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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 20, 2020
LIVE AND WITHOUT FANS FROM THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER IN ORLANDO, FL
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler, and Byron Saxton
-The show began with a highlight package that detailed the main event from last week between Drew McIntyre and Andrade. The video also included a look back at what happened between Drew and Seth Rollins after the match ended.
-When the highlight package ended, the official intro to the show aired. Like usual, after the intro finished, the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. As they did, Drew McIntyre made his entrance and said “hello all you cats and kittens” into the camera as he climbed into the ring. From there, the announce team announced McIntyre vs. Garza for the main event of the program. After, Drew welcomed everyone to Monday Night Raw. He said it was the highlight of his week to be on the show, but that he needed to get onto business since he is the champ. Drew then talked about being jumped at the end of last week’s show. He said he wasn’t surprised that happened because the title means different things to different people. He said for him, it paints a bullseye on his back because it represents being the best in the industry. Drew said it was crowded at the top because everyone wants to be there. Drew then addressed Seth Rollins. He said he Stomped him twice and that if you read through Seth’s rhetoric, his purpose isn’t complicated and that he wants a title. Drew then questioned whether or not Seth deserved a shot at his title. Drew said he could make Rollins jump through hoops, but that Rollins is one of the most decorated stars of all time. Drew said that he needed to beat Seth in order to become the champion he wanted to be. He then challenged Rollins to a WWE Championship match at the Money In The Bank PPV.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Very solid promo. Drew wove a lot into that including addressing what happened to him last week, talking about the prestige of the title, providing Seth with an adequate reason to be in a title match due to his history, and what beating Rollins would mean for Drew and his quest as champion. Lots of checked boxes there and a good delivery as well.
Drew then addressed Seth directly and looked right into the camera. He said hello to Seth and was about to say more, but was interrupted by Zelina Vega and her Crew. Vega spoke at the top of the ramp and said that they were sick of Drew’s speeches. She said that he was looking past Angel Garza and that he was too consumed with Money In The Bank. As she spoke, Andrade attacked from behind. He took out Drew’s knees, but then Drew nailed him out of nowhere with a Claymore. Vega tried to get Theory and Garza to help, but they just stood there.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I get what they were going for there in Garza and Theory afraid to face Drew. At the same time, they completely dismissed Vega. The hook for her is that she provides smart advice to her clients and that they listen. Openly not listening to her and showing that on camera in a big way diminishes her credibility.
From there, Drew hit Andrade with another Claymore that sent him out of the ring. Drew then said to “put the kids to bed because he would slaughter Angel Garza” later in the show. Drew then jawed back and forth with Vega and her group as they looked on and walked up the ramp.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A smart segment all around. Not only builds to MITB, but to the main event as well. Good stuff.
-After the segment, the announce team discussed Money In The Bank and recapped the “climbing the corporate ladder” concept for the MITB matches at the PPV. They talked about fighting through the building and to the roof before hyping three qualifying matches for that match later in the show. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Austin Theory wrapped up his entrance as Zelina Vega joined the commentary team. From there, Aleister Black made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(1) ALEISTER BLACK vs. AUSTIN THEORY – Money In The Bank Qualifier Match
Both men tied up in the middle of the ring to start things off. On commentary, Zelina Vega dismissed questions about being over confident. Back in the ring, Black took Theory to the mat with an arm submission. Eventually, Theory got to his feet, but Black took him down with a leg sweep. From there, he hit an arm drag, but Theory slowed the momentum with a shoulder tackle. Theory took over from there and pounded Black’s back with strikes. Theory then whipped Black into the ropes, but Black countered. He tried for Black Mass, but Theory rolled out of the ring to avoid it. Instead, Black hit baseball slide. From there, Vega got involved and got into Vega’s face. This distracted Black and because of it, Theory tossed him into the guardrail. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: I just hate that spot. Even if that’s a given, it was poorly done here. Vega wasn’t doing anything of consequence, yet it severely distracted Black from the match. Dumb babyfaces are hard to get behind, WWE.
