8/16 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Lashley-Goldberg face-to-face again, McIntyre vs. Veer & Shanky, Orton vs. Omos first-time ever, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
AUGUST 16, 2021
SAN ANTONIO, TX. AT THE AT&T 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, Kevin Patrick 

Tonight after the show, join Wade Keller and guest co-host Cameron Hawkins from the PWTorch East Coast Cast 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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[HOUR ONE]

-They began tonight’s SummerSlam go-home episode of Raw with a video recap of Randy Orton’s return last week and eventual RKO on Riddle to end the show. It showed him telling Riddle he wanted to be alone (he did multiple times), the challenge from A.J. Styles to Orton, Omos chokeslamming Riddle, Orton’s victory over Styles after hitting an RKO to counter a Phenomenal Forearm, then hitting Riddle with an RKO. It ended with Orton chuckling over a fallen Riddle.

-Jimmy Smith then welcomed viewers from San Antonio as the camera showed a wide-shot, then panned the crowd. Orton’s music hit as his AR viper bit at the screen. Smith then introduced Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as Orton took a mic. A “Randy” chant started, so I guess he’s not a heel after last week? Orton said people have been asking him all week why it is that he hit Riddle with an RKO. He said they’ve been saying that Riddle just wanted to help Orton win the match and be his friend, but Orton said therein lies the problem. He said he doesn’t need friends, doesn’t need anybody.

He said he would have beaten Styles with or without help from Riddle, then reminded everyone he is a 14-time world champion, saying he did it all by himself. He said he doesn’t owe anyone anything, and most certainly not an explanation. He said he is Randy Orton, the Viper, the Apex Predator, and this is still his territory. He said he proved it to Styles last week and tonight he’s going to prove it to Omos. He paused, then said Omos is not to be taken lightly.

He said Omos is a monster, a force of nature, an undefeated force of nature, and he has it on good authority that Omos is a bit of a jackass, too; the crowd chuckled a little. An “RKO” chant started, and Orton said they’re right: he’s going to hit that big son-of-a-bitch with the three most devastating words in sports entertainment, RK- and Riddle’s music hit “Bro” right as Orton was saying “O.”

Riddle rode down and entered happily as if nothing happened last week. He took a mic and said Orton’s right, he doesn’t have to explain himself to anybody because he knows why Orton hit him with an RKO, much to Orton’s disbelief. Riddle said it took him a hot second, but then he realized Orton is just teaching him, bro. Orton said he Riddle thinks he’s teaching him? Riddle said yeah, about the RKOs he’s been using in matches and he needed to be hit with a proper one to learn his lesson. He said he learned his lesson and wanted to give the team another chance, saying Orton needs him in his corner tonight if he stands a chance against Omos. He said please bring back RK-Bro, which the crowd chanted in unison. Before Orton could answer, Styles’ music hit.

They stood at the entrance ramp as Styles said how about RK-No? He said he doesn’t think anyone really cares why Orton RKOd Riddle, but he could do it again, and why not RKOing yourself? He said last week meant nothing and that he proved nothing. He said if it hadn’t have been for that turd Riddle, he would have lost. He said no one can save Orton tonight from his own personal colossus tonight, Omos. He said Omos will defang the Viper. He said he’s so sick and tired of Riddle and everyone else saying bro, which started the chant. Styles said that’s why he wants to break Riddle’s jaw and have doctors wire it shut right here, right now.

Riddle said OK, and when he has Orton in his corner, he’s unbeatable. He said come get this phenomenal beating and fall to the three most devastating letters in sports entertainment, RKO. Riddle’s music hit as the announcers wondered if it was official; they showed a graphic making it official and cut to break. [c]

(1) RIDDLE (w/Randy Orton) vs. A.J. STYLES (w/Omos) – Singles match

They returned with Orton refusing a fist bump, then walking away. Styles took it to Riddle in the corner and hit a pendulum backbreaker for a two-count, then a snap suplex for a two-count. Orton was at the entrance now as he looked back. Styles whipped Riddle into the corner, who leaped away, then landed a Broton after Styles avoided some kicks. He hit a gutwrench suplex for a two-count.

Graves mentioned he could barely see in the ring with Omos in front of him. Styles countered a rope run with an abdominal stretch as Omos cheered on Styles and nodded along. Riddle flipped Styles away, then hit a teep kick only for Styles to catch another kick and hit a Dragon Screw. Styles then landed a knee to the compromised left leg of Riddle. Riddle countered and hit a modified rollup they called a “spatle” I think. Riddle then flipped Styles over the ropes to the outside from the corner using his legs.

