By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,414)
Taped over the weekend in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired June 29, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with Sasha Banks and Bayley fighting with Asuka while Samoa Joe attempted to preside over their contract signing. Several referees ran out and kept the women apart.
Joe welcomed viewers to Raw and said the plan was to have a contract signing. Asuka and Banks started fighting again. Joe barked at the referees to pull them apart again. Dolph Ziggler’s awful entrance theme played and he headed to the ring for the double contract signing.
Ziggler introduced Drew McIntyre as the WWE Champion for just a few more weeks. The broadcast team of Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton checked in on commentary (Joe was still in the ring). The participants settled down with the wrestlers sitting down in the chairs on opposite sides of the contract signing table.
Ziggler spoke of how McIntyre would hit him with everything he has and he’d still do what he does best by surviving. Ziggler said McIntyre’s 19-year redemption story would disappear just like that. Ziggler said he would destroy McIntyre at Extreme Rules. Ziggler signed the contract.
McIntyre stood up and signed the contract. He said he would slaughter Ziggler at the pay-per-view. McIntyre told Ziggler that he would let him choose the stipulation for their match. Ziggler started to respond, but Asuka took a mic and yelled in Japanese before signing her contract.
Sasha said she and Bayley would both leave Extreme Rules as double champions. She said they would take over the locker rooms and the whole damn company. Banks signed the contract. Bayley said that would be The Horror Show (playing off the added slogan for the pay-per-view).
Another fight broke out. McIntyre went for a Claymore Kick on Ziggler, who ducked it and fled to ringside with Banks and Bayley while McIntyre and Asuka stood tall in the ring with their title belts held over their heads…
Phillips and Saxton spoke at their desk and wondered what stipulation Ziggler would choose for his match with McIntyre. They also narrated highlights of The Street Profits beating The Viking Raiders on last week’s show followed by Andrade and Angel Garza attacking the Profits…
Footage aired of Garza trying to flirt with a female referee when Zelina Vega and Andrade showed up. The referee quickly dismissed herself. Charly Caruso showed up and asked if the trio thinks they would be next in line if they beat the Viking Raiders later in the show. Andrade said they do.
Big Show walked into the picture and said he was pulling rank and needed to be up next because he had issues with Randy Orton. After Show walked away, Vega complained to Andrade and Garza about how disrespectful Big Show was…
Saxton hyped Seth Rollins asking for forgiveness later in the show… An ad for Smackdown touted the Sheamus toast of Jeff Hardy, and Braun Strowman preparing for the Swamp Fight with Bray Wyatt at Extreme Rules… [C]
Powell’s POV: I liked the cold open with the women fighting to start the show. It was an attention grabber, and I also liked the way they got through the double contract signing in fairly short order. It will be interesting to see what type of stipulation they have in mind for McIntyre vs. Ziggler. It really needs to be something absurdly lopsided in order to convince anyone that Ziggler has a chance to win.
Phillips announced McIntyre and Asuka vs. Ziggler and Banks in a mixed tag match for later in the show…
Big Show stood in the ring and called out Randy Orton. “Legend Killer, I’m a legend, come try me,” Show said. Andrade’s music played and he walked onto the stage with Garza and Vega. Show apologized for interrupting their interview. He said he was on important business and warned that it would be a mistake to try him.
Andrade mocked the idea of Big Show being a legend. Garza started to talk, but Show told him that he has boots older than him. Garza spoke more, but Show cut him off and called for a fight. Vega said they would do Orton a favor by showing what happens when Andrade and Garza are disrespected. Vega said Show could say to Edge in the retirement home.
71-year-old Ric Flair’s entrance music played and he walked onto the stage in a venue that had a COVID-19 outbreak. Flair noted that Orton was backstage and said he was doing Orton’s light work. Flair said Show had his run and will be in the Hall of Fame, but if he plays around with Orton then Orton will be an even bigger legend killer and Show will be on the outside looking in again.
