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Raw recap & reactions (June 19, 2023): Purple reign

Finn Balor loses it, Becky Lynch oversteps, and the Judgment Day rule all on this week’s Monday Night Raw.


I used this space last week to ponder about the segment between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. I thought it hurt Finn, even if briefly, and did Seth no favors either.

That all changed this week.

Seth hit the ring when the show opened and Finn hit Seth. Hard. Repeatedly.

Finn showed so much aggression looked like a beast. He beat Seth within an inch of his life for what felt like 15 minutes. Finn’s fist and feet said everything his mouth didn’t last week. And even after Adam Pierce and a swarm of WWE’s keystone cops pulled Finn off of Seth, the Prince kept going when they all helped Seth get through the locker room area.

We lated found out that the beatdown, which included three Coup de Grace’s, damaged Seth’s ribs.

That is what you do with Finn right now. As I often say, storytelling is about showing not telling. Finn can tell us all day how he’s upset or that he has seven years worth of pent up aggression, but it hits harder—literally—when he shows it. Perhaps more importantly, it whipped Cleveland into a frenzy early as they booed Finn mercilessly during this attack. We even got another tease of tension between Finn and Damian Priest, which I hope goes somewhere that doesn’t implode Judgment Day.

I believe this brings out Seth’s serious side as well. After announcing his hurt ribs, Seth welcomed the old Finn Balor back to WWE. The champ needs to take the challenge seriously for the crowd to follow suit. If Seth finds another gear with his character simply because Finn punished him, then I’m all for it.

Finn told us he did what he did because no one besides him beats Seth for that championship. Not Bron Breakker on NXT this week, and certainly not anyone accepting Seth’s open challenge on Raw. Finn made sure the open challenge didn’t happen, so here’s hoping he shows up in Florida this week.

Raw started with a bang and never really let its foot off the gas. And it owes a lot of that to Finn, Seth, and the heat that comes from a well-executed beatdown.


Return of the Mecca

No one will survive. Feels good hearing that tune blare through a stadium again.

Tommaso Ciampa made his triumphant return this week! After nine months out of action, Tommaso attacked his former partner The Miz while Miz complained about his missed shot at Seth Rollins’ championship.

But why, Ciampa?! Why?!

Well, according to the man, Miz said not one word to him in nine months. Not even a single text message.

It’s not the greatest motivation but it’s enough.

Despite a brief comeback from Miz, Tommaso took this one pretty decisively.

I love WWE quickly blowing off something that never truly worked for me in Miz and Tommaso, which sets Tommaso on a new path. And he handled Miz in such a way that I can’t see the A-Lister going back for seconds.

Theme (It’s Party Time)

First off, never show that TikTok montage again. Ever. I know WWE is big on TikTok, not mad at that. But that’s valuable TV time they devoted to whatever that was.

But my sour feelings didn’t last long. Katana Chance & Kayden Carter got their first win on Raw after defeating Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville.

However, the match felt short. Like really short. Imagine how much longer the match goes without that TikTok montage.

Downtown Swinga ‘96

Indus Sheer wanted another round with Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander. And for a brief moment, it looked like they bit off a lot more than they wanted. Cedric & Shelton came in with a game plan. They struck hard, fast, and just assaulted the big men early.

But the story is no matter what they did, Veer & Sanga were too much. Way too much.

Eventually, the inevitable happened after a those fleeting hopeful moments.

I actually dug this. It showed Cedric & Shelton’s intelligence, teamwork, and skill. But it also showed Indus Sheer’s resilience and raw power.


Logan Paul, Social Media Megastar or Mr. Money in the Bank?

Logan announced his entry into the men’s MitB match, which summoned the cavalcade of wrestlers in the match. L.A. Knight deserves a championship because the man is over. If he doesn’t walk away with that briefcase, I want London to riot. L.A. had choice lines this week, which included the very apt diss about Logan making videos for 14 year-old girls and yet calls himself a megastar.

I really just wanted this time to talk about L.A. He’s on SmackDown so I rarely get the chance.


Really got into Matt Riddle vs. Ludvig Kaiser. For those who came in late, these two wrestled a grudge match on the strength of Matt putting Giovanna Vinci out of action a few weeks ago. Oh, and the fact GUNTHER disrespects Matthew just for living.

