The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 04/24/23 Review

wwe raw deal april 24

This week’s WWE Raw featured Rey Mysterio facing Damian Priest, an announcement from Triple H, the return of Bad Bunny, Cody Rhodes in action and more on the road to Backlash.

The next WWE PLE is Backlash on May 6th with several matches announced now. They are at the bottom of this review.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1561 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Raw starts with Adrenaline in our soul because here comes suit-wearing Cody Rhodes for some promo time. The fans were singing the song and the “WHOA-OH” part drew a big pop along with fireworks as usual. The Raw commentary team of Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.

Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes started by asking what do you want to talk about? Cody mentioned the WWE Draft that could see him go to Smackdown or stay on Raw. Cody mentioned his unenviable task of trying to beat Brock Lesnar at Backlash. Cody reminded us that Brock waited for Cody to turn his back until Brock attacked him. They showed photos of Brock’s attack on Cody three weeks ago.

Cody wanted to show us something else. Cody took off his jacket, threw the tie into the crowd and unbuttoned the shirt, which he threw into the crowd. Cody showed the big scar on the right side of his chest saying this is not the first time that he is in the building where he competed in the Hell in a Cell match last year when he had a torn pectoral muscle. Cody said that this scar right here is the same scar that he was able to defeat one of the best to ever do it (Seth Rollins) inside Hell in a Cell. Cody said what he did that night is have a sold out arena prop him up on their shoulders and carry him to the finish line. Cody said they have had many milestones with Chicago and many more to come, but Cody wanted to tell them right now…thank you very much. The fans cheered.

The Judgment Day’s music interrupted with Finn Balor making his entrance. Balor said he hates to break up the party to say we have all got scars. Balor told Cody he knows why he got screwed by Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, which Balor knows, and Balor said that it’s because Cody didn’t have somebody to watch his back. Balor told Cody that he needs to be smarter because facing Lesnar is a match that Cody can’t win on his own.

Cody said that he thought there was mutual respect here, but all Cody is focused on is Brock Lesnar and whatever Finn is selling, Cody is not buying. Balor told Cody that he knows, Cody knows and the fan knows that Cody Rhodes in The Judgment Day would be unstoppable. The fans booed. Balor went over the group members – Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio – talking about how great they are with Balor saying that Dominik was greater than his father, which is something Cody should try. Balor told Cody to let The Judgment Day watch his back.

Cody summarized what Balor said and called on the fans to repeat what they chanted at Balor – it was “you suck” repeatedly. Cody said he’s not looking to get into another fight. Cody respectfully declined the invite. Balor said you’re either with The Judgment Day or you’re against them. Balor said that Cody should watch his back because some day he’ll slap the bleach out of Cody’s head. Cody said that Balor might think that Cody is not medically cleared. However, Cody said that a few hours ago he was medically cleared to compete tonight. Cody suggested a match against Balor with Finn not really giving an answer as he backed away.

Analysis: A good opening promo segment to set up a fresh match for later. Cody is really skilled in terms of coming across as a likable babyface with a genuine way of speaking and thanking the fans for the love they showed him during the Hell in a Cell match last year. It doesn’t feel phony when he talks to the fans like that -it feels genuine. Anyway, Cody has been wrestling at live events for the last two weekends, so saying he was just cleared to compete is just to put over Lesnar’s attack on him from three weeks ago. Balor delivered a smart heel promo talking about his group while taking shots at Cody, who fired back with the match challenge because he’s ready for a fight. I liked how this was done.

The announcers Kevin and Corey ran down what was coming up. There’s a Triple H announcement later in the show that is supposedly a big announcement.

The Bloodline trio of The Usos and their younger brother Solo Sikoa entered for a match against the LWO up next.

A commercial aired for Backlash on May 6th.


The WWE Draft begins this Friday on Smackdown and continues next Monday on Raw.

There was a new theme song for the Latino World Order group consisting of Santos Escobar, Cruz Del Toro and Joaquin Wilde. Rey Mysterio and Zelina Vega are also in the group, but they were not at ringside.

The Bloodline – Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso & Solo Sikoa vs. Latino World Order – Santos Escobar, Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde

Jey Uso hit a corner forearm on Wilde and then Solo tagged in with a back elbow. Jimmy tagged in, Wilde broke free and Cruz/Escobar went into the ring with a dropkick. Wilde and Cruz each hit somersault dives onto The Usos on the floor while Escobar hit a suicide dive on Solo on the other side of the ring. The LWO celebrated to cheers as the show went to break.


