5/24 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston for a WWE Championship match at WWE Hell in a Cell, Natalya and Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles, Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, Riddle vs. Xavier Woods

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw (Episode 1,461)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired May 24, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] Adnan Virk, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer… MVP stood in the ring and introduced WWE Champion Bobby Lashley, who was escorted to the ring by five women. A video package recapped last week’s segments involving Lashley’s open challenge.

MVP touted WWE’s return to the road in July. Lashley indicated that he’s finished with Drew McIntyre after beating him at WrestleMania. MVP called McIntyre a dark cloud and mentioned him showing up last week during Lashley’s open challenge match with Kofi Kingston.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance and said that Lashley’s business is his business because his business is getting back the WWE Championship. McIntyre said he would have won at WrestleMania if it wasn’t for MVP, and he would have won at WrestleMania Backlash had it not been for Braun Strowman.

McIntyre entered the ring and said Lashley wants to prove that he’s the number one star on Raw. McIntyre then second guessed himself by wondering if Lashley knows he can’t handle him. Lashley held his jacket open to show off the WWE Championship belt. McIntyre pointed out that Lashley lost to Kingston last week. Lashley pointed out McIntyre’s interference.

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance. Kingston recalled pinning Lashley last week. Lashley asked Kingston if he thanked McIntyre. “You’re welcome,” McIntyre said. Kingston and Woods entered the ring. Kingston took issue with McIntyre insinuating that he couldn’t have beaten Lashley without his help.

Kingston said he never got a WWE Championship rematch and that’s why he accepted the match. He told McIntyre that he knows something about rematches because he keeps getting them. Kingston said he did something that McIntyre has been unable to do by pinning Lashley.

Adam Pearce walked onto the stage and said there’s an easy way to settle the debate. Pearce booked McIntyre vs. Kingston with the winner challenging Lashley for the WWE Championship at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. MVP liked the idea and said they would set up the VIP Lounge on the stage so he and Lashley could watch the match. McIntyre and Kingston jawed at one another… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m surprised that Kingston was scripted to point out all of the rematches that McIntyre has had. I wonder if that’s setting up McIntyre getting one last chance at Hell in a Cell. I can’t completely rule out the possibility of Kingston getting the title shot, but it’s a long shot given how flukey his wins over Lashley and Randy Orton came off last week.

The broadcast team hyped WWE returning to the road beginning July 16 while mainstream media headlines were shown. Braun Strowman cut a brief and basic promo about returning to the road…

1. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) for a shot at the WWE Championship at the WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Lashley, MVP, and their female friends watched the match from the makeshift VIP Lounge on the stage. McIntyre went for a powerbomb, but Kingston countered into a huracanrana that sent McIntyre to ringside. Kingston dove onto McIntyre on the floor. McIntyre came back by sending Kingston face first onto the apron. [C]

McIntyre went for a superplex, but Kingston blocked it and headbutted him off the ropes. Kingston dove onto McIntyre with a cross body block, but McIntyre rolled through and performed a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Lashley pointed at his watch. McIntyre climbed the ropes and pointed at Lashley, who stood up and removed his jacket. Lashley and MVP headed to ringside. [C]

Lashley and MVP were sitting in office chairs next to the broadcast team coming out of the break. McIntyre performed a spinebuster for a two count, then followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for another. Kingston rallied and went to the top rope and splashed the back of a hunched over McIntyre, which led to a near fall. Kingston followed up a short time later with an SOS for a near fall. Lashley and MVP attacked both men for the DQ finish.

Drew McIntyre fought Kofi Kingston to a no-contest in 21:55.

After the match, McIntyre took out Lashley with a Claymore Kick…

The broadcast team checked in from ringside. Graves questioned who would get the title shot. They shifted the focus to last week’s Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka match and the Rhea Ripley interference that (kinda) led to Asuka getting the pin…

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match that did more for Kingston than beating Lashley and Orton with outside interference in both matches last week. I’m not a fan of the broadcast team being scripted to move on so quickly. It just felt strange that the number one contender status question was left hanging without more discussion.

Charlotte Flair was shown texting on her phone backstage when Rhea Ripley appeared and accused Flair of being jealous of her. Flair said that Ripley is so jealous of her that she was trying to get inside of her head just moments before her match.

