SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
JULY 26, 2021
KANSAS CITY, MO. AT THE T-MOBILE CENTER
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): Sarah Schreiber
Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest cohost Javier Machado of 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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-They began with a recap video of last week’s Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley Women’s Championship rematch that ultimately saw Flair retain by DQ after she hit Ripley with the title. However, Ripley attacked Flair after the match, hitting Riptide on the outside as Nikki A.S.H.’s music hit. A.S.H. cashed in her contract (which she won a night earlier), hit a top rope crossbody, and pinned Flair to become the new Women’s Champion. They showed her celebrating with fans to end the package.
-They panned the live crowd in the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri as A.S.H’s music hit to a pretty good pop to begin the night. She ran out looking excited, and greeted some of the fans in the first row. She took a mic as fans cheered. They started a “Nikki!” chant as she soaked it in and calmed herself. She raised the title to more cheers.
She said she’s always wanted to say this: “Welcome to Monday Night Raw!” The fans cheered. She said she’s so happy we’re all back together and she’s standing there as the new Raw Women’s Champion. She said this feels like a dream and she was cutoff by a “You deserve it!” chant. She looked around, then said she keeps pinching herself to make sure she’s awake, but this dream is damn real.
She said in the past, when she reached for the stars, she just didn’t have the confidence that I needed. She said she was so afraid to fail. She said one day she realized, if she fails, she fails, and it’s not a big deal; “I’m still me.” She said when she puts on this outfit (she did a twirl), it gives her a confidence and reminds her, and wants to remind all the fans, that if you believe yourself, you can overcome all of the villains. She said it worked for her, and it can work for them. She said we can “Almost be superheroes!” Flair’s music hit.
Flair had a camerperson hold the ropes down for her as she entered the ring. She grabbed a mic (she was wearing a might fine fit), soaked in the boos, then said aww, Nikki A.S.H., that’s a nice fairytale you’re telling, except the one she’s telling doesn’t have a happy ending. She called A.S.H. a disgrace, asking if her dressed up like this is supposed to represent the company. Flair said she could see A.S.H. flying around the set of the Today show, but Al Roker would laugh at her because it’s so unbelievable. Flair said she’s there to add star power and perspective.
She said before this almost idiot takes another victory lap, let’s take a closer look at what happened last week. The crowd chanted “You suck!” Flair said don’t make her do the “You suck” pose to them, then chuckled, then reminded fans she retained her title last week, but Ripley couldn’t take it and acted like a bratty teenager who had her cellphone taken from her, the only reason A.S.H. won. Flair said it’s beneath her to complain, but she wasn’t even on her feet when the referee started the match. She said A.S.H. stole the title.
A.S.H. just raised the title in defiance. Flair said she’s going to stand there being the opportunity, defeat A.S.H. at SummerSlam, and make her bow down to a real champion. She said here’s the thing, all this injustice isn’t A.S.H.s’ fault. She pointed at the fans and said it’s their fault because for months and months and months they have cheered as Flair suffered injustice after injustice. She said they’re jealous of her, that they can’t handle more successful people. Ripley’s music hit.
Ripley entered the ring and said yeah (she smiled as fans cheered for her), we’re all so jealous of Flair. The fans started a “Rhea!” chant (is she a face now?). Ripley said it’s hard not to be jealous of someone who held the title for one whole day (shot at Kane!). Ripley said the only way to win a title is by pinfall or sub, but she’s pretty sure Flair got herself intentionally DQd. She demanded she face A.S.H. at SummerSlam.
A.S.H. jumped in and said who said either of you are facing me? She said both of them, when champion, denied her the shot. She continued and said this women’s division is ready for a metamorphosis, and she’ll be leading the charge as the new Raw Women’s Champion. Flair said she’s had it up to here with the superhero crap. She said A.S.H. could walk around in her cheap Marvel outfit, but Flair’s going to win. Ripley said the title should be hers.
Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville entered. Pearce said there are a lot of good arguments and perspectives. Deville said in light of the highly unusual circumstances, the only decision is to make a triple threat match for the title at SummerSlam. Flair said this was ridiculous, and Deville jumped in saying it gives them the chance to be champion. Flair said it doesn’t make sense that A.S.H. is a fluke, Ripley doesn’t deserve it, and she’s going to prove that A.S.H. doesn’t belong. She immediately accepted, and Pearce made it official.
