Monday, June 26, 2017

The Raw Exposé: The Big Baller Brand Blockbuster Bonanza Edition (6-26-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. WWE usually puts on a good show for the LA fans which should give the company an extra boost heading into the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary in a couple of weeks.

Also, Brock Lesnar AND LaVar Ball are under the same roof. With two of the biggest personalities on planet Earth within close proximity of each other, expect ample amounts of mayhem to ensue. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.

·        Roman Reigns agreed to face Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match at the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary. Reigns vowed to win the match and drive Strowman straight to hell as an ambulance rolled into the arena.

·        Reigns decided to investigate the situation by creeping towards the vehicle. He opened the doors, but no one was there. Moments later, Strowman ambushed Reigns from behind and rammed his head against the railing as the fans cheered him on.

·        Strowman tossed Reigns on the stage to do more damage, but Reigns countered with a right hand. Reigns was about to nail Strowman with a Superman Punch, but Strowman caught Reigns and tossed him against the side of the ambulance in a great spot.

·        Strowman threw Reigns in the back of the ambulance as the opening segment came to an end with Strowman doing his signature roar and pose on the stage while Reigns was driven out of the arena.

·        This was a hot way to start the show. Strowman destroying Reigns has become appointment television over the past few months. Each attack is violent, yet beautiful at the same time. Considering how quickly Stroman put Reigns in the ambulance, let’s hope their actual match has a bit more drama and intrigue leading up to the finish.

·        The Hardy Boyz and Finn Bálor defeated Sheamus, Cesaro, and Elias Samson when Bálor pinned Cesaro with the Coup De Grace in a very good six-man tag team match. The heels dominated the action early on, but Bálor provided the offensive flurry down the stretch as he nailed Samson with a kick to the face before laying out Cesaro and Sheamus with a flip dive on the outside.

·        He tossed Cesaro back in the ring and hit him with the Slingblade/Running Dropkick combo as Matt laid out Sheamus with a Twist of Fate on the floor. Jeff took out Samson which gave Bálor enough time to set up his finisher.

·        All in all, this was a fun match that had great crowd heat throughout. Josh Duhamel did a decent job putting over the action in the ring while shilling his television/film projects at the same time. That’s what I call a multitasker.

·        Goldust vs. R-Truth never got underway as Goldust attacked Truth before the match started. The Golden One had his personal cameraman film the beat down which will be screened at a later day. I think it’s safe to assume that Goldust and Truth will have their day in the limelight at the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary in a couple of weeks.

·        LaVar Ball showed up and showed out on Miz TV. It’s hard to describe what happened, but I will try my best.

·        Miz gave LaVar props for correctly predicting that his son Lonzo would be drafted to the Los Angeles Lakers. Miz wanted to join the Big Baller Brand, but LaVar shot him down because Miz wasn’t on his level.

·        Miz asked LaVar and Lonzo how many championships they’ve won. They threw out some numbers while Miz wondered if UCLA won the NCAA Championship this year which drew some audible oohs and ahs.

·        LaVar and Miz traded insults which culminated with LaVar taking off his shirt and challenging the A-Lister to a fight.

·        Before things got even crazier, Dean Ambrose appeared on the stage wearing a Big Baller Brand shirt and challenged Miz to a tag team match as the segment came to a close.

·        This will go down as the batshit craziest edition of Miz TV in history. LaVar Ball was a hot ass mess, but that’s how the founder of the Big Baller Brand rolls. It’s safe to say that his appearance on Raw will be the talk of the sports world come tomorrow morning. If WWE is looking for their next heel manager, Ball is their guy. No megaphone or big ass cell phone required.

·        The Miz, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas defeated Heath Slater, Rhyno, and Dean Ambrose when Bo Dallas pinned Rhyno with a roll-up thanks to a cheap shot from Axel. The match was fine, but it never got past a certain level. Seeing another multi-man match screams repetitive booking in the worst possible way. No shade, just facts.

·        Big Cass hates Enzo Amore so much that he still uses his theme music.

·        Just went it appeared that Enzo and Big Cass’ friendship was on the mend, Big Cass clotheslined their brotherhood to the point of no return. Cass flung Enzo down the ramp as the crowd showered him with boos.

