This week’s WWE Raw featured Seth Rollins defending the World Title against Damian Priest, Cody Rhodes is a guest on Miz TV and more Money in the Bank qualifiers.
We found out before Raw that the mustached billionaire WWE Executive Chairman Vince McMahon is backstage at Raw for the first time since April 3rd, the Raw after WrestleMania. That was my lowest-rated Raw of the year. While Triple H is in control of the creative direction of WWE, Vince can edit and tweak things. Sometimes it gets reported and other times it does not. I like to joke that if there’s anything really bad on the show then people will blame Vince for it whether it was his call or not. That’s just how it is. Anyway, I’m sure there will be more news about it in the coming days so keep on checking TJRWrestling daily as our news section is constantly updated by our wonderful team.
The show began with a shot of the crowd in Hartford as Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show. My preference is to start with the Raw opening video.
Let’s Hear From Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Burn it down because here comes the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins wearing a gold jacket and pants to go along with the shiny gold championship around his waist. The fans were singing his song as usual. When Seth got into the ring, he stuck his arms, the music stopped and the fans kept on singing. Rollins defends his World Title against Damian Priest later on Raw.
Seth welcomed us to “Monday Night Rollins” while saying his first week as the World Champion has been a party. Rollins wondered when was the last time he had a World Championship match on Monday Night Raw? Rollins mentioned it has been nearly two years, so Seth felt that has been too long and then he issued an open challenge on Twitter for tonight in Hartford. Rollins said that the open challenge by The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest.
Rollins said he’s psyched about the match. Rollins said that he wanted all the fights and he wanted to fight the best. Rollins said whether you love them or hate them, then he named Dominik Mysterio, Rhea Ripley, Finn Balor and Damian Priest saying they are among the best, but as good as they are, they are not him. Seth tried to spout off his nicknames…and here’s the interruption.
Damian Priest and Finn Balor of The Judgment Day made their way down to the ring. Priest said Rhea and Dom have their own business to worry about while Seth has to worry about Priest. Rollins mocked them wondering if they do everything together. Balor cut off Rollins for thinking he’s a funny man and everybody loves Seth and they love to sing his song. Balor said they won’t love when Priest takes that World Title from Rollins tonight. Priest told Rollins he thinks he is a deserving champion. Priest said that Rollins has pretty much beat them all. Priest claims he has beaten them all, which is a stretch. Priest said he’ll take this opportunity and he will not fall. Priest said he doesn’t need The Judgment Day to beat Rollins for that.
Rollins told Priest he doesn’t stand a chance if he’s just the two of them. Rollins told Priest to put his money where his mouth is. Rollins told Priest to leave his crew in the back. Rollins mocked Balor saying the “Prince” doesn’t fare too well when Balor gets in fights with Rollins. Balor tried to speak, Priest said he’s cool with it and Priest said he accepts. Priest claimed he will be the new World Heavyweight Champion while Seth will have one of the shortest reigns ever. Rollins laughed about how any way you slice it, his title reign is already longer than Balor’s title reign was. Rollins laughed and left the ring with his title without a fight. Graves mentioned Balor only having the Universal Title for 24 hours in 2016 due to injury. That’s what Rollins was referencing.
Analysis: It was an effective ten-minute segment to set up the main event World Title match for later in the show. We already knew that Rollins-Priest was happening, but on a three-hour show there’s plenty of time to build up the match more by doing a promo like this. Priest showed a lot of confidence saying he didn’t need The Judgment Day to beat Rollins, so Rollins took him up on that and The Judgment Day won’t be at ringside for the match. I think having Seth as a fighting babyface World Champion is absolutely the best thing for that new title.
Becky Lynch was up next (following her husband Seth) for her Money in the Bank qualifying match. Good ovation for “The Man” Lynch as usual.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Becky Lynch vs. Sonya Deville (w/Chelsea Green)
Lynch with some strikes to start, Green distracted and Deville did a hair pull takedown to take control. Deville with a chinlock leading to some forearms to the chest. Lynch with a boot, then two clotheslines and a jumping side kick. Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex across the ring. Lynch with a back elbow and a cross body block off the middle rope. The music of Trish Stratus hit as the lovely Trish entered with Zoey Stark, who was in a “Thank You Trish” shirt. They watched the match from the aisle. Lynch hit a reverse DDT for two as Deville bailed to the floor. That led to a break.
