SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 29, 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
-The show began with a brawl in the middle of the ring between Asuka and Sasha Banks. Samoa Joe worked to control the situation. After Banks fell out of the ring, Samoa Joe welcomed the audience to the show. He tried to introduce the concept of the double contract signing, but couldn’t because Banks and Asuka started fighting again. Once again, they were separated and Joe tried again. This time, Dolph Ziggler interrupted. He walked to the ring and after he got inside it, Ziggler grabbed a microphone and introduced Drew McIntyre. He did so arrogantly and said that Drew would only be champion for three more weeks.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I must say, that was an attention-grabbing way to start Raw. I need to let it marinate a bit because it may have been attention-grabbing just because it was different. We’ll see, but unique is good given the circumstances.
After Drew walked down the ramp, he joined Ziggler, Banks, and Asuka in the ring. Drew got in Dolph’s face and then sat down. From there, Joe started the contract signing. Ziggler spoke first and asked Drew where he would be without him. He mocked Drew for blowing his first chance in WWE and said that while Drew tried to find himself, he was in the WWE carrying monsters like Drew on his back. Ziggler said he knows all about sacrifice and said that Drew just isn’t sure about whether or not he can beat him. Ziggler said that at Extreme Rules he would survive and the redemption story of Drew McIntyre would disappear. Ziggler said he created Drew McIntyre and at Extreme Rules Horror Show, he would destroy him.
Heydorn’s Analysis: What. Is. With. The. Horror. Show. Gimmick. It’s one thing to put it on a graphic. Having the wrestlers say it though? Why? It’s meaningless marketing nonsense within the WWE storyline narrative.
In response, Drew stood up and walked toward Ziggler as Dolph signed the contract. Drew signed too and then spoke. He said that the match was official and that there was a time when he and Ziggler were brothers. From there, he talked about his journey in wrestling and that he figured out that wrestling was a mental game. Drew said that Dolph has never been the man like he wanted to be. He called Dolph the bridesmaid instead of the bride and said that he would hurt and slaughter him at Extreme Rules. Drew continued and said that he would allow Ziggler to pick the stipulation of their match at Extreme Rules. Ziggler laughed it off and mocked Drew from offering that. As he tried to talk, Asuka interrupted and signed her contract after getting in the face of Sasha Banks. Banks then spoke again and said that she was not the same wrestler she was when they first met. She said she would become Two Belts Banks and that she and Bayley would take over the entire company. Banks then signed and as she and Bayley laughed, Asuka attack and the brawl ensued. Seeing the action unfold, Ziggler tried for a superkick, but Drew caught his leg and countered with a Claymore attempt. Drew didn’t hit the move though as Ziggler rolled out of the ring and scurried up the ramp.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Short and to the point. Banks and Ziggler established what winning at Extreme Rules would mean to them. Drew and Asuka acted the part of confident babyfaces and the end result was a segment that gelled. Give the success that Drew has had in his role, it really feels as if Ziggler is a bit out of place as a serious contender to Drew’s title. He just doesn’t have the credibility needed to be a viable challenger. They do have a few weeks to rectify that, though.
-After the segment, the announce team cued up highlights of the Street Profits vs. Viking Raiders from last week including the attack by Angel Garza and Andrade. From there, Angel Garza was shown wooing a referee backstage. He presented her with a rose, but the referee shrugged her off. After, Charly Caruso tried to interview Garza, but Vega jumped in. Caruso then asked about being contenders in the tag division and Andrade said that they were. From there, Big Show approached them and said that he was pulling rank and heading out ahead of them because he needed to handle things with Randy Orton. Show then walked off as Vega and company looked on in disbelief.
-Out of the break, Big Show stood in the ring and called out Randy Orton. Instead of Orton, Vega and Company walked out. Show told them to watch themselves because he wasn’t in the mood. Andrade and Garza talked trash to him and Show continued to tell them not to. Garza said Show’s move didn’t matter and that he would soon realize what their group is all about. Vega then said that he would learn what would happen when you disrespect Angel Garza and Andrade. From there, Garza and Andrade circled the ring and appeared primed to attack. Instead, Ric Flair walked out. He spoke and said that he had respect for Vega and her group. He said he had business to take care of with the Big Show. He spoke to Show and said that Randy Orton would take Show out whenever he felt like it. Flair said that Orton was backstage and that he would come out when he is ready. Flair said that Show was a Hall Of Famer, but that if he pushes Orton he would regret it. He then told Garza and Andrade to finish their attack. They tried, but as they did, the Viking Raiders ran out. They brawled around the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Show was good here, but could have spoke a little cleared on what Orton did to anger him. As for Ric Flair, he shouldn’t be on these shows given the circumstances regarding the coronavirus in Florida. Period.
