Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. It’s the last Raw (or Smackdown) in the ThunderDome. This Raw was actually taped last Tuesday, so last Friday’s Smackdown was the last show in the ThunderDome, but this is the last one that is airing on television. It served its purpose for the last 11 months and I’m ready for those main shows to be on the road again starting with Smackdown on Friday in Houston. I’m looking forward to Money in the Bank in Forth Worth, TX as well. I didn’t watch this Raw live because of the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, so I watched it after it aired.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1468 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 the above graphic saying it was in memory of “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, who died at the age of 71. He had an October birthday, so he wasn’t 72 yet. His son shared the news of Paul’s death earlier on Monday. I don’t think WWE had much time to put together a video package for Orndorff and it was a taped Raw, so there was just a graphic. There are some Orndorff-related videos on WWE's Youtube channel, which is cool. He was great and a top heel during WWE's boom period in the 1980s. He will be missed. We might see more tributes for Orndorff on NXT and Smackdown this week.
Raw began with a video package showing the story between WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and Kofi Kingston. They showed when Kofi called Lashley soft, Bobby didn’t like that and then Kofi pinned MVP in a tag team match that saw New Day face Lashley and MVP. Lashley was angry about the loss.
The New Day duo of Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance with Woods in singles action. The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were at ringside to call the action. Kofi will challenge Lashley for the WWE Title at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
They showed WWE Champion Bobby Lashley with MVP in the backstage area along with Lashley’s Ladies. MVP hyped up Lashley while the ladies rooted on Lashley. Bobby’s music played and the WWE Champion made his entrance.
Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston)
Lashley overpowered Woods with a waistlock takedown. Woods with a headlock, then a boot to the face, a kick to the leg and a senton splash on the back with Lashley powering out of a pin attempt. Lashley sent Woods over the top so that Woods hit the apron. Lashley with a press slam that sent Woods face first into the steel steps.
Lashley worked over Woods with shoulder tackles against the turnbuckle. They showed the ladies watching on couches that were on the stage. Lashley with another shoulder tackle. Woods avoided a charging Lashley and Woods hit a Tornado DDT. Woods hit an impressive somersault dive over the top onto Lashley. Woods with a jumping kick to the head of Lashley and Woods went up top with a missile dropkick for two. Woods applied a Crossface submission on Lashley, but Lashley powered out of it with a side slam. Lashley tossed down Woods. Lashley went for a lifting slam, Woods got out of it and Lashley hit a huge spinebuster. Lashley lifted up Woods on his shoulder leading to a spinning slam. Lashley sent Woods out of the ring, which led to Lashley slamming Woods into the ring post. Back in the ring, Lashley hit a Spear with Woods selling a rib injury after that. Lashley picked up Woods again, but then Woods applied a perfect inside cradle hooking the legs for one…two…and three with Lashley kicking out right after the three count. This went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Xavier Woods
Woods and Kingston were ecstatic while the announcers put it over as a huge upset.
Analysis: *** It was a good match with Lashley dominating much of it, but he wasn’t going for pinfalls and then Woods found a way to get the win. It seemed as if they were telling the story that Lashley could end it at any time, but since he didn’t go for pinfalls or apply the Hurt Lock, it allowed Woods to find a way to win. At the time of the match, I was surprised that they would book Lashley to lose clean to an inside cradle like that, but it would make sense later in the show by how Lashley reacted to it. I don’t remember the last time Lashley lost clean like that. It’s been a while.
Lashley had a stunned look on his face after the match. Lashley left with the WWE Title looking furious. Woods and Kingston were happy about the win and they taunted MVP, who was still at ringside.
They replayed the upset by Woods over Lashley.
MVP was shown walking backstage with Kevin Patrick mentioning that Bobby Lashley has left the building. MVP said that Lashley did leave, but he can guarantee us that Lashley will return for the VIP Lounge later on Raw.
They showed highlights from last week’s Raw when Jinder Mahal and friends stole Drew McIntyre’s sword.
