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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY CENTER (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Dolph Ziggler
-The Raw opening aired. Cole introduced the show as the camera panned ThunderDome. Cole said Tom Phillips and Samoa Joe are off this week, so he’s joined by Byron Saxton and Dolph Ziggler. They hyped the line-up of Asuka vs. Mickie James, Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio in a cage, and Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee.
-Drew walked out first to his music in street clothes with his WWE Title belt. A video recap aired of the Drew-Orton saga. He said people keep asking him for a medical update. He said he will address it once and only once. He said WWE medics told him to take time off for a non-displaced fracture, but if he did it, he’d have to forfeit his title. He said one bad strike to the jaw could displace the fracture, and then his jaw would have to be wired shut. He said he’d rather leave the Clash in an ambulance than give up his championship. He told Randy to ask the nurse to turn up the volume so he can hear this next part. He said the next time they compete, someone should leave in an ambulance. He proposed they have an Ambulance Match at the Clash. He said once he was wearing leather pants and he couldn’t kick high or his pants would split, and he said he’s Scottish and they don’t like underpants, so it would have been an international incident. He said he developed the new kick as a result. He said threw up a Photoshop gag of victims of his Claymore.
Adam Pearce walked out and interrupted. He said Orton probably can’t be there tonight, and he might not be ready for the Clash. He said his match against Keith Lee is now about more than bragging rights. He said if Lee beats him tonight and Orton can’t make it to the Clash, then Lee faces him for the WWE Title. Drew asked, “Who put you in charge, anyway?”
Lee’s music then played. Byron said he’s got to be the happiest man in the building right now. Lee walked out to the ring. His jacket said, “Black Lives Matter” on the back. Drew shook Lee’s hand. Drew said he’s been looking forward to this. He tried to walk away but Lee held onto his hand. Lee tried to walk away, but Drew held onto his hand, returning the favor. They cut to a break as the two exchanged a competitive smile.
(Keller’s Analysis: They added to the stakes of the Drew-Lee match, although having Drew challenge Orton to an ambulance match makes it seem unlikely to the average viewer that they’d shake up the line-up with a Lee win.) [c]
(1) THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO
Cesaro said he got angry at the coffee shop when he was asked about this match. He said last Friday the Profits ruined their Championship Lounge, and so they’re going to ruin the idea that the Profits are the best tag team. Ziggler said he doesn’t like the smiling and laughing by the Profits. Cesaro went after Dawkins at the bell, then tagged in Nakamura seconds into the match. They double-teamed him and Nakamura scored a two count. A graphic advertised Cedric vs. Ricochet later. The Profits made a comeback. When Ford flip-dove at Cesaro and Nakamura, they caught him and dropped him over the ringside barricade. [c]
When Ford went for a top rope frog splash on Nakamura, Nakamura caught him with raised knees. After more back and forth, Cesaro landed a running European uppercut on Ford and then gave him a superplex out of the Profits’ corner. Dawkins, though, blind-tagged in during the superplex and then quickly surprised Cesaro with a Cash-out Splash for the three count. Saxton said that is huge and that’s how you represent Raw. They replayed in sl0-mo the European Uppercut and it showed a lot more light than almost any other Cesaro uppercut I’ve ever seen. Strange choice to show it in slo-mo.
WINNER: Profits in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Pretty short match considering the mid-match commercial. With talk of the Profits successfully defending their turf, I suspect Nakamura & Cesaro will get a win over the Profits on Friday on Smackdown, prompting a rubber match at the Clash.)
-They went to the announcers on camera. Cole threw to a video package on Mickie James who said she’s broken hearts, bones, and barriers.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good to see a video package on Mickie. I wish they’d delve more into her story arc in WWE over the years and not just deal in platitudes and random images of her in action.)
-Lana complained to Angel Garza backstage that Mickie got a title shot instead of Natalya. Garza agreed how unfair it was. He said her passion for justice is intoxicating. Zelina Vega walked up to him and accused him of flirting with Lana instead of focusing on them after he abandoned Andrade twice. He said he’s tired of being blamed for every setback. He said Andrade got pinned last week. Andrade stepped up and asked who he is to talk to him like that. Zelina shrieked “Enough! Enough! I can’t do this anymore.” She stormed off. Andrade and Garza got into a brief brawl as they cut to a break. [c]
-Backstage Dominik stood with Rey, Rey’s wife, and his sister as Cole plugged the cage match with Seth later.
