By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,466)
Live from Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
Aired June 28, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] Pyro shot off on the stage and then the broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in and hyped the Money in the Bank event…
A group of wrestlers were shown in the ring. Backstage, Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville announced that Randy Orton was unable to compete in the second chance MITB qualifier. They announced that a battle royal would determine his replacement.
Riddle showed up and gave them a letter that he claimed was from Orton. The letter used Riddle’s lingo and claimed that Orton wanted Riddle to wrestle on his behalf. The authority figures didn’t buy it. Riddle suggested that he enter the battle royal on behalf of Orton. Pearce and Deville agreed to it. Riddle made his entrance…
1. Battle Royal for a spot in the second chance MITB qualifier. The entrants included Riddle, Erik, Ivar, Mustafa Ali, R-Truth, Drew Gulak, Jinder Mahal, Mansoor, Damian Priest, Akira Tozawa, Jeff Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, Humberto Carrillo, and Angel Garza. Benjamin eliminated Gulak in the opening minute.
Mahal eliminated Benjamin. Garza was tossed to ringside, but he landed on one foot. He returned to the ring and tried to eliminate Mansoor, but Ali eliminated Garza and then eliminated Mansoor. Truth and Tozawa were eliminated. Gulak pinned Tozawa on the floor to win the WWE 24/7 Title, then Truth pinned Gulak to win the WWE 24/7 Title. Finally, Tozawa pinned Truth to win WWE 24/7 Title. Tozawa ran away with the belt.
Powell’s POV: Gee, great, the WWE 24/7 Title still exists. I was hoping that if we didn’t bring it up, they would just let the bad comedy title fade away.
Omos walked to ringside and pulled Erik and Ivar out of the ring with help from Mahal to eliminate them from the match. Omos tossed Erik into the barricade, then threw Ivar into the LED board on the ring apron heading into a break. [C]
The remaining participants coming out of the break were Riddle, Hardy, Mahal, Alexander, and Priest (unless someone is hiding). Graves recapped Carrillo eliminating Ali and himself during the same motion from during the break. Back live, Priest eliminated Mahal. Alexander eliminated Hardy.
Priest hit his finisher on Alexander and then eliminated him from the match. The final two entrants were Riddle and Priest. Riddle caught Priest in a sleeper. Priest tried to dump Riddle over the top rope, but Riddle remained on the apron and reapplied the hold.
Priest broke free and brought Riddle back inside the ring where he clotheslined him. Riddle ended up on the apron and used his legs to pull Priest over the ropes. Riddle returned to the ring and tried to knock Priest off the apron. Riddle caught Priest going for a kick, then hit him with a knee to the head that knocked Priest off the apron to eliminate him.
Riddle won a Battle Royal in 14:15 to earn a spot in the second chance MITB qualifier.
After the match, Riddle told ring announcer Mike Rome to play Orton’s music. Orton’s music and pyro played while Riddle went back to the ring and struck Orton’s pose on the ropes…
Powell’s POV: This was a solid battle royal in that it didn’t overstay its welcome and the final two with Riddle and Priest was entertaining. I’m not sure what’s up with Orton, but Riddle is a replacement in the Triple Threat match. I predicted a Drew McIntyre win, but it’s certainly possible that they want Riddle and Orton in the MITB match together.
The broadcast team set up a recap the Alexa Bliss and Shayna Baszler match at WWE Hell in a Cell followed by last week’s Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Baszler and Nia Jax in an MITB qualifier…
Baszler spoke with Nia Jax and Reginald about her upcoming with Nikki Cross. She said once she was finished with Cross, she would send Bliss on a permanent timeout with her stupid doll. Once the trio walked away, Bliss could be seen standing in the background…
Jaxson Ryker was shown whipping a production crate with a strap… [C] The broadcast team recapped Omos eliminating and attacking The Viking Raiders during the battle Royal, as well as Riddle getting the win and doing Orton’s pose…
Kevin Patrick interviewed AJ Styles and Omos in the backstage area. Styles said that when you’re supposed to be somewhere and you’re not there, you usually lose the opportunity. Patrick brought up Omos eliminating the Viking Raiders. Omos said he was scouting out the competition for Styles.
