Xavier Woods def. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley (Non-Title)
For those keeping score at home, yes, Lashley and Woods had a Hell in a Cell match on Raw three weeks ago. WWE decided to follow that up by booking them in a... standard singles match. It makes no sense, just like Woods beating Lashley clean as a sheet here. No one, and I mean no one, has beaten Lashley clean in over a year. Sure, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston and Riddle have all pinned him at various points, but not clean one-on-one. That was a massive mistake in my opinion because Woods, as talented as he is, is a tag team guy right now and will never be main event material. I understand the story was that Lashley is losing his focus because of MVP's distractions with the women and whatnot, but I still didn't agree with the outcome or the execution of it. There are other ways to tell that story than having your WWE Champion getting pinned by an undercard competitor six days before a pay-per-view. Otherwise, this was well wrestled.
Drew McIntyre Destroyed Jinder Mahal's Motorcycle
It's only been two weeks and I've already soured on this storyline. I wasn't high on the idea of it to begin with because Mahal does absolutely nothing for me, but I recognized they had history and that McIntyre needed someone to work with in time for SummerSlam. Although their match last week was a bit better than I was expecting, this sword stuff has been incredibly stupid. McIntyre destroying Mahal's motorcycle that we were introduced to all of a week ago was dumb as well. On top of all that, McIntyre's promos are rapidly getting worse. His delivery is fine, but the material is dreadful. Assuming this culminates at SummerSlam, I don't expect the crowd to be too invested in the action.
Nikki A.S.H. def. Asuka, Naomi and Alexa Bliss in a Fatal 4-Way Match
Yes, Nikki's new last name is A.S.H., because apparently WWE can't have two people with the last name of Cross on the same show (Karrion Kross is undoubtedly headed to Raw sooner rather than later). I don't know about anyone else (and maybe it will change when crowds come back), but the superhero shtick has yet to grow on me. From an in-ring standpoint, this was pretty good with all of the women getting time to shine. Eva Marie was funny while dodging Bliss at ringside, but the Bliss antics continue to be unbearable. Getting out of the ThunderDome should hopefully limit what WWE can do with her in that regard. Nikki winning likely means she isn't winning Money in the Bank on Sunday and I see that as a positive.
Ivar def. Raw Tag Team Champion AJ Styles
These two had a handful of matches against each other before coming to WWE, including in Ring of Honor and Northeast Wrestling. Sadly, this didn't have a chance to be as good as it could have been because it's a tag team feud and The Viking Raiders are clearly filler opponents for Styles and Omos before they get to RK-Bro at SummerSlam. This was too short to be anything special. Plus, Ivar beating Styles didn't mean nearly as much as it should have considering Styles has already lost to the likes of Riddle, Ricochet, Woods, Kofi Kingston and even goddamn Jaxson Ryker in singles competition this year. I know they're using Styles to elevate other people, but he's lost way too much lately.
Raw Tag Team Champion Omos def. Erik
This marked Omos' first singles match on WWE TV. You had to know Omos was winning here after Styles lost to Ivar in the bout before this, not to mention there was no chance they were having Omos lose so soon. I guess they could have done a disqualification, but I'm glad they didn't. Omos wasn't terrible on his own, and having a skilled opponent in Erik obviously helped, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. Apparently the Raw Tag Team Championship match is happening at Money in the Bank and not on next Monday's Raw.
United States Champion Sheamus def. Humberto Carrillo
Carrillo (as well as Ricochet, but I believe that's been dropped for now because he's in the men's Money in the Bank Ladder match) has been owed a shot at the United States Championship for a while now. Hell, Sheamus hasn't defended the United States Championship once since winning it at WrestleMania 37 three months ago, but I realize part of that is because he broke his nose and was out of action for about a month. This wasn't much of a match due to Sheamus ambushing Carrillo backstage beforehand and then squashing him in under 30 seconds here, but the angle played out well. Damian Priest coming to Carrillo's aid sets the stage for Sheamus vs. Priest, hopefully at SummerSlam.
Ricochet def. John Morrison in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
I was looking forward to this more than anything else coming into this show and it didn't disappoint. What a blast. They thrived in the Falls Count Anywhere environment and took full advantage of the stipulation by fighting all over the ThunderDome, including backstage for a brief bit. There were plenty of awesome, innovative moments and the finish looked fantastic. If this was a preview of what we can expect on Sunday in the Ladder match, then consider me extremely excited. I'd love to think this is the beginning of a long overdue push for Ricochet, but time will tell.
Raw Women's Champion Rhea Ripley def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Natalya (Non-Title)
For as little as I care about Natalya (and her being one-half of the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions unfortunately means she can appear twice as much as everyone else on Raw and SmackDown), she's still capable of having decent matches with the right opponent. She's had a million matches with just about everyone in the women's division by this point, but she and Ripley had never gone one-on-one before, so this felt fresh and was very good. It gave Ripley a win before she defends the Raw Women's Championship against Charlotte Flair again at Money in the Bank. Speaking of Flair, she scored some last-minute heat by ambushing Ripley afterward.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley Destroyed The VIP Lounge
As much as I hated Lashley losing to Woods in the opener, this was an excellent segment to close the show with. There's definitely a chance Kingston wins the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank, but WWE would be foolish to take the title off Lashley after this promo. Needless to say, he's never been much of a mic guy, but this was probably the best promo I've heard from cut since returning to WWE. He showed great emotion and came across as natural. The only aspect of this I didn't like was the tease of Lashley splitting from MVP, but here's hoping Lashley retains and that won't happen.
This was the last edition of Raw in the ThunderDome and thank the Lord for that. It served its purpose well and made the shows way more bearable than they were at the Performance Center, but nothing beats being in front of a live crowd. I doubt it will change much creatively, but at least there will be fans there to crap on things that deserve to be crapped on and to tell the company what is and isn't working. Raw has been inconsistent quality-wise lately, but this was a solid show on the whole. There were a handful of entertaining matches, some storyline progression and effective hype for Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view. That's all I ask for out of Raw these days, so by those standards, it was a successful show.