WKPWP - Mailbag w/Keller & Powell talking Goldberg win, Velveteen Dream's character, NWA Squared, AEW on WrestleMania weekend, more
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JANUARY 20, 2020
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler
-The Raw opening theme aired. Then they cut to the live crowd cheering from multiple angles. Joseph introduced the show without a mention of where they were tonight, nor did a graphic appear on the screen mentioning Wichita.
-Seth Rollins walked out, accompanied by AOP and Buddy Murphy. (I was hoping Buddy would have a better pro wrestler name this week. There’s still hope.) Lawler admired Seth’s t-shirt with his face looking like it was painted on stained glass. Seth told the viewers that every single one of them has played a small part in making him the man that he is today. He said without them, there is no Monday Night Messiah. He said one person in particular deserves praise. He singled out Buddy for being there when they were in their darkest of moments. He praised his courage for rising up. He threw to a video package tribute to his actions. He said he stands firmly etched on the right side of history. Afterward, Seth said the battle lines are drawn and everyone else has to decide if they’re with them or against them.
Kevin Owens then walked out to his music. He was joined by Samoa Joe who walked out to his music and chanted of “Joe! Joe!” Owens told Joe, “He talks too much, huh?” KO said taking out the Big Show is no easy task, and they should be proud of themselves. He said Big Show will be back to deal with them eventually, though. He said their bigger problem is they didn’t get rid of him and Joe. He said he’s sure “the great people of Kansas agree with me.” (Hey, they mentioned the state, at least.) Seth said if they want to fight, they can fight, but they aren’t going to right now. Boos. “We need to decide on a proper time and a proper place to fight.” Joe told Kevin he thinks he sees a self-proclaimed Monday Night Messiah, but what he’s hearing is another “lame lawyered-up asshat.” Lawler said, “He can’t say that!” More “Joe!” chants.
Seth said he is a very forgiving man. “It’s how I am as a human,” he said. He said if the two of them are hell bent on fighting the four of them, then there’s not much left to say other than “come on down and dance with destiny.” Joe said one of the side effects of being an asshat is not being a good listener, because they were ready for a fight, but they aren’t the only ones. The Viking Raiders them came out and joined them on the stage. They marched to the ring, then leaped into the ring, and then quickly cleared the ring. They celebrated and played to the crowd as Seth & Co. retreated.
(Keller’s Analysis: Seth’s pace of speaking was a bit drawn out, but I do like the look of AOP and Buddy with him as a heel group. Joe and KO have a good chemistry and elevate each other. Viking Raiders could use a little rub from associating with them. They seem so inauthentic, but Joe and KO feel very authentic, so we’ll see who rubs off on whom.)
-They went to Joseph and Lawler on camera who threw to a video package on the Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio match later.
-Rey Mysterio made his ring entrance. Lawler said Andrade and Zelina Vega always seem to have something up their sleeve. [c]
-Backstage Seth was consoling Murphy who was in pain. Charly Caruso asked them if they were caught unprepared. Seth denied being caught off guard. He said Seth and Joe were hiding behind the Viking Raider neanderthals. He said they are challenging the Raiders for their tag team titles tonight. Seth said he and Murphy would be teaming together. AOP seemed okay with it.
