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Ahead of The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever at Backlash on Sunday, the June 8 edition of WWE Raw had a few big moments left to set up.
Christian returned to the red brand to talk with his longtime friend and tag team partner Edge on “The Peep Show” about his huge match approaching with Randy Orton.
New WWE women’s tag team champions Bayley and Sasha Banks headed to Raw to celebrate their victory over Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross.
Seth Rollins continued to await Rey Mysterio’s retirement. The Master of the 619 has promised to make The Monday Night Messiah pay, but it was a dangerous proposition to combat him with Murphy and Austin Theory at his side.
Montel Vontavious Porter welcomed Bobby Lashley to the “VIP Lounge” to discuss what happened after Raw went off the air. Drew McIntyre was stuck in the full nelson, but it wasn’t clear whether he escaped or passed out.
This was only a start for the night that had to fully establish Backlash as a night to not miss.
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Bayley and Sasha Banks interrupted Asuka to celebrate their WWE Tag Team Championships victory. Charlotte Flair arrived to address the Raw women’s champion who she planned to fight again Monday night.
The IIconics joined the conversation to mock everyone involved. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay announced they would fight the new women’s tag team champions and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the titles at Backlash.
A brawl broke out between the women, leading to an impromptu Triple Threat tag team match. The Queen and The Empress of Tomorrow repeatedly tried to show off against each other, leading to poor teamwork.
However, their talent was too much for Royce and Kay especially. As Charlotte prepared for a moonsault, Asuka tagged in and got the submission win the Asuka Lock. Afterward, The Queen laid out The Empress with a diving axe handle.
Charlotte and Asuka def. IIconics and Bayley and Banks by submission.
This was an energetic opening segment that led to a solid Triple Threat tag team match. However, the end result was misguided. Charlotte and Asuka are singles wrestlers and should not have dominated this match, especially while getting in each other’s way.
The contest made The IIconics look bad. For weeks, WWE has done an admirable job with Royce and Kay since their return, and they should be one of the most dangerous teams in the sparse division.
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Seth Rollins took Byron Saxton’s spot on commentary as the group interviewed Rey Mysterio. The Master of the 619 stated he was at high risk for additional infection, but he was recovering well from his injury.
The Monday Night Messiah was worried Mysterio was spreading lies about the “sacrifice” he made for the sake of the cause. He gave the future WWE Hall of Famer a chance to come in peace next week and retire openly as a legend.
Aleister Black attacked Rollins on commentary, drawing out Murphy and Austin Theory to make the save. This led to a tag team match as Humberto Carrillo joined The Dutch Destroyer’s side.
The incredible speed of Black allowed him to dominate, and he beat Murphy with a high knee that sent him to the mat from the top rope.
Afterward, Rollins walked out in a mask, and the trio dominated the faces. Murphy hit The Dutch Destroyer with Murphy’s Law and then Rollins hit him with the Stomp.
Black and Carrillo def. Murphy and Theory by pinfall.
Mysterio is telling his best story to date since returning to WWE in 2018. It is nice to have him do more than just wrestle. He and Rollins have chemistry on the mic, which is rare for The Master of the 619. He was never great at talking, but The Messiah pulls out his best emotions.
Black has benefited even more from this story and looks unstoppable. The rising star has outmatched Rollins, and it won’t be surprising if The Dutch Destroyer is competing for the WWE Championship soon.
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Ahead of “The Peep Show,” Charly Caruso interviewed Randy Orton, who promised to make an appearance on the talk show.
Christian questioned if Edge was truly ready for his clash with The Viper at Backlash and pushed The Rated-R Superstar to stand up for himself.
When Edge found his confidence, Orton appeared and claimed Sunday’s match would be the end of his former friend’s career. The Rated-R Superstar refused to give in.
Christian has always been a fantastic speaker, and he made the most of this segment even as Orton and Edge cycled. It was nice to see the friends reunited. Nobody brings more out of The Rated-R Superstar than his former tag team partner.
