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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 18, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 5/11 WWE Raw Results: Keller’s report on Money in the Bank PPV fallout, Edge hunting Orton, Becky confronting Asuka
-They began with a four minute video package on Becky Lynch’s announcement last week.
-Phillips plugged the Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin.
-Charly Caruso stood mid-ring and introduced Randy Orton. As Orton made his way to the ring, the announcers talked about last week’s Edge-Orton exchange. Charly asked Orton to explain what he meant by a “wrestling match” challenge. Orton asked, “Is the concept of a straight-up wrestling match that hard to understand? WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment. Wrestling is the basis of everything we do.” He said everyone’s goal is to perform at WrestleMania, and they tore each other up at WrestleMania. He said it pains him to say it that on that night, Edge was the better man. He said he knows Edge isn’t the better wrestler, though. He said he just needs a ring and a referee. He said no regular ordinary athlete can do what they do in WWE, and no athlete in WWE can do what he does as well as he does it – including Edge. Orton said he knows why Edge didn’t accept his challenge last week. He said he saw it in Edge’s eyes: “Doubt.” He said his grit and passion has faded and is gone. “What once was grit and passion is now just doubt and fear.”
Edge’s music started and he made his ring entrance with blasts of smoke. Edge told Orton that last week he spoke a lot of truths that he had to internalize. He said Orton is playing a game of chess, so he couldn’t rush into his next move. He said he thinks it’s a game. “Yeah, you stand there with that stupid smug smirk. This is just a paycheck to you. I get it. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – you are quite possibly the most talented person I’ve seen in a wrestling ring. This isn’t the life you wanted; this was the life you were handed. This is your back-up plan. So you’re different than all those other Superstars in the locker room.” He angrily told Orton he didn’t go to sleep every night dreaming of becoming WWE Champion, he didn’t save up his allowance so he could go to the show at the end of the month, and he didn’t cry the night he won the IC Title. He said that meant so much because he was on his way to becoming one of the great workhorses in WWE. Edge then reminisced about beating him in 2004 for that title.
Orton interrupted and told him to cut it out. He asked if he was done. Edge interrupted and yelled that Orton never had a career-ending injury where he had to fight for nine years to get back to compete. “You don’t love this sport like the rest of that locker room does,” he said. Orton asked if he’s going to accept his challenge. Edge yelled, “Yes, yes! I accept your damn challenge!” Orton showed a subtle smile and slinked out of the ring, watching Edge the whole way.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good passionate promos from both. Edge laid out why he’s the one to root for here with the story he told of his WWE dreams compared to Orton being born into this job and having less hardship.)
-They went to the announcers on camera. Samoa Joe said a lot of hyperbole gets thrown around, but given Orton and Edge’s history and pedigree, this could be the greatest match ever. Phillips shifted to an update on the Seth Rollins-Rey Mysterio angle where Seth badly injured Rey’s eye. They showed Aleister Black attacking Seth and fighting Murphy when he took exception to Seth saying he didn’t know what happened out there.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not so sure about Joe doubling down on Caruso’s statement about Edge-Orton being the greatest match of all time. It’s creating an expectation that’s probably impossible to achieve without fans in attendance, and even with fans it’s a ridiculously high bar.)
-Backstage Seth told Murphy he had a revelation he wants to tell the world. He asked him to follow him to the ring. Phillips wondered if that revelation includes an apology. [c]
-Seth and Murphy entered the ring. Seth talked about falling into a dark place so dark he wasn’t sure if he’d ever escape. “But without darkness, there can be no light,” he said. “But I have seen the light and I have seen it better than I have before.” He thanked Rey Mysterio for that. He said people have been critical of his actions last week, but the way he sees it, what happened to Rey was unfortunate, but necessary. He called it a sacrifice that was needed and a cathartic moment he needed to be the leader he was meant to be. He said he wanted to speak to Rey directly. He looked into the camera and said he knows he is home with his family healing, but soon enough he will come to understand that what happened to him was a blessing in disguise. “From the bottom of my heart, so when we see each other again it doesn’t have to be said, Rey Mysterio, you’re welcome.” Suddenly out came Humberto Carrillo.
Humberto asked if anyone believes him. He said Rey is his idol. He pounded his heart with his fist. He called Seth a coward. He slid into the ring and got in Murphy’s face. Seth said if he’s out there to fight him, he’s clearly not dressed for the occasion, but his disciple Murphy is dressed for the occasion because he is scheduled to wrestle Aleister Black later. He said if he wants a fight, he’s sure his disciple will oblige. They cut to a break with the wrestlers staring at each other. [c]
-A commercial for Smackdown hyped Charlotte vs. Bayley, Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy, and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. A.J. Styles.
(1) HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. MURPHY (w/Seth Rollins)
Philips noted Seth’s passive language saying “what happened to Rey” rather than acknowledging he was the one who did the damage to Rey. Humberto kicked Murphy off the ring apron, then flip dove onto Murphy at ringside. Carrillo looked over at Seth before leaping off the top rope. That was enough of a delay to give Murphy time to recover and knee him out of mid-air. He followed with Murphy’s Law for the win. Joe said if Seth wasn’t at ringside, Carrillo would have won.
WINNER: Murphy in 2:00.
-Murphy attacked Carrillo afterward. Black ran out for the save. Seth retreated. Murphy took a beating and fled to the stage next to Seth.
(Keller’s Analysis: That didn’t need to be that short, and I don’t like Carrillo losing that easily. Joe blaming Seth being at ringside felt like a stretch.)
-King Corbin complained to a worker backstage about not having a private locker room. He complained that people weren’t bowing down and serving his needs well enough. “What’s going on on Raw?” he asked a referee. He told the referee to fix it and make things right. [c]
-Liv Morgan looked into the camera and said what you might not know about her is that her mom was her hero. She said she didn’t have a job or much of a saving account or much of a resume, but she had determination. She said her mom never quit, and she is her mom’s daughter. She said when she wrestled Charlotte, she lost but she learned she is just like her mother and one day she will be Raw Women’s Champion.
-Charlotte walked to the ring. They cut to a clip of the Charlotte segment last Friday on Smackdown with Bayley and Sasha Banks. Phillips plugged that Charlotte would face Bayley next Friday on Fox. Charlotte bragged about being the Face of Raw, a mentor at NXT, and a special guest Superstar on Smackdown. She said that makes her the hardest working wrestler in WWE. She said she’s going to teach Bayley that there are levels to being a champion. She told Ruby Riot to come to the ring and tell her what she has to say. Riott walked out to her music. She stepped up to Charlotte. Phillips said, finally, that they are scheduled to wrestle. He then pivoted to saying later The Street Profits will face The Viking Raiders in an axe throwing challenge later on Raw.
-A commercial aired for the Undertaker documentary series. [c]
-An NXT on USA commercial aired.
(2) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. RUBY RIOTT
Charlotte took it to Riott at ringside, then back in the ring including signature chops. A graphic on the screen advertised a Shayna Baszler vs. Natalya “Submissions Match” later. Riott came back by slamming Charlotte’s face into the mat, then rolled into a wrist lock and bent Charlotte’s fingers back. Charlotte broke free and stomped on Riott’s fingers. Riott rolled up Charlotte for a two count. Charlotte blocked a Riott Kick and then quickly applied the Figure-Eight for the tapout win.
WINNER: Charlotte in 4:00.
-Caruso interviewed Bobby Lashley backstage. As Caruso began to ask her question, MVP interrupted and said he and Bobby have talked and they won’t be doing business. He said Lashley is preoccupied with clowns like R-Truth and his trophy wife Lana. He said he’s not determined to do what it takes to earn another title match. He said he’s not trying to cause trouble with him and his wife, but he asked him to think about when Lashley is going to free Lashley. He walked away. Lashley began thinking. [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera. Phillips said at Backlash, it’s now official that Orton will wrestle Edge in what could end up being considered the greatest wrestling match ever. Saxton said, “Edge, Orton, one more time? Yes please.” Then they smiled and threw to a highlight package on the Profits-Raiders basketball game.
-They went to the Street Profits who arrived for the axe throwing competition. A bunch of Viking Raiders’ supporters offered them smoke from a bonfire. After the first throw, Montez Ford suggested they forfeit. Angelo Dawkins wanted to stick it out.
-Kairi Sane stood in the ring and introduced Asuka. There were balloons on display to signal this was a celebration for Asuka becoming champion. Phillips said who else can say they fought through a building to become champion. Asuka came out and celebrated being champion. Kairi explained she has won every championship in WWE and is thus the grand slam champion. Nia Jax interrupted and said she was literally handed the title. She said there’s only one way things go down when she meets her in the ring. She said when she becomes champion, they’ll have a real party. Kairi took exception and approached Jax. Asuka attacked Jax and knocked her out of the ring with a barrage of kicks and a hip attack.
