5/10 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Lashley vs. McIntyre non-title go-home match, six-woman & eight-man tag matches, final Backlash build, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
MAY 10, 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 Correspondent(s): Kevin Patrick

Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest co-host Jonny Fairplay to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

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[HOUR ONE]

-They began with a recap video of last week’s non-title main event match between WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and one of his challengers this Sunday at WrestleMania Backlash, Braun Strowman. It included Strowman and Drew McIntyre’s tussle that led to Lashley’s victory and subsequent attack by McIntyre, hitting both men with Claymores. The intro video package played. Adnan Virk welcomed us, then Corey Graves hyped tonight’s non-title main event between Lashley and McIntyre.

(1) CHARLOTTE FLAIR & NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE & ASUKA – Six-woman tag team match

Flair made her entrance first as the camera panned to the three announcers, who hyped the Women’s Championship triple threat match Sunday. Jax & Baszler (with Reginald) made their entrance next. Rose & Brooke then entered, of course flexing, waiting at the ramp for their partner, who entered last. Asuka, unfortunately, posed by flexing with them in the ring.

Rose and Jax started (I think, my stream froze right before the match began), but Jax beat Rose into their corner and tagged in Baszler. Baszler held Rose with a standing armlock, then transitioned into a takedown from the back. Rose then lifted Baszler and ran her into their corner, allowing Asuka to tag in.

Baszler fought out, then applied a side headlock to Asuka. Asuka fought her off and came off the ropes with a dropkick. Rose & Brooke came in and knocked the other two women off of the apron, then Reginald moonsaulted off to the floor as Jax & Flair reentered the ring. The six women bickered with each other.

Alexa Bliss’ music played, and she was suddenly on the stage on her swing with Lily. She said oops, they’re sorry for interrupting. She then said they were out there because Lily wanted to keep her eye on someone. She cackled as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Flair stomping a mudhole in Rose in a neutral corner. She applied a figure four headlock, then bashed Rose’s head into the mat several times while maintaining the hold. She tagged in Baszler while maintaining the hold. Baszler then began working Rose’s left arm, going with a hammerlock takedown, then using a standing Kimura attempt to force her into their corner, tag in Jax, and whip her to Jax for a bodyslam and a two-count.

Jax applied a rear chinlock. Rose fought out with an ugly looking standing jawbreaker, slipped out of a Samoan drop attempt (but landed flat on her back), and tagged in Brooke. Jax planted Brooke, then tagged in Baszler. Brooke responded by taking out Flair and then hitting Baszler with a few moves for a two-count. Baszler hit a nifty-looking modified swinging backbreaker. As she stood to go tag Jax, her knee gave out in a weird way. Asuka tagged in, hit a Shining Wizard, and pinned Baszler.

Flair came in immediately after and hit Asuka with a big boot to take her out. Her music played as Bliss cackled. Suddenly, another weird, high-pitched laugh sounded over the speakers, indicating Lily’s laugh. They showed Baszler being helped by Reginald as they shifted to the next segment.

WINNER: Asuka & Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke in around 8:44 (Shining Wizard)

-Byron Saxton narrated a replay of Jaxson Ryker & Elias throwing tomatoes that accidentally hit Randy Orton. They then showed their subsequent tag team loss to R-K-Bro. In the back, The New Day were talking when Riddle rode up and thanked them for helping establish R-K-Bro as an official tag team by “filling out the forms.” Riddle asked if they were going to throw some “bromatoes” and wondered what it would look like to hit Omos with a huge tomato. As he kept talking, The New Day’s faces started to grimace, then Riddle turned to see Orton looking annoyed.

Riddle said what’s up, Randy? The New Day & Riddle goaded him about being hit with tomatoes. Orton asked if he thought that was funny, and said he found ending careers, ending legends, kicking people in the head, and setting thins on fire are funny. He said he’ll see them later and walked away. Riddle made a ketchup/catch up joke and rode away. Graves hyped the eight-man tag match for later with The New Day & R-K-Bro vs. A.J. Styles, Omos, Elias, & Ryker. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: They went straight to a match to start, so I was excited. Then I remembered this is WWE. Why Baszler has to continue to be the one to take losses and look foolish is beyond me. At least it appears as if my prediction last week that Bliss is after Flair and/or whoever emerges victorious with the WWE Women’s Championship is on track.)

