Date: April 20, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL
The Big Takeaway --
As expected, Aleister Black, Rey Mysterio and Apollo Crews qualified for the men’s MITB ladder match.
Drew McIntyre (the champion) challenged Seth Rollins to a title match at MITB and Rollins accepted. McIntyre went on to beat Angel Garza in the main event and continued to terrorize Zelina Vega’s stable.
For the second straight week, Kevin Owens was not on the show.
Show Recap --
Drew McIntyre entered to start the show. He said Raw was the highlight of his week and welcomed us to the show. He talked about being jumped last week but wasn’t at all surprised. The title meant history, prestige and fame but it also painted a bullseye on his back. McIntyre was once told that it was lonely at the top but that was a lie — it’s crowded as hell at the top.
McIntyre said Rollins wasn’t all that complex. McIntyre was the champion and Rollins wanted to be the champion. McIntyre noted that people didn’t think Rollins deserved a shot but admitted that he was one of the most decorated wrestlers of all-time. McIntyre wanted to continue to beat the best so he challenged Rollins for a title match at Money in the Bank.
McIntyre was about to give Rollins a message but was interrupted by Zelina Vega, Angel Garza and Austin Theory. Vega said he was too focused on MITB and was looking past Garza. At that moment, Andrade attacked McIntyre from behind. McIntyre quickly responded with a Claymore Kick.
Vega urged Theory and Garza to go after him but they didn’t budge. McIntyre Claymore kicked Andrade out of the ring. McIntyre looked into the camera and encouraged the audience to put their kids to bed because he was going to slaughter Garza later tonight.
Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips and Jerry Lawler are tonight’s announcers. They spoke about the gimmick for this year’s MITB ladder match.
Aleister Black defeated Austin Theory to qualify for the MITB ladder match (11:51)
Vega joined commentary, so there were once again four people sitting side-by-side-by-side at the announce desk. They’re not acknowledging that Vega and Black are married, which is silly.
Black dropkicked Theory out of the ring so Vega left commentary to yell at him for not fighting fairly. Theory then chucked Black into the barricade and they went to break. Theory was in control until Black applied a triangle choke but Theory countered into a deadlift powerbomb. Black came back later with strikes and springboard moonsault for two.
Theory went on offense briefly until Black caught him with a knee, German suplex and Black Mass for the pinfall win. This match was fine.
Saxton asked Black about his strategy for the corporate ladder match. Black said he didn’t know much about corporate life and guessed he would have to cover up his tattoos. Black promised his opponents that each floor of the building would turn into their own personal hell.
Shayna Baszler defeated Indi Hartwell (1:00)
Before Baszler entered, Charly Caruso asked her if she took it too far against Sarah Logan last week. Baszler responded, “Did I break any rules? Nah, I just broke Sarah Logan’s arm.” They showed a replay.
Baszler tried the arm-break spot again but Hartwell avoided it and applied a schoolgirl for two. Baszler used a forearm, slam, knee strike and then stomped the arm as she did to Logan. The referee immediately called for the bell and they announced Baszler as the winner. Baszler marched off.
As officials checked on Hartwell, Baszler brought a ladder to ringside. She swung Hartwell into the barricade and the ladder. The ref yelled at her to stop and Lawler said they should probably try to do more than just ask her to stop. Baszler trapped Hartwell’s arm in between the ladder and kicked it in. Saxton said Baszler was evil.
Ricochet & Cedric Alexander defeated Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink (3:10)
There’s some sort of Ricochet feature airing on the Network after Raw. Thorne and Vink very briefly got some offense, but this was really a showcase for Ricochet and Alexander. They won quickly after Ricochet gave Thorne a Recoil and Alexander followed with a Lumbar Check for the pin. Lawler seemed amused by those move names.
Caruso interviewed Kairi Sane and Asuka. Caruso wondered how Sane thought she would fare in her rematch against Nia Jax. Asuka said Sane was ready. They danced and sang their way out of frame.
Bobby Lashley was at the gym inside the PC. Lana joined him. Lashley wanted to show how easy it was to flip a giant tractor tire. Lana stroked his muscles. They left, so I guess this is happening later (Lashley needed to warm up first).
