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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
JUNE 28, 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 Robert Vallejos of “MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans” to break down the show with live callers and emails.
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-They began with pyro exploding, followed by Jimmy Smith welcoming viewers to the show. Corey Graves hyped Money in the Bank and the match, specifically, as a slew of men were in the ring. Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville were in Gorilla. Pearce said Randy Orton was scheduled for the triple threat, but due to circumstances beyond their control, he won’t be competing. Deville said they will have and over-the-top battle royal instead.
Riddle rode up on his scooter and delivered a note to Pearce. Pearce read that heretofore, Riddle could take his place, and he’d be honored if Riddle took his place. Deville said half of these won’t even words. Pearce said he clearly wrote it, even drawing a viper. Riddle said it’s not fair to just take it away from Pearce. He said let him compete for Orton; if he wins the triple threat, Orton qualifies (and I think he implied they both would). Deville said yes, so Pearce said yes, and Riddle rode to the ring. They looked over the clearly fake note again.
(1) RIDDLE vs. JEFF HARDY vs. AKIRA TOZAWA vs. R-TRUTH vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. MUSTAFA ALI vs. DREW GULAK vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. DAMIAN PRIEST vs. ERIK vs. IVAR vs. JINDER MAHAL vs. MANSOOR – Over-the-top battle royal to determine Money in the Bank match entrant
They began and Riddle immediate was double teamed by Mustafa Ali & Drew Gulak. He escaped, and this match is going to be hell to cover. I can see Akira Tozawa, R-Truth, Shelton Benjamin, Damian Priest, Ivar, Erik, Gulak just got eliminated by Benjamin, Humberto Carrillo, Cedric Alexander, Jeff Hardy, Jinder Mahal, Benjamin was eliminated, and Mansoor. I think that’s the participants.
Garza was thrown over the ropes, but he maintained one foot, hopped around, reentered, tried to eliminate Mansoor, but Ali eliminated Garza instead. Ali then eliminated Mansoor. Erik & Ivar weren’t working together, interestingly. Mahal was working Riddle in one corner, then fought off an elimination attempt. He armbarred Mahal across the top rope, then reentered. Mahal then eliminated Truth with a backbody drop, then launched Tozawa out. He was immediately rolled up by Gulak for the 24/7 Championship, but Truth nailed him and won the title back! Tozawa hit a rolling senton off of the apron to recapture the title. “The highs and lows of being the 24/7 Championship!” said Smith.
Suddenly, Omos strode to the ring, grabbed both Erik & Ivar, and eliminated them with the assist of Mahal. He then lifted Erik and threw him into the barricade. He threw Ivar into the LED board across the apron, causing it to malfunction. They cut to break. [c]
They returned with only Alexander, Priest, Riddle, Mahal, and Hardy in the ring. They showed Ali & Carrillo being eliminated on a Carrillo clothesline. Priest and Mahal began trading blows in the middle of the ring, Priest using the Muy Thai plumb. He sent Mahal onto the apron, then kicked Mahal off to eliminate him. Hardy immediately attacked Priest, taking him out, then Riddle with a mule kick, then Alexander, then Twist-of-Fates to Priest and Riddle before Alexander countered and eliminated Hardy.
He yelled and taunted Hardy, telling him to “go home to the retirement home.” Priest then hit a leg sweep and Hit the Lights before eliminating Alexander, leaving Riddle and Priest. They looked at each other and smiled. Riddle nearly eliminated himself, but held on. He hit a teep kick to Priest, but Priest responded with his own strikes. Riddle ducked a clothesline and hit a quick German suplex. Riddle then hit a couple of running forearms only to run into a spinning heel kick on the third attempt.
Priest hit a jumping back elbow to Riddle in the corner, but Riddle countered Broken Arrow into a standing rear naked choke. Priest tossed him over, but Riddle fell to the apron. He applied the rear naked choke along the ropes (Graves kept saying it’s the Bromission), but Priest brought him back in then hit a huge clothesline.
