Monday Night Raw
Date: June 28, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
We’ll wrap up the first half of the year as we are on the way towards the Money In The Bank. A lot of the spots have already been filled in and this week we are finishing up the Raw’s men’s qualifiers with a triple threat match. I’ll take that over the building momentum matches so let’s get to it.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville tell us that Randy Orton is out of the triple threat match for reasons beyond WWE’s control. Therefore we are going to have a battle royal for the spot….but here is Riddle with a (football shaped) letter from Orton, saying Riddle should get the spot. The bosses think Riddle wrote the letter, mainly because most of these words aren’t real and there is a viper drawn in the corner. Riddle offers to wrestle on Orton’s behalf and giving Orton the spot if he wins. Deal.
Riddle, Erik, Ivar, Jinder Mahal, Angel Garza, R-Truth, Mustafa Ali, Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa, Damian Priest, Jeff Hardy, Cedric Alexander, Mansoor, Shelton Benjamin, Humberto Carrillo
Only Riddle gets an entrance and it is good to see Priest back in the ring. Gulak is out early (duh) and Cedric does his best Road Dogg impression by wrapping all four limbs around the bottom rope. Mahal dumps Benjamin and Mansoor throws Garza over, but Garza lands on one foot and hops around to get back in. Garza goes to eliminated Mansoor but Ali makes the save and dumps Garza instead. Then, as you might have expected, Ali tosses Mansoor.
The eliminations are teased among everyone else until Mahal tosses Truth. Mahal sends Tozawa out as well in a scary landing, allowing Gulak to steal the 24/7 Title. Then Truth gets it back from Truth and Tozawa takes it from him because this is still a thing. Cue Omos to pull both of the Vikings out and then beat them up as we take a break. Back with Hardy, Priest, Mahal, Riddle and Cedric still in.
That means a Priest vs. Mahal slugout with Priest kicking him out in a bit of a surprise. Cedric reverses a Twist of Fate and tosses Hardy out, setting up a lot of trash talking. Priest gets rid of Cedric and Priest starts striking away, only to get German suplexed down. The Bromission goes on but Priest sends him to the apron for the break. Riddle hangs on and grabs it again but Priest gets back inside. They fight to the apron again and this time Riddle knocks him out for the win at 14:48.
Rating: C-. They kept it fast paced enough here and moved some stories forward, but it’s rather tricky to rate these things. That being said, this was a battle royal for a spot in a match to determine a future shot at a champion at any time, with a wrestler appearing in another wrestler’s place. That should be enough to downgrade it a bit.
Riddle demands Randy Orton’s music be played.
Video on Shayna Baszler vs. Alexa Bliss.
Shayna Baszler is shuffling a deck of cards (there is a Shayna Baszler Queen Of Spades deck but it’s not them) when Nia Jax and Reginald come in to mock her for it. Baszler says it keeps her from hitting people in the face but now she needs to deal with Alexa Bliss and the doll. They all leave and Bliss is watching.
AJ Styles is ready for Riddle and doesn’t like the suggestion that Omos cheated the Viking Raiders in the battle royal.
Nikki Cross loves being a superhero and is so glad that she is in Money in the Bank. She is one win away from being a superhero, making her Nikki ASH: Almost A Superhero. There’s your reference to the released WWE writer.
Nikki Cross vs. Shayna Baszler
Reginald and Nia Jax are here too. Cross starts fast with a crossbody but Shayna sends her hard into the corner to take over. Cue Alexa Bliss for a distraction though and Cross dives onto everyone as we take a break. Back with Shayna kicking the knee out and hitting a gutwrench faceplant for two. A running knee in the corner connects but a Bliss distraction lets Cross hit a tornado DDT. Jax goes over to glare at Bliss, who starts mind controlling her. Reginald breaks it up so Bliss kicks Jax in the leg and gives Reginald a low blow before leaving. The distraction rollup gives Baszler two so Cross grabs la majistral for the pin at 9:42.
Rating: D+. Another match where they got their weird supernatural deal in and moved on, all while making sure to turn Baszler into even more of a lower. I like the idea of Cross winning something for a change, but egads man. What did Baszler ever do to deserve losing so much in this horrible angle?
We look back at Bobby Lashley destroying Xavier Woods last week.
Here is Kofi Kingston for a chat. Last week, his best friend Xavier Woods was locked in the Cell with Bobby Lashley and put in everything he had, like he always does. Woods showed he can hang at that level and he should get the respect he deserves. Kofi was forced to watch Woods in the Hurt Lock from outside the Cell and now it is time for some revenge.
