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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 24, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY CENTER (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-They aired the WWE brand stamp and the usual Raw opening theme. Then they cut to pyro blasting on the stage and wide shots of Thunderdome with even more pyro blasting. The LED boards lit up with fans applauding as Phillips introduced the show. Philips hyped an Asuka vs. Sasha Banks rematch with lumberjack stipulations. Saxton hyped Apollo Crews vs. Bobby Lashley in an arm wrestling contest with Mark Henry as the special referee. Joe hyped the Dominik & Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy.
-They went to the announcers on camera. Phillips said The Fiend beat Bray Wyatt to win the Universal Title, but the headline was the return of Roman Reigns. He said Friday on Smackdown, Reigns, Braun Strowman, and The Fiend will sign a contract for a triple threat match at Payback for the Universal Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re getting that belt on Reigns ASAP, it appears.)
-Drew McIntyre made his way to the ring and held up his WWE Title belt. They aired a video package on the Drew vs. Randy Orton match. He asked everybody in the Thunderdome to give him a thumbs up. He looked around at the screens and smiled. “How cool is that?” he said. “What a difference!” He said Orton was his biggest challenge to date, and he still stands there as WWE Champion.
Drew said he’s hungrier than Orton and he works harder than him. He said when the chips are down, he pushes forward because he is so proud to be WWE Champion. He said he’s this way because of his journey. He said he knows what it’s like to go through tough times and not know where your next paycheck is coming from. He said Orton has never faced that because he so gifted. He said no matter how many mistakes Orton made, his inner circle protected him. He said as good as he was at the start, he kept getting better. He said even though Orton is at his best, he was better than him last night.
Drew addressed a camera and asked Orton if he won the Greatest Wrestling Match ever, and declared himself the greatest wrestler ever. He said he beat Orton with a wrestling move last night, ‘So what does that make me?” He said he’d like another chance at Orton, and he thinks the feeling is mutual. He said he still wants to knock Orton’s head off with a Claymore Kick. He lowered the mic but shouted toward the LED boards that he loves the Thunderdome. He held his belt up in celebration on the stage. Orton attacked him from behind and threw him into the LED wall.
They brawled into the backstage area where Orton threw Drew into a wall. He charged and gave him a punt kick. Adam Pearce, Sonjay Dutt, and several referees ran in and pulled Orton away. Drew flailed and tried to sit up, but couldn’t. Orton went back after him and gave him a second running punt kick. Orton leaned down and whispered in Drew’s ear, smiled in a sinister manner, then left. [c]
-They replayed the Orton attack on Drew. Saxton said Orton is obviously not over his loss at Summerslam. They went backstage where Drew was still being helped up. Drew could barely keep his balance, but yelled, “I’m fine! I’m fine!”
-They went back to the announcers who expressed amazement that Drew could take two kicks and walk away. Phillips excitedly threw to a video package on the arriving Keith Lee.
-McKenzie Mitchell approached Nia Jax and asked what she was doing there because she was suspended. Jax said the key word is “was.” She said she’s been reinstated. She said all she had to do was go to Pat Buck and apologize. She yelled “Apologize!” in her ear. She asked Mitchell to keep her mind out of the gutter, implying that she thought McKenzie was thinking she did something sexual to get her job back. Shayna Baszler approached her and said they’re all just counting down the days until she says or does something to get herself suspended again. Jax asked if she has a match with Bayley coming up. Jax said if she wants any tips, give her a call. Baszler said, “I’ll call you. I’ll call you Haystacks Calhoun. Oh, my bad. At least he was good looking.” Nia said, “First of all, rude.” (She’s got a point.) She added, “I’m very good looking. Second of all, that’s very rich coming from an Addam’s Family reject looking like you.” Baszler said, “Welcome back.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Did they really just tell two jokes based on a wrestler from the ’60s and a sitcom from the ’60s and a movie from nearly 20 years ago? And did they just have one woman call another fat and another ugly? Come on, WWE. Neither of them were likable, but Jax had the point that Baszler’s first comment was rude. Bad segment.)
-Sasha came out with Bayley. Then Baszler made her ring entrance. Before the bell, Jax walked out. They cut to a break. [c]
(2) SHAYNZA BASZLER vs. BAYLEY (w/Sasha Banks)
A few minute in, Bayley threw Baszler to the floor. Jax came up and yanked on her leg to keep her from re-entering. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: No contest in 5:00.
