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We’re just under two weeks away from the annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view, but the red brand has already set up all of its storylines for the show, so this week’s Raw was all about keeping things moving and making each feud more important.
After taking a brutal chop block to the back of her knee from Rhea Ripley last week, Charlotte requested time to address her status on Monday’s show.
The Miz also secured a non-wrestling segment for a special MITB episode of Miz TV. His guests were the four participants in the men’s Money in the Bank match from Raw: Ricochet, John Morrison, Riddle and Drew McIntyre.
Riddle and Morrison met for a rematch after both men were counted out during their encounter last week. We also saw Bobby Lashley team up with MVP to face Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston in a tag team match.
Let’s take a look at everything that happened on this week’s WWE Raw.
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The Miz and John Morrison opened the show with another episode of Miz TV. Before he brought out his first guest, The A-Lister declared Johnny Drip Drip would win the briefcase.
Drew McIntyre came out and told a story about being related to Davy Crockett. Ricochet was up next, and The Miz admonished him for taking such a big risk in his match with Morrison last week.
Riddle rode his scooter to the ring with his ankle wrapped up due to the injury he suffered last week. He said he would dedicate his win at MITB to Randy Orton.
AJ Styles and Omos came down to complain about how the former wasn’t pinned in the Triple Threat last week, which should entitle him to a spot in the MITB match. Omos tipped over the ladder to send Riddle crashing to the mat on his bad leg. Styles then took a cheap shot at The Bro’s ankle while Ricochet and Morrison got into a fight.
The match between Ricochet and Morrison got started after the commercial break. They remained grounded for the first few minutes, but as the pace picked up, they started using the ropes to their advantage. JoMo powerbombed Ricochet into the barricade as the show cut to a commercial.
Morrison hitting a standing Spanish fly was just one of the impressive moves we saw in the second half. Morrison took Ricochet out at ringside, and The Miz helped keep him out of the ring so JoMo could win by count-out.
Grade: C (Miz TV), A- (Match)
This was a typical segment WWE likes to run before big multi-person matches. Everyone gets together, throws out a few insults and gets into a fight.
The brawl started awkwardly as everyone just sat around waiting until it was their turn to get involved. It was clunky but at least it didn’t lead to a six-man tag match, which is usually what would happen in a situation like this.
Other than the drip stick shenanigans, the match between Ricochet and Morrison was as good as you would expect it to be. They have great chemistry and know how to space out their high spots so they have the biggest impact.
Count-out finishes are rarely the right call, but this one worked to keep this feud going without making either competitor look weak. Ricochet will probably even the score next week during the go-home episode of Raw before Money in the Bank.
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Some unlikely partnerships were featured in an eight-woman tag match when Naomi, Asuka, Nikki A.S.H. (formerly known as Nikki Cross) and Alexa Bliss teamed up to face Eva Marie, Doudrop, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
Nikki and Bliss have history as former tag team partners, Jax and Baszler did not seem happy about teaming with Eva and Doudrop and Asuka has had issues with Bliss earlier this year.
The match quickly devolved into a series of moves where everyone took each other out. Bliss ended up as the last woman standing after she scared Eva out of the ring with a scream.
We returned from a break to see Doudrop throwing Nikki around like a rag doll. She brought in Jax and they crushed Asuka between them by running into her at the same time.
Baszler broke Bliss’ trance on Reginald by throwing her into the barricade. The match came to an end when Jax hit Nikki with a Samoan Drop for the pin.
Nikki’s new gimmick is still rough around the edges, but her enthusiasm and energy are going to help her get this over eventually. It’s hard to tell if the same can be said for Eva and Doudrop at this point.
If Eva is going to be this over-the-top heel character, WWE needs to let her give more promos. If she isn’t going to wrestle much, she needs to get over using her personality. Even if it doesn’t work, WWE should at least try if it’s going to invest time and money into her character.
The more people you add to a tag match, the harder it is to tell a good story. These bouts tend to follow a pattern, and this was no exception. Having Nikki take the loss was a surprising move considering the push WWE has given her in recent weeks. Overall, this was forgettable.
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After several weeks of interactions backstage, Mansoor and Mustafa Ali met for a match.
They kept things technical for the first few minutes with a series of takedowns and counters. Once Mansoor got angry, he started utilizing strikes to keep the upper hand.
Ali got his foot caught in the ropes and Mansoor helped the referee get it free. He checked on Ali, and he ended up getting pinned with a rollup. Ali quickly revealed his leg was fine as he celebrated his win.
Ali and Mansoor didn’t have enough time to do anything remarkable, but what we did see gives hope that a longer match between these two could be a show-stealer.
The way Ali won was underhanded and cheap, which is exactly what he needed to do to prove his point to the man he is trying to mentor that Mansoor must be more aggressive. Judging from the look on Mansoor’s face after he lost, the message got through loud and clear.
This is a fresh feud with two guys who haven’t had a lot of screen time in 2021. Let’s hope WWE allows this to play out.
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Former 3MB stablemates did battle this week when Jinder Mahal took on Drew McIntyre. Unfortunately, Heath Slater was not there to be a special guest referee, but Veer and Shanky were by Mahal’s side.
They locked up and fought for control. McIntyre knocked Mahal down with a shoulder tackle twice to establish his dominance.
