Live from Lafayette, Louisiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1253. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the creative banner up top.

The opening video package focused on Samoa Joe’s attack on Paul Heyman from last week’s Raw.

Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, made his entrance with Paul Heyman. It is Lesnar’s first appearance on Raw in over two months since the night after WrestleMania. Loud ovation for Lesnar and Heyman. Lesnar defends the Universal Title against Samoa Joe on July 9 at Great Balls of Fire in Dallas.

Analysis: The NBA Finals game five started at 9pmET, so putting Lesnar on first was a smart move since the second and third hour was likely going to be hurt by the basketball game.

Heyman said that he’s there to unleash The Beast. Heyman said that it is Samoa Joe’s day of reckoning that will be administered by the reigning, defending Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Heyman talked about how he showed Samoa Joe respect last week and asked permission to enter the ring, but like a shark, Joe lured Paul in and took him out. Heyman said that because of what Joe did, Lesnar has a problem that will be solved by the greatest problem solver in WWE history, Brock Lesnar.

Heyman spoke about how he thought Samoa Joe was the worst-case scenario that would be a worthy challenger to Lesnar. Heyman spoke about how many Samoans there were in the business for so many years. Heyman talked about how all the Samoans in the business are a family and how they all know eachother except for one they don’t want to deal with, Samoa Joe.

Heyman mentioned how Samoa Joe attacked Heyman last week with the Coquina Clutch as if that was a defining moment for Joe. Heyman wondered what it would be like if Joe put the Coquina Clutch on Bock Lesnar and what happens then? Heyman said then he realized that Joe will never get the Coquina Clutch on Lesnar because he’s not man enough to get it on Lesnar and if he does…here comes Samoa Joe.

Analysis: Typical good promo from Heyman, who is the best hype man in the company. His promos are always effective in terms of making Lesnar’s upcoming matches feel special.

Joe walked out to the ring in his ring gear and he was wearing one of his t-shirts. Heyman left the ring while Lesnar invited Joe into the ring.

Joe stood face to face with Lesnar. Joe hit him with a shoulder to the chest, Lesnar fought back and shoved Joe into the turnbuckle. They battled around the ring with Lesnar hitting Joe with shoulder tackles. Raw GM Kurt Angle was on the ramp and he sent security down to the ring. The wrestlers destroyed the security. Angle called for more help as the Raw locker room emptied out to try to separate both guys. Joe broke free from the guys grabbing him and kicked Lesnar in the face. Joe left the ring, so Lesnar rolled out to the floor and went after him. The wrestlers holding them back were midcarders rather than the bigger names on the show. Fans chanted “This is awesome” for it. Joe was up on the ramp while Lesnar was by the ring as the scene ended.

Analysis: Great brawl by two of the toughest guys in WWE. I’m a big fan of pull apart brawl angles especially for credible badasses like these two guys. Doing a brawl like that works very well to start the show on a high note because fans wanted to see Lesnar and Joe go at it like that. It’s still the typical promo segment to start the show instead of a match, but this had a much different feel to it because of Lesnar’s presence. This segment was very effective in terms of getting people excited about the Great Balls of Fire match on July 9. I’m happy with how they presented it, had the other wrestlers break it up before it got far and it kept us wanting more. It was an excellent segment. I’m looking forward to more of this although Lesnar isn’t scheduled for next week. It will pick up again in two weeks. If the NBA game wasn’t on, this may have been the main event of the show, but WWE knew the audience would be lower at 11pmET, so they did it early. That’s how they operate against strong competition.

Still to come: Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Hardy Boyz in a 2/3 Falls match for the Raw Tag Team Titles.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of the brawl that opened the show.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T were shown on camera talking about the chaotic situation that just happened.

Elias Samson was in the ring playing his guitar for this week’s song. “Who wants to walk with Elias?” The crowd booed. He asked the crowd to keep their cell phones down and hold their applause until after he is finished. Samson sang about Louisiana being a laughing stock of the US. He mentioned Dean Ambrose not leaving him alone.

