Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 07/19/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week. This week’s Raw follows the Money in the Bank pay-per-view from Sunday night, which I thought was a great show, the best WWE PPV of the year and you can read my MITB review right here in case you missed it. There’s a lot of excitement coming out of Money in the Bank because the fans were back, they made a lot of noise and it was genuinely a good show.

The big news on the Raw brand is that Charlotte Flair became Raw Women’s Champion while Nikki A.S.H. (Cross) won the Women’s Money in the Bank contract that will give her the chance to cash in on any champion whenever she wants. We also know that John Cena is going to kick off the show after he made his return at Money in the Bank. Cena is expected to face Smackdown’s Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, but that not official yet, so it is smart for WWE to advertise him for Raw tonight. This is the first Raw with fans in attendance since March 2020. The Dallas crowd is usually very loud, so I expect them to have a lot of enthusiasm just like Houston did for Smackdown and Fort Worth did for Money in the Bank.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1469 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past (including my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order) and present. Let’s roll.

The show began with a shot of American Airlines Center in Dallas and then John Cena’s music hit. Huge ovation for the WWE legend that made his return to WWE at Money in the Bank on Sunday night. Cena was really happy about being there. Cena was in the green/yellow/white shirt he had on at MITB and wearing the jorts and sneakers that he did throughout his career.

Let’s Hear from John Cena

Cena pointed out a fan in the crowd that turned 11 years old with a sign saying they were there to see Cena. John: “Damn, I missed you and I missed this.” Cena pointed out that they are all loud and they are all here. Cena said that he thinks the biggest superstar in WWE is the WWE Universe and everybody there knows it is true. Cena said tonight is deafening loud, tonight is electric and tonight is Monday Night Raw…from Dallas, Texas. Cheap pop. The crowd was loud.

Cena said that Dallas proved how loud they can get. Cena said that he will probably wear the Peacemaker outfit at the Suicide Squad premiere and he explained why he showed up at Money in the Bank. Cena said he ruined the championship celebration of Roman Reigns. Cena said that the reason he is back is because of the fans. Cena said that finally they can come back together and make some noise with people that love this. Cena: “Who brought me back? It was you.” Cena said it was also Roman Reigns.

Cena said he is here for the Universal Championship in about five weeks at a little event called SummerSlam at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Cena said that he can tell you about the pageantry of SummerSlam, about being in the main event of a packed stadium, a record-breaking 17th win, but it’s not because of any of that. Cena stared into the camera to say: “It’s because Roman Reigns is an asshole.” It got muted here. That led to a light “Asshole” chant. Cena said that he believes Reigns needs to be knocked down a peg. Cena said that Reigns is an arrogant, self-absorbed gimmick who is not as “over” as he says he is. Cena said that he is coming for Roman. Cena said that there’s a saying that if you are good then you will tell everybody. Cena said that when you’re great they will tell you. Cena said that he’ll be at Smackdown on Friday. Cena said it’s time for business.

Analysis: I thought the promo was great. It’s just a reminder of how talented Cena is in case you forgot. Cena did a nice job of being serious when needed, playing to the crowd and having fun. Cena let it be known he’s going to be on Smackdown too and called out Roman Reigns. It builds up anticipation for Smackdown now, so it was smart for Cena to mention that. The crowd was into all of this and Cena did a nice job of making them a part of his return as well.

Riddle made his entrance on his scooter and kick off the flip flops in the ring while Cena was in the ring. Cena said he finally gets it. They said “Bro” to eachother, so then the crowd chanted along with them. Then they both said “broooo” together and held it. Cena left while Riddle stayed in the ring for tag team action.

Analysis: That was nice with Cena showing that he likes Riddle, which helps Riddle with the fans. Maybe a bit too much at the end there, but it was all in good fun so that’s cool with me, bro.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam on August 21.