-Bayley and Sasha laughed. Jax and Baszler stopped fighting each other and looked down at Sasha and Bayley. They hopped out of the ring and seemed to have a truce as they eyed one another. Sasha and Bayley looked scared.
-Backstage, Kevin Owens walked in and asked someone where Aleister Black’s locker room is. The guy pointed KO around the corner. KO knocked and asked Black if he’s actually going to join him since he didn’t answer his texts. KO got an affirmative. Black then closed the door. Viewers could only see his hand. [c]
-Kevin Owens Show: He came out and acknowledged this was the first KO Show in the Thunderdome. He said he and Black have had a common enemy lately. He said they haven’t seen him in a while, but he’s pleased to welcome Aleister back. Black’s ring entrance took place. Black walked out in all black with a black eye wrap. He looked at the ring steps apprehensively and got into the ring by rolling under the bottom rope instead. Owens said he appreciated him being there. KO wasn’t going to show the footage, but Black said it was okay. They re-aired the clip. KO said he thinks he knows what Black is feeling. KO said they made him question why he was even in WWE at one point. He said Seth loves to do that. He said to ask Rey and Dominik. He said he’s done a lot of terrible things to a lot of terrible people, but he’s tried to take a different path, but Seth Rollins isn’t like that. He didn’t want to show the clip. Black fell off his chair and held his eye. KO checked on him. Black threw a spinning back elbow and then delivered a Black Mass. He stood strong and tall. KO was down and out. Saxton gasped, “Why?” Black walked away looking very serious as referees checked on KO.
-Charly Caruso interviewed Bayley and Sasha backstage. Charly said they barely escaped Baszler and Jax. Sasha said she’s focused on winning back her Raw Title. Bayley said they’re going to take care of Baszler and Jax before this is all over.
-A commercial advertised Fiend vs. Wyatt vs. Reigns for the Universal Title. [c]
(3) SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. R-TRUTH vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. AKIRA TOZAWA (w/Ninjas) – 24/7 Title match
Shelton attacked Tozawa at the bell. Truth tried to steal a cover, but Shelton stomped on him. Cedric then went after Shelton. Shelton tossed Tozawa over the top rope into the arms of the Ninjas. The Ninjas lifted him back onto the ring apron. Truth threw Shelton over the top rope. Tozawa rolled up Truth for the win. Tozawa ran to the back as Shelton beat up the Ninjas. Phillips said Tozawa “could care less” about the Ninjas. (He meant Tozawa “could NOT care less” about the Ninjas, I assume.)
WINNER: Tozawa to capture the 24/7 Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: And I thought the return of Roman Reigns was going to be the biggest story of the weekend.)
-McKenzie approached Orton backstage and asked if he has anything to say about what Drew said about him or about what he did to him. “Yes, I do,” Orton said. [c]
-An NXT ad hyped the return of Tomasso Ciampa.
-The camera panned the fans on the LED screens. Then they threw to a clip of the Drew-Orton angle from earlier.
-Orton made his way to the ring. He said for the longest time he has done what he wants to do when he wants to do to whomever he wants. He said that didn’t happen at Summerslam, because he wanted to RKO Drew and take his title, but he didn’t. “You can call me a lot of things,” he said. “It’s a pretty long list. But one thing I am and will forever be is a man of my word.” He said he kicked Drew twice because he offered him another match out of pity. “Who in the hell do you think I am?” he asked. “I am Randy Orton. I am the Legend Killer.” Keith Lee’s music played and he walked out. Phillips said he’s astonishingly athletic for man of his size.
Lee entered the ring and introduced himself. He said he has come to Raw to offer him the spectacular opportunity, luxury, and privilege to bask in his glory. He said he has been called many things like- The Viper, Apex Predator, Legend Killer. He said he has been called a Game Changer, Anomaly, and he is for certain Limitless. He said if he is looking for a fight, with respect to his friend Drew McIntyre, he’d step up to face him if he’s willing to accept his challenge. “Right here, right now.” He dropped the mic. Orton said if he wants to fight him, maybe later. He pretended to be getting ready to fight, but then he left. Phillips said it’d be amazing if they wrestle later on Raw.
(Keller’s Analysis: That felt like a big moment for Lee to have the audacity to interrupt and challenge Orton on his first night on Raw. I like that a lot. It fits Lee’s persona.)