Wilde was on offense with a DDT on Solo. Escobar tagged in with a running forearm on Jimmy, who was legal, a kick to Solo and Jimmy kicked Escobar in the gut. Jimmy with a punch, Escobar with a jumping knee, then Escobar on the apron and a jumping kick. Escobar hit a cross body block off the top on Jimmy for two. Jimmy hit a jumping kick to Escobar’s head, so Cruz tagged in and hit a missile dropkick. Cruz hit a Phoenix Splash off the top on Jimmy, but Jey broke up the pin. Jey sent Escobar into the ring post. Wilde knocked Jey down on the floor, but Solo gave Wilde a uranage on the apron. Cruz hit a running kick on Jimmy. Cruz went up top and jumped off with Solo hitting a Samoan Spike while Jey distracted the referee. The Usos hit a 1D on Cruz and legal man Jey covered Cruz for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Bloodline – Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso & Solo Sikoa

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good match with the fans getting into it even though the result was obvious to them. Considering The Bloodline are being pushed heavily and in a big match at Backlash, it made sense for them to win. The LWO was terrific in this match with some great moves by Escobar including a cross body block for a nearfall that led to the crowd reacting to it and Cruz hit some incredible moves too. Wilde is also really talented. I like how the finish was done with Solo hitting the Samoan Spike with the referee not seeing it and that led to The Usos finishing off Cruz for the win.

The Usos did a post match promo with Jey saying they had a bad day at WrestleMania and Jimmy said that this Friday on Smackdown they will become WWE Tag Team Champions again. Jimmy said that they will dedicate this title win to Roman Reigns. The camera was showing Cathy Kelley backstage for some reason, but then it was back on The Bloodline guys. Weird accidental camera cut there and it was back to Kelley.

Analysis: A confident promo from The Usos. Maybe they will win because I don’t know if Zayn & Owens will work the WWE Night of Champions show in Saudi Arabia next month, so that’s why a title change could happen. I would like to see Zayn & Owens retain, but it’s not a lock.

Bianca Belair, the Raw Women’s Champion, was interviewed by Cathy Kelley, who mentioned IYO SKY will face Belair at Backlash. That led to Sky, Bayley & Dakota Kai walking into the picture with Belair saying she is not scared of competition. Bayley put over how dangerous Sky is in a championship match. Sky ranted in Japanese. Then Kai and Bayley spoke while Belair was focused on Sky. It led to Damage CTRL telling Belair they wanted a six-woman tag team match and Belair said if that’s what you want then you’ve got it.

Analysis: There was a bit of tension there between Damage CTRL, but not done in an obvious way.

Still to come: Bad Bunny. They are pushing this guy a lot.

This Sunday on A&E: WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures is back.


Jey Uso was talking on the phone in front of The Bloodline dressing room. Jey was talking to somebody about how they took care of business. Sami Zayn was standing there with the Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Titles on his shoulders. Sami said that it’s weird that Jey is dedicating the title match to Roman Reigns. Sami wondered what’s going to happen to Jey if he comes up short after they put Roman’s name on the match. Sami said that whatever happens to Jey – he doesn’t deserve it. Jey asked why he cares, Sami said he feels bad for him and Jey said don’t worry about it because they are taking back the Tag Team Titles. Jey told Sami not to worry about what they do over here in The Bloodline because Sami made his choice and Jey made his choice too. Jey left.

Analysis: A nice segment to advance this story even more. It’s going to lead to some sort of Sami & Jey reunion down the road and the fans are going to love it, but for now, Jey is loyal to The Bloodline as usual.

A video aired featuring highlights of Trish Stratus’ career along with clips of her promo last week. That promo last week explained her heel turn on Becky Lynch two weeks ago and revealed that she attacked best friend Lita two weeks ago as well. The video summarized everything well.

Trish Stratus, the WWE Hall of Famer, was interviewed backstage by Cathy Kelley. Trish claimed that Becky was not doing so well while claiming that Becky confided in Trish about how hard it was being a working mother while being at the top of the women’s division, which are things Trish knows about. Anyway, Trish bragged about taking Becky out and said Becky needs to be home saying “thank you Trish.” When Cathy said “thank you Trish” to end it, Trish said that Cathy understands it.