(1) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. ANDRADE & ANGEL GARZA w/Zelina Vega
Out of the break, the match was underway. Ivar took over early and used his hair to choke Garza. After some offense, Ivar tagged Erick in. He hit Garza with a shoulder tackle and then tagged Ivar in once again. Ivar made the pin attempt, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Andrade and Garza took control over Erick. They cut the ring in half and each hit strikes on Erick as the audience booed and as Zelina Vega spoke about her team on commentary. Garza pounded on Erick’s back with forearm shots before Erick countered with a stiff punch to the face. The momentum after the kick caused Garza to fall back into his corner. Andrade made the tag and then dropped Erick with a kick. After, Andrade and Garza had words. Andrade tried to quit and walked up the ramp as Zelina Vega tried to get him to stop. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued with Garza striking Erick in the corner. On commentary, Vega said she was the best manager in the business and that she was able to get Garza and Andrade on the same page. Back in the ring, the momentum shifted with Ivar getting a run of offense on both Andrade and Garza. In the end and after the hot tag, Garza hit the Wing Clipper on Erick for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Andrade and Garza via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: The right call from a booking perspective. The Viking Raiders are flat coming out of their “series” with the Street Profits. A refresh is needed there. As for Garza and Andrade, this was a good showing and one that addressed the fact that they weren’t on the same page. Within that mini story, Vega was able to flex her muscle and show why she is a dominating manager. Well done in that regard.
-After the match, the announce team cued up highlights that detailed the events of last week between Nattie, Lana, and Liv Morgan. They also detailed Ruby Riott’s involvement as well. When the highlights ended, Ruby Riott was approached by the IIconics backstage. They taunted Riott for being weird and a loser while not winning much since she returned. Riott responded back and ragged on them for losing their shot at the women’s tag titles last week. She then challenged one of them to a match later in the night. She said the other could pick her fallen friend off the mat and carrying them to the back and that that would be iconic. Riott then walked off and the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked Riott a lot here. She seemed authentic in her mannerisms and within how she handled the IIconics. As for them, it appears they are back on the heel side of things? After facing heel tag champs just last week in Banks and Bayley. WWE needs to pick a direction with them. They need that direction to help define their team to fans.
-Out of the break, Vega and her team were shown talking backstage. They were happy about their win and said that they would not disagree with each other out there again. At that point, Ric Flair walked up and said he needed to talk to them. They then walked out of the shot together.
-Back in the ring, Akira Tozawa as a ninja made his entrance. As he did, the announce team recapped the events of last week with Tozawa and R-Truth. When the footage ended, R-Truth walked out. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(2) R-TRUTH vs. AKIRA TOZAWA – WWE 24/7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Soon after the bell rang, Truth rolled Tozawa up for the 1,2,3 win after almost no action at all.
WINNER: Truth via pinfall to become the new 24/7 Champion
Heydorn’s Analysis: Can we be done with the 24/7 Championship? Also, the ninja gimmick. Let’s be done with that too.
-After the match, one of Tozawa’s ninja’s tried to roll Truth up for a pin, but he kicked out and ran to the back.
-The announce team recapped the events of last week between MVP and Apollo Crews. After, Bobby Lashley and MVP were shown talking backstage. Lashley said that Crews was disrespectful last week. MVP said that his offer to be his manager was dead and that his title reign would still be dead too. MVP said that he would make Crews learn from his mistakes and then walked away. As they did, they passed by Seth Rollins and Murphy. The camera caught Rollins talking to Murphy. He said that he had to deliver his most important message ever and that he needed to do it right then. They then walked away as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Rollins sounded really goofy there.
-Out of the break, Seth Rollins made his way to the ring with Murphy. He held Rey Mysterio’s mask in his hand as he walked down the ramp. As he did, the announce team cued up clips that detailed the history between Rollins and Mysterio. When the highlights ended, Rollins stood in the ring as the audience booed. He then spoke and said that last week, Rey Mysterio and his son made a heartwarming return to Raw. Rollins talked about Rey and the fact that he believed he would return to the ring someday soon. Rollins said he believed that too. He said he believed that because Rey Mysterio has a duty to uphold. Rollins said that Rey hasn’t been seeing things too clearly as of late. He said that Rey thinks that his duty is to his family, but his real duty is to be a sacrifice for the future of Monday Night Raw. Rollins said that he gave Rey a chance to do it the right way, but that he has defied him at every turn. Rollins continued and asked Rey to forgive him. He begged for forgiveness on not what he has done, but for what he forced him to do in the future. Rollins said that he was the Monday Night Messiah and that Rey is meant to be sacrificed.