Flair attacked Ripley from behind, sending her outside. She went for A.S.H., but A.S.H. ducked and hit a dropkick, sending Flair to the outside. She posed with the title in the ring as Corey Graves said the match will be for the main event.
-Jimmy Smith shifted to Damian Priest, who said Sheamus doesn’t deserve to be United States Champion in a promo from earlier today. He said Sheamus attacks people from behind and breaks the rules, and that’s not a champion. He said he should be champion and Sheamus deserves to get his ass kicked. They hyped a “Championship contender” match as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: That was an up-and-down segment. A.S.H. was a fountain of clichés, but I’m not sure how far that will go. She gave us a little bit of who she is, but it’s still so caught up in this character that it’s sometimes difficult to buy what she’s selling. Then again, this character is definitely aimed at an audience that I do not fit, and that’s fine. I wonder if Flair loses the match if that means she’s out at SummerSlam. The fans seemed more behind Ripley than A.S.H., so that’s something keep in focus. )
-They returned with Sheamus already in the ring. Priest entered next to a big pop from the crowd. He seemed to soak it in. They showed some split-screen photos of his teaming with Bad Bunny earlier this year.
(1) SHEAMUS (c) vs. DAMIAN PRIEST – Championship contender match
They locked up, with Priest forcing Sheamus into the corner, but Sheamus forced the break. He then hit a side headlock takedown and kept the hold on Priest. Priest got to the feet and sent Sheamus off of the ropes, but Sheamus hit a shoulder tackle. Off of a rope run, Priest hit a leaping clothesline, then an armdrag.
They showed a graphic asking if Bobby Lashley would answer Goldberg’s challenge as Sheamus hit a slew of forearms to the back. Priest fought back with strikes, landing a kick and flying back elbow before clotheslines Sheamus over the ropes. He went to hit his rope-assisted tope con hilo, but Sheamus moved. Priest adjusted, went to the apron, but then was caught by Sheamus, who slammed him on the apron as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Sheamus in control with shots to the back, then locking in the Dublin Smile. Priest fought out, but ate a knee to the back, some more forearms, but then exploded off of the ropes with a huge lariat, dropping both men. Priest hit a huge forearm, blocked a shot, hit a combo, ducked and hit the thunderclap, then hit a spinning heel kick that dislodged the facemask. Sheamus held his face, but hit a double boot to a leaping Priest in the corner. He rose to the top rope, but Priest grabbed his throat, walked him on the rope a few steps. then hit an avalanche South of Heaven for a two-count (it took him a bit to make the cover).
Smith commented on how Sheamus kept covering the nose. Sheamus countered the Hit the Lights with an Alabama Slam (the impact was nasty, maybe head-to-head?) for a two-count. Sheamus then looked for the Cloverleaf, but Priest worked at the fingers/grip and escaped with a good 20 rapid-fire chest kicks. He then landed a bevy of kicks, but then Sheamus hit a lifting knee for a two-count that was so close the crowd chanted “Three!”
Priest rolled outside, thwarting Sheamus’ Brogue Kick setup. Actually, Priest rolled to the apron, but Sheamus followed for the Ten Beats of the Bodhran, but Priest fought out and hit a head kick. Sheamus grabbed at his face, allowing Priest to quickly enter and land Hit the Lights for the victory. Byron Saxton said Priest is now in firm contention. Sheamus yelled that Priest broke his nose.
WINNER: Damian Priest at 10:08 (Hit the Lights)
-They hyped the Tag Team Championship match between A.J. Styles & Omos and The Viking Raiders. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: A good match, that awkward Alabama Slam aside. Priest looked strong, but there’s still the out of Sheamus having the broken nose and the facemask being dislodged. Then again, he is medically cleared to compete, apparently, so how much weight would his complaint hold? Sheamus vs. Priest at SummerSlam.)
-They returned with a video postcard of Kansas City, showing the sights and the T-Mobile Center. Styles & Omos were already in the ring, so the second time tonight the champion has entered first and off of TV. They showed their Tag Team Championship winning photos in a split-screen. The Viking Raiders made their entrance next to a decent pop. They tried to get the crowd pumped, but it didn’t seem to work.
