8/3 WWE RAW TV REPORT: Barbati’s alt-perspective coverage of Shane McMahon’s return, a new faction, lights flickering, U.S. Title settled, Summerslam developments

By Nick Barbati, PWTorch contributor


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

BARBATI’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 3, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY NICK BARBATI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe


EDITOR’S NOTE: Nick Barbati makes his PWTorch.com debut as a contributor tonight, filling in for Zack Heydorn who is on vacation in Minnesota this week. Nick will be writing Smackdown Hits & Misses going forward, as Pat McNeill has stepped down from that position. We always on the lookout for new volunteer contributors to help us round out and add to our coverage of pro wrestling, so if you’re interested in writing a regular article for us, send a note to kellewade@gmail.com.


Tonight after WWE Monday Night Raw, join Wade Keller live with guest cohost Brandon LeClair from PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER RAW
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER RAW


[HOUR ONE]

-The Raw opening theme aired and they cut to the Performance Center with Phillips promoting Summerslam and the Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton feud. The lights to the Performance Center appeared to go out momentarily.

(1) APOLLO CREWS vs. MVP (w/Shelton Benjamin & Bobby Lashley)

Apollo Crews made his entrance first with the official U.S. title belt. The lights again went dim ahead of MVP’s entrance. MVP entered with the new US championship and The Hurt Business. Phillips mentioned there was bad weather that might be causing the issue. After introductions, MVP declared that after the match he would represent The Hurt Business as the true United States champion. The match started with a tie up, and Apollo Crews and MVP traded holds. The lights in the Performance Center began to flicker as MVP was on offense. The announcers did not acknowledge the lights as Crews took control. Crews and MVP traded blows before Benjamin and Lashley pulled MVP to safety outside. Crews front flipped out of the ring, onto The Hurt Business as the lights continued to flicker. [c]

The match returned in progress with MVP in control while flashbacks to The Hurt Business interfering during the commercial break were shown. MVP retained control for a series of two-counts. MVP delivered a modified camel clutch on the bottom rope to Crews’ neck. The lights to the Performance Center continued to dim drawing a reaction from MVP. Crews regained momentum with a cross body, shoulder charges, and a spine buster for his first two-count. MVP was able to counter with a release German Suplex, but Crews immediately recovered with a toss power bomb for the win.

Lashley tried attacking Crews but Crews was able to escape and celebrate with both versions of the US championship.

WINNER: Crews via pinfall to retain the United States championship.

-Crews was interviewed backstage and said how he will be giving the old US championship to his kids and celebrated some more.

-MVP began to run down the announcers and and Crews. He blamed the lights going on and off for distracting him. MVP said he doesn’t care about Crews’ wife or his kids, he only cares about a rematch at Summerslam.

-Bayley and Sasha Banks appeared backstage and are up next. A dark area was then show with a muscular man standing outside of a door that, according to Saxton, is apparently “The brainchild of Shane McMahon.” [c]

-Bayley and Sasha Banks were interviewed backstage. They brought a movie trailer themed video complete with a dramatic voice over of them recapping last week’s championship win for Banks including the attack on Kairi Sane. The video concluded calling the duo the Golden Role Models. Asuka cut into the video screaming and then said “revenge will be very, very sweet”. We cut back to Banks and Bayley outraged by the interruption only to be interrupted by Shayna Baszler who said she has waited long enough to have her own fun and punched Banks.

(Barbati’s Analysis: Words don’t quite capture the renewed confidence that Sasha Banks is wearing right now. She clearly has a spark to her that showing through now that there is a tangible investment in her that pops off the screen.)

-Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage and was stopped by the IIconics who asked to be his guests on the KO Show. Owens said he already had guests and proceeded to enter the Performance Center with the ring set up for the KO Show. [c]

-Kevin Owens stood in the ring and kicked off the KO Show. The microphone faded in-and-out while Owens acknowledged Shane McMahon’s return, but then welcomed Ruby Riott. Riott said she wanted to talk to Liv Morgan. Owens invited Liv Morgan out and Owens tried brokering peace between the women by mentioning their history, and again his microphone cut out. Riott said she started to feel like she wasn’t needed by Morgan anymore especially after Morgan beat her twice and with Sarah Logan not being around anymore. Riott mentioned their shared tattoos of their debut date and asked for another chance to make the Riott Squad stronger than it’s ever been. The IIconics interrupted and walked down the aisle. Peyton Royce said no one cares about the Riott Squad and Billie Kay took over, but her microphone also began to cut out. The IIconics entered the ring and declared themselves better than Morgan and Riott. Morgan agreed they are not the friends that the IIconics are but said that “no one starts a better riot than us.” Royce challenged Riott and Morgan to a match any time, any place. Owens asked for more technical difficulties with the mics as an insult to the IIconics and was slapped by both Kay and Royce. Riott and Morgan then tackled the IIconics to send us to break. [c]

(Barbati’s Analysis: The technical difficulties are providing quite the unexpected backdrop for this week’s show. MVP seemed genuinely flustered by the lighting and it reflected in his after-match promo, but here Owens was effectively able to build it to an equally effective slap by Peyton Royce.)

