Date: June 22, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL
The Big Takeaway --
Raw was much better than usual.
Show Recap --
There was a hype video plugging tonight’s card, which is a nice idea.
Drew McIntyre came out wearing dressy clothes. He was ready to look ahead to the future after successfully retaining his title last week in a title match.
Dolph Ziggler interrupted and the announcers noted their history together. McIntyre was happy to see him. (Ziggler wore a pride flag around his wrist.)
Ziggler said AJ Styles was traded to Smackdown and in return, Raw received him and Robert Roode. Ziggler said that McIntyre owed him one. McIntyre was confused. Ziggler said McIntyre was let go years ago and would have been finished if not for him. Ziggler credited himself for McIntyre’s redemption story, including McIntyre winning the WWE title.
Ziggler knew that McIntyre needed an opponent for Extreme Rules and he wanted what he was owed. McIntyre thanked him for the revisionist history lesson. He noted Ziggler's lack of success since they broke up and laughed at Ziggler being included in a 2-for-1 deal. McIntyre said Ziggler was extremely talented but has become an entitled jackass.
McIntyre warned him how far he would go to defend the title. Ziggler didn’t appear worried, so McIntyre accepted the challenge at Extreme Rules.
Nia Jax entered, grabbed a chair from the announcers, and sat down on the chair in the ring. She waited there through a commercial break before speaking. She complained about Charlotte Flair being handed a title match just for saying “woo.” Jax said she was cheated out of her opportunity because of a crooked referee.
R-Truth interrupted. Truth said she must be confused because he had a match scheduled against an evil ninja — Akira Tozawa. Truth then wondered if Jax was really Tozawa in disguise. Jax wasn’t amused.
Tozawa suddenly appeared behind the announcers before a bunch of ninjas chased Truth away through the crowd.
Charlotte Flair entered. Charlotte said Jax blew her chances and mocked her for it. Jax said Charlotte only received opportunities because of who her dad was. Charlotte said her dad is now better known as Charlotte Flair’s father. Charlotte made a brief reference to Jax’s own family.
Charlotte said it wasn’t her dad who beat Asuka at WrestleMania or twice in the last month. Jax reminded her that she beat her easily in the past and claimed she was avoiding her. Jax said she was the only one built to take her crowd.
Charlotte attacked her and they brawled until referees separated them. Charlotte did manage to escape at one point and hit Jax with a boot before this finally settled down. Tom Phillips noted that Charlotte may have hurt her arm in this brawl.
The Street Profits hyped their match tonight when they were approached by the Viking Profits. Angelo Dawkins sang a theme for the Viking Profits team and they all said “Viking Profits” together. Dawkins and Erik each issued warnings about what would happen once the bell rang. They all left jovially together. After they left, Zelina Vega appeared with a smile on her face.
The Street Profits defeated The Viking Raiders to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships (8:37)
There was a great spot early where Montez Ford tried a flip dive but Erik caught him cleanly and powerbombed him into Dawkins. This led to a break. Dawkins tagged in after a break and ran wild. The Profits gave Erik the Viking Experience but Ivar broke up the cover.
They took turns dodging moves by using cartwheels, then they all did cartwheels at the same time. Erik powerbombed both Profits at once but Dawkins came back later with a spinebuster on Ivar and spear on Erik. Ford followed with a frog splash on Ivar for the pinfall win. Street Profits win clean and retain.
The Raiders and Profits hugged after the match. The Profits celebrated until they were attacked by Andrade and Angel Garza. The Viking Raiders ran back down and the heels bailed.
This match was fine but nothing special. The non-title match from early May that was the set up for this feud was much better.
Murphy and Austin Theory approached Seth Rollins backstage. He told them that he had a message for Rey Mysterio and all will be revealed. They appeared confused and left.
After a break, Rollins spoke to the camera. He said the roles we’re destined for are beyond our control. He didn’t choose to be the messiah and Mysterio didn’t choose to be sacrificed. He accepted his role, but Mysterio was defiant and defiance bred suffering. The saddest part was Mysterio allowing his son to be involved. Whatever becomes of them, it will be Mysterio’s fault. Legends never die but they can outlive their welcome.
