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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
MAY 3, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT YUENGLING CENTER (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
Backstage Correspondents: Kayla Braxton
Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest co-host Frank Peteani of PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.
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-They began with a recap video from last week’s episode with WWE Champion Bobby Lashley lamenting the possibility of what we know eventually became a triple threat match at the upcoming pay-per-view. They had M.V.P.’s promo both shown and as a voiceover as they highlighted the Drew McIntyre-Braun Strowman match, and T-Bar & Mace’s eventual distraction that led to Strowman’s victory.
-They showed Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville in the back with M.V.P. with the latter saying he could beat either of his opponents in competition. M.V.P. checked the coin Pearce was about to flip to determine tonight’s challenger for Lashley. Of course, both McIntyre and then Strowman interrupted. They began yelling at each other as Pearce regained control by flipping the coin. Strowman won, so he faces Lashley tonight. He told M.V.P. he was going to give everyone a preview. M.V.P. said Strowman won’t get close to the title, and McIntyre said he’d be the one to pick up the scraps. M.V.P. said naw, it’s about being in The Hurt Lock and losing consciousness.
-Adnan Virk welcomed us with more gusto tonight as he and Corey Graves hyped the main event between Lashley and Strowman by showing highlights of their Raw encounter that led to the stage demolishment.
-Mike Rome then introduced A.J. Styles & Omos (they exist!) after a three-week absence with nary a mention of their names. Omos had his hands taped for this Tag Team Championship match against The New Day. They took mics, and Styles said for those of us who were foolish enough not to tune in to WrestleMania Saturday, they missed them becoming Tag Team Champion. Styles reminded us it was Omos’ first match ever and that he “wrecked The New Day” and will likely do the same tonight.
Styles said before Omos tosses them around like ragdolls, he had a question for “the WWE Universe,” and asked if they missed them. He said of course they did since they’re the Tag Team Champion. He continued by saying he knows there’s questions, like where were they? He said they went to party and celebrate off the coast of the Caribbean with pina coladas, getting sunburnt, since that was better than throwing tomatoes like The New Day.
He said officially, “A.J. Styles is a Grand Slam Champion,” before saying it only took him five years and added, “That’s pretty quick.” He said he didn’t want to make The New Day jealous, but then they interrupted. They danced out as Graves said the match is next. Xavier Woods said those two made a hell of an impact and that’s “just incredible.” Kofi Kingston said he wasn’t even sure if they worked here anymore, but said that was the exact work ethic that led to them being 11-time champions (satirically). Kingston said that’s what champs are made of, right? Styles & Omos said they didn’t know.
Kingston said all jokes aside, “Let me tell your tall ass something about us: there’s a reason we’re 11-time Tag Team Champion, and that’s because every time we fall, we dust ourselves off and rise again,” before ending with some more related clichés. Kingston harkened to his WWE Championship victory and said it was physically and emotionally draining, but he came the next night to Raw, not even on the roster, because that’s the type of champion he is and that’s the type of champion The New Day elevated him to be.
He laid into Styles & Omos more for taking time off, and said that’s now how they roll, bruh. Omos, said enough, and that he’s had enough of these morons joking around. He said he didn’t knock enough sense into them, but after tonight, neither of them will be able to walk. Woods said he hoped they enjoyed their victory lap, but reality is that The New Day will become the 12-time WWE World Tag Team Champion. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Give me THIS The New Day, and especially Kofi Kingston, every week. Please.)
(1) A.J. STYLES & OMOS (c) vs. THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) – Tag Team Championship match
An AAPI Heritage Month commercial played that highlighted both Asuka (Japanese) and Roman Reigns (Samoan) prior to an NXT hype video for tomorrow night. Styles and Woods began the match, but then Styles smiled and tagged in Omos as Woods said, “No, no, no!” Graves said this is Omos’ first match on Monday nights. Woods was cautious and hit a few leg kicks, which Omos willingly took, before Omos grabbed him and threw him. He then hit a clubbing forearm across Woods’ back, then threw him into their corner to tag in Kingston. Kingston willingly entered the match.
