HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 6/15: Alt Perspective coverage of the live show in a crowd free environment including Backlash fallout, Asuka vs. Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship, a Ric Flair appearance, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH COLUMNIST (@zheydorntorch)


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

HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 15, 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. Phillips recapped Drew McIntyre’s win over Bobby Lashley at Backlash before highlighting the events of the evening including Drew in tag team action, Asuka vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship, and the segment between Seth Rollins and Dominick Mysterio. When the announcer intro wrapped, Randy Orton made his way down to the ring. As he did, the announce team discussed Edge’s injury and showed a picture of Edge in surgery. They talked about Orton not being 100 percent today either as he posed on the ropes to the booing fans. From there, Orton spoke and said that he did exactly what he said he would do at Backlash. He said he embarrassed Edge and wrote the final chapter of his redemption story. Orton said all Edge needed to do was let him help him and trust him after his return, but that Edge was stubborn instead. Orton continued and said that at WrestleMania he wasn’t the last man standing, but that he stood there tonight as the greatest wrestler after having the greatest wrestling match ever. From there, Orton thanked Edge for helping him remember what it meant to be the legend killer. He said that he wanted to thank Edge in person, but couldn’t because he tore his tricep clean off the bone. Orton said he knew when it happened in the match and could have ended it right then, but that Edge needed to suffer.

Heydorn’s Analysis: As Orton delivered those lines he looked right into the camera and addressed Edge and the audience directly. Smart and the work of someone figuring out the empty arena environment. He looked cold here and it made the words more impactful. Well done. 

Orton said that Edge has another mountain to climb now and that he heard Edge was to be cleared in July. From there, he confirmed July 2029 and said that maybe their paths would cross again then. When he finished, Christian made his entrance and confronted Orton in the ring. Christian picked up a microphone and asked what kind of man Randy Orton was. He said that he sees an Orton who is cold, calculated, and a son of a bitch. Orton smiled, but Christian continued. He said that Edge’s career wasn’t over and that he wouldn’t quit. He said that Edge would get his closure on his terms and not Orton’s. In response, Orton said that the story wasn’t about Christian, but only he and Edge. He called Christian jealous of Edge, but said that he sees a look in Christian’s eyes. Orton said he knows what that look means and that it means he wants one more match. Christian denied it, but Orton pressed on and said that he, like Edge, walked away too soon. Orton said that he knows that Christian isn’t cleared, but that they could have unsanctioned match to get around that stipulation. Orton said that the offer ends by the end of the night and that if he doesn’t go for it, he’d just be a coward. Orton then walked away as Christian looked on in confusion.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A good segment overall. Orton gloated in the right way and stayed in his cold lane in challenging Christian. Christian, though a little over the top with his mannerisms played his part well too. I like Christian accepting or not accepting as a hook for the show that will weave through until the end. Nothing fancy here, but it worked. 

-Charly Caruso interviewed Angel Garza and Zelina Vega backstage. Before they spoke Caruso cued up clips of Apollo Crews beating Andrade at Backlash. When it ended, Vega spoke and said that there wasn’t any dissension in their group. Garza said he was trying to help Andrade at Backlash, and though Andrade is upset, he needed to be willing to let it go. Garza and Vega said they felt for Andrade, but also for Kevin Owens too. From there, Andrade walked into the shot and wished Garza good luck in his match against Kevin Owens before walking out of the shot. From there, the announcers said that that match was next before tossing to a commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Kevin Owens made his entrance to the ring. Once he got there, Angel Garza walked out with Zelina Vega. After he finished and stood in the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(1) KEVIN OWENS vs. ANGEL GARZA w/Zelina Vega

Owens unloaded to start the match and as he did, Andrade walked out. This distracted Garza, which allowed Owens to maintain his control. From there, the action went back and forth until Owens took over again and tossed Garza out of the ring. There, Andrade and Garza got into until Zelina Vega broke them up. She then told them both she was sick of them and walked back up the ramp as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok, where did this dissension start? People aren’t invested here because the context around their differences and anger toward each other is muddy.

After the break, the action continued. Owens tried for a running cannon ball, but Garza moved out of the way and connected with a top rope dropkick. Garza then made the cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Garza put Owens in a knee bar submission. Owens battled out and hit a series of strikes before being held up by Andrade in the ropes. Owens went after Andrade, but the referee stopped him. From there, Andrade tried to keep attacking Owens which distracted the referee. Garza tried to refocus him, but got a Stunner. Owens then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Owens via pinfall

-After the match, Andrade and Garza yelled at each other in the ring. Vega walked out and told them to stop fighting against each other, but to fight together because they wanted the same thing. Vega then demanded that both of them leave wit her together. Both did and then the announcers recapped the Backlash events between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre.

