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WWE Raw Review 06/05/24

It’s tournament time as we are starting the King and Queen of the Ring tournaments this week. With the finals less than three weeks away, there isn’t much time so they are likely going to cover quite a bit this week. Unfortunately, Drew McIntyre has been pulled due to injury but we should have a replacement of some kind on hand. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long Backlash recap.

Here is the Judgment Day for a chat. Damian Priest is proud to have retained the title and apologizes for what happened after the match. He shouldn’t have attacked his teammates because they are his family. As for now though, the Judgment Day is still the dominant faction in WWE and Finn Balor is going to be the next King Of The Ring. Drew McIntyre is out of action so Balor is getting a first-round bye. Cue Adam Pearce to say not so fast as we have a replacement right now

Match 1 King Of Ring First Round Jey Uso Vs Finn Balor

Balor grabs an armbar to start but Uso fights up with some yeeting right hands. A headlock slows Uso down again but he sends Balor outside for a dive. Uso gets posted and sent over to the announcers’ table though and we take a break. Back with Balor’s basement dropkick connecting for two and we hit the chinlock.

That lasts as long as your average chin lock as Uso fights up and hits a high crossbody. A superkick drops Balor again but it’s way too early for the Superfly Splash. Instead, Uso hits the spear for two but here is Drew McIntyre for a distraction. The fans want CM Punk though they seem to settle for Uso hitting another spear for the pin at 13:34.

Official Result Jey Uso wins

Rating: C+. The McIntyre interference didn’t do anything but will give the fans something to like to start the show while continuing Judgment Day’s issues. Balor got to showcase himself a bit as well but Uso moving forward makes sense as he could very well be a dark horse (or better) to win the whole thing. Assuming McIntyre doesn’t kick his head off that is.

We look at Gunther vs. Sheamus from Clash At The Castle back in 2022.

Drew McIntyre yells at Adam Pearce and leaves (with another QR code popping up). CM Punk pulls into the parking lot just as McIntyre leaves and heads to the ring (fist-bumping Chad Gable on the way) for a chat. Punk talks about being locked in WWE Headquarters over the weekend and then realized the show was so close by so here he is. Punk mocks the 5:46 McIntyre title reign and knows that McIntyre is scrolling through Twitter so what if the fans let him know he’s here.

While we’re waiting, Punk tells us about how he was hurt in the Royal Rumble when McIntyre DDT’ed him. He was upset over missing Wrestlemania but now he’s waiting to get his dream back.

Punk is a five-tool player but McIntyre is just a tool. McIntyre picked a fight with the pettiest man on earth and Punk thinks it’s because McIntyre hates himself. Punk already broke McIntyre’s elbow and next time he’ll break his face and heart.

The music plays and Punk threatens to show up in Glasgow, Scotland. This is another week that Punk stays in the fans’ minds while he recovers, with his return getting closer and closer.

Ricochet is ready for the King Of The Ring when Braun Strowman comes in. Strowman stood up to Judgment Day last week because he can’t stand bullies.

Match 2 Queen Of The Ring First Round: Iyo Sky vs. Natalya

Damage CTRL is here with Sky. Natalya spins out of a wristlock to start before grabbing a quickly broken leglock. They head outside with Sky being sent face-first onto the apron as commentary talks about not knowing what any of the French chants were about at Backlash. Back in and Sky’s springboard missile dropkick gets two and we take a break.

We come back with Natalya grabbing a Michinoku Driver for two, followed by a top rope superplex (dedicated to Owen Hart, whose birthday would have been tomorrow) for the same.

Sky is right back with a cross-face before they trade rollup for two each. Natalya’s sitout powerbomb gets two more but the Sharpshooter attempt is broken up. The running knees in the corner set up Over The Moonsault for the pin at 10:24.

Official Result IYO SKY wins

Rating: B-. That’s Natalya in a nutshell: makes her opponent look good, does her own good things, and loses in the end. It’s a good role for her and they didn’t try to do anything further than that. At the same time, Sky gets a win and some of her momentum back after losing at Wrestlemania.

Post-match Damage CTRL promises to win the Queen Of The Ring and they’re coming for the Women’s Tag Team Titles again.

Video on Ilja Dragunov.

