The New Day take on RK-Bro tonight. Drew McIntyre has a one on one with AJ Styles. And the Eva-Lution has arrived. Eva Marie faces Naomi in her first match back in WWE. That’s all that’s in the preview, but it’s the go-home show for Hell in a Cell, so I’m sure it will be a packed show.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Nikki Cross def. Charlotte Flair
John Morrison def. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy def. Cedric Alexander
Eva Marie (represented by Piper Niven) def. Naomi
RK-Bro def. The New Day
Rhea Ripley def. Asuka
Alexa Bliss def. Nia Jax (DQ)
Jaxson Ryker def. Elias
Drew McIntyre def. AJ Styles (DQ)
Drew McIntyre & The Viking Raiders def. Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, & Omos
♦ Alexa Bliss opened the show from her playground. She said she’d had a lot of strongly-worded complaints about the way the show ended last week. She only had good intentions when she invited Baszler to the playground, but things got out of hand. In light of Lilly’s naughtiness and WWE going back on the road, she’s put Lilly in time out. But that doesn’t mean Baszler didn’t get what she deserved.
Nia Jax appeared and said Baszler will see Bliss at Hell in a Cell. Bliss said she couldn’t wait. Jax asked what happened to her. They used to be friends and she knows the real her. She told her to stop interfering with her career and messing with her friends.
Bliss called the suggestion they were ever friends a vicious and disgusting allegation. Jax got annoyed and demanded a match. Bliss got upset and said she didn’t mean to hurt anybody. She asked for Jax’ forgiveness then started laughing and said ‘Just kidding’ before she accepted the match.
♦ Nikki Cross vs Charlotte Flair opened the show proper. With Eva Marie and Naomi announced on the preview, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax, and Rhea Ripley versus Asuka announced in commentary’s housekeeping spiel, that’s four women’s division matches on one RAW. I can’t remember the last time that happened… or if it’s ever happened. It’s great though. Before the match, Charlotte Flair told Sarah Schreiber she still wants her loss to Cross stricken from the record.
Rhea Ripley arrived within seconds of the bell and Flair almost got pinned with a roll-up while staring at her. She kicked out and brought Cross to the outside to destroy her in front of Ripley, only rolling her back into the ring on eight. She hadn’t pinned her by the time we came back from a break though.
After Cross had delivered a tornado DDT and Flair rolled out of the ring, Cross jumped off the apron to follow. Flair caught her and suplexed her on the outside. Cross quietly got up and back in the ring while Flair let herself get distracted by Rhea Ripley. The ref got to ten and Cross won by count-out.
Post-match, Flair gave Cross a big boot at ringside then put her in the centre of the ring for a Figure Eight. Ripley tore her away from Cross and delivered a Riptide.
♦ Riddle asked Jeff Hardy for advice about tag team wrestling. Hardy told him it’s all about the trust, when the trust is broken the spirit of the team is gone. He also said Riddle should listen to Randy Orton because he’s been there a long time. When the viper speaks, listening shows respect.
Orton joined Riddle after Hardy had wandered off and Riddle promised not to let him down. Orton told him not to try to be another Randy Orton, just be Riddle, whatever that means. Riddle asked if that means he likes him, but Orton gave him a look and left.
Hardy had wandered off for Jeff Hardy vs John Morrison. Morrison squirted Hardy in the face with the Drip Stick while Hardy was posing in the corner, which gave him an early advantage. Cedric Alexander showed up, complete with entrance music, a few minutes in but just stood at the bottom of the ramp. Miz was with commentary in his wheelchair. Morrison won the match with Starship Pain.
Alexander spoke to Jeff Hardy after the match and said he wanted to apologise for not showing him the respect he deserves and claimed to idolise him. But he watched their match back and saw how he showed him up, taunted him and disrespected him. All he saw was a man he’d idolised his whole life was nothing more than a sore winner. Now all he wants to apologise for was not kicking his ass into a retirement home.
