WWE RAW PRIMER 6/1: Asuka vs. Charlotte Renew Long-Standing Feud, A Rey-tirement Ceremony, Black vs. Rollins, Champion’s Choice for New U.S. Champ Apollo, Will Another NXT Call-Up Appear?

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch contributor


Asuka vs. Charlotte (photo WWE.com)

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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
JUNE 1, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe

Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show:

Overview and Items Advertised by WWE

Tonight, we continue with the Performance Center and NXT talent in the stands as we roll towards Backlash taking place on June 14. Last week had several newsworthy items including a new U.S. Champion and an opponent for Asuka determined in a triple threat match. Here’s what advertised for tonight thus far:

  • Seth Rollins to host Rey Mysterio’s retirement ceremony
  • Aleister Black to go one-on-one with Seth Rollins
  • Asuka and Charlotte Flair clash in Champion vs. Champion showdown
  • Apollo Crews defends United States Title against opponent of his choosing

Seth Rollins Hosting Rey Mysterio Retirement Ceremony, Takes on Aleister Black

At Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins failed to capture the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre which put his character into a dark place. The following night, he paired with his disciple Murphy and lost to Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black via DQ. After the match, he shoved Rey’s eye into the corner of the ring stairs causing his eye to bleed and needing medical attention afterwards.

Last week, Rollins claimed that Rey came to him at the right time and needed to be sacrificed. He brought up his son Dominic and said it must’ve been tough for him to watch. Later in the evening, Rollins’ disciples Murphy and Austin Theory defeated Humberto Carrillo and Aleister Black in a short match. They ran an angle post-match where they attacked Black while Rollins positioned Carrillo the same way he did to Rey a few weeks ago by the ring stairs. Rollins forced Black to drop a chair he had in his hands and leave the ring, otherwise he would do to Carrillo what he did to Rey a few weeks ago. Black complied, and Rollins kept his end of the bargain and didn’t shove Carrillo’s eye into the ring stairs.

Tonight, WWE has advertised that Rollins will host Rey’s retirement ceremony. Here’s the video clip they put out on TV and on their website:

Rollins has a busy night in front of him as he will go one-on-one with Black. They last had a one-on-one almost three months ago. Crazily enough it was on the last Raw with a crowd before the Covid-19 pandemic took effect in the U.S. It ended with Rollins getting DQ’d when Murphy got involved. It turned into chaos as AOP, the Viking Raiders, and the Street Profits jumped in afterwards. Here’s a clip of that match for those of you that miss shows with crowds:

Frank’s Analysis: I’m sorry but I’m numb to this as we all know Rey is not retiring and if he were, Rollins would not be hosting the ceremony. It’s a hook for the show, and I suppose I understand that. Dominic is an interesting part of this as I don’t think his name was mentioned for nothing. He could be a key part of this situation. As far as the match with Rollins and Black, I hesitate to make predictions as matches very often these days tend to get changed. Rollins and Black, to me anyway, belongs on a PPV.

Women’s Champion vs. Champion: Raw Champion Asuka vs. NXT Champion Charlotte Flair

Last week, Nia Jax won a triple threat match involving NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and Natalya to earn the right to face Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at Backlash. Nia and Asuka have had issues lately, and they were furthered last week on Kevin Owens’ KO Show. They along with Natalya and Charlotte brawled. Asuka elbowed Nia after Owens sarcastically told Asuka not to hit Nia in the face (referencing Nia breaking Becky Lynch’s nose with a punch prior to Survivor Series 2018 where she was set to go one-one-one with Ronda Rousey). Here’s Nia in a WWE exclusive following her win:

Tonight, Asuka and Charlotte Flair go one-on-one. They have a long history going back to WrestleMania of 2018, which you can rehash in last week’s Raw primer:

WWE RAW PRIMER 5/25: Memorial Day Edition, “Crews”-ing Towards the U.S. Title, Welcome to the Lounge Champ, Triple Threat to Determine Asuka’s Challenger

Frank’s Analysis: Just when you think you couldn’t get enough Charlotte, here she is again! I joke, but a champion vs champion match is generally a good hook. Let it be a solid match and all is well. I’d think they’d want to keep Asuka strong heading into the championship match with Nia. Charlotte just did the job for Bayley on Smackdown, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do tonight as Charlotte has a triple threat championship match coming this Sunday at NXT Takeover: In Your House.

