HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 1/6: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including the return of Brock Lesnar, Mysterio vs. Andrade for the United States Championship, Lana wedding fallout, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR (@zheydorntorch)


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JANUARY 6, 2020
LIVE FROM OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
AIRED ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Vic Joseph and Jerry “The King” Lawler


Tonight after WWE Raw, join PWTorch editor Wade Keller live with guest cohost Rich Fann from the Deep Dive edition of the PWTorch Dailycast to break down the show with live callers, mailbag, and an on-site correspondent from Oklahoma City, Okla.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER RAW
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

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[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with a recap hype video that detailed the events of last week concerning the wedding of Lana and Bobby Lashley. When the recap ended, the official Raw intro aired, pyro blasted, Vic Joseph welcomed the audience to the program.

Heydorn’s Analysis: So is this Raw or Monday Night Raw? I can’t quite tell after that wedding hype video. 

-In his intro, Joseph said that the new year fireworks continue on the first Raw of 2020. Joseph plugged Mysterio vs. Andrade and the triple threat Raw Tag Team Championship match. From there, Brock Lesnar’s music blared in the arena and Lesnar walked to the ring with the WWE Championship around his waist and Paul Heyman at his side. Lesnar smirked as the audience greeted him with a mixed reaction. Once Brock got to the ring, Heyman grabbed a microphone and addressed the audience with his official intro and by wishing the “bitches” a happy new year.

Heydorn’s Analysis: By “bitches” he clearly meant all of the fans and boy did that get a reaction. The remark appeared to be off the cuff and fed into the heat he and Brock were already getting. Well done. 

When Heyman wrapped on the intro, which the audience booed, he said he wanted to kick of the new decade by making history because that is what Brock Lesnar does. From there, Heyman recalled a conversation from earlier with Lesnar in which Brock wondered who would be fighting him at the Royal Rumble. Heyman spoke for Brock and said that nobody was man enough or worthy enough to share the spotlight with Lesnar. The audience booed once again and Heyman told them not to boo Brock Lesnar.

Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Lesnar, but this is the most pure heat he and Heyman have gotten in quite sometime. Heyman is letting it breathe but constantly feeding it at the same time. Lesnar is playing off it perfectly as well. 

Heyman said that the audience cannot boo Brock Lesnar when he was about to do something unprecedented. Heyman continued on and talked about all the different things Lesnar has done that were unprecedented until Brock did them. Heyman then teased a dream match for Brock Lesnar and said that any challenger that wanted Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble could face him at the Royal Rumble. Heyman then announced that Lesnar would enter the Royal Rumble match and would enter at number one. He continued and said that anyone including Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins could face Brock Lesnar in this scenario. He said that Lesnar would enter the match number one, but would be standing last as well. Heyman called Brock the beast of brazen and said that Lesnar would win the Royal Rumble by entering first. Heyman then finished and said that that was not a prediction, but a spoiler. He then tossed the microphone into the air and walked out of the ring with Lesnar.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Interesting? Not quite sure yet, because this announcement begs questions. Is Brock’s title on the line in the Royal Rumble match? If he wins, who gets a WrestleMania championship match? These are key questions as well because they drive what makes the Royal Rumble match and event so interesting and intriguing. If WWE goes into the event without answering them, that intrigue gets watered down. 

-After Heyman left the ring, Vic Joseph and The King talked about the historic nature of the announcement. They then tossed the broadcast backstage.

-Rey Mysterio was shown cutting a promo backstage. He spoke in Spanish, but then was interviewed. Mysterio said his upcoming US title match meant everything to him. He said he would win and that it was important because he wasn’t sure how much time he had let in the ring. Rey thanked his son for convincing him to not retire and that he would win the United States Championship back. Rey then made his entrance and as he did, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Very simple, but smart to do to give extra meaning to the upcoming match for Rey.

-Out of the break, Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega. As he did, the announce team cued up highlights of previous action between Mysterio and Andrade. When the highlights ended, Andrade finished his entrance and official announcements were made. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.

