Raw comes at you live from Nebraska this week. And today I learned that supposedly Caddyshack takes place in Nebraska! Not sure if I believe that but I do believe Claire is the best in the business at what she does. And what she does is a dope blog.
I do other stuff.
Let’s talk Raw!
Rhea Ripley isn’t cleared for Money in the Bank. Possibly due to the mouth injury from a couple weeks ago. Me, myself, and I wish Rhea a speedy recovery!
Rhea’s absence creates a void. WWE decided the best way to fill said void is through crowning a new contender for Bianca Belair via a Fatal 5 Way match. Asuka, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Liv Morgan, and Alexa Bliss set the show off this week in a battle for supremacy.
And you know what? It started very sloppy. Alexa and Liv got most of the spotlight in the opening minutes and it was just silly. Both women rolled around the ring in inside cradles or Rolling Gedo Clutches looking for the pinfall. And it didn’t feel like a fight, which is what I need from my wrestling. It was way too choreographed and silly. The match didn’t get better when Becky, Asuka, and Carmella entered. The match lacked rhythm, crispness, and speed.
The match picked up in the second half, thankfully, and turned into a pretty good affair. Maybe they just needed to get their feet wet.
Carmella got the surprising W after doing what she does best: survive. Becky slapped a Mahandle Slam on Liv Morgan. Asuka broke up the pin. Liv blocked Alexa’s Twisted Bliss attempt with double knees. And before she capitalized, Liv ate a Superkick from Mella.
Carmella and Bianca Belair at Money in the Bank, ladies and gents. Perfect opponent for Bianca, which hopefully gives us a fun week. Wish they had more than a week for building this match, but hey, that’s no one’s fault here.
Side note: WWE writers really need a thesaurus because they’re abusing “opportunity.”
Big Time Empress
Becky, incensed she lost yet another shot at getting back what she feels is rightfully hers, complained to Adam Pearce. Pearce, always a man of little backbone, reminded Becky of her previously scheduled Money in the Bank qualifier match with Asuka. Becky was down! But then Adam scheduled the match for this week. Becky was not down.
But she was ready. The minute Asuka stepped out of the curtain for this week’s main event, Becky slapped fire out of her. I love that because yes, this shouldn’t just be another match. And two, Becky is frustrated with a lot of rage towards Asuka.
She should attack her and this match should feel personal. Becky’s story right now is one of constant disappointment, so anyone in her way, especially Asuka, is kill on sight.
Surprising no one, these two put on a good main event match once Asuka crawled out from under the beating Becky handed to her. Becky was extra aggressive for most of the match, trying to get it over as quickly as possible while putting extra sting behind her punches and kicks.
At one point, Becky threw an uppercut at Asuka that launched the Empress off the top turnbuckle and onto the floor. Illustrating her desperation through her moveset is always a much appreciated storytelling device.
But everything turned for Becky when Asuka used her aggression against her. With Asuka standing outside the ring, Becky launched herself at her rival. Asuka knew what to expect and countered with a knee to Becky’s jaw. That was it. Both women rolled back into the ring, Asuka reversed and countered both the Manhandle Slam and the Dis-Arm-Her, then knocked Becky into next Monday with a thunderous roundhouse kick.
Becky took one too many blows to the head and was unfocused against a better opponent. Count me shocked at the outcome. Becky’s loses are pilling up and I figured that all came to a head this week.
This is why I don’t bet on wrestling.
While Asuka moves on to the Money in the Bank match, the story here is still what will come of Ms. Lynch. How low will she go? Will WWE really keep another big star off their 4th of July weekend event? I don’t think so. I’m curious how Becky factors into everything revolving around the Raw women’s championship on July 2.
Look, the Elias Rock Concert was great. Not because we got a concert, but because Elias was there with a beard, guitar in hand, and frustrated the hell out of Kevin Owens. That frustration grew when Ezekiel showed up on screen during the segment, following both men appearing together on screen in an obviously pre-recorded segment.
