WWE Raw 2/17/20 – Orton Battles Matt Hardy

Randy Orton comes out as we get a runthrough of tonight’s events – including a sermon from Seth Rollins. Matt Hardy comes out in a jacket and with a giant neck brace on and says that Randy tried to take all of this away from him. Matt says that WWE’s doctors won’t clear him, but he’s here for a fight and like Edge, he has GRIT. Orton threatens an RKO, but doesn’t go through with it and says he’s sorry for what he did. He leaves and Matt grabs a chair and tells him to finish him – so Randy attacks and RKOs him. Randy beats him up with a chair and then does a conchairto on the steps to take Matt out. Randy sits down next to Matt in a daze and fans looked on stunned. This wasn’t “the match” promised – but was far more effective than the match would’ve been.

Aleister Black faces Rowan and beats him after two Black Mass kicks. Charlotte comes out in a bright yellow outfit and says that she’ll face Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Title at WrestleMania and it’s OFFICIAL with sign-pointing. Riddick Moss faces Mojo and Truth in a triple threat for the 24/7 Title. Mojo eats a five knuckle shuffle from Truth, but Moss cradles Mojo to win and retain the title. Drew McIntyre gets a giant introduction as the winner of the Royal Rumble and THE MAN WHO WILL MAIN EVENT WRESTLEMANIA – so they’re doing at least the presentation of him as a star right.

Paul Heyman says that Brock doesn’t admire Drew like the fans do because Drew took him out of the Rumble and he’ll take him out at WrestleMania. Heyman brings out MVP, one week after MVP said that he had his last match on WWE TV. Well this makes a lot more sense than just having him retire and MVP is better as an enhancement guy and an interview host than just the latter. Drew slugs away at MVP and lands a snap Future Shock before a 3-2-1 Claymore. They’re getting Drew right as an act – he still needs a core to his character, but fans are taking to him as a top-level guy. Shayna biting Becky is recapped before she comes down.

She throws money on the ground to pay a fine in advance for what she does to Shayna. She says that Shayna went for the neck like an animal. Shayna says she’ll win the chamber – it’s held in a cage and she’s a cage fighter and this works out perfectly for her. She’ll chew through anyone in the cage and then tear the shit out of Becky at WrestleMania. The bite last week wasn’t even planned – and what she has planned will be much worse. Becky says she’ll be rooting for Shayna at Elimination Chamber. They’re doing a great job of building the blocks for Mania to feel like a well-built show.

Lashley and Garza cut a promo backstage about Rusev and Carrillo. Rusev tosses Garza around, but Garza schoolboys him and wins holding the tights. The Kabuki Warriors come down and mock Nattie and declare THEY DON’T CARE while Kairi twirls her umbrella. Asuka says she’ll beat Nattie and go on to WrestleMania. EZ-PZ! Kairi faces Nattie and Asuka head kicks Nattie on the floor and wins by countout. Kairi celebrating this COUNTOUT VICTORY with a Naruto run around the ring after a dance was tremendous. Seth’s sermon features his buddy Murphy The halfpipe tron looks great with the giant stained-glass Seth tron image too. Seth yammers on before the Viking Raiders kick ass and KO hits a stunner on the ramp.

The OC comes down and AJ calls Ricochet a rookie. He says no one thinks he can be WWE Champion and he didn’t really do anything to earn a title shot. I’m sorry, TITLE OPPORTUNITY with Ricochet planning on beating Brock. Ricochet faces Karl Anderson and I know it’s astounding, but Anderson lost to set up a bigger AJ match. I like the Recoil being his TV finish – keeps the 630 special for PPVs. They announce AOP and Murphy against KO and the Viking Raiders in the latest combination of this match that I’m already sick of.

Orton’s beating of Matt is recapped before Liv says that her future has her winning the Chamber match and going on to WrestleMania after taking out Ruby Riott. Murphy’s revamped long tights gear looks a lot better on him, especially as he takes a bit flip bump for a KO stunner. Seth runs in to prevent a pinfall and threatens crucifixtion before the Street Profits make a save. Now this is how you make stars – they’ve been protected for months and now they’re getting a shot in the main event-ish scene.

WrestleMania is being built up very well this year – but not from a star power perspective IN THEORY. Instead, they’re focusing on making stars building to the event and then cementing that status at the show. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, but I’m envisinioning something akin to the post-WM XIV Raw where it feels like a sea change is upon us.

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