Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/16/20 Review

Welcome to another WWE Raw Deal review right here on TJRWrestling. I have reviewed every episode of Raw for nearly eleven years now and tonight’s show is a unique situation because it’s taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. We got a preview of what that looks like with Smackdown last Friday and it was an eerie sight to watch a WWE show with no fans in attendance making noise. It’s the world we live in while dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic that could be out of our lives in a few months, but we don’t know that. Please stay safe, be smart about what you do and I’m really hoping the world goes back to normal soon. I don’t know when “soon” is, but I sure miss watching sports and doing regular things in my life. As a writer that works from home, I can continue to do what I do at TJRWrestling by reviewing current wrestling as well as wrestling from the past, but I am sick of staying inside already.

Prior to tonight’s Raw, WWE announced that WrestleMania 36 will take place on Sunday, April 5th and that it will also be at the WWE PC in Orlando with no fans in attendance. It will be broadcast live on WWE Network as scheduled at 7pmET. All the WrestleMania weekend events in Tampa like Hall of Fame, Axxess and NXT Takeover are expected to not take place. WWE likely will continue to run Raw, Smackdown and NXT from the WWE PC for the foreseeable future.

Live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1399 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Let’s roll.

The Raw intro video aired to begin the show.

The show began with Raw’s announce team of Tom Phillips, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Byron Saxton standing in the ring. They spoke about how the empty seats reinforce that there’s no audience, but WWE superstars are here to perform for us. Jerry Lawler was excited about Austin being there. Phillips cued up a replay of last week.

A clip aired from last week’s Raw aired showing AJ Styles doing a promo saying he is going to take The Undertaker’s soul at WrestleMania.

The announcers spoke about how The Undertaker is there to sign the contract with Styles to set up their WrestleMania match.

Let’s Hear from Edge

Edge made his entrance in the empty arena to begin the show. Edge tweeted yesterday that he was driving from his home in North Carolina to be there. Edge said it’s been a strange few months for his wife Beth and him. They showed clips of the Orton/Edge story that has seen Orton attack Edge, attack Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix (plus Matt Hardy, who is gone now) and then last week Edge hit an RKO on Orton. Edge also beat up MVP with a Conchairto attack.

Edge said that when Bob Orton introduced him to Randy 21 years ago, he just knew that everything from that moment was going to change. Edge said that they stole the show for the IC Title, Rated RKO, destroying DX and finding out they disliked the same people. Edge talked about how they both credited Mick Foley for pushing them and handing the torch to them. Edge said that there’s one lesson from Mick that Randy didn’t take and that lesson is grit. Edge said after the neck surgeries and wrist surgeries, he found a way to come back. Edge said that Orton is an entitled brat while adding that Orton is one of the best to ever do this, but Randy had this handed to you on a silver platter and it kills Orton that Edge became what he did in his career. Edge said that he had a mom that was a single parent that broke her back to make sure that his dreams came true and they did.

Edge talked about how at the Royal Rumble, he threw Orton out of the Rumble and this is what it’s all about it. Edge said that Randy was jealous because he can’t do what Edge does and that tears Randy apart. Edge said that what Randy didn’t realize is that Beth was going to retire for Edge again because she didn’t think somebody should be forced to retire again. Edge said that Randy couldn’t let her finish what she wanted to say. Edge said that Randy pulled him away from making a horrible decision.

Edge said it’s pretty simple: “At WrestleMania, if you’ve got the guts and I’m looking at you right now (into the camera), if you’ve got the guts, it’s Edge vs. Orton in a Last Man Standing Match.” Edge said that this is not a story that Randy dictates and he writes this story. Edge said that at WrestleMania, you won’t get back up.

Analysis: That was really well done as you would expect with Edge revealing that his wife wanted to retire again, but now he won’t be doing that because he wants revenge. I liked the intensity of the promo. We know Edge signed for three years in this comeback, but it’s not like they’re going to come out to say that. This set up the Edge/Orton match that was obvious since the attack in late January. The big difference between watching promos with no fans and when it’s in an arena is that the wrestlers don’t have to pause while the fans cheer, boo or chant something. They can just go straight through the promo when there aren’t fans there.

It was noted by Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix that he had to drive 17 hours to get to Raw.

Analysis: If he did the promo from his kitchen it probably would have been fine, but doing it in a ring did feel more appropriate.

