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WWE RAW- August 2, 2021
by Samoa Rowe
Ah, what the hell, let's do a modern Raw recap, for old time's sake. There is a recipe for disaster in the air, because WWE are running Chicago for the first time since the COVID shutdown, they just randomly fired Bray Wyatt for the crime of making too much money, and in all likelihood, AEW scooped up CM Punk and will be running multiple events in the city over the next month and a half. Combine that with the historically loud and opinionated Chicago fanbase, and WWE's habit of booking Raw on autopilot, this could get ugly.
Live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. The place looks sold out. Our hosts are Corey Graves, Jimmy Smith, and Byron Saxton.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and MVP come out to talk. The fans boo at the mere mention of Goldberg. MVP rambles on about Goldberg being a gladiator, but Lashley is no mere man, and they amusingly pipe in a Goldberg chant. Goldberg finally arrives and we NOW he gets a real (maybe?) chant. He gets booed while observing that MVP sounds scared and Lashley looks scared. As soon as the segment starts to drag again, some fans chant "We want Wyatt." Anyhoo, Goldberg lives by the spear, Lashley dies by the spear, and he's next. Here's some fun trivia, Goldberg is only 8 years older than Lashley. MVP directs some smack to Bill's adult son in the front row and eats a spear for his disrespect.
Backstage, Drew McIntyre shows not-Renee Young his sword. That's not innuendo, he has a stupid prop sword, and it's like after he carried WWE through the pandemic, they WANT him to get booed.
Veer and Shanky (with Jinder Mahal) vs. Drew McIntyre
I'm not trying to be funny, "Veer" and "Shanky" are the actual, intentional ring names of Jinder's goons. Drew brings his sword, named "Angela" for his late mother, and threatens to decapitate his enemies. Hey, if you thought Domino's was mad at Nick Gage's pizza cutter, wonder what Mattel would think of that. Sadly, it looks like they're going to have a boring match instead. Drew has to sell for the scrubs and gets run into the buckles. The fans give them about 90 seconds before chanting "CM Punk." Drew makes a comeback to a mixed reaction and plants Veer with a spinebuster. Shanky interrupts a Claymore, and Jinder attacks Drew with a chair to draw the DQ at 3:17. This was complete death, DUD.
Winner via DQ: Drew McIntyre
Drew swings Angela to block a chair, and points the deadly weapon right at Shanky. Wouldn't it be ironic if Shanky ended up getting shanked? Anyways, Shanky lives to fight another day by bravely running away. This cartoon scene was borderline hilarious.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler talk to the camera. If you think Drew swinging a sword is shocking, just wait for what she's going to do to Rhea Ripley. Well, Nia, I have a really big and childish imagination, so I hope you can back that up.
Backstage interview with Drew, still wielding Angela. He displays some self-awareness of how silly this is and quips that the bloodthirsty Chicago fans wanted him to finish the job.
Nia Jax (with Shayna Baszler) vs. Rhea Ripley
They lock up, Rhea hits a headbutt, Jax sends her into the ring post. Jax hits a hip check against the post. Roundhouse kick by Rhea, Jax blocks the riptide and sends her into the buckles again. Jax misses another hip check, Ripley misses a somersault senton and hits Shayna instead. Jax hits a Samoan Drop into the barricade, and sends us to commercials. They return with Jax working a torture rack. Rhea slips out and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Jax, bleeding from the eye, answers with a leg drop. Shayna's distraction backfires, and Rhea wins via the dreaded distraction roll-up at 8:06. Copy and paste match, *.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
Shayna and Nia bicker, the fans would really like Shayna to do something about it, but she leaves. Instead, Ripley ambushes Nia and leaves her in a heap.
T-Bar and Mace vs. Ali and Mansoor
This might actually be a decent match, but I'm distracted again by names like "T-Bar." Not that long ago, Ali was T-Bar and Mace's leader in Retribution, but that doesn't seem to be a factor here. Ali and Mansoor are riding high on a 1 match winning streak. Mace knocks Ali off the apron and quickly tries to isolate Mansoor. T-Bar has to toss Ali down again and hits Mansoor with a springboard elbow for 2. Ali gets a hot tag at 1:10 and rolls into a neckbreaker on T-Bar. Ali and Mansoor hit stereo tope suicidas. Ali hits a spike DDT, but T-Bar kicks Mansoor into him on the ropes. Mace's distraction allows T-Bar to finish Mansoor with a lariat at 2:40. 50/50 booking strikes again, *½.
Winners: Mace and T-Bar
Mace and T-Bar put Ali down with a slam for good measure, and the sweetened crowd does not like that one bit.
Nikki A.S.H. doesn't look too bothered by recent setbacks and sprints around backstage like a goof.