-Caruso interviewed Corbin backstage. She said he’ll face Drew McIntyre in the “inaugural Brand-t0-Brand Invitational.” Corbin said while Drew is a champion, he’s no king. He said he chose this match because he carried Drew for a year. He said it’s impressive he beat Brock Lesnar to become champion, but he makes mistakes, and he’ll exploit those mistakes and beat him, and then he’ll end up facing Drew in the main event of WrestleMania. [c]
-Phillips plugged that Kevin Owens is back for the first time since WrestleMania to host the Kevin Owens Show with Zelina Vega, Austin Theory, Andrade, and Angel Garza later in the show.
-R-Truth asked the WWE Universe “What’s up?” He said his cousin Pretty Ricky told him that Lashley has been a bad bad bad man lately. A clip aired of Lashley knocking out Truth last week. Truth back live said he doesn’t want Bobby to put him in “Nelson from the Simpsons again.” He said his childhood hero John Cena would never give up if he faced Lashley. He then told Tom Brady to watch what’s about to do to Lashley because he’s going to come get him and sack him and take back his 24/7 Title. Phillip said Rob Gronkowski is the current 24/7 Champion.
(3) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. R-TRUTH
Truth backed into the corner at the bell. He jumped to ringside. He the put in the false teeth and said he’s now Tricky Ricky. He told taunted Lashley to chase him. Lashley went after him at ringside. Truth attacked Lashley briefly, but Lashley smashed him into the barricade and then picked him up and rammed him into the ringpost. Joe said, “This is excessive.” Back in the ring, Lashley seemed to let up. Phillips said it’s almost as if Lashley wants Truth to hit him. Lashley brushed off Truth and then finished him with a full nelson and two full nelson slams.
WINNER: Lashley in 3:00.
-MVP walked out after the match and applauded Lashley’s performance.
-They cut backstage to Lana throwing stuff around and yelling in anger.
(Keller’s Analysis: The strong re-build of Lashley continues, and so far so good framing Lashley as a big deal, with the idea being MVP can direct him in a more productive direction.)
-They cut backstage to Kairi and Asuka still celebrating together in an over-the-top manner, then walked away in opposite directions. Nia Jax was standing in the background. She eyed Kairi. [c]
(4) ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS vs. IICONICS (Peyton Royce & Billy Kaye) – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match
Bliss and Cross came out first. Then the IIconics walked out and taunted them with some trash talk. They threw to a clip of the match finish last week when the IIconics beat them. Joe touted the performance of the IIconics last week. The match started at the mid-point of Raw. Phillips explained that the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles can be defended on any brand in WWE, which is why the champs were on Raw. Joe asked Phillips at one point if he was familiar with a dry sense of humor. (Maybe he’ll get that on his next firmware update.) When Royce broke up a cover by Bliss. Phillips said she was taking time away from her busy Tik Tok schedule. Bliss landed a Twisted Bliss on Kaye. Royce broke up the cover, although she was so late the ref just stopped counting. (The wrestler on their back when someone is late with a save just has to kick out or at least raise their shoulder to avoid the ref looking terrible.) Royce threw Bliss aggressively into the ringpost a few times. The ref DQ’d her. She dropped to the mat in distraught disappointment. Saxton said Royce has no one to blame but herself.
WINNERS: Bliss & Cross via DQ in 3:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles.
-They cut backstage to Kairi Sane playing a recorder. Jax attacked her from behind. She threw her into some storage crates and they cut to a break. [c]
-Kaye wasn’t thrilled with Royce backstage for getting them DQ’d. She said this was their one chance to get the Women’s Tag Team Titles back and she blew it. Kaye slapped her. Royce recoiled. Kaye cried and apologized and said she is so sorry. They hugged.
-The announcers hyped the Undertaker documentary series and threw to a highlight package of part two.
-Phillips recapped Natalya losing to Baszler last week and then throwing a fit afterward. He said she’s out for revenge against Baszler this week for trying to break her arm. Phillips also noted that Baszler said horrific things about Becky’s pregnancy announcement and Natalya’s family.
-Backstage, a medic and Asuka checked on Kairi. Asuka asked if she’ll be okay. The trainer said she will be. Asuka threw a fit and walked away while guttural yelling. [c]
-Backstage the camera showed Nia walking backstage. Asuka ran up to her and yelled at her. Jax turned to walk away. Asuka chased her down, yanked on her hair, and kicked her. Jax went down and looked angry. Asuka left.
