The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 06/21/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. This week’s episode is the follow up to the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view from Sunday night (read my review here). On the Raw side, Bobby Lashley retained the WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell match thanks to interference from MVP. The loss means that McIntyre can’t challenge for the WWE Title again while Lashley is champion. I thought it was arguably the best match of the night, but I didn’t love the finish. Rhea Ripley is still the Raw Women’s Champion even though Charlotte Flair won their match by disqualification. That likely means the feud will continue. Also, Alexa Bliss beat Shayna Baszler clean while also using some mind games to mess with Nia Jax and Reginald. Natalya beat Mandy Rose in the Kickoff Show match too. The next pay-per-view is Money in the Bank on Sunday, July 18 with fans back in the arena. There were five Money in the Bank qualifying matches announced by WWE about two hours before Raw:
* Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Ricochet
* Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Randy Orton vs. John Morrison
* Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Riddle
* Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Asuka & Naomi vs. Eva Marie & Doudrop (Piper Niven)
* Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1465 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 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 some pyro by the stage as the Thunderdome crowd was shown. The announcers hyped up the Money in the Bank pay-per-view next month and the five Money in the Bank qualifying matches coming up on Raw.
The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance with his buddy MVP along with five lovely ladies. The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were shown on camera welcoming us to the show.

Let’s Hear from Bobby Lashley and MVP
Bobby Lashley and MVP were in the ring with couches, a table and some champagne. MVP said that they are in the ring, so that can only mean it’s time for the VIP Lounge with the All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley, MVP and Lashley’s Ladies while adding that they are all better than you.
Lashley said that Drew and him went through hell last night. Lashley said that Drew almost took him to his limits, but Drew at his best was not good enough to beat the All Mighty. MVP said that the important thing is to remember that Drew cannot challenge Lashley for the WWE Title ever again. They showed a photo of Lashley’s victory. MVP said that they are two alpha males, five gorgeous women and they should raise their glasses for a toast to the All Mighty WWE Champion. MVP wanted to do a toast, but here’s the interruption from New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods.
Kofi Kingston wheeled some plates of toast. Kofi said they were there to participate in the toast, so New Day threw actual toast slices at Lashley and MVP. There's WWE comedy. MVP said that this clown nonsense is why Kofi was watching Hell in a Cell instead of main eventing it like Bobby Lashley. MVP said that once they get back in front of live crowds, Kofi will do his cosplay and play video games while they will enjoy the finer things in life.
Kofi said that he surrounds himself with friends and family because he trusts them as opposed to users. Kofi wanted to ask “Bob” a question. Kofi asked Bob if MVP and the ladies will hang around Lashley after Kofi takes the WWE Title from him? Lashley said that Kofi is low on the hierarchy in this world while Lashley is up top and Kofi is at the bottom. Kofi reminded Lashley that he beat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at WrestleMania and MVP was crying at a bar. Kofi also reminded Lashley that he beat him as well. The clip from Raw a few weeks ago was shown without showing McIntyre hitting Lashley with a cane and Kofi pinned Lashley.
Kofi said he had a point saying that Bob did not have an opponent at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Kofi challenged Lashley to a WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank. Lashley accepted and said that Drew helped Kofi win. Lashley trashed Xavier Woods, so Woods fired back talking about how he was something of a renaissance man. Woods told MVP to shut up when MVP tried to cut him off. Woods mentioned his successful Youtube channel, being a G4 host and being an 11-time Tag Team Champion. Woods told Lashley that their match is going to be inside Hell in a Cell, which happened to be above the ring. The New Day guys said “New Day rocks” to end it. Lashley said he accepts.
Analysis: There were some big announcements there. Good promo work by everybody involved there. USA Network was apparently upset at Fox getting a Hell in a Cell match on Smackdown, so now there's a Hell in a Cell match on Raw too. While it’s a big deal to get a Hell in a Cell match on Raw, this match is not as big as the Smackdown match was. I also figured Kofi would get the next WWE Title match against Bobby Lashley based on the segments with MVP/Kofi in recent weeks. McIntyre beat Kofi clean to earn the last WWE Title match at Hell in a Cell, so it's not a shock that Kofi is next in line. I would have rather seen Kofi earn it, but I don’t expect Lashley to lose the WWE Title to Kofi. It's fine as a title match at Money in the Bank because the two ladder matches are the draw to most people.