Analysis: It’s always good to see Trish. I don’t know when her next match is or if she’ll be on every week, but I certainly have no problem seeing her every week. It was just a simple promo to advance the story.

The Street Profits entered for tag team action.


The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin

Shelton & Cedric got some offense working over Ford including a Michinoku Driver by Cedric. Ford managed to break free with a kick, Dawkins tagged in with a corner splash and a Silencer slam on Cedric for two, but Shelton made the save. Ford hit a jumping kick on Benjamin and Dawkins punched Benjamin. Dawkins hit a spinebuster on Alexander and Ford jumped off the top with a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Analysis: * Easy win by The Street Profits in a quick match. Ford’s Frog Splash is always great. I wonder if they will be split in the WWE Draft. I don’t necessarily want it, but I think it would be interesting for both guys. This match was apparently added by Vince McMahon after taking out a backstage segment. Normally Ford and Dawkins wear similar gear, but this time Dawkins was in shorts while Ford was in black pants so maybe Ford didn’t have the red shorts due to not knowing he was going to wrestle until it was changed.

There is a “Triple H announcement that will rock the foundation of WWE” up next.

A commercial aired for NXT Spring Breakin’ on Tuesday night. That commercial with Tiffany Stratton in a bathing suit is a good idea to potentially boost ratings.


Triple H Makes An Announcement

The WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H made his entrance to a big pop. Triple H was in a suit as he got into the ring. Triple H talked about how he got to compete at the highest level in WWE. Hunter talked about how he was competing in this ring at WrestleMania against John Cena. Hunter said he’s now in charge of the future of WWE.

Hunter said he was there to talk about the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, who is coming up on 1000 days as champion in WWE. Hunter said that Roman has defended the championship against everybody and he can’t name many in the last 30 years that can hang with Roman Reigns because he is that damn good. Hunter said that he also negotiated himself into a position where he didn’t have to defend that championship as frequently. Hunter said it’s great for Roman Reigns, but it is not great for WWE and Hunter said that you deserve more and you need more than that.

Hunter said that the draft will change WWE at its very core. Hunter said that whenever Roman Reigns gets drafted to whatever show he goes to, he will take the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship with him and he will stay there. The other brand will determine a new champion.

Hunter said on Saturday, May 27th at Night of Champions we will crown a new World Heavyweight Champion. Hunter pulled the cover off a championship belt that was in the ring with a WWE logo on it and it had a World logo. Hunter said it will be a champion to be proud of, a champion to respect and admire. Hunter said that champion will defend the championship anywhere, all over the world. Hunter said that this champion will not demand your acknowledgment, they will earn your acknowledgment and earn the title of World Heavyweight Champion. Hunter said “thank you” and they showed the championship. The championship looked impressive. I like the design. A little bit of the Big Gold Belt feel with the world and WWE logo.

Analysis: I am all for having a World Title on both brands. I also think that you could have accomplished this by having Reigns defend just one of the titles during his many defenses and have him lose that instead of having to create a new title. With that said, I like the look of this new title. What matters, in the long run, is how it is booked and if it is treated equally to the Undisputed WWE Universal Title, which has the lineage of 60 years as the WWE Championship. Plus, Roman’s nearly 1000-day title reign is with the Universal Title so it makes the lineage confusing a little bit. I’m sure some fans will hate it because they hate new things. I don’t mind. What matters is how it is booked just any title no matter what you call it.

The Judgment Day was interviewed backstage by Cathy Kelley, who wanted to talk to Damian Priest, so Finn Balor asked if he was invisible and Priest told Finn to get ready. Priest was interviewed by Kelley talking about how great it was to have Bad Bunny there. Priest said that he was looking forward to seeing Bad Bunny tonight while Dominik Mysterio said that Bunny will see Priest take out Rey Mysterio. Priest said that the entire world will see that and Priest left.

Damage CTRL entered for a six-woman tag team match up next.


A video aired about Bronson Reed saying nobody can measure up to him.

The Usos and Solo Sikoa were shown in their locker room. Jimmy was talking about how they were going to win the Smackdown Tag Team Titles since he’s right-hand man Jim Uso. Jey wasn’t paying attention, so Jimmy asked what’s wrong? Jey asked what will happen to them if they lose the titles? Jey admitted that he talked to Sami and Jimmy yelled at his brother to leave Sami alone because Sami is playing mind games. Solo calmed Jimmy down. Jimmy told Jey to stay focused and Jey wondered if they don’t win. Jimmy said they’ll win back their titles, they’ll win for The Bloodline and for The Tribal Chief. Jimmy left while Jey and Solo watched him go.

