SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TV REPORT
OCTOBER 11, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. AT THE CHASE 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 PWTorch.com editor Wade Keller and I to break down the show with live callers and emails.
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(After a few weeks away, I’m back to cover Raw. Thank you to Nate Lindberg and Brandon LeClair for filling in while we completed our move across the Pacific from Seattle to Hawai’i. As the show begins, it is two o’clock here in Waipio, so at least I still have my evening after Raw finishes at five on Mondays where I don’t join Wade Keller for his post-show, like tonight. Speaking of, be sure to call in, email, and/or listen live online after the show.)
-The show began with shots of the crowd and the RAWbot, where many fans were not wearing masks even though San Francisco has an indoor mask mandate. Jimmy Smith hyped the big women’s tag match with Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch, Smith adding “four of the biggest egos” on the show.
-Drew McIntyre’s music hit to a good pop. Byron Saxton noted his confident walk, and Corey Graves said it’s because he’s “holding a giant sword.” Graves hyped the forthcoming face-to-face with WWE Champion Big E. Graves said “big meaty men slapping meat” as they showed a graphic for Crown Jewel, though still no word on where it will take place. McIntyre entered the ring and grabbed a mic as Graves said McIntyre would like nothing more than to head to Friday nights as WWE Champion.
He said it was appropriate that the Scottish Warrior is kicking things of in the home of the (Golden State) Warriors. He said they’re less than two weeks away from the event with a stacked lineup, mentioned King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown, Goldberg vs. Bobby Lashley, and him vs. Big E. He said they’ll talk about it because he will once again become WWE Champion. He said E, he’s waited months for this match and it’s his last opportunity for the title before he moves to Smackdown. E’s music hit and interrupted him before he could relay another one of his bad stories.
E marched out in The Godfather gear. He received a respectful pop. He entered the ring with a mic and said he gets it, he understands why McIntyre wants to be WWE Champion so badly. He said he’s tasted the spoils of being the WWE Champion and oh, are they sweet, so sweet that he lets the juices flow down his face to his neck and betwixt his nipples. He said McIntyre is accomplished, but will never take the title from him. He said the train has already left that station and McIntyre has two options: jump on board or have his big sword-wielding ass can stay on the tracks and get run smooth over.
McIntyre said E speaks of the spoils of WWE Champion, the nectar, E’s nipples for some reason (E flexed). He discussed the adrenaline rush of entering and having the crowd cheer, saying it feels damn good. He said he’s a two-time WWE Champion; a “Big E” chant started. McIntyre said he held the title for 300 combined days and he’s damn proud as WWE Champion, leading the company “through uncertain times,” but he is still chasing his moment, saying it will come at Crown Jewel. He said like he defeated Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and Goldberg, he’s going to run through E.
They jawed at each other a bit before The Usos music hit. Jimmy & Jey headed out yelling, all hyped up. Jimmy said he is pumped for this match as Jey pointed at them. Jey said he’s rolling with E. Jimmy said if “Drew Mac” hits that Claymore, it might be a wrap. McIntyre asked what the hell they were doing here. They said they can do what they want when they roll with The Tribal Chief, The Head of the Table. He said The Bloodline got drafted to Friday nights, but they’re now in your city. Jey said they’re sending out warning shots.
Jimmy said they all know and they mommas know that Roman Reigns will defeat Lesnar, but they’re trying to figure out who’s going to be WWE Champion. Jimmy asked about both, and E received the bigger pops while McIntyre received some boos. He told McIntyre to be careful or he’ll end up in the crosshairs of Reigns on Friday nights, and he might add the WWE Championship to the trophy case. A tag team match is coming, huh? Jey said they have plans for E’s boys Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods on Friday nights. He said if E beats McIntyre, it’s Reigns vs. E at Survivor Series and he has the same death wish that his boys, The New Day, are facing. They retreated saying get the shirt.
