HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 3/30: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including an appearance from the Undertaker and Edge, final WrestleMania hype, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR (@zheydorntorch)



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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 30, 2020
LIVE AND WITHOUT FANS FROM THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER IN ORLANDO, FL
AIRED ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton

-The show opened with a recap hype video that detailed the history and build to The Undertaker vs. A.J.Styles. When the video ended, The Undertaker appeared on the screen. He called A.J by his real name, Allan Jones, and did so because “they were being real now.” Undertaker said that Styles had a big mouth, but questioned whether or not he had a big set. Undertaker said that Styles had a big mouth, but that his mouth was writing checks he couldn’t cash. Undertaker said that Styles was content being a big fish in a small pond because he knew that he didn’t have what it took to hang with the top WWE brass back in the day. Undertaker called that group the best the business had offer and said that Styles waited until that group was gone to show up. He said he was still there though. Undertaker said that he had more matches behind him than in front of him, but that Styles crossed a line when he mentioned “her.” Undertaker said that his wife did the Styles Clash better than he did and that he would pay the ultimate price in a boneyard. He continued and said that he’ll make Styles famous at WrestleMania. He said he hopes he brings the OC so that they all can feel the unholy trinity that he’s going to bring with him. He said they will feel pain and rest in peace at WrestleMania.

Heydorn’s Analysis: First off, the recap video was very well done. It struck a smart tone that made the match feel like a big deal. As far as Undertaker’s promo goes, it was interesting to see him cool down his usual gimmick in favor of a more human character. I can do without the extreme personal jabs, but Undertaker’s delivery was effective in the pre-taped environment. Good stuff all the way through. Like most matches on WrestleMania this weekend, it’s a shame we won’t get to see this payoff the right way at a real WrestleMania and with an audience in place.

-After the promo, the announce team chimed in for the first time and welcomed the audience to the show. They then hyped Undertaker vs. Styles before running down some key WrestleMania matches including Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre. They said that Lesnar would make an appearance tonight before hyping an appearance from Edge as well. From there, the announce team cued up clips of Becky Lynch arriving in her semi truck. Lynch got out of the truck and admired it before walking into the building as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the announce team cued up highlights that detailed the events of last week between Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler. After the clips, the announce team hyped Lynch vs. Baszler. From there, Lynch was shown on top of the entrance ramp with a microphone. Lynch said that at last year’s WrestleMania she fought two champions at once and that the stakes couldn’t have been higher for her. She said she took some chances and talked a big game, but it paid off and she’s been walking a fine rope ever since. Lynch then cued up her WrestleMania 35 match against Rhonda Rousey and Charlotte Flair. The match then played in full on Raw.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A smart match to feature here. A crowning moment for Becky Lynch and one that details the importance of the Raw Women’s Championship ahead of a big match for that title this weekend between Lynch and Shayna Baszler. 

-When the match ended, Lynch was still on the ramp. She said that was the first time she watched that back. She said that a lot of people have tried to take her belt from her, but that Baszler thinks she is different. Lynch said that losing the Raw Women’s Championship would destroy her and that Baszler was right about that. Lynch said she wouldn’t know who she was without the title. She said she knew about Baszler’s demons too though. Lynch said that after last week though, she was starting to get to Baszler. Lynch said that Shayna’s demon was trying to beat Lynch like her friend Ronda Rousey couldn’t do. She said that by beating her, Baszler would step out from Rousey’s shadow. Lynch continued and questioned who would really be destroyed due to losing at WrestleMania, her or Baszler herself. As she spoke, Baszler attacked from behind and choked Lynch to the ground. Baszler then lifted Lynch into the air and swung her into the announce table. After, she picked up the Raw Women’s Championship and stood over Becky before throwing it on top of her. Baszler then look down at Lynch as she writhed in pain. From there, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Interesting avenue to travel down by Lynch with her go-home promo. She flipped Baszler’s words around regarding who would truly be destroyed and tried to carefully weave Ronda Rousey into the story. This worked, but a true go-home about Lynch overcoming the odds and winning would have added more intensity. I liked the attack by Baszler. Like usual, she felt authentic and the physicality was off the chart serious. 

-Out of the break, Aleister Black made his entrance. As he did, Tom Phillips plugged WrestleMania and said he couldn’t wait to see what moments would be made over the weekend. Once Black got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

Heydorn’s Analysis: WWE needs to be careful not to overhype this weekend’s show. Most fans see it and will see it for what it is. Teasing big moments is just silly and unnecessary given the circumstances of the entire thing. 

(1) LOCAL JOBBER vs. ALEISTER BLACK

Black’s opponent charged at him to start the match. Black dodged it and then sat in the middle of the ring. This confused his opponent to the point of frustration. He then tried to attack Black again, but Black caught his kick and then hit Black Mass for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Black via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: A total squash. Not a bad one either. Apparently Black is facing Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania. Who would have thought right? How is there not a single encounter or pre-taped promo to build this up? Why even have the match at this point?

