Overall, this was a fun Monday Night Raw that heavily featured John Cena in the best way possible. Outside of the slight tease of some tension with Theory they didn’t definitively start a storyline for him, but every backstage interaction he had tonight was entertaining. We also had Riddle stamp his ticket to the Men’s Money In The Bank ladder match in the opener, and Becky Lynch did the same on the Women’s side in the main event. Lashley was able to defeat both members of the Alpha Academy even with Theory as “special guest enforcer.” Cody Rhodes gave us an update on his recovery from a torn pectoral, Liv Morgan was able to pick up a victory over Alexa Bliss, and AJ Styles beat The Miz via countout. Oh yeah, I gave out my first 5 star promo, to a much deserving John Cena.
It’s John Cena’s 20 year WWE anniversary celebration and it is also the go home show before Money In The Bank. We’ll have some final spots determined for both the Men’s and Women’s Money In The Bank matches. First, on the men’s side, there will be a 20 man battle royal which will include names like, Shinsuke Nakamura, both Myserios and Riddle. For the last spot in the Women’s Money In The Bank match we have a 6 woman elimination match featuring, Becky Lynch, Xia Li, Tamina, Doudrop, Shayna Baszler and Nikki ASH. We’ll also hear from John Cena on the microphone, as well as The Miz and many more.
ABOVE AVERAGE Money In The Bank last chance qualifying battle royal: The ring is filled with competitors, ready to try to join the Money In The Bank match this Saturday. Rey and Dominik Mysterio get their own entrances, so does Shinsuke Nakamura, as well as Riddle. There are a few early eliminations, including Shelton Benjamin and then it takes three men to eliminate Veer Mahan. Shanky and Jinder Mahal are eliminated consecutively followed by Ali and at this point there are now ten competitors left in the ring. We are now down to the final 6, and The Miz appears to tweak his knee on a double axe handle off the top rope. Dolph Ziggler is eliminated to make it technically 5, but with The Miz on the floor it isn’t clear if he will be able to continue. Next Riddle eliminates Shinsuke Nakamura, and Ricochet is eliminated by AJ Styles. Riddle and Styles trade punches and then AJ hits the ropes. He jumps over and tries for a Phenomenal Forearm but the Miz appears from outside the ring, apparently no longer injured and eliminates Styles. Miz nearly eliminates Riddle too but The Original Bro catches a second wind. After hitting the majority of Randy Orton’s signature moves, Miz catches the RKO attempt and hits a Skull Crushing Finale. He then runs at Riddle who’s against the ropes but is nearly able to eliminate him. With both men on the apron Riddle hits an RKO on Miz on the apron for the final elimination and the win.
Result: Riddle by Elimination via RKO on the apron
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 2.75 Stars
Street Profits backstage promo: The Street Profits are joined by John Cena. He gives them a pep talk and the crowd pops. Too short to rate.
Riddle backstage interview: He tells the story of John Cena giving him a similar pump up speech as the one he just gave the Street Profits in the last segment. Too short to rate.
GOOD Montez Ford vs. Jey Uso: This match will also determine the stipulation for the title match at Money in The Bank. Jey Uso has the early advantage in the match and then he is caught with a series of arm drags to give Montez the edge briefly. Right before a commercial break Jey slams Ford into the ringside barricade. Out of the break Uso is still in control, Dawkins eggs on Ford but it may be too late. Ford digs deep and is able to land a blockbuster, he follows with a dive. Dawkins lays out Jimmy on the outside, and Montez Ford lands a Frog Splash to win the match.
Result: Montez Ford by Pinfall via Frog Splash
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.00 Stars
Dominic Mysterio backstage segment: The Mysterios are cut off by Judgement Day who attempt to recruit Dominic briefly before inciting Rey. Too short to rate.
ABOVE AVERAGE The Miz Interview: First a video package presenting John Cena’s career in nearly chronological order. Next, The Miz is introduced and he is showered with a chorus of boos. The Miz says that he and Logan Paul will return at Summerslam as a tag team. They show the Miz his Skull Crushing Finale that he hit on Logan Paul at Wrestlemania. Next week, The Miz will be on the Today show. Then he explains that this was a teaching moment for Logan Paul and they are still friends. AJ Styles is brought up, and the crowd begins to chant “tiny balls,” as Styles’ music interrupts him. They will be having a match next.
