By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,470)
Live from Kansas City, Missouri at T-Mobile Center
Aired July 26, 2021 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a recap of Nikki ASH successfully cashing in her Money in the Bank contract and winning the Raw Women’s Championship… Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…
Raw Women’s Champion Nikki ASH made her entrance and stopped to visit younger fans in the crowd on her way to the ring. Once in the ring and said she always wanted to say, “Welcome to Monday Night Raw.”
ASH said she’s happy that everyone is back together and that she’s the new champion. A “you deserve it” chant broke out. She said she has been punching herself to make sure he’s awake, but the dream is real. She said she lacked confidence in the past because she was afraid to fail.
ASH said she realized one day that if she fails, she fails, and it’s not a big deal. “I’m still me,” she said. ASH said the superhero outfit gives her confidence and reminds her that that if you believe in yourself, you can overcome all of the odds. “It worked for me, it can work for you,” she said. “We can all be almost superheroes.”
Powell’s POV: Not true. I believed in myself when I went all in on a pair of twos in Texas HoldEm. The odds were not in my favor. Guess what? I lost. You lied, Nikki! My crappy poker skills aside, she delivered a likable babyface promo and was we received despite reports that she was booed at the weekend house shows.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance and said that ASH as champion is a disgrace. Flair spoke about ASH representing the company on NBC’s “Today Show” and being laughed at because Al Roker wouldn’t believe she’s the champion. Flair said she was there to add star power.
Flair pointed out that she wasn’t even on her feet when the referee started the match. She accused ASH of stealing her title. ASH held up the belt and played to the crowd. Flair said she would get her rematch at SummerSlam and then ASH would bow down to the real champion. Flair accused the fans of being jealous of her.
Rhea Ripley’s entrance theme interrupted Flair and she headed to the ring and slapped a couple hands along the way. A loud “Rhea” chant broke out. Ripley mocked the idea of everyone being jealous of Flair after she held the title for one day.
Ripley said Flair got herself disqualified last week to avoid losing the title to her. Ripley said she should get the shot against ASH at SummerSlam. ASH took offense to both women claiming they would take the title from her at SummerSlam. She said the butterfly on her gear represents metamorphosis and that’s what’s happening in the Raw women’s division.
WWE officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville made their entrance and stood on the stage. Deville announced a Triple Threat at SummerSlam. Flair said it was ridiculous and said she wanted a rematch on Raw to prove that ASH would never be in her league. “You’re on,” ASH said. Pearce made the match official.
Fair took a cheap shot at Ripley and knocked her to ringside. Flair tried to clothesline ASH, who ducked it and then dropkicked Flair to the floor. ASH held up her title belt in the middle of the ring while the broadcast team set up the next segment…
A pre-taped Damian Priest promo aired. He said Sheamus attacks people from behind and he’s not a true champion, he’s a coward and a bully… Smith hyped Sheamus vs. Priest in a Championship Contenders Match for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: In case you missed it last week, Championship Contenders Match is WWE’s new lingo for non-title match. Speaking of which, it wasn’t made clear whether ASH vs. Flair will be for the title. It sounded like there were some boos for ASH as the segment went on, but there were definitely more cheers than boos. It was a long segment and the creative forces would be wise to keep ASH’s talking segments briefer, as the cuteness of the character is better in short spurts.
1. U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Damian Priest in a Championship Contenders Match (non-title) match. Sheamus was in the ring coming out of the break and then Priest’s entrance was televised. Sheamus wore his face mask. Sheamus caught Priest going for a spin kick at ringside and then slammed him onto the apron heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Priest caught Sheamus with a spin kick inside the ring and knocked his face mask off. Priest charged toward Sheamus in the corner, but Sheamus put his boots up. Sheamus climbed up top, but Priest grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him into the ring and then covered him for a near fall.
Sheamus rallied with an Alabama Slam for a near fall of his own. Sheamus went for a cloverleaf, but Priest kicked his way free. Priest threw more kicks and then a forearm, but Sheamus bounced off the ropes and blasted him with a knee to the face and then covered him for a near fall.
