KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
OCTOBER 14, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Dio Madden
-The show opened with a highlight recap episode of the Firefly Funhouse. It detailed the events between Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins – including the situation from Hell In A Cell and this past Friday on SmackDown. When the recap video ended, the Raw intro video played and the announce team welcomed the audience to the show.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good video as usual for WWE. That said, to what end? Wyatt is a confirmed SmackDown star and we don’t know what will happen with Seth Rollins yet. Seems as if that type of recap should have aired coming out of Hell In A Cell last week.
-After the intro video, Becky Lynch hit the ring to a big reaction from the Denver audience. Lynch got the full entrance with steam and as she walked down the ramp, the announce team discussed how Lynch was the number one pick in the draft on Friday night. When Becky got to the ring, she posed on the ropes and then grabbed a microphone as the announce team discussed night two of the draft. Lynch paused in the ring as the audience chanted her name. She then spoke and touted that she was the number one overall draft pick. From there, she said she showed up in Denver fully ready to beat Sasha Banks all over the arena. She said that that match wouldn’t happen though “due to the last beating she gave her.” From there, Lynch referenced her knew opponent for the night and said that when they wrestle, it’s always a war. She said she came ready for a war and that she planned on ripping someone’s arm off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Another good babyface promo from Becky Lynch. In it, she setup the entire situation and also framed the match with Charlotte as special. All while putting over her abilities and power in taking out Sasha Banks. Check, check, and check. Well done.
After Lynch finished, Charlotte made her entrance. She smiled as she walked down the ramp and jawed with Lynch before picking up a microphone herself. Charlotte addressed Lynch and said maybe she’d get drafted to Raw and they’d have to fight forever. She then said that she didn’t want to fight Lynch because she didn’t want to seem selfish. She said she didn’t want to fight Becky and that she just wanted to be friends. She said she missed Becky and that she just wanted to be her friend. From there, Charlotte clocked Becky in her face and yelled “you make it so hard to be your friend.” After she did, both women brawled in the ring. They threw punches at one another until referees ran down to break up the fight. As they did, both women rolled out of the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: So, Charlotte’s a heel now? Good thing she’s been framed up as a babyface opposite a heel Bayley for the last month AND a mere two days ago on SmackDown. Even if it isn’t a full fledged heel turn, that type of inconsistency is why people roll their eyes at the show and at WWE on a regular basis. It’s laughable.
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR
Right out of the break, the match began after officials assumed control of the situation. After the bell rang, Becky Lynch attacked Charlotte with strikes, but was quickly backed into a corner by Flair. Both exchanged punches after that until Charlotte rolled Becky up for a two count pin attempt. Out of the pin, Lynch took control with a kick to the face, but it was short-lived as Charlotte took over and slammed her face into the mat with her legs. When she finished, Charlotte applied a choke hold without breaking that original position with her legs and Becky’s neck. Charlotte slammed Becky’s face again and switched back and forth between that and the choke hold as the audience chanted for Becky. Eventually, Charlotte broke the hold and charged Lynch in the corner. Lynch dodged it and tried for a punch, but Charlotte countered. From there, Charlotte connected with a dropkick before hitting Lynch with a series of chops in the corner.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Throughout this momentum by Charlotte, the announce team discussed the fact that Charlotte was selfish and well, heelish. I suppose its good that they framed her that way to the crowd, but eye roll due to the incredible lack of logical consistency show to show.
Eventually, Lynch took momentum back by slamming Charlotte’s face into the ring post. She followed with a sliding dropkick, but Charlotte countered and slammed Becky face first into the post. With Lynch down, the show went to commercial break. (c)
After the break, Lynch took control of the match and downed Charlotte with a running shoulder tackle. From there, Lynch hit Charlotte with a missile dropkick from the top rope and made the cover, but only got a two count. After the pin, Lynch attempted a move, but took an elbow to the face. From there, she went for a second dropkick, but Charlotte countered it into the Boston Crab. Becky almost got to the ropes, but was pulled back. As she writhed in pain, Lynch kicked Charlotte to the outside. After, Becky jumped off the ring apron for diving forearm shot and connected. She then rolled Charlotte back into the ring and tried for a second flying forearm, but Charlotte countered it and hit Natural Selection. Charlotte made the cover, but only got a two count. The audience popped big for Lynch’s kick out and chanted her name as Charlotte rolled her eyes. From there, Charlotte climbed to the top rope for her moonsault, but Becky countered. For her troubles, Charlotte clocked her with a big boot to the face before covering for another two count. Out of the pin, Charlotte maintained control and connected with a pin, but only got a two count. After, Charlotte smirked in disbelief. As she was distracted, Lynch rolled her up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Lynch via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match with believable near-falls. The announcers framing it as each woman wanting to win for her “team” is laughable. Why do they care? They are on brands, but they aren’t on teams. Defining them that way defines them down and as a piece of the whole rather than something to see individually.