He took the same tactic as Woods by moving around at a distance and hitting leg kicks as Omos just smiled. He caught a kick, spun around Kingston, and literally just shoved him to the mat, causing whiplash. Kingston countered a rushing Omos with a kick, Woods tagged in, they hit a double dropkick, but Omos used the momentum to bounce off of the ropes with a double clothesline. He tagged in Styles, but as they argued with the ref over the tag, Woods rolled up Styles for a two, then enziguri him to the outside.
He hit a dropkick through the ropes, then Kingston took his turn. He stopped when Omos appeared on the apron, then turned around and instead leapt off of the top rope doing his trust fall. Styles kind of missed catching him, but Kinston popped up and celebrated as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Woods holding Styles in an armlock, but Styles fought back with strikes. Woods kicked Styles’ knee out, then hit a sliding flatliner for a two-count. They then hit a two-person Unicorn Stampede in the corner as they just stomped a mudhole in Styles’ chest. They finished with an Irish whip-assisted dropkick into a prone Styles as Kingston covered for a two-count.
Kingston applied a modified wristlock, but Styles fought out. However, Kingston hit a leaping knee that crumpled Styles for a two-count (replays showed it hit right on Styles’ chin). Styles landed a jawbreaker, then an overhead kick, but Woods tagged in. Styles rolled out of a belly-to-back and Omos tagged in. He grabbed Woods by the face, clotheslined Kingston while holding Woods, then mushed Woods to the mat. He hit pendulum backbreakers to both men, really applying the dramatics in motion and facial expressions.
Omos then hit running splashes to both men in opposite corners, then lifted Kingston with a sky-high spinebuster. Woods kicked at Omos’ knee, but then Omos kicked Woods in the face to the mat. Styles tagged in, climbed onto Omos’ shoulders, and hit the Phenomenal 4-Arm to Woods for the victory. Graves said this may be the most dominant tag team ever.
WINNER: A.J. Styles & Omos at 11:39 (Phenomenal 4-Arm) to retain the Tag Team Championship
-They cut to the back where Deville told Charlotte Flair she heard her concern. Flair walked away as Pearce walked in. He berated Deville, telling her she’s really overstepping her bounds lately. She stared at him with a smirk as they cut to Lashley & M.V.P. preparing for an interview with Kayla Braxton. They hyped the main event as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Omos looked a bit more plodding tonight, with his timing slightly off at a few spots. Still, you can see why they’re so invested in him. Graves should really cool it with the hyperbolic statements, but that could be said about a lot of shtick.)
-They returned with a vignette for the return of Eva Marie. Yup, she’s back: All Red Everything. She said she’s always been in control of her life, and part of that is giving back. She said she wants to be someone others look up to, so she’s back where her journey started, and it’s the “Eva-Lution.” Graves was predictably excited, as was Virk while Byron Saxton looked perplexed.
-They cut to Braxton in the back as she welcomed her guests, Lashley & M.V.P. She asked about luck being on Strowman’s side, but M.V.P. jumped in before Lashley could answer to Lashley’s annoyance. He said add a four-leaf clover and lucky rabbit’s foot and he still wouldn’t have enough luck to beat Lashley. He said Strowman should be lucky to even be in the ring with Lashley, or unlucky depending on your perspective. Lashley jumped in and said he’s much more of a ferocious warrior, a freak of nature, than either of his opponents. He pointed at his title and said they’re going to have to pry it out of his hands and he’s not going to let that happen.
-Virk shifted to a video recap of last week’s segment with The Miz, John Morrison, Elias, & Jaxson Ryker being interrupted by The New Day & Damian Priest, culminating in the tomato throwing segment, complete with slowmo. They showed The New Day icing in the back after their match with Elias & Ryker lying in wait with tomatoes. They threw, but they hit Randy Orton. Riddle rode by and said, “Hi Randy.”
-They cut to the ring as Flair made her entrance, complete with pyro. They hyped her match with Dana Brooke as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: They’re definitely planting the seeds for Lashley to break away on his own. He seemed rather annoyed at M.V.P. answering for him as Braxton directed her question at the WWE Champion. Still, he came off well, building off of last week’s excellent presentation.)
