6/20 WWE RAW RESULTS: Doucette’s “alt perspective” report and analysis of Vince McMahon appearance, Lashley gauntlet, MizTV with Styles, Omos vs. Riddle, Lynch vs. Asuka

By Danny Doucette, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE RAW TV REPORT
JUNE 20, 2022
LINCOLN, NEB. AT PINNACLE BANK ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY DANNY DOUCETTE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, & Byron Saxton

Ring Announcer: Mike Rome

[HOUR ONE]

-A graphic aired in honor of longtime WWE referee Tim White, who passed away yesterday. 

-The show began with Raw champion Bianca Belair making her entrance to the ring. Jimmy Smith said everyone is buzzing about the return of Brock Lesnar on Smackdown. It was noted that, despite losing the title match on Smackdown, Riddle will have a Money In The Bank qualifying match against Omos tonight. Also, Elias will return and have a concert tonight.

-Bianca welcomed the fans to Monday Night Raw. Bianca informed everyone that Rhea Ripley is not medically cleared to compete at Money In The Bank. She said the match will not happen yet, but when it does, she will be ready. Bianca asked who she will face at Money In The Bank. You could hear the fans shout “Whooooooo!”, appearing to anticipate a Charlotte Flair return. Bianca named Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Carmella, Asuka, and Becky Lynch as the competitors who will compete in a fatal five-way match for a title shot.

-Becky Lynch’s music hit and she walked to the ring and said she is the only number one contender. Becky also contended that she still has not gotten her one-on-one rematch after the two of them had “The greatest women’s wrestling match in history” at WrestleMania. Becky also said she had the triple threat match at Hell In a Cell won. Becky said that is okay, because she will win the fatal five-way tonight and it will make reclaiming her title that much sweeter. Asuka’s music hit and she came out calling Becky’s name and mock crying to make fun of Becky. Asuka calls Becky a “big time baby.” Becky said Asuka should spend less time “making Simpsons memes and annoying the piss” out of her, she would be in a better spot.

Liv Morgan came out to the stage next. Liv said Becky shouldn’t just worry about Asuka, because she is always ready for a fight. Liv said she is already in the Money in The Bank ladder match, but she would gladly trade it in to face Bianca at Money In The Bank.

Carmella was next out and said she, Alexa, Asuka, and Becky are former champions, so why is Liv out here? Carmella proposed that Liv be kicked out of the match and make it a fatal four-way instead. Liv threatened to put Carmella out of action for a few more weeks. Carmella said Liv only got into the Money In The Bank match by “riding Alexa Bliss’s coattails.”

Alexa Bliss came out and said she heard her name and that Carmella loves to namedrop. Bliss makes reference to James Ellsworth helping Carmella win the Money In The Bank briefcase a few years ago and says Carmella has never been successful on her own. Bliss threatens to beat Carmella’s face in if she doesn’t leave Liv alone. Bianca interrupted the verbal spat between Alexa and Carmella by saying the WWE universe is ready for some action. [c]

(Doucette’s Analysis: Eh, I am not a fan of contender’s coming out in succession to talk about a match. It is very contrived and rarely adds anything for the upcoming match. Aside from Becky, none of the promos were any good either.)

-John Cena promo aired for his return next week.

(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. ASUKA vs. LIV MORGAN vs. ALEXA BLISS vs. CARMELLA – Fatal Five-Way Match for a Raw title shot at Money In The Bank