Priest came right back with a kick that Smith said was to the ear. Sheamus sold his nose. Priest performed his Hit The Lights finisher and scored the clean pin. Afterward, Sheamus yelled that Priest broke his nose…
Damian Priest defeated Sheamus in 10:05 in a Championship Contenders Match.
The broadcast team hyped the Raw Tag Title match… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good non-title win for Priest to set up the likely title match at SummerSlam. I wish WWE had some purpose behind their switch from non-title to Championship Contenders Match. AEW has eliminator matches that are essentially non-title matches, but the difference is that if the champion is beaten, the challenger is guaranteed a title shot. At last check, WWE announcers were saying that the challenger could put himself/herself in line for a title shot by beating the champion.
Imagery of the host city was shown…
2. AJ Styles and Omos vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar for the Raw Tag Titles. Styles and Omos were in the ring coming out of the break and then the Viking Raiders’ entrance was televised. Erik had Styles pinned in the opening minute following The Viking Experience, but Omos pulled him out of the ring. Omos beat up Erik and Ivar at ringside. [C]
Ivar avoided a Phenomenal Forearm and then clotheslined Styles. Ivar charged Styles, who superkicked him. Styles followed up with a tornado DDT and covered Ivar for a two count. Erik checked in and blasted Styles with a knee to the head and covered him for a two count while Ivar held Omos’s leg.
Omos tagged in and slammed Erik, then yelled that it’s his house. Ivar ran in and was hit by a big boot and then Omos tossed him to ringside. Omos performed the Baldo Bomb slam on Erik. Styles tagged in and hit a springboard 450 splash and scored the pin…
AJ Styles and Omos defeated “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar in 9:30 to retain the Raw Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. The Raiders and Styles work really well together, and Omos continues to perform his regular spots. Smith has been noticeably more enthusiastic in his call tonight than he has been on past shows. It’s hard to say whether this is a case of him settling in or if he was encouraged to raise his voice more often. Meanwhile, this week’s first hour of Raw has been a nice upgrade over last week’s overall show. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going for the next two hours.
The broadcast team recapped still shots from Money in the Bank of Jinder Mahal, Veer, and Shanky attacking Drew McIntyre during the men’s MITB ladder match followed by footage of the 34 chair shots that McIntyre gave Shanky last week…
Drew McIntyre made his entrance for a match against Veer… An ad for Smackdown focused on John Cena challenging Roman Reigns, who declined and then accepted Finn Balor’s challenge instead… [C] The broadcast team hyped the Bobby Lashley segment where he will address Goldberg’s challenge…
Jinder Mahal, Veer, and a man dressed in a suit made their entrance.
[Hour Two] Mahal cut his promo on his way to the ring and said he was disgusted in everyone. He said Shanky was physically assaulted and gave McIntyre a chance to apologize. Mahal introduced the man in a suit as the best attorney that money can buy. Mahal said they would sue McIntyre and take everything from him unless he apologized.
McIntyre told him to shut up. He asked the crowd whether he should apologize and buy a steak dinner or beat Veer within an inch of his life. The fans sided with violence like the bloodthirsty savages that they are. McIntyre led them in a “Drew’s gonna kill you” chant.
3. Drew McIntyre vs. Veer (w/Jinder Mahal, attorney). A fan who is sure to be disappointed held up a “Feel The Glow” sign. McIntyre was getting the better of Veer when Mahal distracted him by slamming a chair on the apron. Veer took advantage of the distraction and went on the offensive.
As McIntyre was rallying, Mahal slid the chair to Veer. McIntyre delivered a Claymore Kick that sent the chair into the face of Veer. The referee called for the disqualification.
Drew McIntyre beat Veer by DQ in 3:40.
After the match, McIntyre approached the lawyer who was left alone at ringside. McIntyre tossed the man inside the ring and joined him. McIntyre did the countdown and then hit the lawyer with a Claymore Kick…
Powell’s POV: As tempting as it may be, I would not advise attacking a lawyer, kids. The finish was silly given that Veer didn’t actually use the chair as a weapon, but whatever. By the way, a graphic listed the ASH vs. Flair match as a Championship Contenders Match, so the title will not be on the line later tonight.
