By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,417)
Taped earlier today in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired July 20, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with footage from Seth Rollins beating Rey Mysterio in an eye for an eye match at Extreme Rules… The Raw opening video aired… The broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe checked in and hyped the unsanctioned match…
Seth Rollins made his entrance and was accompanied to the ring by Murphy. The broadcast team said the expectation is that Rey Mysterio will be able to retain his vision and make a full recovery. Some of the masked spectator wrestlers chanted “Rey” briefly.
Rollins said it is referred to as a globe luxation. He said it means that Mysterio’s eye came out of its socket. Rollins said he knew the stipulation of the match, but what happened will stay with him for the rest of his life. Rollins said the image of Mysterio holding his own bloody eye in his hand will stay with him forever.
Rollins said it was disgusting, violent, and barbaric. He said it was more than he was expecting and it made him sick to his stomach. Rollins said he’s been asked whether he regrets what happened. Rollins said he needed to answer a question with a question. “Do you regret what you have done to me?” Rollins asked the fans.
Rollins said the fans made him the Monday Night Messiah. He said the fans made him the monster that he’s become. Rollins also recalled that Mysterio was the person who selected the stipulation. “Action has consequences,” Rollins said. “What happened to Rey Mysterio last night was ugly and it was unfortunate, but we cannot afford to dwell in the past.” Rollins said Mysterio is out of sight. He said no one is left to stand in the way of the greater good.
Aleister Black made his entrance and spoke from the stage. “Don’t you dare deflect any of this blame but on yourself,” Black said. He said it’s all on Seth’s hands, but he was there to rectify all of it. Murphy ran to the stage and was hit with a kick from Black, who headed to the ring. Murphy followed and pulled Black out of the ring. Black worked over Murphy at ringside and tossed him over the broadcast table. Black entered the ring, which caused Rollins to exit out the other side… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’d like to forget that the eye for an eye match ever happened. Hopefully WWE creative is in the same mode and they’ll move on from it until Mysterio returns. On a side note, the masked spectator wrestlers were more vocal than usual during the promo. In addition to the usual chanting, there were actually one more more of the wrestlers shouting things in response to Rollins’ promo.
1. Seth Rollins (w/Murphy) vs. Aleister Black. The match was joined in progress with Rollins on the offensive. A graphic listed the Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza for later in the show. Later, Black avoided a Stomp and then hit Rollins with a Black Mass kick. Murphy ran in and was hit by a kick. Black reached for Rollins, who rolled to ringside. Black hit Murphy with a Black Mass kick going into a break. [C]
Rollins avoided another Black Mass coming out of the break, then put Black down with a pair of superkicks. Rollins called for Murphy, who was selling against the broadcast table. Rollins went up top, but Black cut him off. Rollins ended up pulling the right arm of Black over the top rope. Rollins went for a move from the top rope that Black avoided. Black hit Rollins with a kick to the head. Rollins wrenched the bad arm, then performed the Stomp and scored the pin.
Seth Rollins defeated Aleister Black in 11:30.
Rollins and Murphy were leaving when they stopped on the stage. Rollins pointed back to the ring. Murphy ran to the ring and attacked Black. Rollins returned and joined in on the beatdown. The duo tossed Black to ringside where Murphy ran him into the barricade three times. Rollins wrapped Murphy’s arm around the ring post casing and then slammed it.
Rollins wrenched on the bad arm again. Black sold on the mat while Rollins asked when is enough enough. Rollins slammed Black’s hand onto the broadcast table repeatedly. Rollins yelled at the spectator wrestlers while asking if they thought he wanted to do this. Murphy sat on the back of Black. Rollins asked Black where his friends were to save him. Rollins said his Messiah will save him, then delivered a stomp onto the bad arm…
Powell’s POV: A good television match. Black was made to look competitive and all, but it’s still disappointing to see him playing the role of a Mysterio admirer rather than the dark, brooding loner type that his character screams. I’m not sure if the idea was to write out Black with an injury angle or if this was simply to make him look sympathetic. Either way, it really is silly that no one ran out to save Black, and even sillier that Rollins pointed it out by openly questioning why his friends weren’t saving him. By the way, whatever happened to Austin Theory?
