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Raw recap & reactions (June 27, 2022): 20 years of not seeing him

John Cena’s back. John Cena’s baaack. Everyone hums Cena’s theme while Money in the Bank takes its final form.

It’s been a wild few days and not in the best way. So, let’s hope Raw lifts the spirits a bit.

Claire’s blog is still the place to be.

Let’s talk Raw!


Stillmatic

WWE celebrated John Cena this week. The party resembled a nice trip down memory lane, with several segments dedicated to the PhD in Thuganomics, including different wrestlers referencing his history or words in their promos. That was a nice touch that showed how influential Peacemaker is within whatever halls WWE superstars roam on a given week.

The ceremony culminated with Cena addressing the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home. The only reason I’m putting it here is because it was damn good as Cena always is on the mic, and the guy’s shadow looms over everything WWE does. Then, Now, and Forever.

Cena spoke from the heart, thanked the fans for keeping it real with him, and begged them to always keep it real with everyone. If they like something, let them know. If they hate something, let them know. The relationship he has with fans shaped him into a better man, a better husband, and a better professional. There are very few people in all of wrestling who always appear genuine. Eddie Kingston is one of them, Jon Moxley is another. But that’s something Cena has in spades. No matter the era, no matter the situation, he always makes the audience believe. That’s the most important aspect in this thing of ours, so a bunch of people in WWE should take notes.

Cena dropped some news as well: He plans to wrestle again. And it won’t be for just “one more match.” He doesn’t know when—the world needs a lot of peace right now—but it will happen. Cena interacted with Theroy earlier in the show, lending Creedence to the rumor these tow are set to tango in August. Maybe that’s Cena’s next appearance. Maybe it’s not.

Whenever we see him again, make sure to cherish the guy who truly gave everything to this business and its fans.


Extracurriculars

Picture Me Rollin’

WWE is telling a good story with Becky Lynch. Becky’s slump since losing at WrestleMania took her to some dark places. Funny places too, but mostly dark. This week, Becky faced five other women for the last spot in the women’s Money in the Bank match. Would she falter? Would she destroy the competition?

The answer, in short, is yes. I liked Becky’s aggression to start the match. She went after everyone in her path, doing whatever in her power as a woman on a mission. Xia Li? Pinned her. Nikki A.S.H.? Submitted her shortly after pinning Xia. Clearly the star of the match, Becky raised everyone else’s game as well. Specifically Doudrop. If someone else dominated as much as Becky, it was Doudrop. She dominated everyone whenever the action went outside of the ring, and she eliminated Shayna Baszler and Tamina back-to-back.

This was always coming down to Becky and Doudrop. Becky, in vain, attempted the Manhandle Slam a couple times. It wasn’t until Doudrop finally made a mistake that Becky capitalized off someone else’s follies rather than making her own.

Doudrop hoisted Becky onto the top turnbuckle, lost her positioning, and fell victim to the Manhandle Slam.

Becky is going to Money in the Bank.

Good main event showcasing just great Becky and Doudrop are together, and a nice chapter to Becky’s “comeback” story.

One More Chance

Battle Royales are a mess, so don’t look for a recap here on the blow by blow. I will talk about the Final Four. Riddle, AJ Styles, Nakamura, and Miz. Now, the idea here is the winner gets a spot in the Money in the Bank match. Great, makes sense. The caveat here is one of these men cannot challenge for WWE’s big championship so long as Roman Reigns has the belt.

And yet, Riddle won. The audience popped for it and it was a great finish between he and Miz, but I think he’s the wrong cat for this spot. Give it to someone without that stipulation because it increases the suspense going into the Money in the Bank match. Maybe WWE surprises me and Brock Lesnar defeats Roman...maybe. But the odds of that are pretty slim based on recent history. Meaning, in my mind, that’s one person in this match who has no shot at that briefcase on July 2, 2022.

O.P.P.

