Big E and Drew McIntyre are teaming again tonight, against the Dirty Dawgs. Considering they have a match on Thursday at Crown Jewel, I can’t see that going well. The last semi-final of the Queen’s Crown tournament will decide whether Shayna Baszler or Doudrop face Liv Morgan in Thursday’s final. Xavier Woods looks to get one step closer to his King of the Ring dreams by beating Jinder Mahal in their semi-final match. The winner meets Finn Balor in the final. Street Profits take on RK-Bro. And Bianca Belair gets the first of two chances to become a champion again. She’s challenging RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair tonight, and at Crown Jewel, she fights for the SmackDown title in a triple-threat against Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review.
Xavier Woods def. Jinder Mahal
Austin Theory def. Jeff Hardy
WWE Champion Big E & Drew McIntyre def. The Dirty Dawgs
Mansoor def. Cedric Alexander
The Street Profits def. RK-Bro (DQ)
Doudrop def. Shayna Baszler
Finn Balor def. MACE
Bianca Belair def. Charlotte Flair (DQ)
♦ Charlotte Flair opened the show to complain about her welcome, or lack thereof. It’s her last night on RAW before the draft kicks in and she’s off to SmackDown. She’s offended about having to defend her title against Bianca Belair, calling her a rookie and a flash in the pan and accusing WWE of favouritism. Belair’s not even on the roster yet and she’s got two title matches this week.
Honestly, the entitled complaining is kind of dull but the gist is Belair might have beaten everyone else but she’s the mountain she can’t climb.
Bianca Belair eventually arrived to break the monotony. She said there’s no favouritism, this is justice served. She shows up and she shows out and she shines. She’s taking the title tonight and she’s coming back from Crown Jewel with two. Belair also needs a new schtick. She’s great on the mic but her promos are starting to feel too recycled.
Flair punched her when Belair asked, ‘How’s that for a rookie’. Belair didn’t quite manage to get the K.O.D. she went for, but she did get to handstand kick Flair off the apron.
♦ If he beats Jinder Mahal, Xavier Woods will be one step closer to fulfilling his destiny and following in the footsteps of all the great Kings of the Ring before. Kofi Kingston will be accompanying him to the ring to neutralise Veer and Shanky. On Thursday, Woods will sit on the throne with the crown on his head as King Xavier Woods, first of his name.
Xavier Woods, with Kofi Kingston, vs Jinder Mahal, with Veer and Shanky – King of the Ring Semi-final – was tense. I’ve heard Xavier Woods talk about wanting to be King of the Ring for years and I want this for him. And I don’t trust WWE to give us nice things.
Going into the break, Mahal tossed Woods out of the ring and he crashed into the steps on the way down. He was struggling when we came back, but still in it. Shanky got on the apron when Woods started coming back. Woods knocked him off on his way to the top, but Mahal caught him coming down with a Khallas. Woods grabbed the bottom rope to prevent the pin.
After knocking Mahal down from the corner, Woods elbow drop from the top rope took him three-quarters of the way across the ring. It was enough. Xavier Woods versus Finn Balor for the King of the Ring crown on Thursday.
♦ Sarah Schreiber’s interview with Austin Theory about his victory over Jeff Hardy got interrupted by the 24/7 pack. Reggie got away unscathed. R-Truth stopped to call Austin Theory an angry man and tell him he’ll give him a match as long as Theory gets a permission note from his mommy to stay up late.
♦ The build package for Bobby Lashley and Goldberg’s No Holds Barred match was as good as it could be with what they had to work with. Goldberg’s death threats were well-documented. There will be a No Holds Barred interview later.
♦ Austin Theory vs R-Truth would have been fun, but R-Truth said he’d accepted the match on behalf of his friend. We got Austin Theory vs Jeff Hardy again instead. Hardy is off to SmackDown after tonight, so it was his last chance to get some pride back. It was a hard-fought battle and, if Theory hadn’t thrown himself onto the rope when Hardy went up for the Swanton, that might have been what happened. Instead, Austin Theory got the win and another selfie for his collection.
