Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: The night after Money in the Bank with MITB winner Braun Strowman, new Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, the road to Extreme Rules begins

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on June 18, 2018 from Grand Rapids, Michigan at Van Andel Arena

[Hour One] Raw opened with a series of still shots that recapped the WWE Money in the Bank event… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman were on commentary…

Raw general manager Kurt Angle stood in the ring and had both Money in the Bank briefcases set up on a table behind him. He boasted that Raw wrestlers won both of the MITB matches. Angle introduced new Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss.

Bliss acted humble while thanking everyone for the opportunity. A “you deserve it” chant broke out. “The opportunity to rub it in all of your faces.” The fans chanted for Ronda Rousey. Bliss said she beat bullies Rousey and Nia Jax. She said it’s all about her now.

Ronda Rousey made her entrance and walked with purpose as she headed to the ring. Angle was there to hold her back. Bliss asked if Rousey came out to show the bruises and welts from the MITB briefcase. She also accused Rousey of not knowing the difference between UFC and WWE. She said what she did was 100 percent legal (it was except for causing the disqualification).

Bliss said Rousey seemed to be seconds away from winning the gold, but now we’ll never know for sure. Bliss said Rousey couldn’t stand the fact that the headlines weren’t about her. “Because I’m the Raw Women’s Champion and you are, I’ll say it, irrelevant,” Bliss said. She told Rousey to get to the back of the line for a title shot and called her and overhyped rookie.

Rousey got around Angle and took Bliss down. Angle tried to get involved, but Rousey tossed him to the ground. Bliss tried to hit her with a briefcase, but Rousey punched her and then took the briefcase and hit her with it repeatedly. Angle got up and Rousey hit him with the briefcase repeatedly and drew some scattered boos. Several referees ran out and she got physical with them too.

Coachman said he could understand Rousey going after Bliss, but said she went after Angle and the referees for no reason. Rousey picked up Bliss and powerbombed her through the table that the MITB briefcases were on. Rousey left the ring and was cheered. Angle followed her up the ramp and tried to talk to her, but Rousey blew him off and headed backstage. The broadcast team narrated the highlights of the segment…

Backstage, Rousey told Angle that she’s sick of him and everyone else telling her that it’s WWE and not UFC. Angle said she doesn’t get it. He said she left him no choice but to suspend her for 30 days. Angle said she may have ruined her chance to ever being Raw Women’s Champion. Angle told her to get her things and go. “You sound real sorry,” Rousey barked before storming away… [C]

Powell’s POV: Alexa is really good, but we’ve seen the humble swerve one too many times from her. The crowd had fun with her, but they didn’t really react to that part of it. I guess WWE really wants to play up the Rousey is a sore loser. Going crazy on Bliss was logical and even taking Angle down in the heat of the moment was fine, but they seemed to confuse the crowd by having her beat Angle with the briefcase repeatedly. I assume the idea is to write her off television for the next month, which also means she’ll be off the Extreme Rules event.

The broadcast team recapped the segment with Graves and Coachman both saying Rousey went too far…

Backstage, Renee Young asked Rousey about her suspension. Rousey said it’s fine that she’ll be gone for 30 days, but then she’ll be back to tear out Bliss’s pink hair…

WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins came out for a promo. He said Elias took him to the limit and he loved it, but he’s still the IC Champ. A loud “Burn it down” chant started. Rollins said he’s a fighting champion and said he would have an open challenge on the spot. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came out and the broadcast team wondered which one of them would challenge Rollins. McIntyre motioned for Ziggler to take the match…

1. Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) for the Intercontinental Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Ziggler avoided the Stomp seconds after the bell rang. Ziggler rolled to ringside and they cut to a commercial break. [C] They took another break after some back and forth action. [C]

Rollins missed a Stomp and then Ziggler kicked the knee he’d been selling and hit a Fameasser for a two count. Rollins came back with a superkick that knocked Ziggler to his knees. Rollins followed that with another superkick for a two count. Ziggler avoided a frogsplash. Rollins rolled through a cross body attempt and then powered up Ziggler and performed a buckle bomb. McIntyre climbed onto the apron. Ziggler rolled him up for a two count. Rollins rolled up Ziggler, who rolled through and held the tights while getting the win…

Dolph Ziggler defeated Seth Rollins in 18:40 to win the Intercontinental Championship.