(2) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. DANA BROOKE (w/Mandy Rose)
They returned with Flair posing in the ring before shifting to recapping last week’s reinstatement of Flair by Deville. Brooke & Rose entered next, I think to new music. Of course, they flexed, with Brooke flexing on the apron before entering the ring and once again flexing on the turnbuckle.
They started with Flair looking amused as she just toyed with Brooke. She said Brooke was “still her bitch,” which prompted Brooke to fight back. She hit a handspring whirling head scissors, then hit a dropkick. Flair hit her backbreaker-flatliner combo, the latter into the second rope. She stomped a couple of times before attempting a pin for a two-count. She laid Brooke along the second rope and kicked her face, scoring a two-count.
She threw Brooke out, talked some smack, then got hung up on the top rope as she attempted to bring Brook into the ring. Flair responded with a clothesline to buy some time, but Brooke attempted a sunset bomb where she landed hard. Flair maintained her footing and stomped away. She attempted a running kick in the corner, but Brooke dodged and pounded away for the full five count. She hit a handspring elbow, then whipped Flair into the corner. She hit another handspring elbow.
She climbed to the top with Flair in position, and she hit the senton for a two-count to Brooke’s shock. Flair recovered in the corner, holding her gut, as Brooke set for another handspring elbow. Flair instead caught her with a chopblock in midair, applied the Figure Eight, and got the tap. She didn’t let up, so Rose entered and hit a big dropkick to the side of Flair. She then hit a pump knee to Flair to send her outside. Deville’s music as she made her way to the ring with Flair laughing. They cut to break. [c]
WINNER: Charlotte Flair at 4:14 by submission (Figure Eight)
-They aired a promo hyping McIntyre prior to returning with highlights of his last 14 months or so. It was effective in building up how much the WWE Championship means to him. They hyped an exclusive interview with him later.
-Deville and Flair were in the ring as Deville said as an official with the same power as Pearce, she’s willing to hear out Flair’s proposal. Flair said she was once again left out of a title opportunity even though she snapped Asuka’s two-year undefeated streak, the one who put Rhea Ripley on the map after she beat her last year for the NXT Championship, and that Ripley “stole” her spot at WrestleMania. She said she’s made mistakes and has learned from her mistakes, but the PPV would be a bigger deal if she was added.
She said Asuka and Ripley can only take the division so far, but adding her makes it that much more important. She said she’s original influencer of the WWE. She said, “I say, they do.” She said she gave Deville the opportunity to be an authority, and she made a courageous decision in reinstating Flair. However, she said love her or hate her, the division and the WWE Universe needs her.
She said she’s happy to oblige, but give her a match of her worth. She demanded to be added to the Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania Backlash. She told her to make a courageous decision and to be “fair to Flair.” Deville said it’s a compelling argument. She said the men have a triple threat match, so she added Flair. Immediately, Ripley’s music hit.
Ripley made her way and said she put up with a lot out of “this spoiled brat’s mouth,” but this is absolute crap. She said there was a reason she wasn’t in the match and why no one wants to see her in a match with with Asuka: “Charlotte, nobody likes you.” Ripley said she’s confident she can beat Asuka one-on-one because she already did. She said a triple threat match is unfair, and she should have known this was all a part of Deville’s plan.
Asuka’s music hit as she made her way to the ring. Asuka said this is bullcrap, and Deville said to watch her mouth. She said Flair is a crybaby, and mimed a baby crying. She said it doesn’t matter because she can beat both Flair and Ripley because she’s ready to become the Raw Women’s Champion.
Flair said that is why no one compares to her: they get thrown one curveball and they lose their minds. She said Ripley’s walking in with the title, but Flair will be walking out with it. RIpley dropped the mic and got in Deville’s face, saying Flair didn’t earn it. Flair attacked from behind, then Asuka attacked Flair. Asuka was that last competitor standing in the ring as the segment ended with Flair laughing and Ripley looking perturbed.
-They cut to Braxton in the back who welcomed Humberto Carrillo. She cut to a video recapping the last two weeks between Sheamus and Carrillo. Graves put over Carrillo’s fight and grit. Carrillo said Sheamus is a tough guy and bullies everyone because he thinks he can. Carrillo said he knows what it’s like to be bullied, but he won’t let Sheamus bully him. He said he’s going to challenge Sheamus, but Braxton suddenly yelled and ran as Sheamus attacked from behind and threw Carrillo around into a bunch of the equipment crates. He said there’s always next week to Carrillo as he left with Carrillo looking angry.
