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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 22, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-A narrator previewed the top matches and planned segments on the show including Rey Mysterio returning to Raw, Ric Flair christening Randy Orton the Greatest Ever, and the two tag team title matches.
-Phillips introduced the show as they showed a wide shot of the Performance Center then audience members (socially spaced six feet apart, not wearing masks) standing and applauding. They showed the announcers on camera as Drew McIntyre made his ring entrance.
-McIntyre said tonight is “Championship Monday.” He said last week R-Truth hastily accepted a winner-take-all tag team match last week. “Wrap your head around that one,” he said. He said he stands there as champion still. He said it’s time to look into the future. He was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler. Saxton said, “Speaking of the past.” He said that he and Drew have a history together. The announcers noted that Ziggler is from Smackdown. Drew smiled. Ziggler said he’s sure he’s happy to see him. Ziggler revealed that A.J. Styles was traded to Smackdown in exchange for him and his partner, Robert Roode. He said he thinks Raw got the better end of the deal. Ziggler said no one is as happy to see Drew as WWE Champion than he is. He said he wouldn’t want him to lose the title for any reason “before I got what I was owed.” Drew asked him what he owes him. Ziggler asked how he could have forgotten his redemption story. He said years ago he was in WWE and he got fired. He said he was at his lowest point, and he came to Raw because of him. He said he went on to become dominant tag team champions because of him, and now he is the dominant WWE Champion “because of me.” He said he needs a challenger at Extreme Rules, and he said he is owed a WWE Title match.
Drew said that’s not the whole story. He said without Big Daddy Claymore watching his back, he’s been losing a lot. He said he was traded to Raw as part of a “two-for-one special.” He said he is talented, but he’s become “exactly what we used to despise – an entitled jackass.” He said the world doesn’t owe him anything. He said he is right, though, that he needs an opponent at Extreme Rules. He said Ziggler gave him the nickname “Scottish Psychopath.” He asked him to imagine how far he’ll go to keep his title. He asked if he really wants the match. Ziggler nodded. McIntyre said then it’s on. His music played.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Phillips said Ziggler isn’t owed anything, but to Drew’s credit he will give a title match to anyone. Saxton said Ziggler is fortunate to have a fighting champion on Raw.
(Keller’s Analysis: Glad to see Ziggler in a fresh setting. I get a kick out of Ziggler saying he thinks Raw got the better end of the trade. It was two-for-one, and he was part of the two, so I’d hope he thinks that! The idea that WWE Title matches are made by wrestlers, including the champ giving a challenger with a terrible win-loss record, which the champ brought up, makes it sort of absurd. At least Phillips noted that it wasn’t official yet. It’d be better if WWE had more of an established procedure and protocol for how title matches are decided.)
-Nia Jax’s music played. Phillips reacted with surprise and said she wasn’t scheduled. Jax walked out, looking like she was in a mood, and asked for a chair. She slid it into the ring and sat down. [c]
-Jax said it must be Monday because Charlotte Flair got exactly what she wanted whether she deserved it or not. She said she was cheated out of becoming champion at Backlash and again last week by a biased referee. She was interrupted by R-Truth who danced and sang to the ring. He said he is scheduled to have a match against a leader of an evil ninja clan, Akira Tozawa. He asked if Jax is “the real Akira Tozawa.” He said everybody knows ninjas are masters of deception and disguise. Jax asked if she looks like she’s really in the mood to be accused of being Tozawa. Tozawa showed up behind the announcers. Four ninjas showed up and chased Truth to the back. Jax said she’s not leaving this chair. Charlotte’s music then played.
