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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 13, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-After the “Then, Now, Forever” brand stamp, the Raw opening theme played.
-Phillips introduced the show as the camera showed the audience members with face masks cheering. The announcers previewed the “Grudge Match” theme of scheduled matches.
-MVP Lounge: MVP said his guest is the man who took in Drew McIntyre when he was an unemployed bum. He said Drew is so rude, disrespectful, and ungrateful, he won’t even say thank you to the man who made him. He introduced Dolph Ziggler as “probably the nicest guy that I know.” Ziggler made his full entrance. Phillips narrated last week’s exchange between Drew and Heath Slater, with Slater giving Drew a guilt trip and slapping him, followed by Ziggler attacking Slater after Drew beat Slater, with Drew making a quick save and hugging Slater.
Ziggler told MVP he’s got a nice place, and he’s especially impressed by the new U.S. Title belt. Ziggler said when he beats Drew for the WWE Title, he’ll get a belt just like it, but maybe make it spin like “old school.” MVP said his people can talk with his people. MVP said Ziggler knows what makes Drew tick since he made him what he is. He said he admires him for not disclosing the stipulation ahead of time. Ziggler said he knows how to turn him back into the old Drew McIntyre who was fired. “I picked him up from obscurity and taught him everything he knows,” he said. “How many times do you think he has thanked me? Zero-point-zero.” He said he will turn Drew into an unemployed loser looking for a handout. He said without him, Drew wouldn’t have beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. He said the lack of gratitude is why Drew will lose the WWE Title to him on Sunday.
Drew’s music played and he walked out with a smile. He apologized for interrupting their mutual ass-kissing session. MVP and Ziggler said he’s classless. Drew said he’s concluded over the last week that Ziggler uses people. He said he did all the dirty work for him. When Ziggler interrupted, Drew told him to shut up. He said he’s going to hurt him, maim him, and torture him. He said he’ll regret the day he picked up the phone and invited him to return to Raw. Drew said he wants some action tonight. He popped Ziggler in the face with a backfist. He made MVP flinch, then left the ring as his music played. He looked at Ziggler in the ring and said, “You’re screwed.”
-Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Angel Garza, Zelina Vega, and Andrade. She asked about the dissension between them. Zelina called it a false narrative. She said they’ve already defeated The Viking Raiders, and they teamed with Randy Orton to topple Big Show, and they have the Street Profits running scared. She said no man can measure up to them. She took a dig at Caruso’s hair and shoes. Andrade and Garza tried to get Zelina to back off. Garza pulled out a rose and said he can beat The Viking Raiders. Andrade jumped in and said, “We.” Garza corrected himself. The Viking Raiders approached them and accused them of cheating and dirty tactics. Erik said,”Tonight we run through you.” Caruso apologized for being distracted by Ivar. She acted smitten. Ivar took Garza’s rose from him and gave it to Caruso. Garza was confounded that Caruso was paying more attention to Ivar than him.
(Keller’s Analysis: I didn’t see that coming – Caruso also being smitten with Ivar the way the women in the skits with the Street Profits were. Garza’s reaction was great. I also liked the small sleight by Garza that Andrade quickly called him out for. The Raiders are better as babyfaces right now than they were as heels on the main roster.) [c]
(1) ANDRADE & ANGEL GARZA (w/Zelina Vega) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS – Elimination Tag Team match
When Joe made the case that Vega is managing her two men’s egos, Saxton called him gullible. Garza scored a pin on Erik after a hammerlock DDT about two minutes in, giving them a two-on-one advantage.
(Keller’s Analysis: One of those super-annoying “unnatural early” pins that mysteriously only would happen in an elimination or two-out-of-three falls match.) [c]
Andrade had Ivar in an armbar after the break. Ivar made a comeback and leaped onto both Andrade and Garza at ringside, driving them both hard into the barricade and the floor. Andrade saved Garza from a cover, then scored a two count with a small package. Ivar cartwheeled away from Garza and then set up a powerslam. Andrade blind-tagged in, but Ivar surprised him with a spinning wheel kick for the three count. It came down to Ivar and Garza. Ivar landed a spin wheel kick for a near fall, with Zelina saving him by putting his foot on the bottom rope. Garza caught Ivar with a powerbomb out of the corner after side-stepping him to score the pin.
WINNERS: Garza & Andrade in 9:00.
