SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 27, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-The Raw opening theme aired. Then they cut to the Performance Center stage as Phillips introduced the show. They hyped the Asuka vs. Sasha Banks match for the Raw Title. Also, Andrade & Hector Garza vs. The Viking Raiders vs. Ricochet & Cedric Alexander with the winning team earning a Raw Tag Team Title shot at Summerslam, and Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler with Drew picking the stipulation.
-Randy Orton made his ring entrance. They aired black and white highlights of last week’s “Unsanctioned Match” between Orton and Big Show. Back in the ring, his music faded and he talked about being in WWE for 20 years. He said he’s been called The Apex Predator, The Viper, and The Legend Killer. He said he was the youngest WWE Champion ever and has been part of some of WWE’s top team teams – Legacy, The Authority, Evolution. He said he thinks of greats such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, but they can’t hold a candle to his longevity and consistency and accomplishments and accolades and title reigns. He said he’s done what he wants to whom he wanted when he wants, “and that will not change,” he exclaimed, red-faced. He said something is missing, though, and he hadn’t been able to put his finger on it until this morning. He said it hit him with a ton of bricks. He said he deserves to become WWE Champion again. He said that means he has to bring Drew McIntyre into the conversation. He said comparing resumes would be a short conversation.
He said ten years ago, Drew was called “The Chosen One,” but all he chose to do was get fired. He said he scratched and clawed his way back “starting with NXT.” (Um, starting in TNA, but anyway.) He said for that he respects him. He said he beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, and he did it in quick fashion. He then looked into the camera and said Drew has a problem. “That problem is you have what I want,” he said. “I have a tendency to take things from people in the biggest, grandest atmosphere possible.” He said he wants the title match at Summerslam. The audience banged on plexiglass. He said when he takes the title, he will never see it coming. His music played and he turned and left. The announcers reacted to the challenge.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really well-delivered interview. Orton really laid out his legacy, compared himself arrogantly but technically accurately to two huge legacy stars, and then issued a challenge. That match feels right for Summerslam, and unless Vince McMahon is blaming Drew McIntyre for sagging ratings, this is a big moment for Drew to add to his trophy case of big time centerpiece wins. By the way, I’m not sure how you’d blame Drew for ratings and not also Orton given his prominence on Raw lately, too.)
-As Orton got to the stage, Nia Jax’s music played and she walked past Orton on her way to the ring. Phillips said they haven’t seen her in some time. The audience booed. Jax said she heard Randy just talking about waking up and wanting to be WWE Champion. She said she woke up this morning and she wanted to be Raw Champion. She said the last time she had a shot against Asuka, she was screwed by a referee. Then Charlotte butted in line ahead of her for her rightful title match. Jax said Sasha has a match tonight against Asuka, but she wants to make sure something is known. Shayna Baszler’s music interrupted and Baszler walked out.
Baszler got in Jax’s face and said nobody gives a damn what she wants. Jax punched Baszler. Baszler went down. Jax tossed her to the side. Baszler fired back with strikes. Four referees ran out and separated them. (Keller’s Analysis: I like this match-up. Baszler should be able to handle herself against Jax if Jax gets reckless, although the point of pro wrestling is to trust your opponent and leave yourself vulnerable in the course of the match to execute it, and MMA skills can’t protect you from a botched move or a ton of weight landing you recklessly. Storyline-wise, Baszler seemed to be framed as the babyface here. I’m intrigued.) [c]
-The screen noted the Bella Twins reached 3 million subscribers on YouTube.
