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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 24, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-After the WWE branded vignette, Cole introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. No graphic saying they were in Everett, Wash. and no mention by Cole. (They’re such snobs about smaller markets.) Seth Rollins made his ring entrance. Cole called Baron Corbin’s choice of Lacey Evans as special referee “brilliant.” The announcers commented on freeze-frames of the Stomping Grounds PPV main event Universal Title match. (Cole called Rollins and Lynch “a real life couple.” That’s a strange differentiation. Only in pro wrestling would you need to clarify that, I suppose.) Seth stood around as some “Burn it down!” chants started. Seth then talked about how Corbin thought he was going to take the title from him last night “right down the road in Tacoma.” He was interrupted by Becky’s music. She made her way to the ring, holding her Raw Title over her head on the way. The announcers discussed Becky beating Lacey last night. Renee said she’s glad Becky saved everyone from Corbin becoming champion. Graves said having Corbin as champion “wouldn’t be so bad” (hardly the enthusiastic endorsement). A loud “Becky!” chant broke out.
Seth asked Becky why she interrupted him. Becky bashfully said, “Did I?” (Aw, they’re so adorable.) Seth said he has to give Corbin some credit. He said he was smart enough to know he couldn’t outwrestle him or outfight him, so he picked a ref he knew he couldn’t bash with a chair and who would do anything in her power to help Corbin take the title from him. “But, he wasn’t smart enough to realize I’ve got the best backup on the planet.” Fans chanted “Becky!” She said, “You might say it pays to be The Man’s man.” She said last night they proved individually why they’re the champions of their division. Becky went off on Lacey trying to steal a title for somebody else, “but not on my watch.” Corbin’s music then played.
Seth and Becky turned to look at the stage, but Lacey attacked Becky from behind. Seth stood back and Becky made a comeback. Seth pulled Becky off of Lacey. Becky shoved Seth. He lifted his hands and backed away, sort of looking turned on. Becky brushed past him and went back at Lacey. Corbin joined in the fight and went after Seth. Seth took him down with a slingblade. Corbin retreated at ringside quickly. Becky delivered a Becksploder. The director missed the shot. Lacey then retreated to ringside, too. Seth and Becky stood their ground and looked down at them at ringside. Corbin said Becky saved him again. He told Seth to fly home and put on an apron and make a sandwich for The Man because she’s handling all of his business. Lacey had some words for Becky too. Corbin said if it weren’t for Becky last night, he’d be Universal Champion. He said he picked Lacey for a reason. “She’s the only real woman we have around here,” he said. Becky made a funny facial reaction. Corbin challenged them to a mixed tag match anytime, anywhere. Lacey liked that idea and she suggested it happen at Extreme Rules. Fans booed, wanting it tonight.
Becky said that’s fine, but if they lose, they don’t get any more title matches. Lacey and Corbin had a brief conference. Lacey raised them a stip. Seth said, “Name it, I don’t care what it is. Challenge accepted.” He threw down the mic. (That’s way too brave considering various options.) Corbin said both title will be on the line, winners take all.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is actually a good follow-up to all of the investment in these two singles feuds, and the Seth-Becky dynamic being brought to TV in a full-fledged way now gives a new dimension to both of them. This, though, doesn’t take away that Corbin still feels over-pushed as a result of a shallow heel depth chart, and Lacey isn’t ready for this level of a spotlight in terms of her in-ring work. But the stip is going to draw some interest.)
-The announcers hyped Ricochet vs. A.J. Styles later, plus an eight-man tag match up next.
-Daniel Bryan and Rowan began their ring entrance. [c]
(1) BIG E & XAVIER WOODS & THE USOS vs. DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN & THE REVIVAL (Dash & Dawson)
Graves said New Day came up short against “the elite duo of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn,” but tonight they can try to make up for it with a win. The Usos talked on the way to the ring, noting that it’s challengers vs. champions. Cole noted it’s an elimination tag where if one member of a team gets pinned, both have to leave the match. Graves said this is the first time tag champs from both brands are teaming together. Dash and Bryan got into a shoving match before the bell. Dash wrestled first, but was beaten down by New Day with some double-teaming. Rowan blind-tagged in and took Big E down with a clothesline. Then he power chokeslammed him. He also double shoved the Usos by their throats over the top rope. He went back at Big E, but he rolled out of the path of his splash. Both were slow to get up. Rowan tagged in Bryan; Kofi tagged in Xavier.
