The 2021 WWE Draft started on SmackDown on Friday and you can catch up with all the Draft picks so far here. The picks don’t come into force until after Crown Jewel. Goldberg will be on tonight’s RAW, his first live appearance since SummerSlam. And everything else is a mystery.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Damian Priest def. Jeff Hardy
Shayna Baszler def. Dana Brooke
Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo def. Mustafa Ali & Mansoor
Big E & Drew McIntyre def. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley def. Natalya & Tamina
The New Day def. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Bianca Belair def. Charlotte Flair (DQ)
♦ SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch opened the show. She’s eligible to be drafted tonight. RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair was drafted to SmackDown on Friday, but RAW is getting Bianca Belair which is a more than fair exchange.
She was there to announce herself as the first draft pick for Monday Night RAW. She might be SmackDown champ, but she was the longest-reigning RAW champion and she never technically lost the title. Charlotte Flair hasn’t been the same since she beat her, whereas The Man has been better than ever. So it might be time to be Becky Two Belts again.
Flair said some stuff about Lynch being Becky pre-show before she beat her, but she did agree they had some unfinished business.
Bianca Belair came out and said she has some unfinished business with both of them for the cheap shots on Friday and suggested they were intimidated. Flair told her to shush because the champions were having a conversation. She called her on her attitude and the crowd started a ‘Charlotte Sucks’ chant. The ‘You don’t go here’ line is now wearing thin.
Flair said Belair should be asking for her autograph and thanking her for paving the way. Becky Lynch stoked the fire, telling Belair Flair was being disrespectful and pointed out they’ve never fought before. Flair said she only gives out opportunities, not charity.
Before it could get physical, Adam Pearce came to the stage and set Charlotte Flair versus Bianca Belair as the main event of the night. They also announced a tag title rematch – Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley vs Natalya & Tamina – and a United States Championship match to begin after the first round of draft picks.
Draft: Round 1
- Becky Lynch
- Bobby Lashley
- The Usos (Paul Heyman was shown looking thankful backstage as The Usos had been instructed to leave him for dead at RAW if that didn’t happen).
- Sasha Banks
♦ Damian Priest (C) vs Jeff Hardy – United States Championship match – was great, even if there was no reason for Hardy to have been given the match except that he’s going to SmacckDown. Hardy wiped himself out by launching himself off the apron towards Priest. Priest moved, Hardy crashed and burned. Damian Priest’s cannonball off the steps had no such issues, wiping Hardy out again. A Whisper in the Wind after the break put Hardy back in it, but only got him a two count. He got a Twist of Fate and went up for the Swanton, landing it but taking too long to settle into the pin. Priest kicked out and reversed the pin to retain his title, again. Nice show of respect after the match. Always love to see that.
In a post-match interview with Sarah Schreiber, Hardy said he’s been through the highs and lows in WWE and he thinks going to SmackDown might be an opportunity to see a different side of Jeff Hardy, a different ego.
Austin Theory ran down to the ring and apologised for interrupting. He means no disrespect. He introduced himself and fanboyed a bit. He asked for a selfie, got it, then clotheslined Hardy introduced him to his finisher. He took another selfie with him when Jeff Hardy was out on the mat.
♦ RK-Bro will defend their titles against AJ Styles and Omos at Crown Jewel. Kevin Patrick asked them for a reaction. Riddle went off on a weird monologue… they’re starting to sound more and more like he’s coming onto Orton. Randy Orton got them back on track and challenged Omos to a one on one.
Draft: Round 2
- Seth Rollins
- Damian Priest – current United States Champion
- King Nakamura & Rick Boogs – Intercontinental Champion
♦ Shayna Baszler vs Dana Brooke was unexpected, not least because Dana Brooke hasn’t been seen since they moved Mandy Rose to NXT 2.0. It wasn’t a great sign when Brooke didn’t get a televised entrance, but she took it straight to Baszler. Sadly for her, that only served her for about thirty seconds before Baszler took over. Brooke tapped out in a Kirifuda Clutch almost within reach of the ropes.
