HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 6/1: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including Rey Mysterio’s retirement ceremony, Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR (@zheydorntorch)



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

HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 1, 2020
LIVE AND WITH NXT FANS FROM THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER IN ORLANDO, FL
AIRED ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, and Byron Saxton

[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with the standard Monday Night Raw intro video. When it ended, the announce team welcomed the audience to the show and hyped Backlash in one week. Out of the gate they talked about the McIntyre/Lashley brawl from last week before saying that McIntyre would face MVP in a match later on in the evening. From there, they hyped other material including Raiders and Street Profits competition, Rey Mysterio’s retirement ceremony, and Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The introduction to Raw continues to be impactful. For better or worse, in the first 90 seconds, the audience knows the big events happening on the program. Smart.

-When the intros wrapped up, Seth Rollins made his entrance with Murphy and Austin Theory at his side. The “audience” booed as he walked out. As he walked to the ring, the announce team discussed what the purpose of Seth’s retirement ceremony for Rey Mysterio. Eventually, Rollins got into the ring. Once he was there, the announce team cued up highlights from last week that detailed Murphy and Theory beating up Carrillo and Black. When the highlights ended, Rollins paused as the audience chanted “you suck.” Rollins then spoke and said it was a huge night on Raw. He said that he would face Aleister Black in a match, but then said that Black was confused about Rey Mysterio. Rollins said he would enlighten Black. From there, Rollins addressed Rey Mysterio and said it would be difficult for him to formally announce his own retirement. Rollins said that he decided to handle that formality for him. Seth continued and said that Rey was too modest to call himself and legend and it was his duty to do that for him. Rollins said that Rey was a sacrifice for the greater good of Raw and called Rey’s retirement a moment that would live in time forever. From there, Rollins said that it was true that Rey was the greatest luchador that has ever lived. He said that Rey was a kind and generous man and that during Seth’s darkest hour, he gave himself to him so that he could lead Monday Night Raw into the future. Seth then said he prepared a video package to honor the career of Rey Mysterio.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The out of touch, protected, credible, and therefore dangerous heel is a heel I can get behind. This is working for Rollins. The gimmick isn’t rooted in silly religious connotations or verbiage that forces the character to border on the line of comedic. This is serious and the attack on Rey was serious too. There is some heat here and Rollins is making the viewer believe that he buys the ridiculous words he spews. Well done. 

The video aired and it was full of great Rey moments. The ending of the video saw the clips of Rollins injuring Rey’s eye. When the highlights ended, Seth arrogantly clapped with Murphy and Theory who were sitting on the outside of the ring. Rollins called Rey a first ballot Hall Of Famer and that he would want to induct him into the WWE Hall Of Fame. From there, Aleister Black hit the ring and attacked Seth. Black cleared the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the bell rang, and the match between Seth Rollins and Aleister Black began.

(1) ALEISTER BLACK vs. SETH ROLLINS w/Austin Theory & Murphy

Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s not that I don’t like this match. I do. Very much actually. To me, this is a match you build to though. Give it as much time, story, and context as possible so that it is a big deal when Black dethrones Rollins. Clearly we won’t get that here and even if the match is good, these two can only meet for the first time one time. 

The match started with Black laying in some kicks on Black. Eventually, Rollins took over and grounded Black with a submission. Rollins tried for a pin, but Black kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Rollins meticulously stomped on Black before connecting with a dropkick. Black battled back and connected with a few more kicks until Rollins flipped him out of the ring. With Black on the outside, Rollins told his guys to get him and as they walked over, Humberto Carrillo ran out with a steel chair for the save. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, the action continued with Rollins owning the upper hand. He hit Black with kicks and yelled at him as the audience booed. Black battled back with strikes of his own and dodged a Rollins dropkick. From there, he tried for a suplex, but Rollins countered. Rollins hit Sling Blade and then covered, but only got a two count. Rollins took over from there and even though Black had moments of offense where he tried for Black Mass, Rollins maintained control. He hit a Falcon Arrow and covered once again, but again, Black kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Rollins went for a frog splash, but Black countered by getting his knees up. From there, Black took over and kicked Rollins into the ring post. Black then hit a moonsault on Rollins from the top of the ring post and the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, Rollins connected with his Frog Splash and went for the pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, he went for the Stomp, but Black countered and tried to put Rollins in an armbar. Instead, Rollins connected with a power bomb to break the hold. As Black got to his feet, Rollins tried for a springboard clothesline, but Black countered with a jumping knee strike.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A tremendous sell there from Seth on the knee. Great stuff.

