Goldberg will be on RAW tonight to try to get Bobby Lashley to answer his challenge. Last week, Lashley refused to dignify it with a response. Nikki A.S.H. and Charlotte Flair are ramping their feud up with a No Holds Barred match. And Riddle is going one on one with Omos. Oh, the show’s from Chicago so the crowd will chant for CM Punk if they get bored.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Drew McIntyre def. Veer & Shanky (DQ)
Rhea Ripley def. Nia Jax
MACE & T-BAR def. Mustafa Ali & Mansoor
Tamina def. Doudrop
Damian Priest def. John Morrison
Damian Priest & Ricochet def. John Morrison & Sheamus
Omos def. Riddle
Keith Lee def. Karrion Kross
Reginald def. Akira Tozawa
Nikki A.S.H. def. Charlotte Flair
♦ Bobby Lashley and MVP opened the show. MVP said nice things about Goldberg being a legend still capable of destroying any normal man. But Lashley is no normal man. All MVP wants to do is prevent a tragedy. He asked whether Goldberg wanted to be remembered for his career or as a casualty. Goldberg arrived to tell him.
Goldberg thinks Lashley should be worried about losing the WWE Championship. MVP sounds scared and Lashley looks scared, so he wanted to know if Lashley’s up for the challenge.
There was talk of gladiators, during which the crowd tuned out and chanted ‘We Want Wyatt’ for the newly released Bray Wyatt. Goldberg managed to pull them back by mentioning Chicago.
Anyway, Goldberg still wants the title match at SummerSlam. Lashley didn’t say anything at all, even when Goldberg finished up with, ‘You’re Next’. On his way out, Goldberg fist-bumped his son. Lashley got in the boy’s face. MVP sent him to pose in the ring while he trashed-talked the child. Goldberg reappeared, speared MVP, and threatened to kill Lashley if he messes with his boy.
♦ There was some audio overplay weirdness during McIntyre’s entrance for Veer & Shanky, with Jinder Mahal, vs Drew McIntyre – 2 on 1 Handicap Match – was fine. Drew McIntyre would have made it an easy victory, despite facing a large tag team, if Mahal hadn’t caused a disqualification by hitting McIntyre with a chair.
When he got up, they all had chairs. McIntyre retrieved his sword. Mahal swung the chair and McIntyre knocked it out of his hand with the sword. Veer lifted his chair and was dropped with a headbutt. Shanky threw his chair down and ran for his life when McIntyre pretended to swing.
Backstage, Jinder and his friends were running scared. They said Drew was a madman and they’re not safe.
McIntyre told Kevin Patrick it was fine because he didn’t finish the job, despite the crowd wanting him to. In Jinder’s case, he might just finish the job. He loves that Mahal gets away every week because it means he gets to have nightmares about him every night. He knows what’s coming.
♦ Nia Jax, with Shayna Baszler, vs Rhea Ripley was a nice surprise. Rhea Ripley is used to being the most powerful competitor in a match and she struggled with being thrown around by Jax. She almost turned it around after dodging Jax’s attempt to squish her head against the ring post for a second time. But her senton from the apron found Baszler instead and Jax Samoan dropped her against the barricades.
After a break, Ripley got her bearings and a second wind. A missile dropkick gave her a two count, but something she landed had Jax bleeding heavily from near her eye. So much blood I’m surprised the ref didn’t stop it and get Jax checked out. Baszler got on the apron to prevent Ripley’s Riptide, but she pinned Jax with a rollup as Jax came at her from behind.
Jax and Baszler screamed at each other after the match. Baszler took her jacket off ready to fight but walked away instead. With Baszler gone, Ripley got back into the ring, kicked Jax in the head, and gave her a Riptide.
♦ MACE & T-BAR vs Mustafa Ali & Mansoor was, apparently, not the one-time deal Ali said it would be. Mansoor’s enthusiasm is still annoying Ali, but MACE took his mind off it when he shoved him from the apron to the barricades. T-BAR put him down again by running through him at ringside. Meanwhile, Mansoor was legal and alone. They couldn’t pin him, and Ali immediately knocked MACE off the apron when he tagged in. Mansoor gave MACE a suicide dive that put him on the announce desk.
Things went wrong when T-BAR kicked Mansoor into the ropes while Ali was climbing. Ali fell so Mansoor tried to take over. MACE probably didn’t need to guard Ali while T-BAR pinned Mansoor, but he did anyway.