For the second time in less than an hour, they plugged the Triple H anniversary show on SmackDown this Friday.
Nia Jax defeated Kairi Sane (4:07)
The announcers said Sane asked for this rematch. Like last week, Asuka watched from the back for some reason.
Jax tossed Sane into the turnbuckles and she took an ugly bump. Jax missed a charge and began selling her leg so Sane kicked away at it. Sane hammered away on Jax, hit a spinning back fist and sliding forearm. Jax avoided an Insane Elbow and hit a Samoan drop for the pinfall win. Jax lightly smacked Sane in the face after the match.
They aired a Rollins promo which appeared to be from a remote location. Rollins noted how much he and McIntyre had in common and that they both beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the title.
Rollins accepted his challenge but not out of respect or even disdain. This wasn’t personal. It was necessary. Rollins said the WWE universe needed a leader, but as much as they had in common, he was a proven leader and McIntyre was not. Rollins would be the light in the darkness. He would take the title, not because he wants to, but because he has to.
They aired a tape of the Viking Raiders driving around doing their own version of carpool karaoke. They wore t-shirts and jeans to go along with their Viking headgear. Ivar chomped down on a drumstick as Erik drove. They were in a much more gleeful mood than usual. This seemed designed to give them some personality.
Apollo Crews defeated MVP to qualify for the MITB ladder match (8:09)
Crews interrupted MVP’s pre-match promo. They went to break 45 seconds into the match. MVP was in control until Crews countered his finisher into a spinebuster. Crews followed with a Stinger splash, fists, superkick, clothesline and powerslam for two. MVP got his knees up on a frog splash attempt and hit the Playmaker for a nearfall.
Crews came back with an enziguri, press slam, standing moonsault, standing shooting star and a spin-out powerbomb for the pinfall win. Not much of a match but Crews’ finishing sequence was impressive. Phillips yelled that this was the biggest win of Crews’ career.
Caruso interviewed Ruby Riott about the Riott Squad and her match against Liv Morgan tonight. Riott said there never really was a squad. She had double shoulder surgery because she had to carry Logan and Morgan on her back. She made them look threatening. Now Logan has a broken arm and Morgan might leave here with broken arms. Riott said Morgan thinks she’s all grown up but she would learn how small and lonely and weak she was without her.
Liv Morgan defeated Ruby Riott (3:19)
They went back-and-forth until Morgan caught Riott with a Flatliner off the ropes for the pinfall win. The announcers intimated that Morgan was now done with Riott. (I like Riott a lot but Morgan did pick up a win on the Mania pre-show, so this makes sense.)
Back at the gym, Lashley was all warmed up. Lana said he wasn’t warm, he was hot. Lashley flipped the tractor tire. He admitted that any world-class athlete could flip that tire but questioned if they could flip a much bigger one. They had one that seemed twice the size.
They aired a tribute graphic for Howard Finkel. RIP.
Rey Mysterio defeated Murphy to qualify for the MITB ladder match (15:03)
Mysterio wore Under Armour gloves with the Batman logo on it. He appeared to injure his finger and went outside to regroup so Murphy went after him and pushed him into the barricade. Murphy tried working over his hand but Mysterio fought him off until Murphy stomped his hand on the steel edge of the ramp.
Murphy continued to target the hand after the break. He stomped it against the top of the ring post, then Mysterio shoved him to the outside and used a leg scissors takedown against the ramp. Murphy tried countering a 619 but Mysterio turned that into a tilt-a-whirl DDT for two. Mysterio then drove Murphy into the barricade with another leg scissors takedown.
Mysterio appeared to try popping his finger back in place. Back in the ring, Murphy rolled through a high cross attempt and hit a fireman's carry neckbreaker, knee strike and brainbuster for two. Mysterio blocked a sunset flip powerbomb and hit a Canadian Destroyer, 619 and frog splash for the pinfall win. Good match.
McIntyre vs. Rollins for the title was made official for MITB.
Caruso tried interviewing Vega but she continuously mocked her. Vega intimated that her plan was going just fine and suggested McIntyre may not make it to MITB after tonight. Garza invited Caruso to ask him how it feels to beat a champion after his match tonight. She smiled and responded, “I could do that.”