Heydorn’s Analysis: So, no storyline progression then? How can we still be at the same place today that we were a month ago? With that going on, what is enticing people to keep tuning in? As for Owens, this is a rough spot. Even after a major WrestleMania match and moment, he’s as cold as ice once again.

-When the video ended, MVP talked to Bobby Lashley backstage. MVP told Lashley that everything would be ok. As the interviewer asked questions, MVP said he didn’t want to be bothered as they prepped for their match. MVP then addressed the Backlash loss. He said that due to things out of his control at Backlash, he was cheated out of his opportunity. MVP said that he and Bobby were going to address those circumstances before walking out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP. Once he got to the ring, MVP spoke and said he wanted to cut to the chase. He said that at Backlash, Bobby Lashley had his night ruined and that Drew McIntyre took advantage of the situation. From there, MVP called out Lana and said that it was her fault that Lashley lost his title opportunity. MVP called out Drew for hiding behind Lana and not offering a rematch to Lashley on the spot. Lana then walked out and said that it was Lashley’s fault for forcing Lana to not join them at the ring for the title match. Lana said that she does everything for her Bobby and that everything good that happened to Lashley was because of her. She blamed MVP and called him snake that was manipulating Lashley. In response, MVP said that before he showed up Lashley never had good opportunities. Lana said that before MVP they were on a hot streak. Lashley then spoke up and said that Lana made his moment all about her. Lashley talked to Lana and said that he was tired of his life being thrown up on social media. Lana and Lashley went back and forth about their sex life until Lashley said that he wanted a divorce. Lana looked stunned as the audience chanted “Jerry.” From there, MVP and Lashley walked off together as Lana looked bewildered in the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: That “Jerry” chant hits the nail right on the head. Ironic that it came from WWE’s planted crowd, but that’s a different issue. Looks like more Lana and Lashley nonsense here. Even with this divorce going on, WWE needs to keep Lashley in the serious lane. He thrived there in the build to Lashley. Sidebar – should Drew McIntyre be anywhere near this “Jerry-like” material? It seems counter productive to his mission statement and a deviation from a path that is working for him. Be careful, WWE. 

-Once Lashley and MVP got to the back, the announce team cued up a highlight recap video that detailed the rivalry between the Street Profits and Viking Raiders.

-After the recap video, the Viking Raiders and Street Profits were interview backstages. They talked about combining their powers last night as the Viking Profits. From there, Akira Tozawa and the ninjas showed up. Ford and Dawkins said they would throw down at anytime. In response, Tozawa summoned his large ninja and laughed. The Viking Raiders attempted to go after him, but the Street Profits held him back. They then discussed what they were going to do about that situation as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Doubling down on this huh? Ok then. The longer this goes on, the further away either team gets from the ability to get back to being a competitive tag team with championship aspirations. 

-Out of the break, the Street Profits and Viking Raiders made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, Tozawa’s ninjas appeared on the other side of the ring and the match began.

(2) THE STREET PROFITS & THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. AKIRA TOZAWA’S NINJA’S

Both teams beat up the Ninjas as Tozawa looked on. They quickly won the match after a Frog Splash from Montez Ford which he followed with a cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Street Profits and Viking Raiders

-After the match, the large ninja and Tozawa taunted the Street Profits and Viking Raiders in the ring. From there, the Big Show walked out and helped both teams fight the ninjas off. Show demolished all of them and smiled in the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: So, this ninja thing is real then? Good grief. What a poor waste of great talent in both the Street Profits and Viking Raiders. Such a shame. 

-Seth Rollins was interviewed backstage. Rollins told Charly it was good to see her and that Dominick was there against his father’s wishes. Seth said that it made him happy that he was there because he was needed there. Rollins said he would be in the ring to deliver a message to Rey. Seth then walked off as the show went to commercial break. (c)

[HOUR TWO]

