Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. Last week’s show was a better episode of Raw due to fresh matchups that delivered in the ring and better storyline progression. This week, WWE is advertising Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match, Elias vs. Jaxson Ryker in a Strap Match and a six-woman tag team match with Charlotte Flair teaming up with Natalya & Tamina vs. Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke & Rhea Ripley. The next pay-per-view is Money in the Bank on Sunday, July 18 with fans back in the arena. That means if you include this week, there are only three more episodes of Raw in the Thunderdome.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1466 of Monday Night Raw. It's taking place at the WWE ThunderDome at Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past (including my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order) and present. Let’s roll.
There was some pyro that went off in the Thunderdome as fans were shown on the screens. The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.
The WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were in the backstage area saying the winner of a battle royal will replace Randy Orton in the triple threat match due to circumstances they did not specify. Riddle showed up with a note "from Randy Orton" with Pearce reading the note that was clearly written by Riddle saying that Riddle should compete on his behalf. Riddle said that he can be in the battle royal to replace Orton and if Riddle wins the match then he can go into the triple threat match, so then if Riddle wins that then Orton is in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Sonya and Adam approved it, so Riddle is in the battle royal.
Analysis: That’s a twist that I wasn’t expecting. I’m not sure what’s up with Randy Orton or if it’s all just part of a storyline. Riddle’s note for Orton was pretty silly, but also fitting for Riddle’s character.
Battle Royal for Spot in Triple Threat Match Later on Raw
Riddle made his entrance for the battle royal. Riddle is already in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but he’s representing Orton here. The winner joins the triple threat match with Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles later on Raw.
The ring was full of Raw wrestlers including some people that barely wrestle on Raw. Shelton Benjamin eliminated Drew Gulak. Jinder Mahal eliminated Benjamin shortly after that. Akira Tozawa held on to avoid an elimination and then Angel Garza got tossed out with one foot hitting the floor, so Garza hopped around the ring. Mustafa Ali helped Mansoor and eliminated Garza. Mansoor turned his back on Ali, so Ali eliminated Mansoor immediately after that. Mahal nearly tossed out Riddle, but Riddle was able to hold on. A referee spoke to R-Truth and Jinder Mahal, so Mahal got rid of Truth right away. Mahal eliminated Tozawa. Drew Gulak pinned 24/7 Champion Tozawa to win the title. R-Truth hit a jumping forearm on Gulak and pinned him to regain the 24/7 Title. Tozawa hit a dive off the apron onto Truth on the floor to become 24/7 Champion. Those three guys ran away. Omos went down to ringside, he grabbed Ivar and Erik and pulled them over the top to the floor with an assist from Jinder Mahal. Omos tossed Erik into the barricade and Omos tossed Ivar into the LED board at ringside.
The match continued with five guys left. They showed eliminations of Humberto Carrillo and Mustafa Ali being eliminated after a Carrillo clothesline. Damian Priest battled Jinder Mahal with Priest kicking Mahal off the apron. The final four guys were Jeff Hardy, Damian Priest, Riddle and Cedric Alexander. Hardy was on fire with some signature offense including an atomic drop, double leg drop and Jeff hit the Twist of Fate on Priest and Riddle back to back. Alexander avoided a Twist of Fate and tossed Hardy out. Priest hit the Hit The Lights neckbreaker on Alexander and Priest eliminated Alexander. Priest and Riddle were the final two men. Riddle kicked Priest into the ropes, Priest with kicks and a forearm, but Riddle hit a German Suplex. Riddle hit Priest with two forearms and then Priest hit a spinning heel kick on Riddle. Priest with a corner elbow. Riddle applied the Bromission jumping on the back of Priest, who sent Riddle to the apron and Riddle fought back into the ring as Priest hit a clothesline on Riddle. Priest charged, Riddle tied him up with a triangle choke on the right arm, Priest went to the apron and Riddle kicked him in the face. Priest was on the apron trying to get back in, but then Riddle hit Priest with a knee to eliminate Priest. The match went about 14 minutes.
Analysis: **3/4 The match was booked well with an entertaining final two sequence with Riddle and Priest. Some of the guys in the match had no chance obviously, but I like how they did some of the eliminations building to the final two. Priest definitely needs to be doing more in WWE although I know he just came back from a back injury, so hopefully there are good things in his future.