There was a shot from earlier today with an 18-wheeler type truck showing up that said “The Man” on it and “Bad Lass” for Becky Lynch. That’s how Becky arrived at the arena.

(Commercial)

The Raw announce team was shown at their desk standing close to eachother. I guess they aren’t practicing “social distancing” that much.

The men’s Royal Rumble match aired in full from there. It was a 60-minute match. Add in commercials and it was over 90 minutes, so it was a way to fill up about half of Raw’s broadcast. Here’s my Royal Rumble match review in full from the show that took place on January 26.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match with 30 Superstars

Brock Lesnar, from Raw, made his entrance for the Royal Rumble match as the #1 guy in the ring along with the WWE Title and Paul Heyman by his side. Elias, from Smackdown, was next at #2 with his guitar. Elias insulted Lesnar, then he did his “Walk with Elias” promo with the crowd joining in. Elias did a song he called “Sacrificial Lamb” as the crowd clapped along with him while singing that he’s got one more song to sing, Lesnar is pacing, he’s ready to attack and he’ll smash a guitar on Heyman’s back. Lesnar went after Elias.

Lesnar tackled Elias, put him up against the turnbuckle and then he hit him with a German Suplex. Heyman slid Elias’ guitar into Lesnar, so Brock hit Elias in the back with the guitar. Lesnar tossed Elias over the top to the floor. Erick Rowan was #3 from Raw and he had his cage with a cloth with him. Rowan went in the ring, there was a waistlock and then Lesnar hit a clothesline on Rowan to eliminate him in eight seconds. The fans booed as Lesnar urged on more competition. Robert Roode from Smackdown was #4 with a concerned look on his glorious face as he slowly walked down to the ring. Roode was not on the original list of entrants for this match. Roode got into the ring, he got some punches, Lesnar with a kick to the ribs, Roode with a boot and then Lesnar with a clothesline. Lesnar with an F5 on Roode in the middle of the ring. Lesnar eliminated Roode easily. John Morrison was #5 from Smackdown for his seventh Royal Rumble appearance. Morrison went after Lesnar, who caught him and gave Morrison a belly to belly suplex over the top to the floor. Lesnar celebrated with the WWE Title in his hands.

Kofi Kingston was #6 from Smackdown and he’s the man that lost the WWE Title to Lesnar last October. Kingston slid into the ring, kick to the ribs, punches, the fans cheered loudly and Lesnar drove Kingston into the turnbuckle. Lesnar pulled Kingston across the ring and then Lesnar hit a German Suplex on Kingston. Lesnar picked up Kingston and drove him into the turnbuckle. Rey Mysterio from Raw was #7 as Lesnar turned to face a former rival of his. Mysterio went after Lesnar with kicks, then a dropkick to the knee and Lesnar shoved Mysterio down. Lesnar whipped Mysterio into Kingston against the turnbuckle. Lesnar with a double clothesline on Mysterio and Kingston to knock them down. Lesnar with a German Suplex on Mysterio across the ring. Mysterio and Kingston both went under the bottom rope to go to the floor. Big E from Smackdown was #8 as he ran down to the ring to help Kingston and Mysterio back to their feet as the three faces went after Lesnar at the same time. Lesnar shoved them all down and then Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise kick on Lesnar. Big E hit the Big Ending on Lesnar, Mysterio hit the 619 kick on Lesnar, Big E with a corner splash, Mysterio jumped onto Brock, but Brock threw Mysterio over the top to the floor. Lesnar jumped off Big E’s back to knock down Kingston with a clothesline. That was impressive. Lesnar hit Big E with a clothesline to eliminate him. Lesnar gave Kingston an F5 over the top to the floor. It’s Cesaro from Smackdown in at #9 as he ran down to the ring to face off with Lesnar. Cesaro with uppercuts, but Lesnar came back with a vertical suplex and a clothesline to get rid of Cesaro easily. Shelton Benjamin, from Raw, was #10 as Lesnar smiled at the sight of his longtime friend and training partner since they wrestled at the University of Minnesota together. Benjamin had a smile on his face. Heyman hugged Benjamin at ringside and said he was happy to see him. Heyman wanted Benjamin to reunite with Lesnar. Benjamin and Lesnar hugged in the ring. It looked like they would work together, but then Lesnar gave him a German Suplex and a clothesline to eliminate Benjamin. Lesnar is laughing about it while Booker asked how gullible Benjamin can be. That’s nine eliminations for Lesnar.

