The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 05/22/23 Review

wwe raw deal may 22

This week’s WWE Raw featured Cody Rhodes & Brock Lesnar building their Night of Champions match while a big six-man tag team match main evented the show.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1565 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Cody Rhodes was shown arriving at Raw “Moments Ago” when Brock Lesnar attacked him in the backstage area. Lesnar beat up Cody in the backstage area and threw him into a bunch of different objects. Lesnar tossed Cody into a garage door. When Cody got up, Lesnar used a keg or a case to hit Cody’s left arm/wrist area. Cody was screaming in pain while Lesnar left.

Analysis: A vicious attack to start the show. Lesnar continues to get a lot of heat for the cheap attacks.

The Raw commentary team of Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves was shown on camera to welcome us to the show.

Let’s Hear from Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman was in the ring doing a promo saying he had nothing to do with that referring to Lesnar-Rhodes. Heyman talked about being back on Raw again while calling Hershey a “hellhole” so the fans booed that. Heyman said there are three main events at Night of Champions including Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn losing the Tag Team Titles to The Bloodline’s Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa. Heyman did a huge introduction for Reigns. Heyman ended it saying “Welcome to Monday Night Raw.”

Analysis: The usual promo from Heyman, which is always good.

Let’s Hear from Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn made their entrance as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions to a big pop. By the time they got into the ring, Heyman left the ring. A replay was shown of The Usos attacking Zayn-Owens and The Usos attacked Zayn-Owens. Reigns yelled at The Usos because he didn’t instruct them to do that. Zayn & Owens got payback against The Usos by costing the ma tag team match against the LWO on Smackdown last week.

Zayn wondered where Heyman went. Zayn said that at Night of Champions they face Solo Sikoa & Roman Reigns for their Tag Team Titles. Zayn said this one is very personal for him and said he already said it to Roman Reigns’ face. Kevin Owens said that Roman Reigns dedicated their next win to the Wild Samoans, so Owens dedicated their victory at Night of Champions to the true pillars of The Bloodline – Jimmy & Jey Uso. Well played.

Zayn said tonight they’re in six-man tag team action against Imperium, which led to the entrance of Imperium.

The Imperium trio of Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci surrounded the ring. Matt Riddle ran out to the ring to support Zayn & Owens. Imperium backed off without a fight. They changed their mind and Imperium went into the ring to fight. Kaiser and Vinci were sent out of the ring, Riddle hit a jumping knee lift and then the faces dumped Gunther out of the ring.

Analysis: That was well played by Owens saying The Usos are the pillars of The Bloodline. The physical aspect of the promo was basic with the faces cleaning house while the heels retreated. There were rumors that Nakamura would team up with the faces, but going with Riddle is fine too.

Ricochet entered for singles action.


There was a replay of Brock Lesnar attacking Cody Rhodes earlier in the show.

Byron Saxton was outside of Cody Rhodes’ dressing room for an update, but WWE Official Adam Pearce said he didn’t want to comment on it.

Bronson Reed vs. Ricochet

Ricochet with a dropkick to the knee, then kicks to the knee and another dropkick to the left knee. Reed tried a slam, Ricochet got out of that and kicked him in the head. Reed was able to get control with a running body attack. Ricochet was on the floor, so Reed hit him with a shoulder tackle on the floor.


Reed remained in control with a Samoan Drop. Ricochet did a neck snap across the top rope, then another dropkick to the knee and Ricochet hit a knee to the face. Ricochet with a superkick to the jaw, then a spin kick to the face and a springboard moonsault. Ricochet with a kick, but Reed punched the leg and clotheslined Ricochet out of the ring. Reed went for an attack off the apron again, but Ricochet hit a jumping knee to the face. Back in the ring, Reed tripped up Ricochet going for a springboard attack and splashed him against he turnbuckle. Reed with a powerslam. Reed hit the Tsunami splash off the top for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed

Analysis: ***1/4 That was fun. A good story with a big man/quicker guy working well together. Reed dominated a lot of it and got plenty of offense in the match, but Ricochet put up a fight as well. I think it’s the right booking to make Reed look strong because they are likely going to want to push him. Ricochet is such a talented guy that is always going to put on a show if he gets the time to do it.

