PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
CLEVELAND, OH. AT THE ROCKET MORTGAGE FIELDHOUSE
OCTOBER 21, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Dio Maddin
Arena, Draft Fallout, and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE returns to a frequent destination in the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, OH. Formerly known as the Gund Arena and the Quicken Loans Arena, it opened in 1994 and started hosting wrestling events two years later. SummerSlam 1996, which featured Shawn Michaels vs. Vader for the WWF Championship, emanated from the building. Another event that sticks out was the Invasion PPV of 2001 which featured the infamous WWF vs. WCW/ECW Alliance story in which “Stone Cold” Steve Austin turned on the WWF to join the alliance. Raw was here in March of last year as well as this year’s Fastlane.
We continue to get ready for Crown Jewel as the rosters have now taken full shape, with Raw getting AOP (Akam and Rezar) who signed as undrafted free agents during the middle of last week. Here’s a little Twitter chatter from AOP:
Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander on last week’s Raw, the show in which both men were drafted. Here’s WWE exclusives with each of them:
Here is what’s advertised for tonight’s show thus far:
Seth Rollins to discuss burning down the Firefly Funhouse
Flair to name final member of Team Flair for WWE Crown Jewel
The Street Profits challenge O.C. with a mystery friend in their corner
Sin Cara returns to Raw against Andrade
Rey Mysterio to appear live on Raw
Matches & Segments:
Seth Rollins Discusses Burning Down Firefly Funhouse
Clearly Seth Rollins never saw the Smokey the Bear commercials about preventing forest fires. The same principles apply to funhouses. I think he may be too young to have seen them. Anyway…
Last week at the closing of Raw, Rollins showed up on the Firefly Funhouse to confront Bray Wyatt. After attacking Bray, he lit fire to the Funhouse. One day later, they had a little chatter on Twitter:
You led me there…down a road I never thought I’d walk.
I don’t want your forgiveness. I want your vengeance. https://t.co/YG21FREMJI
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) October 15, 2019
Rollins is set to defend the Universal Championship against Bray at Crown Jewel in a Falls Count Anywhere match. He was also supposed to captain Team Hogan in the match against Team Flair at that same event. He has since been pulled in favor of Roman Reigns and will only do the match against Bray. Tonight, he addresses burning down the Firefly Funhouse.
Frank’s Analysis: The crowd booing his burning down the Funhouse tells you everything you need to know about this feud. People like the Funhouse, so burning it down is not going to get a positive reaction. In a weird way, Bray is almost the sympathetic figure here, so Rollins getting booed is no surprise. I was hoping they’d walk away from this feud and give everyone a chance to regroup, but they went right back to it. I don’t know if things can get any worse for Rollins or Bray, but anything is possible. Bear in mind, Bray Wyatt was drafted to Smackdown, just saying.
The Final Member of Team Flair
The Team Hogan vs. Team Flair match at Crown Jewel took a little more shape on Smackdown. Hulk Hogan announced that Ali, Shorty G, and Ricochet were added to pair with Rusev and new captain Roman Reigns. That aligns three members of Smackdown (Ali, G, Reigns) with two members of Raw (Ricochet and Rusev). Ali had an interesting tweet to say the least when he found out he was on Team Hogan:
A real American…and Hulk Hogan. I’ve been added to Team Hogan on 10/31 at Crown Jewel. pic.twitter.com/nXaLO5zCjz
— ALI / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) October 19, 2019
Ric Flair has former Evolution partner Randy Orton (Raw) as his captain paired with King Corbin (Smackdown), Bobby Lashley (Raw), and Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura (Smackdown). One more member remains to be named, which will happen tonight as Flair will fill out the team. Flair’s been putting up a lot of old pics and videos clips from his wrestling days and has been more in the heel character of his heyday. He appeared at the Saints vs. Falcons game. Here’s that clip along with a little Twitter chatter between Flair and Hogan:
Headed To Raw! Whether You Like It Or Don't Like It, Learn To Love It As I Am The Best Thing Going Today!
WOOOOO! @AtlantaFalcons @WWE pic.twitter.com/JMDMUSi7jO
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) October 20, 2019
I know teams! I know factions! The Horsemen, Evolution, I created some of the best! Never got one up on Naitch fair and square and if we did it one-on-one today … it’d be a figure four and the bell for you Hogan! WOOOOO #WWECrownJewel #16x https://t.co/wNbG21LAyX
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) October 18, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: I have to admit I’m getting a kick out of seeing Flair dig into his old back of tricks and see the “Nature Boy” again. It’s too bad we never really got a real feud in WWF between Hogan and Flair when Flair was first with the company from 1991-’93. Obviously, they worked together in WCW, but Flair’s first tenure felt a little incomplete for me not really working with Hogan. It will be interesting to see if any feuds develop out of this although there’s not much about which you can get excited, unless you think a Reigns vs. Nakamura feud could work. Rusev and Lashley have a feud over Lana going, but that’s just bad TV.
