After Riddle beat Xavier Woods with an RKO last week, Randy Orton will find out if he can do the same tonight. Woods’ New Day teammate Kofi Kingston takes on Drew McIntyre to find out who will be Bobby Lashley’s Hell in a Cell opponent. AJ Styles & Omos face Elias & Jaxson Ryker. The Miz hosts Miz TV with special guests Charlotte Flair and RAW Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. And Shayna Baszler gets to take her frustrations with Reginald out on him when they go one on one.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Nikki Cross def. Charlotte Flair
Randy Orton def. Xavier Woods
Reginald def. Shayna Baszler
MACE & T-Bar def. Lucha House Party
Ricochet def. Sheamus
Humberto Carrillo def. Sheamus
Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke def. Naomi & Lana
Cedric Alexander def. Shelton Benjamin
AJ Styles & Omos def. Elias & Jaxson Ryker
Drew McIntyre def. Kofi Kingston
♦ The show began with the Memorial Day tribute to the armed forces.
♦ Another new face on commentary tonight. Adnan Virk parted company with WWE after last week’s show. Jimmy Smith becomes the latest legitimate sports guy to try to fill the role. Tom Phillips, a guy who was actually good at the job, was said to be let go last week as well.
♦ The Miz gave himself an epic introduction at the start of Miz TV then talked a little bit about being injured for the first time in his career. He got distracted by the fact John Morrison was wearing a garlic necklace. As it happened, Morrison also had a Drip Stick (a tube that squirts water) to ward off attacks because he’s a little paranoid after the zombies. Anyway, Miz is injured but he needed to get back to RAW, so he’s going to use his platform to give back and support other superstars.
He brought Charlotte Flair out first. She wasn’t impressed by the smell coming from Morrison, or by Miz and Morrison’s sycophantic laughter. She told them that Ripley’s had her good little story with her fairytale victory. But real life is not a fairytale and sometimes dreams turn into nightmares. And in three weeks, she’ll be sending Ripley to hell.
Rhea Ripley didn’t wait for an introduction. She came out and said if Flair’s thinks she’s going to send her to hell, she can go to hell. Morrison asked her about garlic bread to check she wasn’t a vampire and Ripley laughed at him and informed him she’s not a vampire she’s a nightmare to everyone in the women’s division. She offered to let them interview her again in three weeks after she’d beaten Flair.
Flair said Ripley couldn’t even beat Nikki Cross last week. Miz jumped on that and showed the footage, then Nikki Cross came to join them.
She apologised to Miz for interrupting the show and told him she’s a big fan. He liked that but he was already smiling because you can’t help smiling at Nikki Cross. She said that as she beat Ripley last week she wants to be the first challenger for the winner of their Hell in a Cell match. Flair was disparaging as usual. Ripley said she would have beaten her if there had been four minutes on the clock, but she did earn her respect. Cross thanked her and asked Flair if it would be fair for her to challenge if she beat her in two minutes as well.
Flair said it was ridiculous and she could beat Cross in one minute. Cross slapped her. Flair accepted the match and called her a troll.
Charlotte Flair vs Nikki Cross – Two Minute Challenge – was fun. Mikki Cross ran down over half the clock just getting in and out of the ring. She ran behind the announce desk and let Ripley, who was sat at ringside, hold Flair up another few seconds. By the time they were both in the ring, there were only 45 seconds for Cross to hold on for. The timer ran out while Flair was trying to grab her for a figure four. Cross was victorious again and she has better get that title match.
♦ Damian Priest coped pretty well with a conversation with Riddle and even taught him a bit of Spanish. Randy Orton arrived to talk to Riddle about using his finish on Xavier Woods last week. Riddle thought he was in trouble but instead, Orton invited him to watch his match from ringside to see if he can learn something, as they’re doing the tag team thing. Riddle got overexcited and talked too much and had to zip his lips again. He gave the imaginary key to Orton. Orton threw it away and left Riddle searching for it.
Randy Orton, with Riddle, vs Xavier Woods was great. Jimmy Smith got a close up of Woods being slammed into the announce desk going into the break. Riddle was the most expressive and vocal cheerleader on the outside. Orton used Bro Derek to pin Xavier Woods. Riddle was so excited he celebrated by riding his scooter around the ring. And this week Orton didn’t even look that much like he wanted to RKO him after the match. That’s huge progress… but the team will still eventually end with Riddle taking at least one RKO.
