The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/31/21 Review

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/31/21 Review

Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal review for this week.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1462 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the WWE ThunderDome at Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. 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.

There was a video package paying tribute to members of the military for Memorial Day in the United States. Well done as usual.

The Raw announce team of Corey Graves, Byron Saxton and newcomer Jimmy Smith was seated at ringside. Smith is the replacement for Adnan Virk, who was let go after last week’s show. They went over the matches for this week including Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston, plus AJ Styles/Omos defending the Raw Tag Team Titles against Elias/Jaxson Ryker. Plus, Shayna Baszler vs. Reginald.

Miz TV with Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley

The Miz and John Morrison were in the ring to host Miz TV. The Miz was in a suit with Morrison wearing a jean jacket and jeans. The Miz went over his credentials as usual. The Miz has missed a few weeks with a knee injury, but I don’t know if he’s had surgery or is about to have surgery. Miz said that Lumberjack Match with Damian Priest, Miz was injured. Miz said that his body gave way for the first time in his illustrious career (his first injury) and Morrison had a garlic chain around his next.  Morrison said he had garlic along with his brand new “Dripstick” that shoots water. Miz said he loves John and John said he loved him too. Miz said he knew he had to get back to Monday Night Raw because they are going back on the road very soon. Miz said he had an epiphany saying he has accomplished so much in his career that he has to give back and support superstars like John Morrison or his guests tonight. Miz introduced “The Queen” Charlotte Flair as the first guest. Charlotte challenges Rhea Ripley at Hell in a Cell on June 20.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance wearing a robe along with her ring gear, so I guess she will be in a match after this talk show segment. Morrison and Miz were impressed by the entrance. Charlotte asked about the garlic, Morrison said he was wearing garlic to prevent them from zombies, mummies or whatever. Charlotte said that she is one title win away from being a 14-time Women’s Champion. Charlotte said that real life is not a fairytale because sometimes dreams turn into nightmares and in three weeks she’ll send Rhea to hell.

Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion. She is already a tall woman and had on some heels that made her look even bigger. Ripley told Charlotte she can go to hell. Miz didn’t want a confrontation so they can chat.

Miz wondered why she is the way she is. Morrison asked her favorite garlic bread recipe to make sure she’s not a vampire. Ripley said she’s not a vampire, she’s a nightmare for the Raw women’s division. Ripley said after she beats Charlotte, she’ll remain the Raw Women’s Champion. Charlotte said that Rhea couldn’t even beat Nikki Cross in under two minutes last week. They replayed Nikki surviving the two minutes.

Charlotte mocked Rhea for the loss and asked what makes Rhea think she can beat Charlotte. That led to Nikki Cross making her entrance in her ring gear.

Nikki Cross said sorry for interrupting the show and she’s a big fan of Miz TV. There are fans of Miz TV? Cross said last week she beat the Raw Women’s Champion and she thinks it was fair to challenge the woman that wins the Raw Women’s Title match at Hell in a Cell. Ripley said if there were four minutes on the clock, Nikki wouldn’t be standing right now. Ripley said Nikki did earn her respect. Nikki talked trash to Charlotte, who said this is ridiculous and Charlotte said she can beat Cross in one minute. Cross slapped Charlotte, who said she’s on and called Cross a troll. That was it. It took about 17 minutes.

Analysis: This went way too long, but when you have a three hour show the talking segments get extended like this. It was nice of Miz to address his injured knee situation, but he didn’t provide much in the way of details. You could tell he was favoring the left knee. Morrison continues to be the goofy sidekick, which I don’t think is the best role for him, but at least he’s having fun with it. Anyway, the trash talk by Ripley and Flair was the usual generic stuff they always say. Cross getting involved was fine to set up a match.

Nikki Cross issues a challenge to Charlotte Flair on “Miz TV”: Raw, May 31, 2021

(Commercial)

The announce team talked about tickets going on sale for live shows beginning in July.

Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki Cross

There was a clock counting down from two minutes just like Ripley vs. Cross last week. Ripley was watching at ringside. Cross left the ring, Charlotte went after her, then Cross went back into the ring and Cross left the ring again. Cross hid beside Ripley, so Charlotte told Ripley this was her fault. Back in the ring, Charlotte hit a knee to the ribs and a clothesline. Cross got in some offense leading to a Tornado DDT out of the corner. Charlotte tried a Figure Four Leglock, but the time ran out, so Cross survived again.

Winner: Nikki Cross beat the clock at 2:00

Analysis: 1/2* A short match to put over Cross as a survivor that found a way to last two minutes. I don’t know why WWE thinks this two-minute idea is interesting because it all feels meaningless to me.

There were replays shown of issues between Randy Orton & Riddle along with The New Day over the last three weeks. Riddle beat Xavier Woods with an RKO in a great match last week on Raw.

Riddle was shown talking backstage with Damian Priest talking about how they are going to have some fun when they are on the road. Riddle asked for some Spanish language tips from Priest, then Riddle wanted to know how to say “Hey Randy” and there was Orton, who was back after being off last week. Orton has a goatee this week. Priest left. Orton said he saw Riddle used the RKO last week. Orton said that Riddle had one hell of a match with Woods, he impressed him and if they are going to be a tag team they have to be on the same page. Orton asked Riddle to watch his match at ringside and learn a thing or two. Riddle said that when he hit the RKO he realized it was all about that high angle velocity. Riddle rambled on, Orton told him to be quiet with the zipper on the mouth, Riddle did that motion too and Orton tossed it away.

Analysis: It was a bit silly at the end there with the zipper, but I enjoy their interactions a lot. The RK-Bro story is definitely one of the better things on Raw these days.

Xavier Woods made his entrance with Kofi Kingston, who wished Woods good luck in the match and Kofi went to the back.

(Commercial)

A video aired about SummerSlam on Saturday, August 21. No location was announced, but the announcement is coming this weekend. They played a Cardi B. song because she is rumored to be the host.

Randy Orton with goatee and his tag team partner Riddle made their entrance for this match that was set up over the weekend. Riddle was very enthusiastic during Orton’s posing during his entrance.

Randy Orton (w/Riddle) vs. Xavier Woods

Woods with an armdrag into an armbar, but then Orton came back to send Woods face first into the top turnbuckle. Woods bailed to the floor, Orton sent Woods into the top of the commentary desk repeatedly and Orton gave Woods the belly to back slam on the table. Orton told Riddle to take notes on what to do. They went to break two minutes into this match.

(Commercial)

The goatee man Orton applied a chinlock. Woods tried to fight back with elbows to the chest, then Woods pulled on the left arm of Orton and Woods hit an enziguri kick to the head. Orton with a knee to the body, then Woods ran the ropes and hit a rolling elbow to knock Orton down. Woods hit a running flatliner for a two count. Good job by Jimmy Smith calling that nearfall. Woods with punches while against the turnbuckle, Orton managed to get an eye poke (the referee wasn’t in a position to see that) and Orton hit a Powerbomb for two. Orton did not do the Powerbomb regularly in his career, but it looked good. Woods avoided the draping DDT and hit a double knee to the arm. Woods pulled on the left arm of Orton in the fujiwara armbar, but Orton got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Orton was back up, kick to the gut and a draping DDT that Orton loved to do. Orton went for a RKO, Woods countered into a backslide pin for two and Woods kicked Orton. Woods off the ropes, Orton caught him and hit the Bro Derek (Riddle’s finisher) for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: *** This was good for the time given. It wasn’t as great as the Riddle/Woods match last week because that match was longer, but I liked the story they told with Orton getting the win using Riddle’s finisher. Woods got plenty of offense in the match, he looked competitive and then Orton managed to get a hold of him for the Bro Derek finisher. I liked how it was booked.