Flair told Vega to have Andrade and Garza have some fun at Big Show’s expense. Andrade and Garza teased entering the ring. The Viking Raiders came out and fought with Andrade and Garza heading into a break… [C]
1. Andrade and Angel Garza vs. “The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar. The match was joined in progress and Vega sat in on commentary with Phillips, Saxton, and Joe. Andrade ended up barking at Garza and then rolled out of the ring. Vega left the broadcast table and attempted to talk Andrade down. [C]
The match continued with Andrade back in his team’s corner and Vega on commentary. Ivar went for a handspring move, but Garza dropkicked him. Both men made simultaneous tags. Erik slammed both opponents at once. Andrade hit double knees on Ivar. Erik went for a suplex, but Andrade held the ropes and eventually dumped him to the floor. Garza ran Erik into the ring post. Andrade hit Erik with an elbow, then Garza hit a Wing Clipper and scored the pin…
Andrade and Angel Garza beat The Viking Raiders in roughly 11:15 of television time.
Powell’s POV: The right team went over since they are clearly building to the Street Profits vs. Andrade and Garza. I was surprised to see the tension between Andrade and Garza is still a thing.
Highlights aired of Natalya beating Liv Morgan, followed by Morgan declining to speak with Ruby Riott in the backstage area…
Backstage, The IIconics taunted Ruby Riott, who returned the favor by pointing out that they lost their WWE Women’s Tag Title match last week. Riott challenged one of them to face her in the ring and said the other could carry her over her shoulder to the back… [C]
Backstage, Vega tried to keep the peace between Andrade and Garza. Ric Flair showed up and told the duo that they were on fire. He said he had an idea and they all walked off together…
The broadcast team recapped last week’s WWE 24/7 Title change…
2. Akira Tozawa (w/Ninjas) vs. R-Truth for the WWE 24/7 Championship. Phillips said the 24/7 rules were not in play during the actual match. Truth feigned a knee injury, then rolled up and pinned Tozawa.
R-Truth defeated Akira Tozawa in 1:00 to regain the WWE 24/7 Championship.
After the match, Tozawa rolled up Truth, who kicked out. Truth ran away with the title belt while the ninjas chased after him…
Powell’s POV: Tozawa and the ninjas bit is downright insulting television. It’s a shame because Tozawa is a hell of a talent.
Highlights aired of last week’s VIP Lounge segment with Apollo Crews being attacked by Bobby Lashley…
Backstage, Lashley was upset about Crews disrespecting MVP, who said that his offer to manage Crews was dead. MVP said he wanted to drop a few gems so that Crews could learn from his mistakes. The duo walked away and crossed paths briefly with Seth Rollins and Murphy. Rollins had a Rey Mysterio mask and said he had to deliver his most important message to date… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s interesting that Austin Theory wasn’t present. Let’s just say that there are a couple of potential reasons why if you’ve been following the news over the last week. Meanwhile, I believe all of the spectator wrestlers are wearing medical masks this week, which is good to see. Well, one of the spectator wrestlers wasn’t wearing the mask properly, but the spectator wrestlers wearing masks is progress nonetheless.
Phillips announced Big Show vs. Andrade and Angel Garza in a handicap match for later in the show…
Seth Rollins made his entrance along with Murphy. A video package recapped the Rollins and Mysterio family feud.
[Hour Two] Rollins soaked up boos and jeers from the spectator wrestlers. Rollins said Rey Mysterio hasn’t been seeing things too clearly as of late. He said Rey thinks his duty is to avenge his family, but his real duty is to be a sacrifice for the future of Raw.
Rollins said he’s given Mysterio every chance to walk away into the sunset and he’s defied him at every turn. Rollins said what he does not is important. Rollins looked into the camera and asked Mysterio for forgiveness, “not for what I have done in the past, but for what you are forcing me to do in the future.” Rollins said Mysterio will return to the ring and he will be forced to take a piece of Mysterio every time he does.
Rey and Dominick Mysterio appeared on the big screen from what appeared to be their home. Rey told Dom that h hopes he forgives him for what he has to do to Rollins. Rey said he loves Dom for trying to fight his battles, but he has to do something to Rollins that’s as remorseless as what he did to him. Dom told his father that he forgives him, but he will never forgive Rollins.