-MVP, Cedric, Bobby Lashley, and Shelton Benjamin walked out. They recapped Cedric’s turn last week. Saxton said his jaw dropped when that happened. Cole said he decided if he couldn’t beat them, he’d join them. MVP said business is booming with Hurt Business. He said Shelton has been upgraded from gold to platinum. He said Cedric is officially a member of the Hurt Business. He said life is good. Cedric said last week his social media blew up. He imitated those whining about his decision to turn on his friends. He said this is his job and he has to do what it takes to succeed. He said none of them out there know what it’s like to be him. He said he kept getting beaten up and broken down. He felt empty and felt terrible when he went home to be with his family.
Apollo Crews and Ricochet walked out. Crews told Cedric that they treated him like a brother, but he is weak-minded and allowed himself to be manipulated by MVP. He said he has to live with the consequences now. Cedric asked how many times he took a beating for them. Shelton told Cedric they’re just jealous and he doesn’t owe them an explanation. Ricochet said they didn’t come out there to beg him to come back. He said they came out there to tell him that if he thought it was bad when Hurt Business was attacking him, wait until they attack him. Ricochet entered the ring for their match. Cole said they’re having a match tonight because in the eight-man tag match last week, Cedric pinned Ricochet but it appeared Ricochet’s shoulder was up, thus the rematch.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cedric was about where I’d expect in terms of heel mic skills. Pretty good, and definitely more energy than he had as a babyface promo. This was a good chapter in the ongoing story with all of these wrestlers. Nothing off-the-charts good, but it’s logical to have Cedric explain himself and then have Crews and Ricochet push back on his rationale.)
(2) RICOCHET (w/Apollo Crews) vs. CEDRIC (w/MVP, Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin)
Seconds into the match, when Lashley got involved at ringside, Erik of the Viking Raiders ran out and brawled with Lashley. They cut to an early break. [c]
For the finish, Cedric landed a Michinoku Driver for a two count and then an immediate Lumbar Check for a three count.
WINNER: Cedric in 5:0o.
-The lights went dark just as Cedric was about to celebrate. The Retribution logo appeared on the screen. Five Retribution members were on the big screen. One male member said they are the product of empty promises, greed, and betrayal. He said they once trusted, but now they move forward with their eyes wide open. Another male member said they won’t show loyalty to an entity that casts people aside like empty garbage. He said when you sell your soul to a corrupt machine, you become corrupt. He said they felt their time at the Performance Center would lead to fame and wealth, but they refused to suck up to an entitled regime. He yelled, “We are Retribution.” The lights came back on and Hurt Business were standing in the ring in a defensive position.
-Sarah Schrieber interviewed Mickie in the empty interview ring. Mickie said she loves this business. She said it drives her to be the best she can be every day. She said she loves high-stakes competition like facing Asuka. She said what drives her now is different than earlier in his career. She said it has become clear to her that she has always had what it takes to be champion. She said what fuels her tonight is that this could be her last chance to become WWE Champion.
-Asuka made her ring entrance. [c]
-Backstage as Pearce was yelling at security, MVP walked up to him with other Hurt Business members. MVP said he understands that if Pearce can’t control this Retribution situation, he will be out of a job. Pearce said that’s not his business. MVP said the locker room is scared, but they don’t run scared. “Let us help you keep your job,” he proposed. Pearce said, “Thanks for volunteering.” Hurt Business laughed. MVP said they are a business, they don’t do charity work, so they’ll be sending him a bill.
(3) ASUKA vs. MICKIE JAMES – WWE Raw Title match
“No cardboard cutouts here,” said Cole. “Thousands, not hundreds, of interactive WWE fans from around the world are with us live in ThunderDome.” James made her ring entrance after the break. The pace of the first few minutes gave the impression this would be a long match. Asuka went for a hip attack a few minutes in, but Mickie moved and then landed a spinning hook kick to the face. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Asuka landed a hip attack. Mickie came back with a face-plant, then kipped up. She mocked Asuka’s celebration dance, then climbed to the top rope. Asuka met her on the ropes in the corner. Mickie shoved her down, then leaped at her with a Thesz press. Asuka kicked out and rolled up Mickie for a two count. After each ducked each other, Asuka landed a spinning backfist. Ziggler snuck in a dig at Cole’s old frosted tips. Mickie applied a half Boston Crab. Mickie hit Asuka with a spinning hook kick and scored a two count. That kick wasn’t snug, so they cut to a slo-mo replay of the solid spin kick Mickie landed before the break. Asuka applied an Asukalock. The ref called off the match. Cole said he believed Mickie tapped out. There was confusion afterward. The ref told the ring announcer his decision, who announced the ref determined Mickie couldn’t continue. That was a mess.
