First off, I would like to thank The Queen, Kendra, for asking me to fill in this week! It's nice to step up and tackle other writer's jobs once in awhile to see what they do every week. Obviously this week's Raw happened to fall on Independence Day, so I wasn't very harsh on the grading. Here we go!
Backstage Segment > A
It was nice to see the show start with a backstage BBQ with Golden Truth rapping in the background. The Vaudevillains interrupting surprised me, but easily set up a tag match for later.The Miz was the perfect scum bag to use to get the inevitable food fight started. I couldn't help but smile because these guys and gals were having fun throwing food around. Some of the highlights definitely included Cesaro vs. Crews in an arm wrestling challenge, as well as Kevin Owens hiding under a table.
In-Ring Performance > A
Lilian Garcia signing the National Anthem was also a nice touch. I've always enjoyed her performances on WWE TV.
U.S. Title Match - Rusev vs. Titus O'Neil > B+
The fact that we didn't have to sit through a twenty-minute promo also made me excited to see this match happening right away. Why not start things off with a United States Championship bout? I must say that I enjoyed this one a lot more than their Money in the Bank encounter. This match was faster and Titus really brought his A-game for America. Rusev retaining wasn't really shocking to me, but still slightly disappointing.
Winner - Rusev
Enzo & Cass vs. The Social Outcasts > B-
The Social Outcasts dressing like goofs... yeah, there's no explanation needed there. Luckily, Enzo & Cass came to save the day in a quick, harmless match. Considering this was a holiday show, I can see why it happened. At first, I thought this could be the Battleground Kickoff match, but WWE has other, better plans.
Winners - Enzo & Cass
In-Ring Segment > B-
Sasha Banks being involved saved the grade here. It started off decently with Charlotte jacking her jaws about something, while Dana just stood there. The Boss was on fire, handling Charlotte's loud mouth calmly and truthfully. I really don't know why Charlotte feels it's necessary to yell. It's not like her voice is easy on the ears when she's not yelling either. Sasha took the duo out and put Charlotte in the Bank Statement to recover from the screaming. Hopefully a new Women's Champion will be crowned on July 24th...
Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz > B+
I wasn't very surprised that this match ended up happening again following their first collision on last week's SmackDown. I was really into their SmackDown match. Once again, these two champions showed they have some awesome chemistry together with their fast-paced maneuvers and counters. Ambrose going over clean again means this mini-TV feud is done and keeps the WWE Champion looking strong. The Intercontinental Champion, on the other hand, needs better booking before we hit the Draft.
Winner - Dean Ambrose
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler > A-
It was cool to see WWE give us back-to-back matches that kept our attention through and through. I can understand some of the complaints about this particular singles match happening all the time since Rollins turned heel, but it's the incredible action from the two that keeps me silent about it. Much like Ambrose vs. Miz, Seth and Dolph put on a show with their counters and nearfalls. It was no surprise to anyone that Rollins won with a pedigree. I, for one, am very glad a DQ finish was not used here considering Ambrose was sitting at commentary.
Winner - Seth Rollins
Promo & Brawl > A
Seth Rollins cut a fun promo that was primarily used to keep Roman Reigns' name relevant while he's still out serving his suspension. The story was furthered with Ambrose taking Rollins out. Good stuff here.
Stage Promo & Backstage Segment > A+
The rumors were flying and it finally happened! Vickie Guerrero returned to make it known she wants to be SmackDown COO. I love how WWE is having these former GM's return wanting to run SmackDown as opposed to the top show, Raw. Perhaps the best part of her return was her confrontation with Dolph Ziggler backstage. Dolph telling security he's never seen this woman before was fantastic!
The Vaudevillains vs. Golden Truth > D
This match could've been so much more. It sucks to see that the talented Vaudevillains have fallen so far down the card. Golden Truth is finally wracking up the wins, but not over the right team. The match did not hold my interest and ultimately left me disappointed, hence why I almost failed it. Hopefully the Draft helps these lower card teams.
Winners - Golden Truth
In-Ring Segment > B+
John Cena gave a speech about The Club and primarily stayed away from patriotism. I'll be honest, I wasn't listening as much until AJ Styles & The Club made their way out. Styles' monologue was fun to listen to, but it came off kind of awkward when Gallows & Anderson chimed in. The attack began and we all knew someone (or two) would come out and save Cena. It wasn't Orton, nor was it The Usos. Surprisingly, it was Enzo & Cass! And now we have a match booked for Battleground! This is some fresh booking everyone should love.
Summer Rae vs. Becky Lynch > C
There's not much to say here. Becky going over was absolutely the right choice. Summer's botch in the middle of the match made things go downhill even further, leading to me downgrading this. If nothing else, it was good to see Becky get a win on Raw.
Winner - Becky Lynch
In-Ring Segment > B
The New Day and Wyatt Family continue to produce entertaining segments that push Xavier Woods to the edge. The story is progressing quite nicely and I'm very interested in seeing what's next and what's to come of this feud. The inevitable match will be must-see for me.
Team USA vs. Multi-National Alliance > A
I certainly wasn't going into the match with high expectations of anything too exciting. The action was fresh with a blend of babyfaces and heels uniting and clashing like we've never seen before. It all unfolded "by the book" with Zack Ryder getting the satisfactory win over Sheamus, with an assist from Big Show of course. This match may have main evented a holiday show, but some storyline progression was featured and it left me going home happy.
Winners - Team USA
I would give this show an overall B or B+ if I'm being nice. My expectations were low, so things worked out in my favor. Heck, we even had two more matches announced for Battleground. Things will heat back up next week as both the Draft and Battleground get closer.
Filling in for the Queen of WNW