Analysis: They are doing a nice job of putting over the importance of the Sami/Kevin vs. The Usos match on Smackdown this Friday and what would happen if The Usos lose. It puts over the value of the titles while adding to the story as well. Jimmy is focused on winning while Jey is letting Sami get to him.

Bianca Belair, the Raw Women’s Champion, was joined by the Women’s Tag Team Champions Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan as tag team partners.

Bianca Belair, Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan vs. Damage CTRL – Bayley, IYO SKY & Dakota Kai

The faces were dominating early on as I missed the first minute or two. Raquel held Liv on her shoulders and Liv jumped off with a splash on Bayley and Kai. Morgan with a double knee attack on Kai, who bailed to the floor. Bayley distracted the referee, so Sky kicked Morgan as the heels took control. That led to a break.


The heels were in control with Sky working over Morgan. Kai tagged in Morgan kicked her and sent Sky out of the ring. Sky pulled Belair off the apron and sent her into the stairs. Liv hit a backstabber double knee attack on Kai. Raquel tagged in against Bayley with clotheslines and a fallaway slam. Raquel hit an elbow off the turnbuckle. Raquel tagged Liv and launched Liv over the top onto Dakota and Bayley. Belair made the tag before Liv was launched, Sky dropkicked Raquel and Belair sent Sky into the turnbuckle. Bayley was legal, she went after Belair and Belair hit the KOD (Kiss of Death) slam on Bayley for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair, Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan

Analysis: **3/4 The match was good with the faces getting the win as usual when Belair is a match. She is rarely on the losing side, unlike Damage CTRL, who continues to lose most matches they have. The story here was that Iyo Sky was trying to get the advantage on Belair ahead of their Backlash match, but she wasn’t able to do it and Belair finished off Bayley easily. Damage CTRL has no momentum at all.

There was a recap of the Bobby Lashley-Austin Theory match last week that was ruined by Bronson Reed.

Austin Theory, the US Champion, made his entrance for a promo.


A graphic let us know that the US Title match at Backlash is Austin Theory defending the title against Bronson Reed and Bobby Lashley. That was announced last week during Smackdown.

Let’s Hear from Austin Theory

Austin Theory said that he’s the greatest US Champion of all time. Theory complained about the lack of respect towards him since he didn’t get to pick his opponents for the US Title match. Theory pointed out the WWE World Heavyweight Title saying he should be handed that title since he has earned it. The fans chanted “you suck” at Theory repeatedly so Theory reminded us that he pinned John Cena at WrestleMania. The fans chanted “you tapped out” as Theory said he’s living his dreams while the fans are losers in those seats watching the greatest of all time.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance in his ring gear looking ready to go as usual. Lashley got into the ring with Theory as the fans chanted “Bobby” for Lashley.

Lashley told “kid” that he didn’t have a problem with him, but the problem is that Theory is holding Lashley’s title. Lashley wondered when Theory is going to accept every challenge while claiming that Theory keeps running away from every obstacle. Lashley said he knows how tough Theory is while putting him over for being young, hungry and tough. Lashley wondered if Theory was lazy and didn’t want to work or is he scared? Lashley said that Theory should welcome every opportunity to fight for that title because Lashley would. Lashley said he requested that triple threat match at Backlash.

Theory asked if Lashley was good at requesting matches then where was Lashley’s match at WrestleMania? The fans let out an “ooohhh” reaction. Lashley said he should knock Theory’s teeth down his throat. Theory tried an attack, but Lashley took him down. They left the ring to start brawling with Lashley sending Theory into the barricade. Bronson Reed showed up leading to a three-way fight as Theory hit Lashley in the back with a forearm. Theory held Lashley’s arms against the ring post leading to Reed hitting a splash to Lashley’s back against the ring post. Theory and Reed sent Lashley into the ring leading to Theory hitting the A-Town Down on Lashley onto his knee. Reed did a running body attack and senton splash on Theory. Reed went up top and hit the Tsunami splash on Theory. Reed held up the US Title over the fallen Theory and Lashley. Reed’s music played to end it.