-The Miz & Morrison made their full entrance, complete with slowmo. Virk hyped Miz & Mrs. before advertising Morrison vs. Damian Priest as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It was awkward getting to the announcement with Deville immediately entering after the attack by Rose, leaving me to think she was going to reprimand them somehow. Flair continues to shine in this role, completely channeling all the criticisms and commentary around her character and presentation to the perfect degree. Ripley still seems like she’s trying to hard, and Asuka might be better turning it down 10 percent.)
-They returned with Deville’s announcement of the triple threat match and the subsequent “brawl” to end the segment. Deville was walking in the back as Pearce approached and asked what in the hell was that. He said they’re beyond abuse of power now and mentioned that they share an office and he didn’t hear from her even though that was their agreement. She said it was an urgent decision, but Pearce is right and they should be making decisions together. The camera lingered awkwardly on them.
-They cut back to the ring and replayed the tomato throwing segment again. The Miz & Morrison looked annoyed as The Miz said the last time he checked, he is one of the most decorated superstars in WWE history. Morrison called himself “America’s Moist Wanted” (yup, he did). The Miz said they were pelted by rotten tomatoes last week, and asked what kind of treatment that was for someone of his pedigree. He said regardless of people’s feelings toward him, his accolades are enough as he listed all of them. He said that’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, an all-time great who stacks up against anyone in WWE history.
He asked if any of the greats in WWE history would be subjected to that disrespect. Morrison was attempting to jump in, but The Miz kept going. He said Priest left them no choice but to have Morrison beat the respect into him. Morrison said “respectness isn’t good for dripness” or some crap. Priest then made his entrance. They aired a short promo where Priest said a bigmouth like The Miz wouldn’t last 10 seconds.
(3) JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz) vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Morrison started with a side headlock, but Priest hit a pop-up atomic drop, then spinning heel kick for a one-count. Priest applied an armlock, but he and Morrison began a series of reversal holds. Morrison went for Moonlight Drive, but Priest fought him off and clotheslined him over the top rope as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Morrison having his Irish whip reversed into a knee by Priest, but Morrison responded with some blows to Priest and a running knee to the face of a seated Priest for a two-count. They showed during commercial that Priest was hit with a springboard kick to the face. Morrison applied a rear chinlock, but shifted to knees as Priest gained his footing. Priest hit a flapjack as a counter to Morrison coming off of the ropes.
Priest hit a flurry of face and body shots, then a bevy of kicks before Morrison kicked Priest’s arm away. Morrison ducked a spin kick and hit a capoeira kick, but was hit with a forearm on a leaping clothesline attempt. Morrison rolled out of the Broken Arrow, but Priest hit a big lariat for a two-count. Priest climbed to the top rope, but The Miz jumped on the apron to distract Priest.
Morrison used the distraction to hit an avalanche Spanish Fly for only a two-count to the chagrin of The Miz, who berated the ref. Morrison set for Starship Pain, but Priest grabbed his foot to prevent the maneuver. The Miz distracted the ref as Morrison had Priest in an inside cradle, which allowed Priest to kick out. Priest hit the Thunderclap and Hit The Lights for the victory. They showed replays of the ending and called it a massive win for Priest.
WINNER: Damian Priest at 8:50 (Hit The Lights)
-They cut to the back with Mansoor signing a Raw contract. Sheamus walked in and said the Open Challenge might not happen with Carrillo. Sheamus turned to Mansoor, who introduced himself. Sheamus said he must be in the presence of greatness here and said tonight’s a big night for Mansoor. Sheamus said let’s make it better: accept the Open Challenge to face him. Sheamus said there’s no better way for the WWE Universe to get to know Mansoor than taking “one of these bad boys right to the head,” signaling a Brogue Kick. Mansoor said things change quick around here.
-They cut to the back with Braxton and M.V.P. He said tonight’s match shouldn’t be happening, and neither should the triple threat match. He said McIntyre & Lashley actually have a lot in common and listed a bunch of things off. He looked like he was thinking and said it wouldn’t surprise him if Lashley & McIntyre team up to take out Strowman so they can have their one-on-one match. They hyped the main event again with the same video of their previous Raw match with the imploding set as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Mansoor got the callup. Welcome to being in the same boat as Ricochet.)
