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WWE RAW 07.01.19: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

July 1, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
Becky Lynch Maria Kanellis

The Good: The Opening – The opening segment/match was darn near perfect. You want to start things off with a bang? That is how you do it. Just blow up the entire freakin’ thing. Literally. Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman are likely headed for a rematch at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view but until then, we have a classic RAW Moment with them destroying the stage, The lighting went out, sparks started to fly, pyro exploded. Very cool visual and exactly the type of scene we needed to get a buzz going. Whether it was a Paul Heyman idea or not is irrelevant in my mind. Viewers are wanting a change. and that was teased with the Heyman news last week…and now delivered in the first ten minutes. Excellent stuff. A far cry from the ridiculous 18 million YouTube views Arm Wrestling Match…

The Bad: The Street Profits Backstage? – Come on WWE, that was garbage. Amateur mistake with The Street Profits being shown backstage for a split second. Reminds me of Fastlane 2017 which I attended live. Right before the big Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens Universal Title main event, a graphic for Chris Jericho’s entrance was shown. Immediately the live crowd groaned and started chanting “Y2J.” Obviously took away from the surprise factor.

The Good: Samoa Joe Chokes Out Kofi Kingston – The Viking Raiders vs. The New Day was quickly turned into a six man tag bout with Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe. Nice idea to include a little build for the WWE Championship feud. Totally craps on the Wildcard Rule but meh. That is already done for. Weird set up aside, we had the correct finish with Joe gaining some credibility by making short work of Kofi and getting the victory. A super duper RARE loss for Kingston on television since WrestleMania 35. He has been kept incredibly strong.

The Good: Drake Maverick – This is how you maximize your minutes. Cool new(?) shirt, beautiful new wife Renee, funny new story line, a new lease on life. Lease, not leash! He has been a bright spot for WWE TV in recent months. This is how you take something worthless (24/7 Title) and make it worthwhile. Kudos to him. I know R-Truth has been getting all the credit. However, Drake (and his wedding nonsense) has been gold. Enjoy the 24/7 honeymoon champ!

The Good: Cesaro Is Superman – Short and sweet. Cesaro beat up No Way Jose. No explanation needed.

The Good: The Street Profits As A Tag Team – Like Heavy Machinery and Jason Jordan, The Street Profits eventually grew on me. Not a fan of them early on. As an act or inside the squared circle. A few tweaks later, I was digging the theme music and rooting them on to win the NXT Tag Team Titles. Lots of charisma and a fresh pair on WWE TV. Win-win…

The Ugly: The Street Profits Appearing AT ALL – …lose! All that praise yet still, this feels like a flashback to The Vikings Raiders showing up on Raw a few months ago with the NXT Tag Team Titles. It was a mistake then (and I said as such at the time), and this feels like the same. Another mistake. A potential call up for no real good reason. I know the company wants to bolster the tag team division; I totally understand. They SHOULD! At the same time, allow some time to finish up NXT story lines and build a little bit to the main roster move first. Very similar to Ricochet, Aleister Black, Johhny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa all randomly appearing on Raw earlier in 2019. Time will tell if this was a one off or not.

The Good: The Undertaker Speaks – Drew McIntyre is The Stud. Absolutely no fear or intimidation to the legendary Undertaker. Shane McMahon holding him back from fighting tonight felt like a bad move. Should have just let them slug it out. Guessing that is being saved for the PPV though. Brains over brawn perhaps? Either way, the two yapped for awhile until The Undertaker came out to a big ovation. In Texas, of course he would be nearby. He explained WHY he returned to help Roman Reigns last week, just as I wrote about in my column. Check it out! Solid hype for Extreme Rules, nothing fancy.

The Good: AJ Styles/The Club/Ricochet Drama – I’m intrigued. We did this whole song and dance back in 2016, and it led to a heel turn for AJ Styles and multiple clean victories over John Cena … and later the WWE Championship. One more round with The Club? It started out friendly last week with Ricochet but got cranked up in a hurry tonight. Dallas, Texas was more than ready to see them go at it. Can’t blame them.

