By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,411)
Taped today in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired June 8, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] The Raw opening aired and then clapping spectator wrestlers were shown at ringside while the broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe checked in and hyped previously advertised segments…
Asuka made her entrance. The broadcast team hyped Asuka vs. Nia Jax for Sunday’s WWE Backlash. Ring announcer Mike Rome introduced Asuka and was on the verge of introducing Charlotte Flair, but new WWE Women’s Tag Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance instead.
Banks and Bayley joined Asuka in the ring and boasted about winning the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Asuka barked back in a combination of English and Japanese and stated that it’s her ring. Banks reminded Asuka that she and Bayley can go wherever they want now that they are tag champions.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance and noted that Banks and Bayley were going from brand to brand to brand “just like The Queen.” She wished them luck when it comes to keeping up with her stamina. Flair told them to enjoy the attention and spotlight, but asked them to make it quick because the people want to see her and Asuka have a match.
“The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay made their entrance. They said the match people really want to see is the WWE Women’s Tag Title match at Backlash and reminded viewers that they beat Banks and Bayley to win the tag titles at last year’s WrestleMania. Asuka yelled in Japanese. “What she said,” Flair quipped.
Flair told Banks and Bayley that they will still be garbage no matter how many titles they end up holding. Banks and Bayley attacked Flair while The IIconics went after Asuka. Flair and Asuka regrouped and quickly cleared the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: A decent verbal segment, but will we get the only advertised match or will this become Asuka and Flair teaming up, which reminds me of when Flair and Becky Lynch teamed up to go against Asuka and Kairi Sane late in 2019?
1. WWE Women’s Tag Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Charlotte Flair and Asuka in a non-title Triple Threat match. The heel teams tried to go after Flair and Asuka before the bell, but they dropped off the apron to avoid them. Flair and Asuka were on the offensive going into a break. [C]
Kay caught Asuka with Sole Food and got a two count. Royce tagged in and delivered a knee to Asuka’s head and then went for a cover, but Banks broke it up, which led to the heel teams fighting while Flair tagged in. A short time later, Flair dropped Kay with a big boot. Flair went up top for a moonsault while Asuka tagged herself in, entered the ring, and put Kay in the Asuka Lock for the win.
Asuka and Charlotte Flair defeated The IIconics and Sasha Banks & Bayley in a non-title Triple Threat match in 10:50.
After the match, Flair was upset with Asuka and leapt off the ropes and knocked her down. The broadcast team noted that Asuka would still face Flair later in the show while playing up that Asuka has never beaten Flair in a singles match…
Powell’s POV: Flair previously tagged herself into the match, so it was a case of turnabout being fair play for Asuka. I like that they didn’t just abandon the scheduled singles match in favor of the Triple Threat match. Instead, they used the Triple Threat to help build up the singles match. That said, congratulations to Sasha Banks and Bayley for becoming the latest WWE titleholders to lose a non-title match. It sure didn’t take long. Apparently, some things will never change in WWE.
The broadcast team set up a video package on last week’s developments involving Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, and Dominick Mysterio, as well as the Rollins vs. Aleister Black match…
Seth Rollins made his entrance dressed in a black suit while wearing the single black glove. Rollins replaced Byron Saxton at the broadcast table. Rollins told Phillips that he’s been waiting all week to talk to Rey Mysterio and wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world. Mysterio was shown shaking his head in disgust while sitting in his home… [C]
Phillips asked Mysterio for an update on his injured eye. Mysterio said he saw his doctor earlier in the day and the prognosis was promising. He said further cornea damage or infection is a high risk. Mysterio said he doesn’t know when he’ll be cleared, but he warned Rollins that he’ll pay for what he did to him and put his family through.
Rollins told Mysterio that he doesn’t understand the power of his words. He said Mysterio was spreading lies about his sacrifice. He said Mysterio could have walked away a legend and a hero, but he was only giving him one more chance. Rollins invited Rey and his son to come to Raw next week so that he can tell him and show him face to face that the sacrifices he made were for the greater good.