-The Street Profits stood mid-ring. They talked about the no. 1 contendership match, winner facing them at Summerslam. Montez Ford when he woke up and had his peanut butter & jelly sandwich, he thought what he wanted to do today was ring announcing. The Street Profits introduced all three teams. When Garza & Andrade entered the ring, they attacked the Viking Raiders from behind. They cut to a break with everyone yelling at Andrade & Garza as they threw their ring jackets at the announcers. [c]
(1) THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & RICOCHET vs. ANDRADE & HECTOR GARZA (w/Zelina Vega) – No. 1 contendership match for Raw Tag Team Title shot at Summerslam
The match began after the break. The Street Profits joined the announcers on commentary. Garza & Andrade were lounging at ringside watching the Raiders and Cedric & Ricochet. The two babyface teams went after them at ringside. Ivar slammed Andrade, and then Erik slammed Ivar onto Andrade. In the ring, Cedric and Ricochet double-teamed Andrade. A few minutes in Erik rallied against Garza as the Profits and Phillips shared a laugh about Ivar being a ladies man. [c]
Back from the break, Andrade and Garza were beating up the Raiders at ringside. A couple minutes later Ivar leaped off the top rope onto Cedric, Erik, and Ricochet at ringside. Andrade threw Ricochet into the ring and gave him a Wing Clipper for the win.
WINNERS: Andrade & Garza in 12:00 to earn Summerslam Tag Team Title match.
-The Street Profits stood and applauded and said they like it and now Summerslam is official. Garza and Andrade walked up to them. They exchanged words. The heel duo jumped the Profits and knocked them down, then fled.
-They showed Jax backstage having a word with a referee. Phillips said she’ll face Baszler next.
-An NXT ad hyped the Dexter Lumis vs. Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher match for a ticket to the NXT North American Ladder Match at Takeover XXX, plus Karrion Kross has mind-games in store for Keith Lee. [c]
(2) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. NIA JAX
They went at before the bell. The ref stepped between them, then called for the bell. They fought all-out for a few seconds. Jax powered Baszler up and dumped her hard over the top rope. Then Jax shoved Baszler into the plexglass twice. Baszler landed a high roundkick to Jax’s head. The ref counted them out as Baszler shoved Jax into the ring apron. Security guys came out to separate them. They brushed them aside. Back in the ring, the red-headed WWE official got between them. Jax shoved him into Baszler, knocking her down, and then yanked the guy’s shirt over his head. It wouldn’t come off his head and he couldn’t see. She kicked him to the floor. Baszler tried to get back in the ring, but two referees held her back. Baszler knocked her off the ring apron to the floor. Jax yelled down at her as three referees held Baszler back.
WINNER: Double Countout in under 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was wild and fun. I’ll take more of that, although I do have concern someone is going to get legit hurt with that kind of wild, reckless-looking brawling. My priority should be to use this to establish Baszler as a killer force on the main roster, but this felt even-steven. It helps to build up Jax, too, though so a Baszler win means more.)
-The announcers threw to a video package on the Seth Rollins-Rey Mysterio feud.
-Backstage, Seth approached Murphy, who seemed lost in thoughts. Seth asked if he’s with him. Murphy asked if Dominic is really going to show up tonight. Seth said he does because people like Dominic can’t seem to get out of their own way. He told him not to worry. He said the Greatest Good will move forward, and tonight will be different. Murphy seemed conflicted and concerned. [c]
-They showed Mark Henry chatting with Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair backstage. Phillips said he’s surely imparting some wisdom on them.
-Seth and Murphy walked out to the ring. Seth said after his recent success, he should be in a good mood, but he’s not because Dominic Mysterio has shown up to confront him. He said every time the Greater Good takes two steps forward, someone forces them to take a step backwards. He said people keep getting hurt. He listed Kevin Owens, Rey Mysterio, and Aleister Black. “That’s not how I want things to be,” he said. “I don’t want to be the person who hurts poeple. That’s not who the Monday Night Messiah is.” He said last time Dominic jumped him from behind and things got more violent than he’d prefer. He said tonight will be different because he doesn’t want Dominic to have to hide in the shadows. He said he has a soft spot in his heart for the Mysterio family. He invited Dominic to the ring to do things the right way. Dominic walked to the ring without any music. Seth instructed Murphy to hold the ropes open for Dominic. Dominic entered the ring cautiously as Seth said in a calming voice things don’t have to be the way they’ve been. He said he understands Dominic wants to get things off his chest. He said he is a benevolent man.