Jinder Mahal was shown arriving on a motorcycle earlier in the day. Jinder’s buddies were there and they presented the sword to him.
Alexa Bliss was on her playground on a swing saying she was so excited to be back in front of the WWE Universe at Money in the Bank. Eva Marie was on the swing with Doudrop by her side. Alexa welcomed them to the playground. Alexa liked the name Doudrop and she said it repeatedly. When Bliss asked Doudrop a question, Eva said that it was “Eva-lutionary” because they won a tag team match all because of her. Eva complained about Alexa comments with Eva saying she is the headlining superstar on Raw and this would be the last time she steps foot in this dingy little playground. Eva told Doudrop they should go, so Doudrop waved to Alexa and that was it. Alexa made some creepy faces to end it.
Analysis: I guess that’s character development? Sure. Eva thinks she is a bigger star than she actually is, so that continued here.
Jinder Mahal made his entrance with Veer and Shanky.
There were photos shown of Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks winning the ESPY Award for Best WWE Moment.
Let’s Hear from Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal did a promo in the ring with Veer and Shanky. Mahal said that maybe he took things too far with Drew McIntyre after stealing his sword. Mahal wanted McIntyre to come out there, he will apologize and give Drew back his beloved sword. Jinder said he was trying to do the right thing.
Drew McIntyre appeared on the screen in the backstage area. Drew said he knows Jinder is a tough bastard that is a decorated champion, but he’s also a liar. Jinder asked Drew to think of everything they have been through. Jinder had Veer and Shanky take the beloved sword and get it refinished. The sword was displayed and it was broken in half with Jinder saying something must have happened.
Drew said that the sword in the ring is a replica. Drew displayed his real sword was with him. Drew was standing by Jinder’s motorcycle saying that he didn’t think this was a replica. McIntyre broke off a piece of the motorcycle and destroyed some of it while Jinder and friends were watching it. McIntyre continued to rip apart the motorcycle while breaking off pieces of it. Drew said it’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t fix. McIntyre kicked the motorcycle down to end it. Jinder made angry faces.
Analysis: There’s some babyface revenge for McIntyre. We have seen faces destroying things like cars and motorcycles in the past, so it’s nothing that new for a longtime WWE fan. I also think a popular prediction for Money in the Bank will be that Jinder costs Drew in the ladder match, which would set up Drew vs. Jinder at SummerSlam. It makes sense to me anyway.
Nikki Cross aka Nikki ASH was standing backstage with Riddle there telling her to fly to the top of the ladder to win the Money in the Bank contract. Nikki said she is “almost a superhero” so there’s a big difference between her and a superhero because she can’t fly. Riddle did one of his rambling stories, Nikki had no idea what he meant by it and Nikki made her entrance. Riddle: “Wait, I thought she said she couldn’t fly.” End scene.
Analysis: Riveting dialogue there.
Nikki Cross is announced as “Nikki A.S.H almost a superhero” now. That match is next.
The entrances took place for Asuka, Naomi and crazy Alexa Bliss. I think WWE made a good call by removing the evil doll from her act.
Nikki A.S.H. (Cross) vs. Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss
Naomi with a dropkick on Nikki and Asuka at the same time. Bliss with a slap on Naomi followed by a cross body block. Asuka kicked Bliss to knock her down. Nikki with pin attempts on Asuka and Naomi, but then Asuka and Naomi hit double dropkicks on Nikki. Asuka and Naomi kicked eachother in the head at the same time leading to creepy Bliss crawling back into the ring. Nikki with a shot to the chest and a dropkick. Eva Marie appeared on the ramp with Doudrop by her side. Naomi with a jumping kick on Nikki, Asuka with a clothesline on Naomi and Bliss with a spike DDT on Asuka for two. Bliss waved at Doudrop, who waved back at Bliss. Doudrop and Bliss talked at ringside with Bliss walking by Doudrop and Bliss screamed at Eva. Doudrop punched Bliss and Doudrop picked up Bliss on her shoulders. Doudrop sent Bliss over the barricade to the floor. The camera didn’t show what Bliss landed on. There could be padding since it’s a taped show. When the camera panned over, Bliss was no longer there. The match was still going on I guess, but they went to break there.