-They returned with with a video replay of Lashley’s attack on McIntyre after the Elimination Chamber match, which led to The Miz cashing in, in hype for the main event. M.V.P. was walking backstage and came upon Strowman’s locker room. He knocked with his cane and waited, but there was no answer. He entered. Strowman was talking to some kind of official as M.V.P. approached.

He told M.V.P. to leave as the latter said he was there to talk business. Strowman said he didn’t want to talk business. M.V.P. said McIntyre was the one to beat him last week, and that Lashley said Strowman is the strongest man he’s ever been in the ring with. Strowman said enough with the BS, get to business. M.V.P. said if Lashley had to lose that title, he’d rather lose it to Strowman. He also said imagine what would happen if McIntyre is taken out and it becomes Lashley vs. Strowman? Strowman said he really doesn’t like M.V.P., and he just laughed and said he understood. He walked away.

-They cut to the announcers, who shifted to a replay of Damian Priest beating John Morrison last week thanks to The Miz’s unfortunate involvement. Graves said Priest requested and it’s been made official: Priest vs. The Miz on Sunday. They showed Priest in the back talking to Adam Pearce as The Miz & Morrison appeared. The Miz asked what Priest was doing there and Morrison said some stupid thing about being moist. Pearce said Priest had a good idea about his match more interesting. Morrison said he would have beaten Priest if it wasn’t for (he motioned to The Miz uncouthily). Priest said if Morrison could beat Priest tonight, The Miz could pick the stipulation, but if Priest wins, he gets to choose. The Miz said why would he put his fate in the hands of someone else, so Morrison accepted.

-Jinder Mahal was standing in Gorilla and said nothing smells better than competition. He said he’s excited and happy to be back, but he hasn’t come alone. They showed Veer & Shanky (I think on spelling), and he said he’s going to show why he was a former WWE Champion. Veer was a part of Indus Sher I think. They made their entrance as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Strowman said he didn’t want to talk business, then told M.V.P. to talk business. Maybe Shane McMahon was more accurate upon reflection. Also, hey, at least Veer & Shanky are getting some TV time? Veer did show promise as part of Indus Sher in NXT, the little bit we saw of them.)

(2) JINDER MAHAL (w/Veer & Shanky) vs. JEFF HARDY

They returned and Hardy made his entrance. Mahal has a shaved head. Hardy began by immediately rushing Mahal in the corner, then hitting a dropkick into the corner. Mahal reversed an Irish whip, but ate a kick. He reversed a Hardy jawbreaker and hit a big boot for a two-count. He started stomping on Hardy as Veer & Shanky cheered on from ringside.

Mahal hit a leaping knee to a prone Hardy, then hit a vertical suplex. He applied a modified chinlock/armlock combo, then to a rear chinlock. Hardy tried getting to his feet, but Mahal brought him down to the mat with the hold applied. They showed a graphic for Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo for later, a non-title match it appears. Hardy fought to his feet and hit his jawbreaker this time, then a mule kick.

He came off of the ropes with a clothesline, but Mahal blocked the atomic drop that usually begins Hardy’s patented combo. Hardy fought him off and hit a second-rope move, but had the Twist of Fate blocked into a knee. He hit the Khallas for the victory. He posed with his two mentees on the apron in celebration.

WINNER: Jinder Mahal at 3:24 (Khallas)

-They showed Sonya Deville in the back on the phone as Flair appeared, changed out of her ring gear. They then showed Elias & Ryker in the halls, Ryker holding a wicker basket of tomatoes. Styles & Omos approached and asked what was going on. Ryker said it’s a chance for payback, and Elias said he wrote a song about all of them being on a team. Styles cut him off before he could start, and said no tomatoes and no songs. He then said yes, he cut off the beard and went with just the goatee. He then tossed a tomato to Omos, who said this is going to be their opponents as he crushed it in his hands. Styles said they hate tomatoes and left. Riddle made his entrance as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Mahal’s style is pretty much the same, and that isn’t a good thing in my opinion. If he stays solidly mid-card, that’s fine, though I did see a tweet saying they should build to a McIntyre-Mahal feud. That might be interesting.)

