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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 24, 2020
LIVE FROM WINNIPEG, CANADA
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-The show opened with a recap video that detailed the recent events with Randy Orton, Edge, and Matt Hardy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A short recap, but an effective one in positioning Orton as a mega-heel. That smirk at the end from Randy? Great stuff. After watching, you have to wonder if we’re getting a big step in the story tonight. They are in Canada too. Do we see Edge? Time will tell.
-When the recap video ended, the Raw open aired and pyro went off inside the arena. From there, the announce team welcomed the audience to the show. After, Randy Orton made his entrance to a loud chorus of boos from the crowd. As he walked down the ramp, the announce team ran down the show including an appearance from Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins vs. Montez Ford, and Murphy vs. Angelo Dawkins. They also plugged an Elimination Chamber contract signing between Natalya, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Shayna Baszler, Asuka, and Sarah Logan.
Heydorn’s Analysis: They’ve done this rundown for the last few weeks now and it works well to set the show up. For better or worse, the audience knows what is on the horizon and the hope is they stick around to see it.
-Back in the ring, Orton finished his entrance and then addressed the crowd. He said his emotions have become off balance to which the audience booed loudly. From there, Orton said that he was informed it had been 15 years since Raw was in Winnipeg. He said he would have been 24 years old and that he was the Intercontinental Champion the last time he was in that city. He said on that show he was slapped by a man he called a brother in Adam. He said the audience called him, Edge. The audience roared loudly and then started a “we want Edge” chant. In response, Orton said that Edge couldn’t be there because of what he did to him a month ago. From there, Orton continued and said that nobody could understand what he did to Edge. He said he was very sorry for what he did and that he was sorry from the bottom of his heart. At that point, Kevin Owens hit the ring to a big pop from the audience.
Heydorn’s Analysis: For the third week in a row, Randy Orton hasn’t said much about his attack on Edge. It’s wearing out its welcome. Edge coming back and getting his comeuppance on Orton is a given. At the same time, if Orton lays out why he did what he did, the audience will get more invested in the story rather than the come back pop whenever Edge returns. Without Orton’s context, the payoff is the Edge return moment. If Orton gives more, the payoff lands with the big match itself. The latter is more impactful and more effective in drawing interest and dollars. Moments are fleeting.
Owens walked to the ring and then grabbed a microphone right away. Owens then paused as the audience cheered and chanted “Kevin Owens” before addressing Randy. He told Randy that for the past few months he’s had experience dealing with delusional people in AOP, Murphy, and Seth Rollins. He said he wanted to put that issue aside tonight to handle an issue with him. Owens said that he heard Orton apologize to Edge and that he didn’t think he meant it. Owens told Orton to drop his act and tell them why he did what he did. Owens said that Matt Hardy tried to get an answer, but didn’t and he wanted to. In response, Orton told Owens that he didn’t want to go down that road. Owens said that he did because he remembers Edge retiring while he was on the independant scene. He said he realized it sucked that he would never face Edge. From there, Owens talked about what it meant to see Edge return at the Royal Rumble and that he got some hope back before Orton took it all away. Owens then once again, he asked Orton why he did what he did to Edge. Orton responded and asked Owens if he thought he knew him. He said that Edge thought he knew him too. Owens then spoke again and said he doesn’t know him, but that the people were sick of watching him and Orton talk. He said they should fight instead before throwing his microphone down. Orton responded and accepted, but not at that moment. Orton then left the ring. As he did, the announce team confirmed that the match would take place later in the evening.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked Owens there. For one thing, it was nice to see him involved in something outside of Seth Rollins. He did a nice job of connecting his Rollins issues to him being out there with Orton as well. More importantly though, he was a strong babyface figure standing up for what was right. The audience bought it too. Well done.
