9/13 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Lashley vs. Orton for WWE Championship, U.S. Championship Open Challenge, Flair vs. Baszler, eight-man tag, more

BY BRUCE LEE HAZELWOOD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
BOSTON, MASS. AT TD GARDEN
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 PWTorch.com assistant editor Zack Heydorn and guest co-host Nate Lindberg of the PWTorch.com Dailycast “PWT Talks NXT” to break down the show with live callers and emails.

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(Hazelwood’s Take: Around 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, Big E tweeted that he will be cashing in his Money in the Bank contract tonight “to become WWE Champion” after declaring on Friday’s Smackdown that he would be on tonight’s show. That should raise the anticipation of tonight’s show, and may prove to be a throughline from the opening moment to the closing moment of the show. I do think WWE runs the risk of alienating more fans if they teased the cash-in so hard yet have it thwarted or not happen for some reason with the former being more likely than the latter. Wade Keller did note in one of his VIP hotlines over the weekend that E could prevail over Orton so Orton can pad his stats and become a 15-time WWE Champion. I guess we’ll see!)

[HOUR ONE]

-The show began with a wide shot of the crowd from the bleachers, then ringside as Jimmy Smith welcomed viewers to the “historic” TD Garden. RAWBot also welcomed fans. Smith & Corey Graves hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship.

-Big E entered, hugging kids at ringside as Smith said “E stands for ‘Energy.'” He stood on the announce table as Orton’s music hit. A big RK-Bro graphic was on the Tron. RK-Bro entered with Riddle on his customary scooter. Lashley’s music then hit as he & M.V.P. entered to a chorus of boos. Lashley was dressed in all black. Byron Saxton asked how confident Lashley could be having to face Orton with E looming. Graves said we don’t know if E will cash-in…even though he tweeted he would.

E stood between the two men and said he still full intends to cash-in tonight. He smiled at both of them. Riddle said it’s good to have E back on Monday nights, but don’t cash-in on Orton as that’s his best bro. M.V.P. said man, shut your dumbass up to laughter from the crowd. He said Orton wouldn’t be winning tonight, so there would be no cash-in. He turned to E and said he chose tonight of all nights. He said normally he’s happy to see E out here dancing and shaking his butt like an idiot, but they’re in no laughing matter tonight since they were supposed to challenge for the Tag Team Championship. However, he said Orton politicked his way into having the WWE Championship match tonight.

Orton said it has been 14 long years since they wrestled, so why wait two more weeks? He said besides, look at you Bob, called him a specimen, then knew the only way he could throw Lashley off was changing the date. He said there was no politicking because he’s Randy Freaking Orton. E said we got two meaty men bumping meat tonight! A “Randy!” chant started. M.V.P. said did everyone just forget about the clown prince with the briefcase? He said of The New Day clowns he hangs out with, he thought E would be the first one to win a WWE Championship because of his potential, and that he leveled up on Smackdown by becoming Mr. Money in the Bank…but then he promptly ran to Raw because he’s scared of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar (Lashley said “I’m not”). He said after tonight, E will fear The All Mighty too.

Orton said M.V.P. is wasting his breath because the fight is with him and he knows all it takes is one RKO to bring Lashley to his knees. He said that’s what will happen when he beats him and becomes the new WWE Champion. E said he could then cash-in on Orton to become the new WWE Champion. Lashley said Orton made a big mistake because he will take pleasure in beating Orton all around the ring and that if E even gets near him, he’ll shove the briefcase so far up his ass he’ll taste the fine print. E put the briefcase in Lashley’s face, who smacked it away, but fell victim to another RKO, three times in three weeks. Graves said if we see that, we’ll see a new WWE Champion. E observed Lashley from the corner.

-They showed Charlotte Flair in Gorilla as she prepared for her match against Shayna Baszler in a “Championship Contenders” match with no apostrophe in contenders. Yup. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: I think E is finding that right balance of being comical with being serious. Everyone laid out their mission statement for tonight, which was basically to remain or become WWE Champion. Orton hitting the RKO again gave everyone another visual that showed Lashley being vulnerable to Orton, making a title change seem more plausible. Let’s see if E cashes in or if he is thwarted, possibly by Happy Corbin?)

