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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY CENTER (“THUNDERDOME”)
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
-The show opened with a “Woo!” Ric Flair came out followed by Big Show, Christian, and Shawn Michaels. Phillips said it was great to have Samoa Joe back. The announcers talked about the parade of legends who got revenge on Randy Orton last night at the Clash. Michaels took the lead and introduced.
Drew smiled and walked to the ring as the legends applauded and smiled (and Michaels acted like a strange drunk clown, as usual). Drew said it’s cool to be in the ring with four legends like this. He brought up growing up with Edge & Christian. (Christian’s thought bubble: “Can someone say my name first, or better yet, bring me up without bringing up Edge at all?”) He told Shawn he was a mentor for him who looked out for him. He said he loves Flair’s stories and appreciates his advice. He said when he first came to America, Flair was on the active roster until a certain someone retired him. He told a story about how cool he thought it was that he was on the same roster as Flair when he first started.
Drew said what has brought them together is their common disdain for Orton. He said he put Orton’s ass in an ambulance and he stands there still WWE Champion. He said the “virtual reaction” was awesome. Michaels said he and the other legends planned out their revenge without telling Drew ahead of time. He said if Drew is upset, it was the Natch’s idea. They laughed. Drew said he hopes people start attacking Orton on the streets, that would be fine with him, so he took no offense at their help.
Orton interrupted on the big screen. He said it isn’t over until it’s over. He said if he thinks last night was hell, he hasn’t seen it yet. Orton said he’s not done with Drew until he’s got the WWE Title. Drew asked if he’s going to beg for another match. Orton said he doesn’t have to beg for anything because he is Randy Orton. He listed his accomplishments. He said there is a price to be paid when you cross the Legend Killer. He grabbed the handle of his rolling luggage and left the arena.
Back in the ring, Drew said it’s a shame that Orton has left the building. He said with these legends present, he wants to defend his title against anyone in the back he has never defended against. “Who wants to step up, who wants to prove themselves, who wants to be the man around here?” he said. “Somebody, please step up.” Drew mingled with the legends.
(Keller’s Analysis: Drew was dignified and came across as a classy champion who wasn’t going to concede anything regarding how he beat Orton considering Orton’s conduct in recent months. I’m not sure I’d want my babyface opponent encouraging fans to attack me in the streets, though! The legends being there added star power and everyone seemed to be having a good time hanging out.)
-They went to the announcers who reacted to Drew’s open challenge. Phillips hyped the Asuka defense against Zelina Vega tonight. Then backstage Zelina was warming up when Kayla Braxton approached her. She asked Zelina about being a poor sport. Zelina said everyone is going to feel so sorry for Asuka when she proves tonight she is ready for Asuka. Asuka entered and said she better be ready to lose to her one more time. They yelled at each other. Several officials ran in and pried them apart. [c]
-The announcers confirmed the Drew Open Challenge, plus a special King’s Court with Jerry Lawler interviewing the Mysterio Family.
(1) ASUKA vs. ZELINA VEGA – Raw Title match
They did formal ring introductions. Vega attacked Asuka at the bell, but Asuka immediately countered into an Asuka lock. Zelina grabbed the bottom rope to force a quick break. She then upkicked Asuka’s arm. Phillips noted Vega hurt Asuka’s arm last night. Vega applied a submission mid-ring. Asuka rolled to ringside. Vega leaped off the ring apron, but Asuka roundkicked her out of mid-air. They cut to an early break. [c]
Vega sustained offense after the break and went for a moonsault, but Asuka lifted her knees and applied an Asuka lock for another tapout win.
WINNER: Asuka in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure where they’re going with Vega from here, but having her go from a non-wrestling manager of a tag team to a title contender to a two-time clean loser to the existing champion feels more like an eight month story arc for a booker planning ahead trying to get the most out of someone talented like Vega.)
