Monday Night Raw
Date: June 18, 2019 (AUS)
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
It’s the go home show for Stomping Grounds and egads they need to come up with something to bring some fire to the show. There are all kinds of tickets still available and while you could come up with a variety of reasons why, the biggest problem is the show doesn’t feel interesting. Maybe they can pick things up a bit tonight, but I wouldn’t get too excited. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Elias to open things up. He talks about being friends with Anthony Davis (basketball star recently traded to the Lakers), who came here because he needed to surround himself with trash. With that out of the way though, Elias reveals that he is the referee for Sunday’s Baron Corbin vs. Seth Rollins Universal Title match. Cue Rollins to chair Elias down and say that whoever chooses to be the referee (So it’s not Elias?) will be answering to the chair.
The announcers make it clear that Elias, as well as Sami Zayn from last week, are having second thoughts.
The Miz vs. Ricochet vs. Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Cesaro
Elimination match with the winner getting to face Samoa Joe for the US Title on Sunday. Since Elias is still in the ring, everyone hits something on him during their entrances. I get what they’re going for here with giving the fans something fun to start the show, but what is the motivation for everyone to beat him up? It’s another good example of doing something because the script tells you to and that’s not a smart move for anyone. Samoa Joe is at ringside to watch as well.
The match starts after a break with Strowman cleaning house until Cesaro manages to hit his reverse Angle Slam. That earns him a powerslam from Strowman, who then powerslams Lashley onto Cesaro to get rid of the latter at 1:18. Another powerslam gets rid of Lashley at 2:21. Strowman runs over Ricochet and Miz on the floor before throwing Miz back inside. Hang on though as Lashley spears Strowman and Cesaro adds a Neutralizer, setting up the 630 for a triple pin to get rid of Strowman at 4:21.
Strowman isn’t done either and throws Ricochet onto the two of them before driving Cesaro into the set. Back from a break with Ricochet hurricanranaing Miz to the floor, setting up a flip dive. Back in and Ricochet counters the Skull Crushing Finale with a rollup for two but Miz drops him on his head with a DDT. The YES Kicks keep Ricochet in trouble but Miz gets smart by going for the knee. The Figure Four goes on until Ricochet turns it over, only to have Miz do the same until a rope is grabbed. Ricochet kicks him down and stumbles up to the top for the 630 and the pin at 14:21.
Rating: C-. This was all over the place with the first three eliminations being just a means to get us to the final showdown. Ricochet winning is the right call as he has won a few matches against Cesaro in the last few weeks. It’s a smart move to build up someone for a change, especially when you use the same methods that have always worked in wrestling and always will.
Post match Samoa Joe comes after Ricochet, who knocks him to the floor for a running flip dive.
Here’s Becky Lynch for a chat. She gets straight to the point and calls out Lacey Evans, who comes out without much trouble. Evans talks about how jealous Becky is of her and how many things she’s done that Becky can never dream of. She’s a former United States Marine who can run boot camp in the morning and a cotillion at night. Lynch just wants to fight while Evans talks about how the women’s division needs a real woman as champion. Becky is beatable, but Lacey spends too much time getting in the ring and gets caught in the Bexploder. Becky steals her hat. More of the same from these two, though that’s not terrible.
The Revival, dressed rather nicely this week, joins Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre’s celebration.
Corbin says he still needs to find his referee and will announce it tonight on the Kevin and Sami Show. Rollins hits him in the back with a chair.
Here are Daniel Bryan and Rowan to insult the people of Los Angeles. This is the capital of smog and full of stupid and impotent people. Tonight though they are going to excite the audience, which means here are the Viking Raiders. Uh….ok.
Viking Raiders vs. Russ Taylor/Randy Taylor
So that’s what Randy did after Home Improvement. The beating is on in a hurry with the Viking Experience finishing Russ at 34 seconds.
R-Truth and Carmella are in disguise in the crowd but they get caught in a hurry. The mob comes out and chases Truth under the ring…..where Titus O’Neil is hiding? The distraction lets Truth and Carmella escape.
Heath Slater comes in to see Shane and company where he asks for a raise. That’s a big no so Slater goes into the hall to call his wife. Drew follows and the beating is on and Dawson takes Slater’s wallet.
It’s time for the Kevin and Sami Show, with Kevin yelling at their graphics guy. Owens brings out the guest, which is of course Baron Corbin. Sami calls this a safe space but pulls himself out of the running to be guest referee on Sunday. Owens does the same but now we get to find out who the referee will be. That would be someone born to count 1-2-3: EC3. As EC3 comes to the ring, Rollins chairs him down as well. Baron says it’s back to the drawing board but here’s New Day to interrupt.
