Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, and AJ Styles have a Last Chance Triple-Threat Qualifier for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match tonight. That should be awesome. The women’s division, on the other hand, have a pointless feud-mashup six-woman tag, Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke teaming against Charlotte Flair, Natalya, & Tamina. Kofi Kingston will confront MVP about the beating Xavier Woods took last week. And Elias won’t be able to run from Jaxson Ryker for a third time because they have a Strap Match.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Riddle won the Battle Royal
Nikki Cross def. Shayna Baszler
Eva Marie & Doudrop def. Asuka & Naomi
Ricochet vs John Morrison – Double Count Out
Charlotte Flair, Natalya, & Tamina def. Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke
Jaxson Ryker def. Elias
Drew McIntyre def. Riddle and AJ Styles
♦ Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville explained from backstage that Randy Orton is unable to compete tonight, due to circumstances beyond their control, so there would be a Battle Royal to decide the third competitor.
Riddle tried to get Pearce and Deville to let him compete on Orton’s behalf instead, with a fake letter that looked like he wrote in chunky marker. When that failed, he argued himself into the Battle Royal as Orton’s proxy. A win puts him into the Triple-Threat Match. If he wins that, Randy Orton joins him in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
So, Riddle, Jeff Hardy, R-Truth, Shelton Benjamin, Erik, Ivar, Drew Gulak, Damian Priest, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa, Angel Garza, Mustafa Ali, Mansoor, Humberto Carrillo, and Jinder Mahal competed for the final place in the Triple-Threat Match.
Drew Gulak went out first, followed by Shelton Benjamin. Angel Garza only put one foot on the floor, so he was allowed to hop around the corner and get back in, then got thrown out by Ali to save Mansoor. After yelling at Mansoor, Ali threw him out too. Riddle nearly got eliminated by Mahal but held on. R-Truth was not so lucky, and neither was Akira Tozawa. Drew Gulak pinned Tozawa for the 24/7 title after he got thrown out. R-Truth took it off Gulak. Then Tozawa pinned R-Truth.
Omos came to the ring just to eliminate and destroy The Viking Raiders. He pulled them out of the ring and threw Erik into the barricades and Ivar into the board on the side of the ring. Mustafa Ali and Humberto Carrillo took each other out during the break.
After a break, we were down to Riddle, Jinder Mahal, Damian Priest, Jeff Hardy, and Cedric Alexander. Priest eliminated Mahal. Cedric Alexander eliminated Jeff Hardy then took a Hit the Lights from Damian Priest before Priest threw him out. Riddle nearly eliminated himself when it was down to him and Priest. He got a Bromission in on Priest and Priest sensibly put him over the top, but only to the apron. Finally, after fighting it out on the apron, Riddle kicked Priest to the floor for the win. He insisted they play Randy Orton’s music and did his pose. They ran Orton’s pyro as well and Riddle jumped half out of his skin.
♦ Jaxson Ryker warmed up for his Strap match by slapping a packing crate with the strap repeatedly.
♦ AJ Styles is not happy about Riddle taking Orton’s place in the Triple Threat. He thinks Orton should have lost the opportunity. He and Omos also resented Kevin Patrick saying Omos played a critical role in eliminating The Viking Raiders – he pulled them over the top rope to the floor – saying he was just scouting the competition for Styles. Styles feels he has the advantage though. Riddle was in a battle royal and McIntyre is a week out from a Hell in a Cell match. And when he’s got an advantage, he wins. After he wins the MITB contract, he’ll have a year to plan becoming champion again, while defending the tag titles with Omos.
♦ Nia Jax riled Shayna Baszler up by criticising her shuffling cards to clear her head before her match. Reginald tried to apologise for last week and Baszler said she knows it’s all Alexa Bliss. But if she doesn’t do something about it that’s her fault. After she’s given Nikki Cross a dose of reality, she’s going to put Alexa Bliss on a permanent time out with her doll.
As the trio walked away, Bliss was lurking in the background, easily close enough to hear them.
Lucha House Party wished Nikki Cross luck and complimented her mask before the match. She told Sarah Schreiber before the match, she’s not a superhero, she’s almost a superhero. It reminds her to embrace it and go for it because everyone has this feeling deep down that they can be a little bit better. She’s qualified for the MITB Ladder Match and if she wins she could be an inspiration to little boys and girls everywhere. She could be RAW Women’s Champion. At that point, she had to calm herself down because she got overexcited, but that’s her tagline Almost a Super Hero. It sounds like she might be changing her name to Nikki ASH as well, but we’ll see.
