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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
MAY 31, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT YUENGLING CENTER (THE “THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD (@B_Lee253), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
Backstage Correspondent(s): Kevin Patrick
Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest co-host Brandon LeClair from PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.
•STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
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(Hazelwood’s Take: Well, I said on last week’s post-show with assistant editor Zack Heydorn that we should really give Adnan Virk three to six months to fully acclimate to the role, and the next day, he and WWE parted ways! Virk was thrust into a big role with little preparation, so I want to blame WWE more here than him for his performance; he was at least trying, though some of his lines were just bad. With Jimmy Smith, we have an experienced MMA broadcaster who has been working in NXT for months now, so his transition should be much smoother. I’m also a fan of Smith’s announcing, so hopefully Vince McMahon doesn’t change him too soon.
Also, last week saw a wrestling-heavy show that I would welcome as the standard model for Monday nights moving forward. Let’s see if that’s the case.)
-They began with a Memorial Day video, quoting former President Ronald Regan, before moving to a voiceover with images of soldiers around the world and throughout history, thanking them for their service and sacrifice. Pyro then exploded as Corey Graves welcomed viewers live and introduced Byron Saxton and new lead announcer, Jimmy Smith! He said his job was to honor the fans, honor the superstars, and have fun. They hyped the #1 contender’s match between Drew McIntyre and Kofi Kingston, the Tag Team Championship match between A.J. Styles & Omos vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker, and Shayna Baszler vs. Reginald.
-They cut to the ring where The Miz & John Morrison were sitting for “Miz TV.” The Miz did his usual introduction and asked for a warm welcome back for himself, a two-time Grand Slam Champion. The piped-in boos were palpable. He said the past few weeks without him “to command the ship” were tough, and he said he was sorry. He said that match a few times, then said that lumberjack match with Damian Priest, for the first time in his career, he was injured. He suddenly asked what that smell was.
Morrison said it was garlic, and the camera zoomed in as he had on a garlic necklace. He said now he’s prepared for anything, especially since he has his patented “Drip Stick,” basically just a water squirting device. The Miz said he knew had needed to be back to see the “most must-see and moist-see” superstars (Morrison said the last part). The Miz said he needs to use his platform to help others, then transitioned to introducing his guests, Charlotte Flair being first. Morrison badly hummed along to her entrance theme. Morrison lowered the ropes for her, although she looked annoyed by the garlic necklace.
She immediately asked about the smell, and Morrison explained again. The Miz said she can become the how many times champion? She said 14, but who’s counting. They laughed hysterically as she looked annoyed. Flair said Ripley’s had a good story, a nice victory over Asuka, and sometimes dreams become nightmares, and she’s going to send Ripley to hell. Ripley’s music hit as she sauntered to the ring.
Ripley said Flair can go to hell, prompting Flair to rise from her seat. The Miz said it’s Ripley’s first time on the show within a show, so they should talk. He asked a series of questions before Morrison asked about her favorite garlic bread recipe. She said she’s not a vampire, but a nightmare to everyone in the women’s division. She said she’ll still be Women’s Champion, but Flair said Ripley couldn’t even beat Nikki Cross last week. The Miz said as champion, she should beat all challengers. They showed a replay of last week’s match.
Flair said Ripley couldn’t even beat Cross, so what makes her think she can beat Flair? Cross’ music hit as she made her way to the ring looking happy. Cross said sorry to The Miz for interrupting the show and she’s a big fan, but she couldn’t wait any longer. She said last week, she beat the Women’s Champion. She added it would only be fair for her to be the first challenger for the winner of the match at the pay-per-view. Flair said if life was fair, she would be champion. Ripley said if there were four minutes, she wouldn’t be standing here (but there wasn’t), but that Cross earned her respect.
Cross said she could beat Flair in two minutes and asked if that would be enough to challenge the winner. Flair said that’s ridiculous and she could win in one minute. She turned right into a slap from Cross, then angrily said, “You’re on you little troll!” They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: They BETTER have Flair win this quick. Otherwise, triple threat’s a-coming.)
-They returned with one of their return to touring videos with headlines from different outlets.
