Money in the Bank is on Sunday, and this is the final night in the ThunderDome. Sheamus is back in action tonight, defending the United States Championship against Humberto Carrillo. I’m sure he’ll let us all know exactly how thrilled he is about that. Xavier Woods and Bobby Lashley have a one on one match before Lashley’s Money in the Bank title defence against Kofi Kingston. RAW’s Women’s MITB Ladder Match competitors – Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Asuka, and Nikki A.S.H. – have a Fatal Four-Way match to get them warmed up. And we’ll find out what Jinder Mahal plans to do with Drew McIntyre’s sword.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Xavier Woods def. Bobby Lashley
Nikki A.S.H. def Asuka, Naomi, and Alexa Bliss
Ivar def. AJ Styles
Omos def. Erik
Sheamus def. Humberto Carrillo
Ricochet def. John Morrison
Rhea Ripley def. Natalya
♦ Tonight’s show was dedicated to the memory of “Mr Wonderful”, Paul Orndorff, whose death was announced today.
♦ The New Day opened the final show in the ThunderDome for Xavier Woods, with Kofi Kingston vs Bobby Lashley, with MVP. It was hard to hear MVP’s pre-match pep-talk to Lashley because the ladies were making too much noise. They came out with Lashley and MVP but stayed on the ramp until someone put a couch on the stage. Woods took a nasty bump over the top rope to the floor, making brief but painful contact with the apron on his way down. Lashley followed that up by dropping him on the stairs on his face to lead into the break.
Woods was still in it and fighting back when we returned. A tornado DDT and a dive over the top turned the match in his favour, briefly. He had a crack at a pin and a submission but got slammed into the mat hard enough to wind him. A couple more of those and it looked like Woods might be done. Lashley threw him out of the ring and ran him into the ring post over his shoulders. Back in the ring, Woods was left screaming in pain from a spear, but Lashley took too long before trying to lock in the Hurt Lock and got pinned with an inside cradle.
Lashley walked out alone, ignoring MVP and the ladies. Commentary noted a touch of self-doubt in his expression alongside the murderous rage.
Kevin Patrick asked MVP about Lashley being seen leaving the arena moments after that match. He assured him Lashley just needed to blow off some steam and would be in the VIP Lounge later.
♦ Eva Marie and Doudrop were Alexa Bliss’ guests in Alexa’s Playground. Bliss is excited about the fatal four-way and the MITB Ladder Match. She was pondering how much fun she could have with the contract when Eva Marie prompted her to introduce her and Doudrop. Bliss asked Doudrop a question and Eva Marie answered. Bliss told her she didn’t ask her and actually she only invited Doudrop, Eva Marie was just a surprise bonus. Eva Marie said she’s the star of Monday Night RAW and luckily this was the only time she’d set foot in the playground, then stormed off and demanded Doudrop follow her. Doudrop gave Bliss a little wave and a smile as she left. Bliss mocked Eva Marie and laughed at her for being silly.
♦ The Espy for Best WWE Moment was won by Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks for their WrestleMania match.
♦ Jinder Mahal was given Drew McIntyre’s sword by Veer and Shanky when he arrived at work on his motorbike. In the ring, Mahal confessed he might have gone a bit too far and said he’d extend an olive branch to McIntyre. He invited him to come to the ring to get it back and there was a potentially sword-shaped object covered by a cloth in the ring.
McIntyre appeared on the video screen and told Mahal to cut the bullshit. Mahal acted offended and said he’d had Veer and Shanky get the sword refinished. When he pulled the cloth back it was in two halves. McIntyre said he knew he’d do that, that’s why the sword is a replica. He held up the real one, then leant it against the wall while he noted Jinder’s bike didn’t look like a replica. Then he tore the bike up and kicked it over and told Mahal it was nothing a little elbow grease won’t fix.
♦ Riddle asked Nikki A.S.H. why she doesn’t just fly to the top of the ladder on Sunday now she’s a superhero. She explained she’s Almost a Superhero and there’s a big difference, so no flying yet. The conversation went downhill from there, as conversations with Riddle will, and A.S.H. went to her match.