E said those two just aren’t going to come out here and flap their gums. He spoke on behalf of McIntyre, but McIntyre said he absolutely cannot speak for him. Jimmy said well, on behalf of The Usos, they challenged them to a tag team match. Both men accepted, but received superkicks for their troubles. Graves hyped the WWE Championship match as McIntyre said that was on E.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed The New Day in Gorilla and asked if both of them end up facing each other next week. They laughed as their music played and brushed off the question by making their entrance. Each looked at the thrones, walking up to them, Woods intently staring at it and smiling, saying it will be his. He walked down saying “crown me” like he’s Cam’ron. They cut to break hyping his match with Ricochet. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: I like that E was able to balance the comedy with the serious. McIntyre does well when he bounces off people, but he’s still better suited as a heel, which the fans seem to be pushing him toward. I don’t like that he said he wants his moment to be at the yet-to-located Crown Jewel with all the negative connotations associated with those events. The tag match was predictable, but it should still be fun.)
-They returned with The New Day’s music still playing (a guy in the front row was wearing a James Ellsworth shirt) as Smith said the tag match is official. Ricochet’s music hit to no pop, absoultely no reaction, sadly. Even as he implored the fans, there wasn’t much pop. They played a pre-recorded promo where he said it’s a chance of a lifetime and his career could be launched into the stratosphere. He said be prepared to call him King Ricochet. Sigh. They showed the tournament bracket.
(1) XAVIER WOODS vs. RICOCHET – King of the Ring tournament match
They began with a lockup, then Ricochet took control with an arm wringer. Woods and Ricochet then traded reversals on the arm wringer before Woods hit a big shoulder tackle for a one-count and an immediate arm lock. Ricochet flipped out of a belly-to-back, both men hit a couple of standing switches, then Ricochet hit a big dropkick for a one-count. A graphic hyped Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Theory. Ricochet hit a few chest kicks, then a few more, but Woods hit one forearm that dropped Ricochet.
Ricochet responded with leg kicks, but Woods blocked one and hit a big chop that just fired up Ricochet. He landed on the apron, but Woods took out the rope as he went for a springboard. Woods climbed to the second turnbuckle, but Ricochet thwarted him. Ricochet looked for a superplex to the outside, but Woods fought him off, knocking him to the apron. Ricochet springboarded up, walked over, and hit one of the weirdest yet effective superplexes I’ve ever seen. They cut to break. [c]
As they returned, Ricochet sent Woods off of the ropes and hit a flying clothesline for a two-count. They replayed the awkward superplex in slow motion and the flying clothesline, almost Bray Wyatt style. Ricochet hit a stiff PK to the back and talked some smack, then a big European uppercut. He hit a snapmare and dropkick to the back of the head for a two-count. Graves discussed the “career-altering” events of winning KOTR. Woods blocked a suplex, then hit a gourdbuster across the top rope, draping Ricochet. He hit a stomp from the second rope to the draped Ricochet, then a second rope leg drop for a two-count.
Woods went to lift Ricochet, flipping him up into a vertical suplex position, then dropping him across the knees in a falling gutbuster for a two-count. A frustrated Woods rose to his feet, missed a Shining Wizard, then ate a head kick. Ricochet rolled into a fireman’s carry, then hit a rolling senton before a PK to Woods, who rolled outside of the ring. Ricochet looked around, then sprung over the turnbuckles into a senton on Woods. He lifted Woods to his feet and this time hit a tope suicida head-first. He went for a third, but Woods sidestepped and may have flung a forearm as Ricochet hit the barricade.
Woods rolled Ricochet back inside the ring and set him for the elbow drop. Woods climbed, walked the rope, and hit! Woods picked up the win via pinfall. They hyped a possible Woods vs. Kingston matchup next week.
WINNER: Xavier Woods at 11:00 (top rope elbow)
-Smith shifted to a video from last Monday with Orton where he challenged Omos to a singles match. They showed the bruhaha that ensued later, resulting in A.J. Styles being hit with an RKO. Smith tried shifting to Orton before the KOTR graphic.
-They showed Orton in the locker room as Riddle approached. He said someone challenged Omos to a singles match tonight, and gave some hints as to who challenged him: a sweet head of lettuce and loves Lunchables. Orton asked what did Riddle do? Riddle said he looks up to Orton like a wise uncle, then asked what’s the plan, how are they going to outsmart Omos? Orton said there is no plan, there never was a plan. He said in no way, shape, or form should he have challenged Omos, then said, “Bro, you’re on your own.” Riddle said he’ll see him out there later…Randy. Orton looked annoyed.
