HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 7/13: Alt Perspective coverage including final Extreme Rules hype, Orton vs. R-Truth, Owens vs. Rollins, women’s tag team championship match, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH COLUMNIST (@zheydorntorch)


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

HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 13, 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

[HOUR ONE]

-The show opened with the standard Monday Night Raw intro video. When the video ended, the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. After, they hyped Extreme Rules and tonight’s show including the women’s tag team title match between Sasha Banks and Bayley and the Kabuki Warriors, Randy Orton vs. R-Truth, and Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins. When the intro ended, MVP was introduced and was standing in the middle of the ring with his new United States Championship belt. MVP spoke and said that big things were popping inside the lounge and that he and his guest were better than the audience. From there, MVP raved about his guest and said that that man helped Drew McIntyre when he was out of the company. MVP then introduced Dolph Ziggler and called him the nicest guy he’s ever known.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Where’s Bobby Lashley? Interesting and something to watch moving forward.

Ziggler walked out and as he did, the announce team plugged his match with Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules. They talked about he hadn’t announced his stipulation for the match yet and then played highlights from last week that detailed the exchange between Drew and Heath Slater. When the recap ended, Dolph told MVP that he had a nice lounge and that the United States Championship belt look great. Ziggler said that when he wins the title on Sunday, he might have some changes to his new belt. MVP spoke and said he respected Dolph for not revealing the stipulation for the match. Ziggler responded and said that he knows what makes Drew tick and that he can get in his head and get him to be the old Drew that got fired. Ziggler said he brought Drew back and that Drew never thanked him for it. Dolph said that without him, Drew would be nothing more than an unemployed loser looking for a handout. Hearing this, MVP said thank you to Ziggler on Drew’s behalf. Ziggler thanked him and said it was easy to thank someone when it was due. Ziggler said Drew would lose the WWE Title at Extreme Rules. At that point, Drew McIntyre walked out with a smile on his face.

Heydorn’s Analysis: No yelling from Ziggler. On a curve, that makes this a passable Dolph promo at the very least. Joking aside, A to B material from the heel in a final hype segment. Dolph was arrogant and entitled. That created an environment for heat and shined Drew up perfectly for his appearance. Nothing complicated, but it worked to that end. 

Once Drew got down to the ring he asked for a microphone and spoke. He told MVP that he wouldn’t tear up his set or Claymore him. He said he was out there only for Dolph. Drew said he did soul searching after last week and came to the conclusion that Ziggler uses people. He said he was Dolph’s hired gun and that he did all the dirty work for him. Drew called Ziggler a talented performer, but then told him to shut up as Ziggler tried to interrupt. Drew said that he would hurt and torture him at Extreme Rules and make him rue the day that he invited Drew McIntyre to come to Raw. He said he would maim and hurt him before saying he couldn’t wait until Sunday and that he wanted some action right away. He then punched Ziggler and walked away smiling.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Drew is delivering his go-home promos in a way WWE wished Roman Reigns could have. He’s clear, direct, and intimidating in talking about how he’s going to win. It builds a sense of credibility and trust with the crowd as Drew isn’t talking above his head and in a realm where he can’t deliver. Add to it that its with his voice and authentic personality and it all makes for great work. Well done. 

-Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Angel Garza, Andrade, and Zelina Vega backstage. Vega spoke first and said she didn’t understand why Caruso was pushing a narrative about her team not being on the same page. She said that all Charly needs to do is look at the facts which are that her team has won lately. Vega then started to rip on Charly, but Garza and Andrade told her to back off. Garza then spoke and said that he could beat the Viking Raiders. Andrade said that if he and Garza could stay on the same page, they could become tag team champions. Viking Raiders then came into the shot and said that for over a year they have been the most dominant team on Raw. They said that they have dishonored them with their actions and cheating. They then said they would run through them later in the night. From there, the shot turned to Charly who said she was distracted by Ivar. Ivar then took the rose Garza was holding and gave it to her. She smiled as they walked away and the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Caruso being distracted by these guys is such a miscast. She portrays the credible newsperson well and instead she’s asked to participate in this nonsense. Plus, later in the show, she’ll try to be serious again and contradict her entire persona. In addition, for better or worse, Garza’s gimmick thus far is rooted in his charisma and good looks. Caruso ignoring him for Ivar really hurts that presentation for him. Not sure this segment helped anyone involved. 

