Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. The Hell in a Cell pay-per-view is less than two weeks away on June 20.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1463 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.
The show began with Randy Orton’s music playing with the viper graphics on the screen. Orton was joined by tag team partner Riddle because they are starting with the tag team battle royal. The other Raw tag teams were already in the ring. The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were at ringside to call the action.
The Raw Tag Team Champions AJ Styles and Omos entered to watch the match. Styles delivered a “State of the Tag Team Division Address” with Styles saying that they look forward to defending the titles against the best of what WWE has to offer. Styles said that New Day are legendary national treasures and they can have a match like they had at WrestleMania when Omos/Styles won. Styles said they don’t know a lot about Mace & T-Bar, but they know they are mean, big and like to fight while mentioning his own colossus Omos. Lince Dorado was by himself since Gran Metalik got hurt apparently. Styles mentioned the Viking Raiders and said that they could definitely do it with them all over the world. Styles went over Orton’s accolades as a 14-time World Champion, Tag Team Champion and Legend Killer. Styles said that Riddle is a rising star. Styles spoke about his own team with Omos saying they are magnificent, stupendous, handsome and phenomenal.
The New Day fired back with promos about how Styles and Omos are not an official tag team since they don’t have papers. Styles they have the championships, not papers. Orton told AJ to shut his damn mouth. Riddle said all he has to do is take the key, shut it and zip it. Riddle said that he is wearing two RK-Bro shirts since Randy doesn’t wear shirts…or pants. Riddle did his rambling stoner promo bit, so Orton did the “zip it” routine to make Riddle shut up with Randy putting the key in his boot.
John Morrison made his entrance with The Miz, who is in a suit and in a wheelchair. Morrison was in his wrestling gear. Miz said that at WrestleMania Backlash, he was tragically injured, but he has noticed that the tag team division has become dry. Morrison has brought out his Dripstick that he used to “moisten things up.” Miz said that Morrison was competing on behalf of their tag team. Morrison wheeled Miz onto the ramp and then saved Miz before Miz had a crash landing.
Analysis: I thought we might start a Raw with a match right away. Nope. They did ten minutes of talking. Styles was fine as a cocky heel champion. Riddle's part was funny at least. The entire promo really wasn't needed, but WWE loves doing show opening promos. They can't help it.
Orton with an RKO on Woods and Riddle with an RKO on Kingston. Orton with an RKO on Dorado as well. They did not officially start the match yet.
They showed WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and MVP backstage in their dressing room having champagne with the ladies.
Tag Team Battle Royal: RK-Bro (Riddle & Randy Orton) vs. New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. T-Bar & Mace vs. Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado without Gran Metalik) vs. John Morrison (without The Miz)
They said that both members of the tag team have to be eliminated for the team to be eliminated.
AJ Styles was on commentary with Omos standing by. The bell rang when the show returned from break, so the action before the break didn’t count. Dorado almost eliminated Morrison, who hung on with his feet and then Morrison was handed the Dripstick from Miz and Morrison sprayed water on Dorado. Morrison kicked Dorado to eliminate him. Morrison tried using the Dripstick on Mace & T-Bar, but that failed and Mace/T-Bar eliminated Morrison. T-Bar with a spinning slam on Riddle and a boot to Orton. Mace and T-Bar with Chokeslams to both New Day guys. Riddle saved Orton from an elimination. T-Bar & Mace hit High Justice to Riddle. The other teams worked together to eliminate Mace & T-Bar. The final three teams were RK-Bro, Viking Raiders and New Day as the show went to break.
The three remaining teams battled in corners of the ring. Woods with a spinning forearm on Riddle. Viking Raiders took down Woods, but Riddle came back with kicks. Ivar hit a springboard clothesline into a German Suplex on Riddle. Woods with a knee that to the back to send Riddle over the top to the floor. New Day worked together against Ivar, but then Erik hit Woods with a clothesline. Erik with a running knee on Kofi and then Erik slammed Ivar against Kingston. Orton whipped Ivar into the ring post and Orton was on fire with clotheslines on Erik. Orton with a powerslam on Erik. Ivar and Erik worked together against Orton, but then Kofi hit a double stomp onto Erik & Ivar at the same time. Riddle went into the ring to try to save Orton, then Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise on Riddle. Orton eliminated Kingston. Viking Raiders worked together to eliminate Orton to win the match. Ivar & Erik both survived as the winners of the match. It went about 11 minutes.