Analysis: Samson’s singing continues to get him cheap heat. The singing isn’t that bad, but the lyrics are designed to rip on the local crowd. It’s cheap heat in song form.

Dean Ambrose made his entrance as highlights aired of the Miz TV segment last week where Ambrose attacked him after dressing up as a cameraman.

Elias Samson vs. Dean Ambrose

Ambrose hit an elbow to the jaw and they went to break one minute into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Samson was in control with a nice running clothesline. The fans chanted “you suck” at Samson as he slapped on a headlock. Ambrose fought out of it with a back suplex. They exchanged chops, Ambrose with running forearms and a running clothesline. Ambrose with a Fisherman’s Suplex for a two count. The crowd slowly got into it as Ambrose urged them on. Ambrose with a forearm in the corner, Samson boot to the face and Ambrose sent him over the top. Ambrose hit a suicide dive onto Samson on the floor. They battled on the top rope with Samson going for a superplex, Ambrose fought out of it with headbutts and Miz showed up at ringside with Miz in his ring gear. Samson rollup for two. Ambrose hit his bounce off the ropes clothesline on Samson. Maryse was at ringside with Miz as well. Ambrose left the ring, so Miz pulled Maryse in front of him. Ambrose got his hands on Miz and sent him into the barricade. The ref was counting, so Ambrose snuck back in under the rope and Samson hit a knee to the back. Samson hit a spinning reverse neckbreaker on Ambrose for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Elias Samson

Post match, the camera focused on Miz on the ramp while Ambrose was mad in the ring.

Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match to put over the newcomer in Samson. I’m not that impressed by Samson. He’s very basic. I thought that when he was in NXT. Not much has changed since he went to the main roster. There’s just nothing about him that screams star to me. The win wasn’t clean because of the distraction provided by Miz, but that’s fine because Samson is a heel that should win cheap when he beats a guy like Ambrose, who was protected as the loser. It’s simple wrestling booking right there.

There was another plug for Tag Title match later.

This week on Smackdown Live: Styles, Nakamura & Zayn vs. Corbin, Owens & Ziggler. Plus, Orton and Mahal go “face to face” as well.

(Commercial)

Goldust did a “Shattered Dreams Production” video from his director’s chair again. He talked about how R-Truth was jealous and scared, so Goldust got to him before Truth could get to him. Goldust said nobody ever really understood him and wondered if he was too bizarre or if it’s because he made us feel uncomfortable. Goldust ended it by saying “the golden is back” again and did the chomp.

Analysis: It’s the same thing we’ve seen from him for the last three weeks. He wants to wrestle R-Truth, yet they do these segments every week. At some point they’ll have a match.

The Miz and Maryse were shown walking backstage. Kurt Angle showed up to ask him what he was doing. Miz said Maryse was still mad at him from last week and she refused a kiss. Miz talked about how last week Ambrose got involved with him because Angle was worried about his personal problems. Angle asked what he meant by that. Miz complained about Ambrose again. Angle told Miz not to speak to him that way again and said he’s not doing anything to Ambrose. Angle told Miz to take care of Ambrose if he has a problem.

Analysis: Angle is more fired up and aggressive this week. It plays into the storyline that he would be more stressed out based on whatever his personal problems are.

A brief video aired about Cedric Alexander, who is a rising star in the cruiserweight division.

Analysis: I think he may be the guy to take the Cruiserweight Title from Neville in a few months if they book him the right way.

Noam Dar was in the locker room. Cedric Alexander showed up to talk to him. Alexander said he was done with him and his ratchet ex-girlfriend Alicia Fox. Dar had “girlfriend” Alicia Fox on his phone talking to her using Facetime because Dar said she had a neck injury. Alexander said he would beat Dar in the ring and Alexander left to end it.

