Absolutely no matches on the preview for tonight’s show. Randy Orton is coming back. Bobby Lashley is going to talk about SummerSlam and Charlotte Flair is going to talk about losing to Nikki A.S.H. again.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Drew McIntyre def. Baron Corbin
Karrion Kross def. Jeff Hardy
Alexa Bliss def. Doudrop
Sheamus def. Ricochet
Damian Priest def. John Morrison
T-BAR def. Mustafa Ali
Nikki A.S.H. def. Rhea Ripley (DQ)
Randy Orton def. AJ Styles
♦ Randy Orton opened the show. His first time back in front of fans. He barely got further than welcoming everyone before Riddle came to join him.
Riddle was a happy puppy, enthusing about how much he missed him. He looked so sad when Orton said he didn’t want to team with him anymore. Apparently, it brought up some difficult childhood memories for him.
AJ Styles and Omos came out to mock Riddle. He did point out the Orton has turned on everyone he’s ever worked with, which is true, but he was mean about Orton breaking his heart hurting more than Omos breaking his scooter and throwing him about.
Orton told Styles the only thing bigger than his ego was Omos. Styles didn’t argue but objected to him calling Omos a jackass. He also challenged Orton to a match.
Orton accepted and tried to RKO him, but Styles was too quick and fell out of the ring to get away. He tried it Omos, but Omos shoved him out of the ring. Riddle tried it too, but Omos caught him and chokeslammed him.
As Riddle rolled out of the ring he reached for Orton, but he walked away. He did, however, stop a couple of times on his way out and let him catch up a bit.
♦ Baron Corbin is on RAW because he needs the money. Shinsuke Nakamura took his crown. His car and house have been repossessed. And his wife has taken the kids and left him. He’s been living in a production truck, so when Jinder Mahal rang and offered him the chance to fight Drew McIntyre, he had to take it. He’s not happy about fighting a guy who could decapitate him with a giant sword, but he’s got to turn things around.
Drew McIntyre believes Jinder Mahal and friends are scared of him and hiring Corbin proves that. He has no sympathy for him. Corbin was a genuinely terrible person and he thinks that the Orlando crowd would enjoy seeing him beat his ass. He talked about the sword being named Angela after his late mother. She sounds like a special woman and she’s part of the reason he has no time for Corbin’s whining.
Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin did not improve Corbin’s luck. He had a few moments in the match where it looked hopeful for him, but it didn’t last. He almost got out of being Claymored, by begging so pathetically that McIntyre asked him how much money he needed to get a room a meal and a shower. When Corbin said $100,000, McIntyre opted for the Claymore.
Jinder Mahal came to the ramp with Veer and Shanky after the match, but McIntyre pulled out Angela and they backed off again.
♦ Riddle asked Orton if they could still be friends and if he could be in his corner when he faces AJ Styles. Orton’s lack of response was a clear no and Riddle’s heart broke again in real-time when Orton told him not to call him Bro.
♦ Karrion Kross vs Jeff Hardy was Kross’ chance to get some pride back for ruining his debut. From his promo video, it sounds like Kross has been stewing on it. His track record does suggest he holds a grudge and the opening moments of the match backed that up. Hardy turned things around by sending Kross into the steps then squishing him against the barricade by flying into him. Kross was back in control at the break after he knocked Hardy down as he was setting up for the Swanton.
After the break, it was a proper back and forth, nowhere near the revenge beating Kross was expecting to deliver. He struggled to cope with Hardy and almost got pinned a few times. He got his pride back via a Saito suplex and the Kross Jacket. Hardy tapped rather than passing out.
Karrion Kross repeated the Saito suplex and Kross Jacket after the match.
♦ Kevin Patrick spoke to a very sad Riddle after a promo package for Riddle and Randy Orton’s… friendship? He was excited to see Orton, but he doesn’t want to be his friend anymore and he doesn’t know what to do. If Randy wants to be alone he’s got to respect. He cheered up and zoomed off on his scooter to do Riddle things.
