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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 20, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK (PRE-TAPED EARLIER IN THE DAY)
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-They opened with footage of Seth Rollins saying “Eye for an Eye” and then a clip of Seth’s initial attack on Rey Mysterio’s eye against the ringside steps. Then footage aired of Horror Show’s match between them last night including Seth’s mule kick low-blow and then the finish with the eye against the ringside steps. They blacked out the screen, then showed the side view of Rey’s “eye” dislodged from the socket as he held it in place with his finger while Seth threw up off to the side and backed away.
-As Seth walked out with Murphy, they went to the announcers at ringside. Phillips said the optic nerve was not severed and Rey’s eye stayed connected to his head, so he is expected to retain his vision. Saxton said it was sick and twisted seeing Rey’s eye removed from its socket. Joe said he concurs and is dumbfounded it even occurred. Seth looked solemn and serious as he began speaking. He used the medical term and explained it means Rey’s eye came out of its socket. He said he understood going into the match what the Eye for an Eye stipulation entailed. He said as it was expressed to him, it was understood that to win the match, you had to remove your opponent’s eye from its socket. He said what happened will stay with him the rest of his life. He told the hecklers to please be quiet because the image of Rey holding his own bloody eye in his hands will stay with him forever. He said it was barbaric and more than he expected. He said it made him sick to his stomach, figuratively and literally.
He said the question he’s been asked the most in the last 24 hours is whether he regrets it. He said he is answering the question with a question. He asked the WWE Universe “do you regret what you have done to me?” He said it wasn’t his decision because they are the people who demanded he become this person they now refer to as a monster. He asked if they regret what they’ve done to him, and by proxy what they’ve done to Rey Mysterio and his family. He said Rey asked for the match to be Eye for an Eye. “Actions have consequences,” he said. He said what happened to Rey was ugly and unfortunate, but they cannot afford to dwell on the past. He said the Greatest Good can and will happen, and no one is left to stand in the way of the Greater Good.
Aleister Black came out to his music. He told Seth not to dare deflect any of the blame but on himself. He said he orchestrated it all. He said he is there to rectify all of this. He set the mic down and charged toward the ring. Murphy charged, but he knocked him aside. Murphy pursued him. Black beat up Murphy at ringside with a barrage of strikes. He threw him into the announce desk. The announcers fled the scene. Black entered the ring and stared down at Seth. [c]
(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. ALEISTER BLACK
Seth was stomping away at Black with the match in progress after the break. Seth dominated for several minutes, including focusing on Black’s arm. Black made a comeback, but still favored his arm. He hit Seth with a running knee, then turned to knock Murphy off the ring apron. When he went for a cabrada, Seth side-stepped him. Seth went for a Stomp right away, but Black moved and landed Black Mass. Seth went down. Murphy charged in. Black kneed him. Seth rolled to ringside. Black then gave Black Mass to Murphy. They cut to a break. [c]
Black was in control after the break. He eventually set up his Black Mass, but Seth schoolboyed him for a two count. Seth ducked a Black Mass, then landed two superkicks. Seth leaned out to check on Murphy, who was still selling the Black Mass at ringside. Seth and Black battled on the top rope. Seth dropped down and yanked Black’s arm across the top rope. Black avoided a top rope knee strike and then connected with a high roundkick to the head. Seth yanked Black down by his arm and then connected with a Stomp for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match.)
-Afterward, Seth and Murphy returned to the ring and stomped away at him. They threw him around at ringside. Seth asked Black how his arm is. Seth then wrapped his arm around the ringpost. Black yelled out in pain. Seth yelled at Philips and Saxton, who leaped up and backed away. Seth and Murphy bashed Black’s arm against the desk some more. The audience bashed against the plexiglass. Seth yelled, “Do you think I want to do that?” Next Seth stomped on Black’s hand. Seth asked Black who is there to save him. “I’ll tell you,” he shouted. “Your Messiah.” Then he stomped on his arm as Murphy held it. Black held his arm and cried out in pain as referees checked on him. Murphy admired Seth on the stage as Seth soaked up what he did.