-They returned with Graves saying Lashley and McIntyre have a long illustrious history together, yet they showed the same video from earlier. Cool. Orton made his entrance next as Riddle excitedly danced and posed in the ring with Orton just shaking his head in disgust before entering the ring (it took him a long time to even walk up the steps, like the song started over long). Orton finally climbed the second rope for his pose, which Riddle mimicked in the ring. The interplay between these two is a guilty pleasure. The New Day entered next, bringing a sense of seriousne- yeah, no, they danced their way to the ring, too. Elias & Ryker entered next, followed by the Tag Team Champion. Kingston mimicked Styles’ entrance pose, and then they tried to get Orton to hip swivel with them; Orton just stood motionless.

(3) R-K-BRO (Riddle & Randy Orton) & THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS & ELIAS & JAXSON RYKER – Eight-man tag team match

Riddle and Elias began with Elias somehow blocking a takedown from the former mixed martial artist. Riddle transitioned into an armbar attempt, but Elias quickly reached the ropes. He tagged in Ryker, but Riddle immediately hit him with a headlock takedown. He kick Ryker in the chest, then dared him to attack. Omos tagged himself in and Riddle immediately went with body shots.

Omos grabbed Riddle with both hands by the head, then tossed him. He kicked Riddle down, then the same to Kingston, who charged. He also took out a charging Woods before tossing Riddle into their corner. Orton looked like he was poised to strike, but he rolled out of the ring as they cut to break. [c]

[HOUR TWO]

They returned with Elias stomping on Riddle, then tagging in Ryker. Ryker hit a falling headbutt for a two-count. He tagged in Styles, then hit a belly-to-back as Styles slid into a cover for a two-count. Riddle was able to tag in Kingston, who tagged in Woods, and they hit a flurry of double teams for a two-count. Styles fought back, Kingston made a tag, then hit a frogsplash crossbody for a two-count. He sent Styles into their corner, tagged in Woods, hit a backbreaker to Ryker, but then was attacked by Ryker. Woods hit a missile dropkick to Ryker, but then suffered a spinebuster from Styles.

Ryker tagged in, then pounded on Woods in a neutral corner. He took Woods back to their corner and tagged in Elias, who whipped Ryker into Woods. Ryker then sent Woods into Elias for yet another spinebuster and a two-count. Elias put Woods in his corner and chopped Woods, but Woods fought back with a flurry of strikes only to be hit with a falling spinebuster, almost an Alabama Slam. Ryker tagged in and applied a Camel Clutch as Woods reached for a tag.

Woods fought to his feet and hit a jawbreaker, but Ryker held onto Woods’ tights and hit a forearm shiver, then another spinebuster to Woods for a two-count. Elias then tagged in and hit a Final Cut twisting suplex for a two-count. He immediately applied a rear chinlock to Woods, drawing praise from Graves. Woods fought out and rolled Elias into a sunset flip, but Elias kicked out. Riddle tagged in and started working. He hit an interfering Ryker with an exploder, then hit Styles off of the apron. Eilas went for his elevated mule kick, but Riddle caught him into a Bro Derek, pin broken up by Omos. Riddle tagged in Orton as Riddle attempted a springboard, but Omos hit him down.

They showed The New Day on the outside, each holding one of Styles’ leg, and rotating him around, which drew Omos’ attention. Orton used that time to hit Elias with the RKO for the victory. As they celebrated after the match, Orton hit both members of The New Day with RKOs to Riddle’s shock. He said those were their friends, and went, “Bro!?” He checked on the two as Orton left the ring. Graves said once a viper, always a viper. Riddle suddenly looked at Orton and smiled with the finger point of, “Oh, I see what you’re doing.” Orton had a smirk on his face with his back turned to Riddle.

