After several weeks of relatively sub par shows, WWE had a tough road ahead of them for the June 13, 2016 episode of Raw. The company needed to put on the final hard sell for this Sunday’s Money In The Bank event while at the same time continuing the McMahon siblings power struggle storyline that’s leading into July’s WWE Draft. The WWE creative team chose to focus on the former, building this week’s episode around the three main MITB storylines.
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between former Shield stable-mates Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins had its turn in the spotlight when the two guested on their former ally Dean Ambrose’s show-within-a-show, Ambrose Asylum. The “host” antagonized the other to intro trading barbs with each other, and reminded them that if he wins the Money In The Bank Match he could cash-in his championship contract on either of them after their match. The segment broke down into a physical confrontation, with Ambrose laying out Reigns after the champion had taken out Rollins Personally, I thought this segment worked well. I could see how some would be put off by Ambrose’s borderline comedy, but I thought it added a great deal of levity to the segment and continued to tease an eventual triple threat match between the former Shield members. Rollins and Reigns also played their parts well, with the former as the perfect smarmy heel and the latter speaking in quick and to the point phrases designed not to get him booed.
The AJ Styles/John Cena dream match was plugged through a “contract signing” segment. Once again, the two engaged in a promo battle that walked the line of a shoot interview with numerous references to Styles’ work on the independent circuit and Cena being the “face” of WWE. The main thrust of the segment evolved into Styles signing a contract to take on Cena writhing the help of his allies in The Club. Their exchange was similar to last week, but much better written. The “signing” surprisingly ended without the two coming to blows, a rarity for this type of segment. I liked this choice, as it makes the physical contact between the two Sunday more special.
The Money In The Bank pay-per-view’s titular headline match was focused on several times through the show. Sami Zayn defeated Cesaro in a solid match at the midpoint of the show. Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio defeated Sin Cara and Kalisto in a match that saw their MITB spots on the line thanks to Kane (see below). Finally, the main event featured MITB participant Dean Ambrose take on Chris Jericho with the other four at ringside in various roles. As should be expected, the show concluded with a massive brawl between the six that saw Jericho standing tall. None of this was bad, but it once again felt like the company was spinning its wheels as the sensical build for this match ended weeks ago.
- The aforementioned Kane appeared for this week’s former general manager cameo (see Teddy Long last week). His interactions with both Shane and Stephanie McMahon were played for laughs, and really led to no story development.
- The Women’s Championship storyline has officially gone off the deep end, which is a shame.
- I really don’t understand why WWE called up Apollo Crews if the best they had for him was a feud with the ice-cold Sheamus.
The go-home build for Reigns/Rollins and Styles/Cena was really solid and got me excited for Money In The Bank, so WWE succeeded in that regard. The rest of the show didn’t reach those standards, but it was still an improvement over the last few weeks.