Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: It was the Raw after WrestleMania, Maggle! We found out there was a secret WrestleMania main event, we got some roster call-ups, trades and returns, and nary a beach ball was to be found. Will we ever have a #RawAfterMania like this again? Lord, I hope not.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for April 13, 2020.
Worst: Who Are You And What Have You Done With Brandon?!?
Hi, everybody! Scott Heisel here. You might recognize my byline around these parts, especially if you enjoy me demanding Chris Jericho listen to Mariah Carey. Brandon recently moved across the country and is waiting for his internet to get hooked up in his new residence. Until then, you get me! Think of it like that time Sabu was supposed to main event December To Dismember but you got Hardcore Holly instead. You’re welcome.
Worst: Essential Business
With news coming out over the weekend that WWE was moving back to live broadcasts for Raw, NXT and Smackdown, my heart sank. How is WWE an essential business? Why do we need No Way Jose flying across the country just to get squashed by Bobby Lashley in 1:45? We don’t. No one does.
So, why is WWE now considered an essential business by the state of Florida? Well, it could be because they’re trying to set the table for major league baseball to play a shortened season in the sunshine state, or, if you’re a conspiracy victim, it’s because WWE was in danger of breaching their live-TV contracts with USA and FOX, and the former head of Donald Trump’s Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon (who is currently heading up a massive pro-Trump Super PAC), called Ron DeSantis to grease the wheels before her family declared bankruptcy. Honestly, it’s the flip of a coin with this administration at this point.
It is absolutely bonkers WWE is continuing to make their talent travel to a state with 21,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 just so they can keep their inflated TV contract money coming in. To put it into some sort of perspective, the entirety of Canada only has 25,000 confirmed cases thus far. This is wildly unnecessary and unsafe for everyone involved (including the camerapeople, producers and other backstage workers). Take the L, Vince, and run best-ofs for Stone Cold and the Rock and whoever else until we can start gathering small crowds in Full Sail Arena or the PC again.
As for the wrestlers themselves: Unionize already, for fuck’s sake.
Oh Yes, It’s Ladies Night, Oh What A Night
I don’t know if it’s because male talent are refusing to work in this climate, or if travel bans prevented international Superstars from making flights, or if just more female talent live closer to the Performance Center, but Raw was jam-packed with women last night, from in-ring promos by Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, to Zelina Vega becoming the most effective heel manager this side of Bobby Heenan, to three Money In The Bank qualifying matches. Let’s take a look at those, shall we?
By far, the Best of the three qualifiers is Asuka vs. Ruby Riott. The trash talk was flying between these two competitors early, which made it easier to tune out the commentary from 70-year-old heart attack survivor Jerry Lawler, the dictionary definition of “inessential worker.” (More on that later.) I enjoyed the submission-hold tradeoff at the end of the match, and while I never doubted Asuka would lose, it was nice to see Ruby get elevated to her level.
Somewhere in the middle was Kairi Sane vs. Nia Jax. Again, the conclusion was foregone, but I’ll be damned if I Worst a segment that involves Kairi Sane channeling the spirit of Phantasio and incorporating the art of mime, as well as Nia Jax gaining a new, pun-based finishing move. (Her Samoan drop was called the A-Nia-Later, get it?) Plus, this gives Asuka a good reason to go after Nia in the Money In The Bank Ladder match, clearing a path for the obvious pick to win it…
…Sarah Logan! Seriously, how terrible was this Shayna Baszler vs. Sarah Logan match? What are they trying to do here? Shayna (who apparently is on Raw full-time now, based on her chyron) isn’t Brock Lesnar. If you wanted her to be the dominant face of Raw’s women’s division, why not just have her nuke Becky at WrestleMania? Why have her lose like a chump in eight minutes, only to (presumably) punk out the the best of Raw and Smackdown women’s divisions at Money In The Bank to get the briefcase? You’re making me hate Shayna Baszler, and not in the cool-heel way — it’s more of in the “I wonder what else is on right now” way.