(2) A.J. STYLES & OMOS vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) – Tag Team Championship match
Styles and Erik began the match. Styles pointed at Omos, but that allowed Erik to hit a Busaiku Knee-type of maneuver. Ivar tagged in, Styles avoided, but Ivar hit his seated senton in the corner. Erik tagged back in, and they hit some moves to take Omos to the floor. They hit The Viking Experience on Styles, but Omos pulled Erik out as he attempted the pin and rammed him into the barricade, then took out Ivar, who came to help. He threw Ivar into the barricade as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Omos holding Erik in a claw, grabbing his face. He then slammed Erik down by the face and tagged in Styles. Styles hit a snapmare and then a rear chinlock, cranking on it a bit. Erik hit a few body shots, Styles went for his combo, but then Erik hit a counter right forearm to drop Styles. He tagged in Ivar, who hit a shoulder tackle, sidewalk slam, and crossbody to a seated Styles.
Styles dodged another seated senton, then hit a forearm from the apron. Ivar cartwheeled away from the Phenomenal Forearm, then hit a clothesline (the cartwheel was unnecessary). He rushed Styles in the corner, but Styles hit a superkick and a second rope tornado DDT for a two-count. Ivar grabbed Styles’ leg, preventing a tag, then ducked an enziguri. Styles crashed into the opposite corner, Erik tagged in, then hit a huge knee to Styles. Ivar was holding Omos’ leg to prevent interference, but Styles kicked out at two.
Omos kicked Ivar into the barricade as Erik looked concerned. Styles hit the Pele kick and tagged in Omos. Omos immediately lifted Erik for a bodyslam, walked around with him, then hit it. He yelled “This is my house!” and hit a corner avalanche on Erik. Ivar entered, but was sent outside. He hit another running avalanche to Erik, dropping him. Erik looked up, but Omos lifted him into a two-handed chokeslam. Styles demanded the tag, then hit a springboard 450 to retain.
WINNER: A.J. Styles & Omos at 9:34 (springboard 450 splash)
-Smith shifted to discussing Drew McIntyre being on the verge of winning the Money in the Bank match only for Jinder Mahal, Shanky, and Veer to interfere and drag him away from the match. Graves then shifted to a video of McIntyre absolutely laying into Shanky with a chair a good 34 total times (refer to my report last week). They showed every shot. McIntyre’s music hit to a good pop (the reaction he’s been hoping for, really). They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: A standard tag team match in how it was laid out, and Omos looked good in what little he did. I could have done without the extended bodyslam, but I understand the purpose. Styles still has such a pretty 450, it’s always a sight to behold. Now I wonder who they’ll set for them to face at SummerSlam, maybe RK-Bro if Orton returns?)
-They returned hyping Lashley responding to Goldberg later in the night as McIntyre’s music was playing in the background as he waited in the ring, smiling. Mahal’s music hit as the three made their entrance, a new three without Veer. Mahal had a mic.
He said McIntyre is despicable, and that he’s disgusted at the fans as they all cheered as Shanky was viciously assaulted. He demanded McIntyre apologize. McIntyre said no. Mahal then introduced man number three, his personal attorney, and I cannot spell Indian names, so I won’t try. He said they’re going to sue and take everything away, so this was his last chance to apologize.
McIntyre said to shut up, then shut up, shut up, shut up. He thought about apologizing; the crowd said “No!” and did the motion. McIntyre said sometimes, he can fly off of the handle and have a bit of an anger problem, but the WWE Universe is back so he’ll ask them. Should he apologize and buy them a steak dinner tonight (they booed), then said two, say screw the attorney and beat Veer within an inch of his life. He imitated Samoa Joe’s chant and said “Drew is going to kill you.”
(3) DREW MCINTYRE vs. VEER (w/Jinder Mahal & Shanky) – Singles match
They locked up, then Veer hit a bodyslam and punch to the face. He cinched in a side headlock, but ate a shoulder tackle as McIntyre hit a rope run. McIntyre bodyslammed Veer, but then ate a left slap I think. McIntyre look appalled, then returned the favor and beat on Veer in the corner. Mahal started slamming a chair on the apron, distracting McIntyre, allowing Veer to land a kick. He then mounted McIntyre and landed ground-and-pound.