After the match, Rollins took offense to Ziggler gloating. Ziggler and McIntyre hit their Claymore Kick and Zigzag finisher on him and left him lying… [C]

Powell’s POV: A very good match with a surprising finish. I’d be a lot more excited if McIntyre had won the IC Title, but hopefully this means that he and Ziggler will be singles wrestlers rather than a tag team. I can’t say that Ziggler winning the IC Title does anything for me. The question is whether the company can use this to breathe life into his stale act. Only time will tell. I’m surprised they didn’t just go with Elias on Sunday if they wanted to go with a title change, but let’s see where this goes. Ideally, this will move Rollins into the WWE Universal Championship picture soon. By the way, I must have missed it in the opening segment, but WWE has announced Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship for Extreme Rules.

The broadcast tea recapped the title change and showed shocked fan reactions…

Backstage, Young interviewed Ziggler and McIntyre. Ziggler said Monday Night Rollins is officially cancelled. He said you can cry online and write a blog about it, but there won’t be a reboot. “This is our show now,” Ziggler said. McIntyre said it’s the first of many more titles to come. Ziggler said there’s a difference between everyone else and the two of them and that’s when they say something, they mean it…

Powell’s POV: McIntyre and Ziggler were positioned as a tag team prior to tonight so I never gave much thought to it, but perhaps they could add another wrestler or two and form a faction.

2. Bobby Roode vs. Curt Hawkins. Roode had his ribs taped to sell Finn Balor’s Coup de Grace off the ladder. The broadcast team said Hawkins had lost 203 straight matches. Hawkins wore a t-shirt and was pinned following a Glorious DDT…

Bobby Roode beat Curt Hawkins in 0:42.

The broadcast team hyped Braun Strowman for after the break… [C]

A graphic touted that Stephanie McMahon’s “Undercover Boss” episode topped all other network shows in its time slot. Cole said Stephanie fooled him. Coachman said she didn’t have him fooled by that’s his show.

[Hour Two] A video featuring a series of still shots from the men’s Money in the Bank match were shown…

Ring announcer JoJo was going to introduce Strowman as Mr. Money in the Bank. She corrected herself and introduced him as Mr. Monster in the Bank. Strowman spoke about his accomplishments and said winning MITB was the greatest. Strowman said all Brock Lesnar has to do is show his face and he will cash in and become the new WWE Universal Champion. “The Beast is going to get these hands,” Strowman yelled.

Kevin Owens made his entrance while the broadcast team spoke about his big ladder bump from the night before. Strowman told Owens, who stayed on the stage, that he was surprised to see him after throwing him off a 20 foot ladder. Owens, who had his right arm wrapped, said he wasn’t there to steal his spotlight. Rather, he wanted to be the first guy from the locker room to congratulate Strowman.

Owens said Strowman deserved it, which led to the obligatory chant. Owens said Strowman needs to have a strategy and be smart and that’s where he comes in. Owens walked to ringside and entered the ring while talking about how neither one of them had anyone to watch their backs. Owens said Sami Zayn was injured at the hands of Bobby Lashley and he has no idea when he’ll see him again.

Owens said they could be friends. He said maybe that’s too strong of a word, but maybe they could help one another or just use each other. He said maybe after Strowman cashes in successfully then they could have a match for the Universal Title. Owens said he was too hurt to take “these hands” and instead wanted to shake his hand. A “shake his hand” chant broke out.

Strowman shook the hand of Owens, but then didn’t let it go when Owens turned to leave. Strowman pulled him in close and then went for a powerslam. Owens slipped away and sold his injuries while heading up the ramp. Strowman’s music played to end the segment…

Powell’s POV: A strange segment that is likely leading to Strowman vs. Owens rather than the two of them forming an alliance. Owens winning over the crowd to the point that they chanted for the handshake is further proof of just how good he’ll be as a babyface when the time is right.