-Out of the break, the announce team recapped the events from earlier in the night between Christian and Randy Orton. When the recap ended, Christian was shown talking on a cell phone backstage. He said he didn’t know what he was going to do, but couldn’t let Randy get away with what he did. From there, the announce team debated whether or not Christian should compete later in the night. When the debated ended, the announce team cued up clips of how the rivalry between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio began. When those ended, Seth Rollins walked to the ring. Once he got to the ring, he grabbed a microphone and spoke to the booing crowd. Rollins said that last week he kindly invited Rey Mysterio to come to Raw because he wanted to have a conversation with him to clear the air. Rollins said that Rey Mysterio was a hero and that he sacrificed himself for the greater good and future of Monday Night Raw. Rollins said that Rey took the cowards way out and decided not to show up. Seth said that Rey’s son, Dominick, decided to show up to the building to handle the matter for his family. From there, Rey Mysterio appeared on the big screen and warned Seth about what would happen to him if he hurt Dominick. Rollins said he would never want to hurt Dominick because he wanted to help him. Rollins told Rey to do his fatherly duties and help Seth help his son. Rollins said that he wanted Rey to tell Dominick to join him. In response, Rey said that Dominick would never join him. Seth responded that he better because if he didn’t he would be a part of the problem and would need to be sacrificed himself. Rey told Seth to watch himself or he would pay a price. Seth then continued and said that Dominick could stand next to him on the right side of history or make the choice that Rey made and become a sacrifice as well. Rollins got down to his knees and continued to address Rey. From there, Dominick attacked Rollins from behind. He beat Rollins up and tossed him into the ring steps. Murphy and Theory ran down to make the save, but Dominick outsmarted them too. He evaded

Heydorn’s Analysis: A decent little promo from Rollins. The Dominick attacked worked too to establish him outside of his Dad. I’m intrigued with where they go here. Because of the nature of the feud, Rollins getting his heel revenge on Dominick should make for some dramatic storytelling and television. 

-Lashley and MVP were shown talking backstage before being interrupted by R-Truth. MVP asked him what he wanted and Truth said he wanted to give his condolences for losing his WWE Championship opportunity at Backlash and the divorce. Lashley asked Truth if he was joking at his expense. Truth said he was because he was teaming with Drew McIntyre later. Lashley said that was later though and Truth ran off. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Lashley and MVP were shown looking for Truth backstage. They heard Truth underneath a ring and planned to confront him. Instead, Drew McIntyre showed up. MVP told him he didn’t see a champion, but a pretender. He called Lashley a contender. Drew addressed Lashley and told him there was a reason why he himself turned away MVP’s services as a manager. Drew said he was all talk. In response, MVP challenged Drew to put his title on the line later along with Truth’s 24-7 title in a winner take all match. Truth accepted the match for Drew and though Drew looked a little unsure, he he accepted as well once Lashley started taunting him. After getting what they wanted, Lashley and Lana walked away.

Heydorn’s Analysis: As I said before, Drew McIntyre needs to be far away from this kind of nonsense. It waters down his character and mission as champion being around the silliness of Truth and Lana. After the run he’s had so far, this is a strange pivot. We’ll see what happens later on. 

-Liv Morgan made her entrance. When she finished, Nattie walked out. From there, the IIconics made their entrance and once they got to the ring, the bell rang, and their match began.

(3) LIV MORGAN & NATALYA vs. THE IICONICS

The IIconics took momentum early until Morgan turned the tide with a dropkick. After more back and forth, Liv Morgan was pinned in the middle of the ring after their finisher at about the two minute mark in the match.

WINNER: IIconics via pinfall

-After the match, the IIconics spoke and said they hoped Sasha Banks and Bayley were watching. They then told them to come out and face them in a tag team championship match. Banks and Bayley didn’t answer and they called them cowards. From there, the said they knew someone that could get them a title shot next week and said they would win the titles before leaving the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A nothing match, but one that set the IIconics up to talk big about a title match.

-Christian was approached by the Big Show backstage. Christian said he had a lot on his mind and Show told him it wasn’t a coincidence that Orton was asking for a non-sanctioned match. Show said he wasn’t telling him what to do, but he wanted to give him the facts. He said that he couldn’t remember the last time Randy looked as sadistic as he has recently. From there, Show laid out two options. Christian said he knew what he had to do and left the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Nattie and Liv Morgan had a confrontation backstage. She said that Morgan made rookie mistakes during their match and that she fully understood why Ruby Riott dropped her. Morgan stormed off and Nattie talked to herself about being disrespected. Then Lana joined her and talked about the same thing.

Heydorn’s Analysis: If Lana was standing RIGHT THERE the entire time, why was Nattie acting like she was talking to herself. Just an abomination of a segment. 

-Christian was shown at the top of the ramp pacing. He was then interviewed by Charly Caruso. Christian said that Orton called him a coward. He said he has nothing to prove to Randy Orton, but that he would not be disrespected. Christian said that if Orton wants to give him one more match, he accepts. Christian then walked off.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good delivery from Christian. Believable and authentic. Well done. 