·        Enzo cut an impassioned promo, but it wasn’t the epic performance I was expecting from him on the mic. Big Cass said a lot with his eyes which was a great way to sell the intent of Enzo’s promo. Cass’ apology seemed genuine, but it was too saccharine to believe at face value. Therefore, the bait and switch worked which gives Cass more ammunition to work with as a heel. Here’s hoping Enzo cuts the promo of his life on next week’s show because his friendship with Cass is deader than dead.

·        Seth Rollins defeated Curt Hawkins with a knee to the face in a match that lacked crowd heat until Rollins took over down the stretch.

·        After the match was over, Bray Wyatt appeared on the Titantron and told Rollins to embrace his true nature at the Fire of Great Balls PPV or he will burn. The threat was nice, but their feud lacks bite because Wyatt vowed to punish the four men that cost him a chance at the Universal Championship at Extreme Rules only for Roman Reigns to beat him clean in the ring. Wyatt’s proclamations of doom and gloom are falling on deaf ears at this point. It’s sad but true.

·        Paul Heyman called Samoa Joe a Samoan Dumbass for not fearing Brock Lesnar. Joe proved that he was no such thing when he attacked Lesnar from behind during The Beast’s signature entrance.

·        The Samoan Badass put Lesnar in the Coquina Clutch only for Lesnar to break the hold by pushing Joe into the LED Board. Joe locked in the submission hold again only for Lesnar to power out. Joe tried one more time to put The Beast to sleep and it appeared that he was about to do so when The Revival and WWE officials broke things up. Joe headed backstage while Lesnar tried to catch his breath as the segment came to end.

·        Samoa Joe continues to look strong heading into his Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Great Fire of Balls PPV in a couple of weeks. Lesnar looks vulnerable heading into his first title defense which might cause Paul Heyman to re-think his strategy when it comes to playing mind games with Joe. The final hard sell for their title bout should be a good one come next week.

·        Neville defeated Lince Dorado when he made Dorado tap out to the Rings of Saturn in a decent match. It was pretty one-sided outside of Dorado having a few hope spots to keep things somewhat competitive.

·        Only Paul Heyman can pull off saying “Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire” while keeping his integrity intact. Heyman cut a great backstage promo about how Brock Lesnar was in for a fight at the Great Balls of Fire PPV because Samoa Joe was going to put him through the ringer. However, Lesnar would eventually take Joe on a trip to Suplex City before laying him out with an F5 for the win. The outcome is almost a foregone conclusion, but the match being a smash mouth masterpiece is a nice consolation prize.

·        Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax when she made Jax tap out to The Bank Statement in a good main event match.

·        Jax had her best showing since debuting on the main roster last year when she almost ran the table during the gauntlet match to determine the number one contender for the Raw Women’s Championship.

·        Jax defeated Bayley, Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Emma in dominating fashion. The fans actually cheered her because she was putting on a clinic as she defeated her opponents with ease. If she’s booked this strongly on a consistent basis, WWE might have a new star on their hands. Jax is still green in the ring, but her power can be finessed to cover up her shortcomings between the ropes.

·        Banks vs. Jax was slow in spots, but both ladies worked hard and got the crowd involved towards the end.

·        Banks finding multiple ways to lock in her submission hold speaks to her ability to adapt on a whim while Jax tried to finish the match by hitting the Samoan Drop only for Banks to roll towards the ring apron to avoid getting pinned.

·        The finish was great as Jax tried her best not to pass out to The Bank Statement only to tap out in the end.

·        Kurt Angle came out to congratulate Banks until Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring. Bliss got in her face, but Banks laid her out with a dropkick before grabbing the title and holding it high in the air as Raw went off the air with The Boss standing tall.

·        Sasha Banks is back in the championship fold as she will face Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Title at the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary in two weeks. This is a fresh matchup that should have good heat if both ladies of given enough time to shine. In any event, this was a nice way to cap off the show with the women’s division spotlighted in a positive way for the first time since WrestleMania season.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw was decent at best. The show started off hot with Braun Strowman attacking Roman Reigns for the nth time while the six-man tag team match featuring The Hardy Boyz and Finn Bálor vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, and Elias Samson popped the crowd something fierce.