Analysis: It felt like a waste of time. The match was already set, so why do the backstage segment? It wasn’t necessary.

(Commercial)

Alexander made his entrance. Noam Dar walked out with the phone still talking to Fox on Facetime. We could hear Fox talking to him because it was showing her on the video wall. Fox wanted him to set the phone up so he can see every step. Dar was in the ring being told by the ref it’s time to go.

Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander

The bell rang, Dar turned around and Alexander hit the Lumbar Check double knees to the back for the pinfall win after about eight seconds.

Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander

Analysis: No point in rating that. It was obvious that was coming the entire time. I feel bad for the ring crew having to put the purple ropes up and then take them down after this match.

Post match, Fox kept talking to Dar while Alexander walked away.

Bray Wyatt is up next at the top of hour two.

Analysis: If you didn’t know already, Wyatt is dealing with some personal issues at home. He’s going through a divorce with his wife, who he has two kids with. It’s apparently a nasty separation with his wife outing him as cheating on her with Raw ring announcer Jojo Offerman. I’m sure it’s an awkward situation for all involved, so good luck to them getting through it. Good luck to Bray in following the booty…I mean buzzards.

(Commercial)

There was a video package about Roman Reigns having “SummerSlam announcement” next week on Raw.

Analysis: The next PPV is Great Balls of Fire, yet here’s Reigns looking ahead to the next show. No idea what this is.

Bray Wyatt appeared on the video screen talking about how he’s the only one who can save you. He blew out his lamp and made his entrance as the crowd lit up the arena with cell phone light.

Wyatt entered the ring for a promo. He laughed about how Seth Rollins thinks he has all the answers. Wyatt noted that it only took one dose of his truth last week and Seth’s precious glass house came crumbling down into a million pieces all over Rollins. Wyatt said that Seth’s transgression and ignorance has painted a vivid picture of a law that we have all learned to live by. Wyatt: “If you take my name in vein, you will fall.” He went to say it again, but Seth’s music started up.

Rollins made his entrance to a nice ovation as he entered in a shirt and jeans rather than his wrestling tights. Rollins made his way down to the ring.

Rollins talked about how when he called Wyatt a false profit and a wannabe martyr it was the truth. Rollins said people like Wyatt don’t like the truth because a guy like Wyatt likes to strike from the shadows. Rollins claimed that it makes Wyatt a coward and he dared Wyatt to prove him wrong. Rollins dropped the microphone.

Wyatt told him that his pride will betray him. Wyatt said when Rollins looks at himself he sees “the man” but Wyatt sees a man that is beneath him. Wyatt told Rollins that he doesn’t want this fight. Wyatt said that Rollins has found the will to slay a king, then the Wyatt logo appeared on the screen, the arena went dark and Wyatt was gone. The logo appeared on the screen again. Wyatt was shown on the video screen and said that a God lives forever. Wyatt ended it by telling Rollins to run.

Analysis: The Wyatt character has lost a lot of steam and this was another example of that. His promos rambling about being a God don’t put the fear in the audience like it used to because of all the matches he loses. He cost Rollins last week against Joe because Rollins ripped on him last week and then Wyatt did nothing this week to retaliate. There was no physicality in the segment since Wyatt did his disappearing routine. A Rollins vs. Wyatt match is coming most likely at Great Balls of Fire, but they need to build this story up better than this.

The Hardy Boyz were interviewed by Charly Caruso in the interview area backstage. Matt said they had a daunting task in front of them. Matt claimed that Sheamus and Cesaro are a physical team. Matt said they have proven they have Cesaro & Sheamus’ number, Matt said that the champs believe they are the bar and Jeff said they will break the bar. Matt said that they will reclaim the Tag Team Titles.

Analysis: Simple interview to hype the tag match later. Nothing that interesting about it.

There was a clip of John Cena doing various television shows and noting that he will be returning to Smackdown Live on July 4.