Bianca Belair was sitting ringside to observe the match. Becky and Asuka started brawling immediately and fell out of the ring to the floor. Liv dropkicked Carmella and posed with Bliss. Bliss and Liv slapped hands in a show of respect and squared off. Bliss and Liv lock up. Liv got a sunset flip and rolled Bliss around the ring getting a few pinfalls for two. Bliss and Liv traded rolling cradle pins for a succession of one counts. Liv and Bliss both threw a punch and knocked each other out. Carmella came back into the match and got a few two counts on each of the fallen Bliss and Liv. Asuka came in and attacked Carmella. Carmella tried some offense, but caught a spinning back chop from Asuka. Becky pulled Asuka out of the ring to the floor. Bliss came back inside and got a pin on Carmella for two. Becky got some offense in on Bliss, but then missed a legdrop. Bliss tried Sister Abigail, but Becky got away. Bliss hit a punch and headscissors on Becky who slid out of the ring. Carmella surprised Bliss with a roll up and a knee to the gut. Carmella grabbed Bliss’s hair, talked some trash, and slammed her down to the mat. Carmella posed and Bliss tried to make a comeback with some strikes. Carmella got a sitout reverse facebuster for a two count to stop the comeback. Liv came in and drove Carmella face first into the turnbuckle and went to the top turnbuckle. Carmella countered and shoved Liv off the buckle, sending her flying into Asuka, Bliss, and Becky on the ringside floor. [c]

Becky missed a splash on Bliss in the corner, but got a Bexploder suplex sending Bliss out of the ring. Liv hit some strikes on Becky and got a flying dropkick off the top turnbuckle. Liv followed up with a facebuster for a two count. Liv stalked Becky, but missed a charge. Becky rolled up Liv with her feet on the ropes for a two count. Becky went up to the top, but was stopped by Carmella. Carmella got a standing hurricanrana on Becky onto Liv. Carmella went for the pin, but only got two after Asuka broke it up. Asuka missed a charge and Carmella got a superkick for a two count. Asuka got Carmella in the Asuka Lock, but Bliss broke it up. Becky tried the Disarmer on Asuka. Asuka countered into an Asuka Lock on Becky, but Liv broke it up with a top rope dropkick. Becky tossed Liv out of the ring, but got rolled up by Asuka for a two count. Becky got a Manhandle Slam on Asuka, but it was broken up by Twisted Bliss off the top rope by Bliss. Bliss went for a double-pin on Asuka and Becky, but it was broken up by both Carmella and Liv. The crowd chanted “This Is Awesome!”. Bliss tried Sister Abigail on Asuka, but it was broken up by Becky. Asuka missed a kick on Becky and hit Bliss instead. Becky threw Asuka to the floor and caught a facebreaker from Liv. Becky blocked a Liv springboard attempt and hit a Manhandle Slam, but the pin was broken up by Asuka pulling Becky out to ringside. Outside, Asuka landed a kick to Becky’s head. Bliss kicked Asuka down to the floor and went to the top rope. Bliss tried Twisted Bliss on Liv who got the knees up. Carmella then blindsided Liv with a superkick for a pin and the three count.

WINNER: Carmella in 13:00 to earn a Raw title shot at Money In The Bank.

(Doucette’s Analysis: This was really good. All the competitors worked hard and the crowd was very into it. Carmella is certainly….a choice. They are already telling a story with Becky they don’t want to derive from, so Carmella is the only other heel. I suppose she will work as a one show challenger.)

-Post match, Carmella celebrated and yelled at Bianca who held up the Raw title. Graves was overjoyed for Carmella’s victory.

-Becky was already backstage complaining to Adam Pearce. [c]

-Becky was still backstage with Pearce complaining. Becky claimed that she was robbed and should be the number one contender. Becky said she is on the poster for Money In The Bank, so she should be going. Pearce said he can’t just put her in the match. Pearce said before the fatal five-way, she was supposed to face Asuka in a qualifying match. Peace said the qualifying match is back on with Asuka and it will happen tonight. Becky was not too happy since she already wrestled.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Pearce can’t just put her in the match? Isn’t that what they do all the time? This was an attempt at an explanation to have the Asuka-Becky match, so i’ll give them credit. )

-”No Chance In Hell” played to a pop from the fans and Vince McMahon made his way to the ring. Vince said this marks the 1,517 edition of Monday Night Raw and makes it the longest running episodic television show in history. Vince thanked the fans. Vince says twenty of the thirty years Raw has been on the air was dominated by one man, who makes his return next week. That man is Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, John Cena. Vince then throws the microphone and leaves the ring grinning.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Seriously Vince? We get it. No one can tell you what to do. I suppose he’ll make more random appearances for mundane announcements to spite his current investigation?)

