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WWE STOMPING GROUNDS PPV
JUNE 23, 2019
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves
-A video package introduced the show to the song “These Boots Re Made For Walking.”
-Cole introduced the show and said it’s time to kick ass and take names. You knew that was coming.
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. LACEY EVANS – WWE Raw Title match
Lacey got early advantage including working over Becky’s ribs with a wrenching move around the ringpost. Becky came back with a Disarm her eventually, but Evans rolled through and scored a one count. Becky held on, but Lacey quickly grabbed the ropes to force a break. Lacey then went on the offense. After Lacey took out a tissue to wipe her underarms of sweat, she threw it onto Becky. Becky shoved it right back into Lacey’s mouth with a Mandible Claw. Yuck. Becky gave Lacey an Becksploder Suplex for a two count, then went for a legdrop off the second rope. Lacey moved to avoid it and then landed a cutter for a near fall. When Lacey kicked the bottom rope in frustration, Becky applied a sudden Disarm Her and really wrenched it on. Lacey tapped almost immediately.
WINNER: Lynch in 12:00 to retain the Raw Title. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: This was the right finish for sure. Lacey is a tremendous personality – although polarizing – within a Vince McMahon style of presenting wrestling. She isn’t ready for the big time yet in terms of her ring work. She still seems to consciously be planning moves before doing them instead of flowing through the match. Becky really carried her here. Their work on house shows was key to making their PPV matches watchable.)
-A video package aired on Ali.
-Kayla Braxton stood outside of Baron Corbin’s locker room. Paul Heyman walked out. Braxton said it was a long meeting. Could Heyman be the referee, Braxton asked. Heyman said Brock Lesnar could cash in on either Seth Rollins or Kofi Kingston tonight. Corbin then walked out and told Braxton to stop stalking his locker room. He said he’s just looking for a referee to call it down the middle. He said if he beats Seth, he’ll also be ready for Lesnar if he tries to cash in.
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
(2) THE NEW DAY (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS
Sami and KO were aggressive at the start and scored a near fall after a senton splash off the top rope. The announcers complimented them for their early aggression. They isolated Xavier for a long time until over six minutes in. He eventually hot-tagged Big E. Big E tagged Xavier back in and then Xavier lifted Big E onto his shoulders, but struggled because of the long beatdown, which the announcers acknowledged. Xavier then dropped Big E with a splash onto Sami, who kicked out. Sami then shoved Big E into the ropes, who then kicked Xavier by mistake. Sami then connected with a Helluva Kick. Owens landed a Pop-Up Powerbomb for a near fall, which Big E broke up. Big E speared through the ropes and knocked Zayn =to the floor. Ko then gave Xavier, who was on the ropes, a Stunner and scored the three count.
WINNERS: Owens & Sami in 11:00. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: They really had the crowd worked up for the hot-tag and Big E’s comeback. I think that was a needed credibility boost for Sami & KO to get the win here. It crossed my mind that a loss like this could be planting a seed for a heel turn down the line for Big E or Xavier if they start coming up short in matches when teaming.)
(3) SAMOA JOE vs. RICOCHET – U.S. Title match
They began to engage in a test of strength at the start. Joe popped Ricochet in the face on a fake-out as he was about to lock-up. Ricochet began another test of strength, but this time ducked Joe’s attempt to punch him. He then hit a flurry of offense including a dropkick that send Joe rolling to ringside. He went for an early slidekick, but Joe avoided him and then shoved him hard into the ring apron. Graves said that turned the complexion of the match right around. Renee talked about Joe’s killer instinct. He gave Ricochet a hard urinage and then a hard chop to the chest. Cole talked about the history of the U.S. Title including Harley Race as the first champ in 1975. Graves said Joe is motivated to be a WWE Hall of Famer and seen as one of the best of all-time. Joe landed an enzuigiri and then settled into a chinlock. Joe yanked Ricochet’s hands off the ropes and turned it into a powerbomb. They showed a hard side elbow to the skull of Ricochet in slo-mo. It looked stiff. Graves said he’s not sure if Ricochet wasn’t knocked out briefly. Joe then applied a head twist mid-ring.
