6/26 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe, LaVar Ball and Lonzo Ball on Miz TV, the build for Great Balls of Fire continues

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Los Angeles, California at Staples Center

Raw opened with Roman Reigns making his entrance to more boos than cheers. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T were on commentary, and JoJo was the ring announcer. Cole recalled Reigns facing Samoa Joe when Braun Strowman’s return provided the distraction that led to Joe winning.

Reigns stood in the ring and listen to the fans as some chanted “We Want Strowman” and others what Will Pruett, who is in the building, thought was “Roman sucks.” Reigns told the fans that if they give him a minute, they may like what he had to say. Reigns accepted the Ambulance Match challenge that Strowman issued last week. Reigns said that he’s going to throw Strowman into the back of the ambulance, jump in the driver’s seat, and take him straight to hell (rural Wisconsin?) “because this is my yard.”

An ambulance siren interrupted Reigns. An ambulance backed its way onto the arena floor next to the stage. Reigns left the ring to investigate. Reigns opened the back doors to the ambulance. The fans roared and then Strowman attacked up and attacked Reigns. Strowman tossed Reigns onto the Raw stage and played to the crowd. Reigns threw uppercuts at Strowman, who nearly fell off the stage.

Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Strowman caught him and threw him into the side of the ambulance. Strowman tossed Reigns inside the back of the ambulance and closed the doors. Strowman patted the back of the ambulance. The sirens started up again and the ambulance drove off. Strowman went back to the stage and looked to the fans before raising his arms, mostly to cheers…

Cole hyped Brock Lesnar (cheered) and Samoa Joe for later in the show. Graves hyped Finn Balor and The Hardy Boyz vs. Elias Samson, Shemaus, and Cesaro for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A hot start to the show. The L.A. crowd is tougher than many on Reigns, which makes for a great atmosphere. Strowman tossing Reigns into the side of the ambulance was great. I’m surprised they showed Strowman throwing Roman inside the ambulance so easily. It will be interesting to see if this is turned into a No. 1 contenders match or if Reigns simply gets the SummerSlam title shot because he said so (oh, and it’s his yard). If you missed it, our own Will Pruett is at the show and so we have the results of the WWE Main Event taping available on the main page.

Cole touted that Raw had gone Hollywood as graphics played up that Raw was in Los Angeles. The broadcast team recapped the opening segment and put over Strowman’s strength as they recapped Reigns being tossed into the side of the ambulance…

[Q2] Elias Samson, Sheamus, and Cesaro sat on chairs under a spotlight in the ring. He noted that he’s normally a solo artist, but tonight he thought they would form a trio and give them the song the fans deserved. The Hardy Boyz music interrupted them, and Finn Balor made a separate entrance…

1. Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson, Sheamus, and Cesaro. The Hardys and Balor got off to a fast start. They worked over the tag champs, and then Samson tried to avoid Balor heading into a break. [C] Actor Josh Duhamel of the Transformers movie joined the broadcast team and pimped something called “The Buddy Games” and a show called “Unsolved” that is coming to USA Network. The heels were in control heading into another break. [C]

[Q3] Jeff Hardy was still selling coming out of the break. Footage aired of Sheamus kicking Jeff during the break (he kept his tooth this time). Jeff performed a Twist of Fate on Sheamus and made the tag to his brother, who then fought with Samson while a brief round of “Delete” chants broke out. Cesaro ran Matt through the ropes and into the post while the referee was distracted.

Cesaro and Sheamus performed a double team move and had Matt pinned, but Balor broke it up. Balor cleared the heels from the ring and then dove onto the tag champs. Balor performed a sling blade on Cesaro and then dropkicked him. Balor went up top for his finisher and remained perched there while the Hardys took care of the other men at ringside, then hit the Coup de Grace on Cesaro and pinned him…

Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Finn Balor beat Elias Samson, Sheamus, and Cesaro 17:30.

A “Shattered Dream Productions” video aired with Goldust asking if fans could feel and taste it. He said the Shattered Truth would hit Hollywood. He said he understood if viewers were a little nervous, but a true professional like him knows that the you must perform when the red light goes on. “You must shine like gold,” he said. “After all, it’s our grande finale and tonight, I’m putting the finishing touches on my masterpiece”…

Graves said Goldust vs. R-Truth was up next… A video aired for “free agent” John Cena’s return on the July 4 Smackdown… [C]

Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing match to go along with the crowd pleasing opening angle. Raw is off to a good start. Let’s see if they can maintain it.

