Randy Orton and John Morrison

Hell in a Cell is finished (read the full review here), so it’s on to Money in the Bank. Tonight’s preview is all MITB qualifying matches. Drew McIntyre takes on Riddle while Riddle’s tag partner Randy Orton had to go through John Morrison to qualify. AJ Styles and Ricochet will also face off for a place in the men’s match. The women’s match places look to be being decided in tag matches. Weirdly, after spending so much time separating them, and Nikki Cross vanishing for months in the process, WWE are teaming Cross with Alexa Bliss to face Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. Eva Marie and whatever they’re going to call Piper Niven (please don’t let the rumours be true), will take on Naomi and Asuka. It’s probably going to be a bit of an odd night.

I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.

Match Results

Ricochet def. AJ Styles

Naomi & Asuka def. Eva Marie & Doudrop

John Morrison def. Randy Orton

Nikki Cross & Asuka def. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

Riddle def. Drew McIntyre

Bobby Lashley def. Xavier Woods

Bobby Lashley, MVP, and the ladies
credit: wwe.com

The Show

The Money in the Bank Briefcases were suspended over the ring this week, just in case five qualifying matches weren’t enough reminders that Money in the Bank is the next PPV.

The VIP Lounge started the show. Bobby Lashley said he and McIntyre went through hell and McIntyre almost took him to his limits, but McIntyre at his best wasn’t good enough to beat The All-Mighty. MVP suggested that McIntyre will never be the same again and gloated that he won’t ever be able to challenge Lashley again.

The New Day turned up while MVP was making a toast, with a tray full of toast on a trolley. Kofi Kingston said they wanted to participate in the toast. MVP asked if the circus was in town. Kingston and Xavier Woods threw toast at them. MVP called them clowns. Specifically Kofi Kingston, his opinion of Woods appears to be much lower.

Anyway, Kofi Kingston wants a title match. Lashley doesn’t think he deserves one. Kingston showed footage of him beating Lashley and asked to be his opponent at Money in the Bank. MVP was turning him down when Lashley accepted.

Lashley pointed out Kingston only won because McIntyre hit him with a cane, so they need to make sure it will be a straight one on one at Money in the Bank. He wanted a match with Xavier Woods tonight. Woods said he’s used to being underestimated and invited them to continue. He accepted the match and told Lashley the match will be inside Hell in a Cell – I guess they didn’t pack it up last night then. Lasley accepted, MVP looked at him like he thought he was mad. He might be right. Xavier Woods was part of the New Day versus Usos Hell in a Cell match that still stands as one of the best cell matches of all time.

The New Day with a trolley laden with toast
credit: wwe.com

AJ Styles, with Omos, vs RicochetMITB Qualifying Match – was the first match of the show. We saw a clip from earlier where Styles insulted The Viking Raiders, then told them to watch his match. He’s planning to win Money in the Bank, win the WWE Championship, then retain the tag titles with Omos against them. He made the mistake of knocking the turkey leg out of Ivar’s hand, but Erik held him back. The video of Ricochet before the match was just him talking about how he plans to get back on track.

Good match, every bit as entertaining as you’d expect AJ Styles vs Ricochet to be. The Viking Raiders arrived near the end and tried to fight Omos. They ended up sending him through the barricades with his own momentum after he charged them. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm. Ricochet caught him with knees to the face on his way down and pinned him.

AJ Styles with Ricochet in a calf crusher
credit: wwe.com

Riddle is going to put his stash… of Whoppers in the Money in the Bank briefcase if he wins it. He asked Randy Orton for pointers on winning it. Orton’s first piece of advice was to stay out of his way, but Riddle sounded like he’d relish the opportunity to face Orton in the MITB match. He said to Orton, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome?’ Orton glared at him and said, ‘Not for you.’ Riddle still wished him luck.

Naomi & Asuka vs Eva Marie & DoudropMITB Qualifying Match –  Before the match, Eva Marie had her first backstage interview. She said she’d brought Piper Niven in because she caught a cold last week, and fake coughed to make her point. Niven, the 12-year veteran they’re describing at Eva Marie’s protégé, was not allowed to give her own name. Eva Marie christened her Doudrop, but judging by the look of utter disgust on Niven’s face, the name will be temporary. Naomi admitted in a pre-match video that she wasn’t ready for Doudrop, but she and Asuka are confident it will be Eva Marie and Doudrop who are not ready this time.

