HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/6: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including WrestleMania fallout, McIntyre’s first night as champion, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR (@zheydorntorch)



SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 6, 2020
LIVE AND WITHOUT FANS FROM THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER IN ORLANDO, FL
AIRED ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton

[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with a recap video that detailed Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship win over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a very similar championship win recap video that we’ve seen in WWE throughout the years. That said, this one did a particularly good job of capturing the facial expressions of both Lesnar and Drew during the match last night. It was a high point, so very smart to reemphasize those while retelling the story. 

-When the recap video ended, the official intro began. When it ended, the Raw announce team welcomed the audience to the show. At that point, Asuka made her entrance. As she did, the announce team plugged happenings on the show including a WrestleMania rematch between the Street Profits and the team of Angel Garza and Austin Theory. They also plugged a segment for Drew that would detail what happened after he beat Lesnar for the title last night. From there, Liv Morgan made her entrance. As she did, the announce team discussed her win over Natalya at WrestleMania. Once Morgan got to the ring, the bell rang and the match began.

(1) ASUKA vs. LIV MORGAN

To start things off, Asuka yelled in Japanese at Morgan. Morgan shrugged it off and then connected with a few strikes to gain the very early upper hand. From there, Morgan hit the ropes for a move, but Asuka countered with a jumping hip to the face. At that point, Asuka made the first cover, but Morgan kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Liv Morgan took some momentum back and connected with a dropkick from the second rope. This caused Asuka to roll out of the ring. Morgan followed, but Asuka clocked her with punch. As Asuka worked to get Liv back in the ring, Morgan connected with a hurricanrana off of the ring apron. She looked to gain momentum again, but Asuka floored her with a kick to the face. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Asuka is able to bring a different energy to her empty arena matches that her peers just aren’t bringing. It isn’t perfect, but on a curve, it’s heads above most members of the roster. 

Out of the break, Asuka held control over Morgan. She connected with strikes and then charged at Liv in the corner. Liv dodged the move, but Asuka kept up the offense with a lifting knee to the face. From there, Asuka made a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Asuka toyed with Morgan by kicking her in the face, but Morgan eventually reversed the move and rolled Asuka up for a two count pin. From there, Morgan connected with a double knee strike on Asuka to gain the upper hand back. Once both women got to their feet, Asuka charged, but Morgan connected with a series of clotheslines. She then hit a step up enziguri before smashing Asuka face first into the mat with a double stomp in the corner. After, Morgan went for a cover, but Asuka kicked out. Right after, Asuka locked in the Asuka Lock. Morgan quickly countered it into a pin, but Asuka kicked out at two. After that pin, Asuka kept control and connected with a stiff kick to the face. She went for the pin again, but Morgan grabbed the ropes to force a break. Soon after, Asuka was able to lock in the Asuka Lock again. Morgan immediately tapped out to give Asuka the victory.

WINNER: Asuka via submission

Heydorn’s Analysis: A surprisingly decent match. Morgan sold her pain well and Asuka played off that nicely to showcase just how dominant she was. The match felt crisp and kept Asuka strong after her loss at WrestleMania. 

-After the match, the announce team cued up highlights of Baszler vs. Lynch at WrestleMania night one. When the video ended, an interview aired from Lynch after the WrestleMania match. Lynch said it was a year since she’s been champion. She said her win wasn’t a fluke because she is ready for everything. She said Shayna Baszler was good and that she didn’t underestimate her. Lynch hinted that maybe Baszler underestimated her. Lynch said that Baszler is a cage fighter and a skilled opponent. Lynch said that she has heart though. From there, Lynch addressed her future and said that if Baszler is upset with how things finished up at WrestleMania, she knows where to find her. She then walked out of the shot.

-When Lynch’s post-match interview ended, a post-match promo aired from Shayna Baszler. Baszler said the words “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” She then said the thrill of victory and that Becky Lynch would feel the agony of her defeat. She then left the shot. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked that a lot. Very well done by both women. These promos framed both competitors in different places, but in places that will keep their fates intertwined. Certainly more to come between these two in the immediate future. Good stuff.