Bryan got cheered as he took it to Xavier. He played to the crowd a little. Then he clotheslined Xavier over the top rope. Bryan did a running dive through the ropes, but collided with Dawson. He gave Xavier a dropkick off the top rope, then kipped up. Graves acknowledged the cheers from his home state fans. He threw Yes Kicks as the crowd chanted along. Dawson gave Bryan an uppercut to get back at him, leading to Xavier rolling him up for the pin. Fans booed. Graves said he didn’t think it was intentional. Cole said it was obviously intentional. Dash and Dawson surprised Xavier with a Shatter Machine seconds later. Cole said the match would be “reset and restarted as a tag team match” after the break. (So elimination matches now get “reset and restarted” after the sides even up? Let’s see if that ever happens again.) [c]
Back live, the Usos dove onto Dash & Dawson at ringside and then backdropped Dawson on the mats. Back in the ring the bell rang to “restart the match” (They’re just making these rules up as they go along now.) Dawson superplexed Jimmy, but Jey leaped off of Dash’s back when he was on the top rope and landed a splash on the vulnerable Dawson for the three count.
WINNERS: The Usos in 11:00 total.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good action start to finish. Bryan’s night was over quickly, though, in his home state.)
-Cole said Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley will have a tug-o-war later tonight as a follow-up to their arm wrestling contest. They went to the announcers on camera to discuss Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre. They showed freeze-frames and the set-up for the two-on-one match later.
-They showed Miz backstage. Graves said he’d be interviewing R-Truth next. [c]
-They showed Braun warming up for the tug-o-war earlier by pulling on a rope attached to a tractor trailer. He said it took a while, but he eventually got it moving. Cole said it weighs 8.5 tons. Graves said Strowman looks ready.
-Miz TV: R-Truth came to the ring with Carmella. Truth was concerned the whole way to the ring he was going to be jumped. Cole said he’s now a seven-time 24/7 champion. Cole said Truth regained the title over the weekend at Drake Maverick’s wedding, and they’d update the situation later. Miz told Truth that he got the 24/7 rules suspended for the duration of Miz TV, so he could relax. Miz said there have been some memorable title changes so far including on an “air-pane” (too much baby talk at home, lately, I assume), but the best one was last Friday at Drake’s wedding. After a clip aired, Truth looked around and fans cheered. Truth smiled wide. Truth talked about the stress of being a champion with Superstars showing up at his “crib.” He told everyone that means his house. He said challengers are showing up dressed as police officers saying his house or car is on fire, but he’s smarter than that.
Carmella said interrupting Drake’s wedding might seem extreme, but it just shows how important the title is to Truth. Drake then interrupted. He walked out onto the stage and said winning the 24/7 Title is the biggest moment of his career, and his wedding was supposed to be the biggest day of his life, but Truth ruined it. He said his wife won’t talk to him and she won’t go on a honeymoon with him. He hesitated as he said they haven’t even consummated the marriage. Truth said, “Fiber is good for that.” Miz asked what that meant. Truth said, “He said his marriage was constipated.” Fans chanted “Constipation!” Graves said the fans in Washington State are just rude. Drake asked for a one-on-one rematch with no shenanigans so he can get back the love of his life. Carmella told Truth to agree to it so he can get his wife back. Drake said he’s not talking about his wife, he’s talking about the 24/7 Championship. Miz said he’s hearing in his earpiece that if Truth agrees, everyone else is banned from ringside during the match. Fans chanted “Yes!” Truth looked a little worried, but then came around to it and said, “You know what, Hornswoggle, you got yourself a match.” Miz said it’s happening next. [c]
(2) R-TRUTH vs. DRAKE MAVERICK – 24/7 Title match
Drake went after Truth aggressively at the bell with forearms. Truth face-planted Drake coming off the ropes and scored the three count.
