Welcome to the WWE Raw review for this week. This week’s Raw follows Extreme Rules from Sunday night and leads into the WWE Draft starting Friday on Smackdown. The draft continues next Monday on Raw.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1478 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past (including my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order) and present. Let’s roll.
The show began with highlights from Big E beating Bobby Lashley for the WWE Title two weeks ago and then the Extreme Rules six-man tag with Big E picking up another win. Lashley wanted a WWE Title shot so Big E accepted the challenge.
There was a shot of the crowd in Cincinnati looking ready to go. Jimmy Smith said Columbus by mistake, so Corey Graves corrected him. Columbus is where Extreme Rules was. They did a rundown of what’s coming up this week.
Big E made his entrance as the WWE Champion for his first title defense after winning the title two weeks ago. The commentary team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were at ringside to call the action. The All Mighty Bobby Lashley was up next as the challenger and the former champion. There is no MVP with Lashley due to knee surgery and a storyline “broken rib” injury. The championship introductions took place.
WWE Championship: Big E vs. Bobby Lashley
Lashley overpowered Big E into the turnbuckle, there was a clean break and Big E delivered a hard slap to the face. Lashley pummeled Big E in the corner. Lashley hit a running forearm to the face. That looked brutal. Lashley with a suplex. Lashley tossed Big E out of the ring. Lashley lifted Big E on his shoulders and drove Lashley right into the ring post. After Lashley celebrated that, Big E caught him and hit a belly to belly suplex on the floor.
It was a short break. The match continued with Lashley hitting a flatliner in the ring for a two count. Lashley with a headlock, Big E broke free and then Lashley put him back down with a back elbow to the head. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle on Big E against the turnbuckle. Lashley wanted a superplex off the top, Big E fought him off and Lashley hit him with another running forearm leading to Big E bumping from the top to the apron to the floor. Lashley charged at Big E on the floor leading to a double clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley sent Big E into the corner, Lashley charged, Big E caught him and then Lashley hit a neckbreaker. Big E with a leapfrog over a running Lashley, then a back elbow and Lashley avoided the Big Ending. Lashley was on the apron, so Big E ran the ropes and Big E hit a running shoulder tackle on Lashley to send them both to the floor. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were at ringside in Hurt Business shirts. Back in the ring, Lashley hit a spinebuster on Big E. Lashley smiled at Cedric and Shelton on the floor. The New Day guys Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods went out to ringside, Lashley charged at Big E and hit a Spear! Lashley covered. Kofi and Cedric went fighting into the ring, so that broke up the pin. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Bobby Lashley (Big E remains the WWE Champion)
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match for about ten minutes until the DQ took place. These guys aren’t afraid to hit hard, they did several big moves and the drama built up quickly leading to that finish that left the fans wanting more. Lashley was actually the one that got screwed in the match since he was the one going for a pin, but then it was broken up, so Big E survived because of that. Then again, you could always say Big E would have kicked out. Anyway, it was not their only match of the night.
The New Day and Hurt Business got into a brawl with New Day clearing the ring. It seemed like it was six-man tag match time, but that’s not what happened. Woods and Kingston hit dives onto Alexander and Benjamin at ringside. Big E hit Lashley with a clothesline over the top to the floor. There were officials trying to break it up.
Adam Pearce showed up in a suit for a promo on the stage. Pearce said that it is not going to end like that tonight in Cincinnati (cheap pop). Pearce said that this match needs to happen without the others involved. Pearce told Big E and Bobby they will compete again tonight, it will be for the WWE Championship and it will be inside a Steel Cage! The fans popped big for that announcement. The announcers ran down what’s still to come while New Day celebrated in the ring.
Analysis: That’s a lot better than doing a six-man tag team match. I also like the Hurt Business group being put back together because Benjamin and Alexander should be with Lashley. The group never should have ended in the first place.
Coming up in the main event: Big E vs. Bobby Lashley in a Steel Cage Match for Lashley’s WWE Championship.