From there, Black lifted Rollins to his feet, but as he did, Murphy and Theory distracted him. Carrillo tried to help Black and took out Murphy and Theory. Because of that, Black was able to roll Rollins up for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Black via pinfall

-After the match, Theory and Murphy started beating up Black. Carrillo tried to make the save, but Theory and Murphy took him out too. Rollins dictated to his guys and stomped Carrillo the mat as Black was forced to watch. After, Rollins yelled at Black once again and asked him he wanted to be a hero. Rollins then hit the Stomp on Black as well as the audience cheered. From there, Seth’s music played as Murphy, Theory, and Rollins posed in the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. From a booking perspective, I would have saved the Black win over Rollins for a time where it could have been more definitive for him and a be win that catapulted him to the main event level. Not that this is bad, but its within a feud between Seth and someone else. The post-match angle worked to keep heat on Seth even in the midst of this loss. Overall? Thumbs up. 

-The announce team cued up highlights that detailed the road Apollo Crews traveled to win the United States Championship last week on the show. When the highlights ended, Angel Garza and Zelina Vega were interviewed backstage. Before he spoke, Charly Caruso cued up clips of Garza’s controversial win over Kevin Owens last week. When the highlights ended, Vega spoke and said that Kevin Owens agreed to the match. Vega kept going, but Garza told her that he could handle the question. Garza said that in love and war you must always be one step ahead. Vega spoke again and called his win triumphant. Garza then spoke and said that if people don’t understand his win, people simply have never wanted anything as much as he does. Caruso thanked Garza, but Garza thanked Caruso instead and gave her a rose. Garza then walked out of the shot, but Vega stuck around and ripped the rose to pieces. She then walked away as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Angel Garza has shined since the move to empty arena wrestling. At least, I think he has. Time will tell once crowds react to him, but he oozes charisma and his presentation is authentic. Vega helps, but the more Garza does, the more I think he can carry a load on his own. 

-Out of the break, Shawn Michaels joined the show via video. He talked about the Randy Orton vs. Edge match being the greatest match in history. Michaels picked Edge to win it and said time, wisdom, knowledge, and faith gives Edge the edge.

Heydorn’s Analysis: See what he did there? It’s hard to believe they are still pushing this greatest match ever stuff. No matter how good the match ends up being, there isn’t a way in which Orton and Edge can possibly deliver something that lives up to the hype. Whether it ends up being a troll job, bad match, or good much and not great, WWE doesn’t need to trick their fans into watching their shows. If they feel like they do, they have other problems. 

-The announce team cued up highlights that detailed the history between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre that has led them to their championship match at Backlash.

-When the highlights ended, Lana was yelling at MVP backstage. MVP cut her off and said he had actual work to do and that he didn’t have time or desire to get sucked into her drama. In response, Lana called MVP a leech and that he wanted to revive his washed up career with her husband. MVP said that wasn’t true, but that even if it was, Lana was doing the same thing. Lana then slapped MVP and walked off as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, a video aired that detailed the events from earlier in the night between Seth Rollins and Aleister Black. When the highlights ended, Apollo Crews made his way to the ring.

[HOUR TWO]

-Once he got to the ring, he was interviewed. Crews said that his first week as champion has felt very good. He said that winning the US Championship was surreal to him. From there, Crews discussed who his opponent would be tonight. He said that there was a long list of stars he wanted to face for the title. He said that his pick tonight though was truly deserving of the opportunity. Crews then announced that he’d be fighting Kevin Owens. Owens then walked out and joined Crews in the ring. He spoke and congratulated Crews as the crowd clapped. Owens said he appreciated the opportunity and given what happened between him and Garza last week, he felt like he was getting the opportunity because of pity. Crews said it was all about respect, but Owens said he simply felt bad about it. Crews told him not to feel bad and in response, Owens said he did because he would end his title reign. From there, official introductions happened, and the match began.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m glad they referenced some of the nuances and inconsistencies around Owens just getting this match. Not only that, Owens was able to finessed some competitive spirit within his words for Crews as well. A strange little match here, but executed well enough thus far in terms of getting there in a reasonable way. 

