I really kinda wish it wasn’t happening today but alas, the era of the Westminster Dog Show pre-emption is a bygone day. So we’ve got another episode of WWE Monday Night Raw to cover tonight. Watch this space.
Bullet Bob Armstrong gets a memorial picture.
Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. We’ve got qualifiers for a triple threat main event match tonight, where the ultimate winner gets a WWE title match. Sounds fun. Meanwhile Orton says last week Drew McIntyre offered him a rematch out of pity which he took as a sign of disrespect and he kicked him in the skull three times. McIntyre thinks that he deserves the WWE Championship but as far as he’s concerned, the only thing that he deserves is a fractured jaw which he gave him. The only thing McIntyre deserves is to be in pain, sipping meals from a straw. He promised everyone at SummerSlam he’d kick his head clean off his shoulders but the only one dishing out kicks in WWE is the Legend Killer. You can ask Edge, Christian, the Big Show, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and even McIntyre himself.
Orton says McIntyre claims he’s entitled, that he thinks he deserves everything. Says goddamn right he’s entitled, he shouldn’t have to face Kevin Owens tonight but he will beat him and win the three way for the title at Clash of Champions. Questions if McIntyre will even make it to the Clash since he sure didn’t make it tonight. But he did hear that he caught up with a few buddies to bond over a shared experience of the Legend Killer kicking them each in the skull. He shows us a picture, a goofy photoshop of all the people he’s written off in hospital beds.
Keith Lee makes his way out, says Orton seems so amused and proud of the havoc he’s caused over the past few months, doing his best to forget about what happened last night at Payback. Doing his best to forget that he beat him. He might be the greatest to lace up the boots but he gave him no choice but to bask in his glory and now he’s complaining about a title opportunity that should be handed to him. Tells him that things are a little bit different now because maybe a victory like his last night over a Legend Killer like him means that maybe he should get the opportunity at the WWE Championship.
Lee says he’s known Drew for quite some time and would consider him a good friend and he likes to talk a little bit about receipts. Says he’s gonna make good on his word at some point and – Dolph Ziggler attacks Lee from behind, he tosses him away and turns toward Orton who has bailed already, Ziggler catches him with a Leaping DDT, commercial break!
Winner Advances To Triple Threat Later Tonight: Keith Lee vs. Dolph Ziggler
Bell rings as we come back, Lee tosses Ziggler away to avoid a double leg. Lock-up, Ziggler again trying to pick the leg, Lee turns it into a wristlock. Wrenches it deep and lifts him by the arm. Ziggler with a kick to the leg, but gets caught and catapulted into the top turnbuckle! Dolph rolls to the floor. Back into the ring, Dolph attacks the leg, neckbreaker – Lee kicks out at 0! Dolph swiftly snaps onto him with a Sleeper! Lee fights up to his feet, Dolph with a leg kick and a dropkick staggers him to the corner. Stinger Splash, pulls him out for a neckbreaker but Lee shoves him away, hits the ropes, POUNCE sends him to the outside! Commercial break.
As we come back, Lee gets him with a Grizzly Magnum in the corner. Big biel throw sends him across the ring. Corner clothesline, pulls him out and hoists him up, Ziggler escapes, yet another leg kick leads to a Fameasser for a nearfall. Big ‘ol elbow drop for a nearfall. Ziggler with another sleeper, Lee fights to his feet, judo throw takes him down, big forearms, throws him to the ropes for a pop-up and he just lets him fall! Pulls him up, Irish Whip into an enormous powerslam! Ziggler with an elbow up on a charge, sidesteps for a Zig Zag! Nearfall. Superkick gets caught, Lee pulls him up for the Spirit Bomb and that is that!
Winner: Keith Lee
Neat stuff. Wonder what his odds are of just straight-up winning that three way, he’s already got one huge win under his belt after last night.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax being interviewed. Nia says she told Shayna to follow her lead and they’d become tag champs. Shayna says she told Nia to stay out of her way and she did, allowing her to execute that stellar finish, using Sasha as her personal weapon to put Bayley to sleep. Nia says she’s the Tag Team Champion and Shayna just holds the other title for her. Asuka barges in and the interviewer casually transitions to asking about whether or not she’s got a challenger, Asuka says no. Shayna and Nia take exception to her existence, and Asuka shoves everyone else out of the way to get in Nia’s face and scream at her.
Adam Pearce is talking to security about Retribution ruining last week’s Raw main event, tells them they won’t let it happen again this week, if they do we’ll hire people that can.