-They showed Show, Michaels, Christian, and Flair playing cards backstage. (Before video games and smart phones, wrestlers hung out and got to know each other playing cards.) [c]
-They joined Andrade in the ring addressing Vega from inside the ring. He said she is nothing without him, but she blames him for everything. He said Asuka beat her twice. Vega was broken up and retreated to the back. He said he held his team together. He proclaimed he is the greatest in WWE. “Who wants to face me?” he asked. Out came Keith Lee.
(2) KEITH LEE vs. ANDRADE
Lee fended off an early attack by Andrade and overpowered him, then crushed him in the corner. Andrade made a comeback a minute in until Lee caught him by his throat. Andrade chop-blocked the back of Lee’s knee to take control shortly thereafter. He charged with double-knees in the corner. Lee powered up Andrade suddenly and landed a Spirit Bomb for the clean win.
WINNER: Lee in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That defines Andrade down pretty far to lose that quickly and decisively to Lee after boasting right before the match. His mic work is still really rough, but Andrade is worth protecting more than that. That all said, Lee needed a good clean win on Raw to show of his offense after seemingly being on the verge of losing to Orton multiple times if not for outside help. I’m not sure standing still and smiling at the camera for an awkward full minute is the peak of presenting his charisma, though.)
-They went backstage to MVP and Shelton Benjamin backstage eating. A guy came up and sat at their table. They gave him dirty looks. Bobby Lashley came up to him and said he’s sitting in his seat. The guy apologized and moved. Lashley told him to leave his plate behind, too. Hurt Business laughed together at the guy’s expense. [c]
-They replayed the beach scene with R-Truth last week and the shark. They cut to him playing invisible Little Jimmy in a chess match backstage. A guy in a ninja outfit approached Truth and handed him an envelope. Truth read it aloud and it said, “R-Truth, if you’re reading this, I was eaten by a shark.” The ninja opened a briefcase and Truth looked inside. It was Tozawa’s black belt. Just as Truth was feeling touched and honored by the gesture, Tozawa then showed up and rolled him up from behind. The Ninja then rolled up Tozawa and revealed himself to be Drew Gulak. Then Truth hit him with the briefcase and pinned him. Drew and Tozawa stood up and charged after Truth. They plugged that a triple threat would take place later on Raw.
-Phillips said on a more serious note, they wanted to now cover what happened last week with Seth Rollins and the Mysterio family. They showed Seth gloating about DNA tests said Dominik or Aaliyah is not Rey’s biological kid, and Rey misfiring when he said she “knows nothing about our world.”
-Backstage Seth approached Murphy. Seth was in a great mood and asked Murphy why he was so gloomy. Seth said it’s a huge night because he can’t wait to see King’s Court later with the Mysterio family. “So lighten up,” he told Murphy. Seth asked him why he is dressed to wrestle. He said they are going to celebrate, so go put on a suit. Murphy said nothing, nodding, and walked away. Seth watched him closely. He then looked down and saw Murphy left his cell phone behind. He pocketed it. [c]
-King’s Court: Jerry Lawler stood mid-ring and said last week Seth said Dominik might not be Seth’s biological son. He introduced the Mysterio family. Rey said his kids mean the world him and always have. He said he and his wife have worked hard to build a strong loving family. He said it takes a truly evil and sinful human being to fabricate those kinds of lies. Dominik said this has gone on way too long and gone way too far, so he’s putting an end to this the next time he sees Seth.
Lawler said Seth might be lying because they never saw any documentation last week, but what they did see was Aaliyah being upset with what Rey said about her being naive and walking out of the ring and getting approached by Murphy. Lawler asked how she’s feeling after having a week to reflect on all the events. She said she is still a little upset with what happened last week. She said her parents have a certain image of her, but she is 19 years old. She said she didn’t go looking for Murphy, he sat next to her. He said she doesn’t know what to think about him. Rey and Dominik showed concern. She said whoever surrounds themselves with Seth needs to reevaluate their life choices because he’s a bad person and a fraud.
