By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,517)
Live from Lincoln, Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena
Aired June 20, 2022 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a memorial graphic for the late Tim White, who worked as a referee and road agent for the company… Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair made her entrance.
The broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton appeared on camera and recapped Brock Lesnar’s return on Smackdown after Roman Reigns beat Riddle to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
Graves said that despite the stipulation that Riddle can’t challenge Reigns again while he’s champion, Riddle still has a chance via Money in the Bank. Graves announced Riddle vs. Omos in a MITB qualifier for Raw.
Belair welcomed viewers to Raw. She announced that Rhea Ripley will not be medically cleared in time for their scheduled title match at Money in the Bank. Belair said she would be ready and waiting once Ripley returns. Belair questioned who she will defend her title against at MITB.
Belair announced Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Carmella, Asuka, and Becky Lynch will meet in a five-way match to determine who will challenge her for the title at the MITB event.
Becky Lynch made her entrance. Lynch said she’s the only real contender. Lynch entered the ring and complained that she still hasn’t received a singles rematch for the championship.
Asuka came out and mocked Lynch by acting like she was crying. Asuka joined the duo in the ring.
Liv Morgan came out and told Lynch she shouldn’t just worry about Asuka tonight because she is also ready for a fight. Morgan said she’s already earned her spot in MITB, which she said Lynch has been unable to do. Morgan said she would gladly trade in her MITB spot for a chance to challenge Belair at MITB.
Carmella made her entrance and mocked Morgan for being the only person out there who was not a former champion. Carmella asked the crowd if they should kick the “lovable loser” out of the match and make it a four-way. The crowd booed. Morgan said that if Carmella continued to talk that way to her, she would make sure she got another couple of weeks off. Carmella accused Morgan of riding the coattails of Alexa Bliss.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance with a Lilly doll in her hand. Bliss said Carmella’s line was rich coming from someone who has never been successful on her own. She told Carmella to stop messing with Morgan or she would take her out. Belair said it was time for some action… [C]
Powell’s POV: Sasha Banks and Naomi should just show up for this five-way match and act like nothing happened. It’s a shame that Ripley is sidelined. The company has had some bad luck with the Raw women’s division lately. Obviously, this means the scheduled Lynch vs. Asuka MITB qualifier has been bumped.
A video package hyped John Cena’s return for next week’s 20 Years of Cena Celebration…
1. Becky Lynch vs. Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan vs. Carmella in a five-way for a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank. Belair watched the match from ringside. Morgan put Carmella down and then went to the ropes. Carmella recovered and shoved Morgan off the ropes and onto a couple of the other entrants at ringside. [C]
Asuka caught Lynch in an inside cradle for a two count. Lynch came right back with a Manhandle Slam, but Bliss broke up the pin with Twisted Bliss. Bliss went for the pin, but the other entrants returned to break it up. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
A short time later, Lynch put Morgan down with a Manhandle Slam and had her pinned, but Asuka pulled Lynch to ringside. Bliss went for Twisted Bliss on Morgan, who put her knees up. Carmella superkicked Morgan and pinned her…
Carmella defeated Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss in a five-way in 12:30 to earn a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship.
Backstage, Lynch freaked out while asking Adam Pearce how many times this was going to happen… [C]
Powell’s POV: This won’t be the most popular outcome, but Belair vs. Carmella is fine for a short notice match on a show that will be carried by the Money in the Bank matches.
Backstage, Lynch continued to vent to Pearce about not being in the MITB ladder match. Pearce said she had to earn that. He suggested they go ahead with the originally scheduled Lynch vs. Asuka MITB qualifier. Lynch agreed. Pearce said the match would take place tonight. Lynch wasn’t pleased by that part of his decision…
Vince McMahon made his entrance. Once in the ring, he noted the Raw episode count and said it’s still the longest running television show in history. He thanked the fans for that. He said Raw has been on the air for nearly thirty years. He said it was dominated for twenty of those years by the greatest WWE Superstar of all-time. He said that man would make his return next week. He said he was speaking in reference to Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect – John Cena…
Powell’s POV: At the rate he’s going, Vince McMahon may pop up on Tuesday’s NXT 2.0. Not really. Well, probably not. Maybe? Okay, no. But for those keeping score, yes, the fans cheered McMahon during his unadvertised appearance.
Highlights aired of Roman Reigns beating Riddle to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on Friday, followed by Brock Lesnar’s surprise return… [C]
Riddle made his entrance and delivered a promo. He admitted defeat to Reigns and said he let down his best bro Randy Orton. Riddle said he might be down, but he’s not out. He recalled saying Roman Reigns would have to kill him to stop him.