Erik was in the ring for a match. Angel Garza was with cousin Humberto Carrillo. They are cousins that brag about how good looking they are. Carrillo said that they are the hottest new tag team, Garza said that they will dominate the tag team division and Carrillo said that they will look good doing it.
Erik (w/Ivar) vs. Angel Garza (w/Humberto Carrillo)
Erik with a lifting slam. Garza blocked a kick, then a knee to the head and a clothesline. Garza ripped off the pants and had the trunks on. Garza grounded Erik with an armbar. Erik with a forearm followed by an overhead suplex across the ring. Garza with a kick to the gut. Erik flipped him over, then he hit the knee (with a hard leg slap) and Carrillo was on the apron. That distracted Erik enough, Garza with a superkick on Erik and Garza hit the Wing Clipper slam for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Angel Garza
Analysis: 3/4* Easy win for Garza after a cheap distraction. I like that Garza and Carrillo are getting at least a mild push as a heel team although I don’t know how far it’s going to go. The Viking Raiders should be booked better than they are too. I can see Viking Raiders going to Smackdown as potential rivals of The Usos soon.
There were highlights shown from Extreme Rules when Charlotte Flair beat Alexa Bliss to keep the Raw Women’s Title. Post match, Flair ripped up Lilly the doll and Bliss was screaming and crying.
Analysis: There was a report from WrestlingInc on Monday that Bliss is going to be off WWE TV for a few months. I don’t think there’s an injury. I think it’s just a break for her. I know Bliss is engaged to singer Ryan Cabrera, so if the wedding is coming soon, then it makes sense for her to take a break. Good for her. Maybe Bliss will come back without the crazy gimmick and can be more normal again. If it’s a few months then maybe she’ll come back for Royal Rumble or right before that.
Reggie entered as the 24/7 Champion for a title match.
Ricochet entered as Reggie’s opponent. Ricochet might be the most poorly used wrestler in all of WWE.
24/7 Championship: Reggie vs. Ricochet
They showed R-Truth, Drew Gulak and Drake Maverick watching at ringside. Reggie did an impressive flip over Ricochet’s back. Each guy did back flips off the top rope. Ricochet sent Reggie out of the ring and hit a somersault dive over the top onto Reggie on the floor. Truth and Gulak went after both guys on the floor, so it was a disqualification.
Winner: Reggie by disqualification or No Contest or whatever or does it really matter?
Analysis: 1/2* Flips and stuff. Ricochet should be and could be doing so much more.
Truth and Gulak were beating up Ricochet, but the Ricochet hit a moonsault off the announce table on both guys. Maverick was talking on a walkie-talkie to Tozawa, who appeared. Reggie hit a cross body block on Tozawa and left with the 24/7 Title.
Analysis: Just get rid of the 24/7 Title. Pointless waste of time. Most of the time it’s not even funny.
A clip aired from last week when Omos was ejected from ringside during the AJ Styles/Randy Orton match and Orton beat Styles with an RKO.
Riddle was backstage on his scooter with the Raw Tag Team Title around his neck. Riddle said that Randy Orton took this week off after his big win over AJ and he needed a break from Riddle. That led to Riddle wondering what Randy was doing. Riddle mentioned “skyline chili” in Cincinnati for a cheap pop. Riddle said that Orton is probably home with his munchies watching his best bro Riddle. That led to Riddle putting headphones on and singing along with Randy Orton’s theme song. Riddle looked up to find Omos standing there with AJ Styles. The scene ended there.
Analysis: The usual goofy comments from Riddle. I’m not sure where Orton is, but Riddle is on his own this week.
Akira Tozawa was still in the ring.
Akira Tozawa said that he demanded a match and he didn’t care if it was with R-Truth, Drew Gulak or Drake Maverick. Tozawa said he didn’t care who it is. Keith “Bearcat” Lee made his entrance for his first match with the new nickname.