Seth appeared on the big screen. He said what he has to tell them tonight is important, and it will bother him as much as them, but he owes them the truth. He said the truth is, one of them isn’t being 100 percent honest with the family. He said the truth is that Aaliyah might not be being truthful about how she feels about Murphy. He said they don’t have to believe him because they can see for themselves. He found a text message exchange on Murphy’s phone. (Does Murphy not have face lock or finger print enabled?) It showed an exchange where she wished Murphy a happy birthday and might take Murphy up on his invite to talk things over after apologizing to her. Rey and Dominik were flustered. She covered her face. Seth said it might be upsetting, but it’s for the greater good. Aaliyah said Murphy isn’t what they said and left. Rey pursued her up the ramp.
-Seth asked Murphy why he’s so upset. Murphy grabbed a laughing Seth by his lapels. Dominik tackled Murphy. They were pulled apart by several officials.
(Keller’s Analysis: Lawler didn’t do much there! Overall, I can see the family drama with Aaliyah and Murphy being interesting to a certain segment of the audience. I nodded, though, when Dominik said he thinks this has gone on far too long.)
-Natalya’s entrance theme played as she walked to the ring with Lana. [c]
-Phillips announced Dominik would face Murphy later on Raw.
-In the ring, Natalya said she and Lana will stand out there all night until Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are stripped of the tag team titles. Lana said they are celebrities and social media influencers, so they want the tag team titles now. Adam Pearce walked out. He said he can’t strip them of the belts, but he can give them a match against the newest members of the Raw Women’s Division. Phillips said it’s officially Mandy Night Raw. She was joined by Dana Brooke. Phillips plugged the Draft starting in two weeks on Smackdown and said “these are early moves” between Raw and Smackdown. Dana flexed her biceps on the way to the ring.
(3) NATALYA & LANA vs. MANDY ROSE & DANA BROOKE
One blonde in hot pink slapped another blond in hot pink on the ring apron, then danced and strutted before getting rolled up by a third blonde in hot pink from behind for a two count. Another blond in hot pink tagged in. On a serious note, Mandy gave Lana an overhead suplex and Lana’s head looked like it was a couple inches away from landing awkwardly. The announcers gasped. Mandy landed a pump knee to Lana and scored a jackknife three count.
WINNERS: Brooke & Mandy in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I was concerned someone was going to botch a move and hurt someone as this match started and it almost happened. Yikes.)
-They went to the announcers who discussed Aleister Black blaming “people like Kevin Owens” for Seth and Murphy puncturing his eye. Huh? They showed Black attacking KO by yanking his crotch into the ringpost. A soundbite aired with Murphy in a dark room who said KO exists in a system where he can manipulate viewers. He said in fact he has a knack for betraying people who rely on him. He said KO brings up his family as an excuse for not being there. He said his father was a cruel man. He said he doesn’t think it matters how many people forgive and forget. He took off his eye patch. His eye was blackened. He said what matters is he won’t forget.
(Keller’s Analysis: There was two-thirds of a potentially good promo there, but it felt like a third of the sentences needed to really make the point weren’t there to connected everything more poignantly. But at least it conveyed a reason Black is upset – that KO uses his family as an excuse to not be there for him as a friend, and that he has issues with his dad.)
-Kevin Owens made his entrance. They said KO vs. Black was up next. [c]
-The card game with the legends continued. They talked about the open challenge. Big Show said he’s not technically retired like they are, so he could accept. In walked the Street Profits. Montez Ford said they’re not there because they’re worthy, they’re there because they’re thirsty.
(4) ALEISTER BLACK vs. KEVIN OWENS
Black had new entrance music. He marched quickly to the ring, fuming mad. Saxton asked if anyone else is concerned with how disturbed Black seems to be. KO dropkicked Black at the bell. He beat him up at ringside. Phillips defended KO for not abandoning his family to be there for Black. KO took it to Black, including a cannonball off the ring apron before the cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, KO scored a two count on Black. They showed that during the break, KO DDT’d Black. Black went after KO’s leg and took control. KO eventually caught Black with a superkick for a two count. Both were slow to get up. KO punched away at Black and climbed to the top rope. Black met him up there, though, and tried to superplex him. KO knocked him down and went for a senton, but Black lifted his knees and then a running pump knee strike for a believable near fall. He got another two count immediately, and a third. Black took the boots to KO next. The ref pulled him away from the ropes. Black turned to yell at the ref. When he turned, KO punched him in the jaw. Black fired back, but incidentally back elbowed the referee. The ref called for the bell. Black took issue with the call and said he stood too closely behind him. KO gave a complaining Black a stunner.