(Commercial)

Coming up later on Raw is Bobby Lashley’s Open Challenge and Charlotte Flair has a Raw Women’s Championship coronation. The Raw announce team was Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton as usual.

John Morrison has a shirt that says “America’s Moist Wanted” now and he insisted on being introduced as that. The Miz was spraying some “drip stick” water on the announcers.

AJ Styles, Omos & John Morrison (w/The Miz) vs. Riddle, Erik & Ivar

Riddle and Morrison did a nice exchange of moves leading to Riddle hitting an overhead suplex. Ivar tagged in and threw Morrison into a knee strike from Erik, who slaps the leg very hard. Ivar with a body slam on Morrison and Erik slammed Ivar on Morrison for two. The Viking Raiders were sent to the floor, then they caught Morrison and splashed him together. Styles ran the ropes and Omos tossed Styles over the top onto the four guys on the floor.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Omos stomping on Riddle to keep the shoeless bro down followed by Omos hitting a running splash against the turnbuckle. Styles and Morrison each worked over Riddle a bit with Miz doing his best to get some attention at ringside. Riddle with a knee on Morrison, then Styles tagged in and Riddle broke free with Erik getting the tag. Styles with strikes, Erik blocked and hit a forearm. Erik hit a running knee attack that Styles sold really well. Erik with a knee and then Styles came back with a Pele Kick. Ivar tagged in against Morrison, which led to a kick to the gut by Morrison and Ivar did a cartwheel into a clothesline. Ivar hit a corner splash on Morrison. Ivar went up top, he jumped off with a moonsault and Morrison moved to avoid it. Morrison with a knee to the face. Morrison went for Starship Pain, but then Ivar moved. Riddle grabbed the Drip Stick and sprayed Omos with it. Omos thought it was Miz that did it, so Omos slowly walked after Miz and Morrison paid the price because Omos tossed Morrison into the ring. Styles was in the aisle with Omos. Erik got the tag leading to the Viking Experience double team move for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Riddle, Erik & Ivar

Analysis: *** It was a good six-man tag team match with a lot of action and the faces getting the win to make the fans happy. Omos and Styles don’t lose very often, but doing it in a six-man tag team match like this is a creative way to do it. I don’t think it hurt Omos and Styles too much although it sucked for Morrison, who has lost three straight matches if you count the Ricochet match last week, the ladder match on Sunday and this match. Viking Raiders get a win back after losing the title match on Sunday.

They showed the eyes of Jaxson Ryker along with clips of Ryker beating Elias in a Strap Match recently. He is facing Elias again this week. Ryker: “Wait until you see what I do to Elias tonight.” That was it.

(Commercial)

Elias did a pre-match song in the ring. The fans chanted along when they were supposed to just like in years past. Ryker did a promo from behind the curtain about how he was going to shut up Elias.

Symphony of Destruction Match: Elias vs. Jaxson Ryker

There were musical instruments around the ring that were legal in this match as weapons. It has Falls Count Anywhere rules.

Elias with a kick and then he tossed Ryker over the top to the floor. Ryker hit Elias with a keyboard to the ribs and back leading to a two count on the floor. Elias hit Ryker with a cymbal – the metal part. Ryker sent Elias into a drum set. Ryker went for a guitar shot off the apron, but Elias hit a flying knee to knock him down for a two count. Elias with the keyboard to the back. Elias charged, Ryker moved and sent Elias into a gong symbol. Ryker hit Elias in the back with a guitar. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with both guys on the apron, then they went into the ring and Elias hit a back elbow to knock Ryker down. Elias sent Ryker out of the ring near where the weapons were. Ryker got a hold of Elias and sent him into the ring post. Ryker got another guitar leading to some shots to the ribs. Ryker slammed a drum onto the back of Elias. Elias sent Ryker into the top of a piano. Elias charged and Ryker slammed Elias onto the top of the piano for a two count. They were standing on the piano as they exchanged strikes. Elias picked up Ryker and Ryker shoved him down, but then Elias tripped up Ryker on the top of the pian for a two count. Elias tossed Ryker into the stairs with Ryker taking the bump over the stairs. Elias grabbed a cello (I was informed it’s a bass, but they called it a cello) from ringside and Elias hit Ryker in the back two times. The second time broke the bass. Elias pinned Ryker on the floor for just a two count. Elias worked over Ryker with forearms. They went back in the ring, Elias went to the turnbuckle and Ryker met him there. Elias was bleeding from his forehead. Ryker picked up Elias and gave him a superplex off the top through two covered tables on the floor. Ryker pinned Elias with his arm over the chest for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jaxson Ryker