It will be nice to get past Backlash to stop hearing mention of “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.” It has been too much for too long. Hopefully, Edge and Orton will do what they can to avoid making the tagline look laughable.
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The Viking Raiders and The Street Profits looked to settle the score in a decathlon. However, the groups were too evenly matched once again.
Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins won the 1,600-meter dash, cup flipping, hurdles, dance competition and shot put. Erik and Ivar won the archery, sword fighting, stick fighting, turkey-leg-eating contest and pole-vaulting. This left the final score at a tie.
Street Profits vs. Viking Raiders goes to a 5-5 draw.
These segments repeat themselves too much, which means they have gone from just cringe to utterly boring. At least at the start, they had a novelty value and broke up the monotony of Raw. Now, they just lack all sense of meaning.
It is about time the teams actually wrestled. The Raiders and the Profits aren’t even booked for Backlash, which only reinforces the lack of self-awareness with these horrible segments.
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Apollo Crews announced he would defend his United States title against the winner of the upcoming Triple Threat on Monday night.
Andrade and Angel Garza teamed up on Kevin Owens for a while until tensions broke out, and Zelina Vega was knocked down in the shoving contest between her two clients.
The fighting continued until Garza got KO alone. Owens fought out of the Wing Clipper and hit a stunner. However, El Idolo kicked him out of the way and stole the pinfall on Garza.
Andrade def. Garza and KO by pinfall to become the No. 1 contender to the United States Championship.
It is good for WWE to keep pushing the U.S. title. This Triple Threat was a focused battle between talented men. Owens got the short end of the stick in terms of focus, but he still shined thanks to his speed and athleticism.
The only real problem was the lack of respect for Andrade and Garza’s dynamic as a tag team. They turned on each other too quickly and did not care when Vega got hurt. It felt like a story that would have worked better three months down the line.
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Drew McIntyre talked up The Viking Raiders backstage before their tag team match against Bobby Lashley and MVP.
The WWE champion interrupted the “VIP Lounge” to make fun of its host and threaten him with a Claymore. The All Mighty came out to change the numbers game.
The Raiders and The Street Profits joined in on the fun as Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins decided to watch the tag team match from ringside.
Lashley showed off incredible strength and endurance as Charly Caruso interviewed Lana backstage. She said she wanted to be selfless for her husband.
Ivar got beat down for a while but managed to get the hot tag to Erik, but The All Mighty would not be denied. In a showcase of pure dominance, he managed to tap out Erik with the full nelson. Afterward, he trapped Ivar in the submission as well, but McIntyre ran him off.
Lashley and MVP def. Raiders by pinfall.
This story has done wonders for Lashley. He feels unstoppable. While it doesn’t help anyone for him to beat The Viking Raiders in what was effectively a handicap bout, the contest served its purpose.
The main issue here was how long it all went. The tag match did not need so much time after a lengthy promo segment as well. This was the time to get in and out, with the focus on the WWE Championship match for Backlash.
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Backstage, Charlotte Flair said she was moving past her NXT TakeOver: In Your House loss to focus on Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow slapped her.
Sasha Banks and Bayley arrived to watch from commentary. However, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay ambushed them and threw the pair onto the announce table.
The Queen and The Empress of Tomorrow continued their war in the ring. Again and again, Charlotte beat down the Raw women’s champion, but she kept getting back up. Nia Jax provided a major distraction, setting up a Charlotte big boot for three.
Afterward, Jax laid out The Empress with a Samoan Drop as The Queen celebrated.
Charlotte def. Asuka by pinfall.
As usual, Charlotte and Asuka had fantastic chemistry. This was a true main event, with both women putting their all into a 20-minute clash after also dominating the opening contest. But this did reinforce how unnecessary the opening tag match was.
As The Empress continues to build her legacy as champion, repeatedly losing to Charlotte feels like old hat. Before this is over, Asuka needs to get a definitive submission victory over The Queen.