Footage aired of MVP claiming to be the U.S. Champion when Apollo Crews was unable to wrestle at Extreme Rules…
Backstage, Ron Simmons told MVP and Bobby Lashley that there’s a better way to do things. Simmons left. Lashley told MVP they’d talk about that. MVP called in R-Truth, who said Apollo Crews is the real champion. When MVP made his claim, Truth winked at him. Lashley mentioned something about a new 24/7 Champion. A referee showed up. Truth turned and was blasted by Shelton Benjamin, who pinned Truth to win the WWE 24/7 Championship. MVP said he and Lashley were heading to the ring and asked Benjamin to join them… [C]
The NXT ad hyped the previously advertised matches and a “huge announcement” from NXT general manager William Regal…
Bobby Lashley, MVP, and Shelton Benjamin made their entrance. MVP boasted that he’s the new U.S. Champion and he didn’t even break a sweat. He claimed that Lashley rag-dolled Apollo Crews so badly that he decided to stay home. MVP said once they get finished beating up on “dumb and dumber” Ricochet and Cedric Alexander, they would head to an afterparty to celebrate their championships.
Ricochet and Cedric Alexander made their entrance. Ricochet pointed out that the “dumb and dumber” line was funny in 2006. Ricochet and Alexander said they would become champions again without MVP’s help. MVP told Ricochet and Alexander to pick any two of them to face. They said they had a tag partner who was returning to Raw. Mustafa Ali made his entrance. The babyface trio cleared the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: For those keeping score at home, Dumb and Dumber was actually released in December 1994 (and it’s still hilarious).
2. Bobby Lashley, MVP, and Shelton Benjamin vs. Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, and Cedric Alexander. Phillips referred to MVP as “the man calling himself the U.S. Champion.” The babyface trio was on the offensive heading into a break. [C]
[Hour Two] The heel trio isolated Ricochet. Ali took a hot tag and worked over MVP. Lashley broke up a pin and was cleared to ringside. Lashley caught Ricochet and Alexander by the throat when they dove at him, but Ricochet knocked him over the broadcast table. Back in the ring, Ali put MVP down with a neckbreaker and then hit him with a 450 splash and scored the pin…
Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, and Cedric Alexander defeated Bobby Lashley, MVP, and Shelton Benjamin in 15:00.
Powell’s POV: A nice return win for Ali. I hate to say it, but I hope he’s not lumped together with Ricochet and Alexander going forward. Both men are talented, but they’re not being pushed and I don’t really see that changing in the near future. I hope I’m wrong.
Randy Orton stood backstage and asked viewers if they ever thought of the moments that changed their life. Orton recalled joining Evolution, facing Mick Foley, and becoming the youngest WWE Champion, but he said those were not the moments that he was referring to. Rather, he said the moment is the one he sees whenever he shuts his eyes.
Orton said it was 175 days ago that he slammed a chair down on the surgically repaired neck of Edge. Orton said his friendships with Edge, Christian, and Big Show are done. He said they all helped save him from himself in the past. Orton said one moment brought so much pain to so many people. He said that moment brought him satisfaction.
Orton said it felt good to stand over the convulsing body of a man who paved the way for so many in the WWE locker room and to do it again when he ended his career at Backlash. Orton boasted of ruining Christian’s chance at one last match, and said he would enjoy ending the career of Big Show tonight… [C]
Ron Simmons was shown talking with The Viking Raiders while the Raw theme played… The broadcast team spoke about the unsanctioned match. Phillips noted that the company couldn’t be held liable for what happens. They set up a video package on Big Show and “the destruction he’s dished out over 25 years”…
Powell’s POV: It’s hilarious that WWE sanctioned a match where the goal was to pluck a man’s eye out of his head, but the storyline is that they are not sanctioning Orton vs. Show 24 hours later.