Riddle was very happy about Orton hitting the Bro Derek to win the match. Riddle was so happy he was riding around on his scooter in the ring. Riddle kicked off the flip flops and then Riddle posed in the ring in front of Orton. Randy didn’t do his arm pose, though.

Xavier Woods vs. Randy Orton: Raw, May 31, 2021

Analysis: Riddle’s enthusiasm about Orton being nice to him is so fun to watch. I think the live crowds would love it.

There was a video showing the problems between Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax over the last few weeks with Baszler blaming Reginald for their problems. Two weeks of losses were caused by Alexa Bliss/Lilly causing explosions that scared Reginald.

Shayna Baszler entered for this intergender match against Reginald.

(Commercial)

They showed Bobby Lashley in his executive suite dressing room with five lovely ladies in the room joining him. Lashley had the WWE Title with him while MVP was in the room as well.

Reginald was shown standing backstage talking to Nia Jax. Reginald said he didn’t need Nia’s help tonight. Reginald said he survived against Sasha Banks and Tamina. Reginald told Jax he’ll be fine, he kissed her hand and told her to stay in the back to watch the match.

Shayna Baszler vs. Reginald

Reginald was wrestling in a Jax and Baszler shirt along with some pink shorts. Reginald did a backflip to avoid a kick, but then Baszler hit a shoulder tackle to knock Reggie down. Reggie got a rollup, Baszler kicked out and they ran the ropes. Reginald bounced up after a shoulder tackle and Reginald gave Baszler a body slam. That was a bit of a surprise. Baszler with a kneebar submission that she applied to send Reggie’s leg into the mat. Baszler wrenched on Reggie’s left leg. Baszler stomped on the left foot/ankle of Reggie and Baszler kicked the back of the left leg. Baszler with a submission wrapping her legs around the left leg. Baszler slammed Reginald’s left leg into the mat. Baszler applied the Ankle Lock on the left ankle, Reggie countered by sending Baszler into the turnbuckle. Reggie hit a spinning cross body block. Reggie went up top and got a lot of height on a moonsault, Baszler moved and Reginald was selling the left leg injury. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch, the pyro went off by the ring post and then Reginald rolled on top of Baszler with a rollup where he sat on top for the pinfall win after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Reginald

Analysis: *1/2 These Reginald matches are hard to rate because they have to be a bit different since WWE doesn’t promote man vs. woman matches often. I was a bit surprised that Reginald was able to get some offensive moves like a body slam and a cross body block. It made it better than Reginald’s previous matches, but I wouldn’t say it was great or anything. Baszler has lost three Raw matches in a row due to the explosions, so we should see that story continue with Alexa Bliss/Lilly causing the problems. Yes, Baszler could be booked a lot better. I agree with that.

Baszler complained about what happened while Reginald left up the ramp.

Post match, Reginald was shown behind the curtain where Nia Jax hugged him and said that he did it.

Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kevin Patrick in the locker room. McIntyre said that Kofi Kingston is a great guy that would do anything for his friends and family. Drew said that Kofi is a former World Champion that’s been on top of the world. Drew said he was like Kofi when he put everybody’s wants and needs above his own. Drew said he changed his ways, he made the decision to invest everything into this industry. Drew said one day he’ll have a little Drew that he’ll tell stories about the time when the 6’5” Drew McIntyre slayed Brock Lesnar. Drew said he’ll run through Kofi Kingston, then he’ll beat Bobby Lashley for the WWE Title and Drew said he is more than ready.

Analysis: Good job by Drew. I liked the shot at Kofi about Drew beating Lesnar while Kofi was unable to do that. It wasn’t mean trash talk, but it was a valid point made by Drew.

Still to come: Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston with the winner facing Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell.

The team of Mace & T-Bar made their entrance. They haven’t been on Raw in several weeks.

This Friday on Smackdown: Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio defend the Smackdown Tag Team Titles vs. The Usos for the first time ever. They also wondered where will Jey Uso stand – by brother Jimmy or by cousin Roman Reigns? Find out on Smackdown.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for NXT promoting the big triple threat match between Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne & Kyle O’Reilly. That’s an outstanding match that will take place on Tuesday night. Read the review on TJRWrestling on Wednesday morning.