Nikki A.S.H. vs Alexa Bliss vs Naomi vs Asuka was fun while it was just the four of them. I want to see Naomi and Bliss have a serious program because Naomi’s skillset mixed with Bliss’ new repertoire has potential. Nikki A.S.H. took a bit of a joint battering from Naomi and Asuka before they put each other down. Bliss tried to give A.S.H. her Sister Abigail variant, but she was distracted by the arrival of Eva Marie and Doudrop.
Bliss waved at Doudrop, then got out of the ring and walked slowly towards Eva Marie, patting Doudrop on the shoulder on the way past. Eva Marie threatened her with a shoe. Bliss screamed at her. Doudrop (please can she just be Piper Niven again) spun Bliss round, slapped her, then hoisted her onto her shoulders and dumped her over the barricades. When they peered over the barricades, Bliss was no longer there.
After a break, we were back to the in-ring action and Bliss still hadn’t returned. Naomi wasn’t messing around. She put Asuka and A.S.H. down and tried to pin them both. That didn’t work and neither did her pin on Asuka or Nikki’s pin on her or the next few attempts from anyone. In the end, it took a scrabbly tussle of roll-ups and an attempted Asuka Lock before Nikki A.S.H. pinned Asuka’s shoulders to the mat for three.
♦ Sarah Schreiber interviews The Viking Raiders about their singles matches against AJ Styles and Omos. Ivar is going to teach Styles some respect for Viking culture. Erik has a tall task with Omos’ first singles’ match, but he’s going to use his inexperience to triumph, then they’ll go on to win the tag titles.
AJ Styles had a lot to say, but it was all very predictable. More insults to the Viking Raiders. He should have been in the Money in the Bank match. And he’s going to beat Ivar before Omos beats Erik.
AJ Styles vs Ivar was a decent match. It ended when Styles attempted to rush Ivar in the corner. Ivar sat on him and held his legs. Omos looked incredulous, then angry which can’t be good for Erik.
Erik vs Omos started after a break and I’ve never seen Erik look tiny before. He just bounced off Omos to start with, and he struggled to get Omos off his feet. He had to fight his way out of a bear hug and let fly with a barrage of blows to get Omos to lean against the ropes a bit. He was punished for that be being flattened and roared at. Styles yelled at Omos to finish him because Omos was just stood over Erik looking at him. The finish was Omos picking Erik up by his head and planting him so hard he might have left a Viking Raider shaped dent in the ring.
♦ Lucha House Party and The New Day had a nice chat backstage before Sarah Schreiber asked Kofi Kingston whether that was a sign of things to come. Kingston chose to talk about Xavier Woods’ victory instead. She confirmed Lashley was back in the building and they mocked him a bit. Kingston is confident he’s going to beat Lashley on Sunday.
♦ We got a look back at iconic Money in the Bank moments. WWE do consistently great video packages.
♦ Sheamus let Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville know exactly how unhappy he was to be forced to defend his title. He accused them of not caring about him and his broken nose because they threatened to strip him if he didn’t compete and they gave the title shot to the man who broke his nose. But he’s there. Deville checked they were all on the same page before Sheamus left. There was a sly smile on his face when he did.
The reason for the smile became clear when he beat Humberto Carrillo up backstage about five minutes later. There was a long look between Sheamus, as he strolled off to the ring and Damian Priest who had come to see what the commotion was about.
Carrillo insisted he was able to compete, saying if he could stand he could fight. Trouble was, he could barely stand. Priest helped him away and Carrillo staggered down the ramp for Sheamus vs Humberto Carrillo – United States Championship match – holding his neck and back. He collapsed when the bell went, before Sheamus even touched him, and got pinned from a single Brogue kick as soon as he got to his feet.
Damian Priest turned up to make the save when Sheamus turned back to stamp on Carrillo and threatened to break his face like Carrillo broke his. Sheamus versus Priest should be great.
♦ Riddle had a chat with Riddle before his match. I’m not sure it’s helpful to get that confused before wrestling. Anyway, Miz and Morrison interrupted them and sprayed them with dripsticks, then rolled Miz’ wheelchair over Riddle’s injured foot.
