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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 20, 2022
LINCOLN, NEB. AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-The opening graphic noted the death of former WWE referee Tim White (1954-2022).
-The “Then, Now, Forever, Together” brand signature aired.
-Jimmy Smith introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd.
-Bianca Belair made her ring entrance. They cut to Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton. They talked about the return of Brock Lesnar on Friday’s Smackdown and the subsequent Summerslam main event scheduled between them next month. Graves noted that Riddle still has a path toward the Undisputed WWE Universal Title by beating Omos in a MITB qualifier later. Saxton hyped the return of Elias for his concert after nearly a year away.
-In the ring, Belair welcomed fans to Raw. She then talked about how she was looking forward to defending her title at Money in the Bank in two week against Rhea Ripley. She said she wishes she didn’t have to be the one to deliver the news, but Ripley won’t be medically cleared in time. She said when Ripley is cleared, she’ll be waiting and ready. She said now the question remains who she will defend against. She said Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Carmella, Asuka, and Becky Lynch all will be competing in a Fatal Five-way match to determine who will face her at MITB.
Becky Lynch came out and said she is the only true contender because she still hasn’t had her one-on-one rematch since they had the best women’s title match in WrestleMania history. She said she’s been made to jump through hoops and overcome obstacles, but it’s okay because she’ll win the Fatal Five-way tonight.
Asuka’s music played next. Asuka made her usual weird guttural noises and asked if Becky was a baby. Becky said she beat her in their last two matches. Morgan marched out next and said she’s always ready for a fight. She said she’s in a good mood because she has already qualified for MITB, but she’d trade that in for a title match at MITB.
Carmella came out next and said something doesn’t quite add up. She said Liv is the only person there who isn’t a former champion. She said they should kick “the lovable loser” out of the match and make it a Fatal Four-way. Morgan said she’s in the match “because I’ve been here.” She said if she keeps talking like that, she’ll give her two more weeks off. Carmella said Liv is riding Bliss’s coattails.
Bliss came out and said she heard her name. She said Carmella has never been able to be successful on her own, so it’s rich of her to criticize Morgan like that. As Bliss and Carmella bickered, Belair said the WWE Universe is ready for some action. [c]
-A commercial hyped the return of John Cena next Monday night Laredo, Tex.
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. ASUKA vs. LIV MORGAN vs. CARMELLA vs. ALEXA BLISS – Fatal Five-way for a Raw Title match at MITB
Bliss and Morgan did a couple of extended rolling cradle spots where the ref crawled to keep up and kept making one counts as they rolled in a circle mid-ring. Saxton noted that Carmella wasn’t wearing a mask. Graves said he took out an expensive insurance policy on her face so if something happens to her face, neither of them will have to ever work another day again. Carmella shoved Morgan off the top rope onto Becky and Asuka at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
Carmella head scissored Becky off the ropes onto Morgan. Asuka broke up Carmella’s cover. A graphic in the corner hyped Jey Uso vs. Angelo Dawkins. Becky landed a Manhandle Slam on Asuka, but other women broke up the cover. A “This is awesome!” chant rang out. Smith said he agreed with the crowd. More chaos followed. Bliss went for Twisted Bliss, but Morgan lifted her knees. Carmella then landed a superkick on Morgan for the three count. Belair, who watched from ringside, held up her belt as Carmella gestured toward her.
WINNER: Carmella in 13:00.
-They cut backstage to Becky yelling at Adam Pearce. “How many times is this thing going to happen!” she said in a rage. [c]
-Becky was still complaining to Pearce backstage. She said she’s on the freakin’ poster already and she should be in MITB because what is MITB without her. Pearce said she was already scheduled to face Asuka to qualify for the MITB, so that can still happen. She was happy until Pearce said it will happen tonight. Becky then freaked out.
-Vince McMahon’s music played and they showed fans popping. Vince walked out, arms in the air. Smith said the roof has come off the arena. They showed fans bowing. Graves said, “What a surprise!” He entered the ring and said this is the 1,517th edition of Monday Night Raw. He said it continues to be the longest running episodic TV show in history. “And for that I say thank you!” he said. He said for 20 of those nearly 30 years, it was dominated by the greatest WWE Superstar of all time. He said that man returns live next week. He said that’s a reference to “Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, John Cena.” He threw the mic down, smiled, and left the ring. He nearly tripped on the bottom rope leaving the ring, but then leaped of the ringside steps (although the camera cut away before he landed).
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s strange. Is this his way of saying good bye just in case? Or is he trying to send a message to corporate America and the network execs that he’s still beloved despite the news about him? This had more of an ostensible purpose than Friday’s, since he hyped Cena. Interesting to hear him declare Cena the top star of all time in WWE, too.)