-Caruso interviewed Zelina Vega, Angel Garza, and the reality show woman nobody knows. Zelina said the footage didn’t prove anything regarding Montez Ford’s poisoning. Garza said she got caught, but who doesn’t get caught sometimes. Zelina freaked out and said, “You’re not helping.” She stormed away. Garza asked the reality show woman what she’s doing. She said she’s been talking to Ivar. Garza said she is welcome to watch him wrestle. She turned to Caruso and told her she is welcome to watch him too. [c]
-Phillips announced Lee vs. Orton has become official. Saxton said he can’t think of a better way for Lee to make a splash on Raw.
(4) ANGEL GARZA (w/Andrade, reality show woman) vs. MONTEZ FORD (w/Angelo Dawkins)
When the Street Profits came out, dozens of red Solo cups dropped from above. A soundbite aired with the Profits before the match. They closed with, you guessed it, “We want the smoke!” Ford leaped high off the top rope early, but Garza dropkicked him. Ivar walked out a couple minutes in, with Garza in control. He smiled and approached reality show woman. He offered her a turkey leg. She stood and happily accepted it. He asked if she wants to get out of there. Garza was upset and turned his back to Ford. Ford kicked him, but Garza caught him on the top rope and set up a superplex. Ford fought back and punched Garza to the mat. Ford then hit a turning frog splash for the win.
WINNER: Ford in 3:00.
-Jax told Baszler she realized they could win the Women’s Tag Team Titles together, and she wants the tag team titles. Baszler said she’ll help her with that as long as she gets off her back and leaves her alone. Jax said as long as she follows her lead. She poked Baszler’s shoulder as she talked. Baszler slapped her. Jax no-sold it.
(Keller’s Analysis: The idea of Jax and Baszler gaining respect for each other’s toughness by fighting and thus deciding to unite for a common cause is good. The way they’ve had them speak tonight couldn’t be worse. Baszler, of all people, asking someone to “get off her back and leave her alone” doesn’t fit her character at all.)
-Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, and Liv Morgan walked backstage together. [c]
(5) ZELINA VEGA & THE IICONICS vs. RIOTT SQUAD (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) & BIANCA BELAIR
The match built to Belair tagging in excitedly against Vega. She landed a Lionsault, but the IIconics broke up the cover. Riott and Morgan gave them enziguiris. Vega came up behind Belair for a roll-up, but Belair kicked out and then delivered a KOD for the win.
WINNERS: Belair & Riott Squad in 3:00.
-Backstage, Cedric beat Ricochet in a practice arm wrestling contest. Mark Henry walked in and asked Cedric if he wanted to try him. Cedric said no. Henry made his way to the ring with the arm wrestling table. MVP scolded Cedric for clowning around with Ricochet instead of going after a title. Ricochet told MVP this is getting sad. MVP said he didn’t ask him anything. Ricochet said he’s going to lose a finger if he keeps pointing at him. Cedric said he already told MVP no. MVP said The Hurt Business is a family business, and family tell each other the truth, such as when they’re wasting their potential. MVP said he has another way to persuade him. He said he’d see him later. [c]
-Henry stood mid-ring and introduced Bobby Lashley. Then Apollo Crews came out. Henry said he wants it to be a fair competition. Lashley said he doesn’t need MVP or Shelton, but he wants to beat Crews tonight without hurting him so he can take is U.S. Title from him on Sunday. Crews said what happened to MVP at Summerslam will happen to him on Sunday, but first he’ll beat him at arm wrestling. Lashley wore a suit, but took off his suit jacket before locking up. Henry hurried him along. Lashley pointed at Henry’s face and mouthed off. He put his arm in place. Crews surprised Lashley by stomping on his foot and then snapping his arm down to win. Crews celebrated as Lashley protested to Henry. Saxton said Crews outsmarted Lashley. Lashley went after Crews, but Crews got the better of him. MVP and Shelton came to ringside, so Crews leaped over the top rope onto them. Phillips explained Lashley’s foot was placed illegally under the table, which is why Crews stomped on it.
-They went to the announcers who hyped the Seth & Murphy vs. Rey & Dominik tag match. They threw to a vdieo package on the Summerslam singles match.