(2) KEVIN OWENS vs. APOLLO CREWS – WWE United States Championship Match

The action started in the ring with each man getting some offense in. The tides shifted back and worth the battle moving to the outside of the ring at least once. Eventually, Crews faked a bit of an injury, but then attacked Owens which seemed to fire up the match. From there, they exchanged punches back and forth furiously and fell out of the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: I really hope that isn’t a shade of a potential heel turn for Crews. He’s just starting to hit a stride and flipping him would hurt the momentum he’s built. 

Out of the break, the action continued. Eventually, Crews hit a series of running splashes in the corner. On the third, Owens countered and connected with a superkick. From there, Owens went for a swanton off the top rope. Crews countered that by getting his knees up which left both men laying on the mat. At that point, Angel Garza and Andrade ran out and attacked both Owens and Crews. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

WINNER: No contest

Heydorn’s Analysis: Pretty good match. Crews and Owens had some chemistry together and given the happenings, a Crews heel turn was in fact NOT forecasted earlier. Good to know and the right call.

-Out of the break, a tag team match was underway between the team of Garza and Andrade against Crews and Kevin Owens. The announce team highlighted that it was Garza that made this challenge.

(3) KEVIN OWENS & APOLLO CREWS vs. ANGEL GARZA & ANDRADE w/Zelina Vega

Andrade and Garza took over momentum early. Garza beat on Crews with kicks before tagging Garza into the match. Garza maintained control and tried for a Wing Clipper. Crews countered and made the tag to Owens. Owens got a couple strikes in, but then was dropped by Andrade who had tagged into the match. Eventually, Crews and Owens took the momentum back and Crews hit his spinning power bomb on Andrade before covering for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Crews and Owens via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: The match was what it was, but served the purpose in progressing storylines between these four guys. Not sure they are going for this, but Angel Garza is out shining Andrade as the number one star in Vega’s group. His charisma takes him a long way. 

-After the match, Asuka was interviewed backstage. She said she would beat Charlotte and that an empress would never bow down to anyone. She then danced out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-The announce team cued up this week’s bowling competition between the Viking Raiders and Street Profits.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Some funny moments, sure. Not my cup of tea though and not something that will elevate either team or the tag division like it should be. 

-After the competition, the announce team played highlights of the events last week between the IIconics and the team of Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss. From there, the IIconics were set to make their entrance but were shown arguing backstage with Cross and Bliss instead. As they argued, the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the action between Nikki Cross and Billie Kay were already underway.

(4) BILLIE KAY w/Peyton Royce vs. NIKKI CROSS w/Alexa Bliss

Kay took over early in the match after connecting with a boot to the face that floored Cross. After, she yelled at Cross and hit a suplex before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Kay trash talked with Bliss which allowed Cross to try a rollup. Cross got a two count. Out of that pin, Cross worked to maintain momentum, but Kay dropped her with another kick and covered again for a two count. Right after the kick out, Kay locked in a sleeper hold before transitioning it to a chin lock as the audience booed and then clapped for Cross to escape. Cross tried , but ended up taking a back breaker instead. From there, Kay hit an elbow drop and covered, but got another two count. After, Kay complained and whined to the referee before throwing a little tantrum. From there, she went back to Cross, but Cross countered and hit her with a clothesline. She kept momentum and hit a running splash in the corner before following that with a bulldog. From there, she climbed to the top rope and tried for a cross body, but Kay moved and dropped her with a sit down slam. She then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Kay via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: An A to B match and though it wasn’t bad, it feels like the team of Cross and Bliss are spread too thin here. They’ve got the Banks/Bayley thing going on SmackDown and the IIconic program on Raw. Lots to keep in line there from a booking perspective and with Cross taking the loss tonight and Bliss on Friday night, the champions certainly don’t look the part at the moment. 