-Mustafa Ali & Mansoor made their entrance to no reaction. Maybe the crowd in San Fran is just not into it tonight. The show did start at five there, and the Giants play the Dodgers tonight as well in Game Three of the NLDS. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: I know Woods has made it a career goal to be King of the Ring, but this isn’t the 90s anymore; winning seems to worsen careers more than losing the tournament. The match was good, with some fun spots. It’s a shame the crowd isn’t as hot, but as written above, it’s understandable.)
-They returned with Smith saying it’s been a little quieter on Monday nights because The Miz is on Dancing with the Stars. Please keep voting for him so he’s off Raw longer. They then hyped the draft changes in two weeks with a full roster graphic.
(2) MUSTAFA ALI & MANSOOR vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN – Tag team match
Ali immediately hit a dropkick as the bell rung right after the graphic. Benjamin just lifted and slammed Ali down before tagging in Alexander. Ali flipped out of a suplex and tagged in Mansoor, who hit an inverted atomic drop and corner clothesline. Ali tagged in as they hit a double stomp/belly-to-back combo. Ali took out Benjamin, then Mansoor hit him with a tope. Ali rolled through a 450 as Alexander rolled away, but Alexander hit a Michinoku Driver for the pinfall victory. Has that move won a match since the 90s? Mansoor tried helping Ali up after the match, but Ali pushed him away saying he’s sick of this.
WINNER: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin at 1:19 (Michinoku Driver)
-They cut to video of Shayna Baszler taking out the arms of Nia Jax, Eva Marie, and almost Dana Brooke until Doudrop appeared, skipping to the ring. Baszler’s music hit (again, glad to hear her music again) for her first round Queen’s Crown match. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with Brooke in the ring.
(3) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. DANA BROOKE – Queen’s Crown tournament match
Brooke rushed Baszler, but was sidestepped as Baszler beat on her in the corner. She was able to ram Baszler into the corner turnbuckle, then another, but got caught in the Kirifuda Clutch on her handspring attempt. She hit a victory roll for a two-count as a counter, then a rollup, but Baszler kicked out. Baszler then rolled into an ankle lock, but Brooke rolled out. Baszler then hit a sudden lifting knee for the victory. They showed the upgraded graphic for Queen’s Crown. Baszler went to attack Brooke after the match, but the ref broke it upas Baszler just malicously grinned.
WINNER: Shayna Baszler at 1:23 (lifting knee)
-They cut to the back where Flair said who cares about Baszler, and whatever happens with the other three women in her match doesn’t concern her. She said she’s only concerned about herself, the most decorated women in sports entertainment. She said Belair doesn’t have the killer instinct, Lynch rides the momentum of other people’s opportunities, and how many times has she beaten Banks? She said she hopes Banks wins the title so she can smack the smirk off of her face by melding the titles together into one. She walked away. Graves then hyped the tag match after replaying the events of last Monday, also adding the “four biggest egos” line.
-Riddle’s music hit as Smith said, “Are you ready to get bro-tastic, Saxton?” Sigh. Riddle rode down to the ring on his scooter as the crowd chanted bro. They hyped his match with Omos as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: So after a decently long first match, the next two matches totaled 2:42, one a tournament match. I mean, Brooke shouldn’t take longer against Baszler, so I understand that, but 90 seconds is hardly enough time to tell a tag team match. On the plus side, this sadistic and dominant Baszler is exactly what NXT fans have been hoping to see on Monday nights. Hopefully, they stick with it and build to possibly a Royal Rumble match victory.)
-They returned with Riddle in the ring, staying loose. Styles’ music hit as he & Omos made their usual entrance. Graves noted how Riddle is “sans Randy Orton” with Styles on the outside for Omos. Riddle grabbed a mic and said whoa man, whoa man, whoooooooooaa man. He said before they get started, there are a couple of things he wanted to say (a fan yelled “shut up!”). He said he’s been thinking a lot, and he’s good at thinking, and he listed off his brogurt and brotein products. He then said he forgot what he was talking about and it happens to him all the time. He then went “Randy now!” Nothing happened. Riddle said classic Randy just Randy being Randy waiting for the secret code word. He began singing Orton’s music, then said that’s more than one word.
Styles grabbed a mic and lambasted the ref for allowing Riddle to stall. He said everyone can see it, even San Francisco, and they’re not even the smartest people in the world. He said Riddle will have his head removed from his shoulders. Riddle chanted for Orton, as did the crowd.
