By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,516)
Live from Wichita, Kansas at Intrust Arena
Aired June 13, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a shot of the Money in the Bank briefcases hanging above the ring… The broadcast team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…
The Miz hosted Miz TV inside the ring and was about to introduce his guest when Paul Heyman, who was also inside the ring, told him to stop. Heyman introduced himself. Miz spoke about MITB and successfully cashing in the contract twice. He said you have wait until the champion can barely stand and then cash in.
Miz said the MITB winner will attempt to cash in on Roman Reigns. Heyman said that person will fail. Heyman said regardless of what the usual percentage rate is for a successful cash-in, it goes down to zero when Reigns is the champion.
Heyman turned the focus to Reigns defending the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Riddle on Friday’s Smackdown. Heyman said he went to WWE management with a stipulation to make even bigger.
Riddle made his entrance and joined Miz and Heyman inside the ring. Heyman said Riddle had “some set of balls” on him for interrupting the segment. Riddle asked Miz how his balls are doing. Riddle said that for as much talking as Heyman does, he doesn’t actually saying anything.
Riddle said Reigns and Heyman will find out what he’s capable of on Friday night. Riddle got fired up and said they will have to kill him in order to stop him from winning the title on Friday. Heyman said Riddle has a lot of momentum, but Reigns will stop it in its tracks.
Heyman said he respects Riddle, but Riddle can’t beat Reigns. Heyman added that he doesn’t think Riddle will be able to beat his opponent tonight once he heard about the stipulation. Heyman said the Riddle would become the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion if he wins on Friday, but if he loses then he will never get another shot at the title as long as Reigns is champion. Heyman called the stipulation do or die.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso were introduced by Heyman, who tossed the mic aside and headed to ringside. The Usos headed to ringside and stared down Riddle.
The Street Profits made their entrance and joined Riddle inside the ring. Smith hyped Montez Ford vs. Jimmy Uso as coming up after the first commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I don’t see the new stipulation for Reigns vs. Riddle as being a significant hook, so I assume there’s a storyline reason that Riddle either wins or can’t challenge Reigns again.
A video package hyped John Cena’s return for Raw in Laredo, Texas on June 27…
1. Montez Ford (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso). Riddle and Heyman were not at ringside coming out of the break. Uso suplexed Ford on the apron heading into a break. [C] A graphic listed Liv Morgan and Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki ASH and Doudrop in a tag team MITB qualifier for later in the show.
Jimmy picked up a couple of near falls and the broadcast team put over Ford’s resilience. Jimmy and Ford ended up on the apron and jockeyed for position until Jimmy shoved Ford back first into the ring post casing. Jimmy dove at Ford, who moved, causing Jimmy to hit the post casing.
Ford went for a superplex, but Uso knocked him off the ropes with a headbutt. Ford came right back with a clunky huracanrana that pulled Jimmy off the ropes. Ford went for a top rope splash, but Jimmy put his knees up and then covered him for the win…
Jimmy Uso defeated Montez Ford in 13:00.
Powell’s POV: A good opening match. I was actually surprised to see Jimmy go over clean. It’s nice to see WWE move away from some of their old formulas by having heel champions lose singles matches to their challengers. They may opt to even this up by having Dawkins beat Jey, but this finish caught me a little off guard if nothing else.
A video package recapped the Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins angle from last week… Rollins was shown seated backstage along with interviewer Kevin Patrick… [C]
Patrick asked Rollins if he had any remorse for attacking Cody Rhodes last week. Rollins said he meant what he said to Cody last week and it was genuine, honest, and from the heart. Rollins said Cody is a virus who has been plaguing WWE since WrestleMania.
Rollins said you have to make unpopular decisions and when nobody is on your side, you have to take matters into your own hands. Rollins, who held a sledgehammer in his hand, said Cody wanted to compete in the MITB ladder match with a torn pectoral tendon. Rollins said it’s adapt or perish in WWE.
Rollins said he has no remorse, he takes pride in what he did to Cody. Rollins cackled after saying he’s back and better than ever. Rollins said he had the greatest MITB cash-in and thought why not try to top it.
Patrick asked Rollins about facing AJ Styles in an MITB qualifier. Rollins praised Styles and said he expects a hell of a fight, then said Styles is not on his level. Rollins said he might have to do to Styes exactly what he did to Rhodes. Rollins cackled.