Joe chopped Ricochet, but Ricochet surprised him with two enzuigiris. The slo-mo replay on one of them showed it was a stiff. Both were slow to get up. Ricochet took Joe down with a head scissors and then climbed to the top rope and hit a flying forearm. Joe rolled to the floor. Ricochet then landed a flying twisting body press over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring he landed a springboard moonsault for a two count. A fan held up a sign in the second row that said “Resurrect Ascension.” Joe came back with a snap powerslam for a believable near fall. They stood and exchanged chops. Ricochet seemed more weakened than Joe. Joe hit a German suplex and then flipped Ricochet hard with a clothesline for a believable near fall. Ricochet blocked a Urinage attempt and went for a kick, but Joe flipped him over in a really cool spot. He then applied the Coquina Clutch. Ricochet climbed over the ropes and snapped Joe neck-first over the top rope to force a break. Cool escape sequence. Ricochet then went for a top rope 630, but Joe moved. Ricochet landed on his feet and then countered Joe’s clothesline and kneed him. Then he launched off the top again with a 630 for a clean three count. Ricochet celebrated in a big way.
WINNER: Ricochet in 13:00 to capture the U.S. Title. (***1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was really good. I mean, for a 13 minute match, they told a really good story in several chapters, and Joe’s power and Ricochet’s athletic creatively and strong bumps just added up to a match that overdelivered it’s timeslot.)
-Backstage Seth, Charlotte, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Carmella, and Heavy Machinery were there to greet Ricochet after his win. Triple H also greeted him.
(Keller’s Analysis: If you’re wondering why they did that, it was to get Triple H on TV congratulating an NXT alum. It wasn’t because they thought it’d be a good idea otherwise, as I’m skeptical if Triple H weren’t scheduled to be part of that if they would have bothered to do it. By the way, that was the babyface NXT version of Triple H, not the heel main roster Authority Figure version in case you’re trying to chart at home Triple H’s various personalities.)
(4) DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN vs. HEAVY MACHINERY (Otis & Tucker) – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title match
During Heavy Machinery’s ring entrance, Phillips mentioned Tucker grew up “just down the road” in Hubbard, Oregon. Graves gave him a hard time because it’s two hours away. When Bryan came out, Phillips said at least Bryan is from the same state they’re in. “God, you’re bad at geography!” he said. He seemed more angry than one should have been in that situation. They let other announce teams introduce themselves on camera including a Funaki appearance. Tons of crowd heat early, including a “Let’s Go Bryan!” chant as the bell rang followed by a loud “Yes” chant. Fan also chanted “Please recycle” and “Drive a Prius.” This probably wasn’t the best event to have Heavy Machinery against an emerging babyface team who are trying to get over. Otis shoved Bryan down hard and then flexed Lex Luger style. Graves said Tucker is used to getting booed since he was booed by his parents.
Bryan landed some Yes Kicks, but Otis came back by pressing Bryan above his head and dropping him behind him. Then Otis lifted Bryan for a suplex, Tucker tagged in, and Tucker took over the suplex and then finally dropped back with impact. He settled into a side headlock. Tucker gave Bryan a hard clothesline. Rowan blind tagged in and took Tucker down. Bryan and Rowan took over for a few minutes. Graves said he could see Heavy Machinery some day becoming Smackdown Tag Team Champions, but he said they need more seasoning. Rowan landed a splash for a two count. He complained to the referee and showed frustration. He raked Tucker’s eyes. Tucker caught a charging Rowan with a boot, then side-stepped him as he went shoulder-first into the ringpost. He hot-tagged Otis, and the fans booed as he went to work on Bryan with a couple takedowns and then a spinning bodyslam. He played to the crowd and they booed. Bryan came back with a running dropkick in the corner. And another. On a third attempt, Otis caught him and delivered a sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Bryan avoided a Vader Bomb out of the corner by Otis.