McIntyre retreated into a corner, but Veer followed and sent McIntyre across, then hit a flying splash. He came off of the ropes and hit a running body tackle, then a fairly high leg drop for a one-count. Veer then sent McIntyre into the corner, but McIntyre exploded out with a clothesline, then another, then a back elbow after sending Veer off of the ropes. He implored the crowd to cheer, and they obliged.
McIntyre hit his overhead belly-to-belly out of the corner, then hit a leaping neckbreaker before kipping up. He roared for the crowd, but then ate a double throat chop. Mahal handed Veer the chair, but McIntyre hit a Claymore into the chair. The ref called a DQ and rewarded the match to McIntyre as Mahal introduced the chair. Veer didn’t really sell the Claymore much.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 3:50 by DQ
-After the match, the lawyer was still standing at ringside for some reason. McIntyre confronted him, stared him down, then lifted him and tossed him into the ring. He counted down and hit the Claymore on the attorney before staring down Mahal & Veer.
-Smith shifted to last week’s continued saga between Alexa Bliss, Eva Marie, and Doupdrop, which saw Marie trip in “Alexa’s Playground.” As noted before, Marie’s acting is just not good. They showed Marie & Doudrop in Gorilla. Marie said not to worry about what happened last week as they’ll be one step closer to the Women’s Tag Team Championship with a victory tonight. She told Doudrop not to mess up. Doudrop looked a bit dejected. Their match was billed as a championship contenders match. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Wow, just booking McIntyre as a badass-borderline-sadist has him more over with the crowd than story time McIntyre; who would have guessed? We know they’ll be facing each other at SummerSlam, so we just have to sit through the weeks until then. I do like them keeping Shanky off of TV to sell the beating.)
-They returned with a “Did you know?” graphic on the “Summer of Cena” and the 3.5 million views for Cena’s return on Instagram. They showed Marie & Doudrop in the ring as they showed yet another split-screen with photos of Marie in her “Eva-Lution” vignettes. Natalya & Tamina entered. They did the same split-screen showing the championship victory two months ago.
(4) NATALYA & TAMINA (c) vs. EVA MARIE & DOUDROP – Championship contenders match
Natalya and Marie began the match with Marie ducking a lockup and whipping her hair in Natalya’s face. Natalya chased Marie into the ropes and slapped away before the ref broke them up. Marie tagged in Doudrop. Natalya hit a go-behind, then shifted to a side headlock. She came off of the ropes, but was flattened by a shoulder tackle.
Doudrop then hit a forward roll after Natalya hit a drop down. They both hit a series of acrobatic and technical pinning combinations. Natalya tagged in Tamina as Doudrop posed. They locked up after glaring at each other a bit, then Tamina took down Doudrop with a side headlock takedown. Doudrop fought to her feet, slipped out of a Samoan drop, then hit a crossbody to a seated Tamina. She tagged in Marie.
Marie entered and scored a two-count. Suddenly, on the Tron, there was an edited reality TV style video with Lilly, with it ending saying, “This is Lilly-Lution.” Marie was distracted, then ran into a superkick for the loss. Natalya was helped to the back with a leg injury.
WINNER: Natalya & Tamina at 3:12 (superkick)
-They cut to break hyping Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross. Chances are unlikely they bring up the NXT Championship history between these two men, but I can hope. [c]
-They returned hyping the main even Women’s Championship match. Kross’ music hit, again with no Scarlett, as he just stood at the middle of the entrance stage for a few moments before slowly making his way down to the ring. The crowd was mostly hushed, but I’m not sure if it was out of not knowing Kross or being apathetic, or both. Graves said Kross was dominating last week before Hardy won. Lee’s music then hit to a decent reaction; his music has never been one to draw an immediate huge pop. He drew a big pop after he appeared, though.
