SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
APRIL 6, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Byron Saxton
Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show:
WrestleMania Results Pertinent to Raw
- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
- Becky Lynch defeated Shayna Baszler to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
- Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins via DQ. He then defeated Rollins in a no-DQ match.
- The Undertaker defeated A.J. Styles in a Boneyard match.
- Liv Morgan defeated Natalya (Night Two Kickoff Show).
- Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley to win the NXT Championship.
- Aleister Black defeated Bobby Lashley
- Edge defeated Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match.
- The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) defeated Austin Theory & Angel Garza (with Zelina Vega) to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship. During a post-match attack on the Profits, Bianca Belair from NXT appeared and went after Zelina.
- “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt …. Defeated? … John Cena in a Firefly Funhouse … match? (I’m still processing this one, sorry.)
- Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship.
WrestleMania Exclusive Videos:
There are a series of WWE.com exclusives in relation to WrestleMania. For simplicity, I’ll just list the ones here pertinent to Raw and on Friday I’ll give you the ones pertinent to Smackdown.
The Street Profits:
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross:
The trend of audience-free shows continues as Raw will emanate from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL. Tonight’s episode was filmed on March 24 before the shelter-in-place order for Orange County in Florida, which affects WWE’s use of the Performance Center. WrestleMania is now behind us and we face a very different “night after WrestleMania” than what we’re used to in the past. We’re accustomed to the rabid crowds, debuts, and returns that typically come with this night.
I’ll do this a little differently than how I do the primers. At the moment, WWE is not advertising what they’re doing tonight (or what they did anyway). Let’s look at the big takes from WrestleMania weekend and forecast what we may see not just tonight but going forward.
New WWE Champion: Drew McIntyre
An 11-year journey finally led Drew McIntyre to the mountaintop of WWE, as he captured his first world championship, defeating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. Drew had won the Royal Rumble to earn the right to choose his opponent. Brock and Drew attacked each other on various occasions. Brock most notably went after Drew the night after the Rumble while Drew delivered several Claymore Kicks to Brock on Raw in Brooklyn, N.Y. before the coronavirus outbreak. We saw several standout promos from Paul Heyman, representing Brock as well as from Drew who talked about his journey which included failing in WWE during his first run from 2009-2014. He was deemed the “Chosen One” by Vince McMahon upon his arrival.
Drew now starts his journey as WWE Champion. Unfortunately, we won’t get that promo in front of a crowd right away. We’ll find out tonight how they followed up on his big win, and if they line up a challenger right away. Seth Rollins is a likely choice, given they’ve worked together before when Rollins was a babyface and Drew was a heel.
Frank’s Analysis: Not to speak in an echo chamber, but it is unfortunate that Drew didn’t get this win in front of 70,000+ fans. I’m glad they pressed on with him winning. Provided he holds the title until fans are allowed in the building, and who knows when that will be, it will be a special moment.
Charlotte Flair New NXT Champion
The women’s division on Raw got shaken up so to speak as Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley for the NXT Championship, effectively moving her to NXT and away from Becky Lynch, who retained her Raw Women’s Championship over Shayna Baszler.
Technically, on WWE’s website, Shayna is listed as an NXT wrestler while Charlotte is listed as a member of Raw. I’m sure it just hasn’t been updated yet and we’ll likely see changes over the next little while. I can’t imagine Baszler going back to NXT after being on Raw for the past few months. Charlotte as NXT Champion moves her to NXT, unless she’s going to float between both shows. With Bianca Belair arriving to help the Street Profits last night it’s likely she’s moving to Raw. By week’s end, we should have a better idea of where people may be headed as things are usually shaken up after WrestleMania.
Frank’s Analysis: I was surprised to see Charlotte win the NXT Championship given how hot Rhea had been since the end of last year. I’m guessing they think putting her back in chase mode is better than her being champion at the moment. Perhaps Charlotte works with a lot of the babyfaces they have in NXT such as Xia Li, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae, etc. If Baszler is staying on Raw, I guess they think they need an established top-end heel in NXT. This is all just me guessing and I don’t necessarily agree with the thinking, if in fact this is what they’re thinking. I wasn’t surprised Becky retained. Truthfully, I don’t know how invested they are in Baszler. If you ask me, they didn’t give her enough to warrant a rematch. We’ll see what they do. Everything is obviously up in the air with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kevin Owens-Seth Rollins Feud
It feels like the feud has been going on for quite some time, and it has, but Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins effectively “ended it” this weekend when Owens defeated Rollins in a no-DQ match. It started as a straight-up match, but Rollins hit Owens will the bell getting himself DQ’d. Owens demanded Rollins come back and do a no-DQ match, to which Rollins obliged. Owens hit a big spot as he dove onto Rollins off the WrestleMania sign. He later hit Rollins with a Stunner to score the pin and gave him his “WrestleMania moment.”
We’ll find out if these men go their separate ways as they have been involved with each other one way or another since before Christmas. With Drew McIntyre winning the WWE Championship, I don’t see babyface Owens going after him for the title, but I can see heel Rollins as I mentioned earlier.
Frank’s Analysis: I thought the match was very well done. I’m somewhat numb to the restarts, as WWE does them so often, but here I thought it worked. The match felt personal and the action kept me engaged. Don’t sleep on Rollins moving to Smackdown, as they are lacking in heels at the moment. After all, do you want to see King Corbin or Bray Wyatt chase Braun Strowman for the Universal Championship? Ok then….
I’d keep an eye on Aleister Black. I can see him getting involved with Andrade, depending on his injury status, for the U.S. Championship. How ironic would that be considering Andrade’s manager (I’ll call her that) Zelina Vega is Aleister’s wife in real life.
They’ll probably keep things going with the Street Profits and Austin Theory & Angel Garza, if for the short term. I don’t know if I see Theory & Garza as a long-term team, but Zelina Vega managing them as a team or individuals works for me.
Randy Orton and A.J. Styles have to be taking time off after their matches this weekend, although I wouldn’t put it past WWE to bring Orton right back and have him be McIntyre’s first challenger for the WWE Championship.
I don’t know if anyone cared, but people like Ricochet and Cedric Alexander were not on the card at all this weekend. I don’t know if they’ll move to Smackdown if they do a shakeup, but I thought it was interesting not to at least see Ricochet. He did challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship just two months ago, after all.
I tried to avoid typing “we’ll see what happens” and mentioning the coronavirus pandemic as much as possible, but everything is truly up in the air. I don’t believe they have Smackdown this Friday recorded yet. The “shelter-in-place” order is until April 9, so they’d be able to use the Performance Center Friday provided the order isn’t extended. If it is, who knows what they’ll do. Tonight’s Raw is in the can, so we’ll at least have an idea of where things may be headed on that end. Overall, I enjoyed WrestleMania, but it did suffer from the lack of a crowd. It is tasking to get through these shows, but we press on.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.