-When the match ended, Becky Lynch celebrated as Charlotte looked on. The announce team hyped that Raw had the first pick again and that the draft would start right away. They then ran down the full draft rules for the evening.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I use “rules” loosely.
-After the draft recap, Seth Rollins was interviewed backstage. Rollins called today a good day because it was draft day. He said that Bray Wyatt didn’t care about the draft and that Wyatt goes where he wants to go. Rollins said that he thought he ended their story at Hell In A Cell. The audience booed him. He said he went to a dark place, but that after SmackDown something clicked with him. He said that he’s been trying to move on with his life while the Fiend picked his spots. In response, Rollins said he would go Fiend hunting tonight. He said he would find the Fiend and “end this.” From there, Rollins walked out of the shot as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Man, the audience certainly didn’t forget about Hell In A Cell as they booed each time Rollins brought it up. That said, this promo framed Rollins in a better light. Not a great one and not one that will fix everything from HIAC, but better. He was the proactive babyface. He was the one looking to end things. He was confident and taking control. For that, I’ll give it a thumbs up.
Out of the break, both the USA and SmackDown “war rooms” were shown. From there, Stephanie McMahon was introduced to make the night’s first picks. Stephanie walked out and welcomed the audience to the draft. She then announced the picks …
Raw – Seth Rollins, SmackDown – Brock Lesnar, Raw – Charlotte Flair, SmackDown – New Day, Raw – Andrade w/ Zelina Vega
Heydorn’s Analysis: This is pretty close to the Raw list that was leaked over the weekend. Outside of that, the picks are what they are. Curious that with Charlotte coming over to Raw, they already featured the biggest match they can in Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair.
-When the final first round picks were announced, Renee Young introduced the draft panel for full draft analysis. Each member discussed the first round before Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega. As they made their walk to the ring, Vega spoke on the microphone. She said that people like Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, and Brock Lesnar were drafted in the first round with Andrade. She said things were changing and that everyone on the Raw roster would have the privilege of losing to Andrade soon. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: With Andrade as a first round pick, it appears as if WWE is putting some juice behind him. That works. Andrade isn’t a fully damaged act yet and Vega is very effective at selling him as big time. Moving him up the card and preparing him for a future run against Rollins is a smart move that could yield some tremendous in-ring encounters. Count me in.
(2) ANDRADE w/Zelina Vega vs. ALI
Out of the break, the action and match were underway. Andrade was fully in control and hit Ali with a series of chops to the chest. From there, he whipped him into the ropes, but Ali clocked him with a kick to the chest. After, Ali climbed to the top rope, but was knocked off by Andrade. After, Andrade played to the audience and gloated before rolling out of the ring to keep up his attack. Andrade beat Ali up around the ringside area and locked in a quick arm submission while using the ring apron as leverage. From there, Andrade connected with a running kick in the corner and made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Andrade put Ali in the arm submission again. Ali escaped and attempted to toss Andrade over the top rope, but Andrade countered and locked in the submission again – this time while using the ropes as leverage. After, Andrade ran at Ali for a second running knee strike, but Ali countered and sent Andrade to the outside of the ring. Ali attempted a running suicide dive, but Zelina Vega got in his way to block it. Instead, Ali jumped over Vega and crashed down on Andrade. Right after, Ali got to his feet, but was put down by a hurricanrana from Vega. Then, Andrade rolled Ali back into the ring and hit him with his finish for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Andrade via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Solid match, but very much a showcase for Andrade. Nothing wrong with that either. The first round status gives Andrade some new life and a showcase like this was an effective follow-up.
-After the match, Stephanie McMahon announce the round two WWE draft picks.
Raw – Kabuki Warriors, SmackDown – Daniel Bryan, Raw – Rusev, SmackDown – Bayley, Raw – Aleister Black
Heydorn’s Analysis: So Charlotte ahead of a champion in Bayley? Ok USA Network.