(5) KARRION KROSS (c) vs. KEITH LEE – Non-title match
They locked up, but Kross immediately tried an exploder suplex that Lee fought off. Kross landed more strikes, but Lee hit his own belly-to-belly toss, then a shoulder tackle and clothesline over the top rope. Lee exited the ring, but Kross drove him back-first into the apron, then chest-first into the post. He then hit an overhead modified exploder as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Kross beating on Lee in the corner, then setting him up for a running clothesline. He followed with a back elbow and haymaker, then shoved Lee to the ground with his knee in the face. Kross grinned arrogantly. He stomped on the left fingers of Lee, but Lee hit a few big body shots. Kross responded with a body kick and DDT for a two-count.
Kross went for the Kross Jacket to Lee, who was on one knee. Lee kept fighting, refusing to submit, then powered a an arm away before flinging off Kross. Kross hit an immediate forearm, but Lee responded with a big one of his own before collapsing against the ropes. He hit two punches, beating Kross to the punch, then a back elbow, corner avalanche, and POUNCE!
Lee looked for the Spirit Bomb, but Kross slipped out and hit his Doomsday Saito suplex. He recovered in the corner, then hit his forearm to the back of the neck. He locked in the Kross Jacket. Lee fought for a good 30 seconds, but ultimately tapped.
WINNER: Karrion Kross at 8:49 by submission (Kross Jacket)
-Smith shifted to a video recap of A.S.H.’s victory last week after the attack from Ripley to Flair on the outside. They showed A.S.H. warming up backstage as Sarah Schreiber approached. A.S.H. said her confidence has grown and she’s no longer afraid to fail, saying that it’s only worked in her favor. She said she believes in herself and win or lose, no one can take that feeling away from her. She said she wanted little boys and girls to know the hardest goals are worth fighting for. She said no matter what happens tonight, she will be defending at SummerSlam.
Ripley appeared from behind, then said she can’t help but respect the unconditional belief A.S.H. has in herself. Ripley said she’s the one who will walk out as champion, but tonight, she wants A.S.H. to go out there and give Flair hell.
-Mace & T-Bar then entered for their tag team match, looking a lot more delighted than they ever have as these characters. I mean, T-Bar was actually smiling, smiling I say! They cut to break hyping their match against Mustafa Ali & Mansoor. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: This booking of Kross is odd. First, he loses to Hardy, but then he defeats Lee clean. I guess Hardy has that legacy cache, but we have yet to hear from Hardy after the events of last week. Was it a one-off, or will he play into Kross’ story more?)
-They returned with Mace & T-Bar discussing strategy, I think. They played a pre-recorded promo. They said the laws of the jungle are pretty simple to them: the small, that’s their foes, exist to feed the large, that’s them. They didn’t just drawl and yell at least, so that’s improvement. Mansoor entered first to no reaction, then Ali entered to a few boos. They played a pre-recorded promo as Mansoor was excited about their match, but Ali said to slow down, to think about the game plan tonight, then they can have a discussion on being a team. He told Mansoor to follow his lead.
(6) MACE & T-BAR vs. MUSTAFA ALI & MANSOOR
Ali hit an immediate dropkick to his former underling, but then ate a huge kick for a two-count. T-Bar threw Ali into their corner, then tagged in Mace as they hit double knees to Ali in the corner. Mace taunted Mansoor and slammed Ali, but Mansoor broke up the pin. T-Bar tagged in, kicked off Mansoor from the apron, then kicked Ali in the face. They both posed before Mace left the ring. T-Bar finally attempted a cover for a two-count.
T-Bar went after Mansoor, but Ali slipped around and hit a spinning heel kick (that had a lot of light). He tagged in Mansoor, who went after Mace, who also tagged in. He hit a step-up enziguri, then slipped into an inverted DDT. The cover was broken up by T-Bar, who kicked Mansoor out of the ring. T-Bar followed, but Ali leaped through the ropes with a tornado DDT. Mansoor said that was awesome as Ali told him he had to watch his back.
Ali stepped up, got caught by Mace, but Mansoor broke it up. He then hit a victory roll to score the pinfall upset. Ali looked extremely confused as he dragged Mansoor out of the ring before he got jumped. Ali kept that quizzical look on his face.