Mace & T-Bar vs. Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado)

T-Bar with a shoulder tackle on Dorado. Metalik got a tag, then jumped off the shoulder of Dorado and hit a splash on T-Bar. Mace tagged in leading to a kick/clothesline combo. Mace hit an awkward-looking suplex on Metalik followed by an elbow for two. T-Bar tagged in with a running kick to the face. Dorado saved his partner with a dropkick to the back, Mace was sent to the floor, Dorado jumped onto Mace, who hit a spinebuster on the floor. Metalik jumped off the top, but T-Bar hit a boot to the face. Mace & T-Bar hit the High Justice (double Chokeslam) double team move for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Mace & T-Bar

Analysis: * Just a squash match. Lucha House Party are a talented team, but WWE rarely gets behind them. I know T-Bar is a great worker because he had so many awesome matches as Dominik Dijakovic. I’m less convinced about Mace, who looked awkward doing a suplex. This was all about putting over Mace & T-Bar as a dominant heel tag team. I like the High Justice double team move.

Alexa Bliss invited Reginald to be a guest on her Playground.

Sheamus entered as the United States Champion that doesn’t like to put his title on the line.

(Commercial)

Sheamus said he can’t wait until WWE goes back on the road so he can defend the title in every major city. Sheamus mentioned Humberto Carrillo and Ricochet trying to embarrass him. Sheamus said that participation trophies are what they should get since they can’t get the US Title. They showed highlights from last week with Ricochet and Humberto working together to get the advantage over Sheamus.

Sheamus called that “scumbaggery” when two fellas attack one lad. Sheamus said that the open challenge was done because he wants to find somebody to defend the title against, but he won’t face Carrillo and Ricochet 2 on 1. Sheamus said he’s going to take them on back to back. Sheamus said when he’s done with them he’ll send them back to catering and obscurity.

Sheamus vs. Ricochet

This was a non-title match. Ricochet with a kick to the chest, Sheamus with a knee and then Ricochet sent Sheamus over the top to the floor. Sheamus with punches to the ribs. They left the ring with Sheamus delivering a fallaway slam into the barricade. Sheamus up top and he jumped off with a clothesline with Ricochet doing a flip bump. Humberto Carrillo’s music hit, he ran down to ringside, so Sheamus was distracted, Ricochet flipped Sheamus over and got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! of sorts for the pinfall win in just over one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Ricochet

Analysis: 1/2* I like both guys a lot, but I hate the finish. It’s the worst finish in WWE when they do the distraction where the music plays and then the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to end the match. I get that they want to make a big deal out of Ricochet beating Sheamus non-title, but it’s such a lame ending to the match.

(Commercial)

Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo

This was also a non-title match with Sheamus in control early on. Sheamus with a shoulder tackle, knee lift and double axehandle with Carrillo doing a flip bump. Carrillo went to the middle rope, but Sheamus pulled him off. Carrillo hit a neckbreaker using the top rope. Sheamus came back with the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus with a clothesline followed by repeated forearms to the chest. Carrillo fought out of a chinlock with a jawbreaker, then Sheamus missed a corner charge because Carrillo moved. Carrillo with some strikes followed by a lefty kick to the nose. Carrillo hit a dropkick to the shoulder. Sheamus was bleeding from the kick to the face. It was a possible broken nose for Sheamus, who came back with a clothesline that sent Carrillo over the top to the floor. Sheamus kicked Ricochet to knock him down. A replay showed that it might have been a forearm from Carrillo that busted open Sheamus. While Sheamus was trash talking Ricochet, Carrillo hit a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Carrillo jumped off the top with a cross body block, but Sheamus caught him leading to a spinning slam. Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick, then he went after Ricochet and Carrillo did a springboard kick off the ropes. Carrillo did the…you guessed it…ROLLUP OF DEATH~! pin and that was enough to win the match. It went about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Humberto Carrillo

Analysis: ** It was good action for the five minutes they got and Sheamus getting a bloody nose made it look even better even when the blood is accidental like that. It’s just annoying when they go back to the same finish in back to back matches with Sheamus getting distracted by Ricochet, then Carrillo capitalized and the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! won another match. I understand why WWE uses that finish to protect Sheamus by not having him lose to a finisher, but it’s really annoying when you see the same finish in back to back matches.