(4) RIDDLE vs. OMOS (w/A.J. Styles) – Singles match
The bell rung as Riddle slipped Omos and attacked Styles on the outside. Omos just brought him back in with a slam over the top rope. The crowd chanted for Orton as Omos hit a big corner avalanche. Omos hit a big chokeslam to Riddle. He pinned him with his foot, but Styles told him off and said they can legally beat the crap out of him as long as he wants. He asked about Omos’ karate from when he was younger, then asked for a roundhouse kick, which Omos complied with. Styles called for an instant replay, which happened. He said hold on, Riddle isn’t getting up, then asked for it in slow motion, which happened again. Styles then said alright, hit him with the “old CB.” He hit his two-handed chokebreaker like move for the victory.
WINNER: Omos at 2:31 (two-handed chokebreaker)
-After the match, Styles went to hit the Styles Clash, but Orton’s music hit. Styles tried to catch Orton from behind, but he wasn’t there. He told Omos to go check the timekeeper’s area as Styles patrolled the ring. Omos went over, cockily, but then Styles got hit with an RKO from behind; assuming Orton came from under the ring. He & Riddle retreated up the ramp looking excited even though Riddle had his ass handed to him.
-Smith shifted to a video recap of the opening segment and how the tag team match came to be. They showed McIntyre furiously approaching E and said it was on E. E said look, they’re going to beat the brakes out of each other at Crown Jewel, but they need to let bygones be bygones against the seven-time tag team champs. McIntyre said E makes good points and that The Usos don’t wipe their asses without Reigns’ approval. They mocked the Mega Powers handshake and then laughed it off. Saxton hyped the tag match.
-Lashley’s music hit, without his champion Tron, as Smith said they weren’t expecting this. He looked dapper as usual. They hyped hearing from Lashley as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: So Riddle had no plan and ended up getting beat bad, yet they came out better because Orton hit ONE RKO on Styles? Riddle was hit with numerous high impact moves, but kayfabe states that whoever gets the upper hand after the match is the actual winner…at least in WWE. Even after two weeks away, I’m ready for this feud to be done. Please let it end soon.)
-They returned with a video postcard of the SF sports scene with Smith saying it kills him as a native of Los Angeles. A “Beat LA” chant started and as a SF fan (along with Torch contributor Jon Mezzera), I concur! Go Giants! Go Niners! (I’m not a Warriors fan, instead a Sixers fan; weird, I know.)
-They played a recap video from last week’s show with Goldberg’s in-ring promo and Lashley asking for a no holds barred match with Goldberg saying it gives him a license to kill. Again, sigh. Saxton hyped the match as they showed a graphic.
BOBBY LASHLEY IN-RING PROMO
Lashley looked confused in the ring, slightly disturbed, and said unbelievable. He said a lot of people asked him why he decided to challenge Goldberg to a NHB match, but before he answers the question, did you see Goldberg discussing ending his life? He said Goldberg said verbatim that Lashley is not only next, but dead. The crowd started a “What?” chant as Lashley said that kind of behavior is not befitting of a WWE superstar, a Hall of Famer, and a father, which Goldberg claims to be. He said who do you want, someone dressed like a million bucks defending the WWE Championship every week of the year, or an old man with cutoff sleeves screaming about murder?
A muddled “Goldberg” chant started as Lashley said “really classy.” Lashley said he can’t go into a match, into a fight that is screaming, frothing at the mouth like a rabid animal without a NHB match. He said Goldberg has been reduced to a rabid dog, and although he has a strong bite, that dog needs to be put down. He said with no rules and no holds barred, he will finally Goldberg’s career, to which the crowd applauded. He said no longer will Goldberg be prancing into Raw, beating up somebody, and riding off into the sunset. He said there will be no misunderstandings (he took off his shades) because Goldberg can’t beat The All Mighty, can’t hurt The All Mighty, and damn sure can’t kill The All Mighty. He said the last bit staring straight into the camera.
-They cut to the back where Banks said the draft has Flair feeling even more entitled while Lynch is clinging to the title. She then said Belair just needs to sit back and follow her lead because she’s The Boss, The Standard, The Blueprint for a reason. She said after their opponents implode on each other, she’s going to beat Flair and then beat Lynch for the Women’s Championship.