WINNER: Truth in 15 seconds to retain the 24/7 Title.
-Titus O’Neal, No Way Jose, Lucha House Party, EC3, and Cedric Alexander ran out. Cedric went for a pin after a kick, but Jose broke it up. They brawled at ringside. LHP attacked them. They brawled at ringside as Truth, with Carmella on his back, ran through the crowd. They cut back to Drake absorbing the impact of the loss. Charly Caruso entered the ring and asked about his tough week and where he goes from here. Drake was too broken up to speak. He just turned and left the ring and walked to the back.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wouldn’t have minded a longer match between Truth and Drake, but no big deal given the spirit of the 24/7 division. Drake is talented, so it’s good to see him get some TV play.)
-They showed Roman Reigns backstage. [c]
-The announcers commented on a recap of the angle at the top of the show leading to the mixed tag main event at Extreme Rules next month.
-Backstage Lacey and Corbin talked about the mixed tag match being made official. Lacey told Corbin she wants to be Raw Champion. Corbin said he’s going to enjoy stomping on Seth again, but everyone thinks Seth is some kind of Superman. Lacey said even Superman has Cryptoite, and Seth’s is Becky. She said if they take care of “that nasty, we both become champions.” Corbin said who knows, they might become the new power couple of WWE.
-Shane McMahon danced out to his music. Then Drew came out to his music. Graves said this could be it for the Big Dog. As Mike Rome introduced Shane and Drew, Shane frowned. He didn’t like the inflection and enthusiasm. Rome re-did it with emphasis on “Best in the World!” He then said quickly, softly, and almost as an afterthought “and Drew McIntyre.” Drew never seems to care about Shane’s intro, he’s just pacing like a rabid dog on a chain. He stared at the stage. Shane told Rome something. Rome said he was just informed it’s a two-in-one match. Graves gave him a hard time because that was announced last night. Then Shane and the ref explained what he should have said. Rome said both Shane and Drew can wrestle Reigns at the same time. Graves chuckled and said, “I’m glad Mike Rome pays attention.” He said something under his breath and closed with “Good lord.” (Not sure if Rome will be in trouble for that, but how did he not know this was a two-on-one match already?) Reigns then came out to his music.
(3) ROMAN REIGNS vs. SHANE MCMAHON & DREW MCINTYRE
Reigns took out Shane as the bell rang with a punch. Drew attacked Reigns in the corner with a barrage of knees and strikes. Reigns fought back. Roman clotheslined Drew over the top rope. Reigns gave Shane an uppercut. Drew yanked Reigns to the floor and then threw him around including into the steel steps. Shane threw Reigns into the steel steps that Drew was holding up. Cole said they’re going to torture Reigns tonight. They stomped away at Reigns inside the ring. Shane threw Reigns into a Claymore Kick. Shane let out big yell to mock Reigns and then speared Reigns. Shane held up Reigns who delivered another Claymore. Cole called it a disgusting, pathetic display by Shane and Drew. Shane was about to hit the Coast to Coast when an Undertaker bell sounded. The lights went out. Taker stood inside the ring in Shane’s path. Shane leaped and Taker chokeslammed him. The crowd popped. Drew charged, but Taker gave him a boot to the face. He punched away at him in the corner, then he clotheslined him over the top rope. Taker then clotheslined Shane over the top rope. Cole said it was deafening in the arena. Shane and Drew regrouped on the stage and Taker did the throat slice gesture. Fans chanted “Holy sh–!” Graves said not even Reigns expected this. “Talk about an unlikely savior.” Taker’s music played as the lights flickered.
WINNER: No contest in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, that was a surprise and out of left field. Either Taker is seen as a “ratings boost” or he wants to make up for that awful match at Super Showdown the stench of coming back for that Saudi Arabia payday while skipping WrestleMania in front of the actual paying loyal fanbase. Not much of a match, but it was fine for where it led.) [c]
-The announcers reacted to Taker’s surprise appearance as they replayed highlights.
