Monday Night Raw
Date: February 17, 2020
Location: Angel of the Winds Arena, Everett, Washington
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
We’re almost to Super ShowDown and that way we can get ready for the real Road To Wrestlemania. There are a lot of things left to cover before we get there though and that means we have to do some stuff tonight. I’m not sure what that is going to entail other than Matt Hardy vs. Randy Orton in a street fight so we’re going in somewhat blind. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Randy Orton to get things going with a clip of his attack on Matt Hardy last week. He knows the Hardys like to go up and crash but here’s Matt, in street clothes and a neck brace, to ask what is wrong with Orton. Matt knows Orton didn’t like being asked about the Edge attack last week but he isn’t cleared to wrestle tonight. He and Edge have grit and Orton can’t hold them down. Matt isn’t sure what his future holds but Orton isn’t getting to determine the terms of his future.
Hardy gets in the ring as Orton says he could drop Matt with an RKO right now. Orton says he respects Edge and he’s truly sorry before leaving. He pauses and turns around though, sending Hardy outside to grab a chair. That just earns Matt a neck snap across the top rope and an RKO (with the fans wanting another), followed by a bunch of chair shots to the ribs and back.
Orton takes the brace off and loads up another Conchairto but pauses. Instead he takes Matt outside and does the Conchairto on the steps instead of in the ring to make it even worse. Orton goes to leave but then goes back and hits another Conchairto on the steps. Orton: “I’M SORRY!”
This was really good as Orton looks like the biggest villain ever, which is exactly the point. That’s where someone like Matt, who is beloved as a veteran, is most valuable and something like this was way more effective than a street fight where we were just waiting around for the RKO to finish Matt off.
Aleister Black vs. Erick Rowan
Black walks over Rowan case and Rowan isn’t happy as the fight starts in a hurry. They fight to the floor with Rowan hitting a running crossbody as we take a break. Back with Rowan beating Black up even more, including taking him outside to send Black legs first into the barricade for a different kind of crash.
A powerbomb into the post is countered with a hurricanrana into said post and Black knees him in the head back inside. Black Mass is blocked and Rowan kicks him in the head. A Jackknife gets two on Black but Black Mass connects to put Rowan against the ropes. He’s still awake though so Black hits another Black Mass for the pin at 7:47.
Rating: D+. Build a monster up, have someone slay him. The cage thing is still likely going to be a lame payoff (if we ever get one) but Black winning a match like this is a good sign for him. Rowan had been turned into someone with a little momentum and now Black has beaten him clean. That’s how you make Black a bigger deal, but don’t bog him down with a bunch of Rowan rematches. We’ve seen that he can beat Rowan and we don’t need to see it again.
Here’s Charlotte, in black and yellow, to address showing up at Takeover last night. After a clip of her accepting Rhea Ripley’s challenge, Charlotte talks about how she was impressed by what she saw last night in NXT. It made her think about training in a warehouse and how her NXT class formed the foundation of a third brand called NXT.
Now she’s bothered by the entitlement of people like Ripley, who didn’t scratch and claw to earn the respect that NXT has gained. Now Ripley has the audacity to hold up the title that Charlotte put on the map? Pride comes before the fall and Ripley is being humbled at Wrestlemania, because everyone is the next big thing….until they’re not. Charlotte is at her best when she’s talking down to people and that’s what she did here.
24/7 Title: R-Truth vs. Mojo Rawley vs. Riddick Moss
Moss is defending and the usual rules are suspended during the match. Rawley is sent outside early on and Moss screams a lot while covering Truth for two. That’s broken up by Rawley, who sends Moss into the barricade. Back in and Truth hits the ProtoBomb into the Shuffle but Rawley slips out of the AA. The fireman’s carry faceplant connects but Moss is back in with a cradle to retain the title at 1:49.
Post match Moss bails and Truth lays out Rawley. He isn’t sure what to do tonight because Charlotte already pointed at the sign. Instead, we can have the fans point with him so he counts down ala the Claymore. At Wrestlemania, Suplex City is in Claymore Country and it’s going to get its head kicked off in a hurry. Cue Paul Heyman to cut McIntyre off and introduce Brock Lesnar….who isn’t here (though McIntyre does make sure to look over his shoulder). Heyman just wanted McIntyre to be awake to hear what it’s going to sound like after the ring announcer says “AND STILL” at Wrestlemania (Heyman: “I can point too!”).
McIntyre says Heyman can say Lesnar’s name over and over, from when they’re having lunch to when they’re having manicures to when Lesnar is crying because McIntyre took his WWE Championship. Heyman respects McIntyre’s talents but he knows someone who doesn’t, which is this man right here. Cue MVP to say he has an issue with Drew, who was invited to the VIP Lounge and then kicked MVP in the face. MVP isn’t getting cheapshotted this week so he hits Drew with the mic and kicks him in the face before the bell.
