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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 9, 2020
LIVE FROM WASHINGTON DC.
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-The show opened with the standard Raw intro. When the intro ended, pyro blared in the arena, and the announce team welcomed the audience to the show. Within their intro, Phillips and company hyped an appearance from Edge and then showcased Raw camera crews backstage waiting for his arrival. When the show flipped back to the arena, Becky Lynch walked out to a big reaction from the audience. As she made the walk to the ring, the announce team discussed Shayna Baszler winning the Elimination Chamber match last night and making history by beating everyone in the match. They also plugged Baszler vs. Lynch at WrestleMania.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I was not a fan of putting Shayna Baszler into the EC match and forcing her to earn her way to a title shot after what she did to Lynch. That said, the announce team put over the appearance well and really sold the win in a big time way here. Well done given the circumstances.
-Back in the ring, Lynch paused as the audience chanted her name. She then spoke and said that the time for joking was over because she finally knew who her WrestleMania opponent was in Shayna Baszler. From there, Lynch cued up highlights from Elimination Chamber last night and a recap video aired. That video included an interview from Baszler after the match in which she called Becky Lynch a bitch.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good follow-up on the Baszler win from last night. The recap highlights portrayed Shayna as an unstoppable and vicious force. Better late than never, for sure, but this type of video and narrative is what Baszler needed out of the gate to establish herself as a major threat. Glad to see it here, but it puts a focus on WWE’s misstep from last week and the week before.
When the video ended, Lynch addressed the performance of Baszler in the Elimination Chamber. She recapped Shayna’s accolades, but then called her a world class scumbag. Lynch also called her a black hole of charisma before saying that she might be a bitch, but she’s the bitch that runs the division. From there, Lynch said she used to recognize Baszler as a robot from NXT, but that now she understands that Shayna is the biggest threat to her title since Ronda Rousey. Lynch said that Baszler wasn’t looking to just win the title, but that she wanted to change the course of history. Lynch said people like her aren’t supposed to beat trained killers like Baszler, but she did when she beat Ronda Rousey. Lynch said that she believed Baszler was overlooking her and that she would break Baszler’s face because of it. Lynch then tossed down her microphone and posed for the crowd before leaving the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That works well. A little clunky at times, but Lynch clearly defined the match up for what it was and tried to make it even bigger than just the title. I like that the gimmicks were left backstage here. Lynch in the ring and selling the match against another star in Baszler is the formula that clicks best. Lynch and Baszler are big personalities. WWE needs to continue to let those personalities breathe and inject drama into the WrestleMania match by just being themselves.
-Rey Mysterio was showed walking backstage as the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Rey Mysterio made his entrance to the ring. As he walked down the ramp, the announce team cued up highlights that detailed Mysterio’s history with Garza. From there, Garza walked down to the ring with Zelina Vega. Once Garza got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(1) REY MYSTERIO vs. ANGEL GARZA w/Zelina Vega
Mysterio took over early in the match, but Garza quickly turned the tide by locking in an shoulder submission. Mysterio battled out and ran to the corner, but Garza followed and connected with a stiff kick to the face. After, Garza dropkicked Mysterio out of the ring and then removed his rip of pants as the show went to break. (c)
Out of the break, Garza attempted a 619, but Rey countered it with a dropkick. From there, both men exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Eventually, Rey kicked Garza out of the ring and then connected with a sliding splash from the ring to the floor. After, he tossed Garza back into the ring and connected with a springboard Senton Bomb. Rey followed with a kick and then covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Rey attempted a springboard cross body, but Garza caught him in mid air and connected with a reverse neck breaker. Garza made the cover right after, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, both men stood toe to toe again until Rey connected with an enziguri. He then tried for a 619, but Garza countered and then covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Garza lifted Rey and tried for the Wing Clipper, but Rey blocked it. From there, both men battled to the top rope. Eventually, he knocked Garza off and tried for a Destroyer. Garza caught him to counter, but Rey countered that and hit the 619. Rey followed the 619 with a splash before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Mysterio via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A good little television match. Garza got enough in the match to stay relatively protected and looked good in the process. Rey needs wins like these to maintain credibility on the brand so this was effective in assisting that cause. Good stuff.
