My main man Sean Rueter got in the Cageside offices last week and, while discussing how brilliantly put together last week's Samoa Joe-Paul Heyman segment was, hoped WWE would follow up with a pull apart brawl at some point or another.
It didn't take long, as we saw on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw:
This was set up by a Paul Heyman promo that was, essentially, the reverse of last week, a way to firmly establish his own guy in the face of the guy who may actually pose a threat to him. But this is still Brock Lesnar, and though he has tasted defeat, it's always hard to imagine anyone actually standing up to him in a way that looks like anything other than false bravado.
Enter Samoa Joe.
That brief staredown does so much; it says so much. It shows the character motivation, yes, but also tells us that we absolutely should take Joe seriously despite everything that tells us there's no reason to think this will be anything other than a pit stop on the road to something bigger. Joe has always been up against it, as far as fan perception of his place here, and he's responded by delivering great interviews, segments, and now this.
Sure, it's a cliche when the General Manager is sending out the mid-to-lower card talent to stop main event stars from killing each other but it's a hugely effective tool to get across the one point they need to get across in this story: they are big, and they are going to hurt each other very badly.
This may be my new favorite burly brawl moment:
One kick from Joe wipes out half of the Raw roster. pic.twitter.com/GBHTykQd1L— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 13, 2017
Then, WWE punted.
- Big Show is a prime suspect to both Big Cass and Enzo Amore, even though a quick glance at the video shows The Revival making less and less of an effort to conceal themselves. My sincere hope is that it has been Dash and Dawson all along and this leads to Enzo and Cass breaking up because they missed the most obvious conclusion while trying to convince themselves a 500-pound dude was sneaking around unnoticed.
- They shot an angle where a guy lost a match because his girlfriend was yelling at him on a video call.
- They shot another angle where they worked a swerve into a guy wearing a fake bear suit and Maryse may have broken a butt cheek in the ordeal.
- Roman Reigns and Finn Balor weren't around, instead getting video packages promising major announcements and, in the latter’s case, literally asking what’s next for him.
- There may actually be something of interest in the Bray Wyatt-Seth Rollins program but it sure sounds like literally every other Bray Wyatt feud ever and we all know how those turn out.
- I don't know what they're doing with the Titus brand but it's one of the few things on this show that was worth the time.
- The Raw women's division became the SmackDown women's division on this show, only less interesting. Emma is back, though, and that is very good. That interview Corey Graves did with Bayley, however, may have actually set her character back even more.
- They ended this show with a double countount finish in a 2-out-of-3 Falls tag team title match, which is an especially nice dressing for a big ol' shit salad.
Save for the brawl, this was awful television.