Nikki Cross vs Shayna Baszler, with Nia Jax & Reginald, quickly turned into a test of Cross’ resilience. She has a lot of it. Alexa Bliss turned up going into a break, just after Cross had kicked Baszler from the ring. Baszler seemed happy to stay on the far side of the ring with Jax and Reginald, but just like last time, they got felled by a flying Nikki Cross.
Bliss just stood and watched, but she was a constant source of distraction for Baszler. She and Jax gradually got closer together and Jax appeared hypnotised. Reginald grabbed Bliss to break the contact, so Bliss kicked Jax in the stomach and flicked her heel back to catch Reginald in the balls. Job done, she left. Cross almost got a rollup from the distraction. She failed there, but did wrap Baszler up from an armbar and pin her in the same way she did last week.
Baszler, Jax, and Reginald were so disheartened, they didn’t even beat Cross up after the match.
♦ Kofi Kingston was alone when he arrived for his face to face with MVP, which is hardly surprising considering the beating Xavier Woods took last week. Before MVP came out, he said certain moments in our lives change us for the better or worse and he’s not sure which way last week has affected him yet. Hearing his brother helpless and screaming in pain while he was locked outside the cell unable to help. It plays through his mind like a nightmare. There are people who think Woods isn’t up to Kingston’s standard, but what he showed last week says otherwise and they should put some respect on his name. He’ll make Lashley pay at Money in the Bank when he takes the title.
MVP brought the ladies with him but only came to the stage. They were there to laugh on cue. He said he and Lashley are looking forward to Money in the Bank because they’ll finally be back in front of a live audience, but they’re looking past Kingston. He’s a feel-good story, but no threat.
Lashley’s on vacation but before he left, he asked MVP to tell Kingston he enjoyed every minute of what he did to Woods and he’s looking forward to humiliating and embarrassing him at Money in the Bank. He’s going to make what Brock Lesnar did to Kingston look like child’s play.
Kingston said he thinks Lashley is getting soft, and cited a few occasions when he would have lost without help. He managed to insult Lashley and MVP and got MVP very annoyed. Kingston talked about the kind of champion he was and seemed offended Lashley would take a vacation, accusing MVP of letting Lashley take his eyes off the prize and leaving it open for someone else to take it.
After some more arguing about Xavier Woods and about MVP’s knee, Kingston confirmed Woods will be back next week and MVP said he’d kick Kingston’s ass if only he was cleared to compete but he’s hurt. Kofi Kingston got out of the ring and kicked him in the face. With MVP laying on the floor, Kingston told him, now he’s hurt.
♦ WWE will be coming to four UK cities in September.
♦ Eva Marie still can’t get Kevin Patrick’s name right. She said Doudrop made a rookie mistake and is struggling with being at the forefront of the Eva-lution, but she requested a rematch for this week to let her learn her lesson. Piper Niven scrunched her face up at the name, being called a rookie, and at Eva Marie’s condescending tone. She went with her though.
Asuka & Naomi vs Eva Marie & Doudrop was short but served its purpose. Naomi and Asuka were all over Doudrop until she turned on the power. Asuka tried for an Asuka lock while on Doudrop’s back, Doudrop got out and reached for Eva Marie but she paid her back for last week by jumping off the apron. The pissed Doudrop off so she flattened Asuka and Naomi and got the pin.
Eva Marie looked scared, briefly, then claimed the victory for herself. I think there’s a good chance Eva Marie is going to find out exactly who Piper Niven is sooner rather than later.
♦ Sarah Schreiber asked John Morrison what it would mean to him to become Mr Money in the Bank for the first time. The Miz answered for him and said not only would he win but he’d successfully cash in. Ricochet took over the interview and argued with Miz, then sprayed them both with a Dripstick he’d stolen from Morrison.
Ricochet vs John Morrison, with The Miz, was great. I enjoy watching Morrison wrestle almost as much as I hate listening to him talk. Miz tried to protect Morrison on the outside, refusing to move his wheelchair, so Ricochet used the wheelchair as a step up to leap over and take Morrison down. To add insult to injury, he squirted Miz with another stolen Dripstick then snapped it. Morrison tried to escape a Ricochet dive by jumping the barricade. He sat on it on his way back over and Ricochet took him back over it with a springboard crossbody. Unsurprisingly, neither of them got up and the match finished in a double count-out.
