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WWE Raw Results, Recap, Reactions (June 4, 2018): Stomping Tall

Every now and then, WWE gets something so perfect. Having the Special Olympics athletes and Big Show participate in Finn Balor’s entrance? Perfect.

This is a show for villains, and Kevin Owens is the best sometimes. Balor’s moment on the stage was meant to help Owens reestablish himself as the nastiest dude in wrestling and he took advantage with this match. Were you hoping for a wrestling masterpiece with counters and such? Too bad. Owens would rather grind Balor down and jabber into his ear.

This match was so peculiar for that very reason. Usually, the good guy/gal will rally and the crowd will get behind them and whatever happens, happens. No sir, not with Owens. Every time Balor rallied, Owens stuffed him.

Again. And again. And again. For 20 minutes or so. Seriously.

It was interesting in its peculiarity, and the crowd’s chants were for naught. The commentary desk pointed out that Owens was flirting with disqualification several times – and this was a big issue on the show, considering recent events – and it finally happened in the end.

Stomps in the corner are a no-no, Mr. Owens.

Owens wanted to send a message, however, and set up a ladder in the ring to hit something nefarious on Balor. However, he couldn’t pull the trigger. Balor took advantage and had no qualms climbing to the top of a ladder to hit a Coup de Grace.

Gotta have nerves for a ladder match, man.

Look, we know both of these men’s history. They’re willing to pull off some insane stuff for a ladder match – especially Owens. The end of this show was a quick reminder of what these two will bring to the match.

As for Balor standing tall…do you buy it? Graves pointed out that wrestlers target big men in battle royals. Do they target small ones in ladder matches? Will we see the likes of Strowman, Owens, and Samoa Joe putting Balor away early? We’ll see; this was a good teaser for it, though.

Stolen Valor!

This segment might not be for everyone. I get that. But y’all. I’m so here for this Lashley vs. Zayn stuff after their most recent interaction.

Why, you ask? Great question. Firstly, we learned that Sami Zayn specifically eats organic tofu steaks; what a heel.

Secondly, Sami Zayn is nuts. He’s insane! Bobby Lashley is absolutely mystified by Zayn’s…well, zaniness. If you focus on those two things, this is pretty great.

But seriously, think about this. What the hell is up with Zayn still trying to do a background check on this dude?! Is he convinced there’s a conspiracy or something? Is he Kanye West in disguise? What’s going on?! Zayn’s losing his damn mind and I’m totally here for that.

There’s potential to this. Imagine what Zayn might possibly find if he keeps digging. Either he’s going to find a skeleton in Lashley’s closet or Zayn’s frayed sanity is going to cease to exist.

Either way, totally here for that.

Zayn accused Lashley of lying about being in the Army which is akin to slapping someone’s mother in the Deep South. As someone who lives in the South, I thought that was a great touch. And despite all the weirdness with this feud so far, Zayn’s antics are pulling Lashley’s personality out to play.

I’m serious. I like this feud. Don’t @ me.

The Big Dog Returns

You know, it’s kinda nice when wrestling makes sense.

The show started with an Elias concert – which is always a great time for an Elias concert, with the crowd as juiced as they’ll be all night – and Elias played his part beautifully. He boasted a bit about getting one over on Seth Rollins last week and sang a song about it.

He even took a cheap shot at Houston’s basketball team for losing to the pointless, parity-breaking Golden State Warriors.

(Although to be fair, Houston, no one’s gonna feel bad for the walking flop James Harden.)

Rollins appeared to stare down Elias and produced a chair to fend Elias off. And just as soon as he had the Drifter cornered, Jinder Mahal appeared to put the boots to Rollins.

And it makes sense! Rollins DQ’d himself in their title match last week; it makes sense that Mahal would want revenge. That logic train kept rolling as Roman Reigns appeared only once his friend Rollins was outnumbered to even the score. And sure, Reigns was on vacation last week, but I enjoy the storyline that he let Rollins handle his own business with Mahal and only steps up when his friends need support.

