WWE is in the early stages of the build toward the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, which will take place on Sunday, July 19. SmackDown Live on June 19 and Raw on June 22 offered two different paths each brand is taking as new challenges and events emerge.
The Last Ride concludes
The five-part documentary following Mark Calaway finished on Sunday, June 21. The docuseries began following the Money in the Bank pay-per-view and chronicled the last several years of the Undertaker’s career with flashbacks to key matches and moments. In what appeared to be a signal to the end of The Phenom’s career, Calaway seemed content with the Boneyard match with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36 and does not have too big of a desire to return to the ring.
Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode traded to Raw
AJ Styles returned to WWE following his WrestleMania 36 match with the Undertaker by earning a spot in the men’s MITB Ladder Match. He then won the Intercontinental Championship Tournament and it was announced he was traded for “future considerations” early in the tournament. The future considerations turned out to be Ziggler and Roode. Both will look to start fresh on the red brand, with Ziggler making an immediate impact following the announcement.
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler set for a feud
As Monday Night Raw kicked off, WWE champion Drew McIntyre entered the ring and was soon followed by Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler said McIntyre owes him a title shot. The Scot questioned the seriousness of the challenge but soon accepted the offer. It will be interesting to see how WWE handles Ziggler on Raw as he is freshly removed from a feud with Otis inside the Mandy Rose-Sonya Deville saga.
Bray Wyatt speaks out after Money in the Bank loss
It’s been more than a month since Wyatt has seen TV time, and he spoke from the Firefly Fun House about how upset the atmosphere has been after his loss to Universal Champion Braun Strowman. Strowman interrupted Wyatt to tell him to quit beating around the bush, and Wyatt appeared to tell him to “follow the buzzards.”
Akira Tozawa is the new 24/7 Champion
Tozawa has been repackaged and reintroduced as the leader of the ninja group that encountered “The Viking Profits” in recent weeks. Then-24/7 champion R-Truth was booked for a match with Tozawa but was put at a bit of a disadvantage thanks to Bobby Lashley giving him a pre-match beatdown. Tozawa pinned R-Truth to become the new titleholder.
Tag team champions retain their titles
Raw on June 22 was labeled “Championship Monday” as both the Raw tag team championships and women’s tag team championships were put on the line. The Anything You Can Do, We Can Do Better finally finished with a championship bout, and Dawkins speared Erik and Ford earned the pin to retain their belts. Angel Garza and Andrade attacked the champions post-match, perhaps setting the stage for a future showdown.
Turning to the women’s side of things, SmackDown women’s champion and tag team champions Bayley and Sasha Banks were tasked with facing The IIconics one-on-one. In a close match, Banks submitted Peyton Royce to allow her team to keep their titles. Following the match, Banks challenged Raw women’s champion Asuka to a future match for the gold.
Matt Riddle makes SmackDown debut
As intercontinental champion AJ Styles opened the latest edition of the blue brand, he looked to celebrate his new gold. The Original Bro had other plans and instead made a strong debut by challenging Styles to a match. Several distractions in a Lumberjack-style match allowed Riddle to hit BroDerek and pin Styles in an upset victory.
Big Show is Randy Orton’s next legend
As Ric Flair presented Orton as the “Greatest Wrestler Ever,” Big Show entered the ring. He stood up for Edge and Christian after the two were attacked by Orton in recent weeks, with The Rated R Superstar going to see time on the shelf with a torn tricep. Orton warned Big Show of what his title is, that of being “the legend killer.”