(1) ANGEL GARZA & ANDRADE w/Zelina Vega vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS – Tag Team Elimination Match

Early in the match, Garza connected with a superkick to gain momentum. Because of it, Andrade was able to connect with his Hammerlock DDT on Erick to get the 1,2,3 pin.

Erick Eliminated.

After the pinfall, Vega cheered on her team as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, Garza and Andrade held strong control over Ivar. All three men battled on the outside of the ring. Garza tried to get Andrade to fist bump him to solidify their status as a team. As they did though, Ivar flew through the ropes and hit them both with a flying suicide dive. Ivar then tossed Garza back in the ring for a pin, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Andrade and Garza took control again until Ivar cartwheeled out of the way of a clothesline and hit Garza with his own. After, he lifted Garza for a body slam, but Andrade made the blind tag into the match. Right after, Ivar hit Andrade with a spinning heel kick after Garza ducked and covered for the 1,2,3 pin.

Andrade Eliminated.

Right after, the action continued with Garza hitting a dropkick and Ivar hitting another spin kick. He then tried for a pin attempt, but Garza put his foot on the ropes. From there, Garza connected with a power bomb on Ivar and made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Andrade and Garza via pinfall

-After the match, Garza and Andrade did the fist bump and walked off together with Zelina Vega.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much to the match from a strict match perspective. That said, Garza and Andrade were booked strong and though they had the miscommunication spot, all appeared to be fine between Garza and Andrade. On one hand, that is good as it keeps them together and thriving with Vega. On the other hand though, they put a lot of time into Garza and Andrade not being on the same page. No payoff?

-Backstage, Ruby Riott was interviewed. She was about to address some footage, but the IIconics interrupted. They then addressed Riott and said it was sad that Ruby and Morgan weren’t friends anymore. They talked about how they both beat Ruby Riott. In response, Riott said they would both get punched in the face if they keep talking. The IIconics spoke again though and said they would win later in their tag team match too because Riott had no friends and didn’t have a partner. Riott then revealed her partner to be Bianca Belair. Belair ran down the IIconics and said she would be the greatest tag team partner before walking off as Riott smiled and the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Belair oozes charisma and star power. Her promo was well acted and well delivered and solidified her EST gimmick in a tangible, entertaining, and impactful way. Really good stuff from her and she’s got a bright future. The IIconics sold well for during her promo too. Smart business on their part.

-Out of the break, the IIconics finished their entrance. From there, Ruby Riott walked out and was followed by Bianca Belair. Once they got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(2) RUBY RIOTT & BIANCA BELAIR vs. THE IICONICS

The IIconics took over the match early and held momentum over Riott. Royce connected with a series of knee strikes before cutting the ring in half and hitting her with a spin kick. From there, Kay tagged into the match and tried to keep control, but Riott halted it with a chin breaker. After, Riott made the tag to Belair. Belair hit the ring and dominated. She cleared it and then hit Kay with squat body slam. Right after, Belair hit a springboard handstand moonsault and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Belair hit Kay with the KOD before making the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Belair and Riott via pinfall

Heydorn’s Analysis: A showcase for Belair and she shined bright. She hit her moves in a crisp way and in a way that highlighted her personality. The sky is the limit for her if booked correctly. Here’s to hoping this is the beginning of a long run. 

-After the match, R-Truth was shown talking to Ricochet and Cedric Alexander backstage. Truth said Ric Flair was his opponent and not Randy Orton. He looked confused as Alexander and Ricochet told him otherwise. He then walked off, but was stopped by Tozawa. Truth asked Tozawa to help him learn some ninja moves. Tozawa told him no and rolled him up for a pin instead. Truth kicked out, but was then confronted by all of Tozawa’s ninjas. Before they could fight, Alexander and Ricochet joined Truth and got into ninja poses behind him. Truth then told Tozawa to meet him in the ring for a 24-7 title match. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Pure silliness all the way through. Randy Orton needs to stay far away from this given the serious and dark nature of this character. It just doesn’t line up with this part of the WWE ecosystem. 

-Out of the break, Tozawa wrapped his entrance. When he finished, Truth made his way to the ring. Once he got there, he spoke on the microphone and asked why Tozawa had ninjas with him. Shayna Baszler then walked out. She quickly walked to the ring and removed her jacket once she got in it. Baszler decimated all of the ninjas before turning her attention to Tozawa. Tozawa opted for leaving the ring. Instead, Baszler turned and faced off with Truth. Truth then left the ring and tossed the microphone to Baszler. She spoke and said that she’s been patient, but that she was done letting everyone having fun. She said that all of the women were fooling themselves and living in an illusion. She said the Queen Of Spades was back to give them all a dose of reality. She said she was that reality and then walked off.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Baszler back immediately injects the Raw women’s division with depth. This promo worked to define Baszler’s mission upon returning. I liked the intensity, but it got wordy at times. Baszler does intensity well. That is her lane and they need to be careful not to muddy up her promos with random words that sound intense. She is able to convey that simply by being her. 

