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LINDBERG’S ALT PERSPECTIVE WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT
MAY 17, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT THE “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Adnan Virk, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
Happy Birthday to PWTorch Contributor Bruce Hazelwood. My gift to him: the night off! My gift to you: Three straight alt-perspective WWE reports from yours truly, last week’s NXT & Smackdown. Now, Monday Night RAW.
-RAW opened with WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley arriving at the arena accompanied by five women cheering him on. Adnan Virk welcomed the audience to the show and MVP kicked the show off proper standing in the ring, announcing Lashley to the ring.
Lashley’s music hit and he and the women entered the ThunderDome. They showed a recap of last night’s Triple Threat for the WWE Championship and Lashley’s victory. MVP said it was his honor to stand here with the champion as the women cheered. MVP said that Braun Strowman has broken ribs and Drew McIntyre couldn’t get out of bed this morning. But Lashley won after being smashed through the LCD screen.
Lashley said that the Almighty era never ends. MVP told us that Lashley was supposed to have tonight off, but instead they issued an open challenge to face Lashley. Drew McIntyre’s music cut MVP off and Drew stormed to the ring. He snatched the mic from MVP and said that the open challenge was a fantastic idea. He vs Lashley for the WWE Championship tonight. MVP said that he was interrupted before he finished his sentence. McIntyre and Strowman were not part of that open challenge. Lashley then tried to cheap shot McIntyre, who blocked it and tossed the champion out of the ring. He and MVP retreated up the ramp, shouting at McIntyre.
-They announced AJ Styles vs. Elias up next. (c)
-Bobby Lashley’s Open Challenge was promoted again for a superstar other than Strowman or McIntyre via on screen graphic.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Great heat builder for MVP and Lashley, not allowing Strowman or McIntyre to compete. Drew did lose his title fair and square under triple threat rules, so honestly I can’t disagree with the decision from the heels from a kayfabe perspective.)
(1) AJ STYLES (w/Omos) vs. ELIAS (w/Jaxson Ryker)
The bell rang and right off the bat, Elias was on the offensive and backed Elias into the corner. AJ countered with a dropkick, but Elias managed to hit a stalling suplex on AJ shortly after. The two brawled back and forth before AJ got the upper hand with a backbreaker. Elias pummeled AJ in the corner and whipped him across the ring. AJ fell under the bottom rope, and Elias kicked him into the ringpost.
The action spilled outside the ring and Ryker and Omos stared one another down. AJ stood up and stood next to his tag partner, Omos. At the ref’s count of five, they cut to commercial. (c)
Back from break, Elias and AJ were back in the ring where Elias hit a massive spinebuster on Styles which kept him in control of the match for quite awhile. Even giving him enough time to flex, taunting his opponent. He covered after taunting, and AJ kicked at two. Elias stayed in control for a bit longer until AJ regained control with a Pele kick followed by a knee to the back of the neck for a near fall.
AJ looked for a Styles Clash, but Elias squirmed out and hit a spinning neckbreaker for another near fall. He got AJ in an electric chair position, and AJ wriggled out and nailed a drop toe hold sending Elias into the corner. AJ went for the Phenomenal Forearm when Ryker knocked him off the apron causing the DQ. Omos slowly walked towards Ryker as Ryker walked up the ramp. Elias went after Styles, sending him into the steel steps. By the time Omos got to him, Elias had run off. Omos lumbered back over to AJ Styles and stood over him without any physical altercation in the match.
WINNER: AJ Styles by DQ in 11:40
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Elias actually looked relatively strong here, which took me by surprise where AJ is the current champion. Admittedly, I haven’t been on the RAW bandwagon the past few weeks so I’m not sure if this is new or not. But, he came off looking stronger than I’ve seen him look in awhile.)
-Alexa Bliss was shown with Lilly saying that Alexa’s Playground was up next. (c)
-Riddle was approached by New Day backstage saying they got his message, Randy Orton showed up shortly after saying that he got the message to be there. New Day said they got a text to see a two headed snake and Orton got one saying that Pierce needed to talk to them. Riddle said he exaggerated the truth in the spirit of friendship, trying to unite the foursome if Randy would apologize to New Day for what happened last week. Instead, it devolved into Kofi and Orton arguing back and forth until Kofi challenged him to a match.