-They returned with a promo for Booker T’s documentary on A&E this Sunday.
(4) LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN
The match was already ongoing when they returned with Alexander and Metalik in the ring, so the time is just what was televised. Metalik got the better of Alexander with a lot of lucha and using the ropes. He hit his missile dropkick for a two-count. As he rushed Alexander, the latter hit a Michinoku Driver for a two-count, then held onto his foe as he tagged in Benjamin. Benjamin hit a big snap bodyslam, then another. He whipped Metalik into the ropes and hit a huge backbody drop for a two-count.
Benjamin hit a pendulum backbreaker and scored a two-count. He tagged in Alexander, who stomped away at Metalik in a neutral corner. Metalik fought off Alexander and hit a bulldog. Both men made tags. Dorado landed on his feet after a springboard moonsault, but Benjamin planted him with a clothesline that flipped around Dorado for a two-count. Benjamin continued punching away at Dorado, then attempted a pop-up powerbomb. Dorado tried reversing into a rana, but Benjamin threw him off and booted him for a two-count.
In a neutral corner, Benjamin whipped Dorado across, but Dorado hit a tornado DDT. He sent Alexander over the top, tagged in Metalik, then hit a springboard splash to Alexander on the outside as Metalik hit his top rope elbow for the victory. Benjamin was holding his shoulder as he rolled out of the ring.
WINNER: Lucha House Party at 4:30 of televised time (top rope elbow)
-After the match, Alexander grabbed the mic and demanded Benjamin look at him. He said they went from champions in The Hurt Business to this? He said no wonder they were kicked out, but he said Benjamin was the weak link and he was the one who was kicked out. Alexander said he should have left him too. He asked how many years Benjamin has been here, and how many years he has left. He said unlike Benjamin, he’s in his prime, then ended their team and left the ring.
-They showed Angel Garza walking in the back with a rose as Drew Gulak asked if the rose was for him. Garza asked if that was funny, and Gulak said it’s funny that a ladies man doesn’t have any ladies. He said the rose smells worse than Garza’s win-loss record. He challenged Garza to a match, who said he’s going to shove the rose up Gulak’s ass. OK.
(Hazelwood’s Take: Breaking up The Hurt Business is the single dumbest decision they’ve made on Raw this year. Yes, there was some truth to what Alexander said, mainly about primes, but there was still no need to break up the group and now, the team.)
-They returned with birthday wishes for The Rock and season two of Young Rock being picked up by NBC. Benjamin was walking in the back looking dejected as Braxton approached. He said he survived so long because he can take the hit. He said he’s seen so many bright young superstars like Alexander come along. He said the only reason Alexander was in The Hurt Business is because he was the one who saw something in him. He said Alexander’s a grown man and can do whatever he wants, but Alexander will respect him. Benjamin said he let Alexander say his piece, but if Alexander continues like this, he’ll just be another bright young superstar who fizzled out as he survives.
(5) ANGEL GARZA vs. DREW GULAK
Garza made his entrance as Gulak was already in the ring. Garza immediately pulled off his pants and threw them at Gulak, allowing him to hit a dropkick. He kept up the attack, and hit a bunch of mounted punches as Gulak covered up. He asked if that was funny. He went hit a delayed butterfly backbreaker, but then Gulak responded with chop and kick, then some rear chinlock takedowns. He applied the hold.
Garza used the ropes to bounce off and escape, then hit a big clothesline and pump dropkick to Gulak. He punched him in the corner, then hit a big running boot to Gulak’s face in the corner as he was seated. Garza hit the Wing Clipper for the victory. They showed replays after as Garza grabbed his rose, then lifted Gulak’s tights before shoving the rose down. He then hit a running PK to the groin of a prone Gulak.
