The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/01/23 Review (WWE Draft Night 2)
This week’s WWE Raw was the second part of this year’s Draft with Brock Lesnar & Cody Rhodes in the house, Miz TV with Shinsuke Nakamura and more.
The WWE concludes this week on Raw following the start of the draft this past Friday on Smackdown. It’s WWE Backlash this Saturday, May 6th and then the post-draft rosters begin next Monday, May 8th on Raw.
Here is the long list of names that are eligible to be drafted tonight during Raw: Akira Tozawa, Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable), Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo, Asuka, Austin Theory, Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman & Ricochet, Brock Lesnar, Bronson Reed, Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin, Charlotte Flair, Dana Brooke, Elias, Emma, Johnny Gargano, Judgment Day (Finn Bálor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio), Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett), Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, LA Knight, Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez, Nikki Cross, Piper Niven, Rhea Ripley, Rick Boogs, Riddick Moss, Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler, Seth Rollins, Shotzi, Tamina, Tegan Nox, The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch), The LWO (Rey Mysterio, Santos Escobar, Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde & Zelina Vega), The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods), The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso), Trish Stratus, Xia Li and Select NXT Superstars.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1562 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
Raw started with a video recap showing some of the WWE Draft picks from last Friday on Smackdown.
Triple H, the WWE Chief Content Officer, made his entrance to start the WWE Draft just like he did on Smackdown. Hunter was standing behind a podium by the entrance area. Hunter said it was sold out and it is loud in there. The new World Heavyweight Title was on a table beside him. Hunter went over some of the rules. The remaining Raw and Smackdown stars will be drafted here tonight. Hunter spoke about how since the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns was drafted to Smackdown, that means a new World Heavyweight Champion will be exclusive to Raw. A graphic was shown of the Monday draft pool.
Hunter announced that “The Beast” Brock Lesnar is not eligible to be drafted. Hunter said that Brock renegotiated his status as a free agent that can appear on any brand at any time.
The new rosters will go into effect on Monday, May 8th on Raw after Backlash.
WWE DRAFT ROUND 1
1. Raw – Smackdown Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley
2. Smackdown – United States Champion Austin Theory
3. Raw – Seth “Freakin” Rollins
4. Smackdown – Charlotte Flair
Analysis: Good for Rhea Ripley getting picked first overall. It’s bragging rights for a top female wrestler. Bianca Belair got drafted to Smackdown with her title so now Ripley got drafted to Raw with her title. Austin Theory going that high makes logical sense because the IC Title held by GUNTHER got drafted to Raw, so now Theory takes the US Title to Smackdown. That’s fine. Rollins staying on Raw makes a lot of sense since he’s a favorite to win the new WWE World Heavyweight Title. Plus, his wife Becky Lynch was drafted to Raw, so of course he’s on the same show as her. Charlotte Flair staying on Smackdown is okay since she usually is on that show. I’d like to see a Charlotte match with Bianca Belair at some point over the next year.
Triple H introduced the “Wise Man” of The Bloodline, Paul Heyman. Hunter showed Heyman the new World Heavyweight Title with Paul saying it was impressive.
Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman introduced himself in the ring saying he was there to go over some business items that the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns wanted him to go over. Heyman mentioned how Roman Reigns, Solo and himself got drafted to Smackdown. Heyman said that tonight will determine the fate of The Usos in the WWE Draft. Heyman reminded us that that The Usos did not win back the WWE Tag Team Titles this past Friday. Heyman said he’ll address The Usos in private later.
Heyman talked about how The Usos will team with Solo Sikoa against Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle this Saturday at Backlash.