The match continued with Asuka delivering kicks to Nikki and Naomi. Asuka with a German Suplex on Naomi followed by a hip attack and then Asuka kicked Nikki to knock her down. Asuka with a bulldog on Naomi. Naomi with a kick to Asuka, then she sent Asuka into the turnbuckle. Naomi with a slam off the shoulders on Nikki and a belly to back suplex on Asuka. Naomi with a split-legged leg drop on both women for two. Naomi with a springboard kick on Asuka. Nikki with a Tornado DDT on Naomi for two and Asuka made the save. Nikki sent Asuka out of the ring, Nikki went for a headscissors, but then Naomi escaped and got a sunset flip for two. Naomi went for a submission on the head/arm on Nikki, but Asuka was back in with a kick on Naomi. Asuka with an armbreaker on Naomi, but Nikki was back in with a seated senton to break that up. Nikki jumped off the top with a cross body block on Asuka for two as Naomi broke it up. Nikki sent Naomi to the apron, Naomi kicked Nikki, Asuka with a double knee attack on Naomi and Nikki got an inside cradle on Asuka. Asuka went for the Asuka Lock on Nikki, but Nikki used her legs to hook Asuka’s shoulders and Nikki sat on top of Asuka for the pinfall win after about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki A.S.H. (Cross)
Analysis: *** Good work in this triple threat with Nikki picking up the clean win. I know some fans will probably complain about Asuka losing, but Asuka has won a lot in her career and it’s important to use her to try to put over other wrestlers once in a while. Naomi could use a win for sure, but I don’t mind Nikki getting the win to continue her positive momentum.
The Viking Raiders were interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Ivar talked about how great vikings are and AJ Styles will learn to respect viking culture. Erik said that he has the tall task to try to topple Omos. Erik said that this is Omos’ first one on one battle and he’ll use that inexperience to carve out a victory. They said that next week they’ll raise the Raw Tag Team Championships above their head in victory. They chanted “raid” as they left.
AJ Styles and Omos made their entrance for singles matches.
There was a commercial for Smackdown promoting tension between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Two big matches are Bianca Belair defending the Smackdown Women’s Title vs. Carmella, plus Big E vs. Seth Rollins vs. King Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens. They did not mention the Roman Reigns & The Usos vs. Edge & The Mysterios tag team match.
AJ Styles did a promo with Omos standing beside him. They are the Raw Tag Team Champions. Styles said that he said some things about vikings that maybe Ivar and Erik found offensive. AJ said he shouldn’t call them barbarians, he should have called them hairy barbarians and ripped on them some more. Styles said that they shouldn’t have got off their wooden boat to come after the Raw Tag Team Champions. Styles complained about the Viking Raiders sticking their nose in AJ & Omos’ business, so tonight he is going to break Ivar’s leg in the Calf Crusher. AJ said that Ivar will tap to the Calf Crusher. Styles said Omos will have his first ever singles match on Raw where he will destroy Erik so badly that he’ll wish he never took off his ridiculous horn helmet. Styles said they’ll destroy the Viking Raiders at Money in the Bank and show everybody why they are the Raw Tag Team Champions.
The Viking Raiders made their entrance. The graphic let us know that their match was at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
Analysis: The match was originally set up for next week’s Raw, but is now at Money in the Bank. When AJ said “Money in the Bank” there they had the camera on Omos, so I assume that was edited in because when this was taped, it was still set for Raw. It moved to Money in the Bank mainly because Bayley is out with a torn ACL, so her match with Bianca Belair is not taking place at Money in the Bank. I think the change makes sense.
AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Ivar (w/Erik)
Ivar showed off his athleticism and he rocked Styles with punches into the corner. Ivar with a running splash against the turnbuckle for a two count. Ivar with a running shoulder tackle. Omos prevented Ivar from running the ropes, so Styles kicked Ivar in the back of the head. Styles with a kick to the leg by the ropes and a DDT for a two count. Styles with a chinlock, Ivar with a back body drop and a powerslam. Ivar with a running cross body block on a seated Styles. Ivar did a cartwheel to avoid Styles leading to a clothesline for two. Styles with a kick followed by an exchange leading to a Pele Kick. Ivar jumped up and sat on the upper body of Styles for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ivar
Analysis: ** It’s weird to see a former WWE Champion like AJ Styles losing to a tag team wrestler like Ivar like that, but that’s what happens when you are part of a tag team feud. It’s typical WWE booking to have a champion put over a challenger in a singles match. They worked well together with Ivar getting a lot of offense. Styles did a promo about using the Calf Crusher, but he didn’t even go for it during the match. Anyway, they don’t want Omos losing, so it meant Styles had to lose. It’s not like it will hurt Styles long term.
Omos (w/AJ Styles) vs. Erik (w/Ivar)
This the first televised singles match for Omos. Erik tried a waistlock, but Omos tossed him down easily. Omos with a shoulder tackle. Erik got out of a slam attempt, then a kick to the leg, but then Erik jumped into the arms of Omos for a bearhug. Omos with a hiptoss across the ring. Omos charged, Erik moved and Erik hit multiple forearms and a running knee. Omos bounced off the ropes and hit a clothesline. Omos picked up Erick by the shoulders and hit a two handed Chokeslam style move for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Omos
Analysis: 3/4* A dominant win by Omos as expected. Erik got a bit of offense, but Omos wasn’t knocked down and came back to win in dominant fashion as usual. Omos is one of the strongest booked wrestlers in all of WWE.
They showed a replay from six weeks ago when Humberto Carrillo hit Sheamus with a forearm to break his nose. Sheamus had surgery to fix his nose.
Sheamus was in the office with WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville with Sheamus wearing a unique black facemask. Sheamus complained about how they threatened to take his US Title away with him unless he wrestled again. Sheamus said he was there to defend the US Title and Pearce/Deville said that was good. That match is later.
There was a backstage scene with The New Day talking to Lucha House Party. New Day congratulated LHP on their win last week. Sarah Schreiber showed up to interview Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods with Kofi mentioning that Woods beat Bobby Lashley. Sarah said that Lashley returned for the VIP Lounge later in the night. Kofi said that they should thank MVP for taking Bobby off his game. Woods said that he’s confused Bobby came back after losing to the “video game guy” (Woods) and said that they will continue the wins with Kofi beating Lashley to become WWE Champion. Kofi said that being WWE Champion is about beating on your best grind and take on all comers like he did. Kofi said he’ll shock the world at Money in the Bank in front of a live audience to become your two-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Kofi and Woods left.
Analysis: A strong promo from New Day as usual. Kofi is awesome and I’m glad that Woods keeps getting chances to show what he can do.
There was a video package about how the Money in the Bank ladder match is career-changing and life-changing. It was narrated by Corey Graves talking about how there was an opportunity in a lifetime hanging in the balance. They mentioned that 83% of contract holders successfully cashed in to become champion. Good stuff.
There was a backstage scene with Sheamus attacking Humbert Carrillo in the backstage area and he was throwing him into objects. Officials tried to help Carrillo, but Sheamus yelled at them to get back. Sheamus left while officials checked on Carrillo and Damian Priest walked up to Sheamus as well. Sheamus left.
Analysis: There’s some foreshadowing for a Sheamus vs. Damian Priest rivalry. Maybe that will be a SummerSlam match with Priest winning the US Title. That would make sense to elevate Priest a bit.
Sheamus made his entrance for his US Title defense. As mentioned earlier, Sheamus was wearing a protective face mask.
