WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE PERFORMANCE CENTER
MAY 18, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Top 10 Moments from Last Week’s Show:
Overview and Items Advertised by WWE
We head towards Backlash, making its return to the WWE PPV rotation after a two-year absence. It’ll be interesting to watch things develop given the new brand-to-brand invitational “clause” or whatever you want to call it. On Smackdown, Michael Cole told us that a wrestler will have a chance to go to the “other brand” four times a year. Anyway, here’s what on tap for tonight:
- WWE Champion Drew McIntyre battles King Corbin
- Bliss and Cross defend the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles against the IIconics
- Asuka starts a new era on Monday Night Raw
- The Street Profits the face the Viking Raiders in an axe-throwing contest
Non-Title Match: WWE Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre fired the “first shot” so to speak, as we begin the era of the brand-to-brand invitational. First, he defeated long-time rival U.S. Champion Andrade in a non-title match (for the second time in about a month). He then revealed that a Smackdown wrestler requested to have a match with him, that being King Corbin. He officially issued the challenge, and Corbin accepted later in the show. He talked about taking Drew “under his wing” for about a year, and he wouldn’t be champion without his guidance. Drew, Corbin, and Bobby Lashley unofficially were paired in late 2018 and periodically throughout the following year. They mainly feuded with Braun Strowman and the Shield until Dean Ambrose (AEW Champion Jon Moxley) left the company.
Tonight, former allies so to speak go at it as Drew takes on Corbin.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t care if WWE splits the roster or has one roster. Me personally, I’m not in favor of the split. I like one roster and one set of champions. I do see the positives of the split, and we’ve seen many wrestlers benefit from it throughout the years (Batista, Edge, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Braun Strowman, A.J. Styles, etc.). If they’re going to cross people from show to show, I just hope they emphasize it. During the “wild card” era last year people just appeared on Raw and Smackdown without explanation and you wouldn’t know there were separate rosters. As far as Corbin being the first choice to come over to Raw, it’s not the best choice, but he is someone that won’t be hurt from losing to Drew.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (champs) vs. the IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay)
Last week, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross brought A Moment of Bliss to Raw. Former champions the IIconics returned and made their way out. They challenged the champs, but they were hesitant to put the titles on the line. The two teams ended up having a non-title match, won by the IIconics.
This week, the titles are on the line. The IIconics won the titles at last year’s WrestleMania from Bayley and Sasha Banks in a fatal four-way match. Bliss and Cross won the titles from the IIconics last summer, also in a fatal four-way match.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s good to see the IIconics back, if anything for depth on the roster. The match was decent enough last week, and I anticipate the same for tonight. I don’t see a title change, although I can’t rule it out either. Generally, I find them annoying, with all due to respect to people with whom I regularly speak. Last week, I liked them more than I liked Bliss & Cross, of whom I’m fans. It was an interesting feeling.
The Asuka Era Begins
Last week, Becky Lynch opened the show bringing out the Money in the Bank briefcase and told us she would have to go away for a while. She didn’t give a reason, but plenty of rumors were about that she was pregnant. She invited 2020 MITB winner Asuka out and told her the match that took place the night before wasn’t for the MITB briefcase, but rather the Raw Women’s Championship. Asuka celebrated, and Becky finally revealed she was pregnant. Long-time rivals Asuka and Becky embraced, and an emotional Becky left the ring.
We now begin the era of Asuka being the Raw titleholder. She has more accolades than we may realize:
— WWE (@WWE) May 15, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: Congratulations to Becky on her journey of being a mother. Being a parent is trying, and changes your life forever, but you can’t put a value on the rewards. That said, Asuka has been a treat to watch in recent times, even if some may find her over the top. Let’s hope she’s treated as a big deal and as a champion, much better than how they handled her run with the Smackdown title a little over a year ago.
The Street Profits and the Viking Raiders to Face Off in an Axe-Throwing Contest
Last week, Raw Tag Team Champions schooled the Viking Raiders in a two-on-two basketball game by a score of 74-2. The Raiders committed 19 fouls to the Profits zero. After the game, the Raiders revealed they let the Profits win, and showed off their shooting skills.
This week, the two teams go at it in an axe-throwing contest. Here’s a little Twitter exchange:
— Erik (@Erik_WWE) May 17, 2020
— Ivar (@Ivar_WWE) May 17, 2020
WE GON WHOOP THAT AXE. https://t.co/cvDZnGBN1y
— 𝕂𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕋𝕖𝕫 (@MontezFordWWE) May 17, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I’m a Knicks fan, so I’m used to bad basketball. I have no comparison point for an axe-throwing contest. I have Demolition’s theme playing in my head seeing as it starts “Here comes the ax…” I’m sorry, I got nothing else.
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week
- Bobby Lashley defeated Humberto Carrillo in a no-DQ match. Later, MVP talked to him about their history and asked when “Lashley is going to let Lashley out.” Lana then appeared and screamed very annoyingly.
- R-Truth & Cedric Alexander & Ricochet defeated Shane Thorne & Brandon Vink & MVP. R-Truth alternated between being himself and Pretty Ricky.
- Jinder Mahal was interviewed and said he will redeem himself and begin a hero’s journey back to the top. (The 1.3 billion people in India will be proud.)
- Rey Mysterio & Aleister Black (miraculously recovered from being thrown off the top of a building the night before) defeated Seth Rollins & Murphy via a very weird DQ. Seth then continued to attack Rey and shoved his eye into the corner of the ringside steps. WWE.com has an article “get the latest on Rey Mysterio’s injury.”
- Shayna Baszler defeated Natalya. She was extremely critical of Becky Lynch getting pregnant, made scathing remarks about babies and pregnant mothers in general, and told Natalya the Hart Dynasty dies with her as she’ll never be a mother. Here’s Shayna in a WWE exclusive:
- Edge and Randy Orton were interviewed by Charly Caruso, putting them in the same ring for the first time since their Last Man Standing match at WrestleMania. Orton challenged Edge to a straight-up wrestling match at Backlash, saying that since Edge’s comeback he hasn’t been in a such a match since he retired. Edge’s final televised straight-up match was his successful defense of the World Heavyweight Championship over Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27 in 2011.
It will be interesting to see the landscape of WWE given its arguably top star, Becky Lynch, will be gone for some time. Her fiancé Seth Rollins was recently turned heel and doubled down on that persona this week with his attack on Rey Mysterio. He’ll likely pay a visit back to the championship picture down the line and who knows if that will be on Raw or Smackdown, given the “brand-to-brand invitational” situation. For all we know Bray Wyatt can win the Universal Championship on Smackdown, turn babyface, and get challenged by Rollins as he tries to get retribution for “ruining him” last year. At this point I wouldn’t rule anything out. Other women will need to be built up to fill the void left by Becky’s departure. We shall see how things unfold as a different “era” appears to be on the horizon for WWE.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.