♦ Alexa Bliss, with Lilly, vs Doudrop, with Eva Marie, came about after Doudrop and Eva Marie attacked Bliss last week for laughing at them. Eva Marie posed like it was her match. Bliss sat Lilly in the corner to watch, so Eva Marie tried to sit on top of another corner. The ref shooed her out. “Evil” Bliss is very popular with the crowd. Eva Marie, not so much. Doudrop had to save her from Bliss mid-match and threw her into the barricade.
Doudrop told Bliss Lilly couldn’t help her now and told Lilly she was a stupid, dirty, doll. She looked at Bliss’ ominous grin, then back at Lilly. Lilly winked at her and a chime went off. Doudrop was so shocked Bliss rolled her up and pinned her.
Eva Marie didn’t believe her after the match and yelled a lot.
♦ John Morrison and The Miz still have a problem with Damian Priest. Sheamus still has a problem with Morrison for costing him his match against Priest last week. Threats were made against Morrison if he doesn’t get the job done against Priest tonight.
Sheamus was on his way for Sheamus vs Ricochet. Another United States Championship Contender’s Match. The more they do this beat the champ to face the champ thing, the more I hate it. If the champ has a non-title match and the challenger wins, fine, give them a title shot. But for that to be THE method of getting a title shot is wearying. By the time they’ve found a way to redo the contender’s match a couple of times, added in a tag match or two and redone the title match at least once whatever the result, I end up wanting one of them to move brands.
Ricochet took the match into the break by dropkicking Sheamus into the announce desk, then flying from the top rope to take them both over it. Decent enough match. Sheamus won it with a Brogue kick after Ricochet’s head bounced off his metal mask in flight from the middle rope. The commentary said Ricochet was going for a headbutt, but surely he’s not that silly.
Damian Priest arrived during Sheamus’ celebrations and got in his face. Words were exchanged and Sheamus backed off only to try a sneak attack. Priest tipped him out of the ring.
Damian Priest vs John Morrison, with The Miz, was fine, good even. I could just have done with another week or two before seeing it again. Miz sprayed Priest with a Dripstick as he set up for The Reckoning. Priest hit it anyway to take the win.
After the match, he emptied all Miz’ Dripsticks over Morrison then approached Miz and grabbed his tie. Miz shoved him away and stood up. He’s definitely healed because he sprinted off up the ramp. Priest grabbed a mic and started to talk about Sheamus. Sheamus arrived and told him to say it to his face… but stayed on the stage. Priest called him a bully and challenged him to a title match at SummerSlam. Sheamus likes being a bully and he doesn’t care what anyone says. He accepted the match though.
John Morrison tried to sneak attack Priest at that point and took a big boot to the face.
♦ Ali told Mansoor he expects him to learn from his mistakes, not apologise for them. He liked the jacket Mansoor got him though. This week he just wanted Mansoor to watch and learn as he showed him how it was done.
Ali, with Mansoor, vs T-BAR, with MACE, was the lesson, one way or the other. MACE and T-BAR want to teach Ali and Mansoor they’re at the bottom of the food chain and they’re at the top. Size always matters. So, Mansoor learned that T-BAR can throw Ali really high, and can hold onto him and roll through after a leap over the top rope. He learned that Ali can be taken down by a huge boot in the face, but kick out, and get his foot on the ropes after a chokeslam backbreaker.
That was the end of the lesson for Mansoor because MACE kicked him in the head at ringside for pointing out the foot on the ropes. He didn’t see Ali’s DDT. He didn’t see him get crotched on the top turnbuckle or take Feast Your Eyes and get pinned. He did get up in time to save Ali from the post-match beating though and cleared the ring by himself.
♦ Akira Tozawa and R-Truth attacked Reggie during a photoshoot but got caught up fighting each other. Reggie had to do some serious acrobatics to get away with his 24/7 title. Truth suggested Reggie was on X-Box mode.
♦ AJ Styles and Omos don’t care that Randy Orton is back, or that he broke up his tag team. He does care if Orton thinks he can stroll back in and go straight to the top of the mountain. Styles is a champion, alongside Omos, and they deserve respect. Orton made a colossal mistake and now they’re going to have to break him and put him back on the sidelines.
