SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
DENVER, COL. AT THE PEPSI CENTER
OCTOBER 14, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. ET
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Dio Maddin
Arena and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE returns to the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. for tonight’s episode of Raw. WWE ran Raw and Smackdown as well as their Main Event and 205Live tapings here last September. The building opened in 1999 and is home to the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. WWE was an on-again off-again guest early on in the arena’s existence but has ran shows more frequently in the last five years.
Night two of the draft takes place tonight and we are in full swing headed towards Crown Jewel, which takes place on Halloween this year at 1:00 p.m. EST. Here’s what’s advertised thus far for tonight’s show. They have a light preview out as of this writing, most likely because the focus will be on the draft:
• Lynch and Banks to renew hostilities and determine first pick on Night 2 of WWE Draft
• The Viking Raiders to challenge Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode for the Raw Tag Team Championship
Matches & Segments:
Draft: Night Two
The draft continues and will be completed tonight. This was essentially a draft from scratch after WWE had the wild card rule for the past five to six months which for all intents and purposes ended the roster split. That ends with the completion of the draft.
One of the notable selections was the first overall pick, Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch as she was drafted to Raw and remains on the show in which she’s been the champion since WrestleMania. Other notable wrestlers coming to Raw are Kevin Owens and Randy Orton. Roman Reigns was drafted to Smackdown along with Braun Strowman and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) were drafted to Smackdown. Wade Keller’s Smackdown report has the full list of who was drafted where on night one.
Following night one, additional picks were made according to WWE.com:
- Raw: EC3 (what’s the point), Eric Young (again what’s the point), and Sin Cara
- Smackdown: Apollo Crews, Drew Gulak, Heath Slater, Tamina, and the B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
I thought for every two picks Smackdown got, Raw got three. Anyway, night two of the draft is tonight. Here’s some WWE exclusives with others that were drafted to Raw:
Frank’s Analysis: This draft has been criticized enough, so I won’t pile on. The only thing I’ll say is if you’re going to do a draft, take the time to watch one and see how it works. Watching that show on Friday told me they didn’t have a clue, or they did and decided they knew better and we’ll do it our way because it’s entertaining and funny that way. WWE knows there’s competition now, don’t they?
Cross-Brand Match for Who Drafts First: Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks of Smackdown
Didn’t we just do this?
On Friday Night Smackdown, Universal Champion Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns via DQ when “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt interrupted their match and went after recent rival Rollins. He dragged him under the ring like the Undertaker before him and gave him the Mandible Claw. As a result, Raw got the first pick and took Becky Lynch who currently holds the Raw Women’s Championship (what a concept).
Tonight, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks renew their feud which recently took them inside Hell in a Cell. That match saw Becky retain her title in what was one of the better matches of the night. The winner of tonight’s match picks first from tonight’s pool. Here’s WWE’s tweet about the match and a exclusive interview with Becky after being picked first:
Frank’s Analysis: Isn’t the draft ongoing from Friday? Why do we have to determine who goes first tonight? Are they separate drafts? WWE just finds reasons to have these matches, but they make no sense. Also, as I pointed out in my primer on Friday and as Wade Keller did in his Smackdown report, why do the wrestlers care if their show drafts first? On Friday, Rollins and Reigns didn’t even know on what show they’d be drafted. This whole thing is just a mess.
Raw Tag Team Championship: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (champs) vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar, challengers)
Last week on Raw, the Viking Raiders defeated Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in a non-title match. The match was previously unadvertised, and it wasn’t even talked about until the Raiders came out and the announce team said they would be taking on the champions. Check out Wade Keller’s Raw report last week where he discusses the issues with that. Nonetheless, the match had good action and went around 17 minutes. It ended when they gave Ziggler their signature Viking Experience finisher.
As a result of that win, WWE has granted the Viking Raiders a championship match tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: I do have to say overall, they’ve done a decent job building up the Viking Raiders. They won a number of squash matches and recently got involved with the O.C. This feels like a crescendo. I just wish the titles and beating the champions in a non-title match actually meant something. They do this over and over again for it to feel special. The champions, at least on the tag team side and the mid-card level are poorly protected. They also do the “beat the champion, earn a title shot” formula way too often. It’s ok to do so but pick and choose your spots and frame both the match and winning it as a big deal. They just throw these sorts of things out there and don’t treat it as important, so why should we? Could you imagine teams like the Rock ‘n Roll Express, Midnight Express, Freebirds, Von Erichs, Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, Harlem Heat, Road Warriors and all those great tag teams mixed into this formula? None of them would have ever felt special as we think of them now.
Other Match Results and Notable Segments from Last Week
• During the opening segment they immediately went to Randy Orton and King Corbin double teaming Rusev. They then showed a video of Bobby Lashley in Rusev’s house with his wife Lana getting into bed together. What a disgrace of an angle. Grow up WWE.
• Natalya defeated Lacey Evans in a last woman standing match.
• Aleister Black defeated the Singh Brothers (Sunil & Samir) in a handicap match.
• Rey Mysterio shed light on his relationship with Cain Velasquez, revealing he’s his son Dominick’s godfather.
• The O.C. defeated Lucha House Party.
• New WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) defeated Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and at-the-time Smackdown Champion Charlotte Flair.
• Ricochet defeated Apollo Crews.
• They followed up on the much-criticized Hell in a Cell match between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt with about a half hour to go in the show.
• Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury had a pull-apart brawl. WWE had a press conference to announce their match at Crown Jewel. Here’s both men in separate exclusive interviews and also an exclusive of what happened when Raw when off the air:
Summary & Closing Thoughts
With AEW Dynamite taking shape now and shows like NWA Powerrr getting positive reviews, it befuddles me that WWE continues to put out a subpar product on both Raw and Smackdown. The storyline with Rusev and Lashley is trash, calling Chad Gable “Shorty Gable” is stupid (although I hand him some blame for that), the draft is a mess, here with go with not talking about Saudi Arabia, and on and on. It gets increasingly tough to stay invested in this product. We’ll see how they handle tonight, and if they learned from their mistakes on Friday. I wouldn’t go to the betting window on that.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.