He followed on the outside, bashing Styles’ head into the apron. He broke the count, then exited to the apron to hit a PK, and finished the sequence with a springboard Floating Bro as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Riddle in a rear chinlock, then fighting to his feet only to be dropped by a single forearm. Styles threw Riddle into a corner, but missed a splash as Riddle evaded and hit two of his running forearms. Styles countered an exploder attempt, but Riddle fought out of an ushigoroshi and hit a bridging German suplex for a two-count. Riddle hit a strike combo, but Styles countered with his usual combo with the spinning backfist and followed with the ushigoroshi for a two-count.

They hyped Drew McIntyre vs. Vheer & Shanky for later in a graphic as Styles set for the Styles Clash. Riddle flipped out and hit a chest kick with his injured leg, then a PK with his other, but missed a Broton as Styles evaded and quickly locked in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring. Riddle writhed in agony and crawled to the hard-cam bottom rope, reaching it to break the hold. Styles grabbed a single-leg, but Riddle countered with a lifting knee and exploder into the corner. He dragged Styles away and went for a Floating Bro as the crowd chanted “Bro.” Omos walked over, distracting Riddle, allowing Styles to take out the knee. He swiftly turned Riddle into the Styles Clash for the victory.

WINNER: A.J. Styles at 10:50 (Styles Clash)

-Smith shifted to a video replay of last week’s Nikki A.S.H. vs. Rhea Ripley match that ended in DQ as Charlotte Flair took out both women. They cut to Gorilla where A.S.H. was warming up. Sarah Schreiber approached, and A.S.H. said she’s been thinking about her opponents and Sunday, but with all this in her head, she has to remember that she wears this outfit for herself and everyone out there that’s just like her, just having the confidence to achieve your dreams, bringing out that confidence, and you can almost be a superhero. She said it worked for her, and it can work for you too. She said she has to confidence in herself that she can beat Ripley tonight and retain this Saturday at SummerSlam. Her music hit as she entered for her rematch with Ripley. She received a decent pop once she entered. They cut to break hyping the match. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That first segment was a typical 15-minute promo segment, and it kind of worked? Orton reasserted himself a week after returning and being cutoff from revealing why. He then reminded everyone his reasons are his own. However, Riddle was a bit much for me here; why can’t he just leave Orton alone? I think we all know people like Riddle who are just too much and fail to get the subtle and overt signals, so maybe that’s why it grates at me more. The match was good, and the counter spots were especially so. Another distraction finish isn’t ideal, but Styles busting his less-used Styles Clash to put away Riddle says a lot about how Styles is booked to think of Riddle: he needed more than the Phenomenal Forearm.)

-They returned with a video postcard of San Antonio, this one on the AT&T Center and the Spurs, five-time world champions which makes Cameron Hawkins very happy. They showed Spurs player Keldon Johnson with his Olympic gold medal in the crowd.

-They replayed Orton leaving Riddle at the beginning of the match and the finish with Styles winning. They showed Riddle in the back walking with his scooter. Kevin Patrick approached and said the rejection must hurt. Riddle said he didn’t give up on RK-Bro when Orton left or after he was hit the RKO. He said after he was left in the ring though, he’s just sad. He sullenly walked off.

-They cut back to the ring with A.S.H. holding up her title. Ripley’s music hit to a pretty good pop. She received an even bigger one once her pyro hit, and she slapped hands with fans at ringside, so is she a face now? I will say, her smile looks more natural and less forced. Flair’s music hit just before the ref could signal for the bell to the chagrin of her opponents, though Ripley’s reaction was also one of expected exasperation.

(2) NIKKI A.S.H. (c) vs. RHEA RIPLEY – Non-title match

Flair slowly made her way to the announce desk and joined commentary as both women in the ring just watched. They locked up, but Ripley just slammed A.S.H. to the mat. A.S.H. tried grabbing a single-leg, but Ripley just lifted and tossed her. Ripley had her on her shoulders, but A.S.H. escaped and hit a Dudley Dog before hitting double boots to Ripley on the outside, then hitting a crossbody off the apron to Ripley as they cut to break. [c]

A.S.H. was fighting out with kicks and a La Magistral cradle for a one-count before Ripley flattened her as they returned from break. Ripley then lifted A.S.H. into a delayed vertical as Flair said they’re just trying to impress her. Ripley held A.S.H. for 15 seconds or so and landed a two-count. They hyped “Moist TV” later, yes, I just typed that. Ripley held A.S.H. in a bearhug as Flair reiterated that she’s “The Opportunity” and the other two should be thanking her for being on the card Saturday.

