Extreme Rules was fun but lacked the promised element of Extreme. The opening of tonight’s show was decided last night. It’s Big E versus Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship. Damian Priest and Sheamus have a No Count Out, No Disqualification match for the United States Championship. And RAW Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair, will be issuing an open challenge. Of course, anything that’s set up tonight could be rendered irrelevant when the WWE Draft 2021 starts on Friday.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Big E vs Bobby Lashley – No Contest
Angel Garza def. Erik
Reggie vs Ricochet – No Contest
Keith ‘Bearcat’ Lee def. Akira Tozawa
Damian Priest def. Sheamus
Jinder Mahal, Veer, & Shanky def. Jeff Hardy, Mustafa Ali, & Mansoor
Karrion Kross def. Jaxson Ryker
AJ Styles def. Riddle
Charlotte Flair def. Doudrop
Big E def. Bobby Lashley
♦ Big E (C) vs Bobby Lashley – WWE Championship match – did open the show. No talking except for the Extreme Rules recap, just straight into a match. I love it when RAW gets straight into it. Big dudes giving each other a big battering, although in the opening minutes, it was mostly Lashley doing the battering. Big E was bleeding from the mouth before Lashley rammed his spine into the barricade and bounced his head off the post. He came back with a big suplex on the outside going into the break, but Lashley was back in control when we returned.
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander showed up as Big E took Lashley off the apron with a suicide dive, wearing their Hurt Business t-shirts. They stared at Big E while he was outside the ring, and exchanged a look with Lashley before he delivered what would probably have been the winning spear. Before a count could happen, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods arrived and started brawling with Benjamin and Alexander. Kingston and Alexander rolled into the ring and fell on Big E and Lashley, breaking the pin and causing the match to be thrown out.
Officials couldn’t separate them. Adam Pearce came out and yelled at everyone. He’s not going to leave the title match without a finish. To make sure there’s no outside interference, the match will take place in a steel cage.
The New Day played to the crowd together heading into the ads. Will they be split up again on Friday?
♦ Erik, with Ivar, vs Angel Garza, with Humberto Carrillo, included a pitch from Garza and Carrillo to be kept together in the draft. The match was short. Erik planted Garza into the mat. Garza ripped his stripper pants off amid a flurry of offence and tried unsuccessfully to make Erik submit. Garza was struggling to cope with Erik’s response until Carrillo cause a distraction. Ivar came around to deal with Carrillo but it was too late and Garza delivered the Wing Clipper for the win.
♦ Reggie vs Ricochet – 24/7 Championship match – started great. It would have been fun if it had been allowed a finish. Drake Maverick, Drew Gulak, and R-Truth were in the front row waiting for 24/7 rules to come back into play once the match was over. Annoyingly, they didn’t wait for a finish. They attacked Reggie and Ricochet while they were down on the outside from a Ricochet dive.
Reggie tried to escape while Ricochet was making them question their actions but Drake Maverick radioed Akira Tozawa. He chased Reggie back to the ring but was felled by a crossbody before the champ made his escape.
♦ Riddle is alone tonight. Randy Orton has taken some time away, both to recuperate and to lessen the chances of him RKO’ing Riddle unconscious. He’ll be there in Riddle’s heart when he faces AJ Styles, but that’s probably not going to save Riddle from Omos. He might have realised that when their arrival interrupted him singing tunelessly to Orton’s theme.
♦ Akira Tozawa demanded a match tonight and he didn’t care who it was against. He suggested R-Truth, Drew Gulak, or Drake Maverick. He got Keith Lee.
Akira Tozawa vs Keith ‘Bearcat’ Lee was very short. Tozawa was thrown around and flattened and that was the end of that.
♦ Big E is not impressed with the reappearance of Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander. But nothing is going to stop him walking out of that cage as WWE Champion. He promised he’d cash in and he did it. He said they’d win last night and they did it. Now he’s calling this.
