Date: May 31, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center in Tampa, FL
The Big Takeaway --
Drew McIntyre beat Kofi Kingston and will face Bobby Lashley for the WWE title at Hell in a Cell.
Show Recap --
There was a Memorial Day video.
Corey Graves welcomed us to Raw and introduced us to Jimmy Smith on commentary. Byron Saxton is with them as well. They ran down tonight’s card.
MizTV with The Miz and John Morrison
One of the announcers acknowledged that Miz was at the Indy 500 along with Titus O’Neil. Miz was happy to be back but his tone became serious when he mentioned that he got injured for the first time in his career in his match against Damian Priest.
Miz noticed a bad smell, which was caused by John Morrison wearing garlic around his neck. Morrison also had a water gun, which he called the “Drip Stick,” to defend them against any potential attacks. Miz introduced Charlotte.
Charlotte was turned off by Morrison’s garlic smell. She said she would become a 14-time champion and send Rhea Ripley to hell.
Ripley entered. She told Charlotte that she can go to hell. Morrison asked her about garlic bread. Ripley told him that she wasn’t a vampire, she was a nightmare to everyone in the division. Charlotte wondered how Ripley could beat her if she couldn’t even beat Cross. (They aired a replay of Cross surviving the two-minute time limit.)
Cross entered. Cross said she beat the women’s champion and it would only be fair if she faced the winner of the match at Hell in a Cell. Ripley said if the clock had four minutes on it, Cross wouldn’t even be standing here. Ripley admitted that Cross earned her respect.
Charlotte dismissed Cross, so Cross said she could beat her. Charlotte said she could beat Cross in one minute, so Cross slapped her. Charlotte called her a troll and accepted the match.
2-minute time limit: Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki Cross
Cross played cat-and-mouse with Charlotte until Charlotte confronted Ripley for a moment on the outside. Cross tried escaping again but Charlotte cut her off and attacked her in the corner. Cross responded with a tornado DDT. Charlotte tried applying the Figure Four but time ran out. Cross was announced as the “winner.”
Riddle and Damian Priest had a conversation backstage. They were excited about the return of live crowds. Riddle asked him how to say a few phrases in Spanish. Riddle referenced Eddie Guerrero and the “I’m your Papi” line too.
Riddle asked Priest how to say, “Hey, Randy.” Priest said, “Hey, Randy” and Riddle was confused. Randy Orton (now sporting a goatee) was standing behind Riddle. Priest was annoyed to see him so he left.
Riddle was excited to see Orton and even said he missed him. Orton knew they’d have to be able to work together so he invited Riddle to join him at ringside. Riddle was excited but he talked too much so Orton once again made him “lock” his mouth shut and throw the “key” away. When Orton left, Riddle searched around on the ground for the imaginary key.
There was a SummerSlam commercial with a Cardi B song.
Randy Orton (w/Riddle) defeated Xavier Woods (9:00)
Orton slammed Woods into the announce desk before suplexing him onto it. This led to break a minute into the match.
Orton had a chinlock applied but Woods came back with strikes and a rolling elbow. Orton responded with a powerbomb out of the corner for two. Orton took his sweet time going for a draping DDT so Woods countered into an armbreaker. Orton came right back with the draping DDT but Woods countered an RKO into a backslide for two.
Orton caught Woods as he came off the ropes and hit a Bro Derek for the pinfall win. Riddle was pumped.
(For the record, my match times include the full commercial break, even though the wrestlers are almost certainly not wrestling the entire time.)
MVP and five ladies dressed in black welcomed Bobby Lashley to his personal locker room. He was happy to see them.
In the back, Reginald assured Nia Jax that he didn’t need her help against Shayna Baszler. He wanted her to stay in the back.
Reginald defeated Shayna Baszler (4:13)
Reginald avoided Baszler’s offense until she flattened him with a shoulder tackle. Reginald used a schoolboy for two and dodged another tackle before giving Baszler a scoop slam. Reginald seemed regretful and Jax (watching in the back) was surprised.
Baszler managed to knock him down and attacked his leg. Baszler applied an ankle lock but Reginald slipped out before hitting a spinning crossbody. Reginald tried a moonsault but Baszler moved and he landed awkwardly on his leg.