-When Stephanie wrapped up the picks, the Viking Raiders made their entrance. As they walked down the ramp and got into the ring, the show went to break. (c)
-After the break, the Weekend Update discussed parts of the WWE Draft and Braun Strowman. They joked about Strowman before Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler made their entrance.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok, so frame Braun Strowman as joke fodder for the Weekend Update ahead of a showdown with a serious heavyweight boxing champion? What’s the endgame there? That comedic presentation is completely counter productive to the big piece of business between Strowman and Fury. Nonsensical.
-When the video ended, official introductions were made for the tag team title match. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.
(3) VIKING RAIDERS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & ROBERT ROODE – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
The Viking Raiders took over right out of the gate. Both Erick and Ivar rolled over Ziggler and Roode until Ivar hit a massive top rope splash on Ziggler. Ivar made the cover, but Roode pulled him off to break up the count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun start to the match. Good action that got the crowd buzzing in anticipation of a title change. The heels took over from there built their heat on that anticipation not being paid off at that moment. Good stuff.
From there, Roode and Ziggler took control. The action fell to the outside where Ziggler connected with a Zig-Zag onto steel chairs on Erick. The show then went to commercials. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued with Ziggler maintaining control on Erick via a sleeper hold. Erick almost reached Ivar for the tag, but was pulled back by Ziggler. Dolph then tagged Roode into the match. Roode maintained momentum and with strikes in the corner and then connected with a basement dropkick on Erick. After, Roode tagged in Ziggler. Ziggler taunted Erick and pushed him which led to Erick nailing him the face with a forearm strike. From there, both men tagged their partners. Ivar got a big reaction and his Ziggler and Roode with his offense. The moves included a running cross body on Ziggler and a clothesline on Roode. Ivar then made the tag to Erick before hitting the ropes for a double team. Before he could, Ziggler hit him with a kick to the face. They then connected with a Zig-Zag/spinebuster combination on Erick and covered, but only got a two count. out of the pin, Ziggler connected with the Famous-er and covered, but again, got a two count. Out of that pin, Roode tagged into the match and connected with the Glorious DDT. He covered, but got a two count as well. From there, he tried lifting Erick for a move, but Erick countered and made the tag to Ivar. Ivar connected with a flipping springboard clothesline before hitting the Viking Experience with Erick. They then covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Viking Raiders via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match and the crowd popped for the Viking Raiders winning the titles. In that vein it worked. I can’t help but think that the title victory came too soon. We’ve heard bits and pieces of the Raiders discussing what winning the championships would mean, but the journey hasn’t marinated long enough to be fully impactful. That said, the Raiders were pushed hard as powerhouses so the booking here solidifies that push. In the end, the tag team championships are low tier material in WWE. Let’s see what the Viking Raiders can do to change that perception.
-After the match, Erick and Ivar celebrated in the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)
-When the show returned from the break, the Viking Raiders cut a promo backstage. They said that Raw was where they belonged. They said it was one thing to win them, but another thing to defend them. From there, they ran down all of the tag team championships they’ve won (including the IWGP and Ring Of Honor titles.) They then told the WWE Universe that the raid was on.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good stuff. Not a great promo from a delivery standpoint, but a promo that properly defined what winning the titles meant to them while giving historical perspective on them as a tag team. Well done and well timed after the match.
-Stephanie walked out to make the third round picks …
Raw – Cedric Alexander, SmackDown – Shinsuke Nakamura, Raw – Humberto Carrillo, SmackDown – Ali, Raw – Erick Rowan
-When Stephanie finished, Aleister Black made his full entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and his match against Eric Young (who was already in the ring) began.
(4) ALEISTER BLACK vs. ERIC YOUNG
Young got some offense in to start, but it was quickly stopped due to a springboard moonsault from Black. Black then went for Black Mass, but Young rolled out of the ring. From there, Black sat in the middle of the ring as Young recovered on the outside. Eventually, Young walked up on the apron and was caught by Black. Black then connected with a running knee before locking in the Dark Ritual submission finish for the win.
WINNER: Black via submission
Heydorn’s Analysis: Full squash match, but effective in presenting Black in a major way.
-After the match, Black raised his arms in victory. From there, the announce team plugged that a brand new Firefly Funhouse would air. The show then went to break. (c)
-When the show returned, Stephanie announced the round four picks …
Raw – Buddy Murphy, SmackDown – Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler, Raw – Jinder Mahal, SmackDown – Carmella, Raw – R-Truth
Heydorn’s Analysis: On Jinder Mahal’s graphic, it mentioned that he was a former United States Champion. So, WWE is forgetting about that fateful WWE Championship too then huh?
