Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
TAMPA, FL. AT THE AMALIE ARENA
JULY 22, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
LAST WEEK’S RAW RATING: 1.74 (.06 INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS WEEK)
Arena, Items Advertised by WWE, and Show Start Time
Tonight WWE returns to the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. as we now are on course for the 2019 edition of SummerSlam, usually dubbed the “hottest party of the summer” by WWE. The Amalie Arena is the home of the 2004 NHL Stanley Cup Champion and frequent playoff contender the Tampa Bay Lightning. The building opened in 1996, hosted a Raw two months later, and has been a frequent venue for WWE events. Raw’s last appearance in this building was the 2017 New Year’s edition
Here is what WWE.com is showing for tonight thus far:
Matches & Segments:
- WWE Hall of Famers and Legends to descend on Raw Reunion
- How will Seth Rollins gear up for The Beast?
- Will things turn volatile between The Man and The Queen of Harts prior to their SummerSlam showdown?
- Will Ricochet get retribution after vicious assault at the hands of Styles, Anderson & Gallows?
The arena website shows a start time of 7:30 p.m. local time but doesn’t specify when doors will open. They articulate the Raw Reunion, and also advertise two matches:
- Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
- Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon
As we have known since Extreme Rules, tonight is the big reunion. WWE Hall of Fame and legendary wrestlers, managers, and authority figures of the past will pay us a visit in what is being dubbed the “largest reunion in Monday Night Raw history.” Here is whom WWE.com is advertising for the show:
Hall of Famers:
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair
D-Generation X (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg, and X-Pac…no Billy Gunn)
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Diesel (Kevin Nash)
D-Von Dudley (as one half of the Dudley Boyz)
“Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart
Jerry “The King” Lawler
Alicia Fox (didn’t know she’s considered part of the past)
Eric Bischoff (current Executive Director of Smackdown)
Jillian Hall (I could see a duet with Elias)
They say “and more” at the end of the list. I could go nuts posting tweets from returnees but here’s a little sampling:
Packing up and getting ready to head out to Tampa, FL for @WWE Monday Night Raw on 7-22-19. I believe in #BYOB. Plenty of Broken Skull IPA @ESBCBrews. Don’t worry more ice is on the way. #coldbeer #DTA @WWE #wwe #Raw #RAWReunion pic.twitter.com/H4nqkfhwzd
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) July 19, 2019
Throughout the years, I’ve had an interesting relationship with #RAW, but thrilled to take part in #RAWReunion, even as a member of #TeamBlue. Can’t tell you how excited to take part and be back with the @WWEUniverse! pic.twitter.com/B1qQOKU481
— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) July 18, 2019
— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) July 19, 2019
There are some reports that indicate John Cena could join the festivities as well, but WWE.com doesn’t show that. We’ll have to see as the show unfolds.
Frank’s Analysis: I have to admit, I didn’t even think about Cena showing up tonight. I don’t know what to make of that, but it’s interesting. At any rate I don’t have much to articulate as these reunions speak for themselves. The other names conspicuous by their absences are Edge and The Rock. With Christian advertised for the show you’d think Edge would be there, but he could be part of the “and more.” According to multiple reports Rock was not available. While it would be nice to see him, having him appear in his own spot on the first FOX Smackdown as an example would provide more of an impact than having him show with such a large list of returnees. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone is sprinkled throughout the show as WWE clearly tries to pop a rating in a stretch of sub-2.0 results as of late.
Seth Rollins Gears Up for Brock Lesnar
Last week on Raw, Seth Rollins earned the right to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in an attempt to regain the WWE Universal Championship. He lost the title at Extreme Rules when Lesnar cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Rollins following Rollins & Becky Lynch defeating Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans to retain, at the time, the Universal title and the Raw Women’s Championship respectively.
At the onset of Raw last week, Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman came out to discuss the Universal Championship situation in regard to SummerSlam. Heyman said there’d be a ten-man cross-branded battle royal in the main event to determine whom will face Lesnar which featured Rollins and former champions Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio. Rollins would go on to win, and cut a post-match promo opposite Lesnar and Heyman. Here’s highlights from the battle royal which includes the post-match promo, and a couple of WWE exclusive with Rollins:
Amongst the Raw reunion, we build towards this SummerSlam rematch for the Universal Championship.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s funny because didn’t most of us want to see this match at SummerSlam last year when Rollins was hot and Reigns was getting booed out of every building? My issue is why did Rollins have to earn a rematch when he was cashed in on? That doesn’t sound fair. The big picture issue is that they wanted Lesnar on the SummerSlam card defending the title. Does anybody realize that WWE has put on the same Universal Championship match at WrestleMania and SummerSlam two years in a row? Does anybody also realize that since SummerSlam 2017, Lesnar has entered each “big four” PPV as the Universal Champion?