(1) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. NIKKI CROSS – Flair must defeat Cross in two minutes
The match began after Smith said Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville made this official during this break. Cross immediately left the ring. Flair wasted time before chasing only for Cross to reenter the ring. A frustrated Flair wasted more time before reentering the ring. Cross left again, faked getting in, then exited again. Flair followed, but Cross hid behind Ripley, sitting at the announce table, then back in the ring as Flair yelled at Ripley. Flair reentered, then finally landed a blow on Cross, then a clothesline with 30 seconds left. She lifted Flair to a top turnbuckle, but Cross hit a tornado DDT. Flair tried applying the Figure Eight, but the buzzer rang. Flair yelled that it was Ripley’s fault as Ripley just looked pleased.
WINNER: Nikki Cross at 2:00
(Hazelwood’s Take: Welp.)
-The announcers shifted to recapping the story between RK-Bro and The New Day, beginning with Orton delivering RKOs to both members, Woods distracting Orton and allowing Kingston to roll him up for a victory that resulted in Riddle shoving Woods, then last week’s fantastic Woods vs. Riddle match that saw Riddle hit the RKO for the victory.
Priest was in the back talking to Riddle and said think about all of the celebrating they’ll do now that they’re touring. Riddle asked for Priest to teach him Spanish. They went through some phrases, then Riddle asked how to say, “Hi Randy.” Priest just said it in English as Orton appeared. Orton said he saw what happened last week. Riddle apologized and said he should have asked first, but he was in the moment. Orton actually commended Riddle on his match last week, then asked Riddle to sit ringside to watch his match to learn a thing or two. Riddle was excited and said he realized the RKO is all about the high-angle velocity and kept talking until Orton once again zipped the lips and took the proverbial “key” from Riddle and tossed it behind him. Riddle went to go look for the key. The New Day’s music hit for Woods vs. Orton. [c]
(2) XAVIER WOODS vs. RANDY ORTON (w/Riddle)
They returned with a SummerSlam promo, but no location. Woods was playing the trombone in the corner as they shifted back, then Orton made his entrance with Riddle riding along. Orton had a resigned look to him, with facial hair that makes him look kind of like an asshole. Graves said Orton sees something in Riddle, what he doesn’t know.
They locked up, but Orton took the quick advantage and looked for an early RKO. Woods countered and hit an arm drag, but was caught and thrown into the top turnbuckle before heading outside. Orton slammed Woods’ head on the table several times before hitting his belly-to-back to the table. Smith said, “We are getting hazard pay during this match!” as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Orton in control with the Randy Orton Special, a rear chinlock. Woods fought to his feet, hit a few body shots, then hit an armbreaker to create space. He hit an enziguri that grounded Orton, then hit a flurry of strikes to Orton on the feet. Orton responded with a knee to the gut, but Woods ducked a few clotheslines, slid between Orton’s legs, and hit a discus elbow. He then hit a sliding flatliner for a two-count.
Orton was holding the left arm as Smith discussed how it’s impossible to recover from limb damage that quickly. Woods went for the 10 punches in the corner, but Orton hit an eye poke away from the referee’s view and a powerbomb out of the corner for a believable near-fall. Orton used his head to roll Woods to the apron to set for his DDT as Riddle looked on. Orton told Riddle to watch, but Woods slipped out, hit a codebreaker to the left arm, then locked in a Fujiwara armbar. Orton was able to reach the bottom rope to the elation of Riddle.
Orton immediately kicked Woods in the gut and hit his draping DDT. He set for the RKO, but Woods turned it to a backslide for a two-count. Orton caught a running Woods into a Bro Derek for the victory, which made Riddle so happy that he pantomimed hitting an RKO in the ring. Smith said he couldn’t believe they’ve traded finishers.
WINNER: Randy Orton at 8:58 (Bro Derek)
-Smith shifted to Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, & Reginald. A video recapped their travails the past few weeks which led to tonight’s scheduled match between Baszler and Reginald. Baszler’s music played as she made her entrance first. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: WHY am I so invested in RK-Bro? It’s amazing what good storytelling and excellent character work can do for wrestlers! I like this wrinkle of using the other’s finisher, though I think Orton holds one in his pocket for when he eventually turns on Riddle, or to get back at Riddle for turning on him: the punt.)