·        The show briefly fell off the rails when LaVar Ball appeared on Miz TV, but the third hour recovered nicely with Samoa Joe choking out Brock Lesnar and the women’s gauntlet match ending the broadcast on a high note.

·        Raw is slowly getting back on track which is good to see because it has been a struggle to watch over the past couple of months. The Fire of Great Balls PPV is shaping up to be a good one, but the booking is key. As I mentioned last week, WWE is 0-4 when it comes to producing solid brand exclusive PPVs since WrestleMania. The company has a great chance of righting the ship two weeks from Sunday by delivering a stellar show sans the cheesy name. The go-home show should push things over the top if everything is executed properly. Let’s hope the creative team can get the job done. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The SmackDown Files: If Only For Two Nights - How Carmella Became The Woman Formally Known As Ms. Money in the Bank (6-20-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from Wright State University Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. After the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match ended with James Ellsworth grabbing the briefcase and handing it to Carmella in one of the worst finishes in WWE history, Daniel Bryan had a huge decision to make. Would Carmella’s win stand or did the SD Live General Manager right the wrong committed by the Chinless Penis? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.

·        SD Live kicked off with Carmella explaining why she should remain Ms. Money in the Bank. She didn’t care about making history. She used her street smarts in order to gain the upper hand. Ms. MITB offered examples of how Kane and Bray Wyatt interfered in previous MITB Ladder matches in order to tilt the outcome in their favor. Carmella called out the internet trolls for blowing up her mentions on Twitter because she used the no disqualification rule to her advantage. She didn’t give a damn what anybody had to say and Daniel Bryan would back her up later tonight as the opening segment came to end.

·        This was a good way to start the show. Carmella is finally getting heat for all the right reasons. Despite James Ellsworth sullying the integrity of the first-ever Women’s MITB Ladder Match, the Princess of Staten Island is the second most-hated woman in WWE behind Stephanie McMahon. If her in-ring work catches up to her solid promo skills, this might kerfuffle might be a blessing in disguise.

·        Big E defeated Jimmy Uso with the Big Ending in a solid match. Most of the action took place during the commercial break, but it was good while it lasted. Jimmy delivered a cheap shot to Kofi Kingston while he was cheering Big E at ringside which played into the finish.

·        The Usos started to head up the ramp when Kingston laid out Jey Uso with a dive. Xavier Woods forced Jimmy to get back in the ring. Big E grabbed Jimmy by the hair, but he got sucker punched for his efforts. Jimmy tried to nail Big E with a Superkick, but E blocked it and hit his finisher for the win. This was a nice way to forward The New Day-Usos feud which will presumably continue at the Battleground PPV next month.

·        Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler with the Kinshasa in a long, but good match. This was very similar to their bout at Backlash a few weeks ago. Nakamura sold a lot which killed the heat in spots, but his comeback popped the crowd towards the end of the match. Plus, no pyro was set off during Nakamura’s entrance. Perhaps WWE got the hint that the extra accouterments weren’t needed in order to make him look like a bigger star than he already is.

·        American Alpha Sighting!

·        Kevin Owens retained the United States Championship when he pinned Chad Gable with a Popup Powerbomb. The match was short, but it was solid while it lasted. Gable deadlifting Owens for a delayed German Suplex was a thing of beauty. Here’s hoping American Alpha get more airtime because they are too talented to be sitting backstage with nothing to do.

·        It appears that WWE is revisiting the Kevin Owens-AJ Styles feud as Styles interrupted Owens’ United States Open Invitational before Gable came out and threw his name in the hat. Both men had a very good match at Backlash and I expect similar results when they have their US Title rematch at Battleground next month.

·        Daniel Bryan announced that Carmella would be stripped of the Money in the Bank Briefcase after James Ellsworth insulted Bryan’s newborn daughter. Bryan told The Chinless One to shut up or he would punch him in the face before firing him on the spot.

·        The second-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match featuring Charlotte, Natalya, Becky Lynch, Tamina, and Carmella will take place next week. Bryan snatched the briefcase out of Ellsworth’s hands before heading backstage.

