Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 10, 2020
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton
-The Raw opening theme aired. Then they went into the arena as pyro blasted. They showed the WrestleMania sign as Phillips introduced the show. The graphic said they were in Ontario, Calif., but Philips didn’t say the name of the city. Saxton hyped Asuka challenging Becky Lynch. They showed Drew McIntyre eliminating Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, then said he’d be a guest on The MVP Lounge later. Saxton also plugged the eight-man tag team main event with Seth Rollins & Murphy & AOP vs. Kevin Owens & The Viking Raiders & Samoa Joe.
-Seth stood mid-ring with Murphy and AOP. He said he has come to learn how difficult it is for fans to make difficult decisions, so he will speak truth for them and make tough decisions for them and lead them all into the future. He said first, though, he wanted to look at last week when Rezar pinned Kevin Owens. Saxton said Rollins distracted KO, but Seth didn’t show that part. Back live, Seth said the loss didn’t sit well with the Viking Raiders, because they interfered later in his Triple Threat match and cost him his chance at the WWE Championship. Seth said forgiveness is a virtue, but his patience is growing very, very thin when it comes to Kevin Owens and his friends.
KO came onto the stage to his music. Seth warned him not to get in over his head by charging to the ring. He told KO that he is his Monday Night Messiah in addition to the universe’s. Fans booed. He said if he stands alone, he will fall alone. KO listened patiently, then said every week he sounds stupid, but now he also looks stupid. He said even though he tells him he talks too much, he keeps talking. KO said what he does is he just keeps fighting. He said he is not alone, either. Then out came The Viking Raiders. Seth said KO’s problem isn’t finding partners, it’s keeping them upright. (Today is the day to try, though, given the #BroomChallenge going on.) KO said his partners are solid and they headed to the ring. A brawl broke out. Seth watched from the ring. Samoa Joe came up behind Seth and applied the Coquina Clutch. AOP attacked Joe. The fight continued, with the babyface foursome clearing the ring and celebrating.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid segment. WWE seems to always be in danger of leaning too much on Seth for long-form in-ring promos, but KO interrupted relatively swiftly to keep it from dragging on. Good set-up for the main event.)
-Becky Lynch’s music interrupted the celebration. The announcers wondered what she was doing. She walked to the ring as the four babyfaces walked past her to the back. Becky entered the ring as Phillips said she’s set to defend her title. [c]
-Asuka and Kairi Sane made their ring entrance next. Asuka ranted and raved in Japanese in an intentionally over-the-top obnoxious way.
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. ASUKA – WWE Raw Title match
The bell rang 19 minutes into the show. The announcers talked up Becky wanting to defend her title before WrestleMania, whereas Lesnar was complaining about having to do so. (WrestleMania is two months away! What is this new thing that it’s suddenly admirable to defend the title more than once every two months?!) A graphic touted Rhea Ripley appearing on Raw later. A few minutes in, Kairi distracted Becky, then Asuka gave her a hip attack to knock her off the ring apron to the floor. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back live, Asuka was still in control. Becky made a comeback at 10:00 by ducking a charging Asuka and throwing her out of the ring, then slidekicking her from under the rope. Becky leaped at Asuka on the floor, but Kairi shoved Asuka out of the way and took the impact instead. Asuka kicked Becky from behind to retake control. When Becky leaped off the top rope at Asuka, Asuka caught her with double knees and scored a near fall. Becky slammed Asuka on the ring apron and they cut to a break at 12:00. [c]
Back live, Asuka landed a superplex on Becky, then a basement dropkick for a near fall. Asuka applied an armbar next, but Becky leveraged her shoulders down to score a near fall. Asuka grabbed Becky’s arm again. Becky pushed her shoulders down again, but then lifted her and powered her down for a two count. Saxton wondered if that was “the last gasp” for the champion. Asuka avoided a legdrop off the second rope and then applied the Asukalock. Lynch escaped and they traded a series of leverage pin attempts in rapid-fire fashion. Becky gave Asuka a sudden urinage for the three count.
