This week’s WWE Raw was the follow-up to WrestleMania 39 with Roman Reigns & Cody Rhodes on the show, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens teaming up and more.
It has been an extremely busy weekend writing about WWE. I enjoyed WrestleMania 39 quite a bit over the two nights and rated it highly. There were some outstanding matches that took place. I thought we might be going into this Raw with Cody Rhodes as the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, but he failed to “finish his story” against Roman Reigns, who continues his 900+ day run as champion.
Going into Raw After Mania, WWE advertised absolutely nothing although there were some vague spoilers out. As mentioned above, it’s a commercial-free first hour for this episode of Raw. There was also the big news early on Monday morning about WWE being sold to Endeavor leading to a merger with UFC, so that’s going to be very interesting in the months ahead.
Before we begin, condolences go out to the family, friends and fans of WWE Hall of Famer “Bushwhacker” Butch Miller, who passed away at age 78. His tag team partner Bushwhacker Luke wrote a wonderful tribute message for him. May he rest in peace.
The opening video package showed highlights of the two-night WrestleMania 39 event. It took about five minutes to get through it.
Let’s Hear from Triple H
The WWE’s Chief Content Officer Triple H made his entrance in a suit to his “King of Kings” song. They introduced him as WWE Hall of Famer Triple H, but the graphic said “WWE Chief Content Officer” on it. Hunter was cheered heavily and went into the ring for a promo.
Triple H welcomed us to Monday Night Raw. Triple H said if he wasn’t on a high already, he sure is now and said that response was unbelievable. Hunter talked about how 161,000 fans jam packed SoFi Stadium and so on. Hunter was thanking everybody, even Stu on camera and there was a “Stu” chant. Hunter said that the people behind the scenes make this possible. Hunter said when he walked into that stadium and saw that set, it took his breath away. Hunter thanked the fans for making it possible to do what WWE loves to do to entertain us.
Hunter said on a day when WWE is dominating the news and social media while they made an announcement that’s all anybody wants to talk about. Hunter assured us that we ain’t going anywhere. Hunter said that the same WWE that you love, that put 161,000 people in SoFi Stadium is going nowhere. Hunter repeated that they are going nowhere. Hunter spoke about being here week in and week out, they’ll be packing arenas and stadiums. Hunter: “We are WWE…then…now…forever…together.”
Hunter wanted us to acknowledge one more person while mentioning 946 days and the fans booed. It was the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. The fans were booing loudly as Roman’s music hit.
Analysis: It was good as a hype man promo by Triple H. If you were hoping for a major announcement or anything like that, it wasn’t that. It was just a way to address the sale by saying that things are going to continue as they are. Hunter didn’t specifically mention the sale, but he referred to it.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns made his entrance as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion with Solo Sikoa and the “Wise Man” Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. Hunter shook all of their hands on his way to the back.
They got into the ring with Reigns posing with the WWE and Universal Titles. A fan had a “Snoop Dogg vs. Roman Reigns” sign in the crowd. It’s probably not happening. Try it in the video game, kid. Reigns walked around the ring with a smile on his face. Before Reigns spoke, some fans chanted “Roman Sucks” at him.
Reigns said after last night’s performance we should do it like this tonight: “Hollywood, acknowledge me!” The fans booed The Tribal Chief while Heyman held up the two titles and Solo held up his finger.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance with the fans popping for the last night’s main event challenger. Cody was in a suit like usual.
Cody stood in the ring opposite Reigns. Cody said “I know what I want to talk about” instead of asking what he wants to talk about. Cody said today turned out differently because he thought he’d be standing here as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Cody said he’ll acknowledge that at WrestleMania 39 in the main event, Reigns was the better competitor. Cody said that he knows that Roman has won a lot of matches where he skated by. Cody said that last night, he had Reigns (beat), which led to “Cody” chants. Cody said he knows what he wants to talk about and it boils down to one word, so the fans chanted “rematch” as Cody paused. Cody: “Rematch!” The fans cheered loudly.
Reigns looked at Heyman while the fans were chanting “YES” for it. Heyman asked if he could speak, so Reigns handed Heyman the microphone. Heyman said he was thinking on behalf of the Tribal Chief, when exactly would Cody like this hypothetical rematch?
Cody said: “Tonight!” The fans popped huge for that. More “yes” chants for it.