Carrillo and Ricochet left together looking happy about their victories.

Humberto Carrillo vs. Sheamus: Raw, May 31, 2021

Analysis: I assume we get a triple threat match for the US Title with Sheamus defending against Ricochet and Carrillo. Maybe they will do it at Hell in a Cell, but it could be a Raw match.

There was a video featuring Eva Marie just like every week over the last month. They showed videos of Eva Marie in the ring training for her comeback. Eva Marie spoke about how you have to fight for what you want in life. “This is the Eva-lution.” Eva Marie is coming back soon.

Analysis: My understanding is Eva Marie has been training since last fall at least, so it’s been a while and maybe she’ll be a lot better than she used to be.

Naomi and Lana entered for a match up next.

There was a commercial for the Bret Hart A&E Biography airing on Sunday night. That should be awesome since Bret is one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the Mick Foley episode from this past Sunday as well.

(Commercial)

They showed highlights from last week on Raw when Drew McIntyre had a very good match. It ended in a No Contest when Drew and Kofi were attacked by Bobby Lashley and MVP. That set up the rematch this week.

Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke entered with matching black/gold gear along with some giant sunglasses. The Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya & Tamina were on commentary at ringside.

Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Naomi & Lana

Lana and Brooke started, then Naomi tagged in and hit a leg drop. Lana hit a bulldog on Brooke for two. Brooke countered a Naomi move with a face first slam into the mat. Rose tagged in with a double team flapjack for two. Rose with a waistlock takedown on Naomi. There were forearms from Naomi and then she hit a slam off her shoulders and a kick for two. Naomi tossed Brooke out of the ring and then Naomi hit a spinning dive onto Brooke on the floor. Rose with a knee on Naomi to knock her down. Lana went for a jackknife pin, Rose got out of it and Rose hit a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Brooke jumped off the middle rope for a Samoan Drop/neckbreaker combo and Brooke covered Lana for the pinfall win. It went four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke

Analysis: *1/2 It was a decent tag team match that wasn’t given a lot of time. It’s easy to see that Lana has improved a lot in the ring after training with Natalya and husband TJ Wilson a lot over the last year. Lana does a lot of little things right now whereas in the past she seemed lost sometimes. Naomi is really entertaining to watch and probably one of the most poorly booked people in the company. I like Dana/Mandy as a team, but I think they’d be better as heels rather than faces that show no personality. The double team Samoan Drop/neckbreaker looked pretty good, so it’s nice to see them have a finisher now.

Post match, Rose and Brooke had a staredown with Natalya and Tamina.

Analysis: There was no official announcement of a title match, but it does seem like Rose & Brooke will be the next challengers against Natalya & Tamina in the near future.

They showed clips from last week when Cedric Alexander beat Shelton Benjamin with a thumb to the eye leading to a Neuralizer kick to win.

Shelton Benjamin entered for yet another match against Cedric Alexander.

(Commercial)

They showed a clip from HBO’s “The Shop Uninterrupted” with LeBron James, Jay-Z and others hanging out with Bad Bunny. They showed the clip of Bad Bunny putting over wrestling saying he watched with his dad and his family as a kid. LeBron said he was a big fan too. When Jay-Z said WrestleMania was bigger than the Super Bowl for Bad Bunny, Bad Bunny said yeah and it was the best experience of his life.