Baszler applied a Kirifuda Clutch but fire pyro went off out of the nearby post which caused her to let go of the hold. Reginald rolled her up for the pinfall win. Baszler was pissed.
Reginald sprinted to the back where he was greeted by a very excited Jax. They celebrated.
Drew McIntyre told Kevin Patrick that he respected Kofi Kingston because he was a man who would do anything for his family and has earned everything he’s achieved. McIntyre, like Kingston, knew what it was like to put everyone’s needs ahead of his own. He implied that Kingston winning the world title might’ve happened sooner if he had not done that.
McIntyre stopped worrying about others to focus on winning the WWE title and it helped him reach the top. He slayed Brock Lesnar, something Kingston couldn’t do. McIntyre said he liked Kingston but he was willing to do everything that Kingston was not. McIntyre planned on rolling right over him.
They plugged Johnny Gargano vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunn on NXT tomorrow.
Mace & T-Bar defeated Lucha House Party (2:49)
Lucha House Party got some offense but Mace and T-Bar won relatively quickly with a double chokeslam on Gran Metalik.
Alexa Bliss was on her swingset in the back and invited Reginald to her Playground to celebrate his big win.
Sheamus entered. He couldn’t wait to get back on the road and defend his title in every major city. He showed a replay of Humberto Carrillo and Ricochet trying to embarrass him last week. He said they acted like scumbags and that’s why he wouldn’t defend his title against them. He was happy to face them back to back and send them back to catering.
Ricochet defeated US Champion Sheamus in a non-title match (1:14)
Carrillo’s music hit and he ran down to ringside. The distraction allowed Ricochet to roll up Sheamus for the pinfall win. Sheamus was pissed.
Humberto Carrillo (w/Ricochet) defeated US Champion Sheamus in a non-title match
The match was underway after a break and Sheamus was in control. As Carrillo made a comeback, he elbowed Sheamus right in the nose and blood began streaming from his nose. Sheamus clotheslined Carrillo to the outside. Ricochet checked on Carrillo so Sheamus booted him in the head.
Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick but Ricochet slid halfway into the ring. Sheamus went after him and tried pulling him into the ring. As this was happening, Carrillo used the opportunity to apply a schoolboy for the pinfall win. Sheamus was pissed again. Carrillo celebrated like this was a big win.
There was an Eva Marie video.
They plugged A&E’s Bret Hart documentary.
(The Montreal Canadiens just beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, so Raw may gain a bunch of viewers in Canada around this point in the show.)
Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke defeated Naomi & Lana (3:43)
Natalya and Tamina joined commentary. Brooke and Rose wore identical black and gold gear.
Rose and Brooke won after giving Lana a double-team neckbreaker. (Brooke scored the pin.) Rose and Brooke bragged to Natalya and Tamina who posed with their belts.
They aired a clip from HBO’s The Shop of Bad Bunny speaking about wrestling at WrestleMania. He called it the best moment of his life. (Jay-Z and Lebron James were among those in the clip.)
Cedric Alexander defeated Shelton Benjamin (0:28)
Alexander won quickly by pinfall after thumbing Benjamin in the eye and hitting a Neuralyzer. Jimmy Smith noted that Alexander won the same way last week.
In the back, Elias tried psyching up Jaxson Ryker about their tag title match. Elias thought Ryker wasn’t listening and asked him if he’s ever been in battle. Ryker shot him a look and said, “Have you ever been in battle? Because I served in Iraq.” Ryker left.
Kevin Patrick interviewed Kofi Kingston. Kingston said his friends and family were not a detriment to his success, they were the reason for it. He didn’t understand why McIntyre would take cheap shots at him. He respected what McIntyre accomplished but he didn’t appreciate the cheap shot he took when comparing their matches against Brock Lesnar. Kingston admitted he lost quickly to Lesnar but he also beat Lashley when McIntyre never could. He planned on beating McIntyre tonight and beating Bob Lashley to once again become WWE champion.
They’re doing a good job making McIntyre/Kingston feel like a big match.