As Charlotte left the trainer’s room, Charly Caruso asked her if she had any second thoughts about facing Asuka. Charlotte said this wasn’t ballet and her arm would feel fine holding up the championship.
Caruso saw Vega, Garza and Andrade nearby and asked about their attack. Garza said when you want something you have to take risks, like when you see a beautiful woman. He explained this while staring into her eyes. Vega pulled him away and told Chuck that they were a cohesive unit. Andrade said they were going to take the tag titles.
Asuka defeated Charlotte Flair to retain the Raw Women’s Championship (11:48)
Asuka entered first. She missed a dropkick to the outside early on and Charlotte took over. After a break, Asuka came back with a German suplex and kicks to the arm (instead of the chest). Asuka hit a kick to the head but Charlotte came right back with a big boot. Asuka tossed Charlotte shoulder-first into the turnbuckle and applied an armbar but she got a rope break.
Charlotte hit a spear (kind of) but Asuka got a rope break herself. Asuka countered a Figure Four into a rollup for a nearfall. Charlotte countered a triangle choke into a powerbomb but Asuka held on and applied the Asuka Lock. Charlotte tapped out. Asuka retained.
Good match. It was surprisingly short, especially for a big pay off (like the previous match) but I’m guessing that’ll be the new normal on Raw.
Caruso asked Nia Jax about the match. Jax said it would be a shame if someone kicked the queen while she was down.
Mark Henry will be Steve Austin’s guest on the Broken Skull show.
This was a pre-taped promo. Edge sat in a ring with the lights off.
Edge said Orton won the match but he didn’t really prove to be the better wrestler. Edge tore his triceps but he kept fighting. Orton claimed he let Edge keep fighting but that was bullshit. Edge was about to apply the anti-venom (head-and-arm choke) so Orton hit a low-blow.
Orton was now calling himself the greatest of all-time and Edge wanted him to go ahead to merchandise that as much as he wanted. Put it on t-shirts and mugs. Edge said it meant everything to Orton to beat Edge, whereas Edge just expected to beat Orton. Edge was kicking himself for not trying the low-blow first.
Edge noted that he couldn’t pick up his daughters on father’s day thanks to his surgery. Edge was angry about Orton painting Christian in a corner and punting him. Christian has been his best friend for 30 years and been through everything with him in his life.
Edge said Orton woke up a side of him that will sink to any level to get what he wants. He will step on anyone’s back to get to the top. Edge didn’t want to win a wrestling match, he wanted to embarrass Orton.
Edge wanted Orton to wish that Cowboy Bob was firing blanks on the night he was conceived. He wanted Orton’s kids to question whether he was okay. He wanted Orton’s wife to be afraid to look him in the eyes. Edge threatened to infect every aspect of his life.
Edge finished with: "You have no idea what you’ve done. You woke up the evil. You woke up the Rated R Superstar. Get some sleep while you can, Randy.”
They immediately cut to Orton who was interviewed by Caruso. Orton said if you back a snake into a corner, it’s going to strike blindly and wildly. Orton said Edge and Christian tried to come back at his expense, so he struck blindly and wildly.
He did what he had to do to defend himself and his family. He wished Edge and Christian a full recovery. He wanted them to have happy lives — as long as they do it far away from him. Orton asked Caruso to excuse him because he had to discuss something with Ric Flair.
Edge was terrific in his promo and Orton was great too.
Caruso found Charlotte, who was annoyed to see her again. Charlotte gave Asuka credit for the win. Jax attacked Charlotte from behind and slammed something on her injured arm.
Akira Tozawa defeated R-Truth to win the 24/7 Championship
They set up for the match, but before it could start, Bobby Lashley entered with MVP. Lashley destroyed all of the smaller ninjas before taking out Truth with a full nelson. Tozawa emerged from under the ring and pinned Truth to win the title.
(For the record, I guess, Tozawa won the belt under 24/7 rules, not in the originally scheduled match. The bell never rang for the real match to start.)