Keith “Bearcat” Lee vs. Akira Tozawa
Keith Lee wrestles in a singlet now and has “Bearcat” on his trunks. Lee with a clothesline, a corner splash and a huge toss across the ring. Lee lifted Tozawa off the shoulders into a Jackhammer slam type move (called Big Bang Catastrophe for Lee) for the pinfall win. This was under one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Keith “Bearcat” Lee
Analysis: 1/2* Impressive showing for Lee in his first match with the new nickname. I really don’t mind the nickname at all because I think his full name is short and uninteresting, so adding a nickname can help. As we have covered on the site, there was a famous black wrestler named Bearcat Wright that used the “Bearcat” name so Lee is likely using it to honor that legacy. It’s possible Lee will be a heel, but that’s not really known right now.
There was a video sponsored by Head & Shoulders that featured the United States Champion Damian Priest keeping the US Title in a triple threat match at Extreme Rules on Sunday.
Damien Priest made his entrance as the United States Champion. Graves pointed out that Priest has a lot of momentum and that’s true since he hasn’t lost a singles match this year. Priest just turned 39 years old on Sunday. I don’t think people realize how old he is, but he is still fresh in WWE and I think he’s in line for a big push over the next year or two. Priest did a promo saying he’ll get rid of Sheamus once and for all. That match is next.
It was announced that next year’s Royal Rumble will take place on Saturday, January 29, 2022 from The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, which will be the largest venue to host the Royal Rumble. They can probably get 40,000+ fans there or more if they want.
Analysis: The reason it’s a Saturday is because the NFL’s two Conference Championship games will take place on Sunday, so they don’t want to go up against that. Since the NFL added an extra week to the season this year, it’s going to be like this moving forward. That’s smart by WWE. The first PPV of the year is on January 1 called Day One and that’s on a Saturday too. I like Saturday PPVs anyway. I’m all for it.
Big E was interviewed with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. Big E yelled about Cedric and Shelton getting involved. Big E said that when that Steel Cage goes up, it’s going down with him and Bobby. Big E said two weeks ago, he would cash in and he did. Big E said they said that they would win at Extreme Rules and they did. Big E fired up saying he promised Lashley that he will beat him again and prove that he is the rightful WWE Champion.
Analysis: Good intensity shown by Big E there. He can do comedy, but he can be serious when needed too. As WWE Champion, he needs to be serious more often.
Sheamus entered for yet another shot at the US Title. Sheamus did a pre-tape promo about how he was going to get back his title.
Analysis: I think Sheamus is a candidate to get drafted to Smackdown while Priest stays on Raw, so this feels like their last match. The only title Sheamus hasn’t won in his WWE career is the Intercontinental Title, so maybe he can get that on Smackdown assuming it stays there.
United States Championship No Countout and No Disqualification Match: Damian Priest vs. Sheamus
Sheamus got the advantage with a back elbow while he was tied up in the ropes. Priest came back with a Falcon Arrow slam. Sheamus to the floor, Sheamus with a punch to the ribs and then Priest suplexed him on the floor. Priest kicked Sheamus off the steel steps. Priest grabbed a table from under the ring. Sheamus sent Priest into the steps with Priest taking a bump on the knees. Priest with a leaping punch. Sheamus tied up Sheamus in the ropes with the forearms, Priest blocked and tried to attack, but Sheamus got out of the way. Sheamus got a hold of Priest on the apron and Sheamus gave him the White Noise slam off the apron through the table! Ouch! Big bump there.