Ripley rushed A.S.H., but the latter moved and Ripley hit her shoulder into the turnbuckle. A.S.H. then hit a head scissors, dodged a big boot, then hit a wheelbarrow rollup for a two-count. She kept Ripley at bay with counters, then hit a second-rope tornado DDT for a two-count. The crowd was pretty flat through that point. A.S.H. was on the second rope again and leaped, but Ripley caught her and turned it into a bridging Northern Lights suplex for a two-count, more a snap Northern Lights.

Ripley complained to the ref for a bit before returning to her foe who landed a sitdown jawbreaker and a rollup for a two-count. Ripley responded with a big boot immediately into a Riptide for the victory, clean in the middle of the ring. Flair made a point that Ripley hasn’t pinned her.

WINNER: Rhea Ripley at 8:23 (Riptide)

-After the match, Flair mocked A.S.H., who was on the floor by the announce desk. A.S.H. snapped and attacked Flair, who was rolling around trying to get away. Ripley laughed from the ring, then clotheslined Flair as Flair entered. The two took turns hitting Flair before A.S.H. sent Flair to the outside. They hyped the triple threat match for Saturday.

-Smith shifted to the McIntyre-Jinder Mahal saga and McIntyre taking out the hired gun Baron Corbin last week. They cut to Mahal in the back with his cronies. He said he’s afforded each of them the opportunity of a thousand lifetimes by not only being on Raw, but learning under the greatest WWE Champion of all time. He said McIntyre is still around threatening their lives with his sword, but that Veer & Shanky have a chance tonight to remove the sword from the equation.

-McIntyre’s music hit as he entered with Angela. He plunged the sword into the stone, acted like he was going to leave it there, then retrieved the sword. Smith said the size of the sword makes this match two-on-two. Graves said it could be a big opportunity for Veer & Shanky to make a mark this early in their WWE careers. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: If my memory is correct, the only victory A.S.H. has over either woman, outside of the DQ last week, is over Flair in the no holds barred match I think it was several weeks ago. She’s lost clean in traditional singles matches, including tonight, so that doesn’t build much confidence in your WOMEN’S CHAMPION retaining this Saturday. The match was good, Ripley’s bridging Northern Lights a highlight, but the ending seemed abrupt. It seems like A.S.H. will lose on Saturday, so maybe in six months we’ll have a better retrospective on her reign as Women’s Champion.)

[HOUR TWO]

-They returned with a video highlight of WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. They cut to M.V.P. outside of the locker room and asked for a highly specific meal for Lashley. Patrick approached, and M.V.P. said you can expect that tonight, two of the most explosive forces in WWE history come face-to-face five days before SummerSlam. He said the last time Goldberg was here, he speared him and that was disrespectful to both of them. He said Lashley will repay Goldberg, and it could be sooner than Saturday. Saxton hyped their face-to-face.

-They cut to the ring with McIntyre waiting, looking smug. Graves hyped the McIntyre vs. Mahal match for Saturday as Mahal and his cronies entered. They showed a split-screen photo array of Mahal costing McIntyre Money in the Bank.

(3) DREW MCINTYRE vs. VEER & SHANKY (w/Jinder Mahal) – Handicap match and If McIntyre wins, Veer & Shanky are banned at SummerSLam; if McIntyre loses, “Angela” is banned

McIntyre took it to Veer first (the shorter one) with strikes in the corner, then a suplex. Veer broke away, yelled, then tagged in Shanky. Shanky stepped up, but McIntyre hit a quick jab. Shanky took it to McIntyre in response, but McIntyre fought back with strikes. There was a sloppy spot that ended with Shanky booting McIntyre and tagging in Veer.

Veer hit a big leaping elbow for a one-count (he was in Indus Sher on NXT). He put McIntyre into a rear chinlock as a graphic hyped Orton vs. Omos, presumably for the main event. McIntyre fought out, hit a Glasgow Kiss, then hit a few clotheslines before knocking Shanky off the apron. He hit a back elbow on Veer, but Shanky made a tag as McIntyre hit his overhead belly-to-back to Veer. He didn’t see Shanky come in, but dodged him in the corner and hit a big Michinoku Driver to Shanky.

