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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 18, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, MI
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, The Coach
-A recap video aired detailing last night’s Money In The Bank PPV match between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey along with the subsequent MITB cash-in from Alexa Bliss.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Interesting that they went with the women’s recap ahead of Braun Strowman.
-After the video, Kurt Angle was in the ring along with the Money In The Bank briefcase and the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. Angle welcomed the audience to the program and said he was proud of both MITB contract winners. From there, he introduced Alexa Bliss who walked out to a nice response from the crowd. When Bliss got to the ring, Angle said that she demanded a title presentation. Angle then gave her the belt and teased a match between Bliss and Nia Jax at Extreme Rules next month. Bliss then took over and thanked the fans for the opportunity. The fans sheepishly chanted “you deserve it” as Bliss smiled back at them. She then completed the troll job by saying she wanted to thank them for the opportunity to rub her win in their faces.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The troll job on the fans is over done by Bliss. She’s a good enough heel that she doesn’t need the trolling to get a negative reaction. At this point, she should have confidence in that obvious fact.
After the trolling, the audience chanted “we want Ronda.” Bliss responded by saying that Ronda was a bully and that she shocked the world when she successfully cashed in her contract. She said all talk about Jax and Rousey should cease and everything should be about her. As Bliss smiled, Ronda Rousey’s music hit and Ronda briskly walked to the ring. She was fired up so much that Angle had to hold her back before she attacked Bliss in the ring. Bliss then asked Ronda if she came out to show her the bruises and welts she had from the beating she took last night at the hands of the MITB briefcase. From there, she told Ronda that she doesn’t understand the difference between the WWE and the UFC. She said that what she did last night was perfectly legal and then proceeded to taunt Ronda by explaining how close she was to winning the gold.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Big Ronda chant. This crowd is heavily behind her and rightfully so after last night. I’ve been critical of her emotional control within moments like these. Typically, she’s smiled or appeared uncomfortable, but not tonight. She almost hasn’t blinked and has done a great job in keeping with the moment to sell the story. This is a big step and an important step for her tenure in WWE.
From there, Alexa surmised that the reason she was in the ring was because she couldn’t stand the fact that the newsworthy woman after last night was her and not Rousey. Bliss then said Rousey was irrelevant and that if she wanted a title shot, to get in the back of the line. Bliss then called Rouse and over-hyped Rookie which prompted Rousey to attack Bliss. She took her to the mat, took out Kurt Angle, and then destroyed Alexa Bliss AND Angle with the MITB briefcase. Then, as officials walked to the ring to stop the attacks, Rousey attacked them too and then planted Alexa Bliss through the table. After the table spot, Rousey rolled out of the ring as Angle walked behind her to figure out what had happened.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wow. This was a tremendous moment for Ronda Rousey. She was able to convey some genuine emotions in an effective way that furthered her story with Bliss around the Women’s Championship. Like the match last night, she looked natural in the ring and really showcased her credibility from a physical perspective. The commentary sold the segment well, but Cole was the wrong person to be selling the fact that she “went to far.” That coming from Graves as the heel announcer figure with Cole chiming in on the babyface side would have made more sense. That said, it’s nitpicking because the segment and her performance was over in a big way. Props to Alexa Bliss as well, she came across as a really good heel veteran and was able to not just say words that drove that narrative, but act in a way that showcased that prescense. Her work was pivotal in helping Rousey build to payoff and the attack. Just tremendous on all fronts.
-Backstage, Kurt Angle confronted Rousey and said that she was going to be suspended for 30 days. Angle then said that she needed to pack up her things and go. As the show went to commercial, Graves muttered “she deserved it.” (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wow, another great segment for Rousey. She really came off as the alpha and was able to appear unscripted and off the cuff. That is key with her and something that she’s done better than reciting lines thus far in the company.