(1) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. REY MYSTERIO – U.S. Title ladder match
When Andrade tried to bring a ladder into the ring early, Rey dropkicked the ladder into him. When Rey dove at Andrade off the ring apron, though, Andrade swung Rey into the ringside barricade. Lawler said there’s a lot of pressure on Rey because he has dedicated the match to his son and his fans and Latinos everywhere. Andrade put Rey up on the corner turnbuckle. Rey tried to fight back, but Andrade set up a suplex. Rey held on and then sent Andrade back-first onto the ladder in the ring with a rana. [c]
Back from the break, Rey had Andrade down at ringside. He leaped off the top rope onto Andrade. Both were down and slow to get up. Joseph said there hasn’t been a ladder match on Raw in 13 years. He said that’s because they’re so dangerous. Rey set up a tall ladder mid-ring. Andrade climbed back into the ring and pulled on Rey’s feet. Andrade caught Rey going for a huracanrana off the ropes again and powerbombed him onto a ladder bridged over the rope and mid-ring ladder. [c]
Back live, Andrade went for a Razor’s Edge, but Rey countered with a leg scissors, sending Andrade through the ropes to the floor. Rey then climbed the ladder and got close to the belt again. Andrade climbed the other side and punched Rey just as he got his hands on the belt. He rammed Rey’s head into the ladder. He set up a Rey for a move off his shoulders, but Rey countered and powerbombed Andrade onto the bridged ladder. Yikes. Andrade’s impact bent the ladder. Rey recovered and knocked a ladder out of the ring, then dropkicked Andrade into position for a 619. Then he connected. Andrade fell to the floor. Rey looked up at the belt as fans cheered him on. He grabbed the hook the ladder is hung on. Andrade moved the ladder and Rey was left dangling. Rey dropped into the arms of Andrade who then powerbombed him, but Rey didn’t sell it, so apparently it was supposed to hurt Andrade. Andrade charged Rey, who backdropped Andrade through the ropes to ringside. Fans cheered again as Joseph asked if we’d witness a miracle “here in Kansas.” Zelina climbed the ladder and sat on top, blocking Rey and mouthing off to him. She slapped Rey. Andrade then grabbed Rey from behind and DDT’d him through the ladder. The ladder broke in half. Both were slow to get up. Andrade climbed the ladder again as Zelina cheered him on. Rey didn’t move. Andrade pulled the belt down to retain the title.
WINNER: Andrade in 18:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
-Afterward, Zelina pulled away the ringside mats. Suddenly a man in a mask showed up and blocked him. He unmasked and revealed himself as Humberto Carillo. He drove Andrade and Zelina away before they could do any more damage. Humberto checked on Rey at ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good ladder match. It was built around setting up what were scary looking big spots. There wasn’t a lot of flow otherwise, but it worked well and the crowd was really into the near finishes. They protected Rey by having Zelina block is victory. It seemed to me the chances they were taking were steep. I’m the glad the announcers talked about the danger involved and didn’t treat it as just run-of-the-mill action.)
-An ad aired for Takeover: When Worlds Collide. They hyped the NXT vs. NXT: UK rivalry more than any particular matches other than broadly Imperium vs. Undisputed Era. [c]
-Joseph and Lawler threw to a video package on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whom Joseph called a “hero.”
(2) ALEISTER BLACK vs. UNNAMED JOBBER
The jobber charged at Black, who nailed him with a Black Mass for the instant win. Despite the three count, Lawler said, “That must’ve lasted less than three seconds.”
WINNER: Black in 5 seconds.
-Joseph hyped that Brock Lesnar, who will start in no. 1 position in the Rumble on Sunday, is out next. [c]
-They showed Drew McIntyre pacing backstage. Joseph said he’ll be in the Rumble match this Sunday, but he’ll wrestle Randy Orton later first. He also hyped the Viking Raiders vs. Seth & Murphy tag title match later.
-Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar walked out. They played a clip of the interactions between R-Truth and Lesnar & Heyman last week. Heyman said he is the “soothsayer of the spoiler.” He said fans aren’t appreciating Lesnar and they take him for granted. He said he wanted the crowd to be more impressed with the notion that Lesnar will outlast all 29 opponents on Sunday despite Lesnar making his spoilers look easy. He said Lesnar would win the Rumble, and the Rumble winner gets to choose which champion he faces at WrestleMania. He said Lesnar has deemed nobody in the back worthy of facing him one-on-one. (They’re doing Tyson Fury, aren’t they?) Fans booed and Heyman stopped and took offense to their booing. Heyman asked if anyone in the back really would step up. Ricochet stepped out to his music.
Ricochet said a lot of wrestlers are nervous about facing Lesnar in the Rumble. He said he is not one of them because every time he steps into the ring, he takes chances that could result in injury, so facing Lesnar doesn’t scare him. He challenged Lesnar to a fight right now. Lesnar and Heyman blew him off and left the ring. Ricochet asked if Lesnar is scared. Lesnar stopped and returned to the ring. He quickly kicked Ricochet in the crotch, then bent over and told Ricochet, “Not scared.” Then he and Heyman left.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid segment. Ricochet’s not likely to be elevated to the top tier anytime soon, but he didn’t seem completely out of place challenging Lesnar like that, either. It’s a boost to his cred that he was willing to stand up to him like that. It also sets up a little spot in the Rumble with a backstory when Ricochet joins the match. Lesnar got to firmly establish he’s a heel with that low-blow, but also get a laugh with his “Not scared” line.)