MVP vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew kicks him in the face and hammers away in the corner. The Futureshock and Claymore (with the camera showing the Wrestlemania sign) finish MVP at 1:12.
We look at Shayna Baszler attacking Becky Lynch last week.
Here’s Becky, carrying a paper bag, for a chat. She came to this country to seek her fame and fortune but she has no need for fame. However, she has a use for the fortune and pulls a bunch of money from the bag (including a bunch of $100 bills). Consider this a down payment for what she is going to do to Baszler because only animals go for the neck and they do it before going for the kill.
Becky is the longest reigning Raw Women’s Champion in history and that doesn’t make her prey. We hear about some former champions she’s defeated but here’s Baszler on screen to say Becky isn’t going to get to do that. She’s in the Elimination Chamber, which is in a cage for a cage fighter. Becky promises to be watching at the Elimination Chamber because she’ll be rooting for Shayna.
Lana, Bobby Lashley, Angel Garza and Zelina Vega are ready for a tag match (not against each other) but don’t seem happy about anything. It was Lana’s idea and it’s like a double date, but Vega makes it clear that she and Garza aren’t a couple. They’re all about money, but Garza is ready to show that no one can measure up to him.
Rusev/Humberto Carrillo vs. Angel Garza/Bobby Lashley
Lashley starts against Carrillo as Garza isn’t all that interested. Neither can get very far against the other so it’s off to Garza for the high angle spinning crossbody. A wristdrag sends Garza down and Rusev jumps Lashley (as the feud is apparently still going). Garza uses the distraction to hit a dropkick and GARZA TAKES OFF HIS PANTS. That lets him give a fan a quick kiss but Carrillo dropkicks him into the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Carrillo flipping out of Lashley’s spinning Big Ending and bringing in Rusev to unload on Lashley. The distraction lets Garza grab a rollup for two, followed by a superkick for the same. Lashley spears Carrillo on the floor but Rusev runs him over and hits a middle rope headbutt for two on Garza. That brings Lashley back up for a distraction though and Garza grabs a rollup, with trunks, for the pin at 9:54.
Rating: D+. This is one of those matches that just happened and neither feud is particularly interesting. Lashley vs. Rusev has been boring for a long time now and there is a real chance that we could be going into a seventh month of the feud should it make it to March. Garza’s future isn’t really clear at the moment either as Andrade’s suspension is up next week. That could be interesting, but just keep Carrillo a little more out of it.
Natalya vs. Kairi Sane
Fallout from Asuka kicking Natalya in the face two weeks back. The Warriors ask if Natalya is ok and then dance around singing that they don’t care. Sane forearms her into the corner to start but misses a dive, setting up something like the Thriller Dance. Natalya misses the discus lariat but slaps Sane in the face. The threat of a Sharpshooter sends Sane to the ropes and she comes back with a spinning backfist.
The chinlock into a sleeper doesn’t do much for Sane so she sends Natalya into the corner. Walking The Plank is countered with a discus forearm (though the camera cuts as they might have missed badly) but Asuka’s distraction breaks up the Sharpshooter attempt. Sane knocks Natalya to the floor and Asuka kicks her in the head for the countout at 4:47.
Rating: C-. I can give them points for trying to build up some side stories in the Elimination Chamber because there’s no hiding that it’s Shayna going on to Wrestlemania. This is better than nothing and while they would probably be better off doing Asuka vs. Natalya on Raw, I’ll take what I can get in the Chamber, even if it would be more interesting to run Asuka vs. Shayna in a singles match for the #1 contendership than having the two of them and four others in the Chamber. Anyway, nothing to this one but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of it next week.
Here are Murphy and the AOP to introduce Seth Rollins for a sermon. He even has a pulpit to make it look a little more official. Rollins didn’t come up with the name sermon because that was bestowed on them by the powers that be, but it seems appropriate as what he has to say is divine. We are here to celebrate progress and movement into the future in Rollins’ vision. Last week was the end of phase one because the four of them showed that through the power of faith you can believe whatever you set your mind to.
Now the real work begins though because Rollins takes being the Monday Night Messiah very seriously. Now it is time to find the flaws in the system and rehabilitate them the best they can, or eradicate them if they must. This is the gospel and if you stand in their way….and here are the Viking Raiders. Rollins bails as they beat up Murphy and the AOP but here’s Kevin Owens to Stun Rollins on the stage.
Post break Rollins says that tonight it’s a six man tag.