Charly Caruso is in the ring to welcome Asuka to the ring, I guess for the interview she was supposed to have a second ago. She’s asked who is most deserving of a title shot. Asuka yells in Japanese. She names off a list of who she’s beaten so far this year and it’s quite a few. But it doesn’t matter who is ready for Asuka because Asuka is ready for anything. And so Mickie James makes her way out, I mean sure. She says as a 6-time Women’s Champ, she recognizes greatness when she sees it and Asuka is probably one of the greatest Women’s Champions of all time. With that said out of respect, she should be the first to know that she’s coming for her title.
Natalya arrives now though, Lana in tow. Nattie says she’s already had six chances, really selfish. Lana says she’s stuck in the past and it has nothing to do with age since J-Lo’s fabulous but Mickie has had the same hair since 1998. Tells her that Natalya is the best and if she wants to go through her she’ll have to go through her first. Asuka says she’s ready for all three of them but Lana and Natalya jump them, only for the faces to win out and send them running.
Strangely we don’t come back to an impromptu tag match, instead we see Viking Raiders with Cedric Alexander. Demi whatever says she’s glad Cedric turned down the Hurt Business, she supports them all, and she gives Ivar a kiss. They walk off. Angel Garza is staring from the distance. And NOW we have an impromptu tag match. Or, no, it’s a singles actually.
Lana vs. Mickie James
Lana with a snap suplex for a 2 count. Mickie fights back, Thesz Press. Nattie wants to clip an ankle but Mickie reverses and she gets Lana instead, Mick Kick connects for the win.
Winner: Mickie James
We see a replay of Aleister Black attacking Kevin Owens, and we see Orton leave Aleister’s locker room.
Tonight in a very unnecessary stip that could only hurt the women’s tag division, which doesn’t exactly have a litany of teams anyway, Riott Squad will face the IIconics in a tag tile No. 1 Contendership match where the losing team must break up. IIconics cut a promo talking about how close they are and how dedicated to the team they’ve been and how Riott Squad are much more likely to dissolve.
Kevin Owens is making his way out for his match with Orton when Aleister Black jumps him from behind! He slams him into the Aprontron. Locks eyes – or rather, eye – with Orton who smirks back at him. Aleister with the Black Mass, tosses Owens into the ring, he is limp. Ref tries to tell him he can’t compete but Owens of course demands it.
Winner Enters Triple Threat: Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens
Orton just lets him fight to his feet, he gets a few shots in but then Orton drops him with an RKO and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Randy Orton
This association is interesting.
The Mysterios are backstage, the whole family. Rey says we all know the pain Seth has put his family through, it’d mean for the world for him to beat Seth himself but his loss is his son’s gain. And when you’ve been in the game as long as him, you understand injuries happen and there’s no one he’d rather replace him. Dominik says he knows he’s the underdog but after the win last night, his confidence is at an all time high. He’s got a 619 with the Monday Night Messiah’s name written all over it.
MVP and Shelton Benjamin are in the ring with a VIP Lounge. New US Champ Bobby Lashley gets a special intro. MVP says Apollo disrespected him because he got a taste of success. But in his life, there are three definites – death, taxes and Bobby Lashley. Lashley says he did exactly what he said and afterwards Crews came to get a little bit of payback during Payback and he’s not mad ’cause he would’ve done the same damn thing. Shelton says if he wants to act like a little punk, he’ll treat him like a little punk and beat him on Raw Underground. MVP moves on to talking about Cedric Alexander but Cedric comes out right as he starts.
They go out of the ring to meet him but MVP stops Lashley and Benjamin from charging him. He turns to him and says he sees him out here all by himself and asks if he’s had a change of heart. Cedric contemplates and says “Hell no” and corrects him that he didn’t come alone. Viking Raiders attack the Hurt Business from behind and get into the ring, urging them to enter for the six-man tag.
The Hurt Business vs. Cedric Alexander & The Viking Raiders
Erik taking it to Shelton. Heels take over, they work him over in the corner. MVP with body shots. Quick tags and isolation, but Ivar blind tags in, Erik with a huge knee to the face. Ivar with crossface blows. Takes him to the face corner, quick tags as they isolate Shelton now. Cedric with a charging forearm. Tag to Erik, knee to the gut. Inverted Hip Toss, knee to the face! Charges, Shelton counters with a Spinebuster! Tag to MVP, Cedric tags in as well, combo of strikes, hits the ropes but MVP Pancakes him. Knee drop to the face, couple of covers for some 2 counts.
