KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (12/19)
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HEYDORN’S WWE RAW REPORT
JANUARY 13, 2020
LIVE FROM LEXINGTON, KY
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Jerry “The King” Lawler
-The show opened with the traditional intro video. When it ended, the pyro went off before Vic Joseph and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. He talked about the roster wanting momentum heading into the Royal Rumble and as he did, Randy Orton walked out to good sounding reaction from the crowd. As Orton walked to the ring, Joseph and the Lawler ran down the show and hyped the fist fight along with an appearance from Brock Lesnar, Murphy vs. Black, Lashley vs. Rusev, and the Raw Women’s Championship contract signing between Asuka and Becky Lynch.
Heydorn’s Analysis: They started this rundown of the show last week and went ahead with it here too. Smart booking. WWE needs to keep their viewers and it helps to do that if you give them a reason to stay by telling them whats on the horizon. This format also makes the shifts and swerves in major programming more impactful when they happen. Good stuff.
-When the announcer hype was over, Orton stood in the ring with microphone. He paused as the audience cheered and then did his pose on the ropes. This caused the audience to cheer even louder. From there, Orton said he was asked to come to the ring and excitedly welcome the crowd to Monday Night Raw. The crowd cheered, but he said “excitedly” wasn’t typically his style. Instead, he called out A.J. Styles. Orton said that he’d show Styles why he would win the Royal Rumble and would prove to him that the most dangerous letters in sports entertainment were R, K, O. As Orton said “O” Styles walked out.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This is how you use Randy Orton. His attitude shined through here and he came off like a star. The audience reacted that way to him as well. Not many on the roster have that type credibility. Orton does and he used it well here.
As Styles walked to the ring, the announce debated why A.J. was taunting Orton the way that he had been. Once Styles got to the ring, he addressed Orton and asked him if he called him out there to brag. Styles asked Orton if he had another knee injury and said that he really believed Orton was hurt. Styles laughed at Orton thinking he was the Royal Rumble favorite. Styles said it wasn’t true and that if Orton missed him last week, he administered the greatest RKO ever. He said that his own RKO was phenomenal and so good that it would be the only move he needs to win the Royal Rumble. He said that included throwing him over the top rope as well as Brock Lesnar.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Some good heel work by Styles – out of touch and in his own world in terms of how he handled the Orton injury. He’s striking the right tone with his character right now.
From there, Drew McIntyre walked out and said that that threat from Styles must include him too. He said that throughout the last few weeks he’s had some trouble with his opponents. He mocked beating the conga line last week, but said that he wanted to up his level of competition. Drew said that his Claymore was bigger than their RKO measuring challenge. From there, Drew gave the crowd two options. The first being watching the three men talk all night and the second being watching them fight in a triple threat match. Obviously, the audience chose option two and roared in approval. At that point, Drew was in the ring, and the match officially began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Drew looked and sounded comfortable for the third week in a row. Just like last week, his ton was babyface-like and while a turn wasn’t “officially” made, it appears he’s leaning that way and going for the crowd engagement and interaction. As for what he said? Very effective. He put himself on par with both Styles and Orton and looked the part in doing so.
(1) DREW MCINTYRE vs. RANDY ORTON vs. A.J. STYLES
Drew kicked Styles in the face to start things off and then battled Orton. As he worked to attack Styles again, the Gallows and Anderson made the same. In response, Drew gave Gallows the Claymore Kick and Orton hit Anderson with the RKO as the show went to commercial break. (c)
Out of the break, Orton stomped on Drew in the corner with Styles on the top rope. Orton climbed up and lifted Styles for a superplex, but instead Drew lifted him for a powerbomb. At the same time, all three men hit the mat.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The classic multi-man match spot. You’d think it have lost it’s luster at this point, but the crowd still loved it.
From there, Orton got to his feet and three men exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Orton connected with a clothesline, but then was immediatley hit with a Drew headbutt. After, Drew hit Styles with one and then crushed him with a DDT. At that point, McIntyre counted down 3,2,1 with the crowd and then attempted his Claymore. Orton countered with a dropkick which caused the action to roll out of the ring. All three men battled out there, with Styles connecting with an over the top rope forearm. Eventually, Orton grabbed the steel steps and hit McIntyre with them. With Drew down, Styles and Orton battled into the ring. Styles hit Orton with his rope DDT and then mocked Orton by tuning up for the RKO. He went for it, but Orton countered. Instead, Styles connected with a kick. After it, Styles went for the RKO again, but this time, Orton countered with a kick and went for the Styles Clash. Orton hit it to a massive pop and then covered, but only got a two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great spot. Orton sold it perfectly with his facial expressions and the audience ate it up.
