By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,420)
Taped August 3, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired August 10, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] A graphic acknowledged the death of James “Kamala” Harris… The Raw opening aired… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe. Phillips and Saxton hyped the previously advertised matches and Raw Underground…
Samoa Joe stood in the ring and hosted the contract signing for Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio at SummerSlam. Joe noted that Mysterio would sign a second contract that makes him an official WWE wrestler. Joe introduced Rollins, who came out with Murphy and headed to the ring where a contract signing table and chairs were set up.
Dominik Mysterio was introduced by Joe as a man who has a baby face, yet seems like a grown man to him due to the way he’s been taking it to Rollins. Dom headed to the ring with a kendo stick in hand. Rollins told him that he looked like a coward and a scared little boy by carrying the kendo stick.
Joe took the kendo stick and told Rollins that it would be safer with him. Rollins asked Joe what was so funny. Joe said Rollins was actually sad. He said Rollins should be the greatest superstar of his generation, but he got all caught up in his own feelings and thought it was justification to do what he wanted, whenever he wanted.
Joe said Rollins was giving a young man with little or not training no choice but to face him in the ring. Rollins took exception to Dom not having a choice. He said he’s actually had no choice. He said he’s not one to play the victim card, but he’s the one who was forced into the situation. He said he tried to be Mr. Burn It Down, but he got crapped on by everyone in the building and everyone watching at home.
Rollins said he had no choice in becoming the Monday Night Messiah and to make sacrifices necessary for the greater good. Rollins asked when it will finally be enough for everyone. “It’s never going to be enough,” Mysterio said. Dom said Rollins makes excuses for everything he does. He said his father and Aleister Black will never be the same. Dom added that the greater good is all about Rollins.
Rollins said Dom is on the verge of living his dream by becoming a WWE wrestler and he should be thanking him for it. Dom said it was his dream to become a WWE wrestler, but now his dream is to kick Seth’s ass at SummerSlam. Rollins cackled in response. Rollins said everyone knows that Dom wouldn’t last ten seconds in a regular match with him. Rollins said he’s the best wrestler of his generation.
Rollins said he was going to do Dom a favor. He said Dom is handy with a kendo stick. He said that Dom could bring the kendo stick or any tool in the toolbox because he wants him to every opportunity at his disposal so that he and his family would have no excuses when he ends his career before it begins. Rollins signed the contract, then Dom signed both of his contracts.
“Congratulations, let’s give a big round of applause for the newest WWE superstar, Dominik Mysterio,” Rollins said. “Now get the hell out of my ring.” Seth said he had a match with Dom’s buddy Humberto Carrillo coming up next. He suggested that he take a seat and take some notes so that he could see what he’s forced him to do to him at SummerSlam. Carrillo made his entrance for the match…
Powell’s POV: A good verbal segment with Rollins doing the heavy lifting, Dom doing a solid job with an assist from Joe. They didn’t really clarify whether it’s a No DQ match or just a No DQ match for Dom. On a side note, congrats to WWE for apparently settling in on Dominik rather than spelling it Dominick. They’d been going back and forth on television, the WWE website, and on social media.
1. Seth Rollins (w/Murphy) vs. Humberto Carrillo (w/Dominik Mysterio). Murphy tried to interfere, but Mysterio took him out with the kendo stick. Rollins quickly rallied and put Carrillo away for the clean win.
Seth Rollins defeated Humberto Carrillo in 3:05.
After the match, Murphy attacked Mysterio at ringside. Murphy put Mysterio in the ring and held him for Rollins, who taunted him. Mysterio speared Rollins. Mysterio and Murphy fought, then Rollins recovered and joined Murphy in roughing up Mysterio. Rollins grabbed the kendo stick and hit Mysterio with it several times. Murphy ripped Mysterio’s shirt off, then Rollins hit him with more kendo stick shots. Murphy tied up Mysterio in the ropes, then
Rollins continued to Dom him with the kendo stick while stopping in between to ask Rey Mysterio how it felt seeing it. “Beg for mercy for your son,” Rollins said. Murphy went to ringside and pulled several kendo sticks out from under the ring. Rollins hit Dom from the front while Murphy hit him with a kendo stick from behind. Rollins teased delivering a Stomp, then looked into the camera and said, “To be continued, Rey.” The camera showed massive welts all over the body of Dominik… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match was a quick way to get to the post match attack. And it was a strong and violent beatdown that made Dom look sympathetic while putting heat on the heels. The big problem is that Samoa Joe just sat there silently, which felt strange given how vocal he was against Rollins last week and again during the contract signing.