-After the match, the announce team played a clip of Kevin Owens arriving to the building earlier in the day. AOP, Buddy Murphy, and Seth Rollins greeted him. Rollins said it was good to see Owens before offering him some popcorn. Owens said he was good and then tossed his suitcase at the AOP. From there, a brawl ensured in which Rollins and his guys beat Owens to a pulp. Rollins looked on and still ate popcorn as officials broke up the brawl. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: More of the same from this group. That said, it was nice to see the announce team cue this up in a different way than normal with the “earlier in the day” caveat. At the same time, why were they filming Owens arriving at the arena?
-Out of the break, the announce team plugged Stone Cold Steve Austin for next week on Raw. After, the announce team re-aired they hype video for Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley with Ripley inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.
-When the video ended, Charlotte Flair made her entrance to the ring. Charlotte posed at the top of the ramp before making her way down to the ring. Once she got to the ring, she posed at the WrestleMania sign and then grabbed a microphone. From there, she spoke and asked if everyone saw that video package. She mocked Rhea Ripley for being the next big thing and the new shiny toy before sarcastically saying that that video hyped her up. Charlotte then said that she couldn’t be her because there was only one of her. She told Ripley to enjoy the hype around her because it wouldn’t last. Charlotte said she wanted to teach Ripley a lesson. She continued and said that it was one thing to stand in a stadium and talk about hopes and dreams. She said it was an entirely different thing to stand in a ring with 90,000 people watching and be humbled. Charlotte did her “Woo” and after she did, Rhea Ripley made her entrance.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Pretty simple stuff. Charlotte needs to be careful with her verbiage. As the heel in the feud, she can’t be spewing truths regarding Ripley as the heat needs to be on her. She walked that line here and almost crossed it, but didn’t fully.
Once Ripley got to the ring, she attempted to speak, but paused because of some chants. Ripley said that she wanted to explain something to Charlotte, but then got cut off. Charlotte said that she didn’t have anything else to say because they heard her talk for 2 straight minutes. Charlotte said this was Monday Night Raw and that Ripley could leave because it was her kingdom. In response, Ripley punched Charlotte in the face and dropped her to the mat. Charlotte looked stunned and then smirked at Ripley as Rhea left the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Yes, Ripley got the punch in, but Charlotte interrupting Ripley the way she did reinforces the notion that Charlotte is the alpha that is in control. Plus, Charlotte didn’t sell the punch in a serious way and with concern. Acting this way won’t give Ripley all she needs to leave WrestleMania as a bigger star than she was going in.
-Randy Orton was shown standing backstage. After, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley made his entrance without Lana. The announce team addressed her not being by Lashley’s side and said not to read into her absence and that she was off filming a movie. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and his match with Zack Ryder began. Ryder was already waiting in the ring out of the break.
(2) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. ZACK RYDER
The match began with Lashley crushing Ryder with a spear. He continued to beat up Ryder until Ryder countered his offense with a punch. Soon after, Lashley took momentum back and dropped Ryder with the Dominator for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Lashley via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A good use of a squash match. Lashley needs this type of attention to gain credibility back. The announce team’s commentary went along nicely with this performance as they spoke about Lashley telling them he wanted to get back into title contention. He’s got a long way to go, but this is a good starting point.
-After the match, the announce team recapped the events of last week between Drew McIntyre and Brock Lesnar. After, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Aleister Black was shown backstage in a dark room. As he was about to speak, there was a knock on the door. Rollins and Murphy appeared and Black asked them what they wanted. Rollins said it was nice to meet him and then addressed the issues Black was having with the OC. He said he was great with numbers and helping with the numbers game. Rollins then asked Black if he wanted to join his group. Black turned him down and in response, Rollins said that he was either with him or against him. Black called those words “fighting words” before saying he accepted. Rollins and Murphy then stormed out of the room.
Heydorn’s Analysis: What a goofy segment. Are they back with the knocking on the door thing? In the end, Rollins vs. Black is a “yes please” match to be sure. On two hours build though?
-Erick Rowan made his entrance with his pet spider cage with him.
After Rowan got to the ring, Drew McIntyre walked out to what sounded like a big reaction. As he did, the announce team talked about how Drew dominated Brock last week on the show. Drew ignored the spider cage and then posed on the ropes as the audience cheered. From there, McIntyre pointed at the WrestleMania sign and the match began.