Match 3 King Of The Ring First Round: Ilja Dragunov vs. Ricochet

Ricochet doesn’t even bring the Speed Title with him. They start fast with Ricochet hitting a knee to the face and we’re already in a break. Back with Ricochet hitting a springboard clothesline into a standing shooting star press for two. Dragunov is back up with a waistlock but Ricochet backflips out of a German suplex.

Instead, he sends Dragunov outside, where a moonsault is countered into the German suplex to put Ricochet down. Back in and a missile dropkick gives Dragunov two but Ricochet snaps off a super hurricanrana to the floor. Multiple dives drop Dragunov again and we take another break.

We come back again with Dragunov hitting the Constantine Special (rebound clothesline) and dropping a top rope backsplash for another near fall. They trade kicks to the face until Ricochet hits a Death Valley Driver.

Ricochet tries a springboard but gets knocked out of the air. The H Bomb (a hard right hand on the mat) looks to set up Torpedo Moscow (running headbutt) but Ricochet Recoils him down instead. Dragunov catches him on top with another superplex and the second H Bomb is enough for the pin at 16:35.

Official Result Llja Dragunov wins

Rating: B. It would have been even higher if this didn’t have the two breaks in there. This was getting into Dragunov’s bread and butter as he feels like he would rather die than lose and throws everything he has out there to win. It makes his matches feel like wars and that was showing up again here. Heck of a match here for Dragunov’s more official Raw debut.

Respect is shown post-match.

Sheamus can’t stand the idea of King Gunther so tonight he’s going to give Gunther the beating he’s been deserving.

Video on the European tour.

Match 4 Queen Of The Ring First Round: Ivy Nile vs. Zoey Stark

Nile goes right after her to start but Stark runs her over. A rather delayed vertical suplex puts Stark down but she manages to pull Nile's throat first into the rope. Stark hits a springboard missile dropkick for two, with commentary saying it was like a sniper.

They both go up top where Nile wins a quick slugout and hits a super bulldog for two of her own. Nile misses an enziguri so Stark hammers away, with commentary getting into a weird discussion about ground and pound. Stark drops her face first onto the buckle and hits Z360 for the pin at 5:20.

Official Result Zoey Stark wins

Rating: C. This started well but they hit a wall in the middle and it kind of dragged to the finish. The top rope bulldog was a unique spot and Nile was fighting here but something seemed a bit off. I could go for seeing Nile get more of a chance, though she is going to need more polish and experience first.

R-Truth brings in UConn men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley because he thinks Awesome Truth should face the basketball team. Miz tries to explain things to Truth but Truth insists that a sport is a sport.

Miz says he’ll get back to Adam Pearce about their next title defence (An exasperated Pearce: “Thank you.”). Awesome Truth leaves and Pearce needs a drink but gets to talk to Bron Breakker, who wants to know why he isn’t in the King Of The Ring. They’ll talk later.

We look at Gunther vs. Sheamus II.

Judgment Day consoles Finn Balor over his loss when Dominik Mysterio comes in with Carlito. Damian Priest doesn’t want Carlito here after what happened at Backlash last year but Carlito offers to trade back scratches. Priest tells him to get out.

Match 5 Chad Gable vs. Bronson Reed

No Alpha Academy here with Gable, who chops away to start but gets Death Valley Drivered (that move is making a comeback around here) for his efforts. Gable manages to muscle him over with a German suplex for two so Reed goes up top. That’s fine with Gable, who kind of t-bone superplexes him down, only to have Sami Zayn run in and jump Gable for the DQ at 1:42.

Official Result Chad Gable wins via DQ

Post match the beating is on but Reed cuts off the Helluva Kick and plants Zayn. Reed beats up Gable as well and stands tall. The camera follows Reed to the back, where Adam Pearce asks why Reed can’t control himself. Reed wants the Intercontinental Title and tells Pearce to do what he needs to do if he wants control.

Video on Lyra Valkyria. It’s smart to preview new stars like her as it helps when she’s being thrown into a pretty important match.

Gunther is ready to win King Of The Ring and doesn’t mind going through Sheamus to do it.

