Monday Night Raw
Date: April 20, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler
We’re firmly in Money in the Bank mode as we continue the long process of finding people to climb to the roof of a really tall building. You can’t say it’s the same thing we’ve seen over and over again so maybe we can have something unique here as well. I wouldn’t bet on it but it’s possible. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Drew McIntyre vs. Zelina Vega and company plus Seth Rollins last week.
Here’s Drew McIntyre for a chat. Drew talks about how everything went last week. The title means a lot of things to everyone and those things are cool. To him, it means a target on his back because it makes him the best of the best. McIntyre understands that it’s lonely at the top and that’s why Rollins attacked him last week. Now, Drew could make Seth jump through hoops, or he could challenge Seth for Money in the Bank.
Cue Vega and company to say they’re tired of his speeches. Drew is looking forward to Money in the Bank so he isn’t paying attention. Andrade jumps Drew from behind but gets Claymored. Angel Garza and Austin Theory won’t go in for the save so it’s another Claymore to put Andrade on the floor.
We get an explanation for the Money in the Bank ladder matches at Titan Towers (with NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte on the graphic rather than Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch).
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Austin Theory vs. Aleister Black
Zelina Vega is on commentary. Black spins out of a wristlock as Vega does not like the accusations of being overconfident. Theory gets thrown down but pops back up with a running shoulder. The threat of Black Mass sends Theory to the floor and Black dropkicks him through the ropes to make it even worse. Vega gets up and yells at Black for not letting Theory play fair.
The distraction lets Theory throw him into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Theory hitting a rolling dropkick and hammering away with left hands. Black fights out of a torture rack and runs Theory over for two. The ATL is countered as well and Black pulls him into a cross armbreaker.
That’s reversed with a powerbomb but Black strikes away. The moonsault press gets two but Theory’s superkick into a cradle brainbuster gets the same. Another ATL is countered so Black knees him in the face, setting up a German suplex for two more. Black Mass misses but the second attempt connects for the pin (and a great shocked face from Vega) at 11:45.
Rating: C+. It wasn’t a great match but it was better than usual from Theory. You can see all of the potential in him but it might take a little while to click. If nothing else, Vega is awesome on commentary and can hype people up with the best of them. Black winning isn’t a surprise here though and it was a fun match on the way.
Post match, Black promises to win the ladder match.
Shayna Baszler vs. Indi Hartwell
Shayna suplexes her down and goes for the arm but gets rolled up for two. That just ticks Shayna off so she hits another slam and stomps the arm for the stoppage at 1:00. Can you blame her for being mad? She spends years in NXT, gets called up, doesn’t win the Royal Rumble because Charlotte, doesn’t win the title at Wrestlemania because Becky, then gets to be on Raw, where the only change is she’s beating up NXT women at the Performance Center instead of Full Sail.
Post match Shayna grabs the ladder and crushes the arm against the steps.
Shane Thorne/Brendan Vink vs. Cedric Alexander/Ricochet
Ricochet gets thrown into the corner to start but rolls out with a dropkick to Vink. Some double teaming puts Vink down but Thorne breaks up a springboard. A clothesline drops Ricochet on the floor but it’s back to Cedric for a tornado DDT. Ricochet’s running shooting star gets two on Thorne and there’s another DDT to Vink. The Recoil into the Lumbar Check finishes Thorne at 3:14.
Rating: C-. Just a step above a squash here and that’s fine enough. Ricochet and Alexander continue to seem like little more than two people being thrown together and that’s not the best sign for their future. How that’s the best use WWE could find for Ricochet is beyond me, but at least it’s better than nothing.
The Kabuki Warriors shout a lot and insist that Kairi Sane is ready for a rematch.
Lana talks about how great Bobby Lashley is. Lashley is going to flip a tractor tire.
Nia Jax vs. Kairi Sane
Sane tries to dodge to start but gets knocked down for her efforts. The knee gives out on a powerbomb attempt so Sane hammers away to some avail. The Insane Elbow misses though and it’s a Samoan drop to give Jax the pin at 4:13.
Rating: D+. And so much for Sane again, as Jax shrugged off everything Sane through at her before winning. Jax is a good choice for a monster as there is only so much that can be done otherwise with her. I’ve liked her since she’s been back, though it hasn’t exactly been a long return so far.