Charlotte made her way to the ring. She said Jax dropped the ball and is now throwing a hissy fit. Jax said Charlotte gets her way because she’s Ric Flair’s dad. Charlotte said Ric now calls himself “Charlotte Flair’s Dad, and he loves it.” She asked a producer to open the ropes for her. She entered the ring. Jax said she’s delusional if she doesn’t think her dad helped her career. Charlotte sarcastically said it was her dad who ended Asuka’s winning streak and beat her twice last month. (That’s totally beside the point whether she’s succeeded after getting help from her dad to get those opportunities.) Jax said she is the one woman built to take her crown. She stood and smiled. Charlotte attacked Jax.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why would anyone want to see either of these two succeed? It’s not that there’s never a time for two heels to fight, but it should be a rare exception since you usually want fans to have someone they genuinely are rooting for.)
-A video package aired the Viking Raiders-Street Profits saga.
-Backstage The Street Profits were talking about their title defense. In walked the Viking Raiders. The Profits said they’re not the NWO, they’re not 4 Life, they’re forever. And they celebrated becoming friends. Angelo Dawkins said when the bell rings, their friendship doesn’t matter because they’ll do whatever it takes to win. Erik said nothing will stop them from claiming their gold, so they better bring the smoke. Zelina Vega walked up behind them and seemed to have an epiphany or an idea of some kind [c]
(1) THE STREET PROFITS (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
Before the bell, the announce team talked about the Profits are bothered that they’ve never defeated the Raiders in a straight up two-on-two match. Very early Ford rallied with leapfrogs and a kip up, the flip dove onto Ivar on the floor, but Erik caught him and threw him into Dawkins. The Raiders celebrated they cut to an early break. [c]
The Raiders were in control after the break. The Profits came back and gave Erik a Viking; Experience Ivar broke up the cover. They got into a cartwheel contest. Erik then powerbombed the Raiders both at once, but Dawkins avoided a top rope Ivar splash. He then landed the Cash Out and speared Erik. Ford tagged in and landed a top rope frog splash for the win. The two teams hugged after the match.
WINNERS: The Street Profits in 8:00 to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Barely over half of this short match aired, but the action was good. I’m not sure how an eight minute tag with a commercial in the middle is payoff to their rivalry.)
-As the Profits celebrated, Andrade and Angel Garza attacked them. The Raiders returned and ran them off. Zelina laughed with her men at ringside.
-Seth Rollins was shown staring off into space in a trance-like state backstage. In walked Austin Theory and Murphy. Seth said his message for Rey Mysterio is that “soon all will be revealed.”
-The announcers threw to a video recap of the Dominic-Seth angle last week.
-Backstage to Seth again, who was still staring off into space. He then looked into the camera and said sometimes in life, we are destined for our roles, not our choices. He said Rey didn’t choose to be a sacrifice, but the difference between them is that he has accepted his role in the greater good, while Rey has been defiant, and defiance breeds suffering. He said it’s a shame he’s allowed his son to get involved, and whatever happens with him and his son is on him. “That is guilt you have to harbor because the greater good is coming for us all, and there is nothing you can do to stop it,” he said. “I’ve heard it said that legends never die, but they can sure as hell can outlive their welcome.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I thought previously Seth thanked Rey for sacrificing himself for the greater good, but now he’s saying he didn’t actually choose that path. I guess it’s fine if heels are contradictory or Seth, in general, is difficult to fully comprehend. His delivery is good and eerie.)
-They went back to the announcers at ringside. They replayed the Charlotte-Jax angle from earlier.
-Backstage, Charly Caruso approached Charlotte and asked if she has thought about postponing her title match against Asuka with her shoulder injured from the Jax attack. Charlotte said she never delays, and her arm will be just fine holding up that Raw Championship after she wins. Charly moved over Garza, Andrade, and Vega chatting. Garza flirted with her some more as she asked what provoked their attack on the Profits. Vega said her clients took their differences and turned them into strength, and soon they will taking a common prize. Andrade explained she was referencing the tag team titles. (Thanks, Andrade!)
