WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER 10/19: Season Premiere Post-Draft, Monster to Have a Limitless Clash, Asuka’s Ravishing Challenge, Elias Takes Stage, We’re Really Glad Raw’s Become Bray’s Friend, Last Stop on the Way to Hell for Drew and Randy

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN THE AMWAY CENTER
OCTOBER 19, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe

Top Three Developments from Last Week

  • Night two of the draft took place. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Matt Riddle, Jeff Hardy, Alexa Bliss, Elias, Lacey Evans, Sheamus, Dabba-Kato were drafted to Raw. Leaving Raw for Smackdown are the Street Profits, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, and Aleister Black. On Raw Talk Natalya and the Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) were drafted to Smackdown. Raw picked up Arturo Ruas from NXT. He had been appearing on what appears to be the now-defunct Raw Underground. Later, Retaliation of Retribution was sent back to NXT. Free agents Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) also got picked up by Raw. Billie Kay and Zelina Vega were shipped to Smackdown. Notable Raw wrestlers that went undrafted were Andrade, Becky Lynch (on maternity leave), Big Show (part time), Ivar of the Viking Raiders (injury), Jinder Mahal, and Mickie James. Here are exclusives with Matt Riddle (heading to Raw) and the Street Profits (on their way to Smackdown)

  • WWE official Adam Pearce authorized a title switch between New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) and the Street Profits. New Day won the Smackdown Tag Team Championship just before being drafted to Raw on night one. The Raw Tag Team Champion Street Profits were drafted to Smackdown. New Day retained the Raw titles over Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, who had been drafted to Smackdown prior to the match (so annoying).
  • Elias returned to Raw and attacked Jeff Hardy, causing him to lose a triple threat match won by A.J. Styles (drafted to Raw on night one) and Seth Rollins. It was Rollins’ farewell match on Raw. Here’s A.J. reacting to Elias returning and an exclusive with Rollins:

Items Advertised by WWE

Tonight’s edition of Raw is being billed as the season premiere and is the first episode post-draft. WWE has been hyping the show with a video talking about the talking about the new draftees coming in, as well as what’s next for Drew McInytre and Randy Orton as they prepare for their Hell in a Cell WWE Championship match. WWE’s official preview is not up as of yet, but here’s what’s advertised for the show:

  • Keith Lee to clash with Braun Strowman
  • Raw Women’s Champion Asuka defends against Lana
  • Elias promises a concert for the ages
  • Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse comes to Raw
  • Will Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton tear each other to shreds ahead of WWE Hell in a Cell?

Keith Lee vs. Braun Strowman

Two weeks ago, Braun Strowman then of Smackdown arrived on Raw looking for a fight. This after defeating Dabba-Kato in Raw Underground. Adam Pearce gave him an “exhibition” match, which wouldn’t count in official WWE records (like it freakin’ matters). Keith Lee happened to be nearby and asked to be signed up. They had a match later and worked to a double count out. Braun has since been drafted to Raw as I mentioned earlier, and Keith Lee remained. They will have their rematch tonight. Here’s Braun calling out Keith in a WWE exclusive:

Frank’s Analysis: I was the cohost on the Raw post show with Wade Keller last week, and we talked about Keith and Braun’s position post-draft. I think it’s very possible Braun goes heel, and Keith is positioned as the #2 babyface behind Drew. I don’t see this being the last match between these two, so we’ll see what they do to keep things going.

Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (champ) vs. Lana

The women’s divisions on both shows are clearly shaken up post-draft. Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, and Lacey Evans are the newest additions to Raw. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke were drafted but had come to the show prior to the draft. Charlotte Flair was also drafted to Raw, where she has appeared since being drafted last year. We’ll see whom they challenged down the line for the women’s championship, as Asuka defends the title tonight against Lana.

