By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Stomping Grounds
Aired live June 23, 2019 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Tacoma, Washington at the Tacoma Dome
A video package opened the main show and included the “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” theme playing… Michael Cole said it was time to kick ass and take names (ugh). Cole was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Renee Young…
1. Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans for the Raw Women’s Championship. The Spanish and German broadcast teams checked in during the entrances. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Lynch received a strong ovation. Evans applied an early front face lock and slammed Lynch’s face into the mat, then rolled her over and wrenched her body around the ring post. The broadcast team helped tell the story of Lynch suffering an early rib injury.
Evans placed Lynch on the top rope, then Lynch rolled into a Disarmer at 7:00. Evans rolled onto Lynch for a one count. Lynch maintained the hold, but Evans reached the ropes to break it. Evans went right back on the offensive. She pulled out a tissue and wiped under her arms before throwing it down at Lynch, who came right back and shoved the tissue in Evans’s mouth with a brief mandible claw.
Lynch performed an exploder suplex at 9:40 and picked up a two count. Lynch walked over the stomach of Evans and went for a second rope leg drop, but Evans rolled out of the way. Lynch used the bottom rope to springboard into a cutter and then a kick to the ribs, which resulted in a near fall. Evans showed frustration and then went to the ropes. Lynch got up and pulled her down, then applied the Disarmer. Evans immediately tapped out…
Becky Lynch defeated Lacey Evans in 11:30 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. Lynch was clearly coaching Evans through it at points, as there were times when she could be seen talking to her. I’m curious to see where both women go from here. I don’t see a need for another rematch, so who is next in line for a title match with Lynch and how will Evans be booked to bounce back?
An Ali video package aired. He was shown walking in the streets and said he would be the light for those lost in the night and be the reason they believe they are worth the fight…
Kayla Braxton spoke outside Baron Corbin’s locker room as Paul Heyman was shown exiting. Braxton said Heyman had a long meeting with Corbin and people were speculating that Heyman could be the special referee. Heyman played up the possibility of Brock Lesnar cashing in on either Seth Rollins or Kofi Kingston. Heyman walked away. Corbin exited the room and said that if Braxton keeps hanging around his locker room then he’ll think she’s looking for more than an interview. Corbin said he had selected his referee and it’s someone who will call it down the middle because he only needs someone who will call it fairly. He said once he beats Rollins then he would worry about Lesnar…
2. Big E and Xavier Woods vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The Smackdown broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. The bell rang to start the match and Owens superkicked Big E off the apron, then superkicked Woods in the ring. Owens followed up with a Swanton on Woods for a two count. Zayn tagged in and performed a Blue Thunder Bomb on Woods for a two count. Owens tagged in again and performed a top rope frogsplash for another two count.
Owens and Zayn isolated Woods until he made a hot tag at 6:30. E suplexed Zayn three times and performed a running splash for a two count. Woods checked in and powered up E on his shoulders and dropped him onto Zayn. A short time later, E cleared Owent from the ring and the New Day duo set up for their finisher, but Zayn shoved E into the ropes and caught Woods coming off the ropes with a boot to the face.
Zayn hit a Helluva Kick on Woods and then Owens performed a Popup Powerbomb. The heels had the pin, but Big E broke it up. A short time later, Big E did his spear through the ropes to take out Zayn. Owens caught Woods on the top rope and performed a Stunner, which led to Owens pinning Woods…
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated Big E and Xavier Woods in 11:05.
Powell’s POV: A strong tag match. Owens and Zayn really need this win after losing most of the Raw and Smackdown main events leading up to this show. Ticket sales were slow for this event, but they structured in a way where it looks good on television and the fans who did show up are very vocal and have created a good atmosphere thus far. Update: Dot Net reader Lawrence Morgan shared a photo from the event that shows that the entire hard camera side is tarped off. Ouch.
3. Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet the U.S. Championship. The Raw broadcast team called the match. Joe controlled the early offense. Joe performed an enzuigiri in the corner and covered Ricochet for a two count at 4:25. Ricochet ducked a clothesline and performed a leaping kick at 7:05. Ricochet performed a huracanrana and then knocked Joe down with an awkward springboard move. Ricochet followed up with a dive onto Joe on the floor.