McIntyre dodged Veer and hit a Future Shock; Veer rolled outside. McIntyre set for the Claymore in the corner, hit the Claymore with the countdown (the crowd was loud for the countdown), and won the match. Shanky & Veer are banned from ringside at SummerSlam.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 3:32 (Claymore) – Shanky & Veer banned from ringside at SummerSlam

After the match, Veer tried grabbing the sword, but ate an overhead belly-to-belly on the outside. McIntyre grabbed the sword and reentered the ring as Shanky was still lying on the mat. McIntyre grabbed a mic and said it appears Mahal won’t have his goons at ringside on Saturday. He then turned to Shanky, asking what he said, then said Shanky said he’s sorry and wishes he was as confident and sexy and a badass like Drew McIntyre. McIntyre added that Shanky “said” he’s seen the error of his ways and hopes McIntyre wins on Saturday.

McIntyre then turned to Mahal and said what did you think was going to happen when Mahal screwed him out of Money in the Bank. He said he’s not just going to maim Mahal, but he’s going to humiliate and embarrass him in a moment that will live forever. He asked San Antonio by a show of hands who thinks Mahal would win; the crowd booed. He said by a show of hands, who knows McIntyre’s going to win; the crowd popped and raised their hands. He said the verdict is in, and Mahal is screwed.

-They cut to the back as Flair entered the office of Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville. Flair was angered she was just “doing her job” and was attacked. Deville said two options: wait until Saturday, or (Pearce pitched in) have a tag match tonight. Flair said she doesn’t play well with others. Deville said take it or leave it. Flair huffed and exited.

-John Morrison’s music hit as he entered for what was hyped earlier in a graphic as “Moist TV.” Smith then shifted to last week when Damian Priest defeated Morrison, not being distracted by The Miz, then exposing that The Miz hasn’t been injured. They cut to the ring where Morrison was looking on, seething. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: McIntyre gave away the booking of the match! Well, we know he’s going over anyway. It was a bit self-aggrandizing of a match and promo from McIntyre, but against Mahal, people don’t care and love seeing Mahal get whooped. The match was sloppy and felt longer than the three and a half minutes it was, but Shanky & Veer are green. The thing is they should really still be in NXT, especially if it’s back to being “developmental.”)

-They returned with another vignette for Elias, and I think it was the same one as last week as he tossed his guitar into a fire and said Elias is dead.

MOIST TV WITH GUEST THE MIZ

They cut back to the ring with pool stuff and Morrison did the usual “Miz TV” intro only for “Moist TV.” He said last week, we witnessed a moist miracle as his guest ran away in fear of his life. He said he’s thirsty for answers, so introduced The Miz. The Miz walked to the ring as Saxton asked about Morrison wheeling The Miz around for months. The Miz hugged Morrison, but Morrison didn’t return the hug.

The Miz began a “Moist TV” chant. Morrison said to get to those hard-hitting journalistic questions that people expect from “Moist TV” and himself: what is The Miz’s favorite movie? The Miz said all The Marines he was in. Morrison said speaking of acting, was The Miz faking being injured. The Miz asked Morrison if he’s ever lied to him, used him, or fake an injury. Morrison said no to the first two and “wellllll” to the last, which drew a surprise reaction from The Miz. Priest’s music then hit as he received a solid pop.

Priest said something in Spanish that popped a part of the crowd. He entered the ring saying we all know The Miz be lying, then said he doesn’t know what moist-see is, but it’s better than The Miz’s must-see. He said before he wallops Sheamus and goes about the town as the new United States Champion, he wants to see Morrison ask The Miz why he treated Morrison like his own personal servant.

The Miz yelled at Priest and said for the record, Priest should know better than anyone that The Miz was actually injured. He said in 16 years, he had never been injured and was the most durable WWE superstar ever, so when he had his first major injury, he didn’t know what to expect; he has kids! He said he was cleared weeks ago and Morrison jumped in saying what, cleared weeks ago? The Miz said he’s not 100 percent. Priest said he seemed to be 100 percent. The Miz said he had a burst of energy.

The Miz turned to Morrison and said Priest is just trying to turn them against each other. Morrison said he had a great idea for the first episode of “Moist TV” in a singles match between Priest and The Miz. The Miz tried backing out of it and talking out of it, but Priest just pushed him back into a kiddie pool with water in it. Morrison brought over a unicorn floatie to The Miz. They cut to break hyping the match even though The Miz is in dress clothes. [c]

-They returned with The Miz complaining on the mic that he’s injured and in dress shoes and doesn’t want to have his first match in a trash city like San Antonio (he was in his dress pants and shoes only). Sheamus’ music hit as he made it to the announce desk.