-Caruso interviewed Orton backstage. She said many are saying Drew is on par with him as a Rumble contender. Orton said Drew is impressive and has hard chops, but no one is on par with him because of his weapon, the R-K-O. [c]
(3) RANDY ORTON vs. DREW MCINTYRE
Drew made his ring entrance. No a strong response either way from the crowd. When Joseph reminded Lawler that Drew was his pick to win the Rumble, Lawler said Joseph doesn’t know him very well because he changes sides more often than a windshield wiper. He said for now he is sticking with Drew, though. No heel tendencies from Drew early. It was portrayed as a battle between two wrestlers who respect each other. They fought to the floor two minutes in. Drew went for a running kick, but Orton moved and the guy on a headset in the time keeper’s area took the hit. Drew stood and didn’t seem phased. He smiled a bit to the ref. Orton wandered away as some people came to ringside to check on the guy in headsets. They cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Drew was in control. He leaped off the second rope, but Orton surprised him with a dropkick out of mid-air. Both went down and were slow to get up. They fought back and forth for several minutes, including Drew landing hard chops and Orton landing a draping DDT. Orton delivered a superplex off the top rope. Orton rolled to the floor to catch his breath as Drew lay face down in the ring. The O.C. then ran out and stomped away at Drew. Drew fought back briefly, but A.J. Styles chop blocked his leg. Orton returned to the ring with a chair in hand and cleared the ring of the three heels. Lawler couldn’t believe Orton and Drew seemed to be working in concert here. Orton turned to Drew with a chair in hand, but dropped it and then walked to Orton and said he’s a tough son of a bitch. Orton leaned on the top rope briefly, then gave Drew an RKO. Lawler laughed and said, “Are you kidding me?” Drew asked for the mic. He got Randy’s name by saying, “Randall Keith Orton!” He asked for a bloody microphone that works. It was working. When he got handed a second mic, he said he should have Claymore’d him. He said, “That one was on me. Wichita, that’s why they call it the RKO Out of Nowhere.” He said that’s not going to happen again. He said on Sunday, he prays to God that they end up in the ring together because he’s going to kick his damn head off his shoulders and he’s going to win the Rumble “and finally, after all this time, Drew McIntyre will main event WrestleMania!”
(Keller’s Analysis: This seemed to mark the confirmation of Drew being turned babyface, but then “Orton was Orton” and gave him a RKO. Drew’s response was good and did seem to continue Drew on the path toward earning the respect of Orton – and, thus, fans – by standing up to Orton and seeming every bit his equal.)
-Caruso interviewed Charlotte backstage and asked how confident she is heading into this match. She said last year she eliminated the most competitors and was the second-to-last in the match. Charlotte said she’s prepared to face anyone and anything. Becky Lynch walked up behind Charlotte. Fans cheered. Charlotte asked, “Yes?” Becky turned and left. Charlotte said Becky eliminated her, but she wasn’t even supposed to be in the match. She said the question isn’t whether she’s prepared to face 29 other women, but whether they are prepared to face her.
-Becky made her ring entrance. [c]
-Joseph plugged that Becky would be on “WWE Backstage” tomorrow night.
-As Becky stood in the ring, they replayed Asuka spraying her in the face with green mist. They plugged the Becky vs. Asuka match at the Rumble on Sunday. Fans chanted “Becky! Becky!” She said, “The Man has come around to Kansas.” She said last week Asuka did her a favor. She said when she sprayed mist in her eyes, she made her see things clearer than ever. She said maybe it’s Asuka who should be doubting herself. Maybe she is doubting herself because that might explain the sneak attacks and why she’s facing her tag partner Kairi Sane rather than going to war with her tonight. She said Asuka beat her at the Rumble last year, but who won in the end. She said she went on to make history all around the world, “while you went on You Tube to make soup.” She said she’s going to collect one last debt at the Rumble to prove “you can’t beat me anymore.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Becky’s come around to think Asuka is scared of her, and concludes she’s confident now she’ll prove Asuka can’t beat her anymore. Good delivery and right to the point.)
