Wow, much has happened since we last spoke on this site. Matt Hardy and Mustafa Ali welcomed new babies into their families, Emma quietly returned from injury at a house show, Mark Andrews apparently almost died at the Download Festival, Bray Wyatt allegedly has been having an affair with JoJo, and Dash Wilder is cleared to work again.
So, a lot to digest before WWE Raw 06/12/17. Tonight’s Raw is set to begin with a rare Brock Lesnar appearance to confront Samoa Joe after Joe’s attack on Heyman last week. Also on tap for tonight is a confirmed rematch for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship between Sheamus & Cesaro and the Hardys, in a two out of three falls match. With Revival now cleared, I’ll be surprised if they’re not involved here in some fashion – perhaps causing a multi-team match to get booked for the Balls PPV? Beyond that, it’s likely Emma is back on TV, Kurt Angle will probably get some disturbing text messages, and Enzo and/or Cass will be knocked out. Fun times. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE Raw 06/12/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package reminding us what happened between Samoa Joe and Paul Heyman last week. No credits, no pyro, we’re live from “The Cajundome”, and Brock’s music hits to kick off the show.
Brock and Heyman hit the ring. Heyman cuts a promo on Joe that calls him the “one Samoan the other Samoans don’t want anything to do with”. So, we’re going to that “Joe is the one Samoan in the business that isn’t tangentially related to everyone else” place, huh? Heyman puts over the Clutch, but alleges that Joe will never get it on Brock in the first place.
I guess I should make a point to mention that this brand’s top champion is on the weekly show for the first time in two months. Let that sink in. WWE stripped Naomi of the belt fearing she’d not be back in time for Mania due to the “30 day title defense” rule, but this is A-Ok. I’d have loved the next thing to happen being Kurt Angle coming out, stripping Brock of the title, suspending him, and announcing a tournament for the Universal Title (even give Joe a first round bye). But alas, what happens instead is still pretty good.
Joe’s music hits, he’s out, and Heyman bails from the ring. We get a brief stare down and then Joe assaults Brock. Kurt is out waving security guards to the ring. Brock takes out the security guards, so Kurt waves out the lower mid card and a pull apart ensues. Joe manages to get a kick to Brock’s face in, but the pull apart is mostly successful. Before we head to break, we see Titus O’Neil with his hand on Brock’s shoulder… you know what that means.
Sadly, this episode has already peaked and we just finished the first segment. But seriously, (spoiler alert) between Reigns and Balor being given the night off and the “non-event” the rest of this show will be… just yeah. Anyway, in the spirit of attempting to keep it positive – they continue to knock this Joe / Brock stuff out of the park. This is precisely the way you build these two up and both guys are hitting the mark perfectly. Well done.
Later tonight? Sheamus & Cesaro defend the straps against the Hardys in a two out of three falls match.
Back from break, let’s watch the pull apart again and get commentary from the announcers.
Meanwhile, we’re sent to the ring for this week’s Elias Samson song. Samson plays a song burying Louisiana and Dean Ambrose. Ambrose (w/ footage from last week) is out next. I guess this was the prelude to a match?
Match #1: Elias Samson vs. Dean Ambrose
This gets a dueling “You can’t sing / You can’t wrestle” chant. We’re still doing the “you can’t wrestle” chant at ANYONE on the main roster in 2017? I mean, Lana hasn’t debuted in ring yet, so this is premature at best. I kid, I kid… maybe. Anyway, this one is okay and Dean and Elias appear to have good chemistry, but the whole “Miz thing” rears its head again. I’d love for WWE to throw caution to the wind and just commit to Dean and Elias. Instead, Miz comes out about two-thirds of the way through and leads to a distraction finish where Samson is able to hit his neckbreaker finisher.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not a fan of them continuing this Ambrose / Miz stuff, which only gets worse later. Ambrose / Samson would be significantly more entertaining at this stage in the game. It just feels like Miz’s potential is being wasted here.
Later tonight? Non-Broken Matt and Brother, Nero are facing Sheamus and Cesaro.
Back from break, Goldust has another vignette for R Truth. I can’t wait until Royal Rumble when they finally have a match!
Meanwhile, the Miz and Maryse are backstage… walking! Kurt shows up and is irate at Miz for causing the distraction finish. Miz calls out Ambrose for ruining his “celebration” last week and demands Kurt do something, considering he was absent last week with his personal issues. Kurt gets super defensive, decides to do “nothing” in respect to Ambrose, and tells Miz that if he has a problem with Ambrose to take care if it himself. Why is William Regal the only GM character WWE doesn’t book to be a total mess?
Next, we get a Cedric Alexander promo vignette. He’s on some show called 205 Live, which based on how the division is handled on Raw, I’d imagine is full of matches that go less than 2 minutes and has Neville.