(4) DAMIAN PRIEST vs. THE MIZ (w/John Morrison) – Singles match

The Miz exited to dap up Sheamus, but Sheamus told him off. The Miz backed into Priest, who hit a thunderclap, then tossed The Miz in the ring. The Miz tried feigning a knee injury, but Priest then blocked the subsequent surprise attack. He fell victim to the next one as he tried to get The Miz from the apron, who hung him up. The Miz then hit a top rope double axe handle and boot. He then shuffled around Priest landing some chest kicks.

As he loaded up for the last one, Priest punched his knee which hurt more than the knee to the first I guess. He then clotheslined The Miz, but ate a kick as he rushed The Miz in the corner. The Miz asked for a Drip Stick, but Morrison declined. He began walking away with the Drip Stick, then The Miz ran right into a huge lariat. Priest glared at Sheamus, then pounded his chest preparing for the Brogue Kick. He hit a big Brogue Kick for the win that infuriated Sheamus.

Sheamus took a mic and called Priest a disrespectful scumbag and told him to celebrate a lot because the title around the waist is his gold, not theirs (he pointed at the fans), and said Priest’s grubby little fingers will never touch the title. He said he might have a broken face, but Priest isn’t going to have a head once he kicks it off Saturday.

WINNER: Damian Priest at 2:38 (Brogue Kick)

-Saxton shifted to a replay of last week’s Alexa Bliss vs. Doudrop match that had Lilly “wink” at Doudrop, causing her to lose to a stacked rollup. They cut to Eva Marie in the back, who lectured Doudrop about losing last week. She said it doesn’t matter what she thinks she saw, she failed. Marie continued that before she personally takes care of Bliss on Saturday, why doesn’t Doudrop go to the “Playground” and take care of their other little problem. Doudrop didn’t move until Marie told her to go bring Lilly to her. They showed Bliss telling Lilly someone is coming to play with them and be on her bet behavior as they cut to break hyping the segment next. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Priest continues to be one of, if not the only face to not fall victim to dumb heel tactics. He comes off as intelligent, cunning, and capable, which we can’t say for many acts, particularly the faces, in WWE. I like how he glared at Sheamus, did the chest pound to clearly signal his next move, and hitting the Brogue Kick. Sheamus’ reaction definitely helped, so kudos to him. Priest is on the best trajectory of any face on Monday nights and probably Friday nights, too.)

-They returned with a graphic for a meet-and-greet with Flair, McIntyre, and The Miz this weekend. They then shifted to a replay of the previous match and Morrison leaving The Miz. They cut to Morrison in the back as The Miz appeared and asked what the hell was that? Morrison said he’s beginning to think they don’t know the meaning of the word hurt; The New Day was creeping in the back. They made up, then did some more water-related puns.

ALEXA’S PLAYGROUND

They cut to Bliss in her set, who said Lilly would be great on a reality show. She then turned to the camera and welcomed viewers. She said they’re so excited for Saturday so they can put an end to Eva-Lution, and asked why would anyone want to be like Marie? Doudrop appeared, and Bliss said right on time. Doudrop snatched Bliss, then held her up, looking fearful. She turned back and handed Lilly back to Bliss, who said thank you. That was it.

-Mace & T-Bar’s music hit as they made their entrance. They showed a video recap of last week when Ali lost to T-Bar via Feast Your Eyes, then Mansoor saving Ali from further damage. The cut to break hyping Mansoor vs. Mace. [c]

-They returned with a graphic hyping 12 million subscribers on Tik Tok. They cut to the ring where the heels were yelling. Mansoor’s music hit to no reaction as he entered, Ali still looking hesitant about their partnership. They inserted a pre-recorded promo where Ali said Mansoor didn’t do too bad and he doesn’t need anyone watching his back, but Mansoor does, so he’ll be in his corner.

(5) MACE (w/T-Bar) vs. MANSOOR (w/Mustafa Ali) – Singles match

Mansoor tried for a single-leg, but Mace hit a forearm and just threw Mansoor. He then countered a wheelbarrow attempt into a deadlift half-and-half suplex. He locked in a Camel Clutch in the middle of the ring. Mace then hit a big forearm across the bag before hitting a big leg lariat to floor Mansoor. He went for a rope-assisted elbow, but Mansoor moved.

Mansoor hit a bunch of strikes, dodged a leg lariat, then hit a flying forearm, but Mace remained on his feet. He went for a tornado DDT, but Mace threw him off. Mansoor then went for a sunset flip from the corner, but Mace held on. Ali hit a dropkick from the outside that reversed the momentum for Mansoor’s victory.

