Monday Night Raw 2019-2020 “Season Premiere” – Live Thoughts

I will refresh this blog throughout the night.

Full disclosure — I stopped watching Raw probably around the time of Blood Money II, so I couldn’t tell you if this intro was new or not. But the stage and set definitely look new, and I read enough clickbait news sites to know that the pyro is back!

And those are completely new announcers (or in Lawler’s case, old)! I’m very much looking forward to an episode of Raw that doesn’t include Michael Cole or Corey Graves.

I thought they said they were going to start with the Universal Title match, but Rey doesn’t look dressed to compete.

I like that they’re promoting matches to come later tonight. It’s so basic, but they’ve done so little in recent years to acknowledge the power of treating matches like they matter.

Poor Rey — they never e-e-e-ever let Rey Mysterio finish a promo without getting interrupted.

Totally misread Lesnar’s t-shirt as saying “Supper City.” Mmmm.

This does not bode well for Rey’s chances later.

I don’t agree with the announcer (I can’t tell their voices apart yet) who is saying that Dominic needs to “stand up as a man and fight” against Brock Lesnar.

Speaking of people who should stand up and fight, where is the entire rest of the WWE roster who are nowhere to be seen as the title challenger and his son get mauled by Brock Lesnar? This would be a nice time for a hero to come out of the locker room. Seriously, that does make segments like this less compelling and more awkward. It just makes the rest of the locker room look selfish or cowardly. Even Fit Finlay rolls out and takes cover! Maybe the announcer who said sometimes you have to stand up like a man should come to the ring.

OK this is going way too long.

It’s great to see Sasha again.

Becky looks like she’s dressed as “cool executive.” Oh hey, I guess that’s what she was going for — she just said she’s dressed as “Business Becky.”

Whoa, Batista is in Gears 5! (Full disclosure: I don’t know what Gears 5 is, but I do know that Batista in Gears 5 looks more realistic than Rock in Mummy 2).

The announcers are upset that Becky is “interfering in the match,” and by “interfering in the match,” they mean “standing on the announcers’ laps about 30 yards from the ring.”

Lawler whispers that Brock Lesnar is being questioned by the authorities in the back. I realize I only read detective novels and I’m not an actual detective, but I would encourage them to examine the first 10 minutes or so of this television program that was broadcast to millions of people. It is full of evidence.

Becky seems to have regained some heat after a few months of being cooled off by WWE Creative’s attempts to make her more popular.

Oh god — their hands are still all over this. “You made this personal, I’ll make it painful.” So lame. Please stop ruining Becky.

It’s too bad Robert Roode is teamed up with Dolph Ziggler, because then you don’t get to hear the entire “Glorious” song. “How did he get such a good song?” asked my girlfriend, before it was ruined by Ziggler’s song.

Did a match happen? I feel like I looked away for 30 seconds and they had moved on.

I can’t really get into this Fiend stuff. It seems very well-produced, but I would imagine this would fall into the bucket of what Jon Moxley would call “Hokey shit.”

Seth cuts a promo confirming that the Mysterio match is off. Some patronizing stuff for the crowd.

Holy crap! Roode and Ziggler have just been standing there for 5 minutes as the show actually did move on!

Remember that time Vince got duped into calling Heavy Machinery up from NXT?

Uh it looked like Heavy Machinery were about to win … so they cut to commercial.

This show had a really intense pace throughout most of the first 45 minutes, and I was wondering if it was going to be sustainable. This match answers the question —- it’s not — but that’s probably for the best. I wonder if, thanks to this match, we’ll have a little breather here before we ramp back up at the top of the hour.

I find Otis incredibly annoying, but the crowd seems to be eating it up. There’s a place for this stuff on the card, but I wish that place weren’t “challenging for the tag team championships.”

This Batista game has an interesting cover of “The Chain.”

I think he said the “cats” of Total Divas.

I mentioned earlier that I stopped watching Raw because of Blood Money II, but I had dramatically cut back anyway. In-ring talk-show segments were one of the major causes of that. WWE had gotten to a point where the only thing they’d promote about upcoming episodes was that there would be a new Miz TV or A Moment of Bliss or The KO Show. These segments are terrible and I hate them. The Fiend can (and likely will) come out to destroy Hogan and Flair, which will be great, and it will still not be worth it.

Still, nice work by The Miz calling back to Lesnar’s attack at the top of the show and adding to the intended gravity of the situation.