Mysterio said the only reason Rollins invited him is because he knows he’s not medically cleared. Rollins said Mysterio had it all wrong and needs to understand what he’s trying to tell him. Suddenly, Aleister Black attacked Rollins and they quickly cut to break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m digging the Rollins and Mysterio feud. I also like the way Rollins didn’t even flinch until Black was already lunging at him. That can’t be easy to avoid doing when you know it’s coming.
2. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo vs. Austin Theory and Murphy. There was a nice exchange of strikes between Black and Murphy early in the match. Black performed a springboard moonsault and then went for his finisher, but Theory ran in to stop it. Black sent Theory to ringside and then Carrillo performed a suicide dive onto him. A short time later, Black caught Murphy on the ropes with a big knee to the head and pinned him.
Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo beat Austin Theory and Murphy in 2:20.
After the match, Rey Mysterio’s music played and a masked man came out, but Black and Carrillo looked apprehensive. It was Rollins wearing a Mysterio mask, which he removed. Rollins, Murphy, and Theory worked over Black and Carrillo. Theory hit his ATL finisher on Carrillo, then Murphy and Theory held Black against the ropes while Rollins jawed at him about making him a sacrifice. Rollins delivered a Stomp to the head of Black…
Powell’s POV: Another case of the babyfaces getting the win, yet the heels getting their heat right back.
Backstage, Randy Orton was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Orton said the only question he wants answered is whether Edge would be the only guest on The Peep Show. Caruso said that’s her understanding. Orton confirmed that the segment was coming up next and then told her to keep it quiet, but there could be two guests on the talkshow segment…
Christian made his entrance for the Peep Show segment… [C] An NXT ad questioned what the future holds for Charlotte Flair and hyped Karrion Kross…
Christian introduced Edge while also playing up the awful “greatest wrestling match ever” theme. Edge entered the ring and hugged Christian before they both sat down in a couple of chairs in the ring. Christian told Edge that he thinks he’s running on fumes. Christian added that he didn’t think Edge could pull off the greatest match ever back when he was in his prime.
Christian said they are best friends and have to be honest with one another. He said that Edge is lying to himself if he thinks he can live up to that. Edge told him to pump the brakes and asked if he’s thought about what it’s like to be in his shoes. Edge said he hasn’t had a straight up wrestling match in nine years and now having it billed as possibly being the greatest match ever.
[Hour Two] Edge said he’s not the same guy who used to look Christian in the eye and give him confidence when he didn’t know if he could go out there before all of their tag team matches. Christian stood up and told Edge that he’s hearing nothing but excuses. He asked what he thought would happen when he came back and whether he thought he could just perform the greatest hits.
Christian asked what happened to Edge and where his belief is. Christian said Edge’s mom believed in him and was there for all of his big title matches. Christian said Edge’s mom would be there with him for this match too. Christian told “Adam” that if “Edge” isn’t going to show up at Backlash then he needs to go home right now.
Edge glared intently at Christian, who said that’s what he was looking for. “We believe in you,” Christian said. He spoke of how Edge put Orton down at WrestleMania and how “we” have confidence in Edge and believe he can have the greatest wrestling match ever.
Randy Orton appeared on the big screen from the backstage area and asked them both to shut their mouths. Orton said it’s pathetic that Edge said he’s going to try and that was his only guarantee. Orton asked Edge what he would do when he doesn’t live up to the expectations.
Orton said he would take everything away from Edge, who would be forced to go back home with his wife and daughters where he belongs. Orton said the redemption of Edge is over on Sunday. “No, it’s not,” Edge said before dropping the mic and leaving the ring…
Powell’s POV: A strong segment minus ever reference to the awful “greatest match ever” nonsense. Everyone involved played their part well. It’s just a shame that this counterproductive marketing slogan is in play.
