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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 29, 2020 (Taped 6/27)
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-They opened with Sasha Banks and Bayley fighting with Asuka in the ring as Samoa Joe attempted to restore order for the contract signing. Several referees ran to the ring and separated the wrestlers. Joe then formally introduced the show. He said they were planning to have a contract signing at which point Asuka and Sasha broke into a fight again. Joe told the referees to separate them. Dolph Ziggler then came out to his entrance theme. He said Drew McIntyre is going to be champion for only a few more weeks. Then he called him to the ring.
Phillips and Saxton chimed in about the turn of events so far. Eventually Asuka and Drew were on one side of the table while Ziggler and Sasha were on the other, ready to sign the contracts. Ziggler passionately spoke about giving it everything he has. He said he’d still do what he does best by surviving. Ziggler said Drew’s 19 year redemption story would disappear “just like that” at Extreme Rules. He signed the contract.
McIntyre immediately signed the contract next. He said that was quite the impassioned speech from Ziggler, but the fact is that he is going to slaughter Ziggler at Extreme Rules. He told Ziggler that Ziggler is the only one who thinks he has a chance to beat him. He said since they’re “family,” he’s going to let Ziggler choose the stipulation for their match. Before Ziggler could respond, Asuka took the mic and began yelling in Japanese before signing her contract.
Sasha said once Extreme Rules is finished, she and Bayley will be double champions and they’d take over the locker room and “the whole damn company.” Sasha then signed the contract. Bayley said it’ll be a “horror show.” Then everyone fought again. Drew went for a Claymore Kick on Ziggler, but Ziggler ducked and bailed out. Drew and Asuka stood together in the ring as the heels gathered at ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: This contract signing went relatively quickly, which is good as these can drag on sometimes. Good intensity early and solid mic work establishing why you’d root against the heels and for the babyfaces. This also seemed to set up Drew & Asuka vs. Ziggler & Banks.)
-They went to ringside where Phillips and Saxton reacted to the double contract signing. They wondered what stipulation Ziggler would choose. They pivoted to hyping the Raw Tag Team Title situation. A clip aired of The Street Profits beating The Viking Raiders last week followed by Andrade and Hector Garza attacking them afterward.
-Backstage Garza was flirting with WWE’s female referee. Zelina Vega and Andrade walked up. Zelina said she’s the best referee. Charly Caruso walked up to Garza and asked what he was saying to her. She seemed possibly jealous. Zelina made fun of her tone of voice. Caruso asked if they win tonight if they think they are in line for a title shot. Andrade said yes. Big Show walked in and said he is pulling rank and has something to say about Randy Orton, and that’s happening next. Zelina complained to Andrade and Garza.
-Phillips said Seth Rollins plans to repent for his sins tonight regarding Dominic.
-A Smackdown ad aired touting Sheamus toasting Jeff Hardy plus Braun Strowman tapping into his inner darkness for his Swamp Match at Extreme Rules. [c]
-Big Show stood in the ring and said he’s a legend, and dared Randy Orton come try him. Instead, Andrade, Garza, and Vega walked onto the stage. Show apologized to Vega, calling her “Smurfette.” He said he’s not in the mood to play, though. Andrade laughed at Show calling himself a legend. Show said he’d put his fist in his mouth if he keeps that up and said he has boots older than him. They said there are two of them. Show said they’d need to stand on the other’s shoulders to look down at him. Show interrupted Garza and said, “Blah blah blah, if you want to fight, let’s go.” Vega said they’d do Orton a favor by showing what happens when you disrespect them. She said his days are numbered, but he can say hi to Edge and Christian for them in the retirement home.
