Bobby Lashley and Goldberg have a face to face on tonight’s go-home for Saturday’s SummerSlam (yep, don’t forget, SummerSlam is Saturday this year). Drew McIntyre has a Handicap Match against Veer and Shanky to decide whether they or McIntyre’s sword, Angela, will be banned from ringside when McIntyre faces Jinder Mahal on Saturday. And Randy Orton goes one-on-one with Omos. Not much of a preview, but it’ll be a busy show.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
AJ Styles def. Riddle
Rhea Ripley def. Nikki A.S.H.
Drew McIntyre def. Veer & Shanky
Damian Priest def. The Miz
Mansoor def. MACE
Randy Orton def. Omos (DQ)
Karrion Kross def. Jeff Hardy
Charlotte Flair & Nia Jax def. Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley
♦ Randy Orton opened the show for a second week running, after a long reminder of his return last week and the RKO on Riddle that has been inevitable from the beginning. He said people have been asking all week why he did it (surely that’s obvious). Riddle just wanted to be his friend but that was the problem. Orton doesn’t need friends and he would have beaten AJ Styles even without Riddle’s help. He’s a 14-time World Champion, The Viper, The Apex Predator etc. and he did it all by himself. He doesn’t owe anyone anything, least of all an explanation.
He proved to Styles that RAW is still his territory and he’s going to prove it to Omos, who he described as an undefeated force of nature and a bit of a jackass. He’s still planning to hit Omos with the RKO.
Riddle arrived with his music turning the O of RKO into Bro. He has his own theory of why he had to take an RKO. It was a lesson. Orton was merely showing him how to deliver the move properly. But he knows now, and he wants to give RK-Bro another shot. We didn’t find out if the attempt to convince Orton he needed him was successful, because Styles and Omos showed up.
Styles was a big fan of Orton RKO’ing Riddle. But he doesn’t think Orton proved anything last week because he had help. He cheated. No one will be able to save him from Omos though. And just because he’s sick of everyone saying “Bro”, he wants a match with Riddle so he can break his jaw and have the doctors wire it shut.
Riddle was up for it as long as he had Randy Orton in his corner. Orton hadn’t agreed to that, but he didn’t RKO him… yet.
Riddle vs AJ Styles started after the break. Randy Orton walked away before the bell and Riddle was immediately in trouble. He stopped halfway up the ramp, then again on the stage, but he did leave the arena. Riddle got his head back in the game and the match was decent. He had to fight his way to the ropes in a calf-crusher, but he was in it for a long time and there was some damage to his leg. Even so, he looked like he might pull off a win until he got distracted by Omos while he was on the turnbuckle. AJ Styles punched his leg out from under him and delivered a Styles Clash for the win.
♦ Nikki A.S.H. told Sarah Schreiber that she’s been thinking about SummerSlam and her opponents. Her outfit reminds her to have confidence in herself and what she’s trying to achieve. She has to bring that confidence out to be almost a superhero and she believes she can retain her title at SummerSlam. I adore Nikki A.S.H, but these promos are hard to watch now. She sounds like a kid trying to remember her lines for the school play.
Nikki A.S.H. vs Rhea Ripley happened again because last week’s match was interrupted by Flair’s attack. Flair came out uninvited before the match started and joined the commentary table. She promised to behave this week. Nikki A.S.H was in control going into the break, having taken down Ripley in front of the announce desk with a crossbody from the apron. Flair was offended by Nikki celebrating in front of her but stayed in her seat. Good match, but there was nothing for A.S.H. to celebrate at the end. She took a boot to the face and a Riptide and got pinned.
Charlotte Flair’s taunting got too much for Nikki A.S.H. after the match. She leapt on her and just kept punching until Flair scrambled into the ring to escape. Ripley clotheslined her to the mat. Nikki dropkicked her. Ripley kicked her in the head and Nikki threw her out of the ring.
♦ Riddle told Kevin Patrick he hadn’t given up on RK-Bro the whole time Orton was away, or even when he took an RKO. But Orton walking away and leaving him with Styles and Omos made him sad.
♦ Jinder Mahal’s pep-talk to Veer and Shanky was half motivational speech and half guilt trip about not wasting the once in a lifetime opportunity he has given them. He accompanied them to the ring for Drew McIntyre vs Veer & Shanky. They had to tag, so at least it wasn’t a straight two on one beatdown. It was more of a one-on-two beatdown. Veer got thoroughly beaten and Shanky took a Michinoku Driver and the finishing Claymore.
Veer tried to steal Angela after the match. McIntyre kicked him in the face and suplexed him at ringside. He set it down to remind Mahal he won’t have his bodyguards at SummerSlam. They’ve known each other for over 10 years and he knows how to hurt Mahal. At SummerSlam he won’t just do that, he’ll humiliate him and create a moment at his expense that will live forever. McIntyre asked the crowd who they thought would win, and it doesn’t look great for Mahal.
♦ MVP told Kevin Patrick that Goldberg spearing him was an insult to Bobby Lashley as well as to him. We can expect Lashley to make Goldberg pay, but he couldn’t say whether that would be tonight or at SummerSlam.
♦ Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce gave Flair two options, to wait to get her revenge on Nikki A.S.H. until SummerSlam or find a partner and they’ll sanction a tag match. Flair said she doesn’t play well with others. They agreed but told her to take it or leave it.
♦ In case we missed Elias throwing his guitar on the fire last week, they showed it again. The Elias persona is dead. Watch this space, I guess.
♦ John Morrison hosted Moist TV with The Miz as his special guest. They haven’t spoken in a week, apparently, so he was ready to hear some answers about the miracle healing of last week. He resisted Miz’ hug and asked went for the questions, starting with an easy one about Miz’ favourite movie. The next one was harder, was Miz faking his injury.