-They returned with Smith shifting to a video recap of last week’s Flair vs. Nia Jax match that saw Baszler interfere and cause Jax the title match, with Baszler grinning after seemingly as an indication it was all planned on Baszler’s part. Graves said a lot of questions need to be answered about their relationship. Sarah Schreiber asked about Baszler’s confidence. Flair said Baszler is like every other wrestler dreaming about the title. She said Baszler is never going to get to her level is she’s continually dragged down by dead weight. She said she is best in every way humanly possible. She said the ring is her throne and her reign will last forever, long live the queen with the hand gesture. She entered. Graves hyped her title match against Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules. Baszler entered next (I’ve always liked her music by the way) without Jax. They played a pre-recorded video where Jax called Baszler a traitor and demanded an explanation. Baszler said she just did what Jax has done to her. She said she didn’t think Jax could win, but Jax already had beaten Flair. She said let’s just get on the same page before Baszler left.

(1) CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER – Championship Contenders match

Graves said Baszler lives for the fight as the match began. They locked up with Baszler looking confident. She reverse whipped Flair into the corner, who flipped over. Flair ate a knee as she tried to reenter, but moved as Baszler slid out. Flair hit a springboard splash as they cut to break. [c]

A WWE Draft commercial aired before coming back for 10/1 and 10/4. Flair was in control, working the leg then climbing for a moonsault. Baszler shook the ropes and caused Flair to fall, hit her head on the top turnbuckle, then hit a kick for a two-count. Baszler went for a pump knee in the corner, but Flair dodged and rolled her up for a two-count. Baszler looked for the Kirifuda Clutch as they regained their footing, but Flair fought it off and hit a belly-to-back suplex. Flair missed a big boot and ate a German suplex followed by a lifting knee for a two-count.

Flair started hulking up as Baszler struck her with kicks to the lg and chest. Baszler went for some dirty boxing, but Flair landed a clotheslines. Flair hit a few chops to Baszler, pushing her against the ropes, then hit an Andrade-like boot-to-spinning elbow that looked…not good. Baszler slipped out of an exploder, then hit a boot. Flair responded with her backbreaker/flatliner into the turnbuckle combo. Baszler rolled outside, so Flair climbed for her moonsault to the outside and hit, a little better than usual. Jax then made her way to ringside. Flair gave her the “suck it” sign, but Jax gave a gagging gesture. Flair rushed at Baszler against the steel steps, but Baszler dodged. They cut to break. [c]

They returned with a two-count for Baszler, but then being dropped by a lariat. Jax was at ringside by the announcers looking on as Flair and Baszler traded blows on their feet. Baszler ducked a short-arm clothesline and hit another German. She worked some feeling into her left knee, then dropped the kneepad a bit. Flair slipped a suplex and hit a chop block to that left knee, then locked in a kneebar on the apron through the ropes. She broke the count and taunted Jax before roling inside. She went to attack the leg, but Baszler dodged and hit strikes, then a punp knee in the corner. Jax hit the apron, distracted Baszler, then Flair hit a running boot for the victory.

WINNER: Charlotte Flair at 14:17 (running boot)

-After the match, Bliss’ music hit. She made her way with Lilly while holding a wrapped gift in her other hand. She entered and placed Lily by the ring post. She had a mic and smiled as the crowd cheered. She said she knew Flair was busy being queen and all, but they wanted to give her a gift for accepting the match. Flair said she doesn’t think Bliss knows her taste and said she doesn’t collect dolls, she collects championships. She said it comes a point when every girl needs to leave the dolls at home. Bliss said we get it, but have some fun and let your hair down (“It is down,” said Flair). Bliss held out the title, but Flair said no. Bliss said yes, Flair said no, then yes (the crowd started chanting yes), and Flair relented saying she likes gifts. She shook it and said it’s not ticking, so that’s good. The crowd started an “Open It!” chant. Flair opened it to reveal a Flair doll that looked like Lilly with blonde hair, a title, and a flashy robe.