Sheamus was in control with a kendo stick shot to the chest. Sheamus put the kendo stick in Priest’s mouth to cause some more pain on the jaw. Priest charged at Sheamus, who hit a powerslam for two. Priest worked over Sheamus with punches, Sheamus came back with a kick to the chest and Priest sent Sheamus to the apron. Sheamus choked Priest across the top rope and Sheamus jumped off the top with Priest hitting hit him with a kendo stick shot to the body. Priest hit Sheamus with repeated kendo stick shots to the body. Sheamus left the ring, so Priest hit a running back elbow. Sheamus shoved Priest into the ring post and Priest was sent into the barricade. There were visible scars on Priest’s back. Sheamus had a chair in the ring, Sheamus tried to use it against the throat, but Priest came back with punches, a big kick to the head and Sheamus punched Priest. Sheamus whipped Priest face first into the steel chair against the turnbuckle. Sheamus hit the Alabama Slam for two. Chair shots to the head are banned, but it’s okay to whip a head into a chair apparently. I guess Priest used his arm to take the bump although it looked like it was his head. Priest threw a chair at a charging Sheamus and Priest hit a South of Heaven sitout Chokeslam for a two count. Priest and Sheamus exchanged forearms, Priest with two jumping kicks and Priest avoided a Brogue Kick leading to a clothesline. Priest with a kick to the side of the head. Priest with a jumping attack, but Sheamus hit a lifting knee for two. That is such a great nearfall spot. Sheamus with a kendo stick shot, Priest with a bell ringer clap, Sheamus wanted a powerslam, but then Priest reversed it and Priest whipped Sheamus into the table that was against the turnbuckle. Priest hit The Reckoning for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ***1/2 It was another great match between these guys with Sheamus continuing to put on quality matches every time he’s out there and gets time to show what he can do. They did a nice job of using weapons throughout the match with tables, chairs and kendo sticks as the weapons of choice. I really liked that White Noise spot through the table before the break. That was a pretty big move. Priest making the comeback to win was expected since he’s the newer guy that was put over by Sheamus in this feud. Sheamus tweeted “banger” after the match. He’s right about that. Another great showing by him.
Mansoor was smiling backstage in the Gorilla Position with Mustafa Ali complaining about Mansoor setting up this match for them with Jeff Hardy. Mansoor said that they can prove that they belong together as a team. Jeff Hardy walked up to them with the face paint look. Hardy said that Mahal, Veer and Shanky are big scary bastards, but he’s faced bigger and badder, he can’t wait to team with them and he can’t wait to twist their fate. Mansoor was so excited about it.
Jeff Hardy’s music played as the team made their entrance. Mansoor was doing some Jeff dance moves, but Ali didn’t like that. This match is next. Good pop for Jeff as usual.
Jinder Mahal and friends entered for a tag team match. They showed a pre-tape promo from them.
Jinder Mahal, Veer & Shanky vs. Jeff Hardy, Mansoor & Mustafa Ali
Ali with two dropkicks on Shanky, but then Shanky hit a spinning sidewalk slam. Veer went for a slam, Ali shoved him into the turnbuckle and Mansoor tagged in with a forearm, but it had no effect on Veer. That led to Veer hitting a jumping attack on Mansoor. Veer with an elbow drop to Mansoor for a two count. Shanky tagged in with punches. They were shooting this match from the main camera at ringside a lot. Mansoor avoided a charging Shanky and Hardy tagged in against Mahal with the fans cheering. Hardy with a running forearm, atomic drop, double leg drop, low dropkick and splash for two. Classic Hardy sequence there. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate, Mahal shoved him off, Ali tagged in and hit a sitout X-Factor for a two count as Veer made the save. Veer tossed Hardy out of the ring. Mansoor saved Hardy from Shanky. Veer was legal for his team as he hit a running shoulder tackle and Ali did an impressive flip bump. Veer hit a lefty lariat leading to Ali doing a flip bump again and Veer covered Ali to win.
Winners by pinfall: Jinder Mahal, Veer & Shanky
Analysis: *1/2 Impressive win for this heel team. Veer’s clothesline to win was great, but that was also because of how well Ali sold it. Shanky’s time in the ring was limited because he’s still so green. Mahal did a bit, but it was more about putting over Veer. Hardy was protected because he was only in there for a bit, did some signature spots and Ali tagged in to lose the match.
