By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,430)
Live from Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
Aired October 19, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] A new Raw opening aired with new music and the inclusion of the newly drafted talent. A graphic noted that it was the season premiere…
Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe checked in from the broadcast table. Phillips touted ThunderDome, and touted Sunday’s WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Phillips hyped Randy Orton delivering a “message from hell” to Drew McIntyre. Joe hyped Keith Lee vs. Braun Strowman, and Saxton touted the newly drafted wrestlers while a graphic with the new talent appeared.
As the broadcast team was talking, the lighting turned red. Alexa Bliss stood in the middle of the ring. “Monday Night Raw, he’s here,” she said. “Let him in.” “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt made his entrance and joined Bliss in the ring where they held hands.
The Retribution logo appeared on the ThunderDome screens. The Retribution members surrounded the ring while Fiend and Bliss remained motionless while holding hands in the ring. Mustafa Ali stood at ringside and smirked, then the Retribution members entered the ring and surrounded Fiend and Bliss. Ali held up his hand, but then the lights went out. When the lights turned on, Fiend and Bliss were gone.
The Hurt Business made their entrance. The foursome quickly cleared the Retribution members from the ring. Cedric Alexander performed a flip dive heading into a break…
Powell’s POV: Another tease for something interesting with The Fiend that turns out to be nothing. It was clever and fit what we’ve seen from Fiend in the past, yet this was just as underwhelming as the time The Fiend approached Vince McMahon and nothing happened. On a positive note, I like the new opening to the show.
A Matt Riddle video package aired to trumpet his arrival on Raw…
1. “The Hurt Business” Bobby Lashley, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander vs. “Retribution” Mustafa Ali, T-Bar, Mace, and Slapjack in an eight-man tag match. Ali had T-Bar (Dominik Dijakovic) start the match against Lashley. T-Bar got some offense in, but Lashley put him down with a Flatliner.
Slapjack (Shane Thorne) tagged in and was roughed up by Lashley. Alexander tagged himself into the match. Slapjack was isolated with MVP tagging in and getting a two count. Alexander tagged back in. Alexander went to the ropes, but he was distracted by the other Retribution members, allowing Slapjack to pull him off the ropes.
Mustafa Ali tagged in and worked over Alexander. Ali dumped Alexander to ringside, then slipped between the ropes to the floor and slammed his head into the barricade. Both teams had a standoff at ringside. In the background, The Fiend could be seen on the big screen. [C]
Mace (Dio Maddin) fought with Benjamin coming out of the break. Benjamin hit Mace with a high knee in the corner and then picked up a couple of two counts. A short time later, Lashley and T-Bar checked in. Lashley went after Ali, who was begging off. T-Bar grabbed Lashley from behind, but Lashley reversed position and applied the Hurt Lock (Full Nelson) and got the submission win…
The Hurt Business” Bobby Lashley, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander beat “Retribution” Mustafa Ali, T-Bar, Mace, and Slapjack in 11:15.
After the match, the lights went out. The Fiend was in the Retribution corner when the red lighting turned on. The Fiend manhandled the masked members. Fiend set up to give Ali a Sister Abigail in the ring, but T-Bar broke it up. The Fiend quickly regrouped and put down T-Bar with Sister Abigail. The Hurt Business stood in the entrance area and watched. The Fiend looked at the big screen where Alexa Bliss’s face was displayed. Bliss mouthed “let me in” while a male voice delivered the line… [C]
Powell’s POV: It sure seems like the end of near for Retribution. T-Bar tapped out and then took Fiend’s finisher. The only one who escaped was Ali, who was just revealed as their leader two weeks ago (the faction did not appear on last week’s Raw). I feel bad for Ali being the face of this mess, but I’m all for putting this to rest and giving Dijakovic, Maddin, Thorne, and Mia Yim a chance to actually get over without their bad Purge costumes. By the way, are viewers supposed to be happy that the heel Hurt Business beat fellow heels Retribution or because heel Fiend attacked heel Retribution?