Heyman: “No rematch. Not tonight. Not in Puerto Rico. Not at SummerSlam, not at Survivor Series, not at Royal Rumble, not at Madison Square Garden, not in San Francisco” and Heyman said “no” a few times. Heyman said that’s calling the shots because you live on the Island of Relevancy.
Cody asked if he thinks that Cody was in a normal mood for that? Cody was fired up saying he knows exactly how tough Reigns is. Cody said that if you don’t want to do a rematch, let’s at least do a tag team match. Cody said let’s do something here and something now. Heyman spoke to Reigns without a microphone so we couldn’t hear them. Reigns nodded at Heyman.
Heyman said he’s been authorized by the Tribal Chief that your challenge is accepted. That’s for the tag team match. Heyman said that if somebody in the locker room is so stupid to team with Cody then it has to be somebody this past weekend at WrestleMania. Heyman said if anybody that teams with Cody will never get another title shot against Roman Reigns as long as Reigns is the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Reigns was smiling.
Brock Lesnar! Huge pop for Lesnar walking out with a cowboy hat with the fans cheering loudly for him. Corey Graves explained that the stipulation doesn’t apply to Lesnar since he already lost that right last Summer at SummerSlam against Reigns. Lesnar shook hands with Cody and put his arm around him. Reigns and Solo backed out of the ring. Lesnar and Cody shook hands and hugged in the ring as Lesnar’s music played.
Analysis: That was an intense promo exchange with Cody doing a nice job of showing the right emotions to express the anger that he had after losing at WrestleMania. Reigns and Heyman were cocky as usual, they didn’t want any part of Cody’s title match challenge, so that set up the tag team match and Lesnar as the surprising tag team partner. Lesnar wrestling in a TV match is very rare, so I don’t think many people expected him in a spot like that. It popped the crowd, that’s for sure. It’s a big match that the television audience wants to watch, so it’s nice to have a bigger than usual main event this week. (At least that’s what we thought.)
The Raw commentary team of Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves were on camera to welcome us to the show.
They showed some photos from WrestleMania.
Omos (w/MVP) vs. Elias
It is 38 minutes into the show for the first match this week. Omos decked Elias with a clothesline and body slam. Omos hit another body slam. Omos splashed Elias against the turnbuckle. Omos with a boot to the face. Omos hit a double choke bomb for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Omos
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Omos after he lost to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Elias got nothing in this match while Omos was as dominant as ever.
The Usos were shown backstage. It’s weird not seeing them with the Tag Team Titles. Paul Heyman said that Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa stepped out to talk. The Usos were at the Roman Reigns locker room door, so Heyman told them they can go to the plane to have some seafood. The Usos left. When Heyman opened the door, he said “I took care of it” so he was lying about Reigns not being there.
Analysis: It tells the story that Roman Reigns didn’t want to see The Usos since they lost their WWE Tag Team Titles.
There were highlights shown from the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from Friday night. I recapped it here in case you missed it.
They showed Cathy Kelley standing at ringside with Bad Bunny, who was seated in the crowd. Bad Bunny was asked about how excited he was to host Backlash in Puerto Rico. Bad Bunny said he’s very happy to host Backlash in his home country of Puerto Rico and tonight he’s enjoying Raw as a fan.
Let’s Hear from Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio, the newest WWE Hall of Famer, made his entrance by greeting some fans at ringside. Rey hugged Bad Bunny at ringside too.
Rey started his promo saying it was an emotional week while mentioning he just got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The fans chanted “you deserve it” at him. Well…yeah. Pretty easily. Rey thanked the fans for welcoming him with open arms. Rey thanked Bad Bunny, but here comes the US Champion Austin Theory in his wrestling gear.
Austin Theory did a promo saying that they deserve a little respect for doing what they said you would do at WrestleMania. Theory said that Rey beat the product of his own bad parenting while Theory beat a legend, the “Greatest of All Time” John Cena. The fans chanted “you tapped out” at Theory, which is true. Theory said that Rey’s son didn’t believe in Rey and the fans didn’t believe in Theory. Theory claimed he was on top of the world and he can’t be touched. Theory got the crowd to chant “Cena” and the fans did it, but Theory said Cena’s not here since he’s a part timer. Theory encouraged the fans to chant for Rey. Theory said he’ll beat Rey and add his ass to the collection. Rey said that the only thing you’ll be collecting is your teeth after Rey hits him with the 619. A referee went into the ring to start the match.
Analysis: Rey was the noble face as usual while Theory was his usual cocky heel self bragging and getting heat. Simple enough to set up a match.