-A recap aired of the Riddle-Roman Reigns title match from Smackdown, along with Brock Lesnar’s return.

-A graphic then aired for SummerSlam advertising Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing match for the Undisputed Universal title.

(Doucette’s Analysis: I’m sure the Brock-Roman match will be good, but can we please NEVER see it again after this?)

-Riddle’s music hit and he made his way to the ring. [c]

-Riddle is in the ring with a microphone wearing a shirt that says, “Hey Raaandy”. Riddle said he went toe-to-toe with the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns on Smackdown, but he got beat with a spear that almost “Broke him in half”. Riddle says he let everyone down, but most importantly let his “Mentor, his brother from another mother,” Randy Orton down. The fans chanted “RK-Bro!” Riddle said he might be down, but he’s not out. He said Roman will have to kill him to stop him. Riddle said he may not be able to challenge for the title again, but he can win Money In The Bank. Riddle said that it is a long shot, but he can still get revenge by cashing in and taking Roman’s title. Riddle mentioned Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, and “punk-ass” Seth Rollins already being in the ladder match. Riddle said he wants to hit Rollins in the back with a ladder for attacking Cody Rhodes a few weeks ago.

-Omos and M.V.P. made their entrance. M.V.P. said Riddle must be smoking a “top-shelf stash” with either Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, or Smoke DZA to be so delusional. M.V.P. said Riddle won’t make it to Money In The Bank with Omos standing in his way. M.V.P. said Riddle will get “a bad comedown”from his high when Omos slams him back down to reality. Riddle said “touche” and said he will “Get high”, by raising his hand high after hitting Omos with the RKO. [c]

(Doucette’s Analysis: I actually thought M.V.P.’s jokes were pretty funny. He can even make lame stoner references work.)

[HOUR TWO]

(2) OMOS (w/M.V.P.) vs. RIDDLE – Money In The Bank Qualifying Match

Riddle had taped ribs. Riddle charged at Omos and hit some strikes, but got taken down with a sidelsam. Omos squashed Riddle with a charge in the corner and whipped Riddle hard into the turnbuckle. Rollins watched the match from backstage in a pink suit. Riddle tried a comeback, but got caught in a bearhug from Omos. Riddle tried to fight out with punches, was successful, but caught a clubbing blow to the kidney. Omos reapplied the bearhug as the fans clapped to rally Riddle. Riddle elbowed Omos in the head. Omos tried a chokeslam, but Riddle countered with a knee strike. Omos was stunned and Riddle hit some elbows in the corner. This was stopped by Omos who tossed Riddle across the ring. Riddle fought back with a twisting splash from the top rope and went for the RKO. Omos blocked and hit Riddle with a two-handed chokeslam for the three count.

WINNER: Omos in 4:00 to qualify for the Money In The Bank ladder match.

-Post-match, M.V.P. instructed Omos to attack Riddle again, and Omos hit Riddle with another two-handed chokeslam. After Omos and M.V.P. left the ring, Seth Rollins music hit and he cockily strutted down the aisle as Riddle slowly got to his feet inside the ring. Rollins elbowed Riddle in the jaw and tossed him out of the ring. Rollins then grabbed a microphone and said he doesn’t share airspace with losers. Rollins called Riddle “The ultimate loser”. He lost his buddy Randy, the title match with Roman, and a spot in the Money In The Bank ladder match. Rollins said it doesn’t matter who is in the match, because only Rollins can beat Roman. Rollins said Roman has been ducking and dodging him since the Royal Rumble. Rollins said Roman can hide, but he will find him. Rollins gloated about his first cash-in and being a visionary, but Riddle attacked him. Rollins countered and hit the Stomp on Riddle and left the ring.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Yeesh. Rough couple of days for Riddle. However, he has the benefit of the doubt of not being one-hundred percent. This will probably make fans rally around him more as his goals are clear. Also, the Money in The Bank is a good loophole for him to get another title match. Maybe even a dark horse Royal Rumble winner if the momentum lasts?)