AJ Styles blasted Rollins with a forearm and knocked him out of his chair. “That’s for Cody,” Styles said. Rollins checked his lip while seated on the ground…
The broadcast team recapped Dana Brooke beating Becky Lynch last week. Brooke made her entrance for the rematch for the WWE 24/7 Championship. Lynch was shown looking angry in the backstage area… [C]
Powell’s POV: I wonder why WWE didn’t bother to advertise any matches before Raw this week, especially when they have MITB qualifiers, most notably Rollins vs. Styles. It’s especially puzzling considering that the show is running opposite the NBA Finals tonight.
Smith announced Bobby Lashley vs. Theory in a pose-down for later in the show…
Becky Lynch made her entrance for her WWE 24/7 Championship match with Dana Brooke. Lynch attacked Brooke before the referee could start the match. There was an audible “Becky” chant as she tossed Brooke to ringside. Lynch followed her to the floor and ran her into the barricade, then slammed her head onto the broadcast table.
Lynch called for a microphone. She said she had a lot of anger and rage. Lynch said Brooke could keep her little 24/7 Title. She spoke about being disrespected. She indicated that she intends to go after the Money in the Bank contract. Lynch went back to working over Brooke.
Asuka made her entrance. Lynch met her at ringside and they fought. Asuka slammed Lynch’s head off the apron. In the ring, Asuka put Lynch down with a shoulder block and then hit her with a series of strikes. Asuka suplexed Lynch, who rolled to ringside and headed toward the stage.
Alexa Bliss’s music played while Lynch was on the stage. Bliss came out holding her Lilly doll and waved while walking past Lynch, who jawed at her. Bliss smiled as she made her way to the ring while Graves hyped the tag team MITB qualifier… [C]
Powell’s POV: Can Lynch’s character be blamed for not wanting the worthless comedy championship? Nope, not even a little bit.
Smith hyped the Styles vs. Rollins MITB qualifier for later in the show… Highlights aired of Bliss winning the MITB ladder match in 2018 after shoving Lynch off the ladder… Liv Morgan made her entrance, followed by Nikki ASH and Doudrop…
[Hour Two] Highlights aired of Nikki ASH winning the MITB contract last year…
2. Alexa Bliss and Liv Morgan vs. Nikki ASH and Doudrop in a Money in the Bank qualifier. The winning team will both qualify for the women’s MITB ladder match. Late in the match, Doudrop pulled Morgan to ringside and slammed her. Morgan avoided a senton splash. ASH kicked Morgan through the ropes. Bliss put ASH down with a DDT and pinned her…
Alexa Bliss and Liv Morgan defeated Nikki ASH and Doudrop. in 4:25 to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Powell’s POV: WWE has so much time to fill with the three-hour Raw shows that I don’t really understand why they felt the need to have a tag team qualifier. When the match was announced, I thought they might have something in mind to creative friction between Bliss and Morgan, but they were all smiles afterward.
A highlight package recapped Edge being ousted from the Judgment Day faction…
Kevin Owens made his entrance for his match against Ezekiel… [C] Owens sat on the top rope and could be heard saying that he’d been waiting for five minutes. He told “Elias” to get out there. Ezekiel made his entrance…
3. Kevin Owens vs. Ezekiel. Owens dominated to start the match with a cannonball in the corner and a top rope Swanton Bomb for a near fall. Ezekiel came back with a spinebuster. Ezekiel went to the top rope, but Owens rolled onto the apron. Ezekiel followed and ended up on the floor before giving Owens a Death Valley Driver onto the ring steps. [C]
Late in the match, Ezekiel stuffed a Stunner and came back with a knee to the head that knocked Owens to ringside. Ezekiel followed him to the floor and dove at Owens, who moved, causing Ezekiel to crash into the ring post. Owens overheard the announcers use the Ezekiel name and flipped out until he was counted out.
Ezekiel beat Kevin Owens by count-out in 8:30.
Afterward, Owens barked at the ring announcer and then tossed one of the broadcast team’s monitors. Owens started heading toward the stage when Ezekiel got a microphone. He said he wanted to talk to all of the Zeke Freaks. He said he wasn’t finished with Owens, but he wanted in the MITB match.
Ezekiel said he reached out to Elias, who was so excited that he’s coming to Raw next week. Ezekiel said Elias can’t wait to remind the entire world that WWE stands for Walk With Elias. Owens freaked out on the stage…
Powell’s POV: I was ready for the end of the Owens vs. Ezekiel feud, but I have to admit that I’m curious to see what happens now that they hyped Elias for next week.