(3) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. REGINALD (w/Nia Jax)
They returned with M.V.P. in the back leading another group of women to the V.I.P. Lounge as WWE Champion Bobby Lashley entered in a sweet, sweet orange suit. They then shifted back to Baszler pacing in the ring. They showed Reginald & Jax in Gorilla as he asked her to stay back and that he didn’t need help. Reginald was wearing a pink blazer with pink shorts and pink kneepads.
The bell rung as Reginald showed his shirt to Baszler, which had them as Tag Team Champion. He used his flips and evasive maneuvers to avoid Baszler’s strikes, then rolled her up for a one-count. Baszler looked to work his arm, but then hit a shoulder tackle, which Reginald immediately kipped up from. He then bodyslammed Baszler, then apologized as he was trying to say it was just instinct. Baszler finally caught his leg and hit a leg DDT.
She started working the left leg with elbow drops, then wrenched on it with her knee pressing on his thigh. She turned him to his belly, then stomped on the ankle that was faced toe-point down. The trademark appeared even though three minutes were left in the hour. Baszler locked up Reginald’s leg, then slammed it into the mat. She pulled Reginald from the corner and applied an ankle lock. Reginald rolled out and sent Baszler into the top turnbuckle, then hit a spinning cross body to Baszler.
Reginald climbed to a top turnbuckle for a big moonsault. Baszler moved, so Reginald landed on his feet, but the damage was sold. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch, but the corner they were next to suddenly exploded with fire. Reginald used the distraction to hit a victory roll for the win. He went to Gorilla after the match, where Jax celebrated and exclaimed multiple times, “You did it!”
WINNER: Reginald at 4:13 (victory roll)
(Hazelwood’s Take: Just…wow. I’m still shaking my head. This seems like Baszler is Alexa Bliss & Lily’s target, but as I said last week with Heydorn, I think their target is actually Jax and Baszler is just the path to Jax.)
-They shifted to McIntyre in the back as Kevin Patrick approached asking if he was ready. McIntyre said tonight, it’s just about them and he respects Kingston. He said maybe if McIntyre didn’t interfere in Kingston’s match with Lashley, he might have pulled out the big one, but he can’t help but wonder. He said he was just like Kingston putting everybody else’s wants and needs above his own, but then he had to start sacrificing. He praised Kingston for caring for his kids, but said he sacrificed everything so he can one day tell “a little Drew” about when he beat Brock Lesnar. He said he’s willing to do everything Kingston isn’t willing to do, so to answer Patrick’s question, he said he was more than ready. They hyped his match with Kingston by showing McIntyre’s highlights from the past year.
-Mace & T-Bar made their entrance for a tag team match. T-Bar is back to wearing trunks while T-Bar is maintaining the tights. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with a promo for NXT’s #1 contender triple threat match between Pete Dunne, Johnny Gargano, and “Cool” Kyle O’Reilly.
(4) MACE & T-BAR vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado)
Mace & T-Bar were waiting in the ring, emoting way too much with snarls, as a pre-recorded promo played. Mace said brute force is the only way to survive. T-Bar said only bottom-feeders take orders. They equated themselves to great white sharks and said LHP was their prey. LHP made their entrance next.
T-Bar and Dorado began, with T-Bar using his strength to his advantage. He then hit a quick running back elbow in the corner, but Dorado countered a fireman’s carry into a sleeper. T-Bar backed him into the corner, but Metalik tagged in. T-Bar was kicked, then Metalik climbed on Dorado’s shoulders for a big splash. T-Bar was able to tag in Mace, then they hit a high low with Mace doing a spin kick. Mace hit a big vertical suplex for a two-count. He tagged in T-Bar, then set Metalik for a big boot by his partner for a two-count.
Mace tagged in as they used quick tags to beat on Metalik in the corner. They set for a double team, but Dorado suddenly entered and dropkicked Mace. They forced Mace outside, but he landed on his feet and caught a diving Dorado. He hit him with a swinging side slam on the outside. He reentered and hit a double sitting chokeslam with T-Bar for the victory.