Ali took the double chokeslam after the match. He knew it was coming and pushed Mansoor out of the ring to stop him from helping him.
♦ If today’s reports are true, Charlotte is now the only Flair in WWE. She didn’t discuss that when she came to the ring to address the WWE Universe. Instead, she talked about Simone Biles withdrawing from the Olympics and compared that to Nikki A.S.H. cashing in on her. It was uncomfortable.
She’s decided that cashing in the briefcase is the most cowardly way to win a title. There’s no contest. It’s theft. She’s been cashed in on three times. As she spoke, she got some toys from under the ring that she wants to hit Nikki with later.
Cashing in on her is cashing in on her hard work to make a name for themselves. Last week she asked for a one-on-one match to prove her superiority, but A.S.H. stood up and said she could still beat her. So she punched her in the face and tonight she’s going to beat her in a match where there’s no disqualification, no count-outs, and no hiding. Anything goes.
To prove Flair’s point, Nikki snuck up behind her and hit her with a chair.
♦ Kevin Patrick asked Eva Marie and Doudrop about Natalya’s injury, sustained against Doudrop last week. Doudrop looked sad but didn’t get to speak. Eva Marie said who cares about Natalya. What we should be concerned about was the smear campaign by Alexa Bliss and Lilly. Before the Eva-Lution, Doudrop was probably scared and working on a farm somewhere – or, you know, wrestling for NXT UK after a decade on the indies – Last week, Natalya paid the price for stepping in front of the Eva-Lution, and this week so will Tamina.
Doudrop, with Eva Marie, vs Tamina, followed. Tamina was carrying both the tag belts. The commentary showed Natalya’s injury, confirming it was ankle ligaments requiring a surgical fix. Tamina was angry and eager to finish the match fast. Eva Marie got on the apron when Doudrop was in trouble and distracted Tamina by shouting then backing off and holding her attention until Doudrop arrived.
Doudrop lost the match because Eva Marie demanded she did her crossbody immediately. She missed and got pinned off a Samoan drop.
Alexa Bliss and Lilly appeared on the big screen while Eva Marie was talking to Doudrop. Through laughter, she declared the loser of the match was Eva Marie.
♦ Riddle and Damian Priest chatted backstage. Riddle isn’t worried about Omos breaking his new scooter because he has the power of Randy Orton in his veins and so many voices in his head he can’t keep track. Priest believed him. Priest was about to go on Miz TV. He wasn’t worried about any shenanigans, suggesting Morrison might end up in a matching chair to Miz if they tried anything.
It was obvious Miz TV was going to go badly when Miz said he couldn’t help his feelings of disdain for their guest. They reminded everyone Priest is the reason Miz is injured and accused him of cheating by ripping Sheamus’ mask off.
Priest had to fight the CM Punk chants to say Sheamus was cleared and actually showed up. Unlike Miz. He queried Miz’s injury and whether he’ll ever wrestle again, and if the injury was to his knee or caused by lack of balls.
Miz was incensed and said if he wasn’t in that wheelchair he’d slap the taste out of Priest’s mouth. Priest leaned in close and told him to do it. When he didn’t, he talked about slapping bullies, called Morrison “Johnny Sidekick”, and called Miz a “loudmouth Jackass who will use anyone to get ahead, including his best friend”. Miz kind of proved his point by threatening him with Morrison.
Priest was annoyed. He’d come on Miz TV to officially challenge Sheamus, but now he wanted to fight them. He stopped Miz spraying him with a Dripstick and threw Morrison out of the ring, then advanced on Miz and emptied three Dripsticks on him.
Sonya Deville made Damian Priest vs John Morrison official during the break. In another world (promotion), in another time, this is a great match. In the here and now it was ok. Miz sprayed water in Priest’s eyes to give Morrison the advantage. It didn’t last and Priest won with South of Heaven.
Sheamus attacked Priest after the match and Morrison helped by holding him still. Ricochet ran down to make the save.
If you’ve been watching WWE for any length of time, you’ll know that Damian Priest & Ricochet vs John Morrison & Sheamus started after the break. The floor was so wet Morrison sent Ricochet sliding into the steps. In the end, Ricochet took Sheamus down on the outside with a moonsault so Priest could deliver The Reckoning to Morrison and pin him for a second time. The commentary called it The Reckoning instead of Hit the Lights, and they did last week too, so I’m guessing it’s got its name back now Mia Yim’s Reckoning is no longer around.