While Theory was admiring his photography skills, Jeff Hardy gave him a Twist of Fate and added a victory selfie of his own to Theory’s phone.
♦ Drew McIntyre and Big E apologised for their respective parts in their falling out last week and agreed to coexist this week. They’re going to have one hell of a match on Thursday, and may the best man win. McIntyre’s looked like he was having the best time while Big E was yelling his own intro into the mic.
♦ Charlotte Flair interrupted Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville talking about next week’s season premiere, to accuse them of conspiring against her by making her defend the title against Belair.
♦ Big E & Drew McIntyre vs The Dirty Dawgs – was good. It was going well for the champ and challenger until Big E wiped himself out when Roode rolled away from a splash on the apron. Ziggler immediately went for a Famouser on the outside, but Big E dumped him into the timekeeper’s area. He turned straight into Roode and got thrown into the steps.
Back from the ads, Big E was isolated in the Dirty Dawgs’ corner. The one time he got close to a tag, Roode distracted the ref and McIntyre missed the tag looking at him. Of course, the tag eventually came and McIntyre was dropping Dawgs right left and centre. He and Big E nearly crashed into each other, courtesy of Roode, and McIntyre suffered a distraction when Ziggler dragged Big E off the apron.
Roode and Ziggler took control but a finisher each wasn’t enough to keep McIntyre down. Roode was taken care of with a Glasgow kiss and Drew McIntyre tagged in Big E to put Ziggler away with the Big Ending.
McIntyre and Big E shook hands after the match and exchanged a few words about Thursday. It got intense but not heated. Their match will be worth watching the PPV for all on its own.
♦ The Street Profits hyped up their match against RK-Bro and RK-Bro’s match against AJ Styles & Omos. Styles and Omos joined them to add more hype, and to dangle a theoretical tag title shot in front of them if they hurt RK-Bro tonight. That’s dependent on Styles and Omos winning, of course. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins laughed at them and left.
♦ Kevin Owens is headed back to RAW next week. Let’s all cross our fingers they actually do something good with him this time instead of wasting him on ‘bits’.
♦ Mansoor vs Cedric Alexander was Mansoor’s first match alone after Mustafa Ali attacked him last week. He has a chance to get some revenge on Ali at Crown Jewel, but Cedric Alexandr seems like a hell of a warm-up match. Good match, not a long match, but he did get the win.
Ali came to the stage and told him he’s going to finally wipe the smile off his face in his hometown on Thursday. Mansoor told him to shut up and called him a piece of trash. He wasn’t smiling then, but he will be on Thursday when he proves Ali is nothing more than a pathetic cowardly excuse for a man.
♦ Naomi, The Miz, Maryse, and Drew McIntyre appeared on Top Chef Family Style, which we can’t get in the UK but BT Sport forgot to blank out.
♦ Bobby Lashley and Goldberg were interviewed remotely from separate locations. Goldberg said his death threats weren’t idle, that’s what he’s going to do. Lashley said he could have him arrested, but he’s going to beat him again instead. Stupidly, Lashley asked how Goldberg’s son feels about everything his dad’s saying, which just wound Goldberg up.
Anyway, long and repetitive story short, Lashley’s going to end Goldberg’s career (I think he’s a little late) and Goldberg is going to kill him (which might get messy considering the PPV location).
♦ Keith ‘Bearcat’ Lee also got a promo package this week. Please, please, please give him something good. I mean, Keith Lee vs Kevin Owens could be fun, right?
♦ Randy Orton is still doing a sterling job of not RKO’ing Riddle before their match even starts, which I don’t think he’s getting enough credit for because that must be hard. Orton got him focused-ish for Crown Jewel and for their match against The Street Profits, but Riddle was still a touch too enthusiastic when Orton asked him if he wanted the smoke.
