RONDA IS SUSPENDED…
Recap: The show began with Kurt Angle in the ring. He welcomed Alexa Bliss to the ring, and presented her with the title. He indicated that the in-ring presentation was at Alexa’s request. The fans cheered Alexa at first, but she was able to turn the cheers around by reminding the fans that she was in the ring to rub her victory in the their faces. The fans then began to chant for Ronda Rousey.
Ronda obliged by coming to the ring. She was held back from Alexa by Kurt Angle. After taunts from Alexa, Ronda lost her cool, attacking both Angle and Alexa. She resisted attempts from backstage crew to pull her away. Ultimately she hit Kurt multiple times with the briefcase and put Alexa through a table with an inverted body vice slam.
Backstage, Kurt informed Ronda that her actions were out of line, and that he was forced to suspend her for 30 days.
Evaluation: After not looking good in promos leading to the event, Ronda looked very good in the ring at last night’s pay per view. Tonight, Ronda seemed to make up for prior deficiencies on the mic. She was intense and seemed less petulant and unlikable than she had in the run-up to the pay per view.
Forecast: Kurt mentioned that Nia Jax will have her rematch at Extreme Rules, so the suspension is a way to keep Ronda out of the picture between now and then. Ronda can instead use the time to continue practicing and getting better. After Nia’s title defense is done at Extreme Rules, I would expect Alexa Bliss to face Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam.
DOLPH IS THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION…
Recap: After the opening segment, Seth Rollins came to the ring and issued an open challenge. It was accepted by Dolph Ziggler.
Toward the end of a good match, Drew McIntire stood on the ring apron, distracting Seth. Dolph rolled up Seth for a two count, but Seth then rolled up Dolph while grabbing the tights. Dolph rolled through and pinned Seth to win the title.
After the match, Drew and Dolph double-teamed Rollins.
In the filler content during the “dead zone” between the top-of-the-third-hour segment and the final segment of the night, Rollins told Renee Young that he would invoke his rematch clause next week.
Evaluation: This was a very good television match between two guys that are very talented in the ring. I’m looking forward to a title reign that reinvigorates Dolph going forward.
It was interesting that Rollins attempted to grab the tights again tonight. I’m not sure yet what we should make of that.
Forecast: It’s possible that Seth needs some time off for his knee. If not, it would seem a strong possibility that the Universal Title match at SummerSlam could be a 4-way between Lesnar, Reigns, Rollins, and Strowman (more below).
LESNAR’S NEXT OPPONENT…
Recap: In a backstage segment, Constable Corbin handed his phone to Kurt Angle. Stephanie McMahon was on the line with important news, which Kurt promised to announce later.
At the top of the third hour, Kurt Angle came out for the previously teased announcement. Angle announced that WWE management had determined when Brock Lesnar would next defend the title. Kurt was then interrupted by Roman Reigns, who gave the usual speech about being the uncrowned champion.
Bobby Lashley then interrupted, criticizing Reigns for failing to beat Lesnar for years. Kurt said that they were both worthy of a title shot, as were other wrestlers. He announced a multi-person match for the Number One Contendership, to take place at Extreme Rules.
The Revival then came to the ring, mocking Reigns and Lashley for being handed opportunities. They then challenged Reigns and Lashley to a tag match, which Reigns and Lashley won despite not being on the same page throughout the match.
Evaluation: Considering WWE seemingly will do anything to get Roman Reigns over, it seems puzzling that he would be put into conflict with Bobby Lashley, another face. Despite Lashley not being super popular right now, putting Reigns into conflict with a face still seems to be setting him up for failure.
Forecast: I expect that the multi-person match will have some sort of inconclusive finish to be used as an excuse to turn the SummerSlam title match into a multi-person match. If Reigns and Lesnar were to face off one-on-one again, there would be too strong of a chance that the fans would reject the match altogether (especially in New York).
It was incredibly disappointing to see Chad Gable used as enhancement talent for Jinder Mahal. He didn’t even get an entrance tonight….
Kevin Owens vs Braun Strowman should be a good program for Extreme Rules, assuming Braun moves onto the Universal Title picture for SummerSlam. Owens really is a Swiss army knife that can fill almost any role on television, much like Chris Jericho….
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 6/11: Jinder Fakes Us Out, More Cranky Ronda, Braun Beats 4 Men