[Q4] Goldust made his entrance. His personal cameraman was shown backing up in front of him was dressed in gold and had a gold camera. R-Truth headed to the ring and Goldust ducked behind the cameraman, then attacked Truth. Cole was quick to point out that the match had yet to officially start. Goldust went to the floor and pulled Truth into the post. Goldust stood on the second rope over Truth. Cole said Truth came out for a match, not an attack “by this sicko Goldust”…

Backstage, Charly Caruso told Paul Heyman that social media was on fire about Brock Lesnar appearing. Heyman said Staples Center is on fire because his client will be on Raw and will call out Samoa Joe for a fight. Joe showed up and put Heyman in Coquina Clutch position without applying the hold. Joe held on to Heyman, who said he’s just an advocate. Joe said the Coquina Clutch is meant for Lesnar, then released Heyman…

Graves hyped Miz TV with the Ball family. Graves said they were all there and would appear on Raw after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: How great would Rockstar Spud be as the personal cameraman for Goldust? Cross promotional fantasy booking aside, the Goldust and Truth segment was very brief considering all the promos, but perhaps there’s more to come. I’m still digging the return of throwback Goldust. Meanwhile, Joe was at his sociopathic best in toying with Heyman.

A “Did You Know?” bit touted Stephanie McMahon being named one of hte most powerful women in sports by Adweek. Cole noted that AdWeek mentioned Stephanie’s work with the women’s revolution in WWE…

Footage aired of the women’s segment from last week. Cole hyped a six-woman gauntlet match to determine the No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship. Backstage, Kurt Angle spun the hopper that contained the balls that would determine the order in the gauntlet match. Bayley drew her number and nodded…

The Miz and Maryse headed to the ring for the Miz TV segment. The in-ring set had “Big Baller” t-shirts set up for the Ball Family. Miz said he and Maryse have never been happier. She turned her head away when he tried to kiss her. Miz said his guest was the only celebrity who has been talked about as much as him for the last year.

Miz said just as he called his shot and regained the IC Championship, his guest willed his goal into existence at the NBA Draft on Thursday. Miz introduced LaVar Ball and his son LaMelo Ball. Colt noted that LaMelo scored 92 points in a high school game. Father LaVar took the mic and hyped up Big Baller, which drew more boos than anything.

[Q5] LaVar introduced his son Lonzo Bell, who was drafted by the Lakers with the second overall pick last Thursday. Lonzo said he was happy to be at Staples Center as a member of the Lakers for the first time. Miz hyped up LaVar saying his son would become a Laker and that he did.

Miz tried to push a Miz and Big Baller partnership. LaVar cut him off and said Miz was a little too low for everybody. Miz asked how many championships they’d won. LaVar said three. One of his sons said two. LaVar recalled saying that there are only “two dudes better than me and I’m both of them.” LaVar told LaMelo to handle his lightweight.

Miz mocked LaVar and removed his shirt. LaVar did the same. Dean Ambrose made his entrance wearing a Big Baller shirt. Ambrose said they wanted someone to represent the Big Baller brand heading into Great Balls of Fire. “And it has been said that ain’t nobody has bigger balls than Dean Ambrose, plus I like free t-shirts.” Ambrose’s music played while Cole hyped Ambrose, Heath Slater, and Rhyno vs. Miz and the Miztourage for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Did WWE pull the plug on that segment because LaVar was all over the place? It seemed to end awkwardly and abruptly, and Cole labeled it interesting. I assume this will get WWE some love from ESPN and no real harm was done aside from it being a painful viewing experience for this non-NBA fan (and probably for some NBA fans as well).

2. Dean Ambrose, Heath Slater, and Rhyno vs. The Miz (w/Maryse), Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas. The Ball Family was gone coning out of the break. Ambrose cleared Dallas and Axel to ringside, then Slater and Rhyno tossed Miz over the top rope and onto them heading into a break.

[Q6] [C] The heels took over during the break. Miz threw his kicks at Slater. Graves said they are now “It Kicks” rather than Yes Kicks. Late in the match, Axel caught Rhyno with a shot from the apron and then Dallas rolled up Rhyno and pinned him…

The Miz, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas beat Dean Ambrose, Heath Slater, and Rhyno in 12:20.