Corey Graves tried to make the name less awful by saying it’s like when you join a commune and are given a fresh start, but awful is awful. It almost looked like Eva Marie was going to wrestle, but she tagged Doudrop in before any contact was made. Doudrop rolled her eyes then went to fight Asuka. I can’t see this relationship lasting long, but they better keep Niven on the main roster once she’s done with Eva Marie. Eva Marie didn’t get back on the apron until she thought it was time to cover Naomi and take credit for the win. When Naomi kicked out, Eva Marie wanted out again but Doudrop dropped off the apron and let Naomi pin her.

Asuka and Naomi are through. We didn’t get to see Eva Marie and her “protégé” arguing.

Naomi kicks Piper Niven (Doudrop)
credit: wwe.com

Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce summoned Rhea Ripley to the ring to talk about her actions at Hell in a Cell, where Ripley got herself deliberately disqualified. He pointed out those rules aren’t meant to be abused. Ripley said she’s seen Flair break those rules lots of times. She only did what Flair would have done in her position.

Flair said she’s proud of Ripley. She proved she’s smarter than she thought by strategically getting disqualified when she was getting her ass kicked. But she’s still going to destroy her.

Sonya Deville said if that was Flair’s way of asking for a rematch, she’d grant her one. Flair vs Ripley AGAIN at Money in the Bank.

Rhea Ripley, Sonya Deville, and Adam Pearce
credit: wwe.com

Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke training interrupted Natalya and Tamina’s interview like Natalya and Tamina did to them last week. This time, there was no brawl after the arguing, Brooke and Rose kicked Natalya and Tamina to the floor before they could get into the ring.

The pictures of Drew McIntyre’s back, from his Twitter, are gruesome.

Randy Orton vs John MorrisonMITB Qualifying Match – Orton was alone for his match. Morrison brought The Miz, in his wheelchair, and parked him at commentary. Orton bounced Morrison’s head off the announce desk, while Miz yelled at him, then bounced Morrison off the announce desk and stalked Miz as we went into the ads. Nothing happened except Miz opted to move away from commentary and sit at ringside. We’ll ignore the audio of the movie ad that played over the match. That was odd.

Miz squirted Orton in the face with a Dripstick while he was readying himself for an RKO. Orton almost got pinned while distracted. Riddle came down to chase Miz off, but a man on a scooter chasing a man in a wheelchair turned out to be more, not less, distracting. While Orton was glaring at Riddle, Morrison dragged his throat over the ropes and hit him with Starship Pain for the win. Riddle looked horrified.

The Miz squirts Randy Orton with a Dripstick
credit: wwe.com

Titus O’Neil has been named as a 2021 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award Finalist.

The NXT ad of the week was about whether anyone will provoke Samoa Joe tomorrow. He put Adam Cole to sleep with a Coquina Clutch last week after Cole shoved him, so we’ll see who’s next. I’m so happy he’s back in any capacity.

Before Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, with ReginaldMITB Qualifying Match – Nia Jax said she won’t let what happened last night happen tonight (Alexa Bliss made her hit Reginald). Shayna Baszler said no one was going to stop them qualifying. But they agreed there is something different about Bliss. One thing is different, she’s got a new theme song and it’s decent. Pairing her with Nikki Cross is weird with their history and it’s even weirder with Cross new look.

Nikki Cross has a superhero mask and outfit and a new attitude. She’s beaten Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley and now she can win her way into the ladder match. She’s felt something spark inside her and she’s been working on a way to physically display it. She won’t be alone on her journey because no matter how far we fall we all share the same spark and spirit. She’s representing all of us, no matter our shortcomings. She’s even got a cape. She’s so pure. I love her. The gimmick could go either way, but she’ll make it work.

Bliss seemed quite excited during Cross’ entrance but there’s was no communication between them and Bliss quietly stood on the apron to let Cross start. Only when Reginald came around to check on Jax on the outside, did Bliss move. She stared at him and he started to fall under her spell. Baszler and Jax refocused him but they all got taken down by a flying Nikki Cross.