While I hate that Miz TV even exists, it still annoys me that Hogan is getting top billing on Miz TV and that Flair has to come out first.

Flair seems lost, off-script, and I love it. TRASH HOGAN MORE.

Oh so this is all just a set-up for Blood Money IV.

Randy doesn’t want the carpet in the ring but I feel like that would make for a nicer landing.

Baron Corbin reminds me of more reasons why I stopped watching Raw.

Rusev wants a pat on the back for running out to save Rollins … where was he when Rey and Dominic were getting attacked? WHERE WERE YOU?

NXT has so many wrestlers who keep doing duckface. First it was Pete Dunne, now Matt Riddle. They also both appear to condition and blow-dry their hair. Nothing wrong with that, just a noticeable look.

I like Rusev’s new look but he’s a super letdown for mystery opponent.

War Machine was so good in NXT. If the announcers have to defend them as non-LARPers, you know you’re doing something wrong with the presentation of their characters. Meanwhile nobody talks about Gallows’ weird face paint.

Ugh I just looked at the clock — this episode is only half over. Three-hour episodes are another reason I stopped watching Raw.

Lawler says he’s “sitting in stunned silence” watching these two teams. He truly is the voice of the crowd.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are calling from inside the house!

Battle of the bald men! I am legit LOLing at Cesaro’s insistence that he is literally twice the size of Rey Mysterio. I wish they’d let Cesaro be a face though.

Cesaro’s music is super bland but I’m glad he doesn’t have those sirens anymore.

Ricochet is fun to watch but I wish they treated Cesaro better.

I just realized my TV thinks this is Season 27 Episode 39. Nobody told them it’s the season premiere.

I do give them credit for trying something different with Firefly Fun House but it just doesn’t work for me.

AJ didn’t get pyro.

I’d like to see Cedric get a legit push.

I like the announcers saying Cedric must have butterflies in his stomach — gets across the idea that this is a big match (even if nothing else has really served the purpose of making this seem like a big match).

I really like when announcers say things like “so-and-so had that move scouted.” Logical reversals in wrestling are such an easy way to make the match seem more sports-like, and comments like that help sell that story. I like being told a story that these are athletes who compete for a prize, and as such, they prepare for their matches by trying to understand their opponents.

Even though I would like a Cedric push, I’m glad AJ is getting clean wins. Sometimes they go too hard with heels having to cheat to win; they’re much more compelling when they’re actually good, but only need to cheat in those moments when they know they’re outclassed or outmatched. And AJ is really good, which makes you that much more irritated with him when he has to play dirty.

Man the Street Prophets are annoying.

“Lacey Evans continues to wear down Natalya.” And everyone with their TV on. My goodness, I am completely sapped. What unfortunate timing for this snoozer of a match, but in fairness to them, I can’t imagine the 2:30 mark is good for anyone.

The announcers are mad that Lacey Evans had her hands full of tights, but Natalya is wearing a one-piece suit that has nowhere to grab the tights. Lacey’s hands were grasping for anything as the announcers claimed she was pulling the tights. There was not good Vic-eye-coordination there.

As Rey apologizes to Dominic on replay for making him Lesnar bait, I apologize to my girlfriend for having this on TV for the past 2 hours and 38 minutes.

Paul Heyman deserves a bronze medal FOR HIS SKIN!

Nice of USA to use their airtime to promote Smackdown on Fox.

This ref is so short it is throwing off my sense of perspective.

Vic accidentally says “Randy Orbin” when referring to Randy and Baron standing there all dorkily with Baron in his nerd costume, which remarkably doesn’t trigger conversations about LARPing from the announce team.

At this point, if “Cult of Personality” plays, I might consider this episode a success. Otherwise it’s just been a lengthy reminder of why I stopped watching Raw.

Rusev and Seth had a nice believable recovery from a botched spot. I always admire that — when a spot is blown but the wrestlers manage to work their way back into where they wanted to be in a way that totally fits the action and seems believable.

You know what’s not believable? That you’d want to superkick your opponent, and you stomp your foot repeatedly to alert them of your plans.

Bobby Lassley was the surprise?

Oh wait, there’s more.

Well, maybe there isn’t, because whoever Bobby is expecting isn’t coming out.

Oh no. They’ve ended their season premiere with a tacky soap opera angle.

Garbage like this is why I stopped watching Raw.