Nikki Cross showed up and said she could beat Ripley and Flair and asked for a match. Flair said she could beat Cross in two minutes if she didn’t have a match with Asuka. Flair suggested that Ripley try to beat Cross in two minutes. Ripley accepted the challenge…

Rhea Ripley made her entrance… [C] An Eva Marie “Eva-lution” vignette aired…

2. Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Nikki Cross in a non-title two-minute challenge. Cross’s entrance was not televised. A countdown graphic was on the screen. Ripley was arrogant to start, but Cross hit her with a forearm to the head and followed up with a jawbreaker.

Cross went up top and performed a cross body block for a two count. Cross fired up and went for a bulldog, but Ripley shoved her off and then dropkicked her. Ripley gave Cross shoulder blocks in the corner and then punched her repeatedly. Ripley bickered with the referee and then kicked Cross several times until the clock expired.

Nikki Cross survived Rhea Ripley in a two-minute challenge.

Afterward, Ripley acted like she forgot about the timer. Cross celebrated her survival. Charlotte Flair made her entrance. Graves hyped Flair vs. Asuka as coming up next… A Smackdown ad hyped The Usos vs. The Street Profits… [C]

Powell’s POV: As much as I want to see the company get it right with Ripley, I’m happy that they didn’t feed the underutilized Cross to her in less than two minutes.

A video touted WWE returning to the road with the Smackdown, Money in the Bank, and Raw events in Texas… Damian Priest delivered a backstage promo in Spanish, then spoken in English while telling fans to come see why they call him the archer of infamy…

The broadcast team recapped the McIntyre vs. Kingston match while highlights were shown…

Backstage, McIntyre and Kingston both ended up in Pearce’s office. Pearce said he had a solution. He called for running it back with a rematch on next week’s show. Kingston said he’s fine with that and would have no problem beating McIntyre if they could keep Lashley and MVP away. McIntyre told Kingston that he’s willing to go through anybody to get his title back, including Kingston…

[Hour Two] Asuka made her entrance…

3. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka. Flair targeted the left knee of Asuka. Asuka came back briefly and leapt off the apron toward Flair on the floor, but Flair moved. Flair picked up Asuka and dropped her bad leg onto the ring steps. [C]

Flair continued to target the bad leg. She wrapped the leg around the ring post once. Asuka fought back and threw a kick from the apron that knocked Flair down at ringside. Asuka went after Flair, who sent Asuka into the broadcast table. [C] The WWE vaccination PSA aired (I’m fully vaccinated, and the gal’s two-week post vaccination period ends on Thursday!).

Asuka went for an armbar, but Flair blocked it. Asuka tried to counter into the Asuka Lock, but Flair was able to block that hold as well. Asuka went for it again, but Flair went through the ropes, causing both women to end up at ringside again.

Back inside the ring, Flair performed a backbreaker on Asuka. Flair went for a moonsault. Asuka rolled out of the way, but Flair landed on her feet and and then performed a standing moonsault that led to a two count. Cool spot. Asuka came back with an Asuka Lock attempt, but Flair rolled onto her and got the three count…

Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka in 21:25.

Powell’s POV: Flair and Asuka always work well together, but what was once a must see WrestleMania match now has a “This again?” feel to it due to overexposure. It’s sad that WWE didn’t even try to make it feel special. They didn’t advertise it in advance unless you count a graphic that was shown during one of the previous matches. It was another well worked match between the rivals and the clean finish was a nice surprise. I just wish that WWE would do more to protect the rivalry so that their matches felt special each time out.

Backstage, Lashley was hanging out with his lady friends while MVP stood behind his couch. A staffer entered the room and told Lashley that Adam Pearce would like to see him… [C]

Powell’s POV: Look at Lashley working the six-way. I hoped that would happen when my beer league softball team won a fall championship years ago, but I had to settle for a five-way (I’m also a liar).