WINNER: Angel Garza at 2:17 (Wing Clipper)
-They showed Riddle in the back riding on his scooter as he approached the Viking Raiders. He asked if they caught the NFL Draft and if they cheered for the Vikings or the Raiders. Erik (I think?) said he’s a Browns fans, to which Riddle said he didn’t see that coming. The other one responded and said they’re both Vikings and Raiders. Riddle saw Orton and said hey bro, but Orton said they’re not bros. Riddle said technically they’re not, but they have common goals and continued before stopping as Orton glared at him. Riddle said he knows he needs to get serious, but they’re undefeated.
Orton said they’ve literally had one match…so why don’t they go out there and get themselves another victory? Riddle responded with excitement and mentioned he had the Speedos all ready to go. Orton motioned for him to zip his lips and give him the metaphorical key. Riddle did and they left, Orton walking and Riddle riding. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: OK, Shelton! That might have been the best Benjamin promo I’ve seen.)
-They returned with a hype video for Strowman, similar to the one for McIntyre earlier. They’re doing their best to relay to viewers both that the WWE Championship means a lot to these three men (including the Champion) and that McIntyre and Strowman both are legitimate threats to win the championship. They even showed his old footage of tipping a semi. They hyped the main event match between Lashley and Strowman.
-They replayed in slowmo Garza sticking the rose into Gulak’s tights by the rear. Riddle then made his entrance riding his scooter, followed by his new partner in Orton as R-K-Bro set for their second match together. Saxton was way, way too enthusiastic about those 3D birds in Riddle’s entrance. Graves said people need to hold up since they’re not a full-fledged tag team just yet, having only had one match. Ryker’s music (his actual entrance music) hit as he entered with Ryker.
(6) R-K-BRO (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. ELIAS & JAXSON RYKER
Orton and Elias began, with Orton immediately beating on Elias in a neutral corner with punches and uppercuts. Elias responded with gut kick after the ref separated them. He tagged in Ryker, who Graves called “a machine” (maybe in how rigidly he moves). Orton hit a patented eye poke before tagging in Ryker. He attempted a standing Kimura, but Ryker powered it into a bodyslam.
Riddle quickly hit a go-behind into a standing Bromission attempt, but Ryker rammed him into their corner where Elias tagged in. Ryker held Riddle as Elias hit a leaping knee for a two-count. He pounded on Riddle in a neutral corner, then whipped him off of the ropes and hit a back elbow for a two-count. Elias tagged in Ryker, then hit a vertical suplex into a backbreaker across Ryker’s knees for a two-count.
Ryker hit a slingshot suplex to Riddle for another two-count, then applied a modified chinlock. He worked to prevent Riddle from making a tag, but Riddle rolled out of a suplex and hit a ripcord Final Flash knee. My stream froze, unfortunately, but returned to see Riddle hit the Floating Bro for the victory. Virk said they’re 2-0, and Graves asked what do you get when you cross a Viper and a Stallion?
WINNER: R-K-Bro at 5:07 (Floating Bro)
-They cut to the back with Braxton, who welcomed McIntyre. She asked about tonight’s match and McIntyre said from his perspective, he doesn’t care who wins as long as they beat the hell out of each other. She asked about Mace & T-Bar, who McIntyre called “T-Bag.” He said he has a lot of questions, including why they took off their stupid masks and kept their stupid names. He said what’s meant to be is him caving in Lashley and Strowman’s head to regain the WWE Championship.
Strowman approached and said he gets it, they don’t think he belongs here, but he earned his right after beating McIntyre last week. He said he’s walking out as the new WWE Champion. McIntyre said for now, Strowman just needs to leave. They glared at each other as Strowman slowly walked away.
-Sheamus’ music hit as he made his entrance for the Open Challenge. They cut to break as he posed on the turnbuckle. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It’s interesting that Braxton is the only backstage correspondent tonight when it’s been Sarah Schreiber and Kevin Patrick both the past few weeks. She’s getting in a lot of work with all of the backstage segments tonight.)
-They returned with Sheamus still posing on the second turnbuckle. They replayed his attack Carrillo earlier in the night. Sheamus looked pleased. Mansoor’s music hit. They hyped Mansoor’s potential, but nothing about his winning streak.
