HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 6/8: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including final hype for Backlash, Christian’s return, 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 8, 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 Raw intro video. When it ended, the announce team welcomed the audience to the program and hyped Backlash coming up on Sunday night. Out of the gate they talked about “the greatest match ever” and then plugged the return of Christian for the Peep Show later in the evening. They also hyped the Street Profits vs. The Viking Raiders in a decathlon and Bobby Lashley inside the VIP lounge. When the intros finished, Asuka made her entrance to the ring. As he made her way to the ring, the announce team plugged Asuka vs. Nia Jax for Backlash. When Asuka’s music faded out, the announcers pumped up Charlotte, but Sasha Banks walked out instead. Bayley followed and both of them walked to the ring together.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Banks and Bayley have found something throughout the last month and a half. As a tag team they exude some star power and given that they were just crowned champions, I like the idea of them starting the show here with them to enhance that victory and continue presenting them in a big way. 

Once they got into the ring, Sasha and Bayley taunted Asuka as the audience booed. Bayley spoke first and told the audience they should thank them for gracing them all with their star quality. She continued and talked about beating Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to become the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Both Banks and Bayley arrogantly (and annoyingly) strutted around the ring. Asuka interrupted them and said that it was her ring and she wanted them to fight her. Bayley said that they were allowed to go to whatever brand they wanted and Banks told her to shut up and get out of her way. Before she could finish, Charlotte Flair made her entrance.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Smart of Bayley and Banks to reiterate that the women’s tag team champions can cross brands. Good consistency and not always regular with WWE in these situations. Good stuff. 

As she walked to the ring, Charlotte addressed everyone in the ring. Charlotte said they’ve gone brand to brand to brand like her but that they didn’t have her stamina. From there, Charlotte addressed her loss last night and told Sasha and Bayley to beware of someone taking their titles out of nowhere. She told Banks and Bayley to enjoy the spotlight but then to get going because she and Asuka had a match.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Last night’s match with Charlotte at NXT TakeOver was tremendous. It worked so well because Charlotte was firmly planted in a heel position. Now she’s back to muddying that up again going back and forth with the annoying heels in Banks and Bayley. This flipping hurts her act, character, and ability to draw big for WWE. They need to cut it out. It’s heel or bust for Charlotte and everyone knows it at this point. 

At this point, the IIconics walked out and said that nobody wanted to see another Charlotte match. They said at Backlash, Sasha and Bayley would face, them, and the team of Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss in a triple threat match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Bayley and Banks arrogantly accepted the match and said that Charlotte’s threat about a wedge between never happened and that they won championships instead. Charlotte said they would still be garbage and that she didn’t need a title to stay relevant. Then, all the women brawled in the ring until Asuka and Charlotte stood tall. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

(1) CHARLOTTE FLAIR & ASUKA vs. THE IICONICS vs. SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY

Sasha Banks and Peyton Royce started things off and Banks took over the upper hand early. She eventually tagged Bayley into the match and Bayley kept momentum until Royce tagged Kay into the match. Both of them double teamed Bayley and then Kay covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Kay kept up the offense and hit a side elbow and followed that with a suplex before making the cover again for a two count. From there, Kay taunted Banks and then Charlotte hit a blind tag to get into the match. Charlotte arrogantly hit the ring as the audience chanted “we want Asuka.” Charlotte pretended to tag Asuka into the match, but didn’t. Instead she chopped Bayley and followed that with shoulder tackles. Eventually, Bayley countered and drove her toward her corner so that Banks could tag into the match. Banks took over on Charlotte until Asuka tagged into the match. She hit Banks with a shoulder tackle and followed that with a bulldog clothesline tandem move on the IIconics. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good spot there from Asuka and she continues to shine. From a psychology perspective though, this is a mess. You’ve got heels taunting heels in the IIconics and Banks. You’ve got Charlotte playing the babyface to Banks and Bayley, but the heel toward her own partner in Asuka. All in the same match!

Out of the break, the action continued. Charlotte crushed Kay with chops and then nailed her with a big boot to the face. After, Charlotte taunted Asuka and then climbed to the top rope for her moonsault. Instead, Asuka tagged into the match and put Kay in the chokehold. Soon after, Kay tapped out to give Asuka and Charlotte the win.