♦ In a video clip before Damian Priest (C) vs Sheamus – United States Championship match, No Count Out, No Disqualification – Priest said that once he’d pinned Sheamus in front of the whole world, there will be no more chances for him. Pin or submission were the only outcomes for this one, and the chances of submitting Sheamus are minute. He was confident of getting his title back according to his video promo.
Sheamus put himself and Priest through a ringside table with White Noise, before a break, and had a kendo stick when we came back. He paid for showboating and mocking Priest’s archer pose when Priest got the kendo stick and hit him out of the air with it then just kept hitting.
They were both wearing some impressive welts on their backs by the time Sheamus took a seat in the ring and waited for Priest to recover from a trip into the post, but there was more punishment to come on both sides. Priest threw that same chair at him later, while he was going for a Brogue Kick. The failed pin attempts stacked up, each looking like it should have been a finish. Sheamus went through a table propped in the corner, after reversals upon reversals to get him there, and The Reckoning secured the win for the champ.
Please put them on separate brands.
♦ Mustafa Ali is not happy that Mansoor set up a six-man tag against Jinder Mahal, Veer, and Shanky. He’s also not happy that Mansoor asked Jeff hardy to be their partner. Mansoor, on the other hand, was super-excited about teaming with a legend. Ali was mouthing off about what he’d say to Hardy when Mansoor was the only one who could hear him, but changed his tune when Hardy arrived and told him it was an honour.
Jeff Hardy, Mustafa Ali, & Mansoor vs Jinder Mahal, Veer, & Shanky was another very short match. Enthusiastic Mansoor was dispatched early on, and arrogant Ali got pinned by Veer after tagging himself in on Jeff Hardy. Commentary were talking Veer up, so we’ll see where that goes.
♦ Karrion Kross used a lot of words to say he’s going to keep destroying people wherever he ends up. Everyone will Fall and Pray. If he could lose the ‘new look’ and have Scarlett back, he might be a serious contender, but that mask looks ridiculous. I’m not sure if longer matches would work in his favour or not, but Karrion Kross vs Jaxson Ryker was sub-two-minutes which is just boring. Ryker tapped out rather than going to sleep.
♦ Sonya Deville got a dig in about Naomi not deserving to be on the SmackDown roster while granting Doudrop the chance at Charlotte Flair’s open challenge. Deville made her promise to do her dance if she wins. She won’t win, of course, but I just want to see her actually wrestling.
♦ Bobby Lashley still doesn’t think Big E is the rightful champion because he cashed in on him when he was hurt. He’s happy it will finish in a steel cage so he can right that wrong.
♦ Riddle vs AJ Styles, with Omos, was good, but I’m bored of this feud. One question I’ve never adequately had answered is, why in the name of all things professional wrestling sports entertainment does AJ Styles need any kind of bodyguard? Omos’ main job in this one was to stand at ringside and look angry whenever Riddle was doing well. He must have been furious when Riddle kicked Styles off the top rope Phenomenal Forearm setup and nearly kicked his teeth in. And they showed him being furious when Riddle got to the ropes to break the calf-crusher. He cheered up after Styles got the win with a Styles Clash though.
Styles gave him the nod after the match and waited on the apron while he picked Riddle up and chokeslammed him.
♦ Shayna Baszler looked like she was in pain when Sarah Schreiber asked her to explain what she felt when she realised how badly she’d hurt Nia Jax (Jax requires surgery for a fractured elbow according to a WWE press release). She just gave her a tortured look and walked away instead of answering.
♦ I like to think Charlotte Flair (C) vs Doudrop – RAW Women’s Championship match – was Doudrop’s reward for having to put up with Eva Marie. I still got annoyed when commentary talked about Doudrop getting a masterclass from Flair, but at least this was a proper match. It took seconds for Flair to realise it wasn’t going to be an easy night for her.