WINNER: R-K-Bro & The New Day at 12:08 (RKO)

-They shifted to Deville in the back as Rhea Ripley approached, then Asuka. The two wrestlers glared at each other as Deville said they’re going to solve this peacefully. She said she’s worked out how they can work out their issues so they can focus on the triple threat Sunday. She made a singles match for tonight. Ripley said whose idea was this, and Deville said she won’t say. Ripley said she saw Flair in here earlier and it’s part of her plan to have them tear each other apart. Asuka said she already competed, but she’ll do it again. Ripley agreed, and said she’ll beat her like she did at WrestleMania.

-Sheamus made his entrance as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: The subtleties in body language from Orton, coupled with they hyperbolic nature of Riddle, works as an odd couple. Orton taking out The New Day makes sense in that they’re a team in the path on the way to the Tag Team Championship. Oh hey, look, a Mania rematch just before a night of Mania rematches, only with an added person on Sunday.)

-They returned with another video of Lashley-McIntyre, this time from WrestleMania, as they hyped the non-title main event. They showed Lashley in the back with M.V.P. as Kevin Patrick appeared and asked about what he’s trying to prove tonight. Before he could answer, M.V.P. asked if Patrick could be more disrespectful. M.V.P. said Lashley already proved he is the better man, like a sequel to a movie with a foregone conclusion. Patrick then asked about Sunday’s match. Lashley said two weeks ago he said he could take out both men in head-to-head competition, and a week ago he beat Strowman. He said tonight, he’ll beat McIntyre again. Patrick then asked about “the rumors” that M.V.P. made a business decision with Strowman to team, and Lashley just glared at M.V.P. The latter said that talks were ongoing, and they dismissed Patrick.

They shifted to replays of last week’s Sheams vs. Mansoor match, the latter’s debut on Mondays, that saw Carrillo interfere and cause a DQ. Sheamus took the mic and said they left out an important part of the package where he Brogue Kicked both men. He said a couple of weeks ago, Pearce invited him into his office to discuss the lineage of the United States Championship and that Sheamus should issue an open challenge and defend the title every week. Sheamus said why would he want to follow in the footsteps of those “has-beens” when he could create his own legacy.

He said the old champs would just give anyone a title shot, “including that guy Virk over there who’s in over his head on commentary.” He then said Carrillo is going to come out and try to earn some respect, but the only thing Carrillo’s going to get is a tasty Brogue Kick to the side of the head as he becomes the meme of the week. Carrillo made his entrance.

(4) SHEAMUS (c) vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO – Non-title match

They began with Sheamus muscling Carrillo down, but Carrillo using his quickness to escape a headlock takedown. Sheamus hit a shoulder tackle, then blocked an armdrag attempt with strikes. Sheamus, looking happy, sent Carrillo off of the ropes, but suffered a kick and Carrillo’s elevated springboard dropkick. He sent Sheamus to the outside, then looked for a baseball slide. Sheamus sidestepped and planted Carrillo on the mat. He sent Carrillo into the timekeeper’s area as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Sheamus in control of Carrillo, but the latter fought back with punches, forearms, and chops only to be drilled by a frustrated Sheamus, who kicked the bottom rope after. He set for his Ten Beats of the Bodhran, hit a forearm to the back first, then hit the signature maneuver. Carrillo crumpled into the ring.

Sheamus applied the Dublin Smile move, yanking on either side of the mouth from the inside. Carrillo used it as fuel to fight back and hit a jawbreaker, then a kick, but was caught in an Alabama Slam for a two-count. On their feet, Sheamus hit a body shot and climbed to the second rope with Carrillo for his rolling senton. Carrillo elbowed his way onto the top rope, then hit an avalanche rana to Sheamus. Sheamus slowly rolled to the apron.

Carrillo approached, but Sheamus hit a big body shot that dropped Carrillo. He set for another Ten Beats, but Carrillo responded with several back elbows. He went for a sunset bomb to the outside, but Sheamus landed square on Carrillo’s gut. It looked like Carrillo signaled he couldn’t continue. The ref came to check on both men, but Carrillo’s done. The ref calls for the bell.

WINNER: No contest in about 10:00

-They shifted to a promo on Lucha House Party. Lince Dorado spoke in English while Gran Metalik spoke in Spanish with English subtitles. It was a standard babyface tag team promo.

