SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
JULY 27, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show
Overview and Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s Raw features championships on the line as well as laying the groundwork for SummerSlam, which comes to us Sunday August 23. This past Thursday WWE officially announced that the event will not take place in its original location, the TD Garden in Boston because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They said a new location for the event will be forthcoming, and thus it’s not a foregone conclusion it will take place in the Performance Center. All Raw & Smackdown PPV events have taken place there since WrestleMania.
WWE has a bit of a stacked show tonight. Here’s what’s advertised in their preview:
- Asuka and Sasha Banks collide for the Raw Women’s Championship
- What stipulation will McIntyre choose for rematch with Ziggler?
- Three Raw tag teams to battle for title bout at SummerSlam
- Randy Orton to kick off Taw by announcing his next target
- Rey Mysterio’s son Dominik is coming to Raw to confront Seth Rollins
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
(Title in abeyance and can change hands via DQ or countout)
Asuka defended the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show. Asuka was going to spit the green mist in Sasha’s eye but instead, she 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.
Last week, Stephanie McMahon graced us with her presence via remote video (I assume Zoom) to decide the fate of the title. She said Sasha was not the champion, but neither was Asuka, essentially putting the title in abeyance. She said the two women would face off next week (tonight) in a championship match, only the title could change hands via DQ or count out. Kairi Sane, Asuka’s Kabuki Warrior partner, defeated Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley in a non-title match. There are mixed reports as to Kairi’s status with WWE. Most have her leaving the company while others show that WWE may be trying to negotiate to keep her.
Frank’s Analysis: Having Kairi pin Bayley could have been a way to get her to stay, but who knows. One wouldn’t think someone leaving the company would get to beat one of its current champions. As far as the match with Asuka and Sasha, I talked about the issues with this ad nauseum with Wade Keller last week on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post Show and in my Smackdown primer this past Friday. That said, I still suspect a Shayna Baszler interference could be in order, setting up a feud with her and Asuka. I don’t know if they’re ready to start breaking up Sasha and Bayley, but tonight could be an avenue to that as well.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (champ) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Drew Picks Stipulation Before the Bell Rings
Last week, Drew McInyte came out to discuss what was next for him following his defeating Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show in an Extreme Rules match in which only Ziggler could use extreme rules. Ziggler came out talking about being so close as he’s been his entire career and all but asked for another match. Drew decided he would leave and gave Ziggler a headbutt. As Drew was leaving, Ziggler continued to plead his case, saying Drew could pick the stipulation this time. Drew thought about it and decided to accept but would do to Ziggler what he did to him and that’s name the stipulation before the bell rings.
Later, WWE showed that Drew would pick the stipulation tonight and it’s in their preview, so my assumption is the match takes place tonight since he said he’d name the stipulation right before the bell. That gives us two championship matches this evening.
Frank’s Analysis: I fully expect Drew to retain and move on to Randy Orton, whom I’ll talk about later. My guesses on the stipulation are if Ziggler loses, he goes back to Smackdown. The other possibility I thought of is Ziggler must retire if he loses, which is possible if they want to reduce his on-screen role or give him some time off. One can only lose so much on TV before it loses its efficacy.
Triple Threat Match: Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Angel Garza & Andrade vs. Ricochet & Cedric Alexander
Winning Team Faces the Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) for the Raw Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam
SummerSlam is around the corner, and it will start to take shape with a triple threat match to determine who will face the Street Profits for the Raw Tag Team Championship. Let’s look at how the three aforementioned teams fit into the picture:
The Viking Raiders
For several weeks, the Raiders and the Profits engaged in an “anything you can do, I can do better” series of competitions that included basketball, axe throwing, bowling, a decathlon, etc. They had a cinematic match at Backlash which ended with them in a dumpster and an alligator revealing itself. Later, they had a title match on Raw which saw the Profits retain. They maintain their relationship to date as the “Viking Profits.”
Angel Garza & Andrade
It’s been an interesting ride for the two men managed by Zelina Vega. For several weeks, there was dissention between them, and it showed during a handicap match against the Big Show where Garza walked out on Andrade. Earlier that same evening, they won a tag match but not before Andrade nearly walked out on Garza. With things seemingly under control, they took on the Profits last week in a non-title match which saw the Profits come out on top. They assured Zelina after the match that they’re still on the same page. Despite the loss, they still get an opportunity to challenge for the Raw titles as they enter the triple threat match tonight.
Ricochet & Cedric Alexander
After several weeks of not appearing on TV after teaming up, Ricochet and Cedric have been back and pairing up again as they try to advance up the card in the tag team division. They have been courted several times by MVP to join his Hurt Business faction but have rejected him. Last week, they were challenged by the Hurt Business (MVP, Bobby Lashley, and new 24/7 Champion Shelton Benjamin) to a match with MVP thinking they were at a disadvantage because U.S. Champion Apollo Crews was not available. They revealed another partner in the returning Mustafa Ali, whom had previously been on Smackdown. Ali, Ricochet, and Cedric won the match when Ali hit his signature 450 Splash on MVP.