Heyman mentioned that Roman Reigns will be on Smackdown on May 12th saying he didn’t know where it was as long as it’s out of Texas. Heyman talked about the possibility of Roman Reigns winning that new World Heavyweight Title. However, Heyman reminded us that Reigns can’t compete for that title since he’s unable to be here on Raw. Heyman said now the children that think they are men are running around and flapping their gums about Reigns. Heyman said they are men who are “freakin’ jokers” and kept on saying “freakin” so here comes Seth “Freakin” Rollins to a huge pop.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance wearing some see-thru white shirt and pants with the fans singing his song as usual. Rollins was drafted to Raw as he made his way down to the ring. Rollins spoke about how Roman Reigns is drafted to Smackdown while Seth is still on his show Raw. Rollins said that Roman doesn’t have to run from Rollins anymore. Rollins said that Heyman doesn’t have to pull strings to keep Rollins away from Roman’s titles. Rollins said that Heyman loves a good spoiler, so here’s a spoiler. Rollins said at Night of Champions he’s going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman answered his phone while Rollins cued the crowd to sing the song. Heyman shouted: “I can’t hear my Tribal Chief.” Heyman told Rollins he is pissing off The Tribal Chief. Rollins asked how long do you think it would take to stomp Paul Heyman’s head onto the mat. Heyman counted down from five seconds and here comes Solo Sikoa.
Solo Sikoa made his way into the ring with Heyman trying to keep him back. Heyman said that by the time we get back from the commercial break, the following match will be confirmed for tonight in Fort Worth: Seth Rollins one on one against Solo. Rollins told Solo if he wants a fight tonight then he is on. They went to break after 23 minutes.
Analysis: That was a really long opening segment without a commercial break. Paul Heyman did a good job of getting heat as usual while Rollins was great at getting the crowd behind. I certainly like Seth’s proclamation that he’ll win the World Heavyweight Title at Night of Champions. This was also a simple way to set up the Rollins/Solo match for later.
Bayley and Dakota Kai are in action up next.
A commercial aired for Backlash this Saturday, May 6th.
Cody Rhodes was shown arriving at the arena earlier in the day. WWE Official Adam Pearce was there to tell Cody it’s a huge night and he would like for it not to turn into chaos. Cody smiled, said nothing and left.
The Raw commentary team was Kevin Patrick & Corey Graves welcoming us to the show.
They showed closed doors with one of them saying “Raw” on it while the other one had “Smackdown” on it. They showed NXT wrestlers watching the show as possible picks.
Analysis: I miss when there were GMs because then at least you had a storyline explanation for who was making the picks. When it’s like this, we have no idea who is picking the rosters from a storyline standpoint. It’s not a big deal, but I think WWE could explain things better.
Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan vs. Damage CTRL – Bayley & Dakota Kai
This is not for the Women’s Tag Team Titles held by Liv & Raquel. Morgan hit a dropkick on Kai, who came back by sending Kai face first into the middle rope. Bayley tagged in against Raquel with Bayley slapping Raquel in the face. Liv and Raquel hit some tandem offense including a step-up knee by Liv on Bayley. Kai distracted the referee, so Bayley raked Morgan’s eyes. Kai tagged in with a kick that knocked down Morgan on the floor. That led to a break.
Kai was in control of Morgan with a running kick for two. Morgan fought out of the heel corner, Kai tackled Morgan and Kai punched Morgan in the face. Raquel got the tag with clotheslines, a fallaway slam and a splash on Bayley, who went into the ring. Raquel slammed Kai hit an hit a splash off the middle rope for two. Morgan got the tag, Raquel put Morgan on her shoulders, Bayley tripped Raquel and Kai got the knees up on Morgan. Kai hit a double knee attack to the back of Morgan for two, but Raquel broke up the pin. Kai kicked Raquel out of the ring. Morgan with double knees to Kai. Bayley made a blind tag that Morgan didn’t see. Morgan hit Oblivion on Kai, but Bayley was legal and she hit a sunset flip on Morgan for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Damage CTRL – Bayley & Dakota Kai
Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay with Bayley making the veteran move of tagging in and hiding so that Morgan didn’t see it, which led to Bayley getting in with the dreaded sunset flip. Having champions lose non-title sets up a title match in the future. That’s something Vince McMahon did a lot when he was booking and it didn’t happen much with Triple H only in charge. I don’t know who made this decision. It’s fine once in a while.
They showed Booker T leaving the Raw room and his wife Sharmell leaving the Smackdown room, so they are announcing the next picks.