Shinsuke Nakamura, the Intercontinental Champion from Smackdown, was #11 as Sami Zayn walked out with him, but then he went to the back. Nakamura won the Rumble two years ago. Nakamura hit a spinning kick to the head of Lesnar. Nakamura charged at him, but Lesnar picked up Nakamura and dumped him over the top to the floor. It was Montel Vontavious Porter aka MVP at #12 and Lesnar was dancing to his theme song. MVP walked around the ring to chase after Heyman, who ran around the ring. Lesnar grabbed MVP, brought him into the match and MVP worked over Lesnar with punches, but it didn’t last long as Lesnar hit an F5 on MVP. Lesnar tossed MVP over the top to the floor to eliminate him. Keith Lee was up next at #13 from NXT and he’s the NXT North American Champion. The fans gave Lee a big ovation as a babyface that’s on the rise. Lesnar with two knees to the ribs, Lee with a shoulder tackle and a second shoulder tackle knocked Lesnar down, which drew a huge pop. Lee with a splash in the corner, then a lefty punch and Lesnar bounced off the turnbuckle for a double clothesline spot. I’m glad Lee was not eliminated quickly. That led to #14, who was Smackdown’s Braun Strowman and he got a big pop. Strowman with running corner splashes on both guys, then a dropkick on Lee to send him under the rope to the floor. Strowman left the ring with a running shoulder tackle on Lee. Strowman went back inside the ring with a clothesline on Lesnar. Strowman picked up Lesnar, but Lesnar came back with a German Suplex on Strowman, Lesnar with a German Suplex on Lee, Lesnar with a German Suplex on Strowman again and another German Suplex by Lesnar on Keith Lee. All three guys were down. Lee and Strowman bumped into eachother, they had a staredown and exchanged punches with eachother, so Lesnar dumped Lee and Strowman at the same time. That’s 13 eliminations for Lesnar, which ties the Rumble record that Strowman had in the 50-man Rumble match. That period felt longer than 90 seconds, but I’m not keeping track. Ricochet from Raw ran down to the ring as #15, he jumped onto Lesnar and Lesnar hit a backbreaker. Lesnar with a German Suplex on Ricochet to send him across the ring. Lesnar kicked away at Ricochet to keep him down.

Drew McIntyre was next from Raw as #16 in the match and Lesnar met him in the ring for a staredown. McIntyre told him he’s been waiting for this for a long time. Lesnar took off his black leather MMA gloves. Ricochet with a low blow kick to Lesnar and McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to eliminate Lesnar. There it is. Drew and Ricochet got together to get it done. Huge pop from the crowd!

Analysis: That could be the moment that sets up Brock Lesnar against Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania. I would love to see that. It was set up really well. I know people hated Lesnar dominating, but it was all done for a big moment like that and I think that will be huge for McIntyre’s career. I’m happy for Drew. It was also payback for Ricochet on Lesnar after Lesnar attacked him on Raw.

McIntyre battled with Ricochet briefly as McIntyre held Ricochet in his arms and tossed him over the top to eliminate him. Lesnar was still out on the floor as The Miz entered at #17 and he’s from Smackdown. Miz went after McIntyre, who avoided a Miz attack and hit a DDT on Miz. McIntyre with the Claymore Kick on Miz and McIntyre dumped Miz out of the ring. The fans chanted “na na na na hey hey goodbye” at Lesnar, which pissed him off. Lesnar and Heyman went behind the barricade and Lesnar had some words for McIntyre to tease a potential rivalry with them. It’s AJ Styles from Raw at #18 as he faced off with McIntyre, who knocked down Styles with a shoulder tackle. McIntyre wanted a suplex, but Styles hit him with a knee to stop that and Styles slapped on the Calf Crusher and McIntyre slammed AJ’s head into the mat to stop that. It’s Dolph Ziggler at #19 from Smackdown as Styles hit McIntyre with a shoulder tackle to the back of the leg. Ziggler and Styles briefly worked together until Ziggler knocked Styles down. McIntyre with a belly to belly throw across the ring on Ziggler. Karl Anderson of Raw and The OC was #20 as he ran down to the ring to save his buddy Styles from elimination. Ziggler got back into it with a superkick on McIntyre as Styles, Ziggler and Anderson briefly worked together until Styles sent Ziggler into Anderson, who hit a spinebuster on Ziggler. The four guys paired off in the corner as we entered the final third of the match.

