6/21 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Hell in a Cell fallout, slew of Money in the Bank match qualifiers, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
JUNE 21, 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, Sarah Schreiber 

Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest co-host Kelly Wells of “PWT Talks NXT” 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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•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER RAW


[HOUR ONE]

-They began with pyro erupting, the Cell still above the ring, and Jimmy Smith welcoming viewers to the show. They showed the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank briefcases hanging above the ring and hyped FIVE qualifying matches tonight.

-WWE Champion Bobby Lashley & M.V.P. (with their cadre of women) made their entrance. Lashley was grinning wide, kissing the title, and walking confidently to the ring. Byron Saxton said it was barbaric and savage, but controversy aside, Lashley is still champion. Smith said he’s shocked Lashley is even walking, and Corey Graves said the champion is “thriving” tonight.

Saxton reminded viewers that McIntyre can no longer challenge for the WWE Championship as long as Lashley is champion as Lashley held the title high in the ring and laughed. M.V.P. grabbed a mic and said once again, he & The All Mighty are in the ring, so that means only thing: big things poppin, little things stoppin. It’s the V.I.P. Lounge! He called them “Lashley’s Ladies.”

Lashley said he and Drew McIntyre went through hell last night, literally, and McIntyre almost took Lashley to his limits, but McIntyre at his best still couldn’t defeat The All Mighty. M.V.P. said Lashley beat McIntyre to within an inch of his life (no he didn’t), and said the most important part is that McIntyre can’t challenge Lashley again, and cut to a split shot of Lashley with his arm raised and McIntyre with a dejected face.

M.V.P. said looking around the V.I.P. Lounge, he sees two alpha males, five beautiful females, and one bottle of champagne. They began a toast to Lashley as The New Day’s music hit and Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods strolled to the ring with Kingston rolling down a tray of toast on a rolling catering cart. Kingston said no disrespect and they wanted to participate in the toast. M.V.P. said the circus was in town. They said this is actual toast and began tossing it in; M.V.P. held them off with light swings from his cane.

M.V.P. said they’re proving his point and that this clown nonsense is why they were watching instead of main eventing last night. He said once we get back in front of live crowds, The New Day will continue to be doing their ridiculous little cosplay while they enjoy the finer things in life.

Kingston said they’re going nowhere. He said it’s well documented that he surrounds himself with people that he trusts rather than with users, those who would chew him up and spit up him out. He kept calling Lashley “Bob” and asked if he thinks his entourage will still be there when Kingston beats him for the title, but Lashley said he would never lose to someone like him. He said there’s a hierarchy and he’s up here while Kingston and his little friend are down here.

Kingston said about hierarchy, you forgot about the fact that he beat Daniel Bryan for the title, but M.V.P. does since he was crying. He said Lashley forgot about the fact that Kingston beat him in the ring last month, to which he shifted to a video replay. Graves said he won with a lot of assistance. Kingston said now Lashley remembers, so here’s his point: Lashley doesn’t have an opponent for Money in the Bank so he challenged Lashley.

M.V.P. said he has to be kidding, but Lashley immediately accepted. He said Kingston conveniently forgot about McIntyre hitting him with the cane. He said he wanted to make sure their match is one-on-one, M.V.P. said do it tonight, so he challenged Woods. Woods called them testosterone-filled meatheads who don’t have the mental acuity to understand a Renaissance man like him. He told M.V.P. to shut up as he was speaking.

He said he was there when Kingston won that title. He gave his accolades, the first two doing with his YouTube channel and hosting G4, then being an 11-time Tag Team Champion. He said please keep underestimating him so that the ass beating he puts on Lashley will be that much better. He accepted, then said the match tonight will be inside the Cell. Really? Again? They did their New Day Rocks clap and chant as Lashley accepted to M.V.P.’s shock.

(Hazelwood’s Take: So are we going to get Adam Pearce and/or Sonya Deville officially sanctioning this match or what? Why another Cell match? This was all mixes of good bad.)

-They returned with Smith recapping the challenge before the break as the cameras highlighted the Cell above the ring. Saxton said it’s official for the first time in 25 years on Monday nights: Hell in a Cell.

