Monday Night Raw – August 31, 2020

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 31, 2020
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton

We’re done with pay per view for a bit but now it is time to start getting ready for Clash of Champions. Already announced for the show is a series of matches to set up a triple threat later in the night for the shot at Drew McIntyre, so at least they’re going quickly. There isn’t a ton of fallout to deal with from last night so the slate might be a bit more open. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s a ticked off Randy Orton to open things up and talk about how Drew McIntyre deserves to be in pain. McIntyre has been promising to kick Orton’s head off but Orton is doing the kicking around here. Orton talks about all the people he has kicked in the head and laughs at McIntyre thinking he is entitled. He takes out everyone he faces and we see a graphic of all of the legends he has hurt in hospital beds (including Shawn with a bag of ice on his head).

Orton’s laugh is cut off by Keith Lee, who talks about how he beat Orton last night, which makes him wonder why Orton is talking about title shots. Maybe beating a legend killer means Lee should be getting that title shot. Lee considers Drew McIntyre a friend but here’s Dolph Ziggler, his opponent in one of the singles matches tonight, to jump him from behind.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Keith Lee

The first of the three qualifying matches. The bell rings after the break and Lee cranks on the arm, including lifting Ziggler up by the hand. A hard catapult sends Ziggler face first into the buckle and Ziggler needs a breather on the floor. Back in and Ziggler takes him down by the knee and grabs a chinlock. That doesn’t last long as Lee gets up and runs Ziggler over as we take a break.

Back with Lee hitting Grizzly Magnum and throwing Ziggler into the corner. Ziggler hits a quick Fameasser for two and a neckbreaker into the jumping elbow gets the same. Lee gets up again and slugs away, followed by a pop up face plant. Ziggler tries to fight back but walks into the Spirit Bomb for the pin at 9:53.

Rating: C. Might have been a bit longer than it needed to be but Lee getting another win is a good sign. If nothing else you can put him in the triple threat later and have someone else take the fall to (probably) send Orton on to Clash. They’ve given Lee two big wins early on so the foundation is being set. Just don’t screw it up from here.

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler bicker about who is responsible for winning the Tag Team Titles last night. Asuka comes in to interrupt and the other champs aren’t cool with that. Shayna is shoved away and a big staredown ensues.

Adam Pearce wants security on extra watch for Retribution.

Here’s Asuka for an in-ring chat. She talks about all of the women she has beaten and now she needs a new challenger. It doesn’t matter who is ready for Asuka because Asuka is ready for anything. Cue Mickie James to say Asuka is awesome but she’s coming for the title. Cue Natalya and Lana, both in gear for a change, to say Mickie isn’t jumping the line like that. Lana talks about being a fashion influencer and if Mickie wants to face Natalya, you have to go through her. Asuka is ready for all three of them so Lana and Natalya jump the two of them but Mickie and Asuka clear the ring in a hurry.

Connor’s Cure video.

We look back at the Hurt Business cleaning house in Raw Underground last week.

The Viking Raiders and Cedric Alexander are ready for a match tonight. Demi from the Bachelor thinks it’s great that Cedric turned down the Hurt Business and kisses Ivar on the cheek. They all leave and Andrade pops up with a rose. Again, WHY IS DEMI HERE???

Lana vs. Mickie James

Natalya is at ringside and Asuka is on commentary but it takes a bit to get her headset working. Lana chokes in the corner and snaps off a suplex for two before the chinlock goes on. Mickie fights back and hammers away with some clotheslines but Lana slips out of the MickDT. Instead it’s the Mick Kick to finish Lana at 2:39.

Mickie and Asuka stare each other down post match.

We look back at Aleister Black attacking Kevin Owens last week.

Randy Orton leaves Black’s dressing room.

The IIconics are ready for their match against the Riott Squad where the losers have to split up. They have known each other since high school and sacrificed a lot to get here. The Riott Squad isn’t breaking them up and their win will be iconic.

Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton

The second triple threat qualifying match. Hold on though as Black comes out to jump Owens before the bell and even hits Black Mass on the floor. Saxton: “Is this why we saw Randy Orton leaving Aleister Black’s locker room?” Joe: “OF COURSE IT IS BYRON!” Owens gets inside and says ring the bell and it’s an RKO for the pin at 15 seconds.

Rey Mysterio is not cleared to compete tonight but Dominik will be taking his place in the triple threat qualifying match. Dominik knows he is an underdog but he is ready to make his family proud.

Here are MVP and Shelton Benjamin for the VIP Lounge. MVP hypes up the guest and brings out Bobby Lashley for the big celebration. MVP talks about how he has seen a lot of young people getting in trouble over youthful exuberance and Apollo Crews did it too. There are three things you can guarantee in life: death, taxes and Bobby Lashley. Speaking of Lashley, he promises to get some revenge on Crews for jumping him after last night’s match. Shelton promises to do the same to Crews in Raw Underground but MVP is ready for the six man tag they have coming up.

MVP walks to talk about Cedric Alexander but here’s Cedric to interrupt in person. The Hurt Business goes to meet him in the aisle and MVP asks if Cedric has had a change of heart. That’s a no, and he didn’t come alone. Cue the Viking Raiders to start the brawl before their match.