WINNER: Mace & T-Bar at 2:48 (double sitting chokeslam)
-They shifted to Bliss on her swingset talking to Lily and said what a night for Reginald. She said what better way to for him to celebrate than to join her on “Alexa’s Playground,” and invited him for later tonight.
-Sheamus’ music hit as the United States Champion made his way to the ring. Smith said it was to going to be a “unique challenge” as they cut to break. If it’s an open challenge, it’s not unique. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Good for the victors, bad for the losers. There should be other teams you can pull from the Performance Center for quick, squash-like matches such as this that doesn’t define acts further down.)
-They returned with Sheamus saying another week, another victory for the valiant U.S. Champion. He said he can’t wait for WWE to go back on the road so he can defend his title in every major city (sorry, minor cities!). He shifted to Humberto Carrillo & Ricochet, saying they’d rather try to embarrass him than win. He shifted to looking at their “true” character from last week that saw him cheat to win and attack Carrillo after the match only for Ricochet to make the save and the two hitting big aerial maneuvers to a grounded Sheamus.
He asked if they looked like championship material to viewers. He said where he’s from, that’s skullduggery with two fellows jumping one lad. He answered his own question of why he hasn’t defended his title. He said the open challenge was meant to find someone worthy to face him, but those two aren’t worthy to lace his boots. He said he’ll fight them back-to-back like a true champion, then asked which one of them is brave enough to step out first to get their arse kicked. Ricochet’s music hit.
(5) SHEAMUS (c) vs. RICOCHET – Non-title match
Ricochet immediately tried striking with Sheamus, but Sheamus gained the advantage. Ricochet slipped out of a bodyslam and sent Sheamus outside, but Sheamus avoided a baseball slide and hit a fallaway slam to Ricochet into the barricade by the announce table. He rolled Ricochet back in, climbed the top, and hit a flying clothesline that caused Ricochet to flip backwards. Carrillo’s music hit, distracting Sheamus, allowing Ricochet to rollup Sheamus for the victory. They cut to break with an incensed Sheamus. [c]
WINNER: Ricochet at 1:14 (rollup)
(6) SHEAUMS (c) vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO – Non-title match
They returned with the match already in action (I started the stopwatch shortly after the commercial began) and Sheamus in control, hitting a set of strikes on Carrillo before berating Ricochet. Carrillo fought back in the corner, but Sheamus grabbed his leg and pulled him off of the second turnbuckle to the mat. He then set Carrillo for the Ten Beats of the Bodhran, but Carrillo fought it off before Sheamus could land one Beat, hitting a stunner across the top rope, but leaping right into an Irish Curse.
Sheamus kicked a prone Carrillo several times, then hit a short-arm clothesline. He said he could this all day. He trapped Carrillo’s arm between his leg and hit a modified Ten Beats in the ring before locking in a modified clutch. Carrillo fought out with a jawbreaker and sidestepped a charging Sheamus, who hit the post shoulder-first. Carrillo hit a bunch of strikes, a leaping spinning kick that busted Sheamus’ nose, possibly broke it, but then was clotheslined over the top rope to the ground.
Sheamus kicked Ricochet in the head with blood running down his nose and threw Carrillo back in. He taunted Ricochet, but Carrillo hit a tope to Sheamus into the announce table. Back in the ring, Carrillo attempted a diving cross body, but Sheamus caught him into a swinging uranage. He caught Ricochet trying to interfere, but Carrillo hit a springboard kick and a rollup for the victory.
WINNER: Humberto Carrillo at 7:00 (rollup)
(Hazelwood’s Take: How many distraction rollup finishes can one show have? Well, Raw is about to put that question to the test it seems. Hopefully Sheamus is fine, but it made for a dope visual.)
-They shifted to an Eva Marie promo about being back to finish what she started. This video actually showed her doing in-ring work and training. Good.
-Naomi’s music hit as she & Lana made their entrance for their tag team match with Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke. They cut to break. [c]
(7) NAOMI & LANA vs. MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE
They returned with a video promo to hype the #1 contender’s match by showing highlights of last week’s match and Pearce making the match with Lashley & M.V.P. banned from ringside unless Lashley wants to be suspended for 90 days without pay.