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair defeated Kayden Carter in a non-title match (2:45)
Charlotte stretched using the ropes as the bell rang to start the match then caught Carter off guard with a big boot. She said you should always do your homework, which is fine advice. Carter fought back and used a crucifix driver.
Charlotte fought out of an octopus hold and hit a spear. She applied the Figure Four, slapped Carter in the face while holding the move, then transitioned into the Figure Eight and Carter tapped out. Charlotte mockingly clapped for Carter after the match.
Back in the gym, Lashley admitted he wasn’t sure he could move the 450-lbs tire, but if anyone could do it, it was him. Lashley attempted it a couple of times but it barely budged. Saxton, an idiot, called this embarrassing. Lashley then flipped it over without much problem. Lana was very impressed. (Lawler said it was a monster truck tire and it would have weighed well over 500-lbs.)
(There was a piece of exercise equipment in the background with the NXT logo on it. It appears they tried to cover up the NXT logo with black tape but the tape peeled off.)
US Champion Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) defeated Akira Tozawa in a non-title match (4:56)
Tozawa was all over Andrade early on and hit the same running flip dive to the outside that he did last week. No, Lawler did not make the same remark as last time. Tozawa followed with a flying front dropkick for two. Tozawa tried going after him on the outside but Vega momentarily got in his way which allowed Andrade to attack.
Tozawa managed to apply an octopus hold anyway but Andrade got a rope break. Andrade hit a back elbow but Tozawa then psyched him out and punched him in the face. Andrade came back with a dropkick but Tozawa countered a vertical suplex into a small package for two, followed by two more rollups for two.
Tozawa hit a superkick and went to the top but Andrade knocked him down and hit an elevated hammerlock DDT for the pinfall win. This was short but quite fun.
As Vega and Andrade exited, the Street Profits entered and they danced on the announce table, so five people were in close proximity to each other. In fact, Vega and Andrade walked past them to leave so there were really seven people quite close to each other for a moment.
Back from break, the Street Profits were still on the announce table and they introduced Bianca Belair. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins joined commentary for the match.
Bianca Belair defeated Santana Garrett (4:11)
Ford and Dawkins were very excited on commentary and Saxton joined them in their excitement until Phillips told him to shut up. Ford and Dawkins went crazy for a shoulder tackle, which was kind of funny. Garrett hit a high cross but Belair kicked out at one.
Belair followed soon after with KOD for the pinfall win. The Street Profits went absolutely crazy for the win. I assume a lot of people would have found them annoying, but I thought this was pretty amusing.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre defeated Angel Garza (w/Zelina Vega, US Champion Andrade & Austin Theory) (5:03)
Like last week, the main event started with only about 7-8 minutes left in the show.
McIntyre chopped the hell out of Garza. Andrade tried to distract him as Garza went for a dive, but McIntyre caught him and hit a headbutt. Theory also tried to attack but McIntyre fended him off. Garza finally managed to take advantage and rammed him twice into the post. Garza followed with a missile dropkick for a one count.
McIntyre fought out of a single leg crab and hit a clothesline and boot. McIntyre hit a double axe handle and went for a Claymore kick but Garza tried to escape the ring. As he did, McIntyre ripped his pants off. McIntyre then hit an Undertaker dive onto all three men.
McIntyre sent Andrade over the barricade and Claymore kicked Theory. He tried giving Garza a reverse Alabama Slam but Garza rolled into a cover for two. McIntyre followed immediately with a Claymore kick for the pinfall win.
After the match, McIntyre let the announce team know he was going to hit another kick. So, in fact, McIntyre went to the ring and gave Garza another Claymore kick. He told Vega to keep lining them up. Theory got in the ring for some reason so he also ate a Claymore kick.
Andrade went up the ramp and got too close to the WWE title, so McIntyre chased after and Andrade bailed to the back. McIntyre did a baseball slide to pick up his belt and posed with it. McIntyre couldn’t help but chuckle. He seems to be having the time of his life right now.
I enjoyed this show more than most of the recent empty arena shows.