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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 28, 2021
LIVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA – “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Commentators: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-Smith introduced the show and said they’re three weeks away from Money in the Bank where “every Superstar on our roster has HIS eyes on the prize.” (Oops. There are female eyes on that prize, too.) They showed a ring full of wrestlers.
-They cut to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville who announced that Randy Orton couldn’t compete as scheduled, so the show would begin with a battle royal to fill that open slot. Riddle scootered up to them breathless and said he had a note from Orton. Pearce read the statement that purported to be Orton telling Riddle to fight on his behalf. It was written in big green marker on lined paper with a drawing of a viper in the signature space. Riddle said it’s not fair for them to take the opportunity away from Orton. He pitched that he should be able to compete on his behalf. Riddle said he wanted to enter the battle royal as Orton and, if he won, Orton could enter MITB. Deville said it’s unconventional, but she’s inclined to say yes. Pearce was surprised, but ultimately agreed. Riddle rode his scooter to the ring.
(1) BATTLE ROYAL – Winner Gets in the Money in the Bank qualifying match
This match consisted of mostly wrestlers relieved they weren’t on last week’s roster cuts. Entrants: Angel Garza, Shelton Benjamin, Drew Gulak, Erik, Ivar, Mustafa Ali, Cedric, Riddle, R-Truth, Jinder Mahal, Mansoor, Jeff Hardy, Humberto Carrillo, Akira Tozawa, and Damien Priest. Shelton tossed Gulak out in the opening minute. Mahal eliminated Shelton. Garza landed on one foot at ringside and rolled back into the ring. Ali quickly eliminated him. Ali then tossed Mansoor out. They piped in boos. Jinder eliminated Truth and then Tozawa. At ringside Gulak rolled up Tozawa to win the 24/7 Title. As he celebrated, Truth dove onto him and pinned him. Tozawa then regained it. Omos walked out and yanked Ivar and Erik out; Mahal helped with a shove from behind. Omos tossed the Viking Raiders around ringside as they cut to a break. [c]
After the break, it was down to Priest, Cedric, Mahal, Hardy, and Riddle. They replayed Carrillo and Ali eliminating each other during the break. Priest knocked Mahal off the ring apron. Cedric countered a Twist of Fate and tossed Hardy out. Cedric gloated that he’s better than Hardy at every level and he just proved it. He yelled at him to go home. Priest then swept Cedric and landed Hit the Lights before tossing him out. It came down to Riddle and Priest. Graves said somewhere Orton is looking on. After several minutes of intense back and forth hard-hitting exchanges, Riddle kicked Priest off the ring apron to win. Riddle insisted they play Orton’s music for his celebration.
WINNER: Riddle in 15:00 to earn himself a spot in the MITB qualifier match later to fight on behalf of Orton.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Graves said this proved anything can happen in WWE. He really played up how unbelievable it was that Riddle won.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t really get framing Riddle’s win as some sort of miracle. Was there some obvious favorite he outlasted? This wasn’t exactly the A-team of main eventers on Raw.)
-A video package aired on Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler from the Hell in a Cell PPV event. They had the Peacock logo in the corner, part of what Peacock was paying for when they bought rights to add WWE Network as a hub on their streaming service.
-Backstage, they zoomed in on Shayna Baszler fidgeting with a deck of cards. Jax asked if she’s preparing to play a game or wrestle a match. Baszler said it helps it helps keep her head clear so she doesn’t put her fist or face through a wall. Reginald told Baszler he didn’t do anything on purpose last week. Baszler said she knows it’s all Bliss’s fault, so she intends to send Bliss and her doll on a permanent timeout. A graphic hyped Nikki Cross vs. Baszler later.
-Jaxson Ryker was warming up by whipping the strap against a rolling crate backstage. [c]
-Kevin Patrick interviewed A.J. Styles and Omos backstage. He asked how his plans for his match later have changed with Riddle wrestling in Orton’s place. Styles said usually when you don’t show up for work, you lose an opportunity. Patrick asked about Omos interfering in the battle royal. Omos said he was merely scouting for Styles’ potential opponent later. A clip aired of the Viking Raider last week going after Omos at ringside, leading to a DISTRACTION of Styles that opened up a win for Ricochet. Styles then said he’s the favorite later and he’ll win that and also continue to defeat all challengers for his and Omos’s tag titles, “including those stinkin’ Viking Raiders.”