Ric Flair’s music played and he walked out. He said he needs to have a word with his old friend, Big Show. He said no one is going to handle his career and focus on the future of his career other than his friend, the guy with three letters, R-K-O, “the greatest wrestler alive today.” He said he will take him on whenever he feels like. He said he will come when he feels like it. He said he’s backstage right now. He said he’s doing his leg work. He said Show’s been making cartoons for Netflix. He said everyone wants their spot in Hollywood, and he’ll have his day and be in the Hall of Fame, but if he messes with Orton, Orton will become an even bigger Legend Killer and Show will be on the outside looking in. He encouraged Vega to send Andrade and Garza to attack Show. The Viking Raiders came out, though, and got into a brawl with them on the stage before they got to Show. They cut to a break as the teams brawled. [c]
(1) ANGEL GARZA & ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar)
Vega joined the announcers on commentary. She said she does what she does for a reason. A few minutes in Andrade seemed to lose patience with Garza because Garza didn’t tag Andrade when he asked. Instead, he chose to keep on the attack. Erik punched Garza, but he knocked him into the corner where he tagged out to Andrade. Vega got wide-eyed and tried to calm Andrade down. Andrade began leaving as Vega walked up to him to try to talk him out of leaving. They cut to a break. [c]
Garza was on the attack against Erik. Philips asked how he got her men to return to the ring. She said because she’s the best manager in the game. She said they’re on the same page. Saxton said there’s clearly cracks in her team. Andrade and Ivar tagged in. Ivar went on a flurry of offense and yelled to the audience. A graphic in the corner said R-Truth would get a 24/7 Title rematch with Akira Tozawa later. Four-way action broke out a minute later. The Raiders got the better of that battle. A Viking Experience was interrupted, though. Andrade knocked Erik to ringside. Garza threw him into the ringpost. Andrade caught Erik with his spinning backfist. Garza tagged in and applied his Wing Clipper for the win.
WINNERS: Garza & Andrade in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Garza and Andrade were the right team to win here given the tag scene, and they cheated just enough to give the Raiders an out. It’s surprising they’re still going with tension between Garza and Andrade. I don’t get where that’s going other than a too-soon break-up.)
-They showed a clip of Natalya beating Liv Morgan last week, with Lana and Natalya revealing their alliance. Then they showed a despondent Liv talking with Ruby Riott about how nothing is going her way these days, then storming away because she didn’t want Ruby to make her feel any worse.
-The IIconics approached Ruby and said she has no friends and no wins. “She’s such a loser,” said Billie Kaye. Ruby said she zoned out as they were talking because she was trying to remember who blew their tag team title opportunity last week against Sasha and Bayley. They said at least they have each other. Ruby told one of them to meet her out in the ring, and the other can carry the loser to the back over her shoulder. She antagonized them by using their catch phrase. [c]
-A smiling Flair told a celebrating Garza, Andrade, and Vega that he had an idea to run by them. They were interested and then walked away together.
(2) AKIRA TOZAWA (w/The Ninjas) vs. R-TRUTH – 24/7 Title match
Truth sang his song on his way to the ring. Saxton said ninjas make him paranoid. Truth pretended to be injured, the rolled up Tozawa to score a quick win.
WINNER: Truth in 1:00.
-As Truth celebrated, a ninja tried to pin Truth. He kicked out, then ran away.
-They replayed the MVP proposal to Apollo Crews last week followed by an attack by Lashley.
-Backstage Lashley told MVP that Crews disrespected him last week. MVP said the offer is dead, just like his chances at keeping his U.S. Title. MVP said he wants Crews to learn from his mistakes. Lashley came across as somewhat irked by the attention MVP is paying to Crews. They walked past Seth Rollins and Murphy. Seth said this is his most important message to date and he has to deliver it now before they lose their chance.
-A commercial aired for the NXT Great American Bash beginning this Wednesday night. [c]
-Phillips announced Andrade & Vega would battle Show later.
(Keller’s Analysis: Typically protecting the image of tag teams in situations like this isn’t a priority for WWE. In this case, even if they lose, at least they already wrestled tonight and that can be an excuse, but hope they protect them somewhat.)
-Seth walked out with Rey’s mask. Saxton was disgusted. A video recap aired of the Seth-Rey storyline.