Karrion Kross did a promo from earlier in the day saying he has never felt more rejuvenated, reinvigorated and more alive than now. Kross said no one truly knows where they’ll end up by the end of this. Kross said that in the end they all fall and pray.
Karrion Kross did his entrance with his mask on.
Karrion Kross vs. Jaxon Ryker
They exchanged punches and forearms. Kross kicked him in the head. Kross yelled at Ryker: “Come on, marine!” Kross with an overhead suplex for two. Ryker tried to fight back to no reaction, then Kross caught him with a Doomsday Suplex and Kross applied the Kross Jacket submission for the victory as Ryker tapped out. It went about two minutes.
Winner by submission: Karrion Kross
Analysis: * Easy win for Kross. Remember when Ryker was getting mildly pushed as a face? Not anymore. Ryker was off TV for several weeks and now he came back to put over Kross.
There was a backstage scene with WWE Officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. Doudrop said she wanted to face Charlotte for the Raw Women’s Title since Charlotte issued an open challenge. Sonya took a shot at Naomi. Pearce and Deville granted Doudrop her title match.
Riddle made his entrance as one of half of the Raw Tag Team Champions. The fans like this guy and of course the animated birds were there as he kicked off his flip flops in the ring.
Bobby Lashley did a promo about the WWE Championship match coming up later. Lashley complained about Big E cashing in the Money in the Bank on Lashley two weeks ago when Lashley was injured. Lashley said he’s not hurt now, so he can beat Lashley in that steel cage and walk out as the rightful WWE Champion.
AJ Styles made his entrance with Riddle. Last week, Styles lost to Randy Orton in a great match.
AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. Riddle
Riddle with kicks, Styles caught the foot and kicked the leg. Styles with a hard kick to the leg. Riddle caught a kick attempt, then avoided a charging Styles and Riddle with a kick to the chest followed by a broton splash. Riddle with a gutwrench suplex into another one and a third gutwrench suplex. Riddle with a stiff-looking knee, then a forearm and Styles came back with a forearm of his own. Styles suplexed Riddle over the top to the floor. Styles delivered a running knee while on the apron. Styles delivered a backbreaker. Styles tossed Riddle out of the ring by Omos and that led to a commercial. Nice job by the referee telling Styles it was time for a commercial.
Riddle with a jumping kick, then two forearms and an Exploder Suplex across the ring. Riddle went for a broton, but Styles got the knees up to block. Styles with a slam off the shoulders into the knee hitting the back for a two count. They exchanged strikes, Riddle with a knee and a bridging German Suplex for two. Styles came back with an impressive Pele Kick as the camera showed the face of Omos looking angry at ringside. Riddle delivered a rising knee to the face while hanging onto the arm of Styles and Styles hit a pumphandle gutbuster! Great move. These guys have so many awesome moves in their arsenal. Styles went for a springboard attack, Riddle kicked him down and Styles bumped to the floor. Riddle with a PK kick on the apron and a twisting Floating Bro splash off the middle rope onto Styles on the floor. Riddle went for a twisting attack off the top, but Styles caught him and applied the Calf Crusher submission move. Riddle got to the rope to break the hold. Styles did a running attack, but Riddle hit him with a knee. Riddle set up for the RKO and went for it, Styles move and Styles hit an Olympic Slam-like move but then he cradled Riddle’s head to drive it into the mat. Ouch. Styles hit a Styles Clash for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***3/4 This was an excellent match featuring two guys that have had many matches together and they always deliver. Wrestling isn’t always about the number of moves you can do, but these two guys have so many cool-looking moves that they do. I think WWE’s creative team knows the chemistry that exists between Styles/Riddle, so they are always going to book this match every month or two. They aren’t afraid to try some hard-hitting moves as well as some aggressive bumps like head/neck spots. It was very even throughout the match with Styles getting a much-needed win after being on the losing end of some matches of late. This could be a way to get Styles going as a singles wrestler again and maybe he’ll get a decent push too, but I don’t know if that’s the plan. Two weeks in a row of great matches from Styles since he had an equally great match against Randy Orton last week.