Patrick set up footage of the Viking Raiders attacking Omos last week and distracting Styles during his MITB qualifier. Styles said he wanted an apology from Patrick for being a hypocrite. Styles said Riddle was banged up from the battle royal, and Drew McIntyre was still injured from last week. Styles spoke about winning the MITB contract and then having a full year to plot out his next world title reign. He said he and Omos would continue to defend the tag titles in the meantime…
Nikki Cross was warming up on the Gorilla Position set when the Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik showed up briefly to wish her well. Sarah Schreiber showed up to speak with Cross, who said she found something inside of her that was always there. She said everyone out there has a feeling deep down that they can do and be better. Cross got excited about becoming Raw Women’s Champion, then said she would calm down and focus on her match. She dubbed herself “Almost a Superhero.” Cross made her entrance and was introduced by the same slogan… [C]
2. Nikki Cross vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax, Reginald). Baszler’s entrance was televised. A few minutes into the match, Cross dropkicked Baszler to ringside. Alexa Bliss made her entrance. Cross performed a top rope dive onto the distracted heel trio. [C]
Bliss started to hypnotize Jax at ringside. Reginald stopped Bliss, who kicked Jax and Reginald before walking away. Cross rolled up Baszler for a near fall. Moments later, Cross rolled Baszler into a pin for the win…
Nikki Cross beat Shayna Baszler in 9:45.
Powell’s POV: Just under an hour into the show and we’ve seen a wannabe superhero, viking cosplayers, a man-child stoner, and a demonically possessed hypnotist. And they actually wonder why Raw keeps losing viewers?
A video package recapped Bobby Lashley beating Xavier Woods in a non-title Hell in a Cell match on last week’s Raw…
Kofi Kingston made his entrance… [C] The broadcast team recapped Riddle winning the battle royal. They also hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Kingston for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank…
Kingston delivered an in-ring promo. He spoke about how there are certain moments in life that change one for the better or worse. He said he’s not sure how last week changed him yet. He recalled Lashley destroying Xavier Woods and said he couldn’t do anything for him due to the HIAC structure.
[Hour Two] Kingston said people have disrespected Woods for a long time by thinking that he’s not up to snuff. Kingston said that Woods showed the world what kind of a competitor he is last week. Kingston said it’s time for everyone to start putting some respect on Woods’s name.
Kingston said he would make Lahsley pay for what he did to Woods after the match. Kingston said he would take everything from Lashley by beating him to win the WWE Championship at MITB.
MVP made his entrance with five women. MVP stood on the stage and laughed with the women about Kingston claiming that he would beat Lashley for the title. MVP said it’s the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard him say. He said Kingston is not a threat to Lashley.
MVP said Lashley asked him to tell Kingston that he enjoyed everything he did to Woods and would enjoy embarrassing him at MITB. MVP said Lashley would make what Brock Lesnar did to Kingston look like child’s play.
Kingston said it seemed like Lashley was getting a little soft. He said that Drew McIntyre beat Lashley within an inch of his life at HIAC and we might have a new champion if it wasn’t for MVP. Kingston also claimed that Woods nearly beat Lashley, and he once again pointed out that he’s already beaten Lashley.
MVP spoke of how he and Lashley started their journey over a year ago. He said Lashley put the work in and deserves everything he has. Kingston questioned if he deserved it when he was champion. He said he never took a day off when he was champion for six months and recalled taking the title to Ghana.
Kingston said MVP has Lashley taking vacations during his title reign and hanging out with women. Kingston said Lashley’s eyes are off the prize and when that happens, someone takes the prize. Kingston said that someone would be him at MITB. MVP accused Kingston of taking the title belt to Ghana to feed his own ego.
MVP said Lashley beat Woods so bad that he couldn’t make it to work. He said the odds of Woods making it next week were about the same as Kingston winning the title. Kingston said Woods has heart and will return next week. MVP said he’s not cleared due to his knee injury or he would whoop Kingston’s ass.
Kingston left the ring and charged at MVP, who tried to hit him with his cane. Kingston ducked the cane shot and dropped MVP with a Trouble in Paradise kick. Kingston stood over MVP and taunted him while saying now he’s hurt…
Powell’s POV: It’s a shame that there won’t be a Raw held in front of a live crowd between now and the pay-per-view. I’m just not buying Kingston as a threat to take the title, but I can’t rule out the possibility that a lot of fans are more into this than I am.
