WWE Raw Results: Braun Strowman Is Still Awesome and Top Takeaways
A show just two weeks out from a monumental pay-per-view like Money in the Bank should not be as lackluster, lazy or full of questionable booking decisions like the June 4 episode of Raw was.
A disappointing step back from the surprisingly good Memorial Day episode, the broadcast derailed the momentum the previous week had created and left fans wondering if WWE Creative can produce six weeks of quality television between pay-per-views, a task it was entrusted with in the month-and-a-half stretch between Backlash and the June 17 extravaganza.
Despite its mediocrity and in some cases because of it, these are the most significant takeaways from Monday's episode of WWE's flagship television program.
Behold the Awesomeness of Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman is an anomaly in WWE. He is not the prototypical athlete who gets over because he knows holds but has little in the way of character development or real connection with fans. No, The Monster Among Men is an unstoppable force that, like The Hulk, smashes anyone or thing in his way en route to another victory.
Like those in movie theaters who pop every time the big green hero explodes onto the screen and effortlessly obliterates puny gods like Loki, the fans have come to appreciate Strowman for his destructive chaos.
Monday night, he broke a ladder with his bare hands and demolished former NXT and United States champion Bobby Roode as if he were a bargain basement jobber straight out of 1980s WWE Superstars tapings.
Strowman is a step above everyone, a monstrous competitor who has been protected at a level not seen in this 50-50 booking era of WWE. A credible option to dethrone Brock Lesnar thanks to the manner in which he has been presented as an ass-kicking machine, Strowman can be the face of WWE Roman Reigns has not been.
Booking him to dominate heels and babyfaces alike, crushing ladders with his bare hands, squashing well-known and respected former champions, and throwing Superstars around the ringside area like crash test dummies will only help strengthen the connection with fans and his blossoming popularity.
And chants of "Get These Hands" will fill arenas as audiences around the country threaten WWE's commitment to Reigns by throwing their support behind the bearded mastodon.
The company will not make it any easier to deny him the Universal Championship and spot atop the Raw roster with one-sided beatdowns of guys like Roode and general badassery that includes the demolition of ladders.
Lazy Writing Results in Mediocre Show
More than once in Deadpool 2, the titular costumed antihero breaks the fourth wall and references lazy writing. Whereas that film overcame one or two instances of creative inconsistency, the June 4 episode of Raw was not quite so lucky.
With only 13 days until a hotly anticipated Money in the Bank pay-per-view, the red-brand writing team threw together a show so painfully lazy and mediocre that it almost single-handedly killed some of the momentum the brand had built for itself a week earlier.
First, Natalya suffered an injury in her match with Nia Jax. Then, later in the show and in the same division, Alexa Bliss tweaked a hamstring and left her Six-Woman Tag Team match. Both were written with the idea of drumming up heat elsewhere. Whether or not it succeeded is irrelevant.
Rather than getting where it wanted to go in two different, effective manners, WWE Creative booked two leg injuries.
Two disqualifications and a sudden change in Baron Corbin's character, one that is not at all reflective of the Lone Wolf persona he has perfected since his days in NXT, only further dragged the show into mediocrity.
More on the 2017 Money in the Bank winner in a moment.
Considering the company's push to make Money in the Bank one of the premier events on the pay-per-view schedule, it cannot afford to take creative steps back like it did Monday, not when the anticipation and excitement for the upcoming extravaganza are dependent upon the strength of the writing of its television shows in the weeks immediately preceding it.
The Curious Case of Baron Corbin
"The Lone Wolf" Baron Corbin is no more.
At least if WWE Creative's latest bit of booking is any indication.
The star, once known for his isolation from the rest of the WWE Superstars, suddenly and inexplicably adopted the role of Stephanie McMahon's puppet, as we witnessed on Monday's Raw. He was the spokesperson for the commissioner, dictating rulings to Kurt Angle and making it abundantly clear that he has aligned himself with The Billion Dollar Princess.
So much was made of Corbin's arrival to Raw.
He was accompanied by video packages and insistence from both Michael Cole and Corey Graves that fans were getting ready to see the crown jewel of the Superstar Shake-up. Then, he proceeded to lose to No Way Jose, the latest fun-loving call-up from NXT whose impact on the main roster will be limited. At best.
Now, with no ready-made feuds or emphasis put on him by the writing team, he is suddenly thrust into a role that is not at all reflective of his character traits. Then there is the "Constable Corbin" name that threatens to turn him into a cartoon character rather than a badass future world champion.
A questionable shift for Corbin, whose prominence on the show may increase but whose persona may be long-term damaged.
Bobby Lashley Asks the Question We All Want the Answer To
At one point in Monday's promo, Bobby Lashley asked Sami Zayn where all of his attempts to mock and humiliate the former Army Ranger and amateur wrestling champion were going. What was the purpose of it all?
It is a question the fans who have sat through countless bad, irredeemable segments have asked numerous times over the last month.
The feud has been so terribly written that Lashley's momentum following his post-WrestleMania return is almost nonexistent and Zayn is being hurt by the stench of the program on a weekly basis. Two guys who have the potential to serve greater roles on the flagship have been relegated to a storyline that ranks as the worst of the year.
A year that saw the nonsense between John Cena and Undertaker lead to a two-minute match at WrestleMania.
The lack of an answer from Zayn told fans all it needs to know. Not only does the lead villain in the tale not know where he is going with this, the writers behind his actions clearly have lost sight of the purpose of the program.
That is as great an indictment on the writing team as there is.
Money in the Bank on June 17 cannot come soon enough for these two. It is then that their misery will be ended and they will be free to move on to anything else.