Winners: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Analysis: ** It was a decent battle royal. I think it was smart for The Viking Raiders to win since they are a strong babyface team and it’s better than New Day getting another title shot while Orton/Riddle could use more of a build until they get a title shot perhaps at SummerSlam at the stadium show. I like The Viking Raiders team a lot because they always have cool moves, they work well together and are believable as a team.
The win means that The Viking Raiders have earned a Raw Tag Team Title match against AJ Styles & Omos. That led to a staredown between the two teams.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville, who are WWE Officials, were shown talking backstage. Charlotte Flair complained about being publicly pressured into a match with Nikki Cross last week and she wants the loss to be stricken from the record. Pearce and Deville said that there was nothing they can do. Charlotte said that they are both jealous of her. Charlotte said that she deserved a rematch against Nikki Cross. Rhea Ripley showed up as the Raw Women’s Champion with Ripley saying that if anything is fair then she should face Nikki Cross. Pearce and Deville set up Rhea and Charlotte in a tag team match against Nikki and a partner of Nikki’s choosing. Charlotte said unlike her tag team partner, she can be professional about this. That led to a break.
There was a video featuring Ted Dibiase saying he’ll make a “Priceless Announcement” on NXT on Tuesday about LA Knight and Cameron Grimes, who have a match at NXT Takeover In Your House this Sunday. Read my NXT review on TJRWrestling on Wednesday morning.
The Viking Raiders duo were shown backstage looking happy about their win. Ivar said he was so hungry and wanted to get some turkey legs. The Raw Tag Team Champions AJ Styles and Omos appeared with Omos eating a turkey leg. Styles said that they aren’t really vikings. Erik said that the way he lives honors the vikings that came before him. Styles said that’s why vikings don’t exist. Omos took a bite out of the turkey leg and the champions left.
Analysis: It’s just a way to build up a storyline between the champs and their challengers.
There was a video package about how Alexa Bliss changed. Bliss talked about how she unlocked something truly evil, her new friend Lilly. Their fun is just getting started, according to Bliss. Shayna Baszler is a guest on Alexa’s Playground later.
Elias was in the ring with his guitar since he’s a solo act once again after he abandoned Jaxson Ryker last week. Elias complained about how Jaxson Ryker cost them the Tag Team Titles because Ryker didn’t do what Elias told him to do. Elias claimed that Ryker has become unhinged, so Elias had to get away. That led to the clip from last week’s Raw when Elias walked away from Ryker. Elias claimed he had no choice. Elias said he looked into Ryker’s cold eyes, he saw the ghosts of war as a man that went into battle, but he didn’t see that Ryker is a guy that would go to war for Elias. That led to the “Walk With Elias” bit. That’s when Ryker attacked Elias from behind. Ryker got a haircut and had trunks with the American flag on them. Ryker threw Elias out of the ring and punched Elias repeatedly. Referees showed up to break it up.
Analysis: I really don’t have much interest in this feud. They were fine as a team. I thought the breakup was completely unnecessary while Ryker doesn’t come across as a guy with a big personality that can succeed as a singles face. This has nothing to do with dumb tweets that Ryker did in the past. I’m talking about him as a performer. I don’t see Ryker being that interesting in any way, so I have my doubts that he’ll stand out as a babyface. We’ll see how it goes.
There was a video reminding us that SummerSlam is on Saturday, August 21 in Las Vegas. That was announced officially this past Saturday.
Jaxson Ryker vs. Elias
Ryker was aggressive early with a kick and then a clothesline that sent Elias over the top to the floor. Elias sent Ryker into the steel steps. Elias hit a running lefty clothesline and a spinebuster for a two count. Elias with punches, Ryker with punches, Elias with an inverted atomic drop, Ryker with a fist full of beard and Ryker hit a spinebuster. Elias bailed by going up the ramp to the back. It went about three minutes.
Winner by countout: Jaxson Ryker
Analysis: 1/2* Boring match with a terrible finish. Yawn. That is some analysis, my friends.
They showed highlights from last week’s Raw when Drew McIntyre beat Kofi Kingston to earn another WWE Title opportunity, this time at Hell in a Cell.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the contract signing segment at the top of hour two.
