5/31 WWE Raw Results: Powell’s live review of Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston for a WWE Championship shot at Hell in a Cell, AJ Styles and Omos vs. Jaxson Ryker and Elias for the Raw Tag Titles, Reginald vs. Shayna Baszler, Randy Orton vs. Xavier Woods

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

WWE Raw (Episode 1,462)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired May 31, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] Raw opened with a Memorial Day tribute video… Pyro shot off on the stage and then the broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in. Graves introduced Smith while running through some of his previous gigs. Smith said the night would be all about unanswered questions and then hyped the Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston match. They also hyped the other previously advertised matches…

The Miz and John Morrison sat on chairs inside the ring for the Miz TV segment. Miz welcomed himself back and then said he suffered an injury during the lumberjack match against Damian Priest. Miz asked what smelled. Morrison pointed to the garlic that he was wearing on his neck. He said he wasn’t taking any chances after what happened to them (zombies). He also introduced a “Drip Stick” that shot water.

Miz introduced Charlotte Flair as his first guest. Once in the ring, Flair complained about the garlic smell. Flair boasted about being a 14-time champion. She said Rhea Ripley had a fairytale win over Asuka, but real life is not a fairytale and she intends to send her to hell at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley made her entrance. Once in the ring, Ripley told Flair that she can go to hell. Miz talked Ripley into taking a seat. Morrison asked about her favorite garlic bread recipes. When Miz asked why, Morrison said he was trying to make sure that Ripley wasn’t a vampire. Ripley said she would beat Flair at the pay-per-view. Flair said Ripley couldn’t even beat Nikki Cross last week. Footage aired of Ripley failing to beat Cross in the two-minute challenge match.

Nikki Cross made her entrance and joined the others inside the ring. Cross said she beat the Raw Women’s Champion last week. Cross said it was only fair that he challenge the winner of Ripley vs. Flair. Flair said that if life was fair, she would be the champion. Ripley said that Cross wouldn’t be standing there if they had a four-minute match, but then she said that Cross earned her respect.

Cross said she could be Flair in two minutes and wondered if she did would she then be in line to challenge the winner. Flair boasted that she could beat Cross in one minute. Cross slapped Flair across the face. Flair called Cross “a little troll” and told her that she was on… [C]

Powell’s POV: Here’s hoping that the creative forces are serious about turning Cross into a fun underdog character. It’s hard to tell whether she’s just quick fodder for Ripley and Flair or if they intend to do more with her. Is it July yet? It’s really tough to go from watching the hot live crowd on the AEW pay-per-view to watching WWE in the ThunderDome.

The broadcast team hyped WWE returning to the road while graphics hyped upcoming dates…

1. Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki Cross in a two-minute challenge. Smith said Adam Pearce made the match official during the break. Rhea Ripley sat in a chair at ringside. Cross ducked out of the ring to kill time. Flair finally got her hands on Cross with roughly 30 seconds remaining. Cross hit a tornado DDT on Flair, who stuffed a dropkick attempt and went for a figure four, but the time limit expired.

Nikki Cross survived a two-minute challenge against Charlotte Flair.

Cross celebrated while Ripley smiled and applauded. Flair blamed Ripley for her loss….

Powell’s POV: I’m all for WWE doing more with Cross, but I don’t see how Ripley and Flair losing two-minute challenge matches is going to create much excitement for their title match.

Backstage, Riddle spoke with Damian Priest and asked him how to pronounce several things in Spanish. Riddle closed by asking how to say “Hey, Randy.” Priest repeated the line and then pointed to Orton, who was standing behind Riddle. Priest left while Orton brought up Riddle using his RKO finisher. Riddle said he just did it out of nowhere. Orton invited Riddle to watch his match with ringside and said he might learn something. Riddle got fired up and then Orton shushed him…

Xavier Woods made his entrance for his match against Orton. Kofi Kingston walked onto the stage with Woods, then ducked backstage while Woods headed to the ring… [C] A SummerSlam ad aired… Orton and Riddle made their entrance together to Orton’s theme…

2. Randy Orton (w/Riddle) vs. Xavier Woods. Woods avoided an early RKO attempt. Orton followed Woods to ringside and slammed his head into the broadcast table several times before giving him a side suplex onto the table. [C]

Orton spoke with Riddle while setting up for a Draping DDT. Woods avoided the move and put Orton in an armbar, which led to Orton grabbing the ropes to break the hold. Orton came back and hit the Draping DDT. Orton struck the Viper’s Pose, but he sold elbow pain. Woods countered the RKO by catching Orton in a backslide for a two count. Orton came back by hitting Riddle’s Bro Derek finisher and then scored the pin.

