WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 29
The June 29 edition of Monday Night Raw promised a huge double contract signing for WWE Extreme Rules: The Horror Show officiated by Samoa Joe.
Drew McIntyre agreed to a match with new Raw trade acquisition Dolph Ziggler. Asuka accepted Sasha Banks' challenge despite The Legit Boss remaining a Friday Night SmackDown star. With two champions and two challengers in the ring at the same time, it was likely to get wild.
More chaos was expected thanks to Seth Rollins. The June 22 edition of Raw ended with Rey Mysterio, Dominik, Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo standing tall. Rollins asked for Rey's forgiveness for what he was going to do to him.
Akira Tozawa was required to defend his 24/7 Championship against R-Truth after sneaking away with the title thanks to Bobby Lashley. For this week, The All Mighty was set to be in Montel Vontavious Porter's corner for a non-title match against United States champion Apollo Crews.
After Andrade and Angel Garza laid out The Street Profits, The Viking Raiders challenged Zelina Vega's crew to a match on behalf of their friends.
This show was overflowing with big moments and matches, and no one knew what to expect.
Contracts Signed for Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler and Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
The show started in the middle of a brawl as Bayley and Sasha Banks beat down Asuka. Dolph Ziggler arrived to introduce Drew McIntyre, calling him ungrateful. The two men traded verbal shots before signing their contracts for WWE Extreme Rules.
McIntyre allowed Ziggler to choose the stipulation for their match. The Empress of Tomorrow interrupted The Showoff to sign her contract. The brawling continued once The Boss signed her name on the dotted line.
Action opening the show is the best approach, even if it doesn't mean an actual match. It was easy to get excited for the episode when everyone was immediately brawling. It especially sold the heat between Asuka and Banks without words.
Setting up a stipulation for McIntyre vs. Ziggler, which The Showoff gets to choose, allows Ziggler a glimmer of hope in a one-sided rivalry. If he can choose a match that suits him over the WWE champion, it gives fans some expectation that he might win.
Big Show Calls Out Randy Orton; The Viking Raiders vs. Angel Garza and Andrade
The cameras caught Angel Garza, alongside Zelina Vega and Andrade, failing to seduce referee Jessika Carr for their match with The Viking Raiders. Charly Caruso questioned the group's strategy before Big Show interrupted and demanded he take their spot next to call out Randy Orton.
Andrade and Garza got involved in Show's segment, starting to surround him. Ric Flair encouraged them to do some damage to The World's Largest Athlete while telling Show that The Viper was staying in the back for now. The Viking Raiders ran down to make the save.
Vega's team continued to argue repeatedly. El Idolo almost walked out on The Most Beautiful Man, but their manager convinced them to keep fighting together. Their teamwork improved as Ivar was taken out of the match. Andrade hit a back elbow on Erik to set up the Wing Clipper by Garza for the win.
Andrade and Garza def. Raiders by pinfall.
Show and Flair without Orton were much less effective than last week. It's hard to get excited about two veterans past their prime yelling at each other. Show did not need to get involved in any of this, especially the awkward overlap with the tag team rivalry.
The tag team match that followed delivered. Andrade and Garza have chemistry to spare in spite of their odd pairing to start. The Raiders always deliver. It was great all-around and showed why Vega's team should be allied for a while before the eventual breakup.
24/7 Champion Akira Tozawa vs. R-Truth
Akira Tozawa stood with a trio of ninjas as he prepared for the arrival of R-Truth. The match did not last long before the challenger managed to convince the champion to stop for a moment. It gave Truth enough of an opportunity to roll up Tozawa for a three-count.
Afterward, he ducked the ninjas and ran off with his title back in hand.
Truth def. Tozawa by pinfall to become the new 24/7 champion.
While it was hyped ahead of time, this felt like a filler segment thrown together at the last minute. It was an unexciting addition to a rivalry that has been built over time on creativity. The last time Tozawa went after the 24/7 Championship, he had to stop Santa Claus. Now, he's just a ninja.
The biggest problem with the 24/7 Championship is that no one is ever able to defend it in a real match. Tozawa lost faster as the champion than he did in recent squash matches against top talent like Andrade and Murphy.
Seth Rollins and Murphy vs. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo
Seth Rollins requested forgiveness from Rey Mysterio for the horrible things he would do to The Master of the 619. Mysterio interrupted from a live feed at his home. He asked for Dominik's forgiveness for what he would do to The Monday Night Messiah. Dominik gave it and promised Rollins would pay.
Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo came out to run off Rollins and Murphy. The Messiah questioned why The Dutch Destroyer and Mexican Superstar fought for Mysterio. Rollins called The Master of the 619 a coward, which set off both faces. Black called Rollins evil.
The Messiah promised to end this, setting up an impromptu tag team match. Rollins thought he was walking into an easy fight, but he was not ready for the strikes of Black or the resilience of Carrillo.