-Backstage, Angel Garza and Zelina Vega were interviewed. Vega spoke first and said that the business they have with Humberto Carrillo was a chore. From there, Vega continued and talked about family. She said some family you are proud of and others you deny. Vega called Garza a mans man and said that Garza would take Carrillo out. Garza then told Charly that business was always a pleasure before making his entrance with Vega at his side. As he did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Humberto Carrillo made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(1) HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. ANGEL GARZA w/Zelina Vega
Carrillo took over early with a series of headlocks. His offense caused Garza to roll out of the ring a handful of times to regroup with Vega. Finally, Carrillo connected with a dropkick that sent Garza to the outside of the ring again. This time, he hit a suicide dive on him and into the guardrail as the show went to break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued. Garza held control over Carrillo and connected with a superkick. After, he made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Garza locked in an arm submission as the audience chanted for Humberto to escape. Finally, he did, and hit Garza with an arm drag across the ring. From there, he connected with a springboard arm drag which sent him to the outside of the ring. There, Carrillo setup for a move on he apron, but Garza kicked him in the face. He then rolled Carrillo into the ring and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, the action spilled to the ring apron. Both men exchanged kicks there and ended up lying on the apron together as the audience cheered.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good sequence there and it seemed to hook the audience.
Finally, Carrillo got to his feet and set Garza up for a catapult. Garza blocked it and both exchanged punches instead. Carrillo then hit the move, but Garza countered and caught himself on the ring post. Garza then jumped off the ring post and connected with a moonsault on Carrillo as the show went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Carrillo was in control of the match. He climbed to the top rope for a move, but was distracted by Vega. This allowed Garza to hit a punch and then nail Carrillo with a Spanish Fly off of the top rope. After, Garza went for the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, both men got to their feet and exchanged punches. Humberto then connected with a step up enziguri before making the cover for a two count. Out of the pin, both men exchanged pin attempts until Garza rolled Carrillo up and grabbed some of his tights for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Garza via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. Garza has something and needed to be protected. The finish accomplished that goal and kept Carrillo relatively strong given the circumstances of it as well. Still more to come between these two. Good match and workable booking. I’ll take it.
-After the match, the broadcast went to the announce team. There, they discussed the women’s Elimination Chamber match. They then cued up a highlight package that detailed the events between Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler. When the video ended, Becky Lynch was shown backstage.
-Ricochet made his entrance. As he posed in the ring, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break and with Ricochet in the ring, the announce team plugged his WWE Championship match with Brock Lesnar at Super Showdown. From there, the OC made their entrance. They high-fived each other at the top of the ramp before Gallows walked down for the match. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(2) LUKE GALLOWS vs. RICOCHET
Ricochet took control early and connected with a dropkick that sent Gallows out of the ring. He then hit a flipping dive over the top rope. From there, he rolled Gallows back into the ring and jumped off the ropes for a springboard move, but Gallows crushed him with a big boot. After, Gallows tossed Ricochet into the corner and connected with a series of punches to the body. Gallows then hit Ricochet with a back breaker before making the cover for a two count. Out of the pin, Gallows kept up the attack and nailed Ricochet with a series of strikes before making another cover for a two count. Out of that pin, Gallows hit more punches and then grounded Ricochet with a sleeper hold. The audience clapped for Ricochet to escape and eventually he did. After, he hit Gallows with his own strikes before connecting with a springboard cross body that he followed with a standing shooting star press. Ricochet then worked to lift Gallows on his shoulder, but Gallows countered with a superkick. In the end, Ricochet hit the Recoil and followed that with a top rope shooting star press before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ricochet via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience was a bit quiet for this. Not a horrible match by any means, but the lack of a reaction is concerning. In theory, the idea was sound – give Ricochet a win over a large opponent ahead of his Lesnar match. In theory, that worked. In practice though, it falls on disinterested ears and eyes. The audience isn’t fully buying Ricochet as they know he isn’t winning the title with Drew looming in the background for Brock. Ricochet’s story isn’t being told and the fans aren’t invested in him. The lackluster crowd reaction hits as a result.
