PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
LOS ANGELES, CA. AT THE STAPLES CENTER
JUNE 17, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
LAST WEEK’S RAW RATING: 1.54 (.18 DECREASE FROM PREVIOUS WEEK)
Arena, Items Advertised by WWE, and Show Start Time
WWE Raw returns to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. just seven months after Survivor Series weekend in which we experienced NXT Takeover Wargames, Survivor Series itself, Raw, and Smackdown. Typically, WWE will stay in the same arena or at least the same “vicinity” around one of the “big four” weekends. I look back fondly on that weekend as I was in attendance for Survivor Series, the first PPV I ever attended in my time as a fan of WWE.
We are less than a week away from Stomping Grounds as we get ready for WWE’s next PPV event. We already know of the following matches and will most certainly get the final build-up to most:
(Raw) Seth Rollins defends the Universal Championship against Baron Corbin in a rematch from Super Showdown.
(Raw) Becky Lynch defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Lacey Evans in a rematch from Money in the Bank.
(Cross-brand) Roman Reigns (Smackdown) takes on Drew McIntyre (Raw).
(Cross-brand) Bayley defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Raw’s Alexa Bliss.
(Smackdown) Kofi Kingston defends the WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler in a rematch from Super Showdown
(205Live) Tony Nese defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against an opponent TBD.
The arena’s website shows a start time of 4:30 p.m but doesn’t specify when doors open, although you could expect that to happen around 3:00. There are three matches advertised:
Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (unlikely to happen as this is planned for Stomping Grounds)
Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans in a Street Fight (possible for the house)
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre & Shane McMahon in a handicap match. (I’m surprised this isn’t on tap for Stomping Grounds. Watch this happen at Extreme Rules.)
Here’s what advertised for Raw as of this writing according to WWE.com. Look for amendments and additions later in the day as we get closer to the show:
Matches & Segments:
Who will don the stripes for Rollins vs. Corbin at WWE Stomping Grounds?
Fatal Five-Way Match to determine Samoa Joe’s U.S. Title challenger at WWE Stomping Grounds
Daniel Bryan is a Wild Card
Crate expectations for R-Truth
“Top Guys” once again
Could a Woman’s Right bring us “Becky No Belts?”
Corbin to Name Special Guest Referee
We learned last week that as a result of Baron Corbin’s amazing negotiating skills, he gets to choose the special guest referee for his match challenging Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship coming up at Stomping Grounds.
Sami Zayn inserted himself into the mix with Corbin and acted as a special outside enforcer in the main event match between Kevin Owens (appearing via the wild card) and Rollins. Rollins and Owens have gone numerous times through the years during Owens’ time as Universal Champion from late 2016-early 2017 and Rollins’ time as Intercontinental Champion last year. Nonetheless last week’s match ended in Owens winning via DQ when Sami interfered with Rollins after hitting his curb stomp, and Rollins grabbing Sami’s ref jersey.
Following the match Rollins would foil Corbin and Sami’s attack on him, and Rollins would attack Sami viciously with a chair. All was well though with Sami as he appeared on Smackdown via the wild card the following night, participating in a six-man tag match with Owens and Dolph Ziggler and losing to a reunited New Day.
I don’t know why I think this is relevant, but here’s a WWE.com exclusive with Owens a few weeks ago recounting his 2017 loss of the Universal Championship to Goldberg:
With the wild card rule in place, you never know who can show up where and Owens is certainly in play as a referee. We’ll see what happens tonight as Corbin makes his decision
Frank’s Analysis: It’s likely them talking to Owens has nothing to do with the Universal title situation, but they have had him talk about it in drips and drabs over the past year. I remember him mentioning on the Kevin Owens Show last year that he hasn’t been the same since losing that title. Now he does the interview. It could mean nothing, as consistency isn’t really in WWE’s vocabulary, but it’s something to think about. I’m between him and Sami being the referee at Stomping Grounds if I had to bet money.