WINNER: Lynch in 19:00 to retain the Raw Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. I wish the referee didn’t speed up his count for the pinfall that ended it, as that gave away it was the finish as it was so clearly a beat faster than all the two counts that preceded it.)
-Right as Becky celebrated, Shayna Baszler attacked Becky. She applied the Kirafuda Clutch, then took out her mouthguard and bit the back of Becky’s neck. Shayna then lifted her mouth and it was covered in blood. The back of Becky’s neck was also covered in blood. Becky begged the ref to look at the back of her neck and tell her what it looks like. Her hands were covered in blood and she kept getting bleeped for saying “Oh Jesus Christ” and who knows what else. She sat up, gasping in pain as medics tended to her. The medic put something on the back of her neck and Becky yelled, “Take it easy, alright.” They stayed with Becky on split-screen as they cut to a break.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, that’s just eye-roll-inducingly dumb. Shayna doesn’t need this gimmick to get over. Is the idea that she’s a flesh-eating zombie? I guess I’ll wait to see how they play it before fully ripping it, but it feels so over-the-top.) [c]
-Back live in the parking garage, Becky said she didn’t need to go to the hospital because it was just a flesh wound.
(2) THE STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. MOJO RAWLEY & RIDDICK MOSS
Mojo and Moss made their entrance during the break. The full Street Profits entrance took place as they made their way through the crowd. Saxton said he’s still shaken up by the previous segment with Baszler. The Profits entered the ring and said they want the smoke. The fans chanted “We Want the Smoke!” Ford accused Mojo of hiding behind Moss. Dawkins said Mojo is known for riding Gronk’s coattails. Dawkins dropkicked Mojo to star the match. Mojo made a quick comeback and tagged in Moss. Ford ran around at ringside like a crazy man, then got tagged in. He splashed Moss and got a quick three count.
WINNERS: Profits in 1:00.
-After the match, Mojo was upset. Moss didn’t like that and he small packaged Mojo for a three count to become 24/7 Champion. He ran out of the ring and grabbed the belt and let out a celebratory yell. Mojo threw a fit in the ring.
-They went back to the parking garage near an ambulance. Becky’s hands were still covered in blood. She again said she didn’t need to go to the hospital. The medic seemed to talk her into it, but then she slammed the back door closed. Becky walked up to the driver’s side and yanked out the driver and then drove to the hospital herself.
-MVP began his walk to the ring. [c]
-VIP Lounge: MVP was in the ring with two leather loveseats. Fans chanted “MVP!” He said it’s been a long time. “I shouldn’t have left you,” he said. “But this is the VIP Lounge where big things are still poppin’ and little things are still stoppin’ and your boy had to come back because he’s still ballin’.” He said the MVP Lounge is for people like him “who are better than you.” He introduced his guest as someone who single-leggedly eliminated Lesnar from the Royal Rumble. Two guys in suits acted like Drew wasn’t on “the list” to get past the red ropes. Drew just knocked over the ropes and entered the ring. He asked the fans, “What’s up, Cali?” He told MVP it was an accident that he knocked over the ropes. MVP kissed up to him. He said he and Drew go way back. He said Drew is finally realizing his potential. MVP said he’s going to WrestleMania. Drew smiled and said he said the magic word, so now he has to point at the sign. “Now continue,” he told MVP. Fans laughed.
MVP told Drew to concentrate on the prize, not worry about what all the naysayers are saying and the non-VIP people behind his back. Drew asked the fans if they’re saying things behind his back. Drew said he knows what MVP is up to. “There’s always a catch with MVP,” he said. MVP claimed he is always sincere with him. He said some people are saying he’s not ready to be WWE Champion just yet, but those are unimportant people. “We are going to change all that,” MVP said.