Seth told Dominic if he needs any guidance or help at all, he’s there for him. Dominic tackled Seth. Murphy attacked Dominic. Dominic rolled on top of Murphy and punched away at him. Seth attacked Dominic from behind. Murphy and Seth attacked Dominic and threw him into the ringside barricade. Byron said he was afraid something like this was going to happen. Joe asked where this stops with Seth and the Mysterio family. He said Seth already has his pound of flesh. Seth said he didn’t want it to come to violence. Aleister Black ran out and attacked Seth and Murphy, but they soon took over against him. His right arm was wrapped up. They tossed Black around ring. Seth then delivered a Stomp. Black was out cold facedown. Seth told Murphy he knows what he has to do. Murphy was reluctant. Seth got upset and slapped him and yelled at him. Murphy then shoved Black’s eye against the corner of the steps. Black cried out in pain. Seth consoled Murphy who seemed shaken up by his own actions. Dominic rose and bashed away at Murphy and Seth with a kendo stick. They fled up the stage as Seth yelled in pain as he held his elbow.
(Keller’s Analysis: All well done, although it feels like Seth’s feud with this cluster of people is never-ending. Murphy showing some resistance and remorse is somewhat interesting. Dominic was good here.)
-Backstage R-Truth approached Mustafa Ali backstage. He said he heard he’s going to be on the “MVP Lounge.” Ali said it’s the “VIP Lounge.” He asked if he’s going for the 24/7 Title. Ali said no because he’s facing Bobby Lashley later. Truth said he’s going to get his baby back. He said he has his eyes on Ali and called him “Mufasi.” Ali looked at him strange . [c]
-A video recap aired of Ali’s return last week.
-VIP Lounge: MVP, joined by Shelton Benjamin and Bobby Lashley, talked about wanting to celebrate becoming the real U.S. Champion at Extreme Rules. He said he wants to help Ali, who returned last week after being who knows where for a long time, see the light. He introduced Ali who made his way to the ring. Ali made his way past the red ropes at ringside and entered the ring. Ali said he is happy that is back, that he is on Raw, and that finally has the opportunity to climb the ladder and become a champion. “A real champion,” he emphasized. MVP said he’s not thinking clearly because tonight he’s going one-on-one with Lashley, the CEO of the Hurt Business. He said Apollo Crews had the same attitude and he’s sitting on the couch at home watching. “You can be a champion or you can be chum in the waters for predators,” he said. “Your choice.” As Ali answered, Truth showed up and tackled Shelton to the floor. Truth scored a two count at ringside. Lashley and MVP chased Truth back into the ring. Truth escaped out the other side, leaped over the red velvet ropes, and ran to the back. [c]
-A Smackdown commercial hyped A.J. Styles vs. Gran Metalik for the IC Title and Bayley vs. Nikki Cross for the Smackdown Title.
(4) MUSTAFA ALI vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP, Shelton Benjamin)
Lashley nailed Ali with an early clothesline and Ali flip-bumped hard to the mat. Then Lashley tossed him across the ring and beat him up in the corner. After Lashley suplexed Ali, Tozawa showed up at ringside and rolled up Shelton for two count. Shelton threw Tozawa into the ringside barricade. A Ninja charged at MVP, but MVP kicked him and then Shelton threw him. When he tried to run away, Lashley caught him with a clothesline. Lashley picked up the Ninja and rammed him into the ringpost. The Ninja helicopter bumped to the floor. Ali leaped over the top rope and speared Lashley into the plexiglass. [c]
Lashley was in control after the break. He knocked Ali out of mid-air and send him face-first onto the edge of the ring apron. Lashley threw Ali hard into the ringpost next and Ali went flying into it and bounced off of it. They replayed both bumps by Ali. Lashley applied a nerve hold center-ring next. Then he hit a Flatliner for a near fall. Lashley pressed Ali, but Ali slipped free. Lashley followed with a Dominator attempt, but Ali landed on his feet. Ali hit a leaping tornado DDT out of the corner off the middle rope. Ali climbed to the top rope next and applied a full nelson. Ali tapped out.
WINNER: Lashley in 13:00 via tapout.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ali is so good, and he made Lashley look great. I wish Ali was seen as a top tier potential wrestler. He is so likable, too. He hasn’t been fully defined down, but losing clean here does send a message the slot he’s in.)