(Commercial)

Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil)

O’Neil has Akira Tozawa sitting in the front row because he’s trying to recruit him for the Titus Brand. Why does a contracted talent need to sit in the crowd? I don’t have an answer.

Crews was in control early on with a headlock and he slammed down Kalisto by the head. Kalisto came back with a kick to the head and a springboard hurricanrana. Kalisto hit a hurricanrana sending Crews head first into the mat for a two count. Kalisto went for a move off the ropes, but Crews caught him and hit a spinning sitout Powerbomb for the pinfall victory. It went about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews

Analysis: * A quick match to put over Crews. A clean win for the Titus Brand is rare, but that’s the way Crews should be booked. Crews is still in that tweener position where he keeps acting like a good guy even though he’s associated with a heel like O’Neil.

After the match, O’Neil brought Tozawa in the ring. They took a three-way selfie pic together with Tozawa looking unsure of things.

Heath Slater and Rhyno were backstage with Rhyno having his crackers with Cheese Wiz. The Miz and Maryse showed up to talk to them. Miz noted that Kurt Angle has done a horrendous job with them. Miz asked Slater to join his entourage. Rhyno said Heath already has a partner, but Miz said he wasn’t talking to him. Miz noted that he made Slater a star in The Marine movie. Slater said that he had a dream of being IC Champion. Miz told Slater to help him and he’ll get a IC Title shot eventually. Rhyno told Miz to find a partner because he’ll go to Angle to make a tag match. Rhyno ate crackers to end it.

Analysis: It looks like Slater and Rhyno may finally get a story on Raw…or it could be nothing. Too early to tell.

(Commercial)

There was a picture of a family that won some Universal Studios theme park contest. I’m sure they’re thrilled.

Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance. Bliss complained about how unfair it was to defend the Women’s Title last week against Nia Jax. That was awful. She mentioned the Smackdown women having the Money in the Bank match, but didn’t get much further than that as Nia Jax interrupted.

Jax entered the ring to say that Alexa said that Jax deserved the title opportunity. Jax noted that Bliss promised her. Bliss said she was thrilled to have a title match against a true competitor and friend like her. Bliss wanted to have a match that people can watch over and over again, but they didn’t get that because of Mickie James and Dana Brooke. Bliss noted that Mickie and Dana are the real problems. Mickie’s music hit.

Mickie James entered along with Dana Brooke with Mickie calling Bliss a dwarf. Mickie noted that Bliss is a three-time Women’s Champion, but Mickie is a six time Women’s Champion, so Bliss has a long way to go before she reaches her territory…honey. Mickie reminded Bliss that she said it was unfair that Jax was getting a title opportunity. Brooke noted that Bliss said that “we” (all of them) have a Nia Jax problem.

Bliss asked them all to calm down. Bliss called Dana the epitome of a disgruntled worker and said that Mickie’s spotlight was fading. Bliss even made a cataract joke because it’s a crack at Mickie’s age and tenure in the business.

Emma made her entrance. She’s back from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for over one month. Emma said the spotlight should be on her because Emma is back. Emma spoke about how she’s ready to take her place at the top of the Raw women’s division. Bliss told Nia that these people are trying to take her spotlight.

Sasha Banks was out last to set up the obvious tag match. Fans chanted “Sasha” for her. Banks said being a champion means proving you’re the best day in and day out. Banks pointed out there’s a ring full of women ready to prove it, yet all Bliss wants to do is yap her mouth. Banks said she’ll show her how a boss throws a party. Banks hit Bliss with a forearm to the face. The six women paired off in different corners to send the show to a break.

