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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 27, 2022
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
WWE Raw Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-After “Then, Now, Forever, Together,” they cut backstage to John Cena’s t-shirt. The camera panned back and showed Cena, who was greeted by wrestlers, referees, and producers. He shook hands and hugged many of them as Corey Graves narrated. He noted that many claim Cena is the greatest WWE Superstar of all time. Cena turned down whatever the Street Profits offered him in a red cup. Cena and Dolph Ziggler even hugged. Michael Cole hugged him. Ezekiel was there, but no sign of Elias. (Hmmmm.) Drake Maverick was there, applauding. Michael Hayes in a bright yellow suit jacket shouted, “Welcome back!” He was the last person Cena passed in the hall.
-Jimmy Smith said they were there to celebrate 20 years of John Cena in WWE as the camera panned to the ring already filled with wrestlers.
(1) LAST CHANCE BATTLE ROYAL – Money in the Bank Qualifier
Rey Mysterio’s theme played and Rey came out with Dominik Mysterio. Shinsuke Nakamura and Riddle each also got ring entrances. Shanky, A.J. Styles, Akira Tozawa, Reggie, Shelton Benjamin, Mustafa Ali, Jinder Mahal, Miz, Veer Mahan, T-Bar, R-Truth, Drew Gulak, Ricochet, Tommaso Ciampa were participants. Tozawa was out first. Veer dumped Shelton to the floor next. Veer was given a spotlight to overpower the Mysterios, but they came back with a double 619 and then they tossed Veer out. Byron Saxton said Veer was a heavy favorite to win. Truth and Shanky danced. Mahal attacked Truth and asked Shanky to help. Shanky reluctantly helped toss out Truth. Mahal dumped Shanky from behind. Styles then eliminated Mahal. T-Bar pressed Reggie over his head and threw him into Shanky and Jinder at ringside. They cut to a break as T-Bar celebrated. [c]
They showed Ciampa eliminating Ali during the break. Smith said they started with 20 and only 10 remain. Styles eliminated Ciampa. Miz went after Styles, but then Rey set him up for a 619. Miz avoided it and DDT’d Rey. Dominik intervened. Dominik took Ziggler over the top rope, but Ziggler held on and Dominik tumbled to the floor. Rey head scissored Ziggler over the top rope onto the ring apron, but he held on. Rey head scissored Miz over the top rope to the ring apron. Ziggler and Miz threw Rey off the ring apron into the barricade. Rey tried to land on the barricade, but crashed to the floor. Miz and Ziggler nearly eliminated Riddle, who hung from the ropes. T-Bar tossed Ricochet off the ring apron, but Ricochet landed on a ladder and then leaped at T-Bar on the apron. Ricochet head scissored T-Bar to the floor. They cut to another break. [c]
Back from the break, Miz was selling a left knee injury. They replayed Miz leaping off the ropes in slo-mo. Nothing twisted. It was down to Miz, Ziggler, Nakamura, Styles, and Riddle. Nakamura eliminated Ziggler next with a high round kick. Riddle and Nakamura squared off mid-ring. They exchanged strikes. They showed Miz being tended to by medics at ringside. Riddle knocked Shinsuke to the floor. Riddle and Ricochet battled. Styles dropkicked Ricochet out of mid-air, then tossed Ricochet to the floor. Graves said they were “down to two” – Styles and Riddle. Miz, though, hadn’t been eliminated. Miz yanked Styles off the ring apron to eliminate him as he was setting up a Phenomenal Forearm. Saxton said Miz faked the knee injury. Graves said it was smart. Miz tossed Riddle over the top, but Riddle landed on the ring apron. Miz set up a Skull Crushing Finale, but Riddle blocked it. Riddle then gave Miz a draping DDT. Riddle signaled for the RKO, but Miz blocked it and hit a Skull Crushing Finale. Riddle caught a charging Miz and head scissored him over the top rope. A “Let’s Go Riddle!” chant broke out. Riddle then gave a charging Miz an RKO on the ring apron. Miz fell to the floor. Riddle won.
WINNER: Riddle in 19:00 to earn a slot in the Money in the Bank match.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not must-see or anything, but an organized and well-constructed battle royal with each elimination having a brief spotlight that felt relatively natural in the flow of the match. Having Miz feign an injury but still lose is a nice twist.)