Charlotte Flair comes to the ring to talk. She compares herself to Simone Biles and reacts to "We want Becky" chants that I couldn't hear, bragging that she's the one who sold out the arena. Now I'm left wondering if they are sweetening crowd noise enough that we aren't hearing what the fans are actually doing, or if they preemptively scripted that line because they were expecting "We want Becky" chants. Either way, Charlotte continues rambling on while filling the ring with weapons. The payoff comes when Nikki sneaks in to wack Charlotte with a chair.
Last week, Lily the possessed evil doll distracted Eva Marie and cost her a match. Eva Marie and Doudrop are asked about Natalya's injury, but Eva Marie only wants to bad-mouth the doll. This is the best promo since Rick Steiner called out Chucky. Eva Marie plans on taking out her anger on Tamina.
Doudrop (with Eva Marie) vs. Tamina
The fans are chanting something that is getting muted out by production. Tamina overcomes Doudrop's hot start, but stops to threaten Eva Marie on the apron, giving Doudrop an opening to regain control. Tamina fights out of a chinlock and hits a thrust kick. Doudrop misses a splash and Tamina finishes with a Samoan Drop at 3:53. I have nothing nice to say about this, DUD.
Eva Marie argues with Doudrop, but they're interrupted by Evil Alexa Bliss, clutching Lily, on the Titantron to announce Doudrop as the loser. Well, she's not wrong.
Last week, Damian Priest broke Sheamus' nose. Tonight, Priest is admiring Matt Riddle's scooter. Riddle tells a story about continually losing his fish at the ocean but always finding it at home in his tank later. Riddle has the power of Randy Orton and all his voices coursing through him, but has the wherewithal to congratulate Priest for beating Sheamus. Riddle thinks Priest should be partying instead of going on MizTV. Priest hints that he has some violence in store for Miz and Morrison, which pleases Riddle to no end. It's fascinating that WWE writers think this is how human beings interact with each other.
John Morrison and wheelchair-bound Miz host MizTV with Damian Priest. Miz is still upset that Priest put him in a wheelchair, but there's no mention of the zombies that ate him alive. A "CM Punk" chant makes the air. Priest thinks Miz and Morrison are out of their minds and gets too cute with overly scripted insults. Miz actually salvages the segment by showing some good fire by resenting how everyone is piling on him after suffering his first serious injury in 16 years. Morrison cuts a nonsensical promo about drip drips and moistness, Priest neuters him for being a sidekick. Priest wanted to challenge Sheamus, but he's so mad at Miz and Morrison that he wants them instead. Priest ducks Morrison's punch, boxes his ears, and throws him out. Miz pitifully tries to wheel away, and Priest sprays him with Morrison's drip stick. Yeah, I just typed that. If I can be serious for a minute, WHAT THE F*CK AM I WATCHING? WHO WROTE THIS? WHY ARE GROWN MEN ACTING LIKE THIS? Oh well, if this how they want to present their product, let them. I won't be watching Raw again for another year or two, no skin off my back.
Damian Priest vs. John Morrison (with The Miz)
They are fighting an uphill battle to get the fans into this after that doozy of a MizTV segment, but Priest tries with a springboard leg drop. Morrison hits a spin heel kick for 2. Priest escapes a chinlock and serves a lariat. Priest climbs to the top, but Miz sprays him with the Drip Stick. I hate this so much. Morrison hits a novel Samoan Drop into the ring, Priest blocks Starship Pain, Morrison hits a standing SSP for 2. Priest comes back with a pair of power slams to win at 4:00. Perfectly fine TV match, but this whole "Drip Stick" shtick has got to go, *½.
Winner: Damian Priest
Sheamus attacks Priest after the match, but Ricochet runs in for the save. Either the volume is turned down real low or the Chicago crowds don't care about Ricochet.
Ricochet and Damian Priest vs. John Morrison and U.S. Champion Sheamus
This started during the break, I guess they wanted to do a logical match for next week tonight, because even after 9 years, THEY STILL DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FILL 3 HOURS OF RAW EVERY WEEK! Ricochet is flying high until Morrison bowls him into the ring steps. That sets up Ricochet as the face in peril. Priest gets the hot tag at 2:40 and spins Morrison into a backbreaker. Chokeslam by Priest, but Sheamus saves the match. Ricochet hits a moonsault onto Sheamus at ringside. Priest plants Morrison with The Reckoning to win at 3:41. Alright, we've firmly established that Morrison is a total loser, and had to sit through a noisy, pointless match to get there, ¾*.
Winners: Damian Priest and Ricochet
Bobby Lashley paces backstage, apparently not sure whether or not to accept Goldberg's challenge. I'd assumed he didn't get a say in the matter, but okay.
Not-Renee Young wants an answer from Lashley. I can't understand a word he says, but Graves reacts like it's a yes, and they have the Summerslam graphics ready to go.