-When the commercial break was over, Renee Young caught up with Ronda. Rousey said that after her 30 days she’d be back to kick Alexa Bliss’s pink-haired ass. She then walked away from the shot and the program went back to the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Same thing here. Off the cuff and genuine. Result? Big reactions. Great stuff.
-At that point, “Burn It Down” blared in the arena and Seth Rollins made his way to the ring. Inside, Rollins grabbed a mic to big reaction from Grand Rapids. Rollins said there was a great energy in the ring and in the locker room and that he wanted to keep it going. He said he loved his match last night with Elias and that Elias took him to the limit. He then said that he still stood before the world as Intercontinental Champion. As a “Burn It Down” chant broke out, Rollins called himself a fighting champion and then introduced an IC Open Challenge to begin immediatley. Dolph Ziggler’s music hit and was followed by Drew McIntyre’s. The announcers discussed who would take the challenge and called both a formidable opponent for Rollins. Ziggler then climbed in the ring for the official match announcements.
(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – Intercontinental Championship
The bell rang and with McIntyre watching at ringside, Ziggler immediatley attempted the Zig Zag. Rollins countered with The Stomp, but Ziggler rolled out of the ring to avoid it. (c)
After the break, Ziggler was in control of the match and worked over the knee of Rollins as Graves questioned the brain power and decision making of Rollins given the fact that he was taken to the limit by Elias last night. The announcers discussed that comment as Ziggler kept up the momentum by smashing Rollins into the ring post and following it with a sleeper hold. Eventually, Rollins escaped the hold and catapulted Ziggler into the steel ring post. Rollins followed that with some chops to the chest before kicking Ziggler in the face ahead of a Slingblade. Rollins then knocked Ziggler out of the ring and connected with a flying suicide dive. After, he tossed Ziggler into the ring and hit him with a top rope flying forearm. He then went for a pin attempt, but Ziggler kicked out at two. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s a Rollins match, so clearly nothing to truly complain about. That said, its not bothering me now, but he goes back to his knee injury quite a bit during matches. At some point, I have to believe that may get old. To me, that’s something he should only break out in big moments and in big feuds.
Out of the break, Rollins lifted Ziggler in the air for a powerbomb, but it was countered when Ziggler rolled through to administer a two count pin attempt. After the pin, Rollins nailed Ziggler with a knee to the face and followed it with his “Burn It Down” stomp call. He then kicked Ziggler’s chest and went for it, but Ziggler countered it with a Fameasser. He then went for a pin, but Rollins kicked out of it at two. Out of the pin, Rollins heavily sold his injured knee as Ziggler cued up his super kick. As he went for it, Rollins countered with his own superkick and covered for a two count. After, Rollins climbed to the top rope and went for a huge splash. Ziggler moved out of the way which resulted in Rollins crashing to the mat. From there, Ziggler climbed to the top, but was knocked off his full perch when Rollins hit him with a strike to the face. Rollins then climbed up with Ziggler and tried for his suplex, but was knocked off with a headbutt. With Rollins off, Ziggler jumped off for a splash and connected, but Rollins rolled through the pin attempt and converted it into a buckle bomb. Rollins worked to keep momentum after, but was distracted by McIntyre. From there, they exchanged quick pins and in the end, Ziggler rolled Rollins up and grabbed the tights to pin Rollins and win the championship.
WINNER: Ziggler via pinfall and is the new Intercontinental Champion
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just a ton to digest. First off, the match itself. Really good match that lived up to the expectation that Rollins matches have garnered throughout the last four months. The finish is a monumental head scratcher because its nonsensical. We may need to see the big picture here, but why sacrifice and pass on an opportunity to put the belt on an up and coming talent like Elias last night in favor of Ziggler? In addition, if the choice was made to give the Ziggler/McIntyre act a title, why not put the belt on McIntyre. Let’s dive deeper. In what world does it make sense to take the belt off of Rollins like that right now? At the very least, you build a match like this up across a couple weeks to pop a rating at some point. Something isn’t adding up for me.
