SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN THE AMWAY CENTER
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Top Three Developments from Last Week
- Adam Pearce interrupted WWE Champion Drew McInytre’s show-opening promo to advise that Randy Orton may not be able to compete for the title at Clash of Champions. He said if Keith Lee would win his upcoming non-title match with Drew, then he would take Randy’s place. The match ended when Retribution interrupted. The Hurt Business made the “save.”
- Zelina Vega inserted herself into the Raw Women’s Championship picture after walking away from Andrade & Angel Garza and confronting champ Asuka after she retained the title over Mickie James.
- Smackdown’s Braun Strowman arrived and made his presence known on Raw Underground
Items Advertised by WWE for Tonight
Tonight’s episode of Raw will be the last before Clash of Champions, which takes place this Sunday. Thus far the WWE Championship and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship matches are set from the Raw side (the women’s tag titles float between shows but the challengers are from Raw). More will be determined tonight. WWE’s official preview is not up yet, but they do have items advertised for the show:
- Braun Strowman and the undefeated Dabbo-Kato battle in Raw Underground
- Keith Lee to battle Drew McIntyre for golden WWE Clash of Champions opportunity
- Huge Triple Threat Tag Team throwdown to determine Street Profits’ Clash of Champions challengers
Raw Underground: Braun Strowman vs. Dabbo-Kato
Former Universal Champion Braun Strowman from Smackdown is the latest to make his way into Raw Underground. After dropping the title at SummerSlam to “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, he arrived last week looking for someone’s “head to bash in.” Shane McMahon let him in without hesitation, and later he went to work. He took on several people including Riddick Moss and Dolph Ziggler, who was on commentary earlier. Titus O’Neil also fell victim to Braun before Dabbo-Kato stepped up. Shane quickly stepped in saying we’ll have to save this for next week. Braun boasted on Twitter this past week:
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) September 19, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: They have Raw Underground which, I think, the purpose is to get people over in a different way but also give guys that have “nothing to do” something for the time being. In my analysis of Drew vs. Keith, I talk about the lack of depth on Raw. Perhaps they can use people like Moss, Ziggler, Kato, and O’Neil in actual matches so we don’t have to see the same thing repeatedly. That said, I hate to admit I’m kind of looking forward to what happens with Braun in the Underground. We still don’t know the rules and how people win matches.
Non-Title Match: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee. If Lee wins, he challenges Drew for the title at Clash of Champions if Randy Orton can’t compete.
I touched on the situation between Drew McIntyre and Keith Lee earlier in the top three developments. Drew opened the show with a promo where he said he was advised to take time off but would have to relinquish the WWE Championship. With a fractured jaw, one bad hit could render him to have his jaw shut permanently. He said he would rather leave Clash of Champions in an ambulance than relinquish the title, and thus proposed the Ambulance Match between he and Randy Orton. WWE official Adam Pearce interrupted as I mentioned and advised that Orton potentially would not be able to compete because of the three Claymore Kicks Drew treated him to a week earlier. He then said if Keith Lee were to defeat Drew later in their match, Keith would get the title match at Clash of Champions instead of Orton should Orton not be able to compete.
I talked about what happened in the match. The announcer started the evening talking about Drew and Keith’s friendship being strained. The brawled twice in the back before their match. The first time was when Keith thought Drew said that Orton would have beaten him with the RKO had he not intervened a week earlier. The second time they brawled, Pearce threatened to cancel the match if they didn’t stop. Tonight, they go one-on-one again with the same implications as last week.
Frank’s Analysis: If they want Keith to have a title match, the way to build him up is to have him win matches and cut promos talking about why he feels he’s going to win the title. Keep Drew strong by having him win matches, and that way when you get to the “big match” it feels special and has real stakes. Go look at the Raw roster and you’ll see why they’re repeating this match. They have so little depth and that’s why you see the same people involved in a feud wrestling practically every week. It’s redundant and boring, especially when you have a company with so many people under contract.
Triple Threat Tag Team Match: Dominik Mysterio & Humberto Carrillo vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy vs. Andrade & Angel Garza. Winner challenges the Street Profits at Clash of Champions for the Raw Tag Team Championship
The aforementioned tag teams go at it in a triple threat match tonight to determine whom will challenge the Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) for the Raw Tag Team Championship at Clash of Champions.
Dominik Mysterio lost his two singles matches against Seth Rollins including a Steel Cage Match last week with his family looking on at ring side. After the match, Rollins beat up his disciple Murphy for nearly costing him the match. As Dominik’s family was coming into the ring to check on him, his sister Aalyah oddly checked on Murphy. Dominik does hold a victory over Murphy and he and his father Rey defeated Murphy and Rollins and Payback. Tonight, Humberto Carrillo returns to Raw to pair with Dominik. We can assume all is well with Rollins and Murphy as they will pair up as well.
Two weeks ago, Andrade & Angel Garza lost to the Street Profits again after failing to win the Raw tag titles at SummerSlam. Last week, while Garza was talking to Lana, Zelina Vega accused him of flirting instead of concentrating on the team. Garza complained about being blamed for everything and pointed out that it was Andrade who got pinned a week earlier. He and Andrade started arguing to the point where Zelina said enough and said she couldn’t do this anymore. I’m assuming all is patched up, because Garza & Andrade somehow get another chance to compete for the titles tonight. Here’s the Street Profits in WWE exclusive:
Frank’s Analysis: The Raw Tag Team Championship means nothing if these are the teams competing for the titles. It’s meant nothing for a while anyway. It’s not worth going through it on this report. You can comment to me on my Twitter account and I’ll be happy to give you my unfiltered explanation.
Other Match Results & Notable Segments from Last Week
- The Street Profits defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura in a champions vs. champions match. Neither title was on the line.
- Cedric Alexander explained that he was tired of getting “beat up” and that’s why he joined the Hurt Business. He later defeated his former friend Ricochet. As they were about to celebrate, Retribution interrupted and cut their latest promo. They said they did not want to suck up to an “entitled machine.” MVP offered the services of the Hurt Business to Adam Pearce to help “keep his job” and take care of Retribution. Peace misunderstood and said thank you for volunteering. MVP said the Hurt Business doesn’t do charity work.
- Asuka defeated Mickie James to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. The referee inexplicably called for the bell without Mickie being pinned or visibly showing she tapped out. They immediately pivoted to the Zelina Vega confrontation I mentioned in the top three developments.
- U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Erik of the Viking Raiders in a non-title match. Ivar is on the shelf with an injury he suffered two weeks ago.
- Kevin Owens defeated Aleister Black. The lights flickered during their match, distracting Aleister. Here’s Owens in a WWE exclusive:
- The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) defeated Natalya & Lana.
I gave most of my thoughts throughout my analysis. Raw is a show with a depth issue that has become boring and repetitive. It has its moments and talking points every week, but they run feuds and matches into the ground. For a company with the resources of WWE, it shouldn’t be this way. People are willing to watch and want the show to be good, but you can only invest so much of your energy.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.