-Seth said last week Rey Mysterio made his heartwarming return to Raw and said nothing would stop him from returning to the ring. He said he believed what he said with all his heart. He said Rey hasn’t been seeing things too clearly as of late. The audience booed. Rey said he thinks his job is avenge for his family, but his real duty is to sacrifice himself for Raw. He said he’s told Rey to do it on his own terms, but he has defied him at every turn. He looked into a side camera in the ring and asked Rey to forgive him not for what he has done in the past, but for what he is forcing him to do to him in the future. He said they are bound by fate, and as fate would have it, he is the Monday Night Messiah, and Rey is meant to be the sacrifice for the greater good of Monday Night Raw. He said he will tear him down little by little until there is nothing left but a memory.
Rey and Dominic appeared on the big screen. The audience cheered. Rey, still wearing a screen in his mask over his injured eye, told Dominic that he loves him for fighting his battle, but he must do something to Seth that is just as remorseless as what he did to him. Rey repeated the phrase “eye for an eye.” Rey said what he does won’t be out of hate, but by design. Dominic said he will never forget Seth.
Back in the ring, Seth told Dominic that his father has taught him well, but one lesson he didn’t teach him is to be careful what he wishes for. Seth said he may be forced to end his career before it ever begins. Aleister Black’s music played and charged out with Humberto Carrillo. [c]
Seth, now at ringside with Murphy, said he hoped to see them tonight. He asked why he is choosing to fight Rey’s battles for him. Seth told Humberto that Rey is a coward. Humberto told Rey that he is less of a man than Rey is. Black said he knows a thing or two about evil, and he knows it when he looks at it. He pointed at Seth. He said there will be no forgiveness for Seth, just atonement for everything he has done. Seth said he thinks he knows evil, but this ends now.
(Keller’s Analysis: Overall, Seth was good here with his words and delivery to ramp up what he is indicating he has in store for Rey. Dominic was the most genuine and likable I’ve seen him here, in part because he didn’t talk a lot, but when he did, it seemed sincere and humble.)
(3) SETH ROLLINS & MURPHY vs. ALEISTER BLACK & MURPHY
A seemingly impromptu match began promptly. Seth tagged in a minute into the match and stomped away at Black aggressively at ringside. Humberto made a comeback a couple minutes later against Murphy. He set up a 619, but Seth pulled Murphy to safety. Humberto gave Seth a pump kick and then leaped off the top rope at both Seth and Murphy. He seemed to come up a little short, but after contact, everyone collapsed to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]
Seth had Humberto down after the break, but Humberto quickly kicked Seth and crawled toward his corner to hot-tag Black. Black went to work on Murphy, who also tagged in. Black fended off an interfering Seth, then went back to work against Murphy. Humberto tagged in and landed a 619. Seth broke up the cover. Murphy landed a running knee strike on Humberto for a near fall. Black made the save. A minute later, Seth landed a flying knee to Humberto on Murphy’s shoulders for a near fall. Seth set up a stomp as Black and Murphy fought at ringside. Humberto rolled up a distracted Seth for a two count, but Seth popped up and delivered a Stomp to Humberto for the win.
WINNERS: Seth & Murphy in 11:00.
-Afterward, Seth and Murphy threw Black into the time keeper’s area. Then they grabbed Humberto. Seth said he will have to pay for standing up for Rey. Humberto fought back until Murphy hit him with the base of the steel stairs. Seth eyed Rey’s mask and put it over Humberto’s head and asked if he wants to be a hero. “Heroes wear masks!” he said. Murphy dragged Humberto over to the ringside steps. He said it’s not just for his own good, but it’s for the greater good. He told him not to fight it. Black made the save. Seth, though, broke free and delivered a running stomp to the back of Humberto’s head onto the top of the ringside steps. Seth and Murphy retreated to the stage as Black checked on Humberto, who wasn’t moving.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good tag match with the expected angle with one of the babyfaces around the ringside steps.)
-Backstage, Drew told an excited Asuka that she’ll have her chance at revenge later. Sarah Schrieber asked what they hope to accomplish tonight. Asuka spoke in Japanese. Drew said what Asuka is saying is that they’re going to have a lot of fun tonight. He said Ziggler won’t get an advantage over him after tonight. Drew said he’s letting Ziggler pick the stip so that when he beats him, he will have no one to blame except himself. He said Sasha is not ready for Asuka. Asuka was very excited Drew said it that way and said Ziggler isn’t ready for him.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re adorable together, but not in a romantic way at all.)