Christian was interviewed by the broadcast team from his home. Joe asked Christian how he’s been since Orton punt kicked him. Christian said he knew what he was getting himself into, but he didn’t expect what would happen in terms of Orton weaponizing Ric Flair. Christian said he’ll never look at Orton or Flair the same way again, and said he didn’t know if he would ever be the same.
Joe asked Christian to expand on his health, and asked if Big Show is walking into an Orton trap. Christian said he doesn’t feel good. Christian said he’d doing it again if he could guarantee that Orton would get what he has coming to him. Christian said he can’t wait to watch Big Show knock Orton’s ass out cold…
Powell’s POV: A strong segment with Christian, who found the perfect somber mixed with vengeful tone for his delivery.
Bianca Belair spoke with Sarah Schreiber on the interview set. Belair was asked what fans can expect from her going forward. Belair delivered some EST lines. Peyton Royce showed up and dismissed Schreiber. Royce took issue with Belair teaming with Ruby Riott, who then entered the picture. Belair wondered where Billie Kay ran off to and said she hopes she gets what she has coming to her in a way that can only be described as iconic… [C]
3. Ruby Riott vs. Peyton Royce. Phillips said Billie Kay couldn’t be there because Royce said she was dealing with other business. Royce tried to pin Riott while holding on to the ropes, but the referee caught her. A short time later, Riott avoided a top rope move from Royce, then hit her with the Riott Kick and scored the pin…
Ruby Riott defeated Peyton Royce in 3:20.
Powell’s POV: I guess we can add Billie Kay to the MIA list along with Liv Morgan, who was also expected to be involved in this feud.
Charly Caruso asked Andrade, Angel Garza, and Zelina Vega about how they could get on the same page in time for their match with the Street Profits. Vega stopped Garza from responding and addressed it herself. Andrade and Garza got to speak, but they were attacked by the Street Profits. Phillips said their match was up next… [C]
4. Raw Tag Champions “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Andrade and Angel Garza (w/Zelina Vega) in a non-title match. Ford took a tag early and showed off his athleticism by leaping over Andrade twice and then dropkicking him. Ford performed a flip dive onto Andrade heading into a break. [C]
Late in the match, Andrade avoided a double team move and tagged in Garza, who blasted Dawkins with a superkick. Garza tried to superplex Ford, who stuffed it and then punched him off the ropes. Ford followed up with a big frogsplash and scored the pin.
The Street Profits defeated Andrade and Angel Garza in 11:05 in a non-title match.
A video package recapped the Asuka vs. Sasha Banks match and then a graphic questioned whether it’s Sasha Two Belts… [C]
Powell’s POV: It was good to see the Profits return from the aforementioned MIA list. Ford, who grew his hair out a bit, showed good fire and may have set a new record for how high in the air he got on that frogsplash. I was surprised to see the champs go over since I figured Andrade and Garza were next in line for a tag title shot, but not complaints since WWE has gone way overboard on having their secondary and tag champions lose non-title matches on television.
Backstage, Andrade and Garza were chatting when Vega showed up and barked at them. She said it was their chance to establish their dominance in the tag division. She said their arguments are stupid. It was hard to make out, but it seemed like Garza said they were on the same page. Vega told them to prove it…
Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance. Banks showed off the Raw Women’s Championship belt. Banks said a lot of people have been accusing her of stealing the title. Banks claimed that she fought for the championship unlike her opponent, who was handed the same title by Becky Lynch.
Banks also recalled Asuka spraying green mist into the face of the referee so that he couldn’t continue. She said someone had to officiate her match. Bayley said she’s a role model and said she had to do the right thing by making the three count. Sasha dubbed herself Two Belts Banks and boasted that they have all the gold.
[Hour Three] Asuka’s music played and she walked onto the stage with Kairi Sane. Asuka yelled that Sasha was not ready for her. Asuka said she was not ready for the thief. Asuka said the title belongs to hers. Banks told her to come and get it.
