By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,469)
Live from Dallas, Texas at American Airlines Center
Aired July 19, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] A widescreen shot of the arena opened the show and then John Cena made his entrance to a big crowd reaction. Cena pointed out a fan and said he turned eleven and came to see him. Cena told the fans that he missed them “and I miss this.”
Cena said he loves the chaos. He said some were chanting for him and against him, but they were loud and they were all present. Cena said they weren’t just loud, they were deafening loud. “Tonight is electric, tonight is Monday Night Raw…from Dallas, Texas,” he said.
Cena said he knew what everyone was thinking. He joked that he would probably wear the Peacemaker costume to the Suicide Squad premiere. Cena said he showed up at Money in the Bank and ruined the celebration of Roman Reigns.
Cena played up the idea of who, why, where, and when. “Who brought me back?” he asked. “It was you. And it was Roman Reigns.” Fans booed the mention of Reigns both times. Cena said the when is SummerSlam, and added that Las Vegas is a safe place to bet.
Cena was censored when he looked into the camera and said Reigns is an asshole. “And I believe he needs to be knocked down a peg,” he said. “This pathetic Roman Reigns experience has gone on long enough.”
Cena stated that Reigns is an arrogant, self-absorbed, over-hyped, over-protected, over-exposed gimmick who isn’t as over as he says he is. “And that, that is coming from me,” he said. Cena said he would be at Smackdown on Friday and he can’t wait to see Reigns there. Cena said now that he got that off his chest, it was time to get down to business.
Riddle made his entrance while the broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in on commentary. Cena and Riddle said “bro” back and forth several times and then said it together before shaking hands and hugging. Cena left the ring while Riddle remained in the ring. The broadcast team hyped a six-man tag match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Cena didn’t miss a beat. He had the crowd with him every step of the way and set the table for the SummerSlam match with Reigns without making it official. It was also a nice touch to give Riddle a little rub from Cena at the end of the segment.
The broadcast team hyped Bobby Lashley holding an open challenge and Charlotte Flair’s coronation…
1. Riddle and “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar vs. AJ Styles, Omos, and John Morrison (w/The Miz). The entrance of Miz and Morrison was the only entrance televised coming out of the break. Morrison had ring announcer Mike Rome reintroduce him as Johnny Drip Drip, which didn’t get a reaction.
The Viking Raiders sandwiched Morrison at ringside. Riddle congratulated his partners. In the ring, Styles ran the ropes and then Omos caught him and threw him onto Riddle and the Viking Raiders at ringside. [C]
Ivar went for a moonsault, but Morrison avoided it. Morrison threw a knee to Ivar’s head and went for Starship Pain, but Ivar rolled out of the way. At ringside, Riddle stole Miz’s drip stick and sprayed Omos with it and then hid. Omos thought Miz sprayed him and started to go after him, causing Miz to back away in his wheelchair. Morrison came out to defend Miz. Omos threw Morrison into the ring where he was hit with the Viking Experience and pinned…
Riddle and “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar defeated AJ Styles, Omos, and John Morrison in 12:05.
Powell’s POV: A solid television match with the expected outcome in terms of Morrison taking the loss for his team. If Randy Orton returns for SummerSlam, then I suspect that he and Riddle will challenge for the tag titles. If not, they could go back to the Viking Raiders, who had a competitive match with Styles and Omos at Money in the Bank.
A backstage closeup shot aired of Jaxon Ryker’s face. Footage aired of his strap match against Elias, then they cut back to Ryker. “Wait until you see what I do to Elias tonight,” Ryker said… [C]
Imagery of Dallas was shown and the broadcast team touted that the city will play host to WrestleMania next year…
Elias sat on his stool in the ring and introduced himself. Elias played his guitar and then led the fans in the “Walk With Elias” chant. Jaxson Ryker interrupted Elias via the big screen and said everyone is sick of Elias introducing himself over and over again. He said fans would never hear the words, “Hello, I am Elias” again after their match. Ryker made his entrance…
2. Jaxson Ryker vs. Elias in a Symphony of Destruction match. There were musical instruments at ringside. They quickly went to ringside where Ryker worked over Elias with a keyboard and covered him for a one count. Elias came back and hit Ryker with a cymbal. Ryker tossed Elias onto a drum set.