·        A brawl broke out between the ladies which saw Charlotte and Becky corner Carmella in the middle of the ring. Charlotte nailed the woman formerly known as Ms. MITB with Natural Selection before Becky made her tap out to the Dis-Arm-Her for good measure as the segment came to an end.

·        Bryan made the right decision and the ladies will get another chance to have the match they should’ve had this past Sunday. James Ellsworth being banned from ringside would be an added bonus in order to keep things fire and square.

·        Jinder Mahal defeated Luke Harper with the Cobra Clutch Slam thanks to an assist from the Singh Brothers. The match was fine, but it was nothing to write home about.

·        Baron Corbin came out and teased MITB cash-in, but he was only playing mind games with Mahal. The distraction allowed Harper to get a near fall on the champ, but it wasn’t enough to get the win as Singh Brother A climbed on the ring apron to distract Harper. Harper tried to nail him with a Clothesline, but he ducked out of the way which led to the finish.

·        After the match was over, Randy Orton made his way to the ring and made a beeline for the Singh Brothers before attacking Mahal in the ring.

·        The action spilled to the outside as Orton nailed Mahal with a wicked clothesline before kicking his ass from pillar to post. Mahal escaped certain doom when The Singh Brothers attacked Orton. However, the reprieve was short-lived because Orton nailed Singh One and Singh Two with a pair of RKOs moments later. SD Live went off the air with Orton and Mahal having a stare down building up to their third WWE Championship match at Battleground next month.

·        This was a fine way to end the show. Orton showed great fire during his attack on Mahal and The Singh Brothers. Harper had a nice showing in the ring while Mahal got his first taste of being in the main event scene since winning the WWE Title at Backlash last month. If WWE is betting the house on the India market, they have to push the modern-day Maharaja to the hilt. This was a step in the right direction which should bode well for Mahal’s future until a certain free agent makes his return on July 4th.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was middling at best. This was not a hot show after such a controversial Money in the Bank PPV. The women were spotlighted in a positive way, but the rest of the broadcast didn’t pop off the screen from an excitement standpoint.

·        WWE offering a mea culpa to fans by re-doing the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match on free television is the smart thing to do. Hopefully, the redux will produce better results instead of another controversial finish for the sake of drumming up buzz on social media.

·        Also, The Hype Bros will face The Usos next week for the right to earn a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Titles. Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley reminded Daniel Bryan that they won the Tag Team Battle Royal to become the number one contenders for the Tag Titles last December, but Ryder’s knee injury prevented them from going after the gold silver. Despite the team reuniting, something tells me that a Ryder heel turn is afoot. Rawley has achieved a lot of success while he was rehabbing his injury. Will a case of sour grapes ruin their partnership? Based on recent WWE history, the answer is yes. Please see the disintegration of Jeri-KO, The Golden Truth, DIY, and Enzo Amore and Big Cass as examples.

·        Plus, Naomi will face Lana for the SmackDown Women’s Championship next Tuesday. Their first outing was so-so, but we shall see if they can work out the kinks this time around. Fingers crossed!

·        Despite tonight’s so-so show, next week’s episode of SD Live looks stacked with the Women’s MITB Ladder Match being the main selling point. Let’s hope the blue brand delivers the goods as the return of John Cena looms on the horizon. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Raw Exposé: WWE Presents - Death of a Friendship II Starring Enzo Amore and Big Cass (6-19-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. After WWE threw in the towel last week due to Game 5 of the NBA Finals, this was the perfect opportunity for the company to get back on track as the infamous July PPV rapidly approaches. Samoa Joe proved that he’s not scared of Brock Lesnar by going toe-to-toe with The Beast and walking away unscathed. Did the Samoan Badass continue his streak of dominance or did someone decide to rain on his parade? 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.

·        Raw kicked off with Roman Reigns’ announcement regarding his plans for Summerslam. Reigns wanted to face the winner of the Universal Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe. He declared himself the number one contender because the ring was his yard now.

·        Samoa Joe came out and was offended that Reigns omitted his name from the title match. He was actually flattered because Reigns never beat him one-on-one. Reigns had a stinging line about how Samoa Joe didn’t live up his Samoan roots and called him “Just Joe” as an insult.