(1) ANDRADE w/Zelina Vega vs. REY MYSTERIO – WWE United States Championship

Out of the gate, both men tied up, but the action immediatley rolled to the outside of the ring. There, Rey connected with a hurricanrana off of the apron and followed that by smashing Andrade off of the steel steps. With Andrade down, Rey played to the crowd before rolling Andrade back inside. From there, Rey tried for a springboard splash, but Andrade countered with a dropkick. The show then went to break. (c)

Out of the break, the action continued in the ring. Mysterio and Andrade exchanged punches until Rey took over with a hurricanrana that sent Andrade flying into the ring post. He tried to follow with a moonsault, but Andrade countered it. Rey countered right back with a DDT and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, the audience chanted “619” as Rey and Andrade battled on the top rope. Andrade pushed Rey off and attempted his double stomp, but Mysterio moved which caused Andrade to hit the mat. From there, Rey attempted a diving sunset flip through the ropes, but Andrade countered and immediatley hit him with a running double knee strike. After, he tossed Rey into the ring and kept momentum with a series of vertical suplexes. As he went for the third, Rey countered and went for the 619, but Andrade countered and decked him with a back elbow strike. He then made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Mysterio connected with a Canadian Destroyer and covered. He got the three count, but Vega put Andrade’s foot on the ropes. The referee saw the foot and then discussed a potential restart with Mysterio as the show went to break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Some tremendous action in that final “finish” sequence. Andrade and Rey continue to have impactful chemistry together. I like the Vega swerve. It gets Andrade some heat and her interference has been a staple of the act.

Out of the break, the match was restarted and Rey took over with a third hurricanrana off of the apron and into the guardrail. Right after, Rey rolled Andrade back into the ring and connected with another sunset flip pin for a two count. Out of the pin, the action spilled to the apron and Rey connected with a rolling power bomb into the ring post. Rey kept up the momentum until Andrade halted it with a face first slam into the mat. After, Andrade went for double knee strike, but Rey countered into a hurricanrana that placed Andrade into position for the 619. Rey hit it and went for his frog splash to finish, but Vega pulled Andrade out of the way. From there, Rey went for a springboard move, but Andrade caught him. He went for another move, but ended up hitting and landing on Vega. This shook Rey up and he was distracted significantly after it. Because of the distraction, Andrade was able to hit the hammerlock DDT for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Andrade via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. A little hurricanrana heavy, but fast paced action with a story that the audience bought. The finish and angle with Andrade taking Rey’s mask leaves the door open for future bouts.

-After the match, the announce team recapped the brawl from last week between Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and AOP. When the recap ended, Joe and Owens were interviewed backstage. Owens interuppted the first question and said that everything Seth said was true. They said they both didn’t play well with others, but that due to the force of Rollins and AOP they will have to have to have each other’s backs as friends. From there, Joe challenged Rollins and AOP to a match. The challenge was the three of them against him, Owens, and a mystery partner because he “had a guy.” Joe and Owens proceeded to walk off as the show went to break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Smart of WWE to own the history of both Joe and Owens when it comes to making friends. Owning it, even in the simple way that they did, allows both to maintain their character roots while teaming up. Good stuff.

-Out of the break, Seth Rollins and AOP were shown walking backstage. They were interviewed and Rollins said that he lived for challenges. He said the only challenge he was worried about was taking Raw to the next level. He said that the WWE Universe made him the chosen one and that he nobody stands behind Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens. He said that anyone who stands up to him would be taken care of by the AOP. The three men then walked off as the show moved back to ringside.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Rollins as the out of touch messiah continues to work because it comes off as authentic. More good mic work from him in this role here. Good stuff.

There, the Street Profits made their entrance to a nice reaction from the crowd. Once they got to the ring, they spoke and said that they were out there to change the conversation. They said that it was the first Raw of the decade and that they weren’t ringing it in, but blinging it in. Ford spoke about their opponents and then said that they wanted the smoke. From there, the OC walked out with A.J. Styles. On the top of the ramp, Styles high-fived Gallows and Anderson and then let them walk down to the ring alone. When they got there, the Viking Raiders walked out to a small reaction from the crowd. As they made their way to the ring, the show went to commercial break. (c)

(2) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. STREET PROFITS vs. THE OC (Gallows & Anderson) – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

Each team traded equal offense to start the match off. Ford and Ivar dodged each other with cartwheels but then were knocked to the mat by the OC.

[HOUR TWO]

Gallows tagged into the match and dominated Ford in the corner with a series of strikes to the midsection. From there, Anderson tagged into the match and maintained momentum with strikes on Ford in their corner. Finally, Ford halted the momentum with a step up enziguri. He then made the tag to Erick. Erick entered the ring and connected with a flurry of offense on all opponents including a body slam of Ivar on Dawkins. They then followed that with a double team on Gallows in the corner. From there, Ford tagged into the match, but was nailed with the Viking Experience. Erick attempted a cover, but it was interuppted by the OC. Out of the pin, the action continued and spilled to the outside of the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A bit cold thus far. The action has been there, but the audience’s reaction is quiet at best.