-Backstage, Nikki Cross was smiling and warming up in her superhero outfit when the Lucha House Party said hello. Sarah Schreiber said her new super hero persona has “really excited the WWE Universe.” Nikki said she aspires to be a super hero. She said she has found something deep down inside that was always there and now has the courage to show it. She said everybody knows they can do better and be better, and that’s the mindset she’s representing. She said she’ll be an inspiration to boys and girls everywhere when she wins MITB and goes on to become Raw or Smackdown champion. She talked herself into calming down with some deep breaths. She said she is almost a super hero.
(Keller’s Analysis: She’s very humble to aspire to be “almost” a super hero.)
-Cross was introduced as “Almost a Super Hero Nikki Cross” during her ring entrance. [c]
(2) “ALMOST A SUPER HERO” NIKKI CROSS vs. SHAYNA BASZLER (w/Nia Jax, Reginald)
A few minutes in, Cross dropkicked Baszler to the floor. As Jax and Reginald checked on her, Bliss’s theme song played. She walked out, with Lily’s image on the big screen behind her. Cross leaped onto a DISTRACTED trio at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
They replayed Cross’s leap in slo-mo. Bliss remained at ringside. Graves said she was tormenting Baszler. Cross ended up beating a DISTRACTED Baszler with a roll-up. Smith called it an “incredible run” for Cross rather than just “good luck.” He said she has every reason to believe she can beat everybody.
WINNER: Cross in 8:00.
-A video package aired on last week’s Bobby Lashley vs. Xavier Woods Hell in a Cell match.
-Kofi Kingston made his ring entrance, looking a little more serious than usual. [c]
-They replayed the Riddle win earlier.
-The annnouncers hyped Kofi challenging Lashley at Money in the Bank for the WWE Title.
NOTE: If you plan to attend a future WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown, or AEW Dynamite in person, let me know if you’re interested in being an on-site correspondent for us on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show. We’d bring you on the live post-show for 10 minutes, give or take, to talk about your experience at the event and share off-air details and crowd notes: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Kofi stood mid-ring and said in life, there are certain moments that occur that change people for the better or the worse. He said he’s not sure how last week has affected him yet. He said hearing his best friend Xavier yelling in pain, locked in the cage, with him locked on the outside unable to do anything for him was difficult. He said a lot of people have been disrespecting Woods for a very long time and have said he’s “not up to snuff.” He said he showed everyone last week what kind of a competitor he is. He said it’s time for everybody to put some respect on his name. He said Lashley did win fair and square, but what happened after the match was not that. He said he will make Lashley pay at MITB. MVP’s music interrupted, and MVP walked to the ring with five women dancing and strutting next to him. Graves said this is his kind of positivity.
MVP laughed at Kofi predicting victory. He said he says some really ridiculous things, but that was the most ridiculous. He said Lashley is on a well-deserved vacation, but Lashley at MITB will make what Brock Lesnar did to him look like child’s play. Kofi said he’s not sure Lashley is the same guy he used to be. He said he seems like he’s getting a little soft. “And that’s coming from a unicorn-horn wearing, pancake tossing, twerking, hip-swiveling dude like myself.” He said Lashley is looking more beatable than ever, and every week a layer is being stripped away from the All Mighty. He said by MITB, he might look like MVP, hobbling around in overpriced suits. MVP fired back and defended Lashley. He said he deserves all the accolades and success he receives.
Kofi said when he was WWE Champion for six months, he never took a week off. He said in between shows, he took the title all over the world to show people anything is possible if they believe in themselves. He listed countries he visited. He said MVP has Lashley taking vacations in the middle of a WWE Title reign, and he’s distracted by all those women. He said he has taken his eye off the prize, and when that happens, you lose the prize and someone else gains it.