WINNER: Mansoor at 1:56 (Sunset Flip with a dropkick assist)

-They cut to the back where Styles & Omos were walking. Schreiber approached and asked Omos about his match with Orton. Styles took the mic, but Omos took it back. He said Orton sees himself as the Legend Killer, but tonight, he’s going to kill the legend that is Randy Orton. Styles said that will make Omos the New Legend Killer, and since he beat Riddle, that makes him the Dummy Killer. He said they’re going to celebrate the death of RK-Bro. Orton’s music then hit, so it’s not the main event, but the top of the third hour hook. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with a Sonic sponsored “Superstars You Crave” video on Goldberg. They showed highlights of his streak in WCW, his capture of the Universal Championship twice, his challenge to Lashley, and spear of M.V.P. Graves hyped the face-to-face, which makes much more sense as the main event segment.

[HOUR THREE]

-They cut to the ring where Orton was still waiting with his music playing. Omos entered to his music, Styles accompanying him. Omos raised his fist as he entered, then slowly made his way to the ring as they showed replays of Orton leaving Riddle during the opening match and Styles winning with the Styles Clash.

(6) RANDY ORTON vs. OMOS (w/A.J. Styles) – Singles match

Omos looked confident as the two slowly approached each other in the middle of the ring. Orton looked hesitant, but then tried for the RKO. Omos pushed him off and laughed. Orton circled, but Omos cut him off to a half-circle like cutting off the cage in MMA. Orton ducked a punch and tried one of his own, but Omos just clasped it with one hand, then the other wrist. Orton stomped on the foot, but then was lifted into a delayed bodyslam by Omos. The crowd started booing.

Orton was holding the small of his back as Omos lifted him by the head. He then gave Orton a vice grip on the head, bringing Orton to his knees. Orton tried fighting back with body blows, but Omos landed one shot across the back to floor Orton. He menaced over Orton as a “Let’s go Randy” chant began. He whipped Orton into a corner, but Orton sidestepped Omos as he charged. Orton hit a flurry of strikes, but one knee to the gut dropped him. Omos shook off the strikes to the head, then lifted Orton and whipped him into a corner.

Orton sidestepped again, but this time, Omos’ head hit the post. Orton tried for the RKO, but Orton shoved him away so hard Orton slid outside by the entrance. Styles kicked Orton in the gut, but the ref saw him and called for the DQ.

WINNER: Randy Orton at 3:50 (disqualification)

-Styles was irate as the announcers questioned why he would do something so blatant when Omos was on the verge of his biggest victory. Styles then shifted to Orton, rolling him in the ring. He yelled orders to Omos, who lifted Orton and tossed him out by the announcers. Omos then threw Orton over the barricade and into the crowd. Omos slowly walked over, lifted Orton into his arms, then placed him on the apron and into the ring. Styles took off his title, went to the opposite apron, and readied for the Phenomenal Forearm. Riddle’s music hit to a big pop.

He flew past Styles and hit Omos with a dropkick to the outside. He then avoided Styles and hit Final Flash before sending Styles outside. Styles stumbled around, really selling the knee, and Omos was furious that he couldn’t reenter to tend to Styles. He lifted Styles over his shoulder and walked off while glaring and trash talking Riddle. Orton regained himself a bit, but looked surprised at Riddle. Riddle put out a hand to help up Orton, who took it and rose to his feet.

Orton took a mic, leaned against the ropes, and said Riddle, respect isn’t just something that’s handed out for free, but that it’s something to earn. He said in the past he respected Riddle, but that doesn’t mean he respects him today. He said after everything he’s done to him, Riddle still comes to his aid, so guess what, Riddle earned his respect. The crowd popped big for that and cheered. Orton said yeah, it’s happening, RK-Bro is back. Riddle cheered, held out his hand for a shake, and Orton shook. Smith and Saxton yelled “Bro!” multiple times. Orton then hugged Riddle as Graves said here comes the RKO. Riddle said Orton makes him so happy, but this means RK-Bro is back together and they’re going to challenge Styles & Omos for the Tag Team Championship on Saturday.