Humberto Carrillo was getting checked on by WWE Officials. Mansoor and Mustafa Ali were there. Ali walked off, so Mansoor left with him. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville said that they can do this another time, but Carrillo said he’s been waiting a long time for this match. Carrillo said as long as he can stand then he can fight. Damian Priest was still there and supporting Carrillo.
Humberto Carrillo made his entrance while holding his neck to sell the injuries from the pre-match attack. Graves said this was not smart while Saxton said that this is finally Carrillo’s chance at a title match.
United States Championship: Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo
Carrillo was holding his neck, he went down to one knee and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win after about 18 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: It was more about the story than the match since Sheamus beat up Carrillo before the match. Carrillo was too hurt to wrestle, so it was an easy win for Sheamus.
After the match, Sheamus went back into the ring and stomped on Carrillo. Sheamus pulled back on the mouth of Carrillo like Sheamus loves to do because Carrillo is the one that broke his nose. Sheamus said he was going to break Carrillo’s nose, but here comes Damian Priest for the save. Priest got into the ring, so Sheamus bailed.
Analysis: There’s another interaction between Sheamus and Priest. As I noted earlier, I think there could be a US Title change there.
They showed the replay from two weeks ago when Ricochet hit an incredible cross body block on John Morrison leading to a double countout. Last Monday night on Raw, Ricochet lost to Morrison by countout because The Miz prevented Ricochet from getting back into the ring.
Ricochet was shown walking backstage with Riddle going up to him riding the scooter. Ricochet said he’s excited for this Sunday for Money in the Bank. Riddle said he’s going to make a burrito. Riddle said that his favorite western movie is Toy Story 2. Riddle also said he misses Randy and pointed up. Ricochet said he’s excited about Money in the Bank. Riddle said that he’s going to cash in the Raw Tag Team Titles with Randy. They showed John Morrison and The Miz in a wheelchair. Morrison called them “Splashholes” and Morrison/Miz sprayed water on them. The wheelchair also went over Riddle’s injured right foot, or at least that’s what we were supposed to think.
John Morrison made his entrance with The Miz in a suit in a wheelchair. If you check out The Miz on Instagram he is standing fine, but he keeps going in the wheelchair on TV. Miz does have a legit knee injury, though.
There was a commercial for Money in the Bank on Sunday featuring the Universal Title match between champion Roman Reigns and challenger Edge. I assume that’s the main event.
John Morrison was in the ring with The Miz. He’s in the Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match and so is his opponent Ricochet.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Ricochet vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz)
Ricochet with a springboard armdrag, Ricochet to the apron and Morrison with a kick. Morrison with a neckbreaker on the ring apron for a two count on the floor. Morrison kicked Ricochet in the ribs and a backslide pin on the floor with an assist from Miz for a two count. Morrison with a knee to the face against the barricade. Morrison with a back kick against the barricade for a two count. Back in the ring, Morrison went up top, but Ricochet caught him and hit a German Suplex for two. Morrison with a sweep kick to knock Ricochet out of the ring followed by Morrison hitting a twisting dive on Ricochet on the floor. Morrison tossed Ricochet over the barricade, they were fighting in front of LED boards with fans' faces on them. Ricochet tossed Morrison into a screen, Morrison came back with a kick and Morrison wanted a DDT off the barricade, but Ricochet avoided it. Ricochet hit a 450 Splash off the barricade onto Morrison on the floor! That was amazing for a two count. Ricochet went for a springboard attack, but Morrison left the ring to avoid him. Ricochet went up top to the top of the ringpost and did a Shooting Star Press onto a standing Morrison on the floor! That was crazy leading into a break.