-A.J. Styles & Omos made their way to the ring for the former’s qualifying match. Graves said Styles was the quickest to become a Grand Slam Champion. They played an “Earlier Today” video where they came upon The Viking Raiders and ridiculed them saying they’re less than zero, nothing. Ivar said they came to raid and came up with a phenomenal victory last week. Styles said it was luck, but if they want to see a real raid, watch his match with Ricochet as he beats him to a pulp. become Mr. Money in the Bank, become WWE Champion again, and defend the Tag Team Championship against “you stinky barbarians.” Erik said they beat them once and they’ll do it again. Styles knocked the turkey leg from Ivar’s leg as Erik held him back.

Ricochet’s music hit as he made his entrance. In a pre-recorded promo, he said he’s competed for the WWE Championship before and knows how difficult it is to get there and fail. He said the others are going to do their best to win, but their best isn’t good enough as Ricochet is a rarity and will do anything to win.

(1) A.J. STYLES (w/Omos) vs. RICOCHET – Money in the Bank qualifying match

The match began with Styles immediately gaining the advantage, but Ricochet was able to avoid Styles, send him outside, then run from the apron up the turnbuckle and backflip to the mat. However, Styles put him on his shoulder and sent him into the ring post as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Styles working on Ricochet in a corner as Graves said it’s been all Styles. Ricochet fought back with back elbows and a chop, but Styles reversed an Irish whip with a running back elbow. Smith said every time Ricochet tried anything, Styles would just drop him, many times with that elbow. Ricochet fought back, and this time was able to hit a leaping facebuster, but Styles slipped out of a suplex. He sent Ricochet into the ropes, but Ricochet exploded off with a second-rope crossbody.

He hit a running splash on Styles in the corner, sent him across, hit a running clothesline, then hit a Northern Lights and held on for a vertical suplex for a two-count. Graves lauded Ricochet’s power. Styles fought out of a fireman’s carry, dodged a kick, then hit an enziguri. He lifted Ricochet into a Burning Hammer position, but instead hit a modified powerbomb for a two-count.

Styles set for the Styles Clash, but Ricochet flipped out (Smith exploded with an “OH!). They traded strikes, then Ricochet landed an enziguri, dodged a Pele, and hit a deadlift German suplex bridge for a two-count. Graves once again mentioned Ricochet’s power, saying it needs to be mentioned more often. He hit a running clothesline in the corner, but Styles rolled into a Calf Crusher.

Ricochet was close to the ropes and grabbed the bottom one to break the hold. Styles lifted Ricochet and hit a quick ushigoroshi. Styles set on the apron, but The Viking Raiders came down and attacked Omos. Omos dispatched both of them, but they sidestepped him as he tried spearing them through the timekeeper’s barricade. Styles went for the Forearm, but Ricochet hit Recoil for the victory.

WINNER: Ricochet at 9:53 (Recoil)

-Graves hyped Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler and Randy Orton vs. John Morrison and Asuka & Naomi vs. Eva Marie & “her mysterious partner” and McIntyre vs. Riddle to round out the remaining qualifying matches set for tonight.

-They showed Orton in the back as Riddle rode up with more new merch, a drawstring bag and a mug. He said they both have a qualifying match and he would hide his stache in there. Orton said what? Riddle said of Whoppers. He always has Whoppers around and went into a monologue about the King from Burger King before Orton snapped. Riddle asked for some tips since Orton’s won Money in the Bank before. Orton said pointers: stay out of his way. Riddle said that’d be hard if they both qualify and could you imagine, two friends, no, two bros competing, wouldn’t that be exciting? Orton just glared at him, exhaled, and said not for him. He walked away as Riddle wished him luck.

(Hazelwood’s Take: Ricochet getting the victory is a nice swerve here as most expected Styles to win, but it still wasn’t a completely clean victory due to the distraction. Still, he hit a finisher and pinned Styles 1-2-3 in the ring. This definitely means there will be a Tag Team Championship match between the two teams at the next PPV, so we know what this means for Styles. I also guess this means Ricochet is done with Sheamus?)