·        Joe headbutted Reigns and proceeded to toss him into the barricade before rolling him back in the ring.

·        He tried to lock in the Coquina Clutch but Reigns powered out of the hold and nailed Joe with a Superman Punch as the opening segment came to a close.

·        This was a good way to start the show. The talking was kept to a minimum as Reigns and Joe traded barbs while coming off like total badasses at the same time. Reigns being a cocky asshole is a good look for him. It generates instant heat whether he’s catering to his fanbase or deliberately pissing off hardcore fans who despise his character. WWE has found the perfect formula when it comes to presenting Reigns as a star who is a lightning rod who generates buzz wherever he goes. Here’s hoping the company stays the course because there is money to be made if they play their cards right.

·        Samoa Joe fending off claims that he is the black sheep of the Samoan Dynasty continues to fuel him in the best possible way. Joe is not only fighting for the Universal Title but his namesake as well. No one comes for his manhood and gets away with it. Brock Lesnar learned that lesson last week. Will Reigns suffer a similar fate? We shall find out later tonight.

·        The Hardy Boyz defeated Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows when Jeff Hardy pinned Gallows with the Swanton Bomb in a gusty match. Jeff played the babyface in peril until he laid out Anderson with the Whisper in the Wind. Matt made the hot tag and had things under control until Gallows sucker punched him. This allowed Gallows and Anderson to hit the Boot of Doom for a near fall. Jeff eventually made the blind tag as Gallows was about to take out Matt. Jeff saved his brother which set up the Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb finish. Nice effort from both teams as WWE teased an Anderson and Gallows win only for them to pick up another loss. Again…

·        Random Observation: Bo Dallas has an amazing tan. And long luxurious hair. And a beard!

·        Finn Bálor defeated Bo Dallas with the Coup De Grace in a surprisingly competitive match. Dallas attacked Bálor before the match got underway which gave him the advantage early on. However, Bálor got back on offense by nailing Dallas with a wicked kick to the face before throwing him into the barricade for good measure. He rolled Dallas back in the ring and hit his Slingblade/Running Dropkick/Coup De Grace trifecta for the win. This was a nice showcase for Bálor while Dallas looked good for a grand total of two minutes before eating the pin.

·        Seth Rollins waxed poetically about being on the cover of WWE 2K18 while renouncing his greedy and egomaniacal ways from three years ago. Bray Wyatt didn’t buy Rollins’ nice guy act as he cut a promo from backstage. Wyatt hated the idea of Rollins being a corporate shill and vowed to make him pay for using his name in vain.

·        Wyatt made his way to the ring and was about to sacrifice Rollins for the greater good when Rollins laid him out with a crossbody from the top rope onto the floor. Rollins walked away while Wyatt tried to save face by smiling manically as the segment came to an end.

·        The promo exchange between Rollins and Wyatt was fine, but I am not emotionally invested in their feud because Wyatt has looked weak at every turn. He might gain the advantage every now and then, but he never wins the BIG ONE. Wyatt’s feud with Rollins will deliver similar results. It’s sad but true.

·        Elias Samson sent quite the message to Finn Bálor when he attacked Bálor from behind during his backstage interview with Charly Caruso. Samson warned Bálor never to upstage him again as D-Von shooed The Drifter away. I think it’s safe to pencil in Bálor vs. Samson at the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary.

·        Akira Tozawa defeated TJP with a Senton from the top rope. The match was solid and Titus O’Neil added to Tozawa’s act by being his manager. If this is O’Neil’s career trajectory, why is he a heel?

·        Based on O’Neil’s rebuttal to Neville after the Cruiserweight Champion vowed to annihilate Tozawa if he continued to stick his nose where it didn’t belong, we might have our answer. O’Neil & Apollo Crews will face Sheamus & Cesaro in a nontitle match. Two heel teams going at it doesn’t make sense unless the creative team decided to turn O’Neil and Crews babyface. We shall find out soon enough.

·        Samoa Joe defeated Roman Reigns by putting him to sleep with the Coquina Clutch in a very good match. It was hard-hitting and physical throughout which made things even better. Joe had his best match to date since debuting on the main roster while Reigns continues to prove why he’s one of the best performers in WWE.

