By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,406)
Taped April 27, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired May 4, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a video package spotlighting the Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins feud… The Raw opening aired… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe…
MVP stood in the ring and hosted a VIP Lounge segment. He recalled that he had the Raw entrants in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match on his last show. He said things didn’t go according to play, but they’ve moved on from that.
MVP said they were moving back to style, sophistication, and class by having the Raw women’s MITB entrants. MVP set up a video package that showed Nia Jax working over Asuka and Shayna Baszler in a brawl from last week.
MVP introduced Asuka followed by Shayna Baszler and then Nia Jax. MVP asked Jax if she thinks she has the skillset to go from the ground floor of WWE Headquarters to the roof and then pull down the title belt. Jax asked MVP if he’s even watched as she’s dominated her opponents on Raw. Asuka cut one of her yelling in Japanese promos.
Baszler was asked how her unique skills will help her win the MITB match. “Opera non verba,” Baszler replied. It means “deeds, not words.” Baszler said she does all her talking with her actions and that’s the difference between her and everyone else in the match. “Isn’t that right, Asuka?” Baszler asked. Asuka yelled in Japanese again.
Asuka and Baszler stood and glared at one another, then both kicked Jax, who tumbled over the chair she had been sitting on. MVP held Baszler and Asuka apart and told them to save it for the fight. Jax stayed down at ringside while Asuka danced in the ring as Baszler scowled at her…
Phillips set up footage of Andrade vs. Apollo Crews from last week to explain Crews bowing out of MITB match due to injury. Bobby Lashley was shown warming up while Lana stood next to him. Phillips said they didn’t know how many entrants the gauntlet match would have, but Lashley would start them off after a break…
An ad for next week’s Raw hyped that Becky Lynch will confront the MITB match winner “and leave her stunned and silenced”… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see the VIP Lounge has struck around and become a semi-regular bit. MVP does a solid job as the hosts and it’s another setting for the wrestlers to perform mic work. That was a strange ad for Lynch’s appearance. Apparently the narrator can see into the future.
1. Last Chance gauntlet match for a spot in the men’s MITB match. Bobby Lashley and Titus O’Neil started the match. Phillips noted that Lana did not accompany Lashley to ringside per Lashley’s request. Lashley speared and pinned O’Neil.
Titus O’Neil was eliminated by Bobby Lashley in 0:50.
Akira Tozawa was the thrid entrant. Lashley ended up spearing and pinning him quickly.
Akira Tozawa was eliminated by Bobby Lashley.
Shelton Benjamin was the fourth entrant. Benjamin leapt over a spear and then caught Lashley with a kick. Lashley bounced right back to spear and then pin Benjamin.
Shelton Benjamin was eliminated by Bobby Lashley.
Humberto Carrillo made his entrance as the fifth entrant. [C] The match was rejoined in progress. Lashley worked over Carrillo in the corner and shoved the referee away. The referee informed ring announcer Mike Rome that Lashley was disqualified. Lashley speared Carrillo and worked him over before leaving.
Bobby Lashley was eliminated via disqualification.
Angel Garza and Zelina Vega made their entrance while Phillips said Carrillo would have to face his own cousin after the break. [C]
The ceiling fan got airtime as they showed another shot of the two MITB briefcases hanging above the ring. Carrillo performed a standing moonsault only for Garza to put his knees up. A short time later, Garza set up for his finisher, but Carrillo countered into a pin for the victory.
Angel Garza was eliminated by Humberto Carrillo.
Austin Theory was the seventh entrant. [C] The match aired during a brief picture in picture break for the ice cream shack ad with AJ Styles (he lives!). Theory performed a superplex, but Carrillo hooked his legs and pinned him once they landed.
Austin Theory was eliminated by Humberto Carrillo.
AJ Styles made his entrance as the eighth entrant. Phillips noted that it was the first time Styles had appeared on Raw since he was buried alive by Undertaker at WrestleMania. [C] Styles was dominant until Carrillo caught him with a DDT and went on the offensive.
Carrillo caught Styles going for a moonsault and hooked him into an inside cradle for a near fall. Styles came right back with a pumphandle gutbuster, then locked in the Calf Crusher and got the submission win…
AJ Styles eliminated Humberto Carrillo to win the Last Chance gauntlet match and the final spot in the men’s Money in the Bank match.
[Hour Two] After the match, Styles slammed the knee of Carrillo into the ring post repeatedly while Saxton said Styles is a changed man following the Boneyard Match. A graphic listed Styles, Daniel Bryan, Otis, King Corbin, Aleister Black, and Rey Mysterio as the entrants in the men’s MITB match.