(5) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. NATALYA – Submission Match
Phillips wondered if this stipulation benefits Natalya. Joe said he has to question her logic. Baszler took Natalya down right away into a side headlock. Joe said Natalya has a long pedigree of submission matches, but Baszler has trained with some of the best in the world. Baszler shifted into an early ankle lock. Natalya kicked out of it, but sold a damaged ankle. Natalya applied a Sharpshooter. Baszler reached the bottom rope, but there are no rope breaks in this match. Baszler did pull herself to the floor to break the Sharpshooter. They went back to reversing each other’s submissions with Baszler locking on the Kirafuda Clutch. Natalya fought it for 20 seconds, but then tapped out.
WINNER: Baszler via tapout in 4:00.
-They cut to Natalya in the ring looking despondent over her loss. The WWE crew began unrolling a rug for the Kevin Owens Show set. She stayed in the ring, kicked the bottom rope in frustration, and then lost it and began throwing the KO Show signs and chairs out of the ring. Joe said this is unprofessional and beneath the legacy she represents. Saxton said he understands his point. Joe asked if he really does because there’s no disagreeing with him. Joe said maybe she needs to take time off if she’s going to act this way after every loss. He said everyone has their ups and downs.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m interested where they’re going with Natalya here. I’m with Joe. There shouldn’t be any shame in losing to Baszler.)
-They showed a clip of Vega trying to play peacekeeper with Theory getting into it with Garza and Andrade last week.
-Backstage the argument was going again between the same men. Vega walked between them and yelled for them to stop. She said they’re going to go to the ring and get on the same page. She said it’s her business to be sure they go out there as a cohesive unit. She asked Andrade if he understands. Andrade said he is the champion. She said she’s take that as a yes. Angel said he understands her, but said so in a smiling perky tone that suggested sarcasm and he was just trying to placate her. Theory stared down Andrade as he said, “Yes Ma’am.” [c]
-Kevin Owens walked out to his music. Phillips welcomed him back. KO observed the destroyed set, thanks to Natalya. KO said he hasn’t been around for a while, and people have been asking why. He said at WrestleMania, he had a moment, but it came at a price because in beating Seth, he got pretty beat up. He said the good news is he is good to go. “The Kevin Owens Show has returned,” he said. He then introduced Vega and Co. As they walked out, the announcers wondered what the dispute is with Theory and the others.
Vega said KO invited them onto his show for a “Jerry Springer Moment.” (That’s a little outdated now.) She said after one little argument, they think her empire is crumbling, but they’re wrong. She said Andrade is a god among insects. She said Garza is the lethal Lethario who breaks faces and breaks hearts. She said that brings her to Theory, a prodigy who at only 22 years old is just this damn good. She said she is the best at this business has seen in a long time. KO stood and watched from the ring apron. She said they came from the streets and survived. She said the streets weren’t made everyone, and that’s what sidewalks are for. She called KO out not even giving them the respect of being in the ring. KO said one could argue that he’s showing them more respect by letting them have the ring. Also, he said if the last few months have taught him anything, if he’s in the ring with more than one person, things can go off the rails. He said they aren’t his only guests, though. He introduced Apollo Crews. Crews ran out and tackled Andrade. Theory and Garza tried to pull them apart. [c]
(6) KEVIN OWENS & APOLLO CREWS vs. ANGEL GARZA & ANDRADE (w/Austin Theory, Zelina Vega)
Saxton wondered if KO would have ring rust or lack endurance after so long away from ring action. KO took a beating, fought back, tagged in Crews, and then Crews cleared the ring of Andrade and then knocked Garza down. Vega stood on the ring apron and argued with the ref. Crews turned to protest Vega being there. Garza shoved Crews from behind, but Crews ducked and then Theory punched Garza. Crews then gave Garza a toss powerbomb for the win.
WINNERS: Owens & Crews in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: KO didn’t have a chance to show much, and I’m not sure it does a lot for the impact he can have on Raw to book him in something other than a spotlight role in his return match.)
-Andrade attacked Theory after the match. Saxton said what happened was an accident. Garza joined in the two-on-one beatdown which spilled to the floor.
-Caruso interviewed Drew backstage. She said he is a fighting champion. Drew said he’s not sure if it’s him finding the fight or the fight finding him, but he’s having fun. He said as far as he’s concerned, every Monday night is a good time for a Claymore Party. He said his number one dream match has fallen into his lamp. He intentionally almost called Corbin “Baron.” He said he’s seen Corbin in real life in hotels and airports and interacting with the general public. “This is genuinely a terrible, terrible human being,” he said. He said he’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done and he’s dangerous in the ring. He said if he thinks he can travel from Smackdown to Raw and beat him, he’s out of his damn mind. He said he has a Claymore fit for a king with his name on it.