WINNER: Mustafa Ali & Mansoor at 3:11 (victory roll)
-Graves then hyped Lashley’s answer for Goldberg’s challenge. The crowd booed when Lashley’s graphic was shown. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: The match was a little clunky, but I do like the subtle story being told with Mansoor as the young upstart who’s caught up in the spectacle of it all while Ali is trying to smarten him up, such as the bit about watching his back and then dragging him away to avoid the beating after the match. Let’s go for the slow burn with this team.)
-They returned with Lashley’s awesome video introduction before the actual entrance. He entered to a lot of boos, looking confident as he walked to the ring with M.V.P. in tow. They showed replays of Lashley defeating Lee last week and then Goldberg’s rather rude interruption as the WWE Champion was celebrating his victory.
BOBBY LASHLEY ANSWERS GOLDBERG’S CHALLENGE
M.V.P. grabbed a mic and asked everyone to rise to their feet to show the proper amount of respect for the champion. They booed, and M.V.P. said it’s because Lashley’s dominance is like Tom Brady, and the fans are still salty about that. He turned to Goldberg and said it’s real simple. He said everyone’s been talking about it (the fans started chanting “Goldberg”), but only the champ can answer that. He asked Lashley, who said he would dignify Goldberg’s challenge with a response. He said that what he will say is that this is his ring and he won’t be disrespected by anyone. Cedric Alexander’s music hit, the former The Hurt Business member.
Alexander said disrespect is how he was unceremoniously ejected from The Hurt Business, and said it’s because he knows Lashley knows that Alexander’s better. Shelton Benjamin’s music hit, and he said before he answers Alexander’s challenge, he asked Alexander if he knew how annoying his voice was. Benjamin said he wasn’t here to cry about The Hurt Business; he’s here to give Lashley a real challenge.
M.V.P. yelled that they both sound ridiculous, that neither are on the agenda. Lashley took the mic, said he’ll take on both at the same time.
(7) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER – Handicap match
Lashley immediately hit a neckbreaker on Benjamin, then Alexander backed away only to attack from behind. Lashley lifted him for a delayed flatliner, then sent him out. He hit a running shoulder tackle to Benjamin in the corner, then went outside, lifted Alexander, and ran him into the post from the fireman’s carry position. He tossed Alexander back in, but Benjamin was waiting and hit a few shots before Lashley fought back. Alexander grabbed Lashley’s leg, allowing Benjamin to hit a step-up knee and a tornado DDT from Alexander. They both pinned him for a one-count.
Lashley then fought off Benjamin and hit a BIG one-armed spinebuster to Alexander. He ran through Benjamin’s clothesline and hit a big spear. He lifted Benjamin into a delayed vertical, then Jackhammered him. He then lifted Alexander and hit the Dominator onto Benjamin. He pinned both men. They showed replays after the match.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 2:40 (Dominator)
-They cut to the back where The Miz was on his phone, then John Morrison approached and grabbed a Drip Stick. Styles & Omos appeared. Styles said he needed to talk to them about something that’s important to them unless they’re not…moist enough. They takled as Omos stood guard.
-Riddle’s music hit to a big pop. He fist bumped some kids and fans, then got a big pop as he kicked off his slippers. They cut to break hyping Riddle vs. Morrison. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: What a way to make Lashley look like a straight up badass. He didn’t care that they both challenged him, and just took them both out. Lashley is a different type of arrogant heel than Roman Reigns, one that’s more focused on asserting his dominance mostly through competition rather than mostly through psychology. It isn’t just the Jackhammer they should have pointed out either; Goldberg does use the spear, after all.)
-They returned with Riddle in the ring waiting. The Miz & Morrison then entered to Morrison’s music. They sprayed their Drip Sticks in slow motion. Morrison wheeled The Miz to the announce desk, and they just sprayed Saxton over and over again.
(8) RIDDLE vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz) – Singles match
Morrison and Riddle traded some grappling before resetting. Riddle shot for a single-leg and toog Morrison down, looked for a kneebar, but Morrison escaped and went for a takedown of his own. Riddle turned it into a sunset flip, then an ankle lock. Morrison rolled out, hit a go-behind, then ate an exploder after Riddle flipped away from the corner. He covered for a two-count.