Powell’s POV: The show last momentum with the Miz TV segment and lost even more via that six-man tag match.

A shot aired of Paul Heyman pacing backstage while the broadcast team hyped Brock Lesnar’s appearance… Cole set up a video package that recapped Big Cass turning on Enzo Amore. They got a good shot of a tear following from Enzo’s eye during Cass’s promo on him…

A shot aired of Enzo Amore walking backstage and he received a favorable reaction. Cole said Enzo would appear live after the break… [C]

[Q7] Enzo Amore made his entrance and did his end of the entrance routine he did with Big Cass. The fans cheered for him. Enzo said the fans wanna know how he’s doing. He said he’s not doing too good. He said it’s not about him, it’s about the realest guys in the room. Enzo removed his jacket and had a Big Cass and Enzo Amore t-shirt.

Enzo said he’s tried to reach out to Cass all week and even spoke with his mother, but he still hasn’t spoken with Cass. He said he wanted to handle it behind the scenes, but now he doesn’t care how long he stays in the ring, he wanted to talk to Cass.

Big Cass made his entrance and received some boos. Cass wore a black t-shirt without any logos. Enzo asked Cass if he heard the reaction. Enzo said he knows it hurts Cass because he knows him better than anyone in the world. Enzo said the reaction hurts Cass, just like Cass hurt him. Enzo said Cass said a lot of hurtful things and he was even right about a lot of those things.

Enzo said he’s not the biggest guy in the world and he might have the biggest mouth and sometimes it bites off more than he can chew. Enzo said that was okay because he had Cass. He said they were family and Cass was his brother. Enzo said Cass broke his heart and nearly broke his face, but he’s his brother and it’s a bond he refuses to let him break. Enzo said forget wrestling and WWE, Cass is his brother in life.

Enzo said he saw passion when Cass spoke last week. He said the last time he saw that was when he woke up in a hospital following a pay-per-view (presumably the Vaudevillains match). Enzo said he has to focus on the future of his family and he refuses to let Cass break their bond before they become WWE Tag Champions.

Cass took the mic from Enzo. “Enzo, you just never know when to shut up, man,” Cass started. “But I have to be honest, after what I did last week, I have never been so ashamed in my life.” Cass said Enzo is loud, annoying, and constantly runs his mouth, but that’s him and he accepts him for who he is. Cass said they are brothers.

“In front of the world, I want to say to my brother, I’m sorry,” Cass said. “I’m sorry for everything I said, I’m sorry for everything I did, I’m sorry for the last five weeks. Please accept my apology. A “no” chant started. Cass held out his hand. Enzo told him off-mic that they have a future and are a family. Enzo shook his hand and then they hugged. Cass picked up the mic and said that if anyone thought they were going to throwaway a lifetime for this ordeal, then there was only one word to describe them. Cass led the crowd in the sawft bit. Cole said you have to give Cass credit.

Enzo and Cass left the ring together and headed to the stage and raised their arms. Cass turned and clotheslined Enzo. Cass asked the fans if they wanted Enzo and said they were going to get him. Cass picked up Enzo and tossed him down the entrance ramp. Cass headed backstage while two referees came out to check on Enzo…

A graphic hyped Seth Rollins as appearing next. The broadcast team laid out… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good segment. You can say that Enzo’s character came off as gullible, but I felt he came off as emotional and doing his best to salvage the friendship. The crowd was with Enzo and he delivered a good setup promo. Cass did a good job of seeming remorseful before attacking Enzo again. I enjoyed this more than last week’s turn.

[Q8] Cole noted that Sasha Banks was at the BET Awards and has been nominated for a Kid’s Choice Awards…

The broadcast team was talking when Big Cass showed up and confronted Graves. Cass said Kurt Angle said he couldn’t lay a finger on Graves. He questioned what dirt he had on Angle and assumed it must be good. Cass told Graves to stay out of his business, and then walked away. Graves turned the focus back to the show…

3. Seth Rollins vs. Curt Hawkins. Before the match, Hawkins polled the fans on whether they thought he would win or lose. “I guess we’ll just have to find out then, huh?” Hawkins concluded. Hawkins actually got out to a quick start. Rollins knocked him off the apron with a kick and then performed a suicide dive. Back inside the ring, Rollins performed a sling blade, a Blockbuster, and a springboard cross body. Rollins performed a superkick to a kneeling Hawkins and then finished him off with the knee to the head…

Seth Rollins pinned Curt Hawkins in 3:00.