For some reason, Brooke didn’t run away. Doudrop came down and stopped her becoming the latest victim of Baszler’s elbow stomp on the stairs. Baszler hit Doudrop in the back as she walked away. Not only did Doudrop not go down, she stared Baszler down as she helped Brooke to her feet and hugged her.
Yes!! This is what I want to see for Doudrop. That could be an incredible feud (Edit: But it will have to be quick because they’re on different brands after Crown Jewel).
♦ Kevin Patrick spoke to Paul Heyman about The Usos draft being down to his influence. Things were celebratory and Jimmy and Jey were playing nice until Patrick asked if that was how Heyman maintained Brock Lesnar’s status as a free agent, then they gave Heyman the scary eyes and walked away from him.
♦ Mustafa Ali & Mansoor vs Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo was a really entertaining match. Annoyingly, it was also a really short one. Carrillo smashed Ali’s head into the post without the ref seeing, and Garza pinned him before Mansoor could get there.
Draft: Round 3
- AJ Styles & Omos
- Kevin Owens
- Shayna Baszler
- Xia Li – which explains why she’s been missing for ages.
♦WWE Champion Big E addressed the WWE Universe. He’s sad he’s been split from Kofi and Woods again, as are we all. Bobby Lashley was the most gruelling match of his career, but he proved he’s the rightful WWE Champion. Before he could even breathe, the next challenger appeared and he’s no joke. He invited Drew McIntyre to come and speak his mind, which he did.
He’s been drafted to SmackDown, but he has unfinished business on RAW. Ever since Lashley screwed him out of the chance to take his title back, he’s been biding his time and waiting for someone to liberate the title. Big E deserves to be WWE Champion (the crowd agreed loudly). He’s earned the love he gets from the WWE Universe and the locker room, and he wanted to congratulate him in person. They shook hands and it was nice.
Then came the but. He challenged him to a match for the title and it looked all set, but Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler turned up to spoil everything.
Ziggler is apparently put out because Big E didn’t thank him. He showed some footage of Big E’s main roster debut, as his bodyguard and claimed that without him there is no Big E and no New Day. McIntyre laughed until Ziggler pulled a similar thing on him, claiming he’s the reason he became a star as well. All he wants is a simple thank you for everything he’s done.
There was some arguing, including Robert Roode insisting people call him Big Bob and getting laughed at. Ziggler didn’t get his apology, but we did get to hear McIntyre refer to himself as Big D, and we got a tag match.
Big E & Drew McIntyre vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode was a lot of fun. Big E and McIntyre coexisted well until McIntyre tagged himself in to Claymore Ziggler for the win. They stayed civil though. Big E protected him from a post-match attack from Roode, who took a Big Ending. When McIntyre picked up the title belt, Big E told him he could have a match at Crown Jewel.
♦ Reggie evaded another elaborate setup backstage from the chasing pack. He bumped into Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez, but had to run away from Drake Maverick.
♦ Kevin Owens appeared but didn’t get to speak. Akira Tozawa interrupted him before he got the chance and demanded a match against Reggie for the 24/7 Championship, immediately. Owens gave him a stunner and left.
Draft: Round 4
- Street Profits (this was expected once Bianca Belair moved)
- Finn Balor
- The Viking Raiders – Hopefully that will mean they get used properly.
♦ Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley vs Natalya & Tamina – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match – started with a video clip of Nikki and Rhea talking about being on RAW. Ripley may want to get some tips from Randy Orton on dealing with overenthusiastic tag team partners, but she seems to be dealing well.
Not the longest match, but decent. Nikki was in trouble before she tagged in Ripley, but Rhea Ripley was taking no prisoners and very little punishment. Tamina had to drag Natalya to the ropes to tag herself in, then immediately got kicked off the apron. The finish was lovely teamwork. Nikki A.S.H. dived off the top to the outside and took Natalya and Tamina down. Rhea Ripley dragged Tamina back into the ring for a Riptide then tagged Nikki in and put her on her shoulders. After a brief wobble and a superhero pose, she crashed down on Tamina for the pin.
Draft: Round 5
- Karrion Kross
- Alexa Bliss
- Humberto Carrillo & Angel Garza
♦ Goldberg doesn’t believe that Bobbly Lashley hurt his son by accident. He thinks it was intentional, so he invited Lashley to come to the ring, so he could intentionally break his neck.