(4) BECKY LYNCH vs. KAIRI SANE
Joseph asked Lawler if he believes Becky’s assertion that Asuka is doubting herself or is Becky still fighting back concern about Asuka having her number. Lawler said both are true and neither are true at the same time. Kairi acted obnoxious early, so Becky get her a right to the throat. Kairi dropped to the floor and her laughing stopped. Becky slidekicked Kairi and went after her at ringside. When Asuka approached, Beck turned and warned her off. Kairi then chop blocked Becky’s left leg. Kairi yanked on Becky’s hair. As the ref scolded her, Asuka took a cheap shot at Becky. [c]
Kairi had Becky was grounded after the break mid-ring. Asuka watched the math from the top turnbuckle for a while. The ref told her to get down, but was hardly persistent. Becky tried to fight back from her knees. They exchanged blows. Becky got the better of her and delivered an inverted DDT as Asuka continued to watch from above. Becky landed a second rope legdrop for a near fall. Becky then applied a Disarmer, but Kairi escaped and then bridged back for a two count on Becky. Becky tried to suplex Kairi, but Kairi turned it into a DDT for another two count. She ran the ropes, but Becky side-stepped her and front kicked her, then rammed her face into the turnbuckle. She kicked her to the floor, then leaped with a flying fist at ringside. Becky finally had enough of Asuka yelling, so she turned and punched her off the top turnbuckle. She then hit an exploder suplex on Kairi followed by the DisarmHer for the win.
WINNER: Becky in 8:00.
-Asuka gave Becky an immediate Shining Wizard to break the hold, then applied an Asuka lock. Then she kicked her in the face and ranted and raved for a few seconds before leaving with her arms raised.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment to put more heel heat on Asuka.)
-They showed the Viking Raiders backstage in front of the red light patting their tag belts. Then they showed Buddy Murphy and Seth backstage with AOP. [c]
-They went to Lawler and Joseph. Lawler said he and Rocky Johnson went back to 1976 working together. He said they had some great matches and was a great athlete and a great father. He said he’ll be missed. They went to a video package on Rocky Johnson. Then they came back live to fans chanting “Rocky!”
-Asuka and Kairi were walking backstage. Sarah Schreiber asked Asuka if she wants to be known as a champion who uses toxins to gain an advantage. Asuka ranted in Japanese, then yelled that Becky is not ready for Asuka. She yelled and then trailed off with a comical “ha ha ha” laugh. Kairi was delighted.
(5) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. SETH ROLLINS & BUDDY MURPHY (w/AOP)
The challengers came out first. Then the Viking Raiders walked onto the stage. They were joined by Joe and KO to keep everything even. Joseph plugged tickets to Raw in San Antonio next Monday. He said the Road to WrestleMania begins next Monday night. Seth was in the ring when the bell rang, but Buddy tagged him on the shoulder. Seth was happy with him. They hugged. Erik surprised Buddy as he turned with a flying knee. Joseph said AOP and Murphy have bought into Seth’s message. Erik slammed Ivar onto Buddy. Buddy rolled to the floor to regroup with Seth checking on him. AOP stood on the ring apron. Joe and KO yanked them off the apron. They brawled into the crowd and to the back. Thankfully, WWE resisted having a camera waiting for them in the crowd, which would have ruined the idea it was an impromptu unplanned happening. [c]
The Raiders were in control after the break. They battled back and forth for several more minutes. Erik tagged in and called for Ivar to climb tot he top rope. Erik powerbombed Buddy, but Seth shoved Ivar off the top rope to the floor. Seth seemed a little late with the shove. Murphy then caught Erik with a running high knee. Seth then gave Erik a stomp on the ring apron. Murphy rolled Erik back to the middle of the ring and scored the three count.
WINNER: Rollins & Murphy in 13:00 to capture the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: That all happened quickly. Who two weeks ago predicted Buddy would hold a title before Aleister? Who predicted Buddy & Seth would be Raw tag champs? Who thought they’d win before AOP after forming an alliance? It’s a nice continuation of Murphy’s elevation up the roster.) [c]
-As Seth and Murphy celebrated backstage, with AOP behind them, Schreiber congratulated them and asked what this achievement means to them. AOP seemed borderline unhappy, but it might just be their default demeanor. Seth said Buddy coming to his side pays dividends. He said he’s a champion now. He said they will cement their dominance on Sunday when he wins the Rumble for the second year in a row.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why was Schreiber so critical of how Asuka and Kairi conducted themselves, but okay with how Seth & Buddy conducted themselves?)