He said every time Rey steps back in the ring, he would take a piece of him until there was nothing left but a memory. Rey then interrupted Seth on the big screen. He said he wanted to asked for forgiveness too. He wasn’t asking Seth though. Rollins asked Dominic for that forgiveness and said he needed to do something to Seth that was a bad as what he did to him. Rey called it and eye for an eye and said what he does won’t be faith, but by design. Dominic said that he forgave his father and then said that what happens to Rollins would be fate. Rollins laughed them off and told Dominic to be careful what he wished for. He said he had the ability to end his career before it even began. At that point, Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo ran out and as they did, the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: I suppose that was fine given the need to take up time talking. That said, the verbiage that Rey and Rollins used here just isn’t how people really talk. All the phrases and fate talk was a little overplayed and took focus away from the real story which is revenge.
-Out of the break, Seth Rollins spoke again. He talked to Black and Carrillo and said that he very much wanted to speak to them. With the opportunity, he asked why those two continued to help Rey when Rey was a fraud and a coward. Carrillo responded first and said that Seth was the coward and less of a man than Rey Mysterio. Black then spoke and said that he knows evil and can recognize it when he sees it. He pointed at Rollins when saying that and said he would atone from what he’s done. Rollins then responded back and said that “this ends now” before rolling into the ring and starting the match with Murphy.
(3) ALEISTER BLACK & HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. SETH ROLLINS & MURPHY
Murphy and Black started things off with quick paced offense. Soon after, Murphy gained momentum after Rollins interfered to distract. Rollins then tagged into the match and beat on Black with strikes in the corner. Rollins kept up the offense until Black was able to make the hot tag to Carrillo. Carrillo hit the ring with fire and hit Murphy with an enziguri. After, he connected with a springboard cross body. He followed that with another step up kick and a dropkick off of the top rope. Carrillo then tried for a 619, but stopped because Murphy pulled away. Instead, he hit a flying cross body out of the ring and onto both Murphy and Rollins as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, Rollins and Murphy held control over Carrillo. Carrillo worked to make the tag to Black and finally did as Murphy tagged in for Rollins. Black took out Murphy with a series of strikes and kicks before turning his attention to Rollins. From there, he hit a springboard moonsault on both of them, before lifting Murphy with his foot for Black Mass. At that point, Carrillo made a blind tag into the match as Black hit Black Mass. Carrillo then went for the 619 and hit it. He went for the cover, but Rollins broke it up. Out of the pin, Murphy hit Carrillo with a running knee strike and covered, but only got a two count. Out of that pin, both Murphy and Carrillo battled to the top rope. Murphy broke free first and kicked Carrillo. He then lifted him up on his shoulders and Rollins jumped off the top rope to hit a powerful knee strike. Rollins laughed as he covered, but Carrillo kicked out at two. In the end, Black and Murphy brawled on the outside of the ring. Inside, Rollins hit Carrillo with the Stomp and covered for the 1,2, 3 win.
WINNER: Murphy and Rollins via pinfall
-After the match, Rollins and Murphy destroyed Carrillo and Black. Rollins then put Rey’s mask on Carrillo and stomped him into the steel steps.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Outside of the long talk by Rollins, this worked well and elevated Seth as a monster for Rey to beat. Carrillo is a sympathetic figure and Rollins took advantage of that and kept heat by going after someone like him that is close to Rey. This was a logical next chapter in the story. Austin Theory was nowhere to be found. One has to think about all the positive Covid tests when looking at that. Nothing official here, but a newsworthy absence.
-Drew McIntyre and Asuka were shown talking backstage. They then were interviewed and Asuka spoke in Japanese. Drew said they wanted to have fun with their opponents. He then explained why he allowed Ziggler to pick the stipulation for their match and said he just didn’t want Ziggler to have any excuses when he loses at Extreme Rules. He said that Sasha Banks wasn’t ready for Asuka and that Asuka was the empress of Claymore Country as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Drew didn’t appear to cross any lines in terms of how he reacted to Asuka talking in a different language. That could have framed him in a really poor light. Instead, he came off as a great partner to Asuka.
-Out of the break, the announce team cued up highlights of the Undertaker coming off of the heels of his appreciation show on SmackDown last week.
-When the video ended, Lana approached Ruby Riott backstage. She called the IIconics rude and Riott then stopped her. She told Lana she wasn’t buying her and to leave her alone. Lana ignored her and talked about being reminded about who she was. She said one woman helped her figure that out and that this woman had more wins than some of the best in the business. She then revealed that that woman was Natalya before walking off as the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, the announce team said that Charlotte Flair was recovering from a broken collarbone. At that point, Peyton Royce made her entrance. Once she got to the ring, Ruby Riott walked out. Then, the bell rang, and the match began.