-They returned with a recap of Marie’s return last week that saw her “proxy” (Piper Niven) squash Naomi while Marie announced herself the winner. They showed the two in the back as Kevin Patrick approached. Marie called him Kyle (he look annoyed), and said since it was fiver years since she was in WWE, everything had to be perfect. She said she got a mani/pedi, but then caught a cold. She said she knew the WWE knew the WWE Universe wanted to see her, so she brought in her protege. She asked what her name was again. Niven was about to say “Piper,” but Marie looked at her, cut her off, then named her “Doudrop.” Niven looked really, really annoyed.

-Asuka made her entrance for the tag team qualifying match, which is only for the women’s qualifying matches apparently; why not singles matches? Naomi made her entrance next as Saxton said, “It’s Glow Time!” It’s not as bad as Michael Cole saying, “It’s Boss Time!” In a pre-recorded video, Naomi said she was thrown off-guard when Marie threw her protege at her. She said tonight, they’re confident because tonight (Asuka picked up), “Eva Marie is not ready for Naomi & Asuka!” Marie & Doudrop made their entrance next. Graves said Doudrop is about shedding your old self and starting anew. They cut to break. [c]

(2) ASUKA & NAOMI vs. EVA MARIE & DOUDROP – Money in the Bank qualifying match

The match began with Asuka and Marie circling each other before Marie retreated and tagged in Doudrop. Doudrop entered and powered away Asuka, who hit a flurry of strikes only to be grounded with a single headbutt. Asuka held onto the ropes and hit a back elbow, then a kick and a shoulder tackle, only for Doudrop to hit a shoulder tackle. Marie was watching from the floor.

Asuka fought back, hit a codebreaker, then tagged in Naomi. Naomi hit a head kick, then a back elbow and a scorpion kick. However, Doudrop hit a running splash in the corner and hit a running cannonball for a pin that was broken up by Asuka.

Doudrop dragged Naomi to their corner, stomped a couple of times, climbed the second rope, then Marie tagged in to Doudrop’s chagrin. Marie covered, but Naomi kicked out at two to Marie’s surprise. She grabbed Naomi’s hand to tag in Doudrop, but she just fell to the apron in disgust. Naomi rolled her up for the victory. Doudrop just looked at Marie like, well.

WINNER: Asuka & Naomi at 2:50 (rollup)

-Smith shifted to a video and still-shot recap of last night’s Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair match that saw Ripley retain after being disqualified for flinging the top covering of the announce desk to Flair’s head (let’s just forget the steel steps being used and the announce table being used for more heinous attacks with no DQ ever). They made sure that we could hear their post-match exchange.

-They showed Pearce & Deville discussing things in the back, then making their way to the ring. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Hey, look, Marie lost! I’m glad the now-Doudrop isn’t a dumbass who’s just taking things because Marie is “successful” when Niven knows she could just whoop her at any point. Now I’m actually interested to see where this goes. Oh, and congrats Naomi!)

-They returned with a video recap of tonight’s opening segment, beginning with the interruption by The New Day and the eventual challenge for a Hell in a Cell match. They showed Lashley warming up, looking angry in the back, as Saxton said it’s less that 24 hours removed from his other Hell in a Cell match last night. Graves confirmed it’s the main event.

[HOUR TWO]

-Pearce & Deville were in the ring and said they were there to discuss an incident from last night. Deville then asked for Ripley to join them. Her music hit and she entered with a mic. She said she was told she’d be summoned, and Pearce said what she did as champion last night was completely unacceptable. Ripley entered the ring and asked what he was talking about.

Deville said as everyone knows, the title can only change hand by pinfall or submission, and Pearce said countout and DQs mean the champion retains. Pearce said she broke the rules, but Ripley countered and said the rules only apply to her. She said she only did what Flair would do, but Pearce said Flair isn’t the current champ. Flair’s music hit.

She had a mic and said not yet, Pearce meant not yet. She said she’s not mad, but proud of Ripley because last night she was kicking Ripley’s ass, but she proved to Flair that she’s smarter than she thought, that Ripley’s clever. She called Ripley a strategic wrestler like her, but she’ll destroy Ripley. Deville said if that’s her way of asking for a rematch, she granted it for Money in the Bank. Both women smirked and glared at each other as Ripley’s music hit.