Out of the break, Black slammed Theory into the corner of the ring. Theory countered his next move and then connected with a dropkick before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Theory smashed Black with punches and then picked him up to his feet. Theory then lifted Black on his shoulders and tossed him chest first into the top turnbuckle twice. Theory tried for a third time, but Black countered with a boot to the face. Out of that, Black connected with a body slam and rolled Theory up with a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Theory went for the ATL, but Black countered into a triangle submission on Theory’s arm. Theory proceeded to power out and hit Black with a one handed powerbomb to break the hold. From there, Theory got to his feet first and lifted Black for a suplex. He couldn’t complete the move because of his injured arm due to the submission. Black then rolled Theory up for a pin, but only got a two count. Out of that, Black hit a series of clotheslines and followed that with a leg sweep before connecting with a springboard moonsault. Black then covered, but got a two count. Out of the pin, Black worked to keep momentum and connected with a kick. Black then whipped Theory into the ropes, but Theory countered with a kick to the face. Theory then connected with a move targeting Black’s next and covered, but only got a two count. Right out of the pin, Theory lifted Black and tried for the ATL. Black countered and connected with a running knee strike. Black followed that with a German suplex and a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Black lifted Theory to his feet and tried for Black Mass. Theory ducked it, but Black followed right after with a second that fully connected. Black then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Black via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A good match, but not a great one. Theory had some flashes of decency, but was flat for most of the match. Vega worked to get Theory over on commentary, but it came off more as simply bickering with the announce team. Black needed the victory and clearly is a focus in the MITB match. That said, Theory is getting damaged by the week. Not just by the booking, but by his performances as well. He looks very passive out there.
-After the match, Aleister Black was interviewed. He was asked about being in the MITB ladder match. Black said he didn’t know about corporate life, but not that he’s entered the match, he’d make sure each floor for each opponent would be their own personal hell. Black then walked off.
-When the interview ended, the announce team hyped the MITB ladder match participants and said that the rest of the Raw participants would be figured out later in the show. They then plugged Shayna Baszler in action before the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Shayna Baszler made her entrance. Baszler walked out to the ramp, but was then interviewed. Baszler talked about breaking Sarah Logan’s arm and said she didn’t break any rules when she did that. Baszler then smirked and walked to the ring. As she got into the ring, the announce team cued up highlights that detailed what Baszler did to Logan last week. When the highlights ended, Indi Hartwell was shown waiting in the ring. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.
(2) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. INDI HARTWELL
Baszler dominated out of the gate and tried to break Hartwell’s arm. Hartwell countered it and rolled Baszler up for a pin, but only got a two count. This seemed to anger Shayna and from there, Baszler attacked Hartwell. She then stomped on Hartwell’s arm and broke it like she did Logan’s. The referee immediately called for the bell and said that Hartwell couldn’t continue. He then awarded the victory to Baszler.
WINNER: Baszler via TKO
-After the match, Baszler left the ringside area and grabbed a ladder. From there, she pulled Hartwell out of the ring and slammed her into the guardrail. Shen then tossed Hartwell into the ladder before putting her arm between it and the steel steps. Baszler then crushed Hartwell’s arm between both as Hartwell let out a scream. Baszler then left the ring area as doctors checked on Hartwell. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: A good showing from Baszler, but confusing commentary. Baszler is supposed to win matches by injuring her opponent. To that end, Saxton being totally flabbergasted at her tactics behind that is a bit over the top. He needs to save that intense and serious commentary for when Baszler breaks the rules as a heel like she did with the ladder spot. The flabbergasted commentary is more effective if it is used at the right time and not all the time.
-Out of the break, Ricochet and Cedric Alexander made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, Thorne and Vink were waiting, and the match began.
(3) RICOCHET & CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs SHANE THORNE & BRENDAN VINK
Alexander and Vink controlled the entire match with speed moves until Vink halted their momentum with a clothesline on the outside of the ring. Vink rolled Ricochet back into the ring after it and kept momentum. He tried for a powerbomb, but Ricochet countered it into a hurricanrana. After, he made the tag to Alexander. From there, Alexander hit a tornado DDT on Thorne and tagged Ricochet who hit a standing moonsault. Ricochet made a cover, but only got a two count. In the end, Ricochet hit is Recoil and Alexander hit his Lumbar Check before Alexander made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ricochet and Alexander via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A nice showcase for Ricochet and Cedric. They can really move in that ring and their speed sets them apart from other tag teams. Like any tag team though, they need a story to sink their teeth into and time talk about what their journey looks like.
-After the match, Charly Caruso interviewed Kairi Sane and Asuka. They sang a song as they walked up to Caruso. Caruso asked them about facing Nia Jax again and Asuka said that Kairi was ready for a rematch and that nobody was ready for Asuka.
-Bobby Lashley was shown in the WWE Performance Center weight room. He introduced himself and Lana before saying he would show the world how to flip a giant tractor tire. Lana looked on and said that all the women watching would be impressed with “her Bobby” once they seem him in action. They then walked out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well ok then …
-Out of the break, Kairi Sane made her entrance. Once she got to the ring, Nia Jax made her entrance.