-After the picks, the Street Profits hyped the rest of Raw backstage. They talked about the Fury vs. Strowman contract signing before talking about being on Monday Night Raw. As they celebrated, the OC interuppted them and celebrated with them. The celebration revealed itself to be disingenuous as Styles questioned why the USA Network would draft the Street Profits when they had the OC. They said the OC ran Monday Night Raw and then attacked both Street Profits. Officials stopped the attack and the show tossed back to the ring. There, Ricochet made his entrance to a nice reaction from the crowd. As he hit the ring, a pre-taped promo aired. Ricochet said his destiny revealed itself when he was drafted to Raw. He said he would continue to work to prove that superheroes can be real. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: As I said last week. How about winning a championship instead? That should be the focus instead of the silly superheroes are real nonsense. Ricochet is a premiere in-ring worker. The money in him is there with the character chasing big wins.
(5) RICOCHET vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN
After the break, the match began. Ricochet and Shelton exchanged offense early until Benjamin took over with a back suplex. The move sent Ricochet to the outside of the ring. Benjamin followed him and tossed him back inside before hitting him with a flapjack slam. From there, he made a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Benjamin locked in a headlock submission, but Ricochet quickly broke the hold. Shelton responded with a boot to the face and a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Shelton locked in the headlock submission again as the audience clapped for Ricochet. Eventually, Ricochet took momentum back and connected with a springboard clothesline. He followed with a running senton. From there, he dodged a Shelton punch and followed with a kick to the face that dropped Shelton. Ricochet climbed to the top rope, but Shelton tossed him off. He landed on his feet and hit Shelton with the Recoil before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ricochet via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A to B in every way. Much like the other matches on the show, it was fine, but lacked impact.
-After the match, the announce team discussed the contract signing between Tyson Fury and Braun Strowman. When they finished, a hype video aired that detailed the history between Strowman and Fury.
-When the video ended, Lana was shown getting a massage. The masseuse asked if the pressure was good for her. She responded by saying that she actually liked it harder. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Are they kidding with this? It’s embarrassing to type that sentence. Unreal.
-Out of the break, Lana was shown on the massage table again. She said she liked her massages deeper which prompted Bobby Lashley to walk into the shot. Lashley massaged Lana and Lana said that Rusev was never as good as Lashley. Lashley said he was having fun, but he was sure that Rusev wasn’t. From there, Lana said she wanted to turn over. Lashley smiled and the segment ended.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Who is this appealing to? I’d love to meet them. Awful in every sense.
-Jerry Lawler stood in the ring and hyped the upcoming match between Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury at Crown Jewel.
He then introduced Braun to begin the contract signing. Strowman received a good reaction and got the roar response. Lawler introduced Tyson Fury next. Fury got a mixed reaction as he walked to the ring. When Fury got to the ring he shook hands with Lawler and then stared Strowman down. Both men sat down and Strowman spoke first. He talked about Fury’s athletic accomplishments, but said that he had the biggest ego that he’s ever seen. He said that Fury tried to steal his spotlight and that he wouldn’t let Fury build his name off of him. From there, he said that in Saudi Arabia Fury would be out of his element and that he’d destroy Fury and give him his first loss ever. He said at Crown Jewel on October 31st, Fury would “get these hands.” Strowman then signed the contract. Fury spoke next and said that he was a fan of Braun Strowman. He said they went to SmackDown to see him because his family talks about him all the time. He said that at Crown Jewel, he would prove himself and knock Strowman out. From there, both men stood up and stared each other down. Strowman smashed the table with his hands and in response, Fury broke the pen he was holding in half. Fury then left the ring and smiled as Strowman looked on. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, they finally gave some context for this match. In a vacuum, that’s obviously a positive step. Fury looked comfortable too which is more than you can say for some celebrities that do business with WWE. All of that said, did you hear how the crowd responded to this? Me neither. The response was quiet and it appeared as if fans were sitting on their hands until the catchphrases came out from Strowman. Even with context, this program doesn’t have the heat that correlates with the hype its getting. Because of that, the optics of its presentation are off kilter.
-After the break, Stephanie returned to the stage for round five.
Raw – Samoa Joe, SmackDown – The Miz, Raw – Akira Tozawa, SmackDown – King Corbin, Raw – Shelton Benjamin
-When Stephanie wrapped up on the round, Buddy Murphy made his entrance. When he got to the ring, Cedric Alexander walked out. Both to mediocre pops from the crowd.
