Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans Challenged Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch to a Winners Take All Match at Extreme Rules
Another week, another talking segment to open Raw. Ugh. I like Rollins, but I'm so sick of seeing him in this spot every Monday night. Everyone's mic work was decent, but this played out in predictable fashion with Corbin and Evans challenging Rollins and Evans for their respective titles at Extreme Rules and the babyfaces accepting for some reason. I was ready for Rollins and Lynch to start new storylines on this show, but apparently WWE needs a filler main event for Extreme Rules before they get to the good stuff at SummerSlam. It makes sense I suppose, but that doesn't mean I have to care.
The Usos and The New Day def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival and SmackDown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan in an Elimination Match
When one member of a team was eliminated, the whole tandem was gone. I don't know what WWE's recent obsession is with elimination and 2-out-of-3 Falls stipulations, but they aren't making these matches any more compelling. If anything, they feel like a desperate attempt to kill television time. Michael Cole called New Day "top contenders" to Bryan and Rowan despite losing Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at Stomping Grounds. The match itself was entertaining and I assume both babyface teams will receive tag title shots coming out of this.
The Miz Hosted Miz TV with 24/7 Champion R-Truth; 24/7 Champion R-Truth def. Drake Maverick
This nonsense with the 24/7 title has made me an R-Truth fan again. He's so perfect in this role and it's been especially cool to see Maverick be as involved as he has been. Miz was fun in this segment, but he couldn't feel any more directionless at the moment. Truth vs. Maverick lasted all of 10 seconds before the rest of the Raw roster chased Truth out of the arena. A dejected Maverick walked to the back, leaving me to wonder what's next for him. Hopefully not divorce!
Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMAhon and Drew MCIntyre in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
You actually thought Reigns' rivalry with Shane and McIntyre was over when he beat McIntyre decisively (again) at Stomping Grounds? Fool, it's the feud that will never end! This was pretty much what you'd expect it to be with the heels dominating Reigns for a few minutes, but The Undertaker shocking up was completely unexpected, needless to say. The crowd popped huge for him, and as cool of a moment as it was, it made zero sense. I'm sure WWE will try to find a way to explain it away, but 'Taker getting involved in this garbage is as random as it gets.
Braun Strowman def. Bobby Lashley in a Tug of War by Disqualification
I thought things couldn't get any lamer than the arm wrestling match these two had earlier this month, yet here we are. We get it, they're big, strong monsters, but putting them in a tug of war is downright dumb. The only positive to this was that it was short-lived and ended with Lashley standing tall over Strowman. I'm sure a Super ShowDown rematch between these two is only inevitable and that Strowman will once again beat Lashley clean. In other words, neither Strowman nor Lashley are benefiting from the feud.
The Viking Raiders def. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I'm shocked that for all the time these two teams spent in Japan, they never clashed in standard two-on-two action until now. I believe this could have been a great match had it lasted longer, but I'm not surprised it was kept on the shorter side considering the story they're trying to tell with Gallows and Anderson right now. Nothing changed in their angle with AJ Styles from last week, but I do like the long-term storytelling and am looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Mojo Rawley vs. Heath Slater Went to a No Contest
I thought for a split second Rawley would have a match on Raw for the first time on Raw with his new gimmick, but it ended up being a backdrop for the 24/7 Championship stuff. I enjoyed what was done with it earlier in the show, but this just felt pointless and accomplished nothing aside from making Truth a nine-time champ. Slater, Cedric Alexander and EC3 also held the belt briefly, though, for whatever that's worth.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston def. SAmi Zayn (Non-title); Kingston def. Kevin Owens by Count-out (Non-title)
I applaud WWE for booking Kingston so strongly as WWE Champion, but it's high time he moved on from facing Zayn, Owens and Dolph Ziggler every week. It's not impressive anymore and Kingston won't grow as champion until he faces tougher competition. I'm not even sure if Samoa Joe is that person after all the losses he's taking throughout his main roster run. He's also built up very well but loses whenever it matters most. The beatdown was effective, but fans have no reason to believe he'll beat Kingston for the title. Meanwhile, Kingston's matches with Zayn and Owens were total throwaway and no different than what we've gotten from them in the past. One night after finally winning at Stomping Grounds, Zayn and Owens are already back to looking like losers.
Alexa Bliss def. Naomi; Bliss and Nikki Cross def. Natalya and Naomi
I was starting to wonder what happened to Naomi and Natalya, as we have barely seen them on WWE TV since Money in the Bank last month. Naomi losing back-to-back bouts won't do her any favors, and neither match was memorable in the slightest, but on the bright side, this angle with Bliss and Cross has piqued my interest and I'm actually intrigued to find out what the endgame will be. Fingers crossed Cross smartens up and turns on Bliss before Bliss gets the chance to turn on her.
AJ Styles def. United States Champion Ricochet (Non-title)
I'm very happy WWE decided to save this for the main event match and build it up over the course of the night, giving it a big fight feel in the process. This first-time-ever encounter did not disappoint and closed out the episode on a high note. My only complaint is that it didn't receive more time. While they didn't really reach that next gear until the final few minutes, it was an absolute blast while it lasted. It took Ricochet all of one night to suffer a loss in non-title action, but I'm excited for the likely rematch at Extreme Rules, where they can hopefully go all out and contest a classic.
Call me crazy, but this may have been a *gasp* good edition of Raw. And no, not just better than the previous episode like last week, but a genuinely good show. Granted, not everything was perfect and I continue to hate the hell out of the Wild Card Rule (plus, matches getting restarted will get old fairly quickly if they keep it), but highlights included: the main event, Undertaker returning (super random but I'll reserve judgement until we see it play out more), the 24/7 Championship picture, the storyline advancement with Bliss and Cross, and the eight-man tag team match. I was also impressed with how they wasted no time in beginning to put the card together for Extreme Rules, but then again, that was necessary seeing as how the event is in three weeks. Stomping Grounds exceeded my expectations as well, so if Raw can maintain this momentum, we'll be in for a fun summer season in WWE.