Seth Rollins talks about how he knows what it’s like to be where Drew McIntyre is. We see various clips of the two of them doing the same things over their careers. Rollins will face McIntyre for the title at Money in the Bank because he has to.
The Viking Raiders do their version of Carpool Karaoke, which involves Ivar eating a drumstick, shouting VIKING RAIDERS over and over, and the line of “We worship Thor and we’ll knock him to the floor.” This was one of those so bizarre that it was half amazing and half terrible.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: MVP vs. Apollo Crews
Before the match, MVP talks about how he has to climb a ladder but first it’s a match with the extremely talented Apollo Crews. Black finally cuts him off and we’re ready to go. Crews doesn’t waste time in kicking MVP to the floor but a dive from the apron is broken up. Back from a break with MVP hitting a clothesline but getting suplexed into the corner.
Crews hammers away and hits a kick to the face, followed by a hard clothesline of his own. The frog splash hits knees and MVP’s Playmaker gets two. Crews is right back with an enziguri into a gorilla press. The standing moonsault into the standing shooting star sets up the toss powerbomb to finish MVP at 8:09.
Rating: C-. This was never in any serious doubt, though it was cool to see Crews turn on the jets to win in the end. MVP is fine for someone to put other people over and that’s fine, though it’s not like he was ever the biggest star in the world. Either way, they got the important part right so there isn’t much to complain about here.
Ruby Riott says there was never a Riott Squad because it was always her carrying the other two. Now Liv Morgan thinks she’s grown up and Ruby has to show her otherwise.
Liv Morgan vs. Ruby Riott
Ruby goes after her to start but Liv gets in some forearms and a dropkick for two. Liv gets draped over the top and kicked in the face, followed by another kick to the face to cut off a comeback bid. Ruby demands that Liv beg but it’s the springboard Flatliner out of nowhere to give Liv the pin at 3:19.
Rating: D. Well that was nothing. Riott hasn’t gotten to do anything since she has been back but at least they are trying something with Morgan. She’s gotten a lot better in recent months, though it’s not like she had anywhere else to go but up. The Riott Squad was never the most important team in the world, but at least they’re trying something with someone new.
Lashley flips a tire and then looks at a bigger one.
In Memory of Howard Finkel. An hour and forty five minutes into the show.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Murphy
Rey headlocks him down to start and it’s an early standoff. Murphy takes over with an armbar but has to duck an early 619 attempt. Some forearms put Rey on the floor and Murphy drives him into the barricade. Back in and Murphy stays on the arm until Rey armdrags him to the floor.
That works fine for Murphy, who catches a dive and stomps on the arm on the ramp. Back from a break with Murphy still on the arm but Rey snaps off a hurricanrana on the floor. They get back in with Rey hitting a tornado DDT and heading to the apron again. A dropkick sends Murphy into the barricade but he’s right back with a spinning facebuster onto the knee. Murphy’s brainbuster gets two so he goes up top, only to get caught with a super Destroyer. The 619 into the frog splash finishes Murphy at 15:09.
Rating: C+. That was certainly a Money in the Bank qualifying match. They did moves to each other and Mysterio made the comeback win. During those fifteen minutes, we heard references to climbing the corporate ladder roughly 284 times because someone came up with that line and WWE has decided it’s the cleverest line in history.
Vega doesn’t know if McIntyre will make it to Money in the Bank. Garza hits on Charly Caruso, who seems impressed.
Charlotte vs. Kayden Carter
Non-title. Charlotte boots her in the face to start but Carter grabs a rollup for two. A crucifix into something like the Rings of Saturn keeps Charlotte down and Carter switches into the Octopus. That’s enough for Charlotte, who powers out and hits the spear, setting up the Figure Eight for the win at 2:42.
Lashley can’t flip the big tire so he kicks it and then flips it over. Lana comes back in to celebrate with him.
We recap the opening segment.