Rollins said Rey taught Dom well, but he should be careful what he wishes for. Rollins said that if Dom continues to stand in the way of the greater good, then he will be forced to end his career before it begins. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo headed to the ring, causing Rollins and Murphy to duck for cover at ringside… [C]
Powell’s POV: Rollins delivered his promo well, but his words feel repetitive. On the bright side, Dom’s comments were brief, but his delivery felt more real than usual.
Rollins stood at ringside and said he was hoping to see Black and Carrillo. He asked them why they keep standing up for Mysterio and fighting his battles for him when he doesn’t do the same for them. Rollins said Carrillo looks to Mysterio as if he’s a god, but he’s actually a coward. Carrillo said Rollins is the coward and less of a man than Mysterio.
Black said he knows a thing or two about evil, including when he’s looking at it. He said there will be no forgiveness for what Rollins has done. Rollins said that if Black thinks he knows evil, then he hasn’t seen anything yet. He said this would end now…
3. Seth Rollins and Murphy vs. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo. Black caught Murphy with a couple of early kicks. Rollins ran in and took a kick from Black. Murphy took advantage of the distraction. Black fought him off and went to the ropes, but Rollins tripped him up. Rollins tagged in and put the boots to Black at ringside.
A short time later, Carrillo set up for a 619 on Murphy, but Rollins pulled him out of the way. Carrillo knocked Rollins off the apron and then dove onto both opponents heading into a break. [C]
Powell’s POV: The medical masks aren’t lasting long on some of the spectator wrestlers. One of the wrestlers has his mask around his neck, and Eric Bugenhagen is wearing his mask over his forehead.
Carrillo hit a 619 on Murphy and had him pinned, but Rollins broke it up. Rollins performed a suicide dive on Black, then took a kick from Carrillo. Murphy caught Carrillo with a knee and covered him for a two count.
A short time later, Murphy hoisted up Carrillo, then Rollins hit him with a flying knee from the ropes and covered him for a two count. Black pulled Murphy to ringside and fought with him. In the ring, Rollins performed his Stomp finisher and Carrillo and pinned him.
Seth Rollins and Murphy defeated Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo in 10:20.
After the match, Rollins and Murphy took out Black. Rollins and Murphy grabbed Carrillo, who fought back briefly before falling victim to the numbers again. Rollins grabbed the Mysterio mask and put it on the head of Carrillo. Murphy dragged Carrillo over to the ring steps. Rollins tried to push Carrillo’s head into the edge of the steps, but Black returned to break it up. Rollins performed a Stomp on Carrillo that drove his head into the bottom piece of the ring steps…
Powell’s POV: A well worked match. Black continues to feel underutilized as one of Mysterio’s buddies, but hopefully this will somehow lead to something bigger for him.
Backstage, McIntyre and Asuka were interviewed. McIntyre said he let Ziggler pick the stipulation for their title match because he doesn’t want him to have any excuses after he beats him. McIntyre said Banks isn’t ready for Asuka, who said Ziggler isn’t ready for him… Phillips hyped a tribute to Undertaker for after the break… [C]
A “Did You Know” graphic touted Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak…
Phillips claimed that viewers of The Last Ride docuseries learned that the Boneyard Match was Undertaker’s final match in WWE (no, they didn’t). He set up a video package that paid tribute to Taker…
Powell’s POV: For those who didn’t see the series, Mark Calaway said he’s content if he never has another match, but he left the door open for future matches if Vince McMahon needs him. The Last Ride is a really enjoyable series, but WWE is just plain making up this narrative that Calaway said he’s worked his final match.
