WWE RAW PRIMER 6/22: Empress Defends Against the Queen, IIconic Challenge to Bayley & Sasha, Profits Defend Against the Raiders, Truth Defends Against Tozawa, Rey Returns, Flair to Crown the Viper “The Greatest”

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch contributor

Rey Mysterio (WWE.com)

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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
JUNE 22, 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

We have “Championship Monday” tonight on Raw as four titles will be on the line. Here’s the video hyping tonight’s show you may or may not have seen during the commercial break on Smackdown:

Here’s a list of what’s advertised for tonight:

  • Asuka defends against the Queen
  • The IIconics challenge Bayley & Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
  • R-Truth defends the 24/7 Championship against Akira Tozawa (and his ninjas)
  • The Street Profits defend Raw Tag Team Championship against the Viking Raiders
  • Rey Mysterio returns to Raw
  • Ric Flair to crown Randy Orton the “greatest wrestler ever”

Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (champ) vs. Charlotte Flair

We’ve been here before, and we come back to it once again. Asuka and Charlotte Flair have a long history that I’ve documented in previous primers. The latest chapter in their story came two weeks ago, when they oddly teamed together to defeat Smackdown Tag Team Champions Bayley & Sasha Banks and the IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce). Later that night, Charlotte defeated Asuka in a non-title match because of Asuka being distracted by her Backlash opponent Nia Jax.

Speaking of Nia, Asuka successfully defended against Nia last week, but WWE is “reviewing Nia and referee John Cone’s actions.” Nia got physical with Cone and as he was about to disqualify her, Asuka rolled her up and Cone decided to give a fast three-count. Here’s Cone in a WWE exclusive:

Back to Asuka and Charlotte, tonight another chapter unfolds in their story only this time the Raw Women’s Championship is on the line. The last time Asuka defended a single’s title against Charlotte was pre-WrestleMania 35 where Charlotte defeated her for the Smackdown title.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m not against these matches being on TV, but WWE is wearing this match out to the point where it’s old hat. Charlotte vs. Asuka is a special match and should be reserved for a time where it’s had a proper build whether that be on Raw or a PPV. It shouldn’t be done every two weeks. Announcing it on social media and in a commercial isn’t much. That said, I’m going to guess we’re leading to a triple threat match at Extreme Rules involving Nia. I don’t know where Shayna Baszler is but if she’s lurking, she could get involved as well. (Fatal four-way at SummerSlam anyone?)

Women’s Tag Team Championship: Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks (champs) vs. the IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce)

Last week, the IIconics defeated Natalya & Liv Morgan (who were WrestleMania opponents just two months ago) in about two minutes. Following the match, they issued a challenge to Bayley & Sasha Banks for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Later in the evening, Bayley & Sasha came out and celebrated that is was Bayley’s birthday. The IIconics made their way out and reminded Bayley & Sasha that they beat them at WrestleMania last year for the titles. They got more into it and after Peyton slapped Sasha, Bayley accepted the challenge. Sasha was none too pleased.

They retained their titles against Tegan Nox & Shotzi Blackheart this past Wednesday on NXT. On Smackdown, Bayley essentially volunteered Sasha for a single’s match against Nikki Cross which Sasha won. Tonight, they defend their titles against the IIconics straight-up. The last time the IIconics had a championship match was at Backlash in a triple threat, which involved former champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross.

Frank’s Analysis: We continue down the path of Bayley volunteering Sasha for matches and them not being on the same page, especially with Bayley accepting the challenge for this match tonight. They shouldn’t drag the break-up out much longer as people are just going to get frustrated. For me, their up-and-down two years ago was annoying. As far as tonight, I don’t have a strong feeling, but the IIconics winning the titles wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve actually liked their presentation since they came back.

Raw Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits (champs) vs. the Viking Raiders

Raw Tag Team Champions the Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) and the Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) have engaged in various competitions including basketball, bowling, a decathlon, an axe throwing competition, golf, and whatever the heck they did at Backlash. It’s been a battle of anything you can do, I can do better. Last week they joined forced to face Akira Tozawa’s ninjas and beat them in about two minutes. After the match, Tozawa wanted to continue the festivities with the ninjas when the Big Show made his return. Show and the “Viking Profits” fended off Tozawa and the ninjas.