It’s official for later on Raw: Xavier Woods vs. Bobby Lashley in a Hell in a Cell match.
AJ Styles entered with Omos. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions. They were shown earlier in the day trash talking the Viking Raiders saying they are nothing. Erik and Ivar said that they had a phenomenal victory with Ivar eating a turkey leg. Styles said if you want a real raid you should watch his Money in the Bank qualifying match with Ricochet. AJ said he’s going to be Mr. Money in the Bank and WWE Champion again. AJ said that they will also defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against Viking Raiders. Erik said that they beat Styles once and will beat him again. Styles knocked the turkey leg out of Ivar’s hands.
Analysis: The Viking Raiders earned a Raw Tag Team Title match. No date has been announced yet. I assume they are saving it for Money in the Bank.
Ricochet entered as the opponent. The two Money in the Bank briefcases were above the ring.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Ricochet
They were going at a fast pace early on with Styles whipping Ricochet into the turnbuckle. Ricochet punched Styles on the apron and hit a springboard dropkick. Ricochet went for a move on the floor, Styles moved and Styles drove Ricochet face first into the ring post leading to a quick break.

Styles with a running elbow to knock down Ricochet. Knee to the face by Ricochet followed by a flying forearm. Ricochet with a cross body block off the middle rope. Ricochet with a running clothesline, then a hard corner whip and another clothesline. Ricochet with a Northern Lights Suplex leading to a vertical suplex for two. Styles avoided a kick, Styles with a kick to the head and Styles with a slam off the shoulders for a two count. Ricochet avoided a move by landing on his feet, Styles with a backhand and Ricochet with a jumping kick. Ricochet with a bridging German Suplex for a two count as Omos was shown watching from ringside. Styles came back with a Calf Crusher submission, but Ricochet got his hand on the bottom rope. Styles with a slam off the shoulder into the knee hitting Ricochet’s back. The Viking Raiders showed up at ringside and Omos took them down. Omos charged, but Erik & Ivar moved, so Omos went through the barricade. Styles knocked Ricochet down in the ring. Styles went up top for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Ricochet hit a double knee Recoil on Styles for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match as usual from these guys that had an entertaining feud a few years ago. The Viking Raiders didn’t actually touch Styles or distract him in a blatant way, so you could say it was a relatively clean win for Ricochet. I like that Ricochet got the win since Styles is obviously involved in the Tag Team Title feud, so it was fine for AJ to lose and to give Ricochet a much-needed win that gives him a 1 in 8 chance to win Money in the Bank. I’m all for a Ricochet push even if it’s not that major in the long run. The guy is too good to not be used more.

The win means that Ricochet is the first man to qualify for the 8-man Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The graphic shown featured eight guys in the match.
Randy Orton was shown backstage getting ready for his match. Riddle showed up on his scooter with RK-Bro merchandise. Riddle did his rambling routine about how he likes the Whopper. Orton yelled at him and asked him what he wanted. Riddle asked Orton for some pointers about winning Money in the Bank. Orton told him to stay out of his way. Riddle said that would be hard if they both win tonight and they are in the same match. Riddle said asked if it would be awesome if they were the match? Orton: “Not for you.” Orton left and Riddle wished him good luck.
Analysis: I enjoy their interactions. Riddle makes me laugh and Orton’s serious nature is the perfect counter to it.
This week on NXT, what happens next in the Million Dollar Rivalry between LA Knight and Cameron Grimes. I’m enjoying that feud.