Apollo Crews was interviewed by Cathy Kelley with Crews talking about how he was excited to be on Raw. Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley interrupted it with Dominik saying this was his interview time. Dominik said this interview was over because Ripley had something to say. Ripley spoke about how this Saturday at Night of Champions she’ll end Natalya’s career. Crews said this was interview, Dominik said you don’t interrupt Mami (Ripley), Crews asked what Dominik will do about it and Ripley said he’ll show you who runs Raw. Dominik said “yeah that’s right” and Crews said he wants to see him try.

Analysis: A simple segment to set up a match later.

A Seth Rollins interview was next.


Seth “Freakin” Rollins Interview Continued

They continued the set down interview with Seth Rollins and Corey Graves, who asked about Roman Reigns and his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship reign. Rollins said he loves Reigns, but he doesn’t like Roman Reigns and said that’s a brotherhood. Rollins said that Reigns was there for him when everybody made them their enemies. Rollins said he has no respect for the person that Reigns has become. Rollins thinks that Reigns has been poisoned by his own ego and the biggest thing is that championship. Rollins said that Reigns has taken opportunities away from everybody else and Seth wants to be World Champion to make us forget about Roman Reigns. Rollins said that Raw can be the land of opportunity, the catalyst for change and push the industry forward. Rollins wants challenges, he’ll be around and he wants somebody to carry the torch when he’s gone and when Roman is gone. He wants to know who that is. Rollins talked about AJ Styles saying he is unquestionably one of the greatest superstars of all-time. Rollins said that Styles is special. They showed a clip of Styles and Rollins wrestling in 2006 with AJ saying he knew Seth would be a superstar and he was right. Rollins said he’s on the top of his game and nobody can touch him. Seth said he’s feeling invincible. The interview continues later.

Analysis: Great interview. Seth has been on a movie set for the last two weeks, so they taped this interview. I like what Rollins said about Reigns in terms of loving him like a brother due to their run as The Shield, but he doesn’t respect how he does what he does.

There was a clip of Shinsuke Nakamura exchanging words with Finn Balor & Damian Priest last week after Raw. Balor said he would deal with Nakamura in a match.

Finn Balor & Damian Priest were interviewed by Byron Saxton. Balor said that Nakamura cost Priest an opportunity at the World Heavyweight Championship and then he disrespected Priest as well. Balor said that Nakamura will pay for disrespecting The Judgment Day.

Candice LeRae entered for singles action.


There was a video about Raw newcomer Zoey Stark talking about how he’s clear, calculated and vicious. Stark said she’ll take your favorite superstars and tear them apart. They showed Stark working out along with some of her NXT highlights. She said the “Zoey Stark era begins” to end it.

Zoey Stark vs. Candice LeRae

Stark was aggressive with a whip into the turnbuckle, a kick and an overhead suplex across the ring. Stark applied a chinlock as Nikki Cross ran down to the ring to slap the mat a few times to get the crowd into it since Nikki is Candice’s friend. LeRae broke free leading to a dropkick, corner splash and a splash onto the back. LeRae kicked Stark off the apron to the floor. LeRae hit a springboard cross body block onto Stark on the floor. Cross grabbed LeRae saying she was so happy for her, so Stark shoved LeRae into the steel steps. Stark hit the Z360 knee to the jaw for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Zoey Stark

Analysis: *1/4 A quick match to put over Stark. They don’t really do much with LeRae, so it was obvious what was coming here. Nikki’s excitement for LeRae cost LeRae the win with Stark taking advantage of it. The fans weren’t into the match.