Footage aired of Bobby Lashley putting Drew McIntyre in the Full Nelson at the end of last week’s Raw. Charly Caruso interviewed MVP on the backstage interview set. MVP wore a Shad Gaspard t-shirt. R-Truth made some noise to the side of the set, then told MVP that if anyone asks, MVP didn’t see him. MVP called Truth a clown. Lashley showed up and put Truth in the Full Nelson, then let him fall to the ground… [C]
The broadcast team hyped Bobby Lashley on the VIP Lounge, and announced Lashley and MVP vs. The Viking Raiders for later in the show… A video package recapped the Street Profits and Viking Raiders nonsense…
Footage aired from The Decathlon involving the Street Profits and Viking Raiders. Montez Ford beat Ivar in a foot race. The Viking Raiders won the archery battle. Angelo Dawkins’ arrow hit a dude in the foot. The Street Profits won a game of Flip Cup, causing Ivar to break the table.
The Viking Raiders won sword fighting when Ford forfeited rather than battle Erik. Dawkins beat Ivar in a hurdle race when Ivar ran through all the hurdles. The Viking Raiders won a stick fight battle. The Street Profits danced to the Shawn Michaels’ entrance theme, then Ivar danced to Fangango’s theme in a dance off. The female judge picked the Viking Raiders and did the usual line about Ivar being cute. The final judge picked the Profits. Dawkins beat Erik in a shot put event.
The Viking Raiders won a turkey leg eating contest. The Viking Raiders won pole vaulting to even up the contest at 5-5. The teams jawed back and forth about tying…
Powell’s POV: Why do these skits keep happening? Move on, please.
U.S. Champion Apollo Crews made his entrance and said he was so excited about defending his championship at Backlash. He said he would face the winner of a Triple Threat between Angel Garza, Andrade, and Kevin Owens.
Andrade’s entrance music interrupted Crews, and then Andrade, Garza, and Zelina Vega made their entrance together. Garza kissed a woman with the plexiglass between them. Owens ran out and attacked Andrade and Garza from behind and entered the ring… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan to become the new Intercontinental Champion…
3. Kevin Owens vs. Andrade vs. Angel Garza in a Triple Threat for a shot at the U.S. Championship at WWE Backlash. Zelina Vega was at ringside for Andrade and Garza, who went right after Owens to start the match. Andrade took issue with Garza going for a cover on Owens, but they continued to work together. Crews was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor.
Andrade and Garza performed a double suplex on Owens. Andrade went for a cover and this time Garza took exception. Andrade kicked Garza in the gut and then sent him to ringside. Andrade followed to the floor and they continued to fight. Vega tried to stop them, but they accidentally knocked her to the ground. Both men stopped fighting and checked on her. [C]
Owens performed a senton bomb on Garza, but Andrade returned to the ring to break it up. Highlights aired of Vega being helped to the back during the commercial break. Andrade performed double knees on Garza and Owens, then Garza superkicked Andrade, and Owens superkicked Garza. Owens performed a top rope frogsplash on Andrade for a near fall.
Andrade avoided a Popup Powerbomb and then tagged Owens with an elbow that led to a near fall. Garza performed a missile dropkick on Owens. Andrade and Garza traded chops in the middle of the ring. Garza caught Andrade with a knee, but Andrade came right back to clotheslining him over the top rope, then Owens sent Garza to the floor. Owens performed a flip dive onto both opponents.
Owens rolled Garza back inside the ring and went for a Stunner, but Garza pushed him off and dropkicked his bad left knee. Garza applied a leg lock on Owens, who reached the rope. The referee called for a break even though there are no disqualifications, but Garza released it anyway. Owens hit a Stunner on Garza, but Andrade kicked him and stole the pin…
Andrade defeated Angel Garza and Kevin Owens in 13:45 in a Triple Threat to earn a U.S. Title shot at WWE Backlash.