-After the match, Paul Heyman was shown watching the monitors backstage. The announce team then hyped Lesnar’s appearance that was coming up next. The show then went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, the OC was shown arguing backstage. Gallows and Anderson bickered before Styles told them to shut up. He continued and said that a miracle could happen at Super Showdown if he wins the big gauntlet match. Styles continued before he addressed Aleister Black who had just walked by. They said that Black thought he owned the place and that he wanted to remind him who they were. Styles said the OC was the only club that mattered before beating on Black with Gallows and Anderson. Black then stumbled to his feet.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Black vs. Styles? I’ll take that at some point. The camera staying on Black as he sold the attack is telling. Looks like Erick Rowan is getting a win back and they’ll use this attack to explain it? Let’s hope not as WWE has quite a bit invested in Black racking up the wins at this point. Losing and going 50/50 with a mid-carder like Rowan hurts his credibility and doesn’t give Rowan that strong of a rub either give what happened last week.
-Brock Lesnar made his way to the ring with Paul Heyman at his side. As he did, the announce team said Lesnar was unfazed by Ricochet’s win. Once Lesnar got into the ring, he posed to the crowd as the announce team hyped Super Showdown once again.
After, Heyman tried to speak, but couldn’t because the audience appeared to be cheering Lesnar.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The cheers seem to be rooting in the Winnipeg audience seeing a big star for the first time in 15 years and less about Lesnar being over as babyface. Let’s see if Heyman can flip that reaction.
From there, Heyman did his standard intro and the crowd cheered once again. Heyman then spoke and said for years people have tried to come up with catch phrases to brand themselves as stars and mainstream celebrities. Heyman said that Brock Lesnar doesn’t need a catch phrase. Heyman said that Lesnar’s catch phrase is simply fact. Heyman then continued and said that Lesnar lacing up a pair of boots and taking someone to suplex city is special. He then talked about Lesnar beating on Ricochet because Lesnar owes him one. Heyman continued and said that while special, the Thursday match is more important than ever because of the stakes. Heyman then laid into Canada before explaining himself. He said that if Ricochet somehow becomes the WWE Champion, Ricochet would go on to WrestleMania and face Drew McIntyre in the main event. She said that if that happened, the history of WWE would change for ever. Heyman than made fun of that if and said the match would end with Lesnar heading to WrestleMania. He then called Lesnar beating Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania a spoiler and that people would be forced to recognize Lesnar as the reigning, defending, and undisputed champion. Lesnar then held up his championship as the audience gave him a mixed reaction. From there, Lesnar and Heyman left the ring. They walked up the ramp together before Lesnar posed on the announce table.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Par for the course and a filler promo for Lesnar ahead of Super Showdown. At this point, with the Ricochet match booked, there just isn’t much for Heyman to say. Nobody buys Ricochet as a viable opponent and while its Heyman’s job to sell it, its a tough putt given what has already took place between Lesnar and his future opponent, Drew McIntyre.
-Aleister Black was shown stumbling backstage as the show went to commercial break. (c)
-After the break, another recap video highlighted more of the story between Shayna Baszler and Becky Lynch.
-Erick Rowan made his entrance and was followed by Aleister Black. Black did his typical entrance, but stumbled through it because of the attack by the OC. Once Black got to the ring, he continued to sell as the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok, this is a little much. Selling the ribs while walking out? Fine. Stumbling around after a good 20 minutes? Over dramatic and inconsistent with the attack he actually suffered.