Of course, this is WWE so we’re not allowed nice things. Eva Marie’s mid-match arrival distracted Doudrop while she was very much in control of The Queen. Flair hit her from behind and delivered Natural Selection for the quick and sneaky win. The match had barely got into its stride and still didn’t showcase Doudrop properly.
Eva Marie posed in the ring like she’d won the match, so Flair clotheslined her to the canvas.
♦ It’s ladies night on NXT 2.0 tomorrow. Both the NXT Women’s Championship and the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships will be defended.
♦ Goldberg had a message for Bobby Lashley. He hopes Lashley’s a better father than he is a liar. He knows Lashley knew exactly what he was doing when he put Gage in the Hurt Lock at SummerSlam. Now he’s going to hurt or kill him and he’s going to enjoy every second of it.
♦ Back in the ring, Eva Marie said she would have beaten Charlotte Flair if she’d had the opportunity Doudrop had. She’s sick of being taken advantage of and tired of the disrespect. She could beat any one of the women in the locker room and they all know it.
Shayna Baszler came out to give her an opportunity to prove that. Eva Marie didn’t run away fast enough. She tapped in the Kirifuda Clutch, but it wasn’t a match so Baszler put her to sleep anyway. Not content with making her nap, Baszler decided to snap some stuff. She started by kicking at Eva Marie’s shoulder and finished by stamping on her elbow on the steps.
There were no conflicted emotions on Baszler’s face this time. She enjoyed it. The booing only started when she ignored the crowd’s ‘One More Time’ chant, but officials wouldn’t let her do it again anyway.
And just like that, Shayna Baszler is an accidental babyface.
♦ Sarah Schreiber asked Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley how they found success together so fast. Ripley said they’re complete opposites but it works. Nikki wants them to get matching outfits… but I don’t think Ripley’s going to go for that. They’re not worried about the draft though. While they’re tag champs they get to go where they want.
♦ Big E (C) vs Bobby Lashley – WWE Championship, Steel Cage Match – started a little early when Lashley attacked Big E while he was trying to get into the cage. He absolutely destroyed Big E on the outside, utilising the barricades, the cage, and the steps, including hitting Big E in the back with the top half of the steps.
They were both in the cage after a break and Big E was shouting for the bell, but he could barely stand. He found a burst of something when the bell went, but it didn’t last long and he took some serious punishment early on.
Big E only got back into it in fits and starts, with Lashley shutting him down every time. They tussled on the side of the cage when Lashley tried to climb out of the cage, and Lashley fell to the floor after having his head rammed into the steel. Big E climbed to the top, but Benjamin and Alexander arrived and climbed the other side to knock him back down.
Lashley went for the door and Xavier Woods slammed it on his head. Kingston climbed the cage and dropped onto Benjamin and Alexander heading into the final break.
Back to one on one in the locked cage, with everyone else having been removed from ringside during the ads, both competitors were struggling to stay upright. Big E built some momentum, which was halted by a spear. Somehow, he kicked out, but Lashley was back in control.
Lashley thought he could just walk out, but Big E wasn’t going to let that happened. He tried three times with no success. After the third one, he took a Big Ending and kicked out. Big E took a spinebuster after he attempted to walk out. Lashley tried again to climb the cage. Big E followed and brought them both down with a Big Ending from the second rope. Finally, that was enough.
Drew McIntyre arrived while Big E was celebrating. He was banned from challenging for the title while Lashley was champion, but now Big E has got it and has put Lashley behind him, he wants next. All this was conveyed by him pointing Angela at Big E and Big E nodding in response. Draft permitting, that should be excellent.
Tonight’s RAW might well have been more extreme than Extreme Rules. We had a steel cage match and a No DQ, which is one more stipulation match than the PPV had. My only real complaint is how many matches are coming in at 2-3 minutes. All in all, a nice high-energy episode with a sprinkling of title matches and very little filler because there’s no point in building feuds when we don’t know where everyone will end up. Join us next week for WWE Draft 2021, Night 2, to find out.