He went to eliminate Riddle, but Riddle countered with a flying triangle armbar. He nearly drug Priest to the floor, but Priest stayed on the apron. Riddle hit Final Flash, but Priest slipped Riddle and hit a thunderclap. Priest tried a kick, but Riddle caught it, Priest tried countering with a choke, but Riddle hit a Final Flash to eliminate Priest. He went to Mike Rome and told them to play Orton’s music, which they did as Riddle celebrated. He even climbed the second rope, did the pose, but got spooked when the pyro went off.
WINNER: Matt Riddle at 14:15 to enter the triple threat match (THAT’S what he was saying)
-Byron Saxton then shifted to a video recapping the saga between Alexa Bliss, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, and Reginald with Bliss’ victory at Hell in a Cell. They then showed last week’s qualifying match highlights where Bliss seemed to hypnotize Reginald, which then cost Baszler her match against “Super” Nikki Cross. They showed Baszler in the back shuffling cards and picking out the Queen of Spades. Jax appeared and asked if she was ready for a card game or a match. Baszler said it’s to keep her head clear so she doesn’t put her fist through a wall, or a face. Reginald said it wasn’t his fault, Baszler said shut up, she knows it’s Bliss’ fault, but if she doesn’t win tonight, then it’s her fault. They walked with Bliss watching on from the back.
-They showed Jaxson Ryker just whipping an equipment crate over and over again as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: It would have been really nice to give that to Priest since they’ve done NOTHING with him since his Bad Bunny association ended, but alas. At least it keeps advancing the RK-Bro story. Why is Ryker spending all of his energy whipping an inanimate object instead of saving that for Elias?)
-They returned with a replay of Omos eliminating The Viking Raiders again, followed by Riddle winning the match with the Final Flash knee strike and his Orton pose. Kevin Patrick then welcomed A.J. Styles & Omos and asked about the triple threat match since Orton was replaced by Riddle. Styles said usually when you’re supposed to be somewhere and you’re not, you lose the opportunity. He said with Riddle entering the match, his odds of winning the match have dropped drastically. Patrick said Omos seemed to play a crucial role in the earlier match, and Omos said he was just getting a good look at the match. Styles said why don’t you show what happened to me last week. Patrick said we actually have that and showed the replay where Styles lost to Ricochet.
Styles was staring right at Patrick, who said it was a series of unfortunate events. Styles said no, he’s being a hypocrite for giving Omos grief for what The Viking Raiders did last week, and he wants an apology. Styles said Riddle just had a match and McIntyre isn’t 100 percent after his matches the past few weeks, so he has the advantage. He said when he has the advantage, he wins, and that’s what makes him phenomenal. He said he’ll have a full year to plan out his attack to become WWE Champion for a third time, and all the while, he & Omos will be defending their Tag Team Championship against everybody, including “your stinky Viking Raiders.”
-Cross was jumping around in Gorilla as Lucha House Party approached and said nice mask and complimented her. Sarah Schreiber approached and Cross said she’s inspiring to be a hero, she’s almost a superhero. She said she always had something deep down, but now she has the courage to show it. She said everyone out there has the feeling deep down in their heart that they can be better. She twirled and said to represent that mindset. She said look at her! She qualified for the MITB match, and she could have the contract. She said she’s so excited that she could be the Women’s Champion, then told herself to breathe, slow down, and take it one match at a time. She said she would focus on Baszler, and said her goal was to be an almost superhero. She called her self “Nikki ASH” I think: Nikki Almost a SuperHero. They actually introduced her as “Almost a SuperHero Nikki Cross.” They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: We have more backstory, and it fits Cross’ character presentation, but damn, is it a lot to take. That nickname is horrible, and why would anyone want to be an “almost” superhero?)
-They returned with Cross warming up in the ring as they showed the women who have already qualified for the women’s MITB match. Baszler’s music hit as she made her entrance next, accompanied by Nia Jax & Reginald.
