A little later than usual…

This recap is a little later than I would usually write it, so let’s get right into it and skip the introductory statements. If you wanna find out more, as well as recap last week’s episode, click here.

The episode begins with a recap of events revolving around Drew McIntyre, Andrade and Seth Rollins from last week before Drew makes his way to the ring.

History, Prestige, Glory, Fame…

Drew welcomes everyone to Raw and discusses the ambush by Rollins last week. He discusses the importance of the WWE championship at what it means to different people, it could mean: “history, prestige, glory, fame…” He states that it paints a bullseye on the back of his back and issues a challenge to Seth at Money In The Bank. He begins to address Seth by saying, “Hi Seth, how are ya buddy?” before being cut off by Angel Garza, Zelina Vega and Austin Theory.

Vega and McIntyre have great chemistry on the mic, with McIntyre delivering one of the best lines in a while: “Hi Zelina, the number one thorn in my ass.”

Andrade sneaks up behind Drew and attacks from behind, but Drew manages to turn it around and hits a Claymore. Zelina attempts to get Garza and Theory to attack Drew, but they hesitate. Drew then hits another Claymore on Andrade, afterwards stating: Might want to put the kids to bed, because I’m gonna slaughter Angel Garza.”

Grade: B+

I loved this. McIntyre was fantastic on the mic and it’s good to see that Andrade and the rest are still getting a spotlight on the show.

Next up, Vega is now on commentary as Theory makes his way to the ring.

“Are you worried, Byron?!?”

Next up is Aleister Black vs Austin Theory for a place in the MITB match. Zelina Vega is fantastic on commentary throughout the match, especially when confronting both Tom and Byron. Some highlights from her sarcastic remarks and comments include, “Why would I give my secrets away to any of you,” and the great reply to Byron when he asks if she’s worried later on, which she replies with “are you worried Byron?” delivered in a very sarcastic tone.

The match starts with both trying to feel each other out, Black eventually misses a leg sweep which leads to Theory throwing Black into the ropes, turning around. Black lands on his feet on the rebound and stares down Theory, charging and throwing him out onto the apron. He attempts a Black Mass but Theory escapes to the outside. Black then hits a dropkick to the outside, which leads to Vega getting off commentary for a moment to distract Black enough so that Theory can throw him into the barricade.

Action returns to the ring after a break, Theory hits a dropkick and cover for a two-count. He picks up Black and puts him in the Torture Rack multiple times while throwing him into the top turnbuckle. Black escapes on the third attempt and delivers a kick to the head.

Theory later attempts an ATL but fails; Black then attempts a triangle submission hold but is picked up by Theory who hits a one-handed powerbomb. Back and forth offence ends with Black taking control, hitting a Leg Sweep, a knee to the head and a mid-rope Moonsault. Theory kicks out at 2.

Black misses another Knee Strike, Theory manages to strike Black in the head. Theory then picks up Black in an impressive move that ends with Black’s neck being dropped onto Theory’s knee. Black escapes the ATL attempt, he climbs to the top rope, misses but hits a Knee Strike. Black hits a German Suplex for a two-count, he then attempts a Black Mass but misses when Theory ducks… but he doesn’t miss the second attempt.

Aleister Black defeats Austin Theory via Pinfall – Grade: B

A great match made better with Zelina on commentary. After the match, Black is interviewed and states: “For my opponents, each floor of that building, I will make sure is turned into their own personal hell.” Fantastic line to end the segment.

Shayna Baszler is out next…

“Too Far?”

Baszler is interviewed ahead of her match by Charly Caruso who questions whether she took things too far by breaking Sarah Logan’s arm. Baszler replies, “Too far? Let me ask you something, did I break any rules? No, I just broke Sarah Logan’s arm.” A great reply to start the next match.

Baszler faces NXT talent Indi Hartwell next. Baszler is dominant, hitting a Gut-Wrench Powerbomb before attempting to stomp her arm like she did to Logan. Indi shockingly dodges and rolls up Baszler for a one-count. An enraged Baszler is then kicked in the head by Indi, but then attacks and takes her down, hitting a Knee Strike, followed by her arm breaking stomp. The ref calls off the match, but Baszler makes sure that the announcers call the right winner this week.