-Alexa Bliss welcomed Tamina and Natalya to Alexa’s playground. Nattie was sitting on a swing with Tamina standing next to her, looking around the playhouse looking like she wanted to leave. She asked if they could leave even before a question was really asked. Lilly wanted to know what their favorite color is. Nattie said Pink and Tamina said that it was black and blue, which is what her face will look like if they try anything weird. She said that wasn’t nice and asked if she enjoyed beating up Reginald last week. Tamina said that she did and that they’ll do the same to Shayna and Nia tonight in their rematch. She and Nattie walked off of the camera shot while Alexa was rambling. Alexa wished them luck when she realized they were gone, and said that she and Lilly will be watching. (c)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I don’t really like welcoming other superstars into Bliss and Wyatt’s world like this. It’s a little immersion breaking to think that they have a little studio set up somewhere backstage where things are just spookier.)
(2) ANGEL GARZA vs. DREW GULAK
Drew lunged at Garza at the bell and hit a suplex right off the bat. He then tried locking in an abdominal stretch but Garza escaped. He took Gulak down and hit a reverse suplex on him, springboarding his legs off the ropes for momentum.
Garza hit a backbreaker on Gulak and followed it up with a corner kick to the face. Garza then hit the Wing Clipper for the pin.
WINNER: Angel Garza in 2:12
-R-Truth was creeping around backstage with his eyes closed. He said that he heard that there was an open challenge for his 24/7 title tonight. He was informed that it was Bobby Lashley who had the open challenge tonight. Truth cut a promo on Ricky Bobby when he was attacked by Tozawa from behind, rolling him up to with the 24/7 championship.
-Riddle accompanied Orton to the ring with his scooter, posing behind Orton the whole time like a hype man. (c)
-A video package for Eva Marie played where she talked about how successful she is and how she wants to help others reach their goals.
-New Day made their way to the ring.
(3) RANDY ORTON (w/Riddle) vs. KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods)
-Orton took a headlock and Kofi to the mat right away. Kofi got up and shot him off the ropes. Kofi hit him with a hip to the face and Orton rolled out of the ring. The action spilled back into the ring quickly, with Kofi getting the upper hand and a springboard splash on Orton for a near fall.
Swiftly, Orton was able to get control of the match and began a brutal assault on Kofi, pummeling him in the corner. He locked in another chin lock on Kofi with Kofi eventually retaliating with a headbutt. He hit a springboard dropkick to Kofi and Orton went down, selling his shoulder. Orton got the upper hand real quick with a scoop slam when Woods began playing the trombone. Orton got distracted and Kofi was able to roll him up for the win.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston in 5:00
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Apologies if this begins to get briefer the longer we go into RAW. I got my second COVID shot this morning and during the Garza/Gulak match the urge to sleep hit me like a ton of bricks. This match, however didn’t do much to help keep me awake. In typical Blandy Boreton fashion, he locked in so many chin locks and rest holds during this short match, it was baffling. Granted, I do think this match may have meant to go longer. Shortly after Orton went down selling his shoulder, the Ref could be seen talking on the mic to someone in the back. He then relayed a message to Kofi and Orton. With the camera on Kofi and Orton, he then relayed something to Woods off camera. There was only a brief moment where you could see it. Woods then hit the trombone and then Kofi got the roll up win. I don’t know if that was planned, but if not it could have been the match getting cut short due to concerns of Randy’s shoulder. Total speculation as of this writing.)
-After the match, Riddle held Orton back from attacking New Day. Orton just walked out of the ring. Riddle shoved Woods down and then took off after Orton.
-Backstage, Adam Pierce, Sonya Deville, Lana, Naomi, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke were standing very close to one another talking. All of the women were also wearing some shade of pink. Lana and Naomi asked for a Tag Team title match. Dana and Mandy reminded everyone that they beat Shayna and Nia last week, they should have the chance at the titles. Charlotte walked into frame and the rest of the women were shoo’d off. Charlotte said she deserved a one on one match against Ripley. She wasn’t pinned so she didn’t lose. Sonya said to beat Asuka tonight and they’ll consider giving her a shot. Rhea Ripley showed up and said that Charlotte was yesterday’s news and that she’s forcing new competition. Charlotte said that she will beat Asuka and then beat Ripley to be the champion once again. Ripley said to Adam Pierce and Sonya Deville that she was going to go watch, just to see if the queen would fall. (c)
(4) WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS – NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. TAMINA & NATALYA
Nia Jax ran Nattie over like a truck the second the match started. Baszler tagged in and covered her for two. Baszler locked in an armbar, wrenching the arm of Natalya. She was able to escape and whip Baszler across the ring, but Baszler put her down quickly. She tagged Jax back in, who continued dominating Nattie. Nattie finally tagged Tamina in who was swiftly body slammed by Nia Jax. Jax went to climb the ropes but was superkicked down by Tamina.