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 2.75 stars
ABOVE AVERAGE AJ Styles vs. The Miz: Styles has control of the matches early stages until he is caught with a kitchen sink and a running boot from The Miz. He continues to wear AJ down, and throws him into the barricade outside the ring to send us to commercial break. Back from the break Miz has a chin lock but Styles fights out with elbows to the stomach. Miz hits a kneeling DDT however to follow for a near fall. AJ hits a shoulder breaker to regain some momentum but Miz responds with a jab to the throat. Styles returns with a right hand and then tries a Phenomenal Forearm, but misses. Miz lands a huge double knee facebuster but that is not enough to put Miz away. He hits a running knee very similar to the one Bryan Danielson often employs and then looks for a Skull Crushing Finale. AJ rolls through and then connects with a Pele Kick followed by a brainbuster. Miz rolls out of the ring and AJ Styles is the winner by countout.
Result: AJ Styles by Countout
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 2.75 Stars
GREAT John Cena and Ezekiel backstage segment: Cena starts by saying that he looks familiar, and then introduces himself. He gives Zeke some friendly advice and then he is confronted by Theory. The crowd boo’s Theory throughout the segment and he doesn’t allow John Cena to speak. At the end of the segment Theory tries for a selfie but John Cena walks away before he can take the picture.
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.50 stars
GOOD Bianca Belair and Carmella promo: Carmella has some seriously successful history at Money In The Bank and we’ll see if that will continue this Saturday when she challenges Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. Belair starts talking in the ring before Mella even makes her entrance. She talks about Carmella’s insecurities, and she says she better, “bring it,” this Sunday at Money In The Bank. Mella finally enters and she talks about being too smart to make any mistakes like fighting Belair tonight. She then reminds us that she is a two time Money In The Bank winner. Just when it looks like Carmella is leaving the ring, Belair turns around and Mella attempts to attack from behind. Bianca has it scouted and throws Carmella out of the ring.
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.00 stars
GOOD Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan: Alexa Bliss talks backstage about how she likes Liv Morgan but they are not friends. Morgan agrees and says that she will be knocking Alexa off the ladder and grabbing the briefcase this Sunday. They also have a match, right here, right now. Asuka joins commentary for this match as well. Morgan starts the match with a headlock takeover and then Alexa uses a body triangle to turn the initial exchange into a stalemate. Bliss and Morgan go back and forth over and over again. They trade shotgun dropkicks with Bliss landing the harder of the two kicks. She takes control with a chin lock but Morgan fights out valiantly. Alexa Bliss looks for a DDT but is rolled up by Liv Morgan for the victory. This was a really good back and forth match. These two women have awesome chemistry in the ring.
Result: Liv Morgan by Pinfall via Rollup
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
PERFECT John Cena 20 year celebration: Mr. McMahon starts the festivities by making his entrance before we head to commercial. Out of the break the entire locker room lines the entrance ramp. Mr. McMahon introduces John Cena who makes his way to the ring to a huge reception from the crowd. Corey Graves describes it as, “a deafening ovation,” and I would agree with that strongly. Cena grabs the microphone and allows the fans to shower him with cheers. This is John Cena at his absolute finest, he is patient in allowing the crowd to react throughout, and he has them in the palm of his hand the entire time. He discusses how important the fans are to this anniversary. Cena explains that it is the fans who have allowed him to do this for 20 years. He thanks the fans, and they thank him back. John Cena says that the fans have made him a better human being. It is a segment I would recommend going back to watch, whether you’ve been a John Cena fan or not, this is worth the watch if you’ve been a fan of professional wrestling in any capacity over the last 20 years. He tells us he doesn’t know the next time he will be in the ring, but when it is, it will be multiple times. It ends with a series of John’s signature catchphrases, and he makes his exit to a gigantic ovation.