After the match, Bray Wyatt appeared on the big screen and said that Rollins thinks his soul is clean because mankind has forgiven him for his transgressions. He said Rollins carries around a corporate flag and tells fans to be like no one, yet he blindly leads the ignorant to a place from where there is no return. Wyatt said he would save Rollins. Wyatt told Rollins to be careful what he wishes for because he’s inside his mind and is everywhere. Wyatt said July 9 will be the day of Seth’s reclamation. He told him to give into his true self or he will burn…

Backstage, Mickie James and Dana Brooke opened their gauntlet match numbers… Paul Heyman was shown standing outside a bus that was parked backstage. An SUV drove up and Heyman smiled. Lesnar emerged from the SUV… [C] An ad for Wednesday’s NXT TV hyped Asuka vs. Nikki Cross in a Last Woman Standing match for the NXT Women’s Championship…

[Q9] Kurt Angle shook his balls for Sasha, er, um, shook his gauntlet match number balls. She drew her number and smiled…

Paul Heyman was already in the ring when he was introduced by JoJo. Heyman said Samoa Joe doesn’t fear Lesnar and even pulled a cheap shot on Lesnar. Heyman said that he doesn’t fight anyone, but if he did he would do a cheap shot on someone backstage because he knows everyone would pull them apart quickly. He said that’s what Joe did twice when they brawled two weeks ago.

Heyman said now is the time to start to fear Lesnar. He said he hopes fans have enjoyed the anticipation, but now is when the bathroom break is over. He said this is the time to hit record because it’s the moment that everyone would be talking about tomorrow. Heyman introduced Lesnar and said he was calling out Joe for a fight.

Lesnar made his entrance to cheers and was hit from behind by Joe, who then applied the Coquina Clutch. Lesnar turned red, but eventually spun around and pushed Joe into the video wall twice. Joe threw knees at Lesnar and applied the hold while three referees came out and barked at them.

The Revival and Karl Anderson came out and pulled Joe off and to the back while the fans chanted “Let them fight.” Lesnar sold the hold by remaining on the ground and eventually getting back to one knee heading into the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: No one turns red quite like Brock Lesnar. This was another good segment with Joe and Lesnar as they showed that Brock would be vulnerable to the Coquina Clutch.

The broadcast team recapped the Lesnar and Joe angle. Cole said Lesnar was obviously having trouble breathing while in the hold. Graves said Lesnar was going glassy in the eyes and this could be what happens at Great Balls of Fire. Booker said he hasn’t seen fear like that in Lesnar’s eyes in a long time…

[Q10] 4. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Lince Dorado in a non-title match. Akira Tozawa was seated at ringside in a roped off VIP section set up by the Titus Brand. Cole said it’s actually Titus Worldwide, not the Titus Brand. Oh, goody. Neville won with the Rings of Saturn…

Neville defeated Lince Dorado in a non-title match in 3:00.

After the match, Tozawa entered the ring and rolled up his sleeves. Titus O’Neil came out with a mic and asked why they would fight for free when he just finalized a match between them at Great Balls of Fire.

Powell’s POV: Titus Worldwide had nothing on Prestige Worldwide. Yeah, that’s what was wrong with this storyline. Everything is great now that they changed the Titus Brand name! Ugh.

Backstage, Emma grabbed one of Angle’s two balls, er, picked one of the two remaining gauntlet match number balls… [C]

Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Paul Heyman for his reaction to what happened with Joe and Lesnar. Heyman said it proved everything he said about Samoans disliking Joe is true. He said they are a proud people trained from birth to take the fight to your face. He said Joe had to sneak up on Lesnar and apply it from behind. He conceded that if Joe applied the Coquina Clutch on Lesnar then there will be a Universal Champion, which he loves because he’s a promoter. Heyman said Lesnar’s back is up against the wall. He said it will be a down and dirty fight and Lesnar will finally take Joe to Suplex City. Heyman said Joe will wake up in the trainer’s room and say, “Dear God, is that what it’s like to fight The Beast? Goodness, gracious, great falls of fire”…

Powell’s POV: Leave it to Heyman to find a way to make the awful pay-per-view name work for him.