-Phillips said Undertaker revealed in his documentary that he wrestled his last match at WrestleMania, and they’d pay tribute to him next. [c]
-A tribute video package aired on Undertaker that lasted well over five minutes.
-Lana walked up to Riott and she knows it’s hard to not have any friends. Riott told her to leave her alone and move on to trying to ruin another career. Lana said Natalya reminded her of what the Women’s Division is all about. She said Natalya has more wins than Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Lita, and Trish Stratus. “She’s a woman we can believe in,” she said. Phillips said Riott goes one-on-one with Peyton Royce next. [c]
-A sponsored replay aired of what Nia Jax did to Charlotte last week.
-Phillips said Charlotte suffered a fractured collar bone and they wish her the best. Saxton said this means more opportunities for other women.
(4) RUBY RIOTT vs. PEYTON ROYCE
Riott controlled for a while. Billy Kaye distracted Riott. Royce rolled her up. Riott countered with her own roll up. Royce popped up and hit an enzuigiri and a spinning brainbuster for the win.
WINNER: Royce in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Either Riott is going to reunite with Liv because she’s feeling like a loser, too, or they’re going to join with Lana and Natalya as some new faction.)
-Charly asked Show if the Garza & Andrade challenge is a trap because Orton is hanging out, ready to strike. Show said it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Orton and Flair have a plan. He said he grew up in South Carolina and when he was 13, Flair was The Man. He said then he got in wrestling and he found out Flair was the dirtiest player in the game, and now Flair is mentoring the Apex Predator, which means Orton is the most dangerous Apex Predator that WWE has ever seen. He said he welcomes the challenge. He said Andrade and Garza picked a bad night to face him because he’s not the smiling happy giant, but the angry giant. [c]
-Phillips narrated highlights of the contract signing chaos earlier which set up tonight’s tag match.
(5) THE BIG SHOW vs. ANGEL GARZA & ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega)
Phillips brought up the dissension between Garza and Andrade earlier. They went on to bicker over which of them would start the match. Show caught Garza during the dysfunction display and tore off his t-shirt and then headbutted him.
Garza avoided a charging Show a few minutes into the match and worked over Show’s leg. He stomped away at him before Andrade tagged himself in. Garza was fuming mad and held him back. Andrade shoved him and said it’s his moment. Garza walked away and said this can be his moment. Show then surprised Andrade with a chokeslam for the win. Show gave Andrade a KO Punch after the win.
WINNER: The Big Show in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: So the dissension was utilized as a way to “protect” Andrade and Garza in losing to Show.)
-Backstage Crews was chatting with Cedric Alexander and Ricochet. R-Truth walked up to them and said he finally got away from Tozawa and the Ninjas. “Or did I?” he said. He eyed Cedric. Cedric said he’s not one of the ninjas. Truth said they have no idea and walked away. Crews, Ricochet, and Cedric laughed at him. [c]
-MVP and Lashley came to the ring. Lashley told MVP that before he teaches Crews a lesson on humility, he should explain why he intends to do this. MVP said when he goes home, people ask him how they can escape the hood like he did. He said that success doesn’t matter if he doesn’t give back. He said that’s why it’s such an honor and a joy to let him unlock Lashley’s limitless potential. He said he felt disrespected when Crews took a heartfelt offer and rejected it. He said he’s been where Crews has been, riding high on his first title reign, but he won’t let him disrespect him. Crews interrupted and asked what he’s talking about. He said MVP is a self-made man, but “so am I.” He told MVP not to give him the speech about giving back because if he cared about anyone but himself, he’d have listened to him when he first turned down his services, but he kept pushing and pushing and pushing. He entered the ring and got in MVP’s face and said the only person he cares about helping is himself. MVP said he will find out that while he didn’t want him as his manager, he really didn’t want him to be his enemy.
