Date: July 12, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center in Tampa, FL
The Big Takeaway --
The ThunderDome era is over.
Show Recap --
There was a graphic honouring “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. RIP.
Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) defeated WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) in a non-title match (10:41)
The story was that Lashley mostly dominated and could have won several times but Woods surprised him with a rollup win.
Woods mounted a bit of offense until Lashley simply press slammed him over the top to the outside (with Woods’ face bouncing off the apron). Lashley also dropped him on the steps and stared down Kingston before a break. (This show is taped but they still plan it like a live show, so this break was about two minutes into the match.)
Lashley was in control until Woods came back with a superkick and DDT that spiked the champion. Woods followed with a flip dive and a missile dropkick, barely getting a two count. Woods applied a crossface but Lashley just powered out of it. Lashley followed soon after with a big spinebuster and his version of a Dominator.
Instead of going for a cover, Lashley took Woods outside and drove him into the post before hitting a spear back in the ring. As Lashley boasted, Woods caught him in a small package for the pinfall win. That was unexpected.
The announcers speculated that maybe Lashley had lost a step and had some doubt in his eyes.
Kevin Patrick approached MVP and asked if it was true that Lashley left the building. MVP said yes, that was true, but it wasn’t a big deal. He just wanted to blow off some steam but would be back in the lounge tonight. (MVP walked with a cane despite wrestling last week.)
Jinder Mahal was shown arriving at the building earlier today in his red motorcycle. Veer and Shanky handed him Drew McIntyre’s sword.
Alexa’s Playground with guests Eva Marie and Doudrop
Alexa Bliss was excited to return to live crowds and excited at the prospect of holding the Money in the Bank contract. Eva Marie, who was sitting on the swingset, reminded Bliss that she and Doudrop were there. Bliss was happy to see them and loved saying the name “Doudrop.” Doudrop seemed amused by her.
Marie was annoyed that Bliss wasn’t paying enough attention to her. Bliss mentioned that Doudrop was actually the one invited to the playground, not Marie. Marie called herself the star of the show. She was unimpressed and said this was the last time she’d be on Alexa’s show.
They spliced in some pictures of Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks at the ESPYs.
Jinder Mahal / Drew McIntyre segment
Mahal was in the ring, which was dressed in a red carpet, and he invited McIntyre to the ring. He wanted to offer an olive branch and hand him back his sword.
McIntyre appeared on the screen instead. He knew Mahal was lying and told him to get to the point. Mahal said McIntyre should trust him given everything they’ve been through. Mahal said Veer and Shanky had his sword refinished.
They unveiled the sword only to reveal that it was broken. McIntyre knew better than to bring his real sword or car or whatever to Monday Night Raw because it would just get destroyed. He informed Mahal that the sword in the ring was a replica. McIntyre had his real sword on him.
McIntyre walked over to Mahal’s motorcycle and noted that it was definitely not a replica. McIntyre tore pieces off the bike and knocked the bike over. He advised Mahal that he can fix it with a bit of elbow grease.
Elsewhere, Riddle approached Nikki ASH. He wondered why she doesn’t just fly above the ladder to grab the contract. She let him know that she was almost a superhero. She was about to explain further but Riddle began rambling about some story that she didn’t even pretend to understand. Her music hit so she told him she had to fly. After she left, Riddle said, “wait, I thought she said she couldn’t fly.”
During the next match, a graphic popped up plugging a VIP Lounge segment tonight with MVP and Lashley.
Fatal 4-Way: Nikki A.S.H. defeated Asuka, Naomi and Alexa Bliss (13:00)
Naomi and Asuka knocked each other down by kicking each other at the same time. Bliss and Cross went at it as Marie and Doudrop made their way down the ramp. Asuka clotheslined Naomi and Bliss gave Asuka a DDT.
Bliss decided to leave the ring and make her way to Marie and Doudrop. Doudrop complimented Bliss on her DDT but Bliss just walked by her toward Marie. Marie was getting nervous and Bliss shrieked at her like she did last week. Doudrop came to Marie’s aid and slammed her over the barricade. The camera went over to reveal that Bliss disappeared. Commercial break.
For almost two straight minutes, we had no idea what was happening in the ring. (The answer is: nothing.)
Back from break, Asuka ran wild on Nikki and Naomi, getting two counts on both. Naomi kicked Asuka in the head, gave Nikki a rack bomb, gave Asuka a back suplex, and leg dropped both women at the same time for a two count. Nikki gave Naomi a tornado DDT but Asuka broke up the cover. Naomi and Asuka each tried submissions but had them broken up.