Bliss said her name is Charlie and it looks exactly like Flair. A “Charlie!” chant started. Bliss said they wanted to give her something to play with after they take her title. She said everyone deserves a friend, even a narcisstic bitch like her. Flair said she’s crazy if she thinks she can take her title and if she thinks she even wants the doll. She said she’ll have Mattel send her a Flair action figure once she gets in that padded room, then said “Long Live The Queen” before throwing Charlie at Bliss. Bliss attacked and got the better of Flair, hitting a sunset bomb and immediately sitting cross-legged like C.M. Punk. Flair rolled outside as Bliss grabbed Lilly and the title and held the latter up.

-Smith shifted to a highlight package on Orton’s career as a third-generation wrestler, “Legend Killer,” and 14-time World Champion. They showed his RKOs to Lashley from the past two weeks to end the video. Smith then hyped the title match, presumably the main event.

-Drew McIntyre’s music hit as he made his entrance to a pretty good round of cheers. There was no fake stone for him to plunge the sword in; instead, he raised the sword like he was marching into battle, which makes much more sense with his character. They hyped a six-man tag as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: So we basically saw the same match as last week involving Flair, really just a vehicle to sow more dissension between Jax & Baszler. They did at least forward the story between Flair & Bliss, and the fans seemed behind Bliss tonight. This portrayal of Bliss worked more for me as it didn’t really try to be supernatural and kind of poked fun at itself AND Flair in an endearing way. Bliss has always been a good actress with what she’s been asked to do, and tonight was a good example of how it can really work.)

-They returned with McIntyre being attacked from behind by the three heels. The Viking Raiders music hit and they marched, then ran to the ring. They chased them off and recovered McIntyre.

(2) DREW MCINTYRE & THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. JINDER MAHAL & SHANKY & VEER – Six-man tag team match

Erik and Veer began the match, with Erik gaining the advantage. Veer dodged some moves, then hit his big Thesz Press. He yelled “Namaste” as he clapped his hands together, then tagged in Mahal. Mahal hit a big clothesline to Erik, then knocked McIntyre off of the apron. He then hit a bodyslam to Erik and tagged in Veer. It’s clear that Veer is more seasoned than Shanky. Veer missed a falling headbutt, then a leaping elbow. McIntyre tagged in as did Mahal, with McIntyre taking out Mahal and the other two off of the apron. He hit an overhead belly-to-belly to Veer on the outside, then reentered the ring. He climbed to the top, but Mahal rolled away. He tagged in Shanky, but McIntyre hit a Michinoku Driver on the seven-footer. McIntyre counted down with the crowd and hit the Claymore. Done. Graves noted Ivar never even tagged into the match.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre & The Viking Raiders at 2:39 (Claymore)

-They showed E in the back as Kofi Kingston appeared on one side, Xavier Woods on the other. They excitedly reunited. They told him he deserved to cash it in, here in Kingston’s hometown of Boston. E asked for advice from Kingston. Kingston said he’s always said E has what it takes to be the face of the WWE, so he doesn’t need his advice. Woods said E does look tense, so they should relax. They did the, “Hey, we want some New Day!” chant and dance.

-Damian Priest entered for his Untied States Championship Open Challenge against Jeff Hardy (it was announced earlier in the day on Twitter that Hardy accepted). Hardy was in the 24/7 Championship crew last week, so a big step up in one week (after a sudden downfall!). They cut to break hyping the title match that should take place just after the top of the hour. [c]

-They returned hyping 80 million views for Reggie’s entrance on Tik Tok.

[HOUR TWO]

-Reggie was in the loading area as R-Truth and Drew Gulak approached, then Akira Tozawa and Humberto Carrillo. Cedric Alexander joined as Reggie dodged and flipped himself away. Drake Maverick then approached in a suit as Truth said his plan didn’t work. Maverick said it wasn’t the plan, it was the execution. Truth and Tozawa argued about execution.

-Priest was waiting in the ring. They played a pre-recorded promo as he discussed his title defense against Sheamus and someone he truly admires, Hardy. Hardy got a HUGE pop as his music hit. Mike Rome gave formal ring introductions for the first time tonight. Sheamus’ music then hit to boos as he made his way to the ring to Priest’s annoyed expectance.