-A recap aired of the Roman Reigns vs. Riddle match last Friday on Smackdown followed by Brock Lesnar’s return. The announcers then hyped the Summerslam main event, a “Last Man Standing” match.
-Riddle made his ring entrance. [c]
-Riddle stood mid-ring and said “bro” a few times. He then talked about how Roman Reigns might have ended Randy Orton’s career a few weeks ago, and that he promised vengeance. He said he went toe-to-toe and came so close, “including hitting him with one of the sickest RKO’s ever.” He said at the end of the day, the Tribal Chief hit him with a spear that nearly cut him in two. He said he let himself and the fans down, but most important he let Randy down. An “RK-Bro!” chant broke out. He said he might be down, but he’s not out. He said maybe he can’t challenge him for the Universal WWE Championship, but he can win MITB. He said he knows it’s a longshot, but if he wins the MITB contract, he can cash in and “finally get that sweet vengeance that Randy and myself truly desire.” He said he’d have to get past Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, and “that punk ass” Seth Rollins. He said Seth did Cody Rhodes dirty when he hit him with a sledgehammer in the chest, so he wants to hit him in the back with a ladder. Omos’s music then played.
MVP asked if Riddle has been hanging out with Snoop Dogg or Wiz Khalifa again, because they’re the only two with the top shelf stash that could make him as delusional as to think he’s going to make it to MITB. MVP assured him he will get high tonight because Omos will lift him high and slam him. He said it’ll be a hell of a come down. Riddle said he’s going to get high when his arm gets raised after he beats Omos tonight with the RKO. [c]
(2) RIDDLE vs. OMOS – MITB Qualifier
Riddle charged at the bell, but Omos brushed him off, then hit a sideslam. He followed with a running elbow in the corner. Riddle collapsed to the mat. They showed Seth side-watching the monitor backstage. Omos applied a bearhug mid-ring. Riddle fought free, but Omos elbowed him in the kidney followed by another bearhug. A slow-mo of the elbow to the kidney was nasty looking. Riddle caught Omos with a jumping knee to the face to break free. He followed with flying forearms and then a Floating Bro. Omos staggered to the corner. Riddle pounded the mat and then went for an RKO, but Omos blocked it and head vice slammed him for the three count.
WINNER: Omos in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Give credit to WWE for a clean, decisive finish there. However, I question whether they can afford to define down Riddle as a notch below both Reigns and Omos when they have so few candidates to be centerpiece lead babyfaces this summer and fall.)
-As Riddle writhed on the mat after Omos and MVP left, Seth’s music played. Seth danced his way out to the ring. When Seth entered the ring, Riddle stood. Seth knocked him down and tossed him out of the ring. He then gloated with some cackling. Seth said he’s sorry, but he doesn’t share space with losers. He said Riddle is a loser because he lost his buddy Randy, his title match against Reigns, and his opportunity in MITB. Seth said the truth is, only one man has Reigns’s number, “and you are looking at him.” He said he emotionally dismantled him at the Royal Rumble, and in less than two weeks, he’s going to climb the ladder and collect the MITB contract. He said he is a visionary and a revolutionary. Riddle leaped into the ring and attacked Seth, but Seth came right back with a Stomp. Seth cackled as he returned to the back.
-They went to the announcers on camera at ringside who talked about the hard-hitting football teams at the University of Nebraska.
-Theory came out with his U.S. Title and the wireless earpiece and mic again. [c]
-A recap aired of the posedown last week between Bobby Lashley and Theory. Theory, standing on a podium again, then said everybody wants to know what’s like to be the new prodigy or the chosen one or the new face of WWE. He said he was expecting the crowd to heckle him because none of them can relate to the youngest, greatest U.S. Champion in WWE history. He told the booing fans to shut their mouths. He said he is already better than Lashley ever was. He said next week might be the 20 Year Cena Celebration, “but his time is up and my time is now.”
He said he has more immaculate poses to show them tonight. “There’s no do-overs in posedowns!” said Saxton. Theory started posing again. Lashley entered and began posing secretly behind Theory. Fans began cheering. “I know I’m good, but quiet down,” Theory said. “Bobby!” chants rang out. Theory told them to shut up as he took a selfie. He then saw Lashley in his phone behind him. Lashley sprayed water in his face and then speared him off the podium. Lashley told Theory that the U.S. Title belt “is coming home with me.” He teased handing it to Theory, but then pulled it away before then giving it to him. (Didn’t he just say it’s “coming home with me”?) Theory was seething mad at the “humiliating” selfie of Lashley standing behind him.