MVP began to walk toward the ring and asked him about how he fed his ego traveling to Ghana to show off his title. He said he respects his optimism. He said Xavier was similarly optimistic, but his injuries ended up being so severe, he couldn’t make it to work this week and odds are he won’t be back next week. Kofi said he should check his odds because Xavier will be back next week. He said MVP is one to talk after milking his knee injury for months. MVP said if he was medically cleared, he’d kick his ass. Kofi went after MVP on the ramp. MVP swung his crutch. Kofi ducked and hit the Trouble In Paradise. Kofi yelled down at MVP, “Now you’re hurt!” Saxton said that’s the Kofi who inspired Kofi-mania.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really strong promo from Kofi. It’s always great to see him drop the over-the-top zany cartoon stuff and be a grown-up serious athlete.)
-Patrick interviewed Eva Marie and D0udrop backstage. Marie said Doudrop made a rookie mistake last week, but they all make mistakes. D0udrop rolled her eyes. Marie said she requested a rematch so the Eva-lution can continue.
-Asuka made her ring entrance. [c]
(3) DOUDROP & EVA MARIE vs. ASUKA & NAOMI
Eva again dropped to the floor when Doudrop needed to tag out. Doudrop shot her a dirty look. Doudrop rolled out of a roll-up attempt by Asuka, then landed a quick senton. She fended off Naomi then landed a crossbody on Asuka for the win. Eva announced herself as the winner afterward. Graves touted Doudrop’s dominance and athleticism. He said Doupdrop and Eva were victorious, “but mostly Eva Marie.”
WINNER: Doudrop & Eva in 2:00.
-The announcers commented on last week’s John Morrison win over Randy Orton after a DISTRACTION, or what Graves called “a rare lapse in judgment.”
-Backstage, Morrison was pushing Miz in his wheelchair when Schreiber asked Morrison how it’d feel to win the MITB contract for the first time in his career. He said the flood-stud was getting moist just thinking about it. Miz vowed that Morrison would cash in successfully because he’s advising him, and he’s cashed in twice. Miz said he has “situational awareness” and nothing escapes his perception. Ricochet had switched placed with Schreiber and asked if Miz is sure about that. He said Miz should have sensed he was there. Miz claimed, “Of course I saw you.” He said part of his strategy is to lull his victims into a false sense of security. Ricochet then asked if he noticed he took one of his Drip Sticks. He sprayed Morrison. Miz begged for mercy, but Ricochet sprayed him too. Miz threw a fit.
-Ricochet’s ring entrance took place.
(4) RICOCHET vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/Miz)
Miz joined in on commentary. Ricochet landed a huracanrana on Morrison at ringside, then sprayed Miz with the Drip Stick. They cut to an early break. [c]
When Morrison bailed out behind the ringside barricade and then sat on it to taunt Richochet, Ricochet springboard leaped at Morrison with a wild long-distance crossbody. The cameras took their time showing the wrestlers on the floor, presumably after a landing pad was moved. Miz was wide-eyed as the announcers freaked out. Graves called it mind-blowing. The ref counted both wrestlers out. “That was unreal,” said Graves. Smith said the willingness to sacrifice everything is what makes a Superstar great. (That’s not really a thing, but it sounded fun to say, I suppose.)
WINNER: Double countout in 11:00.
-They threw to a video package on Rhea Ripley and Charlotte.
-Charlotte Flair approached Natalya and Tamina backstage. She said they haven’t always been welcoming to each other, but they share in common the understanding of what it takes to lead a division and carry on a legacy. She said it’s charming that Rhea wants to be like her, Dana Brooke is not easily mentored, and there’s not much going on with Mandy Rose upstairs. Natalya said they have nothing to be concerned about. Tamina said she’s still upset about the cheapshots last week, so she’ll issue the receipt tonight. Charlotte said they have to remember that respect isn’t given, it’s earned.
-Charlotte made her ring entrance. [c]
-A soundbite aired with Mandy, Dana, and Ripley before the match. They cut off Ripley mid-sentence when the wrestlers began brawling before the bell. They brawled for a minute, then regrouped separately at ringside. They cut to another break. [c]
(5) CHARLOTTE FLAIR & NATALYA & TAMINA vs. RHEA RIPLEY & MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE
Natalya and Tamina double-teamed Charlotte at ringside to take control a minute after returning from the break with the match in progress. Charlotte came back and took it to Brooke for a while. In the end, Mandy fought out of a Sharpshooter by Natalya, but Charlotte tagged herself in and caught her with a boot to the face for the win.