Mustafa Ali was interviewed by Byron Saxton backstage by the Gorilla Position with Ali challenging the Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER at Night of Champions this Saturday. Ali said he has been dreaming about this since he was a kid and dreaming of becoming a champion. Ali said it’s been failure after failure while nobody believes he can defeat GUNTHER to become Intercontinental Champion. Brock Lesnar walked by rudely and said: “Get a life, kid.” Ali just walked out of his interview.

Let’s Hear from Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar made his entrance wearing a jean jacket, jeans and a black cowboy hat. Lesnar was booed by the crowd as he stood in the ring for a promo. The fans started a “Cody” chant. Lesnar: “So Hershey, what do you want to talk about?” That was a way to mock Cody’s opening promo line. Lesnar said that Cody will not be out here tonight. Lesnar said Cody will not be fighting Lesnar at Night of Champions, but Lesnar will not let him down. Lesnar issued an open challenge for anybody to fight him at Night of Champions. Lesnar said all you have to do is step out here and step up to Brock Lesnar.

Cody Rhodes made his entrance with his left arm in a sling along with an ice pack and a towel with him. There were referees and Adam Pearce there trying to stop him. Cody got into the ring with Lesnar and took the sling off to expose his left arm.

Lesnar attacked while Cody tried to punch, but Lesnar took him down. Lesnar applied a Kimura Lock submission on Cody’s left arm. Lesnar was shouting “fight me” and “fight” at Cody while Cody was screaming in pain. Lesnar did a final twist of the arm at the end of it. Cody was down selling again. Lesnar stomped on Cody’s left arm as a final blow. The fans were booing Lesnar loudly while Cody was on the mat writhing in pain. Officials and medical personnel checked on Cody in the ring.

Analysis: It was a great segment to further the storyline between Lesnar and Rhodes. This is Lesnar at his best while Cody has the fighting spirit of a top babyface that wrestling fans love. Maybe it wasn’t smart in the sense that he was already hurt, but it’s going to fans love Cody even more for the way he wants to keep fighting. I don’t know if they used fake crowd noise at the end of it or what. It sure sounded like they hated Lesnar for what he did.


There was a replay of Brock Lesnar’s attack on Cody Rhodes before the break.

Alpha Academy – Chad Gable & Otis (w/Maxxine Dupri) vs. Viking Raiders – Erik & Ivar (w/Valhalla)

It looks like Alpha Academy are officially being positioned as babyfaces at this point. Erik started with Gable with Erik hitting a big forearm to take control. Ivar tagged in for some double team punching on Gable. The fans chanted for Otis. Good tag team work by the Raiders with Erik hitting a splash leading to Ivar’s clothesline. Gable tried to fight out of the heel corner, so he leaped over Ivar and brought in Otis. The big man Otis ran over Ivar with clotheslines and a back elbow for Erik. Otis with a body slam on Ivar and a corner splash on Erik. Otis hit the Caterpillar into an elbow drop. Otis missed a splash on Ivar, Gable tagged himself in and Erik tagged in with a knee for Gable. Dupri got in Valhalla’s face, so Valhalla chased her around the ring. Gable kicked Ivar off the top to stop a double team move and Gable rolled up Erik with bridging pin for the win after five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Alpha Academy – Chad Gable & Otis

Analysis: **3/4 A solid match with a clever finish by having the Alpha Academy outsmart the Viking Raiders for the win. I think using Alpha Academy as babyfaces at this point is the right thing to do because Gable is so talented in the ring and the fans are always going to pop for Otis getting the hot tag since he’s an entertaining guy.

Adam Pearce was shown walking into Cody Rhodes’ locker room with Byron Saxton wanting an update. Cody shouted at Pearce that there was nothing to talk about and told him to get out of here. Cody shut the door.

Shinsuke Nakamura entered for singles action.


Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Finn Balor (w/Damian Priest)

The announcers talked about how Balor & Nakamura have known eachother for about 15 years since when they were in Japan. Nakamura was in control with a running knee to the gut. There was running knee to the ribs while Balor was on the turnbuckle and then Nakamura kicked Balor out of the ring. Priest got a cheap shot on Nakamura, which was not seen by the referee, leading to a break.