-They cut to the Karrion Kross-Jeff Hardy rivalry, showing Hardy’s win in Kross’ debut and Kross’ victory and attack after the match. Patrick asked Hardy in Gorilla why he asked for a rematch. Hardy said he’s mad because Kross attacked him after the match after he already won. He said his higher power told him to get a rematch, and said Kross’ 15 minutes of fame is almost done. Kross suddenly attacked, said, “Tick tock, Jeff, tick tock,” then exited to make his entrance for the rubber match. The crowd gave him more boos than he’s received in the past, so that’s good. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was a letdown in the match. Styles doing that just made him look dumb with the ref being right there. At first, I thought he just might be ejected, but calling for the DQ just took all the energy out of the match. Luckily, the angle with Riddle making the save and RK-Bro reuniting received the biggest pop of the night to my ears, and that saved what could have been a real boondoggle heading into Saturday. It’s strangely a match that has a both a five-day and months-long build.)

-They returned with Kross waiting in the ring as they replayed Kross’ attack before the break. Hardy’s music hit to a big pop. He entered selling the attack, shaking off the cobwebs. Kross looked smug.

(7) KARRION KROSS (c) vs. JEFF HARDY – Non-title match

Hardy immediately went after Kross; the ref didn’t even check on him. He hit his big leg drop across the legs and chest, then a basement dropkick, but Kross countered the Twist of Fate into the Kross Jacket. Hardy fought for a bit, but he finally succumbed and tapped. Kross yelled at Hardy after the match.

WINNER: Karrion Kross at 0:50 (Kross Jacket)

-They showed Marie pacing in the back as Doudrop appeared. She said she tried, but Marie said enough with the excuses, a child could return a doll. She said this is like walking up to her and slapping her in the face, asking if she knew what that feels like. She slapped Doudrop TWICE, then walked away. They hyped a 24/7 Championship defense next that looked like it took place in a park as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Even with the pre-match attack, Kross went over very, very strong here. He took a bit of damage in a blitz at the start of the match, but countered a signature move-sometimes finisher into his own for the victory. This helps reestablish him a bit, especially as he heads into his title defense Sunday at TakeOver, but wiping that first loss from our memories will be difficult.)

-They returned with Graves hyping the face-to-face between Lashley and Goldberg for later. Smith then shifted to Reggie. They showed him exiting a car at a public park, him saying there’s no better place to be. He said the park is where he did his first backflip. He said they would play tag and he would avoid them with his flips. Akira Tozawa was hiding in a trash can, and R-Truth was walking around in a bush disguise, but the ref with him was in ref gear. Reggie said he likes to come to the park to think and refresh. Truth and Tozawa rushed Reggie, but he moved and they ran into each other. He evaded them with his acrobatics, then did some more to get into his car, saying it was too easy. He drove away. Truth and Tozawa blamed each other.

-They cut back to the announcers as Smith hyped SummerSlam and the card, beginning with Roman Reigns vs. John Cena, A.S.H.vs. Flair vs. Ripley, Edge vs. Seth Rollins, McIntyre vs. Mahal, Styles & Omos vs. RK-Bro, Bliss vs. Marie, The Usos vs. The Mysterios, Sheamus vs. Priest, Belair vs. Banks, and Lashley vs. Goldberg. Ripley’s music then hit as they cut to break. [c]

-They aired the second part of Elias’ vignette as they returned. It was morning, no more fire. He said he’s had #1 records and the fans eating out of his hand. He said music didn’t fail him, it just wasn’t enough. He planted a tombstone into the ground that read “Elias 2017-2021.” He repeated that Elias is dead as he walked away in the video.

-The three announced women for the match were in the ring. Flair looked over as Nia Jax’s music hit. She entered to boos.

(8) NIKKI A.S.H. (c) & RHEA RIPLEY vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR & NIA JAX – Tag team match

A.S.H. and Jax began. Jax just pointed at her foe and laughed. A.S.H. said she’s the champ, but Jax just mushed her. A.S.H. tried some strikes, but Jax no-sold and shoved her away. She then just pushed her away with a shoulder tackle, then drove A.S.H. into a neutral corner. Jax then hit a running hip attack to a seated Jax and gave her a Stink Face! A.S.H. tried fighting back, but literally ran right into Jax. Jax made the tag to Flair, who followed on the outside and landed a big boot. She posed to the crowd as they cut to break. [c]

A.S.H. was fighting out of the heels’ corner, hitting an elevated bulldog to Flair and making the hot tag to Ripley as they returned. Ripley hit a few short-arm clotheslines, then a headbutt, snapmare, hip attack to Jax, and basement dropkick to a seated Flair. She then hit a spin kick and her snap bridging Northern Lights from earlier in the night for a two-count. Flair hit a back elbow to Ripley, but ate double boots out of the corner. Ripley climbed to the top, but missed the missile dropkick as Flair dodged. Jax climbed the apron as they showed Shayna Baszler watching in the back while shuffling a deck of cards.

