SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
JULY 20, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
I will be joining Wade Keller on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post Show following Raw tonight. Give a call, send an e-mail, or just listen. See the number, link to the show, and e-mail address on Wade’s Raw report tonight. I look forward to discussing tonight’s show!
Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show:
- Kickoff Show: Kevin Owens defeated Murphy
- As a result of Apollo Crews being unable to compete, MVP declared himself U.S. Champion via forfeit.
- Seth Rollins defeated Rey Mysterio in an Eye for an Eye match.
- Sasha Banks (defeated?) Asuka to win the Raw Women’s Championship (maybe?)
- Drew McIntyre defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship in an Extreme Rules match in which only Ziggler could use extreme rules. The title could have changed hands via DQ or count out.
Overview and Items Advertised by WWE
We move past Extreme Rules: The Horror Show and now head towards one of the “big four” PPVs in SummerSlam. The event was originally scheduled to take place in the TD Garden in Boston, MA. but will instead emanate from the Performance Center as all PPVs have since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this writing, WWE does not have their preview up as is usually the case the day after a PPV. We’ll look at what’s slated for tonight thus far and talk about expectations for follow-up on last night’s show:
- Big Show and Randy Orton clash in an Unsanctioned Match
Unsanctioned Match: Big Show vs. Randy Orton
Last week, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair tried to talk his longtime friend Big Show out of his current situation with Randy Orton, where he’s trying to avenge what he recently did to Edge and Christian. He praised him and compared him to the likes of Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, and Andre the Giant. He said even the Rock hasn’t come back, and he doesn’t need this as a result of his success with Netflix and a career that should enable him to walk alongside him in the Hall of Fame. Show knew what he was up to and questioned if he were willing to sacrifice his friendship with Orton so he could still be the legend killer. Later, Orton acknowledged his friendship with Show. He talked about how Show took him under his wing back in the day. He questioned why he’d want to avenge Edge & Christian and said it would be a shame if Flair did anything to jeopardize their friendship.
Orton went on crush R-Truth in their scheduled match in a matter of seconds. Big Show came out and Orton threatened to punt kick Truth. He then challenged him to an unsanctioned match next week (tonight) and Show accepted. There is history between Show and Orton, as they feuded throughout 2013. They had a match at that year’s Extreme Rules and at Survivor Series for the WWE Championship. We found out yesterday that Flair will be in Orton’s corner for the match tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: I have to say I’m looking forward to this. I like the way Show, Flair, and Orton have presented themselves in this feud. It feels like they’re speaking for themselves and not off a heavily scripted WWE-speak promo, which makes it feel real. These guys all know how to get it done. It’s very possible Orton turns on Flair tonight as you saw evidence of that last week.
Is the Boss or the Empress the Raw Women’s Champion?
Asuka defended the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks last night. Earlier in the evening, Sasha’s helped her best friend Bayley retain the Smackdown Women’s title against Nikki Cross.
They did a spot in the match where Asuka was going to spit the green mist in Sasha’s eye. Instead, Sasha moved out of the way and Asuka spit the mist in the referee’s face. Asuka applied the Asuka Lock onto Sasha, but Bayley hit Asuka with the Raw title belt. She then took the shirt off the referee and counted three with Sasha covering Asuka. That’s how the festivities ended as Bayley and Sasha made their way back with both the Raw & Smackdown Women’s Championships and the Women’s Tag Team Championship.
I’m certain WWE will follow up on the ending of this match and determine whether Bayley counting to three while wearing a ref shirt legitimizes the victory. Here’s referee Eddie Orengo in a WWE exclusive and Bayley and Sasha getting away with the titles:
Frank’s Analysis: I’m not going to talk about the absurdity of this finish, because it’s obvious and I’d only be speaking into an echo chamber. It’s a shame because the women worked hard and had a good match. If WWE is trying to create something compelling to get people to watch tonight, I could see it backfiring as a lot of people would roll their eyes at what happened at least in my opinion. They consistently waste good matches with garbage finishes which teaches you the matches don’t matter, and you shouldn’t care about the results.
Next Up for Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins
Last night, Seth Rollins defeated Rey Mysterio in an Eye for an Eye match. He won it be shoving Rey’s eye into the ring steps as he did several weeks earlier, and Rey yelling “my eye is out.” Rollins looked on in shock and began vomiting, as the doctors and Rey’s son Dominick made their way out. Rey was taken to a local medical facility as we found out later.
We’ll find out what’s next for these two. Rumor is Rey is working show to show without a contract. It’s quite possible this was to write him off WWE television for the time being. With Kevin Owens defeating Murphy on the kickoff show, it’s possible he could resume his feud with Rollins despite Owens beating Rollins last week. Here’s Owens in a WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: This is another match in which I won’t talk about the finish because I’d be speaking of the absurdity in an echo chamber. I don’t who benefits from this. There’s not one person I spoke to that thought this was a good idea. They could have gotten out of this last week, but they doubled down. It’s too bad because I 100% would have been into a straight-forward Rey vs. Rollins match, or at least something with a more acceptable stipulation.
Next Up for WWE Champion Drew McIntyre
Dolph Ziggler finally revealed the stipulation for his match challenging WWE Champion Drew McIntyre for the title last night. It was a one-sided Extreme Rules match where only Ziggler could use extreme rules (anything goes). Drew was to stay within WWE rules (what rules?) and could lose the title via DQ or count out. There were several spots where Drew was tempted to break the rules, but in the end, he overcame Ziggler with his signature Claymore Kick.
With SummerSlam around the corner, we will certainly get on path for a new challenger. Signs are pointing to Randy Orton, who has an unsanctioned match against Big Show tonight as I talked about earlier. Here’s Drew in a WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: Listening to that exclusive, I like seeing Drew admitting a mistake. It humanizes him but also shows he realizes where he went wrong and asserted, he is still the champion. He has done a tremendous job as champion and I look forward to what’s next. The way they’ve built up Orton it will feel like a big match come SummerSlam if that’s the way they go.
Other Match Results & Notable Segments from Last Week
- Angel Garza & Andrade defeated the Viking Raiders in a tag team elimination match. Here they are in a WWE exclusive:
- Bianca Belair returned to Raw and teamed with Ruby Riott to defeat the IIconics.
- Shayna Baszler returned and cut a promo, re-asserting herself into the Raw women’s division.
- Aleister Black defeated Murphy via DQ.
- Bobby Lashley defeated Ricochet.
- Sasha Banks & Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley defeating the Kabuki Warriors (Raw Women’s Champion Asuka & Kairi Sane) to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championship.
I try to offer something different when I type these reports and chat on Twitter about the product, but it’s hard not to agree with popular opinion on last night’s show. It was well worked and there was great effort by all, but the booking is just so dumb. Wrestling has always worked when the booking is simple and makes sense and you can look back and put the pieces together. WWE teaches you that the matches don’t matter, the results don’t matter, but rather come for the entertainment and we’re going to hook you on what’s going to happen next. Looking at the ratings, it’s not a formula that’s working. We’ll what happens as they head towards on of their big four PPVs starting tonight.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.