-Asuka made her ring entrance. [c]
(2) ASUKA vs. CHARLOTTE – Raw Title match
Early in the match they showed Nia Jax watching on a monitor. Asuka went after Charlotte’s shoulder early. A couple minutes in, Asuka leaped off the ring apron, but Charlotte avoided her dropkick and kicked her in the face. She scored a two count in the ring. Asuka avoided a moosault, but Charlotte landed on her feet. Charlotte drove Asuka’s face into the middle turnbuckle. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
They showed Jax again watching intently backstage. Asuka put Charlotte in an armbar. Charlotte crawled over to the bottom to force a break. Charlotte landed a spear a minute later, but Asuka reached the bottom rope during the ref’s count. Charlotte dragged Asuka to the middle of the ring to set up a figure-four, but Asuka rolled her up for a near fall. Asuka went back to an armbar. Charlotte stood and powerbombed Asuka to escape. Asuka rolled Charlotte right into an Asuka Lock. Charlotte tapped out. Phillips said for years Charlotte has had Asuka’s number until tonight. Charlotte was shown dejected in the corner, on the verge of crying over the loss.
WINNER: Asuka in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Big win for Asuka, although tainted since Charlotte went in with a shoulder injury that she exploited. I’m not sure what story they’re telling here regarding Charlotte. It seems this would trigger something with her.)
-Caruso interviewed Nia Jax backstage. She asked Jax if the shoulder injury played a part in the loss. Jax said it’d be a real shame if someone kicked Charlotte when she’s down.
(Keller’s Analysis: Charlotte’s one of the most mismanaged acts. She’s treated like a big star, and that’s important, but fans are just left without strong feelings for her either way because she doesn’t consistently get portrayed as likable or unlikable for any substantial stretch of time.) [c]
-A video package aired on the Orton-Edge-Christian saga.
-Edge was shown leaning against a turnbuckle. He said Orton might have won at Backlash, but he didn’t live up to his claim of being the better natural wrestler. He said Orton hit him with an RKO and tore the muscles off his bone, but he kept fighting. He told Orton that, sure, he tells himself that he kept him around to prove a point, but that’s bullshit. (He was bleeped.) He said he saw the panic in Orton’s eyes before hit him with a supposed accidental low-blow. He said he watched Raw last week and saw Orton is now calling himself the greatest ever. He said he can put it on t-shirts and anything else because beating him means that much to him. Edge said he expected to be better than Orton, and beating him wouldn’t have been as big of a deal as it is to Orton that he beat him. He said he is disappointed he didn’t see the low blow coming, but he won’t let that happen again. He said the injury showed him that he needs to wake up a side of him that’s been dormant for far too long.
He said he questioned Christian’s guts and manhood, “when you know he isn’t medically cleared to wrestle and hasn’t wrestled in six years, and then you punted him?” He said he has been his best friend and helped him through every trial and tribulation in his life. He said he put the “happy to be back” version of himself to bed, and he’s thankful. He said he will do whatever it takes now to get what he wants. He said he doesn’t care about winning a wrestling match anymore. He said he’s going to embarrass him and emasculate him “and make you wish Cowboy Bob was firing blanks on the day you were conceived.” He said his kids are going to see him and run up to him and notice something isn’t right and ask if he’s okay. He said he will know what is coming. He said he’ll be screaming louder than the voices in Orton’s head. “I will seep into every aspect of your life and infect it, tear your life apart brick by brick from the outside,” he said. “You have no idea what you’ve done. You woke up the evil. You woke up the Rated-R Superstar. Get some sleep while you can, Randy.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Edge is really good at these. It walked right up to the line of being maudlin, but stopped short and instead felt intense and real. It’s a long time to torment Orton before the payoff of another match, though.)