(4) RUBY RIOTT vs. PEYTON ROYCE w/Billie Kay
Out of the gate, Billie Kay distracted Riott which allowed for Royce to connect with a spinning heel kick. Right after, Royce went on offense and targeted Riott’s shoulder. Royce held momentum in the match with a variety of offense and shoulder submissions until Riott dodged a clothesline in the corner. After, she connected with punches before hitting Royce with the standing STO. Riott then tried for a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Riott went for the Riott Kick, but Royce countered it. From there, Kay distracted Riott again which allowed for Royce to roll Riott up for a pin. She only got a two count though. After, Riott rolled Royce up, but Royce countered into her spinning brainbuster for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Royce via pinfall
-After the match, the IIconics celebrated in the ring as Riott looked on in disgust.
Heydorn’s Analysis: If you look at the framework of this loss, it appears that Riott is on a journey of some kind. Time will tell. That said, the match was what it was and Royce’s brainbuster looked really good.
-The Big Show was interviewed backstage. Show said that it was clear that Orton and Flair had a plan. He talked about Ric Flair and called him “the man.” Show said that once he got into the business, he learned that Flair was the dirtiest player in the game. He said that Flair on Orton’s side makes Orton one of the dirtiest players in the game too. Show dared Orton to test him in the ring. Show then addressed Garza and Andrade and said they picked the wrong night because they messed with an angry giant. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just like last week, Big Show appeared very conversational here and it felt authentic. Even as the babyface against Orton, he put Randy over in terms of how he spoke about him. Good stuff.
-Out of the break, the announce team recapped the events of earlier in the night between Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Sasha Banks, and Asuka. From there, Big Show made his entrance.
After he got into the ring, Andrade and Angel Garza walked out with Zelina Vega. Big Show paced in the ring as his opponents walked down to the ring. Once they got there, the bell rang, and the match began.
(5) ANDRADE & ANGEL GARZA w/Zelina Vega vs. THE BIG SHOW
As soon as the match started, Garza and Andrade argued about who should enter the match first. They decided to go together, but Andrade jumped out of the ring at the last second which left Garza alone. Show crushed Garza with a chop in the corner and followed that with a second one before whipping Garza out of the ring. There, Andrade encouraged Garza to get back in the ring. Eventually, Garza got into the ring, but tagged Andrade right away. Once Andrade entered the ring, Show kept momentum on him with a series of body slams to the mat. Show kept the momentum and nailed Andrade with a headbutt. That move caused Andrade to topple backward and hit Garza which tagged him into the match. Show beat on Garza for a bit, but Garza finally got Show to his knees with an urgent offense that targeted Show’s lower body. With Show down, Andrade tagged into the match blindly. Garza argued with him and both men pushed each other in the ring. Garza then rolled out of the ring and walked back up the ramp. As they argued, Show stood up and nailed Andrade with a choke slam before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Big Show via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, I take back what I said earlier about Garza and Andrade getting on the same page. This teases a breakup and positions Garza as the babyface with Andrade being arrogant and stealing credit for Garza’s work. Though its smart to define those roles, its too soon for this turn. Their act is too new and Zelina Vega’s credibility as a manager is on the line. They need more time to develop this and to make their audience care. It’s too new for that type of impact.
-After the match, Show crushed Andrade with his punch as Garza and Vega looked on.
-Ricochet was shown talking to Apollo Crews and Cedric Alexander backstage. R-Truth ran into them and accused them of being ninjas. They said they weren’t and Truth apologized. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, MVP made his entrance with Bobby Lashley. Once they got to the ring, Lashley told MVP to talk about why he wants to take Apollo Crews down. From there, MVP talked about inspiring people to do big things like he has done. He said that he wants to do for others like he’s done for Bobby Lashley. He then turned his attention to Apollo Crews and said that when one of the best US Champions ever asks to mentor you, say yes. He said that he would not be disrespected and tried to continue, but Crews walked out. As he walked to the ring, Crews said that he didn’t disrespect anyone and that he was self-made too. Crews said that MVP should have listened to him, but that he kept pushing instead. From there, Crews said that the only person MVP truly cares about helping is himself. In response, MVP said that Crews didn’t want him as a manager, but that he really didn’t want him as an enemy. At that point, the bell rang, and the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: They did a nice job of building this match up tonight. This promo was a cherry on top. Well delivered by both men and it made the match feel important for both guys. Good stuff.