Cross gave Asuka a flying crossbody but Naomi broke it up. Asuka knocked Naomi out of the ring with a running hip attack. Asuka and Nikki traded counters until Nikki applied a rollup for the pinfall win. Nikki ASH pins Asuka. Asuka stared down Nikki as she celebrated.
(The last few minutes of this match was the beginning of the second hour.)
Sarah Schreiber interviewed the Viking Raiders. Ivar didn’t appreciate AJ Styles insulting their lifestyle choice. He mentioned their good hygiene and said Styles would learn to respect them. Erik planned on using Omos’ inexperience to find a crack in his armour and find his way to victory before they regained their tag team championships next week.
AJ Styles promo
AJ Styles and Omos entered the ring. Styles apologized for calling the Viking Raiders barbarians — he should have instead called them “hairy barbarians, uneducated, salmonella poison infested” who never should have gotten off their wooden boat.
The Raiders keep getting in his business and cost him a chance at MITB. Styles planned on breaking Ivar’s leg in the Calf Crusher, while Omos would destroy Erik. They planned on tearing the Raiders apart to retain the tag titles.
They announced the tag title match for Money in the Bank. This was originally scheduled for next week’s Raw.
Ivar (w/Erik) defeated Raw Tag Team Champion AJ Styles (w/Omos) (3:45)
They had a back and forth match that Ivar won after slamming Styles out of the corner. They pushed this as another upset.
Raw Tag Team Champion Omos (w/AJ Styles) defeated Erik (w/Ivar) (3:24)
Erik managed to get Omos stumbling for a moment, but Omos won easily with a tree slam.
Sheamus yelled at Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville in the back for forcing him to defend his title despite having a broken nose. He calmed down and assured them that they’re on the same page. Sheamus turned to leave and smirked as he did. Pearce and Deville seemed a bit uneasy about his behaviour.
(Sheamus wore a face shield to protect his nose. It was all-black instead of transparent like the ones we usually see.)
Kingston and Woods spoke with Lucha House Party in the back until Schreiber approached New Day for an interview. Kingston put over Woods’ win over Lashley. Schreiber let them know that Lashley was back in the building with MVP in the lounge. Kingston was amused and said of course Lashley is distracting himself with women and champagne.
Woods said Kingston would beat him to become champion. Kingston said Lashley was focused on the wrong things. Kingston was the kind of champion that took on all challengers and those days were about to be upon us again. He planned on beating Lashley in front of the live crowd to become a two-time world champion.
There was a Money in the Bank video package focusing on the ladder matches.
There was a hard cut to the back where Sheamus was attacking Humberto Carrillo. Officials checked on Carrillo after Sheamus walked away. Sheamus crossed paths with Damian Priest but they didn’t say anything to each other. Priest checked on Carrillo.
After a break, Pearce and Deville told Carrillo he didn’t have to compete tonight, they could do the match another time. Carrillo said he had to fight tonight. If he can stand, he can fight. He left with Priest. (Mansoor and Mustafa Ali were there too for a moment but Ali smiled, shook his head and left.)
Sheamus defeated Humberto Carrillo to retain the United States Championship (0:17)
Carrillo fell to his knees in pain as soon as the match started. Sheamus gave him a Brogue Kick for the pinfall win.
Sheamus was about to kill Carrillo after the match but Priest ran down and Sheamus bailed.
Riddle wanted to accompany Ricochet to the ring but Ricochet told him not to worry about it. They were both excited about MITB on Sunday. Riddle was also excited to watch his favourite Western. Ricochet thought he meant Tombstone but Riddle said it was Toy Story 2. The “snake in my boot” line reminded him of Randy Orton, but Orton wasn’t a snake in his boot, more like a snake in his heart. He again pointed to the sky and said he missed Randy.
Riddle also wanted to cash in on the tag team championships but Ricochet wasn’t sure he could do that. Riddle realized Ricochet was probably right. After some more banter, Miz and John Morrison showed up. Miz sprayed Ricochet in the face with water and Morrison rolled over Riddle’s foot.
Falls count anywhere match: Ricochet defeated John Morrison (w/The Miz) (16:02)
There was a spot very early in the match where Morrison gave Ricochet a neckbreaker on the apron for two. Morrison also tried a cover with his feet on Miz’s wheelchair for two. Morrison set up for Starship Pain in the ring but Ricochet popped up and hit an impressive German suplex for two. They fought in the “crowd” and Ricochet high-fived one of the screens.