Riddle said he may not be able to challenge Reigns for his title, but he can win Money in the Bank. Riddle said it’s a long shot, but if he wins MITB, then he could cash in on Reigns and end his reign of terror and get the vengeance that he and Orton desire. Riddle brought up Seth Rollins attacking “my boy” Cody Rhodes with a sledge hammer and said that made him want to hit Rollins in the back with a ladder.
Omos and MVP made their entrance. MVP asked if Riddle’s been hanging out with Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa, because they are the only people he knows who have the kind of top shelf stash that would leave Riddle so divorced from reality. MVP said Riddle won’t make it to MITB, let alone win it.
MVP said Riddle will get high when Omos picks him up off his feet and slams him back to reality. Riddle said he would get high when his hand goes high in the air after he beats Omos with the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment – RK-Bro…
Powell’s POV: Snoop and Khalifa’s shit is apparently so good that Riddle still thinks Bro is a letter.
2. Riddle vs. Omos (w/MVP) in a Money in the Bank qualifier. Riddle had his ribs wrapped. Omos targeted the ribs by hitting Riddle with a shot from behind and then by putting him in a bearhug. Riddle punched and elbowed his way free.
Omos grabbed Riddle by the throat, but Riddle hit him with a leaping knee to the head. A short time later, Riddle hit Omos with a Floating Bro that didn’t knock him off his feet. Riddle went for an RKO, but Omos stuffed it and performed his finishing slam before scoring the pin…
Omos defeated Riddle in 3:55 to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
[Hour Two] Seth Rollins made his entrance while Riddle was still down in the ring. Rollins entered the ring and dropped Riddle with a forearm to the face. Rollins dumped Riddle to ringside. Rollins got a mic and then cackled and told the booing crowd that he was sorry, but he doesn’t share airspace with losers.
Rollins called Riddle the ultimate loser. Rollins said Riddle lost his buddy Orton, the title match to Reigns, and now his shot at MITB. Rollins said he’s the only man who has the number of Reigns. Rollins accused Reigns of dodging him since he “emotionally dismantled him” at the Royal Rumble.
Rollins said he’ll win the MITB contract and then he’ll find Reigns no matter how much he tries to hide. Rollins said that if you thought his first cash-in was great, you haven’t seen anything yet. Riddle returned to the ring and hit Rollins, who quickly regrouped. and put Riddle down with a Stomp…
Powell’s POV: Before you count out Riddle as the MITB winner, don’t forget that WWE likes to book second chance qualifiers. Rollins has already qualified for MITB, so it’s not like they did this angle to set up a Rollins vs. Riddle match for the MITB event.
Smith spoke about being in Nebraska while imagery of the city and the college football team was shown…
U.S. Champion Theory made his entrance with his title belt, his phone, and a headset microphone. He spoke on his way to the ring and referred to himself as untouchable… [C]
Theory posed on the pose-down podium in the middle of the ring. Last week’s pose-down between Theory and Bobby Lashley was recapped. Theory cut a promo while standing on the podium. He said next week might be Cena’s twenty-year celebration, but “his time is up, and my time is now.”
Theory said he embarrassed Lashley last week, but he didn’t get to show everyone his “immaculate poses.” Theory oiled himself up and then struck various poses and claimed he’s better than Lashley every day of the week. The crowd started to cheer and Theory assumed they were cheering for him.
Lashley stood in the ring behind Theory, who took issue with the crowd chanting Bobby. Theory told them to shut up while he took a selfie. He spotted Lashley on his phone. Theory turned around and Lashley sprayed baby oil in his face. Lashley knocked Theory out of the ring and then picked up the U.S. Title.
Lashley said he wasn’t asking, he was telling Theory that the U.S. Title would be coming home with him. Lashley held the title over the ropes and then puled it back when Theory tried to take it. He eventually dropped the belt and let Theory pick it up. Theory seethed while Lashley played to the crowd…
Highlights aired of Finn Balor joining Judgment Day followed by the group ousting Edge from the faction. Graves said there was no update regarding Edge’s potential return…
Unified WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso made their entrance for Jey’s match against Angelo Dawkins… [C]
Backstage, Kevin Patrick popped up out of nowhere to interview Theory, who said he was in Adam Pearce’s office and he was on the phone. Theory said he suggested and Pearce agreed that Lashley must defeat three opponents in a gauntlet match in order to earn a shot at the U.S. Title at Money in the Bank…
Powell’s POV: It’s interesting that Theory didn’t credit his mentor Mr. McMahon with signing off on the match. I wonder if they are distancing the Theory and McMahon characters.