WINNER: Flair and Asuka via submission

-After the match, Asuka celebrated in the ring. Charlotte angrily looked on and then crushed Asuka with a boot to the face. Charlotte then held the Raw Women’s Championship in the air and said that she has never beaten her. The announcers then plugged Charlotte vs. Asuka was still to come later in the show.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Not bad from an action standpoint, the psychology was all over the place. A train wreck with Charlotte moving in between heel and babyface once again. Plain and simple, that is ineffective for the WWE Women’s division at this point in time. Period.

-A video package aired that detailed the events between Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins from last week. When the video ended, Seth Rollins made his entrance. He then joined the commentary team for their interview with Rey Mysterio. Seth arrogantly told Rey “hi.” In response, Mysterio called him a son of a bitch as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Rey officially joined Seth and the commentary team via video. They asked for a health update and Rey said that the prognosis was positive. He said his eye was heeling, but that he didn’t know when he would be cleared to compete. Rey then sent a warning to Seth. He said that Seth had a 619 with the Monday Night Messiah written all over it and that Seth would pay for what he put him through. Seth then spoke and said that Rey doesn’t understand the power of his words. Seth said that Rey could have walked away a hero, but that he was spreading misinformation instead. He said he gave him a chance to walk away a legend and that he’d give him one more chance. From there, Rollins invited Rey and his son Dominic to Raw next week to show them that the sacrifice he made was for the greater good. Rey called Seth out for his reasons and Seth tried to plead with him. As he did, Rollins was attacked by Aleister Black as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, it looks like we aren’t getting Rollins vs. Mysterio at Backlash. I sense a miscalculation there. The feud is simmering nicely right now. Waiting could water it down and hurt its overall impact. Plus, if they go with Black vs. Rollins instead, Black probably loses his big win from last week and slides into 50/50 nonsense with Rollins.

-Out of the break, the announce team recapped the events before the break between Rollins and the attacking Aleister Black. They then cut to a match taking place in the ring between the team of Black and Humberto Carrillo against Seth’s team of Austin Theory and Murphy.

(2) ALEISTER BLACK & HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. AUSTIN THEORY & MURPHY 

Both teams exchange flurries of different offense right out of the gate. Black took over with a series of strikes and Humberto Carrillo connected with a suicide dive through the ropes. The action turned into a brawl until Black hit Murphy with Black Mass. He then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Black and Carrillo via pinfall

-After the match, Rey Mysterio’s music played and Rollins walked to the ring wearing a Rey Mysterio lucha mask. Black and Carrillo were distracted by this and were then attacked by Theory and Murphy. They attacked both men and Seth joined in. They focused their attention on Black. Rollins beat him to a pulp and yelled “I told you to stay out of this” as he did. Rollins told Theory to hit the ATL and Murphy to hit Murphy’s Law on him before crushing him with the Stomp. After, Rollins and his guys raised their arms in the air. Rollins then looked at the Mysterio mask before the broadcast moved backstage to Charly Caruso.

Heydorn’s Analysis: An action packed match to be sure, but the meat of the segment was in the aftermath. This is a heel Seth Rollins I can get behind. He looked menacing and dangerous. Because of that, the messiah gimmick clicked better too. Murphy and Theory continue to help with that presentation. Well done. 

-Caruso interviewed Randy Orton. Orton said that the only question he wanted answered was whether or not Edge would be the only guest on the Peep Show. Orton said that news was outstanding and then told Caruso that there might be a second guest as well. Orton then smiled and walked away.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Orton’s little smirk goes a long way in him conveying emotions and thoughts. Not everyone can finesse that type of nuance. Good stuff. 

-After the interview, Christian made his entrance. As he posed in the ring, the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Christian spoke and said he wanted to get right down to business. He then welcomed Edge to the ring “ahead of what could be the greatest wrestling match ever.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: Still with that nonsense huh? You too Christian?

-Edge walked out and right into the ring opposite of Christian. Once he got there, both men sat down.