Once Jax got into the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(4) NIA JAX vs. KAIRI SANE
Sane locked in a sleeper hold to start the match, but Jax countered right away. From there, she tossed Sane around the ring. Asuka yelled as she watched from a backstage camera, but Jax maintained her momentum. She hit Sane with a clothesline and followed that by tossing Sane into the turnbuckle. Jax tried to hit a running splash, but Sane dodged it and connected with strikes on Jax’s injured knee. Jax worked to turn the tide, but as she lifted Sane up, her injured knee gave way. Sane poured on more strikes until she dropped Jax with a spinning back strike. From there, Sane connected with a sliding forearm and then tried for the Insane Elbow. Jax countered and dropped her with her Samoan Drop finisher for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Jax via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: More dominance from Nia Jax. This is the only way to feature her so smart of WWE for recognizing that and for not putting her in situations in which she simply won’t succeed.
-After the match, the announce team aired highlights of last week’s happenings in the main event concerning Drew McIntyre, Andrade, and Seth Rollins. When the highlights ended, the announce team introduced a “response” from Seth Rollins to Drew’s challenge. Seth told Drew that not many people understand what it means to be champion, but that he does. He said that Drew and him have a lot in common. He said he and Drew are respected by their peers and that they have a deep passion for the industry. Rollins then accepted Drew’s challenge. Rollins said he accepted it not out of respect or disdain, but out of necessity and duty. Rollins said that right now, the WWE Universe needs a leader and that Drew isn’t one like he is. Rollins said he is a proven leader and that Drew isn’t. Rollins said that he would be the light in the darkness and that at MITB he would take Drew’s title. He said he would do it not because he wants to, but because he has to. The video then faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much to that response outside of Seth’s usual rhetoric. Here, it worked, but they’ll need to add to depth to continue to build interest heading into the match at MITB.
-When Seth’s response ended, the announce team hyped the upcoming MITB qualifier matches as the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, the Viking Raiders were shown driving in their car and talking about how they were vikings. They chanted “Viking Raiders” in between various points.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok … WTF was that?
-When the Viking Raiders video ended, MVP made his entrance. When he got to the ring, he spoke and said that throughout his career, he’s seen a lot. He’s seen stars rise and fall in pursuit of the MITB briefcase. MVP then talked about what was in the briefcase before running down some of the participants in the match. From there, MVP said it was his turn and that Apollo Crews was standing in his way. He called Crews a gifted performer who has lit up Raw since his debut. MVP said Crews was out of his league though. From there, MVP ran down why he would win and go to MITB, but was interrupted by Crews. Once Crews got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(5) APOLLO CREWS vs. MVP – Money In The Bank Qualifier Match
Crews started the match with a dropkick that knocked MVP to the ring apron. MVP tried to call for a timeout, but Crews followed and knocked him off of the apron and to the mats. From there, Crews followed, but MVP took out his legs. Then, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, MVP still held control of the match and had Crews in a chin lock. Crews battled out and dumped him back into the turnbuckle. Crews tried for a move, but MVP countered it with a huge clothesline. After, MVP pinned him, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, MVP beat on Crews and with each strike he yelled names of various stars he’s beaten throughout the years. From there, MVP tried for his Playmaker finish, but Crews countered. Eventually, Crews took control of the match and climbed to the top rope. Crews jumped off for a Frog Splash, but MVP countered and connected with the Playmaker. He then made the cover for a near fall two count. Out of the pin, MVP went for a second Playmaker, but Crews countered it with an enziguri. Crews followed with his standing moonsault and standing shooting star press before connecting with his twisted powerbomb for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Crews via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, they got me with the near-fall. MVP was great here. His promo and ensuing history lesson in the ring gave him credibility that rubbed off on Crews when he won the match. Mid-card level stuff here, but effective in building up a player in the MITB ladder match. Well done.
-After the match, Ruby Riott was interviewed backstage. Riott was asked about the Riott Squad and she said there wasn’t ever a squad to her. She said she carried Logan and Morgan on her back. She said that she made them look threatening. Riott said that Logan has a broken arm and that Morgan would have one too once their match is over. Riott said that she would show Morgan how small and worthless without her. Riott then walked off and the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Liv Morgan made her entrance. Ruby Riott followed and once she got to the ring, their mach began.
(6) LIV MORGAN vs. RUBY RIOTT
Riott controlled the match right out of the gate and dominated Morgan with a flurry of moves. She continued her dominance outside of a few hope moments for Morgan. With Morgan down, Riott trash-talked her and told her to beg for mercy. From there, Riott whipped her into the ropes, but Morgan countered. Morgan then connected with a springboard flatliner and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Morgan via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: I suppose it was a big-ish win for Morgan? That’s about it though. Nothing much here. Riott looked fine, but the focus was on Morgan, who seems to still have an almost smile on her face during important moments of her television time.
