Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship, the build to Extreme Rules continues

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

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on June 25, 2018 from San Diego, California at Valley View Casino Center

[Hour One] Raw opened with a graphic acknowledging the death of Leon “Vader” White… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman were on commentary and they hyped the Intercontinental Championship match…

Raw general manager Kurt Angle and “Constable” Baron Corbin were already in the ring. Ring announcer JoJo introduced Angle. Corbin took exception and made her introduce him. Angle noted that Paul Heyman wrote a lengthy post on Facebook to start rumors regarding Brock Lesnar’s next title defense. Angle was about to “set the record straight” when he was interrupted.

Roman Reigns’ entrance music played and he walked to the ring to a mixed reaction. Cole and Graves spoke of Reigns being the uncrowned champion due to the Greatest Royal Rumble finish. Coachman asked how long he will hold onto that. Reigns told Angle to carry on. He said he just wanted to hear his explanation face to face. Angle was about to do so when he was interrupted again.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance. He was all smiles and slapped hands on his way to the ring. Lashley said Reigns had three years of chances to beat Lesnar and the only thing he’s proven is that he can’t beat him. Lashley said it’s time for Reigns to just move on. Lashley received some boos, but then a “yes” chant broke out. “Move on?” Reigns asked. “Kinda like you did ten years ago.”

Reigns pointed out that Lashley headlined a WrestleMania and left. He claimed Lashley left because he wanted to be an MMA star and mockingly asked how that worked out for him. Reigns asked him what he’s done “around here” lately. Reigns said Lashley has done nothing while he’s headlined four straight WrestleManias. Reigns said he should check his resume before he ever runs his mouth in his ring. Lashley told Reigns not to downplay his background. Lashley said he’s the only one with the legit tools to beat Lesnar. He said he would prove that against as many wrestlers as Angle wanted to put against him. “Including you,” Lashley said while pointing at Reigns.

Angle announced that there would no longer be a multi-man match at Extreme Rules because it’s off the table due to a contract issue with Lesnar. Reigns said Lesnar only shows up when the money is right and he doesn’t care about anyone in the back or watching at home. Lashley said maybe Lesnar would be different if he had someone legit challenging him and didn’t have to look at Reigns every single time. “He’s tired of seeing your face, just like all of these people are,” said Lashley.

Reigns said neither one of them had a match at Extreme Rules so they should just have a match on the spot. Angle stepped between them and said he would consider giving them a match against one another at Extreme Rules. He said he other things to worry about.

The Revival made their entrance. Scott Dawson said it’s a new week and the same old story with the supposed top guys getting opportunities handed to them. Dash Wilder said they know an opportunity when they see one. He said they were wrong last week when they thought two biggest egos couldn’t coexist, but they wouldn’t be wrong this week. Corbin stepped in and booked the match… [C]

Powell’s POV: The storyline Lesnar drama that led to the multi-man match being pulled is just plain weird. I get a kick out of WWE revising history when it comes to why Bobby Lashley left the company. Does that mean that Kristal Marshall, his girlfriend at the time, left because she also wanted to be an MMA star?

1. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley vs. The Revival. The broadcast team once again noted that the multi-person match at Extreme Rules was “off due to a contractual snag with Brock Lesnar.” Reigns performed a double Drive By on Dawson and Wilder heading into a commercial break. [C]

Reigns sold for the Revival coming out of the break. Lashley checked in and worked over Wilder before performing a vertical suplex. Reigns tagged himself into the match and hit a Superman Punch on Wilder. Then looked to the crowd and looked at Lashley, who finally held up his arm like he wanted to tag himself in only for Reigns to move. Dawson charged at Reigns, who shoved him into Lashley and knocked him off the apron. Reigns speared Dawson, but Wilder rolled up Reigns and pinned him…

The Revival defeated Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley in 13:00.