They showed Rose & Brook entering, flexing, and Natalya & Tamina joining commentary. Lana and Brooke began, with Naomi making a blind tag to hit a leg drop. She bulldogged Brooke into a turnbuckle, then Lana tagged in to hit her own bulldog for a two-count. Naomi tagged in, went for a wheelbarrow maneuver, but Brooke just slammed her face-first into the mat and tagged in Rose.
They hit a double flapjack for a two-count, then Rose hit a takedown slam to Naomi, followed by another to put herself between Naomi & Lana. Naomi fought out of their corner, hit a modified TKO, then kicked Rose in the face for a two-count. Naomi dragged Rose to their corner and tagged in Lana, then kicked away Brooke. Naomi hit a springboard to Brooke outside, but Rose hit a pump knee as Naomi hit the apron.
Lana tried a jackknife cover, but Rose bridged up and fought out. She put Lana in their corner, tagged in Brooke, and they hit a double team where Brooke hit a second rope rolling neckbreker as Rose hit a Samoan drop to Lana.
WINNER: Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke at 3:42 (rolling neckbreaker/Samoan drop combo)
-They shifted to a video recap of Cedric Alexander berating Shelton Benjamin last week, then using underhanded tactics to gain the victory with the Neuralizer. Benjamin’s music hit as he made his way for this rubber match. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with a clip from HBO’s The Shop where Bad Bunny discussed his time with WWE. He said the love came from when he was a kid, and wrestling in WWE was a dream. He said it was bigger than the Super Bowl, the Grammys, and it was the best moment of his life.
(8) SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Alexander was making his entrance as Benjamin look pissed. He immediately hit a big boot to Alexander, but Alexander poked him in the eye on a powerbomb attempt. He hit the Neuralizer and that’s that.
WINNER: Cedric Alexander at 0:28 (Neuralizer)
-They showed Elias & Ryker in the locker room as Elias was hyping them up for their match tonight. He said last week he was thrown into the LED boards and almost electrocuted, again. He said they have a huge opportunity and that Ryker showed last week that Styles is no match for him. Ryker was just staring off into space as Elias asked if he could hear him. He told Ryker he needs to know if he has his back, and asked if he’s ever been in battle. Ryker said he served in Iraq and left. Styles & Omos entered. They really put over Omos as terrifying. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Poor, poor Benjamin. Hopefully this at least means some kind of singles run, even if he doesn’t win any titles, for Alexander.)
-They returned with Patrick outside of The New Day’s locker room (they have their own!). He knocked, and Kingston answered. Kingston said he wanted to talk more about what McIntyre didn’t say and that’s the insinuation that Kingston’s relationship with his friends and family is a detriment, but he said that’s what actually fuels and drives him. He said he truly respects McIntyre and his sacrfirices, but he can’t respect the slight he took at him about that and about losing to Lesnar.
He said if they’re going to take cheap shots, using that same logic, not to forget what happened two weeks ago in that he pinned Lashley even though McIntyre couldn’t do it in three months “though it feels like three years.” He said McIntyre isn’t going to “run through” him, but they’re going to give every ounce of blood, sweat, tears, and energy out there, but he will beat McIntyre tonight and beat “Bob Lashley, again,” to become a two-time WWE World Heavyweight (“wait for it bro, wait for it, you ready for it?”) Champion. They showed Kingston’s highlights, including KofiMania, before hyping the main event. Styles & Omos still in the ring, huh?
(9) A.J. STYLES & OMOS (c) vs. ELIAS & JAXSON RYKER – Tag Team Championship match
Indeed, they were! Graves discussed the “catatonic look” on Ryker’s face as they entered. Mike Rome gave formal introductions. Ryker acted like he was starting with Styles, but Elias attacked from behind and instead became the legal man. He beat on Styles in a neutral corner as Smith said the one weakness with the Styles & Omos is that they don’t have the reps as a tag team. Graves countered by saying Styles has enough reps for three careers.