Analysis: **3/4 It was okay, but I don’t think the crowd cared that much about it until the table spot at the end of the match. I have a hard time buying Ryker as a babyface since he really doesn’t stand out as a personality. Some of the weapon shots did earn a reaction, but it really wasn’t that interesting to me. The attack with the bass was more comical than anything else. Anyway, this was probably the feud ender although I thought that about the strap match.

There was a backstage scene with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville in their office. Mansoor was talking to them, so Mustafa Ali showed up and they were informed that Mansoor will team with Ali next week. Ali didn’t like it at first, but then he agreed with it. Sheamus showed up with the US title while Mansoor and Ali left. Sheamus was wearing a black mask on his face and complained about facing Humberto Carrillo again after beating him last week. They mentioned that Sheamus attacked Carrillo before the match, so now Carrillo has another chance in a non-title match to earn a title match.

Analysis: I like Mansoor and Ali as a team although right now Mansoor is a face while Ali is a heel, so I’m not sure if it’s going to work. Sheamus against Carrillo is repetitive, but we know WWE loves rematches too much.

Charlotte Flair is up next.

(Commercial)

Charlotte Flair made her entrance in non-wrestling attire looking good with the Raw Women’s Championship around her waist. There was a good reaction for her with a mix of cheers and boos. I think that’s what you call a reaction for a big star.

Charlotte Flair’s Championship Coronation

There was a red carpet in the ring for this celebration. Charlotte said that this feels good. Charlotte said she feels so proud standing there as your Queen and new Raw Women’s Champion. Charlotte said that the last year and a half hasn’t been kind to us, but she is the opportunity. Charlotte said that she is the opportunity that all of us have been begging for. Charlotte said that Rhea Ripley is an opportunist and Charlotte said she didn’t have to take a page from anybody’s book because she created the book. Charlotte said that Ripley can do Charlotte’s moves, but she can’t match the original. Charlotte said you should look up the #CharlotteFlair and the fans chanted “Becky” with Charlotte saying that Becky is breastfeeding while Charlotte is dominating the women’s division. Charlotte said that she got an outpouring of support after winning the Raw Women’s Title at Money in the Bank. Charlotte said that she is the 1-time Divas Champion, 5-time Smackdown Women’s and now the 5-time Raw Women’s Champion and that makes her the only 11-time Women’s Champion in the history of WWE. (So now they aren’t counting her NXT titles). Charlotte Flair said that she can beat Rhea Ripley any night of the week and here comes Ripley.

Analysis: Good job by Charlotte with the impromptu line reacting to the Becky chants. Well done.

Rhea Ripley was also in street clothes looking angry about not having the title anymore. Charlotte laughed at her: “I have your title.” The fans chanted “Rhea” a bit. Ripley said that if Charlotte thinks she can beat her any night of the week then why not tonight? Charlotte said that if Rhea is in no condition after the damage that Ripley suffered to her knee injury. Charlotte said that as much as she would like to finish the job, she will decline.

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville appeared on the stage. Deville congratulated Charlotte on becoming an 11-time Women’s Champion and said it was an incredible accomplishment. Deville said that Charlotte said she can beat Rhea any night of the week. Pearce said that if Rhea is up for the challenge then Charlotte should be too, so allow Pearce to make it official. Pearce informed them that there will be a rematch for the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte kicked a shoe at Ripley and then Charlotte kicked Ripley in the left knee.