Contract Signing for the WWE Championship Match at Hell in a Cell
The ring had the red carpet in it, a table and two leather chairs. Drew McIntyre was seated in a leather chair. WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were standing in the ring to officiate the signing. No sign of Lashley.
McIntyre did a promo saying that he knows Lashley would come out there with the suit, with MVP and the Lashley Train (Ho Train reference for the ladies). Drew said that Lashley would talk about how McIntyre has been had multiple opportunities. McIntyre talked about some story about a leader that was credited for winning Scotland’s freedom. McIntyre talked about how he’s going to beat Lashley’s ass and sign the contract to become WWE Champion.
MVP was shown on the screen with Lashley saying they were fashionably late. MVP asked “DJ KD” (WWE Executive Producer Kevin Dunn) to hit Lashley’s music. That led to the All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley entering in a suit with MVP joining him along with the six lovely ladies that were part of the Lashley Train as Drew put it.
MVP congratulated Drew on manipulating his way into once again facing Bobby Lashley at Hell in a Cell. MVP said that they held up their end of the bargain they were in Lashley’s Lounge. MVP wondered how Lashley will be awarded. Lashley wanted to add a stipulation that when Lashley beats Drew McIntyre again then McIntyre can’t get another WWE Championship match against Lashley. Drew agreed to it. Drew said he needs something from the champ where no outside interference can cause the finish and nobody else can lose on his behalf. Drew said he wants Lashley vs. McIntyre for the WWE Championship inside Hell in a Cell. Lashley seemed to agree with MVP telling us that Bobby accepted the terms. Pearce summarized it. Drew McIntyre signed the contract first.
Lashley told McIntyre that he’s going to tuck his kilt in between his legs and walk away in shame. Lashley said that is how this story is going to end.
McIntyre said that he has been inside Hell in a Cell and Lashley has not. Drew said that last time he was in Hell in a Cell he fell 15 feet off the cell through a table. Drew said he’s willing to go through hell again, inflict punishment on him, he’ll use weapons under the ring and advised Lashley to start praying. McIntyre said that he will grant him mercy with the Claymore right between the eyes when he wins back the WWE Title. Drew told Bobby to enjoy the next couple of weeks and he’ll see Bobby in hell. Bobby said he’ll beat Drew there also. Drew got up, Lashley got up and Drew used his sword to smash the table that was between them. That was pretty cool. Lashley and McIntyre had a staredown, but then there was no physical altercation.
Analysis: That was pretty good for a contract signing. I know some people hate contract signings, but I didn't mind that one. It served a purpose with each man requesting something since Drew wanted Hell in a Cell to prevent interference and Bobby said Drew gets no more title shots if he loses. It make sense from the perspective of both guys. I feel like Lashley is going to win to keep the title and then probably get Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, but you could also have Drew McIntyre win to get Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. If there’s no Brock, either guy makes sense too. I’ll probably pick Lashley for now, but that prediction could change.
Nikki Cross was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Cross said it’s her tenacity and spirit that make her a winner. Cross said that her only choice is to try. Cross said she had a tag team partner, it’s somebody that has the coolest outfit and she couldn’t wait to ask her. It was Asuka. They said nobody was ready for them.
Analysis: That’s cool with me. I thought it might be Naomi, who is without the now released Lana, but Asuka certainly fits in that spot.
Sheamus, the United States Champion, made his entrance with a mask covering his broken nose.
This Friday on Smackdown, Roman Reigns decimated the Mysterios last week. They just said that Rey Mysterio is going to avenge what happened to Dominik. The plan for Hell in a Cell is apparently Reigns vs. Rey, so that should be set up on Smackdown.
The announcers plugged WWE going on the road for Raw, Smackdown, Money in the Bank and live events starting in mid-July.
Sheamus looked very angry at ringside with a mask on his face. Ricochet entered first followed by Humberto Carrillo in this match to determine who gets a US Title shot.
Sheamus did a promo complaining about his broken nose. Carrillo and Ricochet each teased doing dives onto Sheamus, who freaked out and remained on the floor. Ricochet knocked Carrillo off the apron to the floor. Ricochet hit a dropkick on Carrillo to knock him down. The match didn’t start yet as they went to break.