-The announcers commented on clips of the other men’s MITB entrants. Only one slot remained. They went to the announcers at ringside who continued to hype MITB. Smith said the Kevin Owens vs. Ezekiel match had to be rescheduled. He quickly pivoted to hyping the Cena celebration. Graves hyped a Last Chance Elimination Match with women. Saxton hyped Alpha Academy vs. Bobby Lashley.
-They went backstage to the Street Profits. They hyped Cena, who the camera revealed was standing next to them. They asked Cena for advice about facing the Usos for the tag titles on Saturday. They noted they only won by countout to qualify and never have broken through against the Bloodline. Cena gave them a pep talk and told them to never give up. He said they have more energy than anyone.
-They showed the Usos ring entrance. [c]
-Soundbites on Cena aired by Shawn Michaels, The Big Show, Booker T, Daniel Bryan, Trish Stratus, and Triple H. Bryan thanked him for being an excellent leader and being so giving.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed an elated Riddle, who said he never gives up. He said he’s going to Vegas for Money in the Bank. He smiled and shook Patrick vigorously. Patrick smiled.
(2) MONTEZ FORD (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. JEY USO (w/Jimmy Uso)
Smith noted the Profits are 1-1 against the Bloodline the last two weeks. Ford controlled the action for a while. Jey took over at ringside, though, and threw Ford into the ringside steps. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Ford came back with a standing blockbuster for a near fall. Jimmy distracted Ford when he was on the top rope. Dawkins checked Jimmy hard at ringside. Smith called Dawkins “Montez Ford.” (He’s just trying to make Kevin Kelly feel better for calling Dax “Cash Wheeler” last night.) Jey dove through the ropes onto Dawkins. Ford then dove onto Jey. Ford threw Jey back into the ring and landed a top rope frog splash for the win.
WINNER: Ford in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. Nice to see the challengers get a win. Imagine that going into a PLE title match?!)
-They went backstage to the Mysterios. Finn Balor and Damian Priest walked up to them. Balor said everyone if forgetting that Rey’s 20 year anniversary is coming up too. He said he’s loved and respected in the business. Priest said their door is always open, especially for people who are tired of being told the same thing over and over. Balor said maybe it’s not bad luck that Dominik has, but maybe it’s a bad father. Dom held Rey back. Rey said he’ll show them “how bad of a dad I am” next week in San Diego.
-Smith plugged that a John Cena career retrospective was up next. [c]
-A Cena career video package aired spanning many of his career highlights.
-Patrick interviewed Miz mid-ring. Miz made his ring entrance. Patrick asked Miz about Logan Paul training for his return to a WWE ring. Miz said they are planning to team together at Summerslam and continue their winning ways. Patrick asked what his relationship with Logan is. They showed Miz attacking Logan at WrestleMania after their win. Saxton said Miz didn’t like sharing the spotlight with Logan. Back live, Miz smiled and boos rang out. Miz asked Patrick, “Is this you being a journalist? How cute.” Miz said on Friday he’ll be on The Today Show. He said he’s a celebrity. He said he has a reality show. Miz said he told Logan afterward that was a teaching moment and Logan accepted that. He said one day they will become the WWE Tag Team Champions. Miz pivoted to saying A.J. Styles’s career is on a downward spiral. Patrick brought up Styles saying Miz has tiny balls. Miz interrupted and said that’s not becoming a thing. As he talked about how stupendously huge his balls are, Styles came out to his music. Styles entered the ring and knocked Miz down. They cut to a break. [c]
(3) A.J. STYLES vs. THE MIZ
The match was joined in progress. Graces vouched for the size of Miz’s balls. Saxton asked how he knows so much about Miz’s balls. Graves said because he’s shared a locker room with him. A few minutes in, Miz avoided a Styles flip at ringside, then threw Styles into the barricade. They cut to a break. [c]
Miz bailed out to avoid a Phenomenal Forearm and then walked up the aisle. The ref counted him out.
WINNER: Styles via count out in 10:00.
-They cut backstage to Ezekiel introducing himself to Styles. Cena asked if Elias is around. Ezekiel said he is, but he’s showing their younger brother Elrod around. Cena said, “That makes sense.” Ezekiel asked for advice. Cena told him to never forget who he really is. Theory walked up behind Cena. He said he would introduce himself, but everyone knows who he is. He said he should be the one being celebrated. He said Cena is old and out of touch, whereas he’s 24. He asked how many title reigns Cena had at that age. He said he’s Mr. McMahon’s hand-picked protege. He said Cena is a grown ass man wearing jorts. Cena walked off before Theory could take a selfie of them. Theory snarled.