Brock Lesnar was shown arriving earlier in the day. Adam Pearce tried to shake his hand, but Lesnar didn’t do that. Pearce said he would like to keep the peace. Lesnar laughed and said: “Good luck with that.”
A video aired recapping Brock Lesnar destroying Cody Rhodes on the Raw After WrestleMania four weeks ago.
WWE DRAFT ROUND 2
WWE Hall of Famer Booker T announced that Raw picks while his wife, Hall of Famer Sharmell announced the Smackdown picks.
5. Raw – Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
6. Smackdown – The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
7. Raw – The Judgment Day (Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio)
8. Smackdown – Latino World Order (Rey Mysterio, Santos Escobar, Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde & Zelina Vega)
Analysis: Good picks all around. I would like some clarification about Owens & Zayn carrying two sets of titles and if they are going to get split up at some point because WWE has yet to say anything about it. Smackdown getting The Usos means The Bloodline will all be together on the blue brand. The Judgment Day staying on Raw was obvious since Rhea Ripley was drafted by Raw. The LWO fits in well on Smackdown, but it would be nice to see them win some matches once in a while.
Braun Strowman & Ricochet entered for tag team action.
Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) (w/Maxxine Dupri)
Ricochet with a headscissors followed by a dropkick on Gable. Ricochet hit a jumping kick to the head, then he jumped off the top with nothing when Gable moved and Gable hit a rolling German Suplex. Strowman tagged in against Otis for the meat-smashing portion of the match. Otis splashed Strowman, then Strowman came back with a clothesline and Braun ran the ropes leading to a cross body block. Strowman bodyslammed Otis to earn a pop. Ricochet got the tag and jumped off Braun’s shoulders with a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Braun Strowman & Ricochet
Analysis: *3/4 Easy win to put over Braun & Ricochet. The speed by Ricochet and Gable was fun to watch while Strowman & Otis had an entertaining power exchange. It was kept short because it was near the end of hour one and they wanted to have more picks at the start of the next hour.
Shawn Michaels was shown walking out of the Raw locker room while Adam Pearce was shown walking out of the Smackdown locker room. Did they run out of legends to use? No offense Pearce. More picks up next.
There was a video about the Damian Priest match with Bad Bunny at Backlash. It’s a San Juan Street Fight.
Shawn Michaels entered to announce draft picks followed by Adam Pearce. The NXT roster was shown chanting “NXT” for Michaels, who is in charge of booking the NXT shows. No reaction for Pearce. Before they could announce anything, Brock Lesnar made his entrance.
Let’s Hear from Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar was wearing a long black coat and a black hat. Brock asked Fort Worth, Texas how it feels to look at the only real cowboy in the building tonight. Pearce told Lesnar to leave the ring and if he didn’t leave then Pearce’s security guys will make him leave.
There were about 20 security guys standing in front of Pearce on the floor while Lesnar was in the ring.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance from behind Lesnar. Cody was wearing his ring gear and one of his t-shirts. Cody knocked down Lesnar with a punch, but then security went into the ring to grab Cody. Lesnar was in the aisle while security guys tried to keep him back with Brock willingly backing up the aisle. Lesnar actually had a small cut on the bottom of his nose. Lesnar walked away while Cody was shown shouting “make me earn it.”
Analysis: I think WWE made the right call by not having physical contact between Cody and Brock since Brock kicked his ass four weeks ago. I realize some fans may want to see them get into a brawl on Raw or something like that, but if you keep them apart then it builds the anticipation for their Backlash match even more. I thought Lesnar could have done a promo that was more than what he did, but it’s typical WWE to prevent Brock from speaking a lot. I’m just saying in this case maybe if we got to hear about Brock’s motivation for going after Cody. I think Brock might win at Backlash and then Cody will win the rematch at Night of Champions, but I’m not sure about that. Just saying it’s a hunch at this point.
This Friday on Smackdown: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karrion Kross and Bad Bunny is there in Puerto Rico.
A replay was shown of the Cody Rhodes-Brock Lesnar segment before the break.
WWE DRAFT ROUND 3
WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels announced the Raw and Smackdown picks since Adam Pearce was gone.