-Smith shifted to the women’s division and how Natalya & Tamina had a run-in with Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke. They showed the fracas from last week that led to last night’s Natalya vs. Rose match on the Kickoff that Natalya won by tapout via Sharpshooter. They then showed Natalya & Tamina in a photoshoot earlier today as Sarah Schreiber approached to ask a question. They went off furiously as Rose & Brooke were practicing in a ring.

Tamina said they were in the middle of an interview, and Rose said can’t you see we’re in the middle of training, like last week when you said that was more important. Natalya said as Tag Team Champion, it’s their obligation to do media and photoshoots, something they would know nothing about. As they tried to enter the ring, Rose & Brooke kicked them off of the apron and taunted them.

-Orton made his entrance for his match with Morrison, I believe a first-time ever match between the two. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Orton standing in the middle of the ring, then showed pictures of McIntyre’s back after last night’s match, which looked like Wolverine took a swipe or two across the back. They hyped his qualifying match against Riddle for later as Orton stalked around the ring. Morrison’s music hit as he & The Miz entered, the latter in the wheelchair. They did their slowmo entrance, and this time Morrison remember to roll The Miz down with him.

(3) RANDY ORTON vs. JOHN MORRISON – Money in the Bank qualifying match

The match began with The Miz joining commentary, saying he won MITB twice. Orton put Morrison in a side headlock, but Morrison shoved Orton into a corner that forced the ref to break them up. Orton hit a side headlock takedown, but Morrison turned it into a quick pin for a one-count, then transitioned out into a front facelock. He hit a big forearm across the back, then used his agility to flip around Orton’s body into side control and hit a few knees to the gut as they hit their feet. Morrison ended with a head kick for a one-count.

Morrison applied an armlock to Orton, sort of an Americana, but then switched to an arm wringer. He wrenched on the arm, wrung it again, but got hit an Orton thumb to the eye away from the ref’s view. He used Morrison’s hair to slam him to the mat. He then whipped Morrison into the rope, who held on, but was sent over with a clothesline. The Miz was yelling encouragement as Orton was mashing Morrison’s head into the announce table. He hit his belly-to-back to Morrison on the announce table as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Why wasn’t Orton DQd?)

They returned with Orton pounding on Morrison in a corner, a European uppercut flooring him. Orton dragged him to the middle of the ring and did his patented Orton stomps to the appendages. He stomped on the gut and shoved his knee down the face for a two-count. He cinched in the Randy Orton Special, a rear chinlock in the middle of the ring, but then suffered a Morrison springboard roundhouse kick and being thrown into the post shoulder-first.

On the outside, Morrison slammed Orton’s left arm onto the steel steps. They reentered the ring as Morrison mounted Orton and tried for an armbar as they aired a split-screen promo for F9 that lasted about 15 seconds. Orton pushed Morrison into a pin for a two-count, but that broke the armbar. Morrison quickly transitioned into an arm wringer slam for a two-count as he maintained control of the left arm.

He tried for a Kimura, but Orton fought it off, using the hair and punches to the kidney. Morrison countered, whipped Orton into a corner, but Orton exploded out with a clothesline. He chopped at Morrison in a corner using his left arm to get feeling back and work out the kinks. He climbed for the 10 punches, hit them, then backed off as the ref reprimanded him. This allowed Morrison to hit a kick, but he ran into a snap powerslam.

Orton then set for the draping DDT, using his compromised left arm, and still hit after slapping Morrison’s ribs with his right hand. Orton, methodically, set for the RKO with his usual pounding and posing on the mat. Suddenly, The Miz sprayed Orton with the Drip Stick, infuriating Orton. Morrison rolled Orton up for a two-count, then ate a big uppercut.

Riddle rode down to the ring on his scooter as The Miz rolled away. Graves said it was a “low-speed chase.” Morrison used the distraction to hang Orton across the top rope and hit Starship Pain for the victory.