(2) NIKKI CROSS (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER (w/ Nia Jax & Reginald)
Cross hit a go-behind, but Bazler countered and slammed her, then shifted around Baszler before hitting her with a modified cradle for a quick pin. Cross cinched in a side headlock, but Baszler sent her off of the ropes and hit a shoulder block. Cross hit a cross body on the feet for a one-count, but then Baszler hit a belly-to-back and mounted Cross for some punches. She lifted Cross for a bodyslam, but then threw her.
She hit an overhead suplex, then covered for a two-count. She gave Cross a stiff kick to the gut, then whipped her face-first into the top turnbuckle. She beat on Cross a bit, then blocked a sunset flip. She went for a pump knee in the corner, but Cross moved as Baszler hit the middle turnbuckle. Cross then hit a dropkick to send her outside. As she was on the outside, Bliss’ new music played as she creepily strolled to the ring. Cross hit a crossbody from the top rope to all three on the outside as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Baszler beating on Cross with Bliss standing ringside in Cross’ corner. Cross tried fighting back, hitting some strikes and a double throat chop, but Baszler slid underneath Cross’ leap attempt and gave her a stiff knee for a two-count. She then hit her gutwrench front slam and a running knee in the corner. Baszler glared at Bliss, lifted Cross to the top turnbuckle, and asked Bliss why she’s there. This allowed Cross to hit a tornado DDT.
Jaz and Bliss began walking towards each other, with Jax looking hypnotized. Reginald came from behind and stopped Bliss, but then Bliss just kicked both Jax and Reginald in the groin before retreating up the stage. Cross rolled up Baszler like last week, but Baszler kicked out and floored Cross. Cross countered the gutwrench, then hit a tilt-a-whirl into a La Magistral cradle for the victory. Smith said it’s not luck, but an incredible run for Cross.
WINNER: Nikki Cross at 9:42 (La Magistral)
-Smith then shifted to a video recap of last week’s Hell in a Cell match between WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and Xavier Woods. Lashley won, but the enduring image was locking themselves in the cage with the key after the match with Woods caught in The Hurt Lock, Lashley yelling, and Kingston screaming from the outside to let Woods go. The New Day’s music hit as Kingston skipped out by himself, though I would have hoped for him to not be so gregarious after last week. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Look, wherever this Bliss-Baszler-Jax-Reginald thing is going, can we just get there already?)
-They returned with another video recap of Riddle eliminating Priest to qualify for tonight’s triple threat last chance match, then doing the Orton pose and getting surprised by the pyro.
KOFI KINGSTON CONFRONTS M.V.P.
Craves hyped Kingston’s WWE Championship match against Lashley at MITB, which I think they just made official? Kingston said there are certain moments in our lives that occur and change us for better or worse, but he’s not sure how last week’s affected him yet. He said hearing his brother, tag team partner, best friend “Xavier screaming locked inside that Cell” and him on the outside unable to do anything for him, he sighed. He said Woods was out there to support him when he needed him most, but then Kingston couldn’t do anything for him.
He said a lot of people have been disrespecting and thinking that Woods wasn’t “up to snuff” for a long time, but after last week, it’s time for people to put some respect on his boy’s name. He said Lashley won fair and square, that’s OK, but what they did after was not OK. He said M.V.P. locked that cage and dangled the keys in front of his face, then Lashley put Woods in The Hurt Lock, and he can’t get that image out of his head. He said he will make Lashley pay when he takes everything from him, when he beats him and becomes the new WWE Champion. He said it’s going to be something as M.V.P. interrupted.
M.V.P. strode out with the usual cadre of five women and his boss ass walking cane. He said he thought he heard Kingston say that he was going to beat Lashley and become WWE Champion. He asked the women if that’s what he heard and they all laughed. He said that’s one of the most ridiculous things he’s heard Kingston say, and with the Booty-Os and everything, he’s said a lot of ridiculous things. M.V.P. plugged being back in front of a live crowd.
He said Kingston is a feel-good story, but not a threat to Lashley. He said Lashley is enjoing a nice vacation, but wanted M.V.P. to deliver a message. He handed his shades to a lady, then seriously said Lashley enjoyed what he did to Woods last week, and that will look like child’s play when he’s done with Kingston.
