SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
JULY 13, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show (VIDEO)
Overview and Items Advertised by WWE
If you saw Smackdown this past Friday, you saw that WWE advertised tonight’s edition of Raw as a night of “grudge matches.” We’re less a week away from Extreme Rules: The Horror Show (and boy oh boy is it shaping up to be just that). Last week, we learned of two more matches as Apollo Crews will defend the U.S. Championship against MVP. MVP oddly introduced the new version of the U.S. title belt. Also, Rey Mysterio will take on Seth Rollins in an eye-for-an-eye match.
Here’s the matches they’ve advertised for the show tonight:
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) challenge Bayley & Sasha Banks for the Women’s Tag Team Championship
R-Truth goes one-on-one with Randy Orton
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins clash in a WrestleMania rematch
Viking Raiders square off with Angel Garza & Andrade in an Elimination Tag Team Match
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Smackdown Women’s Championship Bayley & Sasha Banks (champs) vs. Kabuki Warriors (Raw Women’s Champion Asuka & Kairi Sane)
Last week in the main event, Asuka defeated Bayley in Raw champion vs. Smackdown champion match. Bayley was distracted by Nikki Cross both when she was on commentary and then later when she was in the fan area behind the plexi-glass. Earlier in the evening, Bayley and Sasha came out to talk about their upcoming matches at Extreme Rules. Bayley is set to defend the Smackdown title against Nikki Cross while Sasha challenges Asuka for the Raw title. As they were talking, Asuka came out and later introduced Kairi Sane, making her return to WWE programming. Kairi took on Sasha and defeated her via DQ when Bayley interfered.
Later, Asuka challenged Bayley & Sasha to a tag team championship match if she were to win her match against Bayley. As a result of Asuka winning that match, she and Kairi challenge for the titles they lost to Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross at WrestleMania.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s so hard to say what they’re going to do because they’ve done so much on TV with Bayley & Sasha lately. So many scenarios are on the table moving forward. Since SummerSlam is around the corner, and Sasha has been talking about her and Bayley taking over the company, I could Bayley & Sasha retaining tonight and then Sasha winning Sunday. That would make both “double champions.” That comment could also have foreshadowed them having no gold after Sunday. It’s compelling, and I like that I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
One could argue that Seth Rollins’ current character, the Monday Night Messiah, was born out of his feud with Kevin Owens. It started late last year and led to a match at WrestleMania between the two, which was won by Owens after a restart and a no-DQ stipulation added.
Last week, Owens returned with the KO Show, and had Rollins as his guest. Rollins asked Owens how his ankle was doing and pointed out how things haven’t been going well for him as of late. Owens gave him a shirt commemorating their match at WrestleMania. Rollins, not caring about the shirt or Owens for that matter, formally challenged Rey Mysterio to a match at Extreme Rules now that he was medically cleared. Rey later made his way out with his son Dominic, and accepted Rollins’ challenge. Rey & Aleister Black were scheduled to take on Rollins and Murphy later in the evening, but Black was taken out in the back. Owens volunteered to be Rey’s partner, and said the winner of the tag team match would pick the stipulation of their match at Extreme Rules.
Rey and Owens went on to win the match, and afterwards Rey announced he wanted an Eye for an Eye match. As a result of what Rollins did to him several weeks ago, Rey wants to pull Rollins’ eye out of his socket. Now before this potential bodily deformity takes place, Rollins will take a detour and take on Owens tonight in a rematch from WrestleMania.
Frank’s Analysis: An “Eye for an Eye” match is so stupid for obvious reasons. Tonight’s match is another in which I expect a garbage finish because this is what WWE does. They advertise premium matches but don’t give a decisive winner because they want to protect wrestlers. This teaches you that the matches don’t matter, and you shouldn’t waste your time watching them. Rollins and Owens should be regarded as two top stars, and a match between them should matter.
Randy Orton vs. R-Truth
Last week, Randy Orton teamed with Andrade & Angel Garza to defeat the Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) and the Big Show. Orton and Big Show have been circling each other since Orton defeated Edge at Backlash and took out his look-time friend Christian the following night. Later, Orton and his former Evolution stable-mate Ric Flair were talking about their win. 24/7 Champion R-Truth interrupted, and said Flair cleaned up nice for the dirtiest player in the game. He also said he was Akira Tozawa in disguise. Tozawa and the ninjas showed up, and Orton lead them away from Truth.
Tonight, Orton takes on R-Truth one-on-one.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t get why this is one of the “grudge matches.” I don’t expect this to happen as advertised, but I’m not given them any ideas as to what they should do.
Tag Team Elimination Match: Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Andrade & Angel Garza
The Viking Raiders have hit a bit of a slump lately, as they failed to capture the Raw Tag Team Championship from the Street Profits following their “anything you can do, I can do better” saga. Last week, as I mentioned earlier, they teamed with Big Show and lost to Andrade & Angel Garza and Randy Orton.
Two weeks ago, they lost to Andrade & Garza despite them not being on the same page. Zelina Vega had to get involved as Andrade attempted to walk out during the match. Tonight, these four men are slated for a tag team elimination match. I guess we can say “Survivor Series” rules will be in place as both members of a team will have to be pinned/submitted/DQ’d/counted out for the other team to win.
Frank’s Analysis: This just dawned on me, but could the Viking Raiders be headed for a heel manager such as MVP or Zelina Vega for that matter? Historically when a team or singles act loses incessantly, sometimes it’s a preamble to a heel turn.
Other Match Results & Notable Segments from Last Week
Dolph Ziggler said he wouldn’t name the stipulation for his match with Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship. He brought back Heath Slater, who was released several months ago, and is a long-time friend of Drew. Slater challenged Drew to a match after saying Drew wasn’t there for him after he got released. Drew won in less than a minute. Dolph then attacked Slater, and Drew made the save. Drew and Slater made amends after the match. Here’s Slater in a WWE exclusive:
Bobby Lashley & MVP defeated Ricochet & Cedric Alexander. MVP attempted to recruit Cedric.
Billie Kaye of the IIconics defeated Ruby Riott.
The quick pace of Raw is getting a little crazy and not sustainable. You can’t give away premium matches, do garbage/interference finishes all the time, and expect people to watch on a regular basis. People will watch the product if there’s a reason to invest in the shows and the characters. Over time, long-term planning and thought put into various programs will get people to watch. The hot shot booking they’ve done is not compelling and makes me want to watch the shows less.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.