The Usos stood in the ring and delivered a promo. They boasted about holding all the gold and how The Bloodline run both shows. They said Roman Reigns will smash Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam and they will smash The Street Profits at MITB. The Profits made their entrance and spoke about getting the better of the Usos the next time they met. Ford told them to enjoy their title reign while they can. Yes, the Profits still want the smoke…
3. Angelo Dawkins (w/Montez Ford) vs. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso). The broadcast team mentioned Jimmy beating Ford last week. The match spilled over to ringside quickly. Jey clotheslined Ford into the timekeepers area. In the end, Jey went for a top rope move, but Dawkins caught him with a Sky High slam and scored the pin…
Angelo Dawkins defeated Jey Uso.
Elias was shown playing his guitar in a backstage room. Ezekiel showed up and they sat on opposite sides of a couch. Elias claimed he’d been out playing songs. He said he’s a changed man and said that hearing the crowd cheer Ezekiel on completely changed his perspective. They spoke more and then Elias said he had to tune his guitar. They nearly bumped fists…
Powell’s POV: No mystery here. Jimmy beat Ford last week, so you had to know this was Dawkins’ week to win. Even so, I was surprised last week when Ford took the first loss. Meanwhile, that was cute production work from WWE during the Elias and Ezekiel segment. I’m still disappointed that they apparently didn’t film a bunch of Elias segments before he shaved off the beard.
Elias sat on a stool in the ring and played his guitar and had a pair of guitars on stands next to him. He played to the crowd and did his Walk With Elias schtick. Elias said he missed that. He dedicated his first song to his brother Ezekiel. Elias started to play a song, but he was interrupted.
Kevin Owens came out and accused Elias of being a disgusting liar with no integrity. He said the previous skit didn’t fool him. He said he saw a movie with a dinosaur in it. Ezekiel appeared on the big screen and told Owens that he needs to move on. Elias said he and his brother were not lying. Elias played a song called “KO is a Liar.”
Owens entered the ring and took Elias’s guitar and threw it to ringside. Elias hit him with a leaping knee to the head. Elias picked up another guitar and slammed it over Owens’ head. Elias thanked the crowd while Owens struggled to get to the back.
Owens was shown stumbling as he went through the backstage curtain. Kevin Patrick approached him and asked if he was willing to admit that Elias and Ezekiel are not the same person. Owens threw a fit and issued a match challenge to Ezekiel or Elias. Ezekiel showed up and accepted the match. Owens threw a fit…
Bobby Lashley made his entrance for the gauntlet match… [C]
Powell’s POV: They did a good job from a production standpoint and Owens’ performances continue to make the gag work. Even so, I hope this feud is nearing the finish line so that Owens can move on.
A video hyped John Cena’s appearance for next week… Chad Gable and Otis made their entrance…
4a. Bobby Lashley vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis) in the first part of a gauntlet match. Lashley dominated and even slapped Gable at one point. Gable ended up on the apron. Lashley ran the ropes and knocked Gable to the floor with a forearm shot. Lashley went to ringside and ran Gable into the barricade, then hoisted him up and ran him into the ring post.
[Hour Three] Lashley pulled Gable from the apron into a vertical suplex. Lashley held up Gable with one arm and smiled before completing the suplex. Lashley went for a spear, but Gable avoided it and put him in an ankle lock. Gable remained on the offensive until Lashley suplexed him. Lashley eventually caught him in the Hurt Lock for the win.
Bobby Lashley beat Chad Gable in 5:40 to advance in the gauntlet match.
4b. Bobby Lashley vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable) in the second part of a gauntlet match. Otis attacked Lashley immediately after the bell. The crowd chanted for Lashley while Otis worked him over. Otis splashed Lashley on the floor. [C]
Lashley avoided a middle rope splash. Lashley put Otis down with a Flatliner. Lashley went for The Hurt Lock, but Otis blocked it. Lashley ended up spearing Otis and had him beat, but Gable ran in for the DQ finish. Gable and Otis beat up Lashley afterward. Theory came out as the third gauntlet opponent.
Bobby Lashley beat Otis by DQ in 14:20 to advance in the gauntlet match.
4c. Bobby Lashley vs. Theory in the third part of a gauntlet match. Theory worked over Lashley briefly. He went for his ATL finisher, but Lashley countered into a pin for the three count.