He responded saying that he thinks Lashley is getting a little soft, and that’s coming from the hip swiveling, pancake tossing, unicorn horn wearing guy like him. He said if it wasn’t for M.V.P., Drew McIntyre would probably be WWE Champion, and that Woods came thiiiiis close to beating the WWE Champion. Kingston said he already beat Lashley, and he’s confident he could do it again. He said every week, a layer is stripped away from Lashley to where he looks like a shell of his former self, kind of like M.V.P.
M.V.P. said let me explain something to you: he does what he does for Lashley because they began the journey one year ago and he sacrificed and he deserves all the respect and accolades that go with that succes. Kingston said so he didn’t deserve it, his accolades don’t matter? He said he was champ for six months and took the title all over the world so he could show little kids that anything is possible, speaking on his trip to Ghana. He said M.V.P. has Lashley taking days off during the middle of a title reign, having him distracted with all these women, got his eyes off of the prize. Kingston said someone else gains that prize, and that somebody is him,
M.V.P. said when he went back to Ghana so he could bask in the glory of being a national hero, to feed his ego, that’s working hard? M.V.P. said no. He said he respects Kingston’s optimism, but his “court jester” Woods was optimistic about beating Lashley. He not only didn’t win, but he was so hurt he couldn’t even show up to work today. Kingston said he might want to check his numbers and odds because Woods will be back next week because he has heart and resiliency and is a fighter. He said M.V.P. has been milking a knee injury for six months.
M.V.P. said his knee is legitimately hurt and not cleared, but hurt. He said he would whoop his ass. Kingston went after M.V.P., who swung his cane, but Kingston ducked and hit Trouble in Paradise. He yelled a bunch about M.V.P. not having a hurt knee when he interfered in matches, then stood over M.V.P. glaring at him. He walked away looking serious.
-Smith then shifted to Eva Marie & Doudrop, a recap of their “miscommunication” last week. They sh9wed them walking in the back as Patrick approached asking about last week. Marie called him Cohen, and said it was a rookie mistake and Doudrop was overwhelmed with being at the forefront of the Eva-Lution. She said they all make mistakes, but she requested the rematch so Doudrop could learn from her mistakes. They walked away.
-Asuka’s music hit as she made her entrance for a tag team rematch of last week’s qualifier. They cut to break, so Naomi’s entrance will probably be during the commercials. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: M.V.P. and Kingston continue to deliver the best segments on Monday nights.)
-They returned with headlines about their return to touring in the United Kingdom for the first time in two years starting in September. I was wrong in that Asuka was alone in the ring and Naomi made her full entrance. Marie & Doudrop made their entrance next to Marie’s music. Doudrop looked like an upset seven-year-old, which was perfect.
(3) ASUKA & NAOMI vs. EVA MARIE & DOUDROP
Naomi and Doudrop began with the latter using her power to force Naomi in the corner. They broke cleanly, but then Naomi used the top rope to hit an assisted enziguri. She tried for a rope-assisted sunset flip, but Doudrop sat on her. Doudrop missed a senton, then Asuka tagged in. She climbed to the top rope of a neutral corner and hit a missle dropkick, then a running hip attack in the corner. She tried to use the ropes to roll into a German suplex, but was thrown off. Doudrop then used her body as a weapon and hit a corner avalanche to Asuka.
Doudrop went for a slam, but Asuka slipped into a standing Asuka Lock. Doudrop fought for a bit and flung her off. She went for a tag, but Marie hopped off of the apron. Asuka tried rolling up Doudrop, but Doudrop rolled through and hit a senton to the back of Asuka. She flattened Naomi, then hit a running cross body to a seated Asuka for the clean pin. Marie grabbed the mic from Rome and announced herself as the winner of the match to Doudrop’s chagrin. Graves said it was a master plan.