-Hardy’s music hit to a good pop for his match with Theory. They cut to break hyping the match with Hardy greeting fans at ringside. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: That was a good promo from Lashley. He was asked to speak more than usual without M.V.P. and did well in countering the “What?” chants from the crowd. He at least framed his putting Goldberg out to pasture as a career-ender instead of a life-ender, so that’s better. Still, is anyone actually excited for the match?)
-They returned with Hardy launching a piece of gear into the crowd. They replayed last week’s encounter. Theory’s music hit as he made his entrance.
(5) JEFF HARDY vs. AUSTIN THEORY – Singles match
Theory rushed at Hardy, but Hardy ducked and started waylaying Theory. He rammed his head into a turnbuckle, but Theory fought back. A “Hardy” chant started. He fought back, but Theory hit the apron then rolled in with a dropkick for a two-count. He then cinched in a chin/arm lock combo as Reggie and the 24/7 crew entered the ring. Reggie made some acrobatic escapes as they ran around the two competitors. R-Truth then entered the ring, avoided Theory, and allowed Hardy to hit an inverted atomic drop and leg drop combo. He hit the Twist of Fate, then climbed for the Swanton after removing his shirt. Theory rolled out of the way, then hit a rollup with a handful of Hardy’s pants for the win.
WINNER: Austin Theory at 2:03 (rollup with tights/pants)
-Smith then shifted to last week’s “chaotic” contract signing for the triple threat match for the Women’s Championship with Lynch, Banks, and Belair. Now that I’m seeing it, Belair and Lynch look like they’re channeling 90s TLC (RIP Left Eye) with their attire. Belair was in the back and said her and Flair clearly have different ideas of what it takes to be a winner. She said she wins with strength and skill while Flair thinks ruthlessness is the way to go. She said she does remember beating Banks at WrestleMania, and that she can make Lynch into “Becky-No-Belts” quickly. She said this is Raw, and I go here now.
-Jinder Mahal’s music hit for his KOTR match against Kingston. He was accompanied by Veer & Shanky. They cut to break. [c]
-They returned with Mahal and his cronies preening in the ring as they showed replays of Woods’ victory earlier in the night. They showed Woods hyping up Kingston in Gorilla as Patrick approached again asking who would win between the two. Kingston just repeated “Who?” over and over until the music hit and they entered.
(6) KOFI KINGSTON (w/Xavier Woods) vs. JINDER MAHAL (w/Veer & Shanky) – King of the Ring tournament match
It makes sense Woods would join Kingston here as Mahal as his cronies whereas Ricochet had no one around the ring. Mahal lifted and slammed Kingston before yelling. He then hit a side headlock takedown as Graves reminded that both men are former WWE Champions. Mahal hit a shoulder tackle to quiet a “New Day Rocks” chant, then read Kingston’s leap frog, hitting another shoulder tackle instead. He then beat on Kingston in a corner with kicks to the gut as Veer & Shanky cheered him on. Kingston countered a whip with a second rope dropkick, then hit Mahal with a boot and huricanrana to send him outside. Kingston hit the apron, then a PK knee to Mahal. He climbed for his Trust Fall and kind of hit Mahal as they cut to break. [c]
Mahal had Kingston in a modified abdominal stretch as they returned, showing that Mahal draped Kingston across the top rope and then hit a running knee to gain the advantage. Kingston hit S.O.S., but this time, Kingston hit BAD, almost right on his neck. He really needs to stop with that move. However, he hit a dropkick to Mahal, then a crossbody off of the top rope for a two-count. Mahal recovered and hit a big falling gutbuster for a two-count. Mahal then hit a knee in the corner before lifting Kingston to the top rope.
Mahal climbed as Kingston fought back, hitting a headbutt to fall Mahal. He then hit a frogsplash crossbody to the back of Mahal for a two-count. Kingston hit a big PK to the chest and then hit The New Day Boom Drop. He then started clapping, readying for Trouble in Paradise, but was distracted by Veer & Shanky. Woods took out Shanky, but Veer took out Woods with a big lariat. Mahal hit a crucifix pin on Kingston, but Kingston kicked out. Mahal dodged a top rope chop attempt into a Khallas for the 1-2-3. They showed Mahal sitting on the throne with the crown on his head and holding the scepter.