Analysis: I liked how the segment was booked. Lashley wanted Theory to be a prideful champion, then they had Lashley say he asked for the triple threat and Theory had a great line mocking Lashley for not having a WrestleMania match. The attack from Reed was expected due to the Backlash match they are having.

They showed Elias and Rick Boogs talking earlier today. Chad Gable walked into the picture to explain that some superstars can get drafted on night one while others can get drafted on night two. Gable talked about how he made sure the Alpha Academy will be drafted together. Maxxine Dupri said that wherever Otis goes, she will go. Mustafa Ali walked into the picture saying that they need a positive mentality now that the WWE Draft is here. Ali told Gable they can realize their full potential and can be the new World Heavyweight Champion. Ali called Gable a loser just like in their match tonight. More words were exchanged and the match is coming up.

Analysis: That took a while to get to the point. They have had this Elias and Boogs pairing together for weeks now, but they rarely do anything interesting.

Bad Bunny’s Instagram was shown to let us know he was arriving at the building.

Chad Gable made his entrance with Otis joined by Maxxine Dupri.


Chad Gable vs. Mustafa Ali

Ali got a mild pop for his entrance since he’s from Chicago. Gable hit an impressive Dragon Suplex. Ali came back with an awesome spinning DDT. Ali went up top, Gable moved and Ali did a flip off the top landing on his feet. Gable went for the Chaos Theory suplex out of the corner, but Ali countered it and sat on top for the pinfall win after about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mustafa Ali

Analysis: *1/4 They hit some cool moves, but then it was done rather quickly. More time would have been nice for them. Ali getting a win is rare although it’s not like Gable wins often either.

Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage with Jimmy Uso confronting Sami Zayn for playing mind games with Jey. Sami said that it wasn’t mind games. Jimmy said that they are going to win back the Tag Team Titles. Jimmy reminded Sami that Kevin has turned on Sami and attacked him a lot in the past. Jimmy said that Kevin Owens used Sami to get those titles and as soon as they lose those titles, Kevin is going to turn on Sami again. Jimmy said don’t worry about his brother Jey, Sami should worry about Sami’s “brother” Kevin. Jimmy left while Sami was left to ponder that.

Analysis: It was similar to what we saw earlier with Sami talking to Jey Uso putting over the importance of winning and now Jimmy did the same to Sami while mentioning all the times that Kevin Owens has turned on Sami. Well played.

Finn Balor made his entrance for singles action.


Cody Rhodes made his entrance to a big pop with the fans singing along to the “Kingdom” song a lot. Cody faces Brock Lesnar at Backlash on May 6th.

Finn Balor vs. Cody Rhodes

Balor got a hiptoss early so Cody did a hiptoss in return. When Balor broke free, he went for a leapfrog and Cody caught him on his shoulders leading to a backbreaker. Cody caught Balor for a delayed front suplex. Cody went for a running cross body block, Balor ducked and Cody went crashing to the ropes. Cody was selling a rib injury as he bailed to the floor. Balor shoved Cody rib-first into the commentary table while Balor looked at the new World Title at ringside. They went to break there.


Cody got some offense going with a forearm, up punch and a snap powerslam. Cody hit a springboard Disaster Kick for a two count. Cody and Balor exchanged holds, Balor blocked a Cody Cutter and Balor hit a reverse DDT/elbow drop for two. Cody hit a kick to stop Balor from hitting a move and Cody hit a springboard Cody Cutter for two. Balor tripped up Cody leading to a double foot stomp to the chest and a shotgun dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top for the Coup de Grace double foot stomp, but Cody moved out of the way. Balor managed to come back with an inside cradle for two. Cody hit a Pedigree that didn’t look that great in terms of how Balor sold it. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes neckbreaker on Balor for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cody Rhodes

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match with Cody avoiding the Coup de Grace and hitting a couple of his big moves to get the win. It makes logical sense for Cody to win since he’s facing Brock Lesnar at Backlash, so he should look strong going into that match. It would be nice if Balor was used better since he lost to Edge at WrestleMania and he lost here as well, so I want to see Finn get some positive momentum soon. You can’t put over everybody, though. Somebody has to lose matches like this.

Post match, Cody went into the crowd and stood on a chair. Cody greeted some fans in the crowd.

They showed three weeks ago when Damian Priest beat up Bad Bunny on Raw.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance with the fans singing his theme song as usual. Rollins will get some promo time up next.


Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Seth Rollins welcomed us to Monday Night Raw about 2 hours and 20 minutes into the show. Seth did a rundown of his nicknames. Seth spoke about his big match at Backlash against the Nigerian Giant, Omos. Seth said that something bigger has caught his eye as Rollins looked over to the new WWE World Heavyweight Title. The fans chanted “you deserve it” at Rollins, who wondered if they did that just because he’s a Chicago Bears fan. Rollins mentioned that Triple H talked about the men that Roman Reigns has beaten to keep his titles, but Rollins pointed out that Reigns has not beaten him (this is true). Rollins said that this title is about fighting and push the industry forward. Rollins said that this World Heavyweight Championship is about more than politics and part-timers. Rollins made it clear he was going after the title as somebody you should put your money on to win the title.

Omos and MVP interrupted what Rollins was saying as they went down to the ring. MVP praised Rollins for his greatness. MVP said that it’s his responsibility to get matches for Omos and beating Rollins would be huge. MVP told Rollins not to make predictions about the future because when Omos is finished with him, Rollins may not have a future after Backlash. Rollins stared at Omos, who is over one foot taller than him. The fans were singing Seth’s song even though it wasn’t even playing.

Seth said we should thank MVP for the kind words. Seth said that you undersold the giant here. Rollins put over Omos as the strongest, most powerful force in WWE and once-in-a-generation because he was born that way. Seth said that he is once-in-a-generation because he made himself that way. Seth said that at Backlash he’ll make Omos famous. Seth said he’ll give Omos the match of his life and bounce his head into the mat. Seth said after the three second nap, an arena full of people will be singing Seth’s song and the fans sang Seth’s song. Rollins walked out of the ring as Graves put over Seth for being “absolutely fearless” with Seth’s music playing again.

Analysis: I loved Seth’s promo about the new WWE World Heavyweight Title and the fans chanting “you deserve it” for him is awesome. Seth does deserve it. Seth also has not lost to Roman Reigns since Roman has held the Undisputed WWE Universal Title, but WWE has kept them apart even though Rollins won by DQ at Royal Rumble 2022. Rollins showed no fear towards Omos even though physically, you can tell that there’s a huge size difference. I sure hope Rollins beats Omos at Backlash. I’d also support Seth as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion too.


There was a tribute to some Make-A-Wish alumni in the building. Kudos to WWE for helping to make their wish come true. A John Cena-narrated video aired before that.

Matt Riddle was shown talking to Kevin Owens with Riddle rambling about something. Owens looked fed up with it. Sami Zayn walked into the room, so Owens wondered where Zayn was all night. Zayn said he talked to Jey Uso, then he talked to Jimmy Uso and Owens wondered why he talked to them. Owens talked about how he used to like The Usos before they were in The Bloodline. Owens said that they had to keep these titles on Smackdown and Owens left. Riddle said that when he was teaming with Randy Orton in RK-Bro, Riddle said that everybody would say that Orton was going to turn on him, but he didn’t because they were bros. Riddle told Sami that Sami and Kevin are bros, so they’ll be fine. Zayn thanked Riddle for that.

Analysis: They really have built the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Title match on Smackdown into a big deal. Owens put over how important it was to win while you know Zayn might be thinking that Owens will turn on him if they lose.

This Friday on Smackdown it’s Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn defending the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles against The Usos.

There was a card rundown for Backlash on May 6th.

* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega

* Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Omos

* United States Championship: Austin Theory (c) vs. Bronson Reed vs. Bobby Lashley

* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. IYO SKY

* Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle vs. The Bloodline – Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa

The Instagram of Bad Bunny showed he had arrived at the Allstate Arena for Raw.

Rey Mysterio entered for the main event.


Next week on Raw in Fort Worth, Texas: Brock Lesnar is back. It’s also night two of the WWE Draft.

Rey Mysterio vs. Damian Priest

Priest was aggressive with some stomps to the ribs. Rey tried a leaping attack, but Priest caught him and Priest did a gutbuster sending Rey’s ribs onto Priest’s knee. They showed Bad Bunny arriving at the arena with about 13 minutes left in the show. Priest had a hold of Rey by the turnbuckle, but Priest countered with a headscissors. Priest rocked Rey with a forearm to the head along with a punch. Priest sent Rey sliding under the bottom rope to the floor. They went to break.


