9/6 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on multiple title and #1 contender’s matches including Flair vs. Jax, tag team turmoil, McIntyre vs. Sheamus, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 6, 2021
MIAMI, FLA. AT THE FTX 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 I to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER THE SHOW CONCLUDES
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[HOUR ONE]

-They began with The New Day welcoming fans in the back discussing tag team turmoil with seven teams, including them, to face RK-Bro at Extreme Rules. They asked “Who?” it would be, and of course said it would be them because New Day rocks. The Viking Raiders said they thrive on chaos and raid the entire division. Mansoor was ecstatic as Msutafa Ali said to just follow his lead and do whatever it takes. Lucha House Party said it was lucha time. T-Bar & Mace said there are just six more victims. Jinder Mahal translated Veer’s comments as being the next Tag Team Champion. A.J. Styles said turmoil is how he’d describe RK-Bro holding the titles, calling Riddle “old smokey brain himself.” He said they’ll win back the Tag Team Championship.

-They shifted to different panning shots of the crowd with the RAWbot present as Jimmy Smith welcomed viewers from Miami. Randy Orton’s music hit to a THUNDEROUS pop as he & Riddle entered. Riddle rode his scooter as Orton methodically walked. Corey Graves went over the rules for tag team turmoil, which is just a gauntlet match. Smith cut to a video package of last week’s RK-Bro victory over WWE Champion Bobby Lashley & M.V.P. to retain the Tag Team Championship and Orton’s RKO to Lashley after the match.

They cut back to the ring where both men had mics and were looking around the crowd. The arena was darkened except a spotlight on them in the ring. A “RK-Bro” chant started. Orton said last week, Lashley & M.V.P. tried to take the titles off of them, but failed miserably (to a big pop). He said they failed, simply, because Lashley is nothing more than a greedy son of a bitch. He said Riddle and he will look at the seven tag teams remaining on Raw to see which team deserves the right to be beaten by RK-Bro.

Riddle said tonight is going to be sick with a couple of cool teams. He went over some of the teams and gave some superlatives, focusing on height for T-Bar & Mace and lack of for Lucha House Party, then getting matching jackets like Mansoor & Ali, or go on raids like The Viking Raiders because Orton likes ale. Riddle said he gets the munchies and hopes The New Day brings out the pancakes. Lashley’s music thankfully interrupted.

M.V.P. said Riddle, would you shut your dumbass up? He then said it in Spanish, which drew a good pop, then said the “WWE Universe” loses IQ points every second they listen to Riddle incessantly ramble about nothing. He said Riddle should be focused on Lashley getting his payback after that cowardly RKO last week. Lashley agreed as they entered, then said he didn’t forget what Orton did last week. Lashley was drawing good heat. He challenged Orton to a singles match so he could put him in The Hurt Lock and pop his shoulders out of socket like the coward he is.

Orton clarified that Lashley was challenging him to a match, to which Lashley confirmed. Orton said it’s been ten, 15 years since they’ve faced each other in the ring and based on the fact that Lashley was talking double-champion, he will accept on one condition: it’s for the WWE Championship. M.V.P. said whoa, whoa, whoa, and whispered something to Lashley. Lashley whispered back, and M.V.P. said last week like the viper he is, he hit the patented RKO out of nowhere. However, when “The All Mighty” returns the favor, it’ll be in your face at Extreme Rules. Lashley said hold on, he is that greedy son of a bitch, so they’re going to talk to Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville to get into the tag team turmoil match.

The New Day’s music hit to a BIG pop. Kofi Kingston’s back too, looking like Kevin Nash in The Outsiders to match Xavier Woods. Kingston said “Bob” and clarified they wanted in the match, saying they need to talk to them fast as they’re about to kickoff the tag team turmoil match. Woods said yes, the odds are against them, but they’ve beaten the odds before like when he beat Lashley a few weeks ago. He said they’ll beat the odds and go on and become the new WWE Raw Tag Team Champion. The Viking Raiders music hit next as they will begin with The New Day. [c]

-They returned with a video on The Viking Raiders brought to you by Progressive.

(1) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. JINDER MAHAL & VEER (w/Shanky) vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) vs. T-BAR & MACE vs. MUSTAFA ALI & MANSOOR vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS – Tag team turmoil match to determine #1 contender’s to RK-Bro at Extreme Rules

Kingston and Ivar began the match with Kingston hitting two leapfrogs and then his leaping back elbow. He worked Ivar in the corner, but then was hit with the seated senton out of the corner. Ivar tagged in Erik and took out Woods, then Erik lifted Ivar and rammed him into Kingston sitting in the corner for a two-count. Erik threw Kingston off of the ropes and hit a big forearm, then paced around Kingston not pinning or following up with offense.