-Out of the break, the Street Profits made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, Theory and Garza walked out with Zelina Vega. Once they got down to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(2) THE STREET PROFITS vs. ANGEL GARZA & AUSTIN THEORY w/Zelina Vega – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

The match started with Dawkins and Theory after Garza quickly tagged out. Dawkins crushed Theory with a huge clothesline and then tagged Montez Ford into the match. Ford connected with a clothesline and followed that with a tandem dropkick with Dawkins on both Theory and Garza. After, Garza and Theory rolled out of the ring as the Street Profits celebrated inside of it. As they did, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, the action continued. Dawkins had Theory grounded with a shoulder submission and tried for spinning elbow in the corner. He missed which allowed Theory to gain the upper hand. Theory then tagged Angel Garza into the match. Garza grounded Dawkins with a submission and then he and Theory flopped spots over and over to keep momentum and cut the ring in half. Eventually, Dawkins halted their momentum with a back body drop on Austin Theory. After, Dawkins made the hot tag to Montez Ford. Ford connected with a cross body on Angel Garza and followed that with a dropkick and DDT. From there, Ford kipped up and then climbed to the top rope. As he did, the referee was distracted. This allowed for Vega to get involved. After she did, the referee caught her and called for a disqualification.

WINNER: No contest

Heydorn’s Analysis: Not a bad match, but a predictable one given the fact that Vega was dressed in her wrestling gear. That is next level laziness on the part of the writers. You can’t be giving away outcomes in that way.

-After the match, Vega, Garza, and Theory beat on both Dawkins and Ford. Eventually, Bianca Belair walked out to make the save. She helped the Street Profits clear the ring and then addressed Vega on the microphone. Belair called herself the quickest, the greatest, and the best. She said she was “here” now and told Zelina Vega to get into the ring before she jumps out and brings her in herself. As Vega looked on, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Looks like we have our very first post-WrestleMania call-up. Belair has an incredible presence about her. She should shine brighter on Raw than she did in NXT. This promo was a bit rushed and rooted in corporate catchphrases, but she hit the key points and looked the part of a star in doing so. Success. 

-Out of the break, Belair and Vega stood across from each other in the ring. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.

(3) BIANCA BELAIR w/The Street Profits  vs. ZELINA VEGA w/Angel Garza & Austin Theory

Belair overpowered Vega to start the match. From there, she maintained momentum with a handful of slams and strikes. Eventually, Vega stopped her momentum with a slap to the face. This made Belair even more energetic. She tossed Vega around the ring before connecting with shoulder strikes in the corner. Soon after, Belair worked for a another strike, but Vega dodged it with caused Belair to crash into the ring post. After, Vega locked in a submission with the ropes, but Belair didn’t tap out. Out of the pin, Vega connected with a DDT and covered, but only got a two count. Out of that pin, Vega locked in a reverse chokehold. From there, Belair reverse the hold with a suplex. After, Vega tried for a top rope move, but Belair caught her in mid-air and slammed her to the mat. Belair celebrated in the ring, but Theory got involved and in her face. This caused the Street Profits to run over. They fought until the referee called for a disqualification once again.

WINNER: No contest

Heydorn’s Analysis: Belair was able to get her big moves in and looked good for a debut. Given her high ceiling in the company, a solid win would have made for a smart call. Booking her into this could just be a sign of the challenging times and needing to fill television time.

-After the DQ, Montez Ford took the microphone and suggested they do a 3 vs. 3 match. After he did, the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the 3 on 3 match that Montez Ford alluded to began.

(4) THE STREET PROFITS & BIANCA BELAIR vs. AUSTIN THEORY, ANGEL GARZA & ZELINA VEGA

Theory took over early on Montez Ford. He connected with forearms to the back before stomping him in the chest near the corner. From there, Theory locked in a sitting arm bar submission that grounded Montez Ford to the mat.