Styles took the mic and said he’s not a zombie or a ghost. He said there’s no Undertaker to steal his spotlight. “I got buried, so what?” Styles said. “I admit it, I understand it, but that doesn’t mean I lost anything.” Styles said there were no rules in a Boneyard match. He said that was then and this is now. Styles said he’s now in the most unique MITB match and will do anything to win the contract, even if it means throwing Black or Mysterio off the top of WWE Headquarters…
Powell’s POV: A good comeback win for Styles, who now becomes my favorite to win the Money in the Bank ladder match. That said, I could have done without the tease of the second coming of The Giant (Big Show) being thrown off the roof of Cobo Hall. Anyway, they did a nice job of keeping the matchups brief in the gauntlet match while still filling a lot of time.
The broadcast team stood at their desk and hyped the MITB event and plugged that it’s free for new WWE Network subscribers. They also hyped the previously advertised matches and said they would be joined by Seth Rollins after the break… [C]
Saxton set up a video that ran through the top ten MITB moments in history.
10. 2017 with AJ Styles performing a DVD from the apron that slammed Kevin Owens onto a ladder propped over the apron and barricade.
9. 2018 with Ember Moon performing a springboard dove that crushed Sasha Banks onto a ladder.
8. 2013 with referee Triple H giving Daniel Bryan a Pedigree and allowing Randy Orton to pin him via his MITB contract (more to come later).
Seth Rollins made his entrance and took part in a sit-down interview with Charly Caruso in the ring. She asked if he had any predictions on Drew McIntyre facing Murphy later in the show. “Whatever is meant to be will be,” Rollins said. He added that he has the utmost confidence in Murphy.
Caruso asked how he prepares to face someone as dominant as McIntyre. Rollins said it’s an interesting question because McIntyre is a dominant champion, but he is not a leader. Rollins said it’s not McIntyre’s destiny to be the champion that takes “us” into the future. Rollins said her actual question was how he was preparing to meet his destiny. Rollins said McIntyre will put up a hell of a fight at MITB. Rollins said he is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good that is his destiny.
Rollins said he’s not trying to crush McIntyre’s dream or to take anything from him. Rather, Rollins said he is trying to unburden and save McIntyre. He said his destiny will become a reality at MITB when he stands in the ring with his hand held high and he is introduced as the new WWE Champion. Rollins’ music played to end the interview while Saxton said it was a frightening display of conviction from Rollins…
Powell’s POV: Rollins is doing a really nice job of playing this role. His deep thoughts moments are well done and he comes off like a guy who truly believes his own bullshit.
Backstage, Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink were talking when MVP approached them to offer a final word of encouragement. He said great moments are born from great opportunity. Vink called him on using the speech from the movie Miracle. MVP confirmed that it was. Vink said Ricochet and Cedric Alexander will have the opportunity to tell anyone who will listen what it’s like to lose to him and Thorne. Saxton hyped the match as coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s not just the speech from Miracle, it’s the actual speech that the late Herb Brooks gave to the U.S. hockey team before they shocked the world by upsetting the heavily favored Soviet Union powerhouse in the 1980 Olympics. Yes, the movie told the story of that team, but the point is that it was a legitimate speech that Brooks delivered to the team, not just something written for the movie. Rant over. Back to the show.
An ad for next week’s Raw hyped that Edge will be hunting Randy Orton. The narrator questioned if the hunter will become the hunted… Saxton set up a Make A Wish video…
Backstage, Caruso interviewed Murphy and asked him why he’s been so loyal to Seth Rollins. Murphy said Rollins took him under his wing. Murphy said Rollins needed him and he needed Rollins. He said he hopes that one day he is at the same level as Rollins and then someday even better. He said he and Rollins know that day will come. Murphy said Rollins thinks he can beat McIntyre, and he thinks he can too. Murphy said he knows that he will beat McIntyre…
2. Cedric Alexander and Ricochet vs. Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink. MVP was not at ringside with Thorne and Vink, nor were their entrances televised. Alexander was roughed up early on and ran into the ringside barricade by Vink. Ricochet took a hot tag and then he and Alexander worked over Thorne. Later, Ricochet caught Thorne with a superkick, then turned into a big boot from Vink, who pinned him…
Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink beat Cedric Alexander and Ricochet in 4:30.
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team spoke of MVP’s influence throughout the match, so it was strange that he wasn’t actually in their corner. I don’t think it’s a safety deal given that Zelina Vega has appeared at ringside during six-man tag matches, but perhaps age and medical history are factors.
The next MITB moments were shown.
7. 2019 with Brock Lesnar entering at the last moment and winning the match. They also showed Lesnar dancing with the briefcase as if it was a boom box.
6. 2006 with Shelton Benjamin performing a springboard off a ladder propped against the ropes and diving onto a group of wrestlers at ringside.