-They cut to Orton who looked like he watched that as it aired and was a little spooked. Caruso walked up to him and said he critically injured Edge. Orton interrupted and asked if she knows what a snake does when it’s threatened. He said the snake will strike wildly and blindly, what mother nature intended for it to do in order to survive. He said Edge and Christian might try to make comebacks, but he’ll strike blindly and wildly and do what it takes to defend his family and his livelihood. “It’s mother nature,” he said. He said he hopes they’ll both make a full recovery and lead happy fulfilling lives, as long as they do it far, far from him. He said he now has something to discuss with Flair.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strong comeback promo.) [c]
-Caruso approached Charlotte and asked how she handles a loss like tonight. Charlotte said she gives Asuka credit because targeting her arm was the only way she’d win. Jax attacked her from behind and slammed a crate door on her arm, then let out a mock “wooo!”
(3) R-TRUTH vs. AKIRA TOZAWA (w/Ninjas) – 24/7 Title match
Truth made his way out again to his music with his 24/7 Title belt over his shoulder. Tozawa held a karate stance as Truth’s music faded. Phillips explained the 24/7 Title rules are suspended as long as the match is taking place. (They do more to clarify the rules of the 24/7 Title than the major titles, sometimes.) Lashley and MVP attacked the ninjas at ringside, then entered the ring. MVP distracted Truth and then Lashley put him in a full nelson from behind. He threw him hard to the mat, rag-dolling him. Tozawa, who had been hiding under the ring, then came out and covered Truth and got the win.
WINNER: Tozawa to capture the 24/ 7 Title.
-Sarah Schreiber stood outside of the Doctor/Trainer room and said she hoped to get an update on what could be a severe shoulder injury to Charlotte. Natalya walked up to her and said what Raw needs is her leadership. Natalya said she has a major announcement and told Schreiber that she should have scheduled an interview with her. Schreiber invited her to reveal it. Natalya said it’s too late because she has a match first. [c]
(4) LIV MORGAN vs. NATALYA (w/Lana)
Morgan came out first. Natalya walked out with Lana behind her. Natalya dominated early. When Liv was distracted and yelled at Lana at ringside, Natalya seized the opportunity to trip Liv and then apply a sharpshooter for the tapout win. Natalya didn’t release the submission right away. Natalya and Lana hugged at ringside. Saxton said he’s uncomfortable with this new attitude of Natalya.
WINNER: Natalya in 3:00.
-Caruso approached Big Show and asked if he ever imagined he’d be fighting off ninjas. Show chuckled and said just when he thought he had seen everything, an army of ninjas showed up. He said he stopped by to say hello to old friends, but it was his pleasure to lend the Raiders and Profits a “right hand.” He explained his play on words. He plugged his Netflix series. He said he’s not about fun tonight, though. He said people think he’s all about fun, but they forget that behind his fun exterior there’s one heartless, angry giant. He said when that guy comes out, he can do whatever he wants to anyone he wants and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
-Ric Flair made his ring entrance. [c]
-Phillips said the Drew vs. Ziggler match at Extreme Rules has been made official.
-Flair stood mid-ring and accepted cheers from the audience. (Didn’t he lead to Christian getting punted last week? Does that not count for anything just seven days later?) Flair said what Jax did to Charlotte will make he wish she never crossed her. He then turned to talking about Orton. He said the word “arguable” doesn’t apply because the best in the business today is Randy Orton. He said he took Edge and Christian both into retirement in a 24 hour period last week.
Flair called Randy to the ring. He declared him the best ever. They shook hands. Orton said they are half of Evolution. He said sometimes “nostalgia can be confused with legacy.” (Is there a way to twist that into a dig at Cody?) Orton said it was nostalgic that last week Flair showed he is the dirtiest player in the game. He said it was nostalgic that he punt kicked Christian out of the ring again and that Edge stepped back into the ring for the very last time last week at Backlash. He said it’s not nostalgia to call him the Legend Killer. “It is simply cementing my legacy,” he said. He said he euthanized the careers of Edge and Christian. He said the voices in his head are rarely on the same page, but they are shouting in unison that he is the Legend Killer. Big Show’s music played. He marched to the ring and yelled, “Enough!”