Bryan landed a string of Yes Kicks which the crowd yelled long to. Otis began absorbing them and no-selling them. He then delivered an overhead suplex that launched Bryan. He splashed Bryan in the corner next. Bryan flat back collapsed. Otis looked around and then landed his signature elbowdrop. Then he catapulted Tucker into Bryan for a powerslam for a near fall, broken up by Rowan. Rowan kicked Tucker out of the ring, then returned to his corner. Bryan came back with some roundkicks. Tucker ducked one and then side-slammed Bryan. He climbed to the top rope and went for a moonsault. Bryan rolled out of the way. Tucker crawled over and tagged in Otis as Bryan also tagged in Rowan. The announcers hyped up this battle of two behemoths. They took turns charging into one another. Neither sold for the other. Bryan blind-tagged in. Tucker caught Rowan mid-air and powerslammed him. They set up their Compactor finisher, but Bryan pulled the rope down and Tucker fell to the floor. Bryan, who was legal, launched off the rope with a knee to Otis, but when he ran the ropes, Tucker punched him. Tucker then quickly climbed to the top rope and leaped onto Rowan on the floor. Tucker showed fire, then re-entered the ring, but Bryan small packaged him for the win.
WINNERS: Bryan & Rowan in 15:00 to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. (***3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a blast start to finish. A standout tag team match. Bryan and Rowan helped move Heavy Machinery to another level even in losing. Their sequences and the whole story of the match played effectively into all four of their personalities.)
-A commercial aired for Extreme Rules coming up on July 14.
(5) BAYLEY vs. ALEXA BLISS (w/Nikki Cross) – Smackdown Title
During the ring entrance for Bliss, Phillips matter-of-factly said Bliss was a Raw wrestler as if it was normal for a Raw wrestler to challenge for the Smackdown Title. Bliss got a mixed response, but mostly boos, during formal ring introductions. Bayley got a polite response with some boos. Bliss shoved Bayley into the corner and didn’t break right away. The ref scolded her and she screeched, “I know!” Bayley took over with a running snake eyes and a quick two count. Graves asked why Nikki should be doubting anything about Bliss. Saxton said, “Have you seen Bliss’s career? Are we just going to put blindfolds on?” Somehow Graves turned that into a dig about Saxton being single. There were dueling chants for Bayley and Bliss. Bliss settled into a long headlock. (Graves mispronounced “asterisks” and said “aster-icks.” Yes, he’s hardly alone, but you know if he actually knew better and someone else messed that up, he’d be all over them with self-righteous mean-spirited sounding criticism.)
Bliss slapped Bayley and gloated. Bayley fired back with a clothesline and scored a two count. She stomped away aggressively at Bliss and boos could be heard. She landed an elbow, but Bliss came back with a right as Bayley charged her. Bayley came back right away, but mouthed off to Nikki at ringside. When she leaped off the ropes, Bliss moved. Bayley blocked a DDT and hit a running knee to the side of Bliss’s head. At ringside, Bliss yanked Bayley’s shoulder into the ringpost. She scored a soft two count in the ring. Bliss then applied armbars on Bayley for a couple of minutes. Bayley came back with a sunset bomb. Nikki checked on Bliss at ringside. Bayley dove through the ropes and tackled Nikki, when Bliss shoved Nikki into the target zone. Bliss then shoved Bayley into the ringside steps. Bliss gave Bayley a sunset bomb on the floor. She yelled at Bayley, then threw her into the ring. She set up Twisted Bliss, but Nikki entered the ring to go after Bayley. The ref ordered her out. Bayley stood and tried to set up a move, but Bliss shoved her down. Bliss then went for Twisted Bliss, but Bayley lifted her knees and then she hit the Bayley-to-Belly for the win. Bliss was distraught afterward and Nikki was fuming mad as she consoled Bliss.
WINNER: Bayley in 11:00 to retain the Smackdown Title. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: A good match. It seems the story here is Nikki doesn’t realize Bliss shoved her into the path of Bayley, and Bliss isn’t upset at Nikki for entering when she did because she knows she’s the one who caused Nikki to be angry with Bayley. It’s a bit a stretch to try to make sense of everyone’s motivations, but it didn’t seem Bliss was upset with Nikki nor was Nikki wise to Bliss’s actions.)
