PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 9, 2019
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Samoa Joe
-After the regular Raw open, Jerry Lawler was introduced and show standing in the ring. He said that throughout the last few weeks, the world has been a witness to the demise of the marriage between Rusev and Lana. He said he tried to help them reconcile, but it was simply too late. From there, he said that for the first time ever Raw would be home for the first ever divorce. He then introduced Lana and she walked out to a small chorus of boos.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good grief. Does anyone care? It’s laughable because divorces just don’t work the way WWE is trying to sell this. How can nobody know that inside the WWE bubble?
As Lana walked down to the ring, Samoa Joe and Vic Joseph discussed the relationship of Lana and Rusev. Joe and Joseph then talked about what they would do if they were in Rusev’s situation. Once Lana got to the ring, her lawyer handed papers to Lawler and he read them. He said that Lana has waived the distance provision in the restraining order to get the divorce done, but that all other provisions still applied. With that said, Lawler introduced Rusev who got a mild cheer as walked out. Rusev smiled as he walked down the ramp. When Rusev entered the ring he jokingly stared and Lana and walked away from her and on to the other side of the table. The audience chanted “Rusev Day” as both he and Lana sat down. Rusev said hello to the crowd and Lana told him to stop interrupting her. Rusev said she wasn’t talking. From there, Lana spoke and said that she actually used to love Rusev. She said that when nobody loved him, she did. Rusev attempted to speak, but Lana told him to not make this about him. She then called Rusev a statistic and said his popularity got to his head. The audience chanted Rusev Day in response. Lana continued and said that it wasn’t just Rusev, but the entire WWE Universe that made their marriage fail. Rusev spoke next told Lana to calm down. In response, Lana told him not to get close to her or else he’d violate the restraining order and go to jail. Rusev then cued up video highlights of Lashley and Lana getting arrested last week.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wait a minute, didn’t Lana waive the distance provision for this?
When the highlight video ended, the audience cheered as Rusev leaned back in his chair and gloated. Lana called him a monster and said that nobody would ever love Lana like she used to. She said that Rusev would never find someone like her again. Rusev spoke back and asked Lana why he would want another woman exactly like her. Again, Lana yelled at Rusev and Rusev called her ridiculous. He then said that he wanted to move forward and sign the divorce papers. Rusev went to sign first, but Lana grabbed the document and said she would actually go first. Lana said she would sign first because Rusev was a loser. Lana and Rusev proceeded to argue back and forth about who get to keep their puppy. After Jerry Lawler intervened, Lana signed the papers. Rusev them went to sign, but said he needed something from Lana before he signed it. Lana questioned whether he wanted sex and said he was sick like the people of Greenville. Rusev said that he only wanted a match with Bobby Lashley. Before Lana could answer, Lashley walked out and down to the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, I give Lana credit for attempting to use every emotion possible to get this over. It’s getting some boos, but it also is coming off as begging for a reaction. Too over the top. Rusev is trying as well and succeeding more with a laid back tone, but in the end it isn’t working because of the root of the angle.
Lashley called the proceedings ridiculous as he walked to the ring. He told Rusev that he turned everything into a big joke and called Lana “his” Lana. He then said that after the divorce was over, he would ask Lana to marry him. In response, Rusev said that Lana was all his and that he didn’t care because she was bad. He said he just wanted to live happy again on Rusev Day and the audience chanted “Rusev Day.” From there, Rusev told Lashley he would sign the papers and that he would see him for a match on any day, including Rusev Day. As he finished signing, Lashley smashed his face into the table. Both men brawled afterward which led to Rusev putting Lashley through the table. The spot got a decent reaction and Lana yelled at Rusev as he walked out of the ring and up the ramp.
Heydorn’s Analysis: So a tables match then? Boy, there are 1000 different ways to get to a table match than this one. Wow. Did that all just happen?