The match continued with Morrison setting up a ladder from the apron to the announce table. Ricochet avoided being whipped into a ladder and Ricochet jumped off the apron onto Morrison with a cross body block for two on the floor. Morrison was on the floor, Ricochet went a dive, Miz got in the way and Ricochet jumped over the top (and over Miz) onto Morrison on the floor for a two count. Great somersault dive by Ricochet there. Ricochet and Morrison battled on the stage with Morrison going for a suplex, Ricochet got out of that and hit a hurricanrana on the ramp. Miz was slowly going up the ramp in the wheelchair. Morrison and Ricochet were behind the curtain with Morrison hitting a superkick. Morrison with a running knee for two in the backstage area. They went back through the curtain onto the ramp with Miz there to trash talk Ricochet. Boot to the face by Ricochet and a forearm. Miz trash-talked Ricochet, so then Ricochet looked at Miz and Ricochet pushed Miz in the wheelchair leading to Ricochet hitting a cross body block on Morrison for two. Ricochet sent Morrison into the turnbuckle. Miz sprayed water on Ricochet and Morrison got a pin attempt with the feet on the ropes for two. Morrison hit a spinning neckbreaker for a two count. Riddle made his way down to the ring in a scooter. Miz pulled back on Miz’s wheelchair and put him on his back so Miz was upside down. Morrison went for a springboard attack, but Ricochet hit a Recoil (double knees) on Morrison. Ricochet kicked Morrison onto the ladder bridge at ringside. Ricochet went up top and hit a Superfly Splash off the top rope onto Morrison through the ladder that broke. Ricochet crawled over to Morrison for the pinfall win on the floor. It went 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ricochet
Analysis: **** This was an outstanding match! I’m so glad they had this kind of match where Ricochet was able to show off his athleticism so many times in unique ways and Morrison is certainly talented enough to keep up with him. Ricochet was a human highlight reel throughout the match with so many big spots including the dives over the top to the floor and then that final move with the splash onto Morrison through the ladder at ringside. That was excellent. Morrison probably could have had a bit more offense and maybe some nearfalls to make it look like he might win, but I certainly don’t mind how they did this match. It was a big and meaningful win for Ricochet after doing this same match for three weeks, so Ricochet goes into Money in the Bank with a lot of momentum.
Natalya and Tamina were backstage talking as the Women’s Tag Team Champion. Sarah Schreiber showed up to interview them. Natalya said that she has a plan to hold the Women’s Tag Team Championship as well as the other championships and she’s going to win Money in the Bank as well. Tamina and Natalya walked down a hall to see Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke getting makeup done. Mandy mocked Natalya and said she doesn’t love her chances of winning Money in the Bank and beating Rhea Ripley. Dana Brooke had some generic line about beating them for the titles. Tamina talked back to them and shoved Dana to get out of her face.
Analysis: Those teams have been building a rivalry for the last few weeks. There aren’t many women’s teams in WWE right now.
There was a recap of Drew McIntyre destroying Jinder Mahal’s motorcycle earlier in the night.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Drew said this might be the last time to reach the top of the mountain. Drew did one of his promos telling a story about Icarus – a Greek kid that flew too close to the sun. Drew talked about how nothing will stop him from being Mr. Money in the Bank.
Analysis: I know some people might pick Drew to win Money in the Bank. I don’t think I will. I’ll save my pick for our preview on Saturday on TJRWrestling, but I think Jinder Mahal is going to cost Drew the win.
The announcers went over the Money in the Bank lineup in this order.
* WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
* Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki ASH (Cross) vs. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega vs. Natalya vs. one more wrestler.
* WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge
* Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
* Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Ricochet vs. John Morrison vs. Riddle vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. King Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins
* Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Analysis: That’s likely the full card on the main show with six matches. They could add one more match, but I think six should be enough since there will be some long matches. I assume there will be a Kickoff Show match added later in the week.
They showed highlights of Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair’s lame segment from last week.
Rhea Ripley was interviewed backstage. Ripley said she accepted the match with Natalya because she was challenged and she doesn’t back down from a challenge. Ripley also ripped on Charlotte Flair about their match on Sunday.
Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Raw Women's Champion.