Riddle hit a series of chest kicks in the corner, then went for his running forearm only to be hit a with a springboard kick, Disaster Kick style. The Miz tried getting a “Johnny Drip Drip!” chant going to no avail. Morrison went for a suplex, but Riddle basically deadlifted Morrison into a fisherman’s suplex. The Miz sprayed Riddle’s back, allowing a rollup for a two-count. Riddle escaped, then went to the apron and gave The Miz a PK, sending him toppling. They cut to break. [c]
They returned with Morrison fighting out with a series of strikes ending with his overhead kick. Riddle then hit his running forearm in the corner, followed by an exploder. Morrison rolled outside, but Riddle followed and hit a PK from the apron. He then hit a springboard Floating Bro to Morrison. He looked up as Styles & Omos entered, causing Riddle to look concerned.
He went for the RKO in the ring, but Morrison countered and hit a combo, then a leaping leg lariat. He hit a Shining Wizard for a two-count as Styles & Omos joined The Miz at ringside by the announce table. Morrison went for a vertical, but Riddle slipped out, hit Final Flash, then a powerbomb, and a Final Flash again for only a two-count. Riddle glared at all three men outside, then shifted his focus back to Morrison.
He set Morrison for the Floating Bro, but took his time and got distracted as Styles grabbed the scooter. He gave it to Omos, who broke it over hit knee (the handlebar looked like it could come off anyway). Morrison grabbed Riddle, hit an Eye of the Storm twisting crucifix powerbomb, then the Starship Pain for the victory.
WINNER: John Morrison at 9:54 (Starship Pain)
-After the match, Styles entered and just beat away at Riddle. He hit the Styles Clash to Riddle, laying him prone. The crowd chanted for Orton, but to no avail. The Miz & Morrison just kept pumping out water in celebration.
-Smith shifted to last week when Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler lost their match, causing Jax to headbutt Reginald out of the group. Reginald then became 24/7 Champion. R-Truth’s music hit to a decent pop as he rapped his intro and of course, the crowd was loud for the “What’s up?!” part. They hyped an official 24/7 Championship match between Truth and Reginald as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: This HAS to be leading to the return of Orton, right? Why else would you have the Tag Team Champion target Riddle like this right after ending their feud with The Viking Raiders if it isn’t going to lead to a title match? The fans wanted Orton, but the chant died when the could see Riddle was going to be hit with the Styles Clash. If Orton is ready to return, book the title match for SummerSlam.)
-They returned with another video postcard, this one focusing on the professional sports teams in Kansas City. Reginald entered to some like, 80s club music? He did some acrobatics down the ring and sprang into the ring like Ricochet used to do, surprising Truth. Truth had the wireless mic still on.
(9) REGINALD (c) vs. R-TRUTH – 24/7 Championship match
Reginald was in a burnt orange suit. They did some moves like they were going to battle as b-boys. Truth tried catching him with a clothesline, but Reginald ducked. Truth grabbed him from behind and said they could do it the easy way or the hard way. Reginald slipped out of the coat and did a bunch of evasions using a lot of smooth, smooth flips. Truth threw the blazer in Reginald’s face, but Reginald was able to evade. Truth got caught in the ropes, then asked for Reginald to hold up. Reginald hit his somersault senton to win. After the match, the 24/7 crew ran out (including Humberto Carrillo, sadly), but Reginald just flipped out of the ring and escaped.
WINNER: Reginald at 1:27 (somersault seated senton) to retain the 24/7 Championship
-In the back, Schreiber approached Flair. She said she took the loss personally because the only reason A.S.H. was able to win was because Ripley attacked her. She said she has to deal with the delusional WWE Universe believing in A.S.H. She said she built the women’s division and that she’s going to prove that tonight. She entered for the main event championship match, no, wait, Mike Rome announced it as a championship contenders match, so non-title. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with a Raw Talk promo featuring Styles & Omos, Ripley, and Priest. Flair was in the ring, waiting. A.S.H.’s music hit to a real good pop as she entered. They showed an official triple threat match graphic for SummerSlam.
(10) NIKKI A.S.H. (c) vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR – Championship contenders match
The bell rung with about 14 and a half minutes left in the show. Flair just glared at A.S.H. They circled, slowly, with A.S.H. bouncing on her feet, a bundle of energy. Flair then hit a clothesline, placed A.S.H. in the corner, and hit a few thunderous chops. She feinted with one, then slapped A.S.H. in the face. She tried prying the mask off of her foe, but relented.
