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WWE Raw preview (Mar. 30, 2020): Hearts on fire

BT Sport

Live on tape from Orlando! Does that help? I got a little excited typing it. More than I would have saying “another closed set show from the Performance Center... this one filmed last Tuesday”. Now I’ve ruined it, haven’t I?

The Headliner(s)

It’s not at all uncommon to hear or read people observing that something from before Mar. 11* feels like it was years ago. I’m not even sure if it’s funny or insightful at this point. But it’s still true. The last “normal” Raw was 21 days ago, and going back to watch clips of it while writing this felt like visiting another planet.

It was on that Mar. 9 show from Washington, D.C. that we last saw Drew McIntyre wrestle. He beat Erick Rowan, and squashed his Halloween prop with the ring steps. That means it was even longer ago that we watched the 2020 Royal Rumble winner Claymore WWE champion Brock Lesnar’s face off.

Since then, McIntyre got a few seconds to talk on a pre-tape before Paul Heyman and his client opened Raw with their usual song-and-dance last week. And that’s it.

Don’t get me wrong. The “what if Rocky Balboa was training to fight The Kurgan?” video BT Sport put together was fantastic (cheesy, but fantastic). I expect to see it on this episode, and probably a time or two next weekend during the WrestleMania broadcasts. But if these guys are going to main event Sunday night, and if they’re going to strap Drew and give him a run as the top guy on Monday nights... we’re gonna need to heat this baby back up.

“The prevailing conditions” make a locker room-clearing brawl impossible. That’s the effect WWE should be going for on this episode, though. Maybe they can borrow another page from Sylvester Stallone’s playbook and end Raw with a less-friendly version of Rocky III’s closing scene? Just fade to black at 11 p.m. Eastern with Lesnar and McIntyre charging at each other.

As it stands, the hype for tonight’s broadcast on doesn’t even promise Drew will be on the show. I know these are strange times, but that seems like a mistake. It’s bad enough no one will cheering for in person this weekend, but remind us we should be screaming our heads off at home.

* At least for those of in the States. I know others have been living in this weird, slow-motion nightmare for longer.

The title scene

We’ve had a steady dose of Raw Women’s champ Becky Lynch these last few weeks, including a steel chair beatdown of her challenger Shayna Baszler last week. They’re promising another appearance by The Man tonight. We’ll see if Baszler can regain momentum heading into their big clash on Saturday (pretty certainly).

It’s a good thing Raw Tag titleholders Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins want the smoke, because WWE keeps booking championship matches for them. For ‘Mania, it’s Zelina Vega’s boys - United States champion Andrade & Angel Garza. Both teams picked up wins last Monday.

Their main rivals, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross, are on the blue brand. But there continues to be talk Kabuki Warriors defense of their Women’s Tag belts this weekend will be a Triple Threat. If the Divas of Doom are gonna step up, it should be tonight on Natalya’s show, and with Beth Phoenix’s husband in the house.

COVID-19 seems to have put the 24/7 championship in quarantine. At least it’s at home with R-Truth where it belongs.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Their match at WrestleMania 36 won’t be at the PC, but Undertaker will be there on this show to talk about his upcoming trip to the Boneyard with AJ Styles.

- It’s Edge’s turn to respond to Randy Orton responding to his Last Man Standing challenge. Even though it’s been alternating promos for weeks, the build between these two friends-turned-enemies has been fantastic.

- Speaking of fire promos... Seth Rollins delivered one of the best ones of his career last Monday when he took credit for the Performance Center and Kevin Owens’ entire WWE career. I wouldn’t mind leaving this one where it is; just give it the video package treatment. We’ll see what WWE decides to do.

- We just got a reminder of what Charlotte Flair is capable of, thanks to last week’s replay of her ending Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania 34, They could hype up her ‘Mania opponent, NXT Women’s champ Rhea Ripley, either tonight or on Wednesday.

- In preparation for kicking Bobby Lashley’s head off, Aleister Black has been kicking the heads off Evolve wrestlers.

It’s WrestleMania go home show!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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