Lashley only came as far as the stage. He’s still saying it was a misunderstanding, but he’s not prepared to ruin his suit by getting in the ring and whooping Goldberg’s ass again. The fact Goldberg is still accusing him of doing it deliberately, which he thinks is character assassination and he wants an apology. He’ll give Goldberg the match he wants, at Crown Jewel, but it has to be No Holds Barred
Goldberg was happy with that because it gives him a licence to kill (don’t think it does). The only apology he’s going to make is to Lashley’s kids after he leaves his lifeless body in the ring. Bobby Lashley is next. And he’s dead.
He asked what Goldberg would do if someone jumped on his back? Then Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin did. Alexander got flipped to the mat and took a knee to the face. Benjamin took a spear. I guess that answered that question.
♦ I’m not happy about Seth Rollins coming back to RAW, because he talks too much and says too little. Kevin Patrick tried to ask him about Edge, but Rollins wouldn’t even let him say his name. He’ll deal with that on SmackDown, but tonight he’s celebrating.
♦ The King of the Ring and new Queen of the Ring tournament start on Friday.
♦ The New Day vs Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin was fast and furious and should have been longer. The Street Profits came out after Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods got the win and congratulated them on the win and new Escape The Undertaker movie. Apart from reintroducing themselves to the crowd, that was it. They just had a nice celebratory moment with Woods and Kingston.
♦ Finn Balor and his Demon got a coming soon package. Interesting they included the Demon in that. Does that mean it’s coming out more?
♦ RK-Bro took to the ring for Randy Orton to ask Omos to answer his challenge. He wanted to know if Omos is AJ Styles personal colossus or a big bitch.
That got them out, but Styles did all the talking. They were busy celebrating and Orton is too insignificant to bother with. Omos would destroy him, of course. Then he asked if Orton thought Riddle had enough brain cells left to stop them winning the titles at Crown Jewel. They’re glad they’ve all been drafted to the same brand, so they can shove the titles in their faces and gloat about ending RK-Bro.
Omos was about to respond to the challenge when Orton attacked Styles. He and Omos got face to face, but Orton ducked his charge and RKO’d Styles before rolling out of the ring to escape with Riddle.
♦ Commentary talked about NXT for a while, focusing on Toxic Attraction – Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne.
Draft: Round 6 (Final round)
- Gable Steveson – Do you have to draft someone who hasn’t debuted yet? The live cam from his living room was cute.
- Ridge Holland – Interesting as he’s been Pete Dunne’s sidekick on NXT.
- Sami Zayn
♦ Becky Lynch joined commentary for Charlotte Flair vs Bianca Belair. To tell everyone she didn’t win by being the strongest or most flippy. She beats people by being the smartest.
Annoyingly, as interesting as Lynch’s insights were, none of them were about Flair and Belair having a fantastic first-time-ever main event. Flair chucked Belair over the barricades heading into the final break of the show, but they were back in the ring when we came back. A delayed vertical suplex from Belair got some attention, and Flair getting her knees up for a moonsault. The near falls got a mention, and finally, The Man shut up as Belair evaded Natural Selection, Flair countered a K.O.D. and Belair kicked out of a spear.
It didn’t get a finish. Flair missed with the moonsault and Belair kicked out of the standing moonsault follow up. Belair countered a Figure Eight attempt into a small package then delivered a K.O.D. (albeit a little awkwardly). Before she could make the pin, Becky Lynch pulled her out of the ring and destroyed her on the outside before finishing with a Manhandle Slam in the ring.
While Lynch was posing and preening, Sasha Banks attacked her from behind and dished out double knees in the corner to both of them. When Lynch came back at her, Banks gave her a backstabber.
The draft picks continued after the show. Dana Brooke, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, Jaxson Ryker, Veer, Liv Morgan, Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, Tamina, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, and The Miz moved to RAW. Shotzi, Natalya, Jinder Mahal, and Shanky moved to SmackDown. There are several undrafted superstars, including Bayley who will presumably be allocated a brand once she’s back from injury. Hopefully, she’ll bring a tag partner, because after splitting Shotzi & Nox and Natalya & Tamina, the women’s tag division is looking a little limited.