The broadcast team recapped the previous angle. Samoa Joe said it was beyond despicable. He said being handcuffed at the desk is one thing, but he knows Dom has this… Phillips set up a video package on the Retribution attacks…
Powell’s POV: Joe claiming he is handcuffed as a broadcast team member doesn’t really work for me since he was on the verge of fighting Rollins last week, and because the Joe character is so hot headed that it just doesn’t feel realistic that he would sit there. Meanwhile, it feels totally fake to have WWE running highlights of the mysterious faction that wants to destroy the company.
Zelina Vega, Andrade, and Angel Garza headed to the ring. Vega, who was dressed in her wrestling gear, cut a promo in which she claimed that she had nothing to do with Montez Ford being poisoned. She also took verbal jabs at Bianca Belair. Angelo Dawkins made his entrance for a singles match. Ford did not accompany his partner to ringside… [C]
Phillips set up a trailer for the Netflix crossover between the Big show and Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias shows that premieres today…
2. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega, Angel Garza) vs. Angelo Dawkins. Phillips said Vega would face Belair immediately following this match. Dawkins caught Andrade coming off the ropes with a punch. Vega climbed onto the apron and distracted the referee. Belair came out and pulled Banks off the apron. Dawkins performed a spinebuster style move on Andrade and then pinned him.
Angelo Dawkins beat Andrade in 4:00.
After the match, Belair threw Vega inside the ring. Belair followed, but Vega escaped to ringside to regroup heading into the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Andrade and Garza lost a match to the Street Profits the week before they became No. 1 contenders, so this singles loss adds to them looking weak heading into the pay-per-view. Of course, this is WWE, so that probably means Andrade and Garza will be winning the tag titles at SummerSlam.
3. Bianca Belair (w/Angelo Dawkins) vs. Zelina Vega (w/Andrade, Angel Garza). The match was joined in progress. Belair dominated the match until Vega reached over the referee and poked one of Belair’s eyes. Belair eventually caught Vega going for a cross body block and then press slammed her.
Vega avoided a charging Belair in the corner, causing Belair to go shoulder first into the ring post. Vega stood on the ropes and punched Belair, who rebounded with a powerbomb, then picked Vega up in powerbomb position and dropped her face first into the corner. Belair hit her KOD finisher and scored the pin…
Bianca Belair defeated Zelina Vega in 6:20.
[Hour Two] After the match, Charly Caruso entered the ring and mentioned that Vega continued to deny that she poisoned Montez Ford. Belair said she got her ass whooped by the EST of WWE. Caruso asked for an update on Ford. Belair stepped aside and let Ford talk. Ford asked Andrade and Garza if they really thought Ford would miss the biggest party of the summer. They still want the smoke…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. Belair showed good fire in her revenge match, and Vega does a nice job despite not getting consistent in-ring reps. It’s interesting that they keep having Vega deny that she had anything to do with the poisoning. It doesn’t rule out Andrade or Garza, but it seems like they might end up revealing someone else as the guilty part. I guess Dawkins is the obvious candidate, but I don’t see a good reason to split up the Profits.
The broadcast team recapped Apollo Crews beating MVP to retain the U.S. Championship. They noted the “technical difficulties.” MVP was shown talking with Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin while Saxton hyped the VIP Lounge for after a break… [C]
A graphic hyped Raw Underground for the final hour of the show and spotlighted Dabba-Kato (f/k/a Babatunde)…
MVP stood in the ring with Lashley and Benjamin and said it was a very different VIP Lounge. MVP complained about the “mysterious happenings” and blamed the technical difficulties for his loss last week.
Apollo Crews made his entrance and taunted MVP by pointing out that he was holding the new U.S. Championship that MVP paid thousands of dollars for. MVP said Crews makes a lot of bad decisions, including coming to ringside when he’s outnumbered. Crews said he’s allowed to make bad decisions because he’s a bad man. Crews took a turn for the serious and said the only lights that will go out at SummerSlam are MVP’s.