-Cedric Alexander entered next to his old music pre-The Hurt Business as they shifted to his promo on Shelton Benjamin last week where he broke up their team. They hyped his match with Benjamin next as they cut to break.

(Hazelwood’s Take: Wow, a really unfortunate situation for Carrillo. Hope he recovers soon. Good for Lucha House Party. What do you know? Raw has been featuring new or forgotten acts the past two weeks!)

-They returned with the vignette that debuted last week for the return of “All Red Everything” Eva Marie.

(5) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN

They shifted to the ring where Alexander was waiting. Benjamin also entered to his pre-The Hurt Business music. They began with Alexander saying he outclasses Benjamin on every level. Alexander acted like the arrogant up-and-comer, but hit a big dropkick to drop Benjamin and take the advantage. Alexander is yelling a lot during the match. Benjamin reversed a whip and set for the Paydirt, but Alexander slid outside. After Benjamin chased him, Alexander caught Benjamin in the ropes reentering and hit a Dragon Screw in the ropes to Benjamin’s left knee.

Alexander began working the left knee, then hit a leg kick to the left leg on their feet. Benjamin tried to fight back, but Alexander hit a rolling heel hook and YELLED for Benjamin to tap. Benjamin powered into a sitting position and countered into a Sharpshooter, but Alexander quickly reached the rope. Benjamin, limping, went after Alexander, who hit a basement dropkick to the left knee, then another to the body of a prone Benjamin to send him outside.

Alexander set for a tope and hit, driving Benjamin into the barricade. Alexander set for another, looking pleased with himself, but Benjamin hit a rising knee, using the apron to his advantage. Benjamin entered and went for Paydirt, but Alexander countered again. He hit the Neuralizer and instead of pinning Benjamin, just yelled in Benjamin’s face. He kicked Benjamin and told him to get up. Benjamin did and pulled out his old T-Bone suplex for the victory!

WINNER: Shelton Benjamin at 4:22 (T-Bone suplex)

-They shifted to Angel Garza and replayed his victory over Drew Gulak last week and his subsequent shoving of a rose into Gulak’s tights and kicking him between the legs with a PK. They showed Garza in the back doing a photoshoot as Gulak approached, asking if this is a big joke and if he has any respect for the business. He said what Garza did to him last week hasn’t happened to anyone in the history of WWE. Garza asked what his point was, and Gulak said his points was Garza embarrassed and humiliated him. Garza said next time, he’ll shove the rose down his throat.

-Asuka’s music hit as she entered for her second match of the night, a non-title affair with Rhea Ripley. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That Alexander-Benjamin match told more story in 4:22 than most matches on Raw. Alexander, the arrogant youngster, thought he knew all of Benjamin’s tricks, blocking Paydirt twice. He thought he had the “old man’s” number, but Benjamin busted out his former finisher from what, 15 years ago?! I LOVED and popped big for the T-Bone spot. I loved me some mid-Aughts Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin, so that T-Bone hit the nostalgia.)

(6) RHEAP RIPLEY (c) vs. ASUKA – Non-title match

They returned hyping the triple threat match (which one?!) for the Women’s Championship (oh, that one!) on Sunday. Ripley made her entrance after, looking confident and possibly her best character entrance as Women’s Champion (let’s see if that translates to her promos).

The match started with Ripley looking annoyed she had to wrestle Asuka again after already defeating her once (which is good). She mushed Asuka into the corner and just rubbed her forearm in Asuka’s face several times. They reset, and Ripley ducked an Asuka spinning backfist and retreated into the ropes, grinning. Asuka tried again, but Ripley blocked it. She mocked Asuka and asked for a punch to the face, but Asuka hit her with a leg sweep instead.