The broadcast team touted WWE returning to the road in July while more mainstream media headline graphics were shown… A brief Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke promo aired about returning to the road…

Pearce spoke with Lashley and MVP. Lashley told Pearce that he was trying to help him out by interfering in the McIntyre vs. Kingston match because he’s the only worthy WWE Champion. Peace told both men that they would be suspended for 90 days without pay if they even show up at ringside for next week’s McIntyre vs. Kingston rematch…

A video package recapped the Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander feud…

4. Shelton Benjamin vs. Cedric Alexander. Before the match, Alexander stood on the ring steps and said he had to get something off his chest. Alexander said they had something and were the Raw Tag Team Champions. Alexander boasted that he was the reason they were successful and said he’s in his prime. Alexander said this would be the last time anyone sees Benjamin’s face. The bell rang to start the match and Alexander ducked to the floor. [C]

A Ted DiBiase promo aired with brief hype for “The Million Dollar Face-Off between him and Cameron Grimes for Tuesday’s NXT television show.

Benjamin ran Alexander into the barricade at ringside and then rolled him back inside the ring. Alexander avoided a charging Benjamin, who skinned the cat. Alexander caught him with a kick. Both men stuffed the other’s move attempts and then Alexander hit Benjamin with a high kick.

Alexander went to the ropes and was cut off by Benjamin, who sat on the top rope and put Alexander on his shoulders. Alexander fought free and performed a top rope huracanrana and then covered Benjamin for a two count. The broadcast team noted that Cedric wants to go by “Prime” Alexander.

Benjamin caught Alexander with a spin kick. Benjamin performed a pair of German suplexes. Alexander avoided the third attempt. Benjamin rolled through and tried again, but Alexander thumbed his eye. Alexander performed the Neuralyzer and scored the pin…

Cedric Alexander beat Shelton Benjamin in 11:55.

Powell’s POV: I liked the match, but it dragged more than their previous encounter. It was still entertaining and I continue to enjoy this feud despite both men being buried with a bad losing streak before their breakup.

A video package focused on the Randy Orton and Riddle tag team… Riddle made his entrance… [C] Another video aired for WWE returning to the road… John Morrison delivered a brief promo about going back on the road. Yes, he’s still doing the Drip Drip thing… Xavier Woods made his entrance…

5. Riddle vs. Xavier Woods. Graves spoke about Riddle realizing that there’s a lot to gain from teaming with Randy Orton and how he feels disrespected by New Day.

[Hour Three] The wrestlers locked up. Riddle pushed Woods into his corner where he accidentally kicked the trombone. Graves said it was the best thing that’s ever happened to Francesca (the trombone). Riddle applied a pair of submission holds, but Woods reached the ropes both times.

Woods caught Riddle on the top rope with a palm strike and then suplexed him. Woods performed a slingshot suplex. Riddle came right back with an armbar attempt that Woods avoided. Woods pulled Riddle up from the mat into a suplex (cool spot that was more about Riddle’s athletic ability than the strength of Woods).

Riddle used his legs to pull Woods over the top rope to the floor. Riddle pulled him back onto the apron and fired kicks at Woods, who blocked one and performed a Death Valley Driver onto the ring apron. [C]

Riddle performed a wicked German suplex from the ropes and only got a near fall. Woods avoided the Floating Bro. Woods chopped Riddle, who dropped him with an RKO and scored the pin. Riddle made his mean face after scoring the pin, then went to the ropes and celebrated…

Riddle beat Xavier Woods in 12:50.

AJ Styles bumped fists with Omos in the backstage area and then headed off on his own for a match against Jaxson Ryker… [C]

Powell’s POV: A strong match with a cool finish. Obviously, it will be interesting to see how Orton’s character responds to his tag team partner using his finisher. By the way, WWE has filled the time nicely so far tonight. A couple of the matches have gone longer than they needed to, but we haven’t had any major nonsense yet. That said, I assume we still have Lily to come during the WWE Women’s Tag Title match.

An Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month video aired… The broadcast team announced Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view…

6. AJ Styles vs. Jaxson Ryker. Neither man was accompanied by his respective sidekick to start the match. Styles immediately dropkicked Ryker, who came back with a slingshot suplex for an early two count. Ryker went for the move again, but Styles avoided it and tossed him to ringside.

Styles ran the ropes and blasted Ryker kick a dropkick between the ropes. Elias showed up and hit Styles with a leaping knee to the face. Elias rushed back and hid in the timekeepers area. Ryker pulled Styles back inside the ring and hit his finisher and scored the upset win.

Jaxson Ryker defeated AJ Styles in 2:05.

