WWE Raw Results: Brawl Highlights PPV Hype and Biggest Takeaways from July 9
The final Raw before Extreme Rules hit the USA Network airwaves Monday night and wasted little time underwhelming the audience and continuing the trend of mediocre booking this Sunday.
That is not to say all was lost.
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley added an exclamation point to their program ahead of an anticipated match in Pittsburgh Sunday while Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre got the last laugh on Seth Rollins ahead of The Showoff's Intercontinental Championship defense against The Architect.
Dive deeper into those two topics and others with these takeaways from the July 9 episode of WWE's flagship show.
There Is Nothing Extreme About Extreme Rules
Extreme Rules is this Sunday, and after mostly lackluster hype to the show Monday on Raw, it became clear that there is nothing at all extreme about the pay-per-view event touted as the most extreme of the year.
Sure, there are a few gimmick matches, including the just-announced Steel Cage match pitting Kevin Owens against Braun Strowman, but the heat for the feuds themselves is so minimal that throwing a specialty match into the mix for no reason other than to say you have one or two is blatant and desperate.
At some point, WWE management has to consider eliminating the pay-per-view from the schedule if it cannot craft storylines and matches that reflect the original concept of the show. If not, fans will be forced to endure Extreme Rules broadcasts that are little more than glorified C-shows with a few gimmick matches that are not representative of the tone or story of a given feud.
Case in point, the feud between Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss, which has inexplicably been given the Extreme Rules stipulation rather than the Roman Reigns-Bobby Lashley match that featured considerable escalation and intensification Monday.
Brawl Adds Much-Needed Heat to Roman Reigns-Bobby Lashley Feud
The brawl between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley that kicked off the July 9 episode of Raw was a much-needed addition to a rivalry that has often fallen flat on the road to Extreme Rules.
After Lashley abandoned Reigns during last week's tag team match against The Revival, Reigns called the former collegiate wrestler out and proceeded to engage him in a pull-apart brawl that culminated with The Big Dog soaring over the top rope and wiping his rival and dozens of WWE Superstars out at ringside.
A program that featured more bickering than substance, it needed the intensity and a red-hot angle to hammer home the dislike between the Superstars, and it got it.
The question now is whether Reigns and Lashley can deliver a match that keeps the interest of the fans in Pittsburgh, without the safety net of a special stipulation, or if the contest will suffer the same fate that Reigns and Samoa Joe did at Backlash in April.
For the sake of a WWE product that needs to get fans talking after two months of monotonous creative, one can only hope the answer is the former.
Bobby Roode Is in Need of a Heel Turn
To say Bobby Roode's run as a babyface on the main roster has been somewhat disappointing would be an understatement.
While he struts to the ring to a popular theme song that has fans singing along, the reaction he generates after the music stops is alarming.
Monday night, Roode teamed with Finn Balor to battle Constable Corbin and Elias in a tag team match. While Balor continues to inspire reactions stronger than his placement on the show, Roode's was much colder and less enthusiastic.
Much of that can be attributed to the fact that Roode, despite his catchy theme song, is an underdeveloped character who has yet to give the audience a reason to care about him. He is technically solid, has fantastic timing and can have a good match with anyone. There is just no reason for anyone to care if he does.
Roode needs a heel turn.
As fans witnessed during his time in TNA and NXT, Roode is a much more effective bad guy. More importantly, he has excelled at the highest level of competition in that role. As a throwback to the days of Ric Flair, a loudmouthed and egotistical villain whose robe-wearing and aisle struts make him easily unlikable, he has won titles and headlined shows.
Without any obvious heels ready to consistently appear at the top of the Raw card, Roode has the potential to enjoy considerable success on the flagship show. To do so, though, he will have to shed the disappointment of this most recent run and embrace the same insufferable bad guy that led him to his greatest successes elsewhere.
Drew McIntyre's Star Continues to Burn as One-Half of Raw's Best Act
Drew McIntyre is going to do great things as a member of the Raw roster.
He is big, physically imposing and better between the ropes now than he was during his initial run with the company. He has a star aura about him that he did not have the first time he was pushed by Vince McMahon and Co. and the result is greater potential to be the headliner he always had the potential to be.
He continued to show as much Monday, delivering a strong in-ring performance against Seth Rollins and ending the show standing tall alongside intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler.
Together, McIntyre and Ziggler have become Raw's best act. Their tandem is fresh, a throwback to the 1990s and the relationship forged by Shawn Michaels and Diesel. They present a united front for babyfaces like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and others to try and vanquish.
More importantly, they are good enough to get the last laugh, infuriating fans and leaving them eager to see someone knock them off.
A huge part of that is the massive McIntyre and his incessant interference on behalf of The Showstopper.
That he, himself, is a badass who does not need anyone to help him is a beneficial aspect to the act's overness and will only help McIntyre when the time comes to split him away from Ziggler.