After the match, they played Riddle’s music and Riddle said that they should play Randy Orton’s music, so Randy's song "Voices" started to play. Riddle did some Randy Orton poses in the ring.
That means the Last Chance Triple Threat Qualifying Match is Drew McIntyre vs. Styles vs. Riddle representing Randy Orton.
Analysis: Nice touch by Riddle asking for Orton’s music to play. Riddle is definitely one of the most entertaining guys on Raw these days.
There was a replay of the Alexa Bliss feud with Shayna Baszler including Bliss beating Baszler at the Hell in a Cell PPV eight days earlier. Last week on Raw, Bliss & Nikki Cross won a tag team match against Baszler & Nia Jax to get into the Women’s Money in the Bank match.
Shayna Baszler was backstage shuffling a deck of cards and finding the Queen of Spades, which is her nickname. Nia Jax showed up with Reginald and Baszler said it helps her stay calm. Baszler said after she beats Nikki Cross, she’ll send Alexa Bliss on a permanent timeout like her stupid doll. Baszler left with friends while Bliss was shown watching while in the background.
Jaxson Ryker was shown using a strap to whip an equipment box backstage because he’s in a strap match.
This week on NXT, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly are in the building. Also, Tommaso Ciampa are Face to Face with MSK. That’s all they mentioned. I’ll have an NXT review on TJRWrestling on Wednesday.
AJ Styles & Omos – the Raw Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Styles said that Randy Orton should lose the opportunity and it should be Styles vs. McIntyre in a singles match, so he didn’t like that it was a triple threat. Omos said that he was scouting the competition for AJ Styles. A clip was shown from last Monday when the Viking Raiders attacked Omos and Styles was distracted enough that Ricochet beat Styles to gain entry into the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Styles said Riddle already had a match tonight and McIntyre was in a hell of a fight eight days ago, so AJ has the advantage. Styles said that he’s going to win the match, he’ll be Mr. Money in the Bank and he’ll be WWE Champion for the third time. Styles said that he will still defend the Raw Tag Team Titles with Omos against anybody including the Viking Raiders.
Analysis: Good promo from Styles. I don’t expect him to win later on Raw, but I thought what he said made a lot of sense from the point of view of his character.
Nikki Cross was backstage with the Lucha House Party going up to her saying nice mask. They left. Sarah Schreiber showed up for an interview with Nikki saying she has found something that has always there and now she has the courage to show it. Cross said that everybody can do better and be better, so this outfit represents that mindset. Cross said that she has qualified for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, so imagine her with the MITB contract that can be an inspiration to boys and girls everywhere. Cross said she could be Raw Women’s Champion. Cross said she can focus on her match with Shayna Baszler and she can be almost a superhero. She said her name was Nikki ASH - Almost a Super Hero.
Analysis: I’ll give Nikki credit for buying into the gimmick and doing the best with it. We found out last week it was her idea, so we’ll see how it goes in the weeks ahead. I like her as a performer, so I’m rooting for it to succeed.
Nikki Cross was introduced as “Almost a Super Hero” for her match up next.
Shayna Baszler entered with Nia Jax and Reginald, who Shayna doesn’t like, yet here’s Reginald out there for another Shayna match.
Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax & Reginald) vs. Nikki Cross
Baszler went for a pin attempt early on, Cross grabbed a side headlock and Baszler hit a shoulder tackle. Cross with a running cross body block. Baszler came back with a body slam and an overhead suplex for two. Baszler with a hard whip that sent Cross into the turnbuckle two times. Baszler stomped on Cross. Baszler went for a chagrining knee, Cross moved and Cross dropkicked Baszler out of the ring. The music of Alexa Bliss hit as Bliss appeared on the stage. While that was going on, Cross jumped off the top with a cross body block on Baszler, Jax and Reginald on the floor.