The Man and The Queen of Harts
Charlotte Flair is not the only queen with whom Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch is involved these days.
Last week on Raw, in what was heavily criticized (and rightfully so), “The Queen of Harts” Natalya won a fatal four-way elimination match to earn the right to face Becky for the Raw women’s title at SummerSlam. This will be the second SummerSlam in the last three in which she’s earned a championship match. She faced Naomi for the Smackdown women’s title in 2017. Ironically Naomi was in the fatal four-way along with the women who held the Raw and Smackdown titles entering last year’s SummerSlam, Alexa Bliss and Carmella respectively.
Check out last week’s Smackdown primer to see the Twitter spat Alexa had with some fans as the Long Island crowd let her know they were not happy with the match. (Sorry Lex, as a Long Islander myself I can vouch for the crowd being a bit rough when they don’t like something. You ought to come to a Mets game sometime.)
At any rate both women cut a post-match promo where Natalya said it was exciting to go to her home country to face an old friend. Becky said she would wipe the floor with her and giver her what her career needs, and that’s her. Natalya would call Becky a bitch. Here’s highlights (not that the match had any) which features the promo towards the end of the video:
Any match with Becky has to have a little trash talk on Twitter:
Look what it means to get your time with The Man. pic.twitter.com/vcVKXT9Z8v
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) July 16, 2019
We continue towards this SummerSlam championship match tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s hard for me to buy when Natalya asks heelish because it just doesn’t suit her. My wife even says so and she’s a pretty good judge of character. We watch Total Divas (yeah yeah, make fun of me go ahead) and what you see there doesn’t match the woman that called Becky a bitch. I believe that from Charlotte or even if Paige was still wrestling, but not Nattie. At any rate, I like the match. There is history between these two. If you go on YouTube you can find segments between them on Smackdown back in 2016.
Ricochet Grounded By The Club
In the latest of the two-out-of-three falls matches, Ricochet teamed with the Usos last week to face Robert Roode (with his returning beard) and Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder). You guessed it, there were two quick falls scored by both sides in under seven minutes before Ricochet and The Usos would score the decisive third fall.
After the match The Club (U.S. Champion A.J. Styles and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) came out to talk trash. They got into it with the Usos and Ricochet. Ultimately, Ricochet was laid out after taking a Phenomenal Forearm from A.J. He stood over Ricochet holding the title.
Frank’s Analysis: The two-out-of-three falls matches are out of control and dumb. Ok, got that out of the way! Anyway, I expect a six-man tag match between The Club and The Usos and Ricochet, as well as a rematch for the U.S. Championship between A.J. and Ricochet. I don’t know when each will take place but one will be on Raw and one will be at SummerSlam.
This is not one of the advertised items, but look for something with the 24/7 Championship. Last week on Raw, while Drake Maverick and his wife were on their honeymoon, R-Truth snuck into their hotel room and regained the title by pinning Drake on his bed.
Hurricane Helms went after R-Truth for the title at the recent San Diego Comic-Con. Mick Foley also made his case:
— Pro Wrestling Sheet (@WrestlingSheet) July 19, 2019
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) July 20, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: What is the over/under on how many times the 24/7 Championship changes hands? What’s the probability Alicia Fox ends up with the title? Come on you know she’s the perfect female candidate.. I could see Helms and Foley winning it at some point. You know Santino Marella will get in there. How about The Godfather? My guess is 10-20 minute reigns for all.
Not Advertised for Follow Up
The Viking Raiders won another squash match.
Cedric Alexander beat Drew McIntyre in about three minutes in another dumb booking decision.
Bray Wyatt returned with his “fiend” mask and gave Finn Balor Sister Abigail. He left this cryptic tweet following the attack:
I’ll forgive you, when it’s done brother.
The sickness is gone.
We owe them.
And Yowie Wowie is it gonna be a spectacle!!!
— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) July 16, 2019
Zack Ryder defeated Mike Kanellis in about eight seconds. Perhaps it was seven. Maria Kanellis after the match told said her unborn child had a better chance of winning the match than him, suggesting Mike is not the father.
The Club defeated Lucha House Party.
Overall Thoughts on Tonight’s Show
Any time the legends come back it should be fun. It’s always good to see some of the old faces and how they intermingle with the current roster. With the exception of the 24/7 Championship I don’t see any of the legends being involved in heavy angles. We have less than three weeks until SummerSlam, so we should see things start to take shape outside of what’s been announced already.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.