They replayed last week’s Raw when Eva Marie’s friend beat Naomi. The announcers still don’t know who the woman is even though she was on NXT UK.
Eva Marie was shown walking backstage with her friend and Kevin Patrick showed up to interview them. Eva said that last week before Raw she got a mani-pedi, but she caught a cold. Eva said that instead of throwing in the towel, she arranged for her protégé to be in the match. Eva said he protégé’s name was Doudrop while Doudrop could be seen saying “Piper” since her name was Piper Niven. Eva made Doudrop hold her robe on the way to the ring.
Analysis: They are really going with the Doudrop name. It’s an awful name and whoever thought of it should be more creative. They did make it clear that Piper was saying “Piper” there, so maybe she’ll get to use that name again.
Asuka and Naomi made their separate entrances. They showed a pre-tape promo from Naomi and Asuka saying that Eva Marie is not ready for Asuka.
Eva Marie and Doudrop entered for their match. Graves said that Doudrop is about shedding your old self and it’s like a new beginning. Graves claimed that Eva is offering up a new opportunity for Doudrop. Good effort explaining it.

Women’s Money In the Bank Qualifying Match: Asuka & Naomi vs. Eva Marie & Doudrop
Eva looked like she was going to start, but then Eva tagged in Doudrop. Asuka with kicks, Doudrop with a headbutt and Doudrop charged into a back elbow. Asuka with a kick, but then Doudrop with a running shove to knock Asuka down. Asuka with double knees. Naomi with a kick to the head leading to Doudrop sending Naomi to the turnbuckle and Doudrop hitting a cannonball splash. Eva Marie was on the floor rather than on the apron. Doudrop was about to go for a move, Eva tagged herself in and got a two count. Doudrop walked away from a tag from Eva and then Naomi rolled up Eva with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Asuka & Naomi
The win by Asuka & Naomi means they are two of the eight women in the Women’s Money in the Bank match.
Analysis: *1/4 A quick match to put over the faces, which is fine with me because they’re the better wrestlers. The Eva/Doudrop pairing already had issues. What a shame.

Eva was shocked by Doudrop’s actions while Asuka & Naomi celebrated the win.
There was a video about the Rhea Ripley/Charlotte Flair match at Hell in a Cell ending in disqualification.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were shown walking backstage for a segment against next.
There was a video from John Cena talking about his role in the F9 (Fast & Furious 9) movie. It’s a major role for Cena in what should be a very successful and popular movie. Good for Cena.

A recap aired of the opening promo that set up Bobby Lashley vs. Xavier Woods in a Hell in a Cell match later on Raw. Also, Lashley vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Title at Money in the Bank.
Bobby Lashley and MVP were in their dressing room with the ladies with Lashley getting ready for the main event against Woods.
Raw Women’s Title Announcement
The WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville said that they were there to address something that happened at Hell in a Cell. Sonya asked for Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley to go out there. Ripley said that she was told that they were going to summon her. Pearce said that what Ripley did as champion was completely unacceptable. Deville said that everyone knows that a championship title can only change hands by pinfall or submission in the ring. Pearce said that last night, Ripley got herself intentionally disqualified. Ripley said she has seen Charlotte Flair do those sorts of things all the time and she did what Charlotte would have done.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in an outfit that wasn’t her wrestling gear. Charlotte said she was proud of Ripley because she proved that Ripley was smarter than she thought. Charlotte said that Rhea showed Charlotte that Rhea was strategic like Charlotte, but Charlotte is still going to destroy her. Deville granted Charlotte a rematch and said it will be Ripley vs. Charlotte at Money in the Bank. Ripley’s music played as the women had a staredown again.
Analysis: It was obvious that Raw Women’s Title rematch was going to happen. I think they need to add a stipulation to make it feel a bit different from the last match. They did a nice job with this promo by not having it drag on too much. It went about six minutes and that was enough time for it.
Natalya and Tamina were doing a photoshoot when Sarah Schreiber showed up for an interview. That’s when Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke were in the ring training just like Natalya and Tamina did last week. That led to some bickering between the two teams, so Rose and Brooke challenged the champions Natalya and Tamina to a fight in the ring. Natalya noted that she beat Mandy on Sunday. When Natalya and Tamina tried to get into the ring, Brooke/Rose kicked Natalya and Tamina to knock them out of the ring to the floor.
Analysis: They were in opposite roles from last week. It’s a slow build to set up a title match. There aren’t a lot of women’s teams in WWE right now, so it makes sense to have Natalya/Tamina feuding with Mandy/Dana. I think both teams are faces though, which hurts as a storyline.
Randy Orton made his slow walking entrance for a Money in the Bank qualifying match.