Randy Orton defeated Xavier Woods in 9:00.

After the match, Riddle was ecstatic over Orton using his finisher and drove his scooter inside the ring…

Powell’s POV: The latest odd couple tag team has grown on me. It will be interesting to see if they challenge Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Titles at SummerSlam or if the company will rush into the match sooner. So far so good when it comes to Jimmy Smith. Adnan Virk set the bar pretty low, but Smith is coming off as being more up to speed on the storylines and characters than his predecessor was.

Smith set up a video package that recapped the drama with Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, and Reginald… Baszler made her entrance for her match against Reginald… [C] Asuka was featured in the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month video…

MVP led a group of women into Bobby Lashley’s VIP suite. Lashley showed up with the WWE Championship and hung out with the women…

Backstage, Reginald told Nia Jax that he could handle himself and wouldn’t need her protection. Reginald told her to watch the match backstage so that she could see for herself. Reginald made his entrance…

3. Shayna Baszler vs. Reginald. Reginald tried to talk Baszler down by pointing to his Jax and Baszler t-shirt, then used acrobatics to avoid her early strike attempts. Reginald bodyslammed Baszler at one point. Baszler came back by wrenching the knee of Reginald and then targeted it with strikes and holds.

A short time later, Reginald performed a spinning cross body block on Baszler. Reginald went up top slowly to sell his injury, then performed a moonsault, but Baszler rolled out of the way and he landed on his feet. Reginald sold the injury again. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch. The ring post pyro shot off and she released the hold. Reginald rolled up Baszler and pinned her.

Reginald beat Shayna Baszler in 4:15.

Reginald headed backstage where a giddy Jax celebrated his victory…

Powell’s POV: Baszler is just another example of why NXT fans have been frustrated by the way that so many of their favorites are booked on Raw. The former badass champion of NXT just lost to Reginald in a finish caused by a possessed doll. Sure, some fans will defend it, but others will just turn the channel.

[Hour Two] Kevin Patrick interviewed Drew McIntyre and asked if he thought he was ready for his match with Kofi Kingston (really?). McIntyre said Kingston is a great guy who would do anything for his family and friends. McIntyre spoke about how he was once like Kingston and then he had to change and make sacrifices. McIntyre looked into the camera and told Kingston that he likes and respects him, but he would do everything that Kingston isn’t willing to do during their match…

Mace and T-Bar made their entrance for a match against Lucha House Party… A Smackdown ad hyped Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso for the Smackdown Tag Titles… [C] An ad for NXT hyped Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a Triple Threat for an NXT Championship match…

A Mace and T-Bar pre-taped promo aired. They spoke about how bottom feeders take orders and the extinction of their opponents…

4. “Lucha House Party” Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik vs. Mace and T-Bar. The LHP entrance was televised. Metalik was isolated early. Dorado tried to help and went for a suicide dive on Mace, who caught him and slammed him onto the floor. Back inside the ring, Mace and T-Bar performed a double chokeslam on Dorado and then Mace pinned him…

Mace and T-Bar defeated Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik in 2:45.

Backstage, Alexa Bliss sat on her swing set with her doll Lily. Bliss told Lily that she saw and it was so exciting. She invited Reginald to join her on Alexa’s Playground…

Sheamus made his entrance in what Smith said would be “a very unique challenge”… [C]

Sheamus stood in the ring and spoke about Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo getting participation trophies because it’s as close as they would get to his gold. He had footage play from last week of the duo roughing him up. Sheamus said they didn’t look like championship material.