The match was good, too! Nothing worth losing your mind over, mind you, but it was a solid way to open the show. They even had Rollins featured as the hot tag – a role that Reigns has traditionally played in their tag matches together. The big takeaway for me is that Elias is very much the real deal; he can hang with Rollins and Reigns in such a prominent role.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when Rollins sells so beautifully for you. Especially at the end there. Rollins sold his neck injury like crazy and went limp from the DDT onto the chair.

I still wish that we were doing the Intercontinental Open Challenge thing, but I get why they aren’t this close to the PPV. And when solid efforts are put together like this, who can complain?

I should also mention that Reigns and Mahal had a dueling promo where they said mean things and then fought backstage. I think that this was meant to feel edgy and meta, but I was just in it for the backstage fight, to be honest.

Best of the Rest

Speaking of James Harden… - How dare you, Baron Corbin? That Texas crowd could have used an extra taco! I really liked this segment and I want more Curt Hawkins on my television.

As for Constable Corbin, I love it. He’s essentially Draco Malfoy anyway, so why not go in and make him the leader of the Inquisitorial Squad? We’ll be having matches in the shadows in due time, folks.

Stop Talking, Ronda – Oof. Rousey was not good on commentary, was she? I’m not even going to get into the things she said because nothing good can come of it. Let’s get to the match, shall we?

After Rousey was shown backstage teaching Natalya to punch properly, Nattie tried to take down Nia Jax. It didn’t go well as she tweaked her knee in the match and Jax capitalized to earn the win. The match was fine but what happened afterwards was just as odd as Rousey’s commentary. Jax seemed legitimately remorseful that Nattie got injured and Rousey started snapping at her. Just an odd night all around for this feud.

Strowman is Nuts – Michael Cole called Strowman “the Big Bear” which made me think of Strowman as Little Bear all grown up.

And now I’m down a rabbit’s hole in my brain where Little Bear’s parents were murdered or whatever and he grew up to become the Viscount of Violence that is Braun Strowman.

…So let’s talk about the ladder thing. Folks aren’t sure that the ladder was gimmicked and that’s precisely why Strowman’s so great. You already know that the Ladder Match at Money in the Bank is going to be brilliant – and one big reason is because a monster’s at the forefront.

The B Team Gets a Title Shot - Sean Reuter called for quality from the Raw tag team division in his Raw preview and unfortunately, I think they let him down with the battle royal. I wanted to make this a featured part of the review, but it just wasn’t up to par with the rest of the big storylines.

This whole thing was jumbled from bell to bell, starting when the ring announcer tried to talk over a brawl happening in the ring. McIntyre and Ziggler were the first eliminated which sucked – though admittedly they made sure McIntyre was never eliminated – and it pretty much telegraphed the finish.

One question, though: Where are the Authors of Pain?

Moon, Banks, Bayley def. Riott Squad…Or Do They? - What do you do when you have no clue what to do? SIX WOMAN TAG WOOOOOO!!

…Why is no one cheering?

This was actually just an excuse to give Constable Corbin something to do when Bayley ran down to get a tag to a match she was never in. And you know what? Corbin’s right. It doesn’t matter if Bliss flaked on them; do your job, Angle. I really enjoyed Ember Moon backstage afterwards as well.

Also, I almost died when Corbin told the ref “this job isn’t for everyone.” I’m still grinning.

The biggest standout of this show was the Constable Corbin business. It didn’t get much airtime, but there’s potential there. A lot of the show was good, but nothing felt necessary to watch. In fact, go watch the YouTube videos and you’ll be all caught up.

For that reason…

Grade: B-

WWE needs to figure out this Rousey/Jax feud and to do better with tag team division. And after a few weeks of awesomeness, where was Chad Gable?

C’mon, Cageside. Your turn.

Where in the world are the Authors of Pain?

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