WWE RAW PRIMER 7/6: Women’s Champion vs. Champion, Expectations for Follow-Up on Numerous Stories, Continued Build Towards Extreme Rules: The Horror Show

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch contributor

Asuka vs. Bayley

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

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
JULY 6, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe

Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show

Last Week Overview and Items Advertised by WWE

We continue course towards Extreme Rules: The Horror Show with another edition of Raw from the WWE Performance Center. No new matches were announced last week, but we found out from WWE Champion Drew McIntyre that he is allowing Dolph Ziggler to pick the stipulation for their championship match. Ziggler and McIntyre paired together in 2018 upon McIntyre’s move from NXT and they briefly held the Raw Tag Team Championship. Ziggler recently came to Raw with Robert Roode from Smackdown in exchange for current Intercontinental Champion A.J. Styles. Here’s Ziggler in a WWE exclusive:

As of this writing, and as has been typical for WWE, their Raw preview is not up on their website. We learned what’s on tap thus far for tonight in a commercial during Smackdown:

Asuka to battle Bayley in a champion vs. champion collision.

We’ll look at that and the other major stories on which we can expect follow-up:

  • What will Dolph Ziggler choose as a stipulation for his challenge to Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship?
  • What’s next for Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins?
  • Does MVP continue to court U.S. Champion Apollo Crews and try to make him his newest protegee?
  • What further issues will percolate between Zelina Vega’s protegees Andrade & Angel Garza?

Women’s Champion vs. Champion Non-Title Match: Asuka (Raw) vs. Bayley (Smackdown)

Asuka is set to defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show. They had a match on Raw back in 2018 after Asuka won the first women’s Royal Rumble. Here’s a clip of that match if you so desire to watch:

There was a hot opening to Raw last week as Sasha and Asuka along with Smackdown women’s champion were brawling at what was scheduled to be a double contract signing involving Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. Things eventually got under control and everyone signed. Sasha said she would be a double champion like Bayley and take over the whole “damn” company. McIntyre told Ziggler he would let him pick the stipulation for their match as I mentioned earlier. Everyone brawled again, which led to a mixed tag team match that closed out the show. Ziggler and Sasha teamed to defeat Asuka and McIntyre.

Tonight’s match will be another chapter in the build towards Asuka vs. Sasha at Extreme Rules as Asuka goes one-on-one with Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley. Neither title is on the line. Asuka faced Charlotte Flair, NXT Champion at the time, in a champion vs. champion a little over a month ago.

Frank’s Analysis: I understand trying to put on good shows, and a champion vs. champion match goes a long way of doing that. The problem is they do it so often that it doesn’t even feel special anymore. The formula that always worked, at least for me, is have the champion string wins together and have the challenger do the same. That way both are strong heading into the title match and there’s intrigue as to whom will win. The problem is the “bench” is weak because WWE has taught you not to care about anybody on the undercard. That said, if I could legally take bets, I’d open a betting window on what screwy finish they’ll use tonight.

The Stipulation: What Will Dolph Ziggler Choose?

I mentioned earlier that Drew McIntyre wants Dolph Ziggler to choose the stipulation for their championship match at Extreme Rules. I talked about the history between these two men, and the happenings of last week.

Frank’s Analysis: Given there isn’t an Extreme Rules match set for the show yet and given there are usually one or two of these matches on the card, my expectation is that this is the stipulation Dolph will choose. It would be a little weird for this to be the stipulation considering they haven’t had a series of matches recently. Me being the wrestling traditionalist usually expects this type of match after one or two where the feud can’t be settled normally. That’s sort of a thing of the past I suppose, and you can build off the history with these two men. They also were involved in a mixed tag last week, so I guess that counts. It’s hard for this match to have a ton of juice so a stipulation like this would help.

The Continued Saga Between Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins

Last week, Seth Rollins had a chilling message for Rey Mysterio and his son Dominic. We thought he was going to apologize for his actions, he was apologizing in advance for what he was going to do in the future. Rey and Dominic appeared remotely via video, and Rey vowed an eye for an eye. Dominic said he would never forget Seth, and Seth responded by saying be careful what you wish for.

Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo made their way out, and Seth was joined by his disciple Murphy. This led to a tag team match between all four men, which was won by Seth and Murphy. After the match they attacked Carrillo and attempted to put his eye into the ring stairs as Seth did to Rey many weeks ago. He put the mask near Carrillo’s face and asked him if he wanted to be a hero, since heroes wear masks. Before they could stick Carrillo’s eye into the stairs, Aleister made the save. Seth was still able to deliver a stomp to Carrillo’s head onto the stairs. Here’s Seth on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis: They’re just going to keep things going but it’s hard to say week to week what they’ll do. They can’t just keep doing the same tag match every week. I think they’ve all fought each other one-on-one in some way, shape, or form. Eventually this is going to be Rey vs. Seth. The ultimate question is what happens with Dominic. I still say he turns on his father but wouldn’t be surprised if he just goes his separate ways without turning and heads down to NXT.

MVP’s Courting of U.S. Champion Apollo Crews

Last week, Bobby Lashley told MVP that U.S. Champion Apollo Crews disrespected him a week earlier when he offered his services. MVP said the offer was dead and later, would defeat Crews one-on-one in a non-title match. He is a two-time holder of the U.S. Championship, with those reigns coming in his first tenure in WWE 200-2010. He noted to Crews previously that he held the title for 343 days. That reign was ended by Matt Hardy.

Following the match, Lashley put Crews in his Full Nelson. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander came out for the save, which led to Ricochet taking on Lashley. Ricochet had not been in action for many weeks. They went about seven minutes, with Lashley tapping Ricochet out to the Full Nelson. Ricochet got a good measure of offense in the match, but Lashley dominated in the end.

We’ll see if MVP continues to court Crews.

Frank’s Analysis: Ricochet and Cedric were talking to Crews earlier. They’ve been floundering for the most part on WWE television. I don’t know how likely this is, but what if MVP ends up managing them instead? Ricochet and Cedric have mostly been babyfaces but turning heel under the guise of MVP could be interesting. Sometimes when acts don’t appear for a while and then just show up, they turn.

Andrade and Angel Garza

There was a lot last week with Zelina Vega’s protegees Andrade and Zelina Vega. The Big Show interrupted an interview with them and came out to call out Randy Orton when they were supposed to wrestle the Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar). Zelina, Andrade and Angel Garza interrupted Show, but he said he was in a mood and didn’t want to “play.” He even called Zelina a smurfette (ok who watched the Smurfs as a kid in the 80s on Saturday mornings?). Anyway, Ric Flair interrupted, and said be careful what he wished for, because Orton could come out and be an even bigger Legend Killer.

The Viking Raiders came out and attacked Andrade and Garza before their scheduled match. After commercial, things settled down and Andrade & Garza went on to defeat the former Raw Tag Team Champions. They had dissention in the middle of the match, but things were settled by Zelina. Garza scored the pin with his wing clipper, but Andrade walked out in disgust.

Later, they took on the Big Show in a handicap match. Garza got frustrated with Andrade when Andrade tagged himself into the match at one point, and then walked out. Show would defeat Andrade with his signature KO punch.

We’ll see where things go with these men tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: I’m down on this dissension because they haven’t been together long enough, so a break-up doesn’t mean much to me. If the story turns out that they just couldn’t get along and blame Zelina for trying to put them together, I suppose that’s fine. It’s better to break them up now then drag this out for six months.

Other Match Results & Notable Segments from Last Week

  • R-Truth regained the 24/7 Championship from Akira Tozawa
  • Peyton Royce defeated Ruby Riott. Peyton and her IIconic partner Billie Kay talked trash to Ruby earlier in the evening, which made Ruby a de facto babyface.

Final Thoughts

There was A LOT on Raw last week, which isn’t bad, but it’s hard to do that every week. Sometimes it’s good just to have a show that’s booked logically, with the winners that need to win winning, and the stories moving in the proper direction. I don’t see them keeping this pace every week, although with a 1.28 rating, I’m sure they’ll throw everything they can at us and that includes the kitchen sink.


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


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