Sheamus claimed he was giving open challenges in hopes of finding someone worthy enough to challenge for his title. He said he wouldn’t face them both at the same time, but he would face them in back to back matches. Sheamus asked which one of them would be brave enough to face him first. Ricochet made his entrance…

5. U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Ricochet in a non-title match. Sheamus performed an early fallaway slam on the floor that sent Ricochet crashing into the barricade next to the broadcast team. Back inside the ring, Sheamus performed a top rope clothesline and was setting up for a move when Humberto Carrillo made his entrance. Ricochet rolled up and pinned a distracted Sheamus… [C]

Ricochet beat U.S. Champion Sheamus in 1:15 in a non-title match.

6. U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Ricochet watched the match from ringside. Sheamus dominated the match. Carrillo blasted him with a forearm to the face that caused Sheamus’s nose to bleed.

A short time later, Sheamus caught Carrillo going for a top rope cross body block and slammed him to the mat. Sheamus set up for his finisher, but then he turned and caught Ricochet climbing under the bottom rope. Carrillo took advantage of the distraction and caught Sheamus with a springboard kick and then rolled him up for the win…

Humberto Carrillo beat U.S. Champion Sheamus in a non-title match in 4:55 of television time.

Powell’s POV: A pair of finishes that made Sheamus look silly and failed to make either one of his opponents look like credible challengers. Sheamus appeared to suffer a broken nose from the Carrillo forearm.

An Eva-lution video aired with her training in the ring and talking about how you have to fight your way into WWE and you have to fight for what you want in life. She said she’s back to finish what she started and wants to be a voice for herself and the superstars of WWE…

Lana and Naomi made their entrance for a tag team match… An ad aired for Sunday’s A&E biography on Bret Hart… [C] An NXT ad aired… The broadcast team hyped McIntyre vs. Kingston and then set up a video package that recapped their match from last week…

7. Lana and Naomi vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. The Rose and Brooke entrance was partially televised. Natalya and Tamina sat in on commentary. Late in the match, Rose blasted Naomi with a knee to the face and was rolled up Lana for a two count. Rose put Lana on her shoulders and then Brooke tagged in and performed a neckbreaker and scored the pin.

Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke defeated Lana and Naomi in 3:45.

Afterward, Rose and Brooke jawed from the ring and Natalya and Tamina, who stayed on the floor…

Powell’s POV: Clunky in spots. It’s hard to be excited about these teams trading wins and losses and then losing to whoever holds the tag titles.

A video package recapped last week’s Cedric Alexander vs. Shelton Benjamin match… Benjamin made his entrance… [C]

8. Cedric Alexander vs. Shelton Benjamin. Alexander’s entrance was televised. Benjamin jumped out to a quick start. He went for a powerbomb, but Alexander thumbed his eye. Alexander dropped him with the Neuralyzer and scored the pin…

Cedric Alexander beat Shelton Benjamin in 0:28.

Powell’s POV: An abbreviated version of last week’s match with a similar finish. Weird.

Backstage, Elias delivered a speech while Jaxson Ryker stared ahead. Elias said they had to come up with a game plan for Omos. He snapped his fingers in front of Ryker, who didn’t flinch. Elias asked Ryker if he’d ever been in a battle. Ryker looked at him and asked him the same question and then told him that he served in Iraq…

AJ Styles and Omos made their entrance for their Raw Tag Title match… [C] The broadcast team mentioned that Ozzy Osbourne’s “Straight To Hell” is the official Hell in a Cell theme song…

[Hour Three] Backstage, Patrick interviewed Kingston, who said everyone knows about his quick loss to Brock Lesnar. He said that if we’re taking cheap shots, McIntyre has failed to beat Bobby Lashley despite having several chances. Kingston said he beat Lashley on his first try…

Powell’s POV: I’m not a fan of the way his character keeps clinging to that flukey win over Lashley. It comes off like his character is in denial about McIntyre’s interference. Unfortunately, it’s not like Kofi has a lot of recent singles wins that he can point to.