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Ruby Riott backstage. The IIconics barged right in before they could throw to a video package. The IIconics made fun of how sad it is that Riott abandoned her friend Liv Morgan and has been losing matches to them in recent weeks. They said Riott’s going to lose a handicapped match to them next since it appears she has no partner. Riott smiled knowingly and mockingly laughed at how funny they were. In walked Bianca Belair. Riott let her introduce herself. Belair said she’s there to help out “my girl Ruby.” [c]
(2) THE IICONICS (Peyton Royce & Billie Kaye) vs. RUBY RIOTT & BIANCA BELAIR
Saxton said Ruby is going through a tough time of self-reflection, but you have to march forward and try to get some wins. The IIconics took early control against Ruby. She hot-tagged Belair a couple minutes in and she rallied as the audience cheered. Saxton called her “one of the best pure athletes in WWE.” (The percentage of times “best pure athlete” is used for black pro wrestlers is really high.) She gave Kaye the K.O.D. for a quick decisive win.
WINNERS: Belair & Riott in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A statement quick win for the resurfacing Belair. She can be a major centerpiece for the division, weakened by the losses of Charlotte and Becky Lynch.)
-R-Truth congratulated Ricochet for being named MVP of Raw. Ricochet explained he’s facing Bobby Lashley who has MVP in his corner. Truth said that’s what he said. Cedric Alexander asked why isn’t focused on Randy Orton. Truth said they’re confused because Ric Flair challenged him, not Orton. “You do know you are competing against Randy Orton tonight, don’t you?” they explained to him. Truth got nervous and said he had to go. He walked up to Tozawa. “I need you to teach me how to become a black belt in five, six, seven, ten minutes.” Tozawa yelled, “No!” Tozawa rolled him up for a two count, then ran away. The Ninjas showed up. Ricochet and Cedric joined Truth in a standoff. Truth challenged Tozawa to a 24/7 Title match right now. [c]
-R-Truth asked Tozawa why he has three ninjas with him when he came to the ring alone. Suddenly out walked Shayna Baszler. “We haven’t seen her in months!” exclaimed Phillips. She entered the ring and put a ninja in a sleeper. Then she kneed another one. Tozawa shoved the third ninja at her and she slammed him. She turned to Tozawa. He said, “I’m out.” He rolled out of the ring. She turned to Truth who suddenly realized he might be in trouble. He said he’d let himself out. Baszler held up the mic and said she has been so patient. She said she’s allowed everyone to have their fun, but she’s done. She said the weak-minded women’s champions – air quotes – are under the delusion they are in control. She said the Queen of Spades is back to shatter the illusion by hitting them with a hard dose of reality. “And I am that reality,” she said.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a prime example of the promo that was inevitably going to sound like it was written, memorized, and recited by whoever read it because it was 85 percent more “clever” than any normal person would speak. Let her go out there and speak like a badass coming back to kick some ass would.)
-They replayed Rey Mysterio issuing the Eye for an Eye stip last week.
-Seth Rollins asked Murphy what was wrong. He asked if “eye for an eye” means they’re actually going to go out there and try to blind each other. Seth said nothing of significance happens without sacrifice, and remember that Rey asked for it. “Stay here, focus on your match with Aleister Black,” he said. “I have a message to deliver.” [c]
-Phillips threw to a video preview of the next WWE video game “Battle Grounds.” They didn’t even let Sgt. Slaughter have the comb-over! He was just all bald on top.
-Seth came out and said over and over that he knows what “eye for an eye” means. He seemed rattled. He said when Rey said it last week, he thought it was a metaphor for revenge. He said what he has come to understand is that Rey meant it literally. He enunciated “literally” hilariously. He said he’s trying to understand how they got to that point. He said the only way to win is to “pluck your opponent’s eyeball out its socket.” He said never in the history of this company has such a match been sanctioned with a stipulation so barbaric. He said he never meant to harm Rey. He blamed the WWE Universe for asking him to lead WWE into the future, “and that is what I am doing.” He said the match will be a horror show. He said Rey has forced his hand for the very last time. “I will be forced to tear and rip and gouge until he is completely blind.” He said Rey will never watch his son be married and see his wife’s face again or another sunrise or sunset. Audience members booed and heckled him. Seth said Extreme Rules will be the end of Rey, “but in many ways it will be a new beginning.” He was interrupted by Kevin Owens.
Owens walked onto the stage. He said he’s not sorry to interrupt him. He said he fully expected Rey to pick a Last Man Standing Match or a cage match, but instead he went with an Eye for an Eye match. He said as disturbed as he is by the concept of the match, what he finds more disturbing is that “you’re such a scumbag, you were able to make a man who was respected by everyone in this industry – someone everyone looks up to – you got him to the point he wants to gouge your eyes out.” He said he understands where he’s coming from. He said after Extreme Rules, he has an eye patch for him provided by Jean-Pierre Lafitte. He called Murphy to the ring. Aleister Black attacked him on the ramp. They cut to a quick break. [c]
(3) ALEISTER BLACK (w/Kevin Owens) vs. MURPHY (w/Seth Rollins)
Several minutes in, Black landed a Black Mass on Murphy. Rollins yanked Black out of the ring by his leg. The ref DQ’d him.