The winner of this match gets a US Title match against Sheamus in the future.
Ricochet vs. Humberto Carrillo
Sheamus was on commentary. Ricochet with a body slam and elbow drop. Sheamus complained about how they ruined this face since he’s the best looking guy in this company and this country. Carrillo got some offense going with a springboard cross body block off the middle rope for a two count. Carrillo got a rollup for two and then a sitout Powerbomb got a two count. Carrillo stomped away Ricochet while Sheamus showed how tough he is by showing up there. Ricochet and Carrillo battled on the apron leading to Carrillo hitting a spin kick to send Ricochet to the floor. Carrillo with a suicide dive on Ricochet on the floor. Back in the ring, Carrillo hit the missile dropkick for two. Carrillo with a body slam, he went up top, Ricochet avoided a dive and Ricochet hit a clothesline. Ricochet hit a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Sheamus said Ricochet couldn’t pick him up like that. Ricochet and Carrillo battled on the apron again as they exchange chops and strikes. Ricochet with a kick to the gut, then he charged into Carrillo, who delivered a Spanish Fly slam off the apron to the floor. The referee checked on them to make sure they were okay and then back into the ring to count both guys down leading to the double countout. It went about five minutes.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: **1/2 It was fun while it lasted. We need more matches like this on Raw where we get to watch two exciting wrestlers showing off what they can do in the ring. When they did the Spanish Fly spot off the apron, then the referee quickly checked on them and went back to the ring, I could just tell the double countout was going to happen. I’d rather just see Ricochet get the win there, but instead we get the non-finish.
Post match, Sheamus laughed at both guys saying they weren’t even in his league or close to it. Sheamus left with his music playing. Carrillo was still down on the floor while Ricochet was on the apron.
The New Day were shown outside their locker room talking with Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston talking about something, but MVP showed up saying he wanted to talk to Kofi Kingston. MVP said he was impressed with Kofi last week and earlier tonight. MVP said two years ago he was so proud of Kofi and he had tears in his eyes. MVP talked about how they go back to Deep South Wrestling (one of the WWE developmental territories in the mid-2000s) and Kofi was like a little brother to MVP. MVP said that when Kofi was WWE Champion, WWE had a champion that he could relate to and be proud of. MVP said that when Kofi shook Drew McIntyre’s hand last week, it made Kofi look weak. MVP said that this is “show business” and Kofi told MVP he didn’t want his advice. Kofi said that his friends and family motivate him to do what he does. Kofi said somewhere in this world there’s a little kid watching Kofi and believing in themselves because of Kofi. Kofi asked what does Bobby Lashley do it for, money? MVP told Kofi that Bobby does it for honor and prestige. MVP shrugged and walked away.
Analysis: I think they are planting a seed for a Lashley feud with Kofi after Hell in a Cell, so that also makes me think Lashley will retain the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell. MVP is very good in this role as a manager/instigator and Kofi firing back at him makes Kofi look even more likable as well.
There was a video featuring Eva Marie talking about how over the last few weeks, you have heard her story, but it’s not easy to get where she is today. Eva said she plans to show the WWE Universe a side of her that no one has ever seen before. Eva will pull back the curtain to make resilience and hard work look effortless. Eva-Lution is coming to Raw next week.
Analysis: Finally. Get excited. I am…I think.
Corey Graves was excited and wondered what the other guys were going to hair. Graves asked how his hair looked. Don’t tell Carmella, pal.
They announced that Kofi Kingston will face Riddle later on Raw.
Mansoor was shown warming up with Mustafa Ali approaching him wearing a suit. Ali said that Mansoor is ready for a fair match with Drew Gulak, but what is Mansoor going to do when Drew cuts every corner to beat you? Ali said that you can’t assume everybody will play by the same rules as you and that’s not how this world works.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance for a match. Jeff did a promo saying that Cedric Alexander will “extremely learn” that respect is earned.
Analysis: It’s nice to see WWE remembered to book Jeff Hardy on Raw. I assume Jeff is one of the highest paid guys on Raw and they barely use the guy. I hope that changes because I’ve always liked Jeff.
They showed images of Triple H joining Joel Embiid for the Philadelphia 76ers during Sunday’s playoff game. What happened to the game? The Atlanta Hawks won. Blame Triple H, I guess.