(3) DAMIAN PRIEST (c) vs. JEFF HARDY – United States Championship Open Challenge

Sheamus joined commentary as they began the match. Hardy hit a side headlock, but Priest shoved him off. Hardy hit a shoulder tackle, but Priest hit his own that dropped Hardy. Priest and Hardy then countered and dodged several normal and signature moves of each other to applause, with Priest smiling like he’s enjoying this experience. A “Hardy!” chant started. He took he advantage with some strikes, but ate a flying back elbow off of a rope run from Priest. Hardy hit a rope run and then a basement dropkick to the knee, followed by his leg drop across the body, basement dropkick, and splash. He hit a mule kick that sent Priest outside, then went to apron and leaped over a kick. Hardy then hit a flying elbow from the apron to the outside and sent Priest back in at six. Hardy reentered at seven. Priest sent him to the opposite apron by the commentators and hit a big kick that sent him to the floor. Priest hit his step-up rope-assisted tope con hilo, then turned to Sheamus as they cut to break. [c]

Hardy was fighting off Priest from the top rope, but Priest hit a thunderclap as they returned. He looked for an avalanche belly-to-back from the second rope, but Hardy turned over in midair to make it a splash for a two-count. They started trading punches from their knees, then rose to their feet with Priest getting the better of the exchange until Hardy caught spinning back elbow into a side Russian legsweep. He then trapped the legs with his own for a pin that nearly resulted in a title change. Priest hit a combo of strikes, but Hardy hit a modified slingblade for another two-count. Hardy was sent into a corner, but kicked Priest down and immediately climbed for a second rope splash for another two-count. Graves said Priest knows he’s in for a hell of a fight.

Priest then hit a big forearm, followed by another. He punched Hardy against the ropes, then a big spinning heel kick after a Hardy rope run for a two-count. Priest then climbed to the top rope, something he hasn’t done too much, but Hardy met him and prevented Priest’s offense. Hardy then climbed to the second rope for a superplex, but Priest fought him off. He dropped to the apron and hit a kick to the chest of Hardy to drop him. He used the rope assist to hit a Rough Ryder-like move for a two-count. Sheamus called it a flying body scissors as Hardy caught Priest in a pin for another two-count. Priest then hit The Reckoning for the victory.

Immediately after the match, Sheamus attacked Priest, then hit a Brogue Kick to Hardy to send him outside. Sheamus turned for a Brogue Kick to Priest, but Priest hit his own Brogue to Sheamus. Sheamus rolled out looking more surprised than anything, and Graves said the difference is when Sheamus hits one, you don’t get up.

WINNER: Damian Priest at 11:22 (The Reckoning) to retain the United States Championship

-They cut to Gorilla where Nikki A.S.H.& Rhea Ripley were talking. A.S.H. said they should create a special celebration. Ripley said she doesn’t have time because of her match and that they should focus on the bigger picture. The Tag Team Champions showed up as Natalya called them freaks. Ripley said it’s not the first time she’s been called a freak, and they’ll win the titles. Natalya said her & Tamina dominate eras. A.S.H. said she could show them right now. Things broke down. Sonya Deville yelled for things to stop, then said to sort all this out, Tamina vs. Nikki A.S.H. will happen now, before Ripley vs. Natalya. A.S.H.’s music hit to a modest response from the crowd. Ripley entered with her. The announcer’s then plugged Connor’s Cure as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: A good match with the story that Priest was happy to face a respected vet before realizing he needed to step up his game to win. Him getting one over on Sheamus shows again that he is a smart face as opposed to WWE’s traditional dumb face. His trajectory is great, and his match with Sheamus in two weeks should be a hard-hitting affair.)

-They returned with headlines about Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Stevenson signing with WWE.

-RK-Bro was in their locker room with Riddle talking about which title Orton would have on top as double champ. Orton looked annoyed, then put on his headphones. Riddle just kept talking. Orton looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there as E entered. E said this is not his locker room, huh, then said he’s just there to wish Orton the best of luck as held up his briefcase and kissed it a few times. He then left after saying toodles. Riddle said Toodles used to be the name of pet chameleon who used to be a great listener like Orton. Graves then hyped the main event match.

-A.S.H. & Ripley were waiting in the ring. Tamina’s music hit to maybe a few boos, but mostly nothing. They made their entrance looking confident.