Afterward, Omos came out and pulled Elias out of the timekeepers area. Elias and Ryker ran away. Omos chased down Elias after he tripped on the stage. Omos shoulder blocked Elias into the LED board on the stage. Omos headed back to the ring to check on Styles while the broadcast team raved about the speed of Omos…

Powell’s POV: I’m still baffled by this feud given that both teams are slotted as heels. I assume that Styles and Omos will be cheered when live crowds return, so perhaps they are babyfaces now even though we never saw an actual turn.

The broadcast team set up a video package on the Sheamus and Humberto Carrillo feud… Sheamus made his entrance for a match with Carrillo… [C] There was more hype for WWE going back on the road and then Jeff Hardy delivered a brief promo about it… Humberto Carrillo made his entrance…

7. U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Humberto Carillo in a non-title match. The broadcast team praised Sheamus as being a dominant champion (does he ever defend the title?). Carrillo sent Sheamus to ringside and then performed a suicide dive. Carrillo rolled Sheamus back inside the ring and hit him with a top rope elbow, which led to a two count. Carrillo set up for a move, but Sheamus sat down on him and held the tights while getting the pin.

Sheamus defeated Humberto Carrillo in 3:45 in a non-title match.

Afterward, Sheamus attacked Carrillo, who was talking with the referee about the finish. Sheamus put Carrillo in his Cloverleaf submission hold. Ricochet leapt at Sheamus from the top rope to break it. Ricochet and Carrillo took turns hitting top rope moves on Sheamus. Ricochet finished off the moves with a 450 splash…

Footage aired from recent matches involving the women in the WWE Women’s Tag Title match…

Backstage, Sarah Schreiber asked Jax and Baszler, who were accompanied by Reginald, how they intend to regain the titles. Baszler complained that Jax was distracted last week because of Reginald. Baszler said they were an unstoppable force before Reginald. Jax said they still are. Baszler said they should prove it by going out there without Reginald. He spoke up and said he was only trying to help. Baszler told him that she’d give him a real reason to have nightmares if he ever showed at ringside during one of her matches again…

Natalya and Tamina made their entrance for the title match… [C] An NXT TV ad focused on tomorrow night’s Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor match for the NXT Championship…

A new Eva-Lution video aired… Jax and Baszler were in the ring coming out of the break… The broadcast team hyped McIntyre vs. Kingston for a shot at the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell for next week’s Raw…

8. Natalya and Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Reginald was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Baszler put Natalya in her own Sharpshooter, which she was able to escape. The heel duo isolated Natalya. Reginald walked to ringside. [C]

Jax dumped Tamina over the ringside barricade. In the ring, Natalya set up for a Sharpshooter on Baszler, but Reginald caused a distraction. Meanwhile, Baszler countered into an inside cradle and had the pin, but the referee was focused on Reginald. Baszler barked at Reginald to leave.

Reginald walked up the ramp and then pyro shot off. Reginald fell over and rolled back down the ramp while covering his eyes from the pyro blast. In the ring, Baszler went to pick up Natalya, who rolled her into an inside cradle and scored the pin.

Natalya and Tamina defeated Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax in 11:45 to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.

After the match, Baszler checked on Reginald, who said he thought he was okay, Baszler grabbed him by his jacket and called him a son of a bitch. She said she was tired of him interfering in her matches. Baszler challenged Reginald to face her in a match next week. She said that if he had the balls to accept, she’ll make him wish that he was in that explosion…

Powell’s POV: Ugh. A flat finish to an otherwise good episode of Raw. I want to enjoy this tag title feud, but it’s tough when you just sit around and wait for the Lily finish. And it’s too bad the show ended on a flat note because this was a straight forward show with plenty of in-ring action otherwise. There was very little happening backstage, as I can’t remember the last time we saw less of the backstage interviewers. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of Raw by grading it below.

Join John Moore for his live review of NXT featuring Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship on Tuesday night.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. The “This is the last time anyone will see Benjamin’s face” line was odd and led nowhere. I thought for sure we were headed toward a disfigurement angle where Alexander throws acid/a fire ball or simply attempts to rearrange Benjamin’s face causing Benjamin to require a mask or some kind of facial protector. But instead he simply beat him cleanly and nothing else came of it.

  2. Every single womens match must end with the ROLLUP OF DEATH. No exceptions. Dammit D’Lo.

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