This week’s WWE Raw saw GUNTHER defend the Intercontinental Title against Chad Gable, plus fallout from Payback.
Tonight’s Labor Day edition Raw is the follow up to WWE Payback from Saturday night. The lone title change at that show saw The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest & Finn Balor beat Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens to become the WWE Tag Team Champions. It was a Steel City Street Fight with Balor & Priest getting some help from Rhea Ripley, Dominik Mysterio and JT McDonagh as well. The Judgment Day now has even more gold as part of its collection. The next WWE PLE is Fastlane on October 7th, which is five weeks away.
It’s also the last Raw of 2023 that doesn’t have NFL Monday Night competition. For me, that means I’m not going to do a live review again until January most likely because I love the NFL and watching those games live, so that means the Raw review is usually going to be a Tuesday morning thing. I have done that way for 14 years now, so I’m sure if you’re a regular reader then you are used to it. I’ll go back to the live reviews in January. Just letting you know now so I don’t get email death threats asking me where the Raw Deal is next Monday night.
A video package aired recapping some of the highlights from Payback.
The opening video for Raw aired followed by fireworks. We don’t usually get those things every week, so that’s nice to see it again. It’s Michael Cole on commentary with Wade Barrett talking about what’s coming up.
Let’s Hear from Jey Uso
Jey Uso was introduced as the newest member of the Monday Night Raw roster. Jey made his entrance by walking down from the crowd, so the fans were cheering loudly. Jey does a hand gesture with his two arms that the fans like too. Jey has a new theme song that is similar to his Usos theme song. The story was that Cody Rhodes called in a favor to get Jey Uso on Raw. Cole mentioned Cody used to be an EVP (in AEW) so Cole said maybe Cody can still get things done. Interesting reference there by Cole. Jey got into the ring for a promo.
Analysis: At Payback, Jey came out to that song and it was announced that Jey is now a part of the Raw roster. It’s a smart move to separate him from Jimmy because if WWE wants their first match to be at WrestleMania then it will keep them apart for a long time.
Jey said he always wanted to do this part: “Welcome to Monday Night Raw.” The fans chanted “Uso” for him. Jey admitted he was only gone for like three weeks, but it felt like a lot longer than that. Jey said he reached his breaking point fighting his family every week on national television. Jey said out of the blue, Cody Rhodes called him. Jey said that’s why he is there himself. Jey spoke about how he knows guys in the locker room won’t like him being there. Jey said that it’s just him because Main Event Jey Uso is now in your city.
Sami Zayn interrupted the promo with his entrance. Zayn is no longer a WWE Tag Team Champion, but he has a very long history with Jey as a friend from their days in The Bloodline group. The fans sang Zayn’s song as Sami got into the ring with Jey.
Zayn said it’s pretty crazy to see him standing there. Zayn said that a lot of people in that locker room will have a problem with Jey being there. Zayn told him that Kevin Owens wasn’t there tonight. Zayn said he wanted to be the first to tell Jey to his face that he was happy Jey was there. Zayn told Jey that he knew the kind of guy he is. Zayn was proud of Jey for doing what he did with Zayn saying “you broke free.” Zayn told Jey that he truly is “Main Event Jey Uso.” This led to an “Uso” chant. Zayn said that he doesn’t expect them to be friends or best buddies overnight. Zayn told Jey he was really proud of him. Zayn extended his hand for a handshake. Jey took his time reacting to that without a handshake. Zayn said it’s fine and whenever Jey is ready to talk, Sami is here. Jey said that wasn’t very “Ucey” of him, was it? The fans chanted “Ucey” as Jey extended a hand. Sami hugged Jey and the fans popped huge for it.
Analysis: That was a cool moment playing off the history between Sami and Jey. They got along for a long time in The Bloodline and when Sami broke free from the group, Jey was hesitant to turn on Sami. Eventually, Jey did it and that led to the awesome Sami/Kevin vs. Usos match at WrestleMania, but it’s important to remember that Jey considered Sami a close friend for a long time. I love that the hug drew a big pop from the crowd.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance as Jey Uso was making his way to the back. Drew stared at Jey, so Zayn got in the way and told Drew it was just Jey’s first night back. Cole made a good point about The Bloodline costing Drew one year ago at Clash at the Castle, but it wasn’t Jey who did it. Matt Riddle was next, he stared at Jey and Cole mentioned The Bloodline cost Riddle months of his career.
Analysis: It’s important to remember history when telling stories. Sometimes in pro wrestling the characters just move on and the fans complain about it, but when you acknowledge (there’s that word) history it’s the right way to tell stories.
A video aired about Seth Rollins beating Shinsuke Nakamura at Payback to retain the World Heavyweight Title. After the match in a video that aired on WWE’s YouTube channel, Shinsuke Nakamura attacked Rollins from behind. Nakamura was featured in a video saying he was the one that left standing and that he will be the World Heavyweight Champion.
Analysis: Even though Rollins won clean at Payback, the rivalry with Nakamura is going to continue.
Ricochet was shown talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce saying he needed an opportunity.
Seth Rollins was shown walking by with the World Heavyweight Title and Adam Pearce wondered what Rollins was doing there. Pearce said that the WWE Medical team didn’t want Rollins to be there. Ricochet interrupted saying that Rollins tore the house down with Nakamura at Payback and Ricochet respected Rollins. Ricochet said that Rollins didn’t have to carry the show. Rollins said he was fine and he left.
Drew McIntyre & Matt Riddle are in tag team action against The Viking Raiders up next.
Tornado Tag Team Match: Drew McIntyre & Matt Riddle vs. The Viking Raiders (w/Valhalla)
The Tornado Tag Team Match means you don’t have to tag in and out. Anything goes in a match like this.