Ryker picked up a guitar and went to the apron wit it. Ryker leapt from the apron into a flying knee from Elias, who covered him for a two count. Elias charged Ryker, who moved, causing Elias to crash into a gong. Elias broke a guitar over Elias’s back. [C]
Ryker tossed Elias onto a piano and covered him on top of it for a near fall. They fought on top of the piano. Ryker shoved Elias to the floor, and then Elias tripped Ryker and covered him on the piano for another two count.
Elias picked up a cello and got a pop from the crowd before he slammed it over Ryker’s back twice. Elias covered Ryker on the floor for a near fall. Ryker returned to the ring and worked over Elias, who was on the apron with a bloody forehead. Ryker superplexed Elias through a pair of tables and scored the pin…
Jaxson Ryker beat Elias in 12:50 in a Symphony of Destruction match.
Powell’s POV: It must have been a good day for a local music shop. The live crowd had fun with the gimmick match.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were talking with Mansoor when Mustafa Ali showed up. Deville informed him that he and Mansoor would compete as a tag team on Raw next week. Ali said he didn’t ask for that. Mansoor said he did and made his pitch. Ali agreed to team with Mansoor once and said he better not screw it up.
Shemaus showed up and shooed Mansoor away. Pearce and Deville told Shemaus they were granting Humberto Carrillo an actual championship match after Sheamus attacked him before their last match. Sheamus told them not to be surprised if Mansoor needs a mask of his own once he’s finished with him…
Smith hyped the Charlotte segment as coming up next… A return to the road video aired… [C]
Charlotte Flair made her entrance while footage aired of her win over Rhea Ripley for the Raw Women’s Championship at MITB.
[Hour Two] Flair delivered a boastful promo. The fans chanted for Becky Lynch. Flair said Lynch is home breastfeeding while she dominates the entire women’s division. She noted that she’s the only eleven-time women’s champion in the history of WWE. Flair said Ripley had her opportunity and failed. She said she could beat Ripley any night of the week.
Rhea Ripley made her entrance to a flat reaction. A small “Rhea” chant broke out. Flair said Ripley has fans. Ripley said that if Flair thinks she could beat her any night of the week, then she should face her again on this show. Flair said Ripley’s knee left her in no condition.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville walked onto the stage. Deville congratulated Flair for becoming the eleven-time champion. “However, I think you just said you could beat Rhea any night of the week,” Deville said. Pearce said that if Ripley is up for the challenge, then Flair should be too. Pearce made the rematch official for later in the show. Flair kicked one of her heels at Ripley and then took a cheap shot at her…
Powell’s POV: The flat reaction for Ripley was presumably due to the crowd hoping for Becky Lynch. Granted, WWE hasn’t done a good job of defining her character, but she was put in the bad spot of being the consolation prize entrance. For those who missed MITB, Flair and Ripley had my favorite match of the night, so I’m definitely looking forward to the rematch. I suspect that Becky Watch 2021 will continue with the live crowd keeping an eye on the entrance area during the rematch.
A video package recapped Nikki ASH winning the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match…
Alexa Bliss checked in from the Playground set and said she had a special guest and would see everyone soon…
Natalya and Tamina made their entrance while the broadcast team hyped their match against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: A local ad once again listed Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, and a partner vs. Roman Reigns and The Usos for the July 30 Smackdown show at Target Center. I’m sure a lot of my fellow Minnesotans are hoping that the mystery man will turn out to be John Cena.
3. WWE Women’s Tag Champions Natalya and Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (w/Reginald) in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Jax debuted a new hairstyle. Tamina went up top at one point and was distracted by Reginald. Baszler kicked Tamina. Natalya pulled Reginald off the apron. Baszler kicked Natalya, then turned into a superkick by Tamina, who covered her for the pin.
