In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
EVERETT, WA. AT THE ANGEL OF THE WINDS ARENA
FEBRUARY 17, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Byron Saxton
Arena, Top 10 Moments of Last Week’s Show, Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Raw makes its return to the Angel of the Winds Arena tonight in Everett, WA. after appearing in June of last year. The arena opened as the Everett Events Center in 2003 but didn’t start hosting WWE shows until a Raw episode in the summer of 2015. It then took another four years until a Smackdown emanated from the building last winter.
Here are the top 10 moments from last week’s show:
Here’s what advertised for tonight’s show thus far:
- Rusev & Humberto Carrillo team up to face Bobby Lashley & Angel Garza
- What lies ahead in the wake of Shayna Baszler’s attack?
- Hardy vs. Orton No Holds Barred match set
- Seth Rollins to hold “sermon”
Rusev & Humberto Carrillo vs. Bobby Lashley & Angel Garza
Angel Garza is set to make his third straight appearance on Raw after losing to Rey Mysterio via DQ and defeating Cedric Alexander last week. Prior to the match with Cedric, Garza’s cousin Humberto Carrillo came out in street clothes and attacked Garza.
As far as Rusev and Bobby Lashley go, do I really need to revisit their recent history? Two weeks ago, Lashley came up short in his attempt to challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship as he lost a triple threat match to Ricochet and Seth Rollins. Last week, he lost to Ricochet one-on-one, as Ricochet gets ready to face Lesnar at Super Showdown.
Speaking of Super Showdown, it was announced that a gauntlet match for a Tuwaiq Trophy would be held. Lashley and Rusev are involved with that along with U.S. Championship Andrade, A.J. Styles, R-Truth, and Erick Rowan (along with the cage with whatever is in there…or not). Tonight, Rusev and Carrillo link up to take on their rivals in Lashley and Garza. If you care, there was a WWE exclusive with Skylar Astin of Pitch Perfect who was reminiscing with Lana. Lashley took exception. Here’s that clip, which Astin retweeted. There was also a little trash talk between Lana and Carrillo and Zelina Vega weighed in:
.@AngelGarzaWwe & I can’t wait until Monday.
By the way, just for the record, no Valentines here. Angel Garza and I are strictly business. https://t.co/45ROUkTcTt
— Zelina Vega (@Zelina_VegaWWE) February 15, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: It’ll be interesting to see how they finish this match, as you would think they’re invested in Garza. He had a heck of a run recently in NXT with the Cruiserweight title and I’m sure he’s not here to be anybody’s folly. My guess is he and Lashley go over, but with some shenanigans.
Shayna’s Vampire Diaries
Last week, Becky Lynch retained the Raw Women’s Championship over Asuka in a rematch from Royal Rumble. Following the match, former two-time NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler attacked Becky from behind. She then tapped into her inner Dracula and bit Becky, causing her to bleed profusely (like the late great Gorilla Monsoon would say) and Shayna to have a mouth looking like if my kids ate macaroni and sauce.
Becky refused medical attention but was then taken to a “medical facility” (my god it’s a freakin’ hospital people). She then drove herself back in the ambulance and came to the ring. She told Shayna “you better find me before I find you!”
They’ll take another “bite” out of this story tonight. Here’s a WWE now video in their Twitter feed which covers some of their social media exchange following Monday’s happenings:
— WWE (@WWE) February 14, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: This has to be, by far and away, one of the stupidest things they’ve done. After Shayna’s badass run in NXT, which one may or may not have enjoyed, what would make anyone with half a brain think she needs to be the female version of Dracula? Is she into this sort of thing maybe, I don’t know. I’m not intrigued, nor am I interested in this angle. I’m annoyed.
No Holds Barred: Randy Orton vs. Matt Hardy
Last week, Randy Orton came out seemingly to attempt again to offer an explanation as to why he attacked Edge following the Royal Rumble. He was interrupted by Matt Hardy, a long-time friend and rival of Edge. Matt talked about their history, and very subtly acknowledged how he hated him at one point as a result of his affair with then-girlfriend Lita. He said when he was forced to retire, the hatred went away. After a failed RKO attempt, Matt shoved Randy into the corner, and they went at it. Randy eventually hit an RKO. He then smashed Matt with a chair the same way he did to Edge several weeks ago. Here’s what happened after the attack in a WWE.com exclusive:
Tonight, Matt and Randy go one-on-one in a No Holds Barred match.
Frank’s Analysis: With Matt’s contract concluding in the near future, this has to be a way to write him out of WWE. It’s just a matter of how they do it, and how and when they bring Edge back and get him and Randy ready for a match seemingly at WrestleMania. It’ll be a shame to see Matt go but given the way they use him he’d be better off going somewhere else. The bloom has definitely come off the rose since the Hardy Boyz returned at WrestleMania three years ago.
The Sermon of Seth Rollins
Last week’s show opened with the “Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins, accompanied by Murphy and AOP (Akam & Rezar), preached … I mean talked about how the Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) cost him a chance to challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. He said his patience with Kevin Owens and his “friends” was growing thin. Owens came out, as did the Viking Raiders and Owens told Rollins he sounded stupid and talks to much. Samoa Joe surprised Rollins from behind with a Coquina Clutch and everyone brawled. This was to hype their previously advertised eight-man tag match, which took place in the main event. Rollins and his “disciples” (that’s what they are, right?) defeated Joe, Owens, and the Viking Raiders as a result of AOP distracting the referee and an illegal Rollins hitting Joe with his Stomp.
Behold tonight, for Rollins will deliver a sermon. This is the word of the Messiah. 🙏🏻 . By the way, apparently Rollins wants a match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 37 next year:
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) February 11, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I get trying to play a character, but it just feels like this Messiah bit is cartoonish and phony. I like that Rollins turned heel don’t get me wrong, but I’d have been fine with him just being sneaky and crafty and not be the nasally voiced whiny character he was from 2014-2016.
Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week
The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) defeated Mojo Rawley and Riddick Moss in their ongoing quest for “the smoke.” Moss then rolled up Mojo to defeat him for the 24/7 Championship. Here’s Moss in a WWE.com exclusive:
MVP brought back the VIP Lounge. His guest was Drew McIntyre. MVP essentially proposed being Drew’s manager, but he wasn’t having it and treated him to a Claymore Kick. By the way, when MVP introduced Drew, did anyone notice the stupidity of the “bouncers” giving him a hard time about entering the ring before he pushed them out of the way? Wasn’t he the scheduled guest?
NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley squashed Sarah Logan. She then questioned why Charlotte Flair didn’t give her an answer as to her challenge to face her for the title. Charlotte came out and questioned how she knew she’d still be champion following her upcoming defense against Bianca Belair at Takeover: Portland.
Aleister Black squashed Akira Tozawa and cut another promo I don’t think anyone understand. I like Aleister, but I’m starting not to care.
I still like Raw overall, but things are starting to bother me. I don’t like Aleister Black’s whacked out promos, Shayna Baszler’s vampire act, and I’m skeptical of Rollins’ act as I mentioned earlier. It can’t all be perfect, but things like these are glaring and fixable. Aleister can say far out things but bring it back to reality. Shayna can just be what she was in NXT and she’ll be fine. The Rollins stuff I’m willing to play out, but I’m going to think what I think. We head towards Super Showdown and let’s not forget Elimination Chamber.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.