-Charly Caruso interviewed Dolph Ziggler near the empty ring. Ziggler said he doesn’t know the stip, but after he wins tonight, he’s going to go to Summerslam and challenge Drew for the title. [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera who threw to a video package on the Asuka-Sasha controversial finish at Extreme Rules.
-Sasha and Bayley made their way to the ring. Sasha had the Raw Title belt for some reason and said Asuka is jealous of them, not because they have all the championship gold, but because they run the company. Bayley said they are The Show. She said being role models, they lead by example and do what needs to be done. She said she felt bad for the referee when he got sprayed with green mist. She said any role model would have done what she did with the referee down, and she counted to three. They talked about making history and changing the game. Bayley said Sasha will tap out Asuka, “the Empress of Nothing.” Saxton said the revisionist history is absurd with them. Asuka made her ring entrance. Phillips said Stephanie McMahon made the match so there’s some fairness after neither woman won at Extreme Rules. Kairi Sane came out and chased Bayley to the back. [c]
(5) ASUKA vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley) – Raw Women’s Title match
Formal ring introductions took place. Sasha gloated about having possession of the Raw Title belt. Asuka didn’t like it. Phillips emphasized that Bayley interjecting herself as the official and counting the pin in the match “naturally wasn’t official.” Asuka took control with roundkicks in the corner early. The announcers discussed who the rules favor. Asuka landed a Shining Wizard for an early two count. Asuka applied a straight armbar mid-ring at 2:00. Banks rolled out of it and put her feet on the bottom rope to force a break. Asuka charged, but Sasha moved out of the corner and yanked Asuka’s leg over the middle rope.
Sasha worked over Asuka’s leg for a couple minutes. Asuka kicked her out of the ring. Sasha claimed a lack of respect and she’s out of there. She asked for “her title.” She grabbed both belts. The ref began to count her out. Phillips noted the belt goes to Asuka if she gets counted out. Sasha threw the title belt to Asuka. Asuka caught it and Sasha pretended she got hit. Sasha tried to get the referee to DQ Asuka. Asuka kicked Sasha as she complained to the referee. [c]
Sasha went after Asuka’s leg again. Asuka eventually battled back with a knee strike, but she sold her leg being hurt. She went for a hip attack, but Sasha moved and then went back to work on Asuka’s leg, ramming it against the edge of the ring apron. Asuka eventually fought back and applied a sudden kneebar. She twisted into an anklelock. Sasha cried out in pain and then powered Asuka into the corner turnbuckle. Asuka grabbed her nose in pain as Sasha shook off her leg pain. Sasha landed double-knees in the corner against Asuka’s chest. A minute later Asuka took Sasha down with a hip attack for a two count. Sasha landed a top rope frog splash a minute later for a two count. Sasha transitioned quickly into a Bank Statement mid-ring. (Because of the special stipulations, this didn’t feel dramatic because you know the special rules would factor into the decision.) Asuka broke free and went for an Asuka lock. Sasha shoved her to the floor.
Sasha lifted Asuka and dropped her knee-first onto the edge of the announce desk. Phillips said Sasha would be happy to win the title by countout. Asuka beat the count. Sasha was already celebrating. Sasha looked shocked and turned to yell at the referee. Saxton said now wasn’t the time for a meltdown. Asuka scored a near fall with a schoolboy roll-up. Sasha applied a sudden Bank Statement. Asuka powered out and applied an anklelock mid-ring. Sasha stood and powered Asuka off of her. Asuka came back with a missile dropkick. The big screen showed Bayley beating up Kairi Sane backstage. Asuka was concerned and distracted. She gave Sasha a German suplex. Phillips said Bayley was trying to distract Asuka, but this is on the director for showing it on the big screen during the match. Asuka was torn between helping her friend and finishing off Sasha. The ref counted out Asuka. Bayley ran to the ring to celebrate with Sasha. They hugged.
WINNER: Sasha in 20:00 to officially become the Raw Champion.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. The finish in theory makes Asuka look like a good friend, but it also makes Stephanie look foolish for giving Sasha an opening to win the title in such a cheap way with that stipulation.)
-A recap aired of the finish of the match.