It was hard-hitting right from the start of the match. Drew and Riddle cleared the ring with Drew hitting a clothesline. Drew hugged Riddle leading to an overhead belly to belly over the top rope onto both Viking Raiders. Riddle shoved Drew and told him to get a table, so Drew shoved Riddle telling him to get the table. Riddle left to get the table. The show went to break.
The table was set up in the ring with Riddle on it, but Drew saved his partner. Drew and Riddle hit a superplex on Ivar, but Erik moved the table out of the way, so they hit the mat instead of the table. Erik hit a knee smash on Drew for two. Ivar splashed Riddle and Erik hit a forearm on Riddle for a two count. A table was set up against the turnbuckle. Drew was back in to clear house with a shoulder tackle, belly-to-belly suplex and neckbreakers on each opponent. Drew hit a Death Valley Driver on Ivar to show off his power. Erik pulled Ivar out of the ring to save his partner. Drew clotheslined Ivar and cleared off the commentary table. Drew sent Ivar over the commentary table into the barricade. Drew hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Erik on the floor. Ivar capitalized by hitting a splash off the commentary table onto Drew on the floor. Riddle saved Drew with a running kick on Erik. Riddle put Erik on a table in the ring. Riddle went up top, but Valhalla yelled at him and Ivar was back in with a heel kick on Riddle. Kofi Kingston ran down to the ring with kicks and knees on the Viking Raiders. Kofi hit a Trouble In Paradise on Riddle after one of the VR guys moved. The VR guys threw Kofi into Drew to knock Drew out of the ring. Viking Raiders hit a Ragnarok (double Powerbomb) on Riddle through the table and Erik pinned Riddle for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good match with a miscommunication finish due to Kofi Kingston wanting to help his fellow babyfaces Drew & Riddle, but it ended up helping the Viking Raiders after all. Kofi went out there because Valhalla got involved in the match, so it made sense within the storyline. I don’t mind seeing multiple tag teams involved in a storyline like this because it tells the audience that there are a few pretty good teams in the division. Having The Viking Raiders win is fine to give them a big win. I thought the finish was executed well.
After the match, Drew McIntyre was angry as he stared at Kofi Kingston, who was outside the ring apologizing for what happened.
There were photos shown of past Intercontinental Champions like Pat Patterson (the first champion), Honky Tonk Man, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Booker T and Roman Reigns. The IC Title match is coming up later.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins, the World Heavyweight Champion, made his entrance in his wrestling gear. The fans popped for him as usual while singing along with his song as usual. Rollins posed in the ring as the fans sang the song some more leading to a break.
Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Seth welcomed Charlotte, NC to “Monday Night Rollins” while going over his nicknames as usual. Rollins said that Shinsuke Nakamura said he did what he was going to do. Rollins spoke about how there were points in the match where he didn’t know if he was going to continue in the match, but the last time he checked, he is still the World Heavyweight Champion. Rollins said even though he beat Shinsuke Nakamura, at the end of the night it was Nakamura walking out of the building while Rollins got pushed out of there on a wheelchair by his wife (Becky Lynch). Rollins called Shinsuke Nakamura to get his ass out here right now.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance in his ring gear with the fans singing his song too. Nakamura stood in the aisle, so Rollins told Nakamura to come down to the ring. Rollins said he knows how to get Nakamura down to the ring by having a World Heavyweight Championship rematch right here, right now. Nakamura slowly walked down to the ring, but then he walked back a bit.
Nakamura spoke in Japanese so the fans shouted “WHAT” at him while Rollins said he couldn’t understand. Rollins assumed Nakamura accepted the challenge. Nakamura said “no” to Rollins wanting to have the match now. Rollins asked if they would have a championship rematch and Nakamura said “no” repeatedly. Rollins left the ring to bring the fight to Nakamura.
Rollins ran after Nakamura and they got into a fight. Security arrived to try to break it up along with WWE Official Adam Pearce. Nakamura kicked Rollins in the back a few times. Ricochet ran out there to fight with Nakamura, so security broke that up.
Analysis: It made Rollins look like a fighting babyface champion to want to wrestle Nakamura while Seth was hurting. That makes Seth likable in the eyes of the fans. Nakamura saying no is a good way to get heat. Ricochet joining the fray obviously sets up a match with Nakamura, so that’s fine.
Seth Rollins was shown yelling at Adam Pearce. Rollins wanted to face Nakamura, but Pearce said no and that he was protecting Rollins from himself. Seth said that didn’t work for him.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet
Nakamura tried to leave, but Ricochet brought him back. Ricochet got a headscissors takedown along with a dropkick. Ricochet went for a springboard attack, but Nakamura kidded him in the leg. Nakamura hit a knee drop while Ricochet was on the ropes. Nakamura delivered a kick to the back followed by a sliding German Suplex leading to a break.
Nakamura had Ricochet grounded with a chinlock, Ricochet ran off the ropes and Nakamura hit a knee to the ribs. Ricochet came back with a handspring back elbow. Ricochet got a headscissors takedown along with a kick and a springboard clothesline. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Ricochet went up top, he jumped off with a flip, but Nakamura moved. Nakamura hit a spinning kick. Nakamura went for a suplex, Ricochet landed on his feet and hit a Recoil for two. Ricochet missed a corner splash when Nakamura moved, so Nakamura hit him with a knee to the ribs. Ricochet avoided a knee to the head while on the apron leading to a Ricochet kick. Ricochet hit a cannonball off the apron onto Nakamura on the floor. Nakamura tackled Ricochet into the ring