The broadcast team hyped Keith Lee vs. Braun Strowman for later in the show…
AJ Styles made his entrance and was accompanied by a suit wearing Jordan Omogbehin, the giant doorman from Raw Underground. Omogbehin accompanied Styles to the ring and stood expressionless behind Styles, who delivered a promo.
Styles labeled himself the returning prodigal son. He boasted that he beat Jeff Hardy and Seth Rollins on Smackdown. Styles said it’s a new era that belongs to him, the face that runs the place. Matt Riddle made his entrance…
2. Matt Riddle vs. AJ Styles (w/Jordan Omogbehin). The referee asked Omogbehin to leave the ring, but he didn’t budge. The referee asked Styles to have the big man leave and threatened to disqualify Styles if he didn’t comply. The referee started to count, but Omogbehin grabbed his hand and stopped him. The referee asked nicely and said he was just trying to do his job. Styles told Omogbehin that it was his choice. The big man left the ring and the match started.
Riddle cleared Styles to ringside and wound up for a kick from the apron. Omogbehin stepped in front of Styles, which stopped Riddle in his tracks. [C] Riddle was dumped to ringside at one point. Omogbehin stood over him and then made a fist while Riddle stood up. Riddle scrambled back to the ring and was taken out by a Styles dropkick. Styles hit his Styles Clash finisher and scored the pin…
AJ Styles beat Matt Riddle in 9:35.
Powell’s POV: WWE listed Omogbehin’s name on the graphic, yet the broadcast team kept calling him “this huge man” rather than by his actual name. I was hoping we would see more of Joseph “Abyss” Park with Styles, but perhaps that’s a little more comedic than what creative is looking for from the Styles character at the moment. The addition of Omogbehin to his act feels fresh and will make Styles feel like more of a threat to Drew McIntyre once they get to that program. By the way, they had Booker T appear on a ThunderDome screen. Jeffrey Toobin would have been invited to appear on a ThunderDome screen if this were the Attitude Era.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton feud. It included footage along with a past Orton promo… Saxton hyped McIntyre as appearing after the break… [C]
Charly Caruso stood backstage and interviewed WWE Champion Drew McIntyre on the ring set. She asked how big a factor his lack of HIAC experience is compared to Orton being a veteran of the match. McIntyre respectfully took the mic and dismissed her.
McIntyre said Orton has been an entitled and selfish individual since the first time he met him. He also recalled Orton attacking Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Christian, and Big Show. McIntyre spoke about the HIAC match and said Orton thrives in that environment. He said that would give him a massive advantage against any other superstar, but he’s not just any other superstar.
McIntyre said experience counts for a lot, but so does life experience. McIntyre said he will put Orton through more hell than he could possibly imagine. McIntyre said he heard Orton has an interview later in the show and told him not to be surprised if he shows up…
Lana made her entrance and her breakup with Natalya was replayed along with Lana’s latest table spot and her battle royal win from last week.
[Hour Two] Asuka made her entrance…
3. Asuka vs. Lana for the Raw Women’s Championship. Ring announcer Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Asuka went for her finisher early, but Lana reached the ropes before she could apply it. Lana put Asuka down with a couple of kicks and got a two count. A short time later, Asuka rolled through a pin attempt and applied the Asuka Lock for the submission win.
Asuka defeated Lana in 2:15 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
After the match, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler hit the ring. Jax knocked Asuka down from behind. Jax and Baszler took Lana to ringside and put her through the table. They went after Asuka, who was able to fend them off… [C]
Powell’s POV: So that happened. Asuka didn’t really lock in her finisher, but Lana tapped anyways. This was the fifth time that Lana has been put through the broadcast table since her husband appeared on AEW Dynamite and said Vince McMahon can kiss his ass.