Out of the break, the action continued with the Street Profits getting the upper hand and the audience chanting “we want the smoke.” Dawkins connected with a running bulldog on Erick and then tagged Ford into the match. Montez Ford connected with his frog splash and went for the pin, but Anderson rolled him out of the ring and went to make a pin himself. After two, Ivar interrupted the count. Out of the pin attempt, Ford connected with an over the top rope dive on Gallows which left Anderson in the ring alone with Erick. Because of this Erick got his offense in and tagged Ivar who connected with a top rope splash for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Viking Raiders via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: The match had some good action spots, but the audience didn’t seem to engage fully which left some of that good action hanging. WWE has done a good job building these three teams throughout the last month, but they need some stories with context to take their act and credibility to the next level.

-After the match, Samoa Joe was interviewed again backstage. He said that he didn’t want to reveal the partner, but Kevin Owens interuppted him. Owens said that he wanted to know for peace of mind because he has hurt a lot of people in the company. In response, Joe asked Owens if he wanted to see him. Owens responded “yes” and both men walked out of the shot. Charly Caruso followed them as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Joe let Kevin Owens into the locker room where their partner was. Owens walked in and smiled before walking out. He told Joe that they were all good, but that Rollins and AOP were not. They then walked off as Caruso pushed to find out who it was.

-Becky Lynch made her entrance to a big reaction from the crowd. As she walked down her ramp, the announce team hyped her Royal Rumble championship match against Asuka. Once she got to the ring, she paused as the crowd chanted for her. She then spoke and said that it was good to hear them. She said she’s been walking around for months wondering what kind of champion she was. She said that she asked for the rematch with Asuka, but that she was doubting her choice. She said throughout the holidays she questioned what it meant to be The Man. She questioned whether she should take company advice and avoid the opponent that she can’t beat. As she uttered those words, a video aired that highlighted her losses to Asuka since last year at the Royal Rumble.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good delivery from Becky, but this new narrative of questioning her choice to face Asuka is too out of the blue. Lynch wanted Asuka in a match and made a big deal out of that fact. To turn around and question it now shows a lack of confidence which doesn’t line up with the Becky Lynch character.

Out of the highlights, Becky spoke again, but was then interuppted by Asuka. Asuka walked out speaking Japanese as she made her way down the ramp. Once she got to the ring, she confronted Lynch face to face. Asuka attempted to speak again, but Becky clocked her in the face and then walked out of the ring without a reaction. In the ring, Asuka yelled at Becky which prompted a smile from Lynch. Lynch then jawed back at Asuka from the entrance ramp as the show went to break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: It seemed as if we were about to hear from Becky on why she chose to stay the course with the match in the face of her own insecurity, but it never happened because of the Asuka interruption. We need to. Lynch detailing a lack of confidence is a significant deviation to her typical character. For that to live in context, we need the other side explained and detail on what brought that confidence back or showed her that her insecurity was unwarranted.

-After the break, Erick Rowan was shown walking with his cage backstage. Mojo Rawley stopped him and asked him if he could look and see what was inside. Rowan told him he could, but to not tell anyone. Rawley looked inside and then fell back in fear. He yelled “what the hell” a few times as Rowan smiled and continued walking.

-The announce team played highlights of the United States Championship match earlier in the night between Rey Mysterio and Andrade. After, Andrade was interviewed backstage with Vega. Andrade spoke in Spanish while holding up his mask. Mysterio then attacked Andrade as Vega yelled. Rey grabbed his mask back and put it on before attacking Andrade again. The brawl continued a bit from there, but was stopped by backstage officials.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Yep, I’d say we’re primed for another match between these guys. Based on what we saw earlier, that certainly isn’t a bad thing. 

-Erick Rowan walked out to the ring with his cage. Once he got there, he immediatley grabbed his opponent and asked him if he wanted to look inside the cage. After, the bell rang, and the match began.

(3) ERICK ROWAN vs. LOCAL JOBBER

Out of the gate, Rowan destroyed his opponent. He connected with the Iron Claw and made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Rowan via pinfall

-After the match, Rowan grabbed his opponent and continued his beating. He then showed the opponent what was in the cage and red blood was shot onto his face. As the opponent ran up the ramp, Rowan stared at the cage.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, it isn’t deep storyline progression, but its progression nonetheless. This story needed it. Time will tell on what the end game is, but for now the progression both with Rawley and Rowan’s opponent reacting to the cage tonight is effective and gives a bit more intrigue as to what really is inside it. 