-Braun Strowman made his way to the ring for the tug-o-war. They replayed Braun pulling a tractor trailer as a warm-up earlier. Cole said it was 8.5 tons. Then Lashley came out. They showed Lashley earlier today attempting to pull a phone pole out of cement, but the rope broke in half. “That’s not human,” said Graves. “That is a certifiable bad-ass.” Lashley got early advantage, but Braun smiled and yanked Lashley across the red line. That didn’t last long. Lashley attacked Braun and threw him shoulder-first into the ringpost. Graves said Lashley is tired of being humiliated against Braun. He wrapped the rope over Braun’s eyes and yanked back. Braun dropped to the floor. Lashley charged, but Braun checked him down hard. Lashley then kneed Braun from behind and drove him into the barricade. Lashley left with his arms raised as Braun sold an eye injury.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a lot of build up for all of 12 seconds of tugging. Not that tug-o-wars get more exciting the longer they last.)
-Renee plugged Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn and A.J. Styles vs. Ricochet.
-Caruso interviewed Styles backstage. She asked him about being on his first day back from injury. As he talked about his recovery, Caruso interrupted and said she’d like hear more about that later, but why challenge Ricochet on his first night back. He said sitting on the couch was killing him, and last night Ricochet impressed him in that incredible match against Samoa Joe. He was interrupted No Way Jose’s music. Styles was annoyed. He saw that Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson were leading the Conga Line. Styles asked what they were doing. He asked if they have a match against the Viking Raiders they should be preparing for. Styles said they’ve talked about this. Anderson and Gallows said they’re at the top of their game and then blew off his advice. Styles asked where are the Gallows & Anderson are he met in Japan. He said when they arrived in WWE, they were taking over. “What happened to you guys?” he asked. Anderson stepped up to Styles and asked, “What’s wrong with you?” Gallows said they’re going prove they still got it next.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m hoping this leads to Anderson & Gallows being rehabbed into a serious tag team once they realize Styles is right about their attitude.) [c]
-Cole plugged the new WWE category at the ESPYs. The Best WWE Moment candidates are Reigns returning from leukemia treatment, Ronda Rousey capturing her first championship, Lynch winning both women’s titles, or Kingston’s first WWE Title win. Cole speed-read that script. Voting ends July 10.
(4) KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS
Anderson nailed a hard clothesline and Graves said this is an example that they’ve still got it. Gallows settled into a chinlock. The showed Styles watching backstage. He was cartoonishly way too into the chinlock as he watched. Anderson got cocky and asked if Styles was watching. That gave Erik a chance to recover, fight back, and hot-tag in Ivar. He cartwheeled out of the path of Gallows and then clotheslined him out of the ring. Then he dove through the ropes and took Gallows down. Back in the ring, the Raiders pinned Anderson after their Viking Experience finisher. They cut to a disgusted Styles. Graves said Styles must’ve liked seeing glimpses of the old Gallows & Anderson. That’s an optimistic take on that.
WINNERS: Viking Raiders in 3:30.
-Backstage Nikki Cross approached a grumpy and pacing Alexa Bliss. She apologized for last night. She said she lost control and she feels it’s her fault. Alexa said she can use it for motivation. Bliss said Bayley has a good way of manipulating people and making them feel guilty about her own shadiness. Nikki said there has to be a way to get her a rematch. Bliss said they have to come up with a plan. [c]
-Backstage Natalya and Naomi approached Nikki. Natalya told Nikki that Bliss isn’t to be trusted. Naomi said she and Nattie have known Bliss for years and they want her to know what she’s really like. Nikki said she knows Bliss’s reputation, but… at which point Bliss entered and asked why they’re talking behind her back. She called Naomi a “neon Bayley buddy.” Naomi said she deserves the glow and tonight she’s going to give it to her.
-They showed Mojo Rawley and Heath Slater already in the ring. Truth jumped over the barricade and the contenders chased after him. Truth entered the ring and was surrounded. Eric Young tried to get in. Truth backdropped Kalisto onto a crowd at ringside. Mojo charged. Truth ducked. Slater then gave Truth his neckbreaker and scored a three count.
WINNER: Slater to capture the 24/7 Title.
