SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
APRIL 20, 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:
Items Advertised by WWE
- How will Drew McIntyre respond to Seth Rollins’ attack?
- Three first-time matches to name “Money” competitors
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Response to Seth Rollins
Last week, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre opened the show talking about what being champion meant to him and appreciated the support. He talked about beating Brock Lesnar and Big Show in the same night, how surreal it was, and how he will be a fighting champion. In came U.S. Champion Andrade with his business manager Zelina Vega. They acknowledged their history in NXT from 2017, where Andrade took the NXT Championship from Drew and injured his bicep in the match which cost Drew six months. Drew would return, but to Raw after WrestleMania in 2018, and pair with Dolph Ziggler (remember that?).
Andrade challenged Drew to match later in the evening. Drew was happy to oblige. He defeated him in about five minutes but was attacked by Angel Garza before “The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins treated him to a superkick. He then gave Drew two stomps to close out the show. Tonight, we find out how Drew will respond to his apparent first challenger for the WWE Championship.
Frank’s Analysis: This is standard operating procedure. I’m in favor of given a new champion a credible opponent. The only issue I have is Rollins lost his WrestleMania match, so why does he deserve a shot at the title. I hope they do something to make Rollins earn it, but I’m not totally confident.
Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches
Last week on a special MVP Lounge segment, MVP announced three men’s Money in the Bank qualifying matches that will take place tonight. These will be the first time each of these men will face each other.
Rey Mysterio vs. Murphy
Rey Mysterio has a long and decorated history across ECW, WCW, WWE, and various other promotions. He returned to WWE in 2018 at that year’s Royal Rumble and returned on more of a full-time basis later in the year. He’s feuded with Andrade, Samoa Joe, and challenged Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series.
Murphy came up to the main roster last year from 205Live where he had a long reign as Cruiserweight Champion. He wasn’t used much at all at first but became involved in the whodunnit story involving numerous attacks by the recently released Erick Rowan on Roman Reigns. He later moved to Raw and feuded with Aleister Black before joining Seth Rollins and having a run as Raw Tag Team Champions.
Aleister Black vs. Austin Theory
Speaking of Aleister Black, he gets tagged with facing Austin Theory with Zelina Vega (hmm, where’s Zelina’s real feelings going to lie in this match considering she’s married to Black in real life?). Last week, Black defeated Oney Lorcan who’s been appearing frequently on Raw as of late. Theory defeated Akira Tozawa.
Black had a run as NXT Champion in 2018 after defeating Andrade for the title before losing it to Tommaso Ciampa. He came to the main roster last year and appeared on both Raw and Smackdown teaming with Ricochet, before the duo was split. After all the craziness of the wild card rule, he settled in on Raw and has accumulated several victories including one over Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania. Theory arrived on WWE property in 2019. He had a short run in NXT before coming to Raw to replace an injured Andrade on a team with Angel Garza and unsuccessfully challenged the Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) for the Raw Tag Team Championship. Currently Theory, Andrade, and Garza are managed by Vega. Here’s Vega deeming Theory “perfect,” as well Akira Tozawa talking about heading into the NXT Interim Cruiserweight Championship tournament:
One second please. Why do they need an interim Cruiserweight Champion?
MVP vs. Apollo Crews
MVP, the self-professed “greatest ladder match wrestler ever” as he noted last week, takes on Apollo Crews. MVP did take part in the Money in the Bank ladder matches at WrestleMania 24 and 25, both won by CM Punk. After being away from WWE since 2010, MVP returned at the Royal Rumble this year. He’s appeared on a part-time basis, mostly hosting the MVP lounge. He recently pitched being a manager to Drew McIntyre. Of the six men competing tonight, only MVP has partaken in a Money in the Bank ladder match.
Apollo Crews has been on and on WWE television throughout the course of his career. He recently moved to Raw as an “expiring draft pick,” and had a near 30-minute match with Aleister Black that saw Black come out on top.
Frank’s Analysis: I’m going to go Murphy, Black, and Apollo here. Mysterio is enough of a legacy star that he won’t get hurt by a loss. They’re keeping Black strong, and I can even see him winning the Money in the Bank match this year. There’s absolutely no need for MVP to take part, and I’d want to see what Apollo can do in the match. It’s not that I think Apollo can be this big star, but he is capable of more than what they give him on TV.
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week
- Asuka defeated Ruby Riott to qualify for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match
- Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch said that whoever wins Money in the Bank and thinks they have a plan; she will shock the world again.
- Sarah Schreiber asked Shayna Baszler about recent comments by Ronda Rousey about potentially returning to WWE. She snarled, walked away, and defeated the now-released Sarah Logan via referee stoppage to qualify for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
- Angel Garza defeated Tehuti Miles.
- Nia Jax defeated Kairi Sane in about two minutes to qualify for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Here’s Nia in a WWE exclusive:
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair said everyone will bow down to her for like the millionth time because she’s the queen.
Bobby Lashley defeated the now-released No Way Jose. He told his “wife” Lana to “please shut the hell up” during the match. I don’t know about you all, but he at least spoke for me!
The Viking Raiders defeated Cedric Alexander and Ricochet.
Raw Tag Team Champions the Street Profits were interviewed backstage before Bianca Belair came in and thankfully stopped them from talking. I like her more and more by the week.
The qualifying matches are good and should always be standard operating procedure in regard to setting up the Money in the Bank ladder match. It’s these types of structures that make me look forward to WWE programming. Tournaments, qualifying matches, and just matches in general with real consequences make for better conversation and give the shows more meaning. I’m even curious to see what MVP does, even though he doesn’t belong in Money in the Bank. We’ll see what happens.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.
REFRESHER FROM LAST WEEK… HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 4/13: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including appearances from Becky Lynch and Drew McIntyre, Money In The Bank hype, and more