-Theory’s music played as he made his entrance with the United States title. Mike Rome introduced him as the youngest United States Champion in history. Graves gushed over Theory’s physique. Saxton denounced Theory’s actions in the posedown against Bobby Lashley last week. [c]

-A recap aired of the Theory-Lashley posedown segment from last week.

-Theory was standing on a platform and said everyone wonders what it’s like to be the new face of the WWE. The fans booed Theory and he told them to shut up. Theory said he is better now than Lashley has ever been and mocked the fans booing. Theory said the twenty year John Cena celebration is next week, but Cena’s time is up and Theory’s time is now. Theory said he didn’t get to show his immaculate poses last week, so he will do so now. Theory oiled his body and began posing while taking trash on his headset microphone. The fans began to cheer, because Lashley had got into the ring, unbeknownst to Theory. The fans began to chant for Bobby. As Theory snapped a selfie, he realized Lashley was behind him. Lashley sprayed Theory with oil and speared him off the platform. Theory rolled around on the ringside floor as Lashley grabbed the United States title and a microphone. Lashely said the United States title is coming home with him. The selfie was shown on the big screen as Theory threw a fit ringside. Lashley posed for the fans as they chanted for him.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Both guys are over and I am enjoying this feud. As great a heel as Lashley was, he’s really working as a babyface better than his previous run in 2018. I am really curious to see if the rumored Cena-Theory feud includes the U.S. title given Cena’s history with it. Moving on to Lashley and having him elevate a new challenger will work too. )

-A recap aired from two weeks ago of Finn Balor joining the Judgment Day along with Edge’s expulsion from the group. Graves said Edge suffered a “nondisplaced orbital floor fracture”, but there is no update on Edge’s condition yet.

-The Usos made their ring entrance. [c]

-Kevin Patrick surprised Theory backstage for an interview. Theory said “Where do you guys come from?” Patrick asked Theory if he thinks Lashley deserves a United States title shot. Theory said with Adam Pearce’s approval, Lashley will need to earn a title shot by defeating three opponents in a gauntlet match tonight. Theory said if Lashley wins, he will defend the title against him at Money In The Bank.

-A graphic aired for the newly-announced gauntlet match.

-A second graphic aired for the Street Profits vs. The Usos at Money In The Bank. The Usos said they have all of the gold. Jimmy Uso said The Bloodline run both shows and they’re smashing everybody like Roman smashed Riddle and will smash Brock Lesnar again. The Usos said they will smash the Street Profits also, and the Profits are two and they are the ones. Street Profits’ music hit and solo cups rained down on the entrance ramp. Dawkins said The Usos have a lot of bass in their voice and they couldn’t even get back in the ring during their last match. Montez Ford said they want more gold around the waist and chuckles. Jey Uso said Montez Ford is writing checks his ass can’t cash. Dawkins told Ford Jey is right, but Dawkins said he bets he can beat Jey’s ass. Ford told the Usos to enjoy their championship reign now, because The Street Profits are up and they want the smoke.

(3) JEY USO (w/Jimmy Uso) vs. ANGELO DAWKINS (w/Montez Ford)

Jey lands a kick and a few punches on Dawkins to start. Dawkins reversed an Irish Whip in the corner and hit a twisting splash and enziguri on Jey. Dawkins ran at Jey and got flipped over the top rope to the outside. Jey talked trash to Dawkins and landed more punches. Jey clotheslined Dawkins over the barricade and posed with Jimmy. [c]

Dawkins battled out of a sleeper with some punches. Dawkins countered a Jey Irish Whip with a few clotheslines. Jey fought back, but caught a spinning back elbow from Dawkins. Dawkins got a belly-to-belly suplex for a two count. As Jey recovered, he baited Dawkins into the corner where Dawkins missed a splash. Jey landed a neckbreaker for a two count. Jey charged Dawkins, but got hit with a shoulder block. Dawkins executed a double underhook neckbreaker for a two count. Dawkins tried a Sky High, but Jey countered with a superkick. Jey then jumped off the top rope, but Dawkins was able to hit the Sky High successfully for the pin and a three count.