Drew leaned on the ropes and said he couldn’t help but notice he said “we.” Drew said he doesn’t have the best memory in the world, but he said they didn’t win the Rumble together. MVP told to him focus on realizing his dream and not allowing himself to being distracted by this new success he’s experiencing. He said he needs someone to worry about all of the distractions, “someone like me.” Fans booed. MVP told Drew to ignore the fans because they’re out there for a reason. Drew asked MVP if he’s really offering to be his business manager or advocate. MVP said he’d be a better looking version of Paul Heyman. Drew said he doesn’t need an external brain thinking for him or someone talking for him. “I sure don’t need a business partner kissing my ass like you,” he said. MVP said he has never been an ass-kisser, but he is an ass-kicker. Drew heard enough and was going to leave. MVP told him not to turn his back on him and said he needs him. Drew headbutted him and then yanked off his jacket. He counted down 3-2-1 and then gave him a Claymore to knock him backwards over the couch. Drew then celebrated and played to the crowd.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another strong performance from Drew. He’s just at ease and enjoying himself out there, and his rapport with fans is really natural. MVP was a good foil here. It further established that Drew isn’t looking for shortcuts or letting this success get to his head. Nice segment start to finish.)
-Phillips threw to a video package on the Randy Orton-Drew angle.
-A commercial for Smackdown hyped the Baron Corbin-Roman Reigns rivalry and a date between Otis and Mandy Rose. [c]
-Angel Garza and Zelina Vega walked out together. They replayed what Garza did to Rey Mysterio and Humbert Carrillo. Garza said he’s a man’s man and no woman can resist him. Humberto charged out in jeans and a t-shirt. Three referees and two security guys separated them.
(3) ANGEL GARZA (w/Zelina Vega) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Seconds into the match, Vega distracted the ref and that distracted Cedric, which led to Garza catching Cedric with a surprise forearm. He took over control from there. Garza yanked Cedric face-first to the floor at ringside. Cedric made a comeback, but when he leaped off the top rope, Garza caught him with a dropkick out of mid-air. Then he finished him with his Wing Clipper.
WINNER: Garza in 3:00.
-They went to the announcers on camera who threw to a clip of the Charlotte-Ripley segment last week on Raw.
-Charly Caruso backstage interviewed Ripley. She asked if she’s still waiting on an answer. Ripley said she doesn’t wait for things, so she’s going to take actions until she gets what she wants. Caruso asked if she’s getting ahead of herself since she has a title defense at Takeover Portland. Suddenly Sarah Logan interrupted her and asked if she thinks she can just show up on Raw and do what she wants. Ripley said, “I’m Rhea Ripley. Who are you?” Then she walked off as Logan seemed to be trying to remember who she is. [c]
-Phillips plugged that Carmella would challenge Bayley for the Smackdown Title this Friday night on Smackdown.
-Sarah Schreiber asked Bobby Lashley how he feels about last week’s Triple Threat match not going as he had hoped. Lana said she was being disrespectful. Lana said Ricochet got really lucky, and he was a thief who stole Lashley’s opportunity. She said it was Lashley’s dream to face Lesnar at WrestleMania. Lashley said he’s not a scrawny kid with big dreams, so tonight he’s going to reintroduce Ricochet to reality and when he’s done with him, he probably won’t make it to Super Showdown. He said Lesnar can then thank him.
-Sarah Logan walked out and said if Ripley wants to know who she is, she is Sarah Logan. She said she will defend her turf by any means necessary. She stomped into the ring screeched for Ripley to get to the ring right now. Lawler said NXT wrestlers should “stay in their own lane.” Phillips plugged the Ripley vs. Bianca Belair match this Sunday at Takeover.
(4) RHEA RIPLEY vs. SARAH LOGAN
As the match was about to begin, Charlotte’s music played. Charlotte walked out onto the stage. Logan charged at the bell, but Ripley gave her a boot to the face and then short-arm clotheslined Logan as she stared down Charlotte. Logan fought back, so Ripley dropkicked her and then gave her a pump-handle powerbomb Riptide for the win. Charlotte applauded half-heartedly from the stage.
WINNER: Ripley in 1:00.