The broadcast team recapped Eva Marie and Doudrop losing last week after Doudrop dropped off the apron…
Eva and Doudrop were shown walking backstage when Patrick approached them for comment. Eva said Doudrop made a rookie mistake and was overwhelmed by being at the center of the Evalution. Doudrop rolled her eyes behind Eva’s back while Eva spoke about setting up her match for this week so she could learn from mistakes… Asuka made her entrance… [C]
The UK tour was touted by the broadcast team… The remainder of the entrances for the next match took place…
3. Asuka and Naomi vs. Eva Marie and Doudrop. Doudrop started the match for her team and was competitive with both opponents. She went for a tag, but Eva dropped off the apron. Asuka tried to roll up Doudrop, who rolled through a squashed her. Doudrop took out Naomi and then performed a running cross body block on Asuka and then pinned her.
Eva Marie and Doudrop beat Asuka and Naomi in 2:15.
After the match, Eva took the mic and proclaimed herself the winner of the match…
Powell’s POV: Well, I didn’t expect to see Asuka lose clean to Doudrop tonight. Strange.
Graves recapped John Morrison beating Randy Orton to qualify for MITB last week. Backstage, Morrison and Miz were interviewed by Schreiber. Miz said he’s a two-time MITB winner who has successfully cashed in twice and would be advising Morrison. Miz said he knows when to cash in the contract.
The camera pulled back to show that Ricochet replaced the backstage interviewer. Ricochet goaded Miz about not being able to sense that was there. Miz acted like he knew that Ricochet had shown up. Ricochet also revealed that he took one of the Drip Sticks. Morrison ran off and then Ricochet shot water on Miz. Ricochet made his entrance for a match against Morrison… [C]
4. Ricochet vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz). Morrison’s entrance was televised. Miz sat in on commentary. Ricochet sent Morrison to ringside and dropkicked him through the ropes. Miz wheeled his wheelchair in front of Morrison and told Ricochet to leave him alone. Ricochet jumped off the arm of the wheelchair and gave Morrison a huracanrana. Miz tried to spray him with the drip stick, but Ricochet broke it and tossed it over the barricade. [C]
Morrison caught Ricochet with a springboard kick and went for his finisher, but Ricochet avoided Starship Pain. Ricochet performed a springboard dropkick that knocked Morrison off the apron. Morrison hid behind the barricade. When Ricochet stopped setting for a move, Morrison sat on the barricade, then Ricochet performed a springboard dive onto him that sent both men over the barricade. Both men were counted out…
Ricochet fought John Morrison to a double count-out in 11:10.
Powell’s POV: The ring work was entertaining and the big spot at the end was cool. But the drip stick silliness and general comedic tone really worked against this feeling like a meaningful match.
Backstage, Charlotte Flair told Natalya and Tamina that they all respect the business and know how exhausting it is to uphold a family legacy and lead a division. Natalya and Tamina were upset with Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. Flair said they could prove that respect is earned. Flair made her entrance… [C]
Natalya, Tamina, Rose, Brooke, and Ripley made their entrances for the six-woman tag. A big brawl broke out. Ripley’s team cleared Flair’s team from the ring while Graves wondered if they could get things under control… [C]
5. Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke vs. Charlotte Flair, Natalya, and Tamina. The match was joined in progress.
[Hour Three] Late in the match, Natalya went for a Sharpshooter, but Rose kicked her into her corner where Flair made a blind tag. Flair entered the ring and blasted Rose with a kick to the head and then pinned her.
Charlotte Flair, Natalya, and Tamina beat Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke in 5:40 of television time.
After the match, Ripley returned to the ring and clipped the back of Flair’s left knee. Flair was censored, as the volume cut out for a couple seconds. Ripley stood at ringside and laughed at Flair while holding up the Raw Women’s Championship…
Powell’s POV: Mark it down, a straight forward match without possessed wrestlers, superheroes, or Doudrops.
Backstage, Jaxson Ryker slapped a strap over his back. Akira Tozawa ran past him with his title belt. R-Truth was chasing Tozawa, but he stopped and tried to talk to Ryker, who ignored him initially. Ryker said he was preparing himself for battle and purging himself of any weakness while exploring where to inflict the most pain on his opponent. Truth thanked him for sharing. Truth spoke more, but Ryker went back into his trance while hitting himself with the strap…
Elias made his entrance for the strap match… [C] The broadcast team congratulated John Cena on Fast & Furious 9 topping the box office… An Elias pre-tape aired. He called Ryker a maniac and said he was literally and symbolically sever his ties with him… Ryker made his entrance and slammed the strap over his back along the way…
6. Jaxson Ryker vs. Elias in a strap match. Elias acted afraid and then attacked Ryker to start the match. Elias wrapped the strap around Ryker’s wrists and the ring post and then hit him with another part of it. Ryker came back by pulling on the strap, which pulled Elias into the ring post.