Flair tossed A.S.H. outside, then yelled to the crowd, “This is who you cheer for? This is who you cheer for?” She stomped away at A.S.H. as the latter reentered the ring. A.S.H. tried fighting back, but every time she landed a blow, Flair beat her to the mat. She taunted the crowd with a “Nikki!” chant, then made a cover for a one-count. Flair was being methodical, mushing A.S.H. in the face, then asking for a shot. She responded with one that floored A.S.H.
She shoved A.S.H. into the bottom rope, but this caused A.S.H. to fight back with strikes. She was stopped in the corner by Flair, but then fought back with her own strikes in the corner. Flair reversed position and beat away. She landed a flurry of body kicks in the corner, then went for a suplex. A.S.H. countered into an inside cradle for a two-count, then a rollup for two, then hit a spinning head scissors that sent Flair outside. She then hit a dropkick through the bottom rope, holding onto the second rope. However, Flair sent A.S.H. over the announce table as they cut to break. [c]
They returned with Flair pulling on both arms of A.S.H. against the post from the outside. She entered the ring and hit her version of the exploder for a two-count, then wrestled A.S.H. to the mat with a rear chinlock. A.S.H. fought to her feet as kids around the arena were chanting for her and looking to get the crowd into it, but Flair just brought A.S.H. down hair-first. A.S.H. dodged a baseball slide, then from the apron, she hit a crossbody onto Flair. Flair reentered the ring, then tried to kick A.S.H. off of the apron. A.S.H. sidestepped, grabbed the leg, and dropped it across the top.
In the ring, A.S.H. hit a running crossbody and then tried for a sunset flip, but Flair threw her into the corner. A.S.H. then reversed Flair, hitting a bulldog for a two-count. Flair rose to her feet and hit a series of chops that drove A.S.H. into the corner. She lifted and seated A.S.H. on the top, but A.S.H. fought her off with punches and kicks, then hit a tornado DDT. A.S.H. climbed to the top rope, the crowd cheered, but Flair rolled through and pinned A.S.H. A.S.H. just lost her first match as champion.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair at 12:35 (rolled through a crossbody)
-After the match, Kevin Patrick entered the ring, his first appearance tonight unless he’s been ring announcing and I just assumed it was Rome. He congratulated Flair on her victory. Flair asked why he’s congratulating her, asking seriously, why? She asked what they expected. She said they don’t call her “The Opportunity” for a reason. She demanded A.S.H. look in her eyes and said that no one is in her league. She then said she didn’t mean to steal the mic and gave it back.
A.S.H. took the mic and said she said almost a superhero. She said she knows she lost the match, but she proved that she could almost win, and she has the confidence that she can beat Flair, so she challenged her to a rematch next week. A.S.H. dropped the mic and Flair demanded she pick up, but A.S.H. refused so Patrick picked it up. Flair said she could beat A.S.H. any week, then accepted. She put out her hand for a shake, then attacked A.S.H., predictably.
She took A.S.H. to the outside and started beating on her in front of a kid with a Nikki A.S.H. sign, saying “You’re so inspirational” in a mocking tone. The show ended with her standing over A.S.H. in the ring.
(Hazelwood’s Take: It had its clunky spots, and I’m not sure the best thing to do with a character who models herself after superheroes, even if she is “almost” a superhero, is to have them lose their first match as champion. Yes, Flair is “The Opportunity,” but this doesn’t give the title reign a good start. I also think A.S.H. comes off as a bit delusional in that she was so happy to have “almost” beat Flair even though A.S.H. is the Women’s Champion. Let’s see how Ripley plays into things next week as she was surprisingly absent from this match, giving Flair the clean win.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Sometimes, we’re lucky to get two matches in an hour, so 10 matches over three hours is a boon, regardless of how short the matches were. This episode did leave me with a few things I’m intrigued in seeing how they play out over the next few weeks, including Lashley-Goldberg, Sheamus-Priest, and Ali-Mansoor as a team. However, I don’t have high hopes for the Women’s Championship picture, but it’s only been one episode with A.S.H. as champ, so patience will be key.