After the match, Lashley mockingly clapped and mocked Reigns. “Let me finish this from now on,” Lashley told Reigns. “This? This is what we got.” Lashley told him to let him finish when he tags himself in. Lashley left the ring without Reigns offering a response…

Powell’s POV: Following up on the MMA story that WWE is telling, they’re not even telling a good version of it. Lashley has a 15-2 record in MMA and won his last eight fights. So rather than frame him as a failure, why not tout his impressive record and have him claim that he didn’t get the title shots he wanted due to politics and wasn’t going to let that happen in WWE too? As for the match, it’s nice to see the Revival get a win. Here’s hoping they now move them away from Reigns and Lashley and do more with them. Seeing is believing, as the focus is obviously on Reigns and Lashley.

The broadcast team hyped an Alexa Bliss segment. They were interrupted by Matt Hardy, who said Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas impersonating him and Bray Wyatt was wonderful. The lighting changed from light to dark when Bray Wyatt entered the picture. He spoke about the eyes telling the true story. He said Axel and Dallas have become so fixated on “our prize” that they don’t realize they are feeding themselves into the lion’s den…

Hardy and Wyatt made their entrance together. Cole hyped a singles match for after the break… [C] They aired a new WWE 2K19 video game that featured Rey Mysterio as a downloadable wrestler for those who pre-order the game…

Curtis Axel appeared on the big screen doing his Hardy impersonation. Bo Dallas showed up and did his Wyatt impersonation. They had a smoke machine going and started coughing before ducking out of the picture… Cole hyped Hardy and Wyatt vs. Axel and Dallas for the Raw Tag Titles at Extreme Rules… The B-Team made their entrance…

2. Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas) vs. Matt Hardy (w/Bray Wyatt). Hardy set up Axel for a superplex and Axel fell onto him and got the pin. Graves said it looked like Hardy’s foot slipped and that caused Axel to fall on top of him…

Curtis Axel defeated Matt Hardy in 0:55.

Axel and Dallas had their over the top celebration and then stopped when Hardy and Wyatt stared at them. Hardy told them their victory was wonderful and Wyatt said it along with him. Hardy and Wyatt clapped for the B-Team, who left the ring and went back to celebrating…

The broadcast team recapped the Sasha Banks and Bayley drama from last week… Sasha Banks was shown venting to Kurt Angle backstage. Cole said we could only imagine what they were talking about…

They cut to a shot of Authors of Pain walking through the backstage area. They knocked a crew member over. Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews, and Dana Brooke were upset with them. Titus said the crew works just as hard as they do to put on a good show and they should show them respect. AOP wasn’t down with that… [C]

Powell’s POV: The tag title feud continues to be strange and mildly comical. I’m still not sure who WWE wants fans to root for. Meanwhile, you gotta love the guy who is being sued for $1.2 million for allegedly assaulting a crew member over a “Swerved” prank gone wrong telling AOP to treat the crew well.

An AOP video package aired… Backstage, Alicia Fox was talking with Bayley. Angle welcomed Fox back. She left and he told Bayley that it was her last chance to get along with Banks in a match against Riott Squad…

3. The Authors of Pain vs. Rick and Rex Gibson. Total domination by AOP before performing the Last Chapter for the win…

The Authors of Pain defeated Rick and Rex Gibson in 1:00.

AOP roughed up the Gibsons afterward. Titus and Crews ran out and chased them off…

Powell’s POV: The clothesline part of the AOP finisher looked off. Otherwise, this was a Road Warriors style squash match. The Gibson Brothers are my favorite enhancement wrestlers since James Ellsworth first showed up.

Angle and Corbin were talking backstage when Finn Balor entered the room and asked why the multi-man was off. Corbin mocked him with a short joke. Balor asked if his manager at TGI Friday’s knows he stole his vest. Braun Strowman showed up with his Money in the Bank briefcase. He said he felt bad for destroying Kevin Owens even though he wanted to be friends last week. He said he would try to be friends with him and team up with him. When Angle asked who they would face. Strowman asked about Balor and Corbin. Angle said it was an interesting idea. “Check, please,” Balor told Corbin…

The broadcast team hyped Alexa Bliss for after the break… [C]

[Hour Two] Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James made their entrance together. A video aired that chronicled Bliss winning the title at MITB by cashing in and Ronda Rousey’s meltdown last week. Once the long video concluded, James delivered a big buildup introduction of Bliss. James called Rousey and angry maniac. Bliss said that’s why Rousey is suspended for 30 days.