(4) NIKKI A.S.H. (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. TAMINA (w/Natalya) – Singles match

Tamina just landed a big forearm and then hit a big biel to A.S.H. She hit another one; Ripley offered encouragement. Tamina hit some body shots in the corner, but A.S.H. evaded and hit a basement dropkick to the knee. Tamina shoved her off and hit a huge lariat. A.S.H. tried fighting back, but Tamina would land one blow after every five from A.S.H. that just stopped her. She scored a two-count before cinching in a rear chinlock with some aggressiveness. The crowd started cheering for A.S.H., who fought to her feet with leg kicks and body kicks, but Tamina landed one BIG punch that floored A.S.H.

Tamina then hit a falling headbutt as they showed it was actually an palm strike from Tamina. Tamina then hit a big bodyslam, but missed a falling elbow as A.S.H. dodged. She hit a few back elbows, then leg kicks, but Tamina sent her into the corner. She evaded Tamina, then hit a corner avalanche and a head scissors. A.S.H. powered up and went for the ten punches in the corner, hitting nine, losing her balance, then regaining it to hit the tenth. Tamina then hit one right hand before sending A.S.H. into a corner. A.S.H. climbed to the second rope, then grabbed Tamina for the tornado DDT for three that Tamina kicked out at right after the count.

WINNER: Nikki A.S.H. at 4:45 (tornado DDT)

-After the match, Tamina attacked A.S.H. as Natalya took out Ripley. Tamina took A.S.H. and hit a swinging slam into the barricade. They cut to break hyping the next match. [c]

(5) RHEA RIPLEY (w/Nikki A.S.H.) vs. NATALYA (w/Tamina) – Singles match

The match was in progress as they returned with Ripley rolling up Natalya for a two-count that Natalya countered out of with an armbar attempt; I started the clock after the Taco Bell commercial. Graves said A.S.H. was being looked at backstage. Ripley rolled Natalya over for a two-count, then shifted to a headlock. Natalya countered and hit her own headlock takedown. They dodged some mutual attacks before Natalya called Ripley a bitch, hit a body shot, and they traded pinfall attempts. Ripley lifted Natalya for a powerbomb, but Natalya countered with a head scissors.

Natalya hit a series of gut kicks in the corner, then posed for the crowd as a heel. Ripley fought back with strikes, but Natalya went for side Russian legsweep. Ripley countered, then hit a big running boot that sent Natalya outside. Ripley followed and dropkicked Tamina as Natalya moved; Ripley landed on the corner of the steel steps. Natalaya then took out Ripley, posed for the crowd, and hit an elbow drop. She rolled Ripley back into the ring and went for the Sharpshooter, but Ripley landed a straight punch to the face. Natalya then threw Ripley outside by the entrance ramp, and followed with a snap suplex on the outside. They cut to break. [c]

Natalya had Ripley in an abdominal stretch as they returned. Ripley arm dragged out, then hit a series of short-arm clotheslines, followed by a ripcord headbutt, that Ripley sold as well. Ripley yelled and slapped herself awake. She grabbed Natalya, hit a spin kick to the gut, but missed a shoulder tackle in the corner. Natalya hit he rope-assisted atomic drop, then stepped on Ripley and hit a basement dropkick for a two-count. She went for a German, but Ripley prevented it, blocked Nattie by Nature with a kick, then hit a German suplex for a two-count. Ripley hit an axe kick to the gut of a prone Natalya, then lifted Natalya with the Prism Trap. She tried rolling out, but Ripley sat on her for a two-count.

Natalya took out Ripley, then looked for the Sharphooter. Ripley fought out again and rolled her up for a two-count. Ripley went for the Riptide, but Tamina distracted them. A.S.H. returned and took out Natalya’s legs from ringside. Ripley took out Tamina. Natalya rolled up Ripley, but A.S.H. shoved her legs off of the ropes. Ripley hit a headbutt, then the Prism Trap for the tapout. A.S.H. jumped into Ripley’s arms to celebrate.

WINNER: Rhea Ripley in around 14:17 by submission (Prism Trap)

-Smith then shifted to a video recap from the first segment with Lashley & M.V.P., RK-Bro, and Big E. Saxton hyped the main event.