Post match, Styles nodded at Omos and Styles left. Omos picked up Riddle and hit a Chokeslam.
They showed highlights from last week’s Raw when Shayna Baszler beat Nia Jax in a hard-hitting match. Baszler injured Jax’s arm after the match with Jax screaming and crying to sell it.
Analysis: It was an injury angle to write Jax out of action. It might be a few months until Jax is back.
Shayna Baszler was shown walking backstage with a deck of cards. Sarah Schreiber asked Baszler what was going through her mind when she injured Nia Jax? Baszler didn’t say a word and left.
Charlotte Flair was up next as the Raw Women’s Champion and she’s in action up next.
Doudrop made her entrance with her catchy theme song that is also cheesy and features her dancing.
Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Doudrop
Doudrop got a shoulder tackle to knock down a running Flair. They ran the ropes with Doudrop hitting a shoulder tackle again. Doudrop with an elbow smash followed by a senton. Eva Marie’s music hit for the distraction, so Doudrop looked at Eva in the aisle. Flair kicked Doudrop in the back and then the Natural Selection continued to win the match after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: * Doudrop got a few moves in before the Eva Marie distraction and that was enough for Charlotte to win.
Post match, Charlotte clotheslined Eva Marie to knock her down. Flair left triumphantly.
Goldberg is coming up next.
A video aired from SummerSlam when Bobby Lashley beat Goldberg and even put the Hurt Lock on Goldberg’s teenage son.
Goldberg’s Message To Lashley
Bill Goldberg was shown doing a promo from home. Goldberg said that he’s a father, so is Lashley and he hopes that Lashley is a better father than he is a liar. Goldberg said when Lashley choked Goldberg’s son out in the ring, he said it was a misunderstanding. Goldberg said there’s no misunderstanding. Goldberg said he would always protect his son from anybody that tried to hurt him. Goldberg made it clear that he will fulfill the promise he made when his son was born. Goldberg added that Lashley hurt his son, so he’s going to hurt Lashley real bad and added: “If I’m lucky enough, I’ll even kill you.” That’s aggressive. Goldberg said he’ll enjoy every single second of it. Goldberg reminded us that Gage Goldberg is his son and Lashley will be his victim. End promo.
Analysis: That was aggressive, especially the part saying: “If I’m lucky enough, I’ll even kill you.” When Lashley applied the Hurt Lock to Goldberg’s son at SummerSlam, it was obvious that the feud was going to continue. The expectation is that they will do Lashley vs. Goldberg at the Crown Jewel PPV in Saudi Arabia on October 21.
Eva Marie was in the ring in her ring gear saying if she had the opportunity that Doudrop just had, she would be Raw Women’s Champion. The fans booed her. Eva said that she is tired of being taking advantage of and the disrespect from the fans. Eva claimed she could beat any woman in the locker room and they all know it, just like the fans. Eva was about to leave, but here comes Shayna Baszler.
Shayna Baszler walked down to the ring with a purpose and looking serious as usual. Eva was too slow to get out of the ring, so Baszler grabbed her and applied the Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler took Eva to the mat where Eva tapped out. The fans actually cheered this even though Baszler is a heel. Baszler kicked Eva’s left arm as Eva fell to the floor. Baszler cleared off the ring steps, she put Eva’s left arm on the steps and Baszler stomped on the left arm. Eva was screaming in pain while referees checked on Eva at ringside. The fans chanted “one more time” for Baszler, but Shayna left. There were boos that may have been piped in or maybe the fans were mad that the attack didn’t continue.
Analysis: It was another vicious attack for Baszler. It is nice to see WWE booking Baszler in a dominant way again after so much inconsistent booking over the last year or so. This is back to what Baszler was in early 2020 when she dominate in the Elimination Chamber 2020 match to build her up until she lost to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 36. I’m glad that Baszler is being booked strong again.