Bliss once again boasted that her actions at MITB were legal. James said it may have been the greatest cash-in ever. Bliss noted that she will defend the Raw Women’s Championship again Nia Jax at Extreme Rules. She said Jax is convinced she is the hero of her own story. The crowd started giving her the What? treatment. Bliss said that this is real life, and she is the real hero. The fans booed and chanted “you suck” at Bliss.

Natalya’s entrance music played and she walked onto the stage. Natalya said the countdown is on. She noted Rousey will return from suspension in 23 days. Bliss mocked her for giving up her five star vacation on Lake Tahoe with the Total Divas members. She said she knows about it because of Natalya’s social media page. She told her she doesn’t have to post everything on social media. Natalya informed her that they had a match and she didn’t come back from Tahoe alone. Nia Jax made her entrance. Cole hyped Natalya vs. Bliss for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The story they are telling with Rousey’s suspension is very similar to what I wrote about what they could have done with Daniel Bryan and The Miz. I never said Bryan should be suspended for 30 days, but they could have come up with a storyline reason why he couldn’t put his hands on Miz for a certain number of days to make fans anxious to see it while Bryan and Miz were doing other things. In other words, I like the approach they are taking with Bliss and Rousey because it sets up Rousey for a hot return. By the way, the San Diego crowd is really hot tonight.

4. Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss (w/Mickie James) vs. Natalya (w/Nia Jax) in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Late in the match, Jax tripped Bliss while the ref was distracted. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter for the win…

Natalya defeated Alexa Bliss in a non-title match in 4:00 of television time.

The broadcast team spoke by their desk and hyped the Intercontinental Championship match. They recapped Dolph Ziggler beating Seth Rollins to win the title. They credited the win to Drew McIntyre getting involved and then to Ziggler holding the tights while getting the win…

Powell’s POV: For what it’s worth, McIntyre didn’t really do anything, and Rollins held the pants of Elias the night before while beating him at Money in the Bank.

Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins, who didn’t make an excuses for losing. He said he’s had seven days to let the loss drive him. He said that McIntyre will have the best seat in the house when he beats his little buddy and takes the title back…

Backstage, Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh were posing for a photographer when Riott Squad showed. Ruby took some photos and then smashed the camera. Mahal looked pissed, then went into peaceful mode. Riott Squad walked away and Cole hyped their match against Sasha, Bayley, and Ember Moon for after the break… [C]

5. Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan vs. Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, and Bayley. There was a nice exchange that resulted in Moon tripping Morgan, who took a face first bump. Morgan rolled to ringside. Moon performed a suicide dive onto Morgan and Riott heading into a break. [C] Late in the match, Banks tried to knock Morgan off the apron. Riott rolled up Banks for the win.

Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan beat Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, and Bayley in 7:45.

Immediately following the match, Bayley jumped on Banks and punched her repeatedly, then put the boots to her in the corner. The crowd cheered and chanted yes. Bayley ran Banks into the corner aggressively and then teased leaving only to pull her off the apron and dump her on the floor. Bayley picked up Banks and ran her into the ring steps multiple times. Bayley knelt over Banks and asked if she thought she as better. She was censored at one point and then stood over the fallen Banks…

Powell’s POV: I have no idea what we just saw. Was it a Bayley heel turn? The live crowd didn’t seem to think so based on the way they cheered the hell out of Bayley for attacking Banks. The broadcast team didn’t act outraged, though they did act surprised by lovable Bayley’s aggressiveness. Cole said Bayley was always the calm and cool one who tried to make peace. Meanwhile, Graves said it had to be cathartic for Bayley. Neither character has come off likable lately and it’s hilarious that if this was a heel turn, it’s the best reaction that Bayley has received in months.

The broadcast team hyped Strowman and Owens vs. Balor and Corbin… Backstage, Angle told a referee to let him know when he found Bayley. After the ref left, Owens showed up an protested Angle having him team with Strowman. Owens said Strowman doesn’t want to be his friend, he looks at him like he wants to eat him… No Way Jose and the Rosebud Rejects made their entrance. Cole said Joe would face Mojo Rawley after the break… [C]

Cole and company recapped the Bayley and Banks angle. The broadcast team once again acted shocked by Bayley’s aggressiveness. Cole said Bayley finally had enough…

Rawley made his entrance and stopped on the stage. He questioned Jose wanting a rematch. He said he was embarrassed to be out there in the first place. Rawley questioned who the Rosebud Rejects were and said they haven’t earned the right to walk down a WWE ramp and neither has Jose.