-They went to the announcers at ringside who reacted. Saxton said what Seth and Murphy just did was a sick reminder of what he is capable of and who he has become. They shifted to talking about Apollo Crews not being medically cleared to defend his U.S. Title. They went to MVP declaring himself the new U.S. Champion by forfeit.
-Backstage, Ron Simmons told MVP and Bobby Lashley to think about what he told them about there being a better way. He walked away. They seemed respectful. They called over R-Truth. MVP asked Truth to admire the new U.S. Title belt. Truth said it’s nice, but Apollo is the real U.S. Champion. MVP said it’d be awesome if the 24/7 Champion joined them as they head to the ring. Truth enthusiastically said, “Absolutely not.” He said he didn’t want to be put in the full nelson again. He said it actually hurts. Shelton Benjamin then jumped Truth and pinned him to become 24/7 Champion. The referee raised Shelton’s arm. MVP invited the new 24/7 Champion to the ring to join them. [c]
-An NXT ad hyped Karion Kross vs. Dominic Dijakovic, plus a “huge announcement” from G.M. William Regal.
-MVP, Lashley, and Shelton walked to the ring. Phillips explained that Crews is still U.S. Champion, but MVP believes otherwise. MVP explained that he emerged as “your new United States Champion.” The audience booed. “And I didn’t even break a sweat,” he said. He said the CEO of the Hurt Business, the Almighty Bobby Lashley, rag-dolled Apollo Crews. He said Crews decided to stay home and lick his wounds rather than be the fighting champion he vowed to be. He said when they’re done beating up “Dumb & Dumber,” Ricochet and Cedric Alexander, “two dumb-headed, knuckle-headed kids,” they’re going to celebrate at their after-party. Ricochet and Cedric walked out. They said that’d have been funny in 2006, the last time MVP was relevant. Ricochet called him a chump. Cedric said they’ve been champions before and they will be again. MVP said Shelton is the new executive on the board. He said they are just two little kids who should still be sitting in catering. MVP said they can pick any two of them since their partner, Crews, isn’t there. Cedric and Ricochet said they do have a tag team partner, someone making his return to Raw. Out came Mustafa Ali. Lashley charged at them. Ali superkicked him in the chin. Cedric and Ricochet kicked him. They entered the ring and cleared the ring of MVP and Shelton. Then all three struck a post in the ring as they cut to a break. [c]
(2) MUSTAFA ALI & CEDRIC ALEXANDER & RICOCHET vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN & BOBBY LASHLEY & MVP
The bell rang after the break to start the match. Ricochet and Lashley battled mid-ring. Saxton said he’s pumped to have Mustafa Ali on Raw. Cedric flip-bumped off of a Lashley clothesline. A graphic advertised The Street Profits vs. Andrade & Angel Garza later. A few minutes in, MVP tagged in against a battered Cedric. MVP showboated and dropped an elbow for a near fall. Cedric made a comeback against Shelton. Ali tagged in and landed a sling-shot senton. Shelton rolled to the floor and they cut to a break. [c]
As Ricochet and Shelton battled, they showed a graphic advertising the Unsanctioned match between Randy Orton and Big Show later.
As Lashley beat up Ricochet, Joe said Ricochet might want to reevaluate his friendships. Ali eventually got a hot-tag and rallied against MVP. Lashley interfered but Ali ducked. Ricochet and Cedrric went after Lashley at ringside, but Lashley grabbed them by their throats. Ali then dove into Lashley and knocked him into the announce desk. Shelton kicked Cedric, who flip-bumped at ringside. Ricochet then flip-dove onto Shelton at ringside. Ali re-entered the ring, but MVP caught him with a knee. Ali avoided a charging MVP and gave him a neckbreaker. He landed a 450 splash for the win.
WINNER: Ali & Ricochet & Cedric in 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Fun match start to finish. Great athleticism throughout. Satisfying finish that could set up Ali to feud with MVP or even Lashley next.)
-Phillips plugged the Orton-Show match.