Austin Theory vs. Rey Mysterio
They didn’t announce it as a US Title match. Theory with a shoulder tackle and they went to break.
Theory was in control sending Rey shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Rey was on the top rope, Theory went after him, Rey with shoulder tackles and Rey jumped off the top with a cross body block. Theory ran Rey over with a running back elbow. Theory with a snapmare leading to an armbar on the left arm. Theory lifted up Rey for a move, but Rey countered with a spinning DDT for two. Rey with a drop toe hold sending Theory into the turnbuckle. Rey went up top, Theory with punches and Rey punched him down. Rey hit a springboard cross body block on Theory for two. Rey worked over Theory with punches against the turnbuckle and more punches. Theory broke free leading to a spinning Rack Bomb for a two count. Theory with a lift, Rey held onto the ropes, Rey with a jumping kick and a headscissors into the ropes. Theory stopped a 619 attempt with a running clothesline for two. Rey with a headscissors into the ropes. Rey tried running the ropes, Dominik was there, Rey knocked him down and when Rey went back into the ring, he tried for a 619. Theory caught Rey and hit the A-Town Down for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Austin Theory
Analysis: **3/4 It was pretty good with Theory controlling most of it. When Rey made the comeback, Dominik was there to distract him enough that it allowed Theory to come back and win. Theory continues to pick up wins that make him look really strong as the champion.
After the match, Dominik went into the ring and punched Rey repeatedly. Dominik had Damien Priest with him. Dominik left the ring and got in Bad Bunny’s face with Bunny saying he just did the right thing at WrestleMania helping Rey. Dominik tried a punch, Bunny blocked it and Bunny punched Dominik. Priest grabbed Bunny and slammed him onto the floor. Priest told Bunny he didn’t need to get involved. Bunny punched Dominik, but Priest clotheslined Bunny on the floor. Graves mentioned Priest and Bunny teamed together at WrestleMania last year. Priest cleared off the commentary table. Priest gave Bunny a Chokeslam onto the table and the table broke. Dominik went back into the ring to stomp on Rey a few times.
Analysis: That was an angle to get some heat on The Judgment Day guys to set up the obvious tag team match at Backlash: Rey Mysterio & Bad Bunny against Dominik Mysterio & Damien Priest. Since Bad Bunny is from Puerto Rico and hosting Backlash, it makes sense that he would want to have a match there. Priest hitting Bunny with the big Chokeslam looked impressive. Bunny is not a big guy, but it’s still a table bumping spot that always pops the crowd.
They showed highlights of the Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens victory over The Usos at WrestleMania Saturday to become Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. It lived up to the hype and I thought it was one of the best tag team matches in WWE history. I loved it.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were up next.
This Friday on Smackdown: They showed Roman Reigns keeping his two titles and The Usos losing their titles. They said a new chapter begins with Rhea Ripley as the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. In other words, nothing was advertised.
There were photos shown from WrestleMania.
A replay was shown of Damian Priest beating up Bad Bunny with Dominik’s help. Bad Bunny was put through the table.
Adam Pearce was shown yelling at Damian Priest about what he did. Pearce said that Bad Bunny was there to support WWE. Priest pointed out that Bunny punched Dominik and Priest said he likes Bad Bunny or else he would have done worse.
Let’s Hear from Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn made their entrance as the WWE Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Champions. It’s great to see it. The Usos held the titles (Smackdown) for 623 days, but that reign ended at WrestleMania Saturday. The fans chanted “you deserve it” at Zayn & Owens. I hope somebody chants that for me when I win the lottery some day.
Owens said they do deserve it and told the fans that all of them deserve it too. The fans did “Ole Ole Ole” chants for Zayn.
Zayn said it’s been a crazy year for him from last year’s match with Johnny Knoxville all the way tot his year’s WrestleMania in the main event in Los Angeles. Zayn said none of this would be possible for him without the fans, so thank you. That was true. Zayn said that he knows LA likes to celebrate. Owens said that sounds pretty good. Owens said that nothing says a good celebration like a good fight. Owens spoke about how there are a lot of people that want to make a name for themselves, so there’s no better place than the Raw after WrestleMania to come celebrate with them.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins made their entrance as the winners of the Showcase Match at WrestleMania. Ford spoke about how it was a marvelous day. Ford had the red cup in hand while telling Owens & Zayn that they do deserve it. Dawkins said they had a victory at WrestleMania while Dawkins mentioned that he sent Braun Strowman flying. Dawkins challenged Zayn & Owens to a tag team match. Ford said it made sense and they said ‘we want the smoke” to end it.