-Backstage, Caruso interviewed Rey, his wife Angie, and his son Dominik. Rey said whatever happens tonight, he’s proud of his son. Angie spoke in Spanish briefly. Rey said Dominik faced one of the most dangerous Superstars and gave him hell. He said he was proud. Caruso asked if he was nervous. Dominik said he was absolutely terrified, but he knew no matter what, he had his family in his corner and that gave him the courage to do what he had to do. Rey said some day Seth will have a family of his own and he’ll know what he put his family through. Rey said he turned into a man last night and someone he had never seen before. Rey said it’s not about winning or losing. He said he’s so proud of him for standing there after the pain he is in after last night. Rey told him he loves him so much and tonight will be a great night. He said he’ll be damned if Seth ruins this. He said Seth talks about the future of Raw. “Well, Seth, you’re looking at it.”
(Keller’s Analysis: They laid it on so thick, I’m worried Dominik is going to break Rey’s heart tonight.) [c]
-Natalya and Lana stood mid-ring. Lana gushed about Natalya. Natalya said she’ll get her own Hall of Fame induction some day, but tonight they are paying tribute to Mickie James, a true trailblazer in WWE. “Like every great trail, her trial ends,” she said. Lana said they tried to elevate her. She said she’s been riding their coat tails for a while. Natalya said they’re retiring the chic with the kick. Natalya said she put a lot of work into this highlight video of Mickie’s career. Nothing played. They laughed that there are no career highlights. Mickie ran out and shoved Natalya down. Then she kicked Lana down. She smiled and left as her music played again. “Miss me?” she asked, smiling.
-Saxton said Lee vs. Orton was up next.
-Lashley, MVP, and Shelton walked up to Shane McMahon outside the door to Raw Underground. Lashley said he wanted a fight tonight. Shane let him in and said he’s quite welcome. Shane smiled at the bouncer and said it’s going to be a great night tonight. [c]
-Raw Underground began 1 minute before 10 ET tonight, so closer to the advertised time Shane always mentions that never turned out. Lashley beat up some scrub and tapped him out. Dolph Ziggler stepped up and squared off with Lashley. Ziggler went for a single-leg takedown. Lashley out-wrestled him and kicked him in the ribs. Ziggler poked Lashley in the eye, then applied a sleeper. Lashley broke free and then shoved Ziggler out of the ring. Ziggler flew head-first into the wall. MVP and Shelton threw another guy into the ring. Lashley kicked him. He went down immediately. Lashley threw him out. Shane asked if anyone else wanted a piece of Lashley.
(6) RANDY ORTON vs. KEITH LEE
As Orton made his entrance, they replayed Orton’s two punt kicks to Drew. (I think they’ve stopped calling it the Punt Kick, perhaps in deference to Pat McAfee.) Saxton said Lee doesn’t fear pressure situations. Joe said this man will do things amazing for someone who is regular-sized. “The gall and the moxie of Keith Lee to step up” to Orton. Lee leapfrogged Orton early. Orton backed away and looked up at Lee as if he was impressed. Lee offered a test of strength, but Orton kicked him in the gut. Lee caught Orton’s punch and shoved him out of the ring. Lee went after him at ringside, but Orton shoved him into the ringpost. Orton stomped away at Lee’s hands. He went for a cover, but Lee kicked out at one. He settled into his obligatory mid-match chinlock. Orton shifted into a sleeper. Lee escaped and crossbody blocked Orton. Orton grabbed his arm in pain. Lee shoulder checked Orton down. Orton rolled out of the ring to regroup. Lee again went right after him. Lee threw Orton back into the ring. Saxton said, “This is just remarkable to watch, guys.” Orton caught Lee coming back in and gave him a draping DDT. Orton stalked him, then pounded the mat to signify an RKO. Drew came out and yanked Orton out of the ring and threw him around ringside. Orton ran away over the barricade. Drew entered the ring and was fuming mad.
WINNER: No contest in 5:00 when Drew interfered.
-Stats on the screen noted the Thunderdome has over 17 million pixels on over 3,000 LED panels, 750,000 watts of HDX lasers, and over 8 million BTUs of flames. WWEThunderdome.com to apply to be part of the show.
-They recapped the return of Reigns last night.
-Caruso interviewed Drew who said he respect Lee, but he doesn’t need him fighting his battles. Drew turned to the camera and was about to address Orton, but Orton attacked him from behind and gave him yet another running (punt) kick. [c]
-Caruso stood outside the Doctor/Trainer room. She said Drew is inside. She said what she is overhearing is there might be a skull fracture and potentially a bleeding brain, which could be career-ending. She said she’d provide an update if she heard more.
-They went to the announcers. Joe said we can only hope he’ll be okay.