WINNER: John Morrison at 12:41 (Starship Pain)

-Smith shifted to a recap of last night’s Bliss vs. Baszler match which saw Jax become hypnotized and Bliss defeat Baszler clean with Twisted Bliss. They showed Jax & Baszler (with Reginald) in the back as Patrick approached. Jax said what happened last night won’t happen again, and she wouldn’t hurt her Reggie. Baszler asked if he was scared, then said she wasn’t scared of anyone, but-Jax picked up, there’s something different about Bliss.

-Bliss made her entrance with some new, creepy ass music and her weird mannerisms on the ropes. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Smith said it’s “Upset City” tonight, but really, they just want people in the MITB match who can fly around and make use of the gimmick stipulation. Both Ricochet and Morrison should do something that makes everyone go, “HOLY S**T!”)

-They returned with Bliss still sitting on the ropes, waiting. They showed Cross in Gorilla wearing a blue mask, saying she’s on a roll, listing off her victories, then said she’s proud to show her new self. She said tonight, she represents all of us no matter the shortcomings. They zoomed out and she was wearing a blue & gold butterfly superhero outfit. She entered with new music to match her new persona. Their opponents entered.

(4) ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER (w/Reginald) – Money in the Bank qualifying match

Cross & Baszler started with Cross doing typical superheroine poses. Baszler forced her into a neutral corner, then gave a stiff leg kick. Cross hit an arm drag, but Baszler used a Kimura trap to slam her to the mat for a quick cover. Cross fought back, evaded Baszler, then hit a cradle by leaping in from the apron for a two-count.

Baszler grabbed the arm and tagged in Jax, but she ran into the ring post as Cross evaded. Jax rolled outside, where Bliss watched from the steps. Reginald stared at her, seemingly entranced, until Baszler came over and broke the trance. Suddenly, Cross hit a crossbody off of the top rope to all three on the floor as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Cross sending Baszler into their corner and tagging in a joyful Bliss. Cross hit a bulldog as Bliss came in, hit her double knees and a somersault senton for a two-count, a new combo and move for Bliss. Jax distracted the ref as Baszler thumbed the eyes of Bliss. Bliss tagged in Jax, who slammed Bliss’ head into the top turnbuckle of a neutral corner twice. She whipped Bliss into their corner and tagged in Baszler, who hit a lifting knee.

She then shoved Bliss eye-first across the second rope, then applied a rear facelock, really, gripping her hand around the mouth and nose of Bliss while sitting across the back of Bliss. She raised her grip to across the eyes of Bliss, but Bliss was able to fight out, grab the hand, and hit a throat shot. She hit a few shots, but Baszler lifted her and placed her on top of a neutral corner. Bliss used this to hit a sunset bomb out of the corner.

Bliss crawled over to Cross, weirdly like she did last night, as Cross and Jax tagged in. Cross tried using her speed, got caught, but slipped out and used a bunch of strikes to force Jax in the corner. Jax just hit one chest kick, then tagged in Baszler. Baszler went to strike Cross, who ducked, causing Baszler to pull up her punch. Jax was mad and went to the floor, distracting Baszler.

Bliss climbed to the top behind Jax, hypnotized Reginald, then had him nearly slap Jax, but he broke out of it just before. Jax looked worried, then hugged Reginald as Cross hit a baseball slide to the two, then a La Magistral cradle to Baszler for the victory.

WINNER: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross at 10:09 (La Magistral cradle)

-They showed McIntyre in the back warming up as Pearce & Deville approached. McIntyre said he’s looking to the future and earning his way in. Deville said after last night, he doesn’t have to do this, but he said he does. He said it didn’t feel good last night, but he assured them it’s a lot worse in his mind than his physical body. He quoted Winston Churchill, so that’s a historical figure from Europe three weeks running now he’s referenced. He said he might as well keep going, and Pearce said if he’s going, good luck.

-Riddle’s music hit for his qualifying match against McIntyre. He rode to the ring on his scooter, wearing his RK-Bro shirt while hold his RK-Bro mug that he pantomimed drinking out yet rode down with it completely sideways. They cut to break hyping the match.

(Hazelwood’s Take: We knew with Bliss, it only made sense for their pair to go over here, though the booking of the matches tonight beforehand would beg to differ. It was a decent match that was more about furthering the feud between Bliss and Jax & Baszler.)