-After the segment, Vic Joseph and Samoa Joe cued up clips from last week that detailed what happened between AOP and Kevin Owens. When the clips ended, the announce team hyped that the audience would hear from Kevin Owens next. The show then went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage. He said that AOP attacked him last week because Seth Rollins told him to. Owens said Seth could deny it all he wants, but he knows AOP is doing what Rollins says. He said that he was the only one to tell Seth he was full of crap which made Rollins angry. He said that AOP almost put him out of commission, but that he got away and that that was bad for AOP. He said he was going to go look for them and then walked off as the camera followed. Owens ran into Rey Mysterio and the two hugged. Mysterio asked Owens how he was and he said he would be fine after he found AOP. Mysterio told him he and his homies would be happy to help if he needed it. In response, Kevin Owens told him that he didn’t want Rey or his friends involved. Rey told Owens he misunderstood and gave him his pipe instead. Owens thanked him and then continued to look for AOP.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A very authentic interaction between two babyfaces. I like Rey offering support, but Owens turning it down and taking it on himself. Good stuff.
-After the Owens interview, Matt Hardy made his entrance. From there, Drew McIntyre walked to the ring and cut a promo. He said that the show was depressing thus far. He said that the show needed some good news and he had it for them. He said that Matt Hardy’s wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Drew then made fun of the baby’s looks and said that at least we knew Matt was the father. Drew gave Hardy credit in the ring, but said that he made some poor choices outside of it. From there, Drew entered the ring and said he would let Matt leave with his tail between his legs. In response, Hardy hit Drew with the Twist Of Fate as the show went to break. (c)
(1) DREW MCINTYRE vs. MATT HARDY
Out of the break, the bell rang, and the match began. As it did, Joseph said to Joe, “never talk about a man’s family right?” In response, Joe said, “absolutley not.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: No worries, Joe. We’ll just forget everything that happened between you and A.J. Styles.
Drew took over out of the gate and never looked back. He beat on Hardy and ended the match early with a Claymore Kick.
WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Drew’s aggressive approach and squash matches are working well to frame him as a credible and scary heel. The full scope of success is in the follow-up. WWE needs a viable feud that he can win to send him to the next level. With Drew, it’s there for the taking, they just need to pull the trigger.
-After the match, the announce team played highlights of Charlotte vs. The Kabuki Warriors from last week. When the highlights ended, the announce team cued up a backstage interaction between Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Charlotte said she didn’t like Becky, but that she liked the Kabuki Warriors less. She then asked Becky if she wanted to be Becky two belts again. Lynch told Charlotte that she needed her help, but that she would collect and old debt with them herself and beat them in a handicap match. Charlotte told her good luck in a condescending way before walking off. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Becky isn’t going to lose to the Kabuki Warriors in an effort to setup a tag team title match with one week notice is she? Raw is in desperate need of star power. Becky Lynch is one of their biggest and shouldn’t be sacrificed for this. Stars win.
-Out of the break, Kevin Owens was shown searching for AOP backstage. He asked some folks including Mojo Rawley. Rawley laughed and gave Owens a non answer. Owens called him hilarious and slapped him before calling him an idiot and walking off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Now that is a Kevin Owens that will get over big on this show. Confident, smart, tough, and funny all rolled into one. Well done.
-The Viking Raiders made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, the grabbed microphones and spoke. They said that for weeks they’ve been searching for worthy opponents. They said that all they encountered were victims. From there, they issued an open challenge to anyone that thinks they could take their gold. The Street Profits walked out and answered the call. They partied through the crowd on the way to the ring. Once they got there, Vic Joseph hyped a tag team title match as the show went to break. (c)
(2) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. STREET PROFITS – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Out of the gate, the bell rang, and the match began. The Street Profits took over early and almost won the match with a top rope splash. Erick kicked out at two and the Raiders took over from there. The action went back and forth until Angelo Dawkins tagged in. He suplexed Ivar and covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Dawkins tagged out which gave Ivar the chance to connect with a flipping springboard elbow on both Street Profits. Ivar made the tag to Erick and they hit Montez Ford with the Viking Experience before pinning him for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Viking Raiders via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Another good showing for the Viking Raiders. Curious as to why the Street Profits were the victims though. WWE has countless other teams to feed the Raiders. With the reaction that the Street Profits get, they need to be a protected team that the Viking Raiders can work with down the road in big time matches on big shows. This was rushed and without an endgame.