(6) MVP w/Bobby Lashley vs. APOLLO CREWS
The action spilled out of the ring right away. There, MVP took over and slammed Crews into the guardrail as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, the action continued. MVP crushed Crews with a big boot and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, MVP locked in a submission hold as Lashley looked on from the outside of the ring. From there, MVP hit a knee strike and covered again for a two count. Out of the pin, MVP went for a second big boot, but Crews dodged it and hit strikes instead. Crews then fired up and and connected with a flying splash in the corner. After, he hit a spinebuster and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Crews climbed to the top rope, but was knocked off after a Lashley interference. With Crews down, MVP hit Crews with a fisherman suplex for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: MVP via pinfall
-After the match, Crews attacked MVP, but Lashley made the save and locked in his Full Nelson hold. Officials worked to get Lashley to break the hold, but couldn’t. Instead, Ricochet and Cedric Alexander ran out and hit some moves on Lashley to get him to break the hold. It worked and Lashley looked surprised from the outside of the ring as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Heydorn’s Analysis: This is one of the more effective stories that Raw has going right now. MVP getting the win should get him a title match, but given the post-match angle, Lashley vs. Crews looks to the the long term play. I’m on board.
-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley and Ricochet were in the middle of their match.
(7) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. RICOCHET
Lashley dominated the early part of the match and beat Ricochet up inside the ring and outside the ring. Lashley’s offense included help from MVP. Back in the ring, Lashley connected with a face first sidewalk slam and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Lashley lifted Ricochet and tossed him across the ring with enough speed to cause Ricochet to roll out of the ring. Lashley followed and kept up his assault. He slammed Ricochet into the ring post and could have won via count out, but broke the count in order to roll Ricochet back in. There, he tried for his spear, but Ricochet collapsed in the ring. Instead, Lashley tried for his full nelson. Ricochet blocked it and escaped. Lashley chased after him, but fell out of the ring. He tried for a flying move off of the apron, but Lashley caught him. He tried to toss him into the post again, but Ricochet countered. The action spilled back into the ring and Ricochet connected with a springboard moonsault. He tried for a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Ricochet climbed to the top rope. He went for a move, but Lashley dodged it. Instead, Ricochet hit a superkick and followed that with a straight kick to the face. Lashley countered it by catching his foot and then slammed Ricochet into the mat. From there, Lashley locked in his full nelson and Ricochet quickly tapped out.
WINNER: Lashley via submission
-After the match, Lashley put Cedric Alexander in the full nelson as he checked on Ricochet. The audience booed as Lashley posed with MVP in the middle of the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A good little match there. Lashley looked destructive and when given a chance, Ricochet shined too. I continue to like the push to make sure Lashley’s full nelson is effective, impactful, and over. That is how finishers are supposed to work.
-Dolph Ziggler was shown talking to Sasha Banks and Bayley backstage. Ziggler acted like the leader, but was then quickly dismissed by Banks. Banks told him to go get ready and to not mess the match up for her. The show then went to commercial break. (c)
-Out of the break, Drew McIntyre made his entrance. As he did, the announce team hyped his championship match against Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules. From there, Asuka walked out. They hyped her Extreme Rules match against Sasha Banks. Next, Dolph Ziggler walked out and was followed by Sasha Banks with Bayley. Once they all got into the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(8) DREW MCINTYRE & ASUKA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & SASHA BANKS w/Bayley
McIntyre and Ziggler started things off with Drew easily getting the upper hand. Soon after, Banks and Asuka tagged into the match for some back and forth action. From there, Drew and Asuka cleared the ring with double teams as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, Drew crushed Ziggler with a flying elbow and followed that with a chop to the chest. From there, he tried for the reverse Alabama Slam, but Ziggler reversed it into a pin. Drew kicked out at two and following that Ziggler countered a Drew suplex with a DDT. After, Ziggler tagged Sasha into the match and Asuka joined her in the ring. Asuka connected with a German suplex and followed that with a dropkick to the face before covering for a two count. In the end, while Ziggler and McIntyre brawled on the outside of the ring, Banks and Asuka exchanged roll-ups in the ring and Sasha sneaked out a 1,2,3 for the win.
WINNER: Banks and Ziggler via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun match. Banks and McIntyre interacting was a nice touch and the finish gives Banks a talking point ahead of Extreme Rules.
-After the match, Banks celebrated with Ziggler and Bayley as the show faded to black.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 6/22: Alt Perspective coverage including champions night with Asuka vs. Charlotte for the Raw Championship, Profits vs. Raiders for the Raw Tag Titles, and more