This Tuesday on NXT: Karrion Kross defends the NXT Championship vs. Johnny Gargano with Samoa Joe as the special referee. I think there definitely could be a title change since Kross might be heading to Raw or Smackdown soon. My review will be on TJRWrestling on Wednesday morning.
Natalya made her entrance with Tamina by her side. They are the Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Rhea Ripley vs. Natalya (w/Tamina)
This was not for Ripley’s Raw Women’s Championship. They started off doing some spots with Natalya getting a couple of rollups by using slick counters. Ripley ran the ropes, but then she stopped herself and had a staredown. Natalya with a jackknife pin attempt and Ripley hooked the arms for a pin for two. There were about three quick pin attempts between them. Ripley hit a headbutt that rocked Natalya. Ripley went for the Riptide, Natalya escaped and went for a Sharpshooter, but Ripley kicked Natalya out of the ring. Ripley ran at Natalya, who moved and Ripley hit Tamina with a running dropkick. Natalya hit the discus clothesline on Ripley on the floor.
The match continued with the two women battling on the turnbuckle. Ripley with a headbutt that knocked Natalya down and Ripley hit a missile dropkick. That was impressive. Ripley with two boots to the chest to knock Natalya down for a two count. Ripley hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. They went by a turnbuckle again with Natalya sending Ripley into the ring post and then Natalya hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Good spot there. Ripley powered out of a Sharpshooter attempt. Natalya with a slam, step on the back and a dropkick, but Ripley avoided the kick. Ripley hooked the legs of Natalya into a submission and Natalya rolled forward to get a two count. Natalya applied a Sharpshooter on the third attempt with Ripley screaming in pain until Rhea powered out of it and sent Natalya back first into the turnbuckle. Ripley with a jumping kick to the head. Ripley hit the Riptide slam for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley
Analysis: ***1/4 I thought this was really good. That doesn’t surprise me either. Ripley winning made sense since she’s got the title match on Sunday. Natalya is who WWE goes to when they want to have somebody win a good, competitive match and put somebody over. I like that the singles champion was able to win a non-title match. Their styles meshed really well because we know both women are hard hitters that aren’t shy about having a physical style match. Sometimes wrestlers don’t make it look realistic, but these two do.
Post match, Charlotte Flair did a chop block to Ripley’s left knee. Charlotte drove her knee into Ripley’s knee. Charlotte Flair applied the Figure Four Leglock by the ring apron. After about ten seconds, Flair let go. Nobody tried to help Ripley while she was attacked. Flair left while Ripley held her left knee.
Analysis: I think a title change is possible at Money in the Bank. I don’t know what my prediction is right now. Ripley has done a decent job as the champion with her victories over Asuka and Charlotte, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Charlotte with the title again.
They showed a replay of Xavier Woods beating Bobby Lashley clean earlier in the night. Lashley was pissed off after that loss.
They showed MVP in the dressing room with the five Lashley Ladies. MVP said he wanted the girls to be smiling and make Lashley happy. The VIP Lounge was up next.
There was a replay of Charlotte Flair’s cheap attack of Rhea Ripley.
Charlotte Flair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Charlotte said that it’s game over for Rhea Ripley at Money in the Bank.
VIP Lounge with MVP and Bobby Lashley
Montel Vontavious Porter was in the ring with couches, champagne and the five ladies. MVP said that this is the last Raw in the Thunderdome where we witnessed the rise of WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. MVP said that he thinks we should call this place the Lashley Dome. MVP said that they will be on the road next week live in front of the WWE Universe. MVP introduced the WWE Champion Bobby Lashley.
There was no immediate appearance from Lashley, so MVP wondered what was going on. MVP kept on introducing Lashley with the ladies even joining in and that led to Lashley’s music as the WWE Champion made his entrance.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance in a suit although his tie was loose and he wasn’t wearing a jacket. Lashley had an angry look on his face with the WWE Title in his right hand. Lashley told MVP he has said enough. Lashley told the ladies to excuse them so he can talk to MVP alone.