[HOUR TWO]

Eventually, Ford battled out with punches to the chest. Before he could gain momentum though, Theory dropped him with a clothesline. After, he covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Theory locked in a front face lock. From there, Theory broke the hold and tossed Ford out of the ring. He beat him up for a bit on the outside of the ring, but then rolled him back inside of it and locked in a sleeper hold. Finally, Ford broke out, but right after he did, Theory knocked Dawkins off of the ring apron. With the distraction, Ford dropped Theory and made the hot tag to Belair. Belair fought Vega upon entering the ring and hit her with a sidewalk slam. After, she used a springboard handstand spring to knock Garza out of the ring. At that point, Dawkins and Garza battled on the outside of the ring. They fought to the back. In the ring, Belair connected with her finisher and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Belair and the Street Profits via pinfall

-After the match, Belair and the Street Profits celebrated in the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Fine for what it was. Just a lot of time for this combination of stars to be in a ring. Belair is a strong act for Raw. She needs to be defined and make her mark away from the Street Profits to fully realize what she brings to the table from a business perspective. 

-The announce team played highlights and recapped Bobby Lashley vs. Aleister Black from WrestleMania. From there, a post-match WrestleMania promo aired from Lashley. He spoke and said that he needed new management or a new wife. Lana then strolled into the shot and asked what they were talking about. Lashley said “nothing” before walking out of the shot. Lana looked confused and then asked Caruso what she did. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Here we go again? Already? Lashley needs to leave this Jerry Springer stuff at the door. It caps his potential in every single way. 

-Out of the break, Aleister Black made his entrance. As he did, the announce team discussed what his WrestleMania win over Bobby Lashley meant. They also talked about the fact that he’s only lost twice in the last nine months. Once Black got to the ring, Apollo Crews made his entrance. As he walked down, the announce team said that he was added to the Raw roster due to some draft picks left on the table. They said it was an incredible addition. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Attention WWE announcers. Not every draft pick needs to be an incredible addition. For one thing, fans have seen Crews before. They know he isn’t one. Second thing, he’s about to get squashed by Black. Why build him up that way to just cut him down. There are more effective ways to talk about him that keeps him credible while also framing him as a big deal for Black to beat. 

(5) ALEISTER BLACK vs. APOLLO CREWS

Both men exchanged holds in the middle of the ring to start things off. Black took over with a headlock, but then battled out. At that point, he and Black exchanged fast paced moves in the middle of the ring. After, Black did his patented sit in the ring which caused Crews to roll out. The show then went to break. (c)

Out of the break, Black took control of the match over Crews with an arm submission. Crews battled and lifted Black up for a press slam, but Black countered and locked in his arm submission again. Again, Crews battled out and hit Black with a dropkick. The action continued back and forth until it spilled to the outside of the ring. The show then went to commercial break once again. (c)

Out of the break, Crews held control over Black. He went for a cover, but Black kicked out. After the pin attempt, Crews locked in a chin lock. Finally, Black escaped and then hit Crews with a series of strikes to the back of the leg. He tried for more, but Crews countered it into a power slam. After, he connected with a jumping enziguri that he followed with a toss powerbomb. Crews then made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Crews connected with a round of punches until Black countered with kick. Right after, Crews demolished Black with a clothesline. From there, he tried for a top rope splash, but missed when Black rolled out of the way. At that point, Black pounced on Crews and locked in a leg submission on the leg that he had been working over. Eventually, Crews caused a break when he reached the ropes. From there, Black looked on as Crews tried to get to his feet. He couldn’t do it and instead, Black lifted him up with his leg as a prelude to Black Mass. Black went for the move, but Crews countered and booted him in the face. This caused him to fall out of the ring and the show went to commercial break. (c)

After commercials, the action continued in the ring. Black nailed Crews with a running knee strike and then followed that with a springboard moonsault. From there, Black went for a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, he hit another move and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Crews created some separation and drove Black into the corner. Right after, Black hit Crews injured knee and scaled the ropes. Crews followed him up, won the battle, and connected with a top rope superplex. Crews then made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Crews lifted Black overhead, but couldn’t hold him because his knee gave out.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Crews selling the leg has made this match. Not only does it make Black look dominant, but it helps Crews get over from a sympathetic point of view and as a star that doesn’t quit. Very well done. 

Instead, he hit a powerbomb and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Crews lifted Black to his feet and then into the air. He finally hit his overhead suplex and followed it with a standing moonsault. Crews then covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Crews climbed to the top rope. Black caught him and kicked him in the face. Black then followed him up, but got launched off. Crews then tried for a top rope move, but Black caught him with a jumping knee. Black then lifted Crews with his foot for Black Mass. Crews countered again into a rollup, but Black rolled through and connected with Black Mass right away. This dropped Crews and allowed Black to make the cover and get the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Black via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. These guys had chemistry and took their time telling the story in the ring. Both men sold very well and in a way that forced the audience’s attention at home without the crowd in the arena. Really well done start to finish. 