(7) SHEAMUS (c) vs. MANSOOR – Non-title United States Championship Open Challenge
Sheamus threw him with a headlock takeover, then another one. Mansoor applied his own, but Sheamus shoved him off and hit a shoulder tackle. Mansoor attempted a leapfrog, but Sheamus caught him and placed him in the corner. Mansoor pushed back, but was slapped by Sheamus. He laid into Sheamus, then hit some moves and a cradle pin for a one-count.
Sheamus finally regained his composure and kneed Mansoor, then placed him seated on the top rope before clotheslining him over the top and allowing the ref to count. Mansoor reentered at six (Saxton said “just in time”). Sheamus then hit his Ten Beats of The Bodhran before clotheslining Mansoor onto the apron and to the floor. He military pressed Mansoor across the barricade. Mansoor yelled in agony, grabbing his midsection as the ref counted.
Mansoor reentered just before nine with an angry look on his face. Sheamus looked confused, and then was hit with a bunch of back elbows by Mansoor. Mansoor rolled out of a suplex, hit a dropkick to the knee that forced Sheamus into a turnbuckle, hit an enziguri, then a tornado DDT for barely a two-count. He clubbed Sheamus on the back, then climbed the top.
Sheamus clubbed his leg out from underneath him, causing him to crash to the mat. He hit White Noise, set Mansoor in the corner sitting, then set for the Brogue Kick. Out of nowhere, Carrillo hit a huge dropkick to Sheamus’ face for the DQ. He forced Sheamus outside, then hit a big tope. Sheamus fought him off, reentered the ring, then hit Carrillo with a Brogue Kick as Carrillo chased. He hit one to Mansoor for good measure, then grabbed his title and held it high.
WINNER: Sheamus at 4:27 by disqualification
-They hyped “Alexa’s Playground” next as Alexa Bliss said she can’t wait to tell everyone about the adventures she had with Lily. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: A good first showing for Mansoor as they built up his resiliency and fortitude. They also maintained that fire that Carrillo showed last week. We’re getting a triple threat at Backlash where Mansoor is going to pin Carrillo both maintain his win streak and not have Sheamus eat a pin.)
-They returned with a closeup of Lily. Bliss said Lily’s a big fan, and really enjoyed tonight’s show. She said Lily loves to play hide-and-seek, but she always finds Lily in peculiar positions. She said Lily’s gotten her hands dirty, and her favorite color is red. She said wherever Lily goes, trouble seems to follow. She brought Lily to her ear as she was “told” that a certain someone may have caught her beady little eyes, but that’s their dirty little secret. She said don’t blame her for what happens next. She then started singing a song, “Lily, Lily, what did you make me do? The world goes crazy just at the sight of you. We have so much fun together, and we’ll be friends forever. But what’s that scream? Is this a dream? Lily, what did you make me do?” Her words became more exasperated and sad toward the end, but she just laughed to end the segment.
-Naomi & Lana made their entrance next for the Tag Team Championship “opportunity” in WWE parlance. They hyped the match as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: They didn’t hint at WHO Lily has her “beady little eyes on,” but I want to assume it’s Flair and/or whoever emerges as Women’s Champion. Then again, it could be, as Wade Keller posited last week during the post-show, that it could be Riddle and she uses Riddle to turn him against Orton.)
-They returned with a Raw Talk promo featuring McIntyre, Ripley, and Priest.
(8) NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER (c) vs. NAOMI & LANA – Women’s Tag Team Championship match
Jax & Baszler were already in the ring when they cut back. Naomi and Jax started. Jax hit a big pop-up then tagged in Baszler. Jax missed a legdrop, then Baszler couldn’t prevent Naomi from making the tag. Lana hit a top rope crossbody for a two-count. After some maneuvering, Lana hit a side Russian legsweep for a two-count. Naomi tagged in and they hit some double teams, resulting in a two-count (it was a good sequence). They knocked Jax off of the apron, then hit the double facebuster on Baszler.
Jax pulled Naomi, but Lana kicked her. She then rolled up Baszler, but Reginald distracted the ref. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch, but Lana rolled through. Baszler applied it again for the victory.