Later as they were all chatting backstage, Show recommended the Profits and Raiders have an actual match for the Raw Tag Team Championship. That happens tonight. The two teams have had a match before, on May 4. If you so desire, check out the YouTube highlights of the match:

Frank’s Analysis: There’s so much to unpack from Big Show arriving, to Tozawa’s involvement in this now suddenly, to the comradery-like feud between the Profits and the Raiders. I get there’s an entertainment aspect to wrestling but sometimes it’s so hard to figure out the goal of what they’re trying to accomplish. I guess they’re just trying to have a different type of feud here where the teams get along and respect each other, but I don’t really get that from what we’ve seen. It’s not like they’ve had a string of matches to establish that it’s even a strong rivalry. I suppose Tozawa and the ninjas will get involved, which is just stupid. (My hands are thrown up)

24/7 Championship: R-Truth (champ) vs. Akira Tozawa

Last week, 24/7 Champion R-Truth and WWE Champion Drew McIntyre defeated Bobby Lashley & MVP. Only Drew’s title was on the line in the match, much to his dismay when Truth broke the news to him in a backstage segment after he spoke to the “powers that be.” Tonight, Truth puts his 24/7 Championship on the line against former champion Akira Tozawa.

Frank’s Analysis: This was another situation that contains too much to unpack and too much to think about. I would not agree to put my championship on the line if I could lose it because of my tag team partner getting pinned. That said, it’s a shame Tozawa must be presented like this. He’s a good wrestler and capable of having good matches with sensible booking. It’s sports entertainment thought folks!

Rey Mysterio Returns to Raw

Last week, Rey Mysterio once again appeared via video and spoke to Seth Rollins while he was in the ring. He said his son Dominic made his way to Raw before Rey could stop him. Seth said he didn’t want to harm Dominic, but rather help him. He wanted him to join his group, which includes Murphy and Austin Theory. Rey said no way, and Dominic eventually appeared from behind and went after Seth. Theory and Murphy appeared from behind, but Dominic managed to escape. I must have missed this tweet from Rey last week, but here’s what he put up prior to Dominic showing up:

Rey will “be on Raw” to confront Seth. Whether or not that’s in person or via video again is not clear.

Frank’s Analysis: I know everyone thinks Dominic is turning on his father, and I think that’s highly likely at some point, but part of me thinks it may not happen. It seems too obvious, and I also just don’t see the benefit of it. I’m willing to play along if it happens, which again, I think is still a possibility.

Ric Flair to Crown Randy Orton the Greatest Wrestler Ever

Last week, Edge’s long-time best friend Christian arrived to confront Randy Orton who had beaten Edge in what WWE dubbed as the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.” (Calling things the “greatest” this or that is going to be a joke now, right?) That said, this was at the outset of Raw, where Orton challenged Christian to an unsanctioned match. Orton knew Christian couldn’t be medically cleared, but figured an unsanctioned match was the way around that. Christian accepted later in a backstage interview with Charly Caruso. WWE Hall of Famer and Orton’s former Evolution partner Ric Flair appeared backstage to talk Christian out of the match, but he would have not of it referring to Orton calling him a coward if he doesn’t accept.

The match was set for the main event. Before it got started, Flair made his way out. He told Christian he had spoken to Edge, and he didn’t have to do this. Next thing you know, Flair gives Christian a low blow. Orton then punt kicked Christian in the head (like it was 2010) and pinned him. He then taunted him after the match saying he didn’t want to do this, but this is his livelihood. He showed remorse and told the medical people to look out for Christian as he was stretchered away. Here’s what happened after Raw went off the air:

Tonight, Ric Flair arrives again to crown Orton the “greatest wrestler ever.” (Here we go with the “greatest” stuff every two minutes)

Frank’s Analysis: Ric Flair is still the dirtiest player in the game, right? If Christian is working on coming back, it’d be cool to see him try to get revenge on Orton. If that doesn’t happen, this at least gives them another reason to have an Orton-Edge match down the line when Edge is ready to come back.

Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week

Kevin Owens defeated Angel Garza. Out of concern for the COVID-19 situation where a Performance Center talent tested positive, Owens decided not to attend the Raw tapings Wednesday, where they were recording tonight and next week’s show.
Apollo Crews defeated Shelton Benjamin to retain his U.S. Championship. Prior to the match, MVP offered his services to Apollo.
Bobby Lashley told his wife Lana that he wanted a divorce. Later, Lana approached Natalya after she tore into Liv Morgan following their loss to the IIconics. They appeared to understand each other after Natalya said she “built this division.” Lana said she should have been married to the WWE Champion. Remember when Liv Morgan “outed” Lana at her and Bobby’s wedding? Anyone?

Final Thoughts

There was a lot to unpack on Raw last week. Some things didn’t make sense, such as why WWE management would allow Christian to wrestle a match if he weren’t medically cleared. I understand it was part of the story, but at least have somebody in management push back on him to say we won’t allow it, and he can make his case. The whole “unsanctioned” thing is stupid to me. Why would Drew McIntyre have to put his WWE Championship on the line in a tag team match with R-Truth as his partner? Why would Natalya team up with Liv Morgan when almost two years ago, the Riott Squad tried to humiliate her after her father’s death? I’m not looking all that much forward to future shows under the guise of Bruce Pritchard, but maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.


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


CATCH UP… 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

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