June 5’s installment of World Wrestling Entertainment’s pay per view series will have a glaring absence. Neither Roman Reigns nor the Usos have a match on the card. The Bloodline have dominated WWE’s pay per view cycle since Reigns’ return to WWE at SummerSlam 2020. On June 3’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, Drew McIntyre issued a challenge to Reigns for the Undisputed Universal title at September 3’s Clash at the Castle. WWE will most likely begin building that feud in earnest throughout the summer. Rather than another starring turn by Roman Reigns, HIAC gives Cody Rhodes a test drive at being the promotion’s top babyface, and the cornerstone of the Monday Night Raw brand. His third ppv match against Seth Rollins has the distinction of being the only bout on the card to be battled in the titular red cage.
The Likely Outcome of Rhodes v. Rollins III
Seth Rollins is one of WWE’s most reliable franchise players. Throughout the feud with Rhodes, Rollins has not been shy about taking potshots at WWE’s biggest rival, the promotion Rhodes helped found, All Elite Wrestling. Rollins can always be counted on for a dazzling match on ppv and amusing antics on weekly television. Rhodes has won both of their previous encounters, and is clearly being built into a heroic figure to a WWE audience that has mostly received his return warmly. This match will most likely end inconclusively, with neither the popular heel nor beloved babyface taking a clean loss, as the feud continues to be a showpiece of Monday Night Raw in the coming weeks.
Also On the Card
Raw is heavily represented on the HIAC card, with several of its recent storylines reaching their culmination at the event.
Becky Lynch vs. Asuka vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship
This match was born out of improvised, salvaged plans made in the wake of Sasha Banks and Naomi’s notorious walk-out. Belair’s challenger was due to be decided in a six pack challenge match on May 16’s Raw. Banks and Naomi left the venue following still undisclosed objections to creative plans for them, and instead Lynch and Asuka faced off. Asuka was victorious, which prompted Lynch to complain to WWE official Adam Pearce that the victory was unfair because Asuka blinded her with green mist. The two fought again, with the stipulation that if Lynch won the HIAC match would become a triple threat.
Controversy followed when Lynch won the Friday Night SmackDown title from Belair at 2021’s SummerSlam, kicking off her “Big Time Becks” heel turn. WWE is unlikely to repeat this move, or to put the Raw title on Asuka so soon into her return. Belair will retain, promoting more challenges from the frontrunners for her title Asuka and Lynch.
Kevin Owens vs. Ezekiel
Kevin Owens and Ezekiel have struck comedic gold with their lighthearted feud. Owens has gone off the deep end, into the realm of his best friend Sami Zayn’s conspiracy theories. His quest to prove that “new” WWE Superstar Ezekiel truly is the same person as Elias has reached Hell in a Cell. Ezekiel will probably take the victory, giving Owens a loss to fume about as his quest presumably continues.
Omos vs. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley and Omos are coming into HIAC tied in their series, each with a pay per view victory against the other. Lashley was victorious at WrestleMania 38, while Omos defeated Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash. The Lashley vs. Omos feud exists to anoint Omos as WWE’s reigning colossus. Furthering that end, expect Omost to win with some interference from MVP.
Theory vs Mustafa Ali for the United States Championship
Since helping Vince McMahon recover Cleopatra’s golden egg, Theory has been singled out for glory. The NXT transplant captured his first title on the main roster after divesting Finn Balor of the United States championship. Mustafa Ali is a fan favorite, but his wish to be released by WWE is notoriously public and unlikely to garner a ppv victory and title reign. Theory’s rise will continue, with him retaining the United States Championship.
Finn Balor, A.J. Styles, and Liv Morgan vs The Judgment Day
Judgment Day has proved to be a genuinely enjoyable heel stable, bringing an element of anarchy, suspense, and mystique to Raw. Edge revisited his early days in WWE with a vampire gimmick reminiscent of the Brood, but touched a similar note as Ali’s 2020 stable RETRIBUTION by positioning himself as a mentor to the misfits and lost souls of Raw. Their feud with A.J. Styles, Balor, and Morgan has pitted Ripley against former tag team partner Morgan, in a refreshing take on the ‘from partners to enemies’ trope. The element of surprise is built into the Judgment Day’s DNA. The six person match will most likely end in not only a victory for the vampires but perhaps yet another Superstar will shockingly join their ranks.
Moss vs Corbin
Friday Night SmackDown’s contribution to the festivities is the ongoing feud between Moss and Corbin. Moss is shedding his ‘Happy Talk’ trappings and emerging with a new attitude after Corbin destroyed his Andre the Giant battle royale trophy. Moss could be an intriguing contender for Ricochet’s Intercontinental Championship. A victory over Corbin at HIAC will further his ascendence on the SmackDown roster.
If you enjoy Bodyslam’s content, you can help donate to the site here. You can also visit our PWTees store and buy Bodyslam official merchandise here. You can listen to all of Bodyslam’s podcasts by following us on Spotify and subscribing to our YouTube Channel.
Follow us on Twitter: @BodyslamNet