-Backstage Orton asked if you ever think to yourself about the moments that might have changed your life. He said he does. He said some might think for him it was the Backlash match against Mick Foley or joining Evolution of becoming the youngest WWE Champion in history. He said those aren’t the moments, though. He said the moment he is referring to is the moment he sees every time he closes his eyes – when he swung a steel chair as hard as he could at the surgically repaired neck of Edge. He said he made a lot of friends in this business, friendships he thought were etched in stone. He said Edge, Christian, and Big Show were all friends who helped save him from himself. He said it baffles him that a moment in his history could have brought so much pain to people, yet it brought him satisfaction. He said it felt good to stand over a convulsing body of someone who paved the way for so many others, and then dishing it out to his best friend. He said tonight he will punt kick Big Show in the skull and immensely enjoy ending his career once and for all.
(Keller’s Analysis: Orton’s string of strong promos continues.) [c]
-Backstage, Simmons was having a friendly talk with The Viking Raiders. The Raw music loudly played over whatever they were saying.
-They went to the announcers who talked more about Orton-Show. A 90 second video package aired of Big Show career highlights. Then they interviewed Christian from his home on split-screen. Joe asked him how he’s been since Orton’s Punt Kick on him. Christian said he knew what he was getting himself into, but he didn’t expect to have what happened play out, including Ric Flair taking the respect he had for him and using it against him. “I will never look at Ric Flair or Randy Orton the same,” he said. “I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same.” Joe asked him to expand on his health status. He said Show tonight is in a similar situation, and should he be concerned it’s a trap. Christian said the healing process is steady, but he doesn’t feel good at all. He said he’d endure it all one more time if it guaranteed Orton would get what is coming to him. He said he hopes Show knocks him out cold.
(Keller’s Analysis: Christian was really good here. This was a really good set-up for the main event tonight.)
-Sarah Schreiber interviewed Bianca Belair backstage. She talked herself up and said her rise in the division will be the fastest ever. She said last week she wanted to show up and be the nicest. Peyton Royce interrupted and asked Schreiber to skedaddle. (She left with the mic, yet we could still hear them talk, so what’s the point of the mic?) Ruby Riott walked in and asked where her partner is. Royce said Billie Kaye is off handling business in the Land of Mind You Own Beeswax. Royce said Belair should start thinking more and talking less. Belair mocked “IIconic” and said she’ll enjoy seeing her take a beating next. [c]
(3) PEYTON ROYCE vs. RUBY RIOTT
A graphic hyped Kairi Sane vs. Bayley later. Riott won with a Riott Kick after avoiding a Royce top rope move.
WINNER: Ruby Riott in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Peyton Royce conspicuous by her absence, as Liv Morgan continues to be. Good to see Riott get a win.)
-Backstage Charly Caruso interviewed Vega, Andrade, and Garza backstage, asking about dissension between Andrade and Garza. Zelina denied any issues existed. She said they might win tonight by countout because the champions will be too scared to show up. Garza spoke flirtatiously with her. The Street Profits jumped them. They yelled about “the smoke.” Garza struggled to stand up, but smiled. [c]
(4) THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. ANGEL GARZA & ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega)
A couple minutes in, Ford landed a high dropkick to send Andrade to the floor. Andrade bailed out to the floor. Ford then flip-dove onto him. As Ford yelled in an over-the-top manner, they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Andrade was working over Ford’s arm. Ford took a nasty bump on a backdrop. It looked awkward and unintentional as he landed on his side. Andrade went back to an abdominal stretch. Ford hip-tossed out of it. Ford hot-tagged in Dawkins. Garza rallied and set up a superplex, but Ford punched Garza and knocked him to the mat, then landed a high turning frog splash for the win.
WINNERS: Street Profits in 11:00.
-A recap aired of the Asuka vs. Sasha Banks controversy at Horror Show. Saxton said they’ll find out next if Sasha has any claim to being “2 Beltz Banks.” [c]
-Vega chewed out Andrade and Garza. She said this was their chance, and yet again they blew it. Garza assured her they are on the same page. Andrade agreed. She said to prove it.