Hurt Business vs. Viking Raiders/Cedric Alexander

Lashley stomps away at Erik in the corner but a forearm to the face cuts that off. A running shoulder in the corner has Erik in trouble again though and it’s off to MVP for the rights and lefts. It’s off to Ivar who knocks Shelton into a knee from Erik and Cedric comes in to hammer away in the corner. Shelton busts Erik’s spine but it’s back to Cedric, who is dropped with a faceplant.

That means Cedric is choked down in the corner and MVP’s running boot to the jaw connects. The armbar goes on but Cedric fights up and tries for the tag but the Vikings are pulled outside. That’s fine with Cedric, who grabs a rollup (and some tights) for the quick pin at 6:20.

Rating: D+. Not much to see here, but Cedric getting a win is a good bonus. The tights on the rollup could go a little somewhere as it’s not like this story has been going anywhere for the time they have put into it so far. The Hurt Business does tend to lose quite a bit, but at least they have the US Title and the champ didn’t take the fall.

MVP seems rather pleased with Cedric and calls off the Hurt Business from destroying him.

Post break, the Hurt Business jumps Cedric in the back. Apollo Crews and Ricochet make the save.

IIconics vs. Riott Squad

The winners get a Women’s Tag Team Title shot and the losers are forced to disband. Kay jumps Riott to start and Peyton bulldogs her onto Kay’s knee. We’re already in the chinlock but Ruby fights up in a hurry and brings in Liv to clean house. A dropkick to the back gets two on Peyton but Billie gets the same off a suplex. Liv gets in a shot to the face and the hot tag brings in Riott as everything breaks down. Peyton and Liv fight to the floor, leaving Riott and Kay to trade rollups until Ruby gets the pin at 3:29.

Rating: C-. The match was the fast paced formula stuff with the right team winning, but I really don’t get the need to split up the IIconics so soon. Unless there is some reason for one of them to lose, I don’t think either of them is ready to hang on their own. A story where they need each other could work out well, but I’m going to need to see how they make this work.

Post match the IIconics freak out and hug each other. Hopefully there is more to this.

Shane McMahon is ready for Raw Underground.

Commentary announces that Rey Mysterio has a torn tricep. Well that’s neither good nor surprising.

Video on Seth Rollins/Murphy vs. the Mysterios.

Here are Rollins and Murphy for Rollins’ match against Dominik, but Rollins isn’t happy. He yells at Murphy for costing them the match last night by kicking him in the head and then getting pinned by DOMINIK MYSTERIO. Rollins has a big chance tonight and can’t have Murphy screwing it up for him. Murphy is sent to the back and out of Rollins’ sight. Rollins does not want to see him until Murphy figures out what he stands for. Murphy slowly leaves and gets jumped by Dominik on the way to the back.

Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins

The third of three triple threat qualifying matches. Mysterio goes straight at him to start but gets sent to the floor. Back in and Seth stomps away but gets kicked in the face. They head outside with Dominik sending him into the announcers’ table and then diving off of it as we take a break.

Back with Dominik fighting out of an abdominal stretch but getting pulled down into a bodyscissors. That’s switched to a waistlock instead but Dominik fights up and counters a buckle bomb with a hurricanrana into the corner. The tornado DDT out of the corner into a standing moonsault gets two on Rollins and he rolls outside. That means a big dive from Dominik as the rest of the Mysterios are watching in the back. The 619 sets up the frog splash but Rollins rolls away, setting up the Stomp for the pin at 10:03.

Rating: C. Dominik is doing a lot better in the ring than probably would have been expected of him and to be fair they didn’t do something crazy here. I still don’t really care to see him in the ring, but at least they aren’t going completely overboard with someone who looks lost out there. The match was fine enough and the right person won in short enough order so I can’t get that upset. I’m curious about what Rey’s injury means for Dominik though, as there isn’t much else for him to do other than stuff with his dad.

Post match Seth hits another Stomp as the Mysterios are devastated.

We’re off to Raw Underground where Titus O’Neil is beating people up. Riddick Moss comes in and the fight goes off the stage. Someone distracts Titus though and Moss takes him down for the knockout win. More later.

The Street Profits have a scouting report on Zelina Vega and company. Zelina’s details include “poisons people” and “amusement parks” because she’s too short to ride roller coasters.

Earlier today, Akira Tozawa tried to come into the building but his name wasn’t on the list. Tozawa got out of the car, found out that the list was blank, and was rolled up by R-Truth for the 24/7 Title. Of course the security guard was the referee, so Tozawa kidnapped him and chased after Truth. He was in such a rush that one of the Ninjas had to walk all the way into the building.

Street Profits vs. Andrade/Angel Garza

Non-title tornado rules with Zelina Vega and Demi at ringside. The match starts fast as expected with Dawkins turning a double superplex into a Tower of Doom as we take a break (again with no pitch to the break, which has been a trend tonight). Back with Ford on the floor and Dawkins being chopped to the mat. A middle rope dropkick to the side of the head gets a delayed two on Dawkins and the armbar over the ropes makes it even worse. Dawkins fights back to clean house though and a bulldog gets two on Andrade.