Backstage, Alexa Bliss approached Nia Jax and asked what number she drew. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” Jax replied. Bliss said they were alike. She said people have made assumptions about her because of how she looks. She said no one expected her to make it in WWE and even her own mother laughed at her. She said they are both judged and it’s not right. Bliss said that whether Jax goes out first or last or in between, she wanted her to know there’s not a single woman who could drag her down. Bliss wished her luck. Jax said she doesn’t need it and would see Bliss and the title at Great Balls of Fire. Cole said the gauntlet match was up next…

[Q11] [C] A teaser for John Cena’s return on July 4 aired again… Cole hyped WWE Ride Along for WWE Network after Raw…

5. Gauntlet match to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship. The first two entrants were Bayley and Nia Jax. Cole noted that temps reached 111 in Arizona. He said it would be even hotter when Raw arrived in Phoenix next week. Bayley performed a top rope elbow to the back of Jax’s head and covered her for a two count. Jax came back and pinned Bayley at 3:35 to eliminate her.

Mickie James was the third entrant and started to make her entrance as they went to a break. [C] James was given plenty of offense, but Jax pinned her at 10:00. Dana Brooke was the third entrant. Nia eliminated Brooke in 11:00 after a leg drop.

[Q12] Emma was the fourth entrant. Jax put Brooke away with a Samoan Drop in 12:20. The final entrant was Sasha Banks. Sasha performed a double knee press at ringside heading into a break at 14:10. [C] Jax picked up a two count after dropping an elbow on Sasha. Nia flashed a look of shock over Sasha kicking out. Jax tossed Sasha to ringside. Jax dominated the next couple of minutes and rolled Sasha to the floor again and was willing to accept the count-out win, but Sasha returned to the ring.

[Overrun] Jax applied a bearhug and ended up slamming Sasha to the mat. Jax went for a suplex. Sasha slipped out and tried to roll up Jax, who dropped down only to have Sasha move. Sasha caught Jax with a running knee to the head. Both women stayed down for a bit. Sasha used the ropes to pull herself up. Sasha caught Jax in a standing Bank Statement, but Jax tossed her aside and then performed a Samoan Drop. Jax tried to grab Sasha, who kicked her.

Jax powered up Sahsa for a Samoan Drop, but Jax caught her in a modified Bank Statement. Jax dropped to her knees and Sasha held the hold. Jax tapped out to give Sasha the win…

Sasha Banks won a gauntlet match in 28:25 to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship.

After the match, Kurt Angle’s music played and he came out and raised the hand of Sasha Banks. Alexa Bliss made her entrance wearing the Raw Women’s Championship while Cole hyped Bliss vs. Banks for Great Balls of Fire. Once in the ring, Bliss held up the title belt. Sasha dropkicked her. Bliss went to ringside and Sasha held up the championship. Sasha teased letting Bliss take the title belt and pulled it away. She did it a second time and this time allowed the referee to give it back. Angle raised Sasha’s arm again. Sasha jawed at Bliss, who remained at ringside to close the show…

Powell’s POV: I did not expect the women to be in the main event segment. In fact, if you had told me beforehand that this was the plan I would have felt that the Raw women were too cold to put in that slot, and perhaps that’s why they didn’t hype this as the show’s main event. However, it worked out really well in that it showcased Sasha Banks and her title match with Bliss really well. Nia Jax gained something from this also by going bell to bell, as she has the obvious out of going through four other women before Sasha even had to enter the match. Overall, this was a good show with strong hype for the women’s title match, Lesnar vs. Joe, and Strowman vs. Reigns at Great Balls of Fire. I will be back late tonight with my All Access audio review of WWE Raw at PWAudio.net.

Join us for live coverage of both NJPW in California events on Saturday and Sunday, as well as live coverage of Impact Wrestling Slammiversary on Sunday.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. Gee the same site that had anal retentive self-righteous “OH MY GOD I’M OFFENDED AND NEED A SAFE PLACE” writers getting their panties in a wad with the womens money in the bank match saying the way it ended surely was an example of “sexism” has a writer saying things referring to women grabbing Angles’ balls.
    Liberal hypocrisy at its finest.

    • In all fairness, Powell isn’t as bad as the worthless shits Pruett and Lavalle. He hasn’t said a word about sexism and gave WWE the benefit of the doubt for the PPV match ending.

      You definitely won’t see any praise for this from the two SJW asshats though.

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