WWE Women’s Tag Champions Natalya and Tamina beat Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax in 3:45 of television time in a non-title match.
After the match, Baszler tried to plead her case about Reginald to Jax and said they were once unstoppable. Jax hugged Reginald and then dropped him with a headbutt. Jax and Baszler headed to the back while Reginald remained in the ring. Some fans chanted that Reginald sucks.
Akira Tozawa ran out with some of the usual suspects in hot pursuit. Lince Dorado, Drew Gulak, and R-Truth all tripped on their way to the ring. Tozawa entered the ring and tried to clothesline Reginald, who avoided it. Reginald performed a spinning cross body block, then performed a flip into a senton splash and scored the pin to win the WWE 24/7 Championship. Gulak approached Reginald, who performed a flip off the ring steps to avoid him. Reginald went to the stage and performed some backflips…
Sheamus made his entrance for his U.S. Title match… An ad for NXT questioned whether anyone could take out NXT Champion Karrion Kross, and promoted Raquel Gonzalez vs. Xia Li for the NXT Women’s Championship… [C]
Powell’s POV: Reginald should have figured out that he was in trouble when Jax showed up with the new hairstyle. Anyway, Reginald can perform his stunts to avoid his challengers in the comedy belt division. The 24/7 Title does nothing for me, but at least they got Reginald away from Jax and Baszler. Oddly, there was no mention or footage of Samoa Joe in the NXT ad despite Kross choking him out last week.
The broadcast team hyped NXT Champion Karrion Kross as making his debut during the show… Humberto Carrillo made his entrance…
4. U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo in a Championship Contenders Match. Sheamus wore his face shield and they recapped how Carrillo broke his nose. Damian Priest was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Sheamus caught Carrillo with a shot when he was diving through the ropes. Sheamus powerbombed Carrillo. [C]
Coming out of the break, the match was listed as a “Championship Contenders Match.” Late in the match, Carrillo performed a missile dropkick and covered Shemaus for a near fall. Carrillo punched Sheamus’s mask and then sold hand pain. Sheamus headbutted Carrillo with the mask and then hit him with the Brogue Kick and scored the pin…
Sheamus beat Humberto Carrillo in a non-title match in 10:15.
Powell’s POV: I mistakenly listed this as a title match originally. I guess “Championship Contenders Match” is the new WWE slang for non-title match. I like Sheamus’s mask gimmick. But I hope it’s comfortable for him to wear, as I assume the gimmick means he’ll be wearing it longer than he actually needs to.
Highlights aired of Bobby Lashley destroying Kofi Kingston at MITB…
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and MVP made their entrance for the open challenge… [C] Coming out of the break, Lashley said he did all the talking he needed to do at MITB when he destroyed Kofi Kingston. MVP took the mic and told the crowd how lucky they were to bear witness to the All Mighty WWE Champion.
MVP fired up the crowd by asking if it was the home of the Cowboys. He said he understood why they reacted the way they did since it’s been decades since they’ve seen a winner. MVP conceded that Kofi Kingston was right in saying that Lashley lost his edge.
MVP apologized and said that Kingston didn’t realize that he lit an inferno in the heart of the champion. MVP said no one will take the championship from Lashley. MVP said no more women, no more fun and games, and no more bullshit (uncensored). Lashley took the mic and asked who would accept his open challenge.
Keith Lee’s entrance music played and he made his entrance to a solid initial reaction. The broadcast team noted that Lee was in his home state as he entered the ring. A graphic listed the match as another “Championship Contenders Match” just a second after Smith said Lee appeared to accept Lashley’s open challenge for a shot at the WWE Championship… [C]
Powell’s POV: For the record, you can’t flip off a pay-per-view crowd or say “asshole” during the first hour of Raw without being censored, but you can apparently say bullshit during hour two.