-Ripley asked, “Where is my answer, Charlotte?” She reiterated that she invited Charlotte to face her for the NXT Women’s Title at WrestleMania. She said she didn’t get an answer last week. “Maybe that’s how the Queen operates,” said Charlotte. Rhea said she’s a royal pain. Charlotte interrupted and asked how Rhea can be so confident she’ll still be NXT Champion after Sunday. She let out a “woo!” Lawler said that is a good point. Saxton was dismayed there was still no answer.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t mind this being drawn out. First of all, Charlotte has a hell of a point that Ripley can’t even be sure she’ll still be champion next week. Second, Charlotte’s the heel here so there’s no downside with her taking the heat for not announcing it as long as the company doesn’t seem to be exploiting it with overt false advertising.)
-Phillips hyped Ricochet vs. Lashley. [c]
-A video package aired on WrestleMania coming to SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area, the first time WM has been in that market in 15 years.
-They threw to a video package on last week’s Triple Threat match with Ricochet, Lashley, and Rollins.
-Caruso interviewed Ricochet and asked if he’s concerned he won’t make it to Super Showdown. Ricochet said he’s never backed down from a challenge. He said he’s dreamed of being WWE Champion for 17 years, and if he’s the scrawny kid Lashley accuses him of being, he’s about to show Lashley can’t stop him from walking or even crawling to Super Showdown.
(5) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/Lana) vs. RICOCHET
When Phillips said if Ricochet beats Lesnar, Drew might face Ricochet at WrestleMania, Lawler laughed at the very suggestion of that possibility, and said, “Look at this guy!” (Who looks at Ricochet and sees a “scrawny” little guy? Lashley’s bigger, sure, but Ricochet is hardly Marko Stunt.) Phillips said Lesnar historically has difficulty with smaller guys. Ricochet landed a dive at ringside and they cut to an early break. [c]
Lawler said he used to hate fighting guys bigger than him – Bruiser Brody, Bam Bam Bigelow, Hulk Hogan. He said it’s not “the bigger they are, the harder they fall; it’s the bigger they are, the harder they hit.” Ricochet leaped off the steps and on landed Lashley’s shoulder. Lashley went down, but Ricochet looked hurt, too, from landing on Lashley’s shoulders. The announcers noted that Shayna was the no. 1 trend on Twitter. Lashley took control and put on a nerve hold. Phillips threw to a commercial for a new movie, but they stayed with the match on split screen. Ricochet finally made a comeback and landed a standing shooting star press for a two count. Phillips said this is the type of effort Ricochet will need to beat Lesnar at Super Showdown. Lashley came back with a high spinebuster for a two count. Lashley tossed Ricochet off the top rope, but Ricochet flipped over and landed on his feet. Ricochet then dropkicked Lashley and landed his 630 splash for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Smart win to give Ricochet to build him up as someone who can beat a much larger wrestler like Lesnar.)
-Lawler plugged that Randy Orton would speak next. [c]
-Phillips plugged that Charlotte would be on WWE Backstage on FS1 tomorrow night.
-They replayed Baszler biting Becky’s neck earlier in the night and then commandeering an ambulance.
-Randy Orton walked to the ring. “What I did to Edge hurt me more than it hurt him,” he said. Then Matt Hardy’s music interrupted. Hardy walked out and said he wants to know why he did it. He said he and Edge have a history, and there was one point in time nobody hated him more than he does. Fans chanted “Lita!” briefly. He said before that, he and Edge travelled together. He said he and his brother and Edge and Christian shared hotel rooms to save a few bucks. He said they were kids who pursued their dreams to become WWE Superstars. He said they revolutionized the ladder match. Fans chanted “TLC!” He said they invented the TLC match, and it became so iconic, it will be a staple of WWE forever. He said they stole the damn show on more than one occasion at WrestleMania. He said they didn’t do it alone, they did it together, and it means something. He said when he saw Edge was forced to retire from injury, any hate or disdain he had for him was gone. He said they are similar because they have a passion for performing for the WWE Universe. He said he couldn’t imagine if all of this was taken away from him before he was ready. He said after Edge retired, he would often ask him “What if, what if, what if?” He said nine years later, he made the most miraculous return ever. “And you, you Randy, you took that away,” he said. He asked Randy to look at him and then said, “Randy, what in the hell is wrong with you?” Orton walked up to him and tried to surprise him with an RKO, but Matt saw it coming and shoved him off and threw the mic at him. He pummeled him in the corner. Orton pushed him off and then gave him an RKO.