WINNERS: Charlotte & Tamina & Natlaya in 6:00.
-Ripley attacked Charlotte from behind after the match. Charlotte hobbled in the ring as Ripley gloated at ringside.
-A video package aired on the Elias-Ryker angle.
-R-Truth walked in and saw Ryker whipping himself. He asked Ryker what he was doing. Ryker said he’s purging himself of weakness and exploring where to inflict the most pain on his opponent. Truth thanked him for sharing. He asked if he could borrow that strap afterward so he could use it to lasso Tozawa and win his baby back. Ryker snarled and said nothing. Truth said it was good talking and then left.
-Elias made his entrance to some new music. [c]
(5) RYKER vs. ELIAS – Strap match
WINNER: Ryker in 3:00.
-A clip aired of Riddle winning earlier.
-Priest approached Riddle and congratulated him on his win earlier. He wished him luck. Riddle said, “I’m not Riddle. I’m Randy Orton. What do you want?” Priest played along and patronizingly said, “Okay, Randy.” He then told him to tell Riddle about a new Burger King sandwich. Riddle then admitted it was him. Priest said he knew it was him, and he thinks it’s cool he’s trying to help Orton get into the MITB match. He told Riddle that Orton is lucky to have him as his friend. Riddle said, “Awww!” Then he went back into posing as Orton and saying he is the Apex Predator.
-They showed the welts on Drew McIntyre’s back. [c]
-Patrick interviewed Drew who talked about a battle between the Scots, English, and Irish. He said he wouldn’t show his hand to anyone other than saying he’s going to win this match and win the MITB ladder match.
-Drew made his ring entrance. Then Styles and Omos. And then Riddle. [c]
(6) DREW MCINTYRE vs. A.J. STYLES vs. RIDDLE – Last Chance Money in the Bank Qualifier
A few minutes in, Drew battled Styles at ringside. Drew shot the announcers a look before tossing the lid of the table aside. Smith said, “Are you kidding me?” (Nope. We’re not.) Drew then stared at Omos before setting up an edge onto the table, but Styles slipped free. Riddle then kicked Drew. Riddle got up first. Drew looked up at Omos who was towering over him before returning to the battle at ringside with the other two. Styles tried to suplex Riddle onto the announce table, but Riddle reversed position. Styles resisted. Riddle suplexed Styles onto the mat. Drew then gave Riddle a quick suplex. Riddle and Styles worked together to toss Drew onto the announce desk, which collapsed. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Riddle was in control. A few minutes later, Riddle teased an RKO. Styles countered with a slam for a near fall. Graves called Styles’s move the closest thing he’s seen to a Burning Hammer in a long time. Drew recovered and dragged Styles to the floor and tossed him around. He then went after Riddle in the ring with a barrage of offense. Riddle side-stepped a Claymore and tossed Drew to the floor. Styles gave Drew a flying forearm at ringside. Riddle gave Styles a springboard knee to Styles’s chin on the ring apron. He followed with a penalty kick to the face of Styles. He also kicked Drew. Riddle then flip dove onto both of them. He showed some fire and pounded his chest. He threw some roundkicks to the chest of Drew and then Styles at ringside. Riddle went for a kick at Styles, but he kicked the metal steps after Styles moved. He cried out in pain and said he thinks it’s broken. The referee called for help. A ref and trainer helped Riddle to the back as they cut to a break. [c]
Drew and Styles continued to battle one-on-one after the break. Riddle limped his way back to the ring. He hit an RKO on Styles for a near fall broken up by Omos who dragged Styles to safety. Drew landed a surprise Claymore on Riddle for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 27:00 to earn a spot in the MITB Ladder Match.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good main event match. Again, if Drew doesn’t get standing ovations for the string of performances he’s put in on Raw over the last nine months especially, fans are cheating him. He’s been the weekly workhorse in WWE.)