♦ MVP and Bobby Lashley still have the group of women with them in the executive suite.
♦ Shayna Baszler vs Reginald began with Reginald reassuring Nia Jax that he didn’t need her protection in the match and telling her to watch from backstage. Jimmy Smith was suitably confused about how a guy whose skills include picking wine, dancing, and acrobatics, was qualified to get in the ring with Baszler. There was no answer because he isn’t. He had a go at rolling her up and in a huge shocker, he bodyslammed her. He was as shocked as the rest of us and immediately apologised, looking like he knew exactly how much trouble he was in. Baszler destroyed his leg, totally and systematically, but he didn’t tap. He delivered an awkward spinning crossbody that barely caught her but left her laying on the mat. He missed the moonsault and hurt himself more, so she got him in a Kirifuda Clutch. Before he could tap, fire shot out of the ring post. She let go and he rolled her up for the pin.
Backstage, Reginald celebrated with Nia Jax. That was almost but not quite an actual intergender match.
♦ Kevin Patrick asked Drew McIntyre if he was ready for tonight’s main event. He said tonight is all about him and Kofi Kingston. He respects Kingston and everything he’s done. There are similarities between them, but there are differences. Kofi fights for his family, but McIntyre has put off starting one to focus entirely on his career. He likes and respects Kingston, but he’s going to do everything Kingston isn’t prepared to do to get back his title.
♦ Pete Dunne, Johnny Gargano, and Kyle O’Reilly got a promo slot. They have a triple-threat number one contender’s match on tomorrow’s NXT which will apparently be opening the show. If that’s the opener, what the hell is the main event?
♦ MACE & T-BAR vs Lucha House Party was decent. MACE and T-BAR said they’re looking to cause Lucha House Party’s extinction, but both teams are looking for a little relevance and a footing in the RAW tag division. They’re talented enough to warrant it, but that doesn’t seem to be a huge consideration with RAW creative. MACE caught Lince Dorado as he flew out of the ring at him and slammed him to the floor. Gran Metalik caught a big boot from T-BAR, then got double-chokeslammed and pinned.
♦ Alexa Bliss invited Reginald to join her in Alexa’s Playground.
♦ Sheamus is looking forward to getting back on the road so he can defend the title he never puts on the line in every city. He’s not happy with Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo after they attacked him last week. He thinks they’re sore losers and maybe they need a participation trophy. His version of the open challenge is so he can find someone worthy of a shot at the title and they’re not. He’s not stupid enough to take them on two on one, but he’ll take them on back to back and send them back to catering and obscurity.
Ricochet stepped up first, so Sheamus vs Ricochet was the next match. Wearing jeans and a jacket, Ricochet did look a little like he’d come from catering, but why he’d be shirtless and in wrestling boots is anyone’s guess. Humberto Carrillo ran down to the ring when it was obvious things weren’t going well for Ricochet and while Sheamus was distracted, Ricochet folded him up for the pin.
Sheamus vs Humberto Carrillo started during the ads, with Ricochet still at ringside. I’m not convinced pissing Sheamus off just before you fight him is sensible or healthy, but Carrillo must be used to dealing with that by now. This might be the last we see of Sheamus for a little while because Carrillo broke his nose with an elbow. Being covered in his own blood just made Sheamus angrier. He kicked Ricochet in her head when he left the ring after Carrillo, but took too long trash-talking and took a flying Carrillo to the side of the head, ending up crashing into the announce desk. He still caught Carrillo as he came off the top turnbuckle and slammed him into the mat.
Ricochet tried to get into the ring, Sheamus saw him and grabbed his wrist. While he was focused on him, Carrillo kicked him in the face and pinned him.
♦ Eva Marie’s vignette showed her doing actual wrestling training and talking about why she’s coming back. She says she wants to finish what she started because you’ve got to fight for what you want. She also said she’s going to be a voice for the superstars of the WWE as well as herself, so maybe a managerial role.
♦ Naomi & Lana vs Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke would have been better without Natalya and Tamina joining commentary, but having the champions watching does, I suppose, make the match seem almost meaningful. Naomi and Lana are looking great and Brooke and Rose have become a well-oiled machine. In terms of the action, Naomi and Lanas had the edge. Naomi got taken off the apron and out of the match with a knee from Rose. Lana took the double team pin.
♦ They played a clip of Bad Bunny hanging out on The Shop and talking about his WWE experience. He loved it and hearing him talk about it will put a smile on your face.
