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Money in the Bank is WWE‘s next pay-per-view on July 18, but it already feels like management is also setting up certain storylines for SummerSlam on August 21.
After failing to qualify last week, Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles were going to battle to see which one of them gets one of the spots in the Money in the Bank ladder match. After we found out The Viper was unable to compete, Riddle talked management into letting him fight on Orton’s behalf in a Battle Royal.
Rhea Ripley teamed up with Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke to take on Charlotte, Tamina and Natalya in a six-woman tag bout that combined two feuds into one.
We also saw Kofi Kingston confront MVP about the way Bobby Lashley attacked Xavier Woods last week, and Jaxson Ryker faced Elias in a Strap match.
Let’s take a look at everything that happened on Monday’s Raw.
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Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce started the show by announcing Orton was unable to compete and instead of the original plans for a triple treat with McIntyre and Styles, we would get a Battle Royal with the winner being added to the triple threat later.
Riddle talked to them and convinced them to let him in the Battle Royal on Orton’s behalf. After some back and forth discussions, they agreed and sent him to the ring.
Drew Gulak, Mansoor and Angel Garza were among the first to be eliminated. R-Truth, Drew Gulak and Akira Tozawa fought over the 24/7 title after being eliminated.
Omos came down and helped eliminate Erik and Ivar, with Jinder Mahal giving them the final push over the ropes. We returned from a break to see five men left in the match.
Riddle and Damian Priest were the final two in the ring. After a few close calls, Riddle eliminated Priest to get the spot in the triple-threat match.
Not having Orton this week meant WWE had to scramble for something new. Instead of just pushing the triple threat to next week, WWE opted to use this opportunity to have Riddle fight for The Viper.
Battle Royals can be a lot of fun, but this one lacked the unpredictability that is supposed to come with this kind of match. It was a little too planned out to seem spontaneous.
Riddle winning was predictable and uninteresting, but it was also necessary if the plan is for The Legend Killer to end up in the MITB match.
On the plus side, WWE used this bout to advance a few midcard storylines. Jeff Hardy vs. Cedric Alexander, The Viking Raiders vs. Styles and Omos and the storyline with Ali and Mansoor were all addressed.
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Shayna Baszler took the blame for allowing Alexa Bliss to interfere in her business last week, so she vowed to take out Nikki Cross to make up for it.
Baszler used her mat wrestling skills to control the early moments, but Cross was able to momentarily turn things around. Baszler started using slams and suplexes to wear down the newly minted superhero.
Cross dropkicked Baszler out of the ring and as she recovered, Bliss came out onto the stage as her music played. Cross used the distraction to hit a dive onto Baszler, Nia Jax and Reginald all at once.
We returned from a break to see Baszler dominating Cross as Bliss watched from ringside. Bliss took out Jax and Reginald with a couple of well-placed kicks but Baszler didn’t let it distract her.
Cross was able to tie up Baszler’s arm and roll her up for the pin.
This match combined two of WWE’s goofiest gimmicks. On one hand, we have Bliss and her weird enchanting powers. On the other, we have Cross looking like a superhero.
This whole storyline is like a Fast and Furious movie in the sense that you are either on board for all of the over-the-top nonsense, or you’re not. You won’t find many people in the middle.
The match between Cross and Baszler was fine, but the other shenanigans took a lot of attention away from what was happening in the ring.
Cross is enjoyable in this role because she has the enthusiasm to pull it off. If WWE actually follows through with her push, she could end up being as popular as Mighty Molly.
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Kingston came out and spoke about having to watch his best friend be brutally attacked last week inside Hell in a Cell. He talked about how people have disrespected Woods for a long time by not admitting how good he is.
MVP came out with the women who have been hanging around in recent weeks. He said the idea of Kingston beating Lashley for the WWE title is ridiculous.
He told Kingston that Lashley enjoyed destroying Woods last week. Kingston recalled some recent events to show how it will be possible for him to take the belt from Lashley.
Kingston ended up going out and taking MVP down with Trouble in Paradise.
Kingston and MVP are great together, and this segment allowed them to have what appeared to be a somewhat improvised conversation.
This feud is being built up slowly and made more personal with each segment. A lot of what happens on Raw is repetitive or uninteresting, but this storyline is hitting its stride.
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Eva Marie gave a prematch interview and said Doudrop was just overwhelmed last week and that is why she left in the middle of the match. She seemed willing to work through it with her partner in this rematch.
Doudrop backed Naomi to the corner to show off her power, but Naomi fired off a kick to the head to back her up. She avoided a senton and tagged Asuka for a missile dropkick.
The Empress tried for a German suplex but was rebuffed. She applied the Asukalock but couldn’t fully lock it in. Eva called for a tag before pulling her arm away and dropping off the apron.
Doudrop recovered and took out Asuka and Naomi by herself to score the win. Eva looked completely shocked, but grabbed a mic and announced herself as the winner.
Honestly, this was a lot better than it had any right being at this point. Doudrop doing all of the work while Eva took credit at the end was the only way this was going to work.
Naomi and Asuka already have their spots in the women’s Money in the Bank match, so they didn’t lose anything by putting Doudrop over here.