Jax and Baszler delivered an in-ring promo. They bickered a bit, but agreed that they own the Raw women’s division. Jax said if anyone disputes it, she dared them to come out and do something about it.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke made their entrance. They were followed by Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce, who tried to one-up one another during their entrance. For some reason, a referee was in the ring and was ready to start a match, but Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott made their entrance. Phillips said they were taking the opportunity to compete one more time on Raw…
4. WWE Women’s Tag Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke vs. Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce vs. Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott in a four-way. The broadcast team said they assumed it was a non-title match. The champs fought Rose and Brooke at ringside. Royce dove onto them, then Evans performed a moonsault onto them. Morgan and Riott performed dives off opposite corners onto the pile. [C]
Brooke overshot a moonsault and Jax and went for the pin, but Baszler broke it up. A short time later, Morgan made a blind tag and worked over Jax. Evans tagged in and was tripped and then worked over in the Riott Squad corner. The Riott Squad hit their double knees and Riott Kick finisher, but Baszler pulled Riott to ringside and applied her finisher, then rolled her back inside the ring. Jax tagged herself in and performed a Samoan Drop on Evans and then pinned her…
WWE Women’s Tag Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce, and Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott in 8:30 in a four-way non-title match.
Powell’s POV: If there’s a ref bump, it can take several minutes for WWE to get a second referee to the ring. But if there’s an impromptu match, a referee will show up in record time. Anyway, The Raw Women’s Championship title picture is weak. I’d like to see them get the tag titles off Jax and Baszler quickly so that we can get to Asuka vs. Baszler. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be happening soon.
Footage aired of the Jeff Hardy drunk driving angle on Smackdown from five months ago. Hardy was framed (by Sheamus) for a hit and run on Elias. Everyone knows it was Sheamus who was responsible, but Elias is a moron and blames Hardy… Elias was shown talking with his band backstage while Phillips hyped his concert… [C]
Powell’s POV: Did Elias join Menudo?
Elias was introduced and he stood on the stage with a full band. Elias plugged his album “Universal Truth.” He did the “Walk With Elias” bit and the production team played along. Elias performed the song “Amen” and said he hoped Jeff Hardy was listening closely. Pyro shot off on the stage, then Elias and his band played “Lead Me Home” from the album.
Once he finished the songs, Elias thanked the fans and plugged his album again. “I love none of you,” Elias said. Elias teased leaving, then said the fans wanted an encore. A guitar player stood with his back to Elias and played a solo. In a shocking twist, the mystery guitarist was Jeff Hardy. Hardy swung his guitar at Elias, who ducked and took cover…
Powell’s POV: Wait, they are actually serious about this album? And it’s a serious album? Why? We lost Eddie Van Halen earlier this month and now we’re getting an Elias album next week. Is there anything more 2020 than that?
The Miz and John Morrison were talking backstage when Tucker showed up and blamed them for splitting up the Heavy Machinery tag team. Tucker said he was going to find a tag team partner to face them. Miz said they accept, then he and Morrison laughed at the idea of Tucker finding a tag team partner…
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance… [C] An ad touted Smackdown airing on FS1 this Friday (due to the World Series). The ad played up Roman Reigns and Jey Uso, and questioned if Bayley will sign the contract for her title match against Sasha Banks at HIAC… [C]
Elias was interviewed by Caruso backstage. Elias vented about being interrupted again, then challenged Hardy to a match at Hell in a Cell…
Kingston and Woods delivered a promo in the ring. Woods got worked up about bad things that have happened to them. Kingston said it would be okay and told Woods just to breathe. Sheamus made his entrance. He said New Day’s sendoff on Smackdown was embarrassing. He called them two-thirds and said Kingston would end up on the wrong end of a Brogue Kick.
Kingston said he and Woods might be on a different brand than Big E, but that doesn’t mean New Day is done. He said E holds it down on Smackdown, while they do it on Raw. Sheamus told them to look at reality. He said the power of positivity isn’t reality. He said New Day is divided and divided they will fall. Kingston and Woods mocked Sheamus for being dropped on a car and said that was a fall. They did the “New Day rocks” bit…
5. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Sheamus. Phillips said it was the first time that Kingston and Sheamus met in a Raw match in nine years. Kingston went for an early dive on Sheamus at ringside, but Sheamus caught him and slammed his head on the ring apron. [C]
Big E was shown watching on a ThunderDome screen. In the ring, Kingston performed a standing stomp on Sheamus and made his comeback. Kingston performed a Boom Drop and a cross body block for a two count. Sheamus caught Kingston going for a cross body block and then uranage slammed him for a two count of his own.