WINNER: Jinder Mahal at 9:01 (Khallas)
-They showed Lynch in the background who said she doesn’t have much to say. She said she beat them all, did everything she said she would do, and raised the bar even higher. She said she’s always five steps ahead. She said teaming with Flair is as repulsive to her as the smell of piss in an alley. She mentioned beating Belair in 26 seconds (the fans booed).
-Banks’ music hit for this top-of-the-third-hour hook. She did her usual entrance. They hyped the tag match as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: After teasing the Woods vs. Kingston match for next week so much, of course they would have Kingston lose relatively clean to Mahal here. Graves did try to sell it a bit by reminding viewers both men were WWE Champion at one point in their careers, but Mahal has been defined so far down, even as WWE Champion, that this is just a shocking loss for Kingston more than anything. I know Kingston can take losses more than others, but not many can take losses to Mahal and be fine in the long run.)
-They returned celebrating John Cena on SNL.
-Belair made her entrance with those augmented reality lips that are still kind of creepy to me how they just jut out like that, but I’ll get used to it I’m sure (I hope). Belair made her usual entrance as Banks berated her for her entrance, completely oblivious to the preening of her own entrance (I love it). Saxton hyped the triple threat match at Crown Jewel as a graphic displayed. The two began visibly arguing as Graves said, “Sasha is just mad that Bianca does Sasha better than Sasha!” Flair’s music then hit to big boos. She took her time with her entrance as the trademark displayed with two minutes before the top of the hour. The ref lowered the ropes for Flair and even helped remove her robe. Lync’s music hit to a mixed reaction, though one girl was noticeably screaming in delight. Banks & Belair kept arguing as Lynch entered the ring and posed around the ring.
Banks & Belair couldn’t agree on who started, with Banks ultimately pulling Belair by the braid into their corner. Things broke down as all four women went at it as two other referees joined the fray to try to regain control. Flair was on Banks while Lynch was taking it to Belair. Flair disposed of Banks, then Lynch hit a Becksploder to Belair. She turned right into a big boot from Flair. Flair went to the top for her moonsault to the outside, but Banks thwarted her. Banks climbed, but Belair tossed her from the top onto Flair & Lynch, flooring the three of them. Jamie Noble and Shawn Daivari came out and physically restrained the women. Adam Pearce & Sonya Deville then made an appearance and said they’re not standing for this and that the match will start. The four women still went at each other, this time tag partners beating on each other. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: PANEDMONIUM!!!)
(7) BIANCA BELAIR & SASHA BANKS vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) & BECKY LYNCH (c) – Tag team match
They returned and started the match with Flair and Banks starting for their respective teams. Flair hit a go-behind to start, but Banks hit one of her own. Flair fought out with a big elbow. Banks rolled her up to counter a Figure Four, then hit a rana and a wheelbarrow pin for a two-count. She caught Flair’s kick and hit a lifting knee, but Flair countered with a backbreaker/slam combo. She then hit a snapmare and stepped on Banks, but Lynch tagged herself in.
Lynch missed her legdrop as Banks hit a meteora for a two-count. Banks hit an arm wringer and tagged in Belair, who continued the arm wringer. She quickly tagged in Banks as they worked the arm. Banks then forcefully tagged in Belair. Lynch dodged and hit Belair with a strike. She sent Banks to Belair in the corner, who launched Banks over the tope. She hit a vertical and rolled into a delayed vertical suplex, followed by a running hurdler-like frogsplash for a two-count. Belair taunted Lynch, but Banks tagged in and dumped Belair over the top.
She looked for the Bank Statement, but Lynch looked for the Dis-Arm-Her. Banks rolled her close enough for Flair to tag in. The two argued a bit as Flair motioned for her to exit the ring. Banks hit a backstabber, then her and Lynch went at it. Banks looked for a backstabber, but Belair threw her partner off before attacking Lynch. Belair then hit the Glam Slam on her partner into the turnbuckle as Lynch hit the Becksploder to Belair. She went for the Dis-Arm-Her, but Belair lifted her and looked for the K.O.D. Lynch held onto the ropes, allowing Banks to hit a backstabber. Lynch and Banks went at it, with Lynch finally landing the Manhandle Slam as Smith said, “There it is!” The ref called for a DQ after Belair slammed Banks into the corner.