-Charly Caruso stood outside the trainer’s room and said Kairi was being tended to. Sasha and Bayley ran up to her and obnoxiously celebrated, then ran off. Asuka stepped out of the trainer’s room. She was distraught. Charly asked up for an update. Asuka yelled in anguish.
-Phillips threw to a video package on Regis Philbin interviewing various WWE wrestlers over the years, who died over the weekend.
(6) MURPHY vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Humberto went after Murphy at the bell, but Murphy soon took over. Humberto made a quick comeback. Murphy bailed out to ringside. Humberto dove at him through the ropes and knocked him into the barricade. When he climbed back to the top rope, Murphy shoved him down into the barricade. The announcers talked about Murphy’s hesitance earlier and how he was surprised at what he was capable of. Murphy knocked Humberto off balance on the top rope again. Humberto caught him charging with a boot to the face. Both were down and slow to get up. Humberto landed a missile dropkick a minute later for a near fall. A minute after that Murphy caught Humberto mid-air flying off the top rope with knees. Then he hit Murphy’s Law for the win. He tore off his shirt and threw it down at Humberto.
WINNER: Murphy in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, as you’d expect with these two.)
-A video recap aired of the Drew-Dolph match at Extreme Rules.
-They showed Drew chatting with Mark Henry backstage. [c]
-Drew made his ring entrance. He said he is first going to address Orton. He said it’s official, he’ll defend the WWE Title against Orton at Summerslam. He said he doesn’t have Orton’s pedigree or the number of title reigns. “Realistically, nobody does,” he said. He is red hot right now and the biggest threat to his championship. He said everyone thinks he’s the underdog. He said he prays that’s what Orton is thinking. He said Brock Lesnar underestimated him and he kicked Lesnar’s ass in five minutes at WrestleMania. He said Orton is going to see the Claymore coming.
Drew pivoted to the pending topic; he said now he has a stipulation to reveal to Ziggler. Ziggler interrupted him and said he’s waited a week for him to reveal his stipulation “because I’m a gentleman.” He said lay it on him. Drew said he learned from him. He said he’s making it an Extreme Rules match. He said he can hit him with chairs or smash him into a table. He said the only difference is this time he can too. Drew punched Ziggler and they cut to a break. [c]
(7) DREW MCINTYRE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler went for a chair under the ring. Drew yanked it away. Ziggler superkicked Drew quickly in the face, then shoved him into the ringpost. Drew blocked another ringpost shot and landed a back elbow. He chopped Ziggler hard. Drew threw Ziggler like a dart into the plexiglass. Drew pulled a kendo stick out from under the ring. He attacked Ziggler with the stick, then threw Ziggler into the ring. Drew threw several chairs into the ring, then leaned a table in the corner. When Ziggler reached for one of the chairs, Drew stepped on his hand and then bashed him across his back with the chair. Ziggler gave Drew a low-blow when Drew wound up for another chairshot.
Drew dropped to the floor to recover. Ziggler attacked Drew with a kendo stick. Drew eventually blocked it and then whacked Ziggler in the chin. He threw Ziggler onto the ring apron. Ziggler ran and leaped at Drew, but Drew caught him and rammed him into the time keeper’s area. The barricade collapsed and they cut to a break. [c]
Drew rallied after the break. He kipped up and strutted. Ziggler caught him with a kick to the ankle and a Fameasser. Both were down and slow to get up. Drew caught Ziggler on the top rope and chopped him hard in the chest. Ziggler countered a Claymore set-up with a Zig Zag for a two count. Drew came back with a Claymore that sent Ziggler crashing into the table in the corner. He scored the pin.
WINNER: Drew in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Sure, Drew ultimately won and had to battle through a low-blow – which was legal in this match – but I’m not sure what it says that it took him so long to beat Ziggler. It’s too bad Ziggler was so damaged and not rebuilt in the months leading up to this feud. It was a really good battle, though. Ziggler, again, taking great bumps for Drew and being a pest of a heel you wanted to see get beat.)
-As Drew celebrated, Orton caught him with an RKO. He stood over him and said he told him he wouldn’t see it coming. Orton bent down and admired the WWE Title, rubbing his fingers over it. They replayed the RKO as Orton’s music played. Orton held the belt in the air as the show ended.