Bobby Lashley beat Theory in 16:45 to win the gauntlet match to earn a U.S. Title shot at Money in the Bank.
Powell’s POV: A predictable, yet solid win for Lashley. The booking is clearly meant to make viewers believe he will win the U.S. Title at MITB as opposed to making it feel like a showdown between two equals. My guess remains that Lashley will win the title so that Theory doesn’t hold it when/if he works with John Cena at SummerSlam.
The broadcast team recapped Carmella winning the five-way gauntlet match to earn a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at MITB…
Bianca Belair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber on the backstage ring set. Belair put over Carmella as a strong competitor and ran through her accomplishments. She said she wouldn’t take her lightly. Belair started going through her EST bit when Carmella hit her from behind and knocked her down. Carmella said Belair better watch her back because Mella is money…
The Miz made his entrance for a Miz TV segment with AJ Styles as his guest… [C]
Miz introduced AJ Styles, who made his entrance and joined him inside the ring. Meanwhile, Graves spoke about how Styles has been in a bit of a slump during his feud with Judgment Day. Miz played on that theme as well. Styles endeared himself to the locals by saying it was Cornhuskers Country.
Styles accused Miz of having “tiny little popcorn balls.” Miz said that’s not becoming a thing. Styles said Miz’s tiny balls has already become a thing. Styles asked the crowd and they confirmed it was. Miz said he has massive, gigantic, python sized balls. Miz boasted about beating John Cena at WrestleMania, said he has the perfect family, and plugged The Marjo Show for after Raw.
Miz asked Styles what it’s like to be a huge disappointment. Styles said Miz was trying to get him to lose his cool, but he wouldn’t play his game. Styles owned his recent losses. He said he’s been through adversity before and that’s how he became Phenomenal.
Styles said when he’s disrespected, he doesn’t run his mouth on his little show like Miz. “No, um, I do this,” Styles said before dropping Miz with a forearm. Ciampa appeared in the ring and hit Styles from behind, which sent Styles to ringside… [C]
5. AJ Styles vs. Ciampa. The Miz sat in on commentary for the match. Ciampa caught Styles with a knee to the head and knocked him off the apron. Ciampa brought him back inside the ring and hit another knee to the face and then covered him for a two count. Styles rallied with his series of strikes.
Styles performed a ushigoroshi. He set up for a Styles Clash, which Ciampa avoided. Ciampa went for a Fairytale Ending, but Styles stuffed it. Styles caught Ciampa with a forearm from the apron, then hit him with a Phenomenal Forearm and pinned him.
AJ Styles beat Ciampa in 4:30.
After the match, Miz ran in and went for a cheap shot. Styles ducked it and put Miz down with a Styles Clash. Styles put on Miz’s shades and posed for the camera…
Powell’s POV: They raced through that one by introducing the idea of Styles being in a slump only to have him break out of it all in one night.
Highlights aired of Veer Mahaan beating Rey Mysterio last week. Mahaan was interviewed by Kevin Patrick on the podium next to the stage. Patrick said Mahaan’s win came after what some where calling brutal and gruesome actions. “Only some?” Mahaan asked. “That’s a shame.” He said WWE has never seen hunger like his before. He said he loves carnage and no one knows how to stop him because he can’t be stopped…
Powell’s POV: Just a decent promo, but a huge upgrade over the grunting savage that he played on Jerry Lawler’s talkshow.
Becky Lynch made her entrance for the main event… [C] The broadcast team hyped Kevin Owens vs. Ezekiel/Elias/Elrod for next week’s Raw…
Powell’s POV: Owens made a joke about a third brother named Elrod earlier, so that’s where that name came from.
6. Becky Lynch vs. Asuka in a Money in the Bank qualifier. Asuka made her entrance and was attacked by Lynch. They quickly got in the ring to start the match. Asuka performed an early Codebreaker for a two count. Lynch battled back and ended up knocking Asuka off the ropes to the floor. [C]
Late in the match, Lynch went for a Disarmer, but Asuka rolled her into a pin for a two count. When they stood up, Asuka dropped Lynch with a big kick to the head and pinned her clean.
Asuka defeated Becky Lynch in 12:00 to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Lynch threw a fit after the match and tore the top piece off the broadcast table. The cameras focused on Lynch rather than the winner of the match as the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: A well worked main event. I’m more convinced than ever that there will be second chance qualifiers to get Riddle and Lynch in the MITB match, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Overall, a solid and yet mostly forgettable episode. Raw needs the boost that John Cena should provide next week. 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.