Cedric Alexander made his entrance. They showed a pre-tape promo talking about how Raw needs a breath of fresh air, not has-beens like Jeff Hardy.
Jeff Hardy vs. Cedric Alexander
Hardy was in control as he sent Alexander into four turnbuckles and hit a low dropkick. Hardy jumped off the middle rope with a double axehandle to the back. Alexander hit a perfect dropkick for two. Alexander with a snapmare into a dropkick. Hardy came back with a spin kick that sent Alexander to the floor, but Alexander was able to get back in the ring quickly with a running back elbow. Hardy with punches, Alexander with a kick to the gut and Hardy hit a headscissors off the turnbuckle. Hardy with an atomic drop and a Russian legsweep. Hardy with a double leg drop into a pin for two. Hardy blocked a dropkick, so Alexander hit a dropkick to the knees and then Alexander hit a brainbuster for two. Alexander to the turnbuckle, then he mocked Jeff Hardy’s posing and Alexander jumped off right into a kick by Jeff. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate. Hardy went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jeff Hardy
Analysis: **1/2 It’s good to see Jeff picking up much-needed win. I know some fans complain any time an older wrestler beats a younger guy, but I think Jeff is a guy that WWE needs to use better. Alexander is a good performer. I just don’t think WWE is ever going to get behind him that much. In Hardy’s case, the fans like him a lot and they need to utilize Jeff more on Raw.
Post match, Jeff did a little taunting in Alexander’s face since Cedric trash talked Jeff during the match.
There was a backstage scene with Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair talking about their match. Charlotte wanted Ripley to follow her lead because of Charlotte’s experience, but Ripley said her championship makes up for Charlotte’s experience so Charlotte will follow Ripley’s lead.
Nikki Cross entered for the women’s tag team match.
Asuka made her entrance as the partner of Nikki Cross. Rhea Ripley entered as the Raw Women’s Champion that defends that title against Charlotte Flair at Hell in a Cell on June 20. Charlotte Flair made her entrance looking confident as usual.
Nikki Cross & Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley & Charlotte Flair
Charlotte shoved Cross down. Ripley tagged in to face off against Asuka with Asuka avoiding a kick to the face. Asuka with a shoulder tackle to Ripley, who blocked a kick and Ripley with a headbutt. Asuka went for an armbar, Ripley powered out of that and Ripley stomped on Asuka. Charlotte got the tag and Ripley hit a shoulder tackle on Asuka. Charlotte with a chop, Cross tagged in with a headscissors and Asuka hit a dropkick leading to Cross getting a two count. Charlotte with a headlock by the ropes, Ripley tagged herself in and Asuka hit a hip attack on Ripley after Charlotte moved out of the way. Ripley shoved Charlotte to get out of her face. Charlotte hit Ripley with a forearm to the face. That led to a break.
Cross was in the ring with Ripley with Cross hitting a shoulder tackle and a pin attempt for two. Ripley came back with a headbutt. Charlotte: “Let’s go, Champ.” Ripley put Cross on her shoulders, Charlotte tagged in and Ripley slammed Cross to the mat. Charlotte did a cartwheel into a kick. Charlotte applied a chinlock and sent Cross into the turnbuckle. Charlotte chopped Ripley in what was called a legal tag by the referee. Ripley hit a delayed vertical suplex on Cross for two. Ripley tagged Charlotte in by smacking her on the head repeatedly. Charlotte missed a corner splash, Cross with a jawbreaker and Cross rolled up Charlotte for two after Cross kicked Ripley off the apron. Cross with a bulldog and Asuka tagged in with a running kick for two. Asuka hit a double knee attack to the face. Charlotte grabbed the foot of Asuka and Ripley hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Asuka with a German Suplex on Ripley followed by the running hip attack for two. Cross tagged in, Cross up top and Cross hit the cross body block, but Charlotte pulled Cross off Ripley. Charlotte told Ripley to tag Charlotte back in, so Ripley punched Charlotte. That led to Ripley and Charlotte exchanging punches. Charlotte did an eye gouge, a chop block to the knee and Charlotte hit the Natural Selection on Ripley. Cross capitalized for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Nikki Cross & Asuka
Analysis: *** Good action in this match. The finish was predictable because Flair and Ripley never get along, so it was fitting for them to get into a fight leading to a loss. Ripley is usually booked strong as a champion, but this is the kind of setting where you can have her lose when her own partner attacked her. Asuka was really good after she got the hot tag. As for Nikki, it’s her third straight “win” although this is the first one where she won a match by pinfall. I like seeing a bit of a mild push for Cross. She deserves it.