-After the match, the Viking Raiders shook hands with the Street Profits. As they did, Seth Rollins walked down to the ring. Once he got there, he told them he hated interrupting, but that he needed to get something done. He told both teams they were welcome to stay out, but he was doing what he needed to do anyway. They left and Rollins addressed his “unfinished business” with AOP. He then challenged AOP to a fight. Instead of AOP walking out, Kevin Owens made his entrance instead. As he got into the ring, Rollins told him his business with the AOP didn’t concern him. Rollins said he didn’t need the pipe and Owens said it wasn’t for him, but for AOP. Owens said that AOP wasn’t there, but then asked Seth when they would arrive. Seth pleaded with Owens and told him that he had nothing to do with them attacking him last week. As he said that, a black car pulled up and AOP walked out. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, that was convenient wasn’t it? A little contrived, but it got the point across and helped progress the story between the three parties. Let’s see where we go.
-Out of the break, Rollins continued to plead his case to Kevin Owens. He said that AOP was going to come down and kick his ass, but it wasn’t because of him.
Owens said he should just take Rollins out now and prevent the 3 on 1. In response, Rollins rolled out of the ring and said that he was going to leave because it was the right thing to do and because Owens wouldn’t listen to him anyway. The audience booed as Seth walked away. Owens then called AOP out and said that he would come look for Seth after.
Heydorn’s Analysis: You could hear a pin drop in the crowd. This angle had some heat coming out of the initial beginning, but has dragged as the reveal has dragged. It seems as if everyone knows the ending already which is killing the drama.
AOP appeared on the tron and spoke to Owens in a second language. Instead of AOP, Sami Zayn’s music hit. He walked out and said that he was a SmackDown star, but got a managerial license and now was allowed to appear on both shows. From there, he called himself a liberator. He said that Owens was in his own head and that he didn’t judge him because he had a lot on his plate. He said what he did to Mojo backstage was out of line. Zayn said he humiliated Mojo and that he knows how dangerous Owens can be when he is in his head. Zayn asked Owens to admit he was wrong and apologize to him. Owens didn’t and Rawley mocked him for having a steel pipe in his hand. Rawley said that everyone with a steel pipe is tough. In response, Owens told him he wanted to test that theory. He then tossed the pipe to Rawley and hit him with a stunner. After, he beat on Rawley with the pipe and then turned to the crowd to pump them up. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Owens came off well as a character, but the response to him from the crowd wasn’t as rabid as other crowds. It could simply be the building, but the angle with Rollins isn’t helping. They need to get to the point.
-Out of the break, kevin Owens was shown looking for AOP backstage again. From there, Aleister Black made his entrance. As he posed in the ring, the announce team played a promo from Buddy Murphy. In it, he said he was better than Black and he would prove it when he beats Black on Sunday at TLC. After, Akira Tozawa made his way to the ring. Once he got there, the bell rang, and the match began.
(3) ALEISTER BLACK vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Black owned the pace early and took Tozawa down with a run of various strikes and arm drags. Tozawa attempted to work up offense, but Black countered with a spinning kick. Tozawa dodged it and went face to face with Black who had sat down in the ring. Finally, Tozawa got the upper hand and hit Black with a hurricanrana that sent him out of the ring. Tozawa looked to follow with a suicide dive, but Black countered with a jumping knee to the face. From there, Black carried Tozawa into the ring and hit him with Black Mass for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Black via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: That’s a nice showcase for Black. Why not have Buddy Murphy play a role somehow to give Sunday’s match some heat though? A simple missed opportunity to give meaning to Black’s eventual win.