Analysis: A lot of WWE superstars had kind words to say over the weekend when this clip was shown all over social media. Bad Bunny deserved that praise because he moved to Orlando for a few months, trained with WWE guys in preparation for that WrestleMania match and he had an impressive performance in his first match ever. Bad Bunny earned that respect as he and Damian Priest beat The Miz and John Morrison. I liked the match a lot too.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Cedric Alexander

Benjamin was going for a Powerbomb like move, Alexander with a thumb to the eye and then Alexander did a Neuralizer kick for the pinfall win after less than one minute.

Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander

Analysis: 1/4* I guess that puts this feud to an end with Alexander cheating to win after the thumb to the eye.

Elias was in the locker room with Jaxson Ryker with Elias talking about their Raw Tag Team Title match. Elias said he thinks they need a game plan against Omos. Elias asked Ryker if he has his back and if he’s ever been in battle. Ryker: “Have you ever been in battle? Because I served in Iraq.” Ryker walked away to end it.

AJ Styles made his entrance with Omos as the Raw Tag Team Champions. Styles lost to Ryker in singles action to set up this title match. Styles and Omos did not have their Raw Tag Team Titles with them.

The Progressive replay showed last week on Raw when Jaxson Ryker beat AJ Styles in singles action. Ryker won after a cheap shot knee by Elias. Omos threw Elias into the LED boards after the match.

(Commercial)

One of the theme songs of Hell in a Cell is “Straight to Hell” by Ozzy Osbourne. It’s also how Toronto Maple Leaf fans like me are feeling after losing a 3-1 series lead to the Montreal Canadiens. Just saying.

Kofi Kingston was interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Kofi said he is pushed by his family and friends. Kofi said he respects what Drew has done in his career, but he didn’t like the cheap shot that Drew said where Drew was able to slay the beast while Kofi was not. Kofi said if you blinked you probably missed it. Kofi said that we shouldn’t forget what happened on Raw two weeks ago when Kofi beat Bobby Lashley while Drew has been unable to do that in the last three months. Kofi said he pinned Lashley on his first true. Kofi said that they’ll leave all it all out there in the ring and when it’s all said and done, he’ll beat Drew tonight. Kofi said then he’s going to go on to Hell in a Cell to beat Bob Lashley to become the two-time WWE Champion.

Analysis: Good interview by Kofi countering some of the points that Drew made earlier in the show. Kofi did beat Lashley, but it was only because Drew hit Lashley with a cane.

Elias and Jaxson Ryker made their entrance. AJ Styles and Omos had to stay in the ring for several minutes there. Even though AJ and Omos did not walk out with the Raw Tag Team Titles, the referee had the titles in his hands.

Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker

The bell rang with Elias hitting Styles in the back. Elias worked over Styles with forearms. Styles came back with punches followed by a snap suplex for two. Elias with a suplex of his own along with a knee drop. Ryker tagged himself in, Styles slid to the floor and tripped up Elias. Styles knocked Ryker out of the ring. Styles hit a running dropkick on both opponents while they were on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Ryker applying a chinlock on Styles. Ryker whipped Styles into the turnbuckle, which led to Ryker applying a chinlock again. Styles came back with a jumping Pele Kick to the had to knock Ryker down. When Ryker tried to tag out, Elias pulled his hand away. Omos tagged in for the first time nearly ten minutes into this match. Ryker was yelling at Elias about what he did. Omos applied the Claw to the head and then tossed Ryker into the turnbuckle. Omos with a running back elbow against the turnbuckle. Elias left up the ramp. Omos whipped Ryker into the turnbuckle leading to Omos hitting a running back elbow. Omos with a short-arm clothesline on Ryker. Styles tagged in and hit the Phenomenal Forearm off the top for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: AJ Styles & Omos

Analysis: *1/2 It followed the same story of most Styles and Omos matches where Styles gets beat up a bit leading to Omos cleaning house. Ryker and Elias splitting up isn’t something I expected, but I guess that’s it for them.