-Bianca Belair made her ring entrance. [c]
-Soundbites aired on Cena with Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, JBL, Stephanie McMahon, and Steve Austin. Jericho got a nice pop. Austin took a swig of beer and asked for an, “Oh hell yeah!”
(Keller’s Analysis: Triple H was the final soundbite on the first vignette. Austin finished the second.)
-Clips aired of Carmella attacking Belair last week at Raw during a backstage interview.
-Patrick interviewed Belair mid-ring. Patrick asked what’s going through her mind as she prepares to face Carmella on Saturday. Belair said she wishes Carmella was out there because, unlike Carmella, everything she says she wants to say to her face. She said you’d think Carmella would have the confidence to face her and not cheapshot her. She said some things never change, and Carmella thinks she has to resort to cheating. She said as a result, no one respects Carmella. She said Carmella better bring “it” on Saturday because she craves competition. She said Carmella is welcome to come out now because “why wait until Vegas?” Carmella did march out and say she isn’t insecure at all. She said she’s got it all – beauty and brains. She said her resume speaks for itself. She touted her MITB wins and title wins. As Carmella began to leave the ring, Patrick asked Belair if she respects Carmella as a competitor. Carmella tried to jump Belair from behind, but Belair caught her leg and punched her. Carmella rolled to the floor as Belair danced to her music in the ring.
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Alexa Bliss and Liv Morgan backstage about being in the MITB match. Bliss said she likes Liv, but she doesn’t trust anyone. She said that Liv will be a champion some day, but not Saturday. Liv said she’s right that she will be champ one day and that they’re not friends. Liv said she’s knocking her off the ladder and climbing her way up the ladder to grab the contract that could change her life forever. She said she’s learned from Cena the last 20 years that sometimes you need to let someone know their time is up. “Alexa, my time is now,” she said. Alexa told her to bring it. Liv said she’ll beat her tonight, too. Alexa said no. Liv said, “Watch me.” Bliss had Lilly the doll boop Liv. Liv booped Alexa back.
-Liv made her ring entrance. [c]
(4) ALEXA BLISS vs. LIV MORGAN
Asuka joined in on commentary. She made childish guttural noises and made cartoonish facial expressions, especially when Liv scored an upset win with a leverage pin.
WINNER: Morgan in 3:00.
-Clips aired of John Cena’s charity work with kids.
-Vince McMahon made his ring entrance as “Last Chance in Hell” played. They showed fans standing, gasping, and excitedly jumping up and down and smiling. “What an ovation for the arrival of Mr. McMahon!” exclaimed Graves. Saxton said it’s only fitting he is here on Raw for the celebration of Cena’s 20 years. [c]
-McMahon stood in the ring as his music faded. The roster of wrestlers formed two lines in the aisle for Cena to walk past on his way to the ring. (For the record, Ezekiel was standing there, but no sign of Elias or Elrod. Did they get lost backstage?) McMahon said it was his honor to introduce Cena. Out came Cena. As Cena entered the ring, McMahon was already at ringside. He actually jogged out of the view of the camera as Cena ran the ropes. (You’d imagine if this happened a month ago, they’d have had a moment together in the ring. Or maybe McMahon wouldn’t have been there at all on camera introducing him.) When Cena’s music stopped, fans cheered Cena and chanted his name. He smiled and absorbed the appreciation.
Cena pointed out a fan sign that said “20 Years of Jorts.” He said a fan looked to be six years old, which means he’s been “out of touch” 14 years longer than that kid was alive. Cena said tonight isn’t about him, it’s about the fans. He said they were always brave enough to tell him when he sucks and created an environment for him to be himself. He said they’ve been kind enough to tell him when he didn’t suck, too. Fans began chanting “Cena! Cena!” He went on for a while about everything the fans taught him. He got emotional. “You shower us with everything you’ve got!” he said. More Cena chants followed. He said this is about people coming together. He said he’s 45 years old. He shhh’d the crowd and said he only brings it up because he doesn’t know when they’ll see him in the ring again. He said he’s not saying it will be just one more match, but he’s not sure when the next one will be. He said anything he does outside of WWE, it’s not about him. “It’s always about we,” he said. He said going forward, if you see something that’s good, say it; if you see something that sucks, say it. He said this has always been about “us.” He encouraged fans to cheer. He said Lorado can do better. They cheered louder. He said if you want some, come get some. He threw down the mic and fist-bumped some fans at ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: That clocked in around nine minutes. It was quintessential Cena – positivity and platitudes without saying anything specific about anything that might offend or give anyone a specific course to follow.)