Lashley and Benjamin rolled to ringside, which led to Crews sliding in the ring between them. Crews punched MVP, then picked up one of the VIP Lounge couches and tossed it over the top rope toward the three Hurt Business members on the floor. [C]
4. U.S. Champion Apollo Crews vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/MVP, Bobby Lashley) in a non-title match. The match was joined in progress. Crews performed a powerslam and followed up with a standing moonsault or a near fall. Benjamin ended up at ringside. Crews ran the ropes and was distracted by Lashley taking a swipe at his knees. Benjamin returned to the ring and hit Crews from behind, then rolled him up and pinned him.
Shelton Benjamin defeated Apollo Crews in a non-title match.
After the match, Lashley was about to put the Full Nelson on Crews, but MVP called him off. MVP said he needs Crews healthy at SummerSlam. Lashley released the hold. MVP told Crews that he was trying to look out for him. Crews blasted MVP with an enziguiri and rushed out of the ring…
Powell’s POV: This company just can’t stop themselves from booking secondary champions to lose non-title matches.
Phillips said a cinderblock had been thrown through the WWE Performance Center window. He said they had footage. A security guard was shown running up to members of Retribution and telling them to go home. One of the males in the group used a deep voice while telling the security guard, “No, you go home.” One of the other masked men threw a cinderblock through the glass door, then threw a second cinderblock for no reason. The Retribution members celebrated and ran away… [C]
Powell’s POV: WWE Antifa still hasn’t topped the crazed fan who smeared his own feces on the PC wall and ended up being shot by police during another incident.
Backstage, Mickie James was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. James said the other women are sadly mistaken if they think she doesn’t have gold on her mind. Natalya and Lana were on the set and laughed at James. Natalya said she’s the best of all time. Lana called it #boat. James said she expected that from Lana, but Natalya has a legacy all of her own. “You’ve worked so hard off your family’s coattails.” James said the thing about boats is that they sink. She said she would see them next week…
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see James back, but I could do without Natalya and Lana being just latest to play WWE’s version of Mean Girls.
A video package recapped last week’s Raw Underground segments…
Footage aired of Ivar telling a blonde woman (I believe it was last week’s celebrity) how he dunked a basketball. Erik, Ricochet, and Cedric Alexander showed up and told Ivar that their match was up next. The woman delivered the usual line about Ivar being cute while Erik got the “not so much” treatment… [C]
The broadcast team narrated highlights of the Seth Rollins and Dominik Mysterio angle…
5. Cedric Alexander, Ricochet, Erik, and Ivar vs. Akira Tozawa and Ninjas. Ricochet delivered a crane kick to one of the ninjas. Tozawa ordered the R-Truth ninja to enter the ring, but he dropped off the apron. Tozawa followed. In the ring, the Viking Raiders hit their finisher on another ninja and pinned him…
Cedric Alexander, Ricochet, Erik, and Ivar beat Akira Tozawa and Ninjas in 1:10.
After the match, the R-Truth ninja rolled up Tozawa and pinned him on the entrance ramp. The R-Truth ninja unmasked and shockingly revealed himself to be R-Truth, much to the surprise of no one other than Tozawa…
Powell’s POV: Vince McMahon doesn’t like having wrestlers share first names because he thinks it confuses fans, but he has awful comedy ninjas wearing costumes that look similar to what the invading heel faction is wearing?
Charly Caruso actually said that R-Truth “finally got his baby back.” She interviewed WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, who spoke about Randy Orton. McIntyre said Orton takes out legends for self preservation reasons. McIntyre said Orton will realize that evolution has passed him by. McIntyre was about to leave, but Caruso asked him what would happen if Kevin Owens beat Orton. McIntyre said that he and Owens would then have a long talk about the future of WWE Raw… [C]
5. Liv Morgan (w/Ruby Riott) vs. Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay). The IIconics did their Heckle and Jeckle mic work on the way to the ring. Royce caught Morgan with a nice spin kick about a minute into the match. Moments later, they both landed simultaneous kicks and fell to the mat. Kay tried to interfere. Riott tried to cut her off, but the referee and Morgan saw Riott and thought she was trying to get involved. Royce hit a distracted Morgan from behind and then hit a Deja Vu finisher and scored the pin.
Peyton Royce defeated Liv Morgan in 2:00.