-After the match, Ziggler and McIntyre decimated Rollins and left him laying the ring. They then walked out together with Rollins still laying motionless in the ring. (c)
-Out of the commercial, in an interview with Renee Young, Ziggler told the world that Monday Night Rollins was over. McIntyre then said that this would be the first of many championship wins. From there, it was Ziggler’s turn again and he said that there was a difference between everyone and them. He said that when they say something, they mean it.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Decent little promo, but the announcers need to stop putting over heels in a positive light. Saying “I don’t know how you could argue with that” isn’t helping anyone. There are a lot of ways to argue it.
-When the interview ended, Bobby Roode hit the ring to a “Glorious” reaction from the crowd.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Sorry, had to do it …
(2) BOBBY ROODE vs. CURT HAWKINS
As Roode walked to the ring, the announcers put over his injuries from the ladder match last night. Hawkins was in the ring waiting and match got started right away. Hawkins attempted a quick pin out of the gate, but Roode kicked out. Right after the kick out, Roode connected with a spinebuster and followed it with the Glorious DDT.
WINNER: Roode via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: An ultimate squash match. I suppose it’s good for Roode to get wins even if they are short and quick. That said, because of Roode’s limited reaction, this squash didn’t get over as good as others have lately.
-After the match, Cole hyped an appearance from Braun Strowman before the show went to commercial. (c)
-Out of the break, a recap video aired for last night’s men’s MITB ladder match.
-After the video, Braun Strowman hit the ring to a loud response from the Grand Rapids crowd. He did his roar at the top of the ramp and then walked down to the ring. As he did, the announcers discussed that Brock Lesnar has been on Strowman’s mind for a while and that them facing off would be a matter of when, not if. In the ring as the crowd chanted “Get These Hands,” Braun ran through everything he’s destroyed including ambulances. He said as great as all of that stuff was, the MITB win was the greatest. From there, he said that all Brock Lesnar needs to do is show his face and he would cash the contract in and become the new Universal Champion. He then said that the Beast would get these hands before Kevin Owens interuppted.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That promo works just fine for Strowman. It’s not intricate or spoken perfectly, but that’s Braun. That presentation lines up with his character.
Before Owens spoke, Strowman said he was surprised to see him out there after he tossed him off a twenty foot ladder in the match last night. Owens said he probably shouldn’t be out there, but that he wanted to be the first to be man enough to congratulate Strowman. He proceeded to congratulate him and then told him he deserved it. From there, Owens said that he knew Strowman would win the MITB match, but that Strowman now needs to listen to him. Owens then told him to be smart and then said that is where he could help. As he got to the ring, he asked Strowman who he could trust in the WWE. He then said that they should each use each other and proceeded to lay out a scenario in which Owens would help Strowman win the Universal Title if he will defend it against him after he wins. Owens then tried to shake Strowman’s hand and Strowman obliged much to the audience’s chagrin. Then, as Owens walked away, Strowman held onto his hand and attempted a Power Slam. Before he could hit it, Owens slithered away to avoid the move. Strowman’s music then hit and the show tossed back to the announce team at ringside.
Heydorn’s Analysis: At no point in that Owens promo did I think that he would actually get through to Strowman and convince him to join forces. I and the audience was simply waiting for the Power Slam to happen. This is the pro and con of Strowman wrapped into one. He’s booked so strongly that it’s hard to tell a realistic story around him. That said, people want to see his destruction. WWE will have to walk this fine line closely.
-Sasha Banks was shown backstage before Bayley walked in. Bayley told Banks she was sorry for what happened last night. Banks accepted her apology. From there, Bayley told Banks to stop wallowing. She then said she needed to take the fight to the right squad with Banks by her side as her partner. She then asked for a new start with Banks and promised to protect her in the ring no matter what. Both women then hugged and began to plan for the match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: More of this? Really? Has to be a reason for it. I smell a heel turn.