Cue MVP, with Lashley’s women, to laugh off the idea that Kingston is going to be able to beat Lashley. Kingston thinks Lashley is going soft though, and that is coming from a unicorn wearing, pancake tossing hip swiveler. MVP had to save Lashley from losing the title a few weeks back and Kingston knows he can win. Every week, a layer is stripped away from Lashley and by the time we get to Money in the Bank, Lashley might look like MVP.
Kingston talks about never taking time off as WWE Champion, including taking the title to his hometown in Ghana to show that anything is possible. MVP has Lashley on vacation and taking days off and someone is going to take the title from him. That is going to be Kingston at Money in the Bank. MVP thinks Kingston did all that stuff to feed his own ego and is sounding as confident as Woods did last week.
Kingston says Woods is going to be back next week and thinks MVP has been milking his knee injury for the better part of six months. MVP says he isn’t cleared for combat or else he would take Kingston down. That’s enough for Kingston to go to the floor and, after ducking a cane shot, hit Trouble In Paradise. That’s a bit aggressive over someone not medically cleared.
We recap Doudrop turning on Eva Marie last week.
Eva Marie says Doudrop made a mistake last week so tonight it’s a rematch so the Eva-Lution can continue. Doudrop looks annoyed.
Asuka/Naomi vs. Doudrop/Eva Marie
Doudrop plants Naomi to start but misses a backsplash, allowing the tag off to Asuka. That means a missile dropkick into the corner and a kick to the face staggers Doudrop again. The Asuka Lock goes on but Doudrop walks over for the tag to Eva…who drops to the mat. Asuka goes after Doudrop but gets knocked down. Naomi gets the same and it’s a seated crossbody to give Doudrop the pin on Asuka at 2:19.
Eva Marie claims victory and Doudrop isn’t happy.
Miz and John Morrison talk Money in the Bank cashing in strategy. Ricochet comes in to say not so fast and steals the Drip Stick to spray them down.
Ricochet vs. John Morrison
Miz is on commentary as Ricochet blocks a kick to start and hits a slam. Morrison takes him down into an armbar but Ricochet fights up and kicks him to the floor. The baseball slide hits but Ricochet can’t bring himself to hit Miz. Instead Ricochet dives over said chair and hurricanranas Morrison, setting up a Drip Stick blast to Miz.
We take a break and come back with Ricochet striking away, including a knee to Morrison’s chin. A dolling Death Valley Driver and a basement clothesline get two on Morrison but Morrison is back with a knee to the face for the same. Starship Pain misses and Ricochet knocks him to the floor, with Morrison bailing over the barricade to avoid a dive. Morrison sits on the barricade so Ricochet hits a dive for a crazy disappearing crash. They’re both done and that’s a double countout at 10:04.
Rating: C+. The ending alone deserves a boost as those two disappeared over that barricade. That being said, this was the same thing that WWE does every year with the Money in the Bank participants: nothing matches which change nothing for the pay per view, which will reset everything and ignore what has happened in the previous few weeks.
We look at Charlotte beating Rhea Ripley via DQ at Hell In A Cell.
Charlotte talks about how she and Natalya and Tamina know what is expected from them.
Charlotte/Natalya/Tamina vs. Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke/Rhea Ripley
Hold on though as a huge brawl breaks out before the bell. Everyone fights on the floor and we take a break before the match starts. Dana headscissors Natalya to start but gets sent outside where Tamina offers a distraction. Charlotte gets in a shot to the back of the head of her own, allowing her to hit a cheap shot on Ripley. Back in and the beating continues, with Tamina stomping away in the corner.
Charlotte goes after the ribs but a slam is reversed into a cradle for two. The kickout sends Brooke into the corner for the tag to Ripley though and it’s time to pick up the pace. Natalya comes in and gets kicked in the head as everything breaks down. Mandy slips out of a pair of Sharpshooter attempt but Charlotte makes a blind tag. The big boot to the jaw finishes Mandy at 5:33.
Rating: D+. The pre-match brawl was good but things go downhill as soon as the bell rings. There is only so much you can do with a couple of losers like Rose and Brooke and that was apparent here. I’m sure they’ll get some fluke win and that’s going to be enough for the title match, but it isn’t like they have done anything to make the build work.
Post match Charlotte poses but Rhea chop blocks her. Charlotte is limping.
Jaxson Ryker whips himself as the 24/7 goofs come in. R-Truth stops to ask if Ryker hates himself or something. Ryker explains the idea of his strap match with Elias and says he is exploring the ways to inflict the most pain. Truth: “Thank you for sharing man.” He asks if can borrow the strap after the match so he can lasso Akira Tozawa. Ryker keeps whipping himself and Truth runs off. Your new Raw star people.