Rhea Ripley and Nikki Cross were interviewed as the new Women’s Tag Team Champions. Ripley said that they are opposites, but sometimes opposites attract and they have these Tag Team Championships. Ripley said it doesn’t matter about the Draft because they can go wherever they want, whenever they want. Nikki called them “Super Brutality” and wanted matching outfits. Ripley said that blue is a great color…on Nikki. Ripley left, Nikki suggested blue capes and said they are almost superheroes.
Analysis: I think they could certainly be split up in the draft. As Ripley said, it didn’t matter if they got split up because as long as they are champions they can be on both shows. Ripley to Smackdown makes sense if Raw gets one of the bigger Smackdown women names.
The steel cage was being lowered for the main event.
This Friday on Smackdown: What’s next for Roman Reigns and “Demon” Finn Balor while “The Beast” Brock Lesnar is looming for Reigns. They didn’t advertise any specific matches.
A replay was shown of the chaotic scene earlier in the night when Lashley vs. Big E led to a brawl, so that’s why we have this steel cage match.
The “All Mighty” former WWE Champion Bobby Lashley was up first looking intense as usual. Big E was up next as the WWE Champion and he got a big pop from the crowd. Big E walked down to the ring with a serious look on his face.
Big E went up the steps with the WWE Title, Lashley attacked him there and Lashley sent Big E back first into the barricade. Lashley whipped Big E into the barricade at ringside. Lashley sent Big E shoulder first into the steel steps on the floor. Lashley hit Big E with forearms and then the move where Lashley put Big E on his shoulders leading to Lashley running Big E into the ring post that was covered with the steel cage. Lashley hit Big E in the back with the steel steps. Big E was down on the floor while the fans booed. They went to break.
Analysis: Cheap attack by Lashley to cast some doubt on if Big E was going to be able to continue the match. They like to do cheap attacks before the match to build sympathy towards the babyfaces. It’s an angle that works.
Big E was back in the ring, the steel cage door was shut and Big E told the referee he wants to do this. The bell rang to start the match. There were about 19 minutes left in the show as the match began.
Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship: Big E vs. Bobby Lashley
The way to win a WWE Steel Cage match is by pinfall, submission, climbing over the top to the floor or walking out the door to the floor. My preference would be to eliminate the “walk out the door” finish, but it still exists.
Lashley charged at Big E, who caught him with a one-armed slam. Big E whipped Lashley into the cage two times. Lashley came back with a clothesline. Lashley with a running shoulder tackle followed by a delayed suplex. Lashley jumped onto Big E’s back. Lashley charged, Big E was ready and did a hiptoss into the turnbuckle. Big E whipped Lashley into the cage three times, he went for a lift, Lashley wanted a Hurt Lock, Big E fought out of it and Lashley hit an Exploder Suplex across the ring. That was impressive. Lashley climbed up the turnbuckle to go up the cage, Big E went after him to tease a Big Ending from there and Lashley held onto the cage. Lashley applied a dragon sleeper across the top rope with Big E collapsing to the mat. Lashley went up the cage, he got near the top and Big E went after him, so they were standing on the top rope. Big E sent Lashley’s head into the cage a few times and Lashley fell back into the ring. Big E climbed over the top of the cage, but there was Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander in Hurt Business gear. They punched Big E to send him back into the cage. Lashley tried to crawl out the door, but Xavier Woods slammed the door on Lashley’s head. Woods hit Alexander with a superkick. Kofi Kingston went up the cage quickly to go after Benjamin. Woods hit Benjamin with a forearm. Kofi was at the top of the cage and he hit a jumping trust fall dive back first onto Benjamin/Alexander on the floor. Big spot there as the show went to break.
Analysis: That was a good spot before the break to remind the fans that it’s one on one because New Day wasn’t going to let Lashley cheat to win. Kofi’s dive was risky for sure, but he landed it as well as he could onto both guys on the floor.