Matt Riddle vs. Omos
Riddle has holographic birds flying from his feet when he kicks off his sandals and it sucks. Like, a lot. Like, if you asked me how to make sure Riddle doesn't get over, I might suggest having holographic birds fly from his feet. Luckily for him, his endearing bromance with Randy Orton IS getting him over, and the Chicago fans seem to like him. Riddle hops on Omos before the bell, but gets thrown down. Bell rings, and Riddle gets a flurry. Omos shoves him over the ropes and then tosses him over a barricade. Riddle crawls back to avoid a countout but Omos elbows him off of the apron. Riddle returns for some running knees and springboard double knees to the jaw. Omos answers with a brutal clothesline. Double armed chokeslam by Omos finishes at 2:37. Welp, ½*.
Final Thoughts: Well, Raw sure does suck, but at least it's over and... wait, there's an HOUR LEFT! OH COME ON! Alexa tries to host an ironic kid's show with Lily, but gets ambushed by Doudrop and Eva Marie. Lily then stands up on her own.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross vs. Keith Lee
Based on the booking of these guys over the past few weeks, you would think they are both in the dog house, and here they are again in a rematch of a match no one liked last time. All of this is happening while Kross is supposed to be an undefeated champion in NXT, and heading towards a showdown with Samoa Joe. If I didn't know any better, I would think someone in WWE management secretly wants to sabotage NXT, but I won't know for sure until someone writes a book about 2021 in 15 years. The fans chant "NXT" while they lock up. Lee hits some body shots, Kross turns it around with some stomps. Kross blocks a bear hug but Lee hits a series of shoulder blocks. Slingshot cross body block by Lee. Kross answers with an exploder suplex. Kross follows with an exploder into the ring steps. Cue the commercials! They return just as Lee makes a comeback, how nice. Kross blocks the Spirit Bomb, Lee blocks the Saito Suplex, Kross applies a sleeper. Lee escapes with a Judo throw and then nails a Spirit Bomb to win at 9:26. Good win for Lee, terrible loss for the entire NXT brand, **.
Winner: Keith Lee
Backstage interview with Rhea Ripley. She's all smiles while thinking about the No Holds Barred match that Charlotte and Nikki have to go through.
Reginald © vs. Akira Tozawa
Tozawa is still being presented as a ninja, that's totally not racist, nossir. Reginald, no going by "Reggie" is acting like he won the World title or something, and is wrestling in nice clothing. Akira misses some quick kicks, Reginald fakes a punch and flips off the apron. Akira lunges and smushes his own face against the apron. What is this? Akira summons Ninja Power, but Reggie flips out of harm's way and hits a leg drop to win at 2:10. Abysmal comedy match, -***.
Winner and still 24/7 Champion: Reggie
Backstage interview with Raw Women's Champion Nikki A.S.H. about her dangerous match against Charlotte. She's almost a super hero, which means giving her absolute best. She knows she can beat Charlotte if she believes in herself. Very inspiring that the Raw Women's Champion thinks she might be able to win a match.
No Holds Barred:
Raw Women's Champion Nikki A.S.H. vs. Charlotte Flair
In case you're confused, Nikki is champion because she cashed in MITB on a vulnerable Charlotte. They've made it clear since that Nikki is nowhere near Charlotte's level, so the champion now must prove herself against a contender. Nikki hits a quick crossbody, but Charlotte answers with a knee lift. Charlotte slams Nikki into the buckles and throws her out. The fans chant "We want tables" while Charlotte clears the announce table. Charlotte, who I *think* is supposed to be a heel, gets cheers for fetching a table. Nikki fights back, but Charlotte hits an overhead slam at ringside. She spears Nikki through a barricade to send us to commercials. They return with Charlotte dominating Nikki in the ring. Nikki misses a flying crossbody and eats a kick to the face. Nikki hits a desperation tornado DDT from the apron. Charlotte throws Nikki in the crowd, catches her in a leap from the barricade and powerbombs her through the announce table! Charlotte slowly hauls Nikki back into the ring and cannot win via cocky pin. Charlotte prepares a spear through a corner table, but goes through herself when Nikki dodges. Nikki's late cover gets 2. Nikki hits a draping spinning neckbreaker to win at 14:36! Hey, if Nikki is going to be champion, they might as well let her win some big matches. This hit all the familiar story beats of no DQ matches, but was still pretty good, ***.
Winner: Nikki A.S.H.
Final Thoughts: I'm sorry, I really hated this show, and I can't believe this is what I see so many people defending on social media every week. To make matters worse, they've brought the crowd sweetening production from the Thunderdome with them on the road (there were a few times when Michael Cole's voice haunted the broadcast due to them playing archival crowd noise). It's finally happened, WWE are free from any and all consequences of their bad creative: they get TV money no matter what, they can insert any crowd reaction they want, and they're selling tickets anyway so who cares if I don't like it. Let's call this a Thumbs Down show and move on with our lives.
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