Balor was in control with kicks and some trash talking. Nakamura trapped Balor against the ropes leading to kick along with a German Suplex. Nakamura did the “come on” to Priest and Nakamura avoided a charging attack. Nakamura hit a spinning kick to Balor’s head for two. Nakamura with a front suplex, then knee strikes to the head and Balor came back with elbows. Balor countered Nakamura into a front rollup. Balor hit a Slingblade neckbreaker leading to charge, but Nakamura came back with a jumping kick to the head. Nakamura charged, Balor hit a double foot stomp to the chest and Balor jumped off the top with Coup de Grace, but Nakamura moved. Nakamura hit a knee strike to the back of the head and both guys were down. Priest pulled Balor out of the ring while Nakamura was setting up in the corner. Nakamura hit Priest with a knee along with kicks. Nakamura clotheslined Priest over the barricade, so Balor capitalized with a dropkick into the barricade. Back in the ring, Balor jumped off the top with Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Nakamura for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 Good effort by two talented veterans having a very even matchup most of the way. Priest didn’t get involved that much, but Nakamura turning his attention to Priest on the floor ended up being a big mistake because Balor capitalized with a dropkick into the barricade. It was booked well in terms of Balor winning in a cheap manner, which is fitting for The Judgment Day guys. Since there wasn’t much of a story going in, this was just a good match between two veterans and not much more than that.

They showed a replay of Liv Morgan injuring her shoulder during the Women’s Tag Team Title match two weeks ago on Smackdown. When Dakota Kai hit a running kick on Morgan in the corner, Morgan hurt her shoulder badly.

Analysis: Dakota Kai is having surgery for a torn ACL in her knee while Morgan might need major shoulder surgery. Brutal injuries for both ladies. Best wishes to them.

There will be a Women’s 4-Way Tag Team Title match next week on Raw.

Analysis: I’m going with a Rousey-Baszler win there.

Raquel Rodriguez entered for singles action. She really likes smiling and her back muscles.


Last week on Raw, Raquel Rodriguez beat Chelsea Green. After the match, Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler did a cheap attack on Raquel.

Raquel Rodriguez vs. Sonya Deville (w/Chelsea Green)

Deville did a cheap attack after a distraction from Green throwing sunglasses into the ring. Deville hit a forearm along with a knee strike off the middle turnbuckle. Raquel created some space with a big boot, then an elbow drop senton off the middle rope and Raquel hit the Texana Bomb for the pinfall win in under two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez

Analysis: * An easy win for Raquel as usual. Sonya got one nearfall with the knee off the ropes, but that was really it. They usually book Raquel strong.

After the match, Green attacked Raquel with a kick to the head. Shotzi ran out for the save, they sent Green & Deville out of the ring and Shotzi hit a suicide dive on Green/Deville on the floor. Raquel & Shotzi celebrated in the ring.

Analysis: That likely means that Raquel & Shotzi will team up in the Women’s Tag Team Title match next week. Shotzi is from Smackdown for what it’s worth, but it’s WWE and it’s not a strict brand extension.

There was a scene from WWE Official Adam Pearce’s office with referee Shawn Bennett talking about how Cody Rhodes was angry in his dressing room. Pearce thanked him for the update.

Trish Stratus talked to WWE Official Adam Pearce in his office. Pearce said “thank you Trish” which is also on her shirt and she liked that. Trish suggested a “no touch policy” for the contract signing she is having tonight. Pearce said denied her request. That was next.


A video aired about Matt Riddle saying the greatest mistake you can make in life is fearing you can make one. Riddle was shown training in the gym and highlights of his WWE career. Riddle talked about laughing in the face of adversity while adding that this is his time and doubting him is a mistake you can’t afford to make.

Analysis: It’s a way to reshape Riddle as a character since he’s more focused and less of a goofy stoner now.