-When the backstage segment wrapped up, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt walked to the ring as Graves and Cole dissected the intricacies of the Woken gimmick. (c)
-After the commercial break, Hardy and Wyatt were in the ring with their opponents as The B Team appeared on the big screen decked out and talking like Hardy and Wyatt. Dallas then cut a promo like Bray Wyatt before kicking back into their gimmick and claiming they weren’t afraid and that they’d be the new tag champions.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Got to admit, I was laughing. That said, I’m not thrilled that I was. The entire tag division is too focused on being comedic relief.
(3) MATT HARDY & BRAY WYATT vs. RHYNO & HEATH SLATER
Right after the B-Team promo ended, the match began. Hardy and Wyatt got the quick upperhand, but it was quickly squashed by Heath Slater. Slater then tagged Rhyno into the match and as he tried to keep momentum, Hardy connected with a side slam. Rhyno then tagged Slater in again, but Hardy hit him with the Side Effect. From there, Hardy tagged Bray into the match and he proceeded to clear the entire ring. After, Hardy connected with the Twist Of Fate on Rhyno which sent him rolling to the outside. This left Slater alone in the ring and Wyatt took advantage by connecting with a stiff clothesline. Together, they landed Kiss Of Deletion on Slater and covered him for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Hardy and Wyatt via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: More of the same from these two. At some point they are going to need to be something other than weird.
-After the match, Kurt Angle was shown texting backstage as Constable Corbin walked in. He said that Stephanie was pleased with how Kurt handled the Ronda Rousey incident. As Kurt started yelling at Corbin, Corbin smiled and handed Angle the phone with Stephanie on the other line. Kurt then listened as Stephanie talked to him. (c)
-When the show returned, Angle was still on the phone with Stephanie and confirmed big news to come later in the show.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Honestly, I’d classify this in the category of a really good tease. No idea if it will live up to the hype it’ll get, but I’m intrigued.
(4) JINDER MAHAL vs. CHAD GABLE
Mahal hit the ring to a nice reaction of boos. With Gable in the ring waiting, Mahal walked down and spoke about his MITB match with Roman Reigns. He said that even though he lost the match, he won in terms of personal development and tranquility. He then told Gable that he was living within the former glory of his amateur wrestling career. From there, the match began with Mahal attacking Gable ahead of the bell. Gable retaliated with take downs, but Mahal took full momentum with a vicious clothesline. After, Mahal locked in a choke hold, but Gable countered with a back body suplex. Gable then climbed to the top rope and after Mahal followed, he locked in his own shoulder submission by using the top rope. After, he hit Mahal with a moonsault and then covered for a two count. Out of the pin attempt, Mahal immediatley took control again and destroyed Gable with the Collaus. He then made the cover on Gable for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Mahal via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just a messy segment from the beginning. Mahal’s promo was off in terms of how he executed it and the words he did spew out didn’t make much sense either. Same thing with the match.
-After the match, The Riott Squad was shown destroying the backstage area as they walked to the ring. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: This backstage destruction gimmick fits these women really well. Admittedly, it’s out of the blue and doesn’t make sense within the narrative of the show. That said, it helps sell them and present them as an arrogant gang of destructive women who don’t care about anyone or anything. I’ll take that character development at this point.
-Out of the break, Michael Cole hyped the upcoming live WWE Network special in Australia.
(5) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. THE RIOTT SQUAD (MORGAN & LOGAN)
Banks walked out to the ring first and stood on the ramp to wait for Bayley. They then hugged it out and did Bayley’s entrance together. As they did, Cole clamored about how great it was to see them back together again.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The announce team really has put the hard sell on how great it is to see Bayley and Sasha back together. Something’s up.