Out of the pin, Orton kept the action on Styles and eventually hit the RKO. As he went for the pin, Drew McIntyre rolled into the ring and nailed Orton with the Claymore Kick. Drew then covered Styles for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: McIntyre via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good television match. Each act shined and played their role well. Drew getting the win signals that WWE is going somewhere with him. Brock Lesnar?
-After the match, Drew posed on the ropes as the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, a highlight video aired that detailed the events of last week between Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, AOP, and the returning Big Show. When the video ended, Seth Rollins was shown backstage with AOP. He said that he hoped they were as excited as him because opportunities like the fist fight don’t come around often. He said that people aren’t with him, then they are against them. Rollins said that neither Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, or the Big Show can stop them. From there, he said that he has sacrificed everything for success and that tonight they needed to show the world what would happen if you don’t accept the vision of the Monday Night Messiah.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That worked. More of the same in terms of content, but that’s necessary due to the fact that Rollins is establishing his new gimmick. Well done.
-Ricochet made his entrance to a good reaction from the crowd. Once he got to the ring, he did his pose and the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Mojo Rawley made his entrance. Once he got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(2) RICOCHET vs. MOJO RAWLEY
Rawley charged Ricochet to start the match, but Ricochet dodged it. From there, Ricochet connected with some punches and then connected with a springboard hurricanrana takedown. After, he attempted a pin, but Rawley blocked it and connected with a knee to the midsection. Soon after, Ricochet tossed Rawley over the top rope and celebrated as the announcers talked about how he demonstrated he could throw people over the top rope for the Royal Rumble match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Seriously? Folks watching Raw have seen Ricochet toss many opponents over the top rope. Unnecessary commentary that framed Ricochet as a small and didn’t jive with what viewers already know about him.
With Rawley on the outside of the ring, Ricochet connected with a flying diving attack over the top rope. After hitting it, he rolled Rawley back into the ring and looked to keep momentum, but Rawley halted it with a kick. Rawley owned the match from there and hit Ricochet with a jumping splash in the corner. Eventually, Ricochet countered the offense and connected with a kick before trying for his springboard splash. Rawley countered, but Ricochet countered the counter and hit his DDT instead. From there, he hit his 630 off the top rope and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ricochet via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok match. Ricochet looked impressive at times, but the commentary doesn’t do him favors. They need to be talking up his athletic prowess instead of making excuses for his size. That said, another good use of the squash match here.
-After the match, the Street Profits were shown backstage. They hyped up the show and started with talking about the fist fight. From there, they made fun of the Oscars a bit before talking about the contract signing and Murphy vs. Black. They then made an introduction for Charlotte and told producers to cue her music.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The Street Profits bring more to the table when they are presented as credible in-ring competitors and not hype men backstage. It’s night and day. WWE needs to recognize this and change course.
-As soon as the Street Profits made the Charlotte intro, her music hit and walked to the ring. Once she got there, she posed, and the show went to break. (c)
-Out of the break, Sarah Logan made her entrance. As she walked down the ramp, the announce team cued up highlights of last week concerning Logan and Charlotte. After, Logan got into the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
(3) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. SARAH LOGAN
Out of the gate, Charlotte crushed Logan with a boot to the face. She then went for the Figure 8, but Logan crawled out of the ring. There, both women brawled around the ringside area. Eventually, Charlotte tossed Logan back into the ring and slammed her face into the post. After, she locked in the Figure 8 submission which caused Logan to tap out.
WINNER: Flair via submission
-After the match, Charlotte arrogantly put on her robe in front of Logan to taunt her. As she was about to leave, Charlotte ran back and tossed Logan out first. Charlotte then left the ring with Logan writhing in pain on the outside.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A nothing match for the most part, but one that defined Charlotte as clearly more important than Logan. Go figure, right? We need to hear from Charlotte Flair. Because of her history, we know she is important, but the context around her lately has been meaningless. Babyface? Heel? Who knows? It’s time for a mission statement. Even if its as simple as winning the women’s Royal Rumble. That’s direction and she desperately needs it.