-A video package aired on Damian Priest, Finn Balor, and Rhea Ripley kicking Edge out of The Judgment Day faction. Graves said Edge has a displaced orbital fracture.
-The Usos made their ring entrance. [c]
-Kevin Patrick approach Theory backstage. Theory asked where guys like him come from and asked if he just lurks in the shadows waiting for him to show up. Theory said Lashley doesn’t deserve a U.S. Title match. He said he was in Pearce’s office and he suggested an idea which Pearce liked. Theory said Lashley has to beat three opponents, one after another, in a Gauntlet Match tonight. He said if he does it, he’ll defend against him at MITB.
-The Usos stood mid-ring and talked about being the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. Jimmy said they run both Mondays and Fridays and are “smashing everybody.” The Street Profits’ music interrupted them. They said the only thing better than having more money in the bank is more gold around their waists. They exchanged a few words.
(3) JEY USO (w/Jimmy Uso) vs. ANGELO DAWKINS (w/Montez Ford)
Jey ducked a charging Dawkins, who tumbled to the floor. Jey dove through the ropes and knocked Dawkins into the barricade. Then he clotheslined Dawkins over the barricade into the time keeper’s area. They cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Jey avoided a corner splash by Dawkins and then landed a lift-and-drop neckbreaker for a two count. Smith touted that the Usos are wrestling 3-4 times a week and they’re still explosive and dangerous. Graves said that schedule can either break down a competitor or make them razor sharp. Dawkins came back with a double underhook beckbreaker Silencer for a near fall. Dawkins caught a leaping Jey and landed a sitout slam for the win.
WINNER: Dawkins in 6:00.
-They showed Elias strumming a guitar backstage. Ezekiel walked in and joined Elias sitting on the couch. They had a conversation. Ezekiel said he’s been dealing with doubters like Kevin Owens. He asked Elias what he’s been doing. Elias said he’s been doing concerts, but it’s nothing compared to performing on Raw. Elias said he’s proud of him performing live in Nebraska. Ezekiel said it means the world to him that they’re on Raw together. He said he knows their mom and dad are watching them. He said they’ll be so proud of him when he wins MITB. Elias told him not to get ahead of himself, but he likes the confidence he sees. They said they love each other. They fist bumped.
(Keller’s Analysis: We know once and for all now that Ezekiel and Elias are separate people. Case closed.) [c]
-Elias performed on the stage with his guitar. He said he missed fans chanting “Walk With Elias.” As he began playing, Kevin Owens interrupted early. He said he wouldn’t put up with this charade. He said nobody wants that concert. “You are a disgusting liar with no integrity!” he said. He said he might have the people of Nebraska fooled, but he’s French-Canadian and as smart as it gets. Owens stood on the ring apron and said that video on the couch didn’t fool him. He said that was just special effects. He said he saw a T-Rex fly a helicopter last week in a movie, so he’s not impressed.
Ezekiel appeared on the big screen and told KO they are separate people. (Owens should have shouted, “What is 40 plus 30?” Then see if Ezekiel answered 70. Then he’d know that wasn’t a pretaped Ezekiel segment.) Elias said it’s clear as day they aren’t lying to him. He offered to sing him a song. He began singing as KO stood exasperated on the ring apron. KO told Elias to shut up as Elias sang, “KO is a liar!” KO threw the guitar out of the ring. Elias gave him a high knee. Saxton said, “Elias has still got it.” Elias picked up another guitar and smashed KO over the back with it. Graves said KO is on a mission for the truth. Saxton said KO is an obsessed liar who got made a fool of tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: The only way to settle all of this is a tag team match.)
-They showed KO backstage struggling to stand, holding his back in pain. Patrick approached him and asked if he’s finally convinced they’re not the same person. KO asked if he thinks he’s an idiot. KO said Ezekiel pre-recorded the thing for the tron and then Elias glued on a beard. KO said his back is hurting. He challenged him to a match next week. He said it can be Ezekiel, Elias, or their younger brother they haven’t met yet, Elrod. Ezekiel walked up to KO and said, “I heard your challenge; consider it accepted.” KO held his head in mad frustration and pounded a desk. Saxton said KO needs a spa day.
-Lashley stood on a podium posing for his ring entrance.
(4a) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Otis) – Gauntlet Match to earn a U.S. Title match at MITB
Lashley overpowered Gable for a few minutes. He lifted him onto his shoulders and rammed him into the ringpost.
Back in the ring he landed a delayed-drop vertical suplex followed by a spear attempt. Gable shifted a charging Lashley into an anklelock. Lashley powered out, but Gable followed up with a top rope moonsault for a two count. Lashley came back with a suplex and a Hurt Lock attempt. Gable slipped free, but Lashley applied it a second later for the tapout win.