A brief video package aired on Kingston winning the WWE Championship… Ryker and Elias made their entrance…

9. AJ Styles and Omos vs. Jaxson Ryker and Elias for the Raw Tag Titles. Styles and Ryker were going to start the match, but Elias hit Styles from behind when the bell rang and actually started the match for his team. Ryker tagged himself into the match when Elias was running the ropes. Elias didn’t look pleased. A short time later, Styles dropkicked both challengers through the ropes while they were at ringside. [C]

Ryker lunged for a tag, but Elias dropped off the apron and then left the ringside area. Omos tagged in and put Ryker in a claw before throwing him into the corner and hitting him with an elbow. Elias watched from the stage. Once Omos worked over Ryker, Styles tagged into the match and hit his Phenomenal Forearm and then scored the pin…

AJ Styles and Omos defeated Jaxson Ryker and Elias in 9:45 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: I feel like I missed an episode. The Ryker and Elias issues seemed to come out of nowhere. Why would the Elias character wait until they got a tag title shot to walk out on his partner.

Backstage, Nia Jax asked Reginald about appearing on Alexa’s Playground. He asked what could go wrong. She said a lot. Jax said she would put champagne on ice for them and he could call her if he needed her… Bliss was shown stroking Lily’s hair… [C]

Powell’s POV: Lily the possessed doll will make a huge babyface turn in my book if she somehow makes the Reginald character spontaneously combust.

Backstage, Patrick spoke with Elias, who said Ryker became unhinged. He said Ryker is a veteran and he respects that, but he’s unpredictable and that worries him. Elias said they are close to going back on the road and the thought of riding in a car with Ryker makes him sick and he doesn’t want to be around him anymore…

Alexa Bliss sat on her swing set with Lily and introduced Reginald, who sat on the other swing. Bliss interrupted Reginald talking about how he felt coming out of his match to ask a Lily question. Bliss said Lily wanted to know about his time at Cirque du Soleil.

Shayna Baszler showed up and pulled Reginald off the swing and beat the hell out of him. Baszler took a seat on the swing next to Bliss, who said Baszler wasn’t invited to play on the playground because Lily doesn’t like her. Baszler told Bliss that she’s becoming a big problem and she just saw how she handles her problems. Baszler said they should have a chat before things get out of hand. Baszler told Bliss that she would see her next week. Baszler knelt down and looked at Lily and said, “You’re just a stupid doll”…

Backstage, The Viking Raiders told Mansoor to make sure he’s well rested and well fed when WWE goes back on the road. They told him that he needs a war cry. Mansoor mimicked the war cry that Ivar suggested. Erik welcomed Mansoor to Raw and then the Viking Raiders walked away. Mustafa Ali showed up and told Mansoor not to trust the Viking Raiders or anyone. Mansoor asked Ali why he should trust him. Ali smiled and said, “Now you’re getting it”…

Split screen shots aired of McIntyre and Kingston while Smith hyped their main event as coming up next… [C]

Bobby Lashley and MVP were dancing with their women of the week when Kevin Patrick interrupted to ask if Lashley preferred to face McIntyre or Kingston. MVP said KofiMania brought him to tears, and McIntyre took the long road to the WWE Championship. MVP said they respect both men and their stories, but they can’t respect them as competition.

Lashley said neither man could take his title. MVP said they would love to be at ringside, but Adam Pearce “didn’t like our viewing habits.” MVP said partying with the women was better than a 90-day suspension with no pay…

Kofi Kingston made his entrance. Xavier Woods walked out with him and bumped firsts on the stage before heading to the back. Drew McIntyre made his entrance. He stood on the ropes and pyro shot off around the ThunderDome…

10. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston for a WWE Championship shot at Hell in a Cell. Bobby Lashley and MVP are banned from ringside or will face a 90-day suspension without pay. Kingston dumped McIntyre to ringside and then performed a springboard trust fall dive. [C]

McIntyre went for a suplex, but Kingston countered into an inside cradle. Lashley and MVP were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. McIntyre came back with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and then performed the same move again. Kingston rallied with an SOS for a two count. McIntyre rolled to ringside. Kingston went up top and performed a trust fall dive, but McIntyre caught him and tossed him into the timekeepers area. [C]

Kingston went for an SOS, but McIntyre stuffed it and then swung him around by his arms before giving him a Future Shock DDT for a near fall. Cool spot. Kingston came back with a superkick a short time later for a near fall of his own. McIntyre caught Kingston on the ropes and sent him back into the ring.