Highlights aired of Eva Marie and Doudrop on Alexa’s Playhouse last week… Backstage, Eva told Doudrop that if they won their match, they would be a step closer to winning the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. The duo made their entrance for, yes, another Championship Contenders Match… [C]
A graphic touted that John Cena’s return had over 3.5 million views on Instagram, making it the most viewed WWE post in history…
4. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya and Tamina vs. Eva Marie and Doudrop in a Championship Contenders Match. Eva started the match and tagged out when Natalya went after her. Doudrop rolled Natalya into a pin for a two count. Natalya stood up and couldn’t put weight on her right leg, so she tagged out.
Later, Doudrop hit a cross body on Tamina. Eva had her tag her into the match and tried to steal the pin, but Tamina kicked out. A “Lilly-Lution” video aired with the doll replacing Eva in her Eva-Lution video. A distracted Eva turned into a superkick from Tamina, who scored the pin.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya and Tamina defeated Eva Marie and Doudrop in 3:15 in a Championship Contenders Match.
After the match, Natalya was helped to the back by Tamina and a trainer…
Split screen shots aired of Karrion Kross and Keith Lee while the broadcast team hyped their match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It looked like Natalya’s leg got caught in an awkward position when Doudrop rolled her into a pin. Here’s hoping that it’s nothing serious.
ASH vs. Flair was hyped for later in the show…
5. NXT Champion Karrion Kross vs. Keith Lee in a non-title match. Both entrances were televised. Lee performed an early suplex and clotheslined Kross to ringside. Lee went to ringside, but Kross drove him into the apron and ended up suplexing him on the floor. [C]
Kross put Lee in a Kross Jacket submission hold. Lee powered out of it and tossed Kross to the mat. Kross stood up and hit Lee with a forearm, but Lee dropped him with a clothesline. Lee headbutted Kross and then hit him with a clothesline in the corner and a shoulder block that knocked him down.
Lee looked to the crowd and got a light round of applause. Lee set up for his Spirit Bomb finisher, but Kross avoided it and put him down with a Saito Suplex. When Lee stood up, Kross hit him with a shot to the back of the head and applied the Kross Jacket. Lee tried to fight, but he eventually tapped out.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross beat Keith Lee in 8:45.
Powell’s POV: I’m surprised to see Kross if only because he was in the ring with Jeff Hardy last week, and word came out yesterday that Hardy tested positive for COVID-19. One can only assume that the company feels confident that Kross wasn’t exposed. Putting that aside, this was actually an interesting match given that both guys lost last week. There was no shame in losing to Kross until he lost to Hardy last week, it’s still hard not to wonder what the future holds for Lee in WWE.
After a highlight package, Sarah Schreiber interviewed Nikki ASH, who said that no matter what happens in her match with Flair, she will end up defending her title at SummerSlam. Rhea Ripley showed up and said she respects the belief that ASH has in herself. Ripley said she believes she will win the title at SummerSlam, but she said she also hoped that ASH would give Flair hell during their singles match…
Mace and T-Bar made their entrance for a match against Mustafa Ali and Mansoor… [C] A pre-tape aired with Mace and T-Bar speaking in normal voices while essentially claiming that their size advantage would be the difference…
Ali and Mansoor made separate entrances. Mansoor didn’t get much of a reaction, while Ali drew some boos. Ali stopped Mansoor from slapping hands at ringside. A pre-tape aired with Ali telling Mansoor to follow his lead…
6. Mace and T-Bar vs. Mustafa Ali and Mansoor. The broadcast team acknowledged the history between Ali and his opponents. Mace had Ali pinned a minute into the match, but Mansoor ran in and broke it up. T-Bar booted Mansoor off the apron, then hit Ali with a big boot that led to a two count.