The match continued with Deville hitting a superplex while she was on the middle rope and Lynch was on the top. Lynch and Deville exchanged strikes leading to Lynch hitting a forearm. Lynch kicked Deville down to the floor. Lynch sent Deville back in and Green kicked Lynch on the floor. Back in the ring, Deville hit a running knee on Lynch for a two count. Good nearfall there. Lynch came back with an enziguri kick, then Lynch was on the apron knocking Green off the apron. Lynch sent Green into the barricade three times. Lynch sent Deville into the barricade too. Somebody’s hair extensions were on the floor. Lynch sent Deville into the barricade again. Back in the ring, Deville got a rollup for two. Deville got a rollup with Green grabbing Deville’s feet for leverage and it was only a two count. Deville went for a jumping knee off the middle rope, Lynch caught her and Lynch hit a Manhandle Slam on Deville for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: *** It was a pretty good match. The match went longer than I thought it would go, but the result was obvious with Lynch getting the decisive win. It’s smart to have the Irish woman Lynch on the Money in the Bank card in London, England because there will be a lot of fans there to root her on. Deville did pretty well in the match in terms of looking like a credible opponent. Having Green get involved helped as well.
The win means that Becky Lynch is in the Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match joining Zelina Vega and four more women still looking to qualify.
Coming up next was a look at The Bloodline imploding.
This Tuesday on NXT is a women’s battle royal to earn a shot at the NXT Women’s Title held by Tiffany Stratton.
There was a graphic telling us that WWE platforms had 40 million views for The Bloodline segment from Smackdown.
A video aired from last Friday’s Smackdown recapping Roman Reigns being awarded the new Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, which his a gold version of the WWE & Universal Titles. The Usos interrupted the segment with Jimmy trying to reason with Reigns and Jey said they can’t be fighting like this. It looked like Solo Sikoa was going to join his brothers The Usos…until Solo turned on his brother Jimmy with a Samoan Spike. Reigns left with Solo. Paul Heyman asked Roman about Jey and Roman claimed Jey will fall in line.
Analysis: I thought it was an outstanding segment. The ratings for Smackdown were high to show that this story is working so well.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens, the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Byron Saxton. They were asked about The Bloodline segment with Zayn saying he’s not the type to say “I told you so” but he thought it would happen. They were happy to see The Usos stand up to Reigns and then noted it was just Jimmy. Imperium’s Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci interrupted with Kaiser talking about wanting the Tag Team Titles. Owens was yelling about it, so GUNTHER walked up to join the segment and GUNTHER exchanged words with Owens leading to KO wanting to have a match with GUNTHER right now.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn made their entrance for KO’s match with GUNTHER after a break.
Analysis: That was a unique way to set up a potentially great match. Fine with me.
There was a video about Kayden Carter & Katana Chance as a fun-loving tag team that have a great athletic background and how they are the party where everybody is included.
GUNTHER (w/Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) vs. Kevin Owens (w/Sami Zayn)
This is not for GUNTHER’s Intercontinental Title. Gunther with a shoulder tackle, then an armbar, Owens got to the ropes and punched Gunther in the side of the head. Owens unleashed on Gunther with punches, then Gunther with a kick and Owens hit a chop. Owens ran off the ropes, Gunther with a boot to the head and Gunther hit a German Suplex. Gunther went after Owens on the floor, Owens with a kick, but Gunther knocked him down and Gunther sent Owens back first into the barricade. Gunther with a lifting belly-to-back slam on the apron while Owens was on the ground selling. That led to a break.
The match continued with Gunther delivering a body slam followed by Gunther using his feet for a neck twist on Owens. Gunther grabbed Owens for a head squeeze, Owens fought back up and Gunther hit a boot to the face. Owens hit another boot to the face. Owens came back by bouncing off the ropes with strikes, but Gunther came back with hard chops to the chest. Gunther applied the Boston Crab submission, then Gunther let go and elbowed Owens in the head. Owens back up with a chop, but Gunther stopped that with a chop to knock KO down. They each went for lifting moves, Gunther avoided a suplex and Gunther decked Owens with a lariat. Gunther with a lefty short arm lariat. They traded clotheslines, then Gunther hit a German Suplex and Owens hit a German Suplex. Both guys were down selling for about a minute. Gunther came back with chops and stomps. Owens was back up with two superkicks, then Gunther was against the turnbuckle and Owens hit a cannonball for two. Gunther went for a sleeper hold, Owens got out of it and Gunther hit a dropkick. Owens came back with a Fisherman’s buster for two. Owens went up top, Gunther met him there with a chop and Gunther hit a double underhook superplex for two. Gunther went up top, he jumped off for a splash and Owens got the knees up. Owens went up top for a Swanton Bomb for one…two…and no! Gunther kicked out. Vinci on the apron, Zayn went after him and Kaiser attacked as well so Owens went after Kaiser. Owens gave Kaiser a Stunner in the ring. Gunther did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to Owens for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER
Analysis: ****1/4 Awesome match. It was one of the best Raw TV matches this year. I didn’t think that Owens would win, but since it was non-title, that made it a possibility at least. It also told the story that Owens was tough to beat because Gunther only got the win after Owens had to deal with Kaiser and Gunther did the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the win. They got a lot of time and delivered an outstanding match. Great job by Gunther and Owens as you would expect from two of the best wrestlers in WWE.
Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler are up next.
This Friday on Smackdown we may find out where Jey Uso’s loyalty lies within The Bloodline.
Matt Riddle was interviewed by Cathy Kelley with Riddle complaining about Gunther winning because of Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci. Kaiser got in Riddle’s face, so Riddle knocked down Kaiser and Riddle put Vinci in an Ankle Lock submission. There were WWE Officials there to break it up.
Analysis: I think we’ll see Riddle against Gunther at Money in the Bank. This made Riddle look tough, so they are building him in a strong way.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler were interviewed by Byron Saxton in the backstage area. Baszler and Rousey talked about how they are a great team with Rousey saying they want to legitimize the titles. Rousey and Baszler were interrupted by Kayden Carter & Katana Chance. The two sides exchanged words leading to a match.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler entered for a match.
Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance
It is Carter and Chance’s first match on Raw. Carter hit a dropkick on Baszler, then Chance tripped up Baszler and a hit a senton over the top on Baszler. Rousey went after both women, but Chance kicked Rousey and Rousey came back with a running knee. Rousey pulled on Chance’s elbow by the ropes, but Carter was there with a superkick. Carter jumped onto Baszler on the floor and Chance dove onto Rouse on the floor. Baszler did a cheap shot to Chance, Rousey with an arm wrench and Baszler hit a running kick. Baszler was legal as she stomped on Chance’s left arm. Chance kicked Rousey off the apron. Chance broke free as Carter tagged in against Baszler with a forearm, dropkick in the corner and Carter go a sunset flip into a superkick. Carter with a running kick on Baszler, who was against the ropes. Carter used her knees to drive Baszler into the match like a DDT move. Rousey was back in, Chance made the blind tag and Rousey missed a corner charge leading to Rousey hitting the ring post. Chance & Carter hit the After Party 450 Splash by Chance into a neckbreaker by Carter for two because Baszler broke up the pin. Chance hit a cross body block for two. Rousey wanted an Ankle Lock, but Chance got out of that and Baszler tagged in. Carter tagged in with a rollup. Baszler hit a belly-to-back suplex on Carter. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch submission on Carter, who tapped out. It went about seven minutes.
Winners by submission: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
Analysis: **3/4 A good effort from both sides. Carter & Chance came close to winning a few times, but Rousey & Baszler were too tough for them. I think Rousey/Baszler will have a long title reign.
Bronson Reed walked up to Ricochet saying he beat Ricochet two weeks, yet Ricochet is going to Money in the Bank. Ricochet mentioned beating The Miz and Shinsuke Nakamura beat Reed. While Reed was complaining while Nakamura told Reed he beat him. Ricochet and Nakamura talked briefly about their match up next.
A video aired about Johnny Gargano talking about his career talking about his accomplishments saying if you underestimate him, that’s fine. He mentioned the “way” as well since that was his NXT stable that may be returning. Anyway, Johnny was confident in his abilities.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance.
Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
They have both qualified for Money in the Bank along with LA Knight. Nakamura with a shoulder tackle and Ricochet hit an arm drag. Ricochet got a headscissors, Nakamura with a back elbow and Ricochet hit a dropkick. Nakamura to the floor, so Ricochet tried a dive, but Nakamura kicked him. Ricochet kicked Nakamura to the floor. Ricochet hit a twisting dive over the top onto Nakamura on the floor. That led to a break.
Nakamura went for a suplex, Ricochet landed on his feet and Ricochet bounced off the ropes with a handspring back elbow. Ricochet sent Nakamura into the turnbuckle, then a kick and a springboard clothesline. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Ricochet with a back kick to the face along with a corner splash. Ricochet tried another splash, Nakamura moved and hit a knee. Nakamura with a sliding German Suplex by the ropes. Nakamura with a spin kick followed by a reverse Exploder Suplex. Nakamura charged, Ricochet hit a jumping kick and a Recoil knee strike. They battled by the turnbuckle, but Bronson Reed was there to attack both guys. Reed splashed Nakamura against the turnbuckle. It went nine minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: **3/4 They were on their way to a really good match until Reed showed up. The fans love Ricochet’s exciting offense while Nakamura’s strong style offense always looks impressive. I enjoyed the match for what it was before the sudden ending.