-After the match, the announce team played a recap video that detailed the events of last week between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens.  The show then went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, the Street Profits made their way to the ring. Once they got there, Kevin Owens made his entrance and did so in his new KO-Mania shirt. From there, Angel Garza made his entrance with Zelina Vega. Vega cut a promo at the top of the ramp and said that Andrade suffered a serious rib injury and couldn’t compete. She then said she had access to all the hot talent though and introduced Austin Theory as another client. Theory walked out and then walked down to the ring with Garza. From there, Seth Rollins made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(2) SETH ROLLINS, AUSTIN THEORY, & ANGEL GARZA vs. THE STREET PROFITS & KEVIN OWENS

Owens and Theory started things off after Rollins darted out of the ring once he saw Kevin Owens. As he did, he said “let’s see what you got kid.” Owens took over right away and clocked Theory with a series of strikes. He then tagged Montez Ford into the match. Ford kept momentum before hitting a double team that sent Theory to the outside of the ring. Seeing this, Ford connected with flipping suicide dive as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, the action continued with Garza taking the upper hand on Montez Ford. Garza connected with a dropkick and then made the cover before tagging Austin Theory into the match. Theory put Ford in a headlock and maintained momentum. From there, Theory nailed Ford with strikes to the back and neck of Ford and then targeted the lower back. Eventually, Ford dodged a strike and jumped to make the tag to Angelo Dawkins. Dawkins cleared the ring and then nailed Garza with a shoulder tackle on the outside of the ring before hitting Theory with one in the ring. At that point, Rollins hit Dawkins with a superkick and taunted Owens right after. From there, he kept momentum in the match and cut the ring in half. Finally, Dawkins made the hot tag to Kevin Owens. Owens hit the ring with fire and connected with his running boulder into Garza. After, he connected with a Senton Bomb and tried for a pin, but Theory broke it up. At that point, Ford tried for a flying suicide to the outside of the ring again, but missed and crashed to the ground.

Heydorn’s Analysis: What was Austin Theory thinking on that move? He was nowhere close to catching Montez Ford which caused Ford to crash unprotected to the mat. Dangerous stuff. Hope Ford is ok. 

Back in the ring, Owens hit Garza with a Stunner and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Street Profits and Owens via pinfall

-Right after the three count, Rollins hit Owens with the Stomp. Owens sold the move and writhed in pain as Rollins looked on. Rollins then left the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A fine match, but a weak final angle going into the Rollins vs. Owens WrestleMania match. Maybe we still will, but the audience needs to hear from Owens. Like Rollins last week, Owens needs to make his case regarding what the WrestleMania match means to him and answer the criticisms of Rollins from last week. 

-Out of the break, Owens was sitting in the ring breathing deeply. He spoke and said that Rollins just kicked some sense into him. Owens said that he thought a lot about what Rollins said last week and had a response. He recapped what Rollins said last week, but then he said that he said otherwise. Owens said that he heard the PC was built despite of Seth Rollins. Owens said that Rollins was a nightmare to deal with and that nobody could stand him. Owens said that throughout the past few months, Rollins proved everyone right when those people called Seth and arrogant dip shit. Owens said that he was aware of his past, but that he wasn’t delusional like Rollins. From there, Owens talked about Seth’s WrestleMania moments before saying that Seth calling him a failure stayed with him for a while. Owens said that he may not have WrestleMania moments, but he had similar accolades that Seth has. Owens said that he was man enough to admit that he had help achieving those, but Seth couldn’t do the same thing. He said that Seth always had backup for those WrestleMania moments and that Seth needed to be honest with himself. Owens said the only thing Seth said last week that made sense was that nothing accomplished before coming to the WWE matters. He said that nothing would be more true than at WrestleMania on Saturday. He said on Saturday neither of their pasts matter and that the only thing that does matter is that he and Rollins would face each other one on one. Owens said that he would beat Rollins, prove he isn’t a god, and take his WrestleMania moment from Seth. Owens then walked out of the shot. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Great delivery work from Kevin Owens. Some of the content got a little murky with the WrestleMania moment stuff, but Owens was able to bring it back and connect it up with his mission and reason for wanting to win the match. Good stuff here and very well done on the part of Owens. 