-Mansoor’s music hit to no reaction as he entered with Mustafa Ali. It seemed like Mansoor was on the same page as Ali. The New Day’s music hit as they joined for the eight-man tag team match. Mansoor was dancing horribly to Ali’s chagrin. They hyped the eight-man tag match as they cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: All those two matches did was trade victories between tag team members that basically boils down to 50/50 booking. The crowd seemed completely out of the match, and as much as I respect Natalya & Tamina, they are just not making any sort of impact as Tag Team Champions. It’s probably time to put the titles on the oddball couple which gives both of them something to center their characters around besides the Women’s Championship; Ripley hinted as much during the pre-match promo. If the titles don’t change hands, that’s just promotional malpractice.)

-They returned with a replay of Flair vs. Baszler with Jax causing the distraction finish, followed by Bliss gifting Charlie to Flair and Bliss’ subsequent attack. They showed Flair in the back as Schreiber approached. She knocked the mic away, then saw Charlie, then said she doesn’t know why that sociopath gave her that doll. She said she’s going to send Charlie right where it belongs and tossed it in the trash.

-Mansoor was still dancing terribly in the ring with The New Day as Smith & Saxton went over The New Day’s valiant effort in last week’s tag team turmoil match (listen to last week’s post-show to hear Wade Keller’s comments on Smith’s choice of words when The New Day were eliminated). Mace & T-Bar made their entrance next. A pre-recorded promo said the weak exist to be preyed upon by the strong. They called the faces a band of insignificant creatures just herding together, ready for slaughter. A.J. Styles & Omos made their entrance next. Even as a bonafide heel, Styles gets a good amount of cheers.

[HOUR THREE]

(6) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) & MUSTAFA ALI & MANSOOR vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS & MACE & T-BAR – Eight-man tag team match

Mansoor and Styles began the match with Mansoor hitting some unique counters and a dropkick to surprise Styles. Mansoor forced Styles into their corner. Kingston tagged in and they began The New Day Stampede without Ali, who kept calling for the tag to no avail. He finally tagged himself in only for Styles to reverse a suplex into one of his own, tagging in Mace after. Mace hit a HUGE discus boot to Ali off of a rope run, then tagged in Mace. They both hit discus boots to The New Day on the apron, then brought in Mansoor the hard way. Mace hit a chokeslam to Mansoor on the apron as T-Bar took out Ali with a clothesline. The referee was at a six-count before Mace grabbed Ali and reentered the ring for a two-count. Mace hit a belly-to-back suplex for a two-count, then sent Ali back outside by the hard camera as they cut to break. [c]

They returned with T-Bar in control of Mansoor, but Mansoor hit a jawbreaker and an enziguri to create space. Styles tagged in to prevent the tag, grabbing the ankle, then ducking an enziguri. He didn’t duck the second one, and Mansoor tagged in Woods. Kingston tagged in and they hit a combo missile dropkick/side Russian legsweep combo for a two-count. Kingston then hit a top rope crossbody across the back of Styles. Woods then took out T-Bar with a tornado DDT, and Mace was sent over the top. Mansoor and Ali then hit topes to Mace & T-Bar on the outside. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, but Styles caught him into an ushigoroshi.

The pin was broken up by Ali, who was taken out by Kingston, who was taken out by Mace, then Mansoor, then T-Bar, then Woods, then a Styles Pele Kick. Kingston rolled up Styles for a two-count, then Ali tagged in and hit a big tornado DDT. Omos then tagged himself in to big cheers from the crowd. Ali looked shocked, then tried to back away. Omos just tossed him, TOSSED him into the corner and hit a huge shoulder tackle. He grabbed Ali, but Mansoor jumped on him. All four faces were on him, but Omos exploded out like a movie, then sent both members of The New Day outside. Hit his big two-handed head-grabbing slam to Ali and pinned him with one hand.