-Murphy and Rollins were shown backstage. Rollins asked him what was troubling him. In response, Murphy asked Rollins what eye for an eye meant. He didn’t believe that Rollins and Rey would really try to blind each other at Extreme Rules. Rollins said that Rey asked for the match and told him not to worry. He told him to focus on his match with Aleister Black instead before walking out of the shot as the show went to commercial break. (c)

[HOUR TWO]

-Out of the break, Seth Rollins made his entrance. As he did, the announcers hyped his match against Rey Mysterio at Extreme Rules. They talked about serious the feud got before Rollins stood in the ring and addressed the booing crowd. Rollins talked about an eye for an eye. He said that over and over again before questioning what that even means. He then said he knows what that means. He said and eye for an eye is a metaphor for revenge, but that he now understood it literally as Rey Mysterio spoke about it. Knowing that he said he was trying to understand how he and Rey got to this point. Rollins said that all he was trying to do was help Raw, but that he was now in a match in which you needed to pluck an eyeball from a socket to win. He said that there had never been a stipulation so sadistic and barbaric made legal in the WWE. Rollins continued and said that he never meant to harm Rey Mysterio. He said he did everything for the greater good and that the WWE audience asked him to lead the show into the future and that he was doing that. From there, Seth continued and said his match against Rey would truly be a horror show. He said that Rey forced his hand and that he would rip and gouge Rey’s eye until he was completely blind. He said Rey wouldn’t get to see his son get married, his wife’s face, or another sunrise. Rollins said Extreme Rules would be the end of Rey Mysterio, but a new beginning as well. As he continued on, Kevin Owens walked out. Owens walked down the ramp and spoke. He said that he fully expected Rey to pick a steel cage match as the stipulation. Owens said he was disturbed by the concept of the match, but more so by Rollins for making Rey Mysterio get to a violent point where he would want to gouge his eyes out. He said that Rey isn’t really that guy, but Rollins drove him to that point. From there, Owens told Seth that he had what he needed and held up an eye patch. In response, Rollins told Murphy to come out and handle Owens. He did, but Aleister Black ran out behind him and both men started to brawl. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good stuff from Rollins. Strange to say given the the ridiculousness of the eye for an eye stipulation, but it’s true on both accounts. The stipulation is beyond ridiculous, but given that nonsense, Rollins tied together as many pieces of the story as he could within the final hype for the match. He came off as an out of touch heel, but finessed his words in a way that made the match feel really serious. The match itself will determine whether that was a good choice. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they can keep the match serious because of the stipulation. Its for that reason that the stipulation itself is severely hurting was has been a very good feud. Bottom line – they can’t deliver on the serious they’ve setup within the confines of the match.  

(3) MURPHY w/Seth Rollins  vs. ALEISTER BLACK w/ Kevin Owens

Out of the break, the match was already underway. Black crushed Murphy with a knee strike and then lifted Murphy to his feet for Black Mass. Murphy countered and smashed Black’s knee on his shoulder. From there, Murphy tried to put Black in a Boston Crab but Back kicked him out of the ring. Black then tried to lift Murphy back into the ring, but Murphy countered with a strike to the face. Murphy then tried to suplex Black out of the ring, but Black countered. He then hit Black Mass and went for the pin, but Rollins broke the pin. Right as he did, Owens attacked him and the match ended in a DQ.

WINNER: No contest

-After the match, Rey Mysterio walked out to the ring with his son Dominick. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Murphy and Black always deliver in the ring. Even in the short time frame they did here too with some crisp action. 

-Out of the break, Rollins and Owens circled each other in the ring as the bell rang.