(3) DREW MCINTYRE vs. ERICK ROWAN
Out of the gate, McIntyre glared at the cage, but then was charged by Rowan. Drew kicked him to counter before throwing out of the ring. Drew brawled with Rowan on the outside of the ring and hit him with an overhead suplex. Drew then sat on the ring apron before approaching the cage and picking it up. Drew placed the cage on the ground and then smashed it with the steel steps. From there, Rowan charged him again and Drew countered it. He tossed Rowan back into the ring and connected with the Future Chock DDT before hitting the Claymore and covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Finally. Finally, the cage story is officially over. More importantly though, this was another good night for Drew. The audience is buying him as their top guy and engaged with him in a significant way throughout the match. Commentary around McIntyre was effective as well and presented Drew as a viable threat to Brock Lesnar and not as an underdog. Telling as typically that isn’t the narrative for challengers to Lesnar. Simple, but well done.
-After the match, Drew McIntyre celebrated in the ring. From there, the announce team played highlights of the events last week between Randy Orton and Beth Phoenix. When the video package ended, the Kabuki Warriors made their entrance. The show then went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Aleister Black vs. Seth Rollins was officially announced for later on in the show. From there, Asuka and Kairi Sane spoke. The laughed and then spoke in Japanese. Sane asked Asuka how she was feeling after the Elimination Chamber match and Asuka said she was ok. She then said she wanted to beat somebody up before yelling in Japanese again. At that point, Natalya and Liv Morgan walked out and down to the ring. Once they got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s almost a moot point now and the announcers have done a pretty good job of selling the Elimination Chamber match last night. That said, Morgan and Natalya didn’t sell their EC injuries at all. Not only does that not hurt the narrative around Baszler, but it ruins the seriousness of the EC match itself.
(4) THE KABUKI WARRIORS vs. LIV MORGAN & NATALYA
The action was back and forth between both teams to start. Nattie whipped Sane into the corner and after she did, Ruby Riott walked out to the ring. At that point, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued. Asuka and Sane held control over Nattie and cut the ring in half to maintain that control. Sane connected with a flurry chop off of the top rope and then arrogantly made the cover before Nattie kicked out at two. Asuka tagged back into the match and hit Nattie with a series of kicks before holding her in place and keeping her in line for a dropkick from Sane. Asuka and Sane held momentum until Nattie battled out with a flurry of punches. As she did Sarah Logan walked out and stood next to Ruby Riott on the ramp. Back in the ring, Asuka had a submission in place on Nattie. Nattie battled out and hit a power slam on Asuka. At that point in time, Ruby and Logan started brawling with each other. As they fought, Morgan climbed to the top rope and hit a splash on both of them.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wait…huh? Logan comes out and basically stands next to Riott without any hint of an attack and then they start brawling out of nowhere? C’mon WWE, be better than that.
Because of that move by Morgan, Nattie didn’t have anyone to tag. She worked to battle on her own and hit a discus clothesline on Sane before covering, but only got a two count. Asuka made a blind tag into the match. Nattie didn’t see it and put the sharpshooter on Sane, but was kicked from behind by Asuka. Asuka then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Kabuki Warriors via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not a bad much, but one with a convoluted finish. Does anyone have a clue as to why the Riott Squad are fighting each other? The story lacks context and the execution with the brawl was beyond awful.
-After the match, the announce team cut to the backstage cameras waiting for Edge as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: This is a smart hook to keep the audience throughout Raw. The announce team setup early in the night that their cameras were waiting backstage for Edge and they’ve kept going to those cameras to remind the audience that he is showing up at some point. Well done and a logical use of backstage camera work.
-Out of the break, A.J. Styles made his entrance with the OC at his side. Styles grabbed a microphone in the ring and paused as the audience booed and chanted “Undertaker.” Finally, Styles spoke and said that the Undertaker stuck his nose in his business where it didn’t belong. Styles said that the Undertaker stole moments for him and then cued up highlights of Styles losing his match against Aleister Black at Elimination Chamber.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Lot’s of recap videos tonight. More than usual. Not sure that is a good or bad thing at this point, but worth recognizing.