Here’s the OC for a chat. AJ Styles is glad to be back because Wrestlemania season would be nothing without him. Karl Anderson declares AJ to be the new Mr. Wrestlemania and AJ accepts that honor. He’s the greatest superstar on any roster and of any era but believe it or not, he’s got critics. When he wins his gauntlet match at Super ShowDown, the only one who can say anything is him. Then he’ll say Who’s Next and maybe he’ll go win the WWE Championship again.
It could be anyone from Ricochet to Brock Lesnar to Undertaker to Shawn Michaels to Razor Ramon to Hulk Hogan to the whole NWO. Cue Ricochet, with AJ saying hold on Ricky. That’s fine with Ricochet, who understands AJ doesn’t think he’s earned a title shot. Ricochet has earned it though and he’ll do the impossible at Super ShowDown. The OC cracks up at the idea of Ricochet being WWE Champion so he challenges AJ to a match right now. Karl Anderson says not so fast because he isn’t letting AJ face this non Good Brother.
Ricochet vs. Karl Anderson
Ricochet starts fast and sends him outside for the big running flip dive. Back from the early break with AJ and Gallows having been ejected and Anderson grabbing a chinlock. That doesn’t last long as Ricochet fights up and hits a rolling dropkick. The springboard high crossbody into a running shooting star press gives Ricochet two but Ricochet has to roll through the 630. Anderson gets two off a spinebuster but walks into the Benadryller for the pin at 7:02.
Rating: C. Not a bad little match here as Ricochet continues his roll towards Super ShowDown and Brock Lesnar. I’m not sure if there is any reason to believe Ricochet has a prayer at winning the title, but it’s nice to see him get built up a little bit. Maybe something could come of it, like a big Wrestlemania match. Either way, more Ricochet is a good thing and WWE seems to know that.
We recap the Orton/Hardy situation.
Liv Morgan doesn’t understand why Ruby Riott is trying to break her but that isn’t going to work anymore. She isn’t the puppy that Riott remembers, because she’s going to the Elimination Chamber to eliminate Riott and go on to Wrestlemania. No, you’re not.
Viking Raiders/Kevin Owens vs. Murphy/AOP
Owens dropkicks Murphy at the bell and hands it off to Ivar for a knee to the face. Owens keeps Murphy in the corner and the Vikings take turns beating Murphy up. Ivar slams Erik onto Murphy for two but allows the tag to Akam so we can have a fight. That means Erik can slug away but Akam grabs a powerslam to take over.
A toss into the knee from Rezar gets two and it’s Erik getting choked in the corner. Murphy grabs the chinlock but Erik fights up and knees Rezar in the face. The hot tag brings in Owens to clean house as we take a break. Back with Owens fighting up and scoring with a superkick to Murphy, only to get driven back into the corner.
Owens wins a slugout with Murphy and makes the tag to Ivar to fight the AOP at the same time. The low crossbody crushes Akam and there’s the spinning kick to Murphy’s face. Everything breaks down and Erik knees Rezar into the corner. Ivar drives Erik into Rezar for a bonus and Owen’s Swanton gets two. The Vikings and AOP fight to the floor, leaving Murphy to get Stunned. Cue Rollins for the DQ at 15:24.
Rating: C+. It’s an interesting change here as Rollins’ team loses, which hasn’t been the case so far. The resistance against Rollins and company is interesting as we might be getting closer to one of the big showdown matches. I do like the idea of bringing in new people to fight on one side or another and that’s what we’ve been getting here. Also: where was Samoa Joe?
Post match Rollins says Owens has crucified him since day one so now it is time to crucify him. Cue the Street Profits for the save but Rollins gets away. The Profits and the Vikings wreck Murphy and the AOP, with Ivar and Ford hitting top rope splashes (Ford’s is so impressive) to end the show. Rollins and company are going to need some new people to at least even the sides so that could go somewhere.
Overall Rating: C. I know the wrestling wasn’t great here but what mattered here was how it felt like they were doing a bunch of things. The big story here was how it offered a lot of variety and covered all kinds of stories and angles. You can tell that things are picking up for Wrestlemania season and in a few weeks we can get rid of Super ShowDown and the Elimination Chamber to get to the final push. It’s not a good show, but it’s a well put together show and that’s important as well.
Aleister Black b. Erick Rowan – Black Mass
Riddick Moss b. Mojo Rawley and R-Truth – Cradle to Rawley
Drew McIntyre b. MVP – Claymore
Angel Garza/Bobby Lashley b. Rusev/Humberto Carrillo – Rollup with trunks to Rusev
Kairi Sane b. Natalya via countout
Ricochet b. Karl Anderson – Benadryller
Kevin Owens/Viking Raiders b. Murphy/AOP via DQ when Seth Rollins interfered
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