Isolation commences again. Shelton with a biel. Cover for 2. MVP tags in, Playa’s Boot, Belly-To-Belly for a nearfall. He grinds Cedric’s face into the mat. Crossface blows. MVP with an armbar. He escapes but the Raiders are taken off the apron to prevent the tag, MVP charges him to try and get an advantage but Cedric rolls him up and grabs the tights for the win.
Winners: Cedric Alexander & Viking Raiders
MVP is smiling about that finish, once again prevents Lashley and Shelton from attacking him afterwards, Hurt Business applauds Cedric on the way out.
Lolswerve, Hurt Business are attacking Cedric backstage. Or perhaps THIS is the trick? Apollo and Ricochet come in to fend the heels off.
Riott Squad vs. The IIconics (Winners become No. 1 Contender’s, Losers Break Up)
Peyton Royce attacks Ruby Riott, gets her into a chinlock. She makes the tag to Liv, snapmare for a kick to the back. But Billie tags in and works Liv over, chokes her in the corner. Northern Lights Suplex of sorts for a 2 count. Liv with a leg kick, enziguri, tag to Riott. She comes in with forearms, throws Billie into the knees of Liv. Exchange of punches, Riott takes Kay to the corner for a charging forearm, Royce runs in but Morgan gets her with a Slingblade, Riott and Kay with a series of cradles, Riott wins out on the exchange for the win!
Winners: Riott Squad
Well that’s not IIconic at all.
Shane McMahon meets up with his bouncer dude and hypes up Raw Underground.
Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy come to the ring. Murphy hands his boss a mic and Seth yells at him for kicking him in the head last night. Says he cannot have any mistakes, he cannot have him screwing it up for him. He demands Murphy get out of his ring. Says he wants him out until he can figure out what kind of man he is, what he stands for, what side of history he wants to be on. Buddy starts to respond but Rollins tells him to shut his mouth and again tells him to leave. He smacks him upside the head as he goes.
Dominik clotheslines poor Murphy on the way to the ring.
Dominik vs. Seth Rollins (Winner gets into the Triple Threat)
Dominik with a springboard lucha arm drag, sets him into the ropes for the 619 but Rollins avoids it, pulls Dominik to the floor, but Dominik reverses to send him into the announce table. He climbs atop the table, flies off for a senton! Commercial break. As we come back, Seth hits a Slingblade, cover for a nearfall. Rollins with a bodyscissor locked in. He elbows his way free but Seth gets a waistlock. Turns it into a takedown, and then gets it again. Dominik slips out of a Back Suplex, throws some hands. Corner Ten Punches, Seth tries to turn it into a Buckle Bomb but Dominik counters with a rana into the buckles!
Dominik slips to the apron, springboards in, Seth catches him but Mysterio turns it into an Around-The-World-DDT, Standing Moonsault for a nearfall! Seth bails, Dominik up top with a huge Crossbody! Takes him into the ring, drop toe hold into the ropes, 619 connects! Now he goes up top, Frog SPlash but Seth rolls out of the way, he crashes and burns! The Stomp follows and that’s that.
Winner: Seth Rollins
No upsets in these qualifiers. Afterwards, Rollins hits the Stomp again. Dominik’s mom looks as sad as possible backstage. We see Dominik favoring his neck in the ring for a weirdly long time.
Raw Underground time, Titus O’Neil spinebusters a dude that may or may not have been Kona Reeves and finishes him quickly. Another guy comes in, Titus takes him down and headbutts him until it’s called. Riddick Moss enters the ring now. Goes for a single leg, trips him down and mounts him for punches. Titus fights up but gets taken down again, mounted punches continue but O’Neil scrambles. He grabs him in a front facelock and throws him out of the ring. Titus keeps going after him, takes him back into the ring and also nails I think Bo Dallas on the way back in, but Moss gets him with a knockout punch.
Street Profits talk about an upcoming tornado match with Andrade and Garza. They show a white board with a scouting report. Says Andrade is a former NXT Champ and talks about being Tranquilo but he always seems angry. Angel’s says “Lothario? Wealthy?”. Zelina Vega’s report mentions Amusement Parks because she’s too short for the roller-coaster.
Akira Tozawa is stopped as he’s driving in. He identifies himself as Akira Tozawa and these are his ninjas. Apparently he’s not on the list. He is upset and leaves the vehicle to check the list… but it’s blank. He takes off the guy’s jacket and he’s a ref! R-Truth rolls him up to take the 24/7 title! Tozawa forces the ref into the van and now they’re driving after him, a poor ninja gets left behind.
Tornado tag match up next… is this non-title? They are not talking about the titles being on the line at all. Demi Burnett is there with the heels this time.