Stephanie McMahon appeared on the big screen. She congratulated Banks and Bayley on being tag champs and Bayley for being the Smackdown Women’s Champion. However, she said Banks vs. Asuka was a horror show. She said Banks didn’t win the match, but neither did Asuka.
Stephanie announced Asuka vs. Banks for next week. She said that the match and the title could be lost by pin, submission, DQ, etc. while playing up the possibility of Bayley interfering. The Kabuki Warriors hit the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: I predicted that we would see at least one McMahon family member appear on television because that’s a typical WWE response to slumping ratings. That said, I don’t really count this because it was an unadvertised appearance and Stephanie didn’t even appear in person. I guess the U.S. Championship is so meaningless that she didn’t care enough to address whether MVP is the actual champion.
5. Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Kairi Sane (w/Asuka) in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Sane performed an early hip attack on Bayley. A short time later, Sane had Bayley hung up in the ropes when she double stomped her from the top rope. Sane wanted to go for a pin, but Bayley pulled Banks to ringside. [C]
Shayna Baszler was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. She was approached by Charly Caruso, who asked if she had a vested interest. She said she didn’t have a match and questioned whether she was supposed to sit in catering or go out and cheer like a fan. She said she has a vested interest in the match the same way a shark has a vested interest anytime it sees prey in the water.
In the ring, Sane caught Bayley with another double stomp from the ropes and covered her for a two count. Sane tagged Bayley with a spinning back fist and then speared her. Sane went up top and hit her Insane Elbow finisher, but she sold arm pain from earlier in the match and was slow to cover Bayley, who then put her foot over the bottom rope.
Bayley caught Sane with a knee to the head. Bayley performed a belly to back suplex, then went up top and performed her own top rope elbow. Bayley went for the pin, but Sane kicked out. Bayley acted shocked. Bayley picked up Sane for the Bayley to Belly, but Sane countered into a pin and got the upset win.
Kairi Sane defeated Bayley in 15:30 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: You didn’t really think they could resist having a champion lose in both of the non-title matches, did you? That said, this was a highly entertaining match. It was nice to see Sane get a meaningful win. It’s just too bad that she reportedly has a foot out the door. The Baszler promo was a little wordy again, but it was well delivered. I suspect that she will be the person who takes out Sane and then challenges Asuka at SummerSlam.
Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage. Sarah Schreiber approached him and asked him what kind of condition he was in after his match with Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules. McIntyre said he felt like he fell down several flights of stairs, but he was still WWE Champion and that felt good. He said he was headed to the ring to address his future… [C]
Phillips hyped Seth Rollins, Shayna Baszler, and Mustafa Ali for Raw Talk…
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre made his entrance. Once in the ring, McIntyre said he had to hand it to Dolph Ziggler because the stipulation he came up with was brilliant and swayed the match in his favor. McIntyre said Ziggler almost had him, but almost doing things is the story of Ziggler’s entire career.
McIntyre said it’s onward and upward for him heading into SummerSlam. He said it’s the biggest event since he beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and he wants a worthy opponent.
Dolph Ziggler’s entrance theme played and he headed to the ring. Ziggler spoke about the look he saw in McIntyre’s eye. He claimed it was fear. McIntyre told Ziggler that he had his chance with the stipulations in his favor. He said he would save him the embarrassment by leaving.
Ziggler tried to spin McIntyre around, but McIntyre gave him a Glasgow Kiss headbutt. McIntyre left the ring. Ziggler called for him and said he wanted a match with McIntyre and would let him choose the stipulation. McIntyre said Ziggler changed his mind and he accepted the match. Ziggler asked him what the stipulation would be. McIntyre said he didn’t know, but he would do exactly what Ziggler did to him by telling him right before the bell rings…
Powell’s POV: How about a challenger never has his entrance music played again match?
