WWE Raw returns tonight (June 17) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This is the go home show for Stomping Grounds this Sunday.
One story from last week that leads into Raw tonight is centered around the 24/7 championship.
Jinder Mahal has been the most successful getting to five time, five time, five time 24/7 Champion R-Truth, holding the title twice in this time. At the end of SmackDown last week, R-Truth accidentally locked himself in a shipping crate and is being shipped to LA for tonight while Jinder (a former WWE champion mind you) will be there waiting for him. (To explain away Truth working house shows, it’s been changed that he voluntarily gets back in the crate because it’s the best slept he’s gotten.)
It’s super silly stuff. But is it also the most entertaining championship on Raw?
As someone who initially wasn’t a fan of the championship, that’s a question I’d never think I’d ask back when Mick Foley unveiled the wristwatch title. But WWE proved me wrong because this title has been great fun.
R-Truth is a fantastic comedic performer so is the perfect person to book the title around. It allows men like Drake Maverick to put in the work (which he’s great at it) and gives someone like Jinder the chance to show off a comedic side as well. We probably wouldn’t even see guys like EC3, Heath Slater, or Cedric Alexander on TV if they weren’t trapped in an elevator with R-Truth. The antics they come up with every week have been quite the treat.
Even with all that, it’s got to be hyperbole to say it’s more entertaining than all the real titles on Monday, right? Well let’s take a look at them one by one to see if it really is such an outrageous claim.
The Universal Championship
The Universal title scene for Stomping Grounds is pretty much a replay of the Super ShowDown feud between Baron Corbin and Seth Rollins, but this time without the threat of Brock Lesnar because we pretty much know he’s not working Stomping Grounds.
I don’t dislike Baron Corbin as much as others, but they have not come close to booking him as a serious title contender. He’s spent too much time as part of random heel stables that haven’t done much to help him win.
Tonight, he reveals his special guest referee for the Universal title match this Sunday, and that could be an interesting wrinkle. But for my money, it’s too much of a ShowDown retread and Corbin isn’t booked well enough as a contender to interest me. I’d give the nod to the 24/7 title here when it comes to what’s more entertaining.
The Raw Women’s championship
Becky Lynch has a date with Lacey Evans in yet another title rematch this Sunday, this one from Money in the Bank. That show had the added intrigue of the Man having to defend both belts in the same night. This time it’s just a match with Lacey.
The build to their first match felt like it helped establish Lacey as a title contender, but unfortunately the road to their second championship match has revealed that Lacey is still a good deal behind Becky on the microphone and in the ring. Becky Lynch is still good fun, but extending a program that should have been a one and done has me more entertained by the 24/7 title right now.
The United States championship
The US title could have been better, but Rey Mysterio’s unfortunate injury derailed that. They looked to be telling a longer story involving Mysterio, Samoa Joe, and Rey’s son Dominic. But that’ll have to put on hold if not scrapped completely due to Mysterio’s injury.
Even if Rey didn’t get hurt, this wasn’t lighting the world on fire. Rey was squashed by Joe at WrestleMania. Then Rey picked up a quick pin on Joe to win the title, even though Joe’s shoulders were clearly up. Squashing a future hall of famer and then a fluke (or maybe botched) win doesn’t make for riveting TV.
Tonight, there will be a fatal 5-way to crown a new number one contender. It will feature Braun Strowman, the Miz, Bobby Lashley, Cesaro, and Ricochet. Cesaro or Ricochet winning would set up a good match for Stomping Grounds, but Rey’s injury prevented this from being any better than the 24/7 championship.
The Raw tag team championships
Last week we saw a title change with the Revival winning a triple threat over the tag champs of Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins and the Usos to win the straps. That was the first time we had actually seen the tag champs in a month, which should give you an idea of where the division is at. (More than could be said for the Viking Raiders, who were quickly brought from NXT and are now never used on TV.)
We’re not that far removed from the Revival’s manscaping and Ucey Hot to take them that seriously. Plus, they’re associated with Shane McMahon’s posse of heels. That will help them get on TV more than the last champs, but it’ll be as Shane’s lackeys (which is a step up for them I guess). We’ll likely get some more Usos/Revival matches in the future, which is good, but the way they book the tag division, it likely won’t be as consistently entertaining as the 24/7 title.
The Women’s tag team championships
When they’re not beating local talent, the tag team champion IIconics are losing to regular talent. That’s when they’re on TV that is. All their real challenger threats are on SmackDown anyway and they haven’t done anything with those as it is. So this is an easy one to say the 24/7 title is more entertaining.
It’s all subjective so it’s surely possible you’re more entertained by one of these more than R-Truth’s antics. But the fact that it’s even close is concerning. The comedy title shouldn’t be more entertaining than the main titles. This is the Raw preview which is why we didn’t pose the question for all WWE, but the SmackDown titles may not fare too well either. Maybe after Stomping Grounds, the stories will turn over, and there will be other titles to entertain us as much as the 24/7 championship. Let’s hope.
Other Stuff to Keep an Eye On:
– Daniel Bryan is one of the Wild Cards this week. No word if Big Red Rowan is coming with him. They function as a tag team so you’d think so, but maybe Daniel Bryan just wants to rail on the LA crowd. Either way, it should be fun.
– Roman Reign’s issues with Shane McMahon appear on both Raw and SmackDown so expect this to be represented. Roman’s Stomping Ground opponent Drew McIntyre is on Raw, and this story has been a two night story for awhile.
Stomping Grounds is this Sunday!
What will you be looking for when Raw rolls into LA tonight.