Sasha Banks was dejected backstage when Bayley sat down beside her and said she was sorry about the night before and was rooting for her. Bayley said she was surprised that Banks wasn’t watching the match over and over again because of how she gets when she loses. Banks said she just wants to be the best. Bayley turned the focus to the two of them facing Riott Squad and said it could be a new start. They shook hands. The broadcast team hyped their match as coming up later in the show…

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt made their entrance heading into a break… [C]

Hardy and Wyatt were in the ring for a match against Heath Slater and Rhyno when The B-Team showed up on the big screen doing an impersonation of them. Bo Dallas said screw it and took off his fake beard before saying they are coming for them. The camera stayed on him and Curtis Axel for too long so they ducked out of the camera shot…

3. Raw Tag Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno in a non-title match. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate to clear Rhyno from the ring. Wyatt caught Slater with a big clothesline. Hardy tagged in and they hit their Kiss of Deletion finisher on Slater for the win…

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt beat Heath Slater and Rhyno in a non-title match in 3:20.

Powell’s POV: Go out of your way to watch the WWE 24 documentary on the Hardys that debuted last night. I was shocked by how open they were about their past drug issues and even Jeff’s more recent DWI arrest. Actually, I’m not surprised the Hardys were so open, but I am surprised that a WWE documentary focussed on these issues.

The broadcast team recapped the opening segment with Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss as highlights were shown…

Backstage, Constable Corbin told Kurt Angle that Stephanie McMahon was pleased by the way he handled the situation with Rousey. Angle started blowing up about how he didn’t do it for her. Angle turned and noticed that Corbin was holding his phone up. Corbin told Angle he could tell Stephanie himself. Angle sighed before taking the phone. “I’m listening,” he said before they went to break… [C]

Angle was still on the phone. He said he understood and said he would an announcement later. He said he had some ideas. He was interrupted and then said he would make sure he ran everything by Corbin, who laughed at him…

The broadcast team spoke and said Angle had another major announcement for later in the show. They noted that he suspended Rousey for 30 days earlier in the show…

Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh made their entrance. Mahal spoke as he walked to the ring about feeling the winds of change at MITB. He said Roman Reigns may have won the match, he won the battle of self improvement. Mahal said Reigns is bigger and angry like the fans, while he has found tranquility. He said he was committed to change unlike his opponent Chad Gable. He accused Gable of living off his former glory as an amateur wrestler…

4. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Chad Gable. Mahal smiled as the bell rang and then flipped a switch and kicked Gable. Mahal sold for a good stretch and Gable hit a moonsault for a two count. Mahal came back and hit a big boot to the face and followed up with the Khallas for the win…

Jinder Mahal beat Chad Gable in 2:30.

Powell’s POV: Please tell me Mahal isn’t going to start talking about his third eye and doing the spiritual garbage that Matt Sydal is doing in Impact Wrestling these days.

Backstage, the Riott Squad smashed a guy’s laptop, knocked items off a table, and wrote the letter R on a mirror that just happened to be there. Graves hyped their match against Banks and Bayley… Cole set up a video on a Special Olympics athlete… [C] Cole hyped the WWE Super Show-Down event…

5. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan (w/Ruby Riott). Bayley performed a huracanrana on Logan at ringside, then Banks clotheslined Morgan heading into a break. [C] Late in the match, Logan distracted Banks before she could perform double knees on Morgan. Bayley chased Logan off the apron. The ref focussed on getting Bayley out of the ring, which led to Logan taking a cheap shot at Banks, who was rolled up by Morgan for the win…

Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan beat Sasha Banks and Bayley in 8:00.

After the match, Bayley helped up Banks, who shoved her away twice. Bayley spun her around and they jawed at one another. Banks turned and then shoved Bayley to the mat before leaving the ring…

Backstage, Corbin was shown editing Angle’s speech… [C]

Powell’s POV: This is the longest breakup or makeup angle in the history of television. And that would be fine if it were still the least bit compelling. Just pull the damn trigger on whatever this is already.

The bickering continued backstage with Bayley catching up to Banks, who told her not to ever tell her what to do. Bayley said she wasn’t finished with her. Banks said she was. Bayley spun her around and hit her, then they brawled. Banks got the better of it, as Bayley was lying on the ground when Banks threw red party cups at her (yes, really)…

[Hour Three] Angle stood in the ring and said Stephanie McMhaon informed him that WWE officials made an agreement on when Brock Lesnar would defend his WWE Universal Championship against next. Roman Reigns’ music interrupted Angle. The broadcast team bickered about Reigns. Cole recapped the Greatest Royal Rumble finish. Graves said Reigns has every right to gripe. Coachman said he needs to look forward. Cole said Reigns is handcuffed because “WWE corporate officials” only make Lesnar defend the title every couple of months and questioned what he’s supposed to do.