He drove Kingston into their corner and tagged in Ivar. Kingston slipped a bodyslam, Ivar cartwheeled a clothesline, but Kingston hit a double stomp and tagged in Woods. Ivar tagged in Erik, but Woods took it to him and hit a leg lariat. He tried whipping Ivar, but Ivar grabbed him and hit a released Northern Lights. Woods fought out of the corner, went to the apron and hit a kick, then hit his springing tornado DDT. He tagged in Kingston, hit a superkick, then Kingston hit a kick for a two-count.

Woods tagged in, but Erik thwarted their double team attempt. He flipped Woods over, but his knee was caught. He then countered Woods with strikes, but Woods hit a discus forearm. Woods was hit with a forearm against the ropes, helping Kingston tag in. Kingston tried a trust fall to the outside, but they caught him on the outside and threw him into Woods, who came to help as they cut to break. [c]

Woods hit an arm drag and tagged in Kingston as they returned, who took out Erik in the ring and then Ivar on the apron. Kingston hit The New Day Boom Drop to Erik, then set for Trouble in Paradise. Ivar distracted Kingston, allowing Erik to attack. Ivar tagged in and they hit the assisted springboard lariat-wheelbarrow suplex combo for a two-count to RK-Bro’s surprise (sitting at ringside).

Erik tagged back in and hit a pendulum backbreaker, then shifted into a gutbuster, then looked for a powerbomb as he held on. Kingston hit a rana counter and tagged in Woods, but Erik immediately slammed him. Ivar, the legal man as he tagged in, hit a big top rope splash for only a two-count. They went for The Viking Experience, but Woods hit an inside cradle as Kingston took out Ivar for the victory.

The Viking Raiders eliminated at 10:00

Mahal and Veer entered next, but Kingston and Woods kicked them away before they could hit the ring, including a tope and Woods hitting a top rope splash for a quick two-count. Mahal then took over with power moves, stomps, and a leaping knee for a two-count on Woods. The announcers reminded viewers that The New Day already had a match. Veer tagged in and hit a big Thesz Press on Woods (he nearly overshot). Woods rolled outside and as Kingston came to check, Shanky turned around and forced him away as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with Veer taking it to Woods, hitting a big falling forearm to the gut, then tagging in Mahal. Mahal punched Woods in the ribs, then hit a big bodyslam. The crowd was pretty dead for Mahal. He went for another bodyslam, but Woods slipped out. Mahal grabbed his leg, but Woods kicked him away and tagged in Kingston, who kicked Mahal and then hit a top rope forearm. He took out Veer, Woods tagged in, then hit a combo I forgot what was called (a double stomp and backbreaker combo) to eliminate them.

Jinder Mahal & Veer eliminated at 17:14

Lucha House Party entered, avoided the attack from The New Day, then hit stereo Asai moonsaults. Lince Dorado rolled Woods back in and hit a big spinning heel kick before tagging in Gran Metalik. Metalik walked the ropes and then his partner’s shoulders before landing a splash for a two-count. Metalik stomped away at Woods (Kingston was still not yet on the apron), then tagged in Dorado. Dorado hit a big chop, but Woods responded in kind. Dorado hit a big one followed by a plank for a two-count as Smith asked about showboating.

Dorado went for a crossbody off of the top, but Woods turned it into a gutbuster. Dorado made the tag first and Metalik prevented Woods’ tag. He lifted Woods for the Metalik Driver, but Woods slipped out. Woods hit a superkick to the gut and tagged in his partner, who hit a crossbody across Metalik’s back for a two-count. Metalik hit a jawbreaker and tagged in Dorado, but Kingston met him with a superkick for a two-count.

He tagged in Woods and they whipped Dorado into the ropes, who hit a double Golden Rewind (springboard stunners) for a two-count. Metalik tagged in, and they traded moonsaults from each rope with Dorado hitting the last one, pin only broken up by Kingston flying in. Dorado took care of Kingston on the outside and tagged in Metalik. They hit double superkicks, but Kingston grabbed Dorado’s leg and Woods rolled up Metalik to eliminate them.