-After the match, a hype video aired for Humberto Carrillo. Carrillo was then interviewed, but then interuppted by Zelina Vega. They talked back and forth until Andrade jumped in. He and Carrillo pushed each other back and forth and the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, a vignette aired for Liv Morgan makeover and the Liv Makeover.
-After, Andrade made his way to the ring with Zelina Vega. Once they got to the ring, Humberto Carrillo walked out. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(4) ANDRADE vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Andrade took over early and clocked Carrillo with a dropkick. After, he chopped Carrillo and connected with a high back body drop. From there, he covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Andrade grounded Carrillo with a headlock as the audience clapped for him to escape. Andrade kept momentum until Carrillo connected with a spring board splash to gain the upper hand. From there, Carrillo hit massive moonsault off the top rope and down to the outside mats. With Andrade down, Carrillo celebrated as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good action thus far. Nothing wrong with a long feud between these two.
After commercials, Andrade took control of the match once again with a double foot stomp off of the top rope. Andrade covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Andrade stomped Carrillo in the corner and then attempted his running double knee strike. Carrillo countered and then hit Andrade with a missile dropkick. This time, Carrillo made the cover, but Andrade kicked out. Eventually, the action and offense was exchanged back and forth between both men. Andrade hit Carrillo with a back elbow and covered, but Carrillo kicked out. Out of that pin, Andrade hit his running double knee and tried for it again, but Carrillo countered with a dropkick. From there, Zelina tried to get involved in the match. Andrade hit her off the apron on accident which allowed Carrillo to roll him up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Carrillo via pinfall
-After the match, Vega and Andrade argued with each other in the ring. As they did, the announce team plugged the upcoming US Championship match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match, but a confusing outcome. Andrade seemed like the project since the draft and had the wins to back his push. Losing tonight is out of the blue. Yes, Carrillo has been framed as someone to watch, but didn’t appear to be on the same trajectory as Andrade. As for the post match angle, it was ignored by the announce team. If a pair like Andrade and Vega are going to argue and not be on the same page, it’s a big deal. The announce team needs to frame it as such. Otherwise, its white noise on a show with a lot of it.
-Rey Mysterio cut a promo backstage and said that the US Championship meant everything to him. He said that if Styles is man enough to beat him, he would shake his hand like a man and congratulate him on his victory. He then said that he would do everything in his power for his family and for him to do the name Rey Mysterio right. He then said he would walk out still the US Champion. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: An A to B promo, but an effective one that framed Rey as a likable babyface. Simple, but well done.
-Out of the break, Owens was shown searching for AOP. A stagehand said he knew where they were and Owens followed his instruction and went to find them at their car. From there, Buddy Murphy made his entrance with Zack Ryder waiting in the ring. As Murphy walked to the ring, Black cut a promo backstage. He said that the biggest mistake Murphy made was picking a fight with him. After, the bell rang, and the match began.
(5) BUDDY MURPHY vs. ZACK RYDER
The action was back and forth at the beginning. Ryder attempted his finish and connected with a dropkick, but Murphy turned the tides. He connected with a knee to the face and then hit Murphy’s Law for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Murphy via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Squash city. Nothing wrong with that, but with tonight being the final show before TLC, an interaction with Black would have given the match some intrigue.
-After the match, Kevin Owens approached AOP’s car in the backstage area. Owens destroyed the car with the steel pipe and then opened up the back looking for them. As he did, he was assaulted by AOP from behind. They beat Owens up around the car and tossed him into the garage doors nearby. From there, they hit Owens with the car door and then looked toward the door. From there, Seth Rollins revealed himself. He said that it was a shame that it had to come to his and then hit Owens with the Stomp. From there, the looked at AOP and they walked off together as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: There you have it. Heel Seth Rollins, folks. It was a longer road than it needed to be, but this pairing is intriguing and has a lot of legs left in it. AOP will thrive as the Rollins muscle and will be carried on the microphone. On the Seth side, he can hide behind AOP and utilize them for heat. Owens gets to overcome it all. Good stuff. Side note though. How long was Seth sitting in that van?