After the match, Morgan was leery of Riott, who tried to explain what happened…
Powell’s POV: Here’s a crazy idea. Riott could simply show Morgan a replay of what happened. Is there a secret pro wrestling bylaw that prohibits wrestling characters from watching replays and shows they appear on?
The broadcast team narrated highlights of Asuka’s feud with Sasha Banks and Bayley, including the angle that set up tonight’s match…
The giant dude was shown standing out front of the Raw Underground door. Shane McMahon showed up and asked if there were any issues. The man said no. Shane addressed the camera and hyped Raw Underground, which Phillips said was coming up next… [C]
A fight was taking place in the rope-less Raw Underground ring. Shane McMahon noted that Cal Bloom and Riddick Moss were the fighters. Moss took out Bloom with a punch to the eye, then the referee called off their fight. Shane told viewers to stay tuned…
Powell’s POV: For the second straight week, WWE promoted Raw Underground for the top of the third hour only to actually start the segments before that time. Strange. By the way, Cal Bloom is the son of former Beverly Brother and Destruction Crew tag team wrestler Wayne Bloom.
6. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Asuka in a non-title match (Asuka gets a Raw Women’s Championship match at SummerSlam with a win). Asuka was all over Bayley the moment the bell rang to start the match.
[Hour Three] The lights flickered at the top of the hour while the match continued. Bayley had taken over the offense, but Asuka caught her with a kick to the face. The lights continued to flicker, which the broadcast team and the wrestlers just ignored. Asuka hit Bayley with a hip attack and covered her for a two count. Bayley rolled to ringside a short time later. [C]
Banks took advantage of the referee being distracted by slamming her leg onto the apron. Asuka bounced back and got a couple of near falls while Banks expressed concern from the floor. Bayley rallied and performed a top rope elbow drop on Asuka that led to a near fall.
Bayley caught Asuka with a spinning back fist, then performed a sunset bomb that drove her into the turnbuckle. Bayley played to the spectator wrestlers and was then rolled into the Asuka Lock. Bayley tapped out. Banks tried to attack Asuka, who rolled to ringside…
Asuka defeated Bayley in 15:10 to earn a Raw Women’s Championship match at SummerSlam.
Powell’s POV: This was easily the best match of the night. That’s not saying much, but this was really well worked.
Shane McMahon stood in the ring and introduced Arturo Ruas, who received a graphic. Shane said Ruas was a 17-time amateur wrestling champion of Brazil. The other fighter was not introduced. Ruas kicked the guy out of the ring. Once he returned, Ruas destroyed him with punches and elbows, then waited for him to stand up and knocked him out with a kick. After the fight, Shane asked if anyone wanted to take on Ruas. No one stepped up. Shane said he was out too… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, at least Ruas was given a graphic. The production of this is still ridiculously annoying with constant camera cuts.
Dabba-Kato was given a graphic and then he squashed an unnamed fighter. He grabbed the guy by the junk, yelled in his face, and then punched him out. Shayna Baszler entered the ring. It looked like she and Kato might go at it, but Shane stepped in and asked him to give the ring to Baszler.
Shane asked who would take on Baszler. No one stepped up, so Baszler dropped to the floor and punched a woman in the face. Baszler rolled her onto the mat and worked her over. Another women tried to help, but Baszler beat her up. Another woman had a little more luck, but Baszler ultimately got the better of her. All three women went after Baszler, who beat them all. Shane asked what would happen next week on Raw Underground. He told viewers to tune in and find out…
Powell’s POV: I hope the answer to Shane’s question is that these segments start to develop more of a structure and purpose. They showcased the winning fighters nicely and that’s something, but it all feels too random.
The broadcast team spoke until the cameras cut outside the building where Retribution had tipped over a car…
Randy Orton and Ric Flair made their entrance… [C] Kevin Owens made his entrance…
7. Randy Orton (w/Ric Flair) vs. Kevin Owens. Phillips said Owens is fighting for some of the legends he grew up watching that Orton has taken out recently such as Edge, Christian, and Big Show. Owens dodged an RKO attempt and superkicked Orton. Owens followed up with a cannonball in the corner. Owens rolled to the floor while Owens sold shoulder pain. Owens recovered and performed a cannonball onto Orton, who was up against the barricade. [C]
Owens taunted Flair by woooing while he worked over Orton in the ring. Orton rolled to ringside. Owens followed. Orton reversed a whip that sent Owens into the ring steps. Owens was going to be counted out, but Orton rolled back to the floor to break the count. Saxton said Orton enjoyed the process of torturing his opponents. Orton ran Owens into the ring steps again.