Rawley asked a guy dressed in a cheeseburger outfit what his name was. The man said Todd. Rawley mocked him for dressing like a cheeseburger on worldwide television. Rawley said this was the closest that Todd would ever get to being a WWE superstar. He said this was the pinnacle of his entire existence. Rawley turned to Jose and said he wouldn’t give him a rematch. Jose came to ringside. Rawley punched Jose and headed to the back…

Powell’s POV: Did Mojo Rawley just become my favorite person on the planet for mocking the awful Rosebud Rejects? Yep!

Backstage, Angle told Bayley that she had to go to counseling. She said she didn’t need it. Angle told her she had to go or she would be fired… Braun Strowman made his entrance for the tag match… [C]

Powell’s POV: Counseling? Are you f’n kidding me? Just when it seemed like this storyline couldn’t possibly get any more ridiculous they find a way to pull it off. That said, I reserve the right to change my tune completely if this somehow leads to the return of Dr. Shelby (guilty pleasure).

[Hour Three] Kevin Owens made his entrance. A video package featuring Strowman destroying Owens in recent weeks was shown. Balor and Corbin made their entrances…

6. Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor and Baron Corbin. Balor was going to start, but Corbin, who is wrestling in his regular clothes again, tagged himself into the match. Owens and Strowman were working together heading into a break. [C]

Strowman ran around the ring and hit both opponents with shoulder blocks. He returned to the ring and pointed to Owens and wanted him to do the same. Owens tagged in and knocked Balor down, but then ran into a clothesline from Corbin. Strowman went to ringside and wanted to shoulder block Corbin, who moved, and Strowman ran into the post.

Back in the ring, Balor was setting up for a move on Owens when Balor slapped the back of his head to tag himself in. Balor hit Corbin. Balor went to run the ropes for a move on Owens, but Corbin tripped him and dragged him to ringside and put the boots to him. They fought until they were both counted out.

Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens beat Finn Balor and Baron Corbin via count-out in 11:40.

After the match, Owens was fired up and tried to celebrate with Strowman. He offered him a handshake. Strowman glared at him. Owens gave up and ran to the ramp when Strowman took a step forward. “We did great,” Owens said. “What’s your problem?” Strowman got his MITB briefcase and chased Owens to the back…

They went backstage where Owens ran inside a room and shut the door. Strowman was still in pursuit and demanded to know where Owens went. A guy said he worked concessions and didn’t know who that was. “The guy who looks like he has a bowling ball in his shirt,” the man replied…

Powell’s POV: Will Angle book all four men for counseling too? Anyway, this was a fun segment and I’m getting a kick out of Owens and Strowman. I just wish Strowman would have destroyed guy who looked like a muscular Nick Hogan.

Owens left the room he was in and had two security guards follow him to the garage opening. Owens barked at a valet to give him his keys. Strowman was shown holding up KO’s keys. Strowman tossed him his keys and said he hoped he had insurance. Owens turned around and saw that his car was turned upside down and was smoking. Owens looked dejected as Strowman laughed and returned to the building while two crew members sprayed the car with a fire extinguisher…

Graves vented about how Owens doesn’t deserve to be terrorized. Coachman said Owens brought it on himself. Graves questioned how. Cole turned the focus to recapping Dolph Ziggler beating Seth Rollins to win the title. Cole said it was rematch time. Rollins made his entrance. Ziggler made his horrible record scratch, pause, shitty entrance theme entrance. Drew McIntyre’s theme mercifully cut off Ziggler’s shitty music and then he joined Ziggler… [C]

Graves hyped Lucha House Party vs. Drew Gulak, Brian Kendrick, and Jack Gallagher, plus the debut of Lio Rush for Tuesday’s WWE 205 Live…

7. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Rollins threw a dropkick as the bell rang to start the match. Cole reminded viewers that Rollins could only win by pinfall or submission. Ziggler took offensive control until Rollins dropkicked him to ringside. Rollins followed and McIntyre got in his way. Ziggler went for a cheap shot, but Rollins got the better of him and then glared at McIntyre heading into a break. [C]

After some back and forth action, both men went for simultaneous cross body blocks. Cole made a big fuss over which man would get to his feet first. They got up and traded shots. Rollins connected with a boot and a sling blade clothesline before dumping Ziggler to the floor. Rollins looked to the crowd and then ran the ropes only for McIntyre to hit him from behind while the ref was checking on Ziggler.