The #21 entrant is a WWE Hall of Famer as Edge made his entrance to a huge pop. Nice pyro display for him. The crowd was on fire for Edge, who was rumored to be back for this match, then he denied it and here is in the flesh. It’s awesome to see Edge back in a WWE ring for the first time since he retired nine years ago. Edge ran into the ring with a Spear for Ziggler (the director missed that due to a crowd shot at the time), a Spear for Anderson and a Spear for McIntyre too. Styles with a Pele Kick for Edge, but Edge managed to come back with a Spear for him too and Styles took a flip bump to sell it in a big way. This is when Styles suffered a legit shoulder injury because he landed right on the left shoulder.

King Corbin from Smackdown was up next at #22 with a backbreaker Chokeslam to the knee on Anderson. The fans booed Corbin as usual. Edge tossed Styles over the top to the floor. We found at after the show that Styles was eliminated earlier than planned. It looked like Styles hurt his shoulder because he was grabbing at it while referees checked on him at ringside. I hope it’s not too serious for Styles. Matt Riddle from NXT was up next at #23 as the fans popped for the Bro, who went into the ring where he kicked off his flip flops. Riddle kicked Corbin, he kicked Anderson and he kicked McIntyre repeatedly. Edge went after Riddle, who hit a ripcord knee lift to the face of Edge. Corbin tossed Riddle over the top to the floor to get rid of the Original Bro easily. Luke Gallows of The OC group on Raw was next at #24 as the sixth man in the match. Gallows with a boot to the face of Corbin, then punches on Ziggler and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam on Edge. McIntyre went up to Corbin and tossed him over the top to the floor to get rid of him. That was McIntyre’s fourth elimination of the match. The OC duo hit the Magic Killer double team move on Edge. Randy Orton was #25 from Raw and he’s a two-time Rumble match winner as he ran into the ring to go after The OC boys. Orton with a RKO on Gallows, RKO on Anderson and Orton stared at his former Rated RKO partner Edge as the fans cheered them. Orton and Edge hit clotheslines to get rid of Anderson and Gallows together. Orton complimented Edge for having shredded abs, then they stomped away on Ziggler and McIntyre in the corners.

It’s Big Dog time at #26 as Roman Reigns from Smackdown joined the four other guys in the ring. Reigns with uppercut punches, then a Spear for Ziggler and Reigns eliminated Ziggler. It was down to Reigns, McIntyre, Orton, Edge and four more entrants still to come. Kevin Owens from Raw was in at #27 as he went after McIntyre with punches, a clothesline on Orton and Owens hit a cannonball on Reigns along with a cannonball on Edge. Owens with a Popup Powerbomb on McIntyre and a KO Stunner on Reigns. Owens kicked Orton and gave him a KO Stunner as well. It’s time for #28 and it’s Aleister Black from Raw, who went after Owens with a pump kick to the face. Black hit a knee on Edge, who rolled to the floor and then McIntyre ran right into a Black Mass kick by Black. Orton brought Edge back into the ring. There’s another Raw guy at #29 because here comes Samoa Joe, who ran down to the ring. Joe hit a jumping kick to the head of Black to knock him down against the turnbuckle. Owens with a cannonball splash on Black against the turnbuckle. Joe and Owens had a staredown leading to punches between them, Joe with an atomic drop and kick to the face. Seth Rollins is #30 from Raw and he was the winner of last year’s Royal Rumble match. Owens had Buddy Murphy and AOP members Akam and Rezar joining him on the way to the ring.

Rollins slowly walked down to the ring with his buddies. Joe and Owens went under the bottom rope leading to a brawl against the four heels on the floor. Rollins and Murphy pulled Edge out of the ring and whipped him into the barricade. AOP tossed Orton over an announce table, but he was not eliminated yet. Rollins hit The Stomp on McIntyre. Rollins kicked Reigns in the gut and hit him with The Stomp. Black attacked Rollins with a kick to the back. Black with a kick to the head of Rollins, Black went to the middle ropes, Murphy grabbed the leg and Rollins eliminated Black from the match. Owens hit a Stunner on Rollins, Owens tossed Rollins over the top, but AOP caught Rollins to save. AOP held KO’s arms and Rollins dumped Owens over the top to eliminate him. Joe with a Coquina Clutch on Rollins, Murphy kicked Joe in the back, Joe punched Murphy to knock him down and Rollins dumped out Joe. Black, Joe and Owens went brawling with Murphy and AOP as they went to the back.