Post match, Reed hit a splash on Nakamura while Ricochet was on his back. Reed slammed Ricochet down. Reed went up top and hit a Tsunami splash on Ricochet.
Analysis: I was surprised when Bronson Reed failed to qualify for Money in the Bank, but it looks like WWE is still going to push him strong. Maybe he’ll get into the match on a second chance qualifier or something like that.
Alpha Academy was shown talking backstage with Chad Gable & Otis talking with their buddy Maxxine Dupri. Maxxine talked about how weird Valhalla is. Otis spoke about how Master Gable can teach Maxxine how to fight Valhalla. Gable said you can’t train in that outfit so Maxxine said she had a perfect outfit in her locker so she left.
Cody Rhodes was shown walking backstage for his talk show segment up next.
Miz TV with Cody Rhodes
The Miz was in the ring with his two chairs and the black carpet in the ring. The crowd popped huge for Cody Rhodes and did the loud “WHOA-OH” part of the Kingdom song. Cody had a cast on his left arm around the lower part of the arm. The fans were really loud for Cody.
Cody sat down with Miz in the ring. Miz: “You look dashing tonight.” Well played. Miz criticized Cody for challenging Brock Lesnar to a fight and when Cody called him “Mike” it led to Miz saying in this ring he’s “The Miz.” Cody said people told him what he did took balls and Miz knows a little bit about that. Cody claimed that Miz is on a bit of a hiatus right now. Miz said they like surprises on Miz TV so he had a surprise guest that’s a son of legend…Dominik Mysterio. Cody looked perplexed by it.
Dominik Mysterio entered with Smackdown Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley, who had a Damian Priest shirt on to support her buddy. Dominik sat in a chair opposite Cody as fans chanted “you suck” at Dominik. Ripley told Miz to be quiet because Dominik had something to say.
Dominik tried to speak, but the fans were booing Dominik loudly. Dominik said that he heard Cody last week talking like he’s a big dog in the yard, but to Dominik, who has done hard time, Cody is a little birdie with a broken wing. Dominik talked about how Cody mentioned all the towns he was going to be in. Dominik called Cody a bad father to his little girl because he was here instead of with his daughter.
Cody said he knows the 15 minutes that Dominik spent in prison were hard times. Cody said that Dominik even has a worse prison tattoo than Cody does. Cody said that Rey Mysterio beating Dominik at WrestleMania was like a spanking. Cody said Rey made mistakes because Cody is looking at a mistake – Dominik. Ouch. Dominik slapped Cody in the face and then Dominik hid behind Ripley, so Cody wasn’t able to get a shot on Dominik in response. Dominik bailed with Ripley. After Dominik & Ripley were on the floor, Miz was laughing about it with Cody, so Cody hit Miz in the head with the cast that Cody had on his left hand. Miz took a great bump for it.
Analysis: It was something different for Cody because Brock Lesnar is not going to be around until after Money in the Bank. I think Dominik as a heel against Cody is an interesting choice, but it’s also a guy that Cody can beat and it’s not going to hurt Dominik that much. There were some good lines in the promos by everybody involved.
Still to come: Seth Rollins defending the World Title against Damian Priest.
Zoey Stark entered for her Money in the Bank qualifying match joined by Trish Stratus. That match was up next.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Zoey Stark (w/Trish Stratus) vs. Natalya
They started with some mat wrestling until Stark targeting the right knee of Natalya. Stark wrenched on the right knee. Stark hit a running shoulder tackle. Natalya fought back with a headlock takeover, then a knee to the body and Natalya hit a German Suplex. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter submission, Stark managed to crawl to the ropes to break the hold. They left the ring. Natalya sent Stark back into the ring. Trish kicked Natalya’s right knee, so Natalya was limping and Stark hit the Z360 knee to the face for the pinfall win after about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Zoey Stark
Analysis: ** A shorter match to put over the heel alliance of Zoey & Trish to outsmart Natalya, who was made to look like a fool here. Stark winning puts her in Money in the Bank to further the story with Trish. The crowd wasn’t reacting to much of the match.
The win means that Zoey Stark joins the Women’s Money in the Bank with Becky Lynch and Zelina Vega. More names to come.