Here are the Street Profits in a WWE exclusive and Mustafa Ali on his return, which is unrelated to this match tonight:
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t understand why Garza and Andrade get to wrestle for an opportunity at the tag titles. While I’m glad they didn’t job the champions last week, it didn’t make sense for Garza & Andrade to lose especially if they’re trying to move them into the title picture. Logically, I would say they’re not the favorites tonight although in WWE land, you can throw the rules out the window and thus they likely win. I don’t think they’ll revisit the Profits vs. Raiders. Ricochet and Cedric have a chance and it would make sense if the Profits turned heel and joined the Hurt Business, which I wouldn’t take off the table.
Randy Orton to Open Raw and Reveal What’s Next
Randy Orton will open Raw tonight and reveal what’s next after defeating Big Show in an unsanctioned match in the main event last week. He not only won the match, but punt-kicked Show as he has done to numerous wrestlers in the past and especially Christian, whom he faced several weeks ago also in an unsanctioned match. Show had been trying to get revenge for Christian and his best friend Edge, both of Orton put on the shelf. Christian appeared remotely and revealed he was not feeling good but would do it all over again to get revenge on Orton.
As I wrote last week and as most people are wisely speculating, with SummerSlam around the corner, signs are pointing to Orton going after Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship. Orton challenged Kofi Kingston at last year’s event for the same title but failed to capture the title. He has a long history of challenging or defending a world title at SummerSlam. He became the youngest champion in 2004 defeating the late Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship. He defeated Christian for the same title in 2011. He infamously cashed in the Money in the Bank contract in 2013 with Triple H’s assistance on new WWE Champion Daniel Bryan after he defeated John Cena. Speaking of Cena, he faced him several times for the WWE title at WWE’s “big summer event” (and a million other times throughout the late 2000s).
Frank’s Analysis: The way they have built up Drew and Orton to me is incredibly old school when you’re trying to build a big championship match, and the way it should be done. Build up the champion and the challenger strong and thus the match feels like a big deal. Now, if they go in another direction then all of this goes out the window! I just don’t see where else they go with Orton considering Edge is on the shelf for an extended period. There are no other heels for Drew to face unless they revisit Seth Rollins.
Rey Mysterio’s Son Dominik to Confront Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins opened the show talking about taking out Rey Mysterio’s eye at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show. He said what happened and the image of Rey holding his own eye will stay with him for the rest of his life. He pointed out that it was in fact Rey that chose the “eye for an eye” stipulation for their match and thus actions have consequences. Aleister Black, Rollins’ scheduled opponent for the night and a frequent ally of Rey in recent times, made his way out. He said Rollins was to blame and he was there to rectify things. After a commercial break they had their match, won by Rollins. This was followed by him and Murphy double-teaming Black and injuring his arm, which had been hurt during the match.
Last night WWE announced that Rey’s son Dominik would come to Raw to confront Rollins because of his recent actions.
Frank’s Analysis: I’m sorry, but I’m done with this story. Let’s move on. Unless this is leading to a match between Dominik and Rollins, or Dominik joining Rollins, where are we going with this? I’m tired of hearing about an eye for an eye stipulation, what Rollins has done to the Mysterio family, sacrifices for the greater good, etc.
Other Match Results & Notable Segments from Last Week
- WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons told MVP and Bobby Lashley there was a “better way.” Later, Shelton Benjamin defeated R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship and joined MVP’s Hurt Business.
- Bianca Belair was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber and said her rise would be the fastest. (After all, she is the “est” of WWE)
- Ruby Riott defeated Peyton Royce.
If you’re not a Torch VIP member, you should become one for many reasons. One of those reasons is to hear The Fix with Wade Keller and Todd Martin. This past week, the show was simulcast as the weekly Flagship, so many people likely heard the show. Anyway, the point is Todd talks about something particularly important regarding Raw. I’m paraphrasing what he says but he talks about redundant matches, WWE putting on matches only with people feuding with each other with different variations. For example, over the past few months we’ve seen Aleister Black, Rey Mysterio, Humberto Carrillo somehow wrestling Murphy, Seth Rollins, and Austin Theory in some way. Granted we haven’t seen Theory or Carrillo specifically in recent weeks, but that notwithstanding if you look at Raw or Smackdown for that matter going back two months, you see similarities in matches and segments EVERY week. It’s boring and repetitive and if you want to know why ratings continue to decline, this is a big part of it in my opinion. Tonight’s show is not much different as Asuka and Sasha go at, as they have in tag matches on both shows. How many times does Dominik have to confront Rollins? It goes on and on. We’ll see if they switch things up a bit tonight.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.