RAW is live again tonight. It’s still ridiculous, but we said all that last week. Anyway, the headline of tonight’s preview is Drew McIntyre’s response to Seth Rollins attacking him at the end of last week’s main event. Also on the card for tonight are three Money in the Bank Ladder Match qualifiers – Apollo Crews versus MVP, Aleister Black versus Austin Theory, and Rey Mysterio versus Murphy.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
Aleister Black def. Austin Theory
Shayna Baszler def. Indi Hartwell
Nia Jax def. Kairi Sane
Apollo Crews def. MVP
Liv Morgan def. Ruby Riott
Rey Mysterio def. Murphy
Charlotte Flair def. Kayden Carter
Andrade def. Akira Tozawa
Bianca Belair def. Santana Garrett
Drew McIntyre def. Angel Garza
♦ Drew McIntyre opened the show after a recap of last week’s RAW. He beat Andrade last week and has a match against Angel Garza this week. He said he’s not surprised Seth Rollins laid him out last week. The title means a lot of things to a lot of people, history, prestige, glory, fame, but realistically it puts a huge bullseye on his back. Because whoever holds the title is considered the best in the industry and everybody wants to be in that position. Someone said it’s lonely at the top but that’s a lie, it’s crowded at the top, but that ok. Everyone just wants to be Champion.
He addressed Rollins, as ‘Seth, mate’, and debated whether Rollins deserves an opportunity. He’s thought about it and he could make Rollins jump through hoops, but he’s one of the most decorated superstars of all time and he needs to beat him if he wants to be among the best of all time. So he’s challenging Rollins at Money in the Bank, and he’s putting the title on the line.
He got a camera close so he could ‘talk to Seth directly’, but Angel Garza, Austin Theory, and Zelina Vega interrupted him. Vega said they’re sick of McIntyre’s speeches and he’s so focused on Money in the Bank that he’s looking past Angel Garza. At that point Andrade attacked him. McIntyre put him out with a Claymore. Vega tried to send Garza and Theory to go and get him but they both refused. A second Claymore knocked Andrade out of the ring.
♦ The Money in the Bank Ladder matches will be a bit different this year. They will take place at WWE headquarter, on the ground floor, and the briefcases will be on the roof. They’re calling it Climb the Corporate Ladder and talking about ten floors of chaos.
♦ Zelina Vega joined commentary for Austin Theory vs Aleister Black, the first Money in the Bank Ladder Match qualifier of the night. They spent the early part of the match being told off by Vega. When things started to not go Theory’s way, she left commentary and distracted Black by yelling at him, it worked, Theory pitched him into the barricades going into a break. It was a good match when we came back, with chances on both sides. It’s interesting to see Theory having the chance to establish himself without having to win the live crowd’s approval, but it wasn’t his night. He got pinned off the Black Mass.
Post-match, Byron Saxton asked Black what his plan is for the Money in the Bank Ladder match. He said he’ll turn every floor of the building into his opponent’s own personal hell.
♦ Charly Caruso asked Shayna Baszler if she went too far last week. Baszler said no, she didn’t break any rules she just broke Sarah Logan’s arm.
Shayna Baszler vs Indi Hartwell was brief. Hartwell had one moment where she nearly caught Baszler and rolled her up and Baszler snapped. The match finished the same way as Sarah Logan’s match, with Baszler stamping on Hartwell’s arm.
After the match, Baszler got a ladder, dragged Indi Hartwell out of the ring, flung her in the barricade and a ladder, then put her arm in the ladder and kicked it shut.
♦ Cedric Alexander & Ricochet vs Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink was decent. Ricochet got in a little trouble when Vink cheated and pulled him off the apron, but he and Alexander never looked in any real danger of losing. They finished it with a Recoil into Lumbar Check double team on Thorne.
♦ The Kabuki Warriors had a backstage interview with Charly Caruso. Sane has a rematch against Nia Jax and Caruso asked what will make the result different. Asuka said Kairi is ready for the rematch, but nobody is ready for Asuka.
♦ Bobby Lashley and Lana had a weird segment where Lashley said he was going to flip a big tyre when he got warmed up and Lana was all horny about it. Then they walked away. It was creepy.
♦ Nia Jax vs Kairi Sane wasn’t much longer than the last one. Sane came into it looking like she really might be ready for the rematch, but that didn’t last long at all. Asuka was, once again, shown shouting backstage while Sane got thrown around the ring and bounced off things. Jax hurt her knee and Sane made a comeback, finally getting Jax off her feet. She went for the InSane Elbow but missed and Jax delivered her Annihilator for the win. Nia Jax was limping as she left.
♦ Seth Rollins accepted Drew McIntyre’s challenge, calling him a brave man and a fighting champion. He talked about the things they have in common interspersed with clips of their respective WrestleMania moments. He said he’s accepting the challenge out of duty because now more than ever the WWE Universe needs a leader and that’s where they differ. Rollins is a proven leader and McIntyre is not. He is the one who will sacrifice for the greater good and make difficult decisions. He will be the light in the darkness. At Money in the Bank, he’ll take the title, not because he wants to but because he has to.