WINNER: Angelo Dawkins in 8:00.

(Doucette’s Analysis: This was not as good as the match last week, unfortunately. It was a little too slow. The tag match at Money In The Bank will deliver for sure.)

-The Street Profits posed for the fans in the ring as The Usos started from ringside furiously.

-Elias was shown strumming his guitar in a room and Ezekiel entered. Ezekiel said it has been too long and so much has happened since he last saw him. Ezekiel mentions Kevin Owens has been doubting his identity. Elias said he has been traveling all around the world playing shows, but nothing compares to playing for the WWE universe. Ezekiel mentions Elias used to run down places like Nebraska, but Elias said seeing Ezekiel living his dream has made him a changed man. Elias said to remember that WWE stands for “Walk with Elias”. Ezekiel said of course the fans remember. Ezekiel said he aspires to win the Money In The Bank and become champion. Elias said he likes what he sees from Ezekiel and they both said that they love each other and fistbump. Elias played his guitar as a graphic aired for his concert up next. [c]

-Mike Rome announced Elias who was sitting in the ring. Elias played his guitar and said it is great to be in Nebraska. He thanked the fans for welcoming him back and taking care of his little brother. Elias said he wanted to remind the fans of the “universal truth” that WWE stands for “Walk with Elias”. Elias said he missed that. He dedicated the next song to his little brother. Kevin Owens came out to interrupt and said nobody wants the concert. Owens said Nebraska is fooled, but not him. Owens said he is not fooled by special effects and that he saw a movie last week with a T-Rex flying a helicopter. Ezekiel appeared on the big screen and said Owens needs to accept that he has been telling the truth and wished Elias luck on his concert. Elias said neither he nor Ezekiel are lying, and sang “K.O. is a liar”. Owens got angry and threw Elias’ guitar out of the ring. Elias hit Owens with a jumping knee and smashed a second guitar over Owens’ back. Elias thanked the fans as they cheered.

-Backstage, Owens limped around in pain and he was surprised by Kevin Patrick. Patrick asked Owens if he is finally convinced that Elias and Ezekiel are not the same person. Owens said Ezekiel probably pre-recorded the video on the big screen, and glued on a fake beard to become Elias. Owens said he is in pain and has had enough. Owens said he challenges one of them to a match, he doesn’t care if it is Elias, Ezekiel, or maybe their other brother “Elrod” we haven’t met yet. Ezekiel appears and accepts the match to Owens’ disbelief. Owens screams “Elrod!” in frustration.

(Doucette’s Analysis: I knew there would be a fake beard involved! Surprisingly, it didn’t seem like the fans were super into Elias. I guess the legs may be falling off this storyline. I do like that Owens is portrayed as being “smarter than the average bear” and not being oblivious to what’s going on. The Elrod thing was pretty funny too. )

-Bobby Lashley made his entrance for the gauntlet match. [c]

[HOUR THREE]

-Chad Gable, accompanied by Otis, is revealed as the first opponent for Lashley in the gauntlet match.

(4a) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Otis) – Gauntlet match 1 of 3 for a United States Title shot

Gable grabbed a waistlock on Lashley, but was overpowered. Lashley countered into an armbar and then a headlock. Lashley slammed Gable down, applied a front facelock, and then another armbar. Gable bridged and countered the armbar with a chop and said “Shoooooosh!, but Lashley hit him with a neckbreaker. Lashley returned with his own “Shoooooosh!” and knocked Gable to the outside of the ring. Lashley then tossed Gable into the barricade. Lashley put Gable up into a fireman’s carry and bounced Gable’s head off of the ringpost. From the apron, Lashley performed a delayed vertical suplex on Gable. The fans chanted “Bobby!”, but Gable caught Lashley with a drop toehold and an ankelock. Lashley got out, and charged Gable, but missed and Gable landed a throat chop. Gable hit a moonsault on Lashley for a two count. Lashley countered a German Suplex with an arm-trap suplex. Lashley’s ankle was hurt from the anklelock. Gable blocked a Hurt Lock and tried to roll under Lashley’s legs, but was caught from a wheelbarrow position into a successful Hurt Lock. Gable tapped out almost immediately.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 6:00 by submission.