-They returned with Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, Jinder Mahal, and Cedric Alexander complaining about not being in the qualifying matches. Mahal and Hardy said they’re former champions, then Alexander said they’re antiques and the focus should be on the future, like him. Hardy rightfully brought up Hardy beating Alexander. Deville said she understands, then said the decision is final.

Sheamus said final? What about these gobshites, but he’s the United States Champion! Pearce said does that mean you can defend? Sheamus suddenly said he can’t breathe and complained about his broken nose. Mahal then complained that “Johnny Drip Drip” is in the match and not him, then sarcastically apologized. He added that if something happens to one of those who qualified, he would like them to consider putting him in.

[HOUR THREE]

(5) RIDDLE vs. DREW MCINTYRE – Money in the Bank qualifying match

McIntyre entered, and they zoomed in on his back. Graves asked what it means if McIntyre wins yet can’t challenge Lashley, but Saxton said will Lashley hold the title for another year?

The match began a lockup and McIntyre forcing Riddle into the corner. He tried hooking an arm, but the ref broke them up. They locked up again with McIntyre forcing Riddle into the corner again. Riddle climbed the ropes to break the hold, clinging on like a monkey. He went for a single leg, but McIntyre sprawled and went for a front facelock that Riddle slipped out of.

They locked up again, but Riddle slipped him and gave a kick across the back of McIntyre. McIntyre cringed in pain, knocked Riddle down, then cringed in more pain. He beat on Riddle in the corner and landed a headbutt, but walked around favoring his back. He hit an overhead belly-to-belly out of a different corner for a two-count that he was more cautious about making.

Riddle tried pounding on McIntyre, but McIntyre reversed position and laid into Riddle as Smith said there’s no competition in this match when it comes to power. McIntyre then hit a vertical suplex throw for a two-count. He gave Riddle a huge chop in a corner, causing a five-second delayed scream from Riddle. McIntyre went for a suplex, but Riddle blocked. He came off of the ropes only to be shot down with a shoulder tackle for a two-count.

Riddle sidestepped McIntyre rushing in the corner, ate a short elbow, but then took out McIntyre’s legs from the second rope, causing McIntyre to land flatbacked. He cringed in pain as Riddle hit a Broton for a two-count. Riddle then locked in a gutwrench and hit one. He held on, but McIntyre reversed it into a backbreaker. Riddle rolled to the apron, but at a punch that sent him to the floor.

McIntyre followed, gingerly, but was shoved into the post back-first by Riddle. Riddle then hit an overhead belly-to-belly on the outside. He rolled back in as McIntyre sold the suplex on the outside. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with a graphic for the Hell in a Cell main event and music even while a match is going on, with the camera showing the Cell. They cut back to the ring where Riddle had McIntyre in a rear chinlock that McIntyre fought out of with strikes, but ate a forearm into a corner, followed by a running Riddle forearm and an exploder.

Riddle hit a running PK to the back of a seated McIntyre, then went for a Broton that McIntyre got the knees up for. Riddle rushed at McIntyre, but was hit with an overhead belly-to-belly, then another one out of a corner, followed by a leaping neckbreaker. McIntyre kipped up after a couple of seconds, but immediately stumbled into a corner because of the back pain.

He lifted Riddle for the Future Shock, but Riddle countered into a jackknife for a two-count. McIntyre floored Riddle with a double throat thrust on their feet for a two-count as they zoomed in on McIntyre’s back again. McIntyre slammed Riddle’s head into a corner, then lifted him for his reverse Alabama Slam, which he hit for only a two-count. Has that move ever won McIntyre a match?

McIntyre lifted Riddle into a seated position facing away from the ring on the top, looking for an avalanche belly-to-back. Riddle fought back, causing McIntyre to fall into a spider position. He powered up and hit a spider German suplex to Riddle, who flew off of the top rope. Suddenly, Orton appeared on entrance ramp, which seemed to lift the spirits of Riddle. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with both men on the top rope, this time facing each other, as McIntyre lifted Riddle for a Burning Hammer only for Riddle to slip out for a powerbomb. He then hit Final Flash to a seated McIntyre for a two-count. They showed Orton watching from the ramp. Riddle looked for a German suplex, slipped out and tried for an overhead kick, but McIntyre blocked it and then hit a Michinoku Driver for a two-count.

