By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Edge promo: Another gem. It’s only June, but Edge is running away with my vote for the 2020 Best Mic Work award. He was intense and believable, and his wording was excellent from start to finish. It will be a long wait for him to return from his triceps surgery, but I am already looking forward to the return of his Rated R Superstar persona.
Randy Orton and Big Show: It was odd that Big Show came out full of piss and vinegar, only to deliver a good promo and then he just stood there calmly while Orton offered his rebuttal. Even so, the verbal exchange was a good one and Show is a logical choice to be the next legend that Orton takes out, presumably at Extreme Rules.
Sasha Banks and Bayley: Sasha got me. I truly believed she was going to issue a challenge to face Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match at Extreme Rules. I loved the swerve of her issuing the challenge to Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship instead. This was a nice way to set up the title match while also teasing what feels like an inevitable split between her and Bayley.
The Mysterios and Seth Rollins: A solid show closing segment with Rey and Dominick getting some help from Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo to fend off Rollins, Austin Theory, and Murphy. The only negative is that the helpful sidekick role feels beneath Black, so hopefully there’s a plan in place to move him into a more meaningful position.
Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship: An enjoyable match with Asuka finally getting a singles win over Charlotte. I still feel like this should have been saved for a major pay-per-view moment, but it came off well and they did a good job of working in Flair’s storyline injury. I have no idea whether WWE wants viewers to root for Flair or Nia Jax in their feud, but perhaps the idea is to turn Flair once she returns from surgery. Either way, I pray that we’ve heard the last of her cliche royalty promos.
Apollo Crews and MVP: The story of MVP trying to recruit an uninterested Crews is working nicely for both men. MVP is doing a really good job on carrying the mic work, and Crews is benefitting from simply rejecting MVP’s attempts to glom onto him. Bobby Lashley putting Crews in the Full Nelson was an interesting development. I assumed that Lashley would end up challenging Drew McIntyre in a rematch at Extreme Rules following the Lana finish at Backlash, but it appears that Lashley will now feud with Crews over the U.S. Championship instead. I assume this was a change in direction from what Paul Heyman had planned before Bruce Prichard took over as the head of Raw creative.
WWE Raw Misses
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler: Their WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules may end up being the best match of the night, but their feud feels ice cold because no one buys Ziggler as a threat to win the championship. It’s hard to even imagine what the company could do between now and the pay-per-view to change that. I felt uninterested when I assumed they were setting up this match for Raw television, and I’m still stunned that the call was made to make this a pay-per-view title match.
The Street Profits vs. The Viking Raiders for the Raw Tag Titles: The payoff for what felt like an endless series of silly competitions was a television match that lasted less than nine minutes with commercials in the middle. The clean finish was nice, but this was underwhelming to say the least. These teams work really well together and it’s a shame that the end result of the story that the Raiders had the number of the Profits was just a throwaway Raw match, as it appears the Profits are quickly moving on to feuding with Andrade and Angel Garza. I assume this is another move that was made after the Prichard promotion. I look forward to the Profits facing Andrade and Garza, but the Profits and Raiders deserved something more.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. The IIconics for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles: Which team did creative want the viewers to root for? As previously noted, the post match segment was strong, but the actual match felt like it existed only because they wanted another title match for the Championship Monday theme.
Natalya vs. Liv Morgan: Lana landed with Natalya? Strange. The segment didn’t do much for me, but I am curious to see where they go with Ruby Riott after she attempted to talk with Morgan backstage. The talented Riott didn’t get any creative love under Heyman’s watch, so hopefully this is a sign that things are changing for her.
WWE 24/7 Championship: Go away and take the insulting ninjas with you.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...