WINNER: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler at 2:03 by submission (Kirifuda Clutch) to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championship
-M.V.P. was in Gorilla with Lashley and said Strowman is strong, but he’s not Lashley strong. He said this is a battle of bulls, but Strowman’s will will break. He said there can only be one dominant bull, and that bull is Lashley. They made their entrance, this time without the video. The announcers hyped Lashley’s confidence as they cut to commercial with Lashley posing on the turnbuckle and pyro going off in the background. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: They continue to drop the ball with the women’s tag team division. It’s a shame because they do have a lot of talented women on the roster.)
-They returned with M.V.P. & Lashley waiting in in the ring, the WWE Champion jumping around to stay loose. Strowman made his entrance next, complete with the smoke because, you know, STROWMAN EXPRESS RAHHHHH!!!!!!! Strowman’s entrance was with about 14 minutes left in the show.
(9) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/M.V.P.) (c) vs. BRAUN STROWMAN – Non-title match
They began with a lockup, Lashley showing no fear of the larger Strowman. Lashley gained the advantage, but didn’t break cleanly as hit a shoulder thrust. Strowman threw some back elbows, but Lashley immediately responded with strikes. Lashley attempted a shoulder tackle, but bounced right off. Lashley then hit a neckbreaker for a two-count, countering a Strowman lariat.
Lashley charged, but Strowman hit a lariat this time. Lashley slipped out of the powerslam, but Strowman sent him over and to the outside. He attempted to reenter, but Strowman knocked him off, then exited to throw Lashley back into the ring. He then hit a corner avalanche, but Lashley got his boots up on the second one. Lashley then hit a clothesline for a one-count.
Strowman fought out, and as he set for his forearm smash across the chest, McIntyre’s music hit as he made his way to the ring. Strowman looked mad, struck Lashley, then exited the ring to meet McIntyre. Lashley used the distraction to leap and strike down Strowman from the apron. He put his fist out to McIntyre for a bump, with M.V.P. egging him on. McIntyre looked amused as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Lashley holding Strowman in some kind of modified Cobra Clutch and McIntyre on commentary. Strowman fought out, grabbed Lashley to talk smack, but then was hit with a flatliner for a two-count. Lashley stood on Strowman’s throat in the corner, then laid him across the second rope to inflict some damage with crossfaces. He then threw Strowman shoulder-first into the ring post as M.V.P. yelled for Lashley to make an example out of Strowman.
Lashley just mushed Strowman’s face in the corner with elbows, then hit a snap suplex on Strowman easily. He then tore at Strowman’s mouth before working on him in the corner more. He ran off of the ropes and hit a shoudler thrust to Strowman’s gut in the corner. After some corner miscommunication, he punched Strowman, posed, then hit a running forearm that prompted Graves to say that Strowman went limp.
Lashley climbed the second rope to hit the 10 punches to a wobbly Strowman, who was on one knee. Lashley posed, but Strowman used that opportunity to lift him in an electric chair and hit the move. He draped his arm over Lashley’s chest for a two-count, selling the fatigue of the match. Strowman charged and hit an avalanche in the corner, then a suplex of his own to Lashley as Strowman dropped to a knee to recover. He hit a big boot, then set for the powerslam.
Lashley slipped out, tried for The Hurt Lock, but Strowman resisted and turned it into a sidewalk slam. Lashley rolled outside. Strowman went for the Strowman Express, but Lashley side-stepped and Strowman went right into McIntyre. Strowman and McIntyre got in each other’s faces. Strowman reentered the ring, but McIntyre climbed the apron. Strowman was distracted, and Lashley used that to hit a spear with a lot of light for the victory.
Immediately after the match, McIntyre hit a Claymore on Lashley, then one to Strowman, again with a lot of light. McIntyre’s music hit as they announced Lashley vs. McIntyre for next week to end the show.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 13:16 (spear)
(Hazelwood’s Take: You knew you weren’t getting a clean finish, and the same holds true next week. It does make the WWE Champion look kind of weak needing a distraction ONLY because of how much he discussed being confident and able to beat both men one-on-one. Sure, it’s Strowman, but they’ve been hyping Lashley as unstoppable.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A decent episode, which at this point is all you can hope for with Raw. There wasn’t a lot, but it was a good show in terms of developing storylines and building/highlighting new(er) acts like Carrillo, Garza, and Mansoor. The women’s division is still a bit perplexing, particularly the tag division, but there’s still time until the next PPV to work things out.