There were five guys left in the Royal Rumble match with Rollins as the lone heel along with Reigns, Orton, McIntyre and Edge. The four faces surrounded Rollins in the ring. Rollins tried to reason with Reigns to team up with him again, but Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch. Orton hit a powerslam on Rollins. McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick on Rollins and eliminated him from the match.

The final four in the Men’s Royal Rumble are Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, Edge and Randy Orton. It looked like Edge and Orton wanted to work together as former partners. Orton sent Reigns shoulder first into the turnbuckle. McIntyre with a forearm to Orton, but Orton hit an RKO on McIntyre. Edge hit a Spear on McIntyre as Edge talked strategy with Orton again. Orton and Edge hit a Double RKO on McIntyre. Orton went up behind Edge looking like he might do something, then Edge turned around and Orton just smiled at him as if to say that’s what I do. Orton walked in front of Edge, so Edge grabbed Orton and eliminated his former tag team partner. That was cool just like Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix did to Natalya earlier.

It’s down to three men with Reigns, McIntyre and Edge. Reigns battled with Edge, Reigns hit an uppercut and a Superman Punch. Reigns set up in the corner for the Spear, Edge with a leapfrog, Edge ran the ropes and hit a Spear. Edge sent Reigns over the top, but Reigns held on. Reigns kicked Edge in the chest, Reigns pulled Edge over the top, they battled on the apron and Reigns punched Edge’s hand to eliminate him from the match.

The final two are Reigns and McIntyre. Reigns with a punch to McIntyre, he nearly eliminated McIntyre, but McIntyre came back with a Claymore Kick to knock Reigns down. McIntyre grabbed Reigns and eliminated Reigns for the victory! Drew McIntyre wins! Graves: “All I can say is that it’s about damn time!” I agree with that. It went 60:52.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: **** This was a great Royal Rumble match. I haven’t gone four stars out of five for that many Rumbles, so that tells you I liked it a lot. I thought it was a very entertaining Royal Rumble match that had some awesome moments and really put over Drew McIntyre in a big way. It’s what they needed to do with him. There will be some fans that hated the first half of the match with Lesnar dominating, but I feel like it was needed because it meant that much more when Ricochet and McIntyre hit the two moves to get rid of Lesnar. Listen to the crowd when that happened. It was awesome. I also really enjoyed Edge’s presence in the match because while it was expected due to reports from PWInsider a few months ago, you don’t really know until you see it. Edge also had a great showing in the match, he was in there for a long time and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. I marked out seeing him out there. I picked Roman Reigns to win, but when I did that, I also said if he didn’t win that would be even better because it would mean more for somebody else. Every year we talk about who doesn’t “need” the win and Reigns is that guy, so I’m glad they put Drew over huge and I’m glad that it was Reigns that Drew beat in the end. It was exactly the right way to do it.

The announcers talked about how this year’s WrestleMania will take place on Sunday, April 5th at the WWE Performance Center on WWE Network. Lawler said that the “show must go on.”

There were highlights shown from two weeks ago on Raw when Drew McIntyre got the upper hand on Brock Lesnar when he hit him with the Claymore Kick three times.

WrestleMania Contract Signing Between The Undertaker and AJ Styles

Jerry Lawler was in the ring to introduce The Undertaker. That led to The Undertaker walking out there quickly for his fastest entrance ever and he had a bandana on his head, so it reminded people of his American Badass days. The Undertaker flipped over the table that was in the ring and knocked the chairs over. That led to a break. This was the end of the second hour.

(Commercial)

A video package aired about AJ Styles’ feud with The Undertaker with Undertaker costing Styles victories at Super Showdown (where Taker pinned him) and Elimination Chamber. Last week on Raw, Styles took personal shots on Undertaker by mentioning his real name and talking about how Undertaker’s wife Michelle McCool gets whatever she wants from him.

The music of AJ Styles hit, but there was no sign of him. The music stopped, then it started again and Styles was standing backstage with his OC buddies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson by his side. The Undertaker was standing in the ring watching on the screen in the PC.