When the video ended, the audience chanted “Undertaker” as Styles looked on in disgust. Styles then spoke and said that three years ago, he saw the Undertaker get beat by Roman Reigns. He said that Undertaker ruined the moment after that match when he returned to WWE. Styles said he returned out of ego, but then challenged Undertaker and said he wanted him at WrestleMania. Styles said that 15 years ago he would have been afraid to call Undertaker out, but he wasn’t anymore because Undertaker was a broken down man named Mark Callaway. He said Undertaker should have retired 10 years ago in his prime. He said that he didn’t know what kept bringing Undertaker out of retirement, but surmised that it was Michelle McCool. Styles revealed that McCool and Undertaker were married and said that it was her fault he kept going out there and hurting himself and that she would run him into the ground. Styles then said he would help her at WrestleMania and that he would make sure he dies in the ring at WrestleMania. Styles said he would take the Undertaker’s soul at WrestleMania and do what his wife wants him to do. Styles said he wanted Undertake in a one on one match and that he had nothing to lose because he already lost his pride and mystique. Styles then addressed the audience and told Undertaker that they didn’t care about him. He told Undertaker to accept his challenge and that he would put the nail in his coffin. Styles then dropped the microphone and posed as his music hit.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked the tone and cadence from Styles here, but I can leave the Mark Callaway and Michelle McCool stuff at the door. That type of behind the scenes peak has never been a part of the Undertaker gimmick and is an unnecessary play to get heat on Styles. This is a good example of WWE booking trying too hard to be witty and playing a 12 chord song when a 3 chord song is sufficient.
-Aleister Black was shown in his dark room backstage. He looked at the camera as the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Randy Orton was interviewed backstage. Caruso asked for his thoughts on Edge, but Orton started into the camera and didn’t react. From there, Riddick Moss made his entrance to the ring. Cedric Alexander waiting for him. Once Moss got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(5) RIDDICK MOSS vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Moss took control of the match early and dominated Alexander. Cedric got some offense in, but in the end, Moss hit his super neckbreaker for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Moss via pinfall
-After the match, Moss celebrated as the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, MVP spoke in the ring. He ripped on Washington DC, but then said he wanted to give help to future champions since he was a past champion. MVP said he wanted Edge to a part of his stable and that he was the guy to bring Edge back to prominence. He said that Edge needed to listen to him.
MVP continued to speak and as he did, Edge pulled up to the arena backstage. Edge briskly walked to the ring as MVP told him he had a proposition for him. From there, Edge walked out to a huge pop from the crowd. As soon as he got to the ring, he grabbed the microphone from MVP and told Randy Orton to grow a set and get out to the ring. Edge dropped the microphone and MVP picked it up. He told Edge he was focusing on the wrong things before asking him how his wife was. In response, Edge speared MVP. Right after he did, Orton attacked Edge from behind. The two brawled for a minute until Edge hit the RKO on Orton. The crowd popped big. After, Edge rolled out of the ring and grabbed two steel chairs. He rolled back into the ring, but Orton rolled out. At that point, MVP attacked again, but Edge put him to sleep with a chokehold. After, Edge hit MVP with an RKO onto one of the steel chairs. From there, he stared a hole through Orton and set MVP for a Conchairto. Edge then hit the move after yelling “This is you, Randy” to Orton was watching onstage. From there, Edge hit another one before staring Randy down again. At that point, Orton walked away and in response, Edge chased him backstage as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good stuff. Edge showcased tremendous intensity and Orton sold that intensity in a real way that conveyed the notion that he was in danger because of what he did to Edge and his family. Smart booking too in that Edge had an outlet for his anger and intensity in MVP rather than giving away the payoff to this entire feud early and allowing Edge a big comeuppance on Orton ahead of their match at WrestleMania.
-Out of the break, a promo aired regarding Triple H winning an award over the weekend from
-After the HHH promo, a prerecorded promo from Paul Heyman aired. In it, he talked about the successes of Lesnar throughout the years and that he’d continue his success against Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. After Heyman spoke, Drew spoke and talked about his journey to the title match. He said that he’d Claymore Lesnar in the face and then pin him to win the WWE World Championship.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good stuff. Simple, but effective in telling the story at hand between Lesnar and McIntyre.