Andrade vs. Akira Tozawa
Zelina Vega is here with Andrade. Tozawa starts fast with a spinning kick to the head and a knee to the face gets two. A running kick to the face sends Andrade to the floor and Tozawa hits the big running flip dive off the apron. Back in and a missile dropkick gives Tozawa two but Vega offers a distraction so Andrade can run him over. Not that it matters as Tozawa slaps on the Octopus, sending Andrade to the ropes again. A heck of a back elbow to the face drops Tozawa but he grabs some rollups for two each. Tozawa heads up top but gets crotched down, setting up the hanging hammerlock DDT to give Andrade the pin at 4:52.
Rating: C+. This one came a bit out of nowhere and I was actually wondering if they were going to go with the upset. Tozawa is someone who can work with anyone and he was working hard here. I liked this one a good bit and even though Andrade never defends the title, it’s nice to see him sweat a bit here.
Post match Andrade and Vega celebrate but the Street Profits come out to interrupt.
Bianca Belair vs. Santana Garrett
The Profits, still dancing on the announcers’ table, introduce Belair for her in-ring Raw debut, and then sit in on commentary. Belair throws her down to start and then uses straight power to grab an over the shoulder backbreaker. Garrett gets in a shove to the face and is knocked down in a hurry.
Garrett’s armdrag is easily blocked and Belair runs her over, setting up the running shoulder. A suplex with squats sets up the splash to the back and Garrett is in more trouble. Garrett hits a kick to the face and a high crossbody gets one. The handspring is broken up though and Belair drops her face first onto the top turnbuckle. The KOD finishes Garrett at 4;10.
Rating: C-. This was ALL about the Street Profits as they did not stop shouting, screaming and hyping up Belair the whole time. It was rather annoying but at the same time it’s as effective of an idea as I’ve seen in a good while as the Profits have so much energy and charisma that they’re awesome in this role. Belair won in little more than a squash, but it was all about the Profits.
Angel Garza vs. Drew McIntyre
Non-title and Vega and company are at ringside again. McIntyre goes straight for the knee to start and there’s the overhead belly to belly to send Garza rolling to the floor. Some chops against the barricade have Garza in trouble and Andrade’s posting fails. So does Garza’s suicide dive and McIntyre headbutts him, only to have to deal with Theory.
That allows Garza to hit a posting, followed by a missile dropkick for two back inside. McIntyre fights out of a half crab and kicks Garza in the face. Garza tries to escape so McIntyre PULLS OFF GARZA’S PANTS as Garza gets to the floor. The big flip dive connects and McIntyre takes out Andrade and Theory. Back in and the Claymore finishes Garza at 5:02.
Rating: C. This was an entertaining squash as McIntyre swatted Garza away like a fly. Even the rest of the team couldn’t do anything to slow him down and that’s what you should be doing with the champ. McIntyre looked awesome here and it showed how far ahead he is of Vega and company. It was a great showcase and that’s what it needed to be.
Post match McIntyre gives Garza another Claymore. Theory comes in and gets one of his own for good measure. McIntyre chases Andrade up the ramp and strikes the Tranquilo pose to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. I had forgotten how mind numbingly annoying Money in the Bank season is. They managed to get in “climb the corporate ladder” in about a million times and given that the show will feature the sixth ladder matches since the middle of December (seven if you count Reigns vs. Corbin’s street fight which they called a TLC match), it isn’t exactly something I’m going to get invested in over the next few weeks.
As for the rest of the show, it was a very wrestling heavy week, but nothing on here stood out. Maybe it was all of the ladder match hype but it was hard to get interested in a good chunk of it. They did a nice job of making McIntyre look like a star and that’s a great thing, though so much of the show felt like it came and go so they could add people to the ladder matches. It could have been a lot worse, but not much less exciting.
Aleister Black b. Austin Theory – Black Mass
Shayna Baszler b. Indi Hartwell via referee stoppage
Cedric Alexander/Ricochet b. Shane Thorne/Brendan Vink – Lumbar Check to Thorne
Nia Jax b. Kairi Sane – Samoan drop
Apollo Crews b. MVP – Toss powerbomb
Rey Mysterio b. Murphy – Frog splash
Charlotte b. Kayden Carter – Figure Eight
Andrade b. Akira Tozawa – Hanging hammerlock DDT
Bianca Belair b. Santana Garrett – KOD
Drew McIntyre b. Angel Garza – Claymore
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