WINNER: Asuka in 12:00 to retain the Raw Women’s Title.
-Zelina Vega marched to the ring to her music right after the match. She said she’s been thinking about her future. She said she’s wasted some of the best years of her career managing “those two ingrates.” She said Asuka is so focused on the Superstars of yesterday, she’s forgotten about one of the best Superstars of today. Vega said she’s ready for Asuka. Asuka took the mic and yapped at her. Vega slapped her mid-rant, then rolled out of the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Did Vince McMahon freak out that the match was sloppy and just call it off prematurely through the ref’s earpiece? That was odd the way Mickie was just discarded and ignored in a fast pivot to Vega. Shouldn’t Vega have to, like, win a big match against a contender before getting an actual title shot? She’s good on the mic, but make this seem like something she earned at least a little.)
-Charly Caruso interviewed Keith Lee backstage. He talked about how Drew will do whatever it takes to win, but so will he. Caruso asked if he’ll take advantage of Drew’s jaw injury. Lee said he won’t “take advantage” of an injury, but “I’ll do what I must.”
-A Smackdown commercial hyped the return of Sasha Banks this Friday. [c]
(4) ERIK FROM VIKING RAIDERS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY
MVP joined the announcers on commentary. Cole said Ivar isn’t present because he injured his cervical last week. Lashley won with a Full Lashley.
WINNER: Lashley in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That seemed designed to give Lashley a quick TV win before Erik waits for Ivar to recover.)
-Backstage Schrieber asked Kevin Owens if he knows why Aleister Black has developed a vendetta against him. He said he doesn’t know, but maybe he said something to upset him on The KO Show. He said maybe his Hot Topic coupon wasn’t honored when he tried to buy a t-shirt for that band he likes so much. Or maybe it was because hardly anyone knocked on his door. He said he doesn’t care why, he cares how he will walk away from the ring tonight feeling they’re even. He said he wants to be sure the beating he gives him reminds him every day from here on out of what happens when you pick a fight with him. He said he’s not worried, though, because he’s Kevin Owens. When KO walked away, Aleister Black walked into camera range. He still head a wrap around his head covering one of his eyes.
(Keller’s Analysis: So they’re having KO vs. Black and didn’t hype it?)
-Cole said the cage match is next. [c]
-Braun Strowman showed up outside the Raw Underground door as Shane McMahon talked with his doorman. Strowman told the “big boy” to get out of his way. He said he’s pissed off right now and he knows someone is on the other side of that door whose head he can bash in. He yelled for Shane to enter the door. Shane did and said, “Welcome!” He said he’s sending his foe home to his mom with a pocket full of teeth. Shane rubbed his hands together and smiled.
-When Saxton said Braun is a Smackdown wrestler, MVP told Byron to go tell that to Braun. Cole said his understanding is anyone can show up for Raw Underground, even if they’re Smackdown wrestlers. Cole threw to a video package on the Mysterio family vs. Seth & Co. feud.
-Backstage Murphy knocked on Seth Rollins’ locker room. Seth invited him in. Murphy seemed conciliatory and emotionally beaten down from last week. Seth said atonement and forgiveness is part of the process. He said they need to look into the future. He said tonight is an opportunity since he will be locked inside a cage with Dominik. He said this is the perfect opportunity to teach the young man and the world a lesson. He asked Murphy if he is prepared for his role tonight because he has something very important he needs him to do. He said he needs him to be ready. Murphy nodded. Seth said he’s happy to hear that, then slapped him and shoved him by his throat against the lockers. A seething Seth told Murphy his assignment is to stay in the back and not mess up his match with his stupid mistakes again. He asked if he understands him. He insisted he say, “Yes sir.” Murphy said, “Yes sir.” Seth patted him on his chest.
-They showed the cage. [c]
-R-Truth told a Kit Kat bar that he’s going to break him in half. In walked Mandy Rose. She broke the Kit Kat apart and then grabbed another bar and walked away. Truth said, “Talk quick because I’m about to eat you.”
-MVP joined the announcers on commentary. (Did Ziggler get fired mid-show?) They talked about Mandy Rose being traded to Raw. (So for whom was she traded?)
-Seth made his ring entrance.
-Caruso interviewed Dominick and his family backstage and asked Dominik if he’s concerned about fighting in his first cage match. Dominik said if he wants to follow his dreams and follow in his dad’s footsteps, he has to step foot into the cage. Rey said he’s more worried than Dominick is. He said they know how difficult cage matches can be, which is why they’re going to be there at ringside to support him. Rey said after all Seth has done to their family, the real question is whether Seth should be concerned about Dominik.
