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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
HARTFORD, CON. AT THE XL CENTER
DECEMBER 30, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Samoa Joe
Arena, Top 10 Moments from Last Week, and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE returns to the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. after appearing in the building for this year’s Money in the Bank PPV back in May. The building opened in 1975 and is formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center. There is a rich history of WWE events including TV tapings, house shows, Raw and Smackdown, and PPVs including the infamous Survivor Series in 1990 which saw the unveiling of the Gobbeldy Gooker. That event also featured the WWE debut of the legendary Undertaker when “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase revealed him as his mystery partner accompanied by his then-manager Brother Love.
Here are the top 10 moments of last week’s Raw:
We will close out 2019 with tonight’s episode and get ready to roll out 2020 on New Year’s Day night with an NXT show that should feature the year-end awards. Friday’s Smackdown will be the first live WWE event of the new year. Things should start to pick up in preparation for the Royal Rumble. Here’s what’s advertised thus far for tonight’s show. This is being written prior to WWE posting their official preview:
- Lana and Lashley’s wedding set for tonight
- Rematch set for Black and Murphy show-stealer
Matches and Segments
The Wedding of Bobby Lashley and Lana
I talked about this in last week’s primer when it was announced by WWE. For your convenience I have copy and pasted a link to that report to see what I had to say:
Last week on Raw, Bobby Lashley defeated Cedric Alexander. During the match, Lana asked Cedric to show respect to Lashley and go easy on him considering they were getting married. She wanted them to do a classic Greco-Roman wrestling match (does she even know what that is?). That did not happen, and eventually Lashley hit Cedric with a spear for the win. Here are a few tweets in regard to Lana and Lashley along with an exclusive with Rusev, whom we know won’t be far behind:
I’m LOLing so hard @RusevBUL A.) You’re so clearly not over ME that it’s comical. You can’t stop talking about ME. Just like the entire @WWEUniverse can’t stop talking about ME! B.) My wedding day falls on #LANADAY ! C.) Thank ME for creating #RusevDay & making it relevant again https://t.co/47Oi0WgKYS
— CJ “Lana” Perry (@LanaWWE) December 24, 2019
— WWE (@WWE) December 29, 2019
Lana and Lashley tie the knot tonight….maybe. (Please like we haven’t seen enough of these so-called “weddings” on Raw.)
Frank’s Analysis: If we watch the show, do we have to send a gift? What’s appropriate for a TV wedding? I hope they’re serving prime rib. Weddings are the only time I have that. Is there a DJ or a band? Are our kids invited? It’s not a school night Monday so they’ll be up. If not, we’ll have to get a babysitter. Oh wait, I have to send my suit to the dry cleaners. My wife said she needs to go for a new dress. So much to do!
Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
Several weeks ago, Buddy Murphy honored Aleister Black’s request by knocking on his door and picking a fight with him. This led to a match between them at TLC which saw Black come out on top. WWE appropriately acknowledges this match as a “show stealer.”
Last week Black won a squash match. Following the match, Murphy made his way out for his match and the two stared each other down. After Murphy won his squash contest, Black made his way to the ring and offered him a handshake. Murphy appeared to accept before pulling away and was treated to a kick from Black. The announcers had already told us they would have a rematch tonight.
— WWE (@WWE) December 30, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: You can’t go wrong with a gold old-fashioned feud not involving a title but rather two wrestlers just getting into each other’s heads. I’m locked into this to see where it goes.
Andrade: New U.S. Champion
As was reported here at PWTorch.com, Andrade won the U.S. Championship from Rey Mysterio at a Madison Square Garden house show the day after Christmas. It was the first time in over two years the title changed hands at MSG, as A.J. Styles defeated Kevin Owens back in the summer of 2017. Andrade begins his run now as he captures his first title since coming over from NXT in mid-2018.