John Morrison made his entrance with The Miz in a wheelchair since he has a right knee injury.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Randy Orton vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz)
The Miz was on commentary for this match. Orton took control with a side headlock, which Morrison turned into a headlock of his own. Morrison with a knee to the ribs and a roundhouse kick to the head only got a one count. Orton got back into it with a shot to the face and then a head whip into the mat. Orton with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Orton sent Morrison into the announce table three times. Orton gave Morrison a belly to back suplex onto the announce table. Miz backed away from Orton as the show went to break.

Orton was in control when they returned from break with some stomping on body parts. Morrison came back with a springboard kick to the head and Morrison sent Orton into the ring post. Morrison slammed Orton’s left arm into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Morrison went for an armbar and then wrenched the arm into the mat for a two count. Morrison with another armbar for about a minute, Orton got out of it with body punches and Orton hit a clothesline. Orton with three chops to the chest even though Orton was not usually a chop guy. Orton worked over Morrison with punches. Morrison ran right into a powerslam by Orton leading to Orton hitting a draping DDT off the ropes. Orton set up for the RKO, but Miz sprayed some water in Orton’s face with the Dripstick. Orton was looking at Miz, so Morrison got a rollup. Orton with an uppercut on Morrison. Riddle showed up at ringside with his scooter and Riddle slowly chased Miz around the ring. Morrison drove Orton’s neck across the top rope and Morrison hit the Starship Pain splash off the top for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: John Morrison
The win by Morrison means he has qualified for the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
Analysis: *** This was pretty good with another result that could be considered an upset since Morrison usually doesn’t beat a guy like Orton. You could say it was a cheap win although nobody physically touched Orton. It was more like a visual distraction, but not something that was totally blatant either. Orton was mad that Riddle was out there, Morrison took advantage and got the win. I liked that spot with Miz spraying the water on Orton too. It was a bit comical, but it worked as a way to stop Orton’s momentum.

Orton was frustrated in the ring while Riddle looked apologetic and Morrison/Miz were very happy about what happened.
There were highlights shown of Alexa Bliss beating Shayna Baszler at Hell in a Cell on Sunday.
Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler & Reginald were interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Jax said that Reginald knows that she would never hit him like she did at Hell in a Cell. Baszler said nobody scares her and none of them will stop them from qualifying for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Jax said there was something different about Alexa and they left.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance with some new “music” that features Bliss talking as part of it.

They congratulated Titus O’Neil for being a 2021 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award Finalist in ESPN’s ESPY Awards. I don’t know when the last time Titus was in a match on Raw, but he’s a great guy.
Nikki Cross did a backstage promo. She had on a blue mask with makeup on her face. Cross said that no matter how far we fall down in life, we share the same positivity, spark and spirit to win. Cross had some blue gold outfit saying she was embracing her spirit.
Analysis: The immediate comparison is Mighty Molly, so we'll see how it goes.
Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and Reginald entered for the match.
Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (w/Reginald)
Both teams are former Women’s Tag Team Champions. Baszler mocked Nikki’s attire. Baszler with an armbar takedown on Cross, who started the match for her team. Jax tagged in and knocked down Cross. Jax charged, Cross moved and Cross hit the ring post. Baszler and Jax prevented Reginald from being corrupted by Bliss. Cross capitalized with a cross body block onto the heels on the floor.