Cross avoided a Baszler charge, but then Baszler came back with a knee to the head. Baszler with a spinning side slam and another knee to the body. Baszler was distracted by Bliss, so Cross got in some punches and a Tornado DDT out of the corner. Jax faced off with Bliss on the floor with Reginald trying to stop Bliss from mind games, so Bliss kicked Jax in the leg and a low blow kick to Reginald. Baszler was looking at Bliss and Cross got a rollup for two, but Baszler hit a clothesline. Cross hooked the arm and got La Magistral Cradle on Baszler for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross
Analysis: **1/2 Just an average match. Cross continues her winning ways with a clean win while Baszler continues her losing ways. Baszler didn’t lose because of Bliss at ringside because it was a bit after Bliss left, but Cross found a way to get the job done. I think Baszler has been the worst booked woman on the roster for the last two months since she loses nearly every match now. As for Cross, they are obviously pushing her to some degree, but I’m not sure how far it will go.
A replay aired from last week’s Raw when Bobby Lashley beat Xavier Woods in a Hell in a Cell match. After the match, Lashley applied the Hurt Lock on Woods inside the cell while Kofi was outside the cell.
Kofi Kingston entered for a Face to Face chat with MVP.
Face to Face: Kofi Kingston and MVP
Kofi Kingston was in the ring for promo time. Kofi will challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. Kofi said that certain moments in our lives change us for the better or the worse. Kofi said that hearing Xavier Woods screaming and writhing in pain was tough. Kofi said that people have been disrespecting Woods for a very long time, but last week he showed everybody and the world what kind of competitor that he is. Kofi wants everybody to put some respect on Xavier’s name. Well said. Kofi said that Bobby won the match fair and square, which is okay, but what happened after is not okay. MVP locked the door of the cell, they taunted Kofi outside the cell and the image of Woods in pain, Kofi can’t get that image out of his head. Kofi said he knows he will make Bobby Lashley pay when he beats him at Money in the Bank to become the new WWE Champion.
Montel Vontavious Porter made his entrance in a suit with five of Lashley’s Ladies joining him on the stage. MVP said he thought Kofi said that he will beat Bobby Lashley at Money in the Bank to become WWE Champion. MVP laughed about it saying it was ridiculous. MVP said that they are looking forward to the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in front of a live audience. MVP said that they are already looking past Kofi. MVP said Kofi is a feel-good story, but he is not a threat to the All Mighty WWE Champion. MVP said that Lashley was enjoying a vacation and said that Lashley enjoyed what he did to Woods. MVP said that what Brock Lesnar did to Kofi will look like child’s play compared to what Lashley will do. (Is the Brock Lesnar reference some foreshadowing for the future? Perhaps.)
Kofi claimed that Bobby was going soft. Kofi said that if MVP didn’t grab Drew’s foot then Drew McIntyre might have been WWE Champion. Kofi said that Woods came very close to beating Lashley to become WWE Champion. Kofi said that he already beat Bobby, so he knows he can beat him again. Kofi said by Money in the Bank, Bobby might look like a shell of his former self like MVP desperately trying to grasp on to some success. MVP said he does what he does with Bobby Lashley because a year ago, they started the journey together. MVP said that he does what he does for Lashley because he deserves it. Kofi said he deserved it too. Kofi said that when he was WWE Champion for six months, he never took a day off and he took the title all over the world to show people they can believe in themselves. Kofi said that he went to West Ghana in Africa to show those kids to believe like he did. Kofi said that Lashley’s eyes are off the prize since he was on vacation. Kofi said that he’s going to beat Lashley for the WWE Championship.
MVP walked down towards Kofi saying he respects Kofi’s optimism. MVP said that Woods was optimistic about beating Lashley and not only did that not happen, Woods is injured and said that Woods missed work this week and likely next week. Kofi said that Woods will be back next week. Kofi said that MVP has been milking this knee injury for the last six months. MVP said he was not cleared for combat or else he would whip Kofi’s ass. MVP said he was cleared, MVP tried hitting him with a cane, Kofi ducked the cane and Kofi hit MVP with the Trouble in Paradise kick. Kofi: “Now you’re hurt!” Kofi stood tall over MVP, who was down at ringside.
Analysis: This was really good. They are two of the better talkers in WWE because we know Kofi gets a chance to speak from the heart, he does a tremendous job of it. MVP has always been a great promo guy too. I like how Kofi has a chip on his shoulder as a guy that wants to prove himself even though he’s a former WWE Champion while MVP believes in Lashley being the best. When MVP said that Lashley isn’t worried about Kofi, that’s when Kofi cranked it up and MVP was put in his place a bit. It’s easy to see the point of view of both sides. That’s why the promo worked.