Dolph returned to the ring and hit Rollins. The ref barked at McIntyre and then ejected him from ringside. Ziggler protested. Rollins rolled up Ziggler and had a visual pinfall but the ref was arguing with McIntyre. Rollins sent Ziggler to ringside and hit a suicide dive on Ziggler and McIntyre. Rollins rolled Ziggler back inside the ring and went up top. Ziggler tripped him and covered him for a two count. [C]

Rollins set up for a powerbomb on the apron, but Ziggler fought free and ended up DDT’ing Rollins on the apron. Rollins returned to the referee to barely beat the referee’s ten count. The fans chanted “this is awesome.” Ziggler tuned up the band and was booed. Rollins caught him going for a superkick and ended up delivering a buckle bomb. Rollins followed with a superkick to a kneeling Ziggler and got a two count. Rollins went up top and was cut off by Ziggler. They fought on the ropes and Rollins shoved him to the mat. Rollins performed a frogsplash for a good near fall.

[Overrun] Another “this is awesome” chant broke out as Rollins tuned up the band and got “burn it down” chants. Rollins went for the Stomp, but Ziggler avoided it. Ziggler went for a Zigzag, but Rollins blocked it. They did a rollup and roll through sequence with neither man getting the pin. Ziggler hit a Zigzag for a near fall.

Rollins and Ziggler fought on the ropes. Rollins eventually performed a superplex and rolled through for a falcon arrow. Rollins had the pin, but McIntyre returned and pulled the referee to ringside for the DQ.

Seth Rollins defeated Dolph Ziggler by DQ in 27:45.

After the match, McIntyre roughed up Rollins and then helped Ziggler to his feet. Roman Reigns’s music played and he headed to the ring. Ziggler ran to ringside and was speared by Reigns. McIntyre stood in the ring and nodded. Reigns entered the ring and threw punches at McIntyre, who headbutted him. Reigns bounced off the ropes and hit McIntyre with a Superman Punch that knocked him to ringside. Reigns helped Rollins to his feet. JoJo announced Rollins as the winner by DQ. A short time later, she said Ziggler was still the IC Champion. Ziggler laughed and posed with the title and McIntyre on the stage. Rollins and Reigns stood in the ring together while Cole signed off to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A very good main event that seemingly set up a tag team match for next week. The live crowd was great all night and they were really hot for the main event and for good reason. You could tell they were going long based on the slow pace prior to the first commercial break, but it was very action packed from that point forward and they had the live crowd with them for the near falls.

Overall, this was an entertaining show that held my interest more than a lot of recent episodes have. I should add that I watched the nearly three-hour WWE UK Championship special earlier today and still didn’t feel bored during Raw. Not ever segment was Hit worthy, but they all served a purpose. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight and in my WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday. The members also have access to my audio review of the WWE UK Championship Tournament and my Q&A Show from earlier today. Join us on the ad-free version of the website via PWMembership.net.

Look below for my free interview with former NWA Champion Tim Storm on the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell. It’s a fun show that includes Storm talking about life before and after his title win, playing competitive softball, and even evaluating the softball skills of Sid Vicious.

Readers Comments (3)

  1. “Baron Corbin showed up with his Money in the Bank briefcase.” I think this should be Braun Strowman.

  2. Counseling???? Really????

    I suppose they need a full time counselor on staff because if bailey needs it then the half the damn roster does.

  3. When rawley was yelling at the rosebud reject, between him and the announce team they must’ve said cheeseburger about eight or nine times. It made think of the real cheeseburger in wrestling and how ROH best In the world is gonna be all kinds of kick-ass on friday.

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