-After the match, the announce team cued up highlights that detailed last night’s match between Edge and Randy Orton.

-When the highlights ended, the announce team plugged that we would see Ricochet and Cedric Alexander up next. The show then went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, Cedric Alexander made his entrance. After he did, Ricochet walked out and both men rolled into the ring together. As they did, the announce team called them a walking highlight film. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch were already waiting in the ring. Once they got in, the bell rang, and the match began.

(6) CEDRIC ALEXANDER & RICOCHET vs. ONEY LORCAN & DANNY BURCH

Burch and Lorcan took over early. Alexander worked to battle back with a chop, but right after he connected with it, Burch dropped him and locked in a headlock. Eventually, Alexander battled out and made the tag to Ricochet. He and Ricochet then connected with a flurry of high flying moves including a Neuralizer and suicide dive through the ropes. From there, Ricochet hit the recoil on Lorcan for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Ricochet and Alexander via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, not a bad match. Alexander and Ricochet are an interesting team that could be exciting to watch. That said, watching them will be a constant reminder of Ricochet’s failed singles push.

-After the match, the announce team hyped Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens from later in the show. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the announce team cued up highlights from Rollins vs. Owens at WrestleMania over the weekend.

[HOUR THREE]

-When the highlights ended, Kevin Owens cut a pre-taped promo backstage. Owens said that the last six months of his career were horrible. He said he got broken so many times that he asked himself “was it worth it.” From there, Owens talked about his WrestleMania win and that it was all worth it because he got a WrestleMania moment that he was proud of. Owens then talked about his future and wondered what was next. He said no matter what he does, the mentality would remain the same and that he’d keep fighting because Raw was the Kevin Owens show.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The setup worked, but the payoff was ineffective. What is next? Owens needed a concrete mission statement here. How about the championship?

-Seth Rollins made his entrance and slowly walked out onto the ramp. Once Rollins got into the ring, his opponent was waiting, and the match began.

(7) SETH ROLLINS vs. DENZEL DEJOURNETTE 

Rollins destroyed Denzel right out of the gate. He beat him up around the outside of the ring and then rolled him back into it. From there, he hit the Stomp and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Rollins via pinfall

-After the match, Rollins slowly walked back up the ramp.

Heydorn’s Analysis: An obvious squash here, but the character development of Rollins was good to see. He showed his WrestleMania loss well and focused that within his mannerisms in the match. Excited to see what happens here. Simple, but well done.

-The announce team hyped the return of Nia Jax as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Nia Jax isn’t a generational talent of anything, but why not promote this?

-Out of the break, Nia Jax made her entrance. Once she got to the ring, Deonna Purrazzo made her entrance. Once she got down to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(8) NIA JAX vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO

Jax dominated Deonna right out of the gate. She hit Purrazzo with clotheslines and then dragged her by the hair around the ring. From there, she hit another clothesline before connecting with her Samoan Drop. After, she connected with a stalled DDT and made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Jax via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: A pretty nice squash and a logical one given this was Nia’s return match. That said, Jax still looks like a formulaic robot out there. She needs to let her real personality and emotion dictate some of what she does. Right now, it looks like she’s running through memorized dance steps out there. 

-After the match, the announce team cued up highlights of the Boneyard Match between A.J. Styles and The Undertaker at WrestleMania. When it ended, the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Humberto Carrillo made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, his opponent was waiting and the match began.

(9) HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. BRENDAN VINK

Carrillo hit a flurry of moves to start, but his momentum was halted due to Vink’s power. Eventually, Carrillo hit some offense which caused Vink to roll out of the ring. Carrillo went for a dive through the ropes, but Vink countered with a boot to the face. From there, Vink locked in a sleeper hold. Soon after, Carrillo battled out of the hold, but Vink slammed him face first into the turnbuckle for his troubles. From there, he hit Humberto with a hip toss and then locked in a reverse chin lock. Carrillo battled out of that as well and connected with a back elbow. From there, he hit a springboard cross body and followed that with a spinning left kick. Carrillo then hit a rolling moonsault before hitting a top rope moonsault for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Carrillo via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: A smart squash for Carrillo. He needs victories to gain some credibility back. Huge upside with him. 