Contract Signing: Becky Lynch & Trish Stratus

Becky Lynch made her entrance in a ridiculous outfit including some really high heel boots and some massive gold shades as well. Corey Graves was in the ring to moderate the contract signing. Lynch started this off saying that The Man has come around to Hershey and she called Trish Stratus to come out there to take care of business. Lynch signed the contract.

Trish Stratus made her entrance looking incredible as usual. She wasn’t wearing the Thank You Trish shirt and I’m thankful for the outfit she chose as usual. The fans were booing Trish as she made her way to the ring.

Trish commented on Lynch being so eager to sign the contract, but Lynch wasn’t eager when Trish kicked her head off. Trish said that this is her first contract signing and said The Goat has come around to…she asked Graves the city…Hershey. Trish spoke about how Lynch has had so many contract signings because of Trish. Stratus said it’s because of the work that she did to change women’s wrestling. Stratus said that contract signings are a normal part of the women’s division because of her. Stratus said she is number, she is still number one and she was number one when she got to WWE and it didn’t take a broken nose for her to get there. Trish said that Lynch thinks she is “it” so what happens when Trish beats her at Night of Champions? Trish said she will be “it” at that point. Trish said that she has Lynch figured out, she sees her weak spot and told Lynch that she is her own worst enemy. Trish said she’ll sign this but it’s ironic because it’s her first contract signing and Lynch’s last contract signing. Trish signed the contract.

Lynch said that Trish is scared that Lynch is going to hurt her, but Lynch wants Trish to be healthy at Night of Champions. Lynch said that Trish stayed the same while others got better. Lynch said she is even better than Trish thinks she is. Lynch said don’t worry about why Lynch was gone, but just worry that Lynch is back. Lynch said “thank you Trish” saying she hopes she is never like Trish. Lynch went on to use some phrases to trash Trish including saying that she is hot and Trish is not. Lynch said if you stab people in the back then Lynch will punch her in the face every time. Lynch said even with the badness in her head, she’s had a career that Trish can only dream of. Lynch said that Trish has done things that Lynch would never dream of and if you think barking like a dog is embarrassing, wait until what Lynch whoops her ass at Night of Champions. Lynch: “Welcome to the big time, bitch. Woof woof!” Trish pushed the table left before Lynch could go after her.

Analysis: I liked that. It was better than Trish’s most recent solo promo. Most wrestlers are more comfortable playing off somebody else and that’s what we saw here. Trish did her usual bit about how Lynch should be thanking her for building the women’s division. Lynch did an excellent job as usual talking about how she doesn’t like the kind of person that Trish is, but we know when Lynch was a heel she was saying a lot of similar things too. Anyway, what they did worked pretty cool. I feel like they’re going to have multiple matches, so maybe Trish will win this one at Night of Champions. I don’t know for sure. I do know that Trish wins the outfit of the night yet again. I may be biased toward my favorite woman in wrestling history. I’m so happy Trish is back. Too bad she can’t dress like that in Jeddah. Just saying.

They replayed what happened earlier when Brock Lesnar attacked Cody Rhodes in the backstage area. Lesnar used a steel barrel to hit Cody’s left arm against a garage door. Later, Cody confronted Lesnar in the ring and Lesnar put the Kimura Lock on Cody’s left arm.

Adam Pearce was shown talking on a cell phone telling somebody that he didn’t know what to do about the Cody Rhodes situation. We couldn’t hear the other person on the phone, but Pearce was saying things like “yeah” and “okay” and that was it.

Dominik Mysterio entered with Smackdown Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley for singles action.


Raquel Rodriguez & Shotzi were interviewed backstage by Byron Saxton. Shotzi spoke about how she had a lot of respect for Raquel. Shotzi told Raquel she has her back and Raquel said she has Shotzi’s back. Raquel said next Monday night they’re going to walk out the new Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Analysis: Good luck with that. Like I said I’m going with Ripley & Baszler in that match.