A replay was shown of Eva Marie and Doudrop having tag team issues last week.
Eva Marie and Doudrop were interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Eva said that Doudrop made a rookie mistake. Eva said that she requested a rematch so that Doudrop can learn from her mistakes and the Eva-lution continues.
Asuka entered for tag team action.
Naomi entered as Asuka’s tag team partner for the second week in a row. Naomi and Asuka are both in the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Eva Marie and the poorly named Doudrop were up next.
Asuka & Naomi vs. Eva Marie & Doudrop
Doudrop jumped onto Naomi’s chest and then a splash missed when Naomi moved. Asuka tagged in with a missile dropkick. Asuka with a running hip attack against the turnbuckle. Asuka with a kick, Doudrop sent Asuka into the turnbuckle and Doudrop did a splash. Asuka went for the Asuka Lock submission and Doudrop powered out of it. Doudrop wanted a tag, but Eva Marie dropped to the floor. Asuka rollup, Doudrop rolled through and splashed Asuka. Doudrop ran over Naomi with a shoulder tackle and Doudrop hit a running cross body block for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Eva Marie & Doudrop
Analysis: * A dominant showing by Doudrop even after Eva Marie refused to tag in. You don’t see Asuka losing in three minutes or less like that. I figured if Doudrop won then it would be on Naomi, but I guess they went with Asuka being pinned to make Doudrop stand out more.
Post match, Eva Marie did a promo: “The winner of this match is Eva Marie.” Doudrop didn’t seem happy about that.
John Morrison was shown backstage with The Miz, who was in a wheelchair. Miz said that Morrison is not only going to win Money in the Bank, but he’ll win the WWE Championship. Miz said he’s a two-time Money in the Bank winner, but he cashed in twice. Morrison and Miz talked about situational awareness. Ricochet showed up to hold the microphone to take over the interview. Ricochet got the Drip Stick that Morrison has and he sprayed some water at Morrison. Ricochet sprayed some water over The Miz’s suit. The Miz is rich. He’ll be okay.
Ricochet entered for a singles match.
This week on Smackdown: Edge is back after delivering a message to Roman Reigns. How will Roman respond? Plus, Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing Match that is also a Money in the Bank qualifying match. That should be awesome.
John Morrison entered for his match with The Miz in a wheelchair due to his right knee injury. Ricochet and Miz are both in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The Miz was on commentary for the match.
Ricochet vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz)
Miz complained about Ricochet wrecking his suit. Ricochet with a body slam followed by an elbow drop. Morrison with a low dropkick and an enziguri kick to the head. Ricochet sent Morrison into the ropes leading to a dropkick to the floor. Ricochet with a baseball slide dropkick on Morrison into the announce table. Ricochet jumped over Miz and hit a hurricanrana on Morrison. Ricochet sprayed some more water on Miz, who yelled that Ricochet was lucky that Miz was in a wheelchair.
Ricochet with a forearm, but then Morrison with a legsweep to take out Ricochet by the legs. Morrison with a back kick to the head. Ricochet avoided a diving attack and Ricochet hit a cross body block onto Morrison. Ricochet with a running forearm, then a knee to the face and Ricochet with a slam off the shoulders and a sliding clothesline for two. Morrison came back with a sliding knee for a two count. Ricochet with an inside cradle. Morrison hit a springboard kick off the ropes. Morrison went for Starship Pain off the top, but Ricochet moved and Morrison hit the mat. Ricochet hit a springboard dropkick to knock Morrison off the apron. They did a spot where Morrison got out of the way of Ricochet, then he was sitting on the barricade and Ricochet hit a springboard cross body block onto Morrison that sent both guys over the barricade. The referee was counting, Morrison didn’t move and Ricochet tried to come back into the ring, but he was unable to get back in time. It went about 10 minutes.
Match Result: Double Countout
They showed replays of the crazy finish.