-When the video ended, Edge was shown walking backstage. Charly Caruso stopped him for an interview and in response Edge asked her where Randy Orton was. Caruso told Edge that Orton had left the arena. From there, the action spilled back toward the ring where Seth Rollins made his entrance. Murphy was at his side and Rollins ate popcorn as he walked down the ramp. From there, Aleister Black made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(6) ALEISTER BLACK vs. SETH ROLLINS
Out of the gate, the action was split down the middle. Soon after it started, the show went to commercial break. (c)
After the break, the action continued. Rollins took over the momentum and nailed Black with a series of chops and strikes in the corner. With Black down on the mat, Rollins gloated before charging Black in the corner. Black ducked and Rollins tried to hit a springboard clothesline, but Black countered. He dodged the move and then hit Rollins with a series of kicks and strikes. After, he kipped up and hit a springboard moonsault. At this point, Murphy jumped on the apron to distract, but Black knocked him off. From there, Black continued his momentum and tried for a cover, but it was stopped by Murphy which prompted the referee to call the match.
WINNER: No contest
-After the match, Murphy, Rollins, and AOP attacked Black. Eventually, the Viking Raiders made the save. Once they got to the ring, AOP got the upper hand on them too. This brought the Street Profits out and they helped to clear the ring. After they did, Montez Ford got on the microphone and suggested they turn the match into a six man tag. Rollins agreed and marched his team to the ring as the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Rollins and Black barely reached the surface of what they can do in that ring. Sure, they didn’t deliver at all on the match, but its better at this point to do that. Save that one for when it matters more and is better built.
-Out of the break, the bell rang, and the six man tag began.
(7) SETH ROLLINS, MURPHY, & AOP vs. THE STREET PROFITS & THE VIKING RAIDERS
A brawl ensued to start the match off. After back and forth action, Erick attempted a suicide dive, but ended up standing face to face with AOP. Because of that distraction, Murphy hit Erick with a meteora as the show went to commercial break.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I bet I can copy my analysis from this here Raw report from the main event 4 weeks ago and be pretty on point with what we’ve seen thus far. How many more times can we see eight man tags of this nature involving these characters without any storyline progression or context?
Out of the break, the action continued. Rollins beat Erick up on the outside of the ring and posed to the crowd. They booed and in response, Rollins tried to keep up the attack. This time though, Erick countered and sent Rollins into the audience with an Irish whip. After, Erick crawled into the ring and tried to make the tag to his corner, but couldn’t as Rollins held him back. Murphy then ran into the ring and knocked all of his opponents off of the ring apron before pulling Erick toward their corner. Rollins and his team kept momentum until Erick hit Rollins with a knee strike. After, he was able to tag Montez Ford into the match. Ford took over right away and connected with a massive top rope splash. As he started to clear the ring, the show went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: So, you build all that time and momentum for the hot tag and then cut to a commercial break seconds into the payoff? Huh.
Out of the break, Rollins was back in control of the match over Montez Ford. Rollins quickly tagged Murphy into the match and he kept momentum with a sleeper hold. Ford battled out of the hold as the audience chanted “we want the smoke.” As he was about to escape, Murphy connected with a back suplex. As Murphy gloated, Ford decked him with a superkick before making the hot tag to Ivar. Ivar hit a flurry of offense on Akam who had tagged in on the other side. He hit him with a running splash and worked to follow that with a springboard double team, but Razar held him up on the ropes. In the end, the momentum turned from one side to other until Erick dropped Rollins with a sidewalk slam. He then made the tag to Ford who proceeded to connect with a top rope frog splash. Ford then made the cover, but only got a two count because Murphy broke it up. From there, both Viking Raiders hit tandem suicide dives on AOP. From there, Ford hit a flipping dive over the top rope that took out everyone in the match aside from Seth Rollins. Ford rolled back into the ring, but was then crushed with the Stomp and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rollins, Murphy, and AOP
-After the match, Rollins celebrated in the ring, but was then attacked from behind by Kevin Owens. Owens pulled Rollins out of the ring and then hit Stunners on AOP and Murphy. With Owens distracted, Rollins hit Owens with the Stomp. After, Rollins hit a second Stomp and followed that with a third as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Sure, it was a fine tag match, but one that we’ve seen too many times at this point. Rollins taking out Owens at the end had some intensity behind – something that the feud desperately needed. It’s time to move forward. Book the WrestleMania match between Owens and Rollins and get on with the story. At this point it has just been stuck in second gear for way too long.