-We returned to the dark hallway as a man delivering drinks was intimidated away.

(2) LIV MORGAN & RUBY RIOTT vs. THE IICONICS

The match began with Owens joining commentary. IIconics isolated Riott before a tag was made to Morgan for a fast paced entry to the match and a surprise roll up on Billie Kay.

WINNERS: Morgan & Riott via pinfall.

-The IIconics proceeded to attack Morgan before being saved by Riott. The former Riott Squad then delivered a double legsweep takedown on Billie Kay as they left the ring together.

-A preview was shown of the Face to Face showdown tonight between Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre tonight. [c]

-Charly Caruso was joined backstage talking about an accident involving boxes. She was interrupted by MVP who said the real story of the night is the glitches causing him to lose. Caruso informed him that he will be getting a rematch at Summerslam against Apollo Crews. Shelton Benjamin arrived and said his 24/7 belt had been stolen.

-Drew McIntyre entered the Performance Center as a recap of his issues with Randy Orton were shown . McIntyre said that Orton has spent years preying on vulnerabilities. McIntyre said he has learned his lessons and would not leave himself open to Orton’s attacks again. He said they were both called the chosen ones by Vince McMahon and the future of the industry. McIntyre said things didn’t go to plan but seemed to pause as he found his footing with the promo. McIntyre said Orton was handed his early accolades due to his father and Evolution. McIntyre said while Orton got away with his mistakes, he was fired for them, but Randy should have been fired many times more than McIntyre was for the ‘crap’ that was needed to be cleaned up.

[HOUR TWO]

Randy Orton entered accompanied by Ric Flair. Orton said he’s here because he wants to be here and will hit McIntyre with an RKO, a punt kick, and will take the WWE championship at Summerslam. Orton said Drew is right, he should have fired but he was kept because he was more valuable and is the chosen one “then, now, and forever.” Orton then challenged McIntyre to come up with one original opinion on Randy Orton on his own. McIntyre said he thinks Orton represents everything that is wrong with the WWE. He mentioned that in the Last Ride documentary, the Undertaker referenced helping Orton when he was younger but Orton hasn’t done that for anyone else. McIntyre then said Orton walked past him when he needed help years ago and called Orton a selfish prick. McIntyre said he has receipts to cash in at Summerslam for himself and others in the back, and he will rip off Orton’s face and he will see it coming.

-Nia Jax was shown backstage talking with a WWE official before she joins us next.

(Barbati Analysis: Orton’s promo was much more urgent and focused than he is known to typically be. He really is “on” right now in all possible ways – he looks great, seems enthusiastic to be there, and inspired by his opponent. Flair adds to the package, but you have to wonder if it is worth him being there given the assumed risk (and his wife’s COVID-19 status) to simply be arm dressing for Orton. McIntyre did seem lost for a brief moment there, but he smoothed it right on out in the end.)

-Kevin Owens was seen backstage talking to Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan. He was interrupted by Ric Flair who said Owens is turning too much into a guidance counselor. Owens said he is trying to be helpful and who Randy Orton could be but isn’t. Flair appeared insulted and told Owens to mind his own business and take care of himself and maybe he could have a title match at Summerslam. Owens then said he’d show Flair what kind of fight he has and told Flair to tell Orton to meet him in the ring next week.

-Nia Jax was in the ring as her theme music played. Jax said she was here to own up what she had done. A recap of last week’s assault on the WWE official was shown. Jax said she takes to heart all of the people who look up to her but she quickly pivoted her tone from apologetic to antagonistic and instead challenged the official to a match right now. ‘Pat’ said he was only here in the ring because he was told he was going to receive an apology. Jax said that she will give him an apology if they have a match tonight. Jax proceeded to insult the official and then shoved the mic to him. ‘Pat’ took the mic and indefinitely suspended Jax without pay while Jax was furious. Jax pulled down his blazer and proceeded to head butt and kick ‘Pat’ out of the ring. Jax then stormed up the stage clearly angered.

-R-Truth then ran ringside with the 24/7 title belt being chased by a pack of ninjas. [c]

(Barbati’s Analysis: Seeing Flair is special, but this seems to be pushing it. Given the circumstances right now, his involvement should be saved for extremely special situations. That does not seem to be on the horizon, but at least we have a hook for next week.)