It’s not Lana’s first championship challenge. She received three title matches against Naomi three years ago for the Smackdown Women’s Championship but came up short. Recently she had been teaming with Natalya. Last week, they lost a match to Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose after getting into a scuffle on MizTV. Following the match, Natalya told Lana she was done and walked out on her. Later, there was a women’s battle royal to determine who would challenge Asuka for the title tonight. Natalya and Lana were in the match. It appeared Natalya won when she eliminated Lacey Evans. Lana was never eliminated and appeared out of nowhere to eliminate Natalya. She challenges Asuka tonight for the Raw Women’s Championship. As usual, Lana was vocal on Twitter:

In keeping with recent tradition, Nia Jax (co-holder of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship) put Lana through a table. I put the over/under at five as far as how many times Nia will do this to Lana. Wade took the over. That’s a solid pick by the boss!

Frank’s Analysis: I groaned at this at first, and I still don’t love it but I also don’t hate it because it’s not like she’s going to win the title. What would I rather see, Asuka vs. Natalya so Natalya can job again? It’s just a bridge to whatever Asuka is going to do next. I have a feeling Charlotte Flair is waiting in the wings and could be the one to take down Asuka. There are other options such as Shayna Baszler.

Elias Concert

As I mentioned earlier, Elias returned and cost Jeff Hardy a triple threat match against Seth Rollins and A.J. Styles. Later, he was interviewed as to why he targeted Jeff. He blames him for driving the car the ran him down during the tournament for the Intercontinental Championship over the summer that knocked him out of action for months. He promised to pay back Jeff and would have a concert tonight. He promised his new album “Universal Proof” will come out October 26, the night after Hell in a Cell.

Frank’s Analysis: I don’t have a ton to say here. Elias is what he is, a comedy piece for WWE and that’s fine. Raw is a good place for him, where he can chew up time which helps on a three-hour show. I just don’t need another heel revisiting Jeff’s demons of the past, and I’m afraid they’ll do that here.

Firefly Funhouse

Last week, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and his new sidekick Alexa Bliss made their presence felt on Raw when they attacked Zelina Vega and Andrade, following Andrade losing to Angel Garza. Initially the lights went out, and then Alexa appeared and was doing the crab usually done by Bray. He wasn’t far behind, and they gave stereo Sister Abigails to Vega and Andrade. Tonight, Bray brings the Firefly Funhouse to Raw. It’s not clear who his target is yet.

Frank’s Analysis: I don’t know what to make of Bray and Alexa attacked Vega and Andrade. I guess it really doesn’t matter seeing as Vega was moved to Smackdown and Andrade went undrafted, which is very strange. With Nikki Cross on Raw, it’s obvious her and Alexa will feud. I don’t know with whom Bray works, but there are sure more heels I rather pair him up against that what I see of the babyfaces. They could be saving him for Drew McIntyre, which, I don’t know that I want to see.

Other Match Results and Stories from Last Week

  • WWE Champion Drew McIntyre interrupted his Hell in a Cell challenger Randy Orton during his show-opening promo. They brawled after going back and forth and did so again during the women’s battle royal, from which they cut away. They went to a pull-apart to close out the show. They’ll most certainly run another angle tonight before they head to their match this coming Sunday.
  • Kevin Owens defeated Aleister Black in a no-DQ match.
  • Ricochet defeated Cedric Alexander via DQ. This now “squashes” the issue between Ricochet and the Hurt Business (we’ll see about that).

Final Thoughts

After months of repetitive matches and variations of feuds week in and week out, I’m looking forward to Raw getting a fresh look. The pandemic and the releasing of several wrestlers earlier in the year I’m certain put a damper on things, but with the draft behind us they should have plenty of options for different matches and segments. I’m focused on the positioning of Keith Lee, Braun Strowman, and Bray Wyatt. Anything is on the table as far as who they set up as a hell or babyface and who feuds with whom. At the very least, we can at least be thankful the Rollins-Mysterio feud is on Fridays and it looks like Ricochet will move on from the Hurt Business. With all I discussed plus the women they drafted and Retribution in the fold, it will be interesting to see the new direction of Monday nights.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.

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