WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 1
On the road to Backlash, Seth Rollins found himself at the center of two major segments on the June 1 episode of WWE Raw.
The Monday Night Messiah squared off with Aleister Black in a match that was weeks in the making and hosted a mockery of a retirement ceremony for the legendary Rey Mysterio.
Was he able to defeat the enigmatic antihero of Raw and bid adieu to The Master of the 619?
Elsewhere on the show, Apollo Crews defended the United States belt for the first time, while Raw women's champion Asuka squared off with her NXT counterpart, Charlotte Flair, in a non-title match.
Who emerged victorious from those matches, which angles heated up the brand's top storylines, and did the flagship have any surprises in store for its fans Monday night?
Find out with this recap of the broadcast.
Seth Rollins Kicks Off Raw
"The Monday Night Messiah" Seth Rollins graced the WWE faithful with his presence to kick off Raw, ready to wave goodbye to the career of Rey Mysterio just three weeks after brutally assaulting the future Hall of Famer.
He claimed The Master of the 619 would likely not be able to bring himself to call it quits so he was here to do it for him. He referred to Mysterio as a legend...and a sacrifice for the greater good of Monday Night Raw.
After a sarcastic video package, Rollins said he would gladly induct Mysterio into the WWE Hall of Fame when his time comes.
Aleister Black's music played and the former NXT champion hit the ring, clearing The Monday Night Messiah out of it and standing tall heading into the break.
Is it over the top? Absolutely, but this is the best Seth Rollins we have seen in WWE to date.
He is insufferable, a false prophet so full of himself that you cannot wait for a babyface to shut him up. Worse yet? He can weather any loss and be better, more so than before because of the way he has thrown himself into this persona.
In this one promo, he created a genuine desire for Mysterio to show up later and whoop his ass for disrespecting him, his legacy and his livelihood.
The match with Black would be damn good, too.
Kudos to Murphy and Austin Theory seated at ringside, watching their leader spew his good word to the masses. It was a nice touch.
Aleister Black vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins and Black squared off in the first match of the night after the break.
A quick start by Black was negated by well-timed distractions from Murphy and Theory, as well as Rollins’ ability to capitalize. Just as it appeared the numbers game would prove too much for the Dutchman to overcome, Humberto Carrillo rushed to ringside with a steel chair.
Back from the break, Rollins continued to work over Black, delivering a sling blade for a two-count.
Black fought back and hit a wicked kick to the face and scored a German suplex for a near-fall of his own. Rollins answered with the Falcon Arrow. A frog splash was met by knees from Black and the fight spilled to the floor ahead of another break.
After another timeout, Black applied an armbreaker that had Rollins writhing in pain. The self-proclaimed Messiah fought out with a powerbomb that broke it up.
Moments later at ringside, Carrillo picked a fight with Theory and Murphy. A distracted Rollins fell prey to a roll-up from Black, who scored the win.
After the match, the disciples of Rollins pummeled Black. Carrillo again attempted a save but found himself beaten down.
With Black restrained by his followers, Rollins exclaimed, "This is what happens when you want to be a hero!" He proceeded to deliver a stomp that put the Dutchman down. The trio of heels stood tall to close out the segment.
Black defeated Rollins
Rollins and Black had exactly the sort of in-ring chemistry you would expect from two wrestlers of their abilities. The finish may have been a bit of a letdown given everything that preceded it, but it made sense within the context of the story so it’s forgivable.
The beatdown afterward allowed Rollins to rekindle heat while keeping things open for a rematch with Black. Maybe even at Backlash on June 14.
From the start of the show through this match, Raw caught fire on the back of Rollins’ promo work and his work with Black. Great stuff all around.
United States Championship Match: Kevin Owens vs. Apollo Crews
United States champion Apollo Crews joined Kayla Braxton in the ring for a promo. After expressing gratitude for his win and the overwhelmingly positive response, he issued a challenge to Kevin Owens for a shot at the title.
KO said he didn’t want to take the title opportunity out of pity for his loss to Angel Garza last week. When Crews corrected him and said it was out of respect, he expressed guilt that he would end his reign so soon after it started.
Owens scored a quick near-fall before the match came to a standstill upon a teased low-blow. Crews revealed it was feigned and a fistfight ensued. The competitors spilled to the floor heading into the break.
Back from the commercial, Crews scored a near-fall and The Prizefighter answered with a two-count of his own. As the challenger tried for a senton, the champion raised his knees, driving them into Owens’ spine.
Before the match could continue, Garza and Andrade rushed the ring to draw the double disqualification. The heels stood tall heading into the break.
Crews and Owens fought to a double disqualification
This was too short to really leave a lasting impact, with interference that will probably lead to a tag team match no one asked for.
With that said, it is understandable WWE Creative would want to spare both Crews and Owens from defeats, but if it knew that going in, why even book it in the first place?