Lucha House Party eliminated at 21:45

Mace & T-Bar then made their entrance as they cut to break. [c]

Mace was hitting some elbows to Woods, who was fading in Mace’s arms, as they returned. He hit a big forearm across the back of Woods. He & T-Bar (who shaved his head) were yelling at Woods until he fought back, but one shot from Mace stopped that. Mace sent him into a neutral corner and hit a big running knee for a two-count. Mace then applied a nerve hold to Woods’ right shoulder are.

Woods fought to his feet and hit an enziguri, but Mace still put him in a neutral corner and worked him. He lifted Woods to the top, set for a chokeslam, then popped Woods in the face. Woods responded, then hit a dropkick to the left leg of Mace. Mace grabbed Woods’ foot, then tagged in T-Bar. T-Bar entered and stomped away at Woods. He hit a big back elbow for a two-count, then applied a rear chinlock.

Woods fought to his feet and hit a jawbreaker, but Mace had tagged in already. Mace then hit a big belly-to-back suplex for another two-count. The crowd seemed drained at this point. Woods began fighting back, hitting another gut kick, but Mace knocked Kingston off of the apron. T-Bar blind tagged in, dropped to the apron, then took out Kingston on the outside by throwing him into the barricade. Mace hit a superkick as T-Bar entered. T-Bar lifted Woods for Feast Your Eyes, but Woods countered into a rollup for the victory. The heels attacked The New Day after the match, enraged at their elimination.

T-Bar & Mace eliminated at 30:15

Mansoor & Ali entered, but Ali tried holding Mansoor back, who looked angry at the attack by the heels. Mansoor entered to help, but was taken out as Ali just shook his head on the outside. Ali entered to save Mansoor, but T-Bar hit a discus boot to Ali. He then threw Ali over and out of the ring by the announcers. T-Bar & Mace exited as well, with T-Bar throwing Mansoor into the steel steps. They then double teamed Ali and threw him HARD into the post (great bump by Ali). They grabbed the steel steps and rammed it into Mansoor’s face. They tossed the steps into the ring, turning their attention to Kingston.

Kingston tried fighting back, but T-Bar lifted him into a bodyslam position and lawn darted Kingston into the steps that Mace was holding up. They left the ring and lifted Woods to his feet as Pearce & Deville finally came down. The lifted Woods into a double chokeslam and rammed him hard into the ring post. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with the match into its 38th minute, but played a video postcard of Miami instead of jumping right back to the match. Smith did cut to replays of Woods rolling up T-Bar and the attacks after the match. Corey Graves said The New Day and Ali & Mansoor are still in the match. They showed that Deville made an announcement during the break, saying the two teams will have time to recover. Lashley & M.V.P. were officially added to the match as well. I’ll pick this match up at 35 minutes later as they cut to break right around then.

(Hazelwood’s Take: That was a lot of action to cover the first hour. The biggest pro of this type of match is the time it takes up on a three hour show. The biggest con is that these are matches that could have happened over a couple of weeks, tournament style. WWE does LOVE to have Kingston and The New Day involved in gauntlet matches, so it’s probably no surprise here they’re involved in another one. My biggest gripe, besides the abrupt pause, is T-Bar & Mace should be booked to be that dominant AND win rather than lose and look like angry children mad they lost. The good news is that all the teams at least had some considerable time on television; now let’s see if they do more with both tag divisions.)

[HOUR TWO]

-Drew McIntyre’s music hit as Graves said “another matchup with championship implications.” They’re just going from match to match tonight, huh? McIntyre raised Angela and they pyro exploded. He marched to the ring for his  match with Sheamus to determine the #1 contender to face United States Champion Damian Priest at Extreme Rules. Byron Saxton cut to replays of last week’s triple threat match that saw Priest retain over McIntyre and Sheamus and McIntyre’s handshake after the match. Sheamus entered next as Graves went over Sheamus’ first year in WWE and defeating John Cena for the WWE Championship.

(2) DREW MCINTYRE vs. SHEAMUS – #1 contender’s match for Damian Priest’s United States Championship at Extreme Rules

Sheamus faked a handshake, but McIntyre just gave him the good old forearm FU. They locked up, with McIntyre forcing Sheamus into the corner before Sheamus forced the break. They locked up again with Sheamus hitting a side headlock takedown. Graves mentioned McIntyre has never held the U.S. Championship as Priest was shown watching from the back. Graves said it would give McIntyre the grand slam. Sheamus hit a shoulder tackle, but then McIntyre responded with a big one of his own.