WINNER: Owens in 10:00.
-Backstage, Mustafa Ali walked out of the Hurt Business locker room. Hurt Business (MVP, Lashley, Shelton) walked up to him in the hallway. Ali said he just got lost and it was a mistake. Hurt Business agreed it was a big mistake. Apollo Crews and Ricochet stepped up to stand alongside Ali. They said they’d see each other in the ring later. [c]
(5) R-TRUTH vs. DREW GULAK vs. AKIRA TOZAWA – 24/7 Title match
Tozawa and Gulak argued throughout. When Gulak appeared to have Truth beat, Tozawa splashed Gulak. Truth face-planted Tozawa, then dropped Gulak on Tozawa and pinned Gulak seconds later.
WINNER: Truth to win or retain the 24/7 Title (Who can remember?).
-Charly Caruso said she’s glad Truth won because, as the cohost of Raw Talk with her, it’s a more positive experience having him there as a champion. She then introduced Mandy and Dana. Mandy said she’s had some ups and downs lately, but Dana has always been there for her and she’s an incredible athlete. Dana said Mandy is such an inspiration because she gets knocked down and fights back.
(Keller’s Analysis: It was hard to follow what they were saying because every time they blinked, those eye lashes created gusts of wind.)
-The camera panned over to Dominik heading toward the entrance stage. [c]
-A WWE Fact touted 22 million followers on Instagram, more than ESPN, UFC, and the major team sports leagues.
(6) DOMINIK MYSTERIO vs. MURPHY
Phillips said they are in Thunderdome “that was created just for you, the WWE Universe.” Murphy, who looks like he’s put on 20 pounds of upper body muscle in the last week, came out first. Dominik tackled Murphy at the bell. They fought at ringside where Dominik rammed Murphy into the announce desk. Murphy countered by tossing Dominik over the announce desk.
Murphy stood on Dominik’s head on the ring apron. Dominik swept Murphy and tossed him back into the ring. Then he leaped off the top rope with a flying crossbody. Murphy rolled through for his own two count. Dominik took over again with an elbow to Murphy’s jaw. Dominik eventually grabbed a kendo stick. Aaliyah walked out and implored him to put it down. Dominik yelled that she didn’t belong there. He re-entered the ring. Murphy rolled up Dominik from behind for a three count, although he actually let up on the cover at two.
WINNER: Murphy in 6:00.
-Aaliyah told Dominik not to hit Murphy with the stick. She said he’s not like Seth. He said he is doing it for their family. She said it’s not necessary. He said that Dad was right, she is naive. She slapped Dominik and walked away.
-They showed the Hurt Business walking the back hallway. MVP threw a water bottle on the ground and yelled at a janitor to clean it up.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like these little moments where Hurt Business are shown just being jerks to regular guys behind the scenes. The catering scene was hokey, but this felt more authentic. I still don’t get booking them to be the force that stood up to Retribution when no one else would, even if they did it for selfish reasons.) [c]
-Dolph Ziggler approached Pearce and said he wants to talk with him about someone – not him – who would be a good opponent for Drew. Pearce said as long as it’s not him, he will hear him out.
(7) THE HURT BUSINESS (w/Shelton Benjamin & MVP & Bobby Lashley) vs. MUSTAFA ALI & APOLLO CREWS & RICOCHET
Before the scheduled six-man tag match, MVP said he had an official announcement for Crews from the Hurt Business. He said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. MVP said Cedric had a little slip-up last week, so they sent him to Hurt Business Boot Camp so he doesn’t make those dumb mistakes again. Lashley said the U.S. Title looks better on him than Crews. MVP said at Payback he said he was going to regain the U.S. Title, but that didn’t happen. “No, not on our watch,” he said. Shelton said, “You got dropped.” MVP said they should know the result tonight will be losing again to Hurt Business.