Analysis: I really don’t need to see the match again even though they did well at Money in the Bank. It’s just tiring to see the same matches all the time especially on Raw. Charlotte did a nice job with her heel promo. When Charlotte left the ring, you could see Michelle McCool in the crowd. She lives in Texas with her husband The Undertaker.

By the way, Becky Lynch responded to Charlotte’s comment.

Well said. Come back to WWE TV soon, Becky.

They showed highlights of Nikki A.S.H. winning the Money in the Bank Contract Ladder match.

Alexa Bliss was on her playground teasing her appearance later.

Natalya and Tamina entered for their match against Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax.

(Commercial)

Natalya & Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (w/Reginald)

I missed the first minute here. Jax gave Tamina a Samoan Drop into the barricade at ringside. Jax held Natalya and then Baszler hit a running knee to the face. Baszler stomped on Natalya’s left elbow like Shayna loves to do. Jax tagged in, she charged, Natalya moved and Natalya hit a discus clothesline for a two count with Jax doing a power kickout. Jax with a headbutt on Natalya. Tamina was back up as Natalya hit a German Suplex on Baszler and Tamina hit a superkick on Jax after Jax tried to help Baszler. Tamina with a back elbow on Baszler and a body slam. Tamina went up top, Reginald was on the apron, Baszler kicked Tamina to knock her off the top rope and Natalya went after Reginald, so Baszler kicked Natalya to knock her down. Baszler was also distracted by Reginald trying to get involved, so she yelled at him. Baszler turned around and Tamina hit a superkick on Baszler for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Natalya & Tamina

Analysis: *3/4 It’s nice to see the champions win a non-title match after losing twice on Smackdown in back-to-back weeks. It seems like Baszler is the one taking the pin in every tag team match that this team has, so it sucks for Baszler.

Following the match, Baszler was mad about Reginald costing the team the win. Jax hugged Reginald to show sympathy to him and then Jax headbutted Reginald to knock him down. Jax left with Baszler, so I guess Jax dumped Reginald.

Analysis: I think this act had run its course anyway. I don’t think anybody is going to be sad about this trio ending while Jax & Baszler likely will remain a team.

Akira Tozawa ran into the ring with the 24/7 Title after some midcard wrestlers fell down chasing him. Reginald hit a spinning cross body block and then a running somersault on Tozawa for the pinfall win.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW 24/7 Champion: Reginald

Reginald ran away from the midcard wrestlers and jumped over Drew Gulak to leave with the title. Reginald did backflips on the ramp while wearing the 24/7 Title.

Analysis: Those were some good moves. Reginald is a former Cirque du Soleil performer that is a spectacular athlete, so I guess WWE wants to see what they can get out of him as the 24/7 Champion.

They showed a clip from last week on Raw when Sheamus beat Humberto Carrillo. Sheamus attacked Carrillo before the match as well. After the match, Damian Priest saved Carrillo to set up a likely feud between Priest and Sheamus.

Sheamus, the United States Champion, entered with a graphic that said “Fight Night” with an animated graphic. They called the next match a Championship Contenders Match.

This Tuesday on NXT: Karrion Kross will be there as a follow up to his attack on Samoa Joe last week and Raquel Gonzalez defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Xia Li. Check out my review on TJRWrestling on Wednesday morning.

(Commercial)

There was a video saying that the reigning NXT Champion Karrion Kross makes his Monday Night Raw tonight.

Analysis: It is not that surprising since WWE has had Kross doing tryouts recently.

Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo

This is a non-title match, but if Carrillo wins then he gets another US Title match.