The broadcast team hyped the pose-down segment and said that Theory challenged Lashley to the contest. Graves said he heard Theory has been taking Ico-Pro…
MVP and Omos made their entrance for MVP’s match against Cedric Alexander…
A video package aired on John Cena meeting his fan Misha in The Netherlands after hearing the story about his family fleeing Ukraine due to the war, and Misha’s mother telling him that they were on a voyage to meet his hero Cena… [C]
MVP delivered a promo in the ring while Omos stood by his side. MVP said Cedric Alexander got on his last nerve and complained about him getting involved in the handicap match at Hell in a Cell. MVP said Alexander belongs with the rest of the bottom feeders, whereas he and Omos belong “up there in Money in the Bank.” MVP said once he finishes with Alexander, they could focus on the future of the Nigerian Giant in the Bank…
4. MVP (w/Omos) vs. Cedric Alexander. Alexander dropkicked MVP’s knee early in the match. He followed up with a facebuster style move for a two count. Alexander set up for a springboard move, but Omos distracted him, allowing MVP to clothesline Alexander. MVP dropped the Ballin’ elbow on Alexander for a two count. MVP followed up with The Playmaker and scored the pin.
MVP beat Cedric Alexander in 1:40.
Afterward, MVP tossed Alexander out of the ring and then raised the arm of Omos…
Powell’s POV: Ouch. Maybe Cedric can follow Apollo Crews to NXT 2.0.
AJ Styles delivered a backstage promo about how MITB has eluded him, and how Rollins attacking Cody made him sick. They cut to Rollins, who cackled and accused Styles of covering up his cowardice by sucker punching him and claiming he did it for Cody. Rollins said he would dedicate his victory over Styles and at MITB to Cody Rhodes… Styles made his entrance… [C]
5. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles in a Money in the Bank qualifier. Styles was the early aggressor. Rollins tried to take a powder. Styles chased him around and back inside the ring and then Rollins caught him with a shot. Rollins knocked Styles to ringside and then performed a suicide dive that sent Styles crashing over the broadcast table. [C]
Styles avoided a Stomp and then rolled Rollins into a Calf Crusher. Rollins slammed Styles’ head on the mat, but Styles maintained the submission hold until Rollins reached the ropes. Rollins caught Styles with a kick. Styles dropped Rollins with a Pele Kick and both men stayed down.
[Hour Three] Styles slipped out of a Buckle Bomb attempt and ended up suplexing Rollins into the corner. Styles covered Rollins for a near fall. Styles set up for a Phenomenal Forearm and leapt over a ducking Rollins. Styles sold knee pain from the landing and then Rollins chop blocked him.
Rollins set up for a Pedigree. Styles countered into a ushigoroshi for a near fall. Styles went up top slowly while selling the knee. Rollins ran up and met him and set up for a superplex, but Styles slipped between his legs. Rollins caught him with a shot and then Buckle Bombed him. Rollins went for a frog splash that Styles avoided. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Styles set up for a Styles Clash, but Rollins escaped. Styles went for the move again. Rollins backdropped Styles, who tried to roll him into a pin, but Rollins sat down on Styles and got the three count…
Seth Rollins defeated AJ Styles in 15:05 to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Powell’s POV: The strong match that we’ve come to expect from these two. It is tough to take the MITB losses as being the final fate for the wrestlers given how often WWE has gone with second chance qualifiers in recent years. On a side note, the graphic for MITB showed Rollins and six open spots.
Reigns vs. Riddle for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship and the new stipulation was hyped by the broadcast team. Riddle made his entrance on his scooter… [C]
A graphic touted that last week’s Miz & Mrs. season premiere was the highest rated original on USA Network in the last year…
6. Riddle vs. Ciampa. Ciampa’s entrance was not televised. The Miz sat in on commentary. Ciampa stomped Riddle’s foot and then DDT’d him for a two count. Riddle eventually came back with a power slam and a Draping DDT.
Ciampa avoided the RKO and then applied an ankle lock and wrenched the toes of Riddle. Ciampa blasted Riddle with a knee to the head and covered him for a close near fall. Ciampa set up for his Fairytale Ending finisher, but Riddle avoided it and put him down. Riddle executed a Floating Bro and a DDT before scoring the pin…
Riddle defeated Ciampa in 4:30.
Powell’s POV: Ciampa got more offense than most wrestlers who don’t get a televised entrance. Of course, the outcome was never in doubt even though Riddle waited until the last moment to kick out after taking the running knee. Even so, this was much more competitive and entertaining than I anticipated given the circumstances.