Paul Heyman was shown in an empty locker room saying this Friday on Smackdown, Jey Uso will make his choice. Heyman talked about how the news will rip apart the Anoia/Fatu dynasty because Jey Uso will make his choice and stand by his brother, Solo Sikoa. Heyman said that Jey can share a womb with Jimmy, but you can’t be closer than you are with your Tribal Chief. Heyman ended it saying Jey Uso will acknowledge Reigns…or else.
THIS FRIDAY on #SmackDown
— WWE (@WWE) June 6, 2023
There was Indus Sher in tag team action up next.
Indus Sher – Veer & Sanga (w/Jinder Mahal) were going to wrestle Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander. Instead, Sanga kicked Benjamin out of the ring. Sanga held Alexander while Veer hit a middle rope leg drop. Sanga picked up Cedric and Veer hit a leg drop again. That was it.
Seth Rollins was shown getting ready for his match.
Damian Priest entered alone to honor the agreement made earlier. A lot of cheers for Seth Rollins as usual.
World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Damian Priest
I missed the very beginning of the match. When I joined, Rollins knocked Priest out of the ring and hit a jumping knee to knock Priest down on the floor.
The action spilled to the floor with a Rollins sending Priest into the ring post. Rollins tried an attack off the barricade, but Priest stopped that with a forearm smash. Priest was in control with a hard whip into the turnbuckle along with a superkick for two. Priest worked over Rollins with kicks to the body. Priest with a forearm to the back, but Rollins came back with a jumping kick. Rollins with a clothesline. Rollins hit a lifting backbreaker. Rollins went up top, Priest moved and Priest hit jumping knee smash. Rollins came back with a Slingblade neckbreaker. Priest was on the floor, Rollins tried a suicide dive, btu Priest caught him and hit a flatliner onto the commentary table. That led to a break.
They were battling by the turnbuckle, Priest fought off Rollins and Rollins came back with a superplex followed by a Falcon Arrow for two. Priest was on the floor, so Rollins hit him with three suicide dives in a row with Priest bumping over the commentary table. Back in the ring, Rollins hit a superkick. Rollins up top and he hit a Frog Splash on Priest for two. Rollins wanted an elbow, but Priest elbowed him followed by strikes to the body. Rollins with a rolling elbow and Priest countered a Rollins move with a headlock driver into the mat. Rollins avoided a Chokeslam by landing on his feet and Priest punched Seth into the turnbuckle. Rollins was seated on the top rope, so Priest hit him with a jumping kick. Priest hit a Frankensteiner off the top for two. Rollins came back with a Pedigree for two. Rollins got a hold of Priest on the apron and Rollins gave Balor a Powerbomb into the barricade at ringside. Finn Balor showed up, but Rollins was ready with a superkick. Back in the ring, Rollins charged and Priest hit a clothesline. Priest hit a South of Heaven slam for a two count. Priest was asking Balor why was he there? Rollins got out of Priest move, Rollins with strikes including an elbow to the head and Rollins hit The Stomp for the pinfall win after 22 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a great match. They had plenty of time, busted out a lot of cool moves that they both use frequently and some different ones too. Priest getting mad at Balor for showing up at the end certainly teases some tension within The Judgment Day so we’ll see what the future holds for them. Rollins kicked out of everything that Priest threw at him and then Rollins hit The Stomp to get the decisive win. I doubt anybody watching this thought Rollins would lose. However, it’s still a good thing to have a long title match in the main event of Raw.
After the match, Finn Balor went into the ring for a staredown with Rollins. Rollins stared at Balor, then Rollins left and Rollins held up the World Title in the aisle as his music played. End show.
Analysis: There’s a tease for Rollins vs. Balor at Money in the Bank. It makes sense to do that in England since Balor is Irish so the crowd will be full of people supporting him too.
Three Stars of the Show
- Kevin Owens
- Seth “Freakin” Rollins/Damian Priest
8 out of 10
Last week: 7
2023 Average: 7.22
I thought it was a great edition of Raw. The two highlights were the outstanding GUNTHER/Kevin Owens match and also the Seth Rollins/Damian Priest main event match. Both of those matches were given a lot of time and they were excellent for TV matches. I assume most viewers didn’t think Priest had a shot in winning, but it was still cool to see a major title in the main event.
The rest of the show was mostly good too. I think they advanced stories well, the Cody promo with Miz/Dominik/Rhea had some funny lines and I liked seeing Becky Lynch/Zoey Stark qualify for Money in the Bank. That will further the story between Becky and Zoey/Trish as well.
Booking wise, I think Raw has been a very good show of late. I wouldn’t say it’s exciting every week, but as a pro wrestling show in 2023, I’m entertained by it.
Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays. Be safe and smart out there.
Thanks for reading.