Styles and Omos celebrated with the Raw Tag Team Titles. Elias was still on the ramp looking back at what happened in the ring.

AJ Styles & Omos vs. Elias & Jaxson Ryker – Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Raw, May 31, 2021

Reginald was shown walking backstage with a bandage on his left knee. Nia Jax walked up to Reginald saying he might want to reconsider going on Alexa’s Playground. Reginald wasn’t worried about it. Nia Jax said she’ll go get some champagne ready. Alexa was shown with Lilly getting ready.

(Commercial)

Elias was shown walking backstage with Kevin Patrick asking why he abandoned Jaxson Ryker. Elias said he thought he could mold Ryker into something impressive, but last week Ryker ran away instead of helping Elias. Patrick noted that Ryker won last week. Elias said he respected Ryker as a veteran. Elias said that they are going back on the road soon, millions of people wanted to walk with Elias and he didn’t want to be around Ryker anymore.

Analysis: Based on how this went, it probably means Jaxson Ryker will be a face and maybe WWE will play up the fact that he is a veteran. I don’t think it’s going to be a good feud if they have matches.

Alexa’s Playground

Alexa Bliss was on her playground set with Lilly with Reginald, who said it was okay to call him Reggie. That led to Reggie saying he felt great other than Shayna hurting his knee. Bliss said Lilly had something to say, Reggie didn’t know how to react and Bliss said Lilly wanted to know about Cirque du Soleil.  Baszler showed up, beat up Reginald and tossed him away. Bliss said that Lilly doesn’t like Baszler. Shayna said that Bliss and Lilly are becoming a problem, she said they need to have a chat and she will see them next week. Baszler to Lilly: “You’re just a stupid doll.” Baszler left. Bliss made crazy eyes.

Analysis: I agree about the “stupid doll” comment. Am I supposed to hate Baszler for that comment? I have no interest in this feud, but it continues.

The Viking Raiders were backstage talking to Mansoor about live events being back. They offered some advice to Mansoor with Ivar doing his “raid” yell so Mansoor did it too. The Viking Raiders left. Mustafa Ali told Mansoor to be careful about being friends with them. Ali told Mansoor not to trust the Viking Raiders or anyone. Mansoor asked why should he trust him? Ali said “now you’re getting it” and left.

Drew McIntyre and Kofi Kingston were shown on a split screen ahead of their match up next.

(Commercial)

There was a video promoting NXT with Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano talking about their triple threat match to open NXT on Tuesday this week. The winner challenges for the NXT Title at NXT Takeover In Your House.

Bobby Lashley and MVP were dancing with the girls in their room. Kevin Patrick showed up asking them about the main event. MVP said that KofiMania literally brought him to tears (there is a video of it) and Drew took the long road to become the WWE Champion. Lashley did some basic trash talk saying that neither of them can take the WWE Championship from him. MVP reminded us that they are banned from ringside, so they will have some fun with the girls. Lashley said that there was nothing these guys can do to end the All Mighty Era.

Kofi Kingston made his entrance wearing Power Rangers style gear. Xavier Woods had that kind of gear too. Woods went to the back.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance as the opponent complete with the sword and kilt that were part of the entrance. Good pyro display when Drew got in the ring too.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston

Drew used his power to drive Kofi into the turnbuckle and Kofi got a sunset flip for two. Kofi with a trip into a two count. Drew came back with a chop. Drew picked up Kofi going for a tackle to the floor, but Kofi sent him to the floor. Kofi hit a back first dive onto Drew on the floor. They went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Drew hitting a headbutt. Drew with a delayed vertical suplex. Kofi countered a move, he went for the Guillotine submission, Drew wanted a suplex, Kofi turned it into a rollup for one. Kofi hit some moves to keep Drew down and then Kofi hit a splash off the ropes for two. Kofi with two running forearms on Drew against the turnbuckle. Kofi bounced off the ropes and Drew hit an overhead suplex. Drew hit another overhead belly to belly suplex across the ring. Kofi countered a body slam into an inside cradle for two. Kofi hit the SOS trip for a two count. Drew rolled out of the ring. Kofi jumped off the ring post and then McIntyre caught him. Drew sent Kofi over the barricade. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Drew delivering a hard whip that led to Kofi going back first into the turnbuckle. Drew with a backbreaker. Drew was delivering punches while against the turnbuckle, Kofi broke free and hit a Sunset Bomb of the middle rope. Drew kicked out at two. McIntyre hit a Future Shock DDT in there for a two count. Kofi charged right into a spinebuster by Drew for a two count. Drew was frustrated with Kofi kicking out of those moves. Kofi came back with a superkick with Drew getting his hand up to gently graze it. Kingston went up top, Drew wanted a superplex, but Kofi tripped him. Drew was upside against the turnbuckle, Kofi thought he was in control and did a curl up leading to yet another belly to belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for two because Drew was by the ropes to force a two count. Kofi was whipped into the ropes, Kofi jumped off the top and hit an impressive hurricanrana. While Drew was on the floor, Kofi hit him with a kick to the body and Kofi did a double stomp. Back in the ring, Kofi jumped off the top and McIntyre hit him with the Claymore Kick out of the sky for the pinfall win after about 23 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: ***3/4 A very good babyface match between two veteran wrestlers that know eachother well. I wasn’t surprised by all of the cool counters they did throughout the match and then Drew won with a counter by hitting the Claymore Kick on Kofi, who was jumping off the top rope. Any time you get a main event that’s longer than 20 minutes with wrestlers that are this good, you know it’s going to be an above average match and that’s what we got here. These guys aren’t the type of wrestlers to slap on submissions to try to kill some time or anything like that. It was about hitting big moves, doing some cool counters and then Drew found a way to win when Kofi did that top rope leap right into a Claymore Kick leading to McIntyre’s clean win.

Post match, Drew McIntyre had his hand raised as the winner. Drew will go on to challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell in three weeks. Kofi Kingston shook Drew’s hand and Drew shook it back.

Bobby Lashley appeared on the stage with the WWE Title and McIntyre was on the turnbuckle. Drew made the hand motions for the title, Lashley held up the title and then they had a staredown. That was it for this week’s Raw.

Analysis: The end result of McIntyre facing Lashley was never in doubt. They could have announced it on the Raw after WrestleMania Backlash since Lashley pinned Strowman because we all knew they would go back to Lashley vs. McIntyre for Hell in a Cell. The reason for the runaround and involving Kofi was that they wanted to set up a big main event for this week, which is fine, but it’s not like fans thought Kofi might win here.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston: Raw, May 31, 2021

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Drew McIntyre

2. Kofi Kingston

3. Randy Orton/Xavier Woods

 

The Scoreboard

5.25 out of 10

Last week: 7

2021 Average: 5.86

 

Final Thoughts

It felt like an average episode of Raw where they did a nice job of building up Drew McIntyre and Kofi Kingston as a big match that got over 20 minutes. It was no surprise that Drew won their competitive match. I think we all knew Hell in a Cell was going to be Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre again, so it was just a case of WWE spending a few weeks to make it official.

The storyline with Randy Orton (with goatee) teaming with Riddle remains one of the best parts of the show. Orton beating Xavier Woods with Riddle’s Bro Derek move was a good call after Riddle beat Woods with an RKO last week. The way Riddle reacts to Orton is fun too. I wish other things on the show were as interesting as that, but a lot of things on Raw are just boring or repeats. I have little interest in Shayna Baszler feuding with Alexa Bliss. Are we supposed to care about Elias and Jaxson Ryker splitting up? It doesn’t feel like a big deal to me.

I thought the new Raw announcer Jimmy Smith did well. He is in the play by play role with Graves and Saxton helping with calling moves as well as other things. I think Smith did better than Adnan Virk, that’s for sure.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, June 20. Here’s what we know so far.

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

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

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

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @johnreport

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