Both men took their time getting to their feet, McIntyre first. He climbed to a top turnbuckle, but as he went for a leaping chop, Riddle caught him in a flying triangle armbar attempt. McIntyre powered him up, but Riddle landed on his feet for a quick backslide pin. McIntyre immediately hit a Future Shock for a two-count as Riddle kicked out just in time.

McIntyre set for the Claymore, but Riddle couldn’t make his feet. If it was real, the ref would have stopped the match, but Riddle lifted McIntyre, then escaped a carry from McIntyre to hit a ripcord Final Flash. He then hit a head kick to a seated McIntyre, positioning him for a Floating Bro. He climbed, but missed a moonsault and landed on his feet. McIntyre tried for the Claymore, but Riddle hit a flying rear naked choke basically.

McIntyre fought out, ate a Final Flash, but then hit Glasgow Kiss as Riddle leaped for another. Riddle then rolled into a victory roll for the pinfall victory. McIntyre looked dejected from the ring as Riddle rode up to Orton, saying he did it, and extended his fist for a bump. Orton just stared down as Riddle looked sad. He asked what was wrong, saying he could talk to him and he’s always here for his bro. He sold his injuries a bit. He raised his fist again, to no avail.

WINNER: Riddle at 22:48 (victory roll)

-They cut to The New Day in the back getting read for Woods’ match. They hyped said match as they cut to break. [c]

-They returned with a recap of the Elias-Jaxson Ryker feud, beginning two weeks ago with Ryker’s first count out victory, then last week to Ryker’s consecutive count out victory. They showed Ryker in the back self-flagellating as Mansoor approached looking weirded out, then asked for advice, asking what it is exactly that Ryker’s doing. He just glared, so Mansoor was about to walk away.

Ryker said never let your enemy escape. He repeated his line, then said those closest to you will actually never find closure. He said next week, he’s facing Elias in a strap match, and there’s no place for him to run or hide. He said next week, the greatest hits, the tune heard around the world, will be the strap he’s holding smacking flesh. Mansoor said that makes perfect sense and backed into Mustafa Ali.

Ali said Mansoor’s still looking for answers, but not the right questions or the right people. Ali said the question should be how they both were robbed of being in the Money in the Bank match. He said here’s some advice: if you’re denied the opportunity to climb the ladder of success, you have to climb your own ladder. They looked over to Ryker doing some self-flagellation again. They hyped next week’s strap match and a triple threat match between McIntyre-Styles-Orton in a qualifying match.

-They cut back to the ring as Smith said the Cell is “lowering in terrifying fashion.” The New Day’s music hit as they made their entrance first. They looked at the Cell with the appropriate trepidation considering they have plenty of experience in this type of match, not to mention having probably the best modern Cell match against The Usos. Woods stepped in cautiously, then exploded into the ring. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Does Elias-Ryker really warrant a strap match? If the crew earlier were upset about not being involved in the qualifying matches, they’re going to be mighty upset at next week’s triple threat match.)

-They returned with a Raw Talk promo featuring Riddle, Cross, and The Miz & Morrison. Woods was standing in the ring looking around at the Cell as they cut back to the ring with Kingston cheering him on from the outside. They showed a graphic confirming the WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank between Lashley and Kingston. Lashley’s music hit as he made his entrance with M.V.P. There were about 15 minutes left in the show as Lashley entered the Cell. He closed the door himself, showing no fear after last night. Graves called this “borderline stupid” for Lashley, then complimented Lashley as highly intelligent. Saxton said this is the first HIAC match on Raw in 23 years.

(6) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) (w/M.V.P.) vs. XAVIER WOODS (w/Kofi Kingston) – Non-title Hell in a Cell match; if Lashley wins, Woods is banned from the Lashley-Kingston match at Money in the Bank 

Woods immediately hit a dropkick out of the corner and hit a few leg kicks, but Lashley turned him around in a corner and went to work with strikes and shoulder thrusts to the gut. He hit a neckbreaker for a quick count that didn’t even hit one. M.V.P. and Kingston were standing about 10 feet apart.