-We’re back with Shelton Benjamin and Akira Tonawa in the ring. R-Truth then re-entered the ringside area. The Hurt Business appeared at ringside.

(3) SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. AKIRA TOZAWA vs. R-TRUTH – 24/7 Championship

Quick action to begin Benjamin delivered a devastating powerbown to Tozawa. Benjamin remained in control over Truth, before a ninja entered the ring to interfere. The ninja was taken out by Benjamin beginning a ringside fight that ended with Tozawa delivering a senton to Truth for a three-count.

WINNER: Akira Tozawa to win the 24/7 championship

-A fight was shown backstage in a dimly lit space between two fighters and others pounding on a makeshift mat. Shane McMahon appeared and invited us to WWE Underground tonight at 10 p.m.

(Barbati’s Analysis: As confusing as it is intriguing. It is hard not to have flashbacks to the Brawl-For-All, and nothing about that ended well. At least Shane is being presented with something new.)

-A recap of last week’s angle involving Dominick Mysterio was shown. Dominick was then joined backstage and was asked while he is still here while his father is out with injury. Dominick said he literally witnessed his dad be blinded and that his mind is not in the right place. He said if people think he’s crazy now, people are really going to think he’s crazy when challenges Seth Rollins to a match at Summerslam.

-Shaya Baszler entered the Performance Center followed by Sasha Banks accompanied by Bayley.

(4) SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER

Banks started off trash talking Baszler and a slap across the face. Baszler took Banks down and gained control with a mixture of strikes and roll-ups. Baszler hit a beautiful arm bar out of a suplex. Bayley tried interfering giving Banks a swing of momentum. After an arm bar of her own, Banks hit a crossbody before being reversed by Baszler into a rough-looking backbreaker. Baszler tried locking in the Clutch but Banks reversed out and tried utilizing the Banks Statement before that was reversed as well. Asuka appeared ringside and attacked Bayley. The bell rang at ringside. Asuka charged Banks in the ring, who ran from the ring and grabbed her championship. [c]

WINNER: Apparent No-Contest or Banks via disqualification? The bell rang before either competitor was touched.

(Barbati’s Analysis: Such a waste. There is an alternate universe where Sasha Banks and Shayna Baszler should be on a main stage in a major, serious program. Being thrown out there like this is just mind boggling.)

-We returned with Charly Caruso in the ring with Asuka. Last week’s attack on Kairi Sane leading to Asuka’s championship loss to Banks was once again replayed. Asuka said Kairi will be okay but she is not here. She said Sasha and Bayley are here, though, and she wants a Summerslam rematch against Sasha. Shayna Baszler appeared in the ring. Baszler said she wants Asuka to win against Sasha at Summerslam and will be rooting for her before dismembering and taking the championship from Asuka herself.

Banks and Bayley returned to ringside. Banks said she would give Asuka a rematch at Summerslam if Asuka can beat Bayley next week on Raw.

-Angela Garza was shown backstage flirting with Demi from ABC’s The Bachelor. Andrade and Zelina then appeared. Zelina was not happy with Garza’s flirting.

-Shane McMahons’ backstage “underground” fight was shown again with women dancing on the side of the room.

-Shane welcomed everyone to Raw Underground in a makeshift ring. Shane introduced Data Kayo (?) against an unknown competitor. Kayo dismantled his opponent before Shane stopped him and brought up another competitor who also was destroyed by Kayo. Shane tried to find another opponent for Kayo but said he’d be right back.

(Barbati’s Analysis: That was beyond random. Aside from the unknown competitor, the announcers acted like the viewers should know what was going on, but it was clear no one knew what was happening – even McMahon. I’m all for something new but this already seems like something you can anticipate not seeing again in two weeks time)

-The Street Profits entered the Performance Center in advance of two separate singles matches for the Summerslam Tag Team Championship match. Dawkins referenced Demi and Ford made fun of Angel Garza’s track suits, but said they are real family and Andrade and Angel are only a team because Zelina put them together.

[HOUR THREE]

(4) ANGELO DAWKINS (w/Montez Ford) vs. ANGEL GARZA (w/Zelina Vega, Andrade)

Fast paced start with Dawkins charging Garza at ringside. [c]

Match returned from commercial with more action with Dawkins in control hitting a dropkick while Demi watched backstage. Dawkins tried to powerbomb Garza from the top rope, but pulled off his pants instead. That gave Garza a needed boost to reverse control. Ford appeared to be struggling at ringside causing a distraction by Dawkins. Garza leveraged the distraction and pinned Dawkins. Dawkins rolled to the floor to check on Ford. [c]

WINNER: Garza via pinfall

(6) MONTEZ FORD (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega & Angel Garza)

-Match joined in progress with Ford dominating early. Andrade turned the tide as the annoucers recalled Ford collapsing at ringside. The match spilled outside and then returned in the ring with back and forth action. Andrade regained advantage with some cheap shots on Ford. Ford continued to have glazed look on his face as he tried to fight off Andrade. Ford had an energy burst and knocked Andrade outside and delivered a plancha outside before collapsing in the ring. Officials ran in the ring to tend to Ford as the match ended abruptly.