Analysis: Solid promo work from everybody involved. Zayn was right in saying he wouldn’t be in this spot without the fans supporting him the way they do.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
This was not a title match. I missed the start of it while joining to see Zayn taking down Dawkins with an arm drag. Owens tagged in with a few senton splashes on Dawkins. Ford tagged in against Zayn and jumped over the top with a senton on Zayn. Zayn sent Ford into the turnbuckle followed by a back body drop for two. Owens tagged in with a backbreaker on Ford. Owens tried a lift, Ford landed on his feet and hit a jumping kick on Owens. Dawkins tagged in with a punch, Ford tagged back in and hit a dropkick. Ford had Owens in an armbar leading to a break.
The match returned with Zayn getting the tag with a cross body block off the top on Ford for two. Zayn had Ford by the arm leading to a rope walk and an impressive DDT. Zayn sent Dawkins out of the ring and hit a somersault dive over the top onto both Profits on the floor. Back in the ring, Zayn went up top, Ford stopped him there, Zayn punched Ford and Zayn hit a Sunset Bomb off the top for two. Ford with a jumping kick on Zayn. Dawkins tagged in with a corner splash and an enziguri kick. Ford jumped off the top with Blockbuster on Zayn for two as Owens made the save. Ford charged, Zayn caught him and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex into the corner. Owens tagged in with a cannonball on Ford, then Owens up top and he hit a Swanton Bomb on Ford for two as Dawkins made the save. Dawkins sent Zayn out of the ring, Owens superkick on Dawkins and Ford superkicked Owens out of the ring. Ford hit a somersault dive over the top onto Owens/Zayn on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens avoided a top rope splash, Owens tagged Zayn, Owens hit Ford with a Stunner and Zayn hit a Helluva Kick on Ford for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good tag team match with the champions finding a way to win. That’s what we want to see with the new champions getting wins like that to keep the positive momentum going. I think if the Street Profits had some more offense where it looked like they might win it would have been a better match. It was still entertaining. I’m sure KO & Sami are always going to have good matches as the champions and the Profits are obviously a talented team as well.
They showed highlights of Seth “Freakin” Rollins beating Logan Paul at WrestleMania on Saturday. I liked the match a lot.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Rollins said he was feeling good. Rollins was happy about hitting Logan Paul with The Stomp and sent Logan back to the wasteland that is social media. Rollins claimed that something about tonight is missing. Rollins said the party isn’t backstage, it’s out there in the arena and Rollins called for his song to play.
Seth Rollins made his entrance. The fans were singing his song as usual as the show went to break.
Seth Rollins was out in front of the crowd with the fans singing his song. Rollins just left. That’s it? Weird.
Bobby Lashley was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Lashley talked about how it was frustrating being in front of the crowd at WrestleMania, but not having a match. Bronson Reed walked up to Lashley to trash talk him a bit, Lashley wanted a match and Reed said not now. Reed left. Mustafa Ali talked to Lashley about trying to think more positively about things. Lashley didn’t seem interested about the advice so he punched Ali and tossed him through the backstage curtain. They went out to the ring and a referee joined them.
Bobby Lashley vs. Mustafa Ali
Lashley decked Ali with a clothesline leading to Ali doing a flip bump. Lashley applied the Hurt Lock submission and Ali gave up quickly. It went about one minute.
Winner by submission: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: 1/4* A squash match for Lashley. Simple enough. I hope he gets a storyline soon.
Bianca Belair was up next.
Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa were in the locker room with Paul Heyman. Reigns wondered how this happened. Heyman said that Brock Lesnar answered the challenge because he has nothing to lose. Reigns said that smashing Brock Lesnar is one of his greatest accolades and he’ll smash Cody like he did at WrestleMania. Reigns told Solo to show Cody who is ready.
Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair
Bianca Belair made her entrance as the Raw Women’s Champion with the fans cheering her. Belair mentioned that Asuka was one of the best. Belair thanked Asuka for pushing Belair to be the toughest that she can be. Belair mentioned her threepeat at WrestleMania, but here’s the interruption.
Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Ripley said that Belair calls her the EST, but she’s really the luckiest woman in WWE. Ripley got into the ring. Ripley said that after winning the Royal Rumble, she challenged Charlotte Flair instead of Belair. Ripley said that they will get back to this and she will beat Belair just like she beat Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania.
