celebrated Hardyz’s efforts would have proved more successful. The match was fantastic, including a classic Hardy moment of Jeff doing a Whispering in the Wind from the top of the steel cage, with timely and convenient footage provided. Graves recalled the arena crowd wasn’t sure of the nail-biting photo finish. Each teams’ fans cheered who they wanted or thought won.

The tag team titles look good on Sheamus and Cesaro, professed Graves. They are talented and have worked hard to regain the titles, with a new attitude to boot. The match saw no shenanigans, plus Sheamus and Cesaro beat the Hardyz in a match of their own stipulation choice. Renee remembered the pre-show panel was pro-Hardyz, while they were relaxed and looking forward to their next challengers after tonight in the social media lounge during the pre-show.

During the discussion, we heard a very satisfied voice make his way to the desk.

Third Guest: Samoa Joe

In a self-proclaimed very good mood on a very good night, Samoa Joe sat at the desk. He was adorned with Renee’s claps and Graves’s big congratulatory smile. Joe has never been on Raw Talk and decided to show up, despite Michael Cole announcing Joe’s Raw Talk appearance after Joe won the main event. Graves echoed being a Raw Talk novice with Joe. Joe asked how they were doing, then saying how fantastic he was without waiting for their replies. Renee offered Joe congratulations, then queried about his physical well-being after that intense main event match that ended with his handed raised.

While no coincidence can be made to feeling physically terrible, Joe feels great about himself, his situation, and his immediate future. Others may not look forward to it, but the thrives on it and has never felt better in his life. Renee lauds Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar as a dream match many fans have wanted and will now get. Preparing for Lesnar won’t stray much from Joe’s norm. Joe The world tries to show love and caring for each other, but Joe also feels he vs Lesnar is a dream match and what people really want. When conflict is sought, it can be found in Lesnar and himself as two men that will beat the other in to submission through whatever it takes. Joe is more than prepared to take himself into that very, very dark, deep, and violent place to get the job done. He is very happy to have the opportunity to do so.

The moment to face Lesnar as his career have weaved its way to WWE is long overdue for Joe. It should have been sooner, but Joe honestly attests to people within the WWE Universe and roster that wants to see some people thrive and shine more than others. Joe is not one of them. He is honest about being a truly horrible person that walks to the ring with the deck stacked against him. He seeks only domination and victory. If that is a bad thing, especially in WWE, then he is the evilest person in WWE.

Graves asked Joe’s confidence after surviving and winning tonight’s fatal 5 way. Joe painted a picture of Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor, and Roman Reigns as the most dangerous competitors in WWE pitted against him. Despite being broken and beaten after taking some the hardest shots in his career, Joe sits before them the number 1 contender to the Universal Title. That speaks volumes in and of itself, according to Joe.

Renee praised Joe as a bruiser in the ring and well-spoken outside it. She then conveyed Kurt Angle’s pre-show prediction of Joe emerging victorious tonight. His forecast proved most accurate, of which included Joe as the best match-up for Lesnar. As a top competitor, Angle knows the truth, said Joe. Angle knows what it takes to defeat the beast that is Lesnar. He knows the intestinal fortitude it takes and what it means to be a premier athlete, to take on the very best, and to beat the very best. Angle knows what Joe is capable of, better than most anybody in the world. Joe has no qualms or surprise with what Angle said.

Fresh out of the ring, five weeks away from their match, Joe looks right into the camera and tells Lesnar, in a quiet, stoic voice to “Start up your training camp right now. You climb those mountains, and you carry those logs. You throw people around and beat up every sparring partner you can bring into your camp. I can guarantee you still won’t be prepared for what I do to you.” Joe dropped the microphone and left the desk.

Renee congratulated Joe and thanked him for being on the show. For Cory Graves and herself, she signed off.

Craig’s Conclusion

Overall, this was a solid episode to act as the bridge between Extreme Rules and Monday Night Raw. Cory Graves explaining the size of the arena as his reason for being late will probably lead to more details on Raw. This wasn’t a stadium! Hopefully it forwards his ongoing storyline with Big Cass and Enzo and Kurt Angle. Also, Graves was much better here than on Bring it to the Table.

The weak spot of the show saw the forced pairing of Sasha Banks and Rich Swann. To me, Sasha being used to elevate Swann and 205 Live is not in her top 20 list of desired roles and hasn’t appeared fully committed to the role. It’s too bad but I don’t believe she’s anything more than a great opponent for Charlotte and Bayley, in the past. She hasn’t come out of that shadow yet and is still living off those now remaining fumes of notoriety. Swann is not being elevated. He is being outshined (RIP Mr. Cornell) by someone who has more personality, which is the opposite of being elevated. Obviously. Even if Sasha is being turned heel, which would be great and overdue, Swann isn’t the ideal sympathetic figure to facilitate the turn, but they did bring up Bayley. She would be better but is also less than ideal.

Speaking of Bayley, the commentary Graves and Renee offered doesn’t give me much hope for her future. While I am hoping for a Sasha heel turn but wouldn’t be surprised in the least if all this was to turn Bayley heel. Vince loves to go against the grain and a Bayley heel turn would exemplify that. Doesn’t mean it would be right though.

Graves and Renee offered no surprising comments about the Sheamus and Cesaro winning the tag team titles from the Hardyz. It was just fodder for the continuation of the feud, which will hopefully continue to be good and climax at the right time. It’s hard to say when that will be since the steel cage match was already employed.

Miz showed us why his move to Raw was Smackdown’s loss, and also Talking Smack as I alluded to. He and Renee resumed their chemistry for good TV here and it was a great way to kick off the show. Less skilled but still effective Maryse was used very well. Now the celebration beings again for the IC Title being elevated again. It seems any title Dean Ambrose has goes down in value, and he burdens not nearly as much blame as the booking. Nice move for Miz to get the IC title.

Samoa Joe made a very good showing here on his Raw Talk debut. When he yells when speaking, it negates his message. This appearance was Joe at his best. He carried himself with a quiet poise and spoke quietly in a way that but pulls you away from whatever else you’re doing and makes you pay attention. I am already stoked for the promos he will have with Paul Heyman and the match itself, which is truly a dream match. It’s a shame it will be marred by the stupid name of the pay-per-view. Great Balls of Fire doesn’t come close to being an accurate and appropriate phrase to put on a banner above this matchup. Battleground and Bad Blood are two I can think of off the top of my head that have the appropriate aura. Regardless, Joe began the five week build the best he possibly could have tonight.

NOW CHECK OUT THIS RELATED STORY: WWE Extreme Rules HOLT Report 6/4: Observations from inside arena in Baltimore including beach balls, Reigns reaction, Bayley shock, more

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