The Riott Squad walked out next and the match began soon after with Morgan and Bayley starting things off. Morgan got the early offense in and then tagged Logan. As Logan entered the match, Bayley took over with momentum with some well placed strikes. With Bayley in control, Sasha made a blind tag into the match as Bayley looked at her confusingly. Banks then ran the show and kept momentum before Bayley tagged herself back in blindly. As this happened, the announcers discussed how Banks and Bayley weren’t on the same page. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: We get it, they don’t get along. That has been the story for months and months now. The story needs to progress past that now.
When the show returned from the commercial break, Logan was in control of the match opposite Bayley. Bayley then connected with a back body drop which allowed her the time to make the tag to Banks. Banks hit the ring hard and connected with dropkicks and a top rope Meteora on Morgan. After, Banks attempted the Banks Statement on Morgan, but she countered by holding onto the ropes. Morgan then rolled Sasha up for a pin, but Banks kicked out. As Banks almost tagged Bayley, Bayley was distracted by Logan which caused her to miss the tag. In the end, that distraction allowed for Morgan to roll Banks up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Riott Squad via pinfall
-After the match, Bayley tried to lift Banks up, but Sasha repeatedly pushed her away. Then as Banks tried to walk off, Bayley pulled her back and the two stared each other down. From there, Banks shoved Bayley down and walked away as Bayley looked at her in disbelief.
Heydorn’s Analysis: So, nothing is up then? My goodness. Sure, the match was fine and I’m enjoying what the Riott Squad is doing. That said, as this goes on I just can’t shake the notion that this Bayley/Banks feud needs to either fully happen or end. They’ve been in this strange middle ground with them for months and its destroying both characters. We’ve essentially seen this exact angle with them two or three times now. Time to put up or shut up.
-Kurt Angle was shown backstage with Corbin as Cole hyped his big announcement. (c)
-When the break was over, Bayley was attempting to talk to Banks backstage and Banks shrugged her off. This caused Bayley to get frustrated and ultimately led Bayley attacking Sasha. The two brawled backstage before Banks clocked Bayley with a metal pan to lay her out. Banks then walked away.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, this exact thing happened months ago. Hopefully, it’s going somewhere now. That somewhere needs to be a match at Extreme Rules. Its that or bust at this point.
-After, Kurt Angle was in the ring and said the just could not get the show in control. From there, he said that Stephanie McMahon and the WWE officials have decided when Brock Lesnar would defend his Universal Title next. This prompted Reigns to hit the ring and as he did, the announce team put on the full court press regarding Reigns being the true Universal Champion.
When Reigns got to the ring, the audience booed him and he told Angle that he should be Lesnar’s next challenger because he is the uncrowned Universal Champion. Reigns then said that having a champion that defends every night would help Angle run the show. From there, Bobby Lashley walked out to a small response from the crowd. Lashley confronted Reigns and told him he didn’t have what it takes to finish Brock Lesnar.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Yikes. Lashley flubbing his lines just paints him as a performer that lacks confidence. Everyone makes mistakes, so the flubbing isn’t the full issue. The full issue is that it appears as if his lack of confidence drives his mistakes. That’s a problem.
From there, Lashley said that he could beat Brock Lesnar and that he could beat Reigns. This prompted Angle to step in and say that they both were deserving of an opportunity to face Lesnar. Angle then announced a multi man number one contender match for Extreme Rules with the winner facing Brock Lesnar. Angle said he would announce the full match participants at a later date, but that Reigns and Lashley would be in it.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Line flubbing aside, Lashley being presented as a serious contender is the correct avenue to get him over. Against Roman Reigns, he may even start to get some consistent cheers. As for the match annoucement, works for me? Have to think that Seth Rollins will be in this match after losing the IC title earlier in the show. It’s the only sensible explanation for that.