WINNER: Lashley in 6:00.
(4b) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. OTIS (w/Chad Gable) – Gauntlet Match to earn a U.S. Title match at MITB
Otis d0minated early. They cut to a break a minute in. [c]
Back from the break, Lashley made a comeback and speared Otis. Gable broke up the cover and stomped away at Lashley. The ref DQ’d Otis.
WINNER: Lashley in 7:00.
-Otis and Gable threw Lashley shoulder-first into the ringpost.
(4c) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. THEORY – Gauntlet Match to earn a U.S. Title match at MITB
Theory then revealed himself to be the third and final opponent in the Gauntlet Match. Theory beat up Lashley at the start. When Theory went for his finisher, Lashley countered into a cradle suplex for the leverage three count. Theory threw a fit mid-ring as Lashley celebrated his win.
WINNER: Lashley in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This worked well enough, even if the outcome was predictable. Interesting to see they “protected” Otis from getting pinned.)
-Backstage, Belair said she stays ready so it doesn’t matter who her opponent is. As she began talking about being the fastest and strongest, Carmella hit her from behind. Carmella said,”‘Mella is money.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Belair will reach the next level as a star in WWE when she can break out of her rapid-talkiing EST schtick and talk like a professional confident athlete being herself instead of a character.)
-Miz made his ring entrance. [c]
-Miz TV: Miz introduced A.J. Styles. Graves said Styles has been in a slump recently, especially as it pertains to The Judgment Day. Miz talked about Styles having a tough time lately, including his former protege Omos qualifying for the MITB. He said he’s feeling sorry for him. Styles interrupted and asked if he’s trying to get a rise out of him, he’s got it all wrong. Miz took a dig at the local University of Nebraska students and said Styles is giving them a preview of what it’s like to be a failure. Styles said the fans are young, but not naive. He said if anyone is naive, it’s Miz. He said if he watched college football, he’d know it’s Cornhusker Country. Fans were happy with that.
Styles said Miz’s wife must feel bad that his wife married a man with “popcorn balls.” Miz pointed down and said, “This is not becoming a thing.” Styles said he’s pretty sure it is. Styles asked the crowd if Miz’s tiny balls are a thing. Miz yelled emphatically, “I do not have tiny balls!” Miz insisted that he has python-sized balls. He yelled at Styles that he has more wins than Styles could dream of. He touted his perfect family and WWE achievements and “reinventing reality TV.”
Styles said he’s been through adversity before, but he doesn’t run his mouth like Miz does. He said instead he does something else. He then punched Miz. Tommaso Ciampa hit Styles from behind and knocked him out of the ring. (Again, the cameras didn’t show Ciampa entering the ring.) [c]
(5) A.J. STYLES vs. TOMMASO CIAMPA
Miz joined the announcers on commentary. Ciampa escaped a Styles Clash set-up, landed a forearm, and then set up his own finisher. Styles countered and backdropped Ciampa. Styles then landed a Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
WINNER: Styles in 7:00.
-When Miz charged into the ring, Styles hit him and then gave Miz a Styles Clash. Styles put on Miz’s sunglasses and celebrated to his music.
-They went to the announcers on camera who talked about Veer Mahaan’s win over Rey Mysterio last week.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed Veer on the stage in the arena. Veer said what he did to Rey was just the beginning. He said WWE has never seen hunger like his before. He said he loves carnage and he can’t be stopped. “Fear Veer!” he said.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like that they don’t have Veer just grunting and growling.)
-Becky’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-The announcers said next week Owens will face either Ezekiel or Elias. (Will the other be in the corner supporting his brother against Owens?)
(6) BECKY LYNCH vs. ASUKA – MITB Qualifier
They cut to an early break. [c]
Asuka applied an Asuka Lock in the ropes and then a top rope missile dropkick for a two count. Asuka tried to powerbomb Becky off the ring apron, but Becky blocked it and then legdropped Auska’s throat. When Becky leaped at Asuka, Asuka kneed her out of mid-air. Graves said Becky’s eyes rolled in to back of her head briefly. Both were down and slow to get up. Both rolled into the ring to beat the count, barely. Becky went for a Disarm Her. Asuka schoolboyed Becky for a two count. Asuka high round-kicked Becky for the three count.
WINNER: Asuka in 13:o0 to qualify for the MITB match.
-Becky threw a fit at ringside and threw stuff off the announce desk. She was despondent as Asuka’s music played. Saxton called this the worst-case scenario for her tonight.