Elias vs. Jaxson Ryker
Strap match and Elias jumps him before the bell. Ryker gets tied over the post so Elias can pull him up by his arms for some pain. Back in and Elias hits a jumping knee to knock Ryker out of the air for two. That’s enough to fire Ryker back up though and a few whips set up the swinging Boss Man Slam for the pin at 3:31.
Rating: D. So yeah the push continues as Ryker’s entire deal seems to be that he’s really serious and intense. The strap added a few spots here but these rather short gimmick matches are always kind of hard to take. Pretty much nothing to see in this one, but Ryker is probably going to be pushed pretty hard going forward.
Riddle, channeling Randy Orton, is warming up when Damian Priest comes up to give him a pep talk. After a Burger King plug, Riddle holds out his hand to do the lock and key deal, but when Priest doesn’t get it, Riddle admits that he isn’t Orton. Priest knew, and wishes him luck.
Drew McIntyre talks about how tonight’s triple threat match is like the Scots vs. the English vs. the Irish. They were all fighting once (Drew: “I can’t remember why.”) and tonight he is going to win. I’m not sure if I like these history lessons or not but they’re energized.
Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Riddle vs. AJ Styles
Omos is here with Styles and if Riddle wins, Randy Orton gets the spot. McIntyre starts fast with the overhead belly to belly suplexes, followed by the crazy high backdrop to Styles. It’s too early for the Claymore so they go outside, where McIntyre loads up a powerbomb onto the announcers’ table. Riddle dives out of the air to break that up but Styles posts both of them to take over. Styles and Riddle fight to suplex the other through the announcers’ table until Riddle settles for one on the floor.
Back up and an enziguri drops McIntyre, allowing Riddle and Styles to slam him through the announcers’ table. We take a break and come back with Styles working on Riddle’s leg but wisely going outside to stomp on the still down McIntyre. Back in and a half crab has Riddle in trouble, with Styles being smart enough to keep it on when Riddle makes the rope. A brainbuster gives AJ two but Riddle is back up with a hanging DDT. The RKO is loaded up but AJ is back with something close to a Burning Hammer for two.
McIntyre is back in though and gets rid of AJ, setting up the reverse Alabama Slam to Riddle. The Claymore misses though and Riddle dumps McIntyre out to the floor. Riddle is back up with a penalty kick to each of them and the springboard Floating Bro hits both of them for a big crash. Some kicks to the chest have Styles and McIntyre down again but Styles sends a kick into the steps.
Riddle thinks his (bare) foot is broken so it’s time for some medics to take him out. We come back from another break with Riddle gone and McIntyre possibly tweaking his knee. A neckbreaker takes Styles down but he slips out of a superplex attempt. The fireman’s carry neckbreaker gets two, as does a Michinoku Driver to Styles.
A quick Calf Crusher has McIntyre in trouble but here is Riddle with a taped up ankle for the Bromission to break things up. AJ goes for the ankle for the save but McIntyre is back up. An enziguri, with the bad foot, drops McIntyre to the floor and Riddle jumping knees AJ out of the air. The RKO hits Styles but Omos pulls him out at two. The Claymore gives McIntyre the pin on Riddle at 26:41.
Rating: B-. This was really long and the ending was a bit disappointing, but at least they had some solid action to fill in a large chunk of the show. Riddle fighting for his best friend is a good story and I could go for more of that in the future, though I don’t think Orton is going to be overly happy with his partner taking the fall. Good main event overall, but they could have chopped it down a bit.
Overall Rating: C-. The main event bailed out a good bit of this show but the warm streak came to an abrupt halt here. A lot of these matches were pretty dry or had annoying results (again, mainly the women’s division, which has fallen off a cliff in recent weeks, and it is still not the wrestlers’ fault) and a lot of this felt like filler instead of building to the pay per view. That is where this season starts to get hard to watch and you could feel it starting here. It wasn’t the worst (the lack of Lily continues to help a lot) but it was also not a show that you needed to see.
Riddle won a battle royal last eliminating Damian Priest
Nikki Cross b. Shayna Baszler – La majistral
Doudrop/Eva Marie b. Asuka/Naomi – Running crossbody to Asuka
Ricochet vs. John Morrison went to a double countout
Charlotte/Tamina/Natalya b. Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke/Rhea Ripley – Big boot to Rose
Jaxson Ryker b. Elias – Swinging Boss Man Slam
Drew McIntyre b. Riddle and AJ Styles – Claymore to Riddle
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