Supplementary (and Accidental) Best: There was truly nothing more hilarious then Ring Announcer Greg (or maybe it was Ring Announcer Mike) announcing the wrong person as the winner of the match. The YouTube video above mutes his announcement, but we all know what we heard, Greg. #justiceforsarahlogan
As for the promos from Charlotte and Becky, I preferred the latter to the former (seriously, why is Charlotte cutting this promo on Raw and not on NXT?), though neither of them were essential enough to be delivered from anywhere outside of each woman’s home. Seriously, y’all. Stop making talent travel just to talk into a camera. They can do that in their living room. WWE literally made Rey Mysterio fly from San Diego to Orlando for a 75-second backstage promo. Stop doing this.
Best: Los Ingobernables De Orlando
Not only did Raw’s A and B stories dovetail together nicely this episode (a rare occurrence, to be sure), it also provided new WWE Champion Drew McIntyre with his (presumptive) Money In The Bank opponent in Seth Rollins and elevated a new main-event stable for McIntyre to be at war with in the Zelina Vega-led Los Ingobernables De Orlando, featuring Andrade, Angel Garza and extreme-sports Ken doll Austin Theory. It’s like an episode of Seinfeld in here! What’s the deal with the soul of beef, anyway?
Vega deserves a raise for how good she is putting over Andrade, Garza and Theory — in this online exclusive, she even references her real-life marriage with Aleister Black to justify how Theory will beat him next week in a MITB qualifier match. World-building, Maggle! I love it!
While I absolutely did not love having Andrade lose in a champion vs. champion match against Drew McIntyre in the main event (like, why not just have it get thrown out due to interference?), nor did I love the terrible dialogue given to Andrade (“No more señor nice guy,” seriously?), I do love how the match was built up throughout the night, with call-backs to Drew and Andrade’s championship feud in NXT, referencing Drew’s real-life injury and how it landed him on the shelf. WWE seems to be putting a lot into building up McIntyre as the new face of Raw, so hopefully the live audience will get behind him once he’s in front of one again. (If he keeps laying in those chops as thick as he was last night, it’s hard to imagine they won’t.)
As for Saint Seth, I am all about him leaning big-time into the “He is risen” schtick. Anything to keep Christians home watching TV and angrily writing letters instead of congreating in churches spreading COVID-19 is A-OK with me.
Also On This Episode
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) April 14, 2020
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) April 14, 2020
GOT MY ASS KICKED ON RAW
— ONEY LORCAN (@_StarDESTROYER) April 14, 2020
— Get The Tables (@GetDaTables) April 14, 2020
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Lawler making comments about what makes a good marriage with no sense of irony is peak Lawler.
The Real Birdman
Kairi doesn’t use a bank for her money anyway
Jerry was off calling Ruby ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” but her asking for the “Real Asuka” definitely makes Ruby “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”
Lawler’s jokes are in the age group most likely to die from Covid-19.
I feel an opportunity to have every onscreen talent wearing a face mask made from XFL jerseys was missed here.
Baron Von Raschke
Tom: Ricochet talked about how he and Cedric have always wanted to form a tag team but the opportunity wasn’t there until Vince had ran their once-promising singles career into the ground and left them with no real options going forward and I can’t believe I’m saying this on the air I hope I don’t get fired and oh my god I fee so free it’s a joke that we are even doing this show, we should be doing BEST OF WWE shows with stuff that made you fall in love with wrestling in the first place…
Byron: Shut UP, PHILLIPS!
Byron avoiding looking at Zelina’s butt like a man that knows she is married to a Dutch kickboxer
Austin Theory is Lance Storm without a personality.
King Of Smark Style
Is this live? Because if it was taped, they forgot to edit out this Nia Jax match.
And that was… a version of Raw, I guess! Sure, it was heavy on the mid-card and women’s divisions, and yeah, it lacked many big names from Raw’s side of the WrestleMania card like Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, Edge, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens and the Big Show, but at least we got Jerry Lawler back, while putting countless WWE employees (and independent contractors) and their families at risk in the middle of a global pandemic. We’re putting smiles on people’s faces over here!
Thanks for reading this far, and hopefully we’ll have Brandon re-connected to the Matrix in time for next week, when we’re getting Rey Mysterio vs. Murphy, Apollo Crews vs. MVP and Aleister Black vs. Austin Theory in Money In The Bank qualifying matches. I can’t wait to find out who Greg Hamilton Mike Rome whoever accidentally declares as the victor!