-Seth Rollins and AOP were shown backstage as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, A.J. Styles walked to the ring. As he did, the announce team recapped the events of last week between him and Randy Orton. When the recap ended, the bell rang with Akira Tozawa already in the ring, and his match began.

(4) A.J. STYLES vs. AKIRA TOZAWA

Styles took over right away and connected with the Phenomenal Forearm. He went for the pin, but then broke up his own cover at two. After, he went for the Styles Clash, but then stopped and pulled Tozawa into the ropes. There, he connected with Orton’s second rope DDT to send a message. From there, Styles mocked Orton hitting the mat with his fist and then nailed Tozawa with an RKO for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Styles via pinfall

-After the match, Styles mocked Orton’s rope pose in celebration. Styles smirked and continued to do his pose before walking up the ramp as the show went to break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A simple squash, but one that helps setup next week’s match between Styles and Orton.

-Out of the break, a second recap of last week’s Lana and Lashley wedding aired. Out of the recap, Bobby Lashley made his way to the ring with Lana at his side. Once they got to the ring, their minister from last week was waiting for them. Lana grabbed his microphone and told the audience “silence.” She told the booing audience that for everyone that didn’t want them to get married last week, it was “too damn bad.” She then talked with Lashley off the mic before telling the crowd they would get married for real right now. From there, the minister whipped together a quick ceremony before pronouncing them husband and wife. Lashley kissed Lana and then Lana spoke again after berating the minister. She said she was supposed to be happy, but didn’t and felt sad instead. She said she realized it had nothing to do with her or Lashley, but every person who doesn’t want to see a ring on her finger. She then held up her ring as the audience booed loudly.

[HOUR THREE]

Lana told the audience that it was their fault for making her feel sad. She told the crowd they should be ashamed of themselves. From there, Lashley talked and called Rusev a sorry excuse for a person before telling Rusev that he was upset because he couldn’t be a man and please his wife. As Lashley was running down Rusev, he appeared on the big screen. He spoke and said that Lana and Lashley were unhappy. He appeared to be on a beach and told Lana and Lashley that he took their honeymoon for them. From there, he said he got them a wedding album and that he was excited to share it with them because they would love it. The album played on the screen and left Lana and Lashley speechless. Lana then yelled at Rusev at the top of her lungs. As she did, Lashley told her to shut up and then addressed Rusev. He said that Rusev had lost his manhood and challenged him to a match next week. He said that if Rusev had any balls, he should accept the challenge and that he would shove whatever balls he had down his throat. Rusev accepted, but said that wouldn’t happen and that he would brutalize every part of Lashley’s body. He said that Lana could then have whatever was left. At that point, his music played and Lashley and Lana coldly engaged with each other in the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A strange segment. Not so much the match setup because that was inevitable, but the interaction between Lana and Lashley. Lashley openly trumping her as she spoke and telling her to shut up doesn’t fit their interaction to this point. The hook all along was that Lana was the alpha and Lashley went along with her. Presenting Lana as annoying and having Lashley acknowledge it hurts his ability to get heat because in that vein, his reaction to her lines up with the audience. 

-Rollins and AOP were shown again backstage as the show went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, R-Truth was shown backstage. As he was about to answer a question, Liv Morgan interuppted and said that she would be in Rusev’s corner next week.

-Charlotte made her way to the ring to a quiet reaction from the audience. Once she got there, her opponent Sarah Logan attacked her before the match began. From there, a brawl ensued on the outside of the ring. Logan got the better end of the brawl and then entered the ring and took hold of Flair’s robe. Logan destroyed the robe before throwing it at Charlotte. At that point, the brawl started again with Charlotte gaining the upper hand after being angered by Logan destroying her father’s gift to her. Eventually, Charlotte stopped Logan and put her coast back on before leaving.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Charlotte desperately needs direction and this doesn’t give her it. WWE is leaving money on the table by not putting Charlotte in a stronger position with a relevant story to deliver for them. 

-Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage as the show went to break. (c)

-After the break, McIntyre made his entrances with No Way Jose already in the ring. Drew beat up a handful of the conga line participants and then entered the ring for the match.