John Morrison, with The Miz, vs Ricochet – Falls Count Anywhere – was always going to get wild. It didn’t take long to go to ringside, and into the ThunderDome briefly. Morrison had the early momentum, but when Ricochet got back into it, he did it with a 450 from the barricade and by leaping off the top of the ring post to the outside.
There was a ladder in play when we got back from a break. Miz shielded Morrison from a suicide dive, so Ricochet went over the top and over him. That nearly got him the pin, but not quite. They made their way to the stage, then into the backstage area, with Miz trying to wheel himself up the ramp after them. He was on the stage when they came back out and after pushing Ricochet too far, Ricochet pushed him down the ramp. Morrison put an arm out and slowed him down before Ricochet floored him. Miz sprayed Ricochet with a dripstick and the distraction almost cost him the match. Riddle arrived and carefully tipped Miz onto his back and sprayed him repeatedly with a dripstick.
Ricochet kicked Morrison onto the ladder Morrison had set up between the announce desk and ring, then launched himself onto him, putting them both through the ladder. That was enough for a Ricochet win.
Miz was still on his back at the end of the segment.
♦ Natalya got herself a match against Rhea Ripley as part of her plan to hold the tag titles, and RAW and SmackDown titles. She said no one had ever done it, but I guess she must mean at the same time because that has been done more than once. Anyway, she’s planning to cash in on Ripley if she wins the briefcase on Sunday. She and Tamina got into an argument with Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. Just the usual stuff. Tamina gave Dana Brooke a shove before they left.
In her pre-match interview, Rhea Ripley threatened to put Charlotte Flair on crutches for real on Sunday.
Rhea Ripley vs Natalya, with Tamina, was good. Ripley looked like she was having fun up to the point where Tamina took the dropkick into the barricades on Natalya’s behalf, allowing Natalya to level Ripley with a discus lariat. I do love a good Northern Lights suplex. Ripley’s has got a way to go before it rivals Alicia Fox’, and it only got her two. Somehow, Ripley resisted a Sharpshooter long enough to battle out and shove Natalya into the corner. That was the beginning of the end. Ripley kicked Natalya in the head and one Riptide later the champ was victorious.
Charlotte Flair chop-blocked Ripley while she was celebrating, stamped on her knee, then wrapped her in a Figure-Four and hung out of the ring to increase the pressure.
Backstage, Flair told Sarah Schreiber that it’s not about the pieces in the game it’s about the player and she learned from the dirtiest player in the game. All the fans are going to see that it’s game over for Ripley at Money in the Bank.
♦ Drew McIntyre thinks Money in the Bank might be his last time to reach the top of the mountain. This week’s confusing and meandering story featured Icarus, but the moral of the story was McIntyre’s going to win.
♦ MVP gave the ladies a pep-talk to make the VIP Lounge the absolute best it could be for Bobby Lashley before they took to the ring. It’s always ominous when something like the VIP Lounge gets the closing spot.
MVP memorialised the ThunderDome as The Lashley Dome, where we watched the rise of the All-Mighty. But Lashley didn’t come out when MVP introduced him. He did the second time but he looked dishevelled and sad.
Lashley told MVP he’d said enough and asked the ladies to leave them alone. He’s decided Kofi Kingston is right and MVP has made him lose his edge. He appreciates everything he’s done for him but all the bullshit has to stop and they need to get back to the business of destroying people. He started the destruction with the VIP Lounge set
He’s going to tear Kingston in half like he should have done weeks ago. He’s walking in and out of Money in the Bank as champion. He hopes Kingston is ready to fight for his life as well as the championship. He’s promised to end Kofi Kingston’s career on Sunday… but his threats were a little more explicit.
With MVP still stood nervously in a corner after a long sad look passed between them, Bobbly Lashley let the ring alone.
Not a bad episode of RAW to see out the ThunderDome Era (for now at least). SmackDown will be in front of fans and there is still a place in the women’s ladder match up for grabs. Sunday’s PPV looks like it will be a much more traditional Money in the Bank compared to last year’s “unique” show.