Street Profits and a Mystery Partner vs. The O.C.
The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) were unceremoniously welcomed to Raw by the O.C. (U.S. Champion A.J. Styles and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson). They initially seemed to be welcoming before given them a beatdown. Later in the show, Ford & Dawkins were visibly angry with being attacked. They challenged the O.C. and said they would bring a friend. That six-man tag match takes place tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: It was nice to see the Street Profits serious about being attacked and wanting revenge. If they’re going to be goofy, but get serious when it comes down to business, I’m buying on the Street Profits. I can’t be 100% sure, but I believe Wade Keller discussed Public Enemy being this way on one of his podcasts a while back. They’d be all fun and games, but when it came down to business the laughs were over. That’s the way the Profits should be, hands down. As far as the mystery partner, I don’t have a strong feeling and these things have lost their luster in recent years unless it’s a return or a debut. Cedric Alexander makes sense as he recently worked with A.J. I don’t rule out Ricochet either, but again I’m not firm in either of those stances.
Sin Cara vs. Andrade
Last week after officially being drafted to Raw, Andrade got a win over Ali before Ali was drafted to Smackdown. We found out, after night one of the draft, that Sin Cara signed with Raw as an undrafted free agent. Sin Cara had a brief TV feud with Andrade on Smackdown last year.
It’s been an overall disappointment with the Sin Cara character. The original, portrayed by Luis Urive, was one of Triple H’s first signings back in 2011 but had a series of bad matches to the point where the ring was darkened to hide his in-ring deficiencies. He served a wellness policy suspension and then had a feud with who would eventually portray the character in Jorge Arias. When it was over, Arias went on to portray Hunico while Urive would resume duties as Sin Cara until being released in 2014. Arias then became Sin Cara again and has portrayed him ever since. He spent some time teaming with Kalisto as the Lucha Dragons in NXT and on the main roster for a couple of years. Things have been quiet ever since either due to injury or WWE just having him do live events or battle royals and matches of the like where they needed bodies.
Sin Cara returns to Raw tonight and takes on Andrade.
Frank’s Analysis: There’s not much to this match other than a way of getting Andrade a win as it appears, he’ll be getting a push. I’d like Sin Cara to be effective just to have another option to have matches on Raw, but given the history there’s not much cause for optimism.
Rey Mysterio Returns
After being drafted to Raw last week, Rey Mysterio will return to Raw. He was oddly drafted after Akira Tozawa, Jinder Mahal, Shelton Benjamin, and Humberto Carillo. Nonetheless, he remains on Raw as he was when he moved from Smackdown in this year’s Superstar Shakeup (remember that?). He last appeared two weeks ago when he was interviewed in regard to WWE Champion Brock Lesnar attacking his son Dominick. He revealed that Cain Velasquez, who is set to challenge Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Crown Jewel, is Dominick’s godfather. Here’s a WWE exclusive with Rey and Cain Velasquez following the announcement of that match after the press conference that day:
Dejavú at #WWECrownJewel for @BrockLesnar https://t.co/JC5x1SvdMy
— ♛Rey Mysterio❔ (@reymysterio) October 12, 2019
Other Match Results and Notable Segments from Last Week
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair to give Raw the first pick in the draft. Flair attacked Becky before the match, turning heel?
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) defeated Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler to win their first Raw Tag Team Championship. They acknowledged being champions in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as NXT.
Aleister Black defeated Eric Young.
Ricochet defeated Shelton Benjamin.
Lana was getting a massage when Bobby Lashley walked in. There may have been some sexually suggestive material uttered. Look, I’m a red-blooded American male that enjoys the site of a sexy woman just like the next dude. We got channels, magazines, and websites for that, ya dig what I’m saying? I don’t need it when I turn on a wrestling program.
Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury signed the contract for their match at Crown Jewel. Fury had a problem breaking a pen in half. I wonder if it was a Bic or a Paper Mate. I hear those Bics snap, no problem. Paper Mates may present issues.
Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander.
Women’s Tag Team Champions the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) defeated Natalya and her surprise partner Lacey Evans. Evans now resides on Smackdown.
Summary & Closing Thoughts
It’s becoming a task rather than an enjoyment to watch Raw. The story between Bobby Lashley & Lana and Rusev is terrible. Natalya picking Lacey Evans is insulting given they just had a feud. Continuing the feud between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt is a mistake for many reasons. The one positive I will say is drafting some of the 205 guys has some, underline some, potential. There are some good wrestlers and matches that could be fun to watch. Overall, they have to clean up the story telling though and get into some better angles. You would think with AEW out there, WWE would want to step up their game. They likely have one billion reasons to not worry about it though.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.