WINNER: Black in 6:00 byDQ.
-Rey and Dominic ran to ringside. They cut to a break with Seth surrounded. [c]
-A Smackdown ad hyped the A.J. Styles vs. Matt Riddle match for the Intercontinental Title this Friday.
(4) KEVIN OWENS (w/Rey Mysterio, Dominic, Aleister Black) vs. SETH ROLLINS (w/Murphy)
KO took control early. Seth begged off. As KO had Seth grounded, the screen graphic hyped the Ricochet vs. Bobby Lashley match later. Seth bailed out and almost got counted out. Seth kneed KO in the gut and threw him to the floor. Black stood in front of KO to guard him. Seth asked what he was doing. Dominic walked up, too. Then KO surprised Seth with a forearm. Seth tried to flee, but KO grabbed him and threw him back into the ring. Seth escaped again, but he couldn’t find anywhere to run. KO caught up with him. Saxton said Seth has to accept his punishment, “he has no other choice.” Seth came back with a chop block and then a dive through the ropes to knock KO into the barricade at ringside. [c]
Back live, Seth was in control in the ring. KO eventually came back with a superkick and a DDT for a two count. Seth came back with a blockbuster for a two count. KO blocked a superkick, landed his own superkick, and went for a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Seth avoided it and connected with a leaping roundkick and then a superkick. Seth draped his arm over KO and scored a two count. KO went for a stunner, but Seth moved and then went to the top rope. KO knocked him off balance and set up a superplex. Seth resisted and gouged KO’s eyes. Saxton noted Seth’s “sick smirk.” Black jumped onto the ring apron. Then Dominic. Then Rey. KO recovered and landed a stunner for the three count.
WINNER: Owens in 16:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: As you’d expect from these two, a very good match.)
-Rey told Seth after the match that he crossed every line that there is to cross, “and now it’s my turn.” He said at Horror Show on Sunday, Seth is walking into the ring with two eyes, but he’ll walk out with only one.
(Keller’s Analysis: They sure doubled down on that stip.)
-Backstage the director decided to show Ric Flair texting. Big Show walked up to him and said he has to talk with him. Flair said he had something to say to him. He told Show he has spent 20 of his 48 years of his wrestling career with him. He compared him to Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, and Andre the Giant. He said from college right into the pros, he has done it all and has unequaled coordination. He said he’s picked a fight he can’t win. He told him to learn from Edge. He asked why he thinks The Rock hasn’t come back. He said Show is doing great with his Netflix series, so he doesn’t need this. He said he should go into the Hall of Fame healthy, not with an injury at the hands of Orton, who is at the top of his game. He told him to give it some thought because it’s not too late to bow out. He told him he loves him. As he began to walk away, Show stopped him and said he knows what he just tried to do. He said he’s a master and the dirtiest player in the game. He said he’s never seen Orton more skilled and he might be the best WWE has ever seen. He said he knows what he did to Christian and Edge. He asked Flair if he’s willing to sacrifice his friendships so Randy can be the Legend Killer. He walked away.
(Keller’s Analysis: Flair, at his age, shouldn’t be traveling to Raw for these events in the midst of a pandemic. That said, he’s doing some of the best mic work he’s done in decades. He’s not frenetic and over-the-top or stumbling or desperate, as he’s seemed more often than not for the better part of the last two decades. Big Show also continues to be outstanding.)
-The announcers plugged the official theme of Extreme Rules, “Watch Me Now” by Kevin Rudolf.” They threw to a video package on how Randy Orton earned the moniker “Legend Killer.” The clips included Shawn Michaels, Edge, Christian, Roddy Piper, Jake Roberts, Batista, among others.
-Backstage Orton said they said you’re lucky if you make it out of the industry with the handful of friends you made during your career. He said he has bonded with a handful over the years, including Edge, Christian, and Big Show. He said he has Ric Flair. He said all Edge had to do was step into the ring with him and be Rated-R RKO, but he couldn’t trust he knew what was best for him, “so I sent his ass home where he belongs” to be a husband and father, and nurse his injury. He said then Christian stepped up, and made a mistake accepting his challenge for one more match, an unsanctioned one. He said he has known Big Show for so long, and he was one of the first men who showed him around the locker room and how things went. He said it baffles him why he’d rather avenge a couple battered skulls than maintain his friendship with him. He said Flair is family to him, which is why it’d be a shame if Ric did anything to jeopardize their friendship. (Hmmm.) He said R-Truth has all his respect for making the WWE Universe smile for years. He said it’ll be a shame when all Truth amounts to is another chapter in the history of the Legend Killer. Flair walked in and said it’s time. Orton said he’d be right behind him. Flair left. Orton had a look that said Flair might want to watch his back.