-Out of the break, the announce team recapped the events between Kevin Owens, AOP, and Seth Rollins. After, Seth Rollins made his way out to the ramp. The audience booed as Seth paused and looked on. Finally, he spoke and asked them what they wanted from him. He said he had been asking them that for a long time. He said he and the crowd used to get along and somewhere things went wrong. Rollins said he did everything right. He said he lays it on the line each night for the fans and the crowd booed him. Rollins continued and said he sticks his neck out in the media and in return he gets disrespected. He said he was sick of that. From there, he addressed Kevin Owens and said that he really didn’t have anything to do with AOP. He said that was the truth, but that the truth didn’t matter. Rollins then continued and asked what the crowd wanted from him.
He talked about beating Brock Lesnar twice and the crowd booed him more. They chanted “you suck.” Rollins continued and called the audience negative. He said that their negativity became reality and a self-fulfilling prophecy. He then said that because of that, he does stand with AOP. At that point, AOP walked out and posed with Rollins. They then walked backstage together. After, Kevin Owens was shown being loaded into an ambulance backstage.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not a bad promo from Seth, but it felt more like Vince McMahon airing grievances about his fans than a full heel promo for Rollins. That aside, Seth’s delivery was on point, but he needs to be careful with pulling the curtain back. That will only get him so far in terms of establishing this new character.
-Becky Lynch’s music played and Lynch made her way to the ring for her match against the Kabuki Warriors. Once Becky got to the ring, she posed on the ropes as the audience cheered her on. At that point, the Kabuki Warriors made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, the bell rang, and their match began.
(6) BECKY LYNCH vs. THE KABUKI WARRIORS
Lynch hit a suplex early, but the numbers became too much for her to overcome. The Kabuki Warriors took over with Asuka hitting a flurry of strikes before covering for a two count. The show then went to break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued with the same narrative. Asuka and Sane owned the match as the 2 on 1 was too much for Lynch to overcome. Both women tagged in and out to keep momentum in the match. From there, Lynch battled back and hit suplexes on both opponents. Before she could gain full control, Sane made the tag to Asuka and Asuka poured on the offense in the form of strikes. Eventually, Asuka put Lynch in the Asuka Lock, but Lynch countered and put Asuka in it. Asuka battled out and the fight moved to the floor. There, Asuka hit Lynch with an elbow to the face. At that point, the referee started the count, but Lynch dove in at 8 to break it. Once she got back into the ring, Asuka made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Asuka and Sane hit Lynch with Doomsday Device-like elbow off of the top rope. They connected and then covered, but only got a two count. After, Sane attempted the Insane Elbow, but Lynch countered. Out of that, Lynch tried for the Disarmer on Sane, but Asuka got involved to counter it. Lynch hit Asuka with a suplex for her troubles and then tried for the Disarmer on Sane again. Before Sane could tap, Asuka pulled her out of the ring. From there, Lynch chased Asuka to the outside. There, Asuka hit her with a chair. This caused the referee to end the match.
WINNER: No contest
-After the match, the Kabuki Warriors continued to beat on Lynch. Eventually, they brought out a table. Once they did, Sane hit her Insane Elbow on Lynch through the table. The Kabuki Warriors then left as Becky Lynch slowly got to her feet.
Heydorn’s Analysis: First things first, Becky was protected and that’s important. The match was what it was, but did a nice job in setting up the eventual tag with Charlotte. The Kabuki Warriors came off as intense, dangerous, and legitimate. Quite a turnaround from where they were a few months ago. It’s not saying much, but at this point in time, this may be the best built match for TLC.