(4b) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. OTIS (w/Chad Gable) – Gauntlet match 2 of 3 for a United States Title shot

Otis attacked Lashley from behind as soon as the bell rang. Otis laid into Lashley with stomps and kicks. Otis tossed Lashley around outside the ring into the barricade and ring post. Lashley was down as the referee’s count increased to six. However, Otis broke the count and hit Lashley with a splash on the floor. Otis and Gable gloated over the downed Lashley. [c]

Otis had Lashley in a neck wrench, but Lashley began to power out. Lashley tried a back suplex, but Otis got the advantage with a rolling clothesline for a two count. Otis came off of the ropes and elbow dropped Lashley as Gable cheered on. Otis hit some punches in the corner and clotheslined Lashley. Otis went to the middle rope and missed a splash. Lashley hit a reverse STO and tried to apply the Hurt Lock, but Otis backed Lashley into the corner. Lashley bounced off the ropes and hit a spear on Otis. Lashley went for the pin, but Gable jumped on Lashley and attacked for the disqualification.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 9:00 by disqualification.

-After the match, Otis and Gable continued to attack Lashley and rammed him into the ring post. Gable executed a German Suplex and Otis hit a splash.

-Theory made his entrance as the last opponent in the gauntlet as Otis and Gable left the ring.

(4c) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. THEORY – Gauntlet match 3 of 3 for a United States Title shot

Theory attacked Lashley with punches and stomps. Theory taunted and yelled at Lashley during the attack. Lashley started to make a comeback with some punches. Lashley went for a powerslam, but Theory wriggled out onto the apron and dropped Lashley’s throat across the top rope. Theory rolled through the middle rope and landed a jumping dropkick. Theory went for his A-Town Down finisher, but Lashley reversed it into a roll up for the three count.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 2:00 to earn a United States title match at Money In The Bank.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Typical gauntlet match booking, but it worked just fine. The Gable in particular match was a nice, short match. I’d like to see them in a twenty minute match in the future. The fans popped big for Lashley’s win. Theory continues to be great as a heel both in triumph and getting his comeuppance.)

-Lashley posed as Theory looked dejected and left the ring. Saxton predicted Lashley will win the title at Money in The Bank, while Graves expressed concerns for Theory’s title reign.

-A recap aired of the fatal five-way match from earlier in the show.

– A graphic aired for Bianca Beair vs. Carmella for the Raw title at Money In The Bank.

-Bianca Belair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber backstage. Bianca gave Carmella credit for winning the number one contender’s match earlier, and mentioned Carmella’s various championship accomplishments. Bianca said she won’t underestimate Carmella and will stay ready so she doesn’t have to get ready. Carmella came from off-screen and attacked Bianca. Carmella mocked Bianca saying she is always ready and told her to watch her back because “‘Mella is money”.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Bianca did that weird speed talking thing at the end of her promo and it makes me cringe.)

-The Miz made his way to the ring for MizTV with A.J. Styles. [c]