At that point, The Revival walked out and challenged Lashley and Reigns to a tag team match. Reigns accepted on behalf of Lashley and said he’d be happy to teach all three a few things. The show then went to commercial as the match was about to get underway. (c)
(6) BOBBY LASHLEY & ROMAN REIGNS vs. THE REVIVAL
The match began with Reigns quickly taking full control of the match. He destroyed both Revival members with strikes before tagging Lashley into the match. As soon as Lashley got tagged in, the Revival jumped on him to gain momentum. That momentum was short lived for them, as Lashley quickly slammed Dash to the mat. After, he stared down his partner.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Enjoying the back and forth between Lashley and Reigns. Really helping lift Bobby up to a new level.
Eventually, The Revival did get the upperhand on Lashley and worked as a team to ground him to the mat. They exchanged quick tags with each other and kept Lashley in submission holds until Lashley escaped and tossed Dawson across the ring. After, Lashley tagged Reigns into the match and he cleaned house. In the corner, Reigns hit his ten clotheslines on both men before clocking Dash with a big boot. After, he legged dropped Dawson and then called for the Superman Punch. He hit both opponents with it and immediatley made the call for the spear. As he did, Lashley made the blind tag into the match and hit his own spear for the win.
WINNER: Lashley and Reigns via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great finish. Again, after weeks of toiling in comedy hell with Sami Zayn, this is the kind of program that will get Lashley over. He looked the part in contrast to Reigns and because Reigns is so rejected, his association with him could help push him over the hump like it did for Strowman.
-After the match, Angle and Corbin were shown walking backstage. Finn Balor stopped them and said he wanted to be in the Extreme Rules match. Corbin asked him why he thought he deserved that opportunity. From there, Kevin Owens came into the frame and also asked Balor why he thought he deserved that opportunity. Balor told them why and then said that Owens couldn’t feel danger when it was standing behind him. Strowman then came into the shot which spooked Owens. Strowman said that the MITB contract allows him to be where he wants when he wants and he wanted to help out his friend Finn. From there, he challenged Corbin and Owens to a match. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: A sloppy backstage segment that was overly scripted and over produced. Strowman needs to be careful about having any friends at all. It runs counter to his character.
-A commercial aired for WWE 2K19
(7) NO WAY JOSE vs. MOJO RAWLEY
Out of the commercial break and after a recap video on the earlier Rousey/Bliss material, Jose hit the ring with his conga line behind him. The match began with a shoulder tackle from Rawley. He attempted a second one, but Jose dodged it and connected with a clothesline instead. After the clothesline, Jose hit a baseball slide which knocked Mojo to the outside area. Jose followed and tossed Rawley back into the ring and that’s where Rawley took over. He mounted Jose and hit a flurry of punches before locking in a sleeper hold. Finally, Jose escaped and connected with a pair of suplexes before going for the pin. Rawley kicked out and then hit a chop block on Jose to ground him. After, he spiked Jose into the mat and then covered him for the 1,2,3 pin.
WINNER: Rawley via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much to this one. A feature match for Rawley, but against Jose it doesn’t mean that much.
-After the match, Rawley was interviewed and said that the WWE was more competitive than it ever has been. He said that achieve success, you have to bring more to the table. He said he used to stay hyped, but now he stays focused.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not a bad promo from Rawley here. Always felt that he had something in that regard due to an ability to sound really natural on the mic. He’s at the very bottom, but wining is better than losing I suppose.
-Sasha Banks was shown walking to her car and Bayley confronted her again. Banks told Bayley that she is done helping her and done being her friend. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m not sure I’d want to be Bayley’s friend either at this point and that is the problem with the feud. Bayley has shown just as many bad friend qualities that Banks has along the way. Because of that, the crowd isn’t fully getting behind either woman.
-Out of the commercial, Elias was introduced and sang a song that cut down Seth Rollins, requested a match against Brock, and trolled Grand Rapids.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the What Would Elias Do gimmick. It sounds more heelish than his usual shtick and will help him stay in his lane as a heel. Still, when WWE wants to make the adjustment, in Elias they have a fantastic babyface in the waiting.