Another shot to the head puts Dawkins down again but Ford hits a BIG dive for the save. The pace picks up and a running Blockbuster into an enziguri hits Andrade….and there go the lights. The referee bails and Angel leaves with Demi. Ford covers Andrade but here’s Retribution over the barricade. Commentary bails and even Zelina starts fighting three of the members at ringside. That goes as badly as you would expect and it’s a big beatdown on Andrade and the Profits. We’ll say it’s a no contest at about 9:00.

Rating: C-. This was a weird one even before the ending and that didn’t do it any favors. It doesn’t help that there is no one else to challenge the Profits for the titles at the moment so this is the best we can get. They have held the belts for over six months now and that doesn’t exactly make it easier to keep the division fresh. Retribution being back is a bit of a relief though as they weren’t on either Smackdown or Payback. That doesn’t seem very long, but it is almost enough to make you believe WWE was dropping a story.

Back with commentary sounding perfectly calm and calling the replay, despite the three of them running for their lives five minutes ago. Samoa Joe is not someone who is going to have a bunch of masked guys interfere and chase him off and be fine with it. That’s completely out of character for him and I doubt WWE cares.

Adam Pearce yells at security.

The IIconics are at Raw Underground as Jessamyn Duke destroys Avery Taylor. Another woman gets up and yells at Duke so Marina Shafir, in street clothes, gets up and massacres the other woman in about ten seconds. The IIconics tease getting in but Peyton stays on the floor, leaving Billie to get beaten up.

We look at Cedric Alexander pinning MVP and then getting beaten up by the Hurt Business.

Apollo Crews is ready to fight Shelton Benjamin in Raw Underground and has Cedric Alexander and Ricochet with him.

Post break, the Hurt Business arrives at Raw Underground and it’s Crews vs. Benjamin. Shelton takes him down but Crews gets in a Kimura. That’s broken up and they fight off the stage, meaning the brawl is on with the other four. All six wind up on the platform and the Hurt Business knock/choke them all out in a hurry. Well that was one sided.

Demi is scared of Retribution but Angel Garza has this covered. Retribution charges in and beats up security so Garza runs off. The women of Retribution step forward and Demi runs off. So to recap: WWE showed Garza getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend, then made him a womanizer, then brings in a woman from the Bachelor to play his second on-screen love interest for months. There was NO ONE else in WWE who could have played her role? Or his role for that matter?

Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee vs. Seth Rollins

The winner gets McIntyre at Clash of Champions. Rollins pitches the alliance with Orton, who immediately drops down to the floor. Then Rollins rolls out to yell at him but Orton says he changed his mind. Lee grabs Rollins by the hair (Rollins: “OW!!!”) and pulls him inside where Rollins’ headlock doesn’t work very well. Orton comes back in and gets splashed in the corner but Rollins is back up with ax handles to Lee. They send Lee to the apron so Lee slingshots in with a crossbody to both of them as we take a break.

Back with Lee getting knocked out of the air and sent to the floor for a drop onto the announcers’ table. There’s a whip into the steps to put Lee down even more but they carry him back to the apron in a rather questionable move. Orton turns on Rollins with the hanging DDT for two but Rollins is right back with the Falcon Arrow for the same.

Lee rises up though and throws Rollins into Orton for the big crash. Orton heads outside where Lee Pounces him into the barricade before catching Rollins’ suicide dive and tossing him into the announcers’ table. Back in and Rollins enziguris Lee and kicks him in the head again to knock him down. The Stomp is countered into the Spirit Bomb but Orton comes back in for the RKO to Lee and pins Rollins at 11:05.

Rating: C+. That was about all they could do here and that’s the right call. Lee looked dominant and didn’t get pinned, which is what matters most in this. Orton gets back into the title match as well, which isn’t quite surprising and it’s not like Rollins is going to be hurt by taking a fall. Good enough here, but more importantly it wasn’t stupid and that’s an improvement.

Overall Rating: C. The best thing here was that they didn’t do anything incredibly stupid. I know that might be a pretty low bar to clear, but in WWE’s world, it is at the top of the priorities list. They set up or moved things towards Clash while keeping things moving well enough. I liked what we got here and while nothing is worth seeing, they didn’t ruin Lee (yet) and I could see myself being interested in where some of these things go. Good enough show here, which is quite the upgrade over what they had been doing in recent months.

Results

Keith Lee b. Dolph Ziggler – Spirit Bomb

Mickie James b. Lana – Mick Kick

Randy Orton b. Kevin Owens – RKO

Cedric Alexander/Viking Raiders b. Hurt Business – Rollup with tights to MVP

Riott Squad b. IIconics – Rollup to Kay

Seth Rollins b. Dominik Mysterio – Stomp

Street Profits vs. Andrade/Angel Garza went to a no contest when Retribution interfered

Randy Orton b. Keith Lee and Seth Rollins – Orton pinned Rollins after a Spirit Bomb from Lee

 

 

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