Damian Priest turned up while Miz was trying to convince him he wouldn’t lie to him and stirred the pot. In Miz’ answering tirade, he let slip he’d been cleared a couple of weeks. Morrison was upset but appeared to accept Miz’ explanation… or maybe not. He set up a match for Miz and Priest. Miz couldn’t get out of it, and to add insult to (fake) injury, Priest pushing him in the paddling pool Morrison had as part of the set.
Damian Priest vs The Miz started with Miz still trying to weasel his way out of it with a ton of excuses. Sheamus came out to join commentary and Miz tried to convince him to step in or help. When that didn’t work and Priest got him in the ring, Miz immediately tried to claim reinjury. Only when that failed did he start fighting. Things aren’t fixed between him and Morrison either. Miz reached for a Dripstick, and Morrison withdrew it and watched the rest of the match from the stage. It didn’t take long. Priest kicked Miz in the head and pinned him.
Sheamus got on the announce desk after the match and started yelling about respect and his gold and kicking Priest’s head off. He sounded like a drunk uncle at a wedding.
Backstage, Morrison and Miz argued. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were messing around plugging their merch while Morrison explained how Miz hurt him and the message he was sending. Miz said he understood and he deserved it, and their friendship was saved.
♦ Eva Marie was still berating Doudrop about last week. She has a match with Bliss at SummerSlam and she sent Doudrop to the playground to kidnap Lilly.
Bliss heard them talking from the playground and told Lilly to be on her best behaviour when Doudrop comes to play with them.
When Doudrop turned up, Bliss warned her not to take Lilly. Doudrop ignored her and snatched Lilly away. She stared into the face of Bliss’ doll for a few seconds, then handed her back to Bliss and left.
♦ MACE, with T-BAR, vs Mansoor, with Mustafa Ali, was short. Mansoor got thrown around a lot. Ali got in a cheeky dropkick on MACE to tip him over so Mansoor could pin him.
♦ Omos said he’s going to kill the Legend Killer and Styles said they’d go out afterwards to celebrate the death of RK-Bro.
As Orton arrived for Randy Orton vs Omos, with AJ Styles, he looked apprehensive. Not something you often associated with Orton, but Omos is HUGE. Orton went for an immediate RKO and Omos just shoved him away and sneered at him. The only impact he could make was with Omos’ own momentum.
Sadly for Omos, AJ Styles couldn’t resist kicking Orton when he was down on the outside. The ref caught him and disqualified Omos. Styles put Orton back in the ring and directed Omos to destroy. He threw Orton out the other side and flung him over the barricade one-handed then dragged him back over and put him back in the ring.
Riddle had seen enough and ran to the ring, dodging Styles twice, and dropkicking Omos before kneeing Styles in the face and clotheslining him out. Omos was faced with a choice between helping his injured partner or murdering Riddle. He carried Styles out over his shoulder.
Riddle offered Orton a hand up and Orton took it. He grabbed a mic and said Riddle has earned his respect by having his back even after everything he’s done to him. RK-Bro is back. Orton even initiated the hug. Happy Riddle immediately challenged AJ Styles and Omos for the tag title at SummerSlam.
♦ Jeff Hardy vs Karrion Kross was requested by Hardy because he was angry about the disrespectfulness of Kross’ post-match attack last week. He’s probably also pretty upset about the pre-match attack Kross delivered while he was explaining that.
Nevertheless, the match started after a break. Hardy was still shaking his head and staggering on his way to the ring but he got straight into it. He tapped out semiconscious in the Kross Jacket about a minute later. I have no idea what the point of that was.
♦ Eva Marie slapped Doudrop across the face twice for failing to retrieve Lilly. There better be an epic payback beatdown coming Eva Marie’s way. If there’s anything left when Alexa Bliss has finished with her at SummerSlam.
♦ Reggie evaded R-Truth and Akira Tozawa while sharing some insight into his life, and escaped with the 24/7 title still around his waist.
♦ The man who used to be Elias talked about his hit record and success as we saw footage of him putting up a tombstone for Elias near the smouldering remains of the guitar.
♦ We didn’t find out who Flair’s partner for Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair & Nia Jax would be until Jax’ music started. She let Jax take the first stint, which she started by mocking the RAW Women’s Champion and swatting her offence away. There was some disrespectful smooshing Nikki’s face with her butt, and Flair big booted her on the outside after Jax threw her out of the ring.
Rhea Ripley finally got in to give up a partial preview of the SummerSlam match. Shayna Baszler was shown shuffling cards as she watched from backstage. Flair tagged herself in after Jax had delivered a Samoan drop to Ripley, by slapping Jax’ ass as she was about to drop it. Flair finished the job with the Natural Selection and stole the credit.
♦ AJ Styles doesn’t think RK-Bro have a chance against them on Saturday. He thinks Orton will despise Riddle by then. He’s probably right, but that doesn’t mean they won’t win.
♦ Goldberg addressed MVP and Bobby Lashley talking about his son last week. In a slightly weird move, he introduced his son to the audience then told him he’s the reason he came out of retirement. He wants his son front and centre to see not who his father was, but who he is.
The crowd punctuated MVP’s soliloquy with the familiar ‘What’ calls, which made him even more annoying than normal. He and Lashley said everything you’d expect them to. Lashley is superior to everyone and he’s going to beat him etc.
Goldberg told Lashley, ‘That’s Bullshit’ and speared him. He raised his son’s hand on the stage while Lashley glared at him from the ring to end the show.
There is still too much repetition on every episode of RAW, but we can hope for at least some fresh feuds after this weekend. SummerSlam looks stacked, and with NXT TakeOver 36 on Sunday, it’s going to be a very busy weekend.