He chopped Sheamus into a corner, then whipped him across the ring. Sheamus sidestepped and sent McIntyre to the apron, then kneed him and set for the Ten Beats of the Bodhran. McIntyre caught his arm on the fourth, hit a few back elbows, then reversed it on Sheamus and hit his own Scottish version until Sheamus hit a stunner across the top rope. Sheamus climbed to the top and hit a flying clothesline to McIntyre on the outside by the announce desk. He tossed McIntyre back into the ring.

Sheamus reentered, but ran right into a spinebuster and jackknife cover from McIntyre for a two-count. McIntyre then climbed to the top rope, but Sheamus met him with punches to seat McIntyre. Sheamus climbed to the second rope and hit a few arms, then set for a superplex. McIntyre punched away at the gut and back of Sheamus, looked for a superplex to the outside, but was thwarted by Sheamus. Sheamus then climbed to the top and hit a big superplex that laid out both men as they cut to break. [c]

Sheamus had McIntyre in a hold as they returned, but the latter fought to his feet. They traded strikes, including some after Irish whips, before McIntyre took over with an overhead belly-to-belly, but Sheamus blocked the one out of the corner. McIntyre ducked a clothesline and hit his leaping neckbreaker. He kipped up, but Sheamus kicked out McIntyre’s knee from the corner before pulling himself up to the top. McIntyre just walked up to the second rope and hit an overhead for only a two-count.

McIntyre lifted Sheamus for a Future Shock, but Sheamus countered. McIntyre turned it into a sunset flip for a two-count. McIntyre hit Glasgow Kiss, but right into Sheamus’ mask, who hit another headbutt. Sheamus pinned for a two-count, then hit a big Alabama Slam for another two-count. The crowd didn’t respond to any of that. Sheamus set for the Brogue, but he counted down from three only to be caught by McIntyre into a Future Shock for a two-count.

McIntyre went for the Claymore, but Sheamus lifted him to his shoulders. McIntyre slipped out, and rammed Sheamus into the corner, then rolled into a flying Kimura. Sheamus made it to the bottom rope, then clutched at his left arm, grunting in pain. McIntyre went for a top rope move, but Sheamus ducked, then hit a pump knee for a two-count. He couldn’t get a good cover on McIntyre.

Sheamus went for the cloverleaf, but McIntyre rolled him up for a two-count. McIntyre then lifted Sheamus and hit White Noise for a two-count, so they’re busting out each other’s moves to no avail. Both men traded punches from their knees. McIntyre hit the mask, then caught Sheamus as he tried a headbutt. McIntyre ripped off the mask, then booted Sheamus. He set for the Claymore, but Sheamus rolled him up using the tights to win. McIntyre grabbed Sheamus’ mask after the match and Sheamus turned around pleading to get it back. McIntyre instead swung and hit Sheamus across the head with it, dropping him. He then counted down and hit the Claymore as the crowd cheered. They showed an official match graphic for the pay-per-view.

WINNER: Sheamus at 14:50 (rollup with tights) to become #1 contender for the United States Championship

-Priest was laughing in the back as Kevin Patrick approached. Priest asked if he saw that, then said something in Spanish. He said he’s been in this business for a minute and has seen many matches and more fights (and he was in most of those fights), and that was a fight. He said he expects no less from Sheamus, and he’s going to enjoy every second of it with his “agents of infamy” around the world. He said he has Sheamus’ number and Sheamus is going to hear “sweet sounds that will live forever,” and still United States Champion, Damian Priest.

-Sarah Schreiber approached Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H. in Gorilla about the questions surrounding their team. Ripley said after debuting, her only goal was to be champion, and after seeing A.S.H.’s struggle, she thinks they have the same goals. A.S.H. said they’re working on it and getting there…probably. Ripley said if whatever this is actually works and they win tonight, maybe they’ll have gold coming to them real soon. A.S.H. whispered something to Ripley, who reluctantly said it’s time to unleash- A.S.H. exclaimed “SUPER BRUTALITY!” She entered first for this championship contenders match. Ripley then entered to a good reaction from the crowd. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: An expected hard-hitting and good match from the longtime friends. I liked the story being told around both the mask of Sheamus and them using, or trying to use, each other’s moves to their advantage. The rollup in this feud, specifically, is surprising as they’re usually emphatic victories either way after a finisher between these two. Priest against Sheamus makes the most sense if you want Priest to continue building face momentum. Priest should retain and continue his streak.)