Elias didn’t sing much but he did tune up his guitar on KO’s back.
KO, irate, challenged Elias, Ezekiel, or even their unseen little brother Elrod to a match next week. Watch the whole segment for KO going to pieces when Ezekiel showed up backstage and accepted his challenge at the same time Elias was supposed to be in the ring and we never saw him walk backstage.
Riddle Me That
Riddle and Omos put on a good match. I didn’t expect to type those words when they announced the match but here we are. And what made it good was Riddle. The man sold for Omos extremely well, while still selling the rib injury from his match with Roman Reigns. Omos looked like a beast while Riddle looked like a guy full of heart. And pretty much just heart since the rest of his body barely functioned. Omos took Riddle’s best shots and kept moving. That’s why he’s going to Money in the Bank and Riddle isn’t.
Seth Rollins made his way to the ring after the match. Riddle mentioned his name in a prematch promo, so of course Seth made an appearance. Beating up and laughing at a broken man is what Seth does. It worked for getting a lot more heat on Seth while ingratiating Riddle even more.
Bobby Lashley and Theory got much better placement on the show this week. Rather than a main event spot for a pose down, we got them in the middle of the show this week. And instead of a pose down, we got Theory posing then getting his ass beat. Lashley returned the favor and sprayed baby oil in Theory’s face, then challenged Vince’s new favorite son for a U.S. championship match.
Theory convinced the third worst WWE official in the world—two guesses on who is first and second—to put Lashley in a gauntlet match and make him earn a title match.
And it was great. The Alpha Academy were his first two opponents. First Chad Gable, then Otis. And both men did great heel work. Chad got his licks in, no doubt, but for the most part, he was the perfect illustration for Bobby’s power. The best moment of the match was Bobby ramming Chad off the ring apron and into the commentary table. The second best moment was Chad reversing a spear attempt into an Ankle Lock. But eventually, he tapped to the Hurt Lock. Otis put a beat down on Lashley, allowing Bobby to play the underdog role and show some vulnerability. After getting the DQ win—because of course Chad and Otis cheated—Lashley dealt with the final gauntlet opponent: Theory. Theory lost because Lashley showed some resilience. Hell of a story and props to all men involved.
The Street Profits and the Usos added another chapter to their rivalry this week. Angelo Dawkins faced the right-hand man himself, Jey Uso. Last week, we got Jimmy and Montez in a really good match, but with Montez taking the L. Angelo faced pressure to get the job done and get a win back for his squad. While the Profits have a win over Jimmy and Jey, it’s a count out win. And despite how the Profits of the Street dress it up, the Usos weren’t exactly hurting as a result of that count out. Angelo proved Jimmy and Jey aren’t perfect. When the moon is just right, or hits someone’s eye like a big pizza pie, they can go down.
Angelo showed he’s just as agile and high-flying as Jey, while never forgetting his power. The Profits finally gave members of the Bloodline a reason to sweat thanks to Angelo picking up the W. And I love the Sky High as a finisher for him. Mostly because it makes me smile thinking about the greatest European champ of all time, D-Lo Brown. Shoutout to Helsinki!
Seriously, timeout. We got Ciampa vs. AJ Styles with no nothing. No build up. No forewarning. No foreshadowing. Ciampa just showed up during Miz TV and put hands on AJ, so a wrestling match ensued. I don’t even know what to say about it beyond that because the entire ordeal is disappointing. Shocker, AJ won and now it looks like he’s beefing with Miz.
Veer cut a promo this week and it wasn’t great. Mostly because Veer’s delivery is hampered by the fact English isn’t his first language. I don’t put that on him. Someone in management needs to know that. Putting the talent in the position to win is sort of a big deal in this world of professional sports entertainment wrestling.
Raw was pretty damn good this week. Minus a couple hiccups, I enjoyed the show.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.