(Keller’s Analysis: Another strong promo from Drew. Basic, solid content and delivery.)
-They showed more footage of the axe throwing prowess of the Raiders as the Profits watched. Ford asked for silence and said he’s going to get his Tiger Woods on. Ivar thought he said there was a tiger in the woods and acted scared. Erik told Ford this is his first time and “performance anxiety” is totally normal. Ford then threw the axe, but it went 100 feet too far. Everyone started laughing. [c]
-Ford told Dawkins to relax when it was his turn. The Raiders said there was too much smoke, so they asked their friends to reduce the intensity of the fire. Dawkins threw an axe into a barrel of water. It leaked their water. The Raiders’ friends were upset and approached the Profits. Ford offered his red cup to them.
(7) ALEISTER BLACK vs. MURPHY (w/Seth Rollins)
A couple minutes into the match, Seth helped Theory to his feet as Theory was still at ringside. He seemed to be recruiting him. Seth then ordered Theory to enter the ring. He attacked Black from behind and mounted him and punched away at him. Joe said these are the dangers he’s warned everyone about. “He preys on people like Austin Theory,” Joe said. Black tackled Theory seconds later, but Murphy jumped Black. Seth paced in the ring and watched his disciples do their thing. Murphy kneed Black in the face, then gave him to Theory who delivered his signature ATL. Seth approached Theory and hugged him. Theory looked around and seemed to get emotional and released a lot of pent up tension. Seth held his head and stared at him as Theory seemed to be under his spell.
(Keller’s Analysis: Since Theory was a last-second fill-in for Andrade, that wasn’t necessarily a long-term gig for him. This moves him a level higher, a sign they’re high on him. He can eventually break free and turn babyface and feud with Seth.) [c]
-The announcers threw to another segment of axe throwing. Joe said he wishes the other team was holding the targets.
-The Raiders explained the rules. Only a bullseye counts. The Profits missed everything. Then Erik casually threw it right onto the bullseye. One axe after another. They were all cutaway shots, so there was zero evidence they were actually any good at it. The Profits went again and missed everything. It was 10-0. Ford finally hit the bullseye. He celebrated and danced. A police car arrived on the scene. They asked who threw an axe into their windshield. The officer said they can find out who did it based on who is worse at hitting the target. Dawkins hit the bullseye with his back turned.
-Caruso interviewed Crews backstage. She asked if he has a lot to prove after missing Money in the Bank. Crews said he’s not sure if his injury hurt more than missing Money in the Bank. He said the last three weeks have been the longest of his life. He said he had to look deep inside himself and stop wondering what could be and make something happen. He said he stepped into the ring and made something happen already. He said next week he is once again challenging Andrade for the U.S. Title. He said it feels great to say out loud. Vega walked in and said he could cut his losses and walk away with one good knee or he can face Andrade next week and never walk again. Crews said he’s wrestling next week. He laughed and asked why Andrade won’t show his face. He reiterated he’ll walk out as U.S. Champion next week.
-Drew made his ring entrance. [c]
-They went back to axe throwing. The female officer asked if they know how dangerous it is throwing axes like that because someone could get seriously hurt. She said she’ll let them go because Ivar is cute. “You, not so much,” she said to Erik. Ford began signing falsetto.
-As Corbin made his ring entrance, Phillips said the Brand to Brand Invitational says four times per year, a Superstar will be allowed to travel from one brand to the other.
(Keller’s Analysis: That sounds like each wrestler gets four chances to wrestle on the other show in a year. Good to hear them actually specify the parameters.)
-Lashley and MVP walked out onto the stage. MVP said they have taken a particular interest in the match. MVP asked Corbin if he retired Kurt Angle. He said he could talk for ten minutes about the impressive things he’s done. MVP said Drew holds the most prestigious title there is. Lashley said he is putting Drew on notice. He said he’s coming after him and his WWE Championship. He said he’ll pry it out of his cold dead hands if he has to. [c]
-Phillips hyped Crews challenging Andrade next week on Raw for the U.S. Title.
(8) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KING CORBIN
Corbin dominated most of the opening few minutes. MVP and Lashley smiled as they watched. Corbin landed a superplex for a near fall. Drew made a comeback, but Corbin ducked his Claymore and turned it into a Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin yelled over to MVP and Lashley. Drew delivered a Future Shock DDT and then a Claymore for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 8:00.
-The show closed with Drew celebrating and pacing and mouthing off to Lashley. He said the WWE Universe has been waiting a long time for Lashley to stand up. He told him to bring it.