-Miz introduced A.J. Styles and declared to find out “What’s going on” with Styles. Styles made his way to the ring and Miz listed several things that have gone wrong for Styles as of late. Miz mentioned Styles getting attacked by Edge and The Judgment Day, losing his ally Finn Balor, losing to Seth Rollins in a Money In The Bank ladder match qualifier, and his former partner Omos winning a spot for the same match. Miz said he’s embarrassed for Styles. Styles interrupted and asked if he brought him out just to run him down. Miz said he wanted young, naive University of Nebraska students to get a preview of a failure. Styles said the fans may be young, but are not naive. Styles mentioned Miz must not watch college football, because this is Cornhusker country. The fans popped big and chanted for the Cornhuskers. Styles said speaking of corn, Miz has small popcorn balls. Miz said that his “tiny balls” are not becoming a thing. Styles asked if Miz’s “tiny balls” are a thing, to which they cheered. Miz got fired up saying he has “gigantic, python-sized balls”, that he and Maryse invented reality TV, and have a perfect family. Miz then called Styles a huge disappointment. Styles said he recognized Miz is trying to get him to lose his cool. Styles said he doesn’t run his mouth when things don’t go his way, he “Does this” and punched Miz. Ciampa then attacked Styles from behind, and knocked him out of the ring. Miz patted Ciampa’s shoulder in approval. [c]

(Doucette’s Analysis: Enough of Miz’s balls, enough of MizTV. PLEASE. Also, why does A.J. have to be made to look like a loser?)

(5) A.J. STYLES vs. CIAMPA

The Miz was on commentary. Styles lifted Ciampa into the corner and pounded on him with punches. Ciampa reversed an Irish whip, but Styles came out of the corner with a clothesline. Styles got a backbreaker for a two count. Cimapa countered with a headbutt and an elbow to the back of Styles’ head. When asked by Saxton if he knew Ciampa would come to his aid, Miz said he never talked to Ciampa in his life. Ciampa chopped Styles and an Irish Whp after a leapfrog, Styles dropkicked Ciampa. Styles attempted a tope, but was dropkicked in the knee by Ciampa. Ciampa kneed Styles in the head as he attempted to reenter the ring. Another knee to the head by Ciampa got a two count. Ciampa landed a neckbreaker on Styles for a one count and followed up with another pin for a second one count. Ciampa grabbed a headlock and Styles powered out with some strikes and a clothesline. Styles hit Ciampa with a sliding elbow, a flying clothesline, and a reverse neckbreaker for a two count. Styles signaled for the Styles Clash, but Ciampa reversed into a ripcord elbow. Ciampa tried a double underhook piledriver, but Styles countered into a back body drop. Styles landed a Phenomenal Forearm for the pin and the three count.
WINNER: A.J. Styles in 4:00.

(Doucette’s Analysis: These two men should be feuding for either the Intercontinental/U.S. title or even due to a personal issue, not over The Miz.)

-Miz tried to attack Styles from behind, but was stopped with a Pele kick and then laid out with a Styles Clash. Styles put on Miz’s sunglasses and posed for the fans.

-A recap aired of Veer Mahan defeating Rey Mysterio last week.

-Kevin Patrick interviewed Veer Mahan on the top of the stage. Patrick said Veer’s attacks on the Mysterios have been called brutal and gruesome. Veer said it’s a shame that only some of his attacks have been called that. Veer said this is just the beginning. No one knows how to stop him, because he cannot be stopped. Veer began to speak in a foreign language and said he won’t be stopped until there’s nothing left. Veer ended the promo with simply, “Fear Veer”.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Awful, awful promo. Sounds like Veer slipped up a couple of times, too. Veer sounds nor acts like the crazy, sadistic monster they’re trying to make him. He needs to be repackaged immediately to get the most mileage out of him. )

-A graphic aired for the Asuka-Becky Lynch Money In The Bank qualifying match.

-Becky made her entrance for the main event. [c]

-A graphic aired for the match made earlier for next week on Raw with Kevin Owens set to face Elias, Ezekiel, or “Elrod”.

(Doucette’s Analysis: So they’re running with Elrod, huh? Elias/Ezekiel with a fake goatee maybe? Bald cap? Let’s see where this goes. )

-Becky ran up the stage and attacked Asuka before she could finish her entrance. Asuka stopped the attack with a back elbow and things moved into the ring where the match officially started.