The match returned with Bliss tagging in and Cross hit a bulldog on Baszler. Bliss with double knees and a flipping splash on Baszler for two. Baszler did some eye-gouging while Jax distracted the referee. Jax sent Bliss into the top turnbuckle and Baszler hit a jumping knee. Baszler grounded Bliss with a chinlock and there was clapping noise cheering on Bliss, who came back with strikes. Bliss hit the Sunset Bomb out of the corner. Cross got the hot tag against Jax, Cross with headbutts to the body and a dropkick. Jax kicked Cross to knock her down. Baszler nearly hit Jax when Cross moved and Jax left the apron. Cross with a belly to back suplex. Bliss stood on the turnbuckle, she mesmerized Reginald, who lifted up his arm and nearly slapped Jax, but he stopped himself. Jax hugged Reginald, so Cross kicked them down. Cross got La Magistral Cradle on Baszler for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
The win by Bliss & Cross means they are in the Women’s Money in the Bank match along with Asuka and Naomi along with four other women.
Analysis: **1/4 A weird match, but they got through it okay. It sounds like Bliss was a babyface in the match, which is weird considering what her character has been. Baszler has been losing way too often in the last couple of months and it happened again here as the excited Cross got the cradle for the pin. Baszler and Jax continue to have problems as a team.

Drew McIntyre was shown backstage with scars on his back. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville said that Drew didn’t have to do this match. Drew invoked William Churchill saying he will never surrender. They wished Drew good luck.
Riddle made his entrance for the Money in the Bank Qualifying match.
There was a "F9: The Fast Saga" video showing WrestleMania 29 in 2013 when John Cena beat The Rock to become WWE Champion again. Hey, remember the year before was a “Once in a Lifetime” match. They lied. It’s okay. They like your money.

There was a backstage scene with Jinder Mahal with his two buddies along with Jeff Hardy, Cedric Alexander and Sheamus standing there. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville showed up. The wrestlers were talking about how they should be in the Money in the Bank match. Deville said that the Money in the Bank qualifying matches are final. Sheamus said he shouldn't have to qualify since he's the US Champion. Pearce mentioned his nose, but Sheamus said that his nose is broken. Sheamus left. Mahal complained to Pearce about it. Mahal thanked them for their considerations. Mahal said in case something happens to a Money in the Bank participant, he suggests that they consider himself as a replacement. The wrestlers left.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance for his match. McIntyre had visible red scars on his back after the Hell in a Cell match on Sunday.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Riddle
They battled over some holds early on. Riddle with a shot to the back and Drew came back with a clothesline. Drew with a headbutt that knocked Riddle down. Drew with a belly to belly release suplex across the ring. Drew with a suplex into a slam. Drew with another hard chop to the chest, Riddle ran the ropes and Drew hit a shoulder tackle for two. Riddle pulled Drew’s legs off the middle rope and then Riddle hit a broton splash. Riddle with a gutwrench suplex, but Drew came back with a gutwrench backbreaker. Drew punched Riddle off the apron to the floor. Drew left the ring, Riddle shoved him back first into the ring post and Riddle hit an overhead belly to belly suplex on the floor.