♦ Bobby Lashley says he hopes Goldberg brings his son to SummerSlam so he can watch him annihilate him. Match on then.
♦ Before Riddle vs Omos, Omos told Kevin Patrick that Riddle’s scooter came first. Riddle’s spine was next. AJ Styles was not with his tag partner. Riddle jumped on Omos’ back before Omos had taken his coat off. Omos threw him off then just threw him. Riddle tried the stick and move strategy. For around fifteen seconds, it worked. Then Omos grabbed him by the throat and powered him over the top rope. He followed him out and chucked him into the timekeeper’s area. Riddle made it back in at nine, but Omos knocked him off the apron all the way to commentary. Again, he was back in at nine and trying to stick and move. It didn’t work. Omos picked him up by the head and slammed him into the mat for the three.
♦ Alexa Bliss, from her playground, was telling us about all the serial killers Lilly has influenced when Doudrop attacked her from behind and kicked her while she was down. Eva Marie picked up Lilly and told her she’s much uglier and grosser in person. She declared it the Eva-lution and they left. Lilly stood up after they’d gone.
♦ SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair was hanging out with Megan Thee Stallion at Lollapalooza this weekend.
♦ Karrion Kross vs Keith Lee, again, was prefaced by a Kross promo video. All our days are numbered, and Keith Lee’s time is up. He’s going to Fall and Pray. Kross suplexed Lee into the stairs going into the break, which gives you a fair hint at the tone of the match. Kross had a lot of it his own way, but even he begged as Lee readied himself to slap his nipples off his chest. His pleas were ignored. Kross couldn’t get the Saito suplex, so he smacked Lee across the back of the head and put on the Kross Jacket. He couldn’t lock it completely, and Lee powered out. One Spirit Bomb later, and it’s one all.
♦ Rhea Ripley said her match with Nia Jax was brutal but not as brutal as a no holds barred match. She hopes Nikki beats the hell out of Charlotte, but she’ll be walking out of SummerSlam as champion.
♦ Reggie explained Reginald was just the name he used to get his foot in the door. Now he’s his true self, he’s Reggie and he’s 24/7 Champion. 24/7 rules were suspended for the duration of Reggie vs Akira Tozawa. It wasn’t a long match, but it was entertaining. Tozawa discovered you can’t pin what you can’t catch, and it’s hard to catch an acrobat. Reggie pinned him like he pinned R-Truth, by flipping over to him and sitting on him.
♦ Kevin Patrick asked Nikki A.S.H. if she’d ever been in such a dangerous match. She said no and she doesn’t know what to expect, but that’s part of being almost a superhero. You don’t know what to expect, you just have to give it your absolute best. She challenged Flair to a rematch because she knows she can beat her. And if she does, she’ll prove that if you believe in yourself you can be almost a superhero.
Nikki A.S.H. vs Charlotte Flair – No Holds Barred – was the main event. Flair cleared the announce desk while the crowd asked for tables. She gave them what they wanted, but A.S.H. shoved her into the ring post and delayed its use.
Rhea Ripley was shown watching backstage and you had to wonder if she’d stay there. Especially as Flair was beating seven bells out of Nikki. She speared her through a barricade heading into the final break.
When we came back, there was a table propped up in the corner, but it was unbroken. Twice, Flair could have pinned A.S.H. but chose to pull her up and yell about it being her title. When she went to get some chairs, Nikki dropkicked one into her face and Tornado DDT’d her from the apron. Ripley liked that.
She probably liked Flair smacking A.S.H. to the ground and tossing her over a barricade a lot less. A.S.H. got back up and launched herself off it. Flair caught her and powerbombed her through the announce desk. A.S.H. had to be dragged back into the ring and she still wasn’t moving once there. She kicked out when Flair tried to pin her with a foot on her chest.
A.S.H. was crying after Flair’s kick in the stomach, but she dodged the spear and Flair put herself through a table. Nikki crawled over to cover, but Flair kicked out. The table cut her back up though. That was her last kick out. Nikki A.S.H. delivered a swinging neckbreaker with Flair’s feet on the ropes and pinned her.
She celebrated with fans to close the show.
That main event was somehow more violent because it used fewer toys. No one got hit with a broom or a kendo stick, but Nikki A.S.H. went through a barricade and the announce desk. That, and a couple of entertaining matches, made this an average RAW rather than an outright bad one. I know all these storylines have to be built within a limited time, but tonight’s episode dragged.