[HOUR TWO]

From there, Christian detailed how excited he was to see Edge return at the Royal Rumble. Christian then said he needed to be honest with Edge though. Christian told Edge that he was running on fumes. In response, Edge stared at Christian and looked confused. Christian continued and said that Edge couldn’t pull off the greatest wrestling match in his prime. He said those were lofty expectations and that he wanted to be honest with him. Christian told Edge he was lying to himself and that he couldn’t handle the pressure. Edge then addressed Christian and told him to pump the brakes. Edge asked if Christian thought about this from his point of view. He said that he didn’t and that this version of Edge has some self doubt. From there, Edge addressed some issues that they had at a tag team before turning attention back to Randy Orton. Edge said that Orton was clicking on all cylinders and that he doesn’t even know how many he has left under the hood. Christian responded and said that Edge was just filled with excuses. He asked Edge where his belief was and that he knew someone who always believed in him in his mom. Christian then called Edge “Adam” before telling him that if the real Edge wasn’t going to show up at Backlash that he should go home instead. At this point, Edge was on the verge of tears. He looked at Christian and then Christian told him that was what he wanted to see. Christian told Edge they were with him and that they think he can win while having the greatest wrestling match ever.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Though it took a bit to realize what Christian was doing, this felt like something a best friend would say to someone before a big moment. 

From there, Randy Orton interrupted them on the big screen. He said he didn’t want to hear what they thought, but what they actually know. Orton said that Edge made one guarantee for Backlash and that was that he would try. Orton said that was pathetic and that he would humiliate him. He said he would make Edge a broken man and send him back home to his family. Orton said that at Backlash, the redemption of Edge would be over.

Heydorn’s Analysis: More fire from Orton. He’s really brought it during the feud with Edge and he did so here too. Strong intensity and a menace behind him that frames him clearly as the heel and the guy would should be hated. Well done. 

After, the camera cut back to Edge who was staring at the screen. Edge said “no it’s not” before throwing the microphone down and walking away.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Definitive. Simple, but also an in-depth go-home line. The purpose of the “greatest match ever” marketing nonsense continues to linger around all of the good work done in this feud. It can’t live up to that hype so I expect some sort of troll job come Sunday night. 

-When the Edge segment ended, the announce team replayed the events of last week between

-MVP was interviewed backstage. He said that if Caruso wanted an in-depth breakdown of the Full Nelson move that Lashley would use to take the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre, she would have to join them for the MVP Lounge later in the show. MVP continued, but was distracted by R-Truth. MVP called Truth a clown and they argued. From there, Lashley put Truth in the Full Nelson as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, the announce team said that the Viking Raiders would take on Lashley and MVP later in the show. They then cued up the competition saga between The Viking Raiders and Street Profits including tonight’s decathlon. They tied.

-When the segment ended, Apollo Crews made his entrance to the ring. Once he got there, he cut a promo and said that he looked forward to facing the winner of the upcoming triple threat match for his United States Championship at Backlash. He said the match would feature Andrade, Angel Garza, and Kevin Owens. From there, Garza and Andrade made their entrance. As they did, Kevin Owens attacked them from behind. He beat them up and then cheered in the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Great work there from Owens. He looked like a serious babyface ready for revenge after what Garza did to him a couple weeks ago. Well played. That said, Andrade and Garza are going to face each other for this opportunity? Seems like something a good manager like Vega would avoid. 

(3) ANGEL GARZA vs. ANDRADE w/Zelina Vega vs. KEVIN OWENS – WWE United States Championship Number One Contenders Match

Right out of the break, the bell rang, and the match began. Both Garza and Andrade jumped Owens immediately. They took turns beating him down and while Owens had glimpses of momentum, he wasn’t able to truly muster any and the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, Angel Garza attempted to give Owens a superplex, but Owens countered and hit a swanton bomb. As he and Garza lay on the mat, the announce team recapped the events during the commercial break which included fighting between Garza and Andrade that hurt Zelina Vega. Vega was helped backstage. Back in the ring, Andrade hit his running knees on both Owens and Garza. Owens then hit Andrade with a superkick and followed that with a frog splash off of the top rope on Andrade. After, he made a pin attempt, but only got a two count. From there, Garza and Andrade chopped each other in the middle of the ring. They brawled and eventually fell out of the ring. As they did, Owens hit both of them with a flipping dive over the top rope. Owens tossed Garza back inside the ring and went for a Stunner, but Garza countered by pushing it away. Garza then went low to take out the knee of Owens and followed that with a knee submission. The audience clapped for Owens as he writhed in pain and tried to reach the ropes. Eventually he did and Garza went for the wing clipper instead. Owens countered that with the Stunner and hit it. As Owens went for the pin, Andrade pushed him out of the way and made the cover himself for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Andrade via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. One has to wonder where the story is going with Vega and her group. Neither Andrade or Garza seem like viable babyfaces at this point in the time so the end game there is blurry. Andrade vs. Crews has some history behind it and we should get a smooth match out of those two at Backlash. What about Kevin Owens though? Unfortunate to see his return happen without a clear direction defined. 