Orton brought chairs into the ring and then put Matt’s head on one of them. He got that sinister heartless look again. Then he lifted another chair and bashed Matt’s skull. He took off his vest and looked down at him. He looked increasingly satisfied with himself as the camera zoomed in really close. Then he rolled out of the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Matt was a good spokesman for Edge and the impact of Orton’s attack, given their history. It was a good way to add another satisfying chapter to the Orton saga without having him either say nothing or say too much. Matt was effective here.) [c]
-They replayed Liv Morgan beating Lana last week on Raw followed by Ruby Riott attacking her.
-Schreiber interviewed Riott backstage. She asked why such animosity toward Liv. She said they were best friends, but she knows the real Liv. She said she is like a puppy dog you have to lead around on a leash. She said she wanted to show her who she will always be and to show her “she strikes when I say so.” Saxton called that a “critic explanation.”
(6) ALEISTER BLACK vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Black stopped an early flurry by Tozawa with a pop-up knee strike. Aleister then quickly finished him with a Black Mass.
WINNER: Aleister in 2:00.
-Black said he is appreciative of every person there. “Everyone here tries to escape their given idea of paradise one way or the other,” he said. “I know a thing or two about rebelling against paradise.” Silence. “As for myself, I am starting to feel like an animal inside of a cage.” He strained as he said those words. He said for those who venture out there, it isn’t him who is in there with them, it is them who are trapped inside this metaphoric cage with him. His music started. Saxton said he just got a really uncomfortable feeling in his stomach.
-The ambulance returned, with Becky driving it. She marched back into the arena. [c]
-Becky walked to the ring to her music after the break. Saxton said Becky can’t be thinking clearly. “Hey Shayna, they numbed me up and gave me something really nice for the pain.” She said she is back to smash her face in. “Where are you?” She said Shayna sunk her rat’s teeth into her flesh just to get her attention. She said she ran through everyone else. She said she is telling her now she will break her down week by week, little by little. “You better find me before I find you!” she said. She threw the mic down and walked to the back. “The Man is on a mission,” Phillips said.
-They showed Joe, KO, and the Raiders heading to the ring for the main event. [c]
-Phillips announced a Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match at Super Showdown with A.J. Styles, Rusev, R-Truth, Andrade, Bobby Lashley, and Erick Rowan.
-The ring entrances took place for the babyface foursome. Then Seth & Co. came out. They all stared at each other in the ring before the bell. Seth got bossy and asked for a mic. He said before they get the match started, he wanted to say one more thing. He asked for a second. The babyface foursome attacked him before he could talk. They brawled to the floor and they cut to a break. [c]
(7) KEVIN OWENS & SAMOA JOE & THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. SETH ROLLINS & MURPHY & AOP
Back from the break, the match was in progress. Erik was in control against Murphy. KO tagged in and landed a swinging elbowdrop onto Murphy, then crotch chopped toward the heel corner. Erik slammed Ivar onto Murphy next. Akem blind-tagged in and attacked Erik with a spinebuster. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]
During the break, the heels took over on KO. Joe eventually got a hot-tag. The faces rallied. Joe and the Raiders dove onto the heels at ringside. Then KO flip dove onto a crowd at ringside. Back in the ring, Seth went for a Stomp on Joe, but Joe avoided him. Murphy tagged in. Joe shifted to him and applied the Coquina Clutch. The ref was distracted by AOP at ringside. Seth delivered a Stomp to Joe. Murphy then draped his arm over Joe and the ref turned and counted to three.
WINNERS: Seth & AOP & Murphy in 18:00.