Carrillo was aggressive early as he knocked Sheamus out of the ring and jumped over the top onto Sheamus on the floor. Sheamus worked over Carrillo with kicks, then Carrillo drove Sheamus’ neck into the top rope and Carrillo worked over Sheamus with kicks. Damian Priest was shown watching on a TV backstage. Carrillo tried to take the face-covering off, Sheamus with back elbows to break free and Sheamus punched Carrillo to stop an attack. Sheamus got a hold of Carrillo and slammed him back first into the apron like a Powerbomb. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Sheamus in full control with the backbreaker. Sheamus pulled on the mouth of Carrillo for the “Dublin Smile” that Sheamus likes to do. Sheamus delivered forearms to the chest of Carrillo and the fans booed as Sheamus posed in the ring. This time, Carrillo bit the fingers of Sheamus and Carrillo came back with kicks to the leg. Carrillo with a spinning kick to the head. Sheamus with boots to the chest to stop a charging Carrillo. Sheamus sat on the top rope, Carrillo with a jumping kick and a hurricanrana off the top. Carrillo with a dropkick to the floor followed by a suicide dive that sent Sheamus onto the announce table. Back in the ring, Carrillo went up top and hit a missile dropkick for two. Carrillo punched the facemask, he hurt his hand after that, Sheamus with a headbutt and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sheamus

Analysis: *** A good, competitive match with Carrillo getting more offense than I expected from him, but the result was obvious with Sheamus picking up the clean win. It was an interesting spot for the finish with Carrillo hurting himself when he hit the mask, then Sheamus hit a headbutt because the mask is a weapon (they tried to tell us that it’s metal) and the Brogue Kick finished it. Sheamus is probably done with Carrillo now while Damian Priest is the likely next challenger.

They showed some highlights of Bobby Lashley destroying Kofi Kingston to retain the WWE Title at Money in the Bank on Sunday.

The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP by his side. Lashley will have an open challenge after a break.

This Friday on Smackdown, John Cena and Roman Reigns will be there in Cleveland. Also, Bianca Belair defends the Smackdown Women’s Title against Carmella at Rolling Loud in Miami.

(Commercial)

Bobby Lashley was in the ring with a microphone with MVP standing by in a suit. Lashley said that last night he did all the talking that he needs to do in this ring when he destroyed Kofi Kingston. Lashley said no more talking and told MVP to tell them what’s up. MVP said that you are so lucky to be there live and witness the All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. MVP said that this is Dallas, home of the Cowboys and said that the fans cheered for Lashley since it’s been decades since they have seen a champion. MVP said that Lashley made a statement at the expense of Kofi Kingston.

MVP said that Kofi said disrespectful things to Lashley while summarizing things and said that Kofi said that Lashley had gone soft. MVP said he admits to us reluctantly that Kofi was right and that the champ had lost his edge. MVP said that the women and the good life was a distraction, so he apologized to the champ. MVP said that Kofi’s words lit an inferno in the heart of the champion. MVP said that going forward, any man that faces this man faces annihilation and decimation. MVP said that the window of opportunity when Lashley had some vulnerability is closed forever. MVP said that no one will take this championship from Lashley. MVP said no more women, no more champagne, no more fun & games and no more bullshit (that was muted). MVP did more hype talk speaking about how great Lashley is. Lashley wondered who is it going to be to accept the open challenge?

It’s Keith Lee! Welcome back to Keith Lee accepting the open challenge of Bobby Lashley! Nice. Keith Lee is a Texan that got a good ovation from the crowd that was basking in his glory. Lee looked ready to go for his first match in several months.

Analysis: I’m glad to see Keith Lee back in action. I don’t know why he was gone for as long as he was and he kept it private, but I am glad that he is ready to go in the ring again. The promos from Lashley and MVP were the usual speeches they usually give. The match between Lashley and Kofi was done to re-establish Lashley as a dominant heel champion, so it worked in that regard.

(Commercial)

Later on Raw is Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley in a Women’s Championship Rematch.

Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Keith Lee

This is a Championship Contender’s Match meaning Lee gets a WWE Title shot if he wins. It was noted by Graves that Lee hasn’t competed in the ring since January.