·        The counters and near falls were on point as Joe countered Reigns’ Spear attempt with a knee to the face followed by a modified Atomic Drop and Senton. It was a great sequence that popped the crowd something fierce.

·        Joe tried to finish Reigns off with The Coquina Clutch, but the Big Dog powered out and dropped Joe with a Spear. Joe put his foot on the rope for a near fall which heightened the drama even more.

·        Joe rolled out of the ring and barely made it back in the ring before the count of ten. Reigns was in position to hit him with another Spear until a beeping sound stopped the match in its tracks.

·        An ambulance was backing into the arena and lo and behold, BRAUN STROWMAN made his triumphant return to Raw. The distraction allowed Joe to lock in his submission hold for the win. 

·        After the match was over, Strowman made his way to the ring and reminded Reigns that he wasn’t finished with him yet. He laid him out with a Reverse Chokeslam and challenged the Big Dog to an Ambulance Match at the Fire of Great Balls PPV as the segment came to an end.

·        The match between Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns was great while Strowman’s return pushed things over the top. Joe continues to look strong while the epic Strowman-Reigns feud will come to a head next month. All in all, this was a great piece of business that made me look for to the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary.

·        The Miz’s marriage might be on the rocks, but the night wasn’t a total loss as he recruited Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel to join his entourage. Dallas and Axel attacked Dean Ambrose from behind while they were disguised as a pair of bears.

·        Miz picked the bones as he laid out Ambrose with the Skull Crushing Finale to wrap up the apology segment from hell.

·        Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil when Cesaro pinned Crews with an assisted White Noise. The match was fine, but the 10:30 Lull Period of Death started to set in as the crowd was muted for the most part.

·        That Brock Lesnar-Samoa Joe video package was everything. Lesnar talking shit about his opponents never gets old. If only he did it for the live audience on a regular basis. Hmm…

·        Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax ended via disqualification after Emma kicked Jax in the stomach after Alexa Bliss moved out of the way. Since Banks was DQ’d, she attacked Emma and Jax until Bliss intervened.

·        From there, all hell broke loose as Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Bayley made the save. The babyface crew stood tall while the heels retreated up the ramp.

·        Bayley got a nice ovation which was refreshing to see. Based on the melee, expect a multi-woman match for Bliss’ Raw Women’s Title at the July PPV That Shall Remain Nameless Unless Absolutely Necessary.

·        The whodunit mystery involving Enzo Amore and Big Cass finally came to a head when Big Cass was revealed to be the culprit.

·        Kurt Angle interrogated The Big Show and The Revival but noted investigator Corey Graves provided visual proof that Big Cass was the man behind the backstage attacks.

·        Security footage revealed that Big Cass staged the attack from last week as Enzo looked on in shock. Cass admitted that he was the man who attacked Enzo from behind because he was tired of carrying his dead weight.

·        Cass took pity on Enzo because no one liked him. His big mouth was writing checks that his ass couldn’t cash. Cass ended their friendship and nailed Enzo with a big boot to the face. Raw went off the air with Cass standing tall on the main stage while Angle tended to Enzo in the ring.

·        This was an interesting way to end the show. Big Cass held his own on the mic while Enzo Amore did a wonderful job letting his facial expressions do the talking for him. He even cried on command which is pretty damn remarkable.

·        It sucks that the team is breaking up, but Enzo’s rebuttal should be a thing of beauty next week. If he’s able to convey his own thoughts, we might have a potential promo of the year contender on our hands. I still have trepidation about both men going solo because they complement each other so well on the mic and in the ring.

·        However, Vince McMahon sees dollar signs in Big Cass and we shall see how his singles push plays out. As for Enzo, he’s a better talker than a wrestler. His long-term goal should be managing other stars. Enzo has the gift of gab which will serve him well in the future.

·        On a more somber note, I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a rough year for friendships in WWE. L

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Raw was solid. This was a nice bounce back show after last week’s ho-hum effort. The wrestling action ranged from decent to very good with Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe winning match of the night honors.

·        Braun Strowman returned and went back to what he does best: Destroying Reigns to no end. Their Ambulance Match at Great Balls of Fire the July PPV should be a spectacle, to say the least.