Styles had the contract in his hand as he delivered a promo. Styles said that they’re in the WWE PC where prospects are hoping to be just like Undertaker. Styles said that Undertaker carried this company on his back and Taker keeps interjecting himself into the world. Styles said you don’t see Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning or Brett Favre interjecting themselves, but you know Undertaker will interject himself during WrestleMania. Styles blamed Michelle McCool saying that she makes him dust off the old jacket and embarrass himself. Styles called him “Mark” (his real name) and said that he is a shell of his former self. Styles said the flame he once had is gone and to let it go. Styles said not once but twice, The Undertaker stuck his nose in OC business while mentioning Super Showdown and Elimination Chamber. Styles said that the lights can go off, but you can’t hide and we know you can’t run. Styles said that he’ll gladly pay for Undertaker’s assisted living cost after WrestleMania and he’ll do everyone a favor when he makes him…rest in peace.

Analysis: I thought it was a very good promo from Styles. He made it personal again by mentioning Undertaker’s wife and his real name, so it’s a way to give fans sympathy for Taker because he’s a legend that the fans love.

Styles signed the contract and he told Gallows & Anderson to take the contract out to Undertaker. Styles made them go out there together, so they did.

Gallows and Anderson walked out to the ring where Undertaker was still standing. They put the contract on the edge of the ring apron. The lights went out in the PC, then they came back on and Undertaker stood behind them to prevent them from leaving.

Undertaker shoved Gallows and Anderson into the side of the ring. Undertaker’s bandana came off and he’s got a receding hairline as we know. Taker had a long ponytail too. Taker whipped Anderson into the steel steps and worked over Gallows with punches. Styles watched on backstage as Undertaker whipped Anderson into the barricade. Undertaker whipped Gallows hard into the barricade. Undertaker signed the contract, which he then put in Anderson’s mouth. Undertaker walked up the ramp as his music played and he stared at the image of Styles on the screen as Styles stood backstage. That was the end of the segment.

Analysis: It was exactly what it should have been with Undertaker beating up AJ’s buddies. It also saves the Undertaker/Styles showdown for WrestleMania rather than having them get into a brawl before then. It’s the classic way of booking where you don’t give too much away on TV before the PPV match.

A 3:16 Day clip aired from September 28, 1998 when Steve Austin drove the Zamboni on Raw and hit Vince McMahon with a clothesline. Great moment. Huge pop.

(Commercial)

This Friday on Smackdown: Roman Reigns and Goldberg will have a WrestleMania contract signing. Plus, Rob Gronkowski will be there.

Rey Mysterio made his entrance. Asuka was on commentary for this match even though she had nothing to do with either guy in the match. Perhaps she lives in Orlando near the WWE PC, so maybe she was at the show. I don’t know. Andrade entered with the US Title and manager Zelina Vega by his side. Asuka spoke a lot in Japanese, but she said “yay Andrade” to support her fellow heel wrestler.

Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Rey Mysterio

This is not for Andrade’s US Title. Mysterio with a dropkick to the leg, Andrade stomped on the back and hit a running kick to the face. Andrade with an elbow drop to the back. Mysterio with a headscissors takedown, then he went to the apron, Vega grabbed the foot, Mysterio with a kick and Mysterio went up top with nothing, which led to a dropkick by Andrade for two.

(Commercial)

Andrade was in control as he stretched Mysterio across the back, but then Rey sent him into the ring post. Asuka was rooting for Andrade. Mysterio off the top with a seated senton and a kick to the head for two. Mysterio with a drop toe hold to send Andrade into the ropes, but then Andrade came back with a running back elbow for two. Andrade with the two vertical suplexes, then the third attempt was countered by Rey with a headscissors and Rey hit the 619 kick. Mysterio went up top and hit a splash for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match between two guys that have wrestled many times. The last few minutes were good with some impressive counter moves by both guys leading to Rey getting the win. Andrade losing non-title was not a surprise since WWE books champions to lose non-title nearly every week or at least it seems that way. It would have been nice if they could have a seven-minute match without a commercial because we only saw about four minutes of it.

A video package aired about Shayna Baszler winning the Elimination Chamber match eight days earlier. The world was so different just eight days ago.

Becky Lynch is up next on Raw.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Title on her left shoulder. Lynch looked straight ahead into the hard camera to deliver a promo to her WrestleMania opponent, Shayna Baszler.