Fatal Five Way to Determine #1 Contender for U.S. Championship: Braun Strowman vs. Miz vs. Cesaro vs. Ricochet vs. Bobby Lashley
Last week on Raw, U.S. Champion Samoa Joe was a guest of the Miz on MizTV. We thought the discussion would be in regard to the title picture. Instead Miz called out Joe for attacking Rey Mysterio after he did the right thing, surrendering the title back to Joe as a result of his injury. They eventually got into each other’s face when Joe said if we’re going to talk about crossing lines, why don’t we talk about Miz’s family.
Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Ricochet, and Cesaro would one-by-one make their way out and that led to a six-man tag match. Miz & Ricochet & Strowman defeated Cesaro & Lashley & Joe in around 14 minutes. There was a scary moment in the finish when Ricochet hit his signature 630 Splash but landed on Cesaro’s knee. Here’s WWE’s YouTube clip of that match in case you missed it:
There was speculation via multiple reports that Cesaro was injured, but that doesn’t appear to be the case at the moment as he’s advertised for tonight. We get a fatal five-way match to determine the #1 contender for the U.S. Championship with everyone involved in last week’s match obviously with the exception of Joe, who will defend the title against the winner at Stomping Grounds. I’m not sure if there’s anything to read into this, but Cesaro put out this tweet showing a picture of him pressing up Miz in the battle royal:
Clean a(nd) Jerk pic.twitter.com/bUO7worJZN
— Cesaro (@WWECesaro) June 8, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: Unlike 2012, they have done a real nice job turning Miz babyface. They’ve made him likable, especially when it comes to defending his family. Joe continues to be the best heel promo in WWE and dare I say the business. He gets real heat with his words and actions, which is something of a rarity in today’s WWE. As far as this match, anything is on the table. I suppose I’ll take Miz, given his exchange with Joe on MizTV last week. It wouldn’t shock me if Braun won. If they want to extend Joe’s run, Strowman would be a good opponent as they could pull shenanigans to have him keep the title. Ricochet is less likely but not unlikely. I’d be shocked if Lashley won or Cesaro won, although Cesaro would be more likely of the two. Having some king of screwy ending leading to a six-pack match at Stomping Grounds isn’t off the table either. I’ll pick Miz though as I said earlier.
Wild Card Daniel Bryan
Last week on Smackdown, Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan appeared seemingly to take on the Yolo County Tag Team Champions. Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) would appear and called out Bryan & Rowan for ducking them, and their claim was that if they got a title shot, they would become champions. Bryan suggested they take on the vaunted duo of the Yolo tag champions. You guessed it, Machinery accepted and defeated them in about two minutes.
Here’s an argument between Bryan & Rowan and Heavy Machinery a few weeks ago in a WWE.com exclusive:
According to WWE.com, Bryan has been “chosen” to be one of the four wild card wrestlers to appear on Raw tonight. The last time Bryan was in this building was the Smackdown following Survivor Series in which he was the WWE Champion taking on then-Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
Frank’s Analysis: Everyone should grab a friend, make cardboard tag team title belts, buy a ticket to a WWE event, and try to get a segment as their local county tag team champions. For me it would be Nassau County. What’s your’s? As far as Bryan appearing tonight, I have no idea what the reasoning could be. Perhaps he tries to become the referee for the Corbin-Rollins match and proclaims himself the Planet’s Referee?
R-Truth’s Crate Adventure
Last week on Smackdown, 24/7 Champion R-Truth continued his quest to keep his title and duck basically the entire WWE undercard talent. With the help of Carmella, he locked himself in a blue crate. Carmella went to have her match but assured she would be back to help Truth get out. Jinder Mahal happened to arrive soon thereafter, and with Truth yelling he imitated Carmella and said he would get a crowbar. Later on, he arrived with a referee and a crowbar, but the box was gone. He asked a guy driving a forklift where the crate was, to which he said it was on its way to L.A. for tonight’s Raw.