-They returned with a video on Charlotte Flair brought to you by Pizza Hut. They cut to her warming up backstage as Schreiber approached asking about tonight’s rematch. Flair said Jax said last week she would splatter her all over the ring, but she’s still standing here looking better than ever. She said it’s not sitting well with her that Jax won last week and her title is on the line tonight. She said the crown that Jax wanted to shove up her royal behind will be bashed against Jax’s head tonight. She said long live the queen with some motions, then dismissed Schreiber. Graves hyped the title match.

-The challengers were in the ring waiting as Natalya’s music hit and the Women’s Tag Team Champions entered.

(3) NATALYA & TAMINA (c) vs. RHEA RIPLEY & NIKKI A.S.H. – Championship contenders match

A.S.H. and Tamina began the match, with Tamina smiling. She slapped A.S.H. away when the latter approached for a lockup; A.S.H. smiled. Tamina locked up then immediately slammed A.S.H. to the mat. She cut off the ring, preventing A.S.H. from escaping the corner, but she sidestepped Tamina. Tamina then caught her and placed her on the neutral top rope, delivered a heabutt, then tried for a Samoan Drop in the middle of the ring. A.S.H. tried a sunset flip, but couldn’t get Tamina over. Tamina tried a seated senton, but A.S.H. moved, hit a bunch of moves, then tagged in Ripley. She handed A.S.H. to Tamina, ducked, then kicked A.S.H. into Tamina.

They traded punches before Tamina took control and tagged in Natalya. Ripley shoved Natalya away, then A.S.H. tagged in. Ripley lifted her partner to her shoulder and used A.S.H. to kick Natalya. A.S.H. was on the second rope, but went to confront Tamina, allowing Natalya to take over. She hit a basement dropkick to A.S.H.’s back, then Tamina took Ripley to the floor and delivered a superkick. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with Tamina pinning A.S.H. for at two-count as Smith mentioned Ripley was just now hitting the apron after the attack before the break. A.S.H. sidestepped a charging Tamina, who then tagged in Natalya. A.S.H. tagged in Ripley, who hit two short-arm clotheslines, a short-arm headbutt, took out Tamina on the apron, then a dropkick to a seated Ripley. She yelled to get the crowd going.

She hit a back kick to the gut, then a bridging Northern Lights to Natalya for a two-count. She tagged in A.S.H., who hit her top rope crossbody thanks to Ripley holding Natalya, but Tamina broke up the pin. Ripley kicked her out, but Natalya hit a German. Natalya fought off a DDT and hit a discus lariat, Hart Attack. Ripley made a blind tag, then hit Riptide as Natalya was attempting a Sharpshooter. A.S.H. leaped into Ripley’s arms after the match, with Ripley reacting like really?

WINNER: Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H. at 9:30 (Riptide) to become championship contenders…I think

MOIST TV WITH KARRION KROSS

John Morrison welcomed Kross in a “recorded earlier” segment. Kross was in a black suit and looked confused. Morrison said he hoped Kross had the hourglass, but understands that excess baggage fees add up. He asked what makes Kross tick. He thanked Morrison and said it was an honor (facetiously). He said wants to make people’s worst dreams a reality. He said his plan next is to make Morrison suffer. Morrison said it sounded like Kross was making a threat, but it was a euphemism because the locker room knows if you threaten him, you get moistened by a Drip Stick. He named other titles and wrestlers. Kross said that sounds fun, but after he eliminates Morrison from existence. Morrison said he’s been in the business for two decades and is still three decades ahead of Kross. Kross said Morrison asked for answers, and he’s going to learn in the ring when Kross forces him to fall and pray. He walked away. Kross’ music hit as he entered in his terrible gear. WWE somehow thought this was the best moment for the announcers to do a Connor’s Cure ad read.  They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: The match was clunky in the first part, but picked up after break. It also seems like it’s clear that Ripley & A.S.H. are going to win at Extreme Rules. Very few people seem to care about the current champs, and they seem more into the dynamic between the two faces. Ripley slowly coming around on A.S.H. is a good bit of storytelling for now, though I’m guessing Ripley turns on A.S.H. eventually, possibly the Royal Rumble.)

-They returned with Morrison already in the ring.