-After the match, Drew McIntyre was interviewed backstage. He said that everyone should know that he doesn’t back down from a challenge. He said he loved challenges and that its been nine weeks since he’s won the title. He said that within those nine weeks he’s won 7 matches and that he’d love to make MVP number 8. Drew said that he’d line anyone up and send them to Claymore Country before walking out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Rey Mysterio joined the show via video. Rey talked about his eye first and said that he was still recovering. Because of that he said he didn’t have a timetable on his return.

[HOUR THREE]

He said that if an infection sets in, his career could be over. From there, Rey said that he didn’t know where he stood on retirement. Mysterio said he could be cleared in a few weeks or never again, but that he’s been thinking about retirement for a while. From there, Rey addressed the Rollins retirement ceremony. He said that Rollins carries a lot of negativity with him. Rey said that was a burden and that Seth made a clear choice to ruin his eye. At that point, Dominic sat down next to his Dad and said that someone needed to step up and defend his family for what Seth did. Rey tried to calm Dominic down. He then spoke and thanked his supporters. Rey then addressed Seth directly and cursed him down for putting his family through tough times. He said that his family saw him suffer. From there, Rey told Seth that he was a man of forgiveness, but that he would never forgive him for what he did. Rey then left the shot, but Dominic slid over. He addressed Rollins and simply said “an eye for an eye” before leaving the shot himself.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Very well done. Rey was believable in how he spoke and conveyed his emotions around the angle with Seth. We didn’t get a clear next step in the feud, but this chapter helped build the emotion within it. Dominic is now a main fixture of the angle. He was good here as well and given the nature of Seth’s group, one has to wonder if a Dominic turn is on the horizon. Time will tell. Good stuff. 

-When the Rey segment ended, Nia Jax made her entrance. Once she got to the ring she spoke and said that she didn’t start things between herself and Asuka and Kairi Sane. Jax told the audience not to believe Sane and Asuka. She said that Asuka was handed the championship and received it as a gift because of hormones. From there, Jax called herself a victim and said that she would expose Asuka as the backstabber that she is. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, R-Truth won the 24-7 Championship from Rob Gronkowski. After, Kairi Sane made her way to the ring. Once she got there, the bell rang, and the match with Jax began.

(5) KAIRI SANE vs. NIA JAX

Sane got some quick offense in right away, but was then dominated by Jax. Eventually, Sane halted that momentum with a sleeper on Jax and eventually got Jax to the ground. There, Sane kicked Jax in the shoulder before striking her in the face. From there, Sane climbed to the top rope for her elbow, but was knocked off balance due to a Jax headbutt. Jax then lifted Sane off the ropes for her Samoan Drop, but Sane countered it into a two count pin. From there, Sane hit her siding strike in the corner. She then climbed to the top rope again for a move, but again, Jax moved. Instead, Sane went for a baseball slide, but Jax countered and tossed her into the guardrail. After, Jax rolled Sane into the ring and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Jax via pinfall

-After the match, Asuka ran down to confront Jax. Both women stared each other down before Jax left as the audience chanted for Asuka.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I swear WWE is trolling us with this match … again. It was essentially a squash, but Sane took quite the bump on the outside of the ring. Hope she’s ok. The feud with Jax is a good one for Asuka at this point in her reign. Jax has been presented as a dominant monster and Asuka will get to slay that monster at Backlash. A to B booking for her, but it works here. 

-The announce team played highlights of Edge’s promo from last week on Raw. When they finished, the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Randy Orton cut a promo backstage. He said that for the past few months he’s woken up each day and watched the WWE Network. He said that the one thing every WWE Superstar has in common is that they think Ric Flair is the greatest to ever wrestle. From there, Orton called out that Flair thought that he was the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots. Orton continued and said that Edge had said the same thing about Orton. Randy continued and talked about what Edge thought of Orton as a wrestler. Orton said he was a lot of things that Edge said he was, including complacent. Orton said that Edge had to scratch and claw to get to the WWE while all he had to do was wake up to prove that he was the best. Orton said that at Backlash he’d prove that he is better than Edge.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A good promo to be sure. Good delivery and confidence from Orton. More of the same though in terms of the content. You could drop this promo inside the build to the WrestleMania match between him and Edge and it would have worked just fine to tell that story. Orton needed to take this a step further than he has already and he didn’t do that here. Not paralyzing, but treading water.