Powell’s POV: A very entertaining Triple Threat match. Vega took a nice bump at ringside, and I enjoyed the way that both heels wanted the title match for themselves and were willing to fight one another in order to get it. Owens has another out for losing since there were times when it felt like a handicap match.
The broadcast team recapped the women’s segment from earlier in the night…
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Charlotte Flair on the backstage interview set and noted that she lost the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover. Flair pointed out that she was not pinned, nor did she submit. She said that to be the woman, you have to beat the woman.
Flair said she accomplished her goal by elevating the NXT women’s division. She said she main evented Takeover and now she’s main eventing Raw. Asuka showed up and danced with the title. Flair asked her if she ever takes anything seriously. Asuka said she does, then slapped Flair across the face… [C]
Andrade and Garza were shown bickering backstage until Vega showed up holding her neck. Vega pointed and the duo headed off in that direction while she scowled at them…
Phillips hyped WWE Backlash and set up a clip of Kurt Angle talking about the Edge vs. Randy Orton match. Angle said he believes a lot of things go into a great wrestling match, but he’s always believed that chemistry is very important. He said there are times when it clicks and you bring out the best in one another in the ring. Angle said Ric Flair had that with Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Micahels had that with Undertaker, and he had that with Brock Lesnar. Angle said he’s happy he’s not Edge or Orton due to the “greatest match ever” hype. Angle picked Edge to win. He said it wasn’t an easy choice, but he had to go with a fellow WWE Hall of Famer…
The Viking Raiders were shown talking backstage. Erik asked Drew McIntyre if he’s finally going to join the raid and become a viking. McIntyre said he hopes they beat Lashley and MVP so they could have a little celebration. He said they could have a little fun and said stick around because you never know what might happen on Raw… [C]
Phillips hyped Edge, Apollo Crews, and R-Truth for Raw Talk on WWE Network following Raw. Saxton hyped Asuka vs. Flair for later in the show…
MVP stood in the ring and was introduced as the host of the VIP Lounge. MVP said the lounge is for people like him who are “better than all of you.” MVP started to introduce Lashley as his guest, but Drew McIntyre’s music played instead. McIntyre headed to the ring holding the WWE Championship.
MVP told McIntyre that Lashley will use the Full Nelson to take the WWE Championship from him at Backlash. McIntyre said he was still feeling the effects of the Full Nelson, then noted that MVP knows what the Claymore Kick feels like because he’s taken so many.
[Hour Three] MVP said Lashley beating McIntyre is part of his business plan. McIntyre mocked the idea of MVP helping Lashley when he’s never won a world championship. McIntyre said he was going to do a countdown and MVP could either run away or take it like a man, but warned that he’d chase him and give it to him anyway.
McIntyre started the countdown, but stopped when Bobby Lashley entered the ring behind him. McIntyre told Lashley that the only way he’d take the title from him is if he pried it from his cold, dead hands. McIntyre turned and headbutted MVP, who appeared to be on the verge of hitting him with a cheap shot.
The Viking Raiders made their entrance, then the Street Profits ended up joining them. Lashley joined MVP at ringside while the broadcast team hyped their match against the Viking Raiders for after the break… [C]
4. Bobby Lashley and MVP vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar. McIntyre, Angelo Dawkins, and Montez Ford remained at ringside for the match. Lana was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Ivar slammed Erik onto MVP, who quickly tagged out. Lashley performed a slam on Erik and got a two count. Erik was isolated by MVP and Lashley.
Ivar took a hot tag and worked over MVP and sent Lashley to ringside with a big boot. Lashley pulled Ivar to ringside and slammed his head into the broadcast table. The Street Profits stood up and jawed with MVP and Lashley, then pointed behind them. Erik performed a dive onto the two heels heading into a break. [C]
As the match continued in the ring, Caruso asked Lashley if it bothers her that her husband doesn’t want her at ringside during his matches. She referred to MVP as a leach, then said “we” are going to be WWE Champion. She said it’s been a wakeup call for her and she’s focussed on making 2020 the year of Lana.