Styles hit a snap suplex for not even a one-count as he fought back, but Elias hit a snap suplex of his own for a one-count. He hit a snapmare and leaping knee, but Ryker blind tagged in as it looked like Elias wasn’t expecting that. He whipped Styles to the ropes, but Styles slid out, took out Elias, then lured Ryker outside so he could hit a baseball to slide to Ryker into Elias as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with a Hire Heroes USA ad featuring Montez Ford. As Wade Keller said, this Ford is so much better. Ryker was in control of Styles and hit what looked like a brainbuster to Styles for a two-count. They showed a split-screen Polish hammer, then another that Ryker hit during the break as he held a rear chinlock in the present. Styles tried fighting out, but Ryker threw him head-first into the second turnbuckle. Smith said he wanted to see a tag match, but they’ve only seen Styles.
Ryker cinched in another rear chinlock for some reason, but Styles fought out and hit the Pele kick as both men were prone. Ryker went to tag in Elias, but Elias pulled back his hand and dropped to the floor. Styles tagged in Omos, who stalked Ryker. Ryker slowly turned around, then Omos locked in a claw. He threw Elias into the corner, rushed him, then whipped him back into the same corner hard as Elias looked on from the ramp, looking pleased. Omos hit another running back elbow to Ryker in the corner, then yelled at Ryker.
He lifted Ryker, who moved listlessly, before hitting him with a short-arm clothesline. He then tagged in Styles, who hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the victory to retain. They showed replays after as the victors posed in the ring.
WINNER: A.J. Styles & Omos at 9:45 (Phenomenal Forearm)
-They cut to Reginald in the back, limping with his left leg taped. Jax approached and said he obviously proved he could handle himself, but was he sure about accepting Bliss’ invitation? He said he’ll be fine. Jax said OK, but be careful and that they still had to celebrate later. They showed Bliss playing with Lily’s hair as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: WHAT WAS THE POINT OF PUTTING RYKER OVER STYLES LAST WEEK THEN?! It just made Styles look bad and what happened tonight seemingly disconnected from last week’s events.)
-They returned with Elias retreating in the back as Patrick approached. Elias said Ryker has become unhinged. He said Ryker originally came to “walk with him,” but last week, he was looking out for himself as he ran away. Patrick said Ryker won, but Elias said with his help. He said he respects Ryker for being a veteran, but Ryker is unpredictable. He said he doesn’t want to be around him anymore.
-Bliss welcomed people to the playground, then was “interrupted” by Lily as she introduced Reginald. He took a wary seat on the swing next to her. She asked if she could call him Reggie, and he said of course. She congratulated him on his victory, and he said aside from his leg, he feels great. Bliss interrupted and said Lily has a question. She held Lily up, but he didn’t respond. Bliss said Lily wanted to know about Cirque du Soleil, but Baszler suddenly jumped Reginald and beat him bad. She took his spot on the swing.
Bliss said hi, but that she wasn’t invited. Bliss said it’s only because Lily doesn’t really like Baszler. Baszler said Bliss is becoming a big problem and she just saw how she handles her problems. She said before things get out of hand, they’ll have a chat, and she’ll see her next week. She bent down and told Lily she’s just a stupid doll. Bliss’ demeanor changed.
-They showed the Viking Raiders in the back talking to Mansoor about what it’s like to tour and how to “get the WWE Universe really pumped up.” They suggested a chant, “RAID!” Mansoor responded in kind, and they liked it. They welcomed him as he backed into Mustafa Ali. He said don’t trust anyone as they’ll turn on him. Mansoor asked why he should trust him then. Ali laughed and said, “Now you’re getting it.”
-They showed McIntyre and Kingston warming up as they cut to break. [c]
-They returned with Lashley & M.V.P. celebrating and dancing with the women as Patrick approached. They looked annoyed. He asked if they had a preferential challenger. M.V.P. said they just want to know who’s going to be the loser at the PPV (nice). Instead, M.V.P. praised both men and their stories, but not as competition. Lashley said it’s because he defeated McIntyre at WrestleMania and that none of them will take the title from him. M.V.P. said Pearce banned them from ringside, but the executive suite with The All Mighty, beautiful women, and champagne is much better. Lashley said there is nothing either man can do to end The All Mighty Era.