Post match, Nikki and Asuka celebrated by dancing on the announce table. Charlotte left the ring while Ripley was frustrated in the ring.
Alexa Bliss was backstage on her playground with Lilly the evil doll. Alexa said that last week, Shayna Baszler said that Lilly is just a stupid doll, she said Shayna is wrong and see what happens later tonight while saying it will be a real scream.
There was a replay of the Lashley/McIntyre contract signing segment from earlier.
Mansoor vs. Drew Gulak
Mansoor applied an armbar. Mustafa Ali was shown watching on a TV backstage. Gulak with a clothesline and then a body slam against the ropes. Gulak stepped on Mansoor’s neck and pulled back on the left leg. Mansoor with a chop, then a charge and Gulak got a rollup for two. Gulak got another rollup this time while grabbing the tights. Mansoor countered into a pinfall of his own where he sat on top for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mansoor
Analysis: * It was a rushed match with Mansoor picking up the win after coming back after Gulak tried to cheat to win. Remember that is what Ali warned Mansoor about, so you could say Ali helped Mansoor win.
Riddle was backstage with Randy Orton handing him the “key” to open his mouth and talk. Riddle said he could use a juicy Whopper with some soda. Riddle said he was thinking he could be road buddies with Orton and get some Burger King in every state. Orton wasn’t enthused about that. Riddle asked if Orton was going out to the match tonight, Orton said he wasn’t sure yet and Riddle complimented him on the RK-Bro hoodie. Orton made him shut up again and then dropped the “lock” in a trash can. Riddle left on his scooter.
Kofi Kingston entered with Xavier Woods. Kingston’s match with Riddle is next.
There was a promo from NXT Champion Karrion Kross and the lovely Scarlett promoting a Face-Off with Kross, Kyle O’Reilly, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne & Adam Cole on NXT this Tuesday night.
Riddle made his entrance with his scooter. Riddle wasn’t joined by Randy Orton for the entrance as Riddle kicked off his flip flops in the ring. No more bird graphics.
Riddle vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)
Kofi with a running splash against the turnbuckle and a kick. Kofi hit a splash for two. Riddle got a hold of Kofi with two gutwrench suplexes for two. Riddle with a broton splash for two. Riddle was distracted by Woods playing the trombone, Kofi hit a jawbreaker on Riddle and Kofi unloaded with some chops. Randy Orton’s music hit as The Viper made his entrance to support Riddle. Kofi came back with a dropkick off the middle rope. Orton was going after Woods on the floor, so Kingston hit a dropkick on Orton. Kofi dropkicked Riddle out of the ring. Orton got back up and hit a belly to back slam on Woods on the announce table. Kofi went up top and did the back first dive onto Orton/Riddle on the floor. Cool spot.
Riddle with a running forearm on Kofi followed by the PK kick. Kofi avoided a suplex, then Kofi went for a springboard headscissors, but it didn’t look great. Kofi followed up with a jumping foot stomp to the chest for two. Kofi with an attack off the ropes leading to a splash for two. Riddle tried suplex, Kofi fought that off and then they battled on the turnbuckle. Kofi countered a superplex with a front suplex and then Kofi hit a Frog Splash to the back of Riddle for two. Riddle used his legs to send Kofi over the top to the floor. Riddle that knocked Kofi out of the ring to the floor. Riddle left the ring and hit a running forearm to the face. Kofi sent Riddle back into the ring, Riddle with a knee while Kofi was on the apron and Riddle hit an Orton-like DDT off the ropes. Orton told Riddle to finish him right now. Riddle smacked the mat setting up for the RKO, but Kofi shoved Riddle to block it. Riddle avoided a Trouble in Paradise kick, Kofi countered a Bro Derek slam and Kofi hit a Trouble in Paradise kick for the pinfall after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match between two of the best guys on Raw. There were a lot of cool moves throughout the match, plenty of counters and then Riddle lost the match because he set up the RKO, but wasn’t able to hit it. Kofi did a nice job of avoiding the moves from Riddle and hitting that Trouble in Paradise kick for the win. Well done. As I indicated earlier in the review, I think WWE wants to have Kofi in the WWE Title picture soon, so it’s important to pick up wins like this.