-After the match, Bobby Lashley was shown backstage. He said he was warmed up, but Lana said he was hot. Lashley then continued and said that it took an elite athlete to flip a tractor tire. He did it with ease and then turned his attention to a larger tire. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Rey Mysterio made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, Murphy walked out and their match began.
(7) MURPHY vs. REY MYSTERIO – Money In The Bank Qualifier Match
Both men circled each other in the ring after the bell rang. From there, Murphy took Mysterio to the mat. Mysterio escaped a few times, but each time, Murphy continued to ground him. From there, Murphy laughed at Mysterio and said “not bad for an old man.” He then took Rey to the mat again until Rey battled back. Once he did, he hit Murphy with a hurricanrana and then tried for the 619, but Murphy rolled out of the way to avoid it. After, the action continued with Murphy getting the upper hand. Rey rolled out of the ring and looked at his finger, but Murphy followed and beat him up around the outside of the ring. Eventually, Murphy tossed Rey back into the ring and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Murphy locked in a submission hold, but Rey quickly battled out and knocked Murphy to the outside of the ring. Rey followed him out there and the battle continued. Murphy proceeded to knock Rey onto the steel ramp and stomped on his already injured finger. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good action thus far. The story of the finger is working well and Rey is selling like a million bucks Good stuff.
Out of the break, Murphy slammed Rey into the steel steps. From there, he pulled on Rey’s dislocated finger and smashed it into the same steel steps. Murphy then lifted Rey back onto the ring apron as he stood on the turnbuckle. He then stepped on Rey’s had. In response, Rey pushed Murphy off of the ropes and down to the outside mats. Rey followed and jumped off the steps to hit a hurricanrana that sent Murphy crashing to the ground. After, Rey held control and tossed Murphy back into the ring before kicking hi m in the face. Rey then connected with a seated Senton Bomb which he followed with a springboard cross body. From there, Rey went for a 619, but Murphy countered. Instead, Rey connected with a DDT and followed that with a two count pin attempt. Out of the pin, the action spilled back to the outside of the ring after Mysterio connected with a sliding hurricanrana which sent Murphy into the guardrail. After, Rey tossed Murphy back into the ring and climbed to the top rope.
Rey dove off and hit his cross body, but Murphy rolled through it and dropped Rey with a brain-buster. Murphy then made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Murphy looked on in disbelief as Mysterio writhed in pain. Murphy dragged Rey to the center of the ring and then kicked him. Murphy then climbed to the top rope, but Mysterio followed him up and punched him. From there, Murphy tried for a sunset flip, but Rey countered and kicked him in the face. Mysterio then hit Murphy with a Canadian Destroyer. Rey then hit the 619 and followed that with his frog splash before making the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Mysterio via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match, though surprised that the hand wasn’t more of a factor. The announcers talked about it, but Murphy didn’t emphasize it as much as expected. What they did very much worked though. They had chemistry and the finish was unique and effective. Murphy is a great hand in there.
-After the match, Zelina Vega and Angel Garza were interviewed backstage. Vega discussed what happened earlier in the night and questioned how Caruso knew that the night wasn’t going according to her plan. Vega then dismissed Caruso and walked off. From there, Angel Garza spoke to Caruso and said after he wins, he wanted Charly to ask him what it felt like to beat the champion. He then walked off while Caruso looked smitten. The show then went to break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: 9 times out of 10, WWE tries to present Charly Caruso like a viable reporter. This smitten stuff with Garza is counterproductive to that and it doesn’t help Garza’s gimmick much either. Vega was wonderful here. Her remarks felt off the cuff and her attitude beyond arrogant and obnoxious. We’re really starting to see some of the swagger that made her effective in NXT.
-Out of the break, Charlotte made her entrance. She looked at her NXT Women’s Championship belt before climbing into the ring. Kayden Carter waited for her in the ring. From there, Charlotte held up her belt, and the match began.
(8) KAYDEN CARTER vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR
Charlotte crushed Carter with a kick to the face to start things off. After, Charlotte yelled words at her before chopping her. With Carter down, Charlotte arrogantly kicked her. From there, Carter got some offense in and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Carter connected with a crucifix bomb for a two count as well. Right after, Carter locked in an Octopus submission that grounded Charlotte. Soon after, Charlotte got to her feet with Carter on her back. Charlotte then used the ropes to break the hold. From there, Charlotte connected with the spear to gain full momentum back. In the end, Charlotte locked in the Figure 8 which caused Carter to tap out.