(6) BECKY LYNCH vs. ASUKA – Money In The Bank Qualifying Match

Asuka tackled Becky and the two rolled around and traded punches. Asuka locked Becky in an armbar which Becky countered into a roll up for a two count. Becky locked in the Disarmer on Asuka, but Asuka tripped Becky up and stomped her. Becky shoulderblocked Asuka, but it made no impact. Asuka then retaliated with a shoulderblock of her own knocking Becky down. Asuka tried an Asuka Lock, but Becky threw her out of the ring. Becky then hit a baseball slide and slammed Asuka’s face on the apron. Back inside, Asuka landed some kicks and a hip attack, knocking Becky back outside. Becky countered with a kick to the ribs and the action moved back inside. Becky went to the top rope, but was stopped by Asuka, who attempted a superplex. Becky blocked it, but missed a dive off the top and Asuka hit her with a double knee facebuster for a count of two. Asuka landed some kicks, but Becky gained the upper hand with strikes of her own. Becky irish whipped Asuka into the corner, but Asuka sat on the top rope. Becky hit Asuka hard with a strike to the face, knocking her outside to the floor. [c]

Becky missed a legdrop and Asuka landed a shining wizard. Both women were out. The two competitors traded strikes. Asuka attempted a backslide, then turned it into an inside cradle for two. Asuka back kicked Becky in the midsection and then landed a flying elbow. Asuka got Becky in the corner and hit a hip attack. More strikes from Asuka dazed Becky. Asuka then executed a German suplex and another hip attack for a two count. Asuka attempted the Asuka Lock, but Becky countered into an Asuka Lock of her own. Asuka fought out and grabbed an ankle lock, but Becky catapulted Asuka into the second turnbuckle. Becky was holding her left ankle in pain, but still managed to hit a kick and clothesline on Asuka for a two count. Becky got Asuka out onto the apron, hit more strikes, and tried a legdrop. However, Asuka caught her in an Asuka Lock in the ropes, but had to break to avoid the disqualification. Asuka went to the top rope and missile dropkicked Becky for a count of two. The action moved onto the apron. Asuka attempted to powerbomb Becky, but Becky legdropped Asuka’s throat. Asuka fell to the floor. Becky dove off the apron toward Asuka, but Asuka hit her with a knee strike. Both women were out at ringside. The referee’s count reached nine, but both wrestlers made it back inside before the ten count. Becky and Asuka traded fatigued strikes. Asuka missed a kick and Becky tried a Bexploder, to which Asuka tried to counter, but Becky countered into a pin herself. Becky tried to lock in the Disarmer, but got rolled up by Asuka for two. As both women rose to their feet, Asuka kicked Becky in the head. That was enough to put Becky away for the pin and the three count.
WINNER: Asuka in 13:00 to qualify for the Money In The Bank ladder match.

(Doucette’s Analysis: Heck of a match. They squeezed quite a bit into the end of the show. It felt like a real match that both were trying hard to win. Of course Becky and Asuka are two of the best in the world and they put on a good show here.)

-Asuka celebrated inside the ring as Becky destroyed the announcer’s desk and kicked in the ring stairs in disbelief. The show ended with a distraught Becky appearing to cry on the ringside floor.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a good, but not great episode. WWE continues to get better at storytelling and the in-ring action is as good as ever. The promos have been seriously lacking though. I don’t understand the decision to put weak talkers out in front of the crowd to look bad. This goes especially for Veer Mahan, but also Bianca Belair and the fatal five-way challengers (except Becky Lynch) to a lesser extent. Get managers or do pre-taped interviews to assist the weak talkers. You already do it for some people, put all of your stars in positions to shine! Also, MizTV needs to go away for a while. The Miz is an asset, but he’s a glorified interviewer that occasionally wrestles. To my earlier point, make him a part-time manager for someone that needs it.

On a positive note, Kevin Owens made the Elias-Ezekiel segment fun tonight and the women’s matches were bright spots. I am intrigued to see where things are headed with Becky’s “down-and-out” storyline. Lashley is really gaining steam as a conquering babyface and Theory is a star in the making. For a three-hour format that used to be absolute torture, WWE is making better use of it these days. Things can be much better, but it’s trending in the right direction.

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