Hardy grabbed a mic and said he’d retire if Alexander could beat him in a match right now. Jeff Hardy vs Cedric Alexander happened after a break. Hardy was in no condition for the match and Alexander dominated. That didn’t matter. A Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb was all it took to keep his career.
♦ We got a long build package for Bobby Lashley vs Drew McIntyre. Excellent as always, and a reminder that, if McIntyre loses, he can never face Lashley for the title again.
♦ Naomi vs Eva Marie was better than anyone could have imagined because Eva Marie wasn’t alone. Piper Niven was with her, and it was she who competed. So, Piper Niven vs Naomi was what we got. Sad for Naomi that she got thrown around for what was little more than a squash, but I couldn’t be happier to see Piper Niven. Shame no one seemed to know who she was. Niven finished Naomi with the Michinoku Driver and Eva Marie claimed the victory under her own name.
Debuting someone and pretending you don’t know who they are, so not even giving them a name check, is just rude. To jog Corey Graves and Byron Saxton’s clearly faulty memories, Piper Niven is a 12-year veteran, Mae Young Classic Quarterfinalist, and has been on the NXT UK roster for three years. Don’t insult our intelligence and don’t deprive casual fans of a proper introduction. That said, the only logical reason is a name change, so expect a new name for Niven in the next few days.
♦ Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke asked Natalya and Tamina to keep the noise down in the training ring while they were having their photoshoot. What followed was some class A shaming behaviour from Natalya and Tamina which I am not going to repeat. In return, Rose and Brooke accused them of using their last names for leverage. They ended up fighting and being separated by officials, of course.
♦ Drew McIntyre told Kevin Patrick he’s going to call Lashley, Trashley from now on because of the way he’s been representing the title. He’d been asked about shifting his focus to AJ Styles, but he said he doesn’t have to. Then he drifted into a story about William Wallace and strategies. He’s not going to reveal his strategies for Sunday, but he will be leaving as champion.
♦ The New Day vs RK-Bro was interesting. Riddle and Orton entered together for the first time. It takes the intensity off Orton’s entrance to have Riddle next to him on his scooter. They even displayed a bit of teamwork and pulled out a double team manoeuvre or two. Xavier Woods was the recipient of most of that, while all Kingston could do was watch. Obviously, that just meant he was more fired up as he launched himself into the match from the top turnbuckle. Riddle almost pinned Kingston with a Floating Bro, and Orton keeping Woods away, but Kingston kicked out going into a break.
After the break, it settled into an excellent match, almost certainly the match of the night. Orton finished it with an RKO on Xavier Woods after everyone was broken and spent. He couldn’t bring himself to celebrate with Riddle, but Riddle celebrated enough for both of them.
♦ Sarah Schreiber asked Rhea Ripley about the end of Charlotte Flair versus Nikki Cross. She said Flair thinks she’s better than her, but she can’t control herself when Ripley’s around. Instead of focusing on their title match, she’s trying to mend her bruised ego. It’s funny watching someone so powerful crumble. She’s going to send her packing, right back to the back of the line. She sent Schreiber packing so she could mentally prepare for her match. She didn’t leave herself much time because Rhea Ripley vs Asuka was up next.
A non-title match against Asuka less than a week before facing Charlotte Flair at Hell in a Cell seems like a strange warmup. But Ripley likes a challenge. Very good match, as it should be considering how much time they’ve spent in the ring together recently. Asuka might need some more dental work after Ripley dropped her face-first onto the barricade, but she had an ad break to compose herself. She did, and she nearly beat the champ more than once, but she eventually succumbed to the Riptide.
Charlotte Flair attacked Ripley after the match. It took multiple officials several attempts to stop the resulting brawl. Flair elbowed Adam Pearce a couple of times and fought tooth and nail to get back to Ripley. Her nose was already bleeding by the time Ripley kicked her in the face, but that can’t have helped. She was absolutely furious, Ripley ended up standing and laughing at her, encouraging her to try again. Flair’s nose may be broken.
