WWE Monday Night RAW: Joe v. Brock Stands Out Amongst Mid-Card Mess

Within the first thirty minutes of the show, we get Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Samoa Joe, Dean Ambrose, Elias Sampson, and a cadre of midcarders.

How this makes sense? The show kicks off with Rabbi Heyman and Brock Lesnar sharing feelings from last week. Well, Heyman shares, Brock piddles around. The promo leads to the inevitable interruption by one Samoa Joe, and for some odd reason, I pictured “Safari… JOE!” from Thundercats… or He-Man… or some other 80’s cartoon. This goes right to a fight, which is orchestrated very well. For a moment, I think Joe struck stiff, and Brock didn’t seem to appreciate… Or, this was a show of two guys who aren’t afraid to hit hard. When refs and indy/security fails, Kurt Angle calls out the… mid-carders.

Something a little strange about seeing Heath Slater standing next to Brock Lesnar. Maybe that heart-to-heart they had about kids some time ago still stands.

Up next, a recap of Dean Ambrose ruining the celebration by The Miz and Maryse. It ended in debacle. In case you were wondering. You know, because a celebration always goes to plan. Elias Sampson is out, and in another display of how easy it is to get cheap heat, tells the crowd not to take out their phones and applaud. Well, while he sings, the crowd, predictably, takes out the phones and we get a lit up crowd, but not Bray Wyatt-level. Sampson gets the win over Ambrose, thanks to interference by Miz and Maryse. The Drifter hasn’t grown on me yet, not sure if he will.

I am amazed how often Ambrose is used here. The guy might be in a dozen feuds for all we know.

We get another classic-modern promo from Goldust. More movie trivia! Yay! So, did R-Truth sit in his chair again? Is that why this pre-taped feud is still going on? This better stretch to WrestleMania.

Backstage: Miz whines to Kurt Angle to fire and suspend Ambrose. Let me know how that turns out. Angle opts to do nothing. I like it.

Miz continues to be at the top of his game.

Highlight package of Cedric Alexander. Backstage, he chats with Noam Dar, saying he’s done feuding with him and Alicia Fox. Guess what, Alexander isn’t the only one, I think we’re all done seeing this regurgitated. So, Dar is on the phone with Fox, and her side is broadcast through the PA system and displayed on the Titantron. After bantering with the ref, the bell rings and Dar is cracked in half via Lumbar Check. Match over.

Seriously? Cruiserweights do the minute-finish matches now? Aw, come on.

We get hype for Roman Reigns and his SummerSlam announcement. Oh boy.

Bray Wyatt cuts a pre-taped promo, something about the world ending. It has nothing to do with the angle of the sun. He makes some threats towards Rollins, and the “Kingslayer” obliges. Well, now Rollins wants to be a “Godslayer.” Hoo boy.

Following this weirdness, we bask in C-rate glory as Apolo Crews defeats Kalisto. Here is the weird. Titus O’Neal has Akira Tozawa, suited up at ringside, and in some very weird TV trope fashion, appears to be clueless as to what is happening around him.

This bothers me. The Cruiserweights, in order to fit in on RAW, need to be involved in some bizarre and character killing angles. This does not please me.

John Cena, a “Free Agent” will be on the July 4th edition of SmackDown Live.

Backstage: The Miz garners more airtime by offering Heath Slater a chance to join his entourage, and ditch the “cheese and cracker”-loving Rhyno. The great Gore is not pleased, challenging Miz to a tag match later tonight.

In another talk segment which breaks down into a brawl, Alexa Bliss continues to gloat her way, which is great, but in interrupted by Nia Jax, Mickie James, Dana Brooke, Emma, and Sasha Banks. Some banter, some brawl. After a commercial, we find a six-woman tag, typical faces vs. heels. Sasha Banks forced Emma to tap out, after Alexa Bliss abandons her team.

Not bad, but odd to have Emma return, only to tap out to the established Sasha Banks.

Video package for Finn Balor. Nice, but that means no Balor this week? Aw man.

Really, really weird pre-taped interview with Bayley. Corey Graves asks the questions, “What’s Next” and about Extreme Rules, etc… Bayley goes with the whitebread answers of coming back to be champion and be who she is, and then she hugs Graves, who seems uninterested.

I don’t get it. Are they now running with Bayley being too cheesy?

The Miz comes out with Maryse, and his tag team partner… The Costumed Bear from last week’s botched celebration. I don’t get it. I thought Miz had to find a partner, yet it seems he didn’t know who his partner is. Oh, how fans don’t pay attention to the details. The bear gets a tag, applies a Bear Hug to Slater. Original. The bear is revealed to be another nobody. Slater knocks down Miz, but the bear, with mask, returns to the ring. Bear #2 then hits Dirty Deeds on Slater, takes mask off, oh look, it’s Ambrose, and Miz then bumps into Maryse. She’s not happy. She lands on her tukas. Miz eats the Dirty Deeds, as Ambrose drapes Slater over Miz. Huh, so Slater and Rhyno could only win with that? Aw, would have been funnier if Slater was scripted to be conscious and voluntarily pinned him. Another comedy segment to push the Ambrose/Miz feud.

Promo package detailing the history between The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro. Pretty good segment.

Rich Swann dances in the ring before his match with Neville, and winds up beaten down for it. Nope. No match. Just fodder for The King of Cruiserweights. Neville cuts a promo on Titus O’Neal for pushing Akira Tozawa as a future Cruiserweight Champion. Well, this might get interesting.

Up next, we have Big Cass, once again, knocked out backstage. What is this, a month already where someone is KO’d back there? We see The Revival are meandering backstage. Two weeks in a row for Cass. Well, he gets up and they have their match against Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Cass unable to focus well, and Enzo gets pinned following the Magic Killer. Before a post-match beating begins, Big Show comes out to save Enzo. Moment goes by, where we think Show might turn, but no. Cass smells something fishy, and it’s not the river. So, Enzo, Cass, The Revival, and Big Show possibly involved in one angle. Weird.

Would like to know why the UK Championship and Pete Dunne are not featured more prominently?

Oh hell, shoot me. R-Truth is taking his turn to cut a promo on Goldust. I am not amused.

Backstage: Enzo risks his life by asking Show if he KO’d Big Cass. He takes offense, and has one word to describe Cass. You know where this goes. Just curious, did they retcon how Enzo was knocked cold a few weeks in a row too?

It’s 10:52, and the match hasn’t started. How are they doing a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls Tag Match between The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro? Here’s how, Jeff Hardy gets pinned in he first three minutes. Second falls comes after the 11pm mark, where Matt Hardy goes delete crazy, ramming Cesaro’s head into the turnbuckles, then striking with the Twist of Fate for fall number two. The third fall of the bout erupts into an intense brawl, and both teams are counted out. Well, haven’t seen that sort of finish in a while. I imagine the reflex reaction of the crowd was to boo, but the post-match brawl sent a clear message, this isn’t over.

Decent RAW tonight, a lot of mid-card shenanigans, but the top-tier arcs were well done.

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