She beat on Ripley a little bit, but Ripley had enough and just threw Asuka. Asuka tried drop toeholding Ripley into the turnbuckle, but Ripley caught herself and stomped on Asuka. As Ripley tried to toss Asuka, Asuka turned it into a flying armbar. Ripley reached the ropes, went outside, then back inside as Asuka exited. Ripley tried hitting a boot on Asuka, but Asuka moved, dropped Ripley on the apron, tried to hit a knee, but Ripley dodged, then hit a boot from the ring to Asuka on the outside. She tossed Asuka inside, but Flair’s music hit. Ripley was distracted as she climbed the apron and was hit by a spinning backfist. Asuka glared at Flair as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Ripley in control with a body scissors applied to Asuka. Flair joined commentary, and said of course she asked for this match because she’s “enamored” with both wrestlers. Saxton, babyface commentator he is, accused her of foul play in this situation, and she said she didn’t hear what he said (nice). Ripley continued with the advantage, pounding on Asuka in the corner, then draping her across the rope and driving her leg across her. She kicked a sitting Asuka three times in the back, then shoved her face into the mat while driving her boot into Asuka’s back.

[HOUR THREE]

Ripley hit one, two short-arm clotheslines, then tried hitting a ripcord. Asuka rolled through in an awkward spot, then suffered a head kick from Ripley. She rolled to the outside. Ripley followed and tried hitting the frontward electric chair to the apron, but Asuka landed on her feet, kicked Ripley, took her out from the apron, then reentered the ring for a quick pin. She tried for the Asuka Lock, but Ripley threw her off to the outside. Asuka landed in front of Flair, who just smiled at Asuka. Ripley used the distraction to hit a headbutt and send Asuka back inside.

Ripley and Asuka traded some strikes, but Ripley got the better and hit a Northern Lights for a two-count. Ripley tried for the Riptide, but Asuka hit a Codebreaker. She applied a late pin for a two-count. Ripley rolled outside and Asuka followed, right in front of Flair. Ripley approached Flair, who removed her headset, but Asuka leapt off of the announce desk with a hip attack to Ripley. In the ring, she hit a missile dropkick off of the top rope to Ripley for a two-count.

Asuka went for a hip attack in the corner, but Ripley caught her and landed a head kick. She immediately hit the Riptide for the victory. Flair applauded Ripley sarcastically as Ripley talked smack to both women. They hyped Sunday’s match again.

WINNER: Rhea Ripley at 12:37 (Riptide)

-Virk then shifted to a hype package, the same one to start the show, centered on the WWE Championship triple threat match participants. They then shifted to the back with Patrick, who welcomed McIntyre. McIntyre said he had no intention of getting involved last week until Strowman put his “rancid, putrid, filthy hands on me.” He said he heard about the business proposition and if that happens, he’s toast. He said he’ll worry about that if it happens. He said will land the Claymore tonight and on Sunday, once again become WWE Champion.

-The Miz’s music his as he entered, followed by Morrison for the latter’s match with Damian Priest. Graves asked if there was anyone else on Earth you’d want to place your faith in more than “Johnny Drip Drip,” and the answer is a resounding and unequivocal “YES.” They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: So not a bad night for Ripley. I still think this heel version of Flair has been the most interesting and engaging of the three women.)

(7) JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz) vs. Damian Priest – If Morrison wins, he & The Miz get to choose the stipulation for Sunday’s match between The Miz and Priest; if Priest wins, he chooses the stipulation

They returned with the heels in the ring and Morrison’s music still going. Priest’s music hit as the lights went out and he did his full entrance with flames and all. They began with Morrison hitting an immediate forearm, but Priest responded with a flurry of his own strikes. He landed a headbutt, then whipped Morrison into a corner, using the momentum to land a sidewalk slam for a two-count.

He applied an armlock to Morrison, but the latter fought to his feet and reached the ropes with his foot. He countered an Irish Whip attempt and hit a weird series of moves that resulted in a takedown of Priest. He mounted and hit some strikes before being pushed off. He used his capoeira training to reappear in front of Priest and hit a big running knee to a seated Priest for a two-count.

Morrison applied a rear chinlock as The Miz yelled at the announcers about “Johnny Drip Drip.” Priest fought out, sent Morrison into a corner, then tried to attack Morrison on the apron. Morrison used his capoeira experience again to dodge a bevy of attacks by Priest, but back in the ring, Priest hit a popup haymaker for a pin, with Morrison reaching the rope to break it up. On the outside, Priest sent Morrison back into the ring only to turn to The Miz, goading him on to fight him. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with Priest whipping Morrison off of the ropes and hitting a leaping back elbow for a two-count. Morrison fought off Priest and sent him outside with a clothesline over the top rope. Morrison distracted the ref, allowing The Miz to kick Priest in the face. Morrison exited and kicked Priest a couple of times, then rolled him back inside for a one-count.