-After the match, Carrillo posed on the ropes as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the announce team played a recap video that detailed Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley from WrestleMania. When the highlights ended, a post-match interview with Charlotte aired. In it, she said she didn’t need to be congratulated. From there, Charlotte talked about her Dad and all the custom materials that he had. She said that the man makes the suit and the woman makes the title. From there, Charlotte talked about being a multiple time women’s champion before saying that Rhea Ripley was “all right.” She then said that Ripley does what every woman in the WWE does and that is bow down to the queen. From there, Charlotte did her “woo” before walking out of the shot.

Heydorn’s Analysis: One of Charlotte’s better promos. She seemed authentic here and believable coming off of a big win. Good stuff. 

-When the Charlotte interview ended, the announce team played a recap video that detailed Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre from WrestleMania. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: That was even better than the first video that kicked off the show. Really emotional stuff here and it did a great job of highlighting how important the win was for Drew.

-Out of the break, the announce team cued up what happened with Drew McIntyre last night at WrestleMania when it went off the air. Drew walked out for a full entrance and grabbed a microphone for an interview once he got to the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: C’mon WWE. He left the ring at WrestleMania and then walked back out for an interview? Laughable.

In the interview, Drew said that the situation just hasn’t felt real to him yet. He said he hasn’t called family or friends, but he did change the plates on the belt. From there, he talked about the match and thanked Paul Heyman. Drew said that he and Lesnar were ready for war, but thanks Paul Heyman for telling Brock to keep hitting the F5 and eventually he would stay down. Drew said that Heyman didn’t know him very well. From there, Drew talked about overcoming odds and that instead of being hurt from the F5’s he was angry. Drew continued on, but was then interrupted by the Big Show. Show got in the ring and talked with Drew. He hyped Drew up a bit, but said that there was a full locker room that had Drew in their sites. From there, Show said that Drew wasn’t a giant and that he didn’t want a title shot right now or soon. In response, Drew said he knew where this was going. Show continued to goad Drew into a match, but Drew outright said that there was nothing he could say to convince him to wrestle since he just wrestled Brock Lesnar. Show slapped him and that convinced him. From there, the match began.

(10) BIG SHOW vs. DREW MCINTYRE – WWE Championship Match

Drew started things off with some stiff punches in the corner. Drew looked to capitalize and hit the ropes, but Show crushed him with a shoulder tackle. From there, Show took over the match and yelled taunts at Drew as he writhed in pain. Eventually, Drew battle back. He countered Show’s choke slam and picked him up for a huge body slam. After, Drew climbed to the top rope for a move, but Show caught him and hit the choke slam. Show then made the cover, but Drew kicked out at two. In the end, Drew countered Show’s knockout punch and hit the Claymore for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: Not a bad match there and well sold by both Show and Drew. That said, the entire setup to this was beyond silly and illogical. For one thing, why is Drew making a full entrance at WrestleMania after he was already in the ring AT WrestleMania? The “breaking news” nonsense here was too cute. Had this been a Raw segment, it would have worked significantly better and made more sense. All that said, WWE needed to feature Drew on the microphone tonight so that he could talk about the big win and frame it as such for the fans watching. He needed a true mission complete babyface promo that could serve as a means to keep fans engaged and on his side. They missed on that front. Nothing that will cripple Drew out of the gate, but strike one. 

-After the match, Drew celebrated as the show faded to black.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 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

1 Comment on HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/6: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including WrestleMania fallout, McIntyre’s first night as champion, and more

  1. I agree completely about NIa, both in that she deserved some build for her return; and that she seems off her mark absent the live audience. I was sad to see the Virtuosa as jobber of choice though. The Ricochet match did nothing for me – why was he depushed? His promos? Was he punished for something we didn’t hear about? And total waste of Lorcan and Burch, I mean no narration letting anyone not in on their NXT work know who they are…what with Revival’s likely departure, and the fact that they have really hit their ceiling on NXT, they would make a great add to the SD tag division. Conversely, I was pleased with Apollo and Liv having very decent showings in their respective matches.

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