Back inside the ring, Elias caught Ryker jumping off the ropes with a knee to the head. Elias covered Ryker for a two count. Ryker rallied and pulled Elias in for a slam that led to the win…
Jaxson Ryker defeated Elias in a strap match in 3:30.
Powell’s POV: This really needed more time. On the bright side, they worked hard while it lasted and the presentation made it feel like a fight rather than a small portion of a silly variety show.
Backstage, Damian Priest approached Riddle and congratulated him on winning the battle royal and then wished him good luck. Riddle claimed to be Randy Orton and asked what Priest wanted. Priest spoke and then Riddle wanted him to hand over the imaginary key. Riddle gave up said he was just trying to do the lock and key bit. Priest said he thought it was cool that Riddle was trying to help Orton. He said Orton was lucky to have him as a friend. Riddle struck the Viper’s Pose after Priest walked away…
A shot aired of Drew McIntyre’s beat up back while the broadcast team said they would hear from him after a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Did they really just show that McIntyre’s back was a million times more battered than the two guys who just worked a strap match? Great timing, guys.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed by Kevin Patrick. McIntyre told a story about another Scottish battle. He ended up saying he would take out both opponents and go on to win the MITB match…
Powell’s POV: I don’t know my Scottish history well enough to know when McIntyre is going to run out of these battle stories.
McIntyre made his entrance while the broadcast team hyped Bobby Lashley vs. Xavier Woods in a non-title match for next week’s show. AJ Styles made his entrance and was accompanies by Omos, and then Riddle made his entrance on his scooter. Yes, they still had animated birds when he kicked off his flip flops (sigh)… [C]
7. Drew McIntyre vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Riddle in a Triple Threat second chance Money in the Bank ladder match qualifier. McIntyre was dominant to start the match. All three men ended up at ringside. Riddle suplexed Styles on the floor. McIntyre grabbed Riddle and suplexed him on the floor. Styles got up and dropped McIntyre with an enzuigiri. Styles and Riddle picked up McIntyre and slammed him through the broadcast table. [C]
Riddle dropped Styles with a Draping DDT. Riddle struck the Viper’s Pose and went for an RKO, but Styles hoisted him up and hit a move that Graves compared to a Burning Hammer, which led to a near fall. Styles set up for a Styles Clash, but McIntyre pulled him to ringside and ran him into the barricade and the apron. McIntyre entered the ring and got the better of Riddle.
McIntyre set up for his finisher, but Riddle moved and sent McIntyre to the floor where Styles hit him with a flying forearm. Riddle performed a springboard Floating Bro from the middle rope onto both opponents on the floor. Riddle tried to kick Styles, who moved, causing Riddle to hit the ring steps. Riddle sold it by telling the referee that he thought his foot was broken. Referees and trainers helped Riddle. [C]
McIntyre and Styles fought in the ring while Graves noted that Riddle was taken to the back. Styles caught McIntyre in the Calf Crusher. Riddle limped back down the ramp and had his right foot taped. Riddle put Styles in a Bromission, but Styles elbowed Riddle’s knee to break the hold. Riddle sent McIntyre to the floor with a kick. Styles went for his finisher, but Riddle kicked him in mid-air. Riddle dropped Styles with an RKO and had him pinned, but Omos pulled Styles to ringside. Riddle got up and ate a Claymore Kick from McIntyre, who pinned him to win the match…
Drew McIntyre defeated AJ Styles and Riddle in a Triple Threat in 26:40 to qualify for MITB.
Powell’s POV: A very good match with hard work from all three wrestlers. The broadcast team acknowledged that Riddle was using his bad foot on those late kicks and basically framed it as a sign of how tough he was to fight through the pain. Riddle took the loss in the main event, but this was a very good night for him.
Overall, the first two hours of the show were mostly lousy. They moved away from the campy comedy and delivered three straight forward matches to close the show and the show peaked with the strong main event. I will return shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.