Analysis: It was a format that WWE has used often for the women’s division on both shows. Have them cut promos talking about their desire to be champion and set up a tag match from. I thought Mickie had some good lines and Bliss did well as the chickenshit heel. The rest was generic.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Dana Brooke vs. Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss & Emma

The show returned from break with the match already in progress as Bliss hit a clothesline on Brooke. Bliss choked Brooke across the middle rope. Emma hit a double underhook suplex on Brooke followed by a running dropkick for two. Brooke tried to break free, but Emma hit her with a forearm and Emma knocked Mickie off the apron. Banks got the hot tag with a kick to the face of Emma. Banks sent Emma into Jax on the apron. Emma tried to tag in Bliss, but Bliss chose to walk away instead. Banks with a forearm on Emma. James jumped on Jax’s back, hit a kick to the face and sent Jax to the floor. James jumped off the top onto Jax on the floor. Emma rollup, Banks rolled through and Banks applied the Bank Statement submission on Emma for the win after four minutes.

Winners by submission: Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Dana Brooke

Post match, Bliss made angry faces from the top of the ramp while the other women were in the ring staring back at her.

Analysis: *1/2 It was a basic tag match to put over Banks as the possible next contender to the Women’s Title since she got the victory for her team. That makes sense that she would be next in line. It felt rushed a bit since Mickie didn’t get to legally enter the match although she took out Jax on the floor with a high spot. I’m not surprised that Bliss walked out or that Emma was the one that tapped out.

Coming up: Slater & Rhyno vs. Miz and a partner. An interview with Bayley is up next.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about the Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, which is this Sunday night presented by Smackdown.

A video package aired about Finn Balor with clips of his WWE 24 special. The video lasted about 90 seconds.

Analysis: Creative has nothing for him this week just like Roman Reigns. He was doing a promotional tour in Japan and Singapore in the last week, so maybe he wasn’t back yet.

An Interview with Bayley

There was an “earlier today” sitdown interview with Bayley conducted by Corey Graves. He mentioned that Bayley thought she could “take it to the extreme” at Extreme Rules and she didn’t, so he asked what happened. Bayley said she had never been in a match like that, so she acted like most people would. Bayley talked about how she’s not there to put bruises on people’s back or put them in the hospital. Bayley said she’s there to be 100% her and she’s not going to change who she is for any match. Bayley said she’s going to be Bayley. Bayley noted that ever since she started training nine years ago she wrote down “I want to be the best” and that hasn’t changed. She said she wants to re-capture the Raw Women’s Championship and she wants to walk back to WrestleMania as the Raw Women’s Champion. She wants the kids to know that they can do it their way. Graves thanked her for her time and she asked if they can end it on a hug. They had an awkward hug to end it with Graves joking “I need a cigarette.”

Analysis: It wasn’t very good. Did nothing to help her character that needs some changes. She just reinforced the things about her character that we already know. I’m not sure if that kind of interview is going to make people like Bayley more because they need to do something different with her. What they have done in the past wasn’t working. The crowd was booing her going into Extreme Rules, yet here’s WWE presenting her the same way. She should talk about how she learned from her mistakes and she’ll be more aggressive. Instead, we got this segment with no character progression. We’ll see what happens when she’s in a match again, but at this point it looks like they made no tweaks to the gimmick.

Slater & Rhyno made their entrance.

(Commercial)

The Miz walked out with Maryse, who turned away from a kiss (selling the issues from last week), with Cole noting that nobody wants to team up with The Miz.

A guy in a bear costume entered to a generic theme song and rode out to ringside in a bicycle. The bear is The Miz’s partner. There’s no explanation for it. That’s just how it is.

Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. “The Bear”