WINNER: No Contest.

-Backstage Murphy was seen watching a recap of last week on his phone. Seth Rollins appeared telling Murphy he is proud of him and Murphy should be proud of himself. He said the past is the past and they must now focus on the future. Murphy asked Rollins if had given thought to Dominick’s ridiculous challenge. Rollins just smirked and walked away. [c]

(Barbati’s Analysis: A strange night gets stranger. Ford’s selling of the glazed look was quite effective but I’m curious how this pays off. There didn’t appear to be a devastating move that lead to this state for Ford (nothing like Owen Hart’s enziguri on Shawn Michaels), so this is more curious than anything. A plus is that Andrade’s ring gear is a vast improvement of some of his more loungewear options. Zelina would be better presented in a Nancy “Woman” Benoit role circa 1996. The big costume just looks silly rather than devious.)

We returned to Raw Underground, with Shane welcoming Erik from the Viking Raiders to annihilate another unknown challenger.

(Barbati’s Analysis: Okay, so that was pretty tough looking. Erik looked simply vicious.)

-A recap of Montez Ford’s collapse was played. Charly Caruso was shown backstage at the Doctor’s when she was interrupted by Angel Garza and then Zelina and Andrade. Angelo Dawkins and Bianca Belair came out of the doctors saying it appears Ford was poisoned. Belair blamed Vega and then attacked her. The women were pulled apart.

-The announcers shared footage from earlier today of masked men throwing bottles at a generator outside of the Performance Center causing it to catch fire. [c]

(Barbati’s Analysis: It’s doubtful, but perhaps the night’s technical issues will be tied to this?)

-MVP, Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin were shown walking backstage. Charly Caruso approached them and asked them about their bad night. They brought up all of the glitches and problems throughout the night and tied it to the debut of Raw Underground. They then proceed to go find Raw Underground.

-A lengthy video recap of the Seth Rollins/Mysterio family feud including the Extreme Rules match and week’s episode aired.

-Seth Rollins entered the Performance Center along with Murphy. Rollins said that before he acknowledges Dominick’s challenge, he and Murphy have some housekeeping to attend to. Rollins turned his attention to Tom Phillips. He questioned Philllips on his job and then asked what was he doing last week when Dominick attacked Rollins. Rollins berated Phillips for cheering Dominick on last week and for not doing his job. Rollins said the time has come to find a new voice of Monday Night Raw. As Murphy approached to take Phillips away, Samoa Joe stood up and confronted Rollins and Murphy. Rollins and Murphy got in the ring while egging on Joe who removed his blazer at ringside. [c]

-We returned with Joe still outside of the ring while Rollins and Murphy had chairs. Dominick attacked Rollins and Murphy from behind with a kendo stick and then hit a 619 on Rollins and top turnbuckle splash onto Rollins and Murphy on the floor. Rollins then accepted Dominick’s challenge for Summerslam from the top of the entrance.

-Back at Raw Underground Dolph Ziggler fought an unnamed opponent and tapped him out. The Hurt Business then approached Shane McMahon. MVP grabbed Shane’s microphone and announced that until further notice, The Hurt Business now controls Raw Underground. MVP invited anyone to step up to fight Lashley. A nameless man volunteered and was slammed by Lashley. MVP then got in the ring and asked for a challenger. Benjamin sent someone in the ring to be mauled by MVP. Benjamin’s turn was next as he devastated his opponent. A big brawl throughout the Underground set then ensued.

Shane then invited us back to Raw Underground next week and The Hurt Business closed by saying “business is booming.”

[End of Show]

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not a dull show by any means. The pace was all over the place but memorable for the debut of Raw Underground (despite it’s completely bizarre introduction as if it is something we should have all already known about), Ford’s collapse, and the further progression of the major Summerslam programs. The action was fine for the most part, but it cannot go without saying that the production of the shows from the Performance Center is head-and-shoulders above where we started back in March. The Rollins and Dominick segment was crisp and was a nice progression to their storyline to close the show. Overall a mild thumbs up show.)


Tonight after WWE Monday Night Raw, join Wade Keller live with guest cohost Brandon LeClair from PWTorch.com to break down the show with live callers and emails.

STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER RAW
•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER RAW

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