Using Eva as a manipulative heel is going to be the only way WWE can use her until she either wins over the WWE Universe or proves she has improved in the ring.
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After Ricochet stole John Morrison’s drip stick and used it to spray The Miz backstage, JoMo and Ricochet did battle in a singles match.
They went back and forth with some quick kicks and takedowns before Johnny Drip Drip scored the first two-count of the match. He maintained the upper hand until Ricochet dropkicked him out of the ring.
The Miz used his wheelchair to block Ricochet from getting to Morrison, so Ricochet jumped over him to hit a hurricanrana. He grabbed another drip stick and sprayed The A-Lister.
JoMo had Ricochet cornered when we returned from a commercial. The One and Only started to build up a head of steam as he hit a series of quick moves to get a near-fall.
Ricochet ended up hitting a springboard crossbody to the outside that sent him and Morrison over the barricade. Neither man could beat the 10-count back into the ring.
If anybody else was in The Miz and Morrison’s position, these segments wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. They take everything and make it work somehow.
The action in the ring was as good as you would expect from Ricochet and JoMo, but the spot at the end outshined everything else. It looked amazing and justified a double countout for once.
This was a taste of what is in store at Money in the Bank. If they do spots like that crossbody, the live crowd is going to lose its collective mind.
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A brawl broke out with all six women before the ref could even call for the bell. They paired off and battled all around the ring as the sole official tried desperately to control the situation. He eventually just stayed out of the ring because he knew it was futile.
We returned to see the match finally underway with Rose and Nattie in the ring. The Golden Goddess countered a Sharpshooter and tagged in Brooke to hit a headscissor takedown.
Charlotte made a blind tag and helped take out Brooke at ringside. Ripley avoided a cheap shot from The Queen but Charlotte remained in control. The women’s tag champs took turns beating her up in their corner.
Rose tagged in but was quickly grounded with a Big Boot from The Queen that scored her the win. Ripley hit her with a chop block after the match was over just to get the last laugh.
This match started with a lot of good aggression during the brawl and managed to keep the pace during the actual match.
What we saw was predictable and somewhat basic, but it had some highlights. Rose and Brooke have improved a lot since forming their tag team and this match helped showcase their skills a bit.
The big question is who are the babyfaces? Ripley is certainly not acting like one and WWE is piping in boos for her entrance, so there is no hero in this feud. It’s also a little hard to tell who we are supposed to cheer for in the women’s tag title feud.
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Elias jumped Ryker as soon as the ref called for the bell. He stomped his former bodyguard into the mat before taking him out of the ring and whipping him into the steel steps.
Ryker recovered and used the strap to dish out some punishment. They trades strap shots to the back before Ryker threw Elias from corner to corner. Ryker hit a side slam for the win.
WWE is having somebody beat themselves with a leather strap and we are supposed to buy him as a babyface. Let that sink in for a moment. Self-flagellation is not an admirable trait.
Ryker is controversial to say the least, but we have to look at this objectively as a match. That being said, this was mediocre at best.
This did not have the kind of brutality we have come to expect from this stipulation and didn’t last long enough to give them that opportunity.
Ryker getting the win was easy to see coming from a mile away. The question becomes what does WWE do with him now?
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The main event started with McIntyre taking out Styles and Riddle at the same time. Riddle was able to take control for a moment with some strikes before getting thrown across the ring.
Omos stood by and watched as McIntyre took apart the announce table so he could put Styles through it. The Phenomenal One countered him and Riddle took him down with a flying forearm.
The Bro suplexed Styles on the floor and McIntyre grabbed the former MMA fighter to do the same thing right away. Riddle and Styles worked together to slam McIntyre through the commentary table.
We returned from a break to see Riddle and Styles going at it while McIntyre was still down at ringside. The Phenomenal One went outside to beat down McIntyre to prevent him from getting back in the ring.
Riddle went for the RKO, but Styles caught and slammed him for a two-count. McIntyre pulled Styles out of the ring and drove him into the apron and barricade a few times. He went after Riddle and unloaded on him with hard right hands.
Riddle missed a running kick and hit the steel steps. He told the ref he thought his foot was broken and called for help. We returned from another break to see McIntyre and Styles fighting without The Bro.
The Phenomenal One locked in the Calf Crusher right before Riddle limped his way back to the ring with his ankle wrapped up. He put Styles in the Bromission but McIntyre broke it up.
Riddle nailed Styles with a huge knee and an RKO before Omos pulled his partner out of the ring. McIntyre drilled The Bro with a Brogue Kick for the win.
The moment when Riddle kicked the steps looked and sounded great, but he may have oversold it a bit on his way to the back.
Everything else in this match worked well and showcased the individual strengths of each wrestler. Styles is known for his athleticism but he was given a chance to show off some power against The Scottish Warrior.
Riddle coming back down just to lose is going to create tension with The Viper in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see if he reacts violently or forgives Riddle, which is not something he has ever been known to do before.
This week’s Raw was uneven but still featured some segments you should take the time to check out. The Morrison vs. Ricochet match and the main event were especially entertaining.