-An NXT commercial aired.
-They updated the 24/7 Title including R-Truth regaining the 24/7 Title at Drake Maverick’s wedding. They showed a picture of Drake drinking himself into a mess that night and noting it was the worst night of his life because his to-be-wife broke up with him over losing the 24/7 Title.
-Backsatge Ricochet celebrated his U.S. Title win with a photo shoot. Then Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows entered the scene and congratulated him. A.J. Styles joined in and posed, then Styles said, “I’ll see you tomorrow night.” Ricochet wasn’t sure what to make of it.
(Keller’s Analysis: So is that supposed to mean Styles is going to challenge Ricochet, which would be a battle of two babyfaces, which either is leading to an attempt to turn Styles heel or adding an edge to his face character, or else it could undercut the momentum of Ricochet out of the gate if he’s instantly put in a program with the popular Styles. Or… it could be they are going to recruit him to be in a new faction with them.)
(6) ROMAN REIGNS vs. DREW MCINTYRE (w/Shane McMahon)
Reigns came out to a mixed reaction. The Raw announce team called this inter-brand match. They brawled at ringside. Then they entered the ring and the bell rang. Reigns clotheslined Drew over the top rope, then dove over the top rope. He sailed so far, he almost overshot Drew completely. He then chased after Shane who fled into the crowd. Reigns pursued him. Reigns leaped back over the ringside barricade, but Drew intercepted him mid-air with a punch. Drew took over for a long stretch, including interference from Shane at one point. Fans chanted “Let’s Go Roman! / Roman Sucks!” with the usual different pitch for each chant (women/kids vs. men).
Reigns finally made a comeback and didn’t get much reaction as he clotheslined Drew a few times. He looked down at Shane and mouthed something to him, then turned and punched away at Drew as the fans counted along to ten. He delivered a big boot to Drew’s face. He signaled for a Superman Punch. Women and kids cheered. He delivered a Superman Punch to Shane on the ring apron instead. He went after Shane at ringside, then fended off Drew. Drew avoided a drive-by and then catapulted Reigns face-first onto the ringside table. Drew threw Reigns back into the ring and gave him a chokeslam for a very near fall. Drew delivered a superplex a minute later for a very near fall. No pop for the Reigns kickout. (Graves also thinks “heighdth” is a word instead of “height.”) Reigns avoided a Claymore Kick and used a backslide for a two count. Drew then hit the Glasgow Kiss to drop Reigns again. Drew leaped off the top rope, but was met with a Superman Punch. Reigns scored a two count. Both were slow to get up.
Roman signaled for his spear, but Drew kicked him in the face and delivered another headbutt. Reigns fired back with a sudden spear for a two count. Shane yanked the ref out of the ring, although he was just a tad late so Drew clearly kicked out first. The ref fell to the floor and grabbed his left knee in pain. Shane entered and dragged Reigns into the corner, then kicked away at him with his green sneakers. Shane took off his jacket and then set up a Coast To Coast and hit it. Shane then dragged Reigns mid-ring. Drew crawled over and made the cover. Shane threw the ref into the ring. He counted and Reigns kicked out at the very last second. Cole said the poor official seems to have a blown out knee. A loud “Roman!” chant started. Again, you could see in the crowd it was the women and kids, while the men just sat there quietly. Drew set up a Claymore, but Reigns hit a Superman Punch instead. Shane ran in. Reigns tossed him over the top rope. Despite that distraction, Reigns speared Drew and scored a three count. Cole said Reigns has finally rid himself of McIntyre and McMahon. He called it a definitive victory. Reigns smiled and celebrated with the cheering fans. They showed a dejected Shane on the floor at ringside.
WINNER: Reigns in 17:00. (***3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. It’ll be interesting to reflect on this finish in six months and see if it was costly to Drew or a worthwhile boost for Reigns to so clearly define Reigns ahead of Drew. I mean, even with Shane’s interference, Drew lost again. The announcers selling the impact of the Coast-to-Coast as being a bigger deal than anything Drew did was a little much, too. I just don’t see a deep enough heel roster right now for WWE to afford to not protect Drew better than this.)