Morrison took an awkward tumble off the barricade and Ricochet followed with a 450 off the barricade for two. With Morrison standing outside the ring, Ricochet hit a damn shooting star press off the top of the ring post, which led to a break.
Morrison placed a ladder as a bridge between the ring and announce table. Ricochet went for a dive but stopped when Miz rolled in front of Morrison. Ricochet hit a flip dive anyway, flying right over Miz, for a two count.
They fought on the stage until Morrison went to the back. Ricochet went after him but as soon as he entered Gorilla, Morrison nailed him with a superkick and knee strike for two.
The fight went back on the stage, and with Morrison down at the bottom of the ramp, Ricochet rode Miz’s wheelchair down the ramp and hit a “running” clothesline. Miz distracted Ricochet which allowed Morrison to hit a corkscrew neckbreaker for two.
Riddle scooted down to the ring and placed Miz and his wheelchair on his back and Miz sold it like a turtle on his shell who couldn’t move.
Ricochet gave Morrison a Recoil before placing him on the ladder bridge. Ricochet finished him off with a splash off the top through the ladder for the pinfall win.
This was fun and made me glad they don’t have to do this in the ThunderDome anymore after tonight.
Schreiber asked Natalya what she wanted to prove tonight against Rhea Ripley. Natalya had a plan. She wanted to be a triple champion and if she beat Ripley tonight, she’d be one step closer. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke happened to be nearby and they were laughing at Natalya and Tamina. Rose said Natalya can’t have a foolproof plan if it came from a fool. They all argued until Tamina shoved Brooke. Brooke wanted to go after her but Rose held her back.
Patrick interviewed McIntyre. McIntyre told us a story about Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. This led to McIntyre saying nothing, not even the sun, would stop him from becoming Mr. Money in the Bank.
The announcers ran down the MITB card.
Schreiber asked Ripley why she accepted a match against Natalya so close to her title defense. Ripley wasn’t one to back down from a challenge. Plus, she already exposed Charlotte Flair of being a drama queen and Charlotte really would need crutches after their match on Sunday.
Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley defeated Tag Team Champion Natalya (w/Tamina) in a non-title match (9:30)
This was a strong match. These two worked well together.
They were having an even fight until Ripley dropkicked Tamina by accident outside the ring after Natalya moved. Natalya followed with a discus clothesline, which led to break.
Ripley knocked Natalya off the top with a headbutt and followed with a missile dropkick. Natalya tried fighting back but Ripley used another dropkick for two, followed by a Northern Lights suplex for two. Natalya drove Ripley’s head against the ring post and followed with a sit-out powerbomb for two.
Ripley blocked a low dropkick and applied a standing cloverleaf but Natalya reversed into a rollup for two. Natalya applied a Sharpshooter but Ripley rolled through and drove Natalya into the turnbuckle. Ripley kicked Natalya in the head and hit Riptide for the pinfall win.
Charlotte chop blocked Ripley after the match and put her in a Figure Four while hanging off the side of the ring.
After a break, Schreiber asked Charlotte if that was a preview of Sunday. Charlotte read her script and said it’s not about the pieces in the game, it was about the player, and she learned from the dirtiest. It was game over for Ripley at MITB.
MVP’s VIP Lounge
MVP was in the ring with five women. He said it was the final episode in the ThunderDome where we saw the rise of the All Mighty. In fact, it should be called the LashleyDome. He was honoured to introduce us to Bobby Lashley.
Lashley didn’t enter. MVP tried a bigger introduction and Lashley finally did enter. Lashley’s vest was unbuttoned and his necktie wasn’t tied. Lashley asked the five women to excuse them. They left.
Lashley was thinking about Kingston’s words. At first, he thought of it as trash talk but realized Kingston was right about MVP making him soft. He lost to Xavier Woods of all people. He should have stacked up Woods and Kingston in a pile of bones.
He appreciated everything MVP did for him but the bullshit (the lounge, women, champagne, etc) had to stop now. MVP nodded in agreement. Lashley wanted to destroy everyone who challenged him for the championship.
Lashley began destroying the lounge furniture in a convincing fashion. He destroyed the tables and chucked a full-sized couch out of the ring as MVP looked on.
Lashley warned Kingston that he was going to tear him in half and would leave MITB as champion. He hoped Kingston would bring his family and friends and all of the fans to have his back because he would dismantle him. Lashley planned on caving Kingston’s face in and Sunday would be the end of his career.
This segment was very good.