The Maharaja jabbed The Scottish Warrior in the throat and suplexed him onto the announcers’ table as we went to a break. We returned to see Mahal still controlling the pace.
McIntyre spiked him with a Future Shock DDT before setting up for the Claymore. Veer and Shanky got involved before he could execute the move and caused a disqualification. Mahal stole McIntyre’s sword to end the segment.
It might surprise some people to hear this, but this was a decent match. Mahal and McIntyre can match each other physically at every turn. That allowed them to have a competitive fight.
The DQ finish was an odd choice, but if WWE actually intends on pushing Mahal and his cronies, then this helps him without McIntyre having to sacrifice a win.
If McIntyre doesn’t win the MITB briefcase, this might be a feud we see continue. It would do more for Mahal than McIntyre, but that might be the point. WWE needs more top stars on Raw, and it makes sense to start with a former WWE champion, even if he wasn’t exactly the most popular champion.
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Mace and Lince Dorado started in the ring for their teams. Dorado tried to use his speed to take control early, but Mace’s power prevented him from getting the advantage. Mace caught him in midair and threw him over the top rope.
T-Bar continued the assault by slamming Dorado’s head into the announcers’ table. Mace came back in to deliver a big boot for a close two-count.
It looked like Mace and T-Bar had the win secured, but Dorado was able to score the win with a victory roll out of nowhere—with some help from Gran Metalik.
Raw has needed to build up some new tag teams for months. Ever since Styles and Omos won the Raw tag titles at WrestleMania, the division has been all but dead. Using these two teams to create some competition is a good place to start.
This match was short and mostly uneventful, but it did have a couple of memorable spots. Mace throwing Dorado out of the ring was a brutal bump that The Golden Lynx sold beautifully.
It’s hard to tell why WWE isn’t pushing Mace and T-Bar as more of a threat to the champions. They are big dudes who move like much smaller competitors. They could have some great matches with Styles and Omos.
Lucha House Party should also be getting pushed, but WWE has had years to do that and never seems to follow through, so we won’t hold our breath waiting for that to happen.
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After what happened during the Miz TV segment, an injured Riddle ended up facing Styles in a singles bout. Wherever Styles is, Omos is never far behind.
As expected, The Phenomenal One immediately set his sights on Riddle’s ankle. The wrapping he wore may as well have been a big red bullseye for Styles to aim at.
The Bro stood on one foot like Daniel LaRusso and hit a crane kick even after Styles mocked him for trying to be The Karate Kid. As we went to a break, Omos tripped Riddle to give Styles an assist.
Riddle hit a huge knee to the face to give himself a bit of a breather. He began to build some momentum but still favored his right foot. He missed a moonsault and landed right on his bad leg.
Styles hit him with a modified fireman’s carry slam for a near-fall. The Viking Raiders appeared at ringside, and the distraction allowed Riddle to roll up Styles for the win.
Riddle did a good job of selling his ankle injury as if he was really in excruciating pain. He never ignored the injury and made it part of every thing he did. Even a little detail like tripping during an Irish whip helped make it more convincing.
Styles is great at the classic tactic of focusing on one body part and tearing it to pieces. It was even better because his signature submission focuses on the lower leg. It’s just too bad he never got to use it.
The distraction finish was meant to keep the feud between the champs and The Viking Raiders going, but it felt a little excessive after we already had a count-out, DQ and Ali’s rollup victory in the same show. The match was good, but the finish was less than ideal.
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Two random pairings had a match this week when Elias and Cedric Alexander faced Jaxson Ryker and R-Truth. Truth almost won the 24/7 title when Akira Tozawa ran to the ring to avoid a bunch of other people.
Truth ran after him, so Ryker was all by himself as the match got started. He planted Alexander with a side slam before telling him to tag Elias.
The singer refused to tag into the match and backed his way up the ramp. Ryker hit a spinning side slam on Alexander for the win.
Poor Alexander. He deserves better than this. There’s not much else that can be said about this match. It was short, did nothing to push the feud forward and made one of the most talented high-flyers in WWE look like a scrub.
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The final match of the night was a tag team contest between The New Day and The Hurt Business. After spending months on the shelf with a supposed leg injury, MVP finally returned to action.
Woods and MVP kicked off the action with an exchange of holds and counters. MVP shoved Woods to the mat and talked some trash. Woods retaliated with a chop block to the same knee MVP injured several months ago.
When Kingston and Lashley tagged in, The All Mighty took over. He cornered Kingston and unloaded on him with big right hands and shoulder thrusts to the body.
MVP fell victim to the Unicorn Stampede in the corner before the show cut to a break. We returned to see Lashley run over Woods like a steamroller. It took a few minutes for Woods to make a desperate tag to Kingston.
The former WWE champion took out both opponents with a few of his signature moves before MVP took him down for a two-count. Kingston countered the Playmaker and hit Trouble in Paradise for the pin.
This was a solid main event that fit within the ongoing storyline between these four men, but it was just a stop on the way to the PPV. This won’t be remembered in a few weeks.
Woods continues to prove he is one of the most underrated stars on the roster with each passing week. No matter what WWE gives him to do, he knocks it out of the park.
MVP taking the loss protects Lashley while giving Kingston a boost. It was the only logical outcome. As a whole, this week’s show was right down the middle. It had some fun moments, some headscratchers and a few potential new feuds.