All it does is bait audiences in before switching to another, more predictable and less-appealing match. That isn't how to keep viewers' faith.
Owens and Crews vs. Andrade and Angel Garza
After the break, Garza and Andrade battled Crews and Owens in a tag team match.
The heels dominated the action, first isolating Crews before teeing off on the previously injured knee of KO.
As the action broke down late, Garza clipped the knee out from underneath Owens, leaving him in a heap at ringside.
Back in the ring, Crews shook off the beating he had taken moments earlier and delivered the powerbomb for the victory.
Crews and Owens defeated Andrade and Garza
This was too short and too disjointed to earn a higher grade.
That there was no real story to it, or an opportunity for the heels to gain any sort of sustainable heat, only further hurt it.
Considering Andrade is Crews’ most logical contender for Backlash, what is the benefit of having him lose the fall here? And if it is to protect Garza, who is still riding high after his win with Owens, why even book this whole thing?
No one benefited except Crews. As has been the case in WWE for the last decade, a champion is only as good as his opposition. If he beats everyone in meaningless tag team matches that should never have been booked anyway, where does that leave him?
The Street Profits vs. The Viking Raiders...In Bowling
After basketball, ax-throwing and golf, The Street Profits and Viking Raiders continued their battle for competitive supremacy with games of bowling.
The Raiders dominated the competition, effortlessly scoring strikes while the Profits struggled to avoid the gutter.
Ivar could not resist the urge of the turkey leg, though, and nearly got them kicked out. With a score of 100-21, the Raiders seemingly had victory in hand. Then, the tag champs raised a cup, demanded the smoke and started whooping up on the competition.
The Raiders narrowly avoided defeat and picked up the win to bring the score to 2-2 in competitions.
The Viking Raiders defeated The Street Profits
Is this something you want to show friends when defending pro wrestling? No, but it's fun and inoffensive television that has taken things out of the ring to change things up.
Furthermore, it has prevented the audience from having to watch the same matches with the same wrestlers every week.
When The Street Profits finally defend against The Viking Raiders, it will feel like a fresh match and will, hopefully, have considerable anticipation accompanying it based on the segments that preceded the match.
Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay
The IIconics’ journey back to the women’s tag team titles continued this week as Billie Kay battled Nikki Cross in singles competition while Peyton Royce and Alexa Bliss watched on from ringside.
Kay delivered a massive big boot, referred to as "Shades of Kay" by Tom Phillips, that flattened Cross and earned her a two-count.
Dismayed by the near-fall, the Australian continued her attack on the tag team champion. A quick roll-up by Cross could not turn the tide as Kay remained in control.
Despite a comeback by the champion, Kay scored the win to continue building momentum for the top contenders.
Kay defeated Cross
This was fine for what it was. Kay got to showcase some of her skills as a singles competitor, something she has not really had the opportunity to do since her NXT days. She is still a better tag worker with Royce, but she worked hard here.
Cross continues to be one of the hidden gems on the roster, a frenetically-paced wrestler who knows when to sell and when to fire up. She is a great babyface, far better than she ever was as a heel, and will do wonders to help bring those like The IIconics up to her level.
Cross and Bliss have struck a solid chemistry as a team and, if their matches against Bayley and Sasha Banks and The Kabuki Warriors are any indication, their eventual title clash with The IIconics should not disappoint...even if the booking has.
Rey Mysterio Update
Rey Mysterio and his son, Dominick, joined us for an update on the veteran's health following his assault at the hands of Seth Rollins.
The typically soft-spoken Mysterio damned The Monday Night Messiah for what he did to him and his family. The frustrated veteran then walked off.
That left Dominick to issue a warning: "Seth Rollins, you're a man of scripture: An eye for an eye."
This is about as fired up as you’re going to get Mysterio on WWE programming.
With that said, the foreshadowing of Dominick threatening retaliation for his father’s suffering was the real meat of this brief segment.
We know we are one angle/match away from him becoming a second-generation Superstar, and there are far worse options for him to work his first match with than Rollins, or even Murphy and Austin Theory.
If that is the endgame of this whole thing, good for WWE for finally finding a way to introduce him to the ring through a storyline guaranteed to get over with fans.
Kairi Sane vs. Nia Jax
After a brief promo in which Nia Jax played the "woe-is-me" heel, Tom Phillips threw to footage of R-Truth defeating Rob Gronkowski in Foxborough, Massachusetts, to become the 24/7 champion.
Back to the ring, where a fired-up Sane was unabashed in her desire for revenge as she took the fight to Jax. Uncorking a running elbow in the corner and leaving her reeling, The Pirate Princess appeared to be en route to a massive upset.