The Bad: Lacey Evans/Baron Corbin – Okay, Lacey Evans over Natalya was fine. No harm, no foul. The Baron Corbin promo backstage was also fine. All paint by the numbers and pretty ho-hum less than two weeks before the Extreme Rules MAIN EVENT – WINNERS TAKE ALL! There needs to be more here. There just does. From the face side, it is covered with Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins. The heel side needs to step it up. At least end this thing on a high note at Extreme Rules.

The Good: The Miz VS. Elias – Sure, whatever. Another chapter in the never ending Miz/Shane story line. Assuming we are close to a payoff, this was fitting. Not a fan of the weekly two out of three falls deal. Another  USA Network decision that we rip WWE for but isn’t even up to them.

The Good: Mike & Maria – BOOM! Apparently, Mike and Maria ‘walked out’ of 205 Live last week. Not that I watch it but anyways, this was a GREAT surprise. Both just signed new deals, have a unique look, are a legitimate couple and can be pesky heels on the main roster. I know they love to defend 205 Live on Twitter, but let’s be real – the second it was offered to show up on Raw, they took it. Maria has always been pretty good on the mic, and Mike does appear to be stacked. It worked. Going toe to toe in a promo segment with RAW Womens Champion Becky Lynch and Universal Champion Seth Rollins is indeed making an impact. Honestly, before they showed up, the lovey-dovey banter wasn’t going over well with the two title holders. Mike and Maria SAVED the interview.

The Good: Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch VS. Mike & Maria – I expected a quick tag bout with the champs winning easily, and that is what we got. Now for the rest…

The Good: Pregnancy Stuff – Soooo Maria just said she was pregnant to avoid a Becky Lynch beatdown? Or she actually is pregnant again? Or this is a Maury styled “Who is the father?” kind of story line with Mike as the shmuck husband who was cheated on? I have zero clue what is going on. Confusion aside, Maria was the star of the whole match/segment, and that is no surprise. The Becky/Seth pairing has not really clicked so far, and Mike was well, he was there. Maria was 100% THE star. No wonder Heyman has been a fan of hers since the beginning. Wait and see on where this goes. By the time this is posted, we will probably know what is real and what isn’t.. Just remember though: Paul Heyman is running things now. You have to take the good, the bad, and the ugly with him.

The Good: Paul Heyman Promo – Little spot with The Street Profits and some hype for a potential Brock Lesnar appearance later. It won’t happen, but the tease is still always fun because one of these days The Beast WILL show up! The Texas crowd reacted big to Heyman showing up on screen, so they obviously know about his new behind the scenes role.

The Bad: Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss/Carmella – The best feud in WWE today may be the Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss friendship. This week felt like a waste of time though. Carmella showed up (for some reason?) and defeated Alexa Bliss in seconds. Then Nikki Cross beat Carmella immediately after. I assume the point is to prove Nikki could beat Carmella when Bliss couldn’t. Um, alright. No real point to this. Wildcard Rule, right?

The Good: United States Title Main Event – Didn’t care for the false finish. Getting tired of those little tricks done to add in a commercial break. Eventually, WWE will run out of ideas to need an excuse to stop the action. Nitpicks forgotten about, this was AJ Styles vs. Ricochet in the main event of WWE Raw for the second week in a row. You want this type of match? Here you go. It was certainly entertaining and had me hooked. I was not a fan of Styles winning last week. I thought Ricochet had a ton of momentum after Stomping Grounds and really had no point to losing the next night clean. A legitimate victory for Ricochet over AJ here makes up for it. Sorta. With the false finish earlier, another rematch may be coming. After some back and forth, the ‘real’ AJ Styles did turn. Poor Ricochet took a beating. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have their buddy back in the fold once more. The Club has reunited. Again.

SUMMARY: Eventful and lots of headlines. Exactly what we needed from this apparent new era starting out. Very good show. Too sweet.

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Justin Watry