— WWE (@WWE) December 30, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: It is cool to see a title change take place at a house show, especially when it’s MSG. I don’t see this as a sign of things to come. I could be wrong, but this likely to throw a bone to the people attending that they got to see a title change. Rey vs. Andrade is such a good feud, I would have liked to have seen it on TV. It’s not a big deal, as I’m sure they’ll have a rematch. Humberto Carrillo has to be lurking as he defeated Andrade recently.
What’s to Come of Samoa Joe After AOP Attack?
In the closing segment of Raw last week, Rey Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins via DQ to retain his (at the time) U.S. Championship. Rollins was DQ’d when AOP intervened in the match and attacked Rey.
Now mind you at the beginning of the show after AOP and Rollins attacked Kevin Owens, Joe had some words about AOP on commentary. He talked about a lot of bad people in his family but said AOP were thugs, and it was time to strike otherwise things will become very dark. After the match, AOP dragged Rey towards the commentary table and confronted Joe. He refused to get up, saying his job was to commentate. After some further back-and-forth, Joe got up as if he were ready to fight. Rollins appeared to apologize on behalf of AOP but turned around and told them to finish him. AOP put Joe through the announce table.
As we close out the year and continue to watch the alliance between Rollins and AOP coagulate, we can expect follow-up on this situation tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: Sooner or later Joe was going to find his way back. AOP and Rollins are perfect heels to work with a babyface Joe. At some point, if not tonight assuming Joe is good to go, we can expect Joe to pair with Kevin Owens and Rey Mysterio to take on AOP and Rollins. Between now and the Royal Rumble there’s enough time to tell several chapters of this story, which is starting out well.
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch’s Challenge to Asuka
Last week on Raw, Becky Lynch talked about having a lot on her mind lately and reiterated how the company is trying to protect her. She didn’t care about that and wanted to take matters into her own hands and collect on one more debt. That debt was Asuka, one half of the Kabuki Warriors who hold the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Last year at the Royal Rumble, Asuka was Smackdown Women’s Champion and tapped out Becky to retain the title. Of course, it was that night that Becky would enter the Rumble and win it and go on to win the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships at WrestleMania.
Back to last week, Asuka came out with Kairi Sane and ranted in Japanese and called herself “Asuka Two Belts.” Becky ranted a bit in Japanese herself, and told Asuka she’d be happy to put her Raw title on the line to get the match. Asuka didn’t say anything but smiled and appeared to have accepted the challenge. Nothing is official yet, but we can expect this match to take place at the 2020 Royal Rumble, providing some symmetry to what happened last year.
Becky and Asuka were quiet on social media, but Charlotte Flair had a WWE.com exclusive after defeating a debuting Chelsea Green from NXT:
Frank’s Analysis: I hope Charlotte doesn’t get involved in this situation between Asuka and Becky. Let them finish off their story from last year. It’s hard to know if WWE planned this out, but they’re in a good spot with this. Let Becky “close the loop,” and get ready for what will likely be a match with Shayna Baszler at WrestleMania.
Other Matches and Issues from Last Week:
- Kevin Owens defeated Mojo Rawley in a no-DQ match.
- Drew McIntyre defeated Zack Ryder. He said 2020 belongs to him. (I sure freakin’ hope so.)
- Ricochet defeated “the very capable” Tony Nese
- The 24/7 Championship changed hands numerous times . I don’t care enough to recall all of it, but Santa Claus held the title at one point. Ho ho ho.
- The O.C. (A.J. Styles and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) defeated Randy Orton and the Raw Tag Team Champions the Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar).
- Erik Rowan won another squash match with the cage with something in it in his corner.
Rusev defeated No Way Jose and then did a Spinarooni.
Raw has been a very good show with the squash and enhancement matches and just the right mix of main event level contests. They build towards the big matches making them feel important. There’s still the nonsense of the Rusev-Lana-Lashley story as well as the cage with Rowan, but what can one do. I look forward to Raw 100x more than I look forward to Smackdown. Five months ago, if you told me I was going to say that, I would have told you to have your head examined. Here we are, are here’s to what’s to come in 2020.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.