Kingston and McIntyre will have to run it back next week after interference from Bobby Lashley
WWE began the real build to June’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Monday night, setting one championship match for the event and starting the journey to another.
On the women’s side of things, it is not a done deal that Charlotte Flair will get an opportunity to face Raw women’s champion Rhea Ripley in singles action at the PPV. Flair has been angling for a one-on-one match since she faced Asuka and Ripley in a triple threat match at WrestleMania Backlash in a match where Ripley pinned Asuka to retain the title.
Bobby Lashley doesn’t yet know who he will face at Hell in a Cell, but will find out next week when Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre rematch with a title shot on the line. The two battled to a no contest after Lashley and MVP interfered in their match on Monday night.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from the ThunderDome inside Yuengling Center in Tampa.
Drew McIntyre and Kofi Kingston battle for title shot
McIntyre interrupted a Lashley and MVP promo to open the show. McIntyre taunted Lashley for losing to Kingston in the main event of last week’s Raw — a win that came with McIntyre’s help. This brought Kingston and Xavier Woods out, with Kingston taking issue with McIntyre for taking credit for his win and with McIntyre’s seemingly endless amount of championship rematches. As the two argued, Adam Pearce announced the two would face each other and the winner would get a shot at Lashley’s WWE championship at the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston ended in a no contest. MVP and Lashley watched the show from a VIP lounge set up on the entrance ramp. McIntyre dominated the early part of the match with his power before Kingston eventually used speed to get in his own flurry of offense. McIntyre eventually waived MVP and Lashley to come closer, bringing the champion to ringside. This led to Kingston and McIntyre eventually crashing into Lashley. Lashley and MVP responded by attacking both men, drawing the bell and leaving uncertainty over Lashley’s opponent at the upcoming pay-per-view. Pearce would later say there would be a rematch next week and Lashley would be suspended 90 days if he or MVP interfered.
It’s just expected at this point that nothing teased on Raw can be settled in a single week, so on we march to next Monday to do the whole thing between McIntyre and Kingston over again. The issues between the two felt oddly forced after they celebrated together to end the previous week’s Raw and there’s no way Kingston would think McIntyre played no part in his win over Lashley. Asking for planning and sensible booking on Raw is a fool’s errand. At least the match was good, even if the finish kills it. Grade: C
Raw women’s championship match set for Hell in a Cell
Nikki Cross def. Rhea Ripley in a two-minute Beat the Clock Challenge. Ripley lost track of time with only two minutes to beat Cross — a challenge laid out by Charlotte Flair — and time ran out as the Raw women’s champion was on the attack in the corner. A smirking Flair made her way to the ring for her match as Ripley stood stunned in the ring.
Charlotte Flair def. Asuka via pinfall after reversing the Asuka Lock into a pin. This was a lengthy match between the old rivals that was back and forth until Flair’s late reversal to steal the pin and the win. Later in the show, it was announced Flair would face Ripley for the Raw women’s title at Hell in a Cell.
One has to assume there’s a reason for the weird match and finish for Cross vs. Ripley. That reason is likely just to get Flair vs. Cross in a Beat the Clock Challenge next week so Flair can try to one-up Ripley. Flair vs. Asuka is always going to be a good match, but it’s getting increasingly stale. Nearly 50 of Asuka’s 100 most recent matches were either against or teaming with Flair, somewhat spoiling their unique chemistry. Grade: B-
What else happened on WWE Raw?
- Cedric Alexander def. Shelton Benjamin via pinfall after a Neuralizer. Benjamin was firmly in control when Alexander used a thumb to the eye to set up his handspring kick for the stolen win.
- Riddle def. Xavier Woods via pinfall with an RKO. Another long match on the show, which Riddle won by taking a page out of tag partner Randy Orton’s book with the RKO finish.
- Jaxson Ryker def. AJ Styles via pinfall after a Bossman Slam. The finish came after Elias ran in to hit Styles with a knee while the ref was distracted. After the match, Omos ran in for the save, taking out Elias by driving him into the LED board.
- Sheamus def. Humberto Carrillo via pinfall after a pin while holding Carrillo’s tights. Sheamus continued the attack after the match before Ricochet ran in for the save as Sheamus was trying to lock Carrillo in a cloverleaf.
- Women’s Tag Team Championship — Natalya & Tamina (c) def. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via pinfall when Natalya pinned Baszler with a small package. Before the match, Baszler told Reginald to stay away from ringside. That, of course, only lasted until a few minutes into the match. Reginald’s presence caused a distraction that caused a Baszler pin to fail to get the win before she told him again to leave. Fire shot from around the entrance ramp as he was leaving, distracting Baszler and allowing Natalya to score the win. Baszler challenged Reginald to a match next week.