AJ Styles & Omos defeated Elias & Jaxson Ryker to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships (9:43)
Elias turned on Ryker.
It seemed like Ryker would start the match but Elias clobbered Styles from behind and started the match instead. Graves said Styles starting the match for his team was a questionable strategy. Two-time WWE Champion AJ Styles.
Ryker tagged himself, which caught Elias by surprise. Styles knocked them both out of the ring and knocked them both down with a dropkick. Ryker took control during the break and remained in control until Styles hit a Pelé kick.
Ryker went for a tag but Elias hopped off the apron. Styles tagged in Omos as Elias walked away. Elias watched from the stage as Omos attacked Ryker.
Omos hit a short-arm clothesline before tagging in Styles. Styles finished off Ryker with a Phenomenal forearm for the pinfall win.
Jax warned Reginald about appearing on Alexa’s Playground. Reginald didn’t think anything could go wrong and told her not to worry. Jax said she’ll get champagne ready so they can celebrate his victory later.
A worried Elias walked through the back when he was approached by Patrick. Elias claimed that Ryker was unhinged and unpredictable. Elias knew they were going back on the road, traveling from town to town, and he didn’t want to be around Ryker anymore.
This felt like it came completely out of nowhere.
Alexa’s Playground with guest Reginald
Reginald told Bliss that he felt great, except for what Baszler did to his knee. Bliss said Lilly had a question for him. Reginald didn’t respond so Bliss told him not to be rude. She realized that Reginald couldn’t hear Lilly. Apparently, Lilly wanted to know about Cirque du Soleil.
Baszler busted in and beat up Reginald before sitting down on the swing next to Bliss. Bliss said she wasn’t invited because Lilly didn’t like her. Baszler warned her and said she was becoming a problem. Baszler said they need to have a chat and added, “so I’ll see you next week.” (Why wait?) Baszler got in Lilly’s face and said, “you’re just a stupid doll.” She left.
Elsewhere, the Viking Raiders told Mansoor that he needs a chant for when they return to live crowds. Ivar yelled “raid!” and Mansoor yelled it back. They were impressed. After the Raiders left, Mustafa Ali warned Mansoor not to make friends or trust anyone. Mansoor asked why he should trust him. Ali responded, “Now you’re getting it.”
Lashley and MVP and their five lady friends were dancing but were interrupted by Patrick. MVP respected Kingston and was moved to tears when he won the title. However, MVP and Lashley didn’t consider either man serious contenders. They were happy to watch the match in the back. Lashley wasn’t worried about Hell in a Cell.
Drew McIntyre defeated Kofi Kingston (22:38)
Woods initially came out with Kingston but returned to the back.
Both men entered, the match started, they wrestled for a bit until Kingston hit a dive, and they went to break 90 seconds into the match.
Kingston hammered away until McIntyre hit a headbutt and vertical suplex for just a one count. Kingston applied a guillotine choke and blocked McIntyre’s counter before hitting a springboard splash. McIntyre came right back with consecutive overhead suplexes. Kingston countered a slam into a cradle for a one count and followed with an SOS for two.
Kingston tried another trust dive but McIntyre caught him and tossed him over the barricade, which led to break. (Kingston landed awkwardly against a video board on the other side of the barricade.)
McIntyre was in control until Kingston hit a sunset flip powerbomb out of the corner for two. Kingston followed that with a missile dropkick for two. McIntyre blocked an SOS and hit a spinning Future Shock DDT, which was great, for a nearfall. McIntyre followed with a spinebuster for two. Kingston countered a DDT attempt with a superkick for two.
McIntyre found himself upside down in the turnbuckles but yanked Kingston down from the top. McIntyre went for the Claymore Kick but Kingston caught him with Trouble in Paradise. This led to a nearfall after McIntyre grabbed the bottom rope just in time.
Kingston came off the top with a hurricanrana, hit a penalty kick on the apron, and a double foot stomp off the apron to the outside.
Kingston shoved McIntyre in the ring and jumped off the top rope but McIntyre nailed a mid-air Claymore Kick for the pinfall win. Very good match.
Kingston and McIntyre shook hands.
Lashley entered on the stage and posed with his belt.