Lynch said she knows Baszler is watching because her existence drives Baszler crazy. Lynch said as long as she holds that title, nothing in Shayna’s world makes sense. Lynch talked about how Baszler was taught that she can bully her way to the top like she did in NXT and Shayna was shown watching on a TV backstage. Lynch said that as long as she is the champ, Shayna’s world is a lie. Lynch said that she’s the prey that killed the predator. Lynch said that every word, every action, every tweet, every interview is designed to make Shayna think exactly what Becky wants Shayna to think of Becky. Lynch said that Shayna can cut through the rest of the division, but she knows that Lynch is a whole different proposition and it enrages Baszler. Lynch said she wanted Baszler to think of how it feels when Lynch beats her. Lynch said she watched Baszler demolish the entire division at Elimination Chamber and it wok her up to a little bit of reality. Lynch said at WrestleMania, she will prove that Shayna’s whole life is a lie and it will hit her like a truck. Lynch dropped the microphone and left while Baszler continued to watch while she was backstage. Lynch held up her title while on the stage.

Analysis: Lynch delivered a good promo there with the right tone and intensity that you would expect from her. I like how Lynch put over Baszler verbally by crediting her for the performance in the Elimination Chamber, but she also showed a lot of confidence in herself. That’s the right way to do it. Lynch has become one of the best talkers in WWE over the last two years.

There was a 3:16 Day clip from October 5, 1998 on Raw when Steve Austin had his memorable attack on Vince McMahon in the hospital. Great selling by Vince and a fun segment.

(Commercial)

There were highlights shown from last week when Rhea Ripley slapped Charlotte Flair in the face. On NXT, which was also at WWE PC with fans in attendance, Flair got her revenge and got the advantage in her attack against Ripley. The WrestleMania match is Ripley defending the NXT Women’s Title against Flair at WrestleMania.

Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso, who asked one question and Owens took the microphone from her. Owens looked into the camera saying he accepts Seth Rollins’s challenge to a match. Owens said that after today’s announcement, he knows where he wants to face Rollins at the Performance Center. Owens said there’s no better place because he started his WWE career right here at the WWE PC when he had his WWE tryout. Owens said prior to his tryout, he heard from so many people that he wasn’t the kind of guy that WWE likes and he even heard that from Rollins before his tryout. Owens said that Rollins told him that months ago. Owens said that he met people here that are brothers and mentors that he’ll never forget. Owens said when he beats Rollins he’ll do it in the same building where he earned his place in WWE and he’ll do it at WrestleMania.

Analysis: I like how Owens explained why he wants to face Rollins at the WWE PC because of his history. It’s not like there were many other options at this point with the future uncertain. I find it odd that they flew Charly Caruso in from New York (I follow her on Instagram and she noted that she was flying there) just to do this. They could have done it with Owens just talking to the promo. They should limit the travel of people.

The announcers talked about it with Lawler saying that Owens will regret that challenge since Lawler is a heel announcer sometimes.

There was another Austin moment shown when Austin won the WWE Title for the first time from Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 with Mike Tyson as the special enforcer. Good match, but not an all-time classic as Michaels was dealing with a serious back injury. A huge moment for Austin, of course.

Steve Austin is up next.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is there, Drew McIntyre will also be in the house and Randy Orton as well. Next week’s Raw will also be at the WWE Performance Center.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin Celebrated 3:16 Day

The WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was introduced as the “greatest of all time” by Mike Rome. Austin drank a beer on his way to the ring. Austin went into the ring for his familiar posing on the turnbuckles, which is so weird to see without any fans there to cheer him. Austin was tossed two beers, he drank them and even took a bump in the ring. That was funny as the announcers applauded him.

Austin faced the hard camera with some cue cards. Austin joked that he blew himself up on his entrance and said that it’s good to be there on our TV screens. Austin declared that from here on out, the 16th day of March is a national holiday. Austin said if you want to know what 3:16 Day is all about, give me a “Hell Yeah” and nobody said anything, then he did it again and Byron Saxton yelled out “Hell Yeah” at him. Austin said he appreciated that enthusiasm.