Bliss tagged in after the break but after sunset-bombing Baszler she left Cross to deal with Nia Jax. She managed to cause an argument between Baszler and Jax by ducking, and Bliss almost hypnotised Reginald into slapping Jax. He didn’t do it, but they got dropkicked over by Cross while they were hugging. Nikki Cross followed that up by tangling Baszler up and forcing her shoulders to the mat for the three-count. Cross and Bliss are through to Money in the Bank.

Nikki Cross pins Shayna Baszler while Alexa Bliss watches
credit: wwe.com

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville told Drew McIntyre he doesn’t have to compete tonight. That was never going to work. He’s never going to surrender. He’s already in hell, so he might as well keep going.

Drew McIntyre vs RiddleMITB Qualifying Match – was a decent match featuring a Drew McIntyre not at full strength and possibly more dangerous because of it. Riddle has been on great form recently, but some of the blows McIntyre hit him with had him screaming in pain. It was McIntyre screaming in pain going into the break after Riddle smashed his mangled back into the ringpost then gave him a suplex at ringside.

When we came back McIntyre was still in trouble, but he got his knees up for a Bro-ton and took back control, despite the obvious pain. After some complicated shenanigans on the top turnbuckle, McIntyre threw Riddle down to the mat. The landing looked horrible, but Randy Orton chose that moment to come to the stage and Riddle was suddenly rejuvenated. He was still on the stage after a break and Riddle had a second wind. He powerbombed McIntyre out of the corner, but it only got him two. McIntyre gave him a Michinoku Driver, but also only got two, as did the Futureshock DDT. Riddle missed the Floating Bro, avoided a Clymore, and failed to get a submission. In the end, Riddle secured the win, pinning McIntyre after shifting his weight from McIntyre’s shoulders.

Randy Orton didn’t look happy Riddle had qualified when he didn’t, and Riddle tried to get him to talk to him. He didn’t get Orton to open up, but he didn’t get RKO’d either, so he should probably count that as a win.

Drew McIntyre and Matt Riddle
credit: wwe.com

Jinder Mahal, Cedric Alexander, Jeff Hardy, and Sheamus all think they should be competing for MITB places. Sheamus was dissuaded when he was told he’d need to be fit enough to defend the US title. Jinder Mahal asked to be considered as an alternate if ‘something should happen to one of the contestants.’

Jaxson Ryker advised Mansoor to never let his enemy escape. It was an entry into Ryker announcing he has a strap match with Elias next week. It creeped Mansoor out though. Ali approached him next and told him he’s asking the wrong people the wrong questions. He needs to be asking why the people in the qualifying matches got spots instead of them and said if you’re not getting the opportunity to climb the ladder of success, then you have to build your own ladder.

Also next week, Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles, and Randy Orton will have a Second Chance Triple-Threat MITB Qualifier.

Bobby Lashley vs Xavier Woods – Hell in a Cell Match – was, of course, the main event of the evening. Kofi Kingston accompanied Woods and MVP accompanied Lashley, but they were locked outside the cell. It was apparently the first HIAC match on RAW in 23 years. It was Bobby Lashley’s second in 24 hours.

Lashley punched a chair into Woods’ face. Woods used a chair to Lashley’s face to send the champ off the apron into the cell, then battered him with it. By the time we got back from a break, Woods was in trouble, he even got beaten up while caught in the ring-skirt, but he’s not an eleven-time champion by accident and he fought his way back into it. He put Lashley through a table with a springboard elbow off the top, and almost cried when Lashley kicked out. Lashley got him with a spear after smashing his head into a chair and secured The Hurt Lock. Xavier Woods tapped, but Lashley put him to sleep anyway.

After the match Lashley decided to punish Woods some more, throwing him into the cell in front of Kingston. MVP locked himself in the cell with them and locked Kingston out. They taunted Kofi Kingston with Woods screaming in a half applied Hurt Lock and his face pressed into the cage.

Xavier Woods flies across the cell onto Bobby Lashley on a table
credit: wwe.com

We had some great matches on tonight’s, and a measure or two of weirdness as well. It seems very quick to be setting the Money in the Bank Ladder matches in place, but I suppose they have getting back on the road to prepare for as well. Next week’s Second Chance Triple-Threat should be awesome.

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