(5) SETH ROLLINS vs. DOMINIK MYSTERIO – Cage Match
Dominik made his ring entrance. MVP said Rey isn’t being a good dad and it’s all about his ego. Dominik fired back against Seth’s early offense with a quick Russian leg sweep. He tried to climb the cage to escape, but Seth grabbed him. They almost fell over, but Dominick reversed Seth into a DDT for a near fall. Cole asked MVP how he couldn’t be impressed. Murphy slipped Seth a kendo stick. Seth bashed Dominik as he climbed the cage. Dominik fell crotch-first over the top rope. Cole said Murphy wasn’t heeding Seth’s instructions. Seth bashed Dominik with the stick as they cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Seth continued the beatdown on Dominik. Seth asked Dominik when he’s going to learn. He threw Dominick toward the cage, but Dominik reversed Seth into the cage. Rey slipped Dominik a kendo stick. He bashed away at Seth and then threw him into the cage several times followed by a sitout powerbomb for a near fall. “Talk about guts,” said Cole. Seth catapulted Dominik into the cage, but Dominik grabbed the cage and began climbing it. Seth met him on the top rope quickly. Seth knocked Dominik off the top rope and he landed crotch-first. Dominik then knocked Seth off balance, too, with a swipe of his hand. MVP conceded, “Okay, that was crafty. I’ll give the kid credit.”
The ref opened the cage door and Dominick crawled toward the exit. Murphy attacked Rey at ringside. Murphy spun around and slammed the cage door shut, thinking Dominik was escaping, but Seth was in the doorway instead. With Seth down, Dominik climbed the cage. Murphy tried to stop him, but Dominik knocked him off the side of the cage to the floor. He then frog splashed Seth mid-ring for a near fall.
Dominik climbed to the top of the cage slowly. Seth grabbed his foot. “High drama here on Monday Night Raw,” said Cole. Dominik kicked Seth off of him and climbed over the top. Seth caught him up there and gave him a superplex to the mat and then a falcon arrow for a near fall. Dominik surprised Seth with a schoolboy for a two count. Seth followed up with a Stomp. They cut to Dominik’s concerned family at ringside. Seth landed another Stomp for a three count.
WINNER: Rollins in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Dominik continues to outperform his experience level, and part of that credit goes to Seth, but not everyone could do what Dominik is doing as well as he has been. Good dramatic cage match.)
-Seth approached Murphy afterward and smiled and kissed his forehead, but then smashed him into the barricade and the cage. He then yelled at him for not doing what he told him to do. He asked him how it feels. “I know, it sucks, because you did it to me!” he yelled. Seth walked over to Mysterio’s wife and daughter. He sold Rey’s wife, “A hell of a job you did, I hope she does better.” They entered the ring, although Rey’s daughter checked on Murphy’s condition briefly first.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. MVP questioned the wisdom of Rey putting his son in that position.
-They went to Raw Underground where Ziggler was battling someone. He got a stoppage win after downstrike elbows. (So that’s where Ziggler went!) Shane asked who wants a piece of Dolph. Riddick Moss stepped up. They battled back and forth with intense hard-hitting action. Braun barged onto the scene and went after both Ziggler and Moss. He one-arm slammed Moss and then dropped Ziggler. He paced around and yelled. Shane said they’d be right back and then asked if anyone else wants Braun. [c]
-Caruso interviewed McIntyre about facing Lee later. Drew said he ran in against Orton just after Orton hit the RKO. He said he’s not saying Lee wouldn’t have kicked out, but Randy has won 13 WWE titles with that move and maybe if he hit him with that at Summerslam, even he wouldn’t be standing there as champion. Lee walked up to Drew, then asked Caruso to excuse them. Lee said they’re supposed to be friends, and he’s not happy with what he said. Drew said not to spin his words. Lee said it sounds like he believes Orton would have beaten him, but the fact remains the only match he did not interfere in is the match where he beat Orton at Payback. He said he seems concerned he might beat him tonight and again at the Clash. Drew said he’s not afraid of anyone. Lee said he has a larger than normal target right now. He pointed at Drew’s jaw. Drew slapped his hand away and told him not to do it again. Drew punched Lee in the jaw when Lee raised his hand toward his jaw again. They brawled around the ring set. Officials ran in after about 15 seconds and pulled them apart. Drew was yelling they’ll finish this later.
-They went to the announcers at ringside who talked about Drew-Lee, then threw back to Raw Underground.
