Monday Night Raw
Date: July 12, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves
We are finally, and I do mean finally, coming to the end of the Thunderdome and that means a taped go home show for Money in the Bank. The card is mostly set, at least on the Raw side, but it is time to build some serious momentum for the show’s namesake matches. Maybe Nikki Cross can even take another pin. Let’s get to it.
In Memory of Paul Orndorff. That one hurts.
We open with a long recap of Big E. vs. Kofi Kingston, including last week with the New Day beating Lashley and MVP.
MVP gives Bobby Lashley a pep talk.
Xavier Woods vs. Bobby Lashley
Non-title with Kofi Kingston/MVP at ringside. I’m really not sure what it means to have a Cell match two weeks ago, then a tag match, and now a regular match. It’s almost like they might want to come up with some fresh ideas to set up these programs. Lashley throws him into the corner to start but Woods takes the leg out. A step up backsplash gets two but seems to just annoy Lashley. They head outside with Lashley sending him hard into the steps as we take a break.
Back with Woods still in trouble but managing a superkick. A tornado DDT sends Lashley outside and there’s the big flip dive to take him out again. Back in and a missile dropkick puts Lashley down, followed by the Crossface to make it worse. That’s broken up so Lashley hits the huge spinebuster into the spinning Big Ending for no cover. Instead Lashley takes him outside for a hard ram into the post and the spear connects back inside. Lashley still doesn’t cover though….and gets small packaged for the pin at 10:19.
Rating: C. They did a nice job with the surprise as they kept teasing the idea of Lashley costing himself but I didn’t think they would actually have Woods pin him. It’s certainly an upset and while I’m not wild on a champion losing, I can live with the idea of one of the most decorated tag team wrestlers ever scoring a fluke pin when Lashley got too cocky. Just have Lashley smash Kingston and things should be fine.
Lashley stormed off during the break.
Post break, MVP says it’s not a big deal and Lashley had to blow off some steam. Lashley will be in the VIP Lounge later tonight.
We look back at Jinder Mahal and company stealing Drew McIntyre’s sword.
Mahal arrives on his motorcycle and is handed the sword.
It’s time for Alexa’s Playground, with Bliss talking about how much fun she could have with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Eva Marie and Doudrop interrupt her, with Eva wanting to know when she’ll be asked a question. Alexa suggest Doudrop could win the briefcase and Eva storms off. Bliss doesn’t think much of them.
Here are Jinder Mahal and company with something, allegedly the sword, under a blanket. Mahal tells Drew McIntyre to come out here like a man and he can have his sword back. McIntyre pops up on screen instead, so Mahal pulls the blanket back to reveal the broken sword. That’s funny to McIntyre, because that’s a replica. The real thing is right here, just like Mahal’s real motorcycle is right here. McIntyre rips/smashes the motorcycle apart and Mahal panics.
Riddle runs into Nikki Ash, who he thinks should just fly up to grab the briefcase. This turns into a discussion of Riddle thinking he could fly into space but he was just at the mall.
Nikki Ash vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka vs. Naomi
Naomi sends Bliss into the corner for the shoulders to the ribs. Bliss is right back with a quick crossbody as Ash and Asuka come back in. Naomi and Asuka trade kicks to the face for a double knockdown and Bliss crawls back in to face Nikki. A double shot to the chest staggers Bliss but here are Eva Marie and Doudrop to watch. Bliss uses the distraction to DDT Asuka for two but it’s time to channel Doudrop. A scream scares Eva but Doudrop is back up to toss Bliss over the barricade. Eva goes over to look at her….and Bliss has disappeared as we take a break.
Back with Naomi stacking up Asuka and Ash for two. Asuka is sent outside and Naomi grabs her reverse Rings of Saturn. That’s broken up by Asuka’s kick to the back but Nikki breaks up Asuka’s cross armbreaker to Naomi. More rollups get two each until Naomi is sent outside, leaving Asuka to Asuka Lock Ash. This time it’s a reversal into a cradle to give Ash the pin at 13:02.
Rating: D+. This was your standard final week build to Money in the Bank match, meaning there was nothing of interest to see, including Bliss disappearing. I’m sure that will play into something later, but I can’t wait for the fans to be back so that hopefully they can cut it out with this stuff. Another messy match, as Asuka gets to take another fall.
The Viking Raiders don’t like being called smelly barbarians and are ready for AJ Styles and Omos tonight.
AJ Styles vs. Ivar
Before the match, AJ, with Omos, apologizes for calling the Vikings smelly. He should have called them hairy and various other mean things. Tonight Ivar is tapping to the Calf Crusher and then Omos is beating Erik in his first singles match. Ivar spins around to start and runs AJ over, but an early Omos distraction lets AJ get in a kick to the head. The moonsault into the reverse DDT gets two on Ivar but Ivar fights up with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. The low crossbody crushes AJ again and a big elbow to the face gives Ivar two. AJ scores with the Pele to send him into the corner but Ivar hits a seated senton for the quick pin at 3:43.
Rating: C-. Quite the upset here and Ivar winning actually is building momentum for a change. Pinning the one champion you might have a shot at beating is a good thing, though I don’t quite buy the Raiders as having any kind of a chance on Sunday at the moment. At least they threw us a bit of a curve for once.
Erik vs. Omos
Erik tries a waistlock to start and is thrown down in a hurry. Omos runs him over again but Erick slips off the shoulders and kicks at the leg. A bearhug has Erik in more trouble and Omos throws him into the corner without much trouble. Erik is right back with some running shots to the face to stagger the giant. That earns him a hard clothesline and Omos gets to shout a lot. The two handed chokeslam finishes Erik at 3:24.
Rating: C-. Two matches. One team’s representative won a match each. They combined to last a little over seven minutes. Oh and AJ Styles called them smelly. That is your build for a Tag Team Title match on pay per view. Again: maybe they need to come up with a better playbook for some of these programs. Omos did his usual giant stuff and it worked out rather well, as has tended to be his case.
We recap Humberto Carrillo injuring Sheamus’ nose, putting him out of action for six weeks.
Sheamus, in a protective mask, yells at Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce for making him defend the title tonight. They don’t seem to mind.
Lucha House Party and New Day share some nice compliments in the back. With the luchadors gone, Kofi Kingston is not surprised that Bobby Lashley will be back tonight for the VIP Lounge. Xavier Woods is a bit surprised, as Lashley already lost to the video game guy. Winning the WWE Title is not about the champagne and fame, but being a representative. After Sunday, Kofi gets to do that again.
Video on what Money in the Bank means for the winners. It’s like Rumble By The Numbers, but without the Rumble or Numbers.
Sheamus jumps Humberto Carrillo and leaves him laying.
Post break, Carrillo says he can go, even with Damian Priest asking if he is ok. Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce say they can postpone the match but Carrillo insists.
US Title: Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo
Sheamus is defending and wins with the Brogue Kick in 17 seconds. Carrillo is no Daniel Bryan.
Post match Sheamus comes back in to go after Carrillo again. Sheamus loads up a stomp to the face but Damian Priest runs in for the save.
We recap Ricochet vs. John Morrison over the last two weeks.
Riddle scooters up to Ricochet in the back and talks about how he is excited to go out west this weekend. He’s going to make spaghetti burritos and watch his favorite western movie: Toy Story 2. Riddle likes it when the cowboy finds a snake in his boot, not that Randy Orton is a snake in his boot. Ricochet was talking about the briefcase but Riddle thinks he and Orton can cash it in on the Tag Team Titles. John Morrison and Miz show up with Drip Sticks before running over Riddle’s foot.
John Morrison vs. Ricochet
Falls Count Anywhere and Miz is here with Morrison. Ricochet gets sent into the ropes to start and a neckbreaker over the ropes gives Morrison two outside. Miz uses his wheelchair to give Morrison two more and they head back inside. Morrison starts to go up but gets caught in a bridging German suplex for two. They head outside again with Morrison planting him for two, followed by a trip over the barricade.
Ricochet rams Morrison into the video fans and they climb onto the barricade. A slip sends Morrison down and Ricochet busts out a 450 off of said barricade for two. Back in and Morrison rolls away from the threat of a springboard, allowing Ricochet to hit a shooting star forearm to the head in a big crash.
We take a break and come back with a ladder now bridged between the ring and the announcers’ table. Ricochet jumps over it to hit a forearm to drop Morrison for two. Morrison bails over to the other side, where he hides behind Miz’s wheelchair. That’s fine with Ricochet, who hits a big flip dive to take Morrison down for two more. They fight up to the stage where Ricochet gets two more and they head backstage. Morrison scores with a superkick and a running knee to the face for two and it’s back to the stage.
This time Ricochet knocks Morrison down the ramp but then stops to shove Miz’s wheelchair down the ramp. The distraction lets Ricochet run Morrison over for two, followed by a kick to the face back inside. The Drip Stick distracts Ricochet again though and Morrison grabs a rollup with his feet on the ropes for two. Morrison’s Moonlight Drive gets two but here is Riddle to turn Miz over in his wheelchair, leaving Miz on his back. Morrison springboards into the Recoil but Ricochet can’t cover. Instead he puts Morrison on the bridged ladder for a huge splash and the pin at 16:01.
Rating: B-. This was rather eventful and Riddle making his third appearance of the night was a bit much. The good thing is that Ricochet got a win, even if it means nothing going into Sunday. Ricochet is someone who can thrive in a match like this and Morrison, despite being a bit up there in years compared to his heyday, can hang with him almost every step. Fun match, even if Riddle didn’t need to be out there.
Tamina and Natalya are ready for Money in the Bank as Natalya wants to hold the title and the briefcase at the same time. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke come up to call Natalya a fool. Threats are made and Dana has to be held back.
We recap Drew McIntyre breaking Jinder Mahal’s motorcycle.
Drew McIntyre’s history lesson of the week is about Icarus, who is going to fly towards the sun, which is the Money in the Bank briefcase. His wings are going to be made of Grade A Scottish beef and nothing is stopping him from becoming Mr. Money In The Bank.
Money in the Bank rundown.
We recap Rhea Ripley and Charlotte’s battle of the crutches last week.
Rhea Ripley is ready for Charlotte on Sunday.
Rhea Ripley vs. Natalya
Non-title and Tamina is here too. They go with the grappling to start and Natalya grabs some rollups for two each. Rhea takes her outside and hits a quick dropkick to Tamina as we take an early break. Back with Natalya being knocked off the top, allowing Rhea to hit a good looking missile dropkick.
A bridging northern lights suplex gets two but Shea gets sent into the corner with her head hitting the post. Natalya powerbombs her out of the corner for two but the Sharpshooter is blocked. Natalya tries it again and is reversed into the Prism Trap. With that broken up, Natalya finally gets the Sharpshooter, only to be rolled into the corner for the break. Riptide gives Ripley the pin at 9:28.
Rating: C. This is where Natalya keeps her job: she can have a fine match with just about anyone on the roster and is completely dependable. As long as you keep her away from any microphone, character stuff or storyline, she is a rather valuable member of the roster. Good stuff here, as Ripley broke a sweat but won in the end.
Post match, Charlotte comes in to chop block Rhea and the Figure Four over the apron makes Ripley scream.
MVP preps the ladies for the VIP Lounge.
Charlotte promises to win the title.
It’s time for the VIP Lounge with a bouncing MVP saying this should be the Lashley Dome. Next week we are back on the road (which the fake fans appreciate) so here is Lashley….or at least MVP introducing him. Eventually cue a slightly disheveled Lashley to ask the women to leave. He doesn’t like what happened earlier and from now on, it is time to be serious again.
Lashley destroys the entire set, including throwing the love seat out with no trouble. Sunday is the end of Kofi Kingston, as Lashley is going to take care of him like he should have done a long time ago. Lashley leaves and MVP looks scared to end the show. This was straight fire from Lashley and one of his best promos ever.
Overall Rating: C-. This was more what I was worried about for the Money in the Bank build. It wasn’t a very interesting show and almost nothing on here was worth seeing. Instead, you got a bunch of people “building momentum”, whatever that is worth and talking, some of which was a bit better than the rest. It’s a show you really did not need to watch, though some highlights (Ricochet vs. Morrison, Lashley’s promo and maybe some Riddle shenanigans) could be a good option.
So that’s it for the Thunderdome. It was nice while it lasted but it did overstay its welcome. That being said, it was such a huge upgrade over the Performance Center that it was absolutely worth looking at all of these fake seats. Above all else, it felt like you were watching an episode of Raw without fans rather than watching a show from a closet, which made all the difference.
Xavier Woods b. Bobby Lashley – Small package
Nikki Ash b. Asuka, Naomi and Alexa Bliss – Rollup to Asuka
Ivar b. AJ Styles – Seated senton
Omos b. Erik – Two handed chokeslam
Sheamus b. Humberto Carrillo – Brogue Kick
Ricochet b. John Morrison – 450 onto a ladder
Rhea Ripley b. Natalya – Riptide
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