Show entered the ring and said Edge and Christian are his friends, and he’ll pay for what he did to them. He said he’s known Randy for a longtime, and from the second he met him, he knew he was a narcissistic parasite who will pray on anyone who can help him. He said that’s currently someone he used to respect, Ric Flair. He said he latches onto competitors over and over, and that was Edge at one point. He said those competitors make Orton better because he lacks the motivation to make himself better. He said like a parasite, once he gets what he wants, he leaves the host to die. He said Edge didn’t die, though, and he will pay him back some day. Big Show said he’s pissed off because of what he did, so he’s going to break every bone in his body in the mean time.
Orton said he won’t touch a hair on Flair’s head because he paved the way for people like him. Orton said they are friends who came up together. He said Show took him under his wing and he thinks the world of him. He said he is indeed a future Hall of Famer. “Some might even say you are a legend,” he said. He looked at Show as if he wondered if that double-meaning registered with Show. He said it’d be a shame for him to suffer the same fate as his friends Edge and Christian. Show asked Orton to square up and fight. “Don’t run,” he said. Orton dropped to the floor and told Show to look at what he’s done the last 15 years and especially the last week. He said when he’s motivated, he should be scared of him. He said what happens next is on him. He and Flair left together.
(Keller’s Analysis: Show can really step up and deliver. He and Orton were great together there.)
-Phillips threw to a clilp of the IIconics angle with Sasha Banks & Bayley last week. Then they showed Bayley and Sasha getting ready for their title defense. [c]
(5) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. THE IICONICS (Billie Kaye & Peyton Royce) – WWE Tag Team Title match
As the bell rang, Bayley gave Sasha a shove to start the match, indicating that she wanted Sasha to start and that she’d be on the ring apron. Sasha turned to take issue, but was then caught with a Kaye boot to the face for a quick believable near fall. Saxton explained what just happened. Bayley tripped Royce and then threw her into the announce desk. Sasha came back against Kaye, then tagged in Bayley. The IIconcis took over and kneed Bayley in the head. They cut to a break. [c]
A few minutes after returning from the break, Royce shoved Sasha into Bayley, knocking her to the floor. Royce rolled up Sasha for a two count. Banks made a quick comeback and put Royce in a Bank Statement for the tapout win.
WINNERS: Sasha & Bayley to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles in 8:00.
-After the match, Bayley said, “Oh my god, we are good!” Bayley asked Sasha if she’s right how good they are. Sasha said she’s been thinking that she’s Bayley Dos Straps, and she can’t help but get a little jealous. She said she’s her best friend and loves seeing her happy. She said she can’t help but want to experience it as well. She paused, then said she wants a title match. Bayley looked at her quizzically. The audience chanted “Yes!” Sasha officially challenged Asuka for the Raw Women’s Title. She turned to the camera and snickered at their swerve. Bayley laughed with her.
Asuka came out and talked in Japanese. Sasha said, “What?” Asuka said, “You are not the boss of me. I accept.” Bayley attacked Asuka. Sasha joined in. Asuka fought back briefly, but Sasha put her down with a Back Stabber and a Bank Statement. Sasha and Bayley danced over Asuka as her music played.
-Schreiber asked Lashley if he was trying to make a statement earlier. Lashley said he should be WWE Champion, but Truth ruined it. Lashley said what he did was introducing the rest of the roster to the hurt business. MVP said Lashley is a man revitalized, free of distractions. He said their association has done wonders for his career. He said it could do the same for Apollo Crews. He said he’s tremendously talented, but he doesn’t get the business side. He said Apollo has a chance to be the most prolific U.S. Champion since him. He said if Apollo makes the wrong decision, that’s on him. He said it wouldn’t be personal, it’d be business. [c]
-Ruby Riott approached a despondent Liv backstage. Liv said nothing is going her way and she really doesn’t need her making her feel worse than she already does.