9. Raw – WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan
10. Smackdown – Asuka
11. Raw – The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston). They did not mention Big E.
12. Smackdown – The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Butch & Ridge Holland)
Analysis: That’s fine for Raquel & Liv being on a different show now. Graves said that Raquel & Liv will defend the titles on Raw, but I think they are allowed to be on both shows. Asuka going to Smackdown bolsters their women’s division that has Bianca Belair & Charlotte Flair so they have some big names. No mention of Big E with The New Day. Rumors of him possibly being ready to come back may not be true. Smackdown continues to have The Brawling Brutes, which is certainly fine. Sheamus is now on different shows from his buddy Drew McIntyre, who got drafted to Raw already.
Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle were shown standing backstage together. Riddle said it was great how they all got drafted to Raw together. Riddle said he’ll put the beats to Jimmy Uso. Riddle’s music hit and Owens wasn’t sure about hanging out with Riddle all the time. Riddle made his entrance joined by Sami & Kevin.
They showed a replay of Smackdown last Friday when Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens beat The Usos to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles. Matt Riddle was there to stop Solo Sikoa from interfering in the match.
Jimmy Uso made his entrance accompanied by his brother Jey Uso. This Saturday at Backlash it’s Owens, Zayn & Riddle vs. The Usos & Solo Sikoa.
Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. Matt Riddle (w/Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens)
Riddle with a kick on Jimmy, then Jimmy distracted the referee and Jey kicked Riddle in the back with the referee not seeing it. Owens fell down on the floor grabbing on the head, Zayn hit the table with a steel chair and tossed the chair to Jey. The referee saw Jey holding the chair, so Jey was ejected from ringside. The classic Eddie Guerrero trick always works. It led to a break.
Riddle hit an up kick to Jimmy’s head, then a forearm smash and an Exploder Suplex. Riddle went for a broton splash, but Jimmy got his knees up. Riddle knocked Jimmy down, then Riddle up top and Jimmy shoved Riddle off the top to the floor. Jimmy cheap shotted Owens with a superkick. Back in the ring, Jimmy hit an enziguri kick and a superkick for two. Jimmy hit another superkick for two. Jimmy took the turnbuckle pad off, Zayn distracted the referee, Owens sent Jimmy into the steel that was exposed and Riddle hit a jumping knee, so Jimmy was knocked down. Riddle hit a Floating Bro off the top on Jimmy for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Matt Riddle
Analysis: **3/4 It was entertaining with the faces working well together and taking advantage of the numbers game to get Riddle the win. First, they took out Jey Uso from ringside and then the cheap shot by Owens into the exposed turnbuckle led to Riddle getting the victory. I liked how it was booked.
There was a video about IYO SKY since she’s challenging Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship at Backlash.
They showed Eric Bischoff excited the Raw draft room as a former Raw GM and it was Rob Van Dam walking out of the Smackdown draft room. Elias & Rick Boogs were there to do the RVD thumb point with him.
There was a reminder that Brock Lesnar is a Free Agent in the WWE Draft.
Solo Sikoa was shown in the locker room with Paul Heyman hyping it. Jey Uso walked in asking why Solo wasn’t at ringside tonight. Heyman said that Solo was concentrating on his match against a clown (Seth Rollins) later in the night. Heyman and Solo left while saying that The Tribal Chief loves Jey.
WWE DRAFT ROUND 4
WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff read the Raw picks and WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam read the Smackdown picks. There were “RVD” chants and Rob told the fans he loves them too.
13. Raw – Trish Stratus. Thank you, Trish!
14. Smackdown – Karrion Kross with Scarlett
15. Raw – Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
16. Smackdown – LA Knight
Analysis: The Raw roster needed some good women wrestlers so having Trish there makes sense and continues her rivalry with Becky Lynch as well. Rousey & Baszler are probably going after the Women’s Tag Team Titles when Rousey is cleared from her arm injury, so putting them on Raw is the right call. Kross and Knight were already on Smackdown, so they stay where they were. I hope Knight gets a push. I don’t mind Kross or his lovely wife Scarlett, but he doesn’t have much momentum.