Drew was on offense with chops, but Riddle came back with a kick to the back, forearms and an Exploder Suplex. Riddle with a kick to the back. Riddle went for the broton splash, but Drew got the knees up to block. Drew with two more belly to belly suplexes across the ring and a neckbreaker with Drew selling his injured ribs. Riddle got a jackknife pin for two and then Drew hit a clothesline for two. Drew hit a reverse Alabama Slam for two. They went to the turnbuckle, they were battling on the top rope and Drew was crotched on the ropes. Drew got into his upside down position that he likes leading to a popup German Suplex into the ring. There was a rough landing for Riddle on his shoulder/arm. Randy Orton walked out to watch the match. Riddle was so happy about it as the show went to break.
The wrestlers battled by the turnbuckle with Randy Orton watching from the stage. Riddle countered Drew on the ropes with a sunset flip Powerbomb. Riddle hit a running knee on Drew for two. When Riddle tried a kick, Drew blocked it and Drew hit a Michinoku Driver for two. Drew did a slow climb to the top, but Riddle caught Drew jumping of and Drew went for a triangle choke. Drew powered out of it, and Riddle landed on his feet into a backslide. Drew hit the Future Shock DDT for a two count. Both guys were selling exhaustion a lot. Drew set up for a Claymore Kick, but Riddle collapsed to the mat. Riddle countered a power move and hit a ripcord knee to the face. Riddle with a kick to the head as well. Riddle went for a Floating Bro off the top, but Drew avoided it. Drew went for a Claymore Kick and Riddle turned it into a Bromission. Riddle with a flying knee. Drew with a headbutt and Riddle got a sunset flip on Drew for the pinfall win with Riddle sitting on top of Drew to win. It went 25 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Riddle
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a terrific match. Drew McIntyre went 25 minutes in a very physical Hell in a Cell match on Sunday and then a grueling match here as well. Since Drew was selling Hell in a Cell injuries throughout the match, it made sense to have Riddle pick up the win doing a move where he was able to trap Drew on the mat and Riddle sat on top to win. It’s certainly not a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and it protected Drew since he didn’t lose to a finishing move. I think Drew deserves a lot of respect for the two awesome matches in back to back nights and putting over Riddle clean. That’s cool to see.

Post match, Riddle went up to Orton on his scooter with a coffee mug in Riddle’s hand as well. Riddle wanted to touch fists and Orton stood there with his arms crossed. Riddle wanted Orton to talk to him. Orton didn’t say anything.
Kofi Kington and Xavier Woods were shown backstage getting ready for Xavier’s main event match.
Jaxson Ryker was shown getting ready backstage. Mansoor asked for advice. Ryker said you should never let your enemy escape. Ryker said that’s why next week he’s facing Elias in a Strap Match and there will be no place for Elias to run or hide. Ryker was happy about it. Mansoor turned around to bump into Mustafa Ali. That led to Ali said Mansoor was asking the wrong people. Ali said Mansoor should ask how the people in the Money in the Bank qualifying matches were in them and how you can’t even qualify for them.
Next week on Raw: Jaxson Ryker vs. Elias in a Strap Match. Yawn. Also, Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles with the winner qualifying for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, so even though they lost, they can all get into MITB.
Analysis: They literally had a segment with wrestlers complaining about not getting a chance in the Money in the Bank match and now they are giving another chance to the likes of Orton, McIntyre and Styles. I don't really like it. Most people will pick Drew to win, which is understandable. I think Orton might win so he’s in the match with Riddle. Styles and Omos will be against Viking Raiders for the Raw Tag Team Titles at Money in the Bank while Drew could be against Jinder Mahal if they want to go that route or somebody else. I don't know, but it does set up a big match next week with McIntyre vs. Orton vs. Styles next week.
Xavier Woods made his entrance with Kofi Kingston for the main event.

It’s official for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view: Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Title against Kofi Kingston.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance as the All Mighty WWE Champion with MVP by his side. Good presentation of Lashley as the WWE Champion. It makes him look like a big star, which he is.
Hell in a Cell Match: Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston)
Lashley was dominant early with a neckbreaker. Woods got a sunset flip and then Lashley came back with a clothesline. Lashley with a flatline and he did it again. Lashley with a lifting flatliner this time. Woods was sent out of the ring, he tried a chair shot and Lashley punched the chair into Xavier’s head.  Lashley charged, Woods moved and Woods hit the ring post. Woods with two dropkicks into the cell. Woods with a chair to the body to knock Lashley off the apron to the cell. Woods beat on Lashley with multiple chairshots to the back.