-After the match, Charlotte was interviewed backstage. She talked about accomplishing her goals and said that she elevated the women’s division in NXT. She said Asuka tried to steal her moment earlier in the show and as she did, Asuka danced into the shot with the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte asked her if she took anything seriously. In response, Asuka said she did and slapped her across the face before walking off. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A good promo from Charlotte, but a missed opportunity for business. WWE needs to take advantage of the crossover they have with Raw and Smackdown to build interest in NXT. Charlotte talking about her match at TakeOver in greater detail not only puts over the company, but puts over Ripley and Shirai as well. It drives interest and if done correctly, will slowly start to push Raw viewers to NXT.

-Out of the break, Andrade and Garza were shown arguing backstage. As they did, Zelina Vega approached them while she sold her injury. She said nothing, but pointed for them to walk with her and they did.

-Drew McIntyre approached the Viking Raiders backstage. He congratulated them on their decathlon and then welcomed them to a party after the show that had turkey legs. He then hyped the MVP lounge before walking out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, MVP was shown in the VIP Lounge. He said that the VIP Lounge was for people like him and his guest and not those in the audience. From there, MVP welcomed Lashley to the ring and said he had the single most devastating move in all of WWE. Instead of Lashley, Drew McIntyre walked out.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Smart to put over Lashley’s Full Nelson. He hasn’t been trying to get it over long, but consistent commentary helps that effort greatly. Well done. 

Once Drew got to the ring, the audience chanted his name. He then addressed MVP and said he really appreciated the introduction. He said that MVP forgot to say that Drew was the WWE Champion. In response, MVP said that they weren’t friends and asked why Drew was there.

[HOUR THREE]

Drew said that Lana and Lashley were arguing backstage and that he walked out to save the show. He said that MVP was talking about his finisher and asked him to keep going. MVP said that he was talking about Lashley’s finisher instead and that that finisher would put him down at Backlash. From there, Drew said that he still felt the effects of that Full Nelson from last week. Drew joked and called MVP Lashley’s Yoda. From there, Drew said that he operates under the strategy – talk less, Claymore. He then gave MVP the chance to walk away. As Drew went through his countdown, Lashley entered the ring. Drew then addressed him directly and said that the only way he would win the WWE Championship at Backlash would be to pry the title from his cold hands. Drew then hit MVP with the Glasgow Kiss and faced off with Lashley. Before they could get physical, the Viking Raiders walked out and the Street Profits followed. Drew yelled back and forth with Lashley and MVP as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A good go-home segment. Drew laid it all on the table in how he defined what it would take to beat him. On the flip side, MVP told his side of the story regarding Lashley and his dominant finisher. The story of the match on Sunday is right there. Simple, but it worked and McIntyre continues to shine.

-Out of the break, the bell rang, and the match between the Viking Raiders and team of MVP and Lashley began with Drew McIntyre sitting ringside.

(4) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. MVP & BOBBY LASHLEY

The Viking Raiders took over early. As they dominated the momentum, the announce team put over the Full Nelson once again.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, smart commentary around that move going into the championship match on Sunday.

Eventually, MVP and Lashley took over. MVP hit a series of knee strikes to Erick and followed those with kicks. He followed those with a dropkick and a cover, but Erick kicked out at two. Out of the pin, MVP put Erick in a reverse chin lock. The audience clapped for Erick as he battled out. He broke free, but Lashley tagged into the match and continued the momentum for his team. From there, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, the action continued with Erick holding momentum over Lashley. Erick pushed Lashley into the corner and then tagged Ivar into the match. Ivar locked in an arm lock, but Lashley reversed it into a clothesline. He then tagged MVP into the match. As soon as MVP entered the ring, he went for the cover, but only got a two count. At that point, Lana was interviewed backstage while she watched the match. She said that MVP was taking advantage of her Bobby. She then said they would still win the championship though. From there, Lana said that because she wasn’t joining Bobby at the ring, she could spend time focusing on herself.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The more the build to this championship match goes on, the more I think Lana is going to get involved in the finish on Sunday. If so, Drew McIntyre doesn’t need to be anywhere near that nonsense. 