5. 2019 with Bayley cashing in her MITB contract to beat Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
The Street Profits headed to the ring for their tag match and delivered a pre-match promo. They spoke about meeting at the WWE Performance Center. Dawkins said it’s where the Street Profits were born. Ford said they’ve been chasing the Viking Raiders ever since they arrived. They still want the smoke. The Viking Raiders made their entrance… [C]
3. Raw Tag Champions “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar in a non-title match. The Viking Raiders jumped out to a quick start. Ivar performed a top rope splash on Ford for a near fall within the first two minutes of the match. Later, Dawkins caught Erik with a shot from the floor as he was setting up for a suicide dive. Dawkins followed up by shoulder blocking Ivar into the barricade. [C]
Late in the match, the Raiders set up for the Viking Experience on Ford, but Dawkins speared Erik and then Ford countered into a DDT on Ivar. Ford hit a frogsplash on Ivar. Dawkins had Ivar pinned, but Erik broke it up with a running knee.
[Hour Three] Ford was dumped to ringside. The Viking Raiders hit Dawkins with the Viking Experience and then Erik pinned him…
The Viking Raiders defeated The Street Profits in a non-title match in 16:20.
Powell’s POV: A nice tag match with the Viking Raiders going over again in a non-title match, presumably to set up a title match at MITB. It’s good storytelling as they have done a nice job of making it seem like the Viking Raiders have the number of Dawkins and Ford.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. McIntyre questioned if it’s Buddy or Murphy, then said Murphy is a very confused young man and he’s the type of guy that Seth Rollins preys upon. McIntyre said Rollins picks up guys when they are at the lowest point in their careers and then Rollins has them do his bidding. He said that if Murphy is willing to be sacrificed for his messiah and the messiah is willing to sacrifice his disciple, then who is he to deny the people a good slaughtering… [C]
The next MITB moments were shown.
4. 2019 with Andrade powerbombing Finn Balor from a standing ladder and onto another ladder
3. 2006 with Edge cashing in his MITB contract to win the WWE Championship.
2. 2007 with Jeff Hardy performing a leg drop from a huge ladder in the ring onto Edge, who was on a ladder that was leaning over the barricade and apron.
Charly Caruso interviewed The Viking Raiders on the backstage interview set about their latest win over the Street Profits. Erik said it’s dominance. Ivar said they respect and even like the Street Profits, but they are simply the better team. Erik said they extinguish the smoke…
Phillips narrated footage of AJ Styles returning and winning the Last Chance gauntlet match earlier in the show. Styles’ post match promo was also shown, including his threat to throw Aleister Black or Rey Mysterio from the roof of WWE Headquarters…
Aleister Black delivered a backstage promo in front of a backdrop with smoke around him. He asked Styles how it felt to be buried alive. Black said it didn’t make Styles more humble because now he’s talking about throwing him off a building. Black said that if Styles somehow finds a way to throw him off the building then he better pray that he doesn’t get back up because he will climb the ladder and take the contract. He said that if this happens, Styles will wish he would have been buried deeper than just six feet…
Phillips hyped Charlotte Flair appearing after the break… An ad for Friday’s Smackdown hyped Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville “in a match to settle the score once and for all”… [C]
Rey Mysterio stood backstage and delivered a promo about the MITB match. He said he’s been around long enough to know what to expect from each match, but not the MITB match on Sunday due to the setting. He said six men and six women will fight at the very same time from the ground floor to the roof to reach the briefcases on top of the building. Mysterio said one bad decision or bad move and that’s all he wrote. He called it the riskiest match of his career. Mysterio said his career is closer to the end than the beginning and he doesn’t know how many opportunities he has left, but the risk is worth the reward…
Powell’s POV: A top notch promo that did a great job of getting over the unique qualities of the match while also playing into what the match means for his character.
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair made her entrance while a graphic touted her title match against Io Shirai for Wednesday’s NXT television show. Flair boasted about how hard she works because she does double duty on Raw and NXT. She said Shirai has worked all over the world and recalled that she listed her as a dream opponent. Flair said she gets to make Shirai’s dream come true because she gets the privilege of bowing down to The Queen.
Liv Morgan’s music interrupted Flair. “Oh, hey, queen, remember me?” Morgan asked. Flair said Morgan wants attention and wants her to take Morgan seriously. Morgan said not everyone is born with a silver spoon shoved up their ass. She said she didn’t have a daddy to walk her to school let alone the front of the line of her career of choice.