-MVP confronted Apollo Crews backstage and congratulated him on being the US Champion. Crews said he was glad to a fighting champion. MVP talked to him about that and said the he should fight the right opponent at the right time. He said that when you take on lots of opponents, you could quickly become a former US Champion. MVP said that Crews needed someone to help him navigate those choices. MVP said he could help him do that. Crews told him “no thanks.” In response, MVP picked up the title belt and said the only way he would keep that belt was with him in his corner. MVP then left the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: From a content perspective, this helped convey how Crews views his title reign. To that end it worked. That said, it felt like Crews was reading. He needs to find his personality and voice during these promos. 

-Out of the break, Charlotte Flair was shown talking to Ric Flair backstage. Flair asked her what was next for her and wanted to know who got under her skin. Charlotte said she did what she wanted and then woo’ed.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I’ll see your strange Lana/Nattie segment and raise you this one! What is happening tonight with these backstage vignettes?

-Apollo Crews made his entrance. As he did, the announce team played highlights of Crews retaining his United States Championship last night at Backlash. When they finished, Shelton Benjamin made his entrance. As he walked to the ring, a pre-taped promo aired in which he said that he needed someone like MVP to keep the title. He said in the meantime he would take the belt from him. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(4) APOLLO CREWS vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN

After some back and forth action, Crews rolled Benjamin up and used the ropes to secure the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Crews via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much of a match to digest, but the finish is more than questionable. Crews is working to establish himself as a babyface. Cheating doesn’t help lay that foundation. 

-After the match, R-Truth was approached by Akira Tozawa and the ninjas. When the back and forth ended, Drew approached him and made sure he understood the gravity of their situation later in the night. Truth, in serious fashion, told Drew that he did and that knew what to do. The show then went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, the announce team aired highlights detailing the story of Asuka becoming WWE Raw Women’s Champion.

-After the highlights, Asuka was interviewed backstage. She spoke in Japanese before saying that Nia Jax started the fight and that Asuka would finish it.

-Drew McIntyre and R-Truth were shown talking again backstage. Truth said that he had an update and that the only title on the line in their match later, was the WWE Championship. Drew looked angry, but Truth told him to believe in him. The show then went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, the Viking Raiders and Street Profits were shown talking backstage. Big Show approached and suggested they have a tag team title match next week to decide who truly was the best. Both teams looked surprised and agreed. They then all danced while saying “we want the smoke.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: Who would have thought? A championship match to determine who is the best. What a concept. 

-Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP. After, R-Truth walked out and was followed by Drew McIntyre. As Drew walked out, the announce team discussed Drew potentially losing the WWE Championship and not getting pinned. Once he got to the ring, official introductions were made, and the match began.

(5) R-TRUTH & DREW MCINTYRE vs. BOBBY LASHLEY & MVP – WWE Championship on the line if MVP and Lashley win

Drew started things off against Bobby Lashley. Both men tied up and Drew backed Lashley into the corner. From there, they exchanged strikes until Drew hit a headbutt and followed it with a clothesline. With Lashley down, Drew tried to keep momentum, but Lashley turned the tide near his corner and tagged MVP into the match. Lashley and MVP cut the ring in half and beat Drew down including connecting on a shoulder tackle in the corner. Eventually, Drew countered and cleared the ring of Lashley. He then hit MVP with a move and was about to hit the Claymore, but Truth tagged himself into the match. Seeing this, MVP hit Truth with a suplex before tagging Lashley back into the match. Lashley tossed Truth into the steel steps as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, Truth turned the tide and made the tag to Drew. Drew crushed Lashley with a clothesline and followed that with a belly to belly suplex. He tried to hit the Future Shock DDT, but Lashley countered. Drew countered that counter with another suplex and then turned his attention to MVP who had tagged into the match. Drew beat up MVP and connected with his top rope smash. Drew then kipped up and hit MVP with the Future Shock DDT. Drew then went for the cover, but Lashley broke it up. From there, Truth and Lashley tangled on the outside of the ring. Inside, Drew hit MVP with the Claymore. He then tagged Truth into the match and launched him off of the top rope for a splash. Truth then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: McIntyre and Truth via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: A feel good finish and a clean win for Drew McIntyre. The question is did Drew need this though? With the momentum that he has, pairing him off with the 24-7 champion is a risky endeavor. This worked out ok in that it didn’t hurt Drew like it could have. It didn’t help him either and not worth something coming off wrong and framing Drew in an unfavorable light. Bottom line? Keep the 24-7 title away from the WWE title. Period.