·        The third hour dragged a bit, but the closing segment ended things on a high note. Big Cass showed his true colors and it should be interesting to see how he fares as a solo star. Enzo’s big mouth will keep him employed for years to come. His in-ring work? Not so much.

·        WWE is doing a good job building up the Balls of Great Fire PPV. However, the company is 0-4 when it comes to producing quality PPVs post-WrestleMania season. The booking decisions at Payback, Backlash, Extreme Rules and Money in the Bank have been atrocious. Here’s hoping they get their act together next month by booking a show that makes sense from a wrestling and storytelling standpoint. If not, the streak will extend to 0-5 which is a damn shame coming from the biggest wrestling promotion in the world.

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls! 

Geektified's WWE Money in the Bank PPV 6.19.17

Geektified's WWE Money in the Bank PPV 6.19.17
By Anton Ware
Official Results
-WWE Money in the Bank is LIVE from St. Louis, Missouri.

-JBL, Tom Phillips, and Bryon Saxton are your hosts for this evening.
-Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Charlotte vs. Tamina vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Carmella: On the Smackdown after the Backlash PPV, all five ladies went to Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon and demanded a title opportunity against current Smackdown Women’s Champion, Naomi. The following week, Shane scheduled a Fatal Five Way Elimination Match for the ladies, but before the bell rung, a brawl broke out between the women and due to all the carnage, the match never started. Shane decided that the ladies should settle their issues by competing in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match and here we are. As the 1st women’s Money in the Bank match, this fell flat. As soon as the match was heating up, it ended abruptly. The ladies worked hard, but they just couldn’t kick it into high gear liked I hoped. There were no death-defying stunts or high risk moves executed, which was fine. The participants should’ve played it safe and they did, but what was disappointing was the feeling that there was more to be desired. The ending saw Becky Lynch on top of the ladder, but James Ellsworth comes in and knocks her off. He climbs the ladder, retrieves the briefcase, and drops it down to Carmella. The bell rings and the referees argue with each other over Ellsworth’s actions, but Ellsworth eventually announces Carmella as the winner and leaves. The rest of the competitors look on in shock and disgust while Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan shared their thoughts on the Twitt-TAH machine as they vowed address the controversy on Tuesday.

-Smackdown Tag Team Title Match: The Usos vs. The New Day: After gloating about their victories against Breezango, The Usos proclaimed that no team on the Smackdown roster could dethrone them. The returning New Day answered the call and demanded a title opportunity. The Fighting Unicorns have been on a roll since returning to Smackdown as they picked up a win against The Colons and getting the pin fall in an Eight-Man Tag Match. This match was a nice, competitive contest. These teams have always had good chemistry and this match was another example of that.  The story was that The Usos were dominating Kofi throughout the contest which started by having The New Day member take a NASTY fall and a wicked clothesline on the outside. Big E would eventually get the tag and overtake The Usos with Suplexes, an Uranage and his patented (yet highly dangerous) Spear to the outside. Kofi got in on the action by doing a Stage Dive to the outside and hitting The Midnight Hour (Big Ending/DDT combo), but it wasn't enough to put away the twins. Frustrated that they couldn't put away the opposition, Jimmy and Jey intentionally get themselves counted out which gave New Day the win, but NOT the titles.

-Smackdown Women’s Title Match:  Naomi vs. Lana: On the June 6th edition of Smackdown, Lana made her debut as a solo star and demanded a spot in the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Shane McMahon refused, telling Lana that she had to earn her opportunities. Later that night, Lana interfered in a tag match that caused Naomi to get pinned. Angry over Lana’s actions, Naomi demanded to face Lana for revenge and the match was set. It was a forgettable match, but Lana was passable in her debut. Her wrestling skills aren’t bad, but her matches won’t be must-see exhibitions anytime soon.  Lana went after Naomi’s leg during the match with suplexes on the ropes and a leg lock. From there, Naomi would eventually recover only for Lana to hit her sit out Spinebuster for a 2 count.  Carmella came out and teased a MITB cash-in, but decided to watch the action from ringside instead. Naomi countered Lana’s finisher and locked her in the Reverse Rings of Saturn for the win. After the match, Naomi and Carmella had a stare down as they realized that their paths would cross once again.