-After the break, the announce team cued up a highlight and hype video package that detailed the Randy Orton vs. Edge feud. When the video ended, Edge cut a promo from the backstage area. He looked into the camera and recapped Orton calling him a junkie. Edge said that he probably was right, but that it wasn’t an ego thing though. Edge said that he loves the feeling he gets in an arena when his music hits. He said that he loves the connection with the audience. He said that they all were junkies for the business. He said that if you aren’t a junkie for this business then you are in his way. Edge moved on to the grit comments and said that they did have different definitions of the word grit. Edge said that grit to Orton means coasting and ok with being ok. Edge said that OK for Orton is better than most and a Hall Of Fame career. Edge said that to him, grit is being the kind of man that reaches into a hole to pull someone out even if they don’t deserve it. He said it’s saying “no” to Evolution. He said it’s thinking about a return for nine years and making it happen. From there, Edge simply said he was wrong. He said that Orton wasn’t jealous of him, but that he was jealous for his passion. Edge said that you can’t fabricate passion and that the only time Orton has it is when Edge is around. Edge said that the last time Randy Orton was as good as he was now is nine years ago. Edge said that himself inspiring that passion in Orton scares Randy. He said that that fear allowed the voices in Orton’s head to make a mistake. Edge said that Orton attacked his wife and uttered the names of his daughters. He said that Orton pulled him back in and accepted a match with him. He said that Orton dug himself another hole, but that this time he wouldn’t pull him back out. He said he’d push him so far in that he would never ever get back out. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Tremendous. Edge tied the entire story with Orton together and did so in an emotional way that felt deep, personal, and intense. Just crazy that Edge won’t get his big WrestleMania return in the right environment. Great stuff here and perfect promo heading into the match this weekend.

-Out of the break, Asuka made her entrance to the ring. As she did, the announce team hyped Asuka and Kairi Sane vs. Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania. Once Asuka got into the ring, Kayden Carter was shown waiting for her. Before the bell rang, Asuka cut a promo and asked who Carter was. She spoke Japanese and English and said that nobody was ready for Asuka. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.

(3) ASUKA vs. KAYDEN CARTER

Carter hit Asuka out of the gate. She tried to maintain momentum, but Asuka countered it and kept control for herself. Asuka took over for a bit, but was then rolled up by Carter for a two count. Out of the pin, Asuka crushed Carter with a kick to the head and then locked in her choke hold which immediately caused a tap out.

WINNER: Asuka via submission

-After the match, Asuka walked to the commentary booth and spoke on the microphone. She yelled in Japanese as the announce team hyped her WrestleMania match. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Another squash match, but a smart one in that it framed Asuka as a viable and credible champion going into her tag title match. Obviously, this wasn’t much, but nice to see some effort in protecting some of these undercard matches.

-Out of the break, the announce team cued up footage from “earlier in the day” when Rhea Ripley arrived at the PC. Ripley was shown walking into the building and Charlotte attacked her from behind and kicked her into a garage door. Charlotte called Ripley a rookie and said that she would see her at WrestleMania. As Ripley got to her feet, she uttered the words “yeah, yeah you will” before being checked out by doctors.

Heydorn’s Analysis: With the circumstances surrounding WrestleMania this year, this match seems to have fallen out of the favor of attention. This was A to B stuff, but not substantial in building the program to a boiling point. 

-After the clip, the announce team cued up Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio from Survivor Series 2019. That match aired in full on Raw.

-When the match ended, the announce team talked about the domination Lesnar showed in that match and then hyped Lesnar vs. McIntyre at WrestleMania over the weekend. From there, they ran down other matches on the card.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Wait, how can they possibly still promote Roman Reigns for WrestleMania after the video he sent out today. If that isn’t Vince McMahon at his finest, I don’t know what is. Unreal. 

-Out of the break, Paul Heyman stood in the ring with Brock Lesnar. He introduced himself and Brock Lesnar. From there, he said he didn’t like to be the person to pull back the curtain on this business. He talked about WWE and then said this segment was the final segment, of the final Raw, before the most unique WrestleMania of all time. He called it the go-home segment on the go-home Raw. From there, he asked “who stands in the ring for those segments more often than not?” Heyman’s answer was Brock Lesnar because he was the beast to slay and the one to beat on the biggest show of the year. Heyman said that this year, Drew McIntyre stepped up and Heyman gave him props. Heyman called McIntyre special compared to the guy walking outside, the guy at the gym, and the WWE locker room. Heyman then said that The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Randy Couture, John Cena, and The Undertaker were all special too. He said that at the end of the day when they got into the ring with a once ever athlete like Lesnar they were just Brock’s bitch. Heyman said that Drew doesn’t need him to promote just how big the Claymore Kick is. He said its on par with all of the other moves that Lesnar faced and that none of them worked. Heyman said that now that Lesnar knows the Claymore Kick is coming, he would master a strategy to avoid it, or eat it. At that point, he said the world would know at that point if the Claymore Kick could take down Brock Lesnar. From there, Heyman guaranteed that next year on the go-home Raw, Lesnar would be standing there with the title on his shoulder. Heyman said that on that show, he would talk about Lesnar beating Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. He said Drew would walk in special, but walk out just like everyone else – Brock’s bitch. The show then faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A very good promo from Heyman, but telling as well. Without an appearance from Drew and this strong of a promo, one has to think this could foreshadow the championship not changing hands at WrestleMania. Given the circumstances, probably the right call, but a shame for Drew given his giant progress and popularity the last 4 months. 

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