Meanwhile, Alicia Fox is still out with a “neck injury” so she’s FaceTiming with Dar in the locker room. Cedric shows up, tells Dar again that he’s moved on, and calls Fox “ratchet”. Somehow out of this a match is booked and Cedric continues to be sandbagged in this feud despite “moving on”. Apparently, this match happens next.
Back from break, Cedric is out. Dar (w/ live FaceTime of Alicia Fox) is out next. In fact, Alicia Fox’s end of the FaceTime is now on the big screen and she’s mic’ed like the Voice of God. This is weird, but far from the weirdest thing on this week’s show.
So, before the match can begin, Dar is obsessed with looking at his phone and keeps arguing with Fox and the ref. He eventually stops arguing, the bell rings, and…
Match #2: Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar (w/ Alicia Fox live on FaceTime)
Cedric immediately hits the Lumbar Check and wins in three seconds.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – A dozen ring crew members had to feverishly wrap the ropes in purple tape during the ad break for this.
Post-match, Cedric finds this amusing and Dar continues to obsess over his smartphone.
Later tonight? You only need 2 falls to win the tag team championship.
Up next, we’re going to hear from Bray Wyatt. Some writers just want to watch the world burn.
Back from break, a Roman Reigns hype video airs. Don’t worry, he’s not here, and you’ll see this exact same promo again later. We learn that next week Roman announces his SummerSlam plans. What about Roman’s Great Balls of Fire plans, huh, WWE? Huh?
Bray Wyatt cuts a “non-smoky” room promo next. The stinger hits again (with Orton footage in there – OOPS!) and he heads to the ring. The entire promo sounds like he’s defending himself and going at his (soon to be) ex-wife until he finally says Seth Rollins. Seriously, this promo, today… odd choice is all I’m going to say. Rollins comes out, they banter, and Bray disappears and continues the promo on the Titantron. Someone in the crowd says “He’s under the ring” to Rollins in a high point for this segment. The gist is we’re likely getting a Rollins and Wyatt match at Great Balls… because… reasons.
Meanwhile, Charly Caruso is backstage with the Hardys. Matt does most of the talking and Jeff adds that tonight they’re going to “break the bar”.
Hey, “Free Agent” John Cena returns to SmackDown on July 4th. Why is Cena a “free agent” now for no reason? Ratings, bro.
Back from break, Kalisto is already in the ring. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews are out next. They’ve managed to pull strings and get Akira Tozawa a seat in the front row. He’s wearing a suit.
Match #3: Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews (w/ Titus O’Neil (w/ Akira Tozawa in a suit in the front row))
Crews hits his finisher after a few minutes and gets the win. I don’t remember much of the rest of this because they keep cutting away to O’Neil bantering at Tozawa in the front row, and the match is really an afterthought.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Why are they doing this with Tozawa? Apparently the “end game” is Tozawa facing Neville for the title. So… why this Titus Brand crap? Didn’t Tozawa just complete one of the better programs in the history of 205 Live recently? Yeah, so let’s sandbag him with lower card Raw crap instead to prep his push against Neville!
Post-match, Tozawa is pulled into the ring to take the customary “post-match Titus Brand selfie”. Ugh. Just, ugh.
Meanwhile, Rhyno & Slater are backstage eating cheese and crackers. Miz enters and offers Slater a spot in Miz’s entourage. Rhyno takes exception to this and Slater wants an IC Title shot. Miz says if Slater joins, he’ll get a shot – some day. We talk about caviar and spray cheese for a bit, before this somehow devolves into Rhyno having already spoken to Kurt Angle who blessed a Slater & Rhyno vs. Miz & whoever match for later tonight.
Back from break, Alexa Bliss is out. She cuts a promo on Angle making her defend against Jax last week, mentions the SmackDown women’s ladder match, and is interrupted by Jax. Nia wants a rematch with Alexa, but Alexa dances around it saying Jax should be upset with Mickie and Dana for ruining her shot. Cue Mickie and Dana. Mickie calls Alexa a “dwarf” and Dana reminds Alexa that she approached them to help take care of the “Nia Jax problem”. Alexa tells Nia they’re just trying to get attention, when Emma’s music hits.
Emma is out next, heads to the ring, and says she’s ready to take Alexa’s title. Sasha’s music hits, she’s out, and after a brief promo – she attacks Alexa to kick off a six-woman brawl.
Back from break, a six-woman tag match has broken out in place of a brawl.
Match #4: Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, & Emma vs. Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke, & Mickie James
Hey, it’s the same match I saw live last month, only without Bayley and Alicia Fox. The entire segment felt nice and like the refresh we should have gotten after Payback. However, the absence of Bayley is what caused this feeling and I’m not sure how I feel about that. That said, Emma ends up tapping out to Sasha here, which got the ire of many on Twitter. But really, if they’re building towards Bliss / Jax… neither of them could take the loss in such a fashion. Made sense to me and I’m a huge Emma mark.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not bad, all things considered. It’s just too bad they’ve failed Bayley so much that it’s come to this.
Later tonight? Slater & Rhyno take on Miz and a mystery partner.
Up next? Bayley is a failure, let’s revel in it.
Back from break, the announcers shill the Network.
Hey, here’s a video package to remind you that Finn Balor is a thing that exists in WWE.
Next, we get the Bayley interview with Corey Graves. Man. This is a really rough watch. Having botched Bayley on the main roster by not giving her the build she got at NXT, we’re just going to double down now by having her say “I’m 100% me, I’m gonna be me” and end the interview by giving Corey Graves one of the most awkward hugs in the history of pro wrestling. Sigh. If Bayley is to be saved, the best move would be salvaging her in some fashion on SmackDown. Bayley on Raw is dead, unless they do something drastic like turn her psychotic heel or give her the “broken” gimmick. Aside from that, she feels done as a character on this show. I still can’t believe they managed to screw her character up this badly.
After that, Slater and Rhyno are out and we head to break.
Back from break, The Miz and Maryse (w/ PPV gear are out). Miz’s partner? The Bear. Yep. With a TitanTron video and riding a tricycle.
Match #5: Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Miz & The Bear (w/ Maryse)
If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Nothing at all.
Post-match, Dean knocks Maryse into Miz continuing this trend of Dean’s new “gimmick” being him low-key trying to ruin Miz’s marriage. Not a fan. Miz ends up with the bear costume head on his head. Yeah. “Nothing at all”.
Next, we see a video package hyping up the main event. The tag title match is the main event tonight. That is what happens when you book Lesnar in segment 1 and give Reigns and Balor the night off.
Back from break, Neville is in the ring. Rich Swann is out next. Before the bell can ring, Neville assaults Swann and eventually slaps the Rings of Saturn on. After a while, Neville releases it, cuts a promo naming off everyone he’s taken out, and warns Tozawa to stay away. So, again, we’re going with Tozawa but need to latch him to the Titus Brand for what reason exactly?
Thus ends the #PurpleRopes part of the show. A 3-second match and a no-contest beat down before the bell. The ring crew should go on strike.
Meanwhile, Charly is with the tag team champs. They cut a promo on the Hardys’ book and remind us that they’re the bar.
Up next? Enzo & Cass vs. Gallows & Anderson.
Back from break, Anderson and Gallows get no entrance. We see footage of Show helping out Enzo last week. Meanwhile, Enzo & Cass’ music hits, but wait (!) Cass is knocked out backstage and it is from a single blow. We see the Top Guys wander by in the background as Enzo comes to Cass’ aid. Cass insists he can work the match, so they eventually make their way out to the ring.
Match #6: Enzo & Big Cass (w/ injury) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Cass sells the beat down, tags in Enzo, and then can’t be there for the hot tag. Enzo eats a Magic Killer for the loss.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I know I’m over this story line at this point.
Post-match, Gallows & Anderson attempt a 2nd Magic Killer but Big Show hits the ring. He helps Enzo up, Enzo collapses into his arms, and Cass looks annoyed on the apron.
Up next? The main event! (spoiler alert: the main event is not next)
Back from break, R Truth responds to Goldust’s vignette with a vignette.
Meanwhile, Big Show is backstage… walking! Enzo appears and asks Show if he took out Cass. Show gets annoyed and calls Cass “S – A – W – F – T”.
Next, we see highlights from the opening segment. Mike Rome interviews Samoa Joe and he says that Heyman and Brock are playing into his strategy for Great Balls of Fire.
Finally, the Hardys are out for the main event and we go to break.
Back from break, we see the Roman video package again – because why not, it’s not like a “two out of three falls” match needs time or anything.
Meanwhile, the Hardys are still in the ring. Champs are out next.
Match #7: Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs. The Hardys (2 out of 3 Falls Match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
Fall one ends with Sheamus kicking Jeff in the gut and getting a 3 count and we go to break.
Instead of coming right back into the match, we get some fever dream Pizza Hut commercial after the standard ad break, where Dar is cheating on Fox with pizza and Anderson and Gallows catch him. Again, why give the tag title match time when there is bizarre nonsense to show instead!
Fall two ends with Matt hitting the Twist of Fate on Cesaro.
Fall three? No matter. We end it with a double count out draw. Why? F**k you, that’s why. This is RAW!
Verdict: Thumbs Down – An idiotic finish ruined what could have been a fun match. I kept hoping that Revival would get involved or we’d get a clean win (either team!). But nope, more water tread to probably lead to some sort of “rubber match” at Great Balls. Much like with the Miz / Ambrose program, I feel like Hardys / Sheasaro has gone on for too long based off the story they’ve attempted to tell. Not a good look.
Post-match, the four continue brawling outside with the Hardys getting the edge. The ref awards the belts to Sheasaro and we go off the air.