(5) DREW MCINTYRE vs. NO WAY JOSE

Jose got a couple strikes in to start, but Drew took over with a kick to the midsection. He hit Jose with some high impact moves and then destroyed more members of the Conga Line. After, Jose got a bit more offense in, but Drew halted it with the Future Shock DDT. From there, Drew hit the Claymore Kick for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall

-After the match, Drew addressed OKC and asked them if anyone dared him to do another Claymore. The audience cheered. He then rolled Jose back into the ring as the audience chanted “one more time.” After hitting it, Drew kipped up and said “didn’t even drop the microphone.” Drew said he always hated conga lines and then revealed a fun fact about Drew McIntyre. He said that he has never fought for the world title. The audience booed. From there, Drew announced that he would enter the Royal Rumble. After he did, he addressed his potential opponents in the match and said that when it was all said and done he’d be the one standing. McIntyre then dropped the microphone and posed.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Another effective squash match that presented Drew in a very dominating way. This time though, direction and context came out of it all. For one thing, he cut a babyface style promo that the audience seemed to eat up. He also laid out a mission to get a world title shot by winning the Royal Rumble. Dots connected. This is a big step for Drew. He seems comfortable on the mic and the babyface style will freshen up his act. 

-Aleister Black was shown walking backstage as the show went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, Shelton Benjamin wrapped up his entrance. After, Black made his way to the ring. Once he got there, the bell rang, and the match began.

(6) SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. ALEISTER BLACK

Black rolled up Shelton for a pin early, but only got a two count. From there, Black sat up straight to intimidate his opponent and followed that with an arm submission. After a couple minutes, Black connected with Black Mass and made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Black via pinfall

-After the match, Buddy Murphy immediatley attacked Black from behind. Murphy beat Black around the ring and into the guardrail before connecting with a running knee to the jaw. With Black down, Murphy picked up a steel chair and kneed him in the face with it before taunting him in the Black pose as his music played.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A nothing match, but an effective angle that continued the feud between Black and Murphy. It has another layer now which is important now that its continuing. 

-Seth Rollins and AOP were shown walking backstage as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, AOP made their entrance and were followed by Seth Rollins who was called the Monday Night Messiah. As Rollins walked out, Joseph and Lawler debated whether or not Rollins knew what was best for Monday Night Raw. Once Rollins got to the ring, Seth grabbed a microphone and spoke to the crowd. He said he was chosen to lead Raw to the promise land. He said that the audience did that. From there, Rollins said that he knew what was best for the crowd and that what was best was to eliminate people who disagree including Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens. Rollins then called them out.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A solid heel promo from Rollins. As I said before, the entire act is rooted in an element of realism which enhances its effectiveness. This promo capitalized on that fact.

-At that point Kevin Owens walked out to the top of the ramp and was followed by Samoa Joe. Once Joe got down, he and Owens waited and the Big Show walked out as their partner. The audience reacted in a big way for the surprise. Once Show got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, not who I would have went with and not someone that will get the most out of the spot. That said, the audience popped so I guess there is that.

(7) SETH ROLLINS & AOP vs. KEVIN OWENS, SAMOA JOE, & BIG SHOW

Out of the gate, Big Show tossed Seth Rollins around the ring. Soon after, the show went to break. (c)

After commercials, the action continued. Kevin Owens maintained control and hit Rollins with a tilt a whirl back breaker. From there, Razar knocked Owens to the outside of the ring and then tagged into the match. Razar nailed Owens with a flurry of punches as the audience chanted “we want Big Show.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: Really OKC?

AOP and Rollins dominated Owens with a handful of intense offense. Finally, Owens made the tag to Big Show. Show dominated and crushed Rollins with a huge shoulder tackle as the audience roared. On the outside of the ring, AOP tossed Joe into the steel steps. With Owens down and Joe now down, AOP and Rollins attacked Show. Show defended himself until Rollins hit Show from behind with a chair. At that point, AOP swarmed Show, but Joe and Owens made the save. As the battle ensued, Rollins attempted to hit Show with the stomp, but was distracted by Owens. Because of this, Show nailed Rollins with the knockout punch. From there, Owens, Show, and Joe celebrated as AOP pulled Rollins up the ramp. As they celebrated and Seth looked on, the show faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Giving Big Show’s slot to someone with more upside long term would have made this entire angle hotter. That said, Show was over tonight. The question is, for how long. Tonight, surprise and his absence drove that reaction. We’ll see how it plays next week. That said, they set up a packed show for next week and promoted all the happenings as the show went off the air tonight. Smart and something not in the norm. Well done.  


NOW CHECK OUT HEYDORN’S PREVIOUS REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 12/23: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including Orton and Viking Raiders teaming up against the OC, Mysterio vs. Rollins for the United States Championship, and more

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