♦ Shelton Benjamin vs Cedric Alexander was supposed to be the last time before they both move in. It lasted barely long enough to type this and finished with a thumb to the eye and a Neuralyzer from Alexander, just like last week.
♦ Kofi Kingston also spoke to Kevin Patrick. He wanted to pick up on McIntyre assuming his friends and family hold him back when they actually raise him up. He respects everything McIntyre’s done in the industry, but he doesn’t respect the cheap shot McIntrye took about beating Lesnar when Kingston got beaten in seconds. He offered his own cheap shot in return. He’s pinned Lashley and McIntyre hasn’t. Tonight they’re both going to give it everything they have and then he’s going on to pin Lashley, again, at Hell in a Cell.
♦ Elias’ pep-talk with Jaxson Ryker backfired somewhat. He asked if Ryker had ever been in battle because that’s what they were about to do. Ryker gave him a hell of a look as he asked if Elias had ever been in battle because he served in Iraq.
AJ Styles & Omos vs Elias & Jaxson Ryker mostly consisted of AJ Styles getting beaten up by Ryker and Elias. Until Elias ditched him anyway. Ryker was reaching for a tag and Elias pulled his hand away and jumped off the apron. Styles took the opportunity to tag in Omos. Ryker got destroyed and Elias watched from a distance. Strange move to split them when there’s nothing for either of them to do as singles. Omos tagged Styles back in to deliver the Phenomenal Forearm for the pin.
Backstage, Elias told Kevin Partick that Ryker had become unhinged and he no longer trusts him to have his back. He can’t face travelling with him when they go back on the road either and he doesn’t want to be around him anymore. Honestly, he looked scared.
♦ Nia Jax asked Reginald if he really wanted to accept Alexa Bliss’ invitation to the playground. He assured her he’d be fine and she went to put some champagne on ice to celebrate his victory while he limped off to meet Bliss and Lilly.
Shayna Baszler attacked Reginald while Bliss was interviewing him and took his place on the swing next to Bliss. Bliss said Baszler wasn’t invited and Lilly doesn’t like her. Baszler said Bliss is becoming a problem and she just saw how she handles her problems. So before it gets out of hand they have to have a chat. Next week. She crouched down to Lilly’s level and told her she was just a stupid doll. After she’d gone Bliss looked at Lilly and nodded.
♦ The Viking Raiders were giving Mansoor some tips about life on the road with WWE in preparation for the return to touring. Ali approached Mansoor when they’d gone and told him to be careful making friends and not to trust anyone. Mansoor asked why he should trust him then. Ali said now he was getting it.
♦ Kevin Partick spoke to MVP and Bobby Lashley ahead of the main event they’re not allowed to interfere in. If they do they’ll be suspended. They have no preference for Lashley’s Hell in a Cell opponent and they don’t seem to be too upset they have to stay in the executive suite. They were shown watching from the suite during the match.
Kofi Kingston vs Drew McIntyre was a great main event, only dulled in excitement by the fact we saw them go twenty minutes last week. When I say they threw everything in their arsenals at each other I mean it. Kingston flew around the place, not always under his own power. McIntyre dumped him over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area and pulled out a spinning Futureshock DDT which was surprisingly only worth two. They scrapped up on the top turnbuckle, McIntyre looking for a superplex, Kingston trying to tie McIntyre in the tree of woe. Kingston came down about halfway across the ring after McIntyre threw him by his skull. McIntyre went for the Claymore but got hit with Trouble in Paradise. He got his hand on the rope to stop the pin.
Kingston’s hurricanrana sent McIntyre out of the ring and the follow-up kick in the face and double stomp had him reeling. But, as Kofi Kingston came off the top rope to finish the job, Drew McIntyre met him with a Claymore and pinned him.
It will be Drew McIntyre facing Bobby Lashley at Hell in a Cell. McIntyre and Kingston shook hands after the match and the show ended with Lashley and MVP staring McIntyre down from the stage.
Jimmy Smith impressed me. Instead of approaching the job like a bull in a china shop and pretending he already knows everything, he asked Corey Graves and Byron Saxton questions. Graves and Saxton took the time to explain things, and it was all very civilised. I have high hopes for him, but there’s an equal chance I’ll be saying the same thing about someone else in another six weeks. There’s just no way to know what’s going to happen with WWE at the moment.