Shayna Baszler defeats Indi Hartwell via Ref Stoppage – Grade: C+

A squash match, but an entertaining one for those who love Baszler (like me…). After the match, Baszler storms off but comes back with a ladder. She grabs Indi and slams her into the barricade on the outside, before trapping her arm in the ladder and kicking it.

Up next is Ricochet and Cedric Alexander, in matching attire.

One and Only!

Ricochet & Cedric face Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink. In a surprisingly competitive match, Vink throws Ricochet into the corner and tags in Thorne. Ricochet takes back control, hitting a Dropkick and tagging in Cedric. Both work together very well, hitting great tag-team moves. Cedric hits a Suplex followed by Ricochet coming off the top rope.

Vink pulls Ricochet off the apron and takes him out, which Ricochet sells excellently. Ricochet is then pulled back in the ring but turns Vink’s offence around by throwing him into the top turnbuckle and tagging in Cedric. He cleans house and tags in Ricochet, but not before hitting a DDT using the ropes. Ricochet then hits a standing Shooting Star Press on Thorne, but the cover is broken by Vink. The match ends with a DDT followed by a tag to Cedric, with Ricochet hitting a Recoil and Cedric finishing it with a Lumbar Check.

Ricochet & Cedric Alexander defeat Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink via Pinfall – Grade: B-

After the match, the Kabuki Warriors are interviewed backstage before Sane’s rematch against Nia Jax (which hopefully isn’t another squash like last week). Bobby Lashley and Lana also appear in the gym in a segment seemingly parodying Lana’s real-life Tik Tok videos. Lashley says he’s going to be lifting a tractor tyre, which means there is more of this to come later on…

Please Don’t Be A Squash Match

Thankfully, this is not a squash match. Kairi Sane puts on a Sleeper Hold from behind to Nia Jax. Jax eventually breaks out and spins Sane around before launching her across the ring. There is a funny moment on commentary next, with Asuka appearing backstage and speaking in Japanese while the match is going. Tom Phillips seemingly understand what she says, with Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton replying to him by saying, “Is that what she said?”

Jax keeps tossing Sane across the ring. At one point, Sane attempts to take down Jax by sliding underneath her, but Jax picks her up and throws her into the corner. The landing looked like it hurt and the move was possibly a botch, hopefully, it wasn’t too bad.

Sane takes advantage of Jax’s injured knees, keeping her offence focused there. She hits a spinning back fist to knock Jax to the ground. Sane goes for the Insane Elbow, but misses, with Jax hitting the Annihilator to end the match.

Nia Jax defeats Kairi Sane via Pinfall – Grade: C

A much better match than their last encounter. This should have been the match they had during the qualifiers. Despite a couple possible botches from Jax, the booking was probably sensible considering Jax is in the MITB match.

Next, Seth Rollins cuts a promo from a large chair, in a small room with a portrait in the background. He responds to and accepts McIntyre’s challenge, stating that it’s not personal and that he is accepting the challenge out of necessity. He states further that Raw needs a leader, “I am a proven leader, you are not.”

A rather weird segment followed, featuring the Viking Raiders doing… Carpool Karaoke?… I don’t know what to think of this, but it was very out of character and I’d rather just forget it.

Is Crews the MVP?

Another MITB qualifier is next, this time it’s MVP versus Apollo Crews. MVP cuts an in-ring promo. where discusses the likes of Murphy, Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black. He says Crews is outmatched and that he is already prepared to be in the MITB match, but is cut off by Crews’ music.

Crews has been featured in great matches since coming back to Raw, with his near 30-minute match against Aleister Black a few weeks ago, and now this bout with MVP.

Crews really shows off his athleticism throughout, delivering multiple Dropkicks, before MVP backs off to the apron to ask the timekeeper to call for a time out. Crews knocks him off the apron but is then taken out by MVP before a break.

MVP has a hold on Crews in the ring, but Crews picks him up and slams his spine into the corner. Crews is then taken out by a clothesline, which he sells very well, for a two-count. MVP then taunts Crews by stating: “You don’t belong in this ring with me, I’ve got wins in this ring against Batista… I’ve got wins against Rey Mysterio, I’ve got wins against people like Kane…You ain’t got wins against nobody like that, and you won’t get one against me.” MVP the attempts a Playmaker but is hit with a Spinebuster.

Later, Apollo hits a frog splash, which is blocked by MVP. MVP then hits the Playmaker but Crews kicks out. Crews hits an Enzuigiri, a Military Press, a standing Moonsault and a standing Shooting Star Press before hitting a Powerbomb for the win.