WINNER: Double DQ at 4:35
-Graves then shifted to another recap of the opening segment where the main event tag team was challenged and then made official. They cut to Jimmy in the back on the phone with Reigns. Jey approached and asked what Reigns said, and Jimmy said to take care of business. They said, “The 1’s are on Raw.”
-Doudrop’s music hit to no reaction for her match with Natalya. They cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: If you didn’t already know, the four women really dislike each other. It was just some more beating over the head with how much they dislike each other, as if the promos earlier in the show weren’t enough. They’re really trying to put in some heat to these Crown Jewel matches, but again, many fans view those shows as a waste only put on to please the whims of a rich ruler in a different country, yet to be named of course. The good news is that at least these four women will be on different shows in two weeks…if WWE actually sticks to a brand split.)
-They returned celebrating Stephanie McMahon being inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame.
-Smith shifted to discussing the roster in two weeks, again showing the roster graphic. They shifted to Doudrop who was dancing badly in the ring as they played a pre-recorded promo where she said she stood up to Baszler last week and if she wins tonight, she’s one step closer to showing little boys and girls anyone can be royalty. OK? Natalya made her entrance sans-Tamina.
(8) NATALYA vs. DOUDROP – Queen’s Crown tournament match
Smith said Natalya is motivated by family history. She slapped Doudrop saying this isn’t a joke as her family paved the way for this. Natalya took it to Doudrop in the corner with strikes and body shots. She put in a headlock and threw away Doudrop’s flower, but the latter blocked a takedown attempt. Natalya responded with more slaps after calling her a bitch. Doudrop hit a shoulder tackle and danced, but missed a running senton. Natalya did her stomp/dropkick combo for a two-count.
Natalya then locked in an abdominal stretch as they showed Baszler looking on from the back. Doudrop yelled a lot, but didn’t move for a bit. She finally fought out with strikes, then hit a corner avalanche. Natalya dropped to a seated position, but dodged as Doudrop went for a cannonball. Natalya hit Natty by Nature (discus lariat) for a two-count. She then went for the Sharpshooter, but Doudrop slapped her way out. She then rolled up Natalya for the victory. She preened and taunted Natalya after the match, very face of her. They showed the updated graphic.
WINNER: Doudrop at 3:00 (rollup)
-They cut to the back where John Morrison was meditating as Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley approached, the latter asking what he was doing. He said he was gathering his chi to let out his innermost thoughts to the world (Ripley was standing sideways). They walked away, no clue with what he was talking about.
-The showed Big E warming up backstage as Theory randomly popped up and took a selfie before E could react. They hyped the main event as they cut to break. [c]
(Hazelwood’s Take: Let’s discuss how important this is to Natalya with her family connection then have her unceremoniously lose in the first round. Yup, classic WWE. There is just no oomph to either tourney aside from maybe Woods’ potential victory and a vicious Baszler. Doudrop would be better off without the spirit fingers, and I’m still trying to figure out how her promo makes any sense. They’re two non-related topics that she combined as one.)
-They returned with a replay of Ali & Mansoor’s loss earlier in the night to Alexander & Benjamin, including Ali pushing away Mansoor. They cut to the back where Mansoor was walking when Patrick approached. Ali came up and yelled at him that Mansoor is nothing more than a giant waste of time. He told Mansoor to shut up and really listen. He said he tried to help him survive, but all Mansoor wanted to was make friends and dance and preen. He said he’s Mansoor’s only life saver out here and without him, he won’t survive. He said he should have said this the day they met: he’s worthless, a loser, and nothing. He scoffed at Mansoor and left. Patrick said that must have been hard to hear. Mansoor said he’ll talk to Ali later, but Ali attacked saying Mansoor still doesn’t get it. He beat on him viciously, then berated him more before tossing him into the equipment crates.