Kofi celebrated the win while Orton was disappointed in Riddle, who failed to hit an RKO to win.
There was a replay of the Alexa Bliss storyline with Shayna Baszler.
Shayna Baszler was shown walking backstage with Nia Jax telling her that things have been tense between them. Baszler said it’s because of Reginald. Jax said that Reginald was at home recovering after Baszler beat her up. Jax warned Baszler about Bliss, which led to Baszler said she’s just a little girl with a stupid doll. Baszler walked down a hallway for that segment up next.
Analysis: They are really main eventing with Alexa’s Playground. I know it has main evented before. I don't think it's a good thing to be in the main event.
Alexa Bliss was in the ring hosting her Alexa’s Playground segment. Bliss was on a swing and she had her evil doll Lilly with her. Shayna Baszler made her entrance as the guest. When Shayna got into the ring, she knocked over a wooden horse that was in the ring.
Bliss told Baszler that last week she did some things that were a little naughty. Bliss wanted to apologize to Lilly. Baszler re-iterated that Bliss wanted her to apologize to a doll. Baszler said that Bliss is the reason why Reginald had accidents and why Nia & Shayna are no longer the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Bliss denied it while saying she just wants them to be friends. Baszler grabbed Lilly the evil doll, Shayna said: “Lilly, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re just a stupid doll. Bliss got up and punched Baszler. They tumbled out of the ring. Baszler stepped on Lilly the evil doll, they had a camera zooming in on Lilly’s face and another camera zooming on Baszler’s foot as she stomped on Lilly. The lights were flickering as Baszler left the ring, then Bliss was in the ring with Lilly and there was a pyro going off all around the ramp. Shayna ran to the backstage area.
Shayna was backstage, the lights were flickering and there were parts of the set and things backstage that were falling over. Baszler tried to leave the building, but then she couldn’t get out. Baszler went into a room and locked the door. Baszler put a couch against a door. When Baszler backed into another part of the room, she looked in the room where she saw Lilly the evil doll there. When Shayna looked over, Lilly wasn’t there. When Shayna looked back against the mirror, Lilly was there again. Baszler kicked the mirror to break it and she could still see Lilly in the background. Baszler screamed. The lights were out. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: This was really f’n stupid. It was one of the worst Raw endings I can remember in a long time and it’s not like they have consistently great finishes. I don’t mind Shayna Baszler as a performer, but I doubt anybody could make this work. It’s just lame. I don’t know who in WWE thinks this is the kind of thing that should main event a show. It bores me and puts me to sleep. If you like it, good for you.
This really was one of the worst segments and main events I've ever seen on a WWE TV show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kofi Kingston
- Nikki Cross/Asuka
5 out of 10
Last week: 5.25
2021 Average: 5.83
I get tired of writing the same thing week after week about this show. The ending with Shayna Baszler on Alexa’s Playground was awful and really makes me question what WWE is doing. I have nothing against horror if it's good horror. I just don't think Lilly the evil doll in a mirror is the kind of thing that people are going to remember as some all-time great ending. But hey, that's just me. I feel bad for the wrestlers that are a part of it. Be better, WWE creative team. Maybe I need to take a Raw break for a few weeks. I don’t know. I probably won't take a break because I pride myself on writing about these shows. I'm just thinking out loud.
There wasn’t enough excitement on Raw this week. I liked Kofi Kingston vs. Riddle and Drew McIntyre/Bobby Lashley did a nice job of setting up their Hell in a Cell match. The Tag Team battle royal was okay. I did like the Cross/Asuka vs. Ripley/Flair tag team match. They worked well together. Some of the other matches were decent while several of them were short and forgetful.
I don’t see how Raw is going to grow their audience with shows like that. Here’s hoping that in one month when fans are back that it’s going to help, but I have a feeling if fans were at this show they’d be booing a lot. Just saying.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, June 20. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre – If McIntyre loses then he can’t challenge for the WWE Title as long as Lashley is champion.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley
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