McIntyre set up for his finisher, but Kingston beat him to the punch with a Trouble in Paradise kick. Kingston had the pin, but McIntyre reached up and grabbed the bottom rope to break it. Kingston performed a huracanrana from the top rope that sent McIntyre to the floor. Kingston hit him with a kick from the apron and followed up with a double stomp that knocked McIntyre down. Both men returned to the ring. Kingston went up top and jumped into a Claymore Kick. McIntyre covered Kingston and got the three count.

Drew McIntyre defeated Kofi Kingston in 22:40 to earn a WWE Championship shot at Hell in a Cell.

After the match, McIntyre and Kingston shook hands. Lashley’s music played and he walked onto the stage with MVP. Lashley held up his title belt while McIntyre stood on the ropes and jawed at him. A graphic listed McIntyre, AJ Styles, Omos, and Nikki Cross for Raw Talk to close the show…

Powell’s POV: Another strong match between McIntyre and Kingston. The right guy went over and I continue to assume it will be McIntyre challenging Lashley inside the HIAC structure. I hope Kingston remains a singles wrestler coming out of this match. Raw needs all the singles star power it can get, and it feels like Kingston and Xavier Woods have done everything they can do as a tag team. I’m not saying New Day should never team again, but Kingston feels like he’s more valuable to the company as a singles act right now.

Overall, it was a throwaway show aside from McIntyre and Kingston. It’s not that it was all bad, but there were a lot of repetitive segments. You know it was a mostly forgettable show when the second biggest development of the night was Elias walking out on Jaxson Ryker. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Raw. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.

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Readers Comments (8)

  1. Honestly. How can USA be ok with this show. It’s truly terrible. I’m my mind I was thinking that maybe when they get back in front of a live crowd it will be better but I’m losing hope very quickly

    • There’s some smoke around the hiring of Nick Khan being done to help facilitate a sale. Staff and wrestlers getting cut in large numbers, the crazy Peacock deal, and a few other elements suggest they’re maximizing temporary value to drive up the price of a sale.

      If that’s the case, then maybe NBC Universal is the buyer and USA is just waiting until they own the property to try and fix it. Otherwise, they’ve got to be furious with what Raw has turned into.

      • The *simple* solution would be to return RAW to 2 hours. Duh.

        • The writing and booking is so bad that shortening it won’t solve the problems. Of course 2 hours is better, but USA makes ad money off that extra hour and I don’t see them giving it up.

          • that’s the reai matter.
            NBCU needs to stop being greedy and turn RAW back to 2 hrs.

  2. Patrick Peralta May 31, 2021 @ 10:18 pm

    Powell’s POV: I’m all for WWE doing more with Cross, but I don’t see how Ripley and Flair losing two-minute challenge matches is going to create much excitement for their title match.

    I don’t know about excitement it’s just Both Flair and Ripley bragging they could beat Cross in two minutes and both Failed… leason learned don’t brag. lol

  3. “Shayna Baszler vs. Reginald.” – seems like sites like this one should be making more noise about WWE now doing inter-gender matches.

    And how, exactly, can any fan of the women in WWE look at this and think Reginald beating Baszler is a good thing?

    It’s not just NXT fans of Baszler who should be dismayed.

    Vince McMahon has run WWE more off the tracks than even critics like Jason Powell have so far proclaimed.

    Some in the industry have claimed that the men vs. women matches in Lucha Underground doomed that show. I am not one of those people (because I think LU was doomed for other reasons.)

    The much trumpeted women’s revolution in WWE lasted at most a couple of years. The return to pushing good looking blondes over the much more skilled but not as centerfold worthy talent was obvious but again not much was made of that in the wrestling websites and podcasts.

  4. Raw is the home of rollup finishes!

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