The broadcast team hyped Flair vs. Ripley for the Raw Women’s Championship for later in the show…
5. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Keith Lee in a Championship Contenders Match. Smith stated that it was a Championship Contenders Match as it got underway. Graves noted that the live crowd chanted “welcome back” for Lee during the break. Lee caught Lashley with a running cross body block, but he didn’t go for the pin. Lee went for a Spirit Bomb, but Lashley escaped and performed a Flatliner.
[Hour Three] Lashley performed a shoulder block in the corner and then clotheslined Lee to ringside. Lashley followed to the floor and tried to hoist Lee onto his shoulders, but he slipped away and shoved Lashley into the ring post. Lee splashed Lashley against the post and rolled him back inside the ring. Graves said Lee needed to show some urgency.
Lashley caught Lee with a knee as he was returning to the ring. Lashley joined Lee on the floor and performed a running spear. Back inside the ring, Lashley performed a ground and pound on Lee. Lashley waited for Lee to stand up and then went for his finisher, but Lee avoided it. Lashley performed a Dominator and then speared Lee and covered him for the clean pin.
Bobby Lashley defeated Keith Lee in 5:55 in a Championship Contenders Match.
Powell’s POV: A disappointing match for Lee. The crowd gave him a solid reaction when he made his entrance, but it was not a hometown mega-pop by any means. Lee worked a slow pace and Graves was right to call him out for needing to work with a sense of urgency even if he was saying it while in work mode. Lee losing clean in his return from a long layoff left me wondering about his future with the company.
Goldberg’s music played and interrupted Lashley’s celebration. Goldberg came out to a strong reaction and joined Lashley in the ring. Goldberg approached Lashley, laughed, and yelled, “I’m next.” MVP held back Lashley…
The broadcast team hyped the Raw Women’s Championship for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: The crowd reaction to Goldberg was much bigger than their reaction to Lee. I can’t say that I want to see Lashley vs. Goldberg at SummerSlam, but I assume it will be quick and painless.
Backstage, Kevin Patrick asked Lashley if he had a comment regarding Goldberg’s apparent challenge. MVP said that Goldberg disrespected Lashley and they won’t even dignify it with a response…
Jinder Mahal stood in the ring with Veer and Shanky. Mahal told the crowd that it’s his birthday. Even better, he said Drew McIntyre is not Mr. Money in the Bank. Mahal claimed that McIntyre took opportunities away from him so he took one away from McIntyre. Mahal pointed to the big screen for highlights of their recent television segments.
Mahal said he can buy ten motorcycles, but McIntyre will never get another championship opportunity as long as Lashley is champion. Shanky sang “happy birthday” to Mahal until McIntyre entered the ring and hit Mahal with a chair from behind. McIntyre cleared Veer from the ring with chair shots.
Shanky tried to talk McIntyre down. McIntyre destroyed him with the chair that was mangled once he finished. McIntyre went to ringside and grabbed another chair, then slammed it over Shanky’s back twenty time…
Powell’s POV: I felt bad for Shanky about halfway through the first round of chair shots. Damn.
A Karrion Kross vignette aired and then he was shown standing on the stage without Scarlett. Kross wore the NXT Championship belt and walked slowly to the ring. Graves said the time has arrived for the WWE Universe to fall and pray. Kross entered the ring and a graphic listed him as facing Jeff Hardy after the break… [C]
The broadcast team hyped the Raw Women’s Championship match… Jeff Hardy made his entrance wearing face paint and came out to his old entrance theme. Graves said he seemed to have a spring in his step and what’s old is new again…
6. NXT Champion Karrion Kross vs. Jeff Hardy in a non-title match. Kross was on the offensive until Hardy dodged him charging in the corner. Hardy put Kross down with a Twist of Fate. Hardy went for a Swanton, but Kross rolled out of the way. Kross set up for an elbow shot, but Hardy avoided it. Kross stood over Hardy in the corner, but Hardy powerbombed him and put his feet on the ropes for leverage while pinning Kross.
Jeff Hardy defeated NXT Champion Karrion Kross in 1:40.