(4) SETH ROLLINS vs. KEVIN OWENS w/Rey Mysterio. Aleister Black, & Dominick

Rollins rolled out of the ring early. Eventually, he rolled back in and Owens hit a series of strikes. Owens took over from there with offense until Rollins begged him to stop. Owens decided against it and crushed him with punches in the corner instead. Owens then hit Seth with chops before whipping him into a corner. After, he followed for a splash, but Rollins countered with a boot to the face. That momentum was short-lived as Owens countered and hit his cannonball before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Owens put Rollins in a shoulder submission. Eventually, Rollins turned the tide in the match. He tried to beat up Owens on the outside of the ring, but Black stepped in to halt his activity. Because of that, Owens surprise attacked him and gained momentum again. From there, Owens tossed Rollins back into the ring, but Rollins rolled out again. Owens followed and beat Seth up near the plexi-glass. He tossed him into the guardrail before exchanging strikes on the ring apron. Owens tried for a move on the apron, but Rollins countered. Instead, Owens connected with a headbutt. Rollins got his momentum back after targeting Kevin’s hurt ankle. Owens fell out of the ring and Rollins hit him with a flying suicide dive. The show then went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: This is an inconsistent presentation of the Seth Rollins character. Four babyfaces ganging up on him along with the high flying moves paints him as almost likable. The commentary team is working to drive home the fact that he deserves it, but it hasn’t distracted enough from the look of him fighting four other guys. Time will tell here, but this isn’t an avenue to heat ahead of the big match against Rey on Sunday.

Out of the break, Rollins dominated the match. He kept momentum until Owens nailed him with a superkick that dropped him in the middle of the ring. Owens followed that with a DDT and a cover, but only got a two count. From there, the offense went back and forth. Owens tried to hit Rollins with a suplex off of the top rope, but Rollins stopped it by raking the eyes. He was successful and knocked Owens off. From there, Mysterio, Black, and Dominick each distracted Rollins while Owens recovered. Because of the distraction, Owens was able to hit the Stunner and make the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Owens via pinfall

-After the match, Rey Mysterio spoke and said that Seth tried to end his career and put his hands on his son. Rey said that Rollins crossed every line he could cross, but that it was now his turn. He said on Sunday he would make his own sacrifice. He said Rollins would walk into Sunday with two eyes, but only leave with one.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Not a bad match, but backwards in terms of how Rollins needed to be framed going into Sunday. Mysterio’s promo was well done, but like Seth’s, that match can’t deliver and make good on it because of the stipulation. Very unfortunate and unnecessary. 

-Randy Orton was shown backstage. Big Show confronted him and said they needed to talk. Flair said he needed to talk to him to. Flair talked to Show about their history, but said that the big man he thinks about the most when it comes to ability is Big Show. Flair said he had unparalleled skill, but that he was now picking a fight with Orton that he couldn’t win. Flair told Show that he couldn’t hang anymore. Flair told Show to go into the Hall Of Fame healthy and not injured due to Randy Orton. Flair said that Orton has a confidence right now that scares people and that Show should get on a plane and go live the good life in LA. Show then spoke and said he knows what Flair was trying to do. Show said that he has never seen Randy Orton more dangerous than he is right now. Show said he had zero empathy. Show then asked Flair if he was willing to sacrifice his friendships so that Randy could be the legend killer. Show then walked off as the show went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, the announce team cued up a hype video that detailed Randy Orton’s rise to being the Legend Killer. When it ended, Orton cut a promo backstage. He talked about having friends in the business. Orton said he had those friends and they fought and bled together. He said he had guys like Edge, Christian, Big Show, and Ric Flair. From there, Orton talked about Edge’s return. He said that Edge didn’t trust him and because of that he send Edge home with a triceps injury. Orton then recapped what happened with Christian too. He then turned his attention to the Big Show. Orton said they’ve known each other for 20 years and that it baffled him why he would put that friendship on the line in favor of avenging Edge and Christian. Orton then spoke about Flair. He said it would be awful if Flair did anything to get in the way of their history and friendship. Orton then talked about R-Truth and said he respected him, but that he would beat him in their match. From there, Ric Flair walked into the shot and told Orton it was time for his match. Orton smiled and shook his hand before saying he would be right behind him. Orton then stared Flair down as the show went to break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: More good work from Orton. His nuanced and detailed look regarding Flair said all he needed to say. I wasn’t intrigued by Orton vs. Truth, that look changed things given the potential involvement of Flair. Well done.

-Out of the break, R-Truth made his entrance. From there, Ric Flair walked up and talked Truth up. He then said that Randy Orton would have mercy on him and only give him the RKO instead of punting him in the face. Orton then made his entrance. Once they got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.

(5) RANDY ORTON w/Ric Flair vs. R-TRUTH

Truth started the match by saying he needed to talk with Flair. He walked over to Flair and as Orton followed he turned and got some punches in. Right away after, Orton hit Truth with the RKO and covered for the 1,2,3 win.