I liked the styles clash—no pun—a lot. Matt’s unorthodox while Ludvig plays things fairly straight. Those differences showed themselves during the match that Matt ultimately won, and I’m not opposed to seeing these two again.

Matt needed the win. No reason to believe he beats GUNTHER if he can’t get pass the underbosses. And to that point. GUNTHER & Ludvig issued the standard post match beatdown, complete with injuring Matt’s ankle. Apparently it’s a severe injury since two officials helped him and told him not to put any weight on said ankle. We’ll see how this plays out for a potential match with GUNTHER.


I don’t think Alpha Academy took the Viking Raiders lightly but they did disrespect them for a quick moment.

Chad Gable taught Maxxine a Vertical Suplex prior to the match. He wanted her prepared for Valhalla since he Maxxine caught her off guard last week.

So, of course, after introducing Chekov’s Suplex, we got the result during the very solid and fun tag match. Maxxine hit Valhalla with the Suplex and the crowd went wild. Chad congratulated his protege—and himself—and took his eyes off the match. The Viking Raiders took advantage and went home with the W because Alpha Academy celebrated too early.

As always, interested in whatever happens with Alpha Academy and where this goes. Especially now that Suplex Township ™ is a thing.

Made You Look

I want to believe Trish Stratus planned this. I believe she and Zoey Stark baited Becky Lynch and knew The Man might show up and put Trish into the women’s MitB match.

See, Trish had her hands quite full with Raquel Rodriguez. Raquel even rag dolled Trish a few times and just dominated her physically. Trish had her moments because she’s a vet and definitely used her quickness and experience when possible, but this seemed academic. So color me surprised when Trish won via DQ because Becky attacked Zoey and Trish during the match.

I can’t say I’m feeling Raquel’s reaction. Becky was rightly upset with herself but Raquel seemed relatively cool about the whole thing. Not saying she didn’t protest, but her reaction hardly fit the infraction. Becky cost her a spot in one of WWE’s most important matches; that calls for violence. Becky admitted she screwed herself with all these different enemies in an important match but she said nothing about screwing Raquel.

And that came right after Raquel vowed to win MitB and teach Rhea Ripley a lesson.

Hard Knock Life

And why did Raquel want to slap Rhea with a textbook? Because the Women’s World champ embarrassed Nattie once again. Nattie wanted the match because she’s unsure where she stands right now after the last time Rhea destroyed her in the ring. Nattie’s identity crisis put her back in Rhea’s crosshairs and the champ didn’t miss. It wasn’t even a match because the bell never rang. Rhea attacked immediately and left Nattie out cold.

This thing with Nattie has my attention and my curiosity. I hope it goes somewhere because there’s an interesting story there about a vet looking at the current landscape and wondering how they fit. Rhea represents the tippy top of the food chain. If Nattie can’t even get out the blocks against her, what does that mean for her career? (Potentially) good stuff there.


I’m running out of words for Bronson Reed. This thing between him, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Ricochet is a lot of fun. Bronson got a win over Shinsuke this week while Ricochet watched and yeah, impressive once again. Like I said, running out of words.

Soliloquy of Chaos

Six-man tags are always fun and always chaotic. So how did we get to this one? Dom issued a challenge to Cody Rhodes: Find two partners and let’s fight. Cody found Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, a man Sami believes suffers from rage, so a fight ensued.

The good guys won this exciting main event with Damian Priest taking the pinfall for his team. Dom needs to stay clean until he fights Cody and Finn has a championship match in a couple weeks, so Damian taking the L here makes sense. Plus, he can can withstand that in a match this insane with so many shenanigans.

Fun match that capped a pretty fun night of wrestling.

Yoke the Joker

I’m including this here because it practically jumped through my television and made an impression: Bron Breakker cut the best promo of his WWE career this week.

For those who don’t watch NXT, Bron carried that banner as the good guy champion for quite a while. He lost the championship this year and turned heel. He had trouble finding his footing on the mic as a face and even more so as a bad guy. But he killed it this week. He illustrated calm menace, didn’t sound cartoonish, and kept it short but sweet. Props to Bron for delivering this week. More of this and less of everything else.

Raw was on fire this week. Just an enjoyable show from top to bottom with good storytelling and good matches.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, it really is that simple.

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