Sheamus put Kingston in a cloverleaf. Kingston neared the ropes. Sheamus pulled Kingston back, but Kingston countered into a pin for a near fall. Kingston went for his finisher, but Sheamus avoided it and stumbled while trying to catch Kingston. Sheamus performed an Alabama Slam for a near fall.
[Hour Three] Sheamus brought Kingston to the ropes. Kingston fought free and performed a Russian leg sweep style move from the top rope for a near fall. Kingston went for an SOS, but Sheamus countered into a pin for a two count. Kingston performed a crucifix rollup for a two count. Kingston blasted Sheamus with Trouble in Paradise and then pinned him. Mark Henry also appeared on ThunderDome…
Kofi Kingston beat Sheamus in 13:15.
Powell’s POV: A longer than expected match. I was surprised to see Kingston win if for no other reason than he’s working tag matches while Sheamus is the singles wrestler.
The broadcast team set up a recap of the opening eight-man tag match, and the post match involvement of The Fiend…
Mustafa Ali delivered a backstage promo while the other four members of Retribution stood by. Ali spoke about creating chaos and said he could do it with a laptop or a cellphone and with one click he can make anyone’s world come crumbling down. Ali called WWE corrupt and said they don’t know how to make a buck with someone with his name. He said he was watching while the spineless superstars plotted to get ahead.
Ali said he was the hacker on Smackdown and he did it because he wants the entire world to know that “this sick place is infecting everyone with greed and corruption.” He said good, talented individuals are being abandoned and their dreams are left to die. Ali promised that their truth will be heard. He said that if you try to stop the truth from being heard then they will shut you down…
Powell’s POV: A well delivered promo that didn’t pack much of a punch considering they lost clean in their second match earlier in the night.
The Miz and John Morrison made their entrance for a tag team match… [C]
Titus O’Neil made a backstage pitch to The Hurt Business about joining the faction. He said he dresses the part and could take them worldwide. MVP had a quick talk with the others, then said “we are in business.” Titus thought he was in, but they told him again that “we are in business.” The Hurt Business attacked O’Neil and put the boots to him…
The Miz and Morrison called out Tucker and his partner. Tucker introduced El Gran Gordo, who was Otis in a mask and cape. Miz called him out for being Otis in a mask and noted that he was holding the Money in the Bank lunchbox. Tucker said he was just holding it for Otis.
Miz vented about Otis wasting the MITB contract. Miz said he’s been in the WWE ring for 15 years and is a Hall of Famer. He said he’s represented the company in all forms of media and is championship material, yet the fans boo him and cheer Otis. Miz said it’s because Otis is the underdog story.
Miz said being called an underdog is code for people feeling sorry for Otis. Miz boasted that he separated Otis from Tucker and Mandy Rose, and said he would separate him from the MITB contract. “You can put a mask on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” Miz said. Tucker and El Gran Gordo charged the ring and cleared Miz and Morrison… [C]
Powell’s POV: For those of you simpletons who don’t speak Spanish, El Gran Gordo translates to “The Big Fat Man” in English. Fine, I’m an English speaking simpleton too, but I know how to use the Spanish to English translation option.
6. The Miz and John Morrison vs. Tucker and El Gran Gordo. Mark Henry was still watching via ThunderDome. Gordo worked the match wearing his cape. Tucker made a hot tag, then Gordo worked over both opponents and had Miz pinned after a powerslam, but Morrison broke it up. Tucker took out Morrison. Miz took out Tucker.
Miz went for his finisher on Gordo, but R-Truth entered the ring holding his 24/7 Title belt and walked out the other side. Drew Gulak and Akira Tozawa chased after him. Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado were apparently chasing Truth, but they stopped to watch as Gordo performed Otis’s signature spots on Miz and got the pin…
Tucker and El Gran Gordo beat The Miz and John Morrison in 4:40.
Ramblin’ Rabbit was shown holding carrots in a box with the Raw logo on the side. Phillips hyped the Firefly Funhouse… [C]
Powell’s POV: It was strange that WWE moved everyone that Otis was associated with or feuding with to Raw, so this might not be the end of El Gran Gordo. It’s a single note joke, but so is the 24/7 Title nonsense and that hasn’t stopped WWE from running that into the ground week after week.