♦ MVP feels unfairly treated by the spear he took from Goldberg. He wasn’t threatening his son, he was trying to protect him. He’s got some bruised and cracked ribs to add to his knee injury. The only thing more devastating than a spear from Goldberg is a spear from Bobby Lashley. There was a veiled threat for Goldberg not to bring his son to SummerSlam and MVP sent the boy a message to talk Goldberg out of competing or Lashley would end his career. He went low with it before handing it over to Lashley. Lashley added a warning, aimed at Goldberg, not to allow his son to watch the match because, at SummerSlam, Goldberg’s not next, he’s done.
♦ As part of his charity work, Titus O’Neil gave out 30,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies and provided free health checks like eye tests to the recipients.
♦ Rhea Ripley complimented Nikki A.S.H. heart and guts but doesn’t think ‘Almost’ is good enough to stay the champ. There’s nothing more brutal than a No Holds Barred match and Nikki held her own (and won). She questioned whether Nikki has a dark side because she hasn’t seen it. No amount of belief will protect her from the Nightmare Ripley is ready to unleash tonight and at SummerSlam.
Sarah Schreiber asked Nikki A.S.H. if she was prepared. She said almost superheroes have to be prepared for things not always going their way, but if you have enough belief in yourself then you can achieve your dreams. Her dream might turn into a nightmare tonight but she’ll be ok. She beat Charlotte last week and tonight she’s almost positive she’ll beat Rhea Ripley. The odds are against her at SummerSlam but she’ll do whatever it takes to remain RAW Women’s Champion.
Nikki A.S.H. vs Rhea Ripley, happily, didn’t have a stipulation and was non-title. A.S.H. was bandaged up around her middle as a result of last week but on the outside of her costume. Her arm was strapped as well. Unsurprisingly, Ripley said thanks for the targets and worked the ribs relentlessly. The majority of the match was the champ getting battered. She gave herself some time with a DDT and worked up to rolling Ripley up. Ripley kicked out of that and Nikki reversing the Riptide into a pin attempt. A.S.H resisted a superplex, punched Ripley to the canvas, then won the match via disqualification because Charlotte Flair shoved her off the turnbuckle.
Flair put Ripley down with a big boot (minus the boot), suplexed A.S.H., then gave Ripley Natural Selection. She tore the belt out of the ref’s hands and paraded the ring with it.
Backstage, she told Sarah Schreiber it was a strategic opportunity to rub salt in the wounds. She doesn’t have to be pinned to lose out on the title at SummerSlam and she’s not taking any chances. Nothing is stopping her from becoming champion.
♦ In a segment overlaid with crowds chanting ‘Walk with Elias’, and a sequence of him being hit with his own instrument, Elias threw his guitar into the fire. As he walked away he said, ‘WWE stood for Walk With Elias, but Elias is dead’.
♦ Randy Orton said he cut ties with Riddle because he doesn’t need him, and he works better alone. He doesn’t need friends, he just needs to beat AJ Styles. I think when your opponent’s mate is over seven-foot of ruthless power, everyone needs a friend. Nevertheless, Randy Orton vs AJ Styles, with Omos, went ahead with Orton going solo.
Orton let himself get distracted by Omos, and Styles made him pay. He didn’t learn from it because it happened in a few different ways. The match was a worthy main event by anyone’s standards, but Omos pulled Styles out of the way of Orton’s RKO set up after the draping DDT. They argued and Styles kicked Orton in the head while his attention was elsewhere.
Riddle turned up to help Orton, shoving Omos into the post and leaping on his back to put on a sleeper. Omos slammed his back into the post to get free, but it gave Orton time to RKO Styles out of the Phenomenal Forearm and pin him.
Riddle got in the ring and Orton told him off. Riddle asked for a hug and was insistent enough to put his hand on Orton’s arm to stop him from leaving. Orton relented and hugged him. He let him raise his arm for the crowd, then finally, delivered the RKO we’ve been expecting every time they interacted.
Orton brushed the unconscious Riddle’s hair out of his face and ruffled it. It was a strangely affectionate gesture and Orton was laughing the whole time.
That wasn’t a bad episode of RAW but felt too repetitive to be a good episode. One more RAW to go before a stacked card for SummerSlam.