Priest was in control with a clap around Rey’s head and a running splash against the turnbuckle. Priest sent Rey into the turnbuckle, Priest charged, Rey moved and Priest hit the ring post with his shoulder. Priest was on the floor, so Rey hit an Asai Moonsault on Priest on the floor. Back in the ring, Rey hit a senton off the top and a springboard cross body block. Rey sent Priest into the ropes, then Rey charged and Priest got back up with a superkick for two. Priest tried for a power move, Rey got out of it, then they exchanged some more holds and Priest hit a lifting flatliner for two. Priest left the ring, grabbed a steel chair and Rey kicked Priest off the apron. Back in the ring, Rey hit a hurricanrana leading to the 619 kick. Rey went up top, but Priest threw the chair at Rey’s head for the DQ finish. It went 12 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: **3/4 They were having a good match when it just ended abruptly with Priest intentionally getting disqualified. Priest dominated a lot of it, Rey made some comeback and looked like he had it when Priest threw the chair to put an end to that. I guess it’s a case of not wanting either man to lose. I was surprised there was no sign of Dominik Mysterio at all.

Post match, Priest hit a South of Heaven slam on Rey. Priest teased putting Rey through the commentary, but here comes Bad Bunny.

Bad Bunny made his entrance with a kendo stick in his hands. Priest charged, Bunny hit him with two kendo stick shots and Bunny hit Priest with a kendo stick to the ribs. They were by the commentary table, Bunny broke free and hit Priest in the legs. Bunny hit Priest with another kendo stick shot. Priest ran away through the crowd.

Bad Bunny stood on the commentary table saying he’s not hosting Backlash anymore. Bad Bunny said that he’s going to face Damian Priest at Backlash. Bad Bunny said that it’s going to be a Street Fight.

Analysis: I thought it might be a tag team match with Bad Bunny teaming up with Rey Mysterio against Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio, but instead we get the singles match with the Street Fight stipulation. It’s a pretty big deal because Bad Bunny is very popular all over the world, so WWE will get a lot of attention for his inclusion at Backlash. I thought Bunny did a nice job with his attack as payback for Priest attacking Bunny three weeks ago. This was booked well.


Three Stars of the Show

1. Cody Rhodes

2. Finn Balor

3. The Usos & Solo Sikoa


The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 7.5

2023 Average: 7.19


Final Thoughts

I thought it was an enjoyable show overall. The match quality was pretty good all night with some fast-paced action in that six-man tag early on to put over the Bloodline. The LWO guys are so talented when they get a chance to show it. The Priest-Rey match getting a DQ ending was surprising a bit, but what really mattered was Bad Bunny coming back to get revenge on Priest and set up their Street Fight at Backlash. Cody Rhodes had a great night with the promo he did with Finn Balor followed by an entertaining match between them.

The big news obviously was Triple H introducing the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship that will be crowned at Night of Champions next month. I don’t think you can ever please every wrestling fan with how many titles you have in a promotion, but I like how Triple H said it to kind of get heat on some Roman Reigns for not defending the two titles that often, which gives Roman (and Paul Heyman) something to complain about it. They could have just split up the WWE & Universal Titles months ago instead of creating a new one. Truthfully, I don’t mind it either way. Titles are just part of stories. What matters is the booking. I do think it looks like a great, valuable championship so that’s a positive thing about it.

I really liked how they built up the Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. The Usos match on Smackdown. It was already a big deal going into the match, but it’s even bigger now because of all the backstage segments these guys put over how important winning is. That’s what I mean above when I say titles are part of stories. If The Usos lose and fail to get back the titles, then what happens? That’s a great story because we don’t know and it keeps us watching. If Zayn and Owens fail, could Owens turn on Zayn like The Usos tried to plant in Sami’s head? We don’t know so we keep watching to find out. The stories are what make you care and that’s where the value of the titles comes in. Simple enough.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Backlash on Saturday, May 6th from San Juan, Puerto Rico with this lineup so far:

* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

* Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle vs. The Bloodline – Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa

* Street Fight: Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest

* Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Omos

* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega

* United States Championship: Austin Theory (c) vs. Bronson Reed vs. Bobby Lashley

* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. IYO SKY

You can watch WWE Backlash, streaming LIVE from Puerto Rico on Saturday, May 6, streaming live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.


Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton


Twitter: @johnreport