Natalya approached Sarah Schrieber who spoke about Charlotte’s arm injury. Natalya figured, with Becky Lynch gone and Charlotte injured, the Raw locker room would need her leadership, especially since Asuka wasn’t the type to rally the others. Natalya had news but told Schreiber that she’d have to wait to hear it.
Natalya (w/Lana) defeated Liv Morgan (1:59)
Lana accompanied Natalya to the ring and Phillips reminded us of her history with Morgan.
Morgan was distracted by Lana as she was re-entering the ring, so Natalya swept her legs out and applied a Sharpshooter for the submission win. Natalya and Lana celebrated.
Caruso asked Big Show about helping the Viking Profits last week and fighting ninjas. Show said he thought he saw everything but never thought he’d be punching ninjas. Show was really just there last week to see some old friends but was happy to help.
However, Show wasn’t here about fun tonight. He was here about what happened to his friends last week. People forget that behind his fun exterior, there was an angry, heartless giant, and if there was something he wanted, there was nothing anyone could do about it.
(I’m not sure what the taping schedule is, but Show was sweating heavily during this interview even though it was his first appearance tonight.)
McIntyre vs. Ziggler was made official for the title at Extreme Rules.
Ric Flair / Randy Orton segment
Flair said Charlotte was injured earlier but when she comes back, Jax would wish she worked in a different environment because she was in a lot of trouble.
Flair moved on to Orton. He said there was only one best wrestler in the world and today, that person was Randy Orton. In one 24-hour period, he punted the Hall of Famer Edge and the great Christian back into retirement. Flair wanted to tell Orton this to his face, so Orton entered.
Flair called Orton the greatest performer in the history of WWE. Orton said nostalgia could be confused with legacy. He called it nostalgic that Flair hit a low-blow last week, nostalgic that he punted Christian, nostalgic that Edge returned to the ring.
Orton’s renewed desire to be the legend killer wasn’t nostalgia. He was cementing his legacy. The voices in his head were on the same page and he felt like the legend killer again.
Show interrupted. He called Orton a narcissistic parasite. Orton was taking advantage of Flair, someone he used to respect. Orton latched onto others because he couldn’t motivate himself. He was a parasite who attached himself to others and once he got what he wanted, he left them to die.
Show warned Orton that Edge was going to get his revenge one day. However, Edge wouldn’t get to do it alone, because Show was going to break every bone in his body.
Orton knew that Show wouldn’t lay a hand on Flair and also knew that they were friends. Show took Orton under his wing 20 years ago. Orton called Show a future Hall of Famer. And a legend. Orton didn’t think he would be this upset about two of his friends getting kicked in the head. He threatened to put down Show. Show wanted to fight but Orton left the ring.
Orton said he was focused and motivated. “What happens next is on you.”
(Show wasn’t sweating when he came out, so I guess the Caruso interview from earlier was taped sometime after this.)
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated The IIconics to retain the Tag Team Championships (6:48)
Bayley forced Banks to start and Billie Kay immediately caught her with a boot for a nearfall. Bayley saved Banks from a double team and took out Peyton Royce. The IIconics managed to double team Bayley, which led to a break just over a minute into the match.
Royce gave Bayley a fisherman’s suplex but Banks broke up the cover. Banks tagged in and attempted three amigos but Royce escaped the last one and pushed her into Bayley, who fell off the apron. Banks fought off Kay before putting Royce in a crossface for the submission win.
The not-so-subtle story of the finish was Banks basically winning it by herself.
Bayley bragged about the win. Banks said she couldn’t help be jealous when seeing her with her two belts. Bayley was her best friend but she wanted to experience that for herself. Banks said, “I want a title match.” Banks said she was officially challenging… Asuka. Bayley and Banks laughed.
Asuka appeared immediately (did she know this was coming?). Asuka said, “You are not the boss of me. I accept.” Bayley attacked Asuka and Banks joined in. Banks gave her a backstabber and put her in the crossface. Banks and Bayley were good here.
Schrieber asked Lashley if he was trying to make a statement by attacking Truth. Lashley said he would be WWE Champion if not for Truth. Lashley said he was introducing the locker room to the hurt business.