-The OC was shown backstage. Styles said they needed to handle some business. Styles talked about Gallows and Anderson and said they would beat the Viking Raiders soon for the tag team titles. He said that they would celebrate with him as the United States Championship. Styles then addressed Randy Orton and said that if he gets in their way they would end his career … for life. The show then went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Becky Lynch was shown icing her leg backstage. Charlotte confronted her and asked her how her match went. Begrudgingly, Lynch said that if teaming with Charlotte meant getting her hands on the Kabuki Warriors, she would help her out. Charlotte said ok and then left. As Charlotte walked away, she was attacked from behind by the Kabuki Warriors. They left Charlotte laying and then laughed as they walked away.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Logical storyline progression that continued to paint the Kabuki Warriors as significant heel threats. Well done.
-Rowan made his way to the ring with his cage. Once he got there, the bell rang, and the match began with his opponent already in the ring.
(7) ROWAN vs. LOCAL JOBBER
After it did, Rowan’s opponent snatched the cage and ran up the ramp with it. He threw it down and ran back into the ring before demanding the referee count Rowan out. Rowan was checking on the cage, but then sprinted back to beat the count. Once he got there, Rowan destroyed his opponent with three choke slams before the referee ended things.
WINNER: Rowan via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Where is this going? Sure, they are finding quirky ways to involve the cage and whatever is inside, but the cage itself is getting a bigger reaction than Rowan at this point. The wrong aspect is getting over and the result is Rowan lukewarm like he was before this started. This needs context.
-After the match, The Kabuki Warriors were interviewed backstage. They spoke Japanese, but then translated into english. They said that they challenged Becky and Charlotte to challenge them for their titles at TLC. They then walked off as the show went to break. (c)
-After the break, Lynch and Charlotte talked backstage and said that they both wanted to fight the Kabuki Warriors. They said they accepted the challenge, but wanted to up the ante. They then said tables, ladders, and chairs.
-The Street Profits opened a new pre-taped segment called the Monday After Weekend Update. In it, they joked and hyped the TLC card.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just a different environment for the Street Profits to be hyping PPV’s in. They can make this stuff watchable, but the bigger money is with them as true tag team threats.
-After the Monday After Weekend Update, A.J. Styles made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, Mysterio walked out to a nice pop from the crowd. As he walked down the ramp, the show went to break. (c)
-When the show returned from the break, the bell rang, and the match began.
(8) REY MYSTERIO vs. A.J. STYLES – WWE United States Championship
Both men exchanged holds early before staring each other down. As they did, the audience started dueling chants for both guys. At that point, Styles whipped Mysterio in the corner to take control. Styles continued to work Rey’s sternum with catapults into the corner. On the second one, Rey caught himself on the ropes and rolled Styles up to counter. Out of that pin, Styles crushed Rey with a clothesline before locking in a chinlock. With the hold firmly in place, the audience clapped for Rey to escape. Finally, he did thanks to elbows to the midsection. Mysterio hit Styles with a dropkick through the ropes and then hit him with a springboard moonsault on the outside of the ring. As that happened, Gallows and Anderson walked to the ring as the show went to break. (c)
After the break, Styles was fully in control of the match and connected with a dropkick that picked Mysterio out of the air. From there, Mysterio hit a monkey flip on Styles through the ropes and into the guardrail. At that point, the referee counted both men out, but both made it back in to stay alive. There, they exchanged punches until Mysterio grounded Styles with a hurricanrana. After, he hit a leg drop and covered, but only got a two count. In the end, Styles hit Mysterio with two power bombs before connecting with the Styles Clash. As he was about to make the cover, Randy Orton hit the ring and looked as if he was going to hit the RKO. This distracted Styles, but Orton winked and rolled out of the ring. With Styles distracted, Mysterio rolled him up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Mysterio via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Decent action, but a rushed ending because they went too long. Orton continues to thrive in this role and it works because Styles sells it all well. The question is, what kind of match can they have when the time comes.