Morrison applied a side headlock, but Priest fought out. Morrison hit a modified Russian legsweep for a two-count. He then flipped into a sitting chancery hold, but Priest powered out and hit the Thunderclap, then a headkick, and lastly, a spinning heel kick. He hit a series of body and leg kicks, then a discus forearm to Morrison. He then landed a corner back elbow and Broken Arrow for a two-count; he basically tossed Morrison in the Broken Arrow.

Priest climbed to the top, but Morrison met him with strikes and climbed himself. He looked for an avalanche Spanish Fly, but Priest fought out and sent Morrison off with a backflip, making him land face-first. Priest then hit a spinning heel kick off of the top rope for only a two-count. Priest signaled for a chokeslam, but Morrison countered into a Victory Roll for a close nearfall. Priest looked for Hit the Lights, but The Miz distracted the ref. This allowed Morrison to hit a crucifix pin, but the ref wasn’t able to count three because of the distraction.

Priest fought out and clotheslined Morrison. He then nailed Hit the Lights to Morrison for the victory. Immediately after the pin, The Miz attacked. He tried for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Priest powered out. The Miz escaped before suffering more punishment, so Priest hit another Hit the Lights on Morrison and stared down The Miz. Graves hyped the reveal of the stipulation. Saxton said it will happen Sunday.

WINNER: Damian Priest at 12:54 (Hit the Lights)

-They showed McIntyre warming up backstage, then Lashley with M.V.P. talking to him. Strowman appeared to confront Lashley just before they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: They’re definitely hinting at breaking up two duos on Monday nights: The Hurt Business again and The Miz & Morrison. Two weeks now, The Miz has cost Morrison a victory. Morrison did accept the match without The Miz’s consent, but still, it seems like they’re trying to make Morrison a face in the long run, or at least, for his feud with The Miz. Good for Priest to overcome the odds. They haven’t capitalized on his momentum from teaming with Bad Bunny; maybe this will be a step in that direction, pending Sunday’s outcome.)

-They returned with another Eva Marie vignette, this time with her doing a photoshoot and saying she likes to see herself as a “super role model.” She said she has everything she’s ever wanted and wants to show others how to get there. She said everyone wants the perfect picture, but don’t realize it takes many bad ones to get there. She said her catchphrase to end the vignette: “It’s time for Eva-lution.”

-Pearce was in the back as Priest, still sweaty appeared. He demanded a lumberjack match because The Miz always runs away. He said he wanted The Miz with nowhere to run. He said this Sunday, The Miz gets dealt with. Pearce agreed to the stipulation.

-Virk & Saxton seemed excited as Saxton explained the rules of a lumberjack match, complete with hand motions. They then ran through the WrestleMania Backlash card.

-After a week without it, Lashley’s awesome WWE Champion entrance played as he entered with M.V.P. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I love me a well-executed lumberjack match, which isn’t always the case with WWE. However, I’m optimistic about this one considering the weasely character of The Miz and how Priest justified his decision for the match.)

-They returned with a Raw Talk promo featuring Flair, Strowman, and Mahal. Lashley was staying warm in the ring as M.V.P. encouraged him. McIntyre’s music hit as he made his entrance. He pointed his sword at Lashley as Lashley prowled the ring and pointed at it as if it to say, “This is my ring.” McIntyre made his way after plunging the sword into the ramp looking confident. He’s more of a calm confidence to Lashley’s intense confidence. Again, another good contrast. They stared at each other and Lashley was about to raise the title in his face, but said no instead.

(8) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) (w/M.V.P.) vs. DREW MCINTYRE – Non-title match

They began with Lashley immediately going for The Hurt Lock, but McIntyre fought out. Lashley applied a side headlock and wouldn’t let go. McIntyre tried powering out, but Lashley maintained the hold. McIntyre lifted Lashley and sent him to the apron, but Lashley grabbed and hung McIntyre neck-first on the rope. He then hit a running shoulder to the gut in the corner on McIntyre.