-An ad aired for the Alexa Bliss “WWE 365” special that premieres after the PPV.
-A video package aired on the WWE Title match up next.
(7) KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – WWE Title match in a cage
Kofi threw pancakes to the crowd on his way to the ring. Ziggler went for an early escape, but Kofi stopped him. They went into a rapid sequence of big moves by Ziggler and attempts to escape, but Kofi countering and battling back. It settled into Ziggler on offense. Eventually Kofi came back after avoiding a Fameasser. Kofi climbed to the top rope and grabbed the top of the cage. Ziggler ran up and met him and rammed him face-first into the cage. Kofi elbowed Ziggler and rammed his head into the cage. Then Kofi leaped off the top rope with a body press onto Ziggler for a two count. They battled on top of the cage next. Kofi headbutted Ziggler down, then dropped to the mat and delivered and S.O.S.
Ziggler countered into a leglock a minute later. When he superkicked Kofi, Kofi flew into the cage door and almost fell to the mat. Ziggler realized it and grabbed Kofi’s legs before he could fall to the floor to win. (What a lame way to retain a title that would have been.) Ziggler dragged Kofi back to mid-ring. The ref re-closed the door. Kofi escaped and went for a Trouble in Paradise, but Ziggler grabbed his leg and applied an ankle lock. Kofi escaped and applied his own ankle lock. Ziggler fired back with a Zig Zag for a two count.
They battled back and forth for a few minutes, including several Ziggler attempts to escape the cage door. Ziggler jabbed Kofi in the eyes with his thumb and then climbed out of the door again. Kofi leaped through the ropes and over Ziggler and landed on the floor with a thud first to win. Ziggler sold the agony of the loss, while Big E and Xavier came out and put Kofi on their shoulders and walked up to the stage with him.
WINNER: Kingston in 20:00 to retain the WWE Title. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good athleticism sprinkled in with the usual tropes of this type of “escape the cage” match, but some real slow stretches that felt like it was stretching out the match needlessly. The finish was Kofi-esque where his athleticism outwitted Ziggler’s attempt to crawl to victory.)
-Charly Caruso interviewed Kofi after his win. She asked what the future holds for him. He let out a Jeff Jarrett-style “ha ha.” He said Ziggler put up a good battle, but he walked out as champion just as he promised. He sang that he is still champion. “Let’s go party!” he said.
-An Extreme Rules PPV ad aired.
-Caruso interviewed Drew and Shane backstage as Drew was selling the loss by slamming things as Shane tried to talk him down a little. She asked if Reigns got the last laugh. Drew said he wants Reigns again. Shane booked Reigns against him and Drew in a two-on-one handicapped match on Raw. He said Reigns will find out that it’s his yard, not Roman’s. He shoved the camera down.
-They went to the announcers on camera who threw to a video package on the Universal Title match and the mystery referee situation.
(8) SETH ROLLINS vs. BARON CORBIN – WWE Universal Title match
Corbin made the ring announcer tout his resume and whole “favorite son” bit. Then he revealed that Lacey Evans was his pick as special referee. The announcers said this outsmarted Seth because Seth couldn’t attack Lacey with a chair like he would any man who stepped up. Seth exhaled like he was outsmarted. Corbin hit Seth from behind as Lacey and Seth argued at the start of the match. Corbin stayed in control. Fans chanted “This is stupid!” early. Cole said it was fans being upset with Lacey as referee. Renee said this is an unwinable situation for Seth. Fans began a brief “C.M. Punk” chant. (Because this doesn’t feel like a worthy PPV main event, I suspect.) Seth eventually came back and hit a slingblade and then a leap off the second rope with a Blockbuster. Seth dove through the ropes and drove Corbin into the barricade. Then he hit a springboard knee to the face. He made the cover, but Lacey counted very slowly giving Corbin an easier chance to kick out after two. Corbin went for a chokeslam on the ring apron, but Seth avoided it and then powerbombed Corbin through the announce table at ringside. He almost overshot it completely, which would have been interesting and perhaps disastrous. Seth told Lacey to start counting out Corbin. She put her hands on her hips, then eventually got around to it. She got to seven and the adjusted her socks. Then she said eight. Then she told the ring announcer to let everyone know this was being changed into a “no countout” rules match. Cole was upset. Graves said Lacey is the law as far as this match is concerned.