-EC3 pulled Slater out of the ring but Slater ducked and ran with the belt, but Titus and Young trapped him. He re-entered the ring where Truth dropped him on his face and then scored a pin to regain the title.
WINNER: Truth to regain the 24/7 Title.
-Cedric Alexander entered and gave Truth a lumbar check. He celebrated with the belt.
WINNER: Cedric to capture the 24/7 Title.
-Cedric tried to escape. Mojo charged. EC3 slammed Cedric onto the floor and scored the pin. Fans chanted “EC3!”
WINNER: EC3 to capture the 24/7 Title.
-Carmella yanked the belt away from EC3. Then Truth schoolboyed EC3 from behind for the three count.
WINNER: Truth to regain the 24/7 Title.
-Everyone chased after him.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Cole plugged Styles vs. Ricochet, then threw to highlights of the Ricochet win against Samoa Joe at Stomping Grounds.
-An unnamed blond woman (Sarah Schreiber) interviewed Ricochet. She asked what it means to win his first title in WWE. He said it’s still sinking in, but he can say it’s a feeling he doesn’t want to go away, so he’ll do anything he can to make sure it does not. He said it might sound cliche, but it did take the full support of his fans and friends. He said that was last night, but tonight he has to face someone he’s looked up to his whole career. He called him a trailblazer, and he intends to prove he’s worthy to hold this championship.
-They showed Kingston warming up backstage by shoving pancakes behind the belt around his waist. [c]
-Kingston made his ring entrance. They showed freeze-frames of his win over Ziggler at Stomping Grounds. Graves said, “Once again, Kofi found a way.” Caruso interviewed Kingston inside the ring and congratulated him. Sami’s music interrupted. (Don’t blame Sami, blame the guy running the music control board.) Sami said, “Let’s not waste time with this basketball journalism.” Sami was joined by Kevin Owens. KO said he’s got questions of his own. He called Caruso “Not Renee.” He said her presence isn’t needed because they’re about to have a Sami and Kevin Show. Graves was happy. KO asked, “Why are you here? Who do you think you are? Why don’t you just get the hell out of here, man?” Kofi said while they’re asking questions, he has a question. “Kevin, do you know you have a gigantic zit on your head that’s bleeding. I can see it from here.” Sami asked Kofi why he is such a paper champion. He said Kofi’s entire identity as champion is a guy who gets help from his friends. Sami bragged about destroying those friends at Stomping Grounds. He asked Kofi why he uses his friends to stay champion. Kofi said Sami and KO have a bizarro relationship where they love each other, hate each other, love to hate each other, etc., that’s not how he and his New Day brothers feel. “That’s a bond nobody can break,” he said. (Uh oh. Sounds like a challenge.) Kofi said he can beat Sami all by himself just as he beat Ziggler by himself. Sami called him arrogant. He said his ego is out of control. He said he needs a dose of reality courtesy of him. Kofi laughed and said with him it’s not about ego, it’s about perseverance. “This title isn’t about me, it’s about all of them,” Kofi said. He asked the fans if they’re tired of hearing “Sam Zayn” talk. He invited him to get hit with another Trouble in Paradise kick. [c]
(5) KOFI KINGSTON vs. SAMI ZAYN (w/Kevin Owens)
Cole said Kofi has held a championship over a total of 1,500 days, and only four others in the post-WrestleMania era have held a title for that many days. Sami regrouped at ringside a couple minutes in. Kofi slid to ringside, but Sami avoided him and then snapped his neck over the top rope. KO kicked away at Kofi at ringside, then ran away before the ref saw him. Sami settled into a chinlock as fans chanted “Kofi! Kofi!”
Sami took control and got in some sustained offense. Kofi fought back with a sunset flip into a leverage three count out of nowhere.
WINNER: Kingston in 8:00.