Owens was able to return to the ring. Orton stomped on both of Owens’ ankles. Owens rallied with a senton, but Orton quickly took control again by performing a belly to back suplex on the broadcast table. Back inside the ring, Owens punched Orton from the ropes and then performed a senton for a near fall. Owens set up for a Stunner, but Orton shoved him off and hit a Stunner of his own before winning by pinfall.
Randy Orton defeated Kevin Owens in 13:15.
Flair raised the arm of Orton and talked a bit of smack to Owens. Orton took the mic and called for Flair to stick around. Orton said they had something to talk about and then they needed to celebrate… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match was laid out in a way that let Owens look like he showed a lot of heart, but the right guy went over in clean and decisive fashion. I really like the hook going into the final commercial break of Orton asking Flair to stick around.
Orton told Flair that his mouth and ego were the reason he had the match with Owens. He said he can’t be mad at Flair. He recalled Flair saving him from a situation he got himself into in Peoria. Orton spoke about how he loved and respected Flair, but said he no longer does. Orton said Flair is now a liability to him.
Orton said Flair took him under his wing because he wanted him to be the son that he wish he had. Orton asked Flair if he was going to cry. He told him that’s all he’s good for now is crying. Orton told him to sob like a baby. Orton said Flair isn’t the guy that everyone looked up to years ago.
Orton said the Flair he looked up to wouldn’t need a pacemaker or slipped into a coma two summers ago. Orton said the Flair he looked up to wasn’t a whore for the spotlight like he is now. Orton said Flair is washed up and can’t do it anymore. Orton said that he has a chance to win the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, and that’s the only thing Flair should have been worried about.
Flair said he was taking it personal and he wanted Orton to know a few things. Flair said the Ric Flair from 2001 is no longer there anymore. Flair said he likes the spotlight. He said he’s 71 year-old and he’s still on Raw. He said guys like Hulk Hogan call him and ask him how it is. Flair said it’s the greatest feeling in the world. He said he wants Orton’s approval and he wants to be there when Orton wins his 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th championship to break his record. Flair said it’s not John Cena’s record, it’s his record.
Flair said Orton knows what he went through during his career. He said Orton is the greatest performer in the world today. Flair said he loves being there with Orton, but he said he can’t get mad anymore because after being intensive care, all he wanted to do was tell the people he hadn’t told that he loves them. Flair said he’s Charlotte’s dad and he wants to be part of Orton’s life. He said he’s not that Flair anymore.
Orton pulled the mic away from Flair and then hugged him. The spectator wrestlers applauded. Orton waited until Flair turned around and then low-blowed him. The lights flickered. Orton gently laid Flair down in the ring and then knelt over him while he sold. Orton could be seen thanking Flair for everything while Flair sold.
Orton stood up and the spectator wrestlers started calling out not to do it. Orton backed into the corner and set up for a kick. The lights went out for a second. Orton went for the kick and the lights went out. When they turned on, Flair was lying on his back out cold. Orton took Flair’s hand, then spoke into his ear.
Drew McIntyre ran out and chased Orton out of the ring, calling him a son of a bitch. McIntyre checked on Flair. Referees and producers ran out and checked on Flair. McIntyre glared at Orton, who watched from the stage. McIntyre shook his head in disgust while Orton stared at him and then started seething. McIntyre said everything is coming to Orton at SummerSlam. “I’m going to hurt you, Randy,” McIntyre said. “I’m going to hurt you bad, you evil son of a bitch”…
Powell’s POV: This was outstanding and it sure beat the hell out of another campy invasion. Orton continues to be on fire and this was a good, logical story with some very biting comments from Orton delivered at Flair’s expense. Flair delivered a good performance, as he was emotional, but not in an over the top way. I actually thought this would be the scene the night after SummerSlam when Orton blamed Flair for costing him the match to McIntyre. The WWE Championship match at SummerSlam is the best match that WWE has to offer right now and I’m anxious to see it, which is more than I can say about damn near every pay-per-view match that WWE has held during the pandemic. Let me know what you thought of Raw by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll available on the main page. I will be back shortly with my same night audio review for Dot Net Members.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...