WINNER: Eva Marie & Doudrop at 2:16 (running cross body)
-Smith cut to a replay of last week’s Orton-John Morrison match that saw Riddle and The Miz’s distraction cost Orton, who was pinned after Starship Pain. They showed Morrison rolling The MIz in the background as Schreiber approached asking Morrison about being MITB winner. He said the floodgates are getting moist just thinking about it. The Miz said he’ll win because Morrison’s under his tutelage and as a two-time successful MITB winner and cash-in, he’ll teach him. Morrison said The Miz might not be the strongest or fastest or quickest…
They looked off, and suddenly Ricochet was holding the mic. He asked if they saw him since The Miz said he could see everything and The Miz said of course, it was just part of his strategy to lull him into a false sense of security. Ricochet pulled out the Drip Stick, and Morrison said he has one just like it. Ricochet sprayed both and scrambled off. Ricochet’s music hit for his match with Morrison. Smith complimented Ricochet on his deception. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Good for Doudrop, but Asuka trash now? That was a pretty flat finish even though it was telegraphed.)
-They returned with Ricochet in the ring as they went over who’s already qualified for the MITB match. Morrison’s music hit as he entered with The Miz, with NO slowmo. They hyped this as a first-time ever match.
(4) RICOCHET vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)
They began with Ricochet blocking a leg kick, but being forced into the corner. He fought out, but Morrison rolled away. Ricochet hit some strikes, then a bodyslam and immediate jumping elbow for a one-count. The Miz was on commentary. Morrison backed Ricochet into a corner, took out his legs, then hit some kind of thrusting back kick for a two-count. He applied an arm hold, but Ricochet fought to his feet.
After a couple of shots, Morrison stopped him with a gut knee and sliding forearm to the back. He went for Moonlight Drive, but Ricochet pushed him off of the ropes and hit a big dropkick that sent Morrison outside. The Miz was yelling for Morrison to watch out, but Ricochet hit a baseball slide. The Miz blocked Ricochet’s path, so Ricochet used The Miz to hit a step-up rana to Morrison. He took the Drip Stick, sprayed The Miz, then snapped it over his knee like a bat as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Morrison beating on Ricochet in the corner. Ricochet fought back with shots and an uppercut, but Morrison feinted with a cyclone kick and instead hit a leg sweep as Ricochet blocked up top. Morrison gave a couple of boot washes to a seated Ricochet, then followed one with a quick spin kick, but this just fired up Ricochet. He hit strikes and a chop, dodged a springboard attempt, and hit his own with a crossbody.
Ricochet hit some body strikes, but Morrison sent him off of the ropes. Ricochet hit a clothesline, some strikes, then a lifting knee, rolling Death Valley Driver, and a sliding clothesline for a two-count. Morrison lifted Ricochet and hit a rolling Alabama Slam and then a running knee to a seated Ricochet for a two-count. Ricochet hit an inside cradle for a two-count, but then suffered a springboard Disaster Kick. Ricochet dodged Starship Pain.
Morrison rolled to the apron to recover as Ricochet regained his footing. Morrison went for a capoeira kick, but Ricochet blocked it and hit a dropkick to send Morrison to the floor. Morrison went over the barricade to prevent a tope, then sat on the barricade talking to The Miz. Ricochet hit a springboard crossbody that sent both men over. They failed to make the count.
WINNER: Double count out at 10:37
-They shifted to a video recap of the Rhea Ripley-Charlotte Flair rivalry. They then showed Flair with Natalya & Tamina in Gorilla. Flair said she knows they’ve never been welcoming with each other, but they all have respect for the business. She said only they understand what it’s like to carry a family legacy, to build this industry. She ran down each of their opponents. Natalya said she already made Mandy Rose tap out once, so they have nothing to be concerned about. Tamina said she’s still furious they were cheap shotted last week, so they’ll get their receipt tonight. Flair said let’s teach them that respect is not given, but earned. She made her entrance first. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with Flair posing in the ring. Natalya’s music hit as she & Tamina made their entrance together almost in-step. They both stopped, clapped their titles together, and raised them. Rose & Dana Brooke made their entrance next, flexing together at the top of the ramp. Ripley then made her entrance, complete with that cocky eighth grader smirk on her face. They played a pre-recorded promo with the three of them, that actually cut out because they began brawling with each other.