-After the match, Christian was shown getting ready backstage. Ric Flair approached him and said he wasn’t ready. Flair said that Orton was on top of his game and that he wanted to prove a point to everyone. Christian said he appreciated Ric’s words, but he couldn’t let Randy get away from what he said. Christian then walked out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, they spoke. Bayley started and said that last night her and Sasha defended their titles. She said because of that they were in a mood to celebrate along with the fact that it was her birthday. Bayley said she wanted to make it a celebration week. From there, she detailed how they’d win on NXT before heading back to Smackdown later in the week. Banks then spoke and addressed the IIconics. She said not to tell them when or where they’d defend their belts. At that point, The IIconics walked out to confront them. They said they wanted an answer to their challenge. In response, Bayley asked them if they remembered how it went down at Backlash and they’d beat any time that is put up against them. In the end, Peyton Royce slapped Sasha Banks and Bayley agreed to their championship match challenge.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A decent little promo from both sides, but also more confusion too. Are the IIconics babyfaces now? 

-The announce team cued up highlights of tonight’s happenings between Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, and Dominick. After, they announced that Rey Mysterio would make his return to Raw next week.

-After, Nia Jax made her entrance. As she did, a promo aired and she said that dumb luck was in her favor at Backlash. She said that when she wins the Raw Women’s Championship, she’ll be dancing on her own. The show then went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, Asuka made her entrance. Once she got to the ring, official introductions were made, and the match began.

(6) ASUKA vs. NIA JAX – WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Nia Jax clotheslined Asuka to the mat out of the gate. Jax lifted her and tried for another clothesline, but Asuka countered it into the arm bar. Jax escaped and Asuka tried to hit her hip attack. Jax dodged it and lifted her up on her shoulders for a Samoan Drop. Asuka countered that by using the ropes to put Jax in a back submission. From there, Asuka hit a series of kicks on Jax, but Jax retaliated with a stiff right hand to Asuka’s face. Jax kept control and hit Asuka with a powerbomb on the outside of the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: That was a vicious powerbomb. Moves like this is why Jax appeals to Vince McMahon so much.

Out of the break, the action continued with Jax still firmly in control of the match. She put Asuka in the torture rack, but Asuka escaped and connected with two knees to the face. From there, she climbed to the top rope for a move, but Jax dropped her with a punch and climbed to the top rope with her. Jax tried for a Samoan Drop from there, but Asuka countered and stomped on Jax’s midsection. After, she covered, but only got a two count. Eventually, Jax hit her Samoan Drop and went for the cover, but Asuka’s leg was in the ropes. She argued with the referee and pushed him. In response, the ref went to try and DQ her. Instead, Asuka rolled Jax up and the official counted for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Asuka via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: This was better than the Backlash match, but that isn’t saying much. Asuka took some stiff bumps, but the finish remains a question. Obviously, it was there to prolong this feud, but there are other easy ways to do that without having both of these women wrestle in a match. Use those as these match finishes are making the feud and the story less interesting. 

-After the match, Randy Orton was interviewed backstage. He asked Charly if she thought Christian was a legend. Orton agreed and then described what unsanctioned meant. He said there was no rules or regulations and that in a few minutes, the legend of Christian would be destroyed by the RKO. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Christian made his entrance to the ring. Christian looked concerned as he walked down the ramp. Samoa Joe said that Christian was a fool for being tricked into accepting the fight. Once he got into the ring, Orton walked out. As he did, the announcers reiterated that the WWE was not liable for anything that could happen in the match. Once he got to the ring, introductions started, but were then stopped by Ric Flair. Flair walked to the ring and took a microphone. He told Christian “no” and said that he just talked to Edge. Flair said Christian didn’t need to prove anything to anyone. In response, Christian said he needed to do this. From there, the bell rang, and the match began.

(7) CHRISTIAN vs. RANDY ORTON – Unsanctioned Match

As soon as the bell rang, Flair hit Christian with a low blow. Orton looked on and then crushed Christian with a punt to the head. Orton then covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Orton via pinfall

-After the match, Orton talked to a knocked out Christian and yelled at him for showing up. He said he didn’t want to do what he did, but that he shouldn’t have been there. Orton then looked on as the medical team helped Christian. He told them to “take care of him.” Orton continued to talk to Christian as the show faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Quite a bit at play there. The Flair involvement needs a week to marinate. Will WWE follow-up on it or not? That is the key. As for Orton, he looked like a menace here. A dangerous, psychotic, menace. That part worked well and sets him up nicely for whatever he does next – presumably Drew McIntyre. In regards to Christian, he played the sympathetic role nicely and sold his doubt in an effective manner. He did quite the job tonight.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 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

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