Kevin Patrick stood in the ring and introduced Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair for an interview… [C]
Belair spoke favorably about Ripley, but said she’s been soulless since joining Judgment Day. Ripley appeared on the big screen and stood between Damian Priest and Finn Balor. Ripley said they speak through their actions. Balor said they do what they want, when they want, and they are tired of taking orders.
Priest said Edge had the right idea when he started the group, but Edge’s actions contradicted his mission statement by painting himself as the leader and telling them not to do as they are told. Ripley spoke about Belair making the mistake of listening to the fans.
Ripley said she had her teeth knocked loose in the four-way last week and she loved it. She said she will eradicate Belair and become a two-time Raw Women’s Champion…
Powell’s POV: I’m not sure if it was just for this segment or if it will be the norm, but I liked seeing Ripley as the featured player in Judgment Day.
Theory was warming up backstage when Sarah Schreiber asked him about his chances against Bobby Lashley in the pose-down. Theory said he’s on a different level these days. He said he would prove that Lashley isn’t on his level and doesn’t deserve a championship opportunity.
Theory said that he’s the youngest U.S. Champion in history. He said that when his career is celebrated twenty years from now, it will make the twenty years of John Cena seem like nothing…
Powell’s POV: Cena praised Theory recently and these promo comments from Theory seem to cement that the plan is for the two of them to work together. My guess is that Lashley takes the U.S. Title before Cena faces Theory.
Alpha Academy made their entrance for Chad Gable’s match against Mustafa Ali… [C] A video touted John Cena’s return… Ali made his entrance…
7. Mustafa Ali vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis). Ali put Gable down with a late tornado DDT. Ali went t the ropes, but stopped to prevent Otis from pulling Gable out of the way. Gable took advantage of the distraction and by rolling Ali into a German suplex and a bridge for the three count…
Chad Gable beat Mustafa Ali in 3:15.
Powell’s POV: Another loss for Ali. Sure, there was the Otis distraction, but it’s not like that really protects Ali at this point.
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance for Rey’s match against Veer Mahaan… [C] An NXT ad was repeated and focused on Apollo Crews… Mahaan made his entrance coming out of the break…
8. Veer Mahaan vs. Rey Mysterio (w/Dominik Mysterio). The broadcast team played up Mahaan’s intimidation factor with Graves saying he has most of his matches won before the opening bell. Mahaan dominated the offense with Rey getting some brief hope spots.
Mahaan charged Rey in the corner. Rey moved, causing Mahaan to crash into the corner and tumble to ringside. Mahaan took out Dom and dumped him into the timekeepers area. Back in the ring, Mahaan slammed Rey over his knee and then applied the Cervical Clutch for the win…
Veer Mahaan defeated Rey Mysterio in 3:45.
Powell’s POV: Beating Rey Mysterio should feel like it meant more than it did here.
The broadcast team hyped the Smackdown main event and the stipulation that Riddle either wins the title or he’s unable to challenge Reigns ever again…
Graves announced Becky Lynch vs. Asuka in a MITB qualifying match for next week’s Raw, and Saxton hyped Elias holding a concert for Raw…
The production team set up a podium for the pose-down challenge. U.S. Champion Theory made his entrance and wore a headset microphone… [C]
Powell’s POV: Imagine going to Raw and eventually figuring out that your television “main event” is a pose-down.
WWE authority figure Adam Pearce hosted the segment. He started by introducing Theory, who was booed. “They don’t know,” Theory said. Pearce introduced Lashley, who made his entrance. Pearce said the winner would be decided by the fans.
Theory cut off Pearce, who threatened to disqualify him if he didn’t get on the podium. Theory stood on the podium in the middle of the ring. He did a double biceps pose, a side chest pose, and a “most muscular” pose. Lashley gave him a golf clap.
Theory kept posing. Lashley took the mic and told him to quit stalling. He said he would embarrass him in the pose-down and added that he would take the title from him. Lashley did the same poses that Theory did and was applauded by the crowd.
Pearce tried to poll the crowd, but Theory told him to shut his mouth. Theory polled the crowd and the fans sided with Lashley. Pearce named Lashley the winner of the pose-down. Theory said there was one more pose. Theory sprayed baby oil in the eyes of Lashley and then dropkicked him. Theory stood on the podium and took a selfie with the U.S. Title belt while Lashley acted blinded by the oil as he headed toward the stage to end the show…
Powell’s POV: A seven star classic main event segment (or something). The show peaked with Rollins vs. Styles, but otherwise it felt like it never got out of second gear. It was likely by design to some extent in that they were running opposite an NBA Finals game. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Raw for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.