Ripley and Flair went at it in the ring as Natalya joined to even the odds. All the women were in the ring suddenly and beating on each other. The “heels” rolled outside and regrouped as the “faces” stood in the ring. they cut to break. [c]
(5) CHARLOTTE FLAIR & NATALYA & TAMINA (c) vs. RHEA RIPLEY (c) & MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE – Six-woman tag team match
They returned with the match in progress as Natalya held Rose in an abdominal stretch. I started the clock during break, but it will be approximate. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, but Rose slipped out and tagged in Brooke. She hit a spinning head scissors, then a handspring into Natalya in the corner. A short-arm clothesline followed for a two-count.
Natalya hit a big right hand, then gripped the ropes and kicked Brooke. Tamina tagged in, but Brooke kicked her. Flair tagged Tamina before she could fall. Brooke chased outside, but Flair dragged her down from behind. Flair pinned Brooke for a two-count in the ring, then hit a cheap shot on Ripley, who angrily entered the ring, distracting the ref as Tamina choked Brooke.
Tamina tagged in as Flair stood with her boot on Brooke, then they all hit a synchronous stomp. Natalya tagged in and hit a snap suplex for a one-count, then tagged in Tamina. They hit a double team in the corner, then tagged in Flair (the double team was miscommunicated). Flair hit chops to Brooke that sent her into a neutral corner, but then missed her elevated knee to Brooke’s leg. Brooke got caught by Flair before making the tag, but she hit an O’Conner roll that Flair kicked out of right into a tag for Ripley.
Ripley exploded in and hit clotheslines and a short-arm version, then a headbutt and Northern Lights suplex for a two-count. Flair slipped out of a vertical suplex and tagged in Natalya, who rolled up Ripley for a two-count. Ripley kicked Natalya in the head and tagged in Brooke, who tagged in Rose. They hit a double snapmare, cartwheel, then boot to the face. Things broke down as Ripley took out Tamina, then Flair took our Ripley with a chop block, Brooke took out Flair, then Natalya took out Brooke. Natalya and Rose traded a series of pin attempts, but then Rose shoved off Natalya into their corner, where Flair tagged in and hit a big boot for the win. After the match, Ripley hit a chop block to Flair and escaped.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair & Natalya & Tamina at 7:00 (boot)
-They shifted to the Ryker-Elias rivalry with recaps of Ryker’s two count out victories. They showed Ryker whipping himself again in the back as Tozawa ran by. Truth ran, stopped, looked at Ryker, and asked why he’s doing that. He asked if Ryker’s unhappy with himself, then asked if he “could see” him by doing John Cena’s gesture. Ryker said he’s preparing for battle. He said he and Elias will be bound together, with nowhere to retreat or hide. He said he’s purging himself of his sins and went back to whipping himself. Truth thanked him for sharing, then asked if he could borrow the strap after Ryker’s done. Ryker didn’t respond, so Truth said would you look at that, that’s all the time we have for this week, good talk, and ran away. Ryker just kept whipping himself.
-Elias made his entrance first for their strap match. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: So the “heels” win, but then Ripley, a “face” attacks Flair from behind and cackles about it after? I don’t see how any of this makes me like any of the women involved, outside of maybe Natalya & Tamina. Also, Ryker’s back must be SORE after all this whipping…and we’re not even at the match!)
-They returned congratulating Cena on F9 being #1 at the global box office. Elias was in the ring, staring intensely at the entrance. Elias said in a pre-recorded promo that Ryker once swore he would walk with Elias, but he traded in his light for darkness. He said he’s going to literally and symbolically sever their ties when he takes the strap and conducts a master symphony. Ryker entered next, whipping himself along the way. Elias reluctantly tied the strap.