(4) KARRION KROSS vs. JOHN MORRISON – Singles match

The match began with Morrison using his parkour to evade Kross until Kross caught him in a headlock takedown, immediately floated over into mount, and hit a bunch of haymakers. He then hit the Doomsday Saito suplex, but Morrison fought off the Kross Jacket by reaching the ropes before it could be locked in. Morrison grabbed a Drip Stick and then sprayed Kross in the face. Kross looked pissed. He gave Morrison a stiff kick to the face, then took him to the corner and hit an overhead OVER the top, onto the top of the post, and onto the ground. Kross rolled Morrison back into the ring and stalked for the Kross Jacket. He locked it in and Morrison faded.

WINNER: Karrion Kross at 2:04 by submission (Kross Jacket)

-Smith then shifted to a video on Jax, similar to the one earlier on Flair, highlighting her dominance and accomplishments. She was warming up in the back as Schreiber approahced. Jax said she’d rather not waste her breath on Flair, but it’s obvious that was a defense mechanism from Flair earlier. She said she did splatter Flair. She said good luck finding the crown since she shoved it so far up Flair’s behind. She also said Flair lost her dignity. She ended by saying she will walk out the champion.

-Flair’s music hit for this championship match that will span into the third hour. They cut to break hyping the match. [c]

-They returned with Smith hyping the conclusion of the tag team turmoil match, presumably the main event. Flair was in the ring, holding her title, clearly waiting for her cue to pose with it in the air. Graves then shifted to a vide replay of last week with Jax’s threat of splattering both Flair and Ripley, then her splattering A.S.H. & Ripley, and finally defeating Flair in last week’s much-discussed match. Jax & Baszler then made their entrance. Graves said there’s a palpable tension in the air of “what could go down.” Mike Rome gave formal introductions.

[HOUR THREE]

(5) CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) vs. NIA JAX (w/Shayna Baszler) – Women’s Championship match

The bell rung about two minutes into the hour, but Baszler immediately grabbed a mic and said she’s not sure if her partner could beat Flair twice in a row, but Baszler could. She said the real question is will her partner become champion or choke? Flair immediately attacked and Graves seemed to have a cathartic moment as they just wailed on each other. Jax hit some good dirty boxing. They taunted each other, then Jax slapped at Flair, who rolled outside the ring. Flair approached Baszler, then told Jax she could kiss her ass. Flair grabbed her title, booed at the crowd, and looked to walk away, but Baszler got in her way. Jax grabbed Flair from the ring, but got hung across the top rope. She then clotheslined Flair as Flair reentered.

Flair hit some back elbows to Jax, but Jax looked for a belly-to-back. Flair rolled out and hit a chop block, then shoved Jax in the corner. She went for the knee, but Jax sidestepped and shoved Flair face-first into the turnbuckle twice. Jax lifted Flair to the top rope, then climbed to the second rope for a superplex. Flair slipped out and hit a powerbomb. She hit a matchbox cover for a two-count as Jax powered out.

Flair went for the left leg, but Jax forced her away, so Flair just stomped away at the chest and midsection of Jax. She went for the Figure Four, but Jax forced her into the bottom turnbuckle. She rolled outside as they cut to break with Graves saying it’s ugly, but it’s just getting good. [c]

Jax was sent to the outside as they returned. Flair climbed to the top rope by the hard camera and entrance for a moonsault. Flair hit, but not very much (Jax stuck out her arm to catch Flair). Baszler rushed at Flair, who sidestepped. Baszler held up before hitting Jax. The two partners looked at each other before JAx reentered the ring. She lifted Flair for a powerbomb, but Flair rolled for a sunset flip. She couldn’t get it, so Jax lifted her and gave her a headbutt followed by a corner avalanche. She lifted Flair to the top, but Baszler distracted her from the apron. Flair used that to hit Natural Selection from the top rope to retain.

WINNER: Charlotte Flair at 8:50 (Natural Selection) to retain the Women’s Championship

-After the match, Jax looked for Baszler as Alexa Bliss appeared on the Tron with Lilly in her Playground set. They officially invited Flair to the Playground, and asked her to bring a “fancy robe” because Lilly really wants to try one on. Flair said it’s cute that Lilly is a fan, but Flair doesn’t do cute, and she declined. Bliss said that’s unfortunate since Lilly has a lot of pent up energy. She asked if Flair knows what it’s like to be stuck with a maniacal psychopath or something, then said of course she does: she’s a Flair. Bliss said they’ll take the Playground to her. The lights flickered and went out, then Bliss was standing behind Flair when they came on.

