SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AUGUST 17, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Raw Post Show
I am excited to be joining Pro Wrestling Torch columnist Zack Heydorn tonight on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post Show, discussing tonight’s Raw. I hope you listen, give a call, or send an e-mail!
Thunderdome Announcement and Top Three Developments from Last Week
Tonight’s episode of Raw will the last before SummerSlam, which comes to us this Sunday and will be the last show from the Performance Center before tapings move to the Amway Center in Orlando, FL., the home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. The arena opened in 2010 and began hosting WWE events starting with Raw in November of that year. Raw was last in the building in January of 2019.
This morning, WWE announced Thunderdome, which will be a way for fans to be a part of the show virtually. Here are the details via Twitter, which includes a link to their website explaining the venture:
WWE ThunderDome, featuring a state-of-the-art set, video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers, cutting-edge graphics and drone cameras, takes WWE fans’ viewing experience to an unprecedented level starting Friday on #SmackDown, kicking off #SummerSlam Weekend! https://t.co/24IrawOj8a
— WWE (@WWE) August 17, 2020
Here were the top three developments from last week:
- Dominik Mysterio signed his WWE contract as well as the contract for a SummerSlam match against Seth Rollins. He was beaten down by Rollins and his disciple Murphy.
- Asuka defeated Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley to earn a match against Sasha Banks at SummerSlam for the Raw Women’s Championship.
- Randy Orton punt-kicked Ric Flair in the head to close out the show.
Items Advertised by WWE for Tonight
As of this writing, WWE has not posted their official preview. Here’s what’s advertised thus far:
- Is Rey Mysterio returning?
- Shawn Michaels comes to Raw
Last week, in what I considered one of the top three developments, Seth Rollins and his disciple Murphy beat down Dominik Mysterio. This happened after Dominik signed his WWE contract as well as the contract for a SummerSlam match with Rollins.
The contract signing was moderated by Samoa Joe, who told Rollins he should be the greatest wrestler of this generation but got caught up in a few people booing him. Rollins countered by saying he was forced into this situation and had to make sacrifices for the greater good, which started with Rey Mysterio. Dominik spoke up and said that Rollins only fights for his own greater good. He said that his father Rey and Aleister Black aren’t the same. Rollins told Dominik he wouldn’t last ten seconds with him but offered to allow him to use the kendo stick or whatever other “tool” in their match at SummerSlam. They signed the contracts, and Dominik stood by Rollins took on Humberto Carrillo.
WWE announced on Saturday that the match between Domink and Rollins would be a street fight.
Rollins defeated Carrillo and then Murphy attacked Dominik. That set up Rollins to beat him down with a kendo stick, which went on for several minutes. He was tied up in the ropes at one point, while Rollins looked into the camera asking if “Papa Rey was watching.” He could very well have been watching, as WWE has speculated both in a commercial for Raw and on their website that Rey could be returning tonight. Rollins defeated Rey in an eye for an eye match at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show last month. Here’s Rey on Twitter and Andrade, who showed support for Dominik. Also, Rollins talked some smack after WWE made the Street Fight announcement.
— ♛Rey Mysterio❔ (@reymysterio) August 11, 2020
Ese cabron paga por que PAGA! https://t.co/tTGYO59osq
— ♛Rey Mysterio❔ (@reymysterio) August 11, 2020
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) August 15, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: It was odd that Samoa Joe didn’t help Dominik, considering he almost got involved two weeks ago, but he’s likely physically unable at this point. I don’t mind doing the beatdown for a while, but a babyface or two must come out at some point. I get trying to show how heinous Rollins is right now but use a little common sense. As far as the Street Fight goes, it’s good to have a “bells and whistles” type of match considering the potential of how green Dominik may be at this point.
Shawn Michaels Returns to Raw
Last week, Randy Orton defeated Kevin Owens in a match set up the previous week when Owens was chatting with Ric Flair. Flair was a partner of Randy Orton when they were in Evolution together from 2003 until 2004 and has always been considered a mentor of Orton. After the match, in which Flair stood in Orton’s corner, Orton asked Flair to stick around so they can talk.
Orton told Flair after years of being his mentor, he was a liability at this point because he shouldn’t have had to fight Owens. He acknowledged Flair helping him back when he was a “22-year old punk ass.” He said all Flair wanted to make him into the son he wished he had. He said he didn’t love him anymore, and he was truly “Ric Flair” he wouldn’t have slipped into a coma, but he was a junkie for the spotlight. He now needed to focus on becoming a 14-time champion at SummerSlam.
Flair was visibly hurt by Orton’s comments. He admitted loving the spotlight, but also admitted he wanted to see Orton break HIS and not John Cena’s record of being a 16-time champion. He said the one thing he realized when he came out of the coma was that he wanted to tell everyone he loved in his life that he loved them, including Orton. He understands when his dad (“Cowboy” Bob Orton) was on the road how tough it was because there were no cell phones back then. He wanted to be there for Orton and be in his life. They embraced before Orton low-blowed Flair as Flair did to Christian several weeks ago. Moments later, as the lights were flickering, Orton delivered the punt kick to Flair. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre came out and stood over the fallen Flair.
Tonight, WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels returns to Raw to weigh in on what happened last week. Shawn retired Flair (at least from WWE) at WrestleMania in 2008 and feuded with Orton over the WWE Championship in the late 2000s. He’s no stranger to the art of betrayal. Who can forget him turning on his Rockers partner Marty Jannetty on the Barber Shop in early 1992? Here’s a clip of that incident:
Frank’s Analysis: The story last week, while well-acted, didn’t do as much for me as it did for others. They got from “a to b,” but the story isn’t going to resonate with me as much as the Michaels turn I included or Paul Orndorff turning on Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage turning on Hogan, Steve Austin aligning himself with Vince McMahon amongst others. It felt more like running a play to make Orton look menacing rather than telling a long-term story. That said, I look forward to what Michaels has to say tonight. I hope he talks serious business and doesn’t tell bad dad jokes.
Other Match Results & Notable Segments from Last Week
- Angelo Dawkins of the Raw Tag Team Champion Street Profits defeated Andrade.
- Bianca Belair defeated Zelina Vega.
- Shelton Benjamin defeated U.S. Champion Apollo Crews in a non-title match.
- Mickie James made her return to Raw in a backstage interview but was interrupted by Natalya and Lana wearing matching outfits. Lana talked about Tik Tok. I still don’t get it.
- Ricochet & Cedric Alexander & The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) defeated 24/7 Champion Akira Tozawa & The Ninjas. After the match, one of the ninjas rolled up Tozawa to win the title. It turned out to be R-Truth.
- WWE Champion Drew McIntyre spoke about his upcoming title defense against Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
- Peyton Royce of the IIconics defeated Liv Morgan (with Ruby Riott).
- More of Raw Underground aired. Dabba-Kato, Riddick Moss, Cal Bloom, Arturo Ruas, and Shayna Baszler were the featured wrestlers. Shayna beat up three women and Kato grabbed a dude by his junk.
- Retribution flipped over a car and threw a cinderblock through a window.
I give WWE credit for the Thunderdome venture. It will be a different look which is desperately needed in this time, and fans want to be a part of the experience again. As far as the show, there are things to look forward to but also things WWE needs to reconsider. Retribution is not doing it for me as they are more annoying than intriguing. Let’s get to what they are and explain their mission. I’m skeptical of Raw Underground, but I’m not giving up just yet. My focus is on the Drew McIntyre-Randy Orton feud as well as what they’re doing with Bayley and Sasha Banks. I don’t like Asuka wrestling both women at SummerSlam, but I’m curious how it plays out.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.