(Keller’s Analysis: Orton is at the top of his game right now on the mic. He’s really flipped a switch and moved to another level.) [c]
-WWE Fact: The WWE 24/7 Tile has had 99 title reigns with 36 different people, and R-Truth has been champion a record 37 times.
(5) RANDY ORTON (w/Ric Flair) vs. R-TRUTH
Truth sang his way to the ring. Then Flair’s music played and he made his entrance. Flair told Truth that Randy loves him just like he does, which is why he’s not going to field goal kick him across the building, he’s just going to RKO him. “How about that?” he said. Randy then joined Flair on stage and they walked to the ring together. Orton posed in the corner. The bell rang, but Truth said he wanted a word with Ric. When Truth walked over to Ric, Orton grabbed him from behind. Truth fired back and went for a scissors kick. Orton avoided it and hit an RKO for the win.
WINNER: Orton in a few seconds.
-After the match, Flair tried to stop Orton from going after Truth with more. Orton stepped past Flair and stood over Truth. Big Show’s music played. Orton told him if he comes any closer to the ring, he’ll take it out on Truth. He said when he Punt Kicked Edge and Christian, it hurt him more than them. He said Truth wasn’t on his Punt Kick list, but Show is. Orton challenged him to an unsanctioned match right now. Show yelled, “Okay!” He ran to the ring. Orton ran out of the ring and smiled. He said he was never going to kick Truth, it was always about Show. He vowed to kick Show’s head off.
-Backstage Cedric and Ricochet were chatting when MVP and Lashley walked up to them. MVP held up the U.S. Title belt. Ricochet and Cedric walked away. Schreiber walked up to MVP and said they’d win tonight and celebrate MVP-style at an undisclosed location. Lashley closed with some words, then walked off. Schreiber ran up to McIntyre and asked him about preparing without knowing the stipulation. Drew said he gave Ziggler that power so he’d have a chance. Ziggler attacked Drew. [c]
(6) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. RICOCHET (w/Cedric Alexander)
As Lashley and MVP made their way to the ring, the announcers hyped the Apollo Crews vs. MVP match at Extreme Rules. Lashley dominated early. When Ricochet made a comeback and leaped at Lashley, Lashley turned it into a slam for a two count. Ricochet came back with a standing shooting star press for a two count. He climbed to the top rope, but Lashley avoided him and charged. Ricochet caught him with a superkick. Lashley caught Ricochet coming at him with a back elbow and applied a full nelson for the quick tapout. Cedric ran in for the save, but Lashley put him in a full nelson too. Then he slammed him hard. MVP raised his arm as his music played.
WINNER: Lashley in 4:00 via tapout. [c]
-The announcers hyped the rest of the Extreme Rules line-up.
-Caruso asked Show if he accepted Orton’s challenge to an unsanctioned match next Monday on Raw. Show was shaking with intensity and said he’d clarify for everyone that indeed he accepts.
-Sasha Banks and Bayley made their ring entrance. [c]
-Before the match, Sasha and Bayley threw to the big screen for a tribute video for them. Then during the Asuka and Sane ring announcements, Sasha and Bayley attacked them. Saxton called it disrespectful and classless. They cut to a break. [c]
(7) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. ASUKA & SASHA BANKS
The heel duo dominated Asuka for a while. Kairi got a hot-tag and prevented Bayley from tagging out to Sasha. Kairi speared both Sasha and Bayley, then scored a two count on Bayley. Asuka had control for a while. When Asuka tagged out to Sane, Bayley yanked Asuka off the ring apron to the floor. Sasha threw Sane to the floor. Bayley and Sasha then catapulted Sane into the plexiglass. [c]
Kairi finally escaped Sasha with a spinning backfist. She struggled to get up and tag Asuka, but she did just before a freshly tagged in Bayley could get to her. Asuka rallied against both Sasha and Bayley. She scored a near fall on Bayley. Kairi eventually landed an Insane Elbow on Sasha. Bayley made the save by yanking her out of the ring. Asuka and Bayley were both down at ringside at Kairi climbed and nailed Sasha with a top rope forearm to the face. She gave Sasha an Alabama Slam, but when she charged at her with a clothesline, Sasha grabbed her arm and applied a Bank Statement for the tapout win.
WINNER: Sasha & Bayley in 18:00 to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really entertaining match. Good energy and pacing, with effective hot tags and dramatic chaos near the end.)