Analysis: ***1/4 This was really fun while it lasted. Two great athletes that know how to put on a show and I wish they get more time. Cool finish since it makes for a great GIF with Ricochet leaping onto Morrison from a far distance. I assume that there was some padding on the floor, then they have somebody remove it and then the camera showed the guys on the floor. It’s the magic of television, my friends. Anyway, it was a creative spot to do. I don’t love countout finishes, but I can understand it after doing a spot like that.
A video was shown about Rhea Ripley’s feud with Charlotte Flair.
Charlotte Flair was shown backstage with Natalya and Tamina. Charlotte said that they had respect for this business as well as a family legacy. Charlotte insulted their opponents. Natalya noted that she beat Mandy at Hell in a Cell. Tamina was mad about how they were attacked by Mandy and Dana, so they will get their receipt tonight. Charlotte said that they should show them that respect isn’t given, it is earned.
Charlotte Flair entered first for her team.
Natalya and Tamina entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose entered as a team. They were not in matching gear this week. Rhea Ripley, the WWE Raw Women’s Champion, was up last.
The six women got into three separate fights all around the ringside area. The bell did not ring as the six women kept brawling around the ring. After a few minutes, the team of Ripley, Brooke & Rose were standing tall in the ring as the opponents bailed to the floor. That led to a break.
Rhea Ripley, Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs. Charlotte Flair, Natalya & Tamina
The match started during the break. Natalya & Tamina have been booked like faces since WrestleMania, but I guess they are heels in this scenario. Natalya blocked a knee from Rose, then Rose broke free and Brooke tagged in with a headscissors. Brooke with a handspring back elbow and a clothesline. Natalya with a back elbow. Brooke chased on the floor and Charlotte was legal with a forearm to the back. Charlotte taunted Ripley, who was held back by the referee. Tamina stomped on Brooke. Natalya was back in with a suplex. Tamina and Natalya sent Brooke into the turnbuckle. Charlotte with chops, Brooke avoided a knee drop and Flair hit a knee to the ribs. Brooke got a rollup for two, Charlotte kicked and Ripley tagged in. Ripley two clotheslines, a headbutt and a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Natalya was back with a rollup, but then Ripley came back with a kick to the ear. Brooke and Rose with double kicks on Natalya with Tamina breaking up the pin. Ripley dropkicked Tamina, Charlotte with a knee to Ripley, Brooke with a neckbreaker on Charlotte, Natalya with a clothesline on Brooke and Rose went for pin attempts on Natalya, but failed. Natalya with a Sharpshooter attempt, but Charlotte tagged in, Rose kicked Natalya and Charlotte delivered a big boot to the face of Rose for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Charlotte Flair, Natalya & Tamina
Analysis: **1/2 There was a lot of action packed into about six minutes there. A boot to the face isn't a strong finish to a match, but it was done in a way where it looked like Mandy wasn't ready for it and Charlotte connected with it perfectly. It wasn’t a surprise to see Charlotte getting the win although I would like to see the Mandy/Dana team get a win since they need it. Just an average tag team match here.
After the match was over, Ripley hit Flair with a chop block to the back of the knee. Ripley was smiling about it.
They showed videos of Elias walking away from matches with Jaxson Ryker and Elias lost by countout twice. That led to a Strap Match this week.
Jackson Ryker was warming up backstage. Akira Tozawa ran by with the 24/7 Title. R-Truth ran after him and he talked to Ryker. That led to Ryker doing a promo saying there will be nowhere to run or hide. Ryker said he was trying to figure out the best way to inflict pain on his opponent. R-Truth asked if he could use the strap to lasso Tozawa to get the 24/7 Title this week. Ryker said nothing as Truth left.
Elias made his entrance first for the Strap Match. They have given Elias some random music.
There was a graphic congratulating John Cena for the movie Fast 9 being number one at the box office. Congratulations to John for joining a 20-year movie franchise that would have been number one at the box office even if he wasn't in the movie. Just saying.
Jaxson Ryker brought the strap down to the ring for the match.