Apollo Crews vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley)

Crews looked as muscular as ever as he hit a delayed vertical suplex. Crews hit a press slam for two. Crews went up top, but Dominik tripped him up and stomped on Crews repeatedly. Dominik hit a vertical suplex leading into a chinlock. Dominik ran the ropes, Crews caught him and hit a fallaway slam. Crews hit a cross body block off the top for two. Dominik countered a move, he dropkicked Crews into the ropes and Dominik wanted a 619, but Crews avoided it. Crews clotheslined Dominik while they were on the floor. Ripley got in Apollo’s way, so Dominik sent Crews into the steel steps. Ripley shoved Crews into the ring post while the referee was looking at Dominik in the ring. There was a countout spot with Crews getting back in at nine. Crews was down in the ring face down after his slide into the ring and Dominik hit a Frog Splash on Apollo’s back for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: **3/4 I figured this was a match that was done to put over Dominik since Crews has just moved back to Raw and isn’t being used heavily, so you might as well give Dominik a win. I don’t really like the ending because it’s unrealistic for Crews to slide into the ring and lay face first on the mat like that. I get that he was tired after being on the floor. It’s just weird seeing a guy slide into the ring and then he’s face first on the mat after that. It looks strange.

A video aired about the greatness of AJ Styles, who has had an incredible career over the last 20+ years. Styles has done very well in WWE for the last seven years including two reigns as the WWE Champion. Styles will face Seth “Freakin” Rollins for the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship this Saturday at Night of Champions. Styles said that he will prove that he is phenomenal.

There’s more about Seth Rollins up next.


Seth Rollins Interview Continued

Rollins said that this championship is so important for him because it is time for change. Rollins said that this is everything he has ever dreamed of and given him a life beyond his wildest dreams. Rollins said that he just wants to see it be the best it can be. Rollins believes that this World Title can do something special. Rollins said he’s going all in on this World Heavyweight Championship and give it everything he has. Rollins wants to create something that is legendary and he wants it to live forever. Rollins talked about how he wants to be somebody that can be the guy.

Analysis: I thought the sitdown interview with Rollins over the last two weeks was good. Seth speaks well and knows how to put over the importance of the new World Title.

This Saturday at WWE Night of Champions.

* Finals of the World Heavyweight Championship Tournament: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. AJ Styles

* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa

* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

* Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

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

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Mustafa Ali

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

Analysis: Three of the seven matches are women’s matches. I would say that’s progress for WWE women’s matches in Saudi Arabia.

The Imperium trio of Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci made their entrance for the main event tag team match.


Next week on Raw is the Women’s 4-Way Tag Team Match for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Also, Money in the Bank qualifying matches begin next week.

Matt Riddle was up first for the babyface team followed by the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. Good ovation for the babyface team.

Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle vs. Imperium – GUNTHER, Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser

Kaiser started with Zayn, Riddle got the tag and kicked Kaiser in the arm. Kaiser hit an uppercut on Riddle and Vince tagged in with forearms to the chest. Riddle hit a gutwrench suplex on Vinci. Gunther faced off against Riddle, who got some kicks to the chest, but Gunther kicked Riddle in the leg. Gunther decked Riddle with a hard chop to the chest leading to a break.


Imperium was still in control as Kaiser did a tilt-a-whirl suplex on Riddle. Gunther tagged in and kicked Owens off the apron. Riddle hit a knee to Gunther, Kaiser into the ring illegally and Riddle tossed him out of the ring. Kaiser pulled Zayn off the apron to prevent a tag. Gunther with a boot to the face along with a stiff lariat for two. Riddle came back with a German Suplex on Gunther and Owens tagged in against Vinci with KO dominating Vinci with stomps. Vinci with a kick, Owens with a clothesline and senton splash. Owens with a German Suplex out of the ring followed by Owens hitting a cannonball on Vinci in the corner. Owens was on the apron, Kaiser got in the way and Owens was distracted by both guys, so Kaiser/Vinci did a high low trip sending Owens off the apron to the floor. They went to break.