Jax tagged in and hit a big Samoan Drop to Ripley. She went for the Banzai Drop, but Flair tagged herself in to Jax’s chagrin. Flair booted A.S.H. off the apron, then hit Natural Selection on Ripley for the clean victory. She pointed at Jax and smiled as if to say “nice assist,” but Jax looked displeased as she stood in the ring shaking her head.

-They cut to Patrick with Styles in the back. Styles asked what chance does RK-Bro have? He was shaking off the Final Flash still. He said they’ve defeated every tag team they’ve faced, and said there’s no one left. He said five days and mark his words, Orton will despise Riddle in those five days guaranteed. He walked away.

-Goldberg’s music hit to a loud, but not huge pop. The crowd did the customary “Goldberg” chant along with his music as Goldberg made his entrance through the smoke and pyro. Goldberg entered the ring as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: Flair choice in partner makes sense in story as Jax is the person that physically represents the biggest threat to Ripley and A.S.H. However, with Baszler looking on from the back, it seems more likely that rather than Jax making it back to the main event scene, her and Baszler will be embroiled in a feud. They need someone NEW besides the three at the top coming out of SummerSlam, so let’s see how they build the next contender and if it really is Jax.)

-They returned with Goldberg in the ring and the crowd still chanting, though it could be piped-in. Smith hyped the WWE Championship match as a graphic was displayed.

BOBBY LASHLEY AND GOLDBERG FACE-TO-FACE

Goldberg said what’s up San Antonio. He said before he talks about Saturday, there’s something important he needs to address. He said Lashley & M.V.P. came out last week and cut a promo on fatherhood and for the second week in a row, they brought his son into it so he thought what the hell, been less than two years, so why not beat them at their own game as he introduced his son, Gage Goldberg, who did look embarrassed. Goldberg said Gage is the reason 100 percent why he came out of retirement. He said he could see video of who Goldberg was, but that’s not going to cut it, he wants Gage to see who Goldberg is, who is father is.

Lashley’s music hit as he & M.V.P. made their entrance. M.V.P. had a a mic and talked as they walked. He said Goldberg has been doing a lot of talking lately, more than we’d like to hear, because normally Goldberg would let his actions do the talking and wondering if Goldberg is overcompensating for something. He said Goldberg just thought he could come out here, kick up his legs, yell he’s next, hit a spear and jackhammer, but once he looked into Lashley’s eyes, he saw a man with more ferociousness, more power, more dominance than him. He said Goldberg will be run down by The All Mighty WWE Champion.

They entered the ring as Lashley took the mic from M.V.P. Lashley said he gave every opportunity for Goldberg to bow out and walk away from the embarrassment, but he’s too stubborn and hard-headed. Lashley said now Goldberg’s playing by house rules, but around here, the house always wins. He said he knows Goldberg wants a nice SummerSlam moment, and he’ll give it to him because he’ll leave just enough for Goldberg to tell his loved ones his career was ended by Lashley.

Goldberg said that’s bullshit. Lashley walked over and handed the title to M.V.P. He missed a punch, then ate a short spear from Goldberg. Goldberg rose to his feet, looked at Gage, then exited with his son as Lashley recovered in the ring, holding his gut, anger evident on his face and in his eyes. Lashley really made that spear look better than it should have. Goldberg and Gage stood at the entrance as Lashley seethed, glaring at them as the show ended.

(Hazelwood’s Take: They gave Goldberg that hook with his son again, but hasn’t he said this exact same thing in the past? I hope him getting a spear in here means he’s losing on Saturday because I just don’t know what you do with Goldberg moving forward and how many people would actually be excited for another Goldberg title run.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I feel like I’ve said this before, but for a go-home show, it was kind of meh. Some of the matches were great, and the card Saturday has some great listed matches, but tonight’s show just didn’t feel like it raised the enthusiasm and excitement for what is supposed to be one of WWE’s marquee events. The RK-Bro story probably should have played out over something more like six weeks instead of two, but it’s the one story on the show that the crowd seems very behind, with Priest coming in a not-too-distant-nor-near second. It also seems like Saturday is when Doudrop will finally leave Marie, and if not, she just looks even more like a chump after being slapped twice tonight and doing nothing. Well, let’s see how the show changes, if there are any, coming out of Saturday.

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