Ali came back with a spin kick and made a hot tag. Mansoor caught Mace with a reverse DDT and went for the pin, but T-Bar booted him in the head to break it up. Ali took out T-Bar with a DDT. Mansoor told him it was awesome. Back inside the ring, Mansoor rolled Mace into a pin for the win.
Mustafa Ali and Mansoor beat Mace and T-Bar in 3:15.
After the match, Mansoor was giddy about the win, but Ali wasn’t in a celebratory mood…
Bobby Lashley responding to Goldberg’s challenge was hyped for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team framed this as a big upset even though Mace and T-Bar lose most of their matches. The story seems to be that Mansoor is overly optimistic while Ali is bitter and pessimistic. I’m not sure if they will get on the same page as a team or end up feuding against one another.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP. Footage aired of Goldberg’s appearance last week. MVP told the fans to rise to their feet and show the proper amount of respect for Lashley. The crowd responded with a mixed reaction. MVP acted like they booed him and then compared Lashley’s dominance to that of Tom Brady, which drew boos from the Chiefs loving crowd.
[Hour Three] MVP brought up Goldberg’s challenge and then asked Lashley if he was next. Lashley said he wouldn’t even dignify Goldberg’s challenge with a response. He said he won’t be disrespected by anyone in his ring.
Cedric Alexander made his entrance. He said if they wanted to talk about disrespect, they could talk about how he was kicked out of The Hurt Business. Alexander accused Lashley of kicking him out of the group because Alexander is better than him. The crowd booed.
Shelton Benjamin made his entrance and asked Alexander if he had any idea how annoying the sound of his voice is. Benjamin joined the others in the ring and said he wasn’t there to cry about The Hurt Business. Benjamin said he was there to give Lashley a real challenge.
MVP said the champion didn’t have time to deal with either one of them. Lashley said he would take them both on at the same time and then called for a referee…
7. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in a handicap match. Lashley performed a Flatliner on Alexander and tossed him to ringside. Lashley followed and hoisted up Alexander before running him into the ring post. Lashley threw Alexander back inside the ring.
Benjamin hit Lashley from behind, but Lashley shook it off. Alexander held Lashley’s foot and then Benjamin caught him with a kick. Alexander and Benjamin went for a double pin, but Lashley kicked out. Lashley took out Alexander with a Dominator and then speared Benjamin. Lashley performed a Jackhammer on Benjamin, then slammed Alexander on top of him and pinned both men…
Bobby Lashley beat Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in a handicap match in 2:40.
Powell’s POV: A good win for Lashley, but another step back for Alexander and Benjamin. I still have no clue why the creative forces felt the need to break up The Hurt Business.
The Miz was shown sitting in his wheelchair while texting. John Morrison showed up and got fired up about something. AJ Styles and Omos showed up. Styles said he had something to talk to them about. Omos stood in front of the camera while the other three huddled up…
Riddle made his entrance for a match against Morrison… [C] Morrison and Miz made their entrance and shot off the drip sticks on the stage…
8. Riddle vs. John Morrison (w/The Miz). Riddle was in offensive control when Miz sprayed him with the drip stick. Morrison rolled up Riddle for a two count, but Riddle got up and dropped him with a knee to the face. Riddle went to the apron and threw a kick at Miz, who tipped over backwards in his wheelchair. Riddle impersonated Miz on the apron. [C]
AJ Styles and Omos walked to ringside. Riddle told them they shouldn’t be out there, then went to the ropes. Styles picked up Riddle’s scooter and handed it to Omos, who broke it over his knee. Morrison grabbed Riddle from behind and ended up slamming him down and hitting Starship Pain for the win.
John Morrison defeated Riddle in 9:55.
After the match, Styles attacked Riddle and performed a Styles Clash.
Powell’s POV: Thank you, Omos. Now is there something you can do about those animated birds? As much as I don’t care for those elements of his act, there’s no denying that Riddle is over. He got a big pop when his music hit. I assume this is leading to Randy Orton returning to team with Riddle against Styles and Omos in a Raw Tag Title match at SummerSlam.