However, the cohesion of Murphy and Rollins was too much. Carrillo survived a powerbomb/diving high-knee strike combination, but he could not kick out of the Stomp. Afterward, Black saved Carrillo from losing an eye, but The Messiah hit the Mexican Superstar with the Stomp on the steel steps.
Rollins and Murphy def. Black and Carrillo by pinfall.
Rollins has run with this gimmick for a while, leading to many great segments. When it works, it really works. This was on point because Rollins actually backed up his words with actions. He may not have blinded Carrillo, but he won and stood tall.
He needs to build momentum again. That begins with Rollins and Murphy picking up victories together. It would be best if Black did not suffer for it, but it is better to commit to one angle than try to establish everyone at once.
Ruby Riott vs. Peyton Royce
The IIconics made fun of Ruby Riott, who was trying to get ahold of Liv Morgan. Riott challenged Peyton Royce or Billie Kay to fight her tonight. Lana found Riott before her match, telling her to start listening to Natalya.
Kay helped Royce get an early advantage, and that was enough. Royce connected on a gamengiri, setting up a spinning brainbuster for the victory.
Royce def. Riott by pinfall.
This was the best match Riott has had in a while, but it was far too short. The story was beginning to develop when Royce won. This has been the story of her development since her return. Something needs to change, and it likely begins by teaming up with Morgan.
Until that time, Riott will continue to fall short in matches that do not feel like squashes but only get a few minutes all the same. This is just a waste of her talent.
Big Show vs. Andrade and Angel Garza
Andrade and Angel Garza were scared of fighting Big Show early, and it showed in the action. The World's Largest Athlete threw them around with ease.
The Most Beautiful Man managed to do some serious damage to the left knee of Show, only for El Idolo to force his way into the match. Garza walked out on him, causing Andrade to take a chokeslam and a loss to The World's Largest Athlete.
Show def. Andrade and Garza by pinfall.
This was not only unnecessary but counterproductive. Andrade and Garza found their cohesion together in order to defeat The Viking Raiders. It was supposed to be a big turning point. Instead, they lost in the same night because they could not get on the same page.
How can anyone take the duo seriously as challengers to The Street Profits if they cannot win a handicap match against a single opponent? Zelina Vega's group has barely gotten off the ground, yet it is constantly splintering further.
Apollo Crews vs. MVP; Bobby Lashley vs. Ricochet
Backstage, Bobby Lashley asked Montel Vontavious Porter why he was still trying to recruit Apollo Crews. His manager said he was done playing nice with the United States champion. He just needed him to learn an important lesson.
MVP continued his rant about respect in the ring until Crews interrupted. He told MVP that he did not want a manager. MVP warned that he was worse off having MVP as an enemy.
The All Mighty made sure to help MVP steal this victory. A big distraction by Lashley set up a big boot into a fisherman's suplex for a three-count.
Afterward, Crews attacked MVP out of frustration, but Lashley locked him in a full nelson. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander made the save.
This set up The All Mighty vs. The One and Only. Lashley dominated most of the match, but Ricochet fired back by escaping the full nelson. A springboard moonsault nearly sealed the win, but Lashley kicked out. He caught a side kick, turning it into a high chokeslam and then the full nelson for a quick submission.
Alexander saved Ricochet after the bell, but he was trapped in the full nelson for his trouble.
MVP def. Crews by pinfall; Lashley def. Ricochet by submission.
Crews vs. MVP was fine but nothing special. The finish was particularly awkward. The United States champion will gain credibility by taking down a veteran like MVP in a major match down the line. However, just like this match, it will not be a good in-ring contest.
On the flip side, Ricochet vs. Lashley was the best match of the night by a solid margin. It was nice to see Ricochet and Alexander again, who continue to remind everyone of their talent. They just need opportunities.
Drew McIntyre and Asuka vs. Sasha Banks and Dolph Ziggler
Drew McIntyre and Asuka bonded backstage in preparation for the main event. Sasha Banks and Bayley warned Dolph Ziggler to do his job and not cost The Legit Boss the match.
The Showoff had no idea how to compete against the power of the WWE champion, so Banks had to make the save repeatedly. The Boss barely tagged in to save Ziggler from McIntyre's wrath.
Asuka battled out of the Bank Statement and locked in the Asuka Lock only for Banks to turn it into a pinning combination for three. Bayley celebrated with Banks and Ziggler to end the show.
Banks and Ziggler def. Asuka and McIntyre by pinfall.
This was a fun main event that made the most of a limited roster. The pairing of McIntyre and Asuka was fun, though anyone paired with The Empress of Tomorrow works. Ziggler showed some promise as a future challenger to a motivated McIntyre as well, which was welcome.
It was important at this point to establish the challengers rather than the dominant champions. However, Asuka does not need losses on her resume right now. She has lost more than won lately. Ziggler stealing a win from McIntyre would have meant more.