Joe returned to the ring and Ricochet performed a missile dropkick and a springboard moonsault for a two count at 8:30. Ricochet went up top. Joe charged him. Ricochet leapt over Joe, then then turned around and powerslammed Ricochet for a near fall. Joe performed a nice suplex, got up and turned Ricochet inside out with a clothesline that led to a two count at 10:00.
Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, but Ricochet quickly broke it by driving him into the ropes. Ricochet went up top for his finisher, but Joe avoided it. Joe clotheslined Ricochet, who nearly landed on his feet. Ricochet performed a Codebreaker and then performed a 630 Splash and scored the clean pin…
Ricochet defeated Samoa Joe in 12:25 to win the U.S. Championship.
Ricochet went backstage where Seth Rollins, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, and Heavy Machinery stood and applauded him in the Gorilla position area. Triple H entered the picture and hugged Ricochet. Heavy Machinery then headed out for the their tag title match…
Powell’s POV: A decent match that fell short of my admittedly high expectations. On the bright side, WWE has been labeling Ricochet as a sensation and this win is the first time they’ve actually made him feel like it.
4. Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. “Heavy Machinery” Otis and Tucker for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. Phillips noted that Tucker had a lot of family in attendance due to growing up nearby. Bryan received a much bigger pop and Graves labeled Bryan as a hometown hero. The international broadcast teams checked in before the opening bell. There was a loud “Daniel Bryan” chant to start the match.
Bryan tagged in to start the match with Otis, who was booed when he shoved Bryan to the mat. The broadcast team acknowledged the boos. Graves said Bryan tries to spend his life saving the planet while Otis looks like it. Funny. Tucker checked in and was also booed whenever he performed an offensive move on Bryan. Rowan made a blind tag and knocked Tucker down, then took a bow. Bryan and Rowan targeted the left knee of Tucker.
At 8:20, Otis checked in and slammed Bryan to boos. Bryan came back with two running dropkicks. Bryan went for a third, but Otis caught him and powerbombed him for a good near fall. Otis went for a Vader Bomb, but Bryan moved. Bryan threw his kicks at Otis, which drew “Yes” chants from the crowd. Otis started firing up and no-sold Bryan’s kicks. Otis eventually caught Bryan going for a kick and suplexed him. Otius performed the Caterpillar on Bryan.
Tucker tagged in. Bryan was catapulted by Otis into a slam by Tucker for a near fall. Rowan took out Otis by clotheslining him to ringside. Tucker went for a top rope moonsault on Bryan, who moved out of the way. Otis returned to the apron and both legal wrestlers tagged out to set up the Otis and Rowan big man showdown. They both went for clotheslines and neither man went down. Bryan made a blind tag. Otis slammed Rowan and then Heavy Machinery set up for their finisher, but Bryan broke it up. Tucker took out Rowan with a dive from the ropes to the floor. Tucker returned to the ring where Bryan caught him with an inside cradle for the pin…
Daniel Bryan and Rowan beat Heavy Machinery in 14:25 to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Another strong tag match. Graves immediately put over the efforts of Heavy Machinery after the pin and said they made a statement. The fans sided with Bryan, but this was a good outing for everyone and I don’t think any real damage was done to Heavy Machinery by the fans or the loss. That said, it will be interesting to see what they do with them on television this week while the show is in the Pacific Northwest.
An ad aired for WWE Extreme Rules on July 14… A video package set up the Smackdown Women’s Championship match…
5. Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross) for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Bayley was on an offensive flurry until Bliss hit her with a good punch. Bayley came right back and went up top. Bayley leapt over a charing Bliss and landed awkwardly. Bayley got up and hit Bliss with a high knee to the head. Bliss went to ringside and Bayley followed. They ended up on opposite sides of the post and Bliss pulled Bayley into it at 6:30.
Bayley performed a belly to back suplex on Bliss for a two count at 8:20. Bayley performed a sunset flip bomb on Bliss. Bayley overshot it a bit, as her feet hit the bottom rope first. Bayley performed a suicide dive and ended up taking out Cross. The replay showed that Bliss shoved Cross. Bliss performed a sunset bomb on the floor. Bliss yelled at Bayley and then threw her back inside the ring.