-After the Orton promo, Charlotte Flair made her entrance. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the commercial break, Charlotte posed in the ring with a microphone. She then spoke and told the crowd to shut their mouth as they made noise. She told them to respect their NXT Champion before talking about her match at NXT TakeOver. She said that Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai were both stars that everyone in the audience should want to be like. Charlotte said that she was rooting for those in the crowd and that she wanted someone in the crowd to be the next Rhea Ripley. She said she wanted someone in the audience to bow down to her. From there, she said that Asuka has a history of bowing down. Charlotte went through Asuka’s accomplishments before saying that the empress wants to be like the queen. From there, Asuka interrupted and made her entrance.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I’ll take the early part of that promo for sure. Confident, to the point, and heelish all at the same time. That’s a good lane for Charlotte. The end was confusing. How is the empress trying to be like her if she has won all of those championships where Charlotte hasn’t. The hook was that Asuka had won all of that, but couldn’t beat her. Those dots weren’t connected well enough by Flair. 

Once Asuka got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(6) ASUKA vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR

Charlotte owned the momentum early and talked smack to Asuka as she crushed her with a series of chops. Eventually, Asuka countered, but instead of a chop she ate a forearm strike instead. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, Charlotte worked over Asuka’s knee after injuring it during the break. Asuka battled back with strikes and tried for a spinning back fist. Before she could hit it, Flair targeted the knee which dropped Asuka to the mat. From there, Charlotte walked toward Asuka and Asuka caught her with a kick to the face. She fired up as the audience chanted her name and connected with a hip attack in the corner. After, Asuka connected with a German suplex and followed that with a shining wizard. Asuka then made the cover, but only got a two count. In the end, both women exchanged submission holds and mat wrestled until Charlotte countered Asuka’s with a German suplex.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Great spot. 

Soon after, Asuka got Charlotte in a choke hold, but Charlotte countered it with a powerbomb and broke free. The battle continued until Charlotte kicked Asuka out of the ring. Once she landed, her music played and a mocking Nia Jax walked out. At this time, the bell rang, and the match ended.

WINNER: No contest

-After the match, Jax dropped Asuka with a punch before leaving.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Charlotte vs. Asuka was very good. Both women worked hard and stiff. What was with the finish though? The bell rang before Jax had time to actually do anything. A big inconsistency that WWE needs to be careful about. Plus, this was a taped show. Fixing something like this issue is what post production is all about.

-Lana was interviewed backstage and was shown footage of her and MVP’s encounter from earlier in the night. When the footage ended, Lana said that she wasn’t sure who was behind Lana not being allowed at ringside. She said that Lashley would never do that to her though. She continued and said that Bobby asked her to stay behind for his matches and didn’t say anything about MVP’s. She then laughed a bit before walking out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley made his entrance as the audience booed. Once he got to the ring, MVP walked out and was followed by Drew McIntyre. Once Drew got to the ring, he handed his belt to the referee. After he did, Lana walked out as Lashley and MVP looked confused. Drew smiled. Once Lana got down to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The smile from Drew is a positive performance nuance on his part that I’ve been talking about for a few weeks now. It’s little things like this that help get him over bigger each week.

(7) MVP w/Bobby Lashley & Lana vs. DREW MCINTYRE

Drew took over early. He hit MVP with a headbutt that sent him out of the ring. Drew followed and stared down Lashley. Because of the distraction, MVP got the upper hand and pushed Drew into the ring post. He then rolled Drew back into the ring and covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Drew hit MVP with strikes that culminated with a chop off the top rope. From there, Drew kipped up and called for the Claymore, but Lashley pulled him out of the ring. Instead, Drew hit an over the top rope dive before rolling MVP back into the ring. There, he hit the Claymore and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall

-Right after the match ended, Lashley put Drew in his full nelson lock as the show faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A decent showing their for Drew and his presence as a star is intensified with an audience present. The show appeared to cut off at the end. That could mean two things. One, a giant mistake from a production standpoint or two, WWE stringing out the full finish to the show so that people move over to Raw Talk to see what’s happening.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 5/25: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including McIntyre in the MVP lounge, Andrade vs. Crews for the United States Championship, women’s number one contender match, and more

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