Austin read off the cards that 3:16 is all about when someone gives you a load of crap and you give it back to them with a certain hand gesture with one finger. Saxton held up an “8” to rate him. Austin read a card upside down, then said it was a day where you can open a can of Whoop Ass on anybody you want, Saxton gave that a “6” and Austin wasn’t happy about that. Austin said that 3:16 day is when the speed limit is only a suggestion and Byron gave him a “10” for that. Austin said that 3:16 day is a day where you don’t give a damn and happy hour is 24 hours long while a burp is considered poetry, so Byron gave that a “9” rating. Austin said that 3:16 day is when your boss works for you and that drew a “7” from Saxton, so Austin was mad about that. Austin read that 3:16 day is when you can have beer instead of your morning coffee, which drew an “8” from Saxton. Austin said that 3:16 day is when four-letter words are always acceptable, Saxton gave that a “5” and Austin wanted him to reconsider his score, but he did not, so Austin said “tough crowd.” Austin summed it saying that 3:16 day is a day when you can whip anybody’s ass and get away with it and that’s the bottom line.

Austin invited Saxton to come to the ring to celebrate 3:16 Day, so Saxton said yeah and we all knew what was coming at this point.

Austin mocked Saxton’s suit and his red socks. Austin said Saxton was tough on some of his scores. Austin said that he appreciates Byron’s broadcasting tonight, so he had a toast to him and called Byron a 100% pure, unadulterated jackass. They each drank a beer, Austin kicked him (looked like a low blow) and Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Saxton. Austin celebrated with more beer.

Becky Lynch made her entrance with a cooler of beer and she stepped on Saxton as she got into the ring. Austin said that last time he had Lynch in the ring, she hit him with a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin asked if she is on his side this time and she said she respected the honor of 3:16 Day. They smashed some beers together and they each drank some beers to celebrate. Saxton got back up, Austin poured a beer on his head and hit a kick to the gut (this time it was above the groin) and Austin hit another Stone Cold Stunner on Saxton. Austin and Lynch drank some more beer to end it.

Analysis: This was okay. I’m a huge Austin fan, but it’s so weird seeing Austin having to do this kind of celebration with no fans in attendance when you know the crowd would be cheering heavily for it. I think the promo was fine and beating up Saxton was the best part. It wasn’t a great segment overall, but a decent way to end the show. When they announced this 3:16 Day celebration a few weeks ago, there was the assumption that it would be in Pittsburgh in front of fans and instead they had to do it this way. They tried to make the best of a tough situation.

Here’s a video WWE posted with Austin delivering more Stunners after Raw.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Edge
  2. AJ Styles
  3. The Undertaker

 

The Scoreboard

I’m not going to rate the show while it’s at the WWE PC. It’s just not the same especially when half the show is a match that took place two months ago.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to really rate or compare this episode of Raw to a typical show just like Smackdown last Friday. They are doing their best in a tough situation, so I find it difficult to sit here and be critical of things. It would have been nice to have more in-ring action than the four minutes we got (a seven-minute match with a commercial), but I can understand WWE wanting to be cautious by not having too much action in the ring. Half of the show was the men’s Royal Rumble match from two months ago, which was a great match, but it’s not new content for most of us.

I think the promos delivered by key WrestleMania performers like Edge, Styles, Owens and Lynch were all good. The Undertaker beating up Gallows & Anderson was exactly what it needed to be. The “Stone Cold” celebration was very awkward, but maybe it put a smile on the faces of the fans at home as he did his beer-drinking routine with Lynch and also dropped Byron Saxton with a couple of Stunners.

It’s going to be surreal to see WrestleMania in an empty WWE Performance Center on April 5th, but that is WWE’s plan. They want to try to keep moving forward while they know fans are watching at home. It’s easy for us to sit here and criticize the decision to continue on with WrestleMania, but maybe we should appreciate having this form of entertainment in our lives at a time when a lot of us are depressed whenever we turn on the news. It won’t be like any WrestleMania in history obviously, but frankly, 2020 so far hasn’t been like any year in our lives. It’s not ideal and if you think it sucks, so be it. The year sucks. The world right now sucks. A lot of things suck, but maybe watching pro wrestling will help some people from being sad all the time, so that’s not a bad thing. I’ll support WWE as much as I can as they try to “put a smile on people’s faces” as they love to say and I look forward to when things become normal again…whenever that may be.

The next WWE PPV is WrestleMania on Sunday, April 5th. The lineup looks like this with official matches announced so far.

* WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

* Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns

* Last Man Standing: Edge vs. Randy Orton

* John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

* Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler

* The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles

*NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

* Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

I’m not sure how many matches there will be. They really don’t need to do 16 matches as was rumored. I think eight or ten is enough, but it’s not up to me.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go reigning and defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

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