Lashley took control early with punches to the head, but then Lee powered Lashley into the turnbuckle two times. Lee charged, Lashley with a back elbow, Lashley ran the ropes, Lee with a leapfrog and Lee hit a cross body block. Lashley with forearms, Lee lifted up Lashley, but Lashley fought out of it and Lashley hit a flatliner into the mat. Lashley choked Lee across the middle rope. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle to the ribs and a clothesline over the top to the floor. Lashley lifted up Lee, but then he stumbled a bit, so Lee shoved Lashley into the ring post. Lee splashed Lashley against the ring post. MVP distracted Lee, so Lashley knocked Lee off the apron to the floor. Lashley left the ring and hit a running Spear on Lee on the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley worked over Lee with punches. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock submission, but Lee powered out of it and did a hiptoss takedown. Lashley was back in control with a huge spinebuster. Lashley hit a running Spear on Lee for the pinfall win after about six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: ** It was another dominant win for Bobby Lashley. I would have loved to see Lee getting a win in his return match, but being in the ring with the WWE Champion is still a good thing. They can get Keith going on the right path with a win next week.

Lashley celebrated the win and then some familiar music played once again. It was the music of WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg, who was greeted by “Goldberg” chants by the crowd.

Goldberg made his entrance through the pyro on the stage and he got in the ring with Lashley and MVP. The fans popped loudly for Goldberg. Goldberg got in Lashley’s face and yelled: “I’m next!” MVP held Lashley back while Lashley locked eyes with Goldberg. MVP kept Lashley back and that was the end of that segment.

Analysis: I don’t really care for Goldberg in 2021, but the routine is the same as when Goldberg lost to guys like Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre in his last two matches. Yes, I know Goldberg beat The Fiend to be Universal Champion too, but I don’t see that happening. I think Goldberg is here to put over Lashley in a match that will go five minutes or less.

(Commercial)

Bobby Lashley and MVP were shown walking backstage with MVP saying it was business. Kevin Patrick showed up asking for some comments. MVP said that they won’t even dignify what Goldberg did with a response.

Let’s Hear from Jinder Mahal

Jinder Mahal was in the ring with Veer and Shanky. Jinder let us know it was his birthday. Jinder also reminded us that Drew McIntyre is not Mr. Money in the Bank. They showed highlights of the feud over the last few weeks. They showed Mahal and friends costing McIntyre in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match on Sunday.

Jinder reminded us that Drew can’t get a WWE Title shot as long as Bobby Lashley is the WWE Champion. Jinder got some heat from the crowd by telling us that Shanky was going to sing “Happy Birthday” and Shanky started singing, but then Drew McIntyre showed up with a steel chair. McIntyre hit Mahal in the back with a chair and Drew hit Veer with a chair as well. McIntyre knocked Shanky down easily and McIntyre hit Shanky with repeated chair shots to the back. The fans popped for that. Mahal and Veer left up the aisle. The fans chanted “one more time” so grabbed another chair and Drew hit Shanky in the back again. The fans chanted along as McIntyre hit Shanky in the back with a steel chair 20 times. The camera cuts were really annoying there. Drew’s music aired to put an end to that.

Analysis: It was some payback for Drew McIntyre after Mahal and friends cost him the Money in the Bank Ladder Match on Sunday. We should expect to see McIntyre vs. Mahal at SummerSlam.

There was a video about NXT Champion Karrion Kross letting us know that in the end, everybody pays the toll. Kross said: “Doomsday is coming and God help the obstacles that will be in his path.” It ended with Kross saying his famous phrase: “Tick tock.”

Karrion Kross made his entrance alone with the NXT Championship around his waist. I think it’s a mistake to not have Scarlett (who is his girlfriend) with him. Kross posed in the ring and he’s up against Jeff Hardy up next.