Morgan said sooner or later she will be a champion even if it means she has to knock down a couple of backstabbers or dethrone a self entitled queen. Flair said she is the daughter of Ric Flair and she’s damn proud of it. Flair said she assumed that Morgan would come out and label her the dream opponent like Shirai. Flair said Shirai and Morgan would both bow down to her. Morgan said cool and called for a referee so they could see what happens… [C]
A brief video package recapped Jinder Mahal’s return. Mahal said he will go down as the greatest of all-time…
4. NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Liv Morgan in a non-title match. Flair jumped out to a quick start. Morgan came back with a dropkick in the corner and followed with a head-scissors takedown. Flair bounced back with a clothesline. Morgan rallied with a missile dropkick from the middle rope, but Flair caught her charging and hip tossed her into the corner, then put the boots to her going into a break. [C]
Morgan caught Flair with a couple of clotheslines and then face planted her on the mat. Morgan caught Flair with a kick and then double stomped her in the corner and covered her for a two count. Morgan had another flurry of offense that concluded with double knees to the face. Flair caught Morgan and powerbombed her for a near fall.
Morgan went for a Codebreaker from the ropes, but Flair avoided it and applied a Boston Crab. Morgan reached the ropes to break the hold. Morgan performed a clunky drop toe hold and charged Flair, who caught her and slammed her face first into the corner. Flair went to the ropes, but Morgan cut her off and hit her double knee driver for a near fall. Morgan covered Flair again for another two count. Flair avoided Morgan’s Oblivion finisher and then applied the Figure Eight for the submission win…
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair defeated Liv Morgan in a non-title match in roughly 11:00.
Powell’s POV: Morgan gained something in defeat, but I can’t say that I’m crazy about the idea of seeing women fed to Flair two nights a week. The broadcast team did their best to play this up as a great performance by Morgan, so this was meant to be a positive moment for her despite the fact that she took the loss.
The No. 1 moment in MITB history was from 2015 with Seth Rollins cashing in his contract at WrestleMania to beat Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in what became a Triple Threat match to win the WWE Universal Championship…
Phillips hyped McIntyre vs. Murphy for after the break… [C] Footage aired from various rooms inside WWE Headquarters while Saxton spoke about the MITB matches and how they would take place simultaneously…
5. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Murphy (w/Seth Rollins) in a non-title match. Rollins stood on the stage with his arms crossed and watched the match. McIntyre was dominant early and talked smack to Rollins, who remained stone-faced. McIntyre stood at ringside and was caught looking at Rollins, which allowed Murphy to catch him with a kick.
Murphy ran McIntyre into the ring post. McIntyre got to his feet and was hit with a top rope Meteora. Murphy went for the pin, but Rollins kicked out at one. McIntyre caught Murphy with headbutt, but then ran into a boot. Murphy went to the ropes, but McIntyre knocked him down to ringside where Murphy hit the barricade.
With Rollins now watching from the bottom of the entrance ramp, McIntyre hoisted Murphy onto his shoulder and went to the ropes. Murphy slipped away and caught McIntyre with a kick to the head and then followed up with a sit-out powerbomb that led to another one count. Murphy went to the corner and did his own countdown, then ran right into a Claymore Kick and was pinned…
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre defeated Murphy in a non-title match in 6:10.
After the match, Rollins walked up the ring steps. McIntyre squatted and begged Rollins to make his week by fighting him on the spot. Rollins seethed as he stood outside the ropes. McIntyre begged Rollins to fight him on the spot. Rollins dropped off the apron and headed up the stage. Rollins stopped and glared at McIntyre while standing by the curtain.
McIntyre turned and was talking to a cameraman or something, then turned and ate a superkick. Rollins barked that it’s not about McIntyre, it’s bigger than both of them. Rollins stopped what he was saying and looked at the WWE Championship belt. Rollins picked up the belt and stared at it. Rollins dropped the belt in the corner and went for a Stomp, but McIntyre caught him by the throat and headbutted him. McIntyre set up for his finisher, but Rollins escaped the ring.
Powell’s POV: Good final hype for the WWE Championship match at MITB. I don’t know how this match will do in the ratings since Murphy is booked as an underling and nothing was at stake, but I enjoyed the it and the post match angle with Rollins was well done. I am genuinely looking forward to the WWE Championship match on Sunday along with the MITB matches.
Overall, this was an effective go-home show for the MITB event and the MITB matches in particular. The show was effective in putting over how unique the match will be due to it taking place at WWE Headquarters. The creative forces also did a better job than usual of filling the three hours. The gauntlet match with the final MITB spot on the line was a big help, but it felt like everything on the show had a purpose. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. I will be back with my same night Raw audio review coming up shortly for Dot Net Members, and my WWE Raw Hit List will be available on Tuesday. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll. Stay safe and may the fourth be with you.
Join me for live coverage of WWE Money in the Bank on Sunday night.