Sami says that they’re not invited, nor are they official Wild Cards (so that’s their answer this week) but since Kofi is champion, he goes wherever he wants. Owens says Kofi isn’t going to be champion again after Sunday and even if he is, Owens will take the title from him the next chance he gets. Kofi promises to retain on Sunday but as for tonight, Corbin wants a six man tag. New Day is down and picks up EC3 to referee, with Big E. and Woods shaking him up and down to nod yes.
We go to the trainer’s room where AJ Styles is cleared to return. Hang on though as the Good Brothers come in. AJ says they debuted three years ago right here in the Staples Center when they jumped the Usos. They’ve had some classics, but AJ thinks they’ve gotten comfortable. When is the last time they won a match? The doctors’ coats come off and things get serious.
New Day vs. Baron Corbin/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens
This is now 2/3 falls and it’s Zayn/Owens vs. Big E./Woods on Sunday. Woods gets taken into the wrong corner to start and the stomping is on. Corbin comes in and mocks the clap before hitting a running right hand to the head. An enziguri drops Corbin but Owens is right there to break up the tag. That earns him raised knees to block the backsplash so Sami breaks up another tag attempt. A quick rollup gives Woods the first fall at 4:41 and we take a break.
Back with Big E. in trouble in the corner and Woods and Kofi down on the floor. Big E. tries to fight out but gets superkicked down for two instead. The villains take turns beating on Big E. until Owens gets sent into the post. A belly to belly plants Owens and the hot tag brings in Kingston to beat up Corbin. Kofi’s dropkick into a high crossbody gets two and there’s the Boom Drop. Deep Six cuts Kofi off but Owens and Corbin get in an argument with Owens giving him a superkick. Zayn and Owens leave and it’s Trouble in Paradise to give New Day the 2-0 win at 12:15.
Rating: C. Well that was a bad idea. Corbin is already a weak challenger for the Universal Title and now he’s getting his head kicked off to lose a fall six days before the title shot. I’m not sure what the point was in having this be 2/3 falls but I’m sure just sticking a gimmick onto the match makes it better.
Alexa Bliss brings Nikki Cross a gift: a Women’s Tag Team Title shot against the IIconics. Nikki is thrilled and Alexa slips in a few lines about Bayley causing drama.
Here’s Paul Heyman for a chat. He isn’t that comfortable tonight because Seth Rollins is running around with a chair. Heyman will NOT be guest referee on Sunday because he doesn’t want to get beaten up with a chair. This morning, he thought of something: what do Rollins and the Los Angeles Lakers have in common? They’ve both traded away their balls.
The Lakers traded away their (Lonzo) Ball so LeBron James can have a playmate when he loses again. Rollins traded his balls for a chair so he can fight Brock Lesnar. Heyman threatens Rollins with a cash-in either tonight, Sunday, or any night for that matter. More of the same from Heyman, who seems like a waste of time at this point.
Corbin offers Eric Young the referee job and leaves. Rollins comes in to say he’s turning the job down because he doesn’t look good in stripes. They’re friends (Have they ever been together on TV before?) but Rollins destroys him anyway.
The Usos are ready for the Good Brothers.
Usos vs. Good Brothers
The Brothers waste no time with the Boot Of Doom getting two on Jimmy. The chinlock goes on for a bit but Anderson stops for a Too Sweet. Jey breaks up the Magic Killer with a superkick and it’s another superkick into a double superkick to finish Gallows at 2:40. This feels like the beginning of the traditional losing streak to get rid of someone.
AJ isn’t happy in the back.
Hulk Hogan of all people praises the US Women’s soccer team. There’s your random segment of the week.
Here’s Roman Reigns, who isn’t happy with having to see a video of his loss to Shane McMahon at Super ShowDown. He wants to beat someone up tonight so Shane can come out here and fight. Shane pops up on screen to say no because Reigns needs to worry about McIntyre on Sunday. Drew promises to beat Roman up on Sunday until it becomes very uncomfortable. Maybe he’ll pin Reigns then, but it won’t be over until Reigns is physically disfigured.
He wants Reigns’ children to scream at the sight of him and that’s enough for Reigns to come through the crowd and head after him. Reigns beats up the Revival and puts Drew through the table before chasing Shane into the arena. A diving clothesline over the barricade drops Shane and it’s the Superman Punch into the spear. Reigns tells him to tell Drew he’s getting beaten up on Sunday. Somehow, this is still all about Shane.
Bayley says there is no truth to the rumors that she wouldn’t take a picture with a fan in a Nikki Cross shirt. Naomi and Natalya aren’t so convinced.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: IIconics vs. Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss
The IIconics are defending but before the match they say they can’t believe they’re having to defend against these two. Billie laughs at LeBron James for not being able to win with the Lakers (because there are NO OTHER sports in Los Angeles). We get Big Match Intros and Bayley comes out to watch. Alexa slaps Billie to start and sends her face first into the middle buckle.