RK-Bro vs The Street Profits was excellent. I’m so happy The Street Profits are back on Raw because they’re awesome. Montez Ford’s big dive over the top onto Riddle and Orton almost went between them and he took a bit of a hard landing, but he was still in it after a break. Riddle spun Ford so many times before the gut-wrench suplex that Ford was holding fingers up for himself to see how many he could see.
Sadly, we didn’t get a finish. We got AJ Styles music just as Orton was setting For up for an RKO. Styles hit Orton with a Phenomenal Forearm and caused the DQ. Omos laid out Dawkins at ringside, Riddle on the apron, and Ford by dropping him to the canvas from over his head. When Orton finally got up from the Phenomenal Forearm, Omos kicked him in the head.
♦ Shayna Baszler vs Doudrop – Queen’s Crown Semi-final – is a match I could really get into. I had a nasty suspicion WWE weren’t going to give me long to enjoy it, and I was sadly right. Zelina Vega, who beat Carmella to earn her place in the final, came out to put the crown and cape on and watch from the throne. Baszler started with kicks, but it took a lot of them to get Doudrop down and she was up to suplex her as Baszler came in for a knee. A cannonball in the corner rocked Baszler, but she locked in a Kirifuda as Doudrop put her on her shoulders. Doudrop rammed her into the corner then tossed her over her head, but missed with the crossbody and ended up back in the Kirifuda.
Doudrop couldn’t get out, so she shifted her weight back and pinned Baszler’s shoulders to the mat. Under three minutes for a match with so much potential. Shameful.
Doudrop vs Zelina Vega in the final, and I’d love to see Queen Doudrop.
♦ Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley welcomed Bianca Belair to the RAW family and gave her a RAW baseball cap. Belair thanked them and said she’s going to give Charlotte Flair a proper farewell tonight.
♦ Xavier Woods sat on the throne for Finn Balor vs MACE. MACE is huge and powerful, and Balor got tenderised in the early going. The comeback was quick and decisive and the match ended with a Coup de Grace. Too short.
Woods did Balor’s entrance thing when Balor got to the stage. He was having fun until Balor ripped the staff from his hand, then it all got a bit intense. That match is going to be so good.
♦ The Viking Raiders asked Morrison why he was meditating. They discussed the purpose of Chi – they think it should help you raid, Morrison wants to share his innermost thoughts – then they left him to it. It’s like Morrison is in the chrysalis phase. I wonder what he’ll be when he emerges.
♦ Charlotte Flair (C) vs Bianca Belair – RAW Women’s Championship match – started with a bit of one-upmanship before they got properly into it. By the time we got to a break, Flair had dragged Belair out of the ring and thrown her over the announce desk. I’m not sure what caught Flair, but she was bleeding from her mouth by halfway through.
A spinebuster might have got Belair a chance if Flair hadn’t rolled out of the ring. It looked like Flair was happy to take a count-out victory, but we had another ad break, so Belair went out and threw her over the announce desk.
The mirroring of each other’s moves was an interesting way to highlight the fact Belair is Flair’s natural successor. The total package. Flair tried to counter the double chicken wing facebuster by rolling through, but nearly got pinned when Belair just sat down. An exchange of punches knocked Belair off the apron for Flair’s moonsault to the outside. Belair avoided natural selection but missed with the Braid whip and failed to get the pin with a backslide and with the not quite right facebuster.
Flair was too close to the ropes for the K.O.D. and clung on. Belair kicked out after a Spear. That was when Flair got angry and started dragging Belair around by her hair. She took too long going for a moonsault and nearly got pinned with a suplex. Belair took too long on the top and got her feet kicked from under her. The sunset flip powerbomb she brought Flair down with was only worth two, and the desperation was obvious.
In the worst possible outcome, Flair hit Belair in the stomach with a chair to get herself disqualified. Belair dropkicked the chair into her face and hit her with it. Flair rolled out of the ring after one shot.
Well, apart from the crappy ending to the main event, that was a pretty good RAW. Whatever the ethics of the Crown Jewel PPV, the card is stacked. And next week, the new rosters come into effect, so everything gets a shake-up.