♦ Before the six-woman tag, Charlotte Flair made a speech about them having shared respect and all knowing about having the weight of a family legacy on their shoulders. The rest of it was just insults and nonsense. Charlotte Flair, Natalya, & Tamina vs Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke was fun. They had to cut Ripley, Brooke, and Rose’s promo video short because a pre-bell brawl broke out. The ref just got out of the way and left them to it until Natalya, Flair, and Tamina were cleared from the ring.
The match proper started during another break and it was still regularly chaotic. Dana Brooke got destroyed by a double team on the outside and took a lot of punishment afterwards. Ripley nearly got rolled up from a missed tag. Chaos broke out off a broken pin attempt. But it was another missed tag, from Charlotte Flair, that sealed the victory. Mandy Rose didn’t notice Flair tag herself in and got pinned off a big boot.
Rhea Ripley chop blocked Flair after the match.
♦ Jaxson Ryker had progressed to hitting himself with the strap by the time R-Truth chased Akira Tozawa through the backstage area. Truth asked him if he needed to talk about something. Ryker said he was preparing himself for battle. R-Truth thanked him for sharing and asked to borrow the strap when he was done so he could lasso Tozawa with it.
Ryker was still hitting himself when he made his way to the ring for Jaxson Ryker vs Elias – Strap Match – and Elias seemed hesitant to be attached to him. It was Elias who struck first though, and used the strap to good effect. Ryker soon got some slaps of his own in though. There’s not much else to say about two grown men slapping each other with the leather rope tying them together. Jaxson Ryker won.
♦ Riddle tried to transform himself into Randy Orton for the Triple-Threat match. Damian Priest wasn’t buying it and tempted Riddle back to the surface with talk of Burger King. Priest told Riddle what he was doing for Orton was pretty cool and Orton is the one who’s lucky to have Riddle as a friend. Riddle thought that was sweet, but went back to trying to become Orton when Priest left.
♦ Drew McIntyre told another Scottish battle story to answer the question of whether he could beat Riddle and AJ Styles, but it got weird in the middle and ended ridiculously because the question was ridiculous. He was going to go out there and slap Riddle around, kick AJ Styles’ head off his shoulders, then win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
Drew McIntyre vs AJ Styles, with Omos, vs Riddle – Last Chance Qualifying Triple-Threat Match – was the main event of the evening. I would rather have seen Randy Orton in the match than Riddle trying to channel Randy Orton. In fairness, it doesn’t matter who you’re trying to be when you’re getting thrown around the ring by Drew McIntyre. AJ Styles also got thrown and cleared half the ring on one throw then got dropped from a great height. Riddle and Styles worked together, briefly and only after trying to destroy each other, to put McIntyre through the announce desk. It was McIntyre who cleared it though, so he can’t complain too much. Styles was his original target.
It was Riddle and Styles on their won for a considerable time after that. The match got the best part of half an hour. Riddle tried to get himself out of a submission by getting to the ropes, but there are no rope breaks under triple-threat rules. Riddle delivered Orton’s draping DDT and tried for the RKO, but Styles caught him and almost pinned him. McIntyre got up and dragged Styles out of the ring before he could go for a Styles Clash. After Styles was laid out on the outside, McIntyre laid Riddle out with an Alabama Slam, but couldn’t connect with a Claymore and would up outside the ring again.
Riddle just wouldn’t give up. He took McIntyre and Styles down on the outside and was going great until Styles rolled out of the way and he kicked the steps. As Riddle fights barefoot, he told the ref her thought it was broken, so medics tried to take him out of the arena while he screamed he couldn’t let Randy down.
He was gone after the final break and Styles got the one on one he’d been bitching about wanting. That is, of course, until he hobbled back to the ring bandaged up and went straight for trying to submit Styles. He would have pinned him a few moments later if Omos hadn’t pulled Styles from the ring. Instead, Riddle turned round and got Claymored and pinned.
Drew McIntyre is going to Money in the Bank.
Xavier Woods will be back next week, and he’s got a rematch with Bobby Lashley. That seems unwise, but it should be great. Hopefully, next week’s episode will feel a little more purposeful. I know we found out the final member of the men’s ladder match, but most of that episode felt like filler which makes for a long three hours.