(6) BUDDY MURPHY vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Both men tied up to start the match and exchanged in quick pace offense. Both men hit moves and countered others until both stood in the ring and faced off. From there, the action continued with Murphy getting the upper hand as the show went to break. (c)
The back and forth action continued out of the break. Both men hit their big moves including an incredible flipping dive to the outside by Murphy. Soon after, Murphy countered an Alexander top rope move into a power bomb. Right after, Murphy hit Murphy’s Law for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Murphy via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: No surprise at all that this was a really good match. Both Murphy and Alexander have a chemistry together dating back to their 205 Live days. What this match lacked was context. Both guys need some in order to become impactful acts on the show.
-After the match, the announce team hyped Crown Jewel and announced that Seth Rollins would face The Fiend in a Falls Count Anywhere match. From there, the Street Profits were shown backstage. They said that since they couldn’t find the OC, the would handle things in the ring. They challenged all three men in the OC to a fight, but that they would be bringing on a mystery partner. They said they wanted the smoke as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: A perfect example of the good Street Profits. When they are serious and presented as athletic competitors, their gimmick unveils itself and shines in the best way possible. Really good stuff.
-Out of the break, Stephanie McMahon announced the sixth round picks …
Raw – Rey Mysterio, SmackDown – Shorty Gable, Raw – Titus O’Neil, SmackDown – Elias, Raw – Liv Morgan
Heydorn’s Analysis: This entire draft has been an abomination. Inconsistent. Illogical. Embarrassing.
-After the draft announcements, the draft panel discussed their sleeper picks of the draft. From there, the Kabuki Warriors made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, Natalya was introduced. She walked out and said that she needed to pick a partner. She said she picked someone that had taken her to the limit before introducing Lacey Evans. Evans made her entrance after and both women walked to the ring as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: So now their five match “series” was even more pointless huh? Wow.
(7) KABUKI WARRIORS vs. LACEY EVANS & NATALYA
Out of the break, the match was underway with the Kabuki Warriors in firm control. Sane connected with a back elbow on Evans before smashing her face into the ring apron. From there, Sane locked a front headlock on Evans in the middle of the ring. After, Sane and Asuka tagged in and out to maintain control of the match over Lacey. As they did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Neither woman has the ability to succeed here. Evans looking for babyface sympathy without context and the Kabuki Warriors looking for heat from Evans who can’t provide it. Nattie stuck in the middle. They have an impossible task because of the nonsensical booking.
After the break, the action continued with the Asuka holding momentum over Natalya. Asuka locked a neck submission on Nattie until Nattie broke free and connected with a dropkick. From there, Nattie crawled toward her corner, but Asuka quickly locked in another submission to stop the hold. The Kabuki Warriors maintained control once Kairi Sane tagged back into the match. She locked in a leg scissor submission until Nattie powered out with a vertical suplex. After, she was able to make the tag to Lacey Evans.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Boo birds out for the Evans hot tag. Had to be exactly what they were going for right?
Evans connected with a series of moves with the ropes on Sane and covered, but only got a two count. After the pin, Evans climbed to the top rope. There, she was distracted by Asuka which caused her to fall off and hang upside down. With her in that position, Sane connected with a double foot stomp. As she went for the pin, Nattie broke it up. From there, Sane climbed to the top rope for the Insane Elbow. Evans moved out of the way and countered with the Woman’s Right. After she hit it, Asuka rolled into the ring and rolled Evans up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Kabuki Warriors via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just a mess in every sense of the word. In any story, characters need context. Without it, they are directionless and deprive the viewer of insight into how to react to them. Evans exemplifies this after tonight. The one thing she had was her heel character. She doesn’t any longer and the audience lost a reason to engage.
-After the match, a brand new episode of the Firefly Funhouse aired. In it, Bray Wyatt talked about Seth Rollins and said he was strong. He also said the “he” never forgets. From there, Rambling Rabbit told Wyatt that Rollins was on his way and that he was angry. Wyatt said all would be ok. Rollins then entered the Firefly Funhouse and attacked Wyatt. He destroyed the pictures on the wall and the beat Wyatt up more. Rollins then said “burn it down” before setting the funhouse on fire. The funhouse burned as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The Firefly Funhouse felt like an impenetrable zone that lived outside the bounds of the regular WWE narrative. That made it interesting. If it was just being filmed backstage, what took Seth so long to head that way and face Wyatt? Not the direction that I would have gone and not the direction that will turn this feud around given the response that Rollins got.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 10/7: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including Hell In A Cell fallout, Tyson Fury with a live microphone, Nattie vs. Evans, and more