Strap Match: Jaxson Ryker vs. Elias
The wrestlers had the leather strap hooked to their left wrists. Elias jumped Ryker with punches and kicks. They left the ring with Elias pulling Ryker into the steel steps. Elias hooked Ryker to the ring post and Elias used the strap for some offense to the chest. Ryker fought back delivered a hard strap shot to the chest. Ryker with a strap shot to the back and the chest. Ryker jumped off the middle ropes with nothing, so Elias hit him with a knee to the face for two. Elias hit Ryker in the back with the strap. Ryker got back into it with a strap shot to the back and a whip into the turnbuckle. Ryker hit a spinning Bossman Slam for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jaxson Ryker
Analysis: *1/2 A short match to put over Ryker in dominant fashion. They spent several weeks building up to a grudge match only for Elias to get his ass kicked and Ryker looking like the better man. It was a boring feud. I still don’t see how Ryker is going to get over in the long term as a face. Best of luck to him, but I doubt it’s going to work.
Riddle was shown getting ready backstage. Damian Priest congratulated Riddle and wished him good luck. Riddle said he’s not Riddle, he is Randy Orton. Priest mentioned Burger King, so Riddle was all excited and Riddle said he didn’t want to let Randy down. Priest said that he thinks it’s cool what Riddle is doing for Randy and that Randy is lucky to have Riddle as his friend. Riddle said he was the Viper and Apex Predator.
Comments from Drew McIntyre were up next.
Drew McIntyre did an interview conducted by Kevin Patrick. Drew did one of his promos telling a story that went nowhere. Drew said he would slap Riddle around, kick AJ Styles and win this Money in the Bank qualifying match.
Next week on Raw: Xavier Woods will face Bobby Lashley again.
Drew McIntyre entered for the main event complete with the sword that is part of the entrance and the pyro that greeted him in the ring. AJ Styles was up next with Omos – they are the Raw Tag Team Champions. Riddle was up last in the main event representing Randy Orton. The bird animation was there again as Riddle kicked off his flip flops when he got into the ring.
There were over 25 minutes left in the show as the match began. As a reminder, Riddle is representing Randy Orton. Riddle is already in the Money in the Bank qualifying match.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Riddle (representing Randy Orton) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos)
McIntyre was dominant against both guys with a clothesline on Styles and an impressive suplex on Styles. McIntyre sent Styles face first into the middle turnbuckle. Riddle with kicks, then a charging attempt and McIntyre caught Riddle with a belly to belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre with an overhead belly to belly suplex on Styles as well. McIntyre hit a huge back body drop on Styles with AJ getting a lot of height on that move. McIntyre charged, Styles avoided him and Styles sent McIntyre over the top to the floor. McIntyre tripped up Styles on the apron. McIntyre removed the top of the announce table along with the monitors. McIntyre went for a move, but Styles got out of it and kicked Drew in the back of the leg. Riddle got back into it with a leaping forearm on McIntyre. There are no countouts or disqualifications in a triple threat. Styles with a kick to Drew’s knees and he whipped Drew into the ring post. Styles and Riddle fought over a move on the announce table, but then Riddle turned it into a suplex on the floor. McIntyre suplexed Riddle on the floor. Styles with a jumping kick on McIntyre. Styles and Riddle lifted McIntyre with a double team powerslam that drove McIntyre through the announce table. Big spot leading to a break.
The match continued with Riddle working over Styles in the ring while McIntyre was still down by the announce table. Styles with a dragon screw leg whip to take down Riddle. Styles wrenched on the left leg of Riddle. While Styles was holding the left leg, Riddle hit a knee to the face. Styles came back with a Pele Kick for two. Styles left the ring and he stomped on McIntyre a few times, then Styles slammed Drew’s head into the announce table again and that was enough to keep Drew down. Back in the ring, Riddle with punches and Styles with a double leg takedown. Styles wrenched back on the left knee and Riddle got to the bottom rope, but there’s no rope break in a triple threat match. Styles wrenched on the leg a bit more and then stomped on Riddle. Styles hit a brainbuster on Riddle for two. Styles left the ring again to stomp on McIntyre and then back into the ring, Riddle hit the draping DDT that Orton does. Riddle went for an RKO, Styles caught him and hit an incredible slam off the shoulders for two with Graves saying it was close to a Burning Hammer move. McIntyre was back up, he grabbed Styles and rammed him into the barricade. Back in the ring, McIntyre was on fire against Riddle with punches, a back elbow and the reverse Alabama Slam on Riddle. McIntyre charged, but Riddle avoided him and sent Drew over the top to the floor. Styles hit McIntyre with a forearm to the head. Riddle with a springboard knee that knocked Styles off the apron to the floor. Riddle with PK kicks to both guys. Riddle hit a twisting springboard attack off the ropes onto both guys on the floor. Riddle with kicks to the chest of both guys and a PK kick to McIntyre. Riddle went for a running kick, Styles moved and Riddle kicked the steel steps. Riddle said he thinks the foot is broken (Riddle wrestles barefoot) and referees helped. Riddle was helped to the back.
The match continued with Styles and McIntyre battling in the ring with McIntyre hitting clotheslines followed by an overhead belly to belly suplex. McIntyre with another belly to belly suplex. McIntyre followed up with a neckbreaker. Styles wanted a kick, Drew caught it and Drew hit a Spinebuster for two. They battled by the turnbuckle, Styles tripped up Drew and sent Drew into the top turnbuckle. Styles hit the Ushigorishi slam into the knee for two. Styles with strikes, but then McIntyre caught him and hit a Michinoku Driver. McIntyre charged and Styles did a chop block to trip up Drew. Styles applied the Calf Crusher by the ropes. That led to Riddle limping down to the ring with his right foot taped up. Riddle applied the Bromission to Styles, but AJ elbowed his way out there. Riddle hit a jumping back kick on Morrison, who bumped to the floor. Styles jumped off the top, Riddle with a knee and Riddle with an RKO on Styles for two because Omos pulled Styles out of the ring. McIntyre followed up with a Claymore Kick on Riddle for the pinfall win after 26 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
The win by Drew McIntyre means that he is in the Men’s Money in the Bank qualifying match.
Analysis: **** This was an excellent match. McIntyre has been absolutely on fire of late and I’m not surprised that these three guys were able to put on an awesome main event. There were a lot of cool spots throughout with Riddle/Styles working together to take out McIntyre early, but then Drew came back and Riddle was taken out. They probably spent about half of the match with one of the guys out of the ring. The finish was booked well with Omos saving Styles at the perfect time and then McIntyre capitalized to get the win. I think a lot of people probably picked McIntyre to win here and maybe he’ll win Money in the Bank too, which some fans would love, but others may hate that idea. Anyway, I just really liked the match, so kudos to the three guys involved.
McIntyre celebrated the win to end the show since they were right at the top of the hour.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre/AJ Styles
- Kofi Kingston/MVP
6.25 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2021 Average: 5.93
I thought it was a solid episode of Raw, but not as good as last week. Riddle was very entertaining throughout the show subbing in for Randy Orton to win a battle royal and nearly win the main event. That main event with Drew McIntyre pinning Riddle in a match that also involved AJ Styles was an excellent match. They got nearly 30 minutes, which allowed all three guys to have moments where it looked like any of them can win and they also did spots to make it a one on one at various times. Last week’s Riddle vs. McIntyre match was outstanding and this one was just as entertaining. The other in-ring highlight was Ricochet’s incredible springboard leap onto John Morrison on the barricade. That was such a cool spot that led to the countout finish.
I really liked the Kofi Kingston/MVP promo segment. It gave Kofi a chance to remind us of how good of a talker he is (as we saw plenty in 2019) when he’s able to express himself against a heel that doesn’t think he is ready for a challenge. Even without Bobby Lashley on hand, MVP represented Lashley well and it was an effective segment.
The rest of the show was average and boring in some cases. Stuff like the six-woman tag team match and the Ryker/Elias Strap Match were kept short. Poor Shayna Baszler had to lose again. Meanwhile, Doudrop easily beat Asuka and Naomi by herself in three minutes with Eva Marie announcing herself as the winner. Anyway, it was a bit of a hit/miss type of Raw, but I did enjoy most of it thanks to the strong main event.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Money on the Bank on Sunday, July 18. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Ricochet vs. John Morrison vs. Riddle vs. Big E vs. Drew McIntyre vs. three more wrestlers.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross vs. Carmella vs. three more wrestlers.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Money in the Bank takes place on Sunday, July 18, streaming at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT exclusively on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.
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