-Backstage, Renee Young cued up a video of Rollins losing the IC championship and then interviewed Rollins. Rollins looked dismayed and said that hearing the word “former” stung. Rollins said that he made no excuses for himself. Rollins then invoked his rematch clause and said that next week he would take back his Intercontinental Championship back.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A to B promo, but did its job in hyping next week’s match. I liked that Rollins made no excuses for the loss and owned it like a babyface would. Next week should be fun.
-The show was tossed back into the arena and Finn Balor was introduced. He got a massive response and walked to the ring as the show went to break. (c)
(8) FINN BALOR & BRAUN STROWMAN vs. BARON CORBIN & KEVIN OWENS
The match began with Balor and Corbin. Corbin decimated Balor by tossing him into both ring posts before tagging Owens into the match. As Owens got in, he quickly tagged out due to the pain suffered last night in the ladder match. It didn’t matter as Corbin was able to maintain momentum until Balor ran to make the tag to Strowman. The crowd popped huge as he entered the match. Corbin appeared worried initially, but after a distraction by Owens, he was able to connect with a few punches on Strowman. Strowman absorbed that offense easily and dismissed Corbin from the ring with a right hand to the face. At that point, Owens ran into the ring to try and attack Braun from behind, but Strowman caught him and slammed him to the match. This caused Owens to roll out of the ring as well. With both opponents on the outside, Balor tagged into the match and asked Strowman to launch him over the top rope and onto their foes. Strowman obliged and tossed Balor like a lawn dart at Owens and Corbin. The show then went to its final commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really cool spot between Strowman and Balor, but the match is missing the notion of having stakes.
Out of the break, all four men were back in the ring with Corbin controlling the match against Balor. Balor connected with a dropkick on Corbin and then attempted a suicide dive, but Owens grabbed his foot to trip him after making a blind tag into the match. Owens then kept control on Balor much like Corbin did.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Some nice selling by Balor here. Clearly building to the Strowman hot tag. The shoulder tackles are on the way, folks.
From there, Corbin and Owens tagged in and out of the match hitting big moves like Deep Six. Eventually, Balor dodged a senton bomb from Owens and almost made the tag to Strowman, but Corbin tagged in to stop it. Clearly, the audience is hot for the Strowman tag. Eventually, Strowman interuppted the match and dragged Balor to his corner so he could make the tag. The referee did nothing to stop this and Strowman proceeded to legally enter the match. He destroyed both opponents and then chased after Owens who tried to run away. Corbin countered Strowman with a diving clothesline off the turnbuckle that sent both men crashing to the outside. From there, Corbin tossed Strowman back into the ring and tried to keep momentum. Corbin tossed Strowman into the ring post, but Balor was able to make the tag. In the match, Balor connected with double foot stomp, before Owens tried to interfere. Strowman awoke to help Balor with Owens and proceeded to spear him through the ring barrier. Balor then took over the momentum of the match and hit Corbin with his patented turnbuckle dropkick before ascending the ropes for the Coup De Gras. As he did, Corbin knocked him off and connected with End Of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin and Owens via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun match that got totally hijacked due to Strowman not waiting for the hot tag. The entire match build to that moment and when it was essentially skipped, the match lost its way a little bit. Further, as I mentioned earlier, the WWE needs to be careful in having Strowman make friends. With some characters, that doesn’t work well and Braun is one of them. He can be in tag matches, but the friends element is something that will take the audience out of the moment with him.
-The show faded to black as Corbin celebrated on the ramp.
FINAL THOUGHTS: For the most part, I really liked this show. The Rousey stuff at the top of the program was brilliant and it set a good tone for the night. Rollins losing the IC championship was a shock and I’ll chalk it up to that until we see where it goes. If he is heading to the Extreme Rules number one contender match, so be it. Braun Strowman’s work was a little disappointing. I liked his promo, but the Strowman character was on its heels all night due to being friendly with Finn Balor. Being friendly isn’t what got him to this level. Being the monster did. That part of his character needs to be fully tapped into before the final showdown with Lesnar.