Miz TV with Shinsuke Nakamura
The Miz was in the ring hosting Miz TV talking about how Raw has a stacked roster. The Miz mentioned all the great picks that Raw made while claiming that he was the best pick. The Miz introduced a man that was drafted Raw for the first time in his career: Shinsuke Nakamura.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance with the fans singing along to the song. They sat down in the ring. The Miz asked Nakamura if he thinks he can win the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Nakamura just said “hi” so Miz started talking about himself. The Miz went over his credentials like he usually does saying he was the epitome of a workhorse. Miz said that Nakamura could be a number two and they could work together as Miz-ke Nakamura. Miz told Nakamura they can help eachother on Raw.
Nakamura said that Miz has more experience here on Raw and Nakamura said something in Japanese. The Miz said it repeatedly and got the crowd to say it. Nakamura said it means: “The guy with tiny balls.” The fans got it so they cheered. The fans chanted “tiny balls” at Miz. That led to Miz trying an attack, but Nakamura ducked it and kicked Miz in the groin. Nakamura hit Miz with a Kinshasa knee to knock Miz out of the ring.
Analysis: The “tiny balls” routine always gets a good pop, so having Nakamura say it in Japanese at least made it feel a bit different. The fans liked it when they figured out what Nakamura meant. They can probably do that as a match next week. We don’t know if there’s a tournament for the new World Heavyweight Title, but if there is then that might be a match in the tournament. The Miz rarely wins, so it will be a way to put over Nakamura.
Omos was shown walking backstage with MVP. Omos has a match up next.
Omos (w/MVP) vs. Anthony Alanis
Omos is a free agent after MVP negotiated that deal for him. That was announced after Smackdown. Omos shoved Alanis down, Alanis punched Omos in the face and that led to Omos sending Alanis into the top turnbuckle. Omos bounced off the ropes with a running boot. That was a Diesel spot. Omos two handed choke slam for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Omos
Analysis: 1/4* A dominant win by Omos to put him over going into his match against Seth Rollins at Backlash. It was quick and basic.
There was a highlight shown of last week’s Raw when Triple H introduced the new WWE World Heavyweight Title.
The announcers mentioned there would be a tournament for the new WWE World Heavyweight Title with the new champion crowned at Night of Champions.
Molly Holly was shown walking out of the Raw locker room and Road Dogg was shown walking out of the Smackdown locker room. More draft picks after the break.
WWE DRAFT ROUND 5
WWE Hall of Famer Molly Holly read the Raw picks and WWE Hall of Famer Road Dogg read the Smackdown picks.
17. Raw – Braun Strowman & Ricochet
18. Smackdown – Shotzi
19. Raw – Bronson Reed
20. Smackdown – Pretty Deadly from NXT (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson)
They showed the NXT roster reacting to it with Pretty Deadly celebrating it. Yes boy!
Analysis: Strowman certainly can be a big deal in singles when he’s not tagging with Ricochet, who has also done well in singles in his career. I’m a bit surprised that Ricochet would be moved to Raw when he’s engaged to Smackdown ring announcer Samantha Irvin, but maybe they will move her to Raw at some point. I don’t know. (She did get moved to Raw after all.) Shotzi is barely used and Smackdown has some big women names, so it might be hard for her to break through. Bronson Reed is just getting started on the main roster. Lots of potential there. Pretty Deadly is a very entertaining act that knows how to have good matches and they’re fun to watch.
Let’s Hear from The Judgment Day
The Judgment Day foursome entered and they were all drafted to Raw. Damian Priest introduced Rhea Ripley as the number one pick. Rhea Ripley, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, said that they run Raw and she’ll remind Zelina Vega while she’s the most dominant champion in WWE. Finn Balor said that Priest is going to tear Bad Bunny apart and leave fluffy pieces all over Puerto Rico. Priest spoke in English a bit and then ranted in Spanish. The fans were chanting “WHAT” as Priest spoke in Spanish. Priest kept on talking in Spanish for over one minute. Priest said that at Backlash, Bad Bunny will receive his punishment.