Apollo Crews defeats MVP via Pinfall – Grade: B

This was a great showcase for Crews, made him look like a star ahead of the MITB match, and a serious contender for the briefcase.

Ruby Riott is interviewed backstage on her past in the Riott Squad and her upcoming match with Liv Morgan. She states that she had to carry Sarah and Liv on her back and jokingly implies that’s the reason she had to have surgery. The references to Logan throughout the night seem to imply that WWE may plan to bring her back after the pandemic is over, it’s a little strange the number of times she has been mentioned.

Let’s Start A Riott!

Liv Morgan vs Ruby Riott commences; Liv hits some great looking kicks to the head to push Ruby to the corner. She then hits a Missile Dropkick off the ropes, attempts a suplex which is halted via a stomp by Ruby. Ruby leaves Liv hanging over the top rope and kicks her on the side of the face, Liv kicks out at 2.

Liv and ruby trade forearms one after the other before ruby gains back control and kicks Liv in the face, trash-talking, “I will always own you”, asking her to beg. Liv surprises Ruby with a flat liner off the ropes for the win.

Liv Morgan defeats Ruby Riott via Pinfall – Grade: C+

A great win for Morgan continues to put a spotlight on the former Riott Squad member.

Bobby and Lana are back, Lashley says it takes an elite athlete to flip the tyre. After flipping it, he then points to a larger tyre…

The Last Raw Qualifier

Next up is the final qualifier on the Raw side for MITB, featuring Murphy versus Rey Mysterio. Murphy still doing the disciple gimmick, showing his time with Rollins isn’t over.

Quick start from both, taking each other down, with Murphy stating, “Not bad for an old man.” Mysterio nearly hits the 619, the two have great chemistry throughout this match. Mysterio rolls out of the ring, stating that he’s injured his finger. Murphy takes advantage and attacks him before rolling him in the ring to cover. Murphy still working on the finger, places it on the corner post and stands on it. Mysterio manages to hit a Hurricanrana onto the entrance ramp.

The action heads back to the ring where Mysterio attempts another 619, but Murphy backs up. Mysterio instead hits a DDT for a two-count. After a while, Mysterio hits another Hurricanrana, which causes Murphy to slam into the barricade. Mysterio is caught off the top rope, catches a knee in the back of the neck, knee to the face and hit with a Brainbuster for a two-count.  Later on, after a failed attempt at a top-turnbuckle Superkick by Murphy, Mysterio hits a Canadian Destroyer followed by a 619 and a Frog Splash for the win.

Rey Mysterio defeats Murphy via Pinfall – Grade: B+

I really enjoyed the chemistry between the two, their styles work well together and id like to see more in the future.

Garza and Zelina interviewed backstage ahead of the main event. NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair is out next. Charlotte wants her first match on NXT to be against Mia Yim according to commentary. They talk about how Io Shirai will be the first challenger for the title at some point down the line.

The Queen Returns

Charlotte faces Kayden Carter here, in a match that starts with an immediate Big Boot from Charlotte. Charlotte toys with Carter until Carter fights back with a kick to the back of the leg and a Superkick for a cover. Carter hits a Crucifix Bomb for the cover before attempting the Octopus Submission.

Charlotte fights out of it by elbowing her in the face and using the top rope, Flair then hits a spear, followed by the Figure-Eight for the win.

Charlotte Flair defeats Kayden Carter via Submission – Grade: C

Short and sweet. Carter got a lot more offence in than expected, but the NXT champion came out on top, as expected.

Another Bobby Lashley segment follows. Lashley fails to lift the tyre the first couple times, but lifts it on the third attempt; Lashley states, “That’s the type of power everyone in the locker room needs to fear.” I assume this was either meant to be a comedy segment showing that Lana is making him make these types of videos, or it was a genuine attempt to get over the strength of Lashley. I assume we will find out soon.

Andrade In Trouble?

US Champion Andrade takes on Akira Tozawa next, with Tozawa shocking everyone by hitting a knee strike for an early cover. Commentary talks about Tozawa’s win in the NXT Cruiserweight tournament; WWE seems to be giving Tozawa a bit of a spotlight the past couple weeks, which is great news for the underutilized star.