Tornado Tag Team Match: The Street Profits vs. Andrade & Angel Garza
Both teams get to fightin’. Angelo’s spinning avalanche is evaded and he gets thrown out of the ring, heels double teaming Ford as he tries hard to fight both at once. He whips Andrade to a corner, charges but gets taken to the apron, WWE Headkick to both men and he goes up top but Andrade stops him, Andrade and Angel hook him for a double superplex but Dawkins slips behind them, tower spot right before the commercial break!
We come back to see the heels in control, Ford is thrown into the ringpost. Hilariously there’s a shot where it seems like he’s reaching for a solo cup before dramatically falling. Dawkins is worked over, Triangle Choke in the ropes. Angel wants a back suplex, Dawkins is blocking it but Andrade goes up top, Garza wants a powerbomb but Dawkins escapes, forearm to the face, Andrade comes off the middle rope but is launched with a T-Bone out of the air, flying back elbow to Garza, Spinning Avalanche to Andrade, bulldog nailed but Garza breaks up the pin.
They double team him again, Angel holds him in place in the Tree of Woe for an Andrade double footstomp, Ford leaps over Angel to break up the pin! Garza with a superkick to Ford, Dawkins clips him, Andrade with a feint kick and elbow to Dawkins, Ford with a Blockbuster! He shakes the ropes, but then the lights randomly flash. Angel decides to bail and take Demi with him. Retribution hits the arena, they swarm on the Profits and Andrade, even beating up Zelina Vega.
Adam Pearce is furious at security for doing literally nothing about Retribution.
Raw Underground is back on, Shane McMahon is here with the IIconics? Didn’t expect to see them here. Jessamyn Duke takes on somebody, takes her down and ground and pounds until she has to be pulled off. Driving knee takes her out of the ring. Someone doesn’t take kindly to this, Marina Shafir goes up to her, knees to the gut, judo toss, chokes her out for the tap. Afterwards, Peyton decides to throw Billie into the ring! Billie is screaming for her life, Duke gets her with a head kick and she is knocked out.
Apollo Crews, Ricochet and Cedric Alexander being interviewed backstage. He says he won’t stop going after Lashley until he gets the US title. Ricochet berates MVP for trying to manipulate Cedric into thinking they don’t have his back.
When we come back, Crews and Benjamin are locking up in the fight pit. A Guillotine is attempted, they spill to the floor, the Hurt Business and babyface trio start brawling, spills back into the ring. Hurt Business get simultaneously mounts, Benjamin chokes out Crews as Lashley and MVP deal with Cedric and Ricochet. That was dominant.
Angel Garza vows to protect Demi but they run into Retribution in the middle of attacking some randos. They spot them. Angel hitails it and leaves Demi by her lonesome. She turns and runs slowly as Retribution stalks after her. Main event time now.
Seth Rollins vs. Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton (Winner gets WWE title match)
Seth suggests he and Orton team up, Randy acts like he’ll do it but then he just bails. Seth complains, Orton says he’s already had a fight tonight. Lee wants to lock up, Seth bails as well and starts arguing with Orton again until Lee grabs him by the hair to pull him to the apron. Seth with a forearm, enters the ring and gets him in a side headlock but Lee shoots him off, shoulder block flips him! Avalanche in the corner, Orton slips into the ring with a side headlock. Lee throws him to the corner, avalanche, Rollins attacks from behind. Clubbering shots to the back. Keith takes both men into the corner, he charges, they take him to the apron but a Pullover Crossbody lays them both out! Commercial break.
When we come back we see Rollins hit Lee with an Avada Kedavra outside, leading to Orton Back Suplexing him onto the announce table! They proceed to slam him into the steps. They take him into the ring. But as they do this, Orton double crosses him, Draping DDT for a nearfall! Rollins fights back, Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. He stalks for the Stomp, but Lee appears behind him and the main roster production guys don’t know how to do the rising monster spot. Sad. Lee in the ring, throws everyone around, goes outside and POUCNES Orton, ROllins tries a suicide dive but Lee catches him out of the air and HURLS him over the announce desk! Lee takes him into the ring, Rollins fights back with another Avada Kedavra and stlaks for the Stomp but Lee turns it into the Spirit Bomb! Orton slips in and RKOs Lee, then pins Rollins for the win.
Winner: Randy Orton
Hah. Hell of a way to put someone over in defeat, Orton hits the RKO on him but then pins Rollins anyway because it’s the more sure thing. Orton gets the title shot, that’s all for tonight.