-Titus O’Neil walked up to the door and insisted on being let in. The doorman opened the door for him. Drew was beating up another guy. Moss charged back in. Strowman gave him a big boot. Titus charged in and tackled Braun. Braun came back with a front chancery and Titus went down. The ref called off the match a couple seconds later as Braun pummeled him. Braun stood with his arms extended.
(Keller’s Analysis: There is a certain energy and intensity to Raw Underground that changes up the pace and vibe of Raw.)
(6) KEVIN OWENS vs. ALEISTER BLACK
When KO entered the ring, Black attacked him from behind with a high knee. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Back to the match, KO clotheslined Black. Cole said it was physical during the break. Cole asked MVP if he has any idea why Black has targeted KO. MVP said Black doesn’t talk much to people backstage and keeps to himself. Cole plugged Riott Squad vs. Natalya & Lana, and Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax would be on commentary. Black dominated for a few minutes. He stomped away at KO. The ref backed him away. KO gave him a superkick in a surge of energy. He was slow to get up, though. He tried to stand, but his leg gave out. Black moved in, but the lights flickered. KO then gave a distracted Black a Stunner for the three count.
WINNER: KO in 7:00.
-They cut backstage where Lee and Drew were fighting again. Pearce stood between them and said he will cancel the match if they don’t stop fighting. Drew told Pearce, “You should’ve let us fight.” [c]
(7) RIOTT SQUAD (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) vs. NATALYA & LANA
Jax and Baszler were sitting next to each other next at the announce desk. A soundbite aired with Riott Squad talked about their chance at the tag team titles at the Clash. They said they’re a real team. Baszler and Jax mocked their unity. Natalya and Lana walked to the ring holding hands. Riott won with her signature kick on Lana for a quick three count.
WINNERS: Riott Squad in under 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Yikes, that was fast. Barely time for Nia and Baszler to do much on commentary, and it made Lana and natlaya seem pretty weak.)
-After the match, Jax and Baszler beat up Natalya and Lana. Jax cleared the announce desk. When she threw a can at Byron, he said, “Oww.” Subtle, but hilarious. Baszler threw Lana to ringside. Lana took an awkward path to the floor. Jax then gave Lana a Samoan Drop through the table as Riott Squad looked on from the stage. They seemed concerned, but pumped themselves up.
-They showed Lee and Drew in separate shots heading to the entrance tunnel. [c]
-Braun was still beating people up at Raw Underground. Ziggler and Moss went after Braun two-on-one, and he was able to fend them off. He powerslammed Ziggler. Then Dabba-Kato stepped up. Shane said they’re saving that for next week. Cole said you can’t blame Shane for wanting to promote that for a week before it happens.
(8) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KEITH LEE
Drew marched to the ring with purpose as his entrance theme played. Cole explained that if Orton isn’t cleared to compete at the Clash, and if Lee beats Drew tonight, then Lee gets the title match. Lee came out second. Lee charged at Drew at the bell and drove him into the corner. When he charged, Drew raised a boot and took over. Lee came back with a boot to Drew’s jaw. Drew dropped to his knees. Lee then shoved Drew over the top rope to the floor. [c]
Drew landed a top rope clothesline after the break, then kipped up. He grabbed at his jaw and yelled in pain. He clenched his teeth and moved in to give Lee a Future Shock DDT, but Lee escaped. Drew and Lee exchanged strikes mid-ring. Lee took Drew down with a hard clothesline for a two count. Lee set up a superplex on the second rope. Drew fought it, but Lee eventually hit it. Lee leaned back and scored a two count. Drew leaped at Lee with a mid-ring collision. Both were slow to get up. Retribution ran to the ring and surrounded it. There were at least 12 of them. They swarmed Drew and Lee for two minutes.
Hurt Business’s music played and they walked out onto the stage. Retribution jumped to ringside and called them to fight. Hurt Business accepted the offer. They brawled at ringside. Lee and Drew, in stereo, flip dove onto the whole crowd at ringside. They stood tall as the show went off the air without commentary.
WINNERS: No contest in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s strange seeing Hurt Business portrayed in a heroic framing given the other storyline they’re involved in, but it frames Retribution as a faction you might to cheer against the heel Hurt Business faction. I’m just not fan of having a storyline where heels and faces break from their usual roles to fight something “bigger” than business as usual as it marginalizes the usual feelings they’re trying to ignite within viewers. Retribution doesn’t feel big enough to be worthy messing around with the rest of what WWE is doing. I get adding a special stip to the Lee-Drew match to make it feel more important, but why do I feel like it won’t be addressed next week that Lee unfairly lost his chance to be on deck to replace Orton if needed?)
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