They showed Strowman watching the match in the background, kind of like a regular person. Lashley just kept mushing McIntyre in the corner, then hit a series of back elbows and fists to McIntyre. McIntyre responded by reversing position and raining down a flurry of strikes. However, Lashley reversed position and hit slower, but stronger strikes to McIntyre. He ran at McIntyre, but McIntyre dropped him with a boot.

On the outside, Lashley hit a back kick to the gut. He went for a lariat, but McIntyre caught him and hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex with a release. They cut to break with him glaring at Lashley. [c]

They returned with McIntyre beating on Lashley in the corner. He countered a rushing Lashley with a back elbow, but as he hit the second rope, Lashley took out his leg and caused him to flatback on the mat and then hit a Flatliner for a two-count. He applied a rear chinlock, but McIntyre fought to his feet. Lashley tried for a vertical suplex, but McIntyre hit a delayed one of his own instead.

McIntyre rushed Lashley in the corner, but Lashley hit a big boot to drop his foe. He did some more mushing to McIntyre in the corner, then drove his boot into McIntyre’s throat. McIntyre slid to the apron, and Lashley came off of the rope and hit McIntyre with a full-body blow to send him off of the apron. Lashley went outside and sent McIntyre’s head off of the apron, then slid back into the ring. McIntyre climbed the apron, but Lashley dropped his neck across the top rope Stunner style. He then went outside, placed McIntyre on his shoulders, and rammed him into the post. He laughed and dapped up M.V.P.

Lashley rolled McIntyre back into the ring and set for the Spear. McIntyre instead used the momentum to basically hiptoss Lashley into the corner. Both men then traded strikes on their knees, then on their feet. Lashley came off of the ropes, but McIntyre hit his overhead belly-to-belly again. He it one out of the corner, then ducked Lashley and hit a neckbreaker. He kipped up, went for the Future Shock that was blocked by Lashley, but hit Glasgow Kiss. He then hit a big spinebuster as M.V.P. banged on the steps to try to warn Lashley for a two-count.

As McIntyre tried to rush Lashley in the corner, Lashley exploded with a crossbody block, Bray Wyatt style, then went for The Hurt Lock. McIntyre blocked, so Lashley hit suplex instead. As he went for a Spear, McIntyre hit the Claymore. Suddenly, Strowman’s music hit. McIntyre looked to the entrance area, but Strowman appeared from behind and caused a DQ. He then hit McIntyre with his finisher as M.V.P. smiled on. He helped Lashley to his feet, then hit Lashley with his powerslam, then another to McIntyre. M.V.P. was apoplectic.

Strowman went outside. M.V.P. tried swinging his cane, but Strowman caught it and said he’s going to make him watch as Strowman destroys Lashley. He lifted Lashley and hit the powerslam through the barricade. He then slowly made his way back to the ring, glared wide-eyed at McIntyre, yelled that he’s the monster, and hit McIntyre with a third powerslam. He tore off his shirt, yelled, and posed as the show ended.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre in around 13:30 by DQ

(Hazelwood’s Take: Of course we were going to get a non-finish. It was a fine match for Raw, though it started out slow. These distraction finishes need to stop, though. Also, with WWE logic, we know Strowman isn’t winning on Sunday after looking so strong tonight.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Again, another week of Raw that wasn’t bad. Stories were advanced, final builds happened, and different stars were highlighted. That leaves me optimistic for the next few weeks of Raw after Sunday’s pay-per-view. Mansoor was curiously absent, though that may have been because the match was scrapped midway; I assume he was to appear toward the end or after the match. However, we saw a new vignette for Lucha House Party as well as Eva Marie. We asked them to build different and new acts, and hey, they’re trying.

Lastly, I will be taking next week off. Luckily, Nate Lindberg will fill in for me. Nate is one of the co-hosts of the PWT Talks NXT Dailycast, and also writes the NXT Hits & Misses and alt-perspective report for Smackdown. Torch listeners, subscribers, and page visitors are probably well aware of Nate.

I may also miss the next week as I receive my second vaccination shot on the 22nd. I hope I’m not hit with side effects, but I guess we’ll see!

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