WINNER: Orton via pinfall

-After the match, Orton set up for the punt, but Flair got in his way. From there, Big show walked out and as he did, Orton grabbed a microphone. He told Show to stop or he would take Truth’s head off. Orton then challenged Show to an unsanctioned match for next week on Raw. Show accepted, but then Orton immediately left the ring. Both men then talked trash to each other as the show moved to a backstage encounter between Alexander, Ricochet, MVP, and Lashley.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I’ll take Show vs. Orton in a promoted TV match. Have to think Drew gets involved somehow and onto Summerslam they go. 

-MVP asked Cedric if he got what he sent him. Alexander reiterated that he didn’t want MVP as his manager and then walked off. From there, MVP was interviewed. He said he would take care of business at Extreme Rules before walking out of the shot. After, Drew McIntyre was interviewed. Drew said he was a nice guy in giving Ziggler the chance to pick their stipulation. As he continued on, Ziggler attacked him and both men brawled as the show went to commercial break. (c)

-Out of the break, Bobby Lashley made his entrance with MVP. Ricochet then walked out and their match began.

(6) RICOCHET w/Cedric Alexander vs. BOBBY LASHLEY w/MVP

Lashley owned the early part of the match. Ricochet got some offense in that included a standing shooting star press. Ricochet then went for a springboard attack, but Lashley caught him and put him in his full nelson to get the win.

WINNER: Lashley via submission

-After the match, Lashley kept the move in place. Cedric Alexander tried to break it, but he was put in the hold as well. MVP and Lashley then celebrated and gloated on the ramp as the show went to break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: A showcase for Lashley and a good one at that. Still curious as to why he isn’t getting the shot against Crews at Extreme Rules.

-Out of the break, the announce team ran down the entire Extreme Rules card ahead of Sunday’s show. After, the Big Show was interviewed backstage. Show said he accepted again and then walked out of the shot. From there, Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance. The show then went to break. (c)

-Out of the break, Bayley and Banks cut a promo. They said they wanted the Raw audience to have a look at true greatness. They then played a video that highlighted their run as tag team champions. When it ended, both women hugged in the ring as the audience booed. From there, the Kabuki Warriors made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, official introductions were made, and the match began.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Great hype video. Banks and Bayley were great on it and it framed their personalities and star power. Well done. 

(7) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. THE KABUKI WARRIORS – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

The Kabuki Warriors took momentum early and kicked both Banks and Bayley out of the ring. Right after, the show went to commercial break. (c)

Out of the break, the match officially began. Banks and Asuka started things off. Banks dodged Asuka and then tagged Bayley in without fighting at all. From there, Bayley took over on Asuka and held momentum with offense. She tagged Banks into the match to keep control. Eventually, Asuka made the hot tag to Kairi Sane. Sane hit the ring and fired up hitting both Banks and Bayley with a running knee strike in the corner. Sane held control for a while until Banks connected with a step up enziguri on her. Sane fell out of the ring. Banks and Bayley followed and catapulted her into the glass around the ring. Sane writhed in pain as the show went to commercial break. (c)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Great pace thus far. Banks and Bayley are giving this main event an aura of star power and because of that it feels like an important match. 

Out of the break, the action continued. Bayley held control over Sane in the corner. She pummeled her with strikes before tagging Banks into the match. Banks made the cover right away, but only got a two count. Eventually, Sane made the hot tag to Asuka. Asuka entered the ring and connected with a hip attack that sent Sasha Banks out of the ring. She then struck Bayley inside the ring to gain control of the match. After, Bayley made the tag to Banks official, but Asuka put her in the Asuka-Lock until Bayley made the save. With Banks down and Asuka brawling with Bayley, Sane was able to connect with the Insane Elbow and cover, but the count was broken up by Bayley as she pulled Sane out of the ring. Sane took care of Bayley on the outside, but then went back insight and connected with a top rope forearm on Banks. From there, she tried for her running forearm, but Banks countered it into the Bank Statement and Sane tapped out.

WINNER: Banks and Bayley via submission

-After the match, Banks and Bayley celebrated as the show faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match, though an angle furthering Banks pursuit of Asuka’s title at Extreme Rules would have been beneficial to drive home the importance of that match. 


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT 7/6: Alt Perspective coverage including Bayley vs. Asuka, Extreme Rules hype, Ziggler’s Extreme Rules stipulation, and more

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