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
WINNIPEG, MB AT THE BELL MTS PLACE
FEBRUARY 24, 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 will head north of the border again and pull into the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada. According to prowrestling.fandom.net, the 16-year old building has never hosted any WWE events other than house shows. It is home of the current iteration of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and their farm team, the Manitoba Moose
Here are the top 10 moments from last week’s show:
Here’s what advertised for tonight’s show thus far:
- Who will Randy Orton target next?
- WWE Champion Brock Lesnar to appear live on Raw
- Will Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler come to blows in the same building?
It seems like creature control is in order as there will be a viper, a beast, and a vampire likely in the building. Raw is turning into a PG horror movie. Imagine if Bray Wyatt was still on the show?
Before I dig into Raw, I wanted to acknowledge something that may or may not have WrestleMania implications. I don’t follow boxing, but Tyson Fury won his match Saturday night over Deonte Wilder. WWE made it a point to acknowledge that:
— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2020
Fury defeated Braun Strowman via count out at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia back in October. They then “teamed up” and beat up the B-Team on a Smackdown segment. Who knows if Fury is tabbed for anything, but I think it’s significant that they acknowledged his victory.
Randy Orton’s Next Target?
Last week on Raw, a No Holds Barred match was advertised between Randy Orton and Matt Hardy. As the show unfolded and Randy made his way out, we learned that Matt wasn’t medically cleared to wrestle. (Why was the match advertised ahead of time then? Whatever.) Anyway, Matt still came out despite not being cleared and said he had grit. He didn’t know what the future held for him, but things were going to be on his terms.
Randy walked away but came back and as the two went at it, Randy RKO’d Matt. Fast forward, Randy walked away but came back and eventually smashed Hardy in the head with a chair while his head was laying on the steps. He then said he was sorry twice, showing the conflict he had within himself for his actions. The segment covered about 20 minutes to open the show.
According to WWE.com, he was “released from a medical facility” the day after the attack. Matt has been busy on Twitter, but here’s a tweet that stood out to me and probably everyone following his account:
[NEW FOOTAGE] Major changes are happening, both internally & externally. The EVOLUTION shall be swift & powerful. 3220 #FreeTheDELETE
— The UNKILLABLE Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 22, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: 3220 has to mean March 2, 2020 so that means he’s staying with WWE contrary to popular belief? I’m thinking he obviously skips Raw this week and comes back next week to reveal whatever he’s going to reveal. If it’s Woken Matt I suppose that’s cool, but the character was somewhat bland the last time around, so I don’t know how excited one can be. Who knows, but eventually all roads lead back to Randy and Edge setting up a match at WrestleMania. One thing’s for sure, they’re making better use of Matt than just jobbing him out on the way out, if in fact he is leaving the company. I’m more interested in him than I have been in a while.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar to Appear
Drew McIntyre pointed at the WrestleMania sign last week (clearly to troll PWTorch VIP analyst Todd Martin), and defeated MVP in about two minutes. Prior to this, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman came out to talk to Drew. Paul teased Lesnar coming out, but he was not in the building. That said, he didn’t wish to debate Drew, but rather introduce MVP who had a gripe with him after Drew treated him to a Claymore Kick a week earlier in the VIP lounge.
This week, there’ll be no tease. Lesnar will be in the building, as he gets ready for his title defense against Ricochet at Super Showdown. Ricochet defeated Karl Anderson of the O.C. last week, so it’s expected he’ll have words for Lesnar. We’ll see if Drew will do the same. Here’s Ricochet in a WWE.com exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: I feel somewhat bad for Ricochet as he’s in a match where the outcome is all but a foregone conclusion. He should … I say should … get a rub from working with Lesnar, but you never know if it’s going to benefit him going forward. To me it’s just something to pass the time. It can’t hurt.
Becky The Vampire Slayer?
Two weeks ago, Shayna Baszler bit Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch following a match where she retained the title over Asuka. Last week, Becky arrived and poured a bunch of money in the ring as a down payment on a potential fine she would get for what she would do to Shayna. Shayna appeared on screen, and said the biting wasn’t planned but rather something that just came to her.
It had been announced earlier that Shayna, not officially a Raw wrestler, would partake in an Elimination Chamber match to determine Becky’s WrestleMania opponent for the Raw Women’s Championship. That match will involve Shaya, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Natalya, Asuka and Ruby Riott. Shayna said she would tear the living shit out of Becky … yep she said shit … and Becky said she would be rooting for her to win. Shayna said the cage was her thing, citing her MMA background.
Becky put this up on Twitter:
I STAN♠️♠️♠️ pic.twitter.com/DlHfgKJPq3
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) February 22, 2020
Shayna was not quiet in her own right. Also, WWE posted a video of Shayna’s “savage” moments:
It’s already my right. This is just to let everyone else know. https://t.co/Eata05C37R
— Shayna Baszler (@QoSBaszler) February 20, 2020
— WWE (@WWE) February 22, 2020
If you care, they did an exclusive with Sarah Logan talking about who piqued her interest in the Elimination Chamber match.
Frank’s Analysis: A few weeks ago, King Corbin poured a drink on a fan, and was suspended from participating on Smackdown the following week. He still showed up and attacked Roman Reigns, but that’s besides the point. Shayna bites Becky and gets put into an Elimination Chamber match to determine the challenger for a championship on a show in which she is not an official member. Liv Morgan defeated Lana twice recently. No offense to Lana, but she has ZERO in-ring credibility so why do those victories matter? Asuka has lost two straight championship matches clean. Ruby Riott hasn’t wrestled in almost a year (although I will selfishly not be too upset about this as I’m a Ruby fan). Natalya, I feel hasn’t won a match since the Obama administration (exaggerating of course). Sarah Logan has wrestled a grand total of probably three minutes recently and been made to look like a joke. Also, Randy Orton smashes two wrestlers in the head with a chair and hey, we wonder who his next target will be. So anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the way they’ve handled a potential Shayna vs. Becky match is dumb. They did the same thing last year with Becky and Ronda, so why should we have expected any different.
Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week:
Aleister Black defeated Erick Rowan.
Charlotte Flair cut a promo in regard to her upcoming challenge to Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship. She claimed everyone is the next big thing, until they’re not.
Riddick Moss retained the 24/7 Championship over Mojo Rawley and R-Truth.
Angel Garza & Bobby Lashley defeated Rusev & Humberto Carrillo.
Kairi Sane defeated Natalya via countout.
Seth Rollins held “sermon,” which was more like a promo talking about rehabilitating and eradicating people.
A.J. Styles talked about being the new Mr. WrestleMania, and said he was the greatest of any era. He basically hinted he’ll be wrestling a past legend at ‘Mania, which is likely the Undertaker as has been hinted on multiple wrestling media outlets.
Liv Morgan cut a really crappy promo.
The Viking Raiders and Kevin Owens defeated AOP and Murphy via DQ when Seth Rollins got involved in the match. The Street Profits got involved as well to close out the show.
I continue to be discouraged by Raw, but I’m not going to panic. We have to get through Super Showdown and then get ready for Elimination Chamber. After that, we head towards WrestleMania where television “tends” to be better. Let’s hope it gets that way.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.