Dominik Mysterio spoke with the fans booing him the loudest out of anybody on the show. Dominik said he can’t wait until “Mami” Ripley and Priest…but the fans were booing so loudly he had to stop. Dominik simply said he can’t wait until Mami and Priest dominate at Backlash. Dominik tried to talk over the crowd while saying that this is the last night he can embarrass his dad and the LWO. Rey’s music hit.
Rey Mysterio and the LWO entered with Rey said they were selected by Smackdown to compete on Friday nights. Rey said he’s glad he won’t be on the same brand with Dominik. Rey said that Zelina Vega will take the championship from Ripley and he’s looking forward to beating Priest. Rey said before all that, The Judgment Day will get smacked right now by the LWO. It’s a six-person tag.
Analysis: The heat that Dominik continues to get is amazing. The fans really don’t like the guy and they let him know it. It’s fun to watch it grow every week. The rest of the proms were fine. I think Bad Bunny will beat Priest, but I’m not sure how it will happen.
There was a video promoting Imperium’s GUNTHER, the Intercontinental Champion, getting drafted to Raw along with Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci.
LWO – Rey Mysterio, Santos Escobar & Zelina Vega vs. The Judgment Day – Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley
There were some quick tags and interactions early on, but then Priest decked Escobar with a forearm smash to the face. Priest went for a springboard attack, but Escobar hit a knee. Escobar with a backbreaker on Dominik. Rey tagged in with a senton to knock down Priest on the floor. The LWO posed in the ring leading to a break.
Priest was in control with two corner clotheslines on Escobar, but Escobar came back with a jumping kick. Rey tagged in against his sone Dominik with punches, then a headscissors and Rey with some punches. Dominik tried a clothesline, but Rey hit a springboard cross body block for two with Ripley making the save. Ripley punched Vega to knock her down. Vega saved Rey from a Ripley slam and sent Ripley out of the ring. Dominik dropkick on Rey. Priest was back in, he charged, Rey moved and Priest hit the ring post. Rey sent Priest into the ropes. Balor distracted the referee, so Dominik tripped Rey. Escobar hit a dive on Dominik on the floor, Ripley knocked down Escobar and Vega hit a Meteora attack on Ripley on the floor. Rey sent Priest into the ropes again, but when he went for the 619, Finn Balor took the 619 kick to the back. Priest hit the South of Heaven slam for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Judgment Day – Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley
Analysis: *** It was booked well as a six-person mixed tag team match with everybody getting some time in the ring and then Finn Balor was a difference maker on the floor. I think having Priest win was the obvious outcome since he’s in a big match at Backlash, so it made sense for him to get that positive momentum.
There were replays shown of Cody Rhodes punching Brock Lesnar earlier, but then they were separated by security after that.
Cody Rhodes was interviewed by Cathy Kelley, who asked if Lesnar is in his head. Cody admitted that Brock is in his head. Cody said that Brock gets what he wants as a free agent, but he won’t get what he wants at Backlash. Cody said he has to win at Backlash because if he doesn’t win then the whole idea of finishing the story fails. Cody said he’s not going to the back of the line not now, and not ever.
Analysis: I mentioned earlier I think Brock Lesnar might beat Cody, but I don’t have an official pick right now. I don’t know if Cody Rhodes will win the new World Heavyweight Title, but I’d rather see WWE wait it out, have him win the Royal Rumble or do something to earn a title match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. That’s the title(s) Cody has to win.
John Bradshaw Layfield was shown leaving the Raw locker room and Teddy Long was shown leaving the Smackdown locker room. More draft picks coming up.
Bianca Belair, the Raw Women’s Champion, was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Belair talked about how she is Smackdown now, but she still has a lot of Raw. Damage CTRL’s Bayley, IYO SKY & Dakota arrived for some trash talk. Bayley talked trash as usual. Belair talked about how Bayley and Kai have done nothing but hold IYO back. Belair talked about how IYO had the opportunity to shine at Backlash. IYO spoke in Japanese, Belair said she didn’t need a translator and said they understand eachother.
Analysis: It’s still a Raw Women’s Championship match even though both women are on Smackdown. No official word on if Belair and Ripley will just swap titles or what might happen.