Here was Truth asking for help, tweeting from his iPhone which apparently maintained its charge from Smackdown:
Help, help, With a Capital HELP!!! Somebody tell’em my phone is about to die! I’m trapped in a blue box, and it’s headed to LA for Monday Night Raw! #Help #Thatzendurance #Raw #SDLive #DanceBreak #247champ #itsme #saveme #hardtobreathinhereyall pic.twitter.com/xZobdnfqiG
— WWE R-Truth (@RonKillings) June 12, 2019
The good news is, he apparently got free:
It looks like someone found a way to help @RonKillings escape the crate and find his way back to @CarmellaWWE in time for #WWEDenver! Will someone find @RonKillings and become the NEW #247Champion? pic.twitter.com/P0dfZ6Vasp
— WWE (@WWE) June 16, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: Thankfully that camera was in the right place at the right time for Carmella to discover that Truth is fine. What’s the over/under on when she’ll turn on Truth and pin him for the title?
“Revived” as Raw Tag Team Champions
Last week on Raw, it was originally advertised that Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder would defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against the Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder), the team from whom Hawkins & Ryder took the titles on the WrestleMania kickoff show. As we got closer to the show, WWE announced that the Usos were added to the match to make it a triple threat.
The Revival would win the match to regain the Raw titles and begin their second reign. In a WWE.com exclusive, “Best in the World” Shane McMahon congratulated them, and they talked to Kayla Braxton:
It appears the Revival and Shane McMahon are developing a relationship, something we’ll apparently see unfold a bit more tonight as Revival gets their second championship reign underway.
Frank’s Analysis: I wish the WWE.com exclusive interviews would be aired on TV because they feel much more real and authentic. You can tell the Revival are excited to become champions again and I appreciate them saying how much it means to them. I like how Scott reiterated that they talked earlier in the night about winning the titles. I just don’t know if it will translate to more emphasis on the Raw tag division or the Revival being made to feel more special. Their association with Shane could be good, but it’s hard to judge this early on. By the way, what happened to the Viking Raiders who defeated Hawkins & Ryder in a non-title match when they were champs a few weeks ago? How come they never got a title shot? I’m sure they deserve the “experience” of a tag team title match.
The Lady Wants the Man to Have No Belts
The ongoing saga between Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Lacey Evans continues as they get ready for their match at Stomping Grounds. Last week, they did a split interview in which Lacey claimed she wanted Becky who had recently been Becky “Two Belts” to become Becky “No Belts.” Later in the evening, Lacey teamed with Alexa Bliss to take on Becky and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley (appearing via the wild card) in a previously unadvertised match. Lacey and Alexa won when Lacey pinned Bayley after hitting the Woman’s Right.
You have to have some Twitter chatter, otherwise it’s not my primer:
Bigger. Stronger. Fresh out the gate and Blonde. Now gimme that title…..ya nasty. #NoMoreNasties #TheDeservingOne #TheFaceOfWWE #ClassyChampion https://t.co/E0HAu4Pewf
— Lacey Evans ~ WWE Superstar (@LaceyEvansWWE) June 11, 2019
Surprisingly, Becky has been quiet on Twitter this past week in regard to Lacey. They do their final build tonight on Raw.
Frank’s Analysis: You expect Becky to retain the title, but I’m not sure that does anything for her. It’s not like she’s beating anybody that’s won anything or established a track record. In addition, she’s been defined down by dropping one of the titles as soon as she did, which could have been avoided if they just left the WrestleMania match alone and have just the Raw title on the line. I don’t understand what they think they were accomplishing by having Becky take both titles only to lose one in a month. It makes no sense. As far as Lacey goes, she doesn’t get hurt by losing to Becky, but she’ll need to get wins to get re-established following this program if it ends which you would think it would.
Not Advertised for Follow Up
Lars Sullivan, appearing on Raw via the wild card, defeated Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Kalisto, and Lince Dorado.
Paul Heyman reminded us that his client, Money in the Bank holder Brock Lesnar, could show up at any time and take the Universal Championship from Seth Rollins.
Women’s Tag Team Champions The Iiconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) defeated local jobbers.
Bray Wyatt smashed Ramblin’ Rabbit in the Firefly Funhouse because RR was about to expose what “really goes on” in the house. He then showed us Ramblin’ Rabbit Bohemian Spread. Is RR really a cat and have like nine lives or something? I thought Mercy the Buzzard ate him up before.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.