By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Lafayette Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana. After Samoa Joe choked out Paul Heyman on last week’s show, Heyman vowed that The Beast would be unleashed and Joe will cower in fear. Did Lesnar deliver the goods or did he stand in the ring like a statue per his usual cameo appearances? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.
· Samoa Joe proved that he was man enough to take on Brock Lesnar when he attacked The Beast head on to kick off the opening segment of Raw.
· The Lesnar-Joe brawl was pretty good as both men got some licks in before Kurt Angle called for security. Both men quickly got rid of the extra muscle and resumed their fight until the rest of the locker room came out to break things up for good.
· Joe got the last shot when he kicked Lesnar in the face as the opening segment came to an end.
· Paul Heyman set things up beautifully as he cut a fiery promo about how he took Joe too lightly by heaping him with praise only to get choked out for his efforts.
· Because of Joe’s actions, The Beast was unleashed and there would be hell to pay. Heyman blasted Joe for being a punk and mutt who gave his Samoan brethren a bad name because he was considered the black sheep of the family. Heyman claimed that Joe wasn’t man enough to put Brock Lesnar in the Coquina Clutch which caused Joe test that theory by going toe-to-toe with The Beast.
· He didn’t lock in his submission hold, but the Samoan Badass proved that he wasn’t afraid to knock Lesnar on his ass and live to tell the tale.
· Overall, this was a hot way to start the show. The Joe-Lesnar brawl was similar to the epic fight between Lesnar and The Undertaker from a couple of years ago. This didn’t pack the same punch, but it was a solid pull-apart scuffle that built anticipation for their Universal Championship match at the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary.
· Elias Samson defeated Dean Ambrose with a Swinging Neckbreaker after The Miz and Maryse came out to provide the distraction down the stretch. The Drifter continues to get heat by sucking as a singer, but his in-ring work is very basic which caused some fans to shower him with “You Can’t Wrestle” chants midway through the match. I hope he can work out the kinks because his gimmick has the potential to get over if it’s handled properly.
· This was a nice way to forward the never ending Intercontinental Championship feud between Miz and Ambrose. Let’s hope both stars part ways at next month’s PPV because it’s time for them to move on to bigger and better things.
· Cedric Alexander made quick work of Noam Dar when he pinned him with the Lumbar Check. Alicia Fox facetiming Dar before and during his match was very annoying.
· “Why be a king when you can be a God?” – Eminem.
· That quote from the song “Rap God” sums up the promo exchange between Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins. Anyone who used Wyatt’s name in vain would be judged accordingly. Rollins was amused that Wyatt took offense to his false prophet and wannabe martyr comment from last week. He challenged Wyatt to prove him wrong, but Wyatt pulled a Houdini by disappearing into thin air and cutting the rest of his promo from the big screen. He told Rollins that it was easy to slay a king while killing a God is an impossible feat to pull off. Wyatt told Rollins to run as the segment came to an end.
· It’s hard to take Wyatt seriously after he lost to Roman Reigns last week. He takes a good game, but he can’t back up in the ring on a consistent basis. Wyatt feuding with Rollins is more nay than yay when it comes to history repeating itself. We shall see if I’m proven wrong in the weeks to come.
· Apollo Crews defeated Kalisto with a Spinout Powerbomb in a decent match. It wasn’t as good as their kickoff bout at Extreme Rules last Sunday, but the action was solid for the most part.
· Mickie James, Dana Brooke, & Sasha Bank defeated Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, & Emma when Banks made Emma tap out to the Bank Statement. The match was decent as Alexa Bliss continued to look out for herself after she left her team high and dry down the stretch.
· The promo exchange leading up to the six-woman tag team match was fine, but it was nothing to write home about. At least Banks was over with the crowd which added heat to the segment.
· Corey Graves’s interview with Bayley covered a lot of ground as Bayley was honest about why she didn’t get extreme during her Kendo Stick on a Pole match against Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules. Bayley vowed to stay true to herself in order to walk into next year’s WrestleMania as the Raw Women’s Champion.
· The Hugger Extraordinaire spoke with humility and confidence which helped repair some of the damage done to her character over the past few weeks. Hopefully is this the start of Bayley’s redemption arc because she has a lot to offer as a performer if she isn’t booked like shit.
· Corey Graves saying that he needed a cigarette after hugging Bayley was awesome. I’m surprised they didn’t break character because Graves’ deadpan delivery had me rolling.
· Heath Slater and Rhyno defeated The Miz and The Mysterious Dancing Bear when Dean Ambrose did a switcheroo with the bear after Miz’s paranoia got the best of him once again. The distraction caused Miz to knock Maryse off the ring apron which allowed Ambrose to nail him with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose dragged Slater on top of Miz to pick up the win for his team.
· The match as pure comedy as the announcers traded bear jokes that were so corny that I couldn’t even crack a smile at how dumb they were. Ambrose continues to make Miz look like chump which is entertaining, but it’s not making me long for their feud to continue.
· Neville vs. Rich Swann never got underway as Neville attacked Swann from behind. He slammed Swann into the barricade before putting him in the Rings of Saturn. Neville took pleasure in destroying Austin Aries, TJP, and Swann and blew off Akira Tozawa as a viable challenger for his Cruiserweight Championship. It appears that Titus O’Neil is trying to push his new client on Twitter, but he might be doing more harm than good by kicking the hornet’s nest. At least there’s a storyline reason as to why O’Neil is stirring up trouble on 205 Live.
· Big Cass was attacked backstage by a mystery assailant, but he still tagged with Enzo Amore as they took on Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Cass tried to compete, but Enzo had to do the heavy lifting for his team. It wasn’t enough as Anderson and Gallows laid him out with The Magic Killer for the win.
· Anderson and Gallows continued to attack Enzo until The Big Show made the save. Cass didn’t look happy as Enzo embraced Big Show in the ring. Cass remains my top suspect in the backstage attacks.
· Big Show calling Big Cass S-A-W-F-T pretty much says it all.
· The 2-out-of-3 falls match featuring The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Championship ended in a tie when both teams didn’t make it back in the ring before the count of ten during the deciding fall. This was a smart way to prolong the feud while keeping both teams strong heading into the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary.
· This was a very good main event match that featured hard-hitting action throughout. Both teams work well together which makes their feud still feel fresh despite the multiple rematches. I can’t knock the monotony if the wrestling is up to par. Let’s hope they can keep the momentum going heading into The Fire with Great Balls.
· Overall, I thought this was a serviceable episode of Monday Night Raw. It was clear from the start that WWE wanted to get their best stuff out of the way before Game 5 of the NBA Finals featuring the Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers tipped off at 9:00 p.m. Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe took care of business with their pull-apart brawl while the show was bookended by The Hardy Boyz vs. Cesaro and Sheamus in a 2-out-3 falls match for the Raw Tag Team Titles.
· The rest of the show was filled with a lot of fluff, but there was an interesting development in the form of a Roman Reigns video package. Michael Cole announced that Reigns would reveal his plans for SummerSlam on next week’s show. It appears that Reigns won’t be a part of the Raw exclusive PPV next month and will focus on the biggest party of the summer instead. His promo will be newsworthy, to say the least.
· Finn Bálor was also kept tonight’s show, but he was given the video package treatment as well. Bálor not having a viable feud at the moment sucks, but I don’t want him on television unless he has a clear purpose. The creative team better live up to their name because Bálor is too talented to be sitting on the sidelines without anything meaningful to do.
· Raw should be locked in for the rest of the summer because they no longer face competition from the NBA Playoffs. The television real estate is light on content and it’s important that WWE strikes while the iron is hot. If not, let the summertime sadness commence. L
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!