♦ There was a Viking Raiders promo/carpool karaoke segment. I can’t explain it, so here you go.
♦ MVP vs Apollo Crews was the second Money in the Bank Ladder Match qualifier. MVP took a few moments to talk about the Money in the Bank briefcase and what it means, compared himself to Rey Mysterio for legend status, and bigged up his opponent and himself. Eventually, Crews’ entrance music shut him up. It was a more competitive match than it probably should have been, given that MVP came out of retirement for it, but Apollo Crews got the win with a powerbomb.
Apollo Crews joins Daniel Bryan and Aleister Black in the ladder match. I’d be ok with him winning it, to be honest.
♦ Charly Caruso interviewed Ruby Riott about the Riott Squad and how they ended up so divided. She said there never really was a Riott Squad. She had to have double shoulder surgery because she spent much time carrying Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. She was the one who made them look good. Now Sarah Logan has a broken arm and Liv Morgan will be lucky if Riott doesn’t break both of them tonight. Morgan is still under the delusion she’s all grown up and independent but Riott is going to show her how lonely and small and weak she is without her.
Ruby Riott vs Liv Morgan was good, if not very long. Ruby Riott might have to rethink her assessment of her ex-teammate because Liv Morgan beat her with a flatliner.
♦ Bobby Lashley did indeed flip a big tyre, then revealed there was an even bigger tyre.
♦ Rey Mysterio vs Murphy was our final Money in the Bank Ladder Match qualifier of the night. Mysterio injured his hand early on and Murphy took advantage, attacking him on the outside when he was trying to deal with it and later stamping on it in the metal plating of the ramp. It was Murphy’s match for a while after that but Mysterio gradually fought back into it although his hand was still bothering him. It was a main event worthy match which ended with Rey Mysterio landing a 619, on his third attempt of the match, and finishing off with a frog splash.
♦ Zelina Vega gave Charly Caruso a really hard time while she was trying to interview her and Angel Garza. She also made veiled threat to take out McIntyre before he gets a chance to defend his title at Money in the Bank. Angel Garza flirted with Caruso.
♦ Charlotte Flair vs Kayden Carter nearly ended immediately with the first move of the match being a big boot from Flair. Happily, it lasted a little longer than that and Carter got a few half chances to pin and to submit Flair. Charlotte Flair powered out of the submission and moments later landed a spear that spelt the beginning of the end. She locked Carter into the figure four and the second she bridged into the Figure Eight, Kayden Carter tapped.
♦ On the third visit to Bobby Lashley, he told us the tyre was 450 pounds and said he didn’t know if he could move it. It took him three attempts, but he did it. Lana fawned over him and he said that’s the sort of power everyone in the locker room should fear.
♦ Andrade vs Akira Tozawa was a fun match. Andrade was still touching his jaw after the two Claymore’s he took earlier, more so after taking a brutal knee to the face from Tozawa. It was all Tozawa in the first half but Andrade got back into it thanks to a Zelina Vega distraction. Andrade failed to deliver a hammerlock DDT because he was posing too much. But he got another opportunity, with Tozawa hanging off the top turnbuckle, and got the win.
♦ The Street Profits came out and danced on the commentary desk so Montez Ford could introduce Bianca Belair, then they joined commentary for Bianca Belair vs Santana Garrett. Bit of a weird one, bring Belair to RAW and put her in an NXT match, but it was good and made all the better by Belair’s enthusiastic cheerleaders. They had plenty to cheer about. Bianca Belair didn’t have it all her own way, but she took Garrett apart and finished it with a K.O.D. I’m so glad she’s hanging out with them because they’re just lovely together.
♦ Angel Garza was accompanied by Zelina Vega, Austin Theory, and Andrade for Angel Garza vs Drew McIntyre. It became evident almost immediately that he was going to need their help. They tried. Andrade tried to shove McIntyre into the post, Garza tried to surprise him while he was dealing with Andrade, and Theory tried to attack him from behind. McIntyre resisted the first few attempts, but got caught by a dropkick from Garza and run into the ring post a couple of times. Garza maintained the advantage for a little while, trying to take out McIntyre’s knee to prevent the Claymore. McIntyre went for the Claymore anyway and ripped off Garza’s stripper pants while trying to stop him escaping. When he escaped the ring anyway, McIntyre dived over the top rope and took out all three men. He took care of Theory and Andrade on the outside then got back in the ring and finished Garza with a Claymore.
After his celebrations, including a quick chat with Byron Saxton, McIntyre got back into the ring and Claymored Garza and Theory.
Honestly, a pretty decent episode of RAW, but they still shouldn’t be running live. The talk about Sarah Logan was interesting. She was released by WWE last week, but they’ve written her out in the storyline as injured. Hopefully, that means she’ll be back soon.