Erik took a hot tag and worked over MVP and then knocked Lashley off the apron. Erik suplexed MVP, which the Street Profits were shown cheering. The Viking Raiders doubled up on MVP with some combo moves. Erik went for a pin, but Lashley broke it up. Ivar tossed Lashley to ringside. Erik followed and was speared by Lashley, who then glared at McIntyre. Lashley tagged into the match unbeknownst to Erik. Lashley put him in the Full Nelson for the win.
Bobby Lashley and MVP defeated The Viking Raiders in 15:15.
After the match, Ivar knocked MVP down. Lashley put Ivar in the Full Nelson. The Street Profits ran in, then McIntyre blasted Lashley with a Claymore Kick. Lashley went to ringside and listened as McIntyre jawed at him from the ring…
Phillips hyped Asuka vs. Flair for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Lashley won the match for his team, but I can’t say that it increased my interest in his title shot against McIntyre.
Phillips encouraged viewers to check out the replay of NXT Takeover In Your House, then hyped WWE Backlash for Sunday. Saxton hyped McIntyre vs. Lashley by saying it could be “the greatest fight ever.” Joe joined the duo in running through the full lineup…
5. Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair in a non-title match. Sasha Banks and Bayley headed to ringside and sat in on commentary. Flair used the distraction to attack Asuka to start the match. Flair pulled Asuka to ringside and tossed her over the broadcast table heading into an early break. [C]
Flair worked over Asuka in the ring while the focus was on Banks and Bayley on commentary. Asuka came back by wrenching Flair’s leg in the ropes, which sent to her to the floor. Asuka followed and gave Flair a hip check against the barricade. Flair came right back by running Asuka into the barricade and then clotheslined her before rolling her back inside the ring.
Flair returned to the ring and lowered her kneepad before dropping knees onto Asuka’s head. Asuka caught Flair in an inside cradle for a two count, then stood up and ate a clothesline from Flair, who covered her for a two count of her own. Flair tossed Asuka to ringside. A short time later, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay attacked Banks and Bayley. The duo performed their finisher on Bayley and dropped her onto the broadcast table in the process. [C]
The match continued with the two tag teams no longer at ringside. Flair was on the offensive for a stretch, but Asuka came back and sent Flair to the floor. Asuka followed only to have Flair drive her back into the apron. Asuka fired back with a kick to the head of Flair. Asuka went for a suplex on the apron. Flair stuffed it and gave Asuka a big boot to the head.
A short time later, Flair went for a spear, but Asuka drilled her with a knee to the head and covered for for a near fall. Asuka applied the Asuka Lock, but Flair countered into a pin for a two count. Asuka tied up Flair in a hold on the mat. Flair escaped the hold and grabbed Asuka’s leg, but Asuka kicked free. Flair speared Asuka and covered her for a two count.
Nia Jax headed to ringside. Asuka ended up delivering a hip attack to Jax to knock her off the apron, then she turned into a big boot from Flair, who pinned her to win the match.
Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka in 27:15 in a non-title match.
After the match, Jax executed a Samoan Drop on Asuka. Jax left the ring and backed up the ramp while staring at Asuka to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A very good main event. Believe it or not, I’m happy that they didn’t have Asuka beat Flair in this match. Asuka was protected with the sadly predictable Nia Jax interference, and I’d actually prefer to see them wait for a key time for Asuka to get that elusive singles win over Flair. I assume Asuka gets by Jax, so perhaps they will build up Asuka vs. Flair for the July pay-per-view or even for SummerSlam and it can happen then.
The main event and the Triple Threat were both quality matches, and there were some decent talking segments. Still, the show didn’t move me on WWE Backlash, though admittedly it’s a tough sell in this nearly empty venue era. Let me know what you thought of Raw by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll, which is available on the main page. I will be back with my Raw audio review for Dot Net Members shortly.