(6) APOLLO CREWS vs. MVP (w/Bobby Lashley)
Crews took early control. Lashley yanked MVP to safety at ringside. Crews flip dove onto Lashley at ringside. MVP threw Crews into the ringside steps. [c]
MVP took over with a boot to Crews’s face, then settled into a chinlock. Joe said he shouldn’t have disrespected a man with the pedigree of MVP. Lashley distracted Crews and opened him up for a boot to the face followed by a fisherman’s suplex by MVP for the win.
WINNER: MVP in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Imagine that – a distraction finish in a WWE match and a challenger beating a champion in a non-title match. It’s WWE’s leitmotif of 2020.)
-After the match, Lashley put Crews in a full nelson. Ricochet and Cedric ran out for the save. They finally knocked Lashley off of Crews. [c]
(7) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. RICOCHET (w/Cedric Alexander)
Lashley overpowered Ricochet and scored a near fall at 2:00 after an inverted body vice into a twisting powerslam. Lashley beat up Ricochet at ringside, including ramming him ribs-first into the ringpost. He avoided a countout and then threw Ricochet back into the ring. Phillips talked about how dominant Lashley had been. Ricochet blocked a full nelson attempt and then ducked a charging Lashley, who flew over the top rope to the floor. Ricochet leaped off the ring apron at Lashley, but Lashley caught him. Ricochet shoved Lashley into the ringpost then rolled into the ring. Cedric yanked MVP off the ring apron. Ricochet caught Lashley with an enzuigiri and then a superkick. Lashley caught a Ricochet round kick and then slammed him hard to the mat. Lashley ear was bleeding pretty heavily. Lashley put Ricochet in a full nelson for the tapout. Lashley put Cedric in the full nelson after the match before tossing him violently to the side.
WINNER: Lashley in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The goal now is pushing Lashley hard, so his largely dominant performance here makes sense. Ricochet’s comeback meant more because of Lashley’s dominance in the prior minutes. It still seems as if Ricochet could be at a point where he means a lot more than this.)
-Ziggler asked Sasha and Bayley to let him take over and be a player/coach like Pete Rose. Sasha and Bayley laughed. Sasha said the last time they saw him, he was on their show, Smackdown, losing Mandy Rose to Otis while they were dominating the Women’s Division. Bayley said what Sasha is saying is don’t screw it up for her. [c]
-They showed the Performance Center.
-Phillips narrated clips of the contract signing at the start of the show.
(8) DREW MCINTYRE & ASUKA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley)
The announcers debated how crazy it is for Drew to give Ziggler the power to name the stip for their match at Extreme Rules. Drew dominated Ziggler early. Asuka tagged in against Sasha and also dominated. She went for an Asuka lock. Ziggler entered the ring. Drew cut him off with a hard chop. Sasha rolled to the floor to regroup with Ziggler. [c]
Back live, Bayley smiled at ringside as she had the tag titles over her shoulders and her Smackdown Title belt around her waist. Asuka attacked Sasha with a flurry of offense and scored a near fall. Asuka gave Banks a hip attack off the ring apron. Bayley stood up and made childish distraction noises at Asuka. That was enough for Sasha to sweep Asuka’s leg and drop her face-first onto the ring apron. Banks then hit Asuka with a Meteora, then scored a two count in the ring. Bayley couldn’t believe Asuka fell for her childish distraction. Banks continued to dominate, including a two count after a double stomp in the corner. Asuka eventually tagged Drew back in just as Ziggler also tagged back in. Drew took it to Ziggler including a powerful overhead toss and then a top rope clothesline. Drew kipped up. When he set up a Future Shock DDT, Ziggler escaped. Ziggler tagged in Sasha, who yelled at Drew. Asuka came up behind Sasha and kicked her in the head and scored a near fall. At ringside, Ziggler shoved Drew into the ringpost. Asuka went for an Asuka lock, but Sasha escaped and applied a Bank Statement, but Asuka slipped out. Asuka then went for an Asuka lock, but Sasha leveraged Asuka’s shoulders down for the win.
WINNERS: Ziggler & Banks in 15:00.