-MVP Lounge: MVP stood in the ring as his music faded. The audience booed. He said he hopes his guest knows what an honor it is to be invited to be on the Lounge. He said he hopes his guest is a future client. MVP said it just feels right to have the U.S. Champion in the MVP Lounge. He said he respects that Crews wants to be a fighting champion. He said he also gained respect for him when he beat him. He said he recklessly blew out his knee, forfeiting his chance in the tournament. He said he needs someone to help him navigate those bad decisions. He said he’s already made mistakes, and he can help Crews avoid them. He said he’s the one who can help his daughter have the life she wants. Crews said he’s gotten this far without his help. The audience cheered. He said he appreciates his offer, but the answer is still no.
MVP said he has the potential to be one of the greatest champions. “Not as great as me,” he said. “But in your own right.” He said there’s no rule that says he has to wrestle every week. He said he can’t be U.S. Champion for a long time without him in his corner. Crews asked him to elaborate. MVP said he was U.S. Champion for 343 days. He said it was a historic U.S. Title run. He said he likes Crews, and he’s made a nice offer twice, but there won’t be a third nice time. He said one way or another, the U.S. Title will be coming back to where it belongs.
Shelton Benjamin walked out and got in Crews’ face. They went face-to-face. MVP distracted Crews, then Shelton attacked him. He threw Crews into the ringpost. MVP said his blindside was vulnerable. He said that piece of advice was free, but the next one won’t be. [c]
(6) APOLLO CREWS vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN – U.S. Title match
Crews won with a toss powerbomb. Saxton said it proved Crews does not need the guidance of MVP.
WINNER: Crews in 3:00 to retain the U.S. Title.
-After the match, MVP applauded. When he tried to raise Crews’ arm, Crews told him to leave his hands off of him. Lashley attacked Crews from behind with a full nelson and rag-dolled him.
-Rey told Dominic they were going to go show the Monday Night Messiah how the family holds together. [c]
-As Rey and Dominic made their way to the ring, a clip aired of last week’s angle with Seth and Dominic. Rey said one of the most terrifying things that can happen to you as a parent is not being able to get ahold of your child. He said he tried calling him several times last Monday, but he got no response. “Dom, you scared the hell out of me,” he said. When he found out where he was headed, he didn’t feel any better. He said somehow he managed to get out of a three-on-one situation. He said that made him proud, but he also put himself at risk and made him angry. He said Seth tried to blind him, but he’s learned to accept that. He said he knows he’s bigger than him but he’s still his old man, and no matter how big or strong he gets, he will always be his child. Dom nodded and soaked up his words. He said since Dominic fought for him, now it’s time for him to fight for Dom. “I got this one, son,” he said. “I need to get revenge on Seth Rollins, but I need to do it myself.” Dominic said he understands where he’s coming from, but he’s not going anywhere. “This is what a family looks like and this family wants a fight,” he said.
Seth walked onto the stage and said if Dominic and Rey want a fight, they’re putting him in a difficult position. He asked if he should slaughter a father in front of his son, or does he go down to the ring and make him watch while he sacrifices his boy. He said he’s not sure what he should do, but it’s not up to him. He said these decisions aren’t his decision. He said it’s fate, prophesy. He said they’re both in the same place at the same time, and two eyes are better than one. He extended his arms and began his walk down the ramp. He stopped and kneeled at ringside. Then Theory and Murphy walked out. Seth said this is on Rey because it was his decision not to walk away. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo attacked Theory and Murphy from behind. They beat up Murphy and Theory, then cornered Seth. Rey gave him a 619 at ringside. Dominic then grabbed Seth and brought him toward the ringside steps. Murphy and Theory recovered and saved Seth. Seth choked Dominic as Theory and Murphy held Rey and made him watch. Phillips said Seth was trying to pierce Dominic’s eye. Humberto and Black made the save with chairs as the show ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strong segment.)