Highlights aired of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler ditching Reginald last week, only for Reginald to win the WWE 24/7 Championship…
R-Truth made his entrance and got the usual strong reaction for his “What’s Up” song. Truth challenging Reginald for the 24/7 Title was advertised for after the break… [C] Still shots aired of the Kansas City pro sports teams… Reginald made his entrance and mesmerized Truth with his athleticism…
9. Reginald vs. R-Truth for the WWE 24/7 Championship. Truth wore his mic and spoke to Reginald, who was dressed in a suit. Truth grabbed Reginald from behind and said they could do it the easy way or hard way. Reginald escaped and did more flips. Truth threw Reginald’s jacket over his face and still couldn’t hit him. Truth tired himself out and then Reginald flipped onto him and pinned him…
Reginald beat R-Truth in 1:25 to retain the WWE 24/7 Championship.
After the match, Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak, Lince Dorado, and Humberto Carrillo ran out. Reginald performed a flip over the top rope to the floor and then did handspring back flips…
Powell’s POV: Reginald is very talented, but the crowd went from singing along loudly with Truth’s entrance to being as quiet as they were all night. They were impressed with his gymnastic ability, but they haven’t rallied behind him yet and there’s no telling if they will.
Charlotte Flair was interviewed by Schreiber. Flair said the only reason ASH was able to beat her last week is because Rhea Ripley brutally assaulted her. Flair said she’s sick of the division being run down by “almost superstars.” Flair said there wouldn’t be a women’s champion in WWE if it wasn’t for her. She said she would prove that to ASH. Flair made her entrance… [C]
Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest, AJ Styles, and Omos were advertised as the Raw Talk guests… Nikki ASH made her entrance… ASH vs. Flair vs. Ripley in a Triple Threat for the Raw Women’s Championship was hyped for SummerSlam…
10. Raw Women’s Champion Nikki ASH vs. Charlotte Flair in a Championship Contenders Match. Flair was dominant to start and went after ASH’s mask. Flair dumped ASH to the floor and taunted the crowd for cheering for her. ASH returned to the ring and Flair put the boots to her.
ASH came back with an inside cradle and a rollup for a couple of two counts. ASH performed a head-scissors takedown that sent Flair to the floor. ASH kicked her through the ropes. ASH followed to the floor and was tossed over the broadcast table. Flair returned to the ring and mugged for the booing crowd. [C]
Flair was still in control coming out of the break. ASH got some hope spots, including a bulldog that led to a two count. ASH played to the crowd and seemed to get more of a mixed reaction. Flair placed ASH on the ropes, but ASH grabbed her hair and eventually gave her a tornado DDT. ASH went up top and went for a cross body block, but Flair rolled through and scored the pin.
Charlotte Flair defeated Nikki ASH in 12:35 in a non-title Championship Contenders Match.
After the match, Flair taunted ASH by acting like she was crying. Kevin Patrick entered the ring after the match and congratulated Flair on her win. Flair questioned why he congratulated her. Flair made ASH look at her and then told her that no one is in her league. Flair went back to celebrating. ASH said she’s almost a superhero and showed herself that she almost won.
ASH challenged Flair to a rematch for next week. Flair said she could beat ASH any week and then accepted the rematch. Flair offered a left-handed handshake, which ASH accepted. Flair pulled her in and punched her. Flair roughed up ASH in the ring and at ringside. Flair put her down with a big boot inside the ring and stood over her to close the show…
Powell’s POV: I guess Flair’s character doesn’t want next week’s rematch to be a title match? Anyway, there was too much Nikki ASH on this show. The Pollyanna act is better in small doses. Flair is trying hard to heel it up to help ASH get over, but creative needs to be careful or the fans are going to turn on ASH’s kid friendly act. They are really pushing it by coming right back with another rematch next week, but hopefully they have something good in mind.
Overall, this was a better show than last week, which isn’t saying much. It was lighter on star power without John Cena and Goldberg appearing, but they didn’t have as many head-scratching creative moments. Raw also had a better overall flow compared to last week. I will return shortly with my weekly same night audio review of Raw. Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.