-Another Street Profits spoof of SNL’s “Weekend Update” with “Monday After Weekend Update” aired with an over-the-top laugh track. They made fun of Heyman gorging on shrimp. Angelo Dawkins complained about reboots on network TV like “Party of Five” and “Gossip Girl.” He said WWE produces 7 hours of originally programming every week. Then the graphic showed Miz and John Morrison. Montez Ford asked them to change the graphic. They went to corespondent R-Truth standing in Houston, Tex. Dawkins said Lesnar might be entering at no. 1, but Truth is entering at 4:20. Dawkins told a joke about Otis and Mandy Rose, showing Otis wiggling his belly as saxophone music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not getting the point. I think this was better than the previous effort, though. It’s not clear if they think this is really funny or if they’re self-aware how bad it is.)
-Matt Hardy made his ring entrance to the Hardy Boyz music. Enjoy it while you can. [c]
(6) ERICK ROWAN vs. MATT HARDY
Lawler said he thinks Rowan keeps a snake in the cage like Jake Roberts did. Hardy went for a sunset flip, but Rowan blocked it and dropped some elbow, then splashed Matt mid-ring. Joseph wondered what would happen if Rowan faces Lesnar on Sunday during the Rumble. Rowan tossed Hardy over the top rope, then gave him a running boot to knock him to the floor. Rowan dragged Matt over to the cage to show him. Matt scurried away. Rowan reached in the cage and got bit again. He came out bleeding from his palm. He slammed the cage three times on the ringside steps. Hardy jumped him, but Rowan brushed him off, knocked him down with a running body block at ringside, then a claw slam in mid-ring for the win.
WINNER: Rowan in 2:00.
-Joseph and Lawler talked about Lashley & Lana vs. Rusev & Liv Morgan in the main event. Threw to a video package recapping the wedding and all the fallout.
(Keller’s Analysis: They had barely talked about this match until now.) [c]
-Schreiber interviewed KO and Joe backstage. She asked what’s next for them now that Seth & Murphy have become tag champs and declared themselves for the Rumble match. KO said they’ll take care of the tag title situation eventually, but as for the Rumble, it’s the first time he shares something in common with Buddy and Seth. He said he will not only win to main event WrestleMania, but just as important he will make sure Seth and Buddy don’t. Joe said the Rumble is the epitome of every man for himself, so while he’ll stand by his side opposite of Seth, in the Rumble he will plow right through him. KO accepted it and walked away.
-Caruso interviewed Mojo Rawley backstage. She asked him what he meant by saying he is going to be a different kind of 24/7 Champion. he said he’s not going to be the type of champ who flees at the first sigh of danger. The Singh Brothers tried to roll up Mojo. He didn’t budge, then tossed them into travel crates.
-Lana and Lashley made their ring entrance. Lana said Rusev Day is cancelled. Fans chanted “Rusev Day!” She told fans to shut up. She said she can’t stand it anymore. “We are trying to share our beautiful love that is inspiring to the world and none of you care,” she said. She called the fans low-rent bottom-feeding losers. She said they’re all jealous and envious of their love story of the millennium. She said they have finally accepted that they’ll have to suffer through their ugliness and disrespectfulness. She said all they want is a simple thank you. She tried to get a “Thank you, Bobby! Thank you, Lana!” chant going. She insulted Liv Morgan, calling her self-serving and coat-tail-riding. [c]
(7) LANA & BOBBY LASHLEY vs. LIV MORGAN & RUSEV
Lana got in early offense against Liv and then declared loudly, “I’m the best wrestler in the world!” Liv battled back and tagged in Rusev. Rusev got in early offense, but Lana distracted him. Lashley charged, but almost ran into Lana when Rusev moved. Rusev rolled up Lashley for a two count. Lana hit Rusev, then slammed him and made a cover, but Liv broke it up. Lana threw Liv out of the ring. Liv then gave Lashley an enzuiri. Rusev kicked Lashley in the head, but then Lana grabbed his leg. Lashley then speared Rusev for the 1-2-3.
WINNERS: Lana & Lashley in 4:00.