Miz started with Slater and fans chanted “we want Bear” for him. Slater hit a forearm on Miz followed by an armdrag. Double team elbow from Rhyno and Slater. Rhyno hit an armdrag. The announcers kept making bear references to entertain themselves with Rhyno hitting a clothesline on Miz. Graves: “I can’t believe we’re actually calling a match with a bear in it.” Trust me, the viewers can’t believe it either. Slater hit a back body drop on Miz leading to the Bear tagging himself in. Cole said this match has been “unbearable” because he’s lame like that. The bear hit Slater with a palm strike and applied a bearhug. Rhyno hit the bear in the back, so the bear tagged in Miz. Miz attacked the Bear from behind, sent him into the barricade and drove him back first into the side of the ring apron. Miz took off the head of the Bear and it was some generic indy guy. Back in the ring, Slater hit a leaping kick on Miz. Another Bear rolled into the ring. Slater approached the Bear, who hit a kick to the gut and a Dirty Deeds DDT. Miz never saw it, but Maryse did. The Bear took his head cover off and revealed it was Ambrose. Miz accidentally bumped into Maryse on the apron, so she left angrily. Ambrose dropped Miz with a Dirty Deeds DDT as well. Ambrose put Slater onto Miz for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Heath Slater & Rhyno

Analysis: 1/2* It was a silly angle more than a match, so it’s hard to rate it. I’d rather see the Miz/Ambrose end because it’s been going on way too long. The segment was only mildly funny at best.

After the match, Ambrose put the Bear costume head onto Miz in the ring. Ambrose’s music played as he left even though his team lost. Miz took the Bear head off and was angry in the ring while the announcers laughed about it.

Analysis: It was the second straight week where Miz was humiliated by Ambrose. What’s the end game for it? Another match between them? We’ve seen them wrestle so many times in the last five months. Please just move on.

The announcers shilled WWE Network with Sunday’s Money in the Bank show and Great Balls of Fire on July 9.

A video package aired about the Hardys return at WrestleMania followed by their feud with Sheamus and Cesaro.

Still to come: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Hardy Boyz in 2/3 Falls match for the Raw Tag Titles.

(Commercial)

Neville, the Cruiserweight Champion, was in the ring. Rich Swann made his entrance.

Neville attacked Swann as soon as he got into the ring. Neville went after him on the floor as he slammed Swann into the barricade at ringside. Neville rolled Swann back in and locked in the Rings of Saturn submission hold. The ref forced Neville to break it after about ten seconds.

Neville mentioned Austin Aries, TJP and now Rich Swann. Neville told him to get out of his ring and he kicked him out. Neville said it feels good to be the king. Neville wondered how many more pretenders he needs to obliterate before he gets the respect he deserves. Neville mentioned Akira Tozawa (who was called next Cruiserweight Champ on Twitter by Titus O’Neil) and warned him to tread carefully unless he wants to kneel before him, the king of the Cruiserweights. Neville left.

Analysis: Good way to put some heat on Neville, who is one of the better heels in WWE. That means that both cruiserweight matches featuring the purple ropes went for a total of about five seconds. I feel bad for the ring crew that takes about two minutes to put on and take off the purple tape on the ropes.

Sheamus & Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. Cesaro had a Hardy Boyz book in his hands with Sheamus mocking how the Hardys inspired kids to wear pantyhose on their arms. Sheamus said they are going to “exist to retire” the Hardys and they ended it with their “we are the bar” catchphrase.

Enzo & Cass vs. Gallows & Anderson up next.

(Commercial)

Gallows & Anderson were in the ring. A clip aired of last week with Enzo & Big Show getting a win after Cass was attacked. Enzo & Cass’ music hit, but there was no sign of them.

Big Cass was shown face first on the floor. Referees checked on him while The Revival were in the background. Cass said one shot in the back of the head and he was out. Cass told Enzo he can still wrestle while Enzo said he didn’t think it was a good idea.

Analysis: I still think it will be Cass as the attacker and he was just faking the last two weeks. If they go with The Revival it would be too obvious.

Gallows and Anderson laughed about it in the ring. Gallows called Cass a “NERD.” I love that. Anderson mocked Cass for it and said he didn’t have to beat himself up over it. Anderson did the laugh he did in the Southpaw Regional Wrestling skits.