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 5.00 Stars
GOOD Lashley vs. Alpha Academy with Theory as special guest enforcer: Lashley enters first and I am not sure if this will be a 2 on 1 handicap match as much as it will be a 3 on 1 handicap match where Theory isn’t allowed to be pinned, but either way it is about to happen. Alpha Academy enters next, and then Theory. Although I don’t know exactly why the special guest enforcer is wearing a referee’s shirt, as he will be standing outside of the ring for this match. Otis starts with Lashley and the strength is about even between these two, but Lashley has a clear advantage in agility. Eventually Lashley is taken to the outside where a triple team ensues as we are sent to the break. One of the funniest side notes of this match, is Theory has been holding his cell phone for most of the match. He keeps putting it on the apron and taking random selfies which are shown on the jumbotron, it’s really pretty funny. Finally Otis looks for a Vader bomb but is put up in an electric chair and dropped on his back. Gable tries to get involved but he is caught in the Hurt Lock and he submits. Theory immediately attacks Lashley from behind and the 3 go to work on Bobby Lashley. The Almighty fights out of it and he spears Gable, and then nearly gets Theory as well, but he is able to escape just in time.
Result: Bobby Lashley by Submission via Hurt Lock
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.00 Stars
GREAT Cody Rhodes Interview: Rhodes gives us an update on his condition from a rehabilitation center. He says it isn’t fun being in rehab but he’s doing it. Cody would have loved to use the momentum from his Hell In a Cell victory at Money In The Bank. He also said the doctors are still saying 9 months for his recovery, and he is trying to respect that. Next, he mentions that Seth Rollins may win that contract, and he said if he does, “he’d be the first to congratulate him.”
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.75 Stars
GREAT John Cena and Seth Rollins backstage segment: Rollins interrupts Cena and then he tells him it’s good to see him sarcastically. Then he lets him know that they have a lot in common. Omos then interrupts Seth Rollins and MVP tells him that it won’t be as easy as he thinks to win the briefcase with the Nigerian Giant in this match. The segment ends with John Cena wishing Rollins luck, while looking comically flabbergasted at Omos’ height.
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.50 Stars
GOOD Last Chance Women’s Money In The Bank elimination qualifier featuring Becky Lynch, Xia Li, Nikki ASH, Doudrop, Shayna Baszler and Tamina: Becky Lynch enters first, a commercial break. When we return from the commercial Xia Li is making her entrance but most of the rest of the competitors are already in the ring. Becky Lynch eliminates Xia Li first via Manhandle Slam. The beginning of the match was a hectic series but now the match is at a point where it is mostly 2 superstars in the ring at the same time, with the rest recovering on the outside. The second elimination is Nikki ASH, who is disposed of by Becky Lynch via Dis-Arm-Her. Becky has been dominant to this point, but Doudrop actually takes over for a bit after running all 3 of the other competitors left into the guard rail. She tries to bring Shayna Baszler back into the ring but she is caught with a huge kick. There is a huge spot where Doudrop double powerbombs Lynch and Baszler off the second rope while they attempt to superplex Tamina. Doudrop eliminates Shayna Baszler with a running splash. Tamina then hits Becky Lynch with a samoan drop and then climbs to the top rope. She misses on a splash and Doudrop hits Tamina with a Banzai style Elbow drop. With only Becky Lynch and Doudrop remaining, Doudrop attemps another elbow but misses. She regains control and brings Lynch to the top rope. Lynch has it scouted and hits the Manhandle Slam off the second rope to advance to Money In The Bank.
Result: Becky Lynch by Pinfall Via Second Rope Manhandle Slam
Clark Taylor’s WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
Overall: Overall, this was a fun Monday Night Raw that heavily featured John Cena in the best way possible. Outside of the slight tease of some tension with Theory they didn’t definitively start a storyline for him, but every backstage interaction he had tonight was entertaining. We also had Riddle stamp his ticket to the Men’s Money In The Bank ladder match in the opener, and Becky Lynch did the same on the Women’s side in the main event. Lashley was able to defeat both members of the Alpha Academy even with Theory as “special guest enforcer.” Cody Rhodes gave us an update on his recovery from a torn pectoral, Liv Morgan was able to pick up a victory over Alexa Bliss, and AJ Styles beat The Miz via countout. Oh yeah, I gave out my first 5 star promo, to a much deserving John Cena.
Matches: 0.50/1 Stars
Show Structure: 0.50/1 Stars
Atmosphere: 0.75/1 Stars
Storytelling: 0.50/1 Stars
Production/Theme: 1/1 Stars
Overall Rating. 3.25/5 Stars
Photo Credit: WWE
For inquiries about the rating criteria check out the article announcing the new system here: