By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on February 24, 2020 from Winnipeg, Manitoba at Bell MTS Place
[Hour One] Raw opened a Randy Orton video package that spotlighted the fan negativity toward his recent actions… The Raw opening aired… Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Phillips noted that Raw was live in Winnipeg for the first time in 15 years…
Randy Orton made his entrance while the broadcast team checked in from behind their desk and previewed the show. They added Seth Rollins vs. Montez Ford and Murphy vs. Angelo Dawkins to the lineup.
Orton stood in the ring and said he needed to apologize. He said he’s not the most sentimental of men, but his emotions have become unbalanced lately. Orton noted that it was 15 years since Raw had been in Winnipeg, which drew cheers from the crowd. “I would have been 24 years old,” Orton said. “Thanks to the internet I did a little research and I was the Intercontinental Champion and I was also punched in the face by a certain man.”
Orton said that man eventually saved him from himself and his self destructive tendencies. Orton said the man’s name is Adam, but all the fans call him Edge. A loud “We Want Edge” chant broke out. “Ladies and gentlemen, Edge can’t be here tonight because of what I did to him almost a month ago,” Orton said.
Orton told the fans that he doesn’t expect them to understand why he did what he did to Edge and he knows they never will. “But what I did, what I did I am very sorry for,” said Orton. “I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.” The fans booed.
Kevin Owens’ entrance theme played and he walked onto the stage to cheers while Saxton questioned how genuine the apology was. Once Owens entered the ring, the fans chanted his name loudly. Owens said he’s been dealing with a lot of delusional people over the last few months in Seth Rollins, AOP, and Murphy. Owens said he was putting that issue aside for the night “because tonight I have an issue with you.”
Owens said that he heard Orton apologize for what he did to Edge. “Here’s the thing, I don’t think you mean it,” Owens said. “So why don’t you drop the act and just tell us why you did it?” Owens recalled Matt Hardy getting two beatdowns for asking. Owens said he was now asking. Orton told him that he doesn’t want to go down that road. Owens said he did.
Owens said he’s been a WWE fan his entire life and he remembered how it felt to be at home watching Edge retire. Owens said he was wrestling for a living on the independent circuit and his goal was always to make it to WWE. Owens said he looked up to Edge and felt disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to share a ring with him.
Owens spoke of Edge returning at the Royal Rumble and how he got what he loves back. Owens said Orton took it all away the next night. “So I’m going to ask one more time, why did you do it?” Owens asked. Orton asked Owens if he thinks he knows him. “Your hero Edge also thought he new me too,” Orton said. Owens said that was clever, but the fans are getting sick of them talking and they want to see them fight. Orton played up having a match with Owens and said he was on, then added but not at this minute. Orton left the ring while the broadcast team hyped Orton vs. Owens for later in the show…
Powell’s POV: Another good segment with Orton. This wasn’t as hot as his segments with Edge or Matt Hardy, but both men played their respective parts well and did a good job of building up their match. I have no clue whether it’s happening, but a show in Canada sure seems like a great place for Edge to show up.
Charly Caruso interviewed Angel Garza and Zelina Vega at the Gorilla Position set. Vega said the only business they have with Humberto is that it’s a necessary chore to take out the trash. Vega said Garza is a man’s man and he has to put his awkward cousin “Dimples Carrillo” where he belongs so there is nothing stopping him from taking the top spot on Raw. Caruso oddly shook hands with Vega and then Garza, who said business is always a pleasure with her and then kissed her hand. Caruso acted excited by the kiss. Garza and Vega made their entrance…
Powell’s POV: Man, was that forced. Have we ever seen Caruso or any other backstage interviewer shake hands with the wrestlers after interviewing them? I get what they are going for with Garza being the ultimate lady’s man (even though we watched his engagement on NXT), but I don’t like that it comes at the expense of Caruso’s credibility.
1. Angel Garza (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Humberto Carrillo. Carrillo’s entrance was televised to some extent, though largely blocked out by a graphic for the Orton vs. Edge match. Lawler said Carrillo should go back to Monterey and start a boy band. Carrillo dropkicked Garza, who rolled to ringside. Carrillo performed a suicide dive heading into a split screen break. [C]
There was a good battle of kicks between the two men on the apron that got a rise out of the crowd. Carrillo catapulted Garza toward the post, but Garza landed on his feet. Garza kicked Carrillo to ringside, then performed a moonsault onto him. [C]
Carrillo performed a standing Spanish Fly for a near fall coming out of the break. Carrillo went to the ropes and was distracted by Vega, which allowed Garza to cut him off and perform a Spanish Fly from the top rope that led to a near fall. The wrestlers traded pin attempts. In the end, Garza ended up on top of Carrillo and got the pin…
Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo in 14:05.
Powell’s POV: A good, lengthy match with the wrestlers performing similar spots to tell the story of how evenly matched they are. Andrade is returning from his suspension at WWE Super ShowDown, so I am eager to see what that means for Garza.
The broadcast team spoke at their desk and hyped that Lawler would host the contract signing for the Elimination Chamber match featuring Shayna Baszler, Natalya, Asuka, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan…
A video package recapped Baszler biting the neck of Becky Lynch… Lynch was shown talking with an unnamed woman in the backstage area… Ricochet made his entrance… [C]
Ricochet stood in the ring while the broadcast team hyped his title shot against Brock Lesnar at WWE Super ShowDown. The OC trio made their entrance onto the stage. Luke Gallows seemed to tell the others that he wanted to face Ricochet alone, as AJ Styles and Karl Anderson returned to the back…
2. Ricochet vs. Luke Gallows. Paul Heyman was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. A few minutes into the match, Ricochet performed a standing shooting star press for a two count. Gallows came back briefly with a big boot. Ricochet came right back with a kick followed by a Recoil and a shooting star press for the win. Heyman was showing flashing a sinister grin while watching backstage…
Ricochet beat Luke Gallows in 4:30.
Powell’s POV: Ricochet is winning matches and yet it doesn’t feel like he’s gained any momentum. Fans seem to see this brief push for what it is and aren’t playing along with the idea that he’s somehow a threat to beat Brock Lesnar with the Lesnar vs. McIntyre match on the horizon.
Footage aired of Drew McIntyre after his Royal Rumble win. Phillips hyped Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for after the break… [C]
[Hour Two] Backstage, Anderson and Gallows grumbled until Styles said a miracle could happen in Ricochet beating Lesnar. He said if it does, he’ll be there to take the title from him. He said he’d win the gauntlet match trophy. Styles said they have to plant their flag at the top of the food chain with WrestleMania approaching.
Aleister Black walked past The OC. Styles called him back and said they need to remind him who they are. The OC trio worked over Black briefly and left him lying. “Get familiar with that,” Styles said. Black pulled himself to his feet after they walked away and then stumbled a bit…
The broadcast team spoke at their desk and said Black would need to regroup given that he has a match with Erick Rowan later in the show…
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Lesnar was cheered. “They know no miracles are going to happen,” Lawler said. Heyman introduced himself as the advocate for Lesnar. Heyman said people have tried to come up with cute little catchphrases to brand themselves.
Heyman said Lesnar doesn’t need a catchphrase. He said the catchphrase is the fact that Lesnar has reigned as “your champion” whenever he’s wanted to since 2002. Heyman said Lesnar doesn’t take someone to Suplex City every night so it’s special when he does. Heyman said to imagine the beating that Lesnar will give Ricochet because he feels like he owes him one.
Heyman said the stakes have never been higher for a Lesnar match. “Why, you ask?” Heyman said. “It’s a damn good question even for Canadians.” The fans booed. Heyman said thou shalt not boo your advocate. Heyman said that if Ricochet somehow pulls off the upset the he would go on to WrestleMania to defend the championship against Drew McIntyre.
Heyman said the consequences are enormous and it would change everything if it were to happen. Heyman said that if his aunt had balls then she’d be his uncle. Heyman said Lesnar will take Ricochet to Suplex City and then go on to WrestleMania. Heyman said he’s only been wrong on one spoiler in seven or eight years.
Heyman said the new spoiler is that Lesnar would make mincemeat out of Ricochet, then take Drew McIntyre to Suplex City and be done with him. Heyman wrapped the promo and dropped the mic. Lesnar and Heyman headed to the stage. Lesnar climbed onto the broadcast table and held up the WWE Championship belt while the broadcast team scurried…
Black was shown limping backstage while Phillips asked how he would fare in his match against Rowan… An ad for Smackdown touted John Cena’s return… [C]
Powell’s POV: I haven’t heard the ol’ “if my aunt had balls, she’s be my uncle” line in a few years. Lesnar enjoyed it. It may have been even more compelling if Heyman played this as if he were so confident that he wasn’t going to waste a spoiler on Ricochet. Then again, I’m not sure if anyone would actually convince viewers that Ricochet has a chance on Thursday.
The broadcast team pointed out a family whose tickets were upgraded to ringside by a pizza shack, and Lawler presiding over the Elimination Chamber contract signing… A Lynch and Baszler video package aired…
3. Aleister Black vs. Erick Rowan. Rowan brought his pet cage to the ring. Black was elevated on his usual entrance platform and continued to sell the OC beating by stumbling once he was upright. Black also held his ribs as he limped to the ring. Rowan was shown laughing in the ring.
Rowan took offensive control. Saxton stated that Black shouldn’t be in the match. Black held the ropes down and a charing Rowan tumbled to ringside. Black caught him with a kick. Rowan pulled Black to ringside and ran him into the timekeepers area. The referee checked on Black, who said he wanted to continue while the show went to a split screen break. [C]
Rowan was dominant throughout the break. Rowan performed a uranage slam for a two count coming out of the break. Black mounted a comeback and performed a springboard moonsault that took Rowan off his feet briefly. Black blasted Rowan with a high knee strike and got a two count.
Rowan came back with a power slam style move and got a two count. Rowan showed frustration over not getting the pin. Rowan tossed Black to ringside and drove his back into the barricade. Rowan charged at Black, who moved, causing Rowan to run into the ring steps, causing the pet cage to tumble to the floor. Black returned to the ring. Rowan pulled black back to ringside and worked him over.
Rowan powerbombed Black into the ring post. Rowan checked on the pet cage and then had to rush back into the ring to beat the referee’s count. Black hit Rowan with a pair of Black Mass kicks and pinned him.
Aleister Black beat Erick Rowan in 10:45.
After the match, Sarah Schreiber asked Black on the stage how he was able to win. Black said it was unbridled rage. He said his rage would become AJ Styles’ burden. Black said he and Styles will fight next week…
McIntyre was shown pointing out something on his phone to a crew member while Phillips hyped a sit-down interview for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Black promo was simple and yet so much more effective than the months of his deep thoughts promos. They told a decent story with Black overcoming The OC attack to win this match. The OC beatdown was nothing special, but perhaps the idea was that they didn’t want to make it too strong since Black was able to wrestle and win his match?
Phillips noted that Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder. They showed several wrestler tweets regarding Fury’s win and recalled his WWE history…
Caruso conducted a sit-down interview with McIntyre and asked him who he would rather face at WrestleMania. McIntyre said he didn’t care. He said it’s irrelevant because of how hard he fought to get there. McIntyre recalled Vince McMahon labeling him The Chosen One. Footage aired from the September 25, 2009 Smackdown when McMahon dubbed him a future world champion.
McIntyre said he hasn’t won a world championship and he only has himself to blame. Footage aired of him in 3MB. He said he lost passion for WWE and was in his own head and he was eventually fired. Caruso asked if he thought he would return to WWE. He said he no, and said he was very bitter and angry. McIntyre said he was fueled by that anger and said he realized that he only had himself to blame. He said he’d be damned if people’s last image of him was as an idiot playing air guitar.
McIntyre was asked about his NXT run He said it wasn’t just for his career, it was also a place where he could be a leader. McIntyre said when he returned to Raw, it was four years to the day since he was fired. He said he left a boy and when he returned he was a man.
Caruso asked him about what went through his head during the Rumble match. McIntyre said he knew he had to eliminate Lesnar. McIntyre said that as long as he’s in the main event and fighting for the WWE Title, then he is finally fulfilling his destiny…
Powell’s POV: I really liked the sit-down interview and the older footage that was included. I just wish they would have covered his heel run that preceded his Royal Rumble win. McIntyre surely could have explained away that run as another example of his frustration somehow. It’s just strange that his babyface turn has never been explained and this felt like the perfect forum to tie up that loose end. At least Caruso was smitten with him too.
R-Truth stood in the ring and hosted the “winter premiere” of Truth TV. Truth introduced Bobby Lashley and Lana… [C]
The broadcast team hyped the gauntlet match for the Tuwaiq Trophy. Lana said Truth had a scheduled match with Lashley. Truth said Lashley is really big and he’d rather ask him questions than have a match. He asked him if he’d seen the Sonic The Hedgehog movie. Lana screamed to ring the bell and the timekeeper complied…
4. Bobby Lashley (w/Lana) vs. R-Truth. Truth performed a Five Knuckle Shuffle 90 seconds into the match. Truth set up for an Attitude Adjustment, but Lashley fought him off and then speared him for the win…
Bobby Lashley beat R-Truth in 1:50.
Powell’s POV: The show is officially dragging and there’s a little over an hour to go.
The broadcast team hyped the Elimination Chamber match for a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. A Lynch and Baszler video package aired…
Asuka made her entrance for the contract signing… [C] The broadcast team hyped Black vs. Styles, and Humberto Carrillo and Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade and Angel Garza for next week’s Raw in Brooklyn…
Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan were on the same side of the contract signing table as Asuka, while Liv Morgan was on the other side.
[Hour Three] Natalya’s entrance was televised. Lawler spoke about the Elimination Chamber match until Asuka took the mic from him and yelled in Japanese while Natalya covered her ears.
Lawler said he thought he understood what Asuka was saying in that it was customary to have all of the participants present for a contract signing. He said Shayna Baszler was in the building, but she was either late or a no-show. Logan and Natalya signed the contract.
Morgan signed the contract and then walked it over to Riott and glared at her while she signed it. Riott stood up. Lawler talked them down. Asuka was about to sign the contract, but she was interrupted.
Shayna Baszler’s entrance theme played. While the wrestlers in the ring looked to the stage, Baszler entered through the crowd and joined the other women inside the ring. Baszler remained standing and signed the contract. Baszler looked at each woman and stopped and glared at Natalya, who stood and stared back at her.
Natalya came around to the other side of the table. Lawler said the women were on their own and then left the ring. Asuka stood up and shoved Natalya to the mat. Asuka yelled in Japanese at Baszler over the mic. “Bite me,” Asuka said in English. Baszler removed her jacket. Natalya spun Asuka around and worked her over.
Morgan leapt over the table onto Riott. Logan pulled Morgan off and tried to play peacemaker. Security intervened and Baszler was left standing in the ring. Baszler smirked and clapped while looking at the other women.
Becky Lynch’s music played and she walked out with the Raw Women’s Championship belt. Lynch left the belt on the entrance ramp, entered the ring, and tackled Baszler. Shayna came right back with a takedown of her own and threw punches. WWE producers and referees ran out to separate Lynch and Baszler. The women broke free and traded punches until they were pulled back again going into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: This contract signing did a nice job of establishing the issues between the various wrestlers. Natalya and Asuka are feuding. Morgan and Riott are feuding while their former Riott Squad mate Sarah Logan is the question mark. Asuka wasn’t afraid to call out Baszler, and of course Lynch and Baszler have issues. I don’t know where Logan stands, but I assume Asuka getting in Baszler’s face means the Chamber match will come down to the two of them before Baszler obviously wins.
The broadcast team hyped The Bella Twins as the guests on WWE Backstage. They also hyped The Bella Twins as the newest members of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020…
The Street Profits made their entrance through the crowd while the broadcast team hyped their tag title match with Seth Rollins and Murphy for WWE Super ShowDown. Ford said they helped out Kevin Owens last week, but now they have a tag title shot against “The Monday Night Pariah and Murph the Smurf.” Ugh. Believe it or not, there were actually some fans who chanted Murph the Smurf briefly. The Street Profits still want the smoke. Rollins and Murphy made their entrance along with AOP…
5. Angelo Dawkins (w/Montez Ford) vs. Murphy (w/Seth Rollins). AOP came out with Murphy and Rollins, but they went backstage rather than to ringside. Murphy threw his Rollins t-shirt at Dawkins and then hit him with a high knee to start the match. Dawkins hit a Sky High slam on Murphy and went for the cover. Rollins ran in and broke it up for the DQ.
Angelo Dawkins defeated Murphy by DQ in 1:05.
Afterward, Ford took the mic and said he’d protect Murphy too because Dawkins hit him so hard last week that they removed his first name. Ford said he was going to do the same thing. Rollins returned to the ring and the bell rang to start the match…
6. Seth Rollins (w/Murphy) vs. Montez Ford (w/Angelo Dawkins). Ford jumped out to a quick start and they went to a split screen break seconds into the match. [C] Murphy and Dawkins bickered coming out of the break. Dawkins shoved Murphy and was ejected. The referee ejected Murphy too.
Rollins performed a Buckle Bomb that led to a two count. Rollins dumped Ford to ringside and gave him a barricade bomb (Finn Balor is cringing somewhere). [C] Rollins went for another Buckle Bomb, but Ford countered into a huracanrana into the corner. Ford pointed at the WrestleMania sign and then performed a standing moonsault that led to him getting a two count.
Ford went to the corner. Lawler said Ford landed awkwardly on his knee. Rollins cut him off and ended up going for a Pedigree, but Ford countered into a DDT for a near fall. Ford went up top only to be cut off again. Rollins went for a superplex, but Ford shoved him back into the ring. Rollins ran back up. Ford performed a sunset bomb. Ford went up top and went for a frogsplash, but Rollins moved. Rollins gave Ford a Stomp and scored the pin…
Seth Rollins beat Montez Ford in 15:15.
Powell’s POV: A good match even though the crowd never seemed to get all that fired up by it. Ford continues to show real upside in the ring. It’s too bad the Street Profits’ mic work was even cornier than usual tonight.
After the match, the broadcast team announced that Beth Phoenix would appear next week to provide a medical update on her husband Edge…
Split screen shots aired of Orton and Owens while the broadcast team hyped their match as coming up after the break… [C]
The Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair match was advertised for Wednesday’s NXT television show. Phillips acknowledged the ad on commentary and said he can’t wait for it. He also hyped Rhea Ripley vs. Flair for the NXT Championship at WrestleMania. A Ripley video package aired. Phillips acknowledged NXT’s tenth anniversary occurring a day earlier…
7. Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens. Both wrestler entrances were televised. Owens got the better of Orton early and performed a cannonball on Orton, who was against the ringside barricade. Owens rolled Orton back into the ring and went up top, but he stopped when he saw Seth Rollins, Murphy, and AOP walk onto the stage. Orton took advantage of the distraction by hitting Owens from behind going into a split screen break. [C]
The Street Profits and Viking Raiders ran out and fought with Rollins, Murphy, and AOP at ringside. The eight wrestlers fought their way into the crowd and disappeared (to the back) while the match continued in the ring. Orton went for a superplex, but Owens fought him off and performed a top rope senton.
Rollins returned. Owens spotted Rollins and punched him off the apron, then turned into a clothesline from Orton. A short time later, Owens clotheslined Owens via the top rope. Rollins grabbed the leg of Owens, who kicked him aside. Orton used the distraction to hit a draping DDT. Orto made the cover and the referee made a lightning quick count. Orton looked at the referee, who looked back at him and then raised his arm.
Randy Orton defeated Kevin Owens in 8:10.
The broadcast team wondered what happened with the referee, who then went to ringside and asked Rollins if he was okay. In the ring, Rollins grabbed a pair of chairs and slid them inside the ring while the referee stood beside him.
Orton placed a chair under the head of Owens while Rollins said: “You know what you want to do, Randy. Let the voices speak to you, Randy.” Owens recovered and picked up the chair. Owens told Orton to take the first shot. Orton dropped his chair and left the ring. The heel referee took the chair away from Owens.
Owens went to ringside and grabbed the referee. Owens rolled the referee inside the ring and pulled his shirt open to reveal a Seth Rollins t-shirt. Rollins watched from the stage and could be heard saying he had nothing to do with that. “The referee is a Seth Rollins’ disciple,” Phillips said.
The referee begged off. Owens dropped his chair and there were boos. Owens helped the referee up, kicked him in the gut, and put him down with a Stunner. Rollins threw a fit from the stage. Owens grabbed a table from ringside and set it up in the ring while Rollins continued to watch from the stage. Owens blew a kiss to Rollins, then powerbombed the heel referee through the table. Owens barked at Rollins, then sat down on a chair and motioned for Rollins to come to the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Hopefully that’s the end of Rollins having a heel referee. It was fine for one night, but I’ve lived through heel referee angles and they get old in a hurry. I assume it was a one and done because they skipped the part where there’s some question over the referee’s actions being intentional or accidental. Overall, Raw dragged at times in part because three hours will always be too much time to fill for a weekly pro wrestling television show. They did nothing to sell me on WWE Super ShowDown. In fairness I’m not even sure what they could have done to make that happen, but I didn’t find the final push to be very compelling. They loaded up next week’s show, presumably because, believe it or not, it will be go-home week for the Elimination Chamber. How crazy is that? I will have more to say about tonight’s show in my weekly members’ exclusive audio review. Let me know what you thought of Raw by grading it in our weekly post show poll.
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...