Here is Becky Lynch for a sit-down interview with Michael Cole. Becky loves these people but Cole brings up her appearance at the Kentucky Derby and her…interesting outfit choice. Cole: “What is that hat? Is it a hat?” Lynch got it on Etsy and the fans think it works. Cole moves on to the title, which Lynch will have to defend against a variety of the new stars brought over in the Draft.

Lynch is ready for people like Alba Fyre, Isla Dawn, Kiana James and in particular, Lyra Valkyria. As for Wrestlemania, yes she had strep throat but Rhea Ripley was the better woman that night. Then she won the title two weeks later in a battle royal…and here is Liv Morgan to interrupt.

Morgan is sick of Lynch not talking about her and brings up everything she’s done. Lynch cuts her off and says the title match is on at King And Queen Of The Ring (that show needs a better name) but Morgan.

Morgan says she has a purpose now but here is Damage CTRL to interrupt. That’s enough for Morgan to bail so the fight is on but Lyra Valkyria runs in for the save.

Sami Zayn says it should be over with Chad Gable and Bronson Reed so he’ll fight them both at King And Queen Of The Ring. He’ll be at his best because he’s up against the wall.

Match 6 Queen Of The Ring First Round: Lyra Valkyria vs. Dakota Kai

Valkyria takes her down with a headlock to start but let’s go split-screen for a preview for Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes. The northern lights suplex gives Valkyria two but she gets pulled off the corner for a crash onto the buckle. We take a break and come back with Valkyria striking away, including a dropkick through the ropes.

A suplex gives Valkyria two but Kai slips out of a fireman’s carry. The running kick to the face in the corner hits Valkyria for two more but she ducks another kick to the face. Nightwing (Samoan driver) finishes Kai at 8:50.

Official Result Lyra Valkyria wins

Rating: C+. The substitution is a good thing for Valkyria as she wasn’t likely to defeat someone at Asuka’s level in her debut. Beating Kai is certainly not a step too far though and this could help Valkyria up as one of the new stars around here. The division could always use fresh blood and Valkyria has all of the tools to move up the ladder in a hurry.

Kofi Kingston says this was supposed to be Xavier Woods’ tournament but Gunther put Woods on the shelf. Now Kingston is going to win the tournament instead and he’ll start with Rey Mysterio this weekend.

Match 7 King Of The Ring First Round: Gunther vs. Sheamus

Ludwig Kaiser is here with Gunther and Sheamus has already slimmed down a bit from his return a few weeks ago. They waste no time in chopping it out until Gunther kicks him out to the apron. Gunther tries his own ten forearms to the chest but has to block Sheamus from doing the same. Sheamus backdrops him to the floor and hits a dive off the apron as we take a break.

Back with Gunther dropping him again with a hard chop to the back, which even has Kaiser cringing. Gunther starts in on the neck by grabbing a cravate but Sheamus is up with the Irish Curse. One heck of a clothesline gives Gunther two, with White Noise giving Sheamus the same.

Now Sheamus can hit the forearms to the chest but the Brogue Kick misses. Kaiser gets in a cheap shot to the knee but gets ejected (McAfee: “NEIN!”) as we take another break.

Back again with Gunther working on the bad knee until Sheamus kicks his way to freedom. Gunther goes right after the knee again but Sheamus manages a clothesline. The jumping knee gives Sheamus two of his own but the knee is banged up. The knee gives out on a powerbomb and Gunther hits a powerbomb into a half crab.

Sheamus is in the ropes so Gunther goes up, only to be countered into a Celtic Cross for a delayed two. Some knees put Gunther down for a delayed two but the knee gives out again. Gunther grabs the half crab again and this time Sheamus has to tap at 21:00.

Official Result Gunther wins

Rating: B+. This was the heavyweight slugfest that you would expect from these two, with those welts on Sheamus’ chest making me cringe more than once. The ending is something that makes perfect sense for Gunther, as he exploited an injury. Granted it’s an injury that was caused by Gunther’s stooge but that’s what a heel should be doing.

Overall thoughts

They were focused this week with a good chunk of the show looking at the tournaments. It helps that the action ranged from awesome to just rather good with the main event being more than worth a look. Two matches got added to the pay-per-view card as well, making this an efficient show that never hit any really bad part. Pretty great show this week and that’s always nice to see.


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