Tozawa launches Andrade outside the ring., then performing a Running Senton off the apron onto Andrade into the barricade. Tozawa hits a Dropkick from the top rope for a two-count. Zelina distracts Tozawa, allowing Andrade to take control and get the action back in the ring. Tozawa manages to put on the Octopus Submission but Andrade gets to the rope.

Andrade hits a fantastic Back-Elbow, knocking Tozawa to the ground. Tozawa misses a kick to the face but does get Andrade with a jab. Andrade fights back with a Dropkick, Tozawa rolls Andrade up numerous times for multiple two-counts. He then hits a kick to the face before going to the top rope, Andrade manages to knock him off the top before hitting the Hammerlock DDT from the top rope for the win.

Andrade defeats Akira Tozawa via Pinfall – Grade: B

Tozawa put on a hell of a match, this was great to see. Andrade may have won, but after a lack of challengers, I’m glad the US Title scene is starting to attract possible contenders.

The Street Profits come out while Andrade and Zelina are at ringside. They dance on commentary and introduce Bianca Belair, who then comes out to the ring.

The EST of WWE

Bianca Belair versus Santana Garrett is next, with the Street Profits on commentary, loudly supporting Belair. This is a Bianca showcase, but Santana gets a little bit of offence in before she is slammed down multiple times by Belair. Belair shows off her athleticism and knocks Santana to the ground. Street Profits are very loud on commentary throughout.

Belair squats into a vertical suplex while holding Santana up, with a clear smile on her face from Montez’s support on commentary, before a standing frog splash. Santana gets a bit more offence in, performing a Crossbody from the top rope for a one-count, then a kick to Bianca, before being halted by a kick to the chest from Bianca while performing a handstand against the ropes. The match ends with a KOD while the Profits celebrate on commentary. They run to the ring and lift Belair up after the win.

Bianca Belair defeats Santana Garrett via Pinfall – Grade: C+

We are finally at the main event, it’s been a long one…

I Can Do It All!

Drew McIntyre faces Angel Garza in the main event. I have no idea why WWE changed Garza’s theme music, but he now has a new theme. Theory, Zelina and Andrade are at ringside.

Garza attacks right out of the gate but is overpowered by McIntyre who chops him hard in the corner. McIntyre dominates, kicking Garza’s leg out in devastating fashion, his offence looks strong. He hits more chops in the corner before Garza hits a back elbow: Garza is then launched across the ring by McIntyre. McIntyre chops Garza outside the ring before throwing him back in. Andrade attempts to get involved but serves as a distraction for Garza to dive onto the champ. He is caught by McIntyre and then hit with the Glasgow Kiss Headbutt.

Zelina and Andrade distract, but McIntyre turns around and knocks down Theory, who had snuck up behind him. Garza hits a Dropkick and pushes McIntyre into multiple ring posts, before both get back in the ring. Garza performs a Dropkick from the top rope and goes after the leg of McIntyre. Trying to weaken his Claymore Kick. McIntyre hits a Clubbing Fist and takes back control, kicking him in the head and heading to the top for a takedown and performing a kip-up.

McIntyre begins to count for the Claymore but Garza attempts to escape the ring. McIntyre pulls off Garza’s wrestling trousers/pants in his attempt to grab him. The champ launches himself over the top rope, taking out Andrade, Garza and Theory., then turning to Vega and stating, “How do you like that, I can do it all.”

McIntyre throws Garza back in the ring, throws Andrade over the barricade and hits Theory with a Claymore. McIntyre goes for an Alabama Slam but is rolled up by Garza, but this doesn’t last long as McIntyre then hits a Claymore to win.

Drew McIntyre defeats Angel Garza via Pinfall – Grade: B+

McIntyre goes over to Byron on commentary and states, “Don’t mess with the champ” before saying he’s gonna give Garza another kick… which he does. He then hits Theory with a Claymore as Andrade runs off, the show ends with McIntyre laying on the ramp with the WWE title in hand.

Drew looked dominant here, while also being entertaining, both in his offence and his moments speaking to Vega and Byron at the end. This is how to make him look like a great champion and one that fans can get behind.

Overall Grade: B+

An entertaining show, with some great matches, some showcases, and a very good week for the WWE champion himself. Let’s hope this momentum continues into Money In The Bank in a few weeks.

By Jimmy Ioannou

Images provided by WWE.com

 

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