Woods went for a sunset flip, but Lashley powered out, then hit a flatliner as he taunted Kingston. He hit another as he glared at Kingston, as if to say this is Kingston’s fault. This time, he lifted Woods and hit a flatliner with Woods parallel to the mat. Lashley tossed Woods outside.

He followed, but Woods grabbed a chair  from beneath the ring. Lashley caught the chair, tossed it back to Woods, and punched it right into Woods’ face. He tossed Woods back into the ring, but ran into the post shoulder-first as Woods sidestepped. Woods then hit his dropkick through the ropes to Lashley and into the Cell structure as Kingston cheered twice, then used the chair to knock Lashley off of the apron and into the Cell. Woods swung away and hit Lashley three times with a chair as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Lashley just mushing Woods in the second rope, then punching away at Woods’ head. He came off the ropes, but Woods ducked and sent Lashley over the top rope. Woods went for a baseball slide, but Lashley caught him up in the ring skirt and used that to beat on him, then restricted his breathing. Kingston yelled at Lashley, who just taunted him.

Lashley raised Woods, who tried fighting back to an unflinching Lashley. He just tossed Woods into the Cell, then rolled him onto the apron. Lashley entered the ring and used the ropes for extra elevation as he placed both of his feet on Woods, one on his head and one on his gut. Lashley just grinned at Kingston the whole time. M.V.P. and Kingston kept up a banter on the outside next to each other.

Woods tried to dip for a rollup, but Lashley just stood there and stomped on him. Woods ducked a couple of clotheslines off of the ropes, slid under, then hit a chop block from the front and a basement dropkick. He picked up a kendo stick, which was on the apron (a table is set in a corner as well), and blasted Lashley. Lashley went outside, but was hit again before Woods forced the tip into Lashley’s throat. He struck Lashley again as Kingston taunted M.V.P.

Woods forced Lashley back in the ring with the kendo stick, but Lashley grabbed it. Woods used the momentum to hit a discus clothesline, then came off of the ropes and hit a wheelbarrow slam to Lashley for a two-count. Lashley sent him to the apron, but Woods landed and hit an enziguri followed by his springboard-ish tornado DDT for another two-count.

Woods grabbed the table and set it in the ring, but Lashley lifted him for a powerbomb. Woods slipped out and knocked Lashley onto the table. He quickly climbed the top rope and hit his walking leaping elbow onto Lashley through the table for a two-count. Woods went for a Shining Wizard, but Lashley avoided and threw Woods into the corner head-first, where a chair was set. Lashley hit a big spear and cinched in The Hurt Lock for the immediate tap and emphatic victory for Lashley.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 13:40 (The Hurt Lock)

-After the match, Lashley took Woods outside and threw him into the Cell. The refs opened the Cell, and M.V.P. quickly entered and chained the door shut so Kingston couldn’t enter. Lashley cinched in The Hurt Lock again. Kingston yelled from just outside the cage to let Woods go as Woods just pleadingly looked up at Kingston. What an image to end the show.

(Hazelwood’s Take: This wasn’t at the level of Friday’s HIAC match, but it was serviceable. I think with the story of Lashley having a HIAC match yesterday, the amount of offense Woods was able to inflict made sense. Even then, Lashley usually stopped Woods’ momentum rather abruptly beyond the elbow through the table. I liked the added touch of M.V.P. quickly entering the Cell to lock it from inside, preventing Kingston from entering. The pleading anguish in Kingston’s voice and gestures, added to the triumphant aggression of Lashley and resigned agony of Woods, gave WWE one of their indelible images of 2021.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I like having qualifying matches because too often in WWE, we have matches with no stakes. These matches all have stakes and added importance to them, even in the two minutes of the first women’s tag team match. Further, it gave those who felt slighted by not being involved a reason to do something to be noticed and/or replace a qualifier. I do think the Ripley-Flair feud needs to end, so hopefully their match at the upcoming PPV is that. All in all, because of the stakes involved and the stories involved (more or less), it was as good of a show of Raw as you could expect at this point.

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