WWE DRAFT ROUND 6
WWE Hall of Famer John Bradshaw Layfield read the Raw picks while WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long read the Smackdown picks.
21. Raw – Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)
22. Smackdown – Rick Boogs
23. Raw – Katana Chance & Kayden Carter from NXT
24. Smackdown – Cameron Grimes from NXT
Analysis: Alpha Academy are good, but they don’t win much. Maxxine Dupri is on Raw too so she gets to hang around with Otis. Rick Boogs doesn’t get much TV These days. Chance & Carter add depth to the women’s tag team division, so that’s a good thing. Cameron Grimes has been off for several months. Now we finally get to see him on the main roster. Good for him. Grimes is awesome.
Xavier Woods of The New Day was shown backstage doing a quick promo to remind us that New Day rocks.
Solo Sikoa made his entrance with Paul Heyman for the main event.
The announcers went over the Backlash card for this Saturday, May 6th:
* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
* San Juan Street Fight: Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest
* Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle vs. The Bloodline – Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa
That was all they mentioned. The rest are below.
There was a graphic showing the new Raw roster that begins next Monday. There are others as well with the supplemental picks.
How about THIS #WWERaw roster?
Who do you think the World Heavyweight Champion will be from this selection? 👀 pic.twitter.com/kBhuQkZXeT
— WWE (@WWE) May 2, 2023
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance to a big pop and the fans singing his song.
Solo Sikoa (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Rollins ran the ropes with Solo, then Rollins bailed to the floor and the fans kept singing Seth’s song. After getting back into the ring, Solo worked over Rollins with punches and Rollins was fighting back. Rollins sent Solo out of the ring, then a kick, but Solo was back in the ring and Solo hit a spinning heel kick for two.
There were about five minutes left as Solo charged, Rollins moved and Solo hit the turnbuckle. Rollins with elbow smashes, then clothesline attempts and Rollins elbowed Solo in the head. Rollins hit a spinning clothesline knocking Solo out of the ring. Rollins hit a suicide dive, then back in the ring and he did it again. Rollins back in the ring leading to Rollins doing a third straight suicide dive on the floor. Back in the ring, Solo avoided a diving knee attack and Solo hit a Samoan Drop. Rollins with a superkick, but Solo caught him charging in and hit a Spinning Solo for a two count. Rollins slapped Solo in the face. Solo hit a Spinning Solo slam again followed by some punches. Rollins left the ring and Solo sent him into the hood of the announce table. Rollins sent Solo into the ring post. Rollins with an elbow. Rollins wanted more, but The Usos ran out for the DQ finish. It went about 11 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Seth Rollins
Analysis: *** That’s the finish you book when you don’t want either guy to get beat. I liked their chemistry together with Rollins not backing down against Solo throughout the match. Solo is booked in a dominant way, btu Rollins brought the fight to him and nearly had it won.
The Usos were beating up Rollins, so Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn ran out there for the save. The guys were all brawling as the show ended there.
Analysis: It seemed a bit rushed because there could have been more to that ending scene instead of just 10 seconds of it and then a break. It’s because earlier segments ran long.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Matt Riddle
- Bayley & Dakota Kai
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2023 Average: 7.15
There were some good things, but it was a weaker episode this week. Yes, it was informative due to the WWE Draft. We learned a lot about people going to Raw or Smackdown. However, I think the match quality was down from a typical Raw and some of the angle development was okay, but not great. Seth Rollins and Solo Sikoa had a good match with a DQ finish and then the show ran out of time, so the post match brawling was quick. Maybe it was running long since Dominik Mysterio was booed so much when he tried to speak earlier in the night. That Dom heat is real!
They didn’t do anything to try to make us care more about Seth Rollins-Omos at Backlash. Some of the other Backlash matches had story advancement, but not that one, so that’s strange.
Cody Rhodes got one punch on Brock Lesnar before security got involved. At least there was a tiny bit of physicality there. I’m fine with keeping them apart. I’m intrigued to see how the Cody-Brock Backlash match will go. I think Raw will be better next week now that the new rosters are set and we’ll start the road to Night of Champions and crowning a new World Heavyweight Champion as well.
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
* San Juan 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.