Reigns entered the ring and said he was the answer to Angle’s question. Reigns said he beat Lesnar at the Greatest Royal Rumble and is the uncrowned Universal Champion. Reigns said Angle was having trouble running Raw and a champion who defends the title every Monday night of the year would help him. Angle said he had an announcement, but he was interrupted.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance. “So you’re the guy, huh?” Lashley asked Reigns. He said he watched Reigns bang his head against the wall for three years trying to beat Lesnar. He said he’s been trying to get his hands on Lesnar since Reigns was a little pup. “So why don’t you step aside and let someone who can beat Brock, beat Brock,” said Lashley. “Oh, I can beat Brock, and I can beat you.”

Angle announced there would be a multi person match at Extreme Rules to determine who will challenge Lesnar next. He said he would announce all of the participants at a later date, but Reigns and Lashley will be two of the men in that match.

The Revival made their entrance and mocked Reigns and Lashley for making demands and not earning things the old fashioned way. They said they’ve been trying to get an opportunity on Raw and they haven’t had it because of guys like them always being in the way. The Revival challenged them to a tag match. They said they were banking on the two of them not being able to coexist. Reigns mocked them and told them to shut up already. He was up for the match and said if “Bob” paid attention then he might learn something too… [C]

Powell’s POV: Strowman could have spared us all by simply announcing that he was cashing in his MITB contract at SummerSlam. Dammit.

6. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. Cole called this “a major tag team match.” Lashley performed a big spinebuster on Wilder and then looked at Reigns. He was going for a tag, but Dawson pulled Reigns off the apron. The Revival came back and hit a Demolition style elbow on Lashley for a two count.

Lashley eventually made a hot tag to Reigns, who worked over both opponents and set them up in the corner where he delivered ten clotheslines to both. Reigns looked to the crowd and got some cheers. Reigns caught Dawson with a Superman Punch. Wilder quickly rolled him up for a two count. Reigns hit Wilder with a Superman Punch. Reigns let out the war cry. Lashley tagged himself in, speared Wilder, and pinned him…

Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley vs. The Revival in 6:20.

Powell’s POV: I’d love to think this is the beginning of a Lashley heel turn, but it strikes me more as creating friction between the two heading into the multi-person match at Extreme Rules. This was successful in doing that, yet I can’t help but wonder whether the fans really care when both men seem cold.

Angle and Corbin were walking backstage. Finn Balor told Angle he would do anything it takes to get in the multi-person match and win back the Universal Title. Corbin mocked him for holding the title for 24 hours. He said he was lucky that a guy like him didn’t embarrass him. Kevin Owens showed up and said Corbin was right. Balor told Owens he didn’t even know when danger was standing behind him. Owens turned and spotted Strowman and then scurried away. Strowman said he was there to defend his buddy Balor and challenged Owens and Corbin to meet them in the ring…

The broadcast team set up a video package on AJ Styles being on the cover of WWE 2K19 and their million dollar contest… [C]

An ad for Smackdown hyped a gauntlet match involving Samoa Joe, Rusev, The Miz, Big E, and Daniel Bryan meeting in a gauntlet match with the winner earning a title shot at Extreme Rules…

The broadcast team recapped the Rousey and Bliss angle again…

7. No Way Jose vs. Mojo Rawley. Jose made his entrance with the Rosebud Rejects while Rawley’s entrance was not televised. Late in the match, Rawley clipped the knee of Jose, then caught him with a running punch. He threw Jose into the air and slammed him on the way down before pinning him…

Mojo Rawley pinned No Way Jose in 2:35.

Afterward, Charly Caruso entered the ring and asked Rawley about sustaining his success. He said WWE is more competitive now than it ever has been. He said you have to bring more to the table. He said he was known for staying hype, and now he’s about staying focussed…

Banks was heading to the parking lot when Bayley ran out and said she wasn’t done with her. Banks said she was done with her and done being her friend. Banks got in her car. Bayley tried to open the door and wasn’t happy when Banks drove away…

Powell’s POV: A decent television match and promo from Rawley. How rare is it to see a wrestler win after their entrance wasn’t televised while their opponent’s was? Also, is Bayley a stalker now?