Back in the ring, Ivar flipped over MVP to make the tag to Erick. Erick hit a flurry of strikes on MVP before knocking Lashley off of the ring apron. From there, he hit MVP with a fall away suplex before tagging Ivar back into the match. Ivar hit a clothesline before tagging Erick who hit a running double knee strike. Erick then covered, but Lashley made the save. At that point, the action spilled to the outside of the ring and in front of McIntyre. There, Lashley crushed Ivar with a spear before staring Drew down. Lashley then got into the ring and tagged into the match. He then locked in the Full Nelson on Erick who tapped out right away to give Lashley and MVP the win.

WINNER: MVP and Lashley via submission

-After the match, Lashley stared down Drew and then attacked Ivar with the Full Nelson. The Street Profits tried to break the hold, but couldn’t until Drew hit the ring and crushed Lashley with the Claymore. After, Lashley rolled out of the ring and stared back at Drew as Drew yelled to him. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A nice cherry on top of what has been a nice build to the WWE Championship match at Backlash. Lashley looks credible and Drew did a brilliant job in selling that credibility after Lashley won the match tonight. Look at the way he looks up at him from the outside of the ring. Fantastic psychology only to come back as the intense babyface and take that threat head on in trash talking him. Great stuff and solid momentum going into Sunday. 

-Out of the break, the announce team plugged the Backlash matches. After, Asuka made her entrance to the ring. Once she got to the ring, Charlotte walked out. Once she got to the ring, and as the bell rang, Sasha Banks and Bayley walked out again. They walked down the ramp and then joined the announce team on commentary. As they did, the bell officially rang, and the match began.

(5) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. ASUKA

Charlotte crushed Asuka with a kick to the face to start the match off. Charlotte then talked at Banks and Bayley. As she did, Asuka attacked back and got some offense in. It was short-lived as Charlotte soon took over again and beat Asuka up around the ringside area. She tossed Asuka onto the announce table as the show went to break. (c)

Out of the break, Charlotte kept momentum. She kneed Asuka in the back and then locked in a shoulder submission with her knee firmly in Asuka’s back. Charlotte voluntarily broke the hold and and kicked Asuka out of the ring. She then went for the baseball slide, but missed after Asuka dodged it. Asuka followed with strikes on Charlotte around the outside of the ring, but Charlotte countered those and tossed Asuka back into the ring. She controlled the match there until Asuka got a running hip attack to connect. After, she went to the top rope, but Charlotte crushed her with a boot to the face that sent her to the outside of the ring. From there, the IIconics hit a sneak attack on Banks and Bayley. They beat up the tag team champions and as they did, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: This match is trying to fit 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag. Too much is going on and the booking can’t stay consistent with these characters or their lanes. The heels Bayley and Banks talking trash about the heel Charlotte in particular. Not bad, but too much. 

After the break, the announce team said that he IIconics, Banks, and Bayley were all banned from ringside. Back in the ring, Asuka tried to kick Charlotte, but the kick was reversed into a pin. Asuka kicked out at two and immediately put Charlotte into an armbar submission. Eventually, Charlotte hit a flurry of punches on Asuka to break the hold. From there, Asuka looked for another hip attack, but Charlotte caught her and reversed it into a suplex. Charlotte then covered, but only got a two count. In the end, with both Charlotte and Asuka down, Nia Jax ran out. Asuka saw it and fought Jax off of the apron. After, Charlotte crushed her with a boot to the face and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Charlotte via pinfall

-After the match, Nia Jax hit Asuka with a Samoan Drop and left the ring as the show faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A tale of two matches. One with the tag team craziness and one without. The second half was fantastic. Charlotte has had quite the two nights in WWE. The match was crisp and intense while featuring emotion from each woman. Plus, the announce team talked about it as a big deal which framed everything in even brighter lights. The Jax interference was an obvious one give that we’re on the go-home show here. To that end, it was fine in wrapping up the build and getting ready for the match itself. 


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 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

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