Shayna Baszler locked in the Kirafuta clutch on Tamina when Alexa Bliss and Lilly were shown on the entrance ramp. Pyro blasted out of one of the ring-posts, shocking everyone, forcing Baszler to drop the hold.
Tamina tagged in Natalya and they hit a Hart Attack on Shayna for the win.
WINNERS: Tamina & Natalya in 4:05
After the match, Alexa Bliss could be heard loudly laughing throughout the ThunderDome. Corey Graves pretended that he had no idea what it was as they replayed the highlights. Alexa kept laughing every so often, but it didn’t come to anything in the moment as they cut to the next segment. (c)
(Lindberg’s Analysis: While I’m glad to see Tamina & Nattie with the titles, this hocus pocus of Alexa Bliss seeping into the tag division had better be going somewhere good. Otherwise, it’s ruining a great story with Tamina finally reaching WWE gold after 11 years in the company.)
-Sheamus came out and called out Ricochet for stealing his hat and coat last week. Instead, Ricochet showed up backstage getting interviewed. They showed the replay of him taking the jacket and hat and he then said he had a lot of fun last week. He wanted to go out there and shut him up forever. He admitted to stealing the jacket and hat earlier in the day, not last week. He then came to the ring wearing the attire. Sheamus ran up the ramp to get it back, but Ricochet hit a drop toe hold on him to take him down. They made it into the ring, and the bell rang.
(5) RICOCHET vs. SHEAMUS
The two men collided in the center of the ring with Ricochet getting the upper hand at first with a series of kicks into a roll up for a 2 count. Sheamus hit an uppercut to gain the momentum and stayed in control of Ricochet, thwarting off all attempts at a comeback from the smaller competitor. He body slammed Ricochet who rallied and looked to make his comeback, but was quickly thwarted by Sheamus.
Sheamus locked in an armlock, wrenching the shoulder and neck of Ricochet. Ricochet eventually made it to his feet and delivered an enziguri to Sheamus, knocking him out of the ring. Ricochet launched himself over the top rope but Sheamus caught him. He slammed his spine into the ringpost, then threw him to the floor as they cut to commercial. (c)
Back from commercial, Sheamus was in control, hooking his finger into the mouth of Ricochet. With the fishhook locked in, Ricochet fought back with forearms to the face of the US Champion. Sheamus was able to turn the tides with the Irish Curse Backbreaker for a near fall. Sheamus went to the top looking for some sort of offense, but Ricochet leapt to the top and turned it into a Spanish Fly for a two count.
Ricochet stayed in control, including hitting a standing shooting star for a near fall. He went for a springboard moonsault but Sheamus got his knees up and rolled Ricochet up for two. Ricochet was able to then get to the top looking for his finisher, but Sheamus ducked out of the ring. Instead, Ricochet flew from the top rope and took Sheamus out in front of the announce team. The action spilled back into the ring, and Ricochet hit the 650 splash for another near fall.
Sheamus hit a Brogue kick, and Ricochet kicked out at 2.9, almost confusing the ref for a moment. Sheamus hit another Brogue kick moments later to secure the win.
WINNER: Sheamus in 11:00
– Sheamus stole his attire back, and then teased answering Bobby Lashley’s open challenge later on in the night.
-T-Bar and Mace said that Bobby Lashley pays his debt, but the question is which one of them ends the legacy of Lashley?
-Asuka and Charlotte Flair was announced next.
-Apologies, the side effects from my 2nd COVID shot this morning hit me in full effect as RAW continued. I found myself falling asleep at my desk, so I stopped writing. I intend on finishing this report before posting the NXT Hits and Misses, depending on how I’m feeling.