Lashley told MVP he thought about what Kofi said and thought that at first, he thought Kofi was talking trash, but Kofi was right. Lashley said that Kofi was right saying that Lashley has lost his edge. Lashley was mad about how he lost to Xavier Woods and he should have stacked him with Kofi in a pile of broken bones. Lashley said he was furious right now while MVP was trying to cheer him up with champagne and women. Lashley said he appreciates everything that MVP has done for him and his career, “but this bullshit needs to stop now.” They did not bleep the swear word at least here in Canada. Lashley said it was “back to business.” Lashley said that the only enjoyment he wants to have from now on is to destroy every single soul that tries to step up for the WWE Championship.
Lashley threw pieces of the MVP Lounge out of the ring. Lashley picked up the loveseat over his head and tossed it out of the ring. Lashley was tossing tables and others other items around. Lashley had an angry look on his face as he stared at MVP.
Lashley delivered another promo saying he’s going to tear Kofi in half. Lashley said he’ll go into Money in the Bank as the All Mighty WWE Champion and leave as the WWE Champion. Lashley said he hopes Kofi brings his family and friends to get his back because Lashley is going to dismantle him. Lashley said he’ll do everything that he said he was going to do. Lashley wanted Kofi to fight for his life because he’ll cave his skull in, he’ll wring his neck, fold him up in a box and send it to the circus with the rest of the clowns. Lashley said that the circus is dead and after this Sunday, so is Kofi’s career. Lashley stared forward into the hard camera. Lashley stared back at MVP and left alone. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: I thought Lashley was outstanding here. This was one of the best promos of his career for sure. They did all this stuff with Lashley’s Ladies in the last couple of months, but now that they are going on the road, they are going to make Bobby even more of a serious heel. I was a little worried that they might have Lashley beat up MVP to become a solo act, but thankfully that didn’t happen and I assume MVP will still be with Lashley because they are great together. What this was about was that Lashley being mad that he lost clean, so now he’s going to be more vicious and angrier during his matches. I fully expect Lashley to beat Kofi to keep the WWE Title. I don’t know who will be next, but I think that Lashley’s reign is going to continue at Money in the Bank.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bobby Lashley
- John Morrison
7 out of 10
Last week: 5
2021 Average: 5.95
This was the last WWE show at the Thunderdome and Raw was a solid show with some good in-ring action. I don’t think I’ll miss the Thunderdome at all because shows with crowds are way better, but there’s no doubt that the Thunderdome served its purpose for nearly a year now.
The third hour was the best part of the show. There were only two matches in the last hour and they were both great. The Ricochet match with John Morrison was the best singles match that both guys have had in a long time on Raw since they got a lot of time to have an entertaining Falls Count Anywhere match. Ricochet really got to show off his athleticism and shine in that match. Rhea Ripley beat Natalya in a very competitive match that made Ripley look strong. Also, I thought Bobby Lashley was tremendous in the main event segment with one of the better promos of his career. Lashley losing clean to Xavier Woods (non-title of course) was a bit of a surprise, but it made sense by the end of the night because of how angry Lashley was. It’s rare that the third hour is the best part of the show, but it was this week.
The first two hours of Raw were solid for the most part. I think they did a nice job of giving the matches plenty of time and that’s better than some of the silly storylines we see on Raw. The women’s four-way match turned into a triple threat with a lot of good action. The Woods/Lashley match that opened the show was solid too. The story with Drew McIntyre destroying Jinder Mahal’s motorcycle is probably going to lead to Jinder costing Drew at Money in the Bank on Sunday, so I get why they did it. Anyway, it was an easy show to get through this week. No major complaints about Raw this week.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Money on the Bank on Sunday, July 18. Here’s the lineup.
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. Drew McIntyre vs. Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. King Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins
Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Asuka vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki ASH (Cross) vs. Liv Morgan vs. Zelina Vega vs. Natalya vs. one more wrestler.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
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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