-Afterward KO told a celebrating Kingston that if he thinks he’s such a great champion, he doesn’t believe for a second he can live up to his own opinion of himself. He called Kofi to the ring to fight him “right here, right now.” Kofi said he’d do it. Cole said he has nothing to prove after he already beat Sami. [c]
(6) KOFI KINGSTON vs. KEVIN OWENS
Renee and Graves agreed, as KO went on aggressive early offense, that Kofi shouldn’t have taken on this challenge. KO went for a Pop-up Powerbomb at ringside, but Kofi countered with a back body drop. Both were slow to get up. KO slammed Kofi into the ringside barricade, but Kofi came back with an S.O.S. on the ramp. Kofi returned to the ring to just beat the count.
WINNER: Kingston via countout in under 2:00.
-After the match Sami went after Kofi. Kofi threw him to the floor and then dove over the top rope, knocking KO and Sami over. Cole said it’s been an incredible 24 hours for Kofi. As Kofi celebrated, Samoa Joe attacked him from behind. Graves said Kofi is weakened and vulnerable, while Joe is an angry former U.S. Champion. Cole said Joe was “embarrassed and humiliated” in losing to Ricochet. (Losing to Ricochet is “humiliating”?) Joe gave Kofi a urinage. Two referees tried to help Kofi stand, but Joe ran back out and applied a Coquina Clutch. Three referees pried Joe off of him. Joe was frothing and had a maniacal look as he backed away. [c]
-The announcers commented on the replay of the Undertaker surprise appearance, then Cole said Taker & Reigns will face Drew & Shane at Extreme Rules. [c]
(7) NAOMI vs. ALEXA BLISS (w/Nikki Cross)
Naomi did the splits mid-ring to avoid an early Bliss attack. Bliss took her down seconds later with a clothesline. Naomi landed a split-legged splash for a two count. Nikki consoled Bliss at ringside. Naomi slidekicked Nikki. Bliss ran away and then surprised Naomi with a quick spike DDT as she re-entered the ring for the win.
WINNER: Bliss in 2:00.
-Bliss called Nikki into the ring afterward. Bliss beat up Naomi after the match. Nikki entered the ring slowly, but didn’t like what Bliss was doing to Naomi. Bliss held up Naomi. Nikki shoved Naomi, which also knocked Bliss down. Natalya then ran out to her music. Naomi and Nikki bailed out to the floor. They cut to an abrupt break. [c]
(8) NATALYA & NAOMI vs. NIKKI CROSS & ALEXA BLISS
Nikki eventually landed a top rope crossbody press on Natalya for a near fall. She slapped the mat in frustration. Natalya shoved Nikki into the corner, but Bliss tagged Nikki. Nikki then gave Natalya a neckbreaker, after which Bliss entered and scored the three count. Bliss was happy. Nikki was happy because Bliss was happy.
WINNER: Nikki & Bliss in 6:00.
-Graves thanked Dirty Honey for “When I’m Gone” for the official theme of Extreme Rules.
(9) RICOCHET vs. A.J. STYLES
Early in the match, Anderson and Gallows walked out. Styles asked what they were doing here. He dropped to the floor and told them he’s got this without them. He grabbed a mic and said they’re not going to ruin the match. He said it won’t continue until they’re out of there. He told them to leave. Anderson and Gallows weren’t pleased. Cole said they’d take a break and reset the match. [c]
Cole said the match was restarted (with 13 minutes left in the show). They locked up mid-ring again. A few minutes in, Ricochet did his twisting dive over the top rope onto Styles at ringside. Back in the ring Styles kicked out at one. Both men ended up down after a rapid-fire exchange mid-ring. Some fans began chanting “This is awesome!” After a Ricochet head scissors, Graves said Styles was showing some signs of ring rust. Ricochet then landed a flying clothesline and a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Styles delivered an inverted DDT a minute later to score a near fall. Ricochet climbed to the top rope and went for the 630, but Styles moved. Ricochet landed on his feet. Styles hit a hard elbow and then a springboard Phenomenal Forearm for the three count.
WINNER: Styles in 12:00.
-Styles helped Ricochet up and then handed him the U.S. Title. Cole said Styles has learned a lot about Ricochet tonight, but he knows he might be next in line for a U.S. Title opportunity.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice teaser for what these two could do with a showcase match. I’m curious to see where the Anderson & Gallows story goes. They can’t argue that Styles needs them at this point, and there were no hints of a Styles heel turn.)