(Commercial)

Jeff Hardy made his entrance with face paint on his face. Jeff’s famous and popular theme song “No More Words” was back for him. Jeff talked about wanting to bring that song back in the past, so I’m glad it’s there. The fans reacted strongly to Jeff.

Karrion Kross vs. Jeff Hardy

Kross rocked Jeff with a forearm and some kicks. Kross with an overhead suplex and two more suplexes across the ring. Kross charged, Jeff moved and Kross was sent into the ring post. Jeff hit the Twist of Fate neckbreaker. Jeff went up top, he jumped off with a Swanton Bomb, Kross moved and Kross charged, but Jeff did a waistlock. Jeff managed to trip up Kross by the turnbuckle with a slam and Jeff covered Kross with his feet on the ropes for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jeff Hardy

Analysis: *1/2 That’s a result I didn’t expect. As soon as Kross made his entrance, I figured he would look strong and get a convincing win. I like Jeff Hardy a lot, though, so seeing him get a win is cool with me. Making the NXT Champion look weak like that is bad for the NXT brand, though. I don’t really understand the decision although it was a cheap win for Hardy.

Karrion Kross was interviewed in the ring by Kevin Patrick. Kross said that Jeff Hardy just made the biggest mistake of his life. Kross said in the end, everyone will fall and pray. Kross grabbed the NXT Title from ringside and left.

Analysis: The promo was strong, but Kross losing such a short match was bad for him.

Alexa Bliss’s Playground

Alexa Bliss said her guest on the playground this week was her friend Lilly fresh out of a timeout. Bliss said that Lilly will be on her best behavior. Eva Marie and Doudrop showed up on the interview set. Eva complained about Alexa treating her like an afterthought. Bliss laughed about the “Doudrop” name again. Bliss faked enthusiasm about Eva being there. Bliss said it’s a bad idea to say something bad about Lilly and Eva said maybe she’ll have Doudrop toss Lilly in the trash. Bliss said that she hopes that Eva doesn’t do that. Bliss said that maybe Doudrop should go in timeout. Eva Marie didn’t want to waste any more of her time with Alexa and said that there is no room in the Eva-Lution for this. When Eva tried to leave, she tripped in a bad acting moment. Eva got up and left with Doudrop. Bliss laughed about it.

Analysis: This was boring to me. I have no interest in this as a rivalry with Eva Marie’s bad acting skills on display. Bliss is good in her role. I just don’t care much about this story.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw: AJ Styles & Omos defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against The Viking Raiders just like they did at Money in the Bank. There’s another example of WWE loving rematches.

It was main event time with Rhea Ripley making her entrance as the former Raw Women’s Champion. Charlotte Flair made her entrance wearing one of her robes and she looked very happy to be the Raw Women’s Champion again. Ring announcer Mike Rome did the championship introductions. That match is next.

(Commercial)

Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley

There were about 14 minutes left in the show as the match began. Ripley was aggressive with a corner splash and shoulder tackles. Ripley wasn’t selling the left leg injury yet. Ripley with a corner whip, Charlotte flipped over to land on her feet on the apron and Charlotte hit a shoulder tackle. Charlotte with an armdrag, Ripley broke free and hit a dropkick. Ripley with knee strikes, Charlotte with a punch followed by a whip into the turnbuckle. Charlotte sent Ripley into the turnbuckle and then Ripley came back with an inside cradle for two. Ripley hit a German Suplex followed by a running dropkick for two. Charlotte with a clothesline that sent Ripley out of the ring and then Charlotte kicked the left leg. With Ripley on the floor, Charlotte ran at her and Charlotte did a chop block to the back of the left knee. The referee checked on Ripley as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