(7) ASUKA vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Bayley) – Lumberjack Match for the Raw Title
As Sasha came out, they announced at Payback on Sunday, Sasha & Bayley will defend their tag team titles against Baszler & Jax. In the opening minute, Asuka knocked Bayley to the floor. When Bayley approached her, the rest of the lumberjacks approached her from both side. They cut to a break. [c]
The announcers talked about how worn out these two must be after last night. Asuka caught a charging Sasha with a boot. Asuka leaped at Sasha and drove her arm into the mat and scored a two count. Asuka swept Sasha’s leg and applied an anklelock. Sasha powered out and sent Asuka flying out of the ring. Sasha then leaped off the ring apron and aimed for Asuka, but took out the Riott Squad instead. Asuka then gave Sasha a running knee to the face. Bayley shoved Natalya at Asuka as Asuka was walking toward her. Asuka shoved Lana. Bayley shoved more wrestlers in between her and Asuka, then attacked Asuka. Back in the ring, Sasha leaped off the top rope and landed a frog splash for a near fall. Sasha called for help from Bayley. Bayley grabbed a chair. Baszler yanked on Bayley’s leg to stop her. Asuka then put Sasha in an Asukalock. Sasha tapped out again. Sasha sat up crying.
WINNER: Asuka in 8:00 to retain the Raw Title.
-They cut backstage where an ambulance was driving out of the venue. Caruso said due to the possible severity of the injury, doctors didn’t want to take any chances. She said Drew will undergo more evaluations. She asked Lee, who was standing by, for his thoughts. Lee said he just watched his friend get loaded into an ambulance, but fortunately he knows Drew is one of the toughest men he’s ever met. He said he is going to be okay. Lee said he cannot say the same for Orton. He then walked away.
-Backstage they showed Rey and Dominik walking backstage. [c]
-They announced Lee, Ziggler, and Baszler would be on Raw talk tonight.
-Back to Raw underground, Cedric was battling Lashley. Lashley applied a cross armbreaker. MVP had to pull him off. Ivar jumped in. Shelton tackled him. Erik joined in. All of them brawled. Shane said business is booming for the Hurt Business, and they’d see what happens next week.
-They announced Orton will face Lee at Payback instead of Drew due to Drew’s injuries. Orton just cost himself a potential quick rematch with those attacks, it appears.
(8) SETH ROLLINS & MURPHY vs. DOMINIK & REY MYSTERIO
They brawled at ringside before the bell when Rey and Dominik went after Seth and Murphy as soon as they got to ringside. Seth threw Rey into the announce desk. Then Seth and Murphy threw Dominik into the ring. The bell rang to officially start the match. Dominik outmaneuvered Murphy and knocked Seth into the announce desk with a slidekick. The camera missed Rey sending Seth into the barricade – a rare missed shot by WWE. Dominik and Rey surrounded Seth. Seth bailed out when Rey went for a 619. Dominik leaped onto both of them. He returned to the ring and stood strong with Rey. [c]
Back live, Seth was stomping on Rey in the ring. They showed that during the commercial, Seth took over with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker after tagging in. Seth taunted Rey as he crawled toward tagging Dominik. Then he knocked Dominik off the ring apron. Rey eventually hot-tagged in Dominik against Murphy. He leaped off the top rope and rallied against Murphy. Joe said he’s moving like an old veteran pro. Dominik springboarded into Murphy. He gave Murphy a tornado DDT. Seth broke up the cover. Seth gloated at ringside. Murphy clipped Dominik’s legs from behind as Seth distracted him. Dominik fought back and tagged Rey back in. Rey then set up a 619 on Seth, but Murphy tagged himself in. Murphy rolled up Rey from behind for a two count.
Rey set up Murphy for a 619, but tagged in Dominik so they did a double 619. The lights began to flicker. That delayed Dominik’s top rope dive, so Seth shoved him down. Rey went after Seth. Retribution entered the ring. Seth ran out. They surrounded Dominik. Rey ran in to help Dominik. They swarmed both Rey and Dominik. Seth watched with a smile from the stage. He laughed and said everything looks good. They slid Rey out of the ring, then two of them lifted Rey and dart-threw him into the ringpost. They stomped away at Dominik. Seth and Murphy continued to watch. Six Retribution members stood on the ring apron and looked down at Rey and Dominik as the show ended with tons of boos on audio.
WINNER: No contest in 11:00.