Flair said it’s obvious Bliss wants something and asked what it was. Bliss pointed at the title over Flair’s left shoulder. Flair said she wants a title match (as she held it high)? The crowd chanted “Yes” as Flair said fine, but this isn’t Bliss’ playground, it’s Flairs. Flair exited the ring while staring at Bliss, who just stared back calmly.

-They shifted to another Reggie video from the park. This one was a mashup of all of the ones from previous weeks. Reggie then entered for an actual match with Akira Tozawa. He did his springboard into the ring to “Ooohs” from the crowd. They hyped the match as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: The thing is the breakup between Jax & Baszler seemed on, then off, then suddenly back on again in a big way tonight. The smile from Baszler after the match seemed to indicate it’s more about her wanting to be the one to dethrone Flair and not wanting it to be Jax, plus not wanting to have to wrestle Jax should Jax have won. If this means the return of unstoppable badass Baszler, I’m all in. The match was good up to that point too, but the distraction finish was unsatisfying.)

-They returned with Tozawa entering and the RAWbot welcoming back viewers. No formal introductions for this match.

(6) REGGIE (c) vs. AKIRA TOZAWA – 24/7 Championship match

Tozawa charged several times, but Reggie used his flexibility to evade, then hit a dropsault. He delivered a leaping Houston Hangover to Tozawa, then set for his finisher, a seated Houston Hangover.

R-Truth rushed down after the match, then Cedric Alexander, then Humberto Carrillo and some others like Jaxson Ryker, Shelton Benjamin, and I think Jeff Hardy. Suddenly, he turned around on the ramp and Drake Maverick was there. Truth missed a clothesline, then saw Maverick. He told Maverick to go back to his wife, then ran off after Reggie.

WINNER: Reggie at 0:39 (seated Houston Hangover) to retain 24/7 Championship

-Smith shifted to a video recapping the Eva Marie-Doudrop rivalry, beginning with Marie ramming the crate into Doudrop in the back, then Doudrop attacking Marie before their match last week. Patrick approached Doudrop in the back, who was dressed like Baszler and Ripley. Doudrop said Marie has a history of missing matches, so she didn’t want to give her that opportunity. She said Eva got “doudropped.” She said she’s not surprised that talentless egotistical wench couldn’t make it here tonight, so she’s challenging Marie to a rematch next week. She said Marie tormented her for months claiming it was for the Eva-Lution, but it was for the Eva-Delusion. She said it’s time for the “Doudrop-alutio.” Sigh.

-The New Day gingerly made their way to the ring to resume their tag team turmoil match from the first hour. They cut to break. [c]

-They returned with Ali & Mansoor making their way to the ring with another Connor’s Cure ad read and RK-Bro at ringside. They showed replays of the attack from earlier that paused that match. A reminder that the time will be an estimated total time adding on the 35 minutes from the first hour.

(7) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. MUSTAFA ALI & MANSOOR vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY & M.V.P. – Tag team turmoil match to determine #1 contender’s to RK-Bro at Extreme Rules

Kingston and Mansoor began the match. Kingston took the advantage by grabbing the left arm, but Mansoor used the ropes to escape. Kingston leapfrogged Mansoor, but Ali held down the ropes, sending Kingston tumbling outside. Ali tagged in and rolled Kingston in for a one-count. They showed replays in slowmo of Kingston just falling straight to the outside. Ali went for an Irish whip, but Kingston hit an S.O.S., unable to make the cover. He tagged in Woods.

Woods came in and draped Ali over the middle ropes, then hit his running dropkick. Ali forced Woods into their corner, and Mansoor tagged in holding the tag rope. They went for a double team with Woods in the electric chair, but Woods rolled out and sent him into Ali, on the top. Kingston then climbed up Mansoor and hit a superplex. Woods then rolled up Mansoor for a two-count.

Woods went for a fireman’s carry, but sold the back. Mansoor nearly rolled up Woods for the victory. The ref told Mansoor to back off as the ref checked on him. Ali told Mansoor to go after Woods, but Mansoor wouldn’t so Ali tagged in and immediately kicked Woods in the back twice. Woods made the tag to Kingston, who hit a big crossbody before knocking Mansoor to the floor. Ali caught Kingston with a superkick counter on Trouble in Paradise, but missed a 450. He rolled through, but ate Trouble in Paradise. Woods tagged in and hit his big elbow drop all the way across the ring to eliminate Ali & Mansoor.