Elias sat in the ring and sang a song with a line the referred to the Grand Rapids fans trash. It closed with him singing “what would Elias do?”…

Backstage, Seth Rollins was interviewed by Renee Young about losing the Intercontinental Championship. He said he had no excuses and he lost. She asked about Drew McIntyre. Rollins referred to him as a problem and said he had one week to solve it because was invoking his rematch clause and taking back his IC Title on Raw next week…

Finn Balor made his entrance while the broadcast team hyped the tag team main event… [C] Strowman was in the ring following hte break. Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy vs. Hideo Itami was hyped for 205 Live, then the heels made their entrances for the main event. Corbin came out wearing the clothes he wore earlier in the night…

8. Braun Strowman and Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin and Kevin Owens. Corbin started the match and worked in his regular clothes. The babyfaces duo was in offensive control heading into an early break. [C] Owens sold his MITB injuries and the broadcast team played them up as well.

[Overrun] The heel duo isolated Balor. Strowman ran in and took Balor from the heel corner and threw him to his own, then went outside and tagged in. Owens broke up Strowman pinning Corbin. Strowman left the ring and chased Owens only to run into a clothesline (or something) from Corbin, who brought him back to the ring and got a two count.

Later, Corbin shoulder blocked Owens at ringside and they both tumbled into the timekeepers area. In the ring, Balor performed a DDT on Corbin. Balor performed a dropkick and then went up top for his finisher only to be cut off. Corbin hit his End of Days finisher and pinned Balor clean…

Baron Corbin and Kevin Owens beat Braun Strowman and Finn Balor in 16:35.

Cole hyped Ziggler vs. Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship in a rematch for next week’s show…

Powell’s POV: A showcase for Corbin. Raw desperately needs some meaningful heels so the effort to give Corbin a boost is logical. They’ve given him chances before and it hasn’t worked out, so hopefully this time is different. Overall, it was a newsworthy show early on and then it lost momentum late. I will have more to say about the show in my members’ audio review later tonight. See below for the Prowrestling.net Live audio show that Will Pruett and I hosted earlier today.



Readers Comments (7)

  1. The “put the IC title on McIntyre” argument confuses me. It’s obviously Ziggler who needed the boost. The McIntyre-Ziggler dynamic works better if they’re on equal footing, not with Ziggler playing sidekick to McIntyre.

    • It feels like it’s Ziggler’s 842nd secondary title reign. At some point, winning secondary titles isn’t a boost for some guys. I wouldn’t put them at the same level. I’d move McIntyre away from Ziggler.

      • Jack C Catalano June 18, 2018 @ 10:23 pm

        I agree about Ziggler. Ziggler is as cold as ice. If anything, when he left after Clash of Champions, he should’ve stayed gone until Wrestlemania.
        Dolph and Drew could be a shot in the arm for the tag teams. Bray/Hardy vs. Dolph and Drew woudn’t be bad. Or bring back American Alpha as heels. Also, Bray and Hardy are ok but I think they should have had Ultimate Deletion sooner because it seemed like there feud was spinning its wheels to the point where people might have stopped caring.

        Speaking of stopped caring, you can make that point about Bayley and Sasha. If this is the end of the friendship, I thought it was weak. I mean something like that should’ve been done in the ring. Have Sasha beat up Bayley in the ring and that’s it. Again, this might not work because we were waiting for the Sasha heel turn for so long, maybe people stopped caring.

        • I don’t think they pulled the trigger on having Sasha beatdown Bayley in the ring, because I don’t think Sasha’s the one they intend to turn heel coming out of this. Yes, Bayley showed intial concern for Sasha, which was a babyface thing- but she got a little pushy from there. When she grabbed her in the back, spun Banks, and told her she wasn’t finished with her… that was a heel thing. It was also Baylay who threw the first punch. My theory- they’re going to have Bayley played an obsessed ex-friend, bordering on a psychotic stalker type of character.

  2. Just want to say that Constable Corbin is the exact same gimmick as Director of Authority Kane. Very original..

  3. Thank god Lashley is finally spearing people atleast. I don’t care if it’s the Dominator for the time being, I’m just sick of that tired delayed vertical suplex. That’s not a finishing move.

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