There were about six minutes left as Charlotte continued working on the left knee with a knee drop to the back of the leg. Charlotte stretched Ripley’s left leg across the bottom rope. Ripley kicked Charlotte into the turnbuckle and then Ripley hit another German Suplex. Charlotte and Ripley got into a slugfest, Ripley with multiple clotheslines, a kick and a Northern Light’s Suplex for two with Ripley selling the injury during the pin attempt. Charlotte with a backbreaker followed by a boot to the face. Charlotte went up top slowly, she jumped off with a moonsault and Ripley got the knees up. Ripley applied the Figure Four Leglock in the middle of the ring, but then Charlotte countered to reverse the pressure, so Ripley got to the rope to break. Charlotte with chops, Ripley came back with a side kick and Ripley hit a Riptide slam near the ropes. Charlotte’s foot was on the bottom rope, so it was only a two count. It was obvious that was coming based on how close they were when Ripley hit the move. The camera was on Ripley, Charlotte grabbed her title from ringside and left up the aisle. Ripley ran at Charlotte, so Charlotte hit her with the title for the blatant disqualification. It went about 12 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Rhea Ripley (Charlotte Flair remains the Raw Women’s Champion)

Analysis: **3/4 This was just a solid match between them rather than the great match they had at Money in the Bank. Charlotte did a good job of going after the left knee throughout the match and then Ripley did a nice job of making the comebacks. It’s a lame ending, but then they made up for it after the match.

After the match, Ripley tried an attack and Charlotte went to the floor. Charlotte drove Ripley back first into the barricade. Ripley sent Charlotte into the ring post. Ripley hit the Riptide slam on Charlotte on the floor. Ripley rolled Charlotte back into the ring as the music of Nikki A.S.H. played.

Nikki A.S.H. ran down to ringside and cashed in the Money in the Bank contract. They were really moving fast to try to get this in before the show ended.

Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki A.S.H.

Nikki went up top, Charlotte stood up and Nikki hit the cross body block on Charlotte for the one…two…and three. Just like that, Nikki A.S.H. is the new Raw Women’s Champion. It went about twelve seconds.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Nikki A.S.H.

Analysis: I can’t really rate it. This was more of a moment for Nikki A.S.H. becoming a Women’s Champion for the first time in her career.

After the victory, Nikki jumped into the crowd near Sign Guy and other fans. Nikki’s celebration lasted briefly since it was 11pm ET and that’s the end of the show.

Analysis: Good for Nikki. I didn’t expect the cash in to happen on this Raw, but it’s a way to create a special moment to end the show. Charlotte has lost a title to Money in the Bank winners in the past, so that’s nothing new for her.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. John Cena
  2. Nikki A.S.H.
  3. Bobby Lashley

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 7

2021 Average: 5.95

 

Final Thoughts

This was a mixed bag edition of Raw. While it was nice to see John Cena back doing a fired-up promo to begin, it wasn’t a great show by any means. There are still too many rematches. Anyway, I guess the big moment was at the end of the night when Nikki A.S.H. (Cross) cashed in Money in the Bank on Charlotte Flair to become the new Raw Women’s Champion. I didn’t really expect it, but it was a way to end Raw on a high note and make the fans happy since Nikki is popular.

It was great to see Keith Lee back in action after missing about six months. It sucks that he lost to Bobby Lashley, but I guess if you’re going to lose to anybody then it might as well be the dominant WWE Champion. With that said, it would have helped Lee if he beat somebody in his return match.

The most peculiar booking decision was Karrion Kross losing to Jeff Hardy in under three minutes. It was a surprising result with Hardy tripping up Kross and Jeff putting his feet on the middle rope during the pin. That protects Kross since it wasn’t clean, but I find it strange that Kross would lose clean like that. That really makes NXT look bad since Kross is the champion that is booked strongly, so I don’t get why they did it. At least Jeff Hardy got a nice win and the return of his “No More Words” theme song as well.

The crowd in Dallas had a lot of energy and did a nice job. I just think Raw booking is strange at times, so that didn’t really change from a usual Raw in 2021.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Money on the Bank on Saturday, August 21. Here’s the lineup so far.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. John Cena

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You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

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Twitter: @johnreport

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