Big Show delivered a backstage promo. He recalled Orton attacking his friends and said he’s lashing out at everyone. Show said all the people who tried to lift him out of the dark hole are now being systematically and sadistically taken out. Show said he knows his career and health are in jeopardy. He said he prayed for a long time that the Legend Killer would never show his face again, but the voices got a little too loud. He said the voices are screaming at Orton to have no empathy or compassion.
Show recalled riding with Orton and their nicknames were The Hammer and The Chisel. He said they bonded together over the complexities of how they were presented in the business. Show said tigers can’t change their stripes. He said for him it’s trying to deal with the weight of being the world’s largest athlete, and for Orton it’s about being a third generation superstar. Show said they became friends because they knew what the other was dealing with.
Show said that’s changed now and Orton brought back the sadistic Legend Killer and has a boot with his name on it. Show said he looked in the mirror and questioned if this is the end of the line for him. He said it might be. But he said tigers are most fierce when they sense the end is near. Show said he knows it might be the end of the line, but he’ll do anything and everything to make sure Orton doesn’t write his story…
Powell’s POV: An excellent promo. It’s as if one super talented person is responsible for Edge, Orton, Christian, and Big Show’s promos, yet isn’t working on anything else in creative.
Phillips hyped Asuka vs. Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship. Saxton emphasized that the title can change hands via pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out “just in case anyone interferes”…
6. Randy Orton vs. Big Show in an unsanctioned match. Show was the early aggressor with some body shot punches and chops to the chest. Phillips played up that Show was also targeting the shoulder and collarbone that Orton has had issues with over the years. Show speared Orton, who rolled to ringside.
Show followed to the floor and pulled a table out from underneath the ring. Show slid the table in the ring and took a shot at Orton. Andrade and Angel Garza ran out and attacked Show while Zelina Vega applauded from the stage. The duo ran Show into the ring post, then held him in place for Orton. Before Orton could deliver a punt kick, the Viking Raiders ran out and fought with Andrade and Garza. [C]
The tag teams were gone coming out of the break. Phillips announced the McIntyre vs. Ziggler match will take place on next week’s show with McIntyre choosing the stipulation. In the ring, Orton charged Show, who grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him. Show covered Orton for a near fall. Show teased the KO punch, but Orton ducked out of the ring to avoid it. Show set up the table in the ring and then reached over and pulled up Orton from the floor and tossed him into the ring. Show placed Orton on the table. Show went for a Vader Bomb, but Orton moved and Show crashed through the table. Orton smirked while leaning against the ropes.
Orton waited for Big Show to stand up and then dropped him with an RKO. Orton covered Show, who kicked out aggressively at two. Orton grabbed a chair and then struck Show with it multiple times. Orton eventually hit another RKO and scored the clean pin.
Randy Orton defeated Big Show in an unsanctioned match in 13:45.
After the match, Orton backed into the corner while Show got to his knee. Orton delivered the punt kick to the head of Big Show. Orton knelt over him and said, “I told you, just like all the others, one more legend dead.” The spectator wrestlers booed and then Orton’s music played while he stood on the ropes and smiled. The referee checked on Big Show while Orton posed on the ropes to end the show…
Powell’s POV: A pretty straight forward main event with the expected finish and post match punt kick. WWE did a nice job of building up the match in advance and then throughout the show with good promos from both men. With the build to the match and with this being the night after a pay-per-view, it will be interesting to see if this results in some improvement from Raw in the ratings tomorrow.
On a side note, it was good to see that WWE did the right thing by not having Ric Flair involved in this show. Flair told the New York Post that his wife tested positive for COVID-19. He disputed a Post source who claimed that Flair also tested positive, yet by sharing a house with someone who has the virus, there’s no way that Flair should have been allowed to enter the WWE Performance Center. Here’s wishing Flair and his wife Wendy the very best.
Overall, this was a solid episode of Raw. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll. I will be back shortly with my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Wear a mask in public and let’s end this shit already.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...