Seth grabbed Corbin and threw him back into the ring. He yelled, “You asked for it!” He then stomped the mat and fans chanted “Burn it down.” He superkicked Corbin, but Corbin rolled to the floor to avoid The Stomp. When Seth dove through the ropes, Corbin punched him. Seth dove through the ropes again, but Corbin caught him and slammed him onto the ring apron. He followed up quickly with a chokeslam for a two count. Corbin set up a move after telling everyone to “get ready.” Seth blocked it. Corbin kicked Seth, but Seth avoided another Corbin move and kicked him in the face. Seth then landed a top rope frog splash for a very slow two count. Lacey pretended to throw her shoulder out before her hand hit the third time. Cole said, “The fix is in. There is no way Seth Rollins will be able to combat this.” He said frustration is beginning to set in. Graves said Seth put himself in this position by taking out everyone who volunteered for the role. Corbin then hit Seth at ringside with several chairshots to the back. In the ring, Corbin hit Seth several more times. Renee asked if Lacey was even watching and accused her of filing her nails or something. Lacey soft-scolded Corbin for using a chair. Corbin said something to her. Lacey then told the ring announcer that this match is now no-DQ. Fans began chanting “Becky! Becky!” figuring out that Becky, Seth’s girlfriend, can hit Lacey with a chair even though Seth can’t. Corbin set up a move on a chair, but Seth countered with a Falcon Arrow onto the chair. Lacey didn’t even both to count this time as Cole loudly counted to seven and then exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? This is an absolutely farce!”
Lacey then slapped Seth as he had a few words for her. Graves said, “I’m not sure if that was exactly right, or smart.” Seth turned and yelled at her some more. “Is that all you got?” he asked. Lacey kicked Seth. Corbin went after Seth. Lacey then gave Seth a low blow from behind. Corbin hit the End of Days. Becky ran out to a big pop and tackled Lacey. (This explains WWE TV showing Seth and Becky as a couple more and mentioning it several times in recent weeks; it was all leading to this finish.) Becky gave Lacey a Becksploder Suplex into the barricade at ringside. Two referees ran out and pried them apart. Corbin called for John Cohn to enter the ring. Corbin went for another End of Days, but Seth escaped and delivered a Stomp for the win. Seth and Becky smiled and hugged and shared some laughs. Becky opened the ropes for Seth. Seth took her up on the offer. They left together. Graves said as it turned out, the odds were really stacked against Corbin. Renee asked him to explain. Corbin said he has a long car ride ahead of him and he’ll have 30 reasons for her tomorrow.
WINNER: Rollins in 18:00 to retain the Universal Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Corbin doesn’t feel like a PPV main event heel, and the fans rejected the match early because of that. They stuck around to see the drama with Lacey play out and the predictable run-in from Becky. The closing scene with Seth and Becky working together as a team to overcome Corbin and Lacey was the case they’d make to justify this match going on last. It seemed to work with the crowd as they didn’t reject the finish, but popped for it. For a while I thought some fans were going to walk out on the match, so it was a nice recovery in that sense. The whole premise that Corbin was allowed to pick a referee was ludicrous, and it undercut the credibility of the Universal Title, but this is the type of story Vince McMahon likes to tell. )
After the PPV… VIP members, be sure to send your questions and comments for the Post-PPV Wade Keller Hotline podcast tonight: email@example.com. I will first be hosting the PWTorch VIP Post-PPV Roundtable podcast with Bruce Mitchell & Todd Martin. Go VIP, if you’re not already, tonight and get our exclusive podcast coverage of the event which also includes “Wrestling Night in America” with host Greg Parks and live callers with the ads & plugs edited out.