Bliss went to the ropes for her finisher. Cross entered the ring and touched Bayley’s leg before the referee cleared her. Bayley recovered and went to the ropes, but Bliss punched her off. Bliss went for Twisted Bliss, but Bayley put her knees up. Bayley performed a Bayley to Belly and scored the pin. Cross tended to Bliss afterward…
Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss in 10:35 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: The finish was awkward with Cross interfering when she did and it not really leading to anything. I guess the idea was that Cross’s interference inadvertently distracted Bliss, but Bayley went after Bliss so quickly that it didn’t seem like it made much of a difference. I still enjoy the dynamic between Bliss and Cross, so I’m happy they didn’t rush to split them up at least on this night. It will happen eventually, but the longer they establish their relationship the more it will mean when the split up.
After some advertising, footage aired of the recent WWE 24/7 Title developments, including R-Truth pinning Drake Maverick at his wedding to regain the championship. They showed a tweet from Maverick’s wife Renee Michelle that noted she can’t believe Maverick allowed the title to affect their wedding. She said he’s obsessed with it and to hell with the title…
Ricochet was taking part in a photo shoot with the U.S. Title when Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson joined him and posed for some photos. AJ Styles showed up and congratulated Ricochet and then told him that he’d see him tomorrow night. Styles, Anderson, and Gallows left together…
A video package set up the Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre match…
6. Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Shane McMahon). The Raw broadcast team called the match. McIntyre and Shane came out first. Reigns made his entrance and was met by McIntyre in the aisle where they brawled. They eventually got into the ring and the match officially started. Reigns clotheslined McIntyre to ringside, then performed a running dive over the top rope onto McIntyre. Reigns chased Shane into the crowd. Shane returned to ringside and Reigns leapt over the barricade, but was hit by McIntyre, who then ran him into the ring steps.
McIntyre took Reigns back to the ring and was on the offensive for a bit. Reigns threw a punch, but Shane clotheslined him over the top rope and Reigns walked into a spinebuster from McIntyre that led to a two count. Young vented about how unfair the numbers advantage is to Reigns. McIntyre put his legs under the arms of Reigns and then pulled his arms back. Reigns eventually came back with a Samoan drop. Reigns and McIntyre exchanged strikes. Reigns got the better of it and knocked McIntyre down with a leaping clothesline. Reigns threw several forearms at McIntyre in the corner and booted him in the face.
Reigns set up in the corner. Shane climbed onto the apron. Reigns knocked Shane down with a Superman Punch. Reigns followed with a running leap off the apron onto Shane. McIntyre did his catapult move that drove Reigns face first into Cole’s broadcast table. McIntyre took Reigns back inside the ring and performed a swinging slam for a near fall at 11:40. McIntyre set Reigns on the top rope and set up for a superplex. Reigns punched free and McIntyre fell into the tree of woe. McIntyre sat up and they went back to fighting for position, leading to McIntyre performing a superplex for a near fall at 12:45.
Reigns avoided McIntyre’s Claymore Kick finisher and caught him in a backslide for a two count. McIntyre came right back with a headbutt. McIntyre went to the top rope and jumped into a Superman Punch that resulted in a near fall for Reigns. After another sequence of strikes, Reigns speared McIntyre. Shane pulled the referee to ringside to break the pin. Shane put the boots to Reigns in the corner and followed up with a Coast 2 Coast. McIntyre covered Reigns. Shane threw the referee back inside the ring. The referee counted and Reigns kicked out at the last moment. There were some boos and much louder “Roman” chants.
McIntyre went to the corner for his finisher again and barked at him to get up. McIntyre charged and then Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch. Shane ran in and Reigns tossed him to ringside before spearing and pinning McIntyre…
Roman Reigns pinned Drew McIntyre in 17:20.
Powell’s POV: A very good match with good work from both wrestlers and the Shane interference keeping things interesting. The only negative is that McIntyre felt like a heavy underdog against Reigns coming into the match after losing to him so decisively at WrestleMania and now he’s lost to him again even with Shane’s help. McIntyre is terrific, but it still seems like he’s just another guy they are feeding to Reigns rather than someone they have a real plan for. I guess he’s no Super Shane, who got the win over Reigns in Saudi Arabia. By the way, they only have two advertised matches remaining, so it will be interesting to see if they do something to fill time or if this show will be shorter in length than normal.