Lashley was in control with some choking against the ropes with less than ten minutes left in the show. Lashley charged, Woods ducked and Lashley went over the top to the floor. Lashley caught Woods in the ring apron leading to Lashley punching Woods repeatedly. Lashley stepped on Xavier’s head. Lashley worked over Woods with elbows, but then Woods went for a rollup and Lashley blocked that. Woods ran the ropes and did a clip to the left knee and a dropkick to the leg. Woods beat on Lashley with kendo stick shots to the buddy. Woods choked Lashley with the kendo stick. Wood charged for a move, Lashley caught him and Lashley managed to kick out before the three count. Lashley sent Woods to the apron, Woods with a kick to the ahead and Woods hit a Tornado DDT for two. There was a table in the ring, Lashley wanted a Powerbomb, but Woods kicked him and put Lashley on the table. Woods jumped off the top with an impressive splash that put Lashley through the table for a two count. Lashley with a shot to the throat and then he threw Woods into a chair against the turnbuckle. Lashley hit a spear followed by the Hurt Lock for the submission win. It went about 13 minutes.
Winners: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ***1/4 A good showing here with Woods taking a lot of punishment to put over Lashley in a big way. I think it was a match that didn’t warrant a Hell in a Cell environment, but it was likely something that USA Network wanted. Lashley didn’t sell much from Sunday’s match the way McIntyre did because WWE wants Lashley looking strong at all times. Woods worked well as the babyface with something to prove, but I think most people watching knew what was going to happen. My favorite spot in the match was Woods hitting the splash off the top rope. They didn't go crazy with bumps. It was still a fun match to put over the champion.
Post match, Lashley beat up Woods by whipping him into the cell multiple times. MVP got into the cage and locked the door. Lashley put Woods in the Hurt Lock submission and held him against the door. Kofi Kingston was yelling at them. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: It worked fine as an angle because Kofi is so likable and seeing the heels torment Woods like that is a classic way of getting heat.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Riddle
  2. Drew McIntyre
  3. Bobby Lashley

The Scoreboard
7.25 out of 10
Last week: 6.75
2021 Average: 5.92

Final Thoughts
I thought it was a pretty good show from top to bottom with matches that meant something since there were five Money in the Bank qualifying matches. The best of the bunch was Riddle beating Drew McIntyre clean in a match that went over 20 minutes just one night after Drew took a beating in Hell in a Cell for over 20 minutes with visible scars on his body. Drew is a wrestling machine of late. Bobby Lashley beating Xavier Woods in a Hell in a Cell match may have made USA Network happy to have a HIAC match, but that match wasn’t as big as Reigns/Mysterio HIAC on Fox this past Friday.
They put over some guys that really needed wins like Ricochet beating AJ Styles, John Morrison beating Randy Orton and Riddle beating McIntyre as mentioned. The women’s matches were two tags and they weren’t as good, but at least Asuka/Naomi was the right choice over Eva Marie/Doudrop (what a terrible name). They are booking Alexa Bliss better in terms of her matches, so much so that I don’t mind the character anymore. Nikki Cross dressing like Mighty Molly is a bit of a surprise, but she’s good enough to make anything work.
I think in terms of promos and backstage segments, it wasn’t as bad as we get from Raw sometimes. Most promos were kept short. It was a strong WRESTLING show with a focus on the in-ring product. That’s why it was an enjoyable episode of Raw and the best episode in several weeks.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Money on the Bank on Sunday, July 18. Here’s what we know so far.

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Ricochet vs. John Morrison vs. Riddle vs. five more wrestlers.
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross vs. four more wrestlers.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton
Twitter: @johnreport
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