Jax, though, recovered and dropped her rival on the apron. She slammed her face-first into the hardest part of the ring before throwing her, unprotected and face-first, into the steel ring steps. Moments later, she delivered the leg drop for a pinfall victory.
Asuka hit the ring and chased The Irresistible Force off after the match while Sane laid in a heap.
Jax defeated Sane
Whether Sane sold it well or not, the bump into the ring steps was scary. Who knows if anyone was to blame or if it was a timing thing, but that is the sort of spot that gets people hurt. That the finish came very quickly afterward was cause for concern.
Of course, with that said, Jax looked like a total monster heel coming out of it so it at least worked from that perspective.
If their match from NXT TakeOver: London is any indication, Asuka and Jax may steal the show at Backlash. Giving that bout more heat and higher stakes will only add to it and help The Empress of Tomorrow's first title defense become a memorable one.
And, hopefully, everyone will walk away safe and unharmed.
Randy Orton Speaks; Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
As his "greatest match ever" with Edge approaches, Randy Orton cut a promo in which he admitted to half-assing it at times in his career and that infuriates Edge.
Why? Because The Rated-R Superstar had to scratch and claw for everything while he was able to get by with at 50 percent...and he was still better than everyone. Orton, predictably, vowed to win at Backlash.
From there, Charlotte Flair entered and cut a promo demanding respect from the NXT stars in attendance. She addressed her match with Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley Sunday at TakeOver: In Your House before Asuka entered for their champion vs. champion match.
After some trash talking, The Queen targeted her opponent’s knee heading into the break. During the timeout, she pounded at Asuka, looking to beat the will out of The Empress of Tomorrow. "I beat you every time!" Charlotte exclaimed as she continued to dominate.
Asuka fought back and delivered a German suplex and shining wizard for a near-fall. She followed with a triangle choke, but Charlotte fought out and applied a Boston Crab. The Empress countered into a knee bar, to which The Queen answered with a deadlift release German suplex.
Asuka applied an armbar and transitioned into the triangle once more. Flair again powered out and into a powerbomb for two.
As Asuka built momentum for herself, Nia Jax entered the arena to her Backlash opponent’s theme song, wearing her mask and her face painted. The referee called for the bell, awarding the match to Flair via count-out, before Jax bowled over Asuka with a clothesline on the ramp.
Jax stood tall as the champion writhed in pain.
Flair defeated Asuka via count-out
The only thing keeping this from an A grade was the finish.
Asuka and Flair were having a banger of a match. The reversals, submissions and near-falls were indicative of the wicked chemistry they have demonstrated time and time again. They know each other extremely well, and they know what works and what doesn’t.
They had a hell of a hard-fought, hard-hitting match going before WWE Creative reared its ugly head and opted for the obvious Jax interference.
It burnt through two weeks worth of angles in one night and essentially discounted the impact of the Kairi Sane match that occurred moments earlier.
Still, the bout was so good as to warrant the grade, even if the booking late was somewhat disappointing.
As for the Randy Orton promo that preceded it, it was one of his best in a long time. What better way for a heel to assert supremacy over his opponent than to admit that everything he had accomplished in his Hall of Fame career was done half-assed? It is so arrogant, so unabashedly cocky.
At the same time, there is something about Orton that suggests it is true and that he has no problem turning it up to 100 when the situation warrants it.
Beating Edge at Backlash and erasing the disappointment of WrestleMania 36 is such a situation.
Drew McIntyre vs. MVP
Bobby Lashley joined MVP in the squared circle for the latter’s match with WWE champion Drew McIntyre, but The All Mighty was taken aback when wife Lana made her presence felt at ringside.
McIntyre rocked MVP with a Glasgow Kiss but a momentary distraction by Lashley allowed MVP to send the WWE champion into the ring post. In the ring, he delivered a big boot in the corner but could only keep his opponent down for a count of two.
The Scot recovered with a big boot and flying clothesline. He set up for the Claymore Kick but Lashley pulled his advisor to the floor. No problem, as McIntyre soared over the top rope and wiped both men out with a plancha.
Back in the ring, McIntyre delivered the Claymore Kick to pick up the win.
Immediately after the count, Lashley applied the Full Nelson as the show faded to black.
McIntyre defeated MVP
The most important takeaway of this whole thing was Lashley getting over on McIntyre and leaving him lying to close out the show and...they missed it.
The show ended before The All Mighty could show any sort of dominance, and he now limps into next week’s go-home show without any real sense of impending victory.
Lashley feels like a lame-duck challenger, rather than a genuine main event competitor with a credible shot at winning the title.
This did him no favors. It only helped to further strengthen McIntyre and left the viewing audience why anyone would realistically buy The All Mighty as anything but a placeholder for the next great challenger to present himself.
It's unfortunate because Lashley had built some momentum for himself through a series of strong wins and dominant performances that will be wasted by questionable booking.