Owens jumped off the top with a Frog Splash on Vinci. Owens was selling after hitting the move and Zayn got the tag against Kaiser. Zayn with a two clothesline, a back body drop and he punched Gunther off the apron. Zayn hit a Michinoku Driver on Kaiser for a two count. Zayn charged, Kaiser with a boot to the face and Gunther tagged in with two hard chops to the chest. Zayn came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two because Vinci made the save. Riddle kicked Vinci down, Owens back in and he hit a Stunner on Vinci. Kaiser dumped Owens out of the ring, Zayn sent Kaiser out of the ring and Zayn charged at Gunter, who caught Zayn in a sleeper. Gunther had Zayn in a sleeper on the mat, but Riddle did a Floating Bro to break that up. Vinci tagged in, Zayn hit him with an Exploder Suplex and Zayn set up in the corner, but Gunther grabbed Zayn’s foot. Owens with a superkick to Gunther, Riddle with a knee and sent Gunther over the commentary table. Vinci with a corner clothesline, but Zayn came running back with a Helluva Kick on Vinci. Owens tagged in with a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a great match. Whenever Imperium loses you know it’s going to be Gunther, so it’s not a surprise that Vinci took the loss for the team. I like seeing Owens win with a Swanton Bomb off the top rope because he hasn’t won with that move and he does it all time. Gunther was terrific for his team, but they couldn’t get the job done. I like the result with KO & Sami building momentum along with Riddle.

Cody Rhodes was shown in the locker room with WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H, who tried to reason with Cody saying he needs medical attention. Hunter said that just by looking at Cody’s arm he can tell it’s broken and looking at Cody’s face he can tell that Cody knows the arm is broken. Hunter said that Cody is afraid, Cody cut him off and Hunter said that Cody is afraid that a doctor is going to say he can’t compete with an injury. Hunter said he doesn’t question how tough Cody is since he was inside Hell in a Cell with a torn pectoral. Hunter tried to reason with him. Cody said of all people, what would Triple H do – he fought. Cody said he’s going to fight, he’s going to Night of Champions and he’s going to fight Brock Lesnar. Cody was putting stuff into his bag as he sat down with Triple H. Hunter patted him on the back and walked away while Cody looked on. End show.

Analysis: A nice way to end it with the Cody-Brock story as the main focus. Hunter thinks he is hurt, but Cody wants to keep going and so he will. Bring on Night of Champions. I think Lesnar will win that match to even things up and they’ll have a blowoff match with a stipulation on it.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Brock Lesnar-Cody Rhodes
  2. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle
  3. Finn Balor-Shinsuke Nakamura


The Scoreboard

7.25 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2023 Average: 7.19


Final Thoughts

A pretty good show overall. I don’t think anything was that bad, nor was there anything that special either. With that said, I liked the Brock Lesnar-Cody Rhodes story with Lesnar doing the cheap attack on Cody’s left arm and then a further attack in the ring as well. Cody didn’t back down, but he’s clearly in pain and selling the attack well. That just adds to their story going into Night of Champions on Saturday.

I liked most of the matches. There wasn’t one match that really stood out above the rest. I just liked seeing the Balor-Nakamura match that was well booked, the Reed-Ricochet match was a lot of fun for the time given and Alpha Academy as faces is nice to see as well. The six-man tag team main event with Zayn, Owens & Riddle beating Imperium was really good too. I think sometimes they rely on interference finishes too much, but I get why it happens to protect people too.

The lineup for WWE Night of Champions has seven matches with three of them being women’s matches. That’s cool to see. I enjoyed the Becky Lynch-Trish Stratus promos. It’s better talking to eachother in the ring compared to solo promos. We’ll have a preview of NOC later in the week.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is Night of Champions on Saturday, May 27th from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with this lineup so far:

* Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

* Finals of the World Heavyweight Championship Tournament: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. AJ Styles

* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa

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

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Mustafa Ali

* Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

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

WWE Night of Champions will stream live from Jeddah Superdome on Saturday, May 27, at 1 p.m. ET 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