(6) ELIAS vs. JAXSON RYKER – Strap match
Elias used the distraction of tying the strap to explode at Ryker at beat on him. Ryker is in red and yellow trunks, so yeah. He sent Ryker outside, then sent him into the steel steps using the strap. Elias used the strap and tied it over the ring post to tie up Ryker and whip him across the chest. He ran at Ryker, but Ryker kicked him, climbed to the apron, then forced Elias into the post.
He freed himself, then laid Elias on the apron and whipped his chest. Back in the ring, Ryker whipped Elias’ back a few times, then sent Elias over the rope, to the apron, pulled him back in, clotheslined him, dropped an elbow, climbed to the second rope, but then jumped into a leaping knee for a two-count.
Elias then whipped a seated Ryker across the back, talking smack, then hit another LOUD one. Ryker ducked a clothesline, then whipped Elias and sent him from one corner to another. He roped him into a Black Hole Slam for the victory.
WINNER: Jaxson Ryker at 3:28 (Black Hole Slam)
-They shifted to another replay of Riddle eliminating Priest with the Final Flash to qualify for tonight’s last chance triple threat match with Orton being out. They showed Riddle in the back as Priest approached and congratulated Riddle, wishing him luck. Riddle stared over, looking seriously, saying he’s not Riddle, but Randy Orton. Priest said OK, if you see Riddle, let him know I want to talk to him. He brought up Burger King’s new chicken burger, then Riddle’s eyes bulged. He tried getting Priest to get the key, but didn’t, and Riddle admitted Orton does it better. Priest said he knew it was Riddle the whole time. He said Orton is the one who’s lucky to have Riddle. Priest walked away, then Riddle became Orton again, posing. They cut to break hyping McIntyre. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Well, that was a boring ass strap match. It should have just been a regular match instead of wasting that stipulation, though strap matches aren’t my thing anyway.)
-They returned with McIntyre warming up in the back as Patrick approached and asked about the match. McIntyre said it reminded him of the battle of Edinborough, no, it was somewhere in England. He said Scotland was outnumbered three to one against the English, but one lad, Bryan something, a “ginger lad,” appeared. He said things went nuts, and the grand climax of it all was he saved Christmas. He then said the story is ridiculous because Patrick’s story was ridiculous. He said what he’s going to do is kick Riddle’s head off of his shoulders, then win the MITB match.
McIntyre then made his entrance first for the main event triple threat last chance qualifier match. Graves hyped next week with Woods vs. Lashley in a rematch. Styles entered next, with Omos. Riddle then entered for his second match of the night, neither of which he was originally scheduled. They cut to break right as they ref was about to ring the bell! [c]
(7) DREW MCINTYRE vs. A.J. STYLES (w/Omos) vs. RIDDLE – Last chance triple threat qualifying match to enter the Money in the Bank match
They returned and the match hadn’t started, but when it did, McIntyre took control. Styles tried fighting back, but it just enraged McIntyre. McIntyre turned his attention to Riddle, then sent him toward Styles, who booted him only for McIntyre to clothesline Styles. McIntyre hit a suplex for a two-count, then booted Styles and threw him face-first into the second turnbuckle right away.
Riddle began kicking away at McIntyre’s chest, then hit running forearms to both men before McIntyre caught him in an overhead belly-to-belly, then one for Styles out of the corner. Riddle rolled outside as McIntyre hit a big backbody drop to Styles, who’s feet were parallel with the top of the briefcases. He rushed at Styles, but Styles sidestepped and sent McIntyre to the floor by Omos.
Styles went to the apron, but McIntyre clotheslined his legs out from underneath him. McIntyre cleared the announce table, glared at Omos, then set Styles for a Razor’s Edge. Styles escaped, hit a big hamstring kick, then Riddle flew off of the steel steps with a strike to McIntyre. Riddle went after McIntyre, but Styles cut him off. McIntyre sent Riddle into the steps, but ate another leg kick from Styles.