Enzo & Cass entered for the match even though two referees were there trying to keep Cass from having the match. Cass walked slowly to the ring with his partner.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass

Cass hit Anderson with a sidewalk slam followed by an elbow drop. Cass stumbled around the ring selling the attack, but he managed to tag in Enzo. Anderson knocked Cass off the apron. Enzo got some offense in, but Anderson hit him with a running kick to the face. Enzo broke free from the heel corner and Cass was still on the floor because he was hurting. Enzo went for an attack off the middle rope, but Gallows kicked him in the gut. Anderson tagged in and the heels hit the double team Magic Killer for the win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Analysis: * A quick match to put over the story that Cass wasn’t himself due to the surprise attack.

Post match, G&A went another attack on Enzo and Big Show’s music hit. Show walked down to the ring, so G&A left. Show picked up Enzo and gave him a hug. Cass got back to his feet on the apron, he looked at what went on in the ring and wasn’t happy about it. Show left while Cass wondered what Show was doing out there.

Analysis: That booking was similar to a teen TV show where a character got mad that some other guy hugged a girl he liked. However, it was Enzo in the role of the hot chick. It’s a weak story, but it’s doing a slow build to whatever the end goal is, which I assume is the Cass heel turn.

(Commercial)

R-Truth did a backstage promo warning Goldust. Truth said he doesn’t forgive or forget. Truth said he’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Truth ended it saying “Goldust, you gonna get got.”

Analysis: He said he’s not going to take it anymore, yet Goldust’s attack was a month ago and they have spent the last three weeks doing quick promos on eachother. It sounds like both guys have a lot of patience to me.

Big Show was shown walking backstage. Enzo thanked Show for saving him. Enzo noted that one blow took down Cass backstage, so he’s asking Show to help his peace of mind. Show said that last week and this week he saved Enzo, so now Enzo is going to accuse him of something. Show realized it was actually Cass trying to convince Enzo. Show said he’s got one word to describe Enzo’s partner: “SAWFT.” Show left.

Analysis: Like I said last week, involving Show in this story was a smart move so that when Cass turns heel he’ll have a big test right away since Show is considered a legend.

A replay aired of the Lesnar/Joe fight form earlier in the night. The announcers emphasized the fact that Joe got the advantage with that kick to the head while Lesnar was being restrained by other guys.

Samoa Joe was interviewed backstage by Mike Rome. Joe said this whole thing between him and Brock has never been about the words, it’s about the actions. Joe talked about how Lesnar walked out to let everybody know that it was his house, but Joe wanted Lesnar to feel exactly what kind of man he’ll do battle with. Joe said that he will lock Lesnar in the Coquina Clutch, he’ll put Lesnar to sleep and become the new Universal Champion.

Analysis: Intense promo from Joe that did a good job of putting over the seriousness of his match with Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire. Is he going to win at GBOF? Nope.

The Hardy Boyz made their entrance to a good ovation like usual although it wasn’t that loud because the crowd was tired.

(Commercial)

A video package aired about Roman Reigns just like earlier in the show. Next week on Raw, we’ll hear Roman Reigns’ SummerSlam announcement.

Analysis: There’s nothing wrong with Reigns in terms of his health. He was at Raw and wrestled in a dark match after the show. They just kept him off the show this week.

Sheamus & Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, made their entrance.

Raw Tag Team Championships – 2 out of 3 Falls: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff)

The Hardys hit the Poetry in Motion early on and Matt hit a Side Effect on Sheamus. Cesaro was on the floor, he pulled Matt off the apron and Jeff was distracted by that. Sheamus drove Jeff into the corner, Jeff tried some top rope move and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick to the face with Jeff. Jeff collapsed, so Sheamus covered for the pinfall.

Sheamus & Cesaro lead 1-0

(Commercial)

There was a commercial for Noam Dar shilling Pizza Hut with Gallows & Anderson interrupting it. G&A stole the pizza.