The Street Profits are in their heads. Even after Angelo Dawkins’ win over Jimmy Uso last week, they’re not quite convinced they have what it takes to defeat The Usos. I like that angle a lot. Despite their list of accomplishments—which John Cena so helpfully laid out—they’re shook when it comes to Jimmy and Jey. That means another solo victory over a member of the Bloodline meant more than just “another win.” With all that in mind, we got Montez Ford vs. The Man Formerly Known as Main Event Jey Uso.

Look, there are only so many ways I can tell you these two put on a good match. Was it great? No. But it was good because The Profits and The Usos work well together in any configuration. The best part was the ending, where Dawkins ensured his partner got a fair shot at going to the pay window, taking out Jimmy before he mucked up the works. Montez, in another ridiculous display, damn near touched the briefcases above the ring with a Frog Splash.

Insanity.

Montez picked up the W, which probably means a loss is in their future. Right? I’m not so sure. The Usos are the Detroit Pistons to the Profits’ Chicago Bulls. Every little victory counts, so maybe it’s the beginning of the end for Roman’s cousins.

Balls and My Word

During that Battle Royale, Miz cost AJ Styles in typical Miz fashion. The coward faked an injury and waited until the perfect moment to eliminate Styles. That’s why during a Miz interview segment, AJ rushed to the ring like a kid towards Toys R’ Us in 1993 for Power Rangers.

What followed was a solid bout that ended the minute Miz walked out. Perfect for his character, Miz left the match without hesitation, giving AJ the count out victory.

And I’m okay with this. AJ and Miz isn’t something you blow off in a random spot on a random Monday night. There’s more story here and it deserves a bigger stage. AJ needs a challenge and chasing Miz for a few weeks until SummerSlam sounds like the right obstacle.

Also? Corey Graves has it on good authority that Miz has gigantic balls.

Real Big

Carmella and Bianca Belair’s “face to face” segment this week left me rather bored. Bianca called Mella talented but insecure. The EST says Mella is too focused on her looks to realize her potential. Okay...there’s some truth there. But, again, the match is in a few days, so adding in this portion of the story at this point is moot. Mella came to the ring dressed like a Bob Fosse backup dancer, explaining how she’s anything but insecure. She’s smart. And that’s why she’ll beat Bianca etc. etc. you know how this goes.

Carmella then fronted like she was leaving the ring, only to deliver a kick to the champ everyone saw coming. Including Bianca who not only caught the kick, but kept looking out the corner of her eye.

The entire segment was just a little too predictable with no real immediacy. Meh.

I Dare You

Prior to their match, Liv Morgan told Alexa Bliss she will not only win Money in the Bank in Las Vegas, but she’s beating her this week. Alexa basically said “nah.”

Well, Alexa was wrong. This was a fun match between two tag partners who realize it’s every woman for themselves when the big championship is on the line. Liv reversed Alexa’s DDT and got the W with a quick roll up. Nothing but respect between the ladies after the match, friendly competition and all that jazz. But we’ll see if they maintain that civility when the briefcase is on the line.

Can I Live?

Bobby Lashley dealt with WWE’s perpetual bad guys, Alpha Academy. Otis and Chad Gable faced Lashley in a handicap match with Theory playing outside special referee. The match existed to get more heat on Theory, which I’m not sure is necessary at this point. But, hey, Chad tapped to the Hurt Lock and Theory ran off after getting in several cheap shots on his Money in the Bank opponent.

Patiently Waiting

Cody Rhodes interview! The doctors tell him nine months recovery! He’ll congratulate Seth Rollins if Seth wins! He hyped everyone in the Money in the Bank match! Back to rehab!


Raw wasn’t exactly go-home worthy this week, but it wasn’t awful either. The Cena celebration was a great touch, and Raw’s side of the Money in the Bank card is finally finished. The biggest knock? No Elrod, Elias, and Ezekiel vs. Kevin Owens match. That’s sinful to deprive us of that.

Grade: B-

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.