WWE RAW PRIMER
JUNE 11, 2018
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
AIRS LIVE ON USA NETWORK
PREVIEW BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
WWE makes it return to the Verizon Arena tonight in Little Rock, Arkansas for the first time since January 17, 2017. We get ready to put a wrap on the Raw portion of the build-up to the Money in the Bank PPV taking place this Sunday in Rosemont, Illinois just outside of Chicago at the Allstate Arena.
Fatal Four-Way: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Roode vs. Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens
As announced last week and confirmed on WWE’s website, the four Raw participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match will square off in a Fatal Four-way. This keeps with WWE’s way of giving us “flavors” of its upcoming PPV/Network event.
Braun Strowman took on Bobby Roode last week in a match that saw the “Glorious” one dare the “Monster Among Men” to chase him around the ring at one point. Roode put a ladder between the two only to see Strowman smash it in half. Strowman was eventually victorious as Roode continued his losing ways since coming over to the Red Brand.
In the main event, Balor was victorious over Owens via DQ in a rarely used finish where KO refused to stop kicking a vulnerable Balor in the ropes. Following that decision, Owens attempted to jump off the ladder and do a frog splash only to hesitate. Balor would eventually perform the Coup de Grace off the ladder on KO and end the show by climbing up and grabbing the briefcase.
Looking past Raw, it will be interesting to see if WWE is playing reverse psychology. If Owens wins MITB, then showing fear of jumping off the ladder could be perceived as a matter of trolling us. Balor holding the briefcase at the end of Raw could be a sign he’s not winning the contract. In any event, I’m certain we’ll have more theories coming out of the Fatal Four-way match this evening depending on who wins and how the ending is framed.
Fatal Four-Way: Alexa Bliss vs. Ember Moon vs. Natalya vs. Sasha Banks
Along similar lines of the men, the women of the Money in the Bank ladder match will do battle as they get ready to vie for the contract this coming Sunday. This match was announced last week and is advertised on WWE’s website as of noon today.
Last week Bliss appeared to injure her knee in a six-woman tag featuring her, Banks, and Moon vs. The Riott Squad. I thought it was strange she partnered with two babyfaces, but nonetheless she left mid-match following the injury. This lead to Bayley unceremoniously replacing her, hitting the Bayley-to-belly on Sarah Logan, and scoring the pin for her… team? Later on, new Raw “Constable” Corbin forced G.M. Kurt Angle to reverse the decision seeing as Bayley was not originally on the team, therefore how could she participate. This lead to a bit of tension backstage between Moon & Sasha and Bailey. How dare Bayley try help them and the referee not care and allow her in the match for no reason at all?
Natalya injured her knee running into the ropes in a match with Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax. Nothing indicates she will not participate in the match tonight. In fact, on Friday she tweeted out to Liv Morgan regarding a match they were having that evening at a house show. As far as Alexa Bliss, there’s no indication she won’t participate this evening.
We’ll look to see how the injuries and last week’s fiasco in the six-woman tag weave into the storyline, as well as us starting to theorize the winner of MITB contract based on the outcome.
Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax in a “Face-to-Face”
There were so many awkward moments coming from Natalya vs. Nia Jax, Ronda on commentary, and the three of them backstage. Rather than expound on and rehash the entire cringeworthy situation refer to Wade Keller’s or Zack Heydorn’s Raw reports, Jon Mezzera’s “Hits & Misses,” or wherever you get your show breakdowns on PWTorch.
Tonight, it will be the “final showdown” if you will between Nia and her Money in the Bank challenger Ronda Rousey as they will have what WWE is calling a “face-to-face.” It was announced this weekend that Ronda will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, an honor which Nia acknowledged in very classy fashion on Twitter. I’m certain WWE will make mention of it at some point this evening. As far as this “face-to-face,” there’s nothing specific as to how it will go down. Will they be in the ring? Will they be backstage similar to what A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura did on Smackdown last week? Stephanie McMahon is not advertised for the show. A more serious backstage segment I think would be in order here, as they have already done the face-to-face in the ring with the contract signing as well as Ronda coming out during Nia’s beating up a jobber a few weeks ago.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal
Last week Reigns and IC Champ Seth Rollins were defeated by Jinder Mahal and Elias in a show-opening contest. Later on, Reigns and Mahal were interviewed separately backstage. Things got heated, which lead to a backstage brawl between the two. Friday on Twitter, the “Modern Day Maharaja” Jinder Mahal challenged Roman Reigns to a match tonight via a video. He claimed the “Big Dog’s” yard was really his property. One day later, also on Twitter, Reigns accepted. This is all confirmed on WWE’s website, and they will have a match this evening ahead of their already scheduled bout this coming Sunday at MITB.
I’m curious as to whether or not a stipulation may be added to Sunday’s match. I can’t imagine it remaining a straight up one-on-one if they’re going to do battle ahead of time. In addition, we’ll look to see if Rollins and Elias factor into tonight or if they do their own thing ahead of their IC Championship match Sunday.
Constable Corbin Settles In
Last week “Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin was named the new “constable” of Raw via memo to G.M. Kurt Angle from commissioner Stephanie McMahon. As I talked about earlier, the Lone Wolf forced the Raw boss to reverse the decision in the six-woman tag featuring Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, and Ember Moon taking on the Riott Squad. Angle tried to sell Corbin on the fact the referee’s decision was “none of his business,” to which Corbin said everything on Raw is his business (and rightfully so in my humble opinion).
While I think Corbin would excel more in the ring in meaningful feuds, this role could be interesting in that it will keep him on television and develop his personality. He was 100 percent correct in his directive last week but let’s keep things in perspective. He called out the actions of a babyface team so, it will be interesting to see if he’s objective and does the same thing towards heels.
The B-Team won a tag team battle royal to become no. 1 contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championship. It’s not clear when they will face Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. It could take place tonight or on the MITB pre-show. I doubt this will be acknowledged, but you do have brother vs. brother in Bo Dallas opposite Bray Wyatt in this situation.
Sami Zayn continued his berating of Bobby Lashley. Lashley came out in an outfit that warranted the Fashion Police. Sami eventually got serious and questioned whether or not Bobby was in the Army. Following that accusation, Bobby on Twitter said he can’t wait to shut Sami up. If they do have a further exchange tonight in advance of their MITB match, I can’t imagine much laughing from either party.
We still haven’t heard from The Authors of Pain. On Friday, Rezar retweeted someone acknowledging AOP’s NXT debut two years earlier.
Curt Hawkins lost to “James Harden” via DQ when Baron Corbin attacked Hawkins in their match and ruined a potential taco celebration with the crowd. On Friday he trolled Corbin on Twitter showing a picture of him tipping over the tacos and saying the WWE fans hate seeing him wrestle. I could foresee Hawkins calling out the new Raw “constable” in an effort to end his losing streak. In an unrelated tweet, he acknowledged he was hopelessly rooting for his Mets against the Yankees. Being a Mets fan myself, I personally feel his pain and am starting to understand why Hawkins is booked to lose all the time.
Wrestlers Advertised/Dark Matches
This is taken directly from the Verizon Arena’s website:
Massive Eight Man Tag Team Match!
Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley
Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Elias!
Also see Ronda Rousey, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax, Finn Balor and Sasha Banks! Plus, many more of your favorite WWE Superstars!
CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S PREVIEW: WWE RAW PRIMER 6/4: Strowman vs. Roode, Nia Jax vs. Natalya, Tag Team Battle Royal, Balor vs. Owens