♦ MVP told Kevin Patrick off for crashing the executive suite to ask if he had any insight into McIntyre being given a match against AJ Styles. He denied any knowledge and said Lashley isn’t working tonight because that’s one of the perks of being the champ. He thinks McIntyre is foolish to have taken the match. The only thing the champ is concerned about is Hell in a Cell. Lashley said McIntyre will wish he’d never uttered his name. He likes McIntyre comparing himself to William Wallace because at Hell in a Cell he’s going to publicly execute him.
♦ Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax was the first time we’ve seen Bliss wrestle for a while and with each new aspect of her character, she’s added new moves and mannerisms to match. There was some creepy stuff and some very quick and clever stuff, but she got thrown around a lot by Jax because sometimes there just isn’t enough clever to counter that power. She sat up to avoid a leg drop and kicked Jax in the face. Reginald appeared on the apron to distract her when she went to the top, but it didn’t pay off for Jax. Bliss spiked her with a DDT and shot Reginald a look before she delivered Twisted Bliss.
That would have been the end if he hadn’t invaded the ring and picked her up to cause a disqualification. Instead of attacking him, they locked eyes. Bliss tilted her head one way then the other and Reginald followed. He was clearly being hypnotised, but we don’t know what would have happened next because Bliss had to vacate the ring to avoid Jax.
♦ MVP is trying to drive a wedge between Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, implying Kingston is wasting his time with inferior talent. Kofi Kingston reiterated that his family and friends are his strength. And sent him packing. MVP got in one final dig about Kingston not having a match at Hell in a Cell before he left.
♦ Elias didn’t even try to sing before his match. Jaxson Ryker thinks Elias was the one holding him back and not the other way around. Elias vs Jaxson Ryker was vicious again, but with Elias piling in hard from the bell this time. However, for the second week running, Elias got himself deliberately counted out to avoid getting beaten up.
♦ William Regal will address the NXT Universe tomorrow night, after NXT TakeOver: In Your House finished with him suggesting it was time for a change.
♦ Drew McIntyre vs AJ Styles, with Omos, had an extra audience. Bobby Lashley, MVP, and the ladies watched from sofas on the stage. Omos nearly stayed with them. McIntyre took some time when he could have pinned Styles to taunt Lashley. Lashley made his way to the ring pursued by MVP. Omos pulled Styles out of the ring. And as we went into a break, The Viking Raiders turned up.
They were there to even the numbers because things had been looking a little bleak for McIntyre, so the match was back in full swing when we came back. As commentary kept reminding us, it wasn’t what you’d think of as an ideal warmup match. McIntyre was in a lot of trouble at several points. Sadly, we never got a finish. McIntyre took a few moments to elbow Lashley in the face and throw him into the barricades while he was on the outside rolling Styles back into the ring. He levelled Styles afterwards, but before he could finish the job, Lashley was in the ring and on him.
The Viking Raiders dragged him off and when they eventually threw him from the ring he took a belly to belly suplex from McIntyre.
With 15 minutes of the show remaining, Drew McIntyre & The Viking Raiders vs Bobby Lashley AJ Styles, & Omos started after a break, except Lashley wasn’t there. He arrived a couple of minutes in, dragged McIntyre off the apron and flung him into the barricade. Lashley spent a surprising amount of time in the ring and poor Erik took a beating before he fell into a tag to Ivar. After a lot of pandemonium and another break, Ivar took a fair bit of punishment as well, and a lot of that was from Lashley. McIntyre got to face off with Omos and did eventually manage to break his hold, but he tagged Styles in before anything else could happen.
It all broke down after that. Omos reached into the ring and pulled McIntyre over backwards by his hair while Lashley distracted the ref. The Viking Raiders came to help and went over different barricades, courtesy of Omos. Styles got to his corner and tagged in Lashley instead of Omos. The second Lashley got in the ring, he was Claymored and pinned.
There was a handful of Hell in a Cell promo packages sprinkled through the show, with highlights of previous years. Historically it’s been a PPV of spectacular moments, but hopefully, it will be a solid show as well.