-Sasha and Bayley made their way to the ring with all the belts. The music made it difficult to hear the announcers’ comments as they discussed the controversy. Sasha said a lot of people have been talking about her, accusing her of stealing the Raw Championship. She said she fought for the title whereas her opponent got handed the title. She said Becky Lynch handed the title to Asuka, and the fans seem to be forgetting that. Sasha said Bayley didn’t steal the referee shirt, but rather she borrowed it because someone had to referee her title match. Bayley said she is a role model, and she had to make a quick decision and make the count. She said she did the right thing again, but it seems not everyone gets that. Sasha bragged that now they have all the gold. Asuka’s music played and she came out. Phillips called her the rightful Raw Women’s Champion.
Asuka said Sasha wasn’t ready for her. She said Sasha has her title. Sasha told her to come and get it. Asuka and Kairi walked to the ring. Stephanie McMahon showed up on the big screen. She said the Raw Title match “certainly was a horror show.” She said she might believe she’s the Raw Women’s Champion, but she didn’t win. Stephanie said they’ll have a rematch next week to determine who the rightful champion is. She said Sasha can lose by pinfall, submission, countout, or DQ if anyone interferes.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was supposed to be some sort of heroic announcement by Stephanie, who is suddenly the on-air figure-head authority on Raw for at least the women’s division, but in reality she apparently just took away Asuka’s “champion’s advantage” and essentially stripped her of the Raw Title despite not having actually lost it. She made it sound like the title is held up. It should have just been given back to Asuka. Then grant Sasha a title rematch next week.) [c]
-A commercial hyped the Jeff Hardy-Sheamus Bar Fight this Friday on Smackdown.
(5) KAIRI SANE (w/Asuka) vs. BAYLEY (w/Sasha Banks)
Kairi controlled the early minutes. Kairi double-stomped Bayley when she was caught up in the ropes. Bayley rolled to the floor and they cut to an early break. [c]
Bayley controlled after the break. They showed Shayna Baszler watching backstage. Charly asked if she has a vested interest in this match. She said she was just hanging out in catering with no match scheduled, and she believes she deserves the spotlight more than them. She said she has as much interest in that match as a shark has interest whenever it sees prey in the water. Charly looked intimidated and thanked her and walked away. Kairi made a comeback. Bayley came back with a hangman’s armbreaker. Kairi fought free and then double-stomped Bayley out of the corner, kicking her in the head. She scored a two count. Kairi landed a spinning backfist and a spear. They replayed the backfist in slo-mo. Kairi landed her Insane Elbow, but then sold her arm injury and was slow to make the cover. Bayley put her leg over the bottom rope to stop the count. Bayley caught Kairi with a knee, then hit a Bayley-to-Belly. Bayley climbed to the top rope and landed a flying elbow for a believable near fall. Asuka cheered and clapped and jumped up and down at ringside. Kairi countered a Bayley-to-Belly into a roll-up for a three count.
WINNER: Kairi in 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. Another case of a champion losing a non-title match on TV. It’s just comically common and therefore not as big of a deal as the announcers and challengers try to sell it to be.)
-Schreiber interviewed Drew McIntyre backstage. She asked about his condition after the match last night. He said he’d be a dirty liar if he said he wasn’t hurting. He said he feels like he has fallen done several flights of stairs. He said he’s headed to the ring to address his future. [c]
-As Drew headed to the ring to his music, the announcers commented on freeze-frames of the McIntyre-Dolph Ziggler match last night. Then Drew stood mid-ring and gave Ziggler credit. He said the stipulation was brilliant and it swayed the match in Ziggler’s favor. “He maximized the stipulation,” he said. He talked about all of the extreme tactics he used. He said he almost had him. He said almost doing things is the story of Ziggler’s entire career, though. He said it’s onward and upwards. He said next up is Summerslam and he wants a worthy opponent. Ziggler’s music played and he walked out.