WINNER: A.J. Styles & Omos & Mace & T-Bar at 10:05 (two-handed headslam)

-Smith shifted to a video highlighting Lashley, “delivered by Pizza Hut.” The video showed clips of Lashley’s reign and his dominance against all manner of competition. The video work they put on his spear and one-armed spinebuster were exquisite. Kevin Patrick approached them in the back asking about E. M.V.P. said E isn’t as much a distraction as he is an annoyance. He said Lashley’s sole focus is retaining at all costs, which means inflicting as much pain and punishment as possible to Orton. He said Kingston, McIntyre, and Goldberg have all failed, and if E wants to add his name to the list, it will be his worst career decision. E suddenly appeared with big boos, then said he was just playing. He said he’s not playing when he said he fully intends to cash-in his contract. He said he can’t wait, Bobby!

-Doudrop made her entrance to no reaction for her match against Eva Marie. Smith shifted to replays of Doudrop attacking Marie prior to their match two weeks ago and announcing herself the winner. They then showed her challenging Marie to a rematch last week. She’s still doing her spirit finger things, this time adding a little gig. They cut to break. [c]

(Hazelwood’s Take: A standard eight-man tag team match that had the ending everyone wanted to see, if the live audience was any indication. They did a great job of minimizing Omos’ responsibilities while showcasing as much of his strengths and potential as possible. Having incredible bumpers like his four foes, particularly Kingston and Ali, helps a lot, but the reaction is also telling me that the slow burn they’ve had with Omos is working and having a positive effect on the audience.)

-They returned with a video postcard of Boston, highlighting the skyline and the TD Garden.

-Doudrop was still waiting in the ring as they cut back to the ring. Marie’s music hit as she entered to almost no reaction as well. Saxton said he’s surprised she’s even showing her face after being “mollywhopped” by Doudrop.

(7) DOUDROP vs. EVA MARIE – Singles match

The bell actually rung! Marie hit a set of forearms before hitting a side headlock. She tried for a shoulder tackle, but then just fell. She narrowly dodged a senton and hit a one-count. Doudrop then sent Marie into the corner, but Marie sidestepped and rammed Doudrop’s head into the turnbuckle several times. However, Doudrop hit a headbutt and a chop that dropped Marie. She sent Marie into a corner and hit an avalanche. She lifted Marie, but Marie slipped out and raked the eyes. She tried for a rollup, but yeah, Doudrop just hit a senton and her running crossbody for the victory.

WINNER: Doudrop at 2:00 (running crossbody)

-Smith then shifted to another Connor’s Cure read and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.

-They showed Karrion Kross in the back in an all-black suit. He said deep down, most of you don’t know who you really are. However, you have an idea of who you’d like to be, but no one finds their true nature until they’re the ones suffering or inflicting suffering. He said now, the suffering he inflicts is insatiable. He said he doesn’t know if there’s any empathy left in his body. He said his motives, his desires, his ultimate plan, what if he doesn’t know the answer to these questions and this is all he knows how to do? He said he won’t stop until he gets everything he wants because he is not here to be lost in the shuffle. He said step-by-step he will pulverize everyone around him until they learn to fall and pray.

-Orton’s music hit as he made his entrance for the main event with about 32 minutes left in the show. Graves repeated his line about “if you were to build a sports entertainer from the ground up, they would look like Randy Orton” as he added that Orton is looking to become double champion. They cut to break hyping the main event. [c]

-They returned hyping Jax vs. Baszler for next week’s show.

-Orton was in the Ring and Riddle outside with Orton’s music still playing as they cut back to the ring. Lashley’s awesome Tron hit. He & M.V.P. entered with Lashley looking intense and focused, eyes locked on Orton. Graves said no one’s come close to knocking Lashley from Mt. Olympus. Graves reminded viewers that Lashley already ate an RKO tonight. Rome gave formal introductions for the second and final time tonight. Orton received a respectable pop followed by a short “Randy!” chant; Lashley received sizeable boos mixed with some cheers.

(8) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) (w/M.V.P.) vs. RANDY ORTON (c) (w/Riddle) – WWE World Heavyweight Championship match

Orton immediately fled the ring, Lashley followed, then Orton reentered and exited the ring once more. Lashley remained in the ring, stalking Orton from there before exiting again to follow. M.V.P. yelled out encouragement as Orton reentered and Lashley got distracted by Riddle. Orton attacked from behind, sending Lashley into both sets of stairs on that side, then the barricade, then into the announce table before rolling him back in for a one-count. Orton looked down at Lashley and mocked him.