Mustafa Ali & Mansoor eliminated around 39:15

Styles’ music hit to a big pop as he & Omos made their entrance. The New Day were huffing and catching their breaths from their knees as they stared at the entrance ramp. They cut to break. [c]

Styles hit a backbreaker to Woods as they returned. He then worked the back a bit before Woods regained his feet. He shoved Styles away, but Styles intercepted Woods mid-air as the latter leaped for a tag. Styles then whipped Woods hard into a neutral corner, causing Woods to writhe in pain. He forced Woods into the corner and delivered shoulder thrusts to the back a few times. Styles took his time beating on Woods, taunting Kingston along the way. Omos tagged in to an anticipatory reaction from the crowd.

He held Woods and taunted Kingston before landing a big haymaker across the back. He then stood on the small of Woods’ back, using the ropes for leverage. Omos tossed Woods into their corner, then taunted Kingston some more. Woods took out Styles, but Omos hit a corner avalanche to the back of Woods. Styles tagged in for a two-count. Styles then hit a snap suplex for a two-count. Styles then cinched in a rear chinlock with his knee in the neck of Woods.

Styles slammed Woods to the mat, then delivered a stiff leg kick. He hit another one, causing Woods to scream in pain. Woods fought back with punches, sending Styles to the floor through the ropes. Woods reached out for Kingston, who sidestepped Styles as he tried to knock him off of the apron, allowing Woods to roll him up for a two-count. Both men made tags, but Kingston’s springboard was cut down with a chop across the chest in mid-air by Omos. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with Omos tagging out to Styles, who lifted Kingston to the top of a neutral corner. He climbed for a superplex, but Kingston fought him off and hit his leaping double stomp from the second rope. Styles went for a corner splash, but Kingston moved and punched away. Styles hit a back elbow counter, then somehow recovered his moonsault-inverted DDT only for Kingston to roll out and hit Trouble in Paradise. Omos broke up the cover, then sent Woods outside. Omos then tossed Kingston into Styles for the Styles Clash.

The New Day eliminated around 56:30

Lashley’s championship entrance Tron and music played as he & M.V.P. confidently made their way to the ring. Orton had a look of concern on his face, then a focused and serious look came across his face. M.V.P. started with Styles as the hometown crowd chanted for the former. He tagged in Lashley to boos from the crowd (well done!). Lashley powered Styles up and out of a headlock, slamming him to the mat. He then tossed Lashley toward the corner so hard Styles hit the post with his head.

He beat on Styles in the corner, then shoved his face through the bottom rope. Styles tried fighting back with his usual combo, flipped out of and landed on his feet from a suplex, hit a Pele kick, then tagged in Omos (his ankle might have been hurt on the landing). The crowd got on their feet as Lashley and Omos faced off. Lashley didn’t back down as Omos stood in front of him for a challenge of strength. Omos had the early advantage as the crowd chanted “Bobby” loudly. Lashley kicked Omos in the gut, then forced him into the corner with shoulder thrusts. He set for a suplex in the middle of the ring, but Omos countered with a delayed gourdbuster! He then booted Lashley over the top rope and to the floor in front of RK-Bro. Lashley and Orton faced off, but Styles leaped off the table onto both of them (his ankle must be fine). Omos then grabbed Riddle and threw him into the barricade.

Styles rammed Lashley into the steel steps, then slowly rolled him into the ring. M.V.P. came around and took Styles outside, but Styles hit an enziguri. Omos then tossed Riddle over the announce table and into Smith, really. Styles readied for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Lashley rolled away and hit the spear. After the match, Omos laid out Lashley with the two-handed chokeslam. Orton then entered the ring as Lashley was recovering and hit the RKO to a HUGE pop. The show ended with Orton posing over a prone Lashley. They hyped the Tag Team Championship match for next week and not Extreme Rules.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley & M.V.P. in around 1:02:50 (spear) to become #1 contender’s for the Tag Team Championship

(Hazelwood’s Take: Even with the start-and-stop, that was a good bookend for the show. You had to know The New Day wouldn’t make it to the end, but they put on a great showing. I like this story they’re telling between Lashley and Orton, and it seems more like their rivalry is more important than the titles; the titles just happen to to be there as a turnabout is fair play kind of thing. Let’s see how next week goes.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: The bookend turmoil match aside, a lot of that show just felt like running-through-the-motions show. That’s fine at times, though a night after what many are calling the best wrestling show in years is probably not the right call. Stories did advance and matches set for next week and the PPV, so that’s good. On the other hand, the segments not tied to matches next week of the PPV were average at best.

Don’t forget to tune in and catch me with Wade Keller on the post-show!

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