-Bobby Lashley made his ring entrance. A clip aired of what happened last week when Lashley pinned Theory to earn a title shot at MITB.
(5) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. ALPHA ACADEMY (Chad Gable & Otis)
Theory came out as a special enforcer referee at ringside. He distracted Lashley, opening up Gable to surprise him with a flip dive off the ring apron. Otis then splashed him. They cut to an abrupt break. [c]
When Otis set up his corner swing splash, Lashley lifted him onto his shoulders and dropped him back. Gable leaped at Lashley off the top rope, but Lashley caught him and put him in a Hurt Lock. Gable tapped immediately.
WINNER: Lashley in 8:00 via tapout.
-Theory joined Gable and Otis in triple-teaming Lashley. When Theory went for a selfie, Lashley knocked him down and the fended off Gable and Otis. Theory threw a fit at ringside as Lashley yelled down at him. Graves hyped their match at MITB on Saturday.
-The announcers talked about Cody Rhodes’s performance at Hell in a Cell and the injury he wrestled with followed by the Seth Rollins attack. Smith said his first interview since his surgery was up next. [c]
-Cody was interviewed at a gym. He said he was at the peak of his career just a few weeks ago and he had so much momentum. He said he was flying high and wished he could parlay that all to a MITB win. He said doctors are telling him nine months is the recovery time. He said he’s trying to respect that. He touted the participants in the match. He said Sheamus and Drew McIntyre have Harley Race toughness. He said Sami Zayn subterfuges people into forgetting he has a genius-level IQ in the ring. He said he’s not rooting for anyone, but if Seth Rollins wins, he’ll be the first to congratulate him. He then excused himself.
(Keller’s Analysis: Hmmm. Foreshadowing?)
-Backstage, as Cena was chatting with a stagehand, Seth walked up to him, cackling to the beat of Cena’s theme song. Seth asked Cena if he remembers the time he broke his face with his knee into a million tiny pieces. He told him he gave a great speech. “You’re the best!” he said. He said they’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years. Cena looked at him like he was a freak. Seth said they have a lot in common. He said they’re both international mega-stars and fashion icons, plus former MITB contract winners. Seth said history will repeat itself for him. In walked Omos and MVP. Seth looked up at Omos. MVP asked if he was done. He told Seth that he has a vision of the Nigerian Giant raising the briefcase to the heavens. He said it’s a foregone conclusion Omos will win and nobody can stop him, not even Seth. Cena patted Seth on the back and wished him luck.
-They went to the announcers who ran down the entire MITB line-up.
-Becky Lynch made her ring entrance. [c]
-A graphic announced the Mysterios vs. Balor & Priest next week.
(6) BECKY LYNCH vs. SHAYNA BASZLER vs. DOUDROP vs. NIKKI A.S.H. vs. XIA LI vs. TAMINA – Elimination Match for a MITB slot
Saxton explained the rules. Becky caught Xia Li with a Manhandle Slam as she was battling Nikki, eliminating her. Graves said in a match like this, sometimes it’s better to be opportunistic than dominant. Becky then made Nikki tapout to her Disarm Her. They cut to a break. [c]
Doudrop attacked everyone at ringside. Then back in the ring she powerbombed Tamina, Becky, and Baszler off the top rope in a tower of doom type of spot. Doudrop splashed Baszler as she was trying to submit Tamina, then got the three count. It came down to Becky vs. Doudrop vs. Tamina. Tamina gave Becky a Samoan Drop. She climbed to the top rope and leaped, but Becky moved. Doudrop pinned Tamina a minute later. Lynch gave Doudrop a Manhandle Slam off the second rope to win. Smith said despite all the frustrations, Becky has finally triumphed.
WINNER: Lynch in 13:00 to earn a slot in the MITB match.
(Keller’s Analysis: The tone of Smith calling Becky’s win was that of a babyface winning against all odds. Not sure if that’s a sign of a new framing of her or not.)