(10) KOFI KINGSTON vs. DREW MCINTYRE – #1 contender’s match to face Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell
Kingston entered first, then McIntyre. Both men received their full entrances. Kingston had a serious yet confident look, while McIntyre’s look bordered on arrogant. He should work more of the heel as the bigger, stronger wrestler in this match, but we’ll see. I forgot to mention earlier I think that Woods & Kingston are wearing Power Rangers inspired gear, Kingston in Green Ranger and Woods in White Ranger.
McIntyre took control early with strikes, but Kingston hit a sunset flip for a two-count and a Last Supper like pin for a two-count, but McIntyre dropped him with one strike. He lifted Kingston and hit a chop to chest, then lifted McIntyre for a spinebuster that Kingston somehow used to flip McIntyre outside. He hit his second-rope trust fall on McIntyre to the outside as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Kingston beating on McIntyre in the corner, but the latter exploded out and floored the former. McIntyre then went for his deadlift vertical, delayed it slightly, then hit for a one-count. McIntyre went for a short-arm clothesline that Kingston flipped into a standing guillotine. McIntyre tried for another suplex, but Kingston countered into a rollup for a two-count.
He landed some kicks and then his rope-assisted splash for a two-count. He charged McIntyre in a corner and hit a flying forearm, then another, but missed a third and into an overhead belly-to-belly from McIntyre. He put Kingston in a corner and hit another overhead suplex across the ring. He went for a bodyslam, but Kingston turned it into an inside cradle for a two-count.
McIntyre beat on Kingston against the ropes as Saxton said this was frustration coming out, to which Graves countered. Kingston countered a punch into the S.O.S. for a two-count, and Smith said it’s moves like that that surprise us every time. Kingston looked for the Boom Drop, but McIntyre rolled outside. Kingston climbed, then to the post, and jumped to McIntyre. McIntyre caught him and threw him over the barricade. Kingston landed with his back against the corner of some kind of board/barricade as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with McIntyre whipping Kingston hard into a corner, then hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two-count. McIntyre chopped Kingston in the corner before sitting him on the top turnbuckle. Kinston tried fighting out, but McIntyre repeatedly landed blows. He put Kingston into a fireman’s carry, but Kingston turned it into an avalanche powerbomb. He slowly crawled over for a two-count.
Kingston landed some chops and a dropkick, then jumped out of the corner with another dropkick for a two-count. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, McIntyre ducked, Kingston tried for S.O.S., but McIntyre butterflied Kingston and spun him around before dropping him with a spinning Future Shock for a believable near-fall. McIntyre lifted Kingston onto his shoulders, but Kingston fought out only to be hit with a big spinebuster. McIntyre jackknifed for a two-count.
The announcers marveled at Kingston’s perseverance and wondered about McIntyre’s frustration. He went for another Future Shock, but Kingston hit a superkick for another believable near-fall. Smith’s reaction was great. Kingston climbed to the top turnbuckle, but McIntyre kipped up and struck him. McIntyre climbed for a superplex, all the way to the top, but Kingston took out McIntyre’s leg and hung him up. McIntyre lifted himself and hit an overhead suplex from the top.
McIntyre set in the corner for the Claymore rather than attempt a pin. He waited, but ran into Trouble in Paradise. McIntyre grabbed the bottom rope on the pin attempt! I thought he was too far away, but I was wrong. Kingston was frustrated, then reversed an Irish whip by leaping off of the top with a rana to McIntyre, then a leaping double stomp to a standing McIntyre on the outside. He rolled McIntyre back in, climbed the top, but jumped right into a Claymore.
After the match, Kingston groggily regained his feet. They shook hands as Lashley’s music hit. He posed with the title at the top of the ramp while McIntyre looked on and trash talked from the second turnbuckle.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 22:33 (Claymore to a leaping Kingston)
(Hazelwood’s Take: I said last week fans might be disappointed because they would expect another fantastic match between these two. Not only did they deliver, but the match was visibly different from last week’s match, so you can’t say they just went through the motions. I would have preferred Kingston winning as we’ve seen McIntyre-Lashley so much, but that finish was good.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Last week was a good show; tonight, not so much. There were so many distractions and illogical decisions. Then again, applying logic to WWE is a losing game. The main event, as great as it was, doesn’t make up for nearly every match before it aside from Orton vs. Woods. However, if you choose to watch one match, watch McIntyre vs. Kingston.