-McIntyre’s music hit to a decent pop, impressive as it was his second entrance, for the main event tag team match with E against The Usos/The 1’s. Saxton hyped the Crown Jewel WWE Championship match. E’s music then hit as he entered to a decent pop as well. The Usos music then hit as they made their entrance. They received a hometown pop when Mike Rome announced them as from San Francisco. They cut to break. [c]
(9) BIG E (c) & DREW MCINTYRE vs. THE USOS (c) (Jimmy & Jey) – Tag team match
They returned with E and Jimmy starting the match, E using his power to gain the early advantage hitting short-arm back elbows. McIntyre enthusiastically tagged in, then he & E did their own version of the Unicorn Stampede. The fans didn’t seem to like it very much, though. McIntyre scored a two-count, then shifted to a head and arm lock. Jimmy fought out with a headbutt, then shoved McIntyre into their corner. Jey tagged in and hit a flying punch.
He tried whipping McIntyre across, but McIntyre reversed and kicked him in the gut on his counter chance. McIntyre then hit a snap suplex for a two-count, holding onto the wrist of Jey. He tagged in E, who used the assistance to attack the left arm of Jey. He then locked in an abdominal stretch, the third one I think we’ve seen tonight. Jimmy made a blind tag, then took it to E in the corner. The Usos hit their own version of the Unicorn Stampede, I guess the Usos Stampede? Jimmy became the legal man as they wish boned E, but Jimmy didn’t score a one-count.
He put in a rear chinlock as a big “Let’s go Usos” chant started. Jimmy hit E with several headbutts into their corner, tagging in Jey. Jey stomped on E’s midsection a couple of times before tagging in his brother. Jimmy hit a big body shot for only a one-count before Jimmy hit another rear chinlock. E tried fighting out, hitting a belly-to-belly, but Jey mad a blind tag. E was dumped to the apron, but E sent him outside. He went for the splash on the apron to Jimmy, but Jimmy moved. They then threw him into the steel steps as they cut to break. [c]
Jimmy had E in a rear chinlock as they returned, but E hit a jawbreaker. He caught a kick, but Jimmy hit a whipping kick, then tagged in his brother to hit a double spinebuster for a two-count. Jey argued with the ref a bit, then turned his attention to E, sitting in a neutral corner. He hit the corner hip attack like the late Umaga. They held up their index finger to indicate “The 1s,” but missed another hip attack. E hit a belly-to-belly. McIntyre implored the fans to cheer on E, reaching out for the tag. Both men made the tag, but McIntyre took it to Jimmy and hit an overhead suplex. He then hit another one out of the corner.
Jimmy hit a rollup for a two-count, but McIntyre hit a spinebuster into a jackknife cover for a two-count. McIntrye lifted Jimmy for Future Shock, but Jimmy fought out. Jey tagged in, and they hit stereo superkicks for a two-count near-fall. Jey mounted McIntyre and landed several punches before trying for a Samoan drop. McIntyre elbowed out and hit a neckbreaker, then one to Jimmy. He kipped up and yelled. He went to his corner for the Claymore, but as he counted down, E tagged himself in. He told McIntyre to get out, but turned right into a superkick, then another for a two-count.
McIntyre looked on with a steely glare as Jey climbed to the top. Jey missed the splash and rolled through. E went for the Big Ending, but Jey pushed him into McIntyre, whose leg was being held by Jimmy. McIntyre pulled out E on a pin attempt, with E saying that was an accident. McIntyre punched E, then they fought each other on the outside. The ref counted out E, then The Usos hit synchronized topes to McIntyre & E.
They threw E over the announce table and McIntyre into the barricade. They dumped the announce table, but E hit Jey with a belly-to-belly, then McIntyre hit Jimmy with one. The two then entered the ring and resumed beating on each other. E went for the Big Ending, but McIntyre slipped and hit the Claymore. He let out a primal yell and wiped the blood from his eye. They hyped the title match again. He had a developing hematoma above his right eye.
WINNER: The Usos at 15:12 (count out)
(Hazelwood’s Take: A good tag team match as expected. However, the dissension storyline played in both big tag matches tonight. Why not let the two proverbial faces just work it out and have a respectable if not contentious stare down to end the show? There’s still another show left until the event anyway, so it kind of seems like they’re jumping the shark a bit here. Good to see The Usos get the hometown reaction as well.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was not a good episode of Raw. There were nine matches, and only the opener and main event went beyond five minutes. The two Queen’s Crown matches lasted less than five minutes combined. It is just very difficult to tell believable and coherent stories with so little time. Some of the booking decisions were also questionable, but make sense when looking at the history of WWE’s booking. The roster changes from the draft can’t come soon enough!