An ad aired for an Alexa Bliss “WWE 365” documentary that will air after the pay-per-view… The Smackdown broadcast team checked in. The cage lowered around the ring and then a video package set up the WWE Championship match…
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler in a cage match for the WWE Championship. Ziggler came out to his bad entrance music and not much of a reaction otherwise. Kingston was well received and tossed some pancakes from the stage. Once both men were inside the cage, Hamilton delivered introductions from ringside. Kingston and Ziggler jawed at one another and traded shoves. Ziggler tried to escape the cage and was pulled down quickly. Ziggler dropkicked Kingston and then tried to escape through the cage door. Kingston rolled him up for a one count. Ziggler catapulted Kingston into the cage, but Kingston grabbed the cage and tried to climb up it. Ziggler pulled him down. Kingston stuffed a superkick and dropkicked Ziggler and covered him for a two count. A good opening sequence.
Ziggler took the next few minutes of offense and they slowed the pace considerably. At 8:20, Ziggler went for a Fameasser, but Kingston avoided it and shoved him into the cage before rolling him up for a two count. Kingston climbed up a corner of the cage. Ziggler followed and both men fought while standing on the top rope. Kingston slammed Ziggler’s face into the cage and then Ziggler fell to the mat. Kingston performed a cross body block for a two count at 10:10. Kingston climbed a corner of the cage. Ziggler grabbed his legs and yelled no. Ziggler knocked Kingston down and tried to climb over the cage, but Kingston raced up. Both men were seated on top of the cage. They fought and ended up standing on the top rope, then Kingston headbutted Ziggler and they both fell to the mat at 12:10.
Ziggler targeted the knee of Kingston and ended up hitting him with a superkick. Kingston nearly fell out of the cage door. Ziggler grabbed Kingston’s legs and pulled him back inside the ring. A short time later, Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, but Ziggler grabbed his leg and wrenched on it. Kingston countered into an ankle lock. Ziggler kicked him off, then performed a Zigzag and covered him for a two count at 17:25. Ziggler went for a superkick, but Kingston spun and grabbed his leg to block it. Kofi put Ziggler in a front facelock. Ziggler had his feet outside the cage door. Kingston pulled him back into the ring. Kingston went for a move, but Ziggler slipped away and tried to rush out of the cage, but Kingston stopped him and pulled him back at 19:30. Ziggler thumbed Kingston’s eyes and then kicked him away. Ziggler tried to escape through the door, but Kingston stood up and leapt over Ziggler and through the middle and top rope and out the cage door to win the match.
Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler in a cage match in 20:00 to retain the WWE Championship.
Big E and Xavier Woods came out and celebrated with Kingston after the match while Ziggler expressed disappointment over losing the match. Charly Caruso came out and interviewed Kingston, who said he respects Ziggler and he’s a heck of a competitor. Kingston boasted that he is still the WWE Champion…
Powell’s POV: A decent match that suffered from it being so difficult to believe that Ziggler was a threat to actually win the championship. The stretch that followed the good opening sequence was so slow paced that one might have thought they were going 60 minutes or something. Here’s hoping that Kingston will finally start working with true main event players rather than guys who feel like they belong in the Intercontinental Championship mix. By the way, what happened to Randy Orton since Saudi Arabia? They followed up his big win over Triple H by not making a fuss over it and Orton disappearing from television. Strange.
Backstage, Braxton tried to interview an angry Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon. Shane announced that he and McIntyre will face Reigns in a handicap match on Monday’s Raw…
The Raw broadcast team set up a video package on the WWE Universal Championship match…
Baron Corbin made his entrance and made ring announcer Mike Rome deliver the usual over the top introduction. Seth Rollins made his entrance and brought a chair to the ring with him. Corbin took a mic at ringside and was about to introduce the special referee when Rollins left the ring and Corbin dropped the mic. Rollins picked up the mic and said that if the person Corbin got to be special referee wants to take his title then they will get the same (chair) treatment as everyone else. Corbin picked up the mic again and introduced Lacey Evans as the special referee. Rollins looked shocked and Cole and Graves said it was a brilliant move. Evans nearly tripped on the ringside mat. She entered the ring and jawed at Seth. A “Becky” chant broke out. Evans tried to take the chair away from Rollins, but Corbin attacked Rollins from behind.
8. Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin for the WWE Universal Championship with Lacey Evans as the special referee. Corbin dominated Rollins to start due to the pre-match attack. A “this is stupid” chant broke out and a group of fans chanted “AE-Dub”. A “CM Punk” chant followed. Graves said the fan opinions are invalid and Corbin will be champion if he wins whether they like it or not. Rollins finally fired back with a step-up enzuigiri at 6:00. Rollins performed a blockbuster from the middle rope and then threw Corbin to ringside. Rollins performed a suicide dive and then threw Corbin back inside the ring and hit him with a springboard flying knee. Rollins superkicked a kneeling Corbin and covered him. Evans took her time walking over and then made a slow two count.
At 9:00, Rollins powerbombed Corbin onto a broadcast table. Evans reluctantly counted and then made a slow count and said, “Get up, Baron.” Evans told Mike Rome that there were no count-outs in the match. Corbin came back and chokeslammed Rollins onto the apron and then inside the ring for a two count. Corbin gave Evans instructions and then she told the timekeeper to get ready. It looked like he was setting up for a Sharpshooter, but Rollins avoided it and ended up dropping Corbin with a superkick. Rollins went up top and performed a frogsplash. Rollins had the pin, but Evans counted to two and then acted like she had a shoulder injury. Corbin hit Rollins with a chair several times around 14:00. Evans approached Corbin, then walked over to Rome and had him announce that there were no disqualifications in the match. The “Becky” chants started up on cue.
Rollins came back with a falcon arrow onto the chair. Cole counted to seven, but Evans was still standing in the ring. Cole called it a farce and said it was humiliating. Rollins glared at Evans, who jawed at him that she’s the referee and what she says goes. Evans slapped Rollins, who turned away and smiled. Rollins asked if that’s all Evans had. She hit him again and kicked him. Corbin went after Rollins, who saw it coming and stopped him. Evans low-blowed Rollins. Corbin hit End of Days on Rollins. Becky Lynch ran out and attacked Evans and gave her an exploder suplex into the barricade. Two referees ran out and pulled off Lynch. Referee John Cone entered the ring. Corbin was unhappy. Corbin went for his finisher, but Rollins avoided it, superkicked Corbin, Stomped him, and pinned him.
Seth Rollins defeated Baron Corbin in 18:25 to retain the WWE Universal Championship.
After the match, Lynch entered the ring. Rollins looked up and smiled at her. Lynch raised Rollins’ arm, then they hugged and he returned the favor. Rollins and Lynch hugged again. Lynch slapped Rollins on the ass and he laughed. Lynch held the ropes open for Rollins. “You’re The Man,” Rollins said before going through the ropes. Rollins and Lynch sat on the apron together. “What a moment,” Cole said before the broadcast team recapped footage of the match finish.
Powell’s POV: A polarizing match in that there were clearly some in the building who hated it, yet there were others who were chanting for “Becky” almost instantly and were pleased when she made the obvious run-in to save Rollins. I can see being disappointed that Corbin’s special referee wasn’t a bigger name, but it’s not like there were many appealing realistic options. I mentioned Bray Wyatt as a possibility during my Raw coverage, but I only wanted to see that if it’s something they had planned from the start and weren’t simply rushing him into a position they had no followup for. It was easy to see where this was going and in some ways this felt like more of a suitable finish to an angle that played out and concluded on Raw rather than on a pay-per-view. Overall, the wrestlers worked hard and it was a straight forward show before the main event. More than anything, I just hope they turn the page on these bad title feuds rather than continuing them at Extreme Rules. Dot Net Members will hear the Stomping Grounds audio review hosted by Jake Barnett and I coming up later tonight.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz of the Between The Ropes podcast discussing WWE’s creative and ratings struggles, Bray Wyatt following the Firefly Funhouse, NJPW G1 Opening Night, and ROH’s issues, what would happen if AEW opted to run head-to-head with WWE Raw, and much more.