U.S. Championship: Apollo Crews (champ) vs. Opponent of his Choosing

Last week, Apollo Crews defeated Andrade to win the U.S. Championship. It’s his first title on the main roster since being called up from NXT in 2016. After the match, Charly Caruso interviewed him in the ring. He said people told him he couldn’t do it through the years, but he never gave up. After 11 years he could finally say he’s the U.S. Champion, and acknowledged it was his first title in WWE. Crews was in NXT from 2014 until his call-up but did not win a title. He did once challenge Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. That said, while Crews was being interviewed, Andrade was throwing a temper tantrum backstage.

Tonight, Crews defends against an opponent of his choosing. I don’t recall a champion picking his challenger since John Cena chose Daniel Bryan as his opponent at SummerSlam 2013 for the WWE Championship. I suppose you can count Nia Jax putting her Raw Women’s Championship on the line against Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank 2018 via a challenge at the NBC Upfronts. There are probably other cases, but I just don’t remember. Send me a tweet @FrankPeteani if you think of some. Also, here’s Apollo in a WWE exclusive following his big win:

Frank’s Analysis: It seems like hooks for the show are the order of the day. I’m generally not one for the champion choosing an opponent, but with Crews being a babyface and wanting to cement himself as a legitimate champion, he’ll likely want a strong opponent. I can’t imagine Andrade not getting involved because of the temper tantrum. Apollo being a stand-up guy, he could just choose Andrade.

Dominik Dijakovic

It appears NXT’s Dominik Dijakovic has punched his ticket to Raw according to the Wrestling Observer, Bleacher Report, and several other wrestling media outlets. He’s already described as “performing on their Raw brand” according to Wikipedia. He’s is however still listed in NXT according to WWE’s website.

Dijakovic spent time in Chaotic Wrestling and Ring of Honor before arriving in WWE in 2017. Most recently, he joined team NXT at Survivor Series captained by Tommaso Ciampa. He entered a competitive but respectful feud with NXT North American Champion Keith Lee, with whom he had several matches over the past year. Matt Riddle’s arrival to Smackdown was announced by WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle. We’ll find out a) if they acknowledge Dijakovic’s arrival tonight and b) when he’s coming.

Frank’s Analysis: Dijakovic appeared to be in a logjam of talent on the NXT roster. I don’t quite know his place yet on Raw. On the heel side of the ledger in terms of singles acts you have Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, Andrade, Murphy, Austin Theory, Shelton Benjamin (if you even count him), and Riddick Moss (what happened to that guy?). For babyfaces you Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black, Kevin Owens, Apollo Crews, Rey Mysterio, Humberto Carrillo, Cedric Alexander (unless he’s not singles anymore), Ricochet (same as Cedric), R-Truth, and Titus O’Neil. I don’t count Big Show, Edge, Brock Lesnar, or any of the other part timers. It could go either way. My guess is he comes in as a babyface at first.

Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week

  • Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross and the IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay) cut a promo in the ring. The IIconics, former champions, got the better of Bliss & Cross in a brawl and walked away with their titles.
  • WWE Champion Drew McIntyre was a guest of MVP in the MVP Lounge. Drew Claymore Kicked his Backlash opponent and
  • MVP protegee Bobby Lashley at the end of the segment.
  • Angel Garza defeated Kevin Owens.
  • The Street Profits and the Viking Raiders played golf. Once again, whomever invented the fast-forward button, thank you.
  • Edge talked about his upcoming match at Backlash with Randy Orton.
  • WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair appeared remotely and picked Orton in the upcoming match with Edge.
  • Liv Morgan said she’s living her best life. Good for her.
  • Bobby Lashley and MVP took on the Raw Tag Team Champions Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) in a non-title match. The referee stopped the match when Lashley, the illegal man in the ring, refused to break a Full Nelson on Ford.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad they finally agree to put people at ringside because the empty arena was depressing to watch. I still don’t Raw was all that great last week except for certain parts (Crews winning, Edge promo, MVP lounge), although they did construct it in a way that moved storylines forward. I suppose one should be happy when they do that. We’ll see if the Riddle and Dijakovic call-ups help freshen up both Raw and Smackdown.


Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.


CATCH UP… 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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