Ziggler said he saw something in Drew last night he hasn’t seen in a long time. He said he saw fear for the first time in a long time as his world almost came tumbling down. Drew asked what he was doing out there. Ziggler said he came so close to having the moment he has deserved for years. Drew asked if he is actually asking for another match. “I literally beat you 24 hours ago, you picked the stipulation. The answer is no. Bug off.” Ziggler continued and said he’s been “this close” his entire life. Drew said he’s going on and he’s getting embarrassed for him, so he was going to leave. When he turned to leave, Ziggler made a move toward him Drew headbutted him down, then left the ring. Ziggler sat up and told him not to walk away from him and called him a son of a bitch. Ziggler said he deserved that match. He said Drew can pick any stipulation and time and place, but give him another match. Drew thought for a few seconds. Someone in the audience yelled, “Eye for an Eye!” Drew said Ziggler changed his mind. He accepted. Ziggler asked what the stipulation is. Drew said he’ll do to him exactly what he did to him. He said he hasn’t decided yet, but he’ll tell him right before the bell rings. Drew smiled. Phillips said turnabout is fair play.
(Keller’s Analysis: That is precisely how Drew should have handled that every step of the way. Good segment, and they get one more good match out of this feud. I assume Drew will create a satisfying stip to get revenge on Ziggler.)
-Big Show said there is more to life than trying to live up to his last name, and Orton is lashing out at everyone who reached down and pulled Randy out of dark holes. He said he’d be foolish not to realize the kind of jeopardy his career and health is in tonight. He said he hoped and prayed for a long time that the sadistic Legend Killer would never show his face again, but the voices in his head got too loud. He suggested it could be Ric Flair or just Randy himself shouting for him to have no compassion. He said he is reminded of a time he and Randy were riding together and teaming together. He said the name they gave themselves was “Hammer & Chisel.” He said they bonded a lot over the complexities of how they have been presented in the business. He said they’re like tigers who can’t change their stripes. They can’t ignore their nature. Big Show said he has dealt with the metaphorical weight of being the world’s largest athlete and Orton has dealt with being a third-generation Superstar; those talks bonded them. He said they became friends because they each knew inside what the other was dealing with. He said Randy has brought back the sadistic Legend Killer and he has a boot with his name on it. He said he’s spent the last week considering this could be the end of the line for his career. He said it might be, but there’s another saying about tigers. He said he’s the most dangerous when he senses it’s near the end because he’ll do whatever it takes to survive. He said he’ll do whatever it takes to be sure Orton doesn’t write the end of his story.
(Keller’s Analysis: Show joins Orton in being that veteran showing everyone else how it’s done. Really good promo. No shouting. No promises of maiming or death or torture.)
(6) THE BIG SHOW vs. RANDY ORTON – Unsanctioned match
Big Show came out first. Then Orton. Show took it to Orton early with punches. He chopped Orton in the chest. Phillips said it’s unsanctioned so he can do whatever he wants. Show speared Orton a minute in. Orton rolled to the floor. Show slid a table into the ring. Garza and Andrade attacked Big Show at ringside and threw him into the ringpost. Phillips said this is legal in an unsanctioned match. They held Show and then Orton set up a move. The Viking Raiders ran to ringside to break it up. They cut to a break. [c]
Show chokeslammed Orton after the break and scored a near fall. He set up a KO Punch. Orton rolled out of the ring. Show set up a table in the ring. Show yanked Orton back into the ring. He put Orton on the table face-down. Show set up a corner splash, but Orton moved. Show crashed through the table. Orton smiled as he leaned into the corner. Orton then gave Big Show an RKO. Show kicked out. Orton looked shocked. Orton smashed Show with a chair twice. Orton then gave Show a draping DDT. Orton pounded the mat. He delivered another RKO and then scored a 1-2-3.
WINNER: Orton in 10:00.
-Orton delivered a Punt Kick to Show and then celebrated his music played to close out the show.
(Keller’s Analysis: Show seems limited in what he can do, but they covered for it well enough in this match. It didn’t feel overly special given the Unsanctioned stip. But it worked well enough.)