Belair said Ripley made her decision for a reason. Belair said she’s all about getting in the ring with the best and that includes Ripley. Belair said one day when Ripley is ready, we will see which one of them is the best of the best. Ripley backed out of the ring while Liv Morgan’s music hit.
Analysis: That was a nice tease of a future Belair-Ripley showdown. Perhaps we will see it at WrestleMania 40 next year. That would be fine with me. They are going to be two of the top women in WWE for the rest of this decade.
Liv Morgan made her entrance with Raquel Rodriguez for a tag team match. Raquel had a staredown with Ripley at ringside to tease a future match. There’s a tag team match up next.
They showed some WrestleMania photos.
Cody Rhodes was shown walking backstage as he prepared for the main event.
Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Damage CTRL – Dakota Kai & IYO SKY
The winners get a Women’s Tag Team Title shot. There was no Bayley with the Damage CTRL girls.
Kai with a kick that knocked Raquel back and Morgan tagged in. Kai with a kick to Morgan, who came back with double knees. Sky tagged in, Morgan with a dropkick, corner splash and Sky hit a dropkick. Morgan sent both opponents out of the ring. Raquel tagged in, lifted up Morgan and Raquel launched Morgan over the top onto the two opponents on the floor.
Morgan hit a Codebreaker double knees on Sky. Raquel tagged in against Kai with clotheslines along with a fallaway slam. The fans were distracted by something in the crowd. Raquel missed a move when Kai moved and Raquel shoved Kai into Sky, who bumped to the floor. Raquel hit a Texana Bomb while making the tag to Morgan moments before that. Morgan hit her Oblivion flatliner off the ropes for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez
Analysis: *3/4 Just a basic tag team match. Kai and Sky didn’t get to do much except sell for Raquel’s power moves while Liv got to hit her finish to win. I didn’t find it that interesting.
It was announced that next week on Raw, Liv & Raquel will challenge Becky Lynch & Lita for the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
The Miz was shown walking backstage while Maxxine Dupri was arguing with Chad Gable while Otis was getting a haircut. The Miz was up next.
A commercial aired for Backlash on May 6th from Puerto Rico with Bad Bunny as the host.
Let’s Hear from The Miz
The Miz was in the ring for a promo, but it wasn’t Miz TV. The Miz complained about how he had to three matches at WrestleMania. They all sucked. Miz claimed he had to face four people while naming Pat McAfee, George Kittle, Shane McMahon, who didn’t finish the match and then Snoop Dogg, who did the worst People’s Elbow.
The Miz said that he is done with surprises and said there will be no more surprises…bro. Welcome back to Matt Riddle. Bro!
Matt Riddle made his entrance on the scooter. Corey Graves said that we haven’t seen Riddle in months and said “nearly a year.” Nearly a year? Riddle has been gone since early December, so it’s about four months. I don’t know why Graves said “nearly a year” there.
Matt Riddle asked if the fans missed him. They cheered. Miz hit Riddle with a forearm to the back. Riddle came back with some strikes, then a ripcord knee to the face and Riddle hit a Bro Derek slam to put Miz down. Riddle’s music played to celebrate.
Analysis: An easy way to bring Riddle back and have Miz get humiliated as usual. Riddle was taken out by Solo Sikoa in December, so Riddle should be going after him, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. The Miz is one of the worst-booked superstars in WWE.
The main event tag team match was next.
They replayed the Bad Bunny storyline saying that he may have suffered a separated shoulder.
The trio of Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus & Lita were interviewed by Byron Saxton. Trish spoke about how it felt amazing. Lita said she’s still riding that high and they are just getting started. Lynch said now that she’s done with Damage CTRL, they can help raise the prestige of the Women’s Tag Team Titles and they can do it next week on Raw against Raquel & Liv. They left.
Analysis: I sure hope Trish sticks around. Not only is she my favorite women’s wrestler of all time for numerous reasons, but she was great in the WrestleMania match. I know there have been reports about Trish possibly going heel leading to SummerSlam against Lynch, so maybe we’ll see that develop in the weeks and months ahead. Then again, maybe it’s not true and they do something else.
Next week on Raw:
* Becky Lynch & Lita defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles against Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan.
* Matt Riddle vs. The Miz.
Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, made his entrance with Solo Sikoa joined by Paul Heyman. Graves was shouting about how this was the greatest main event in Monday Night Raw history. I don’t know about that, but I assume he’s getting told that by Vince McMahon or somebody else back there. Anyway, they got to the ring and that led to a break.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance. The big “WHOA-OH” part of the entrance continues to be fun to watch. Brock Lesnar was up next as Cody’s partner. The ring announcer Mike Rome did the championship introductions.
As Cody Rhodes was announced, Lesnar grabbed him and Lesnar hit an F5! A heel turn by Lesnar!
Analysis: We know Lesnar doesn’t have matches on Raw. They teased it here, but it was all just an angle to set up this attack.
Lesnar stood over Cody, stared down at him and picked up Cody for another F5. Reigns and Solo left to the back with Heyman. Lesnar picked up Cody and hit him with a German Suplex across the ring. They left the ring with Lesnar tackling Cody into the barricade. Lesnar suplexed Cody over the barricade at ringside. Lesnar hit Cody with a steel chair to the back. Lesnar hit Cody with the steel stairs to knock Cody down at ringside. There was nobody attempting to help Cody other than referees standing in the distance. There were some WWE Officials that showed up. Lesnar picked up Cody and gave him an F5 onto the commentary table. Lesnar didn’t clear off the table before it, but he really put Cody through the table hard. Lesnar had the steel steps in the ring. Lesnar gave Cody an F5 onto the steel steps. The fans were booing as Lesnar stood on the steps while Cody was selling it like he was knocked out. Lesnar finally left the ring while referees and officials checked on Cody. Lesnar looked back into the ring and went back into the ring with a chair. Lesnar hit Cody in the back two times. Lesnar choked Cody with a chair across the throat. Lesnar shouted something that got muted. Lesnar finally left while WWE Officials and referees checked on Cody. The fans were booing as Lesnar left. There were EMTs that showed up with a stretcher, they went into the ring to check on Cody. Lesnar stood on the stage and did a middle finger salute, but the camera cut away rather than show him. The camera was back on Cody in the ring as the show ended there.
Analysis: It was a reminder of how much of a mean, angry heel Lesnar can be. When the tag team match was announced, I had my doubts that it was actually going to happen since Lesnar doesn’t wrestle on TV. It was a vicious beating with Lesnar looking like a badass. They obviously set up a rivalry with Cody probably going to have to deal with Lesnar for a few months before they put Cody back in the Undisputed WWE Universal Title picture. The way the WWE Officials and referees feared Lesnar really puts Brock over as a legitimate badass that was out of control. My guess is they tell the story that Lesnar was upset about Cody being in Brock’s main event spot and Lesnar wasn’t happy about it, so he acted as Cody’s ally only to earn Cody’s trust and then turn on Cody after that. If it leads to Cody beating Lesnar at some point then that’s going to be a quality win for Cody, but I can see taking their time on it and getting a few matches out of it.
As a show closing angle, I thought it was pretty good. It was a memorable way to end the show.
— WWE (@WWE) April 4, 2023
Three Stars of the Show
- Brock Lesnar/Cody Rhodes
- Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
- Austin Theory
5 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2023 Average: 7.11
It was one of the weaker Raw episodes this year. The Twitter account @Wrestlevotes tweeted that this Raw had a large Vince McMahon presence and it felt that way watching the show. It was different than Triple H booking in terms of how some of the matches were presented. You can just tell if you watch this show regularly. I did like the Roman Reigns-Cody Rhodes promo exchange in the first hour. That Triple H promo about things being the same was interesting considering how different this Raw felt.
As far as matches, I liked the Zayn-Owens match with The Street Profits. Austin Theory and Rey Mysterio did okay too, but that was more about having Dominik screw Rey out of the win. On a three-hour Raw, the match quality should be better. I think the angle with Damian Priest & Dominik beating up Bad Bunny worked. That will likely lead to Bunny & Rey Mysterio against Damian & Dominik at Backlash. It was a good angle.
There weren’t many surprises compared to some past Raw After WrestleMania shows. Matt Riddle is back, which was expected. Other than that, the big ending with Brock Lesnar turning on Cody Rhodes went on for nearly ten minutes with Lesnar kicking Cody’s ass. That should take Cody out of the WWE/Universal Title picture for a few months as he tries to deal with Lesnar. I don’t mind heel Brock at all. It will be good for Cody to get by him in a feud, I think. I was hoping for a better show. As I said, it just felt off and like an average show.
Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.