Peyton comes in and a trip lets the champs pose on Bliss. It’s off to Cross for an armdrag and a rollup for two of her own. Nikki has to fight out of the corner but Bliss gets knocked off the apron and into a fight with Bayley. The distraction lets Billie roll Cross up to retain at 3:31.
Rating: D. Just a way to build towards Bliss vs. Bayley, which needs a bit more help. Bliss being involved in multiple stories at the same time is interesting, but at this point Bayley has to win, just to exorcise some of the demons of her earlier career. Oh and one more thing: there were five people involved in this segment. Three of them have titles. That’s a bit much.
Stomping Grounds rundown.
Cross wants Bliss to win on Sunday and will be in here corner.
It’s time for the Firefly Fun House. Bray is watering his plants, which he says is just like our minds. If you water them and give them care, they can grow. Some ideas are just full of worms though and that’s not good. Some kids have been told bad ideas, like the earth being round or dinosaurs being extinct. Bray knows what it feels like to not belong or to be different.
That’s why he built this place for us, so they can all be together. We see all the puppets looking at him as Bray gets more sinister and tells everyone to join him here. People worship what they fear and fear is power. Follow the leader. The video starts breaking up and we see various clips from the series’ history, including the Muscle Man Dance, all with the words LET HIM IN flashing on the screen and voices singing “Follow the Leader” as the Fiend appears. Let him in. So is this all in Bray’s mind or some way for him to deal with his psychosis?
Daniel Bryan rants about how he’s a better wrestler than Rollins because Seth can’t have his chair all the time. Rollins has never beaten him and that won’t change tonight.
We recap tonight’s referee chronicles.
Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan
Non-title and Rowan is in Bryan’s corner. Bryan tries to wrestle to start but gets knocked to the floor for the suicide dives. Rowan catches one though and it’s a claw slam onto the apron for the DQ at 1:28.
Post match the beatdown is on but New Day, Owens, Zayn and the Revival all run in for the brawl. The Usos come in as well and the bad guys are sent to the floor for the big dives from the Usos.
Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan
Still non-title and restarted after a break with everyone banned from ringside. Bryan backdrops him to the floor to start with Rollins landing hard. Back in and Bryan hits a running dropkick in the corner but a second attempt is cut off by a hard clothesline. The threat of a Sling Blade sends Bryan outside, followed by another slugout. Rollins’ enziguri is countered into an ankle lock, followed by a German suplex to send Seth outside.
A running knee off the apron has Rollins in more trouble. Back in and Rollins hits the superplex but the Falcon Arrow is countered into the LeBell Lock. That’s broken up with a rope grab but the running knee is countered into a buckle bomb. The low superkick gets two but Bryan pulls him into the LeBell Lock again. This time it’s reversed into a cradle for two, followed by the Stomp to finish Bryan at 8:02.
Rating: B-. They didn’t have much time to do anything here and that’s fine. What matters most here though is Rollins winning and the fact that they didn’t go with the minute and a half version of the match from earlier. This wasn’t anything great, but it was the best match of the night, even in such a short form.
Post match Corbin chairs Rollins from behind and beats him down with the chair (including a shot that seemed to catch Rollins in the head). Corbin poses with the title to end the show. No announcement on the referee.
Overall Rating: C. The main thing here was the energy. The last several shows have felt so lethargic and it’s been killing anything that might have been good about them. However, the energy doesn’t make up for the big problem that Sunday’s show faces: it’s still a possible Baron Corbin main event and there’s no way around that. I know they can’t have this kind of energy every week, but having something a little more interesting in the main event scene would do wonders for them week to week.
Oh and this week’s Wild Card:
And those are just the ones I counted, meaning there could have been more in the mob chasing R-Truth. Even if you factor out New Day (designated as non-Wild Cards yet they show up and have a match anyway), Shane (because him being listed as a Smackdown star doesn’t count because reasons), Rowan (because two man tag teams are one person) and R-Truth (fair enough, even though he’s still a Smackdown guy), you have five people. The fact that they needed excuses for SIX people to get it down to five shows you that the Wild Card Rule is being phased out for the sake of everyone being on the show. Fine, but hide it better.
Ricochet b. The Miz, Braun Strowman, Cesaro and Bobby Lashley – 630 to Miz
Viking Raiders b. Russ Taylor/Randy Taylor – Viking Experience to Russ
New Day b. Baron Corbin/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens – Trouble in Paradise to Corbin
Usos b. Good Brothers – Double superkick to Gallows
IIconics b. Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss – Rollup to Cross
Seth Rollins b. Daniel Bryan via DQ when Rowan interfered
Seth Rollins b. Daniel Bryan – Stomp
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