Styles sent McIntyre into the post, then looked for a vertical suplex on the announce desk. Riddle blocked, reversed position, but Styles blocked. Riddle then hit a suplex on the floor, but McIntyre suddenly exploded and hit Riddle with a suplex on the floor as well. Styles then landed an enziguri or Pele to McIntyre, then Styles & Riddle hit a double team body slam to McIntyre through the announce table as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Riddle kicking Styles in the corner, but Styles caught a kick and began working the leg. However, Riddle hit a big kick to floor Styles. He missed a PK, rolled through a pin attempt, but then ate a Dragon Screw. They showed McIntyre still down. Styles started attacking the left leg, but Riddle hit a lifting knee. Styles responded with a Pele Kick for a two-count.
Styles went outside and kicked away at McIntyre, who had begun to stir. He threw McIntyre back down onto the remnants of the announce desk. He reentered the ring only for Riddle to land a flurry of punches. Styles lifted him and just slammed him down with more of a takedown than a spinebuster. He cranked a modified ankle lock, but Riddle crawled to the ropes to no avail as there are no DQ, which is an inconsistent rule that seems to change match to match.
Styles landed a big brainbuster, snapping Riddle down, for a believable near-fall. Styles went back outside and laid in some more kicks to McIntyre. Graves kept putting over the smarts of Styles’ strategy. Riddle caught Styles on the way in and hit the draping DDT, and Graves couldn’t help but say “vintage Orton.” Riddle started pounding like Orton, but Styles caught him on the RKO attempt and hit a nice Burning Hammer.
Styles went for the Styles Clash, but Riddle fought out as McIntyre grabbed Styles’ leg and dragged him out. He lifted Styles and ran him into the post and barricade, then went to work on Riddle in the corner. He whipped Riddle across, hit a clothesline, then used the corner to lift Riddle for the Alabama Slam. He stared at Riddle, setting up for the Claymore. Riddle sidestepped him and sent him to the outside. A visibly frustrated McIntyre pounded the mat only for Styles to hit a running forearm to a seated McIntyre.
Riddle hit a leaping knee from the corner to Styles on the apron. He then gave Styles and McIntyre PKs from the apron, then hit a springboard Floating Bro to both men. He yelled out before delivering chest kicks to McIntyre and Styles. He then hit a running PK to a seated McIntyre, but as he went for Styles, Styles moved and Riddle kicked the steel steps. He said to the ref he thinks he broke his foot. The ref adamantly called for help as Riddle writhed in pain. They cut to break as officials helped Riddle to the back. [c]
They returned with McIntyre fighting back against Styles, hitting two clotheslines and an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. He hit another out of the corner. He rushed Styles in a corner, but ate a boot. He then dodged Styles and hit a neckbreaker. He kipped up only to slightly tweak his knee. Styles slipped out of Future Shock, but ate a huge spinebuster for a two-count.
McIntyre then lifted Styles to the top rope, following for a superplex attempt. Styles slipped out and took out McIntyre’s leg, causing him to land face-first on the top turnbuckle. He then hit an ushigoroshi on McIntyre for a two-count. He set for the Styles Clash, but McIntyre threw him off. Styles went for his striking combo, but McIntyre ducked the final clothesline and hit a Michinoku Driver for a two-count.
McIntyre went for the Claymore, but Styles hit a frontside chop block that forced McIntyre to flip over. Styles then locked in a Calf Crusher after some resistance. Riddle limped back, then locked in the Bromission to Styles to break the Calf Crusher. Styles hit some elbows, but McIntyre turned his focus to Riddle only to be hit with an overhead kick. Riddle’s foot is bandaged. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Riddle hit the Final Flash and an RKO. Omos pulled out Styles, and Riddle turned into a Claymore for the victory. The show ended with a victorious McIntyre.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 26:39 (Claymore) to qualify for the Money in the Bank match
(Hazelwood’s Take: It was a good match with a good story, but Riddle or Styles probably should have won. I had advocated on Torch platforms for some time for McIntyre to win MITB, but once he beat Kingston, that went out the window. I’m just McIntyre’d out.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A decent show, but the matches with stakes were brought down with the rematches, particularly with Asuka being pinned clean in a few minutes. The main event was wrestled like the wrestlers believed in the stakes, and it made for an enjoyable main event.