Lashley then rammed Orton into the corner and hit several shoulder thrusts before landing some punches and running shoulder thrust. He went for another, but Orton sidestepped and Lashley hit the post shoulder-first. Graves reminded that this is their first match in 14 years as Orton went for his draping DDT. However, Lashley countered by sending him to the outside. Orton seemed to be clutching his knee, but he hit a belly-to-back along the barricade by the timekeeper’s area, then clotheslined Lashley over as he limped back into the ring. They cut to break. [c]

Lashley was climbing the top rope only for Orton to meet him there as they returned. Orton laid into Lashley with punches, then climbed for a superplex. Graves mentioned Orton was still favoring his leg. Orton was able to hit eh superplex with one leg on the top rope, but unable to make a cover for a bit and when he did, it was a two-count. Lashley rolled outside, favoring his right leg as Orton favored his left. Orton followed, but Lashley lifted him to his shoulders and rammed him into the post head-first. He reentered the ring as M.V.P. told Orton to stay down.

Lashley met Orton on the apron with punches, then ran and knocked him off of the apron to the barricade. Lashley exited and rolled Orton back into the ring. He crawled in for the spear, but instead hit a running shoulder tackle to Orton in the corner. Lashley then hit a neckbreaker for a two-count. He then cinched in a rear chinlock as a “Randy!” chant started. Orton hit some elbows to the gut, countered a flatliner with more elbows, countered the spinebuster, and hit two clotheslines. He then climbed for the ten punches in the corner and hit nine, then his snap powerslam for a two-count.

Graves said that kickout had significantly less authority. Orton went for his draping DDT again, and that time he hit. M.V.P. had his hands on his head as Orton began his pose and pound for the RKO. Lashley countered and hit a big spear, but Orton kicked out at two! Lashley went for The Hurt Lock, but Orton fought it off with a stiff back elbow and an RKO! Lashley rolled to the edge of the ring, then M.V.P. helped drag Lashley to the apron. Riddle got in M.V.P.’s face, who held up the cane, but Orton came over and hit an RKO to M.V.P. on the outside. He reentered the ring slowly, selling the battle, right into another spear. Lashley retained.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 13:15 (spear) to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

-After the match, Lashley attacked Riddle, hitting the same ring post run on the outside he did to Orton. Lashley then spinebustered Orton through the announce table, but his knee gave out! Oh no! Lashley limped up the steps, dragging himself into the ring. E’s cashing in! They cut to break with Lashley calling it off due to his knee! [c]

(9) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) vs. BIG E – Money in the Bank cash-in for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

They returned with Lashley wanting out, but E slapped him so he attacked E. The crowd chanted for E as Lashley was selling his battle. E hit a front facing chop block, but Lashley slipped out of the Big Ending and hit a spear for only a two-count! E went for the Dominator, but E slipped out and hit The Big Ending! E is Champ!

WINNER: Big E at 1:115 (Big Ending) to become NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion

-The New Day immediately sprinted out to celebrate like they did for Kingston’s win. They hugged in the middle of the ring as pyro exploded and Saxton brought the right amount of excitement to the call. E posed with the title in the corner as they ended the show.

(Hazelwood’s Take: That initial title match was a good match. They told a story of both men knowing each other well even though they haven’t wrestled in 14 years. There were counters and reversals, and it took two spears for Lashley to put away Orton. The compromised knee and the battle beforehand also gives Lashley a legitimate out in terms of asking for a rematch, and Graves astutely noted that the knee injury prevented Lashley from getting enough power into the spear on E. E does get a big victory not only because he’s now the WWE Champion, but because because he ended the reign of the most dominant champion this side of Roman Reigns. Good for E and hopefully he’s booked well as WWE Champion. He’s basically the first draft pick.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Look, this show had good matches throughout, save for two matches, and probably had enough to keep the attention of the crowd. It helped having E’s cash-in advertised and anticipated, and they actually delivered. The crowd in attendance definitely has a lasting memory from what was a decent show that did a lot of building toward Extreme Rules. I think each match for the pay-per-view did an admirable job of being built on tonight’s show, and maybe because of the ending, the show felt like a good show.

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