On This Day: July 3, 2020 – Heath Slater Returns For One Night Only
On This Day, July 3, 2020, Heath Slater made his one and only appearance in WWE following his release from the company. Join us today as we recap the lead-up and the execution from this shocking moment from early Pandemic Era pro wrestling.
On March 26, 2020, Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship. He’d immediately go on to defend his newly won WWE Championship the same exact night against a newly returned Big Show. This was incredible news for McIntyre, but bad news would soon be inbound for the rest of the WWE roster.
Enter WWE’s annual spring cleaning special. On April 15, 2020, WWE released a litany of underutilized talent including the likes of Curt Hawkins, Lio Rush, EC3, The Good Brothers, and Rusev. However, one specific name that appeared on this list surprised many within the WWE Universe – and that was Heath Slater.
While Heath Slater was waiting out his 90-day no-compete clause, WWE decided to utilize the superstar for one more monumental moment. Let’s dive into it.
“Where Were You For Me?”
We start off with WWE Champion Drew McIntyre making his way down to ringside. This show was one week before The Horror Show at Extreme Rules (wow, what a title). At that show, McIntyre would face off against former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler. With McIntyre allowing Ziggler to face him for the title, he’s also allowing him to decide the match stipulation. With that in mind, McIntyre calls out Ziggler to announce what that stipulation would be.
Ziggler comes out and says that the match stipulation would be a secret. McIntyre and Ziggler cut an insane promo together – that was awesome. Ziggler brings up his long resume of championships, whereas McIntyre has a mysterious “gap between 2014 and 2017”. Ziggler continues to talk about how McIntyre has betrayed everyone to get his hands on that title – and he brings out one of them tonight.
Making his way down to ringside for (what may be) the final time is Heath Slater. Slater talks about McIntyre’s evolution over his career. He recaps watching McIntyre win the title and says that he cried for the first time in front of his children when that moment occurred. Slater would give the most heart-wrenching performance in this promo, especially when he stated:
“When you got released so many years ago… I called you every day. Where were you for me?”
He was there for McIntyre. McIntyre wasn’t there for him. Slater reminds McIntyre of a moment that took place on WWE The Bump after McIntyre had won the championship. On one episode of WWE The Bump, McIntyre said that he would petition for a match with Slater now that he has won the title. Slater wants what he deserves.
“Give me what you – a friend – promised me.”
McIntyre doesn’t want to fight him, and Slater pushes him. McIntyre still doesn’t want to fight his brother, and Slater slaps him. Now, you’ve done yourself in, Heath.
Heath Slater vs. Drew McIntyre (c.)
The bell rings and the match is underway. Ziggler distracts McIntyre at the beginning of the match, leading to Slater taking shots on McIntyre in the corner. Slater is fired up and takes off his shirt, leading to McIntyre hitting him with the Claymore to pin and win the match.
Match Result: Drew McIntyre defeated Heath Slater via Pinfall in
Walker’s Star Rating: DUD
This match was less of a match and more of a segment. It was less than 30 seconds – automatic DUD rating. However, that doesn’t mean I hate the match. I absolutely loved this segment.
After the match, Ziggler hits Slater for his loss. Inevitably, Slater shoves Ziggler to the ground. This leads to Ziggler going after Slater, and McIntyre making the save. Ziggler retreats. Slater is crying and both men hug and embrace. What an emotional moment and send-off for both men. I love it!
Following this contest, McIntyre would go on to successfully defend his championship against Ziggler at WWE The Horror Show Extreme Rules. He’d go on to hold the WWE Championship until October’s WWE Hell In A Cell event, where Randy Orton would pin McIntyre in the main event of the evening.
Two weeks after his appearance on WWE Raw, Slater would make his debut at Slammiversary for Impact Wrestling. Now declared as “Heath”, the former WWE Tag Team Champion would declare himself a “free agent” before being interrupted by Rohit Raju. He’d wrestle multiple matches for the promotion but took some time off when he was injured in a match at Bound For Glory.
This segment served as a special opening to WWE Raw and served as an even better feeling of closure for Heath Slater. It was an incredible moment, and it happened On This Day one year ago.
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