-The returning Maria (who would like to be known as The 1st Lady) and Mike Bennett (now Mike Kanellis (taking his wife’s last name) made their debut. They introduced themselves and stated they’re here to educate the WWE Universe on the power of love. If I had to guess, I’d say that this would probably lead to Maria wearing the pants in the relationship and bossing Mike around since they played up the whole, “man takes the woman’s last name” deal. It kind of reminds me of the movie Saving Silverman, except there’s no Wayne and J.D. to potentially save Mike.
-WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton: At Backlash, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Title. On the following Smackdown, while Mahal had his big celebration, Commissioner Shane McMahon granted Orton’s rematch for this show. Over the past few weeks, both men traded insults on the mic until the last week’s episode of Smackdown where Orton delivered a sneak attack RKO on Mahal. Orton is the hometown boy and gets a hero’s welcome from the crowd. The match was almost the exact layout from their last PPV contest. Mahal dominates, Orton recovers and is on the verge of victory, Singh Brothers interferes and gets taken out on the announce tables, and Mahal hits his Cobra Clutch Slam for the victory. The only difference is that Sunil and Samir provoked Randy Orton’s dad, Bob Orton (who was sitting at ringside with other the Hall Of Famers) which caused Orton to go ballistic by laying out both Singh Brothers with an RKO on the floor and through the announce table respectively. The distraction gave Mahal enough time to recover in order to hit his finisher for the win. The Mahārāja continues his dominance on the blue brand and with his henchmen beside him, it looks like nothing will change anytime soon.

-Breezango vs. The Ascension: Earlier in the show, Fandango and Tyler Breeze continued their investigation into who attacked Breeze during last Tuesday. They’d gotten a VHS tape and the attackers (in the darkness and their voices lowered) appeared on the tape and challenged Breezango to a match on the show. The Ascension revealed themselves as the attackers and the match was on. SHORT, television-style match just to fill time. Breezango picked up the win with a rollup and got revenge on Connor and Victor.

-Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn: On the May 23 episode of SmackDown, Shane McMahon introduced AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and Baron Corbin as the 2017 participants. United States Champion Kevin Owens argued that he deserved to be in the match after retaining his title against Styles at Backlash. Shane agreed and added Owens to the match. From there a series of singles and tag team matches would follow as a way to hype up the match. During Nakamura’s entrance, Baron Corbin attacked him and left him lying in the aisle, thus making the match a 5-way contest. The match of the night. Highlights include Zayn giving Ziggler a sunset flip powerbomb off the top of the ladder, Styles delivering a Death Valley Driver to Owens on a ladder set up outside the ring, and Sami throwing Owens off the top rope onto a ladder that laid open inside the ring. The climax of the match begins with Corbin climbing the ladder when Nakamura’s music hits. Nakamura inserts himself in the match by cleaning house on anyone who gets in his way. By doing so, he and AJ Styles are all alone and they have an intense stare down before going at it for the first time inside a WWE ring. They were evenly matched to the point that they started to climb the ladder simultaneously. As both men reached for the briefcase, Baron Corbin knocked both men off the ladder and retrieved the briefcase! The Lone Wolf is Mr. Money in the Bank 2017! He celebrates with the briefcase as we…

-Final Thoughts: The Money in the Bank PPV usually has a reputation of being an excellent show, but this year’s show didn’t live up expectations. There wasn’t a match I could recommend going out of your way to see. The Tag Title Match and main event matches were fairly enjoyable, but it’s something you’ve already seen before which didn’t led to anything new or innovative. The big story coming out of this show was Baron Corbin and Carmella winning their respective briefcases. This shows that Smackdown is still the land of opportunity and prides itself on showcasing young stars. Can Mr. & Ms. Money in the Bank make good on their newfound ticket to immortality? By holding the Money in the Bank briefcase, the likelihood of becoming champion is extremely likely as only two men out of the previous 17 MITB winners have failed to cash in the briefcase successfully. Usually a cash-in happens when a champion has been attacked or fatigued from participating in a grueling match. We shall see if Corbin or Carmella will follow suit.

-So what did you think of the show guys? Hit or miss? Let me know in the comment section. Thanks for reading.