(3) ERICK ROWAN vs. ALEISTER BLACK
Rowan took over early and focused his attack on the injuries of Black. As Rowan honed in on his offense, the announce team said that Black simply shouldn’t be in the match. Back in the ring, Black kicked Rowan in the face which caused him to fall out of the ring. Black attempted to follow Rowan out of the ring, but Rowan slammed him onto the apron instead. After, Rowan tossed Black around the ringside area as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued. Black kicked Rowan and worked to build momentum, but Rowan countered it into a towering sidewalk slam. After, he covered, but only got a two count. Eventually, Black got some momentum after a knee to the face. He kipped up after it and connected with a moonsault and followed that with a second knee strike. Black then made the cover, but got a two count. Out of the pin, Black lifted Rowan to his knees with his Black Mass foot. Rowan grabbed his foot instead and hit a vertical suplex before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Rowan connected with a clothesline and covered again, but again, got a two count. Out of that pin, the action spilled to the outside of the ring. Black hit move that knocked Rowan into the cage and this enraged Rowan. In response, Rowan power bombed Black into the ring post and then rolled him into the ring. Rowan then tended to his cage and told whatever was inside it that he was sorry. From there, he rolled into the ring to finish the match, but Black hit him with Black Mass. Black then hit a second Black Mass right away before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Black via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, at least they didn’t go 50/50 with it? This didn’t work well. The commentary around the Black attack was laughable given what the attack actually was and Black did a less than impressive job selling it as well. Simply put, it wasn’t that bad of an attack to merit the type of attention it got. After the Rowan cage was ignored in last week’s match with Black it’s hard to give it attention this week. The true takeaway is that it doesn’t appear they have a thought out payoff for that angle in general.
-After the match, Aleister Black was interviewed. He said unbridled rage helped him overcome and win his match. He said that next week A.J. Styles would feel the burden of that rage when they fight. Black then stumbled off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Hey, at least we could follow that promo from start to finish. Baby steps? Too soon for Black and Styles though. That match needs a full story and program behind it. Patience WWE. Patience.
-Drew McIntyre was shown backstage as the show went to commercial break. (c)
-After the break, the announce team congratulated Tyson Fury on his win. From there, Drew McIntyre was interviewed backstage. Drew said it was crazy to hear his name in the main event of WrestleMania. Drew said that he didn’t care who he fought at WrestleMania and that he just wanted to be in the main event and fight for the title. He said he was promised that years ago, but it didn’t pan out. Charly Caruso told him to expand on that and Drew told the story of him being the chosen one. He said that didn’t win a world championship since that accolade and it was his fault. He said he was fired and then became bitter with a chip on his shoulder. Drew said that chip on his shoulder drove him to succeed and forced him to put returning to WWE on the top of his list of goals. From there, Drew talked about his journey through NXT and his return to Monday Night Raw. He called that return cool and said it was four years to the day since he got fired. Drew said he left WWE a boy and that he returned as a man. Drew continued and talked about winning the Royal Rumble. He said that all he heard for years around him was “potential.” He said he needed to eliminate Lesnar because he was the big dog in WWE. From there, Drew reiterated that he didn’t care who he fought at WrestleMania because he would be there to complete his destiny and win the WWE Championship.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Though the delivery by Drew and interview in general seemed a bit rushed, the root of this piece worked as it detailed Drew’s journey and framed to the audience that the end of the journey was in sight at WrestleMania. That said, this needed to be in front of the live crowd. Running with it in that way would have allowed the fans to actively engage with the journey and react to it. Some of Drew’s words and emphasis begged for cheers, but the backstage setting didn’t allow for it.
-R-Truth stood in the ring and welcomed everyone to the winter premiere of Truth TV. The audience cheered and as they did, he welcomed Bobby Lashley and Lana to the ring as his first guests. As Lana and Lashley made their way to the ring, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Truth was about to start his interview, but Lana cut him off. She said they weren’t out there for his stupid show and that he was set to face Lashley in a match. In response, the audience chanted “Rusev Day” and Lana shut those down by saying that Rusev Day was cancelled. From there, Truth said that Lashley was big and that he wanted to talk with him instead. He tried to ask Lashley about Sonic the Hedgehog, but was interuppted by Lana who called for the bell. At that point, the match began.