WINNER: Charlotte via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: A squash and a smart one as Carter just isn’t a viable act at this point. The announce team never mentioned that a Charlotte appearance was set to happen which peculiar given her status on the show. Seems like something they could have gotten a number out of.
-After the match, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley was shown backstage with the huge tire. Lashley said he wasn’t sure if he could move it, but it anyone could, it would be him. Lashley couldn’t do it at first and kicked the tire in anger. He then lifted it. After he did, Lana ran over and said that she knew he could do it. Lashley then said that that was the type of power that everyone in the locker room should fear.
Heydorn’s Analysis: So, they dropped the Lana/Lashley dissension angle? I’ll give that a pass given the circumstances, but tire lifting? C’mon, WWE. Be better than tire lifting.
-After the Lashley segment, the announce team played highlights that detailed the events from earlier in the night between Zelina Vega, her group, and Drew McIntyre.
-Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega. As he did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Akira Tozawa made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(9) ANDRADE w/Zelina Vega vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Andrade took over early, but Tozawa battled back quickly. He connected with a flying suicide dive out of the ring that sent Andrade into the ring barrier. From there, Tozawa took over in the match, he connected with moves, but the momentum was halted after Andrade connected with a vicious back elbow. Eventually, Tozawa took over again and landed a flurry of moves into pin attempts in which he got two counts. After, Tozawa climbed to the top rope, but Andrade stopped it and connected with his Hammerlock DDT off of that top rope. Andrade then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Andrade via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Andrade needed the win after what happened with Drew last week. Not that it was a bad move, but to be effective in that role, he needs low level wins like this. Tozawa played his part well and really fired up to get over the idea that he may win. Good drama and a decent little television match.
-After the match, the Street Profits walked out and danced on the announce table. As they did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, the Street Profits spoke and introduced Bianca Belair. Belair then made her entrance and faced off with Santana Garrett who was already in the ring.
(10) BIANCA BELAIR vs. SANTANA GARRETT
Both women tied up to start things off. Belair lifted Garrett into the air and in response, Garrett arrogantly pushed her face away. After, Belair fired up and told Garrett to come at her again. She did, but Belair dodged it and took control of the match. On commentary, Ford and Dawkins stuck around and hyped up Belair during the match. Back in the ring, Belair connected with a series of shoulder tackles as the Street Profits cheered her on.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The Street Profits are providing energy, but aren’t effectively highlighting why Bianca Belair is important and why fans should get behind her.
From there, Belair connected with a delayed vertical suplex and followed that with a running splash. After, Garrett got a little offense in, but Belair quickly took momentum back. She then connected with her finish for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Belair via pinfall
-After the match, the Street Profits celebrated with Belair in the ring. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: A good showcase for Belair, but you wouldn’t know it because the Street Profits commanded and stole the attention on commentary. WWE needs to decide what they want for Belair. If they aren’t careful, she could be defined down and perceived on the level of the Street Profits instead of on the level of a Becky Lynch. She has the talent and charisma for the latter.
-Out of the break, Angel Garza made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, Drew McIntyre made his entrance. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.
(11) DREW MCINTYRE vs. ANGEL GARZA w/Zelina Vega, Andrade & Austin Theory
Garza attacked Drew right away after Theory distracted him. Drew quickly turned the tides and chopped him in the corner. From there, Drew connected with a belly to back suplex that sent Garza out of the ring. There, he continued the beating and decimated Garza with chops. From there, Drew hit Garza with a headbutt and then beat up other members of Vega’s group. Because of that distraction, Garza gained the upper hand and slammed Drew shoulder first into the ring post. After, Garza connected with a dropkick off the top rope and covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Garza tried for a leg submission and locked it in while hammering away with punches. Eventually, Drew battled out and crushed him with a clothesline. From there, he hit a back elbow strike and followed that with a big boot to the face. After, he climbed to the top rope and connected with an axe smash. Drew then kipped up and hit a flying and flipping dive over the top rope onto all three of Vega’s guys. From there, Drew destroyed Vega’s crew individually before hitting the Claymore for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Tremendous showing for Drew McIntyre. His matches feel more intense and more like authentic fight than anything else on the show. Makes you wonder what the crowd reaction would be for him if there was a crowd around. Good stuff.
-After the match, Drew spoke to Byron Saxton off the microphone. He said don’t mess with the champion before going back into the ring and hitting the Claymore on both Theory and Garza as the show faded to black.