Ricochet came out next, followed by Crews, and finally Ali. They jump-started the match and went at MVP and Shelton before the bell from behind. They triple-teamed Lashley. MVP threw Ali into the ringside steps. Shelton clotheslined Ricochet. Lashley threw Crews against the ringside barricade. The lights flickered next. Hurt Business returned to the ring and stood together. “Are they here?” Phillips asked. They cut to a break. [c]
(Keller’s Analysis: What better time for a commercial break than that!)
The match was in progress after the break, with no sign of Retribution. Nice action throughout, with Ali shifting the speed to another level when he tagged in. He and MVP botched a late tornado DDT, which led to brief debate among announcers if he “got all of it.” Ali then landed a 450 for the win.
WINNERS: Ali & Ricochet & Crews.
-Flair cleaned up in the backstage poker game. He stood and strutted. Michaels leaned back in his chair in resignation as Show laughed. [c]
-A vignette aired on Bianca Belair who beat two men and a woman in a sprint. She called for a rematch. One guy just quit. She gave the other two a head start and still won. She gloated and then had a rematch against the guy. This time she leaped over three hurdles and still won. He turned and left. She snorted and said, “Thanks for the warm up. You can’t beat the EST of WWE.”
-Saxton was really impressed. He said he didn’t know she was that fast. Phillips plugged Raw Talk with Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Murphy, and Mustafa Ali.
-Phillips threw to a video package on Retribution.
-Drew made his ring entrance. [c]
-Drew entered the ring and asked who was ready to step up. No response at first. He said he’ll just talk for the next ten minutes, then. Ziggler then came out to his music. Drew said Ziggler already had an opportunity. Ziggler pointed to the stage and out came Robert Roode. Phillips said Roode is Ziggler’s former championship tag team partner.
(8) DREW MCINTYRE vs. ROBERT ROODE – WWE Title match
Roode walked out. He yelled, “I’m back.” He entered the ring and pointed at Drew’s belt, as Phillips said Roode is former two-time NXT Champion. He called him “formidable.” (That’s Wrestling Announcer Code for “he’s assuredly losing, but don’t dwell on it.”) Roode showed off his new physique, more toned and less bulky and definitely more cut in the mid-section. They battled at ringside a couple minutes in. Drew threw Roode into the announce table, then gave him an inverted Alabama Slam into the ring apron. [c]
Drew threw Roode over his head from the second rope. Joe marveled at Drew’s power. Ziggler yanked Roode to safety at ringside. Drew yanked Ziggler into the ring. Roode chop-blocked the back of Drew’s left leg. Roode put Drew in a figure-four mid-ring a couple minutes later. Drew eventually rolled over to reverse the pressure. Roode grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Drew headbutted Roode, then clotheslined him. He tossed Roode a couple times, then kipped up. When he landed, he sold that he popped his knee. Roode then gave Drew a spinebuster for a two count. Drew hit a Future Shock DDT for a near fall seconds later. When Drew went for a Claymore, Ziggler shoved Roode out of the way, but ate the boot instead. Roode then gave a distracted Drew a Glorious DDT. Drew kicked out. Phillips said that was Roode’s best shot. Roode stood and yelled for Drew to stand up. He went for another Glorious DDT, but Drew countered and delivered a Claymore for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice payoff to the TV storyline of an open challenge. What would Roode have done if there wasn’t an open challenge tonight, though? Good match, as you’d expect from these two. A good pre-draft roster shake-up TV main event and a nice clean win for Drew.)
-They cut backstage to a “janitor” in a hood and mask rolling a cleaning cart. He entered the room where the legends were playing poker. It was, conveniently, marked “Legends Lounge.” He revealed himself as Orton, then barged in. He put on night vision goggles, then turned off the lights and began beating up the legends. We could hear the beatings, but not see them. The announcers gasped and wondered what Orton was doing. He turned the lights back on and everyone was on the ground wincing in pain, with the table and chairs knocked over. He then left the room, put his hood back on, and watched as official stormed their way to the room to check on the four legends