Back from break, the heels were in control with Sheamus grounding Jeff with a headlock. Sheamus hit a spinning backbreaker for a two count. Jeff kicked Sheamus out of the ring to create some space. Jeff hit a mule kick to break free and tag to Matt against Cesaro. Fans chanted “Delete” as Matt went on offense. Matt sent Cesaro into the turnbuckle repeatedly followed by a clothesline. Matt hit a Tornado DDT out of the corner on Cesaro for a two count. Matt went on the apron and hit Sheamus with a Side Effect on the apron. Matt hit the Twist of Fate on Cesaro the pinfall.

The Hardy Boyz tied it up 1-1

The ref started the third fall and Matt covered for the two count. Matt jumped off the middle turnbuckle, which led to an uppercut from Cesaro to counter him. Sheamus tagged in for the heels. He connected with a huge knee lift to the face of Matt. Cesaro tagged in, covered Matt, Jeff made the save and Sheamus sent Jeff out of the ring. Cesaro applied the Sharpshooter in the ring, but Matt got to the ropes. Inside cradle by Matt for two. Matt hit a clothesline on Cesaro. Hot tag to Jeff against Sheamus.

Jeff hit Sheamus with forearms, atomic drop, double leg drop and a dropkick. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate of his own for a two count as Cesaro made the save for his partner. Matt went after Cesaro on the floor with Cesaro hitting an uppercut. Cesaro uppercut on Jeff leading to a rollup by Sheamus for two. Sheamus corner attack, Jeff moved and Sheamus hit the ring post. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb. The ref counted the pin, but Cesaro pulled Sheamus out of the ring at two. Jeff hit a cross body block on Cesaro on the floor. Sheamus and Jeff started brawling on the floor just like Cesaro and Matt were. The ref counted them out, so the third fall ended by countout.

The third fall ended by double countout

Analysis: It wasn’t announced in the arena as a double countout, but that’s what it was.

Match Result: Sheamus & Cesaro retain their Raw tag team titles

Analysis: ***1/4 Good tag team match as usual from these teams that have wrestled many times in the last few months. The finish obviously suggests that there will be more matches between them. I liked the way it was booked with the heels getting the first fall early and I thought the second fall should have been more difficult than Matt simply hitting a Twist of Fate. The spot with Cesaro pulling Sheamus out of the ring after the Swanton Bomb was well done. I wasn’t thrilled about the countout finish, but I realize they did it because they want to build to a more definitive ending to the feud. That might be at Great Balls of Fire on July 9 unless they want to do it before that.

Post match, Matt shoved Sheamus into the ring post and Matt hit a back body drop on Cesaro. Jeff went up top and hit a cross body block onto both heels on the floor.

The show ended with the heels leaving with their titles while the Hardys were in the ring wanting more.

Analysis: It was an ending that put a smile on the people’s faces with Jeff hitting a dive onto the heels on the floor. It did not feel like a main event angle, but it was this week since they front-loaded Raw with Lesnar on first. The feud is going to continue.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Brock Lesnar

2. Samoa Joe

3. Paul Heyman

 

The Scoreboard

4 out of 10

Last week: 7

2017 Average: 5.77

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.83 (Smackdown is 6.73)

Last 5 Weeks: 5.5 6, 5.5, 7, 5

2017 High: 8 (April 3)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9, Feb. 27 & June 12)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Poor show that was tied for my lowest score of the year. The highlight was the opening 15 minutes and everything else that followed didn’t live up to that. I loved the Lesnar/Joe brawl. It left me wanting more. That’s what an angle should do for a main event storyline.

Last week’s show was a step in the right direction and this was a step back. They did some comedy bits, some short matches and nothing really stood out the entire night. The main event tag match was pretty good, so that saved the show from getting a score below a 4.

The absence of Reigns and Balor didn’t help the show. There was a lack of star power this week. It’s because WWE knew that the audience would be lower due to the NBA Finals game, so WWE told their audience they weren’t going to give them their best effort.

Here’s the lineup for Raw’s Great Balls of Fire show on July 9.

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe

That’s the only official match for now.

That’s all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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