Date: May 24, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center in Tampa, FL
The Big Takeaway --
After Asuka beat Charlotte last week, Charlotte beat Asuka this week and, as a result, Charlotte earned a title match against Rhea Ripley at Hell in a Cell.
Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre fought to a double DQ, so they will have a rematch next week to determine Bobby Lashley’s title opponent at Hell in a Cell. If Lashley or MVP get involved next week, Lashley will be suspended without pay for 90 days.
Natalya and Tamina successfully retained their titles in the main event after fire almost exploded Reginald again. Shayna Baszler challenged Reginald to a match next week.
Show Recap --
MVP introduced WWE Champion Bobby Lashley to start the show. Lashley was once again accompanied to the ring by five women dressed mostly in black. They aired a long recap video of what happened last week and all five women booed the video.
MVP mentioned that WWE was leaving the Thunderdome in July and that meant fans would get to see Lashley in person. MVP mentioned Drew McIntyre who was a black cloud that continued to follow them around.
Lashley said he beat McIntyre at WrestleMania before beating both McIntyre and Braun Strowman at Backlash. MVP said they tried to move on from McIntyre which is why Lashley issued an open challenge last week. The scrawny cartoon character Kofi Kingston accepted and the black cloud had to show up again.
McIntyre interrupted. He said nobody should be surprised to see him. He wanted to regain the title. If it weren’t for MVP, he would have won it at Mania, and if it weren't for Strowman, he would have won it at Backlash.
McIntyre said Lashley couldn’t beat him on his own and wondered if he even had the balls to face him. McIntyre asked the women if Lashley had any balls. They seemed offended by the question.
Lashley and McIntyre argued until the New Day interrupted. Kingston reminded everyone that he pinned Lashley. Lashley said he should thank McIntyre. McIntyre said, “you’re welcome.” Kingston seemed offended by his insinuation that he couldn’t win without him. Kingston said he didn’t ask for his help and didn’t want his help.
Kingston answered the challenge last week because he never got a rematch after losing the WWE title. Kingston said McIntyre has received rematch after rematch after rematch and now it was his turn to step to the back of the line because Kingston did something he couldn’t do over many months.
Adam Pearce interrupted. He announced a match between Kingston and McIntyre, with the winner facing Lashley for the title at Hell in a Cell. MVP liked the idea.
There was a video by Strowman plugging WWE’s upcoming return to the road.
Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Drew McIntyre ended in a double DQ (21:52)
MVP, Lashley and their five friends watched on couches set up on the stage.
Kingston was doing well until McIntyre caught him on the outside and gave him a reverse Alabama Slam into the edge of the ring. McIntyre taunted Lashley as they went to break. McIntyre remained in control after the break and hit a snap suplex for two. McIntyre followed with an overhead suplex before dropping Kingston over the barricade.
Adnan Virk asked the other announcers, “How wild was KofiMania back in the day?”
McIntyre hit a delayed vertical suplex as he pointed at Lashley. Kingston came back with a dropkick, chops and another dropkick. Kingston tried a guillotine choke but McIntyre countered into a vertical suplex for two.
Kingston fought back but McIntyre caught his flying crossbody attempt, rolled through and hit a Michinoku Driver for two. McIntyre taunted Lashley again which was enough to convince Lashley to march to ringside, leading to another break.
Back from break, McIntyre hit a back suplex off the top for two. Kingston countered a DDT into a cradle for two, then McIntyre hit a spinebuster for two. McIntyre followed with a crazy deadlift sit-out powerbomb for two. Kingston dodged a charge and McIntyre went into the post. Kingston followed with a frog splash onto McIntyre’s back for two.
Kingston sent McIntyre to the outside, so McIntyre got in Lashley’s face. Kingston hit a trust dive on McIntyre, which also knocked over Lashley. Kingston followed with an SOS for two.
Predictably, Lashley jumped in and attacked McIntyre while MVP also attacked Kingston. The referee called for the bell.
Woods saved Kingston from MVP before Lashley knocked down Woods. Kingston gave Lashley a Trouble in Paradise before McIntyre knocked down Lashley with a Claymore.
This was a really good match until the unfortunate finish.
A graphic popped up during the match advertising Asuka against Charlotte Flair tonight.
They aired an exchange from earlier today between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair. Nikki Cross jumped in and said she could beat either of them. Charlotte said she could beat Cross in two minutes if she didn’t already have a match scheduled tonight. Ripley told Charlotte that she’s unlikeable because she talks down to people. Charlotte told Ripley to beat Cross in two minutes if she could. Ripley said she’d be happy to.
An Eva Marie video aired.
Nikki Cross defeated Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley in a non-title Beat the Clock challenge (2:00 time limit)
They billed this as a Beat the Clock challenge with two minutes on a timer. Cross would be considered the winner if she could last two minutes.
With a minute left, Cross hit a jawbreaker and a flying crossbody for two. Ripley responded with a dropkick, shoulder tackles and strikes in the corner. As Ripley continued the attack, the timer ran down to zero and the bell rang.
Ripley acted shocked as Cross was announced the winner of the challenge. Cross celebrated like she won the title. Charlotte entered to laugh at Ripley as Cross did a weird dance in celebration. This wasn’t good.
There was a Damian Priest video plugging WWE’s return to the road and a video plugging ticket on-sale dates.
McIntyre barged into Pearce’s office. Kingston conveniently entered one second later, even though their match ended 20 minutes ago. Pearce told them they’d get a rematch next week. They were happy with that even though Pearce gave them no assurance that the Hurt Business wouldn’t get involved again. Kingston and McIntyre were both confident in their chances.
There was a commercial for Mick Foley’s A&E documentary.
Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka (21:23)
After 12 minutes mostly of Charlotte working over Asuka’s leg, Asuka came back with German suplexes and a hip attack for two. Charlotte drove Asuka’s leg into the post but Asuka fought back and hit a sliding knee on the apron. Charlotte pushed Asuka into the announce table which led to the match’s second commercial break.
They fought back-and-forth the rest of the way until Asuka tried an Asuka Lock but Charlotte rolled through into a cradle for the pinfall win.
A stagehand approached Lashley, MVP and their pals in the back. MVP wanted him to address Lashley as the All Mighty. He let the All Mighty know that Adam Pearce wanted to see him.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke plugged WWE’s return to live crowds.
MVP and Lashley approached Pearce, who asked Lashley what kind of champion he wanted to be. Lashley said he was the only one who could represent Raw as champ and was certainly better for it than Kingston and McIntyre. Pearce told them that if either of them got involved in the Kingston-McIntyre match next week, or even appeared at ringside, Lashley would be suspended without pay for 90 days. Lashley was not happy. (Why isn’t this always the rule?)
There was a video package for the Shelton Benjamin/Cedric Alexander feud.
Alexander cut a promo on Benjamin before their match as Benjamin impatiently paced around. Basically, Alexander wasn’t worried about being kicked out of the Hurt Business because he was still in his prime, unlike Benjamin.
After the promo, Corey Graves said Alexander had the charisma of a cinder block.
Cedric Alexander defeated Shelton Benjamin (11:53)
Alexander left the ring as soon as the bell rang which led to break 10 seconds into the match. Benjamin was in control after the break until Alexander brought him down from the top with a hurricanrana. Alexander was in control but his strikes just pissed off Benjamin who no-sold a few kicks and followed with a clothesline and spinebuster.
Benjamin hit German suplexes but Alexander poked him in the eye, which the ref didn’t see, and Alexander followed with a Neuralyzer for the pinfall win.
There were commercials for NXT plugging Karrion Kross defending his title against Finn Bálor, as well as the Cameron Grimes/Ted DiBiase face-off.
John Morrison plugged the return to live crowds.
Riddle defeated Xavier Woods (12:49)
They grappled until Riddle showed off his strength with consecutive suplexes. Woods showed off his own strength with a series of vertical suplexes. They traded strikes and dropped each other with a double clothesline spot. Woods gave Riddle an AA on the apron which led to break.
Woods fired up after the break and hit a missile dropkick for two. Riddle came back with a knee strike but Woods countered a Bro Derek attempt and dropkicked Riddle in the corner. Woods followed with a press slam into a gutbuster for two. Riddle then did a deadlift German suplex off the middle rope and Woods basically landed right on his head for a nearfall.
After a brief exchange, Riddle suddenly hit an RKO for the pinfall win. Riddle did Randy Orton’s pose after the match.
Strong match. It was a first-time ever match and it certainly felt like something different, especially with both guys working as babyfaces.
They announced that Rhea Ripley will defend her title against Charlotte at Hell in a Cell.
Jaxson Ryker defeated Raw Tag Team Champion AJ Styles (2:03)
Styles was in complete control but Elias suddenly appeared at ringside and nailed him with a knee strike behind the ref’s back. Ryker followed with a Black Hole Slam for the pinfall win. Ryker pinned Styles.
Omos ran out after the match to go after Elias who hid behind the barricade. Elias and Ryker ran away but Elias tripped on the ramp so Omos tackled him into the video boards. Omos checked on Styles.
(Unless I missed something, there was no explanation for Omos not being in Styles' corner in the first place, other than they wanted to do this finish.)
Jeff Hardy plugged the return to live crowds.
US Champion Sheamus defeated Humberto Carrillo (3:44)
Carrillo got a brief chance to shine but Sheamus pinned him with a handful of tights for the win.
Sheamus attacked Carrillo after the match but Ricochet made the save. They each gave Sheamus moonsaults and Ricochet finished him off with a 450 splash. Ricochet wore his own clothes this week.
Sarah Schrieber interviewed Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Baszler said they lost last week because Jax was once again distracted by Reginald. Jax told her not to be a bully and explained what happened to him during the match. Baszler didn’t care and said they were an unstoppable force until she started getting distracted by him. She wanted them to go out there without him tonight. Baszler told Reginald to stay in the back or else.
There was a new Eva Marie video. This one focused more on her training.
(I missed it earlier, but I believe the Riddle/Woods match was the top-of-the-hour segment for the third hour.)
Natalya & Tamina defeated Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championships (11:42)
Natalya and Baszler were having a back-and-forth exchange when Reginald sauntered out about three minutes into the match. Baszler was about to stomp Natalya’s arm, but Reginald walking out caused her to stop for some reason. This allowed Natalya to escape and hit a German suplex which led to break.
Baszler was randomly back in control after the break until Natalya slammed her and tagged in Tamina. Tamina hit Jax with an uppercut and superkick for two. Jax avoided a superkick and smothered Tamina with a cover for two. Baszler tagged in but Tamina gave her a powerslam and tagged in Natalya.
Tamina and Jax brawled on the outside until Jax backdropped her over the barricade. Graves figured Tamina was out of the match now because of that.
Natalya gave Baszler a discus clothesline but Reginald distracted the referee as Natalya tried a sharpshooter. Baszler reversed into a small package but the ref was still distracted so Natalya was able to kick out.
Baszler demanded that Reginald leave. As Reginald walked up the ramp, fire pyro went off on the stage which caused him to fall back. Natalya used the distraction to apply a small package for the pinfall win. The champs retain.
Baszler grabbed Reginald and told him they’d be fighting next week and he’s going to wish he was in that fire.