The match returned with Lashley hitting a superplex while Lashley was on the middle rope and Big E was on the top rope. That got a two count. Big E with two overhead belly to belly suplexes and a side belly to belly slam. Big E ran the ropes for a splash, but Lashley was back up with a Spear for a two count. Good nearfall there after a move that Lashley has won many matches with that move as well. The fans were chanting for both guys although it was louder for Big E for sure. Lashley hit a neckbreaker. Lashley went to the turnbuckle and he jumped off the middle rope with an elbow smash to the head. Lashley wanted to walk out the door, Big E held onto him, Lashley yelled at Big E to “stay down” and Big E held onto Lashley again. Lashley went for a clothesline, Big E ducked and hit a Big Ending for one…two…and no! Lashley kicked out at two. Big E tried to leave by going out the door, Big E went for a spinebuster, Lashley blocked it and Lashley hit a huge lifting spinebuster. I don’t know if they messed up the spot before, but that Lashley spinebuster was a big one. Lashley tried to climb up the cage, Big E was right there to meet him on the top rope and Big E hit Lashley with repeated elbows to the ribs. Big E had Lashley on his shoulders, Big E was standing on the middle rope and Big E hit the Big Ending off the middle rope! That was awesome. Big E covered for the one…two…and three! Big E wins! The fans popped big for the WWE Champion, who got the win after 17 minutes of action.
Winner by pinfall: Big E
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match that was given a lot of time, it was very physical and put over the new WWE Champion in a big way by giving him a huge win over a top guy. The top rope Big Ending is something we rarely see, but it’s a fitting way to end a steel cage match where they can use the cage to keep their balance. When Lashley kicked out of the Big Ending the first time it surprised me a bit, but then when seeing that finish, it made sense. They did a really nice job of setting up the big moves, there were a couple of nearfalls that were believable and then the huge moment to win it. I certainly don’t think Lashley is going to be hurt that much by the loss because it took such a big move to beat him.
Big E celebrated with the WWE Championship as some replays were shown. Big E continued to celebrate. That’s when some familiar music played.
Drew McIntyre’s music hit and the former WWE Champion appeared by the entrance with his giant sword in his hands. McIntyre pointed the sword to Big E as if to say he wants the WWE Championship and Big E was nodding back at him. The show ended there.
Analysis: Remember the story being that Drew couldn’t challenge Lashley for the WWE Title again, but after Lashley lost the WWE Title, Drew can go after that title again. I feel like Drew is going to get drafted to Smackdown soon while Big E stays on Raw. I doubt I’m the only one with a prediction like that, so I’m not sure if this match is going to happen. They could do Big E vs. Drew for the WWE Title on Raw next week and maybe Drew gets drafted to Smackdown on next week’s Raw, so there’s a way to do it. I don’t know if it will happen, but it’s possible. Anyway, it’s a nice tease of a big babyface match.
Three Stars of the Show
- Big E
- Bobby Lashley
- AJ Styles/Riddle
Damian Priest and Sheamus also put on a great showing.
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.75
2021 Average: 6.06
It was another Raw that was very good. That’s three straight weeks where I rated it above 7 out of 10 and three straight weeks since Monday Night Football started, so I think WWE is trying to put together better shows against their NFL competition. It’s the only time all year where I can say I gave Raw 7 out of 10 or higher three straight weeks.
There were multiple matches around the four star level, which is great to see. Some of the matches like Styles/Riddle and Priest/Sheamus are rematches of things we have seen before while the Big E/Lashley main event was a terrific match that put over Big E in a big way as a new WWE Champion.
Since the WWE Draft starts Friday and continues next Monday I think storylines were in a bit of a holding pattern since things are going to change. That’s probably why they went with the format of some longer matches to fill time, which is certainly fine.
The next WWE PPV is Crown Jewel on Thursday, October 21 from Saudi Arabia. Here’s what we know so far:
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
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