By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on February 17, 2020 from Everett, Washington at Angel of the Winds Arena
[Hour One] The Raw opening video kicked off the show and then pyro shot off on the stage… Tom Phillips noted that it was President’s Day and welcomed viewers to Raw. Phillips was joined on commentary by Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton…
Randy Orton made his entrance was booed by the live crowd. The broadcast team checked in while standing behind their desk and hyped Drew McIntyre vs. MVP, and Becky Lynch biting back following last week’s angle with Shayna Baszler. Once Orton was in the ring, footage aired of his angle with Matt Hardy.
Orton said he was supposed to face Hardy in a No Holds Barred match, but after what happened last week that would not happen. Orton said Hardy was trying to get cleared backstage, but it would not happen. Orton said the Hardys are known for jumping off the highest of highes and crashing to the lowest of lows.
Matt Hardy’s entrance music played and he walked out in regular clothing while wearing a neck brace. Hardy said that instead of talking about him, Orton should finally explain why he tried to take away Edge’s second chance. “I still want to know what in the hell is wrong with you, Randy Orton,” Hardy said.
Hardy assumed that Orton didn’t like it when he asked him that last week, so he did his best to make him feel the way that Edge felt. Hardy said Orton tried to take his passion away from him, but he can’t because he’s not ready. Hardy said he came to fight Orton. Hardy said the doctors won’t clear him to compete in the match to the surprise of no one.
Hardy said he’s a man of his word and he was there. Hardy said he and Edge have grit and Hardy said he will not die. Hardy admitted that he didn’t know what the future holds for him, but he said it won’t be decided on Orton’s terms. Orton told Hardy that he should have left last week while he could still stand on his own two feet.
Hardy entered the ring. Orton asked Hardy what he was going to do or what could he do if he decided to RKO him where he stood. Orton said Hardy had balls, but he will never understand and no one will ever understand why he did what he did. Orton said he respects Hardy and everything he’s done. Orton said he not only respects Edge, but he loves him like a brother.
“I am sorry,” Orton said. “I am truly sorry.” Orton dropped the mic and left the ring. Orton’s music played as Hardy watched Orton walk to the back. The broadcast team said they were shocked to hear an apology from The Viper. Orton stopped once he made it to the top of the stage, then removed his vest. Hardy went to ringside, grabbed a chair, and returned to the ring.
Orton walked slowly back toward the ring. Orton climbed back onto the apron. Hardy swung the chair at Orton, who ducked. Orton clotheslined Hardy over the top rope. Hardy clutched at his neck and neck brace while selling the attack. Once Hardy got to his feet, Orton dropped him with an RKO. Orton looked conflicted, pounded his own head, then picked up the chair and slammed it over Hardy’s back a couple times.
Orton jabbed the chair onto the neck, chest, and stomach of Hardy. When Hardy got to his knees, Orton hit him from behind with the chair again. Orton went to ringside and grabbed another chair. A referee ran out and tried to talk him down. Orton placed Hardy’s head over the first chair and removed his neck brace while a second referee ran out.
Orton wound up for with the second chair, then stopped and looked at the crowd. Orton turned around and hung his head and then tossed the chair aside. Orton picked up Hardy’s neck brace and tossed it aside before leaving the ring. Orton dragged Hardy to ringside and dumped him onto the floor. Orton knocked the top piece off the ring steps.
Orton spoke into Hardy’s ear, then picked up a chair and started laughing. Orton wound up and slammed the chair down onto Hardy’s head. Orton sat the chair up against the barricade and then sat down and surveyed the damage. The referees checked on Hardy. Orton teased leaving, but he grabbed the other chair. Orton placed Hardy’s head back onto the ring steps and gave him a second Conchairto. “I’m sorry,” Orton yelled twice before storming past EMTs and a stretcher at ringside… [C]
Powell’s POV: I absolutely love this Randy Orton, Edge, and Matt Hardy saga. I’ve followed Orton’s entire career and I can’t think of a time when I’ve been more captivated by his performances. This is outstanding television and pro wrestling at its finest.
1. Aleister Black vs. Erick Rowan. The bell rang and Black ran across the ring and hit Rowan with a high knee. Rowan fought back and ended up at ringside. Black went for a moonsault, but Rowan avoided it and caught him with a running cross body block going into a split screen break. [C]
Rowan was in offensive control until Black performed a huracanrana that sent Rowan into the ring post. Black returned to the ring to break the referee’s count, then performed another moonsault onto Rowan on the floor. Back inside the ring, Black blasted Rowan with another high knee and got a two count.
Black went for a spinning kick, but Rowan blocked it. Black avoided the Iron Claw. Rowan powerbombed Black and went for a cover. “Is this an upset?” Lawler asked before Black kicked out. Saxton countered this by saying to think of what an upset it would be if Black beat Rowan, then Lawler oddly agreed. Black caught Rowan with a Black Mass that knocked Rowan to his knees. Black delivered another Black Mass and scored the pin…
Aleister Black beat Erick Rowan in 7:45.
Phillips hyped details on Charlotte Flair’s decision for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match that actually should deserved a bigger buildup. Both men have mostly destroyed enhancement wrestlers over the last few months and so it felt like a big deal to see them work against one another. It could have felt even bigger if it had been framed properly and both men were given mic time to build it up. I’m guessing Lawler got an earful from Vince McMahon or whoever is producing the broadcast team tonight given how quickly Saxton countered Lawler’s upset remark, which was followed by Lawler doing the same. Finally, a local ad aired for the NXT live event in St. Paul on Sunday. It was just a generic ad without any advertised matches.
An ad for Wednesday’s NXT focused on Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong…
Charlotte Flair made her entrance. Once in the ring, she set up a video package on her attack of Rhea Ripley at NXT Takeover: Portland the night before and then announcing that she would see Ripley at WrestleMania. Flair said she went to Takeover because she wanted to see who was filling Ripley’s head and making her think that she could come to Raw and challenge her.
Flair said she was impressed. She said she thought about how her clas built the foundation of what is now the third brand known as NXT. She said the thing that bothers her is the entitlement of people like Ripley who didn’t scratch, claw, and fall down as often as she did to gain and earn the respect that NXT has now. Flair took exception to Ripley coming to Raw and holding up the NXT Title, which Flair said she put on the map.
“Pride comes before the fall,” Flair said. “And I’m going to humble you at WrestleMania. Everyone is the next big thing… until they are not.” Flair let out a woo and a graphic showed the Ripley vs. Flair match for WrestleMania… [C]
Powell’s POV: A well delivered promo with logic that was true to Flair’s character. It’s interesting that there was no focus on Bianca Belair, who lost to Ripley on Sunday and was the recipient of a post match shot from Flair.
Phillips hyped the Tuwaiq Trophy gauntlet match for WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia…
2. Riddick Moss vs. Mojo Rawley vs. R-Truth in a Triple Threat for the WWE 24/7 Championship. None of the wrestlers received a televised entrance. Truth performed a Five Knuckle Shuffle on Rawley, who came right back by slamming him onto the mat. Moss rolled Rawley into a pin for the three count. After the match, Rawley went after Truth, who ended up putting him down with a scissors kick…
Riddick Moss beat Mojo Rawley and R-Truth in 2:00 in a Triple Threat match to retain the WWE 24/7 Championship.
Saxton hyped McIntyre vs. MVP for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Moss still hasn’t said a word on Raw television, and Rawley still can’t catch a real break. They referenced an angle they did at an appearance earlier in the day, so the 24/7 rules are still in place despite the fact that they are also having standard matches for the title.
Phillips noted that the women’s Elimination Chamber match will feature Shayna Baszler vs. Natalya vs. Asuka vs. Liv Morgan vs. Sarah Logan vs. Ruby Riott with the winner earning a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania…
Ring announcer Mike Rome stood in the ring and introduced Drew McIntyre as the man who will main event WrestleMania. McIntyre made his entrance and then stood on the ropes and looked at the WrestleMania sign hanging in the rafters. McIntyre took the mic from Rome and said everyone seemed fired up. He said that could only mean one thing, we’re only 48 days away from WrestleMania.
[Hour Two] McIntyre asked how he could make things bigger than just saying the magic words and pointing at the sign. He asked the fans if they wanted to get on television by pointing at the sign with him. McIntyre did the “Claymore Countdown” and then fans joined him in pointing at the sign. “Hell yeah,” McIntyre said. He added that Suplex City is located in Claymore Country. He said that come WrestleMania, they were invading Suplex City, demolishing that bitch to the ground, and he is leaving as WWE Champion.
Paul Heyman interrupted McIntyre and walked onto the stage and delivered his self introduction, then introduced Brock Lesnar. Rome quickly left the ring, but Lesnar’s music didn’t play. “I’m sorry, Mr. McIntyre, you didn’t think Brock Lesnar was here tonight, did you?” Heyman responded. “I just wanted you and the entire WWE Universe to know what it’s going to sound like after the words “and still” once Lesnar beats Ricochet at Super ShowDown and then McIntyre at WrestleMania.
McIntyre said Heyman could say Lesnar’s name before the match, at lunch, when they are getting manicures together, and after he takes his head off and beats him for the WWE Championship. Heyman said he has profound respect for McIntyre and he didn’t come to Raw to debate him. Heyman said he’s a huge admirer of McIntyre’s talent. Heyman said MVP isn’t such a big fan of McIntyre. Heyman introduced MVP.
MVP made his entrance and said that Heyman may not have an issue with him, but he does. MVP said that he invited McIntyre to the VIP Lounge as an old friend and treated him like an elite level VIP. MVP asked how McIntyre repaid him. “I know this one,” McIntyre said. “I kicked your head off.” MVP said McIntyre hit him with a cheap shot. MVP told the ref to ring the bell, then hit McIntyre from behind. MVP caught McIntyre with a running kick in the corner. The referee separated them and then called for the bell once McIntyre was ready.
3. Drew McIntyre vs. MVP. McIntyre hit MVP with a big boot to start the actual match. McIntyre dropped MVP with a Future Shock DDT, then went to the corner and did the countdown and hit the Claymore Kick for the win…
Drew McIntyre defeated MVP in 1:15.
Powell’s POV: Another solid outing for McIntyre, who had the crowd with him during his countdown. MVP returning to the ring after announcing that his match with Rey Mysterio was his last match in WWE shows just how quickly creative plans can change in WWE.
The broadcast team set up a video package of Becky Lynch beating Asuka to retain the Raw Women’s Championship and then being bitten afterward by Shayna Baszler. They also showed Stone Cold, er, The Man stealing an ambulance and eventually returning in the stolen ambulance and delivering a promo…
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made her entrance and brought her title belt and a paper bag to the ring with her. Phillips said Lynch would address the fans after the break… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped Goldberg appearing live for the first time on Fox…
Phillips hyped that the Jumanji movie is the sponsor for Elimination Chamber…
Lynch stood in the ring and said she came to the United States seeking her fame and fortune. She said she figured out that she has no use for fame, but she figured out what to do with fortune. Lynch pulled a bunch of hundred dollar bills and other bills out of the bag and dumped them into the ring. She said to consider it a down payment on violence. Lynch said you could take every penny she has, because she’s telling everyone now that bad things will happen when she finds Shayna Baszler.
Lynch said only animals go for the neck and when they do it’s done to weaken their prey before they end them. Lynch told Baszler to take a long look at the pretty face of the longest reigning Raw Women’s Champion in history. “Do I look like prey to you?” Lynch asked. She said she went through Natalya, Asuka, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Ronda Rousey, and many more. She said she cut them down because she felt she had to. “I am coming after you because I want to,” Lynch said.
Shayna Baszler appeared on the big screen. She said she is entering the Elimination Chamber match. She noted that the match will be held in a cage and she is a cage fighter. Baszler said everything is laid out perfectly for her to be the one who takes her title at WrestleMania. Baszler said she would chew through her opponents to get to Lynch. She said Lynch knows better than everyone that she will do it.
Baszler said she didn’t plan to bite Lynch last week. She told her to imagine what she does have planned. “Becky, I’m going to tear the living shit out of you,” Baszler said in an uncensored line. Lynch said she’d be watching Elimination Chamber closely and rooting for Baszler…
Powell’s POV: Well, at least we know that Baszler isn’t going the Gangrel route. It feels like Lynch or the creative forces are trying too hard with some of her promos and angles. I don’t think it’s necessary. She’s a really good talker and a charismatic personality. Less might actually be more with her despite The Man persona.
Bobby Lashley and Lana were shown backstage with Angel Garza and Zelina Vega. Charly Caruso asked how their tag match with Rusev and Humberto Carrillo came about. Lana said the idea came to her on Valentine’s Day for a Monday night double date. Vega said she’s happy for Lana and Lashley, but he and Garza are strictly business. Garza told Vega to calm down. He said everyone knows how beautiful she is, but he’s there for her business acumen. Plus, no one woman can tie down “this lady’s man.” Garza said Rusev and Carrillo would find out that no man could measure up to him…
Rusev made his entrance heading into a split screen break. The remainder of the entrances occurred during the break. Highlights aired of Garza taking out Rey Mysterio…
4. Angel Garza and Bobby Lashley (w/Zelina Vega, Lana) vs. Humberto Carrillo and Rusev. Garza tore his pants off and threw them at Rusev. Garza rushed to ringside and took kiss on the cheek from a female fan. As Garza posed, Carrillo hit him with a suicide dive going into a break. [C]
Rusev went to the top rope while Garza was down, but Lashley distracted him long enough for Garza to cut him off. Rusev fought Garza and knocked him into the ring. Rusev formed a headbutt from the ropes and got a two count. Garza avoided an Accolade and shoved Rusev toward the ropes toward Lashley on the apron. Rusev caught Lashley with a kick, but Garza rolled him up and pinned him with a handful of tights…
Angel Garza and Bobby Lashley beat Humberto Carrillo and Rusev in 10:25.
The Kabuki Warriors were shown walking backstage. Saxton hyped Kairi Sane vs. Natalya for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A nice tag team match and it wasn’t just when Carrillo and Garza were in the ring together. Rusev and Garza actually worked well together with Garza taking some Rusev power moves. It will be interesting to see if Sane vs. Natalya is a routine match or if they are building to a tag title match, perhaps with Beth Phoenix teaming with Natalya despite their issues in the Royal Rumble match.
Keith Lee was hyped as the guest for WWE Backstage…
Natalya made her entrance. Footage aired of a slow motion kick from Asuka that connected with Natalya two weeks ago, and an Instagram photo of Natalya with a black eye. The Kabuki Warriors made their entrance. Asuka asked if Natalya’s eye was okay. Sane said they don’t care and then they laughed. Asuka said she’ll beat Natalya inside the Elimination Chamber.
Powell’s POV: So the Kabuki Warriors are now the Japanese version of The IIconics?
5. Natalya vs. Kairi Sane (w/Asuka). Sane showboated early until Natalya slapped her across the face. Sane came back with a spinning back fist and then Natalya sold her eye. Later, Sane charged at Natalya, who performed a discus punch. Natalya ended up going for a Sharpshooter, but she gave up on it when she spotted Asuka on the apron and went after her. Sane knocked Natalya to ringside. The referee ended up distracted by Sane while Asuka knocked Natalya down with a kick at ringside. Natalya was counted out. The Kabuki Warriors celebrated in over the top fashion…
Kairi Sane beat Natalya via count-out in 4:50.
Powell’s POV: If nothing else, it was nice to see Natalya booked to get sympathy for something that didn’t involve her late father for a change.
The broadcast team hyped the Seth Rollins sermon… [C]
Murphy and “AOP” members Akam and Rezar stood in the ring where a podium featuring the the stained glass image of Seth Rollins on the front. There were two more posters with the same image. Murphy introduced Rollins, whose stained glass image made up his entire video wall. Rollins walked out and bowed while shaking hands with fans along the entrance aisle. Lawler said he was giving those fans a blessing.
[Hour Three] Rollins thanked Murphy for the kind introduction and the fans for making him their Monday Night Messiah. Rollins said he didn’t come up with the term sermon, but it was appropriate because what he had to say was divine. The fans booed loudly. “Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here tonight to celebrate progress,” Rollins said.
Rollins said they were celebrating the future and moving forward in his vision. He said phase one encountered some initial resistance just as he thought it might, but they completed that phase last week. A loud “you suck” chant broke out. Rollins asked the fans to show him the respect that he’s shown them. Rollins said they completed phase one by vanquishing Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and The Viking Raiders.
Rollins said the work begins now. He said he takes being the Monday Night Messiah very seriously. He said phase two will not be easy. Another “you suck” chant broke out. “Brothers and sisters, I understand your confusion, I understand your pain,” said Rollins. He said phase two won’t be easy, but it is for the greater good. He said it was time for them to seek out the weak and noncompliant.
“We must find the flaws in the system and we must rehabilitate them if we can and eradicate them if we must,” said Rollins. He added that it’s not a threat or a warning, it comes from his heart. “This is the gospel,” he said. He said that if any WWE wrestlers remain noncompliant then they will suffer the same fate as the weak. Rollins continued to rant until he was interrupted.
The Viking Raiders’ music played and they stormed the ring and fought with AOP while Rollins and Murphy headed to ringside. Rollins sent Murphy into the ring to help AOP, but they was roughed up. The Viking Raiders dominated while Rollins watched from the stage. Kevin Owens showed up behind Rollins and dropped him with a Stunner. Owens’ music played to end the segment… [C]
Powell’s POV: Rollins was really good and he got tremendous heat. Will we get another big tag match coming out of the break?
Rollins and his crew were walking backstage when Caruso approached him and said the sermon didn’t go as planned. “Oh, breaking news,” Rollins said sarcastically. He said that if Owens and the Viking Raiders want a fight, then they will get one with Murphy and AOP later tonight…
“The OC” made their entrance. AJ Styles was back with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson and the broadcast team simply noted that they were back in full force. Phillips also hyped Styles for the Tuwaiq Trophy gauntlet match. Styles told the crowd to feast their eyes, because he was back on Raw. Styles asked what WrestleMania season would be without him.
Gallows said “Uncle Allen” is Phenomenal when the WrestleMania sign is up. Anderson said they considered him to be the new Mr. WrestleMania. Styles said he is the greatest superstar on any roster and in any era. Styles said he has critics, but when he wins the gauntlet match no one can say anything other than him and he will said, “Who’s next?” Styles ran through a list of current wrestlers and legends.
Ricochet’s entrance interrupted The OC. Styles said he was just being nice when he mentioned Ricochet amongst the legends and current wrestlers. He said no one believes he will be WWE Champion and questioned what he’s done to earn a title match in the first place.
Ricochet said he earned his title match and will beat Brock Lesnar. The OC laughed. Ricochet challenged Styles to a match on the spot. The OC members all said “whoa” several times. Anderson said he couldn’t allow Styles to have his first match back on Raw against a non Good Brother. Anderson said he’d take the match…
6. Ricochet vs. Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles, Luke Gallows). Ricochet performed an early flip dive onto Anderson at ringside heading into a split screen break. [C] Ricochet performed a standing shooting star press for a two count coming out of the break. Anderson came back with a spinebuster for a two count. In the end, Ricochet launched Anderson into the air and then delivered a kick before scoring the clean pin…
Ricochet defeated Karl Anderson in 7:00.
Phillips hyped the Owens and Viking Raiders vs. Murphy and AOP match for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It was one thing to give Ricochet a win over Lashley last week, but I’m happy they didn’t sacrifice Styles to build up Ricochet for a title match that no one seems to be taking seriously.
The broadcast team stood behind their desk and recapped Orton’s attack on Hardy from earlier while footage of the angle was shown. They showed a woman consoling a younger fan. Phillips said they rushed Hardy to a nearby medical facility…
Liv Morgan was interviewed by Caruso on the backstage interview set. Morgan said she was excited to see Ruby Riott return from injury and was just as surprised as everyone else when she appeared last week. Footage of the angle was shown while Morgan continued to talk. Morgan said she thought Riott was there to celebrate her win, but she betrayed her trust and tossed aside their friendship like it was nothing.
Morgan said it would have broken her not all that long ago, but she’s not the puppy on a leash like Riott described her as being. Morgan said she’s stepping into the Elimination Chamber match and will eliminate Riott and move on to a championship match at WrestleMania…
Ring entrances for the six-man tag match took place… [C]
Powell’s POV: Morgan came off like she was reciting lines from her script rather than speaking in her own words.
7. Kevin Owens and “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar vs. Murphy and “AOP” Akam and Rezar. Rollins did not accompany his team to ringside. Erik was isolated by the heel trio and made a hot tag to Owens just before another split screen commercial break. [C]
Owens hit a top rope senton on Rezar for a near fall. Murphy tagged in and took a popup powerbomb from Owens, who had the pin until it was broken up by Akam. The Viking Raiders performed stereo suicide dives on AOP. In the ring, Owens hit a Stunner on Murphy and had the pin, but Rollins broke it up for the DQ finish.
Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders beat Murphy and AOP in roughly 15:00.
Rollins and his crew put the boots to Owens while the Viking Raiders were down at ringside. Owens took the mic and said he told Owens that this is what would happen if he stood in the way of progress and impeded his vision. “Kevin Owens, you have crucified me since day one, and now it’s time for us to crucify you,” Rollins said.
The Street Profits music played and they ran out and got the better of AOP. Rollins tried to pull them off, then he backed into a corner as the Viking Raiders returned to the ring. Rollins rolled out of the ring and watched from the stage while the babyfaces worked over AOP and Murphy. Ivar and Montez Ford performed top rope splashes. Ford hilariously shook the ropes in Ultimate Warrior style. Rollins threw a tantrum on the stage while the babyfaces celebrated in the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: The main event had a been there and done that feel to it. The show peaked with a strong first hour and the excellent show opening angle with Randy Orton and Matt Hardy. The rest of the show decent, but they have to stop going with tag matches that feature some variation of Owens, the Viking Raiders, and Samoa Joe against Rollins and his crew. They could probably get more out of this program if they’d just pull back and stop making it a weekly feature on the show. Hopefully the involvement of The Street Profits means they are moving in a different direction. I will be back later tonight with my weekly post Raw audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our weekly Raw poll available on the main page.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...