Ruby Riott was approached backstage by Lana. Riott told her to ruin someone else’s career. Lana built up Natalya as a leader who knows more and has done more than any other woman in WWE… [C]
An ad for NXT hyped limited commercial breaks… A video package recapped Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair, as well as Nia Jax attacking Flair before and after the match…
4. Ruby Riott vs. Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay). Kay yelled from ringside to distract Riott, which Royce exploited to go on the early offensive. Royce targeted Riott’s shoulder. Riott rebounded and was once again distracted by Kay and then rolled up by Royce. Riott countered into a pin for a two count. Royce caught Riott with an enzuigiri, then followed up with a spinning brainbuster for the win…
Peyton Royce beat Ruby Riott in 3:15.
Powell’s POV: The last two weeks have actually been encouraging for Riott. Sure, she just lost to one of the IIconics, but it seems like the storyline is building to a Riott Squad reunion with Riott and Liv Morgan.
Big Show was interviewed backstage and spoke about Ric Flair being the dirtiest player in the game. Show said Flair is mentoring Orton. Show challenged Orton to step into the ring with him so he can find out why he’s the Big Show. He said Andrade and Garza would get an angry giant. Phillips said the handicap match was up next… [C]
Sasha Banks, Bayley, and The Viking Raiders were advertised as appearing on Raw Talk… Phillips set up highlights from the contract signings segment…
5. Big Show vs. Andrade and Angel Garza (w/Zelina Vega) in a handicap match. Neither Andrade nor Garza wanted to start the match. Show worked over Garza to start.
[Hour Three] Garza actually put Show down on the mat, then Andrade tagged himself into the match. Garza wasn’t pleased and left the ring. Vega tried to talk him down, but they both ended up leaving while Show chokeslamed Andrade and pinned him.
Big Show defeated Andrade and Angel Garza in 5:30.
After the match, Show picked up Andrade and put him right back down with a knockout punch…
Powell’s POV: I thought we might see Randy Orton interfere to spare Andrade and Garza from losing, but they went with the ongoing friction between the tag partners instead. I just pray that this doesn’t lead to a series of dumbass competitions between Andrade and Garza in a new twist on the Viking Raiders and Street Profits nonsense.
Apollo Crews, Ricochet, and Cedric Alexander were talking backstage when R-Truth joined them. Truth said he finally got away from Tozawa and the ninjas. “Or did I?” Truth asked before looking at Alexander, who said he wasn’t a ninja. Truth called Alexander “Cedric the Entertainer” and had a name or Ricochet. Crews said you just have to go with it and said it’s hard being a fighting champion. Truth said Crews has no idea. Phillips hyped Crews vs. MVP for after the break… [C]
MVP and Bobby Lashley made their entrance. MVP cut a pre-match promo and claimed he was just trying to help Crews. MVP said he wouldn’t be disrespected by Crews, whose entrance interrupted him. Crews said he’s also a self-made man. He said MVP didn’t listen when he passed on his offer and instead kept pushing. Crews entered the ring and said the only person that MVP truly cares about helping is himself. MVP said Crews doesn’t want him as his manager, and now he’d find out that he really doesn’t want him as his enemy…
6. U.S. Champion Apollo Crews vs. MVP (w/Bobby Lashley) in a non-title match. Crews got the better of MVP, who was pulled to ringside by Lashley. Crews performed a flip dive onto Lashley, but MVP ran Crews into the ring steps. [C]
Late in the match, Crews went to the ropes and was distracted by Lashley. MVP bounced into the ropes to knock Crews down. MVP followed up with a big boot and a fisherman’s suplex for the win.
MVP defeated Apollo Crews in 6:40 in a non-title match.
After the match, Crews attacked MVP and was roughing him up until Lashley ran in and put him in the Full Nelson. Cedric Alexander and Ricochet ran out and tried to pry Lahsley away from Crews. Alexander caught Lashley with a kick, then Ricochet performed a spring board kick, causing Lashley to release the hold and roll to ringside… [C]
Powell’s POV: I continue to enjoy Crews feuding with MVP and Lashley. It was also nice that MVP wasn’t destroyed again this week. They really need to save MVP getting his comeuppance for key moments rather than having it happen every other week on Raw.
7. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Ricochet (w/Cedric Alexander). The match was joined in progress and was described as an impromptu match. Lashley dominated the bulk of the match. Lashley put Ricochet on his shoulder and drove him into the ring post. Lashley could have won via count-out, but he rolled back to ringside to break the count.
Back inside the ring, Lashley set up for a spear, but Ricochet fell to the mat. Lashley went for the Full Nelson, but Ricochet avoided it. Ricochet sent Lashley to ringside and dove at him, but Lashley caught him. Lashley tried to run him into the post again, but Ricochet slipped away and shoved Lashley into the post.
Lashley returned to the ring and was hit by a moonsault for a two count. Ricochet went up top. MVP tried to distract Ricochet, but Alexander pulled him off the apron. Ricochet hit Lashley with some kicks, but Lashley caught his foot, pressed him up in the air, and slammed him to the mat with one hand. Lashley applied the Full Nelson for the submission win. Afterward, Lashley put Alexander in the Full Nelson briefly…
Bobby Lashley defeated Ricochet in 6:40 in television time.
Powell’s POV: A much more competitive match than I anticipated. I honestly thought the match was going to end when Lashley first went for the Full Nelson before Ricochet got any prolonged offense Instead, Ricochet was made to look competitive before losing in the end. This was the most entertaining match of the night thus far.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler told Sasha Banks and Bayley that he wanted to get in McIntyre’s head. He asked Banks to let him be the player/coach. Banks laughed at him and brought up Ziggler being revealed in the hacker angle on Smackdown. Bayley said that Banks was trying to tell Ziggler not to screw this up for her… [C]
Phillips noted that the show was being held at the WWE PC, then recapped highlights of the opening segment… Ring entrances for the main event took place (Ziggler’s shitty music twice in one night makes me want to shove medical masks in my ears)…
8. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Dolph Ziggler and WWE Women’s Tag Champion Sasha Banks in a mixed tag match. Bayley sat in on commentary for the match and boasted that she was the best commentator on Smackdown. The babyface duo dominated the early offense heading into a break. [C]
McIntyre went for a reverse Alabama Slam, but Ziggler countered into rollup for a two count. Ziggler followed up with a DDT and then tagged in Banks, which brought in Asuka. Banks got the better of Asuka, who eventually came back with a Codebreaker (now known as “double knees” on WWE commentary).
Both women tagged out. McIntyre worked over Ziggler and then went to the ropes and performed a flying clothesline. McIntyre kipped up and went for a DDT, but Ziggler avoided it. McIntyre tossed Ziggler into the corner where Banks tagged herself in. Banks jawed at McIntyre and told him that she’s a champion too. Banks claimed she runs the place. McIntyre knocked Ziggler off the apron. Asuka caught Banks with a kick to the head for a near fall.
Ziggler ended up running McIntyre into the ring post. In the ring, Banks got a couple of two counts on Asuka, then applied the Bank Statement. Asuka broke free and then rolled Banks into position for her finisher, but Banks rolled onto her and scored the pin.
Sasha Banks and Dolph Ziggler beat Asuka and Drew McIntyre in 14:05 in a mixed tag match.
The heels celebrated at ringside to wrap up the show…
Powell’s POV: A solid mixed tag match with the expected finish of one of the heel title challengers scoring the pin. Ziggler needed the win more than Banks, but it probably would have done more to hurt McIntyre than help Ziggler, so this seems like the right call. Did I miss Ziggler picking the stipulation for his match with McIntyre? I guess they are saving that announcement for another night.
Overall, the pacing of the show has definitely quickened along with the creative shakeup. There are times when I like the faster pace, and there are also times when it feels a bit neurotic. That said, the approach feels logical in the empty venue era, but hopefully they will slow down and work in some longer matches once things get back to normal.
I will be back shortly with my same night audio review for Dot Net Members, who are also listening to my Q&A show from earlier today. Let me know what you thought of Raw by assigning it a letter grade in our weekly post show poll available via the main page. Join us on Wednesday night for live coverage of the first night of AEW Fyter Fest and NXT Great American Bash. Be smart, stay safe, and thanks for watching along with me.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...