After the match, Kevin Patrick entered the ring and asked for Kross’s reaction to losing his Raw debut match to Hardy. Kross said Hardy just made the biggest mistake of his life. Kross said in the end, everyone will fall and pray…
Powell’s POV: Really? I’m all for doing more with Hardy, but this was ridiculous. I hope they are telling a story here and they’re not just booking upsets for the sake of booking upsets or shitting all over NXT for no good reason. If nothing else, I was hoping that Kross was going to beat the hell out of Patrick for sticking a mic in his face after the match.
Alexa Bliss sat on her backstage swing set. She said she was sore, but it was okay because she had a special guest. Bliss introduced Lily, who was on the swing next to her. Bliss said Lily promised to be on her best behavior this time.
Eva Marie and Doudrop showed up on the Playground set. Marie said Bliss was ignoring the face of WWE to talk to a creepy little doll. Bliss said hi to Doupdrop, then said it’s a bad idea to say bad things about Lily. Eva asked if she should throw her in the trash where she belongs. Bliss said she hopes Eva doesn’t for her sake.
Bliss called for putting Doudrop on timeout to see if Eva could get by without her help. Eva decided to leave and tripped when she tried to walk away. Bliss laughed after Eva and Doudrop were out of the picture… The broadcast team hyped the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess the creative forces didn’t get the message when the MITB crowd cheered like crazy for Bliss, and then got quiet whenever she did her hocus pocus nonsense.
AJ Styles and Omos vs. The Viking Raiders for the Raw Tag Titles was announced for next Monday’s Raw… Ring entrances for the main event took place. Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match… An ad aired for Kevin Nash on Stone Cold Sessions… Another NXT ad aired and this time it focused on Kross taking out Samoa Joe… [C]
Drew McIntyre, Alexa Bliss, and Reginald were advertised as the guests for Raw Talk… Smith hyped SummerSlam tickets…
7. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley for the Raw Women’s Championship. The broadcast team played up Ripley’s knee injury from their match at MITB. Flair knocked Ripley off the apron early in the match. Flair went to ringside and chop blocked the back of Ripley’s knee. Flair rolled her back inside the ring. Ripley crawled under the ropes and sold knee pain while the referee held back Flair. [C]
Smith said Ripley was cleared to continue the match during the break. Flair went for a moonsault, but Ripley put her knees up. Ripley sold knee pain, then got up and put Flair in a figure four. Flair rolled it over, forcing Ripley to grab the ropes to break it. A short time later, Ripley performed her Riptide finisher for a near fall. Flair rolled to ringside, grabbed her title, and tried to leave. Ripley ran after Flair, who hit her with the title belt for the DQ.
Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Flair by DQ in 12:25 in a Raw Women’s Championship match.
Flair held up her title after she was announced as still being champion. Ripley attacked Flair and performed her Riptide finisher at ringside before rolling her back inside the ring. Nikki ASH ran out with the Money in the Bank briefcase and handed it to the referee.
8. Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki ASH for the Raw Women’s Championship. ASH went up top and performed a cross body block and scored the pin.
Nikki ASH defeated Charlotte Flair in 0:09 to win the Raw Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: The Flair vs. Ripley match was nothing compared to the great match they had at the pay-per-view. ASH cashing in successfully was a legitimate surprise and it was well received by the crowd. It’s hard to say whether the live crowd was most excited to see ASH win, to see Flair lose, or because they got to see a title change. The segment felt rushed in that it didn’t feel like Ripley did enough damage for Flair to be pinned so easily. All of that said, good for the hard working ASH. Her superhero gimmick doesn’t do anything for me, but she’s easy to root for as a person.
Overall, this show was a reminder that even with a near or full capacity crowd back in attendance, WWE really struggles to fill the three hours of Raw. It wasn’t all bad and was much better than a ThunderDome show, but they made some very questionable booking decisions and seemed to lose the crowd as the show went on. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Raw for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.
Join John Moore for his weekly live review of NXT on Tuesday, and Jake Barnett for his weekly live review of AEW Dynamite on Wednesday.