(4) R-TRUTH vs. BOBBY LASHLEY
Lashley took over early in the match, but Truth took over soon after with a run of John Cena moves. Truth lifted Lashley for the AA, but Lashley countered and hit him with a spear instead. Lashley then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Lashley via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: That happened? Pretty shameful what has happened to Bobby Lashley since he got put into the Lana and Rusev love triangle.
-After the match, Lana and Lashley celebrated in the ring. The announce team then cued up more highlights of Baszler and Becky. When the highlights ended, Asuka made her way to the ring. As she did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, the women involved in the Elimination Chamber match continued to make their way to the ring. Natalya received a big pop and as she walked to the ring, the announce team explained the chamber match rules.
Once Nattie got into the ring, Jerry Lawler introduced the contract signing and said the winner of the match would face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. Lawler called the match a life changing opportunity. As he continued, Asuka interuppted him. She said the match had six competitors though and there were only five out there. Asuka wondered where Shayna Baszler was and in response, Lawler said she was in the building, but late. He said even without Baszler, they would “get this done.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: How? How can they “get this done” with only five of the women out there?
From there, Sarah Logan signed the contract and Nattie followed. Liv Morgan signed next. After she did, Morgan walked the contract over to Riott and slammed it down in front her. Riott smiled at Morgan and then signed the contract as Morgan looked on. Finally, Asuka was about to sign the contract, but was interuppted by Shayna Baszler’s music. It took a minute, but Baszler appeared in the crowd and made her way into the ring. Once she got into the ring, Baszler signed the contract as well. After, she took the contract and glared at her opponents before focusing in on Nattie. Both women jawed back and forth until Asuka got involved. She pushed Nattie to the mat and then got in Baszler’s face. The audience popped for this interaction. From there, Nattie attacked Asuka from behind and the audience booed because they didn’t get the fight between Asuka and Shayna. The contract signing broke down from there. The former Riot Squad members attacked each other and both sets of fights spilled to the outside of the ring. This left Baszler all alone in the ring and Becky Lynch’s music hit. She received a big pop and briskly walked to the ring to face Baszler. As soon as she got there, the fight was on. The audience bought into the brawl and booed when it was broken up. The cheered when the brawl started back up again and the show went to a break as officials tried to control the situation. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Lots to digest here. First off, the booking of this contract signing was an abomination. Outside of Baszler, nobody came of well as it felt like they all were falling in line and doing what Lawler asked of them. As for the fights, they were booked incorrectly as well. Why book a potential showdown between Asuka and Shayna at this point? For one thing, that is a dream match that deserves more than a passing moment. Second though, they are both heels? In trying to make sure Baszler stays over as a heel, is it smart to position her against another heel? Lastly, Nattie breaking up that interaction puts the heat on Nattie and not the two heels that were there. Now, moving on to the Baszler and Becky stuff, that worked. The crowd reacted in a big way and ate up their physical interaction. A great sign for the life of that program, but begs the question of booking the Elimination Chamber to begin with. It’s simply an afterthought at this point.
-Out of the break, the Street Profits hit the ring to a good reaction from the crowd. Once they got there, the spoke on the mic. Ford said that they helped Kevin Owens out last week, but that they had a tag title match at Super Showdown. From there, they gave nicknames to Murphy and Rollins before saying they would become Raw Tag Team Champions. From there, Seth Rollins walked out with Murphy and AOP at his side.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much to that promo from the Street Profits, but worthwhile time given to define their purpose at Super Showdown.
Murphy entered the ring first and once he did, the bell rang, and the match with Dawkins began.
(5) MURPHY vs. ANGELO DAWKINS
Murphy got the upper hand quickly at the beginning. Dawkins laid in some big offense though and as he went for the pin, Rollins got involved which caused a DQ.
WINNER: No contest
-After that match, Ford addressed Rollins and told him that Dawkins beat Murphy enough last week that he lost his first name. Ford said that he would do the same thing to Rollins. Rollins then got into the ring and their match began.