MVP said his association helped Lashley and he could help Apollo Crews, too. MVP noticed Crews’ trick to beat Shelton Benjamin last week and was proud of him, until he learned that Crews was giving Benjamin another chance tonight. MVP encouraged Crews to make the right decision or else.
Ruby Riott tried to approach Morgan in the back but she blew her off. Morgan didn’t want Ruby to make her feel any worse than she already did.
MVP’s VIP Lounge
MVP introduced Crews as his guest. They went back-and-forth. MVP said Crews couldn’t stay champion for long without him. Crews wondered if MVP would help Benjamin win, or send Lashley after him, or try to win the title himself. Crews knew guys like MVP and wasn’t interested in his help.
MVP reminded Crews that he held the US title for 343 days and if he wasn’t careful, the title would go back to him. Crews got in his face until Benjamin entered.
MVP spoke from outside the ring just long enough for Benjamin to attack him from behind. MVP told Crews never to leave himself open to a 2-on-1 situation because it leaves his blindside vulnerable. He said that bit of advice was free, but the next one would cost him.
US Champion Apollo Crews defeated Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match
The match began during a break. Phillips said Benjamin drove Crews into the post and it was slowing him down. They didn’t show a replay. Benjamin hit an enziguri, which we saw, and they showed a replay of that instead.
Crews tried a standing moonsault but Benjamin caught him in an armbar, which was cool. They spilled outside the ring and Benjamin tried a Stinger splash but Crews ducked and he collided with the ring post instead. Crews followed with an enziguri and spinning sit-out powerbomb for the pinfall win.
MVP tried to pose with Crews after the match but Crews brushed him off. Lashley appeared and put down Crews with a full nelson.
Good segment overall. MVP is great in this role and Crews is coming across well in this spot.
Dominick approached Rey in the back and asked if he was sure about this. Rey was ready.
Rey Mysterio / Dominick segment
They came out with 8-9 minutes left in the show.
Rey said it was terrifying not to be able to get a hold of Dominick last week. He told Dominick that he scared the hell out of him and didn’t feel any better when he found out where he was.
However, Dominick managed to get himself out of a 3-on-1 situation and Rey was proud of him for that. Rey was also angry, though. Dominick’s mom was worried. Dominick knows the risks when you enter the ring because they’ve talked about it.
Rey was pissed about what Rollins did to him. Rey said Dominick may be bigger than him, but he was still his old man. Dominick would always be his child no matter how big and strong he got. Rey said Dominick fought for him, so now Rey would fight for Dominick. Rey wanted revenge on Rollins but had to do it himself.
Dominick understood that but he wasn’t going anywhere. “Seth Rollins, this is what a family looks like. And this family wants a fight.”
Rollins came out on the stage. He contemplated what he should do. He realized that it wasn’t up to him because this was fate. They were in the same place at the same time and two eyes were better than one. Rollins began making his way down to the ring. He stopped at the bottom of the ramp so that Theory and Murphy could join him.
Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo came out to attack the heels. Dominick fended off Murphy, then Carrillo took out Murphy and Theory with a dive.
Rey gave Rollins a 619. The good guys grabbed Rollins and dragged him toward the steel steps. They tried to take out his eye but Rollins’ buddies made the save.
Rollins’ pals then held back Rey while Rollins attempted to take out Dominick’s eye. He almost did but Black and Carrillo chased them off. The heels bailed as the show ended.
This was very good.
(There was a moment where Dominick stepped behind Rey as Rollins spoke as if he was getting ready to attack, which was probably a deliberate misdirect.)
Final Thoughts --
I didn’t like last week’s show but I thought this was one of the better Raw shows in a while. They had the advantage of three title matches, two of which were built up for a while, but the non-wrestling stuff was good too.
Big Show and Dolph Ziggler being placed in prominent roles is a negative, but hopefully, it’s just to get through the next PPV.
It might be time for them to merge the titles. Having as many titles as they do is limiting the number of potential match-ups on each brand. Smackdown’s Sasha Banks challenging Asuka is another example.