Backstage, Gordo and Tucker celebrated with Kingston and Woods. Mandy Rose showed up and gave Gordo a ham…
The latest Firefly Funhouse segment aired. Wyatt was unpacking from the move to Raw. He pulled his mallet, the black sheep mask, and a weird DX symbol out of a box. Wyatt said it made him sad to leave his friends on Smackdown, but he can’t wait to make new friends on Raw. Fiend highlights were shown.
Wyatt laughed maniacally. Abby told him to quiet down so she could sleep. Huskus checked in and said he likes it raw. Rabbit said he will be a better husband. Wyatt said he didn’t know Rabbit had a wife. Rabbit said Wyatt never asked. Wyatt promised to be a better friend. A montage of Ramblin’ Rabbit’s various deaths were shown. Wyatt said the past is in our heads, but the future is in our hands. Mercy the Buzzard ate Ramblin’ Rabbit again.
Alexa Bliss made her first appearance. Wyatt said he saved the best for last. “And we’re just getting started,” Bliss said. They both waved goodbye…
Braun Strowman made his entrance… [C] Keith Lee made his entrance an highlights aired of the last Strowman and Lee exchange…
7. Keith Lee vs. Braun Strowman. Ric Flair was shown watching via ThunderDome. Strowman told Lee that he “picked the wrong one.” Strowman jumped out to a fast start and hit a running shoulder block at ringside. Back inside the ring, Strowman went for a powerslam, but he winced in pain while the broadcast team told the story that Strowman was nursing a rib injury.
Lee targeted the ribs of Strowman. JBL was shown watching via ThunderDome. Strowman used his head to deliver a low blow, then blasted Lee with a big boot and pinned him.
Braun Strowman beat Keith Lee in 3:20.
After the match, Lee kicked Strowman in the balls and then jawed at him while both men held their junk. Lee told Strowman that he tangled with the wrong one. Saxton said it’s not over between Strowman and Lee…
Orton’s appearance was hyped for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess they are building up to a nut cup on a pole match or something. I enjoyed their last exchange and the big brawl with the bump off the stage stunt. This was weak and didn’t leave me anxious to see a rematch.
The Hell in a Cell structure lowered around the ring. Phillips hyped Raw Talk with guests Jeff Hardy, Nikki Cross, The Miz, and John Morrison…
Randy Orton made his entrance and sat down in a chair inside the HIAC structure. Orton said he’s understood himself better and knew what he was truly capable of when he’s left the HIAC structure. He said it will be his eighth time inside HIAC. He said he remembered facing Mark Henry, Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, Daniel Bryan, John Cena twice, becoming WWE Champion twice, and looking Undertaker in the eye and earning his respect inside HIAC.
Orton said each of the men he mentioned are either Hall of Famers or will be one day. Orton said the word that’s synonymous with Hall of Famer is legend. He said the world legend gets thrown around rather loosely these days. Orton said there’s legend and then there’s legendary moments. Orton said it was a legendary moment when Drew McIntyre beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance. McIntyre stood outside the locked cage door. Orton taunted him and told him to break the lock if he wants him so bad. McIntyre pulled out bolt cutters, which he used to snap the lock off. Orton stood in the ring a chair in hand. McIntyre closed the door behind him and said, “You and me now, Randy, your ass belongs to me,” to close the show…
Powell’s POV: To be continued at HIAC, I guess. WWE did a really nice job of making the Smackdown season premiere feel bigger than it really should have, but Raw just kind of repeated what Smackdown did with the legends and presented an inferior episode. Worse yet, Raw didn’t generate much excitement for Hell in a Cell, which is a bigger issue than usual with Smackdown playing to fewer viewers on FS1 this week. I am looking forward to the WWE Championship match, but the match’s final push was limited and there’s only so much excitement can muster up over the newly teased Hardy vs. Elias match. I will be back shortly with my same night audio review for Dot Net Members. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade in our post show poll available via the main page.
Join me for live coverage of WWE Hell in a Cell on Sunday night.