(6) SETH ROLLINS vs. MONTEZ FORD
Ford took over out of the gate and hit a dive over the top rope. With Rollins down, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued with both men taking control of the offense at different times. Eventually, Rollins firmly took over after connecting with a powerbomb into the turnbuckle that he followed with a power bomb into the outside guardrail. The show then went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Rollins held control of the match until Ford took over with a kick to the face. Ford went for a top rope move, but Rollins countered with the Pedigree. Ford countered the Pedigree with a DDT and made the cover, but only got a two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Lawler involving some sort of religious symbolism into every commentary line of his is draining. Give it up already. This can’t be the only thing that defines Seth Rollins.
Out of the pin, Ford climbed to the top rope, but Rollins jumped up and tried for a suplex. Instead, Ford hit Rollins with a Sunset Bomb off of the top rope. He tried to follow with a Frog Splash, but Rollins rolled out of the way and hit the Stomp for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rollins via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match and a taste of Montez Ford as a singles star. Opposite Rollins, he delivered and even in the loss, having the experience with Rollins will help his growth as a star. Good stuff.
-After the match, Kevin Owens and Randy Orton were shown walking backstage as the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, a hype video aired for Rhea Ripley.
-When the video ended, Randy Orton made his way to the ring. Orton took a long time to get down to the ring, but once he got there, Kevin Owens hit the ring. As he walked down, the announce team talked about how much emotion Owens had in fighting for Edge in his home country. Once he got down to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: They started the build for this match nicely at the start of the show, but haven’t talked about it since then. Nearly three hours. If WWE chooses to set the hook early for a match like this, they need to discuss it throughout the program to keep interest in it high. Instead, money and lots of viewers get left on the table.
(7) KEVIN OWENS vs. RANDY ORTON
Owens started the match off with a ton of fire. He battled Orton around the ring and outside of the ring as well. There, he connected with a running cannon ball before yelling to the audience to fire them up as well. As he laid in his offense, Seth Rollins and his group walked out and down to the ramp. This caused a distraction for Owens which allowed Orton to hit him from behind. The show then went to break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued. Rollins and his group were priming themselves up to interfere, but the Viking Raiders and Street Profits ran down to prevent it. They battled with Rollins and Company around the arena which left Owens and Orton alone in the ring. Owens climbed to the top rope for a move, but Orton ran over and knocked him down. Orton them climbed up with him and tried for a superplex. Owens countered with punches and Orton threw punches right back. Eventually, the Owens punches took over and knocked Orton off of the top. Owens followed that with a Senton. Owens went to follow-up, but was distracted by Seth Rollins. He knocked Rollins off of the ring, but was then clotheslined by Orton for his troubles. From there, Orton hit a second rope DDT and then covered for the 1,2,3 win after a quick count.
-After the match, Orton glared at the referee and looked a tad confused. The announce team sounded a bit confused as well as to the finish, but the show went on.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Clearly a quick count on purpose as the announce team drew attention to it and sold it right away.
Rollins grabbed two steel chairs and tossed them into the ring for Orton to use. Rollins told Orton he knew what to do and while he spoke to Orton, Owens stood up and grabbed one of the chairs for himself. Owens stood toe to toe with Orton until the Orton backed down and left the ring. From there, the referee who made the quick count grabbed the chair out of KO’s hands. In response, Owens rolled to the outside of the ring and tossed the referee back inside of it. Rollins ran away and in the ring, Owens ripped the ref shirt off to reveal a Monday Night Messiah shirt. He then gave the referee a Stunner as Rollins looked on in disbelief. After, Owens put the referee through a table and jawed back and forth with Rollins as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: While that angle was certainly over with the crowd and featured Kevin Owens as a top star of the brand, the feud between him and Rollins needs direction and stakes. What is the end game? That has yet to be defined. Tonight in a vacuum though, that worked well based on the reaction.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 2/17: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show including Orton vs. Hardy, a Seth Rollins sermon, and more