WWE Raw Thoughts: June 20, 2016
Fresh off the Money in the Bank PPV with a new WWE heavyweight champion, Dean Ambrose, Raw needed a strong show to start gaining interest in their next PPV, Battleground and rescue Raw from the abysmal ratings last week that had the show sink to its lowest ratings in 19 years.
*** Before I even start looking back at last night, courtesy of WWE.com, Roman Reigns has been suspended for 30 days for his first violation of the company’s wellness policy. There’s good reason to think that that’s why Reigns dropped the belt cleanly to Rollins and was a tad hostile to the crowd last night (as I mention below). He will be cleared for the next PPV, but it’ll be interesting to see if they just slot him back into things. Below is what my initial column was before this breaking news.
Raw started off hot with Dean Ambrose getting a hero’s welcome with the crowd chanting “you deserve it!” It was nice hearing a face/good guy actually having the crowd behind them instead of booing someone the company is trying to have as the main guy. Reigns was boo’d heavily and a large “you can’t wrestle” chant broke out. I was actually surprised to see him react to the haters and tell them to drink their beers and shut up.
When Rollins came down to get into the promo equation, the crowd also popped for him. He’s still playing up the heel role, but with the awesome documentary WWE did on his rehabilitation and the excellent job he did on the PPV the night before, it’s hard not to want to get behind Rollins.
Shane McMahon came out to announce a number one contender match as the main event which really kicked the night into high gear. The announcers kept alluding to how this bout was going to be a Wrestlemania caliber match.
For the main event, Rollins and Reigns had another great match together that ended in a double count-out, which is how I thought last night’s match would end. While the ending wasn’t a surprise and makes sense to protect both men, I am shocked that they are making Battleground a triple-threat match for the WWE Championship and not saving it until Summerslam. I suppose the reason behind could be due to the upcoming draft and the WWE Championship, alongside these three men, may be split somehow with the wrestlers on the roster heading exclusively to Raw or Smackdown.
The AJ Styes/The Club promo with Cena was pretty good, too. It was a little longer than needed, but I like how AJ is in a crafty heel role then comes out with aggression with his beatdowns. While I still wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending of their match the night before, they played off of it well and added heat to Styles/Cena 2, which we know will happen at Battleground.
The one thing I really didn’t like, though, was how Anderson got in absolutely no offense against Cena and totally oversold. This is a member of one of the newest and supposedly most dangerous tag-teams in WWE and one member can’t even get one move in and was possibly going to be pinned by Cena in less than three minutes? That’s ridiculous.
Here are some quick random thoughts on a few other parts of the show:
The Wyatt Family returns to feud with…The New Day? WTF? I thought the comedy between The Club and The New Day would be painful so in order for it to work, so The New Day will really have to take more of a serious tone with The Wyatts. It was great to hear Bray get a “welcome back” chant, as WWE Creative still haven’t put him or the “family” in to feud they need to be the “new face of fear.” This also leads me to believe The Club will be involved with Cena and Styles up until the next PPV if they’re not in a program with the champs. I will say that I wanted to see The Club beat the shit out of The New Day and now I want The Wyatts to crucify them. “NEW DAY FALLS! WHAT ‘CHEW WAITING FOR? RUN!” Loved it!
Holy crap, did Dana Brooke screwed the pooch trying to put Charlotte’s leg on the rope to save the pinfall over Paige. At the end of this awful match, Sasha Banks made her return to Raw to set her sights on Charlotte and the Women’s Championship. The odd thing was watching Paige, who just lost in a title match, raise Bank’s hand as Banks held the title. Why would you do that as a competitor?
I liked seeing Titus O’Neil in a fit of rage against Rusev for embarrassing him in front of his boys at Money in the Bank. Hopefully we’ll see this rage lead to another match with more passion and what it means to O’Neil to become a champion.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens had another amazing match and while I questioned if it was the right decision for Zayn to win at first, the aftermath of these fighting all over the arena made it all make sense. Owens doesn’t really lose steam with this match and his anger and jealously regarding the loss adds more to their ongoing feud, which I see ending with a stipulation at Battleground and these two being split up during the draft.
Enzo and Cass vs The Vaudevillains was surprisingly brief and uneventful. I’m not sure where either team go next with The Wyatts now in The New Day’s business. WWE Creative knows these two teams delivered longer and better in NXT and should be allowed to shine as such on Raw.
Once again, what the hell does WWE have against Zack Ryder? If you want to squash someone, especially against a guy like Corbin, have someone else take the fall. All Corbin did was throw punches and elbows again last night. I thought I saw a lot more from him in NXT if my memory serves me correctly. But ever since being brought up, he’s been nothing more than a punch and elbow thrower. I just don’t understand why WWE gave Ryder a Wrestlemania moment and the IC belt, even for one night, if this is how they treat and view him.
I thought Raw was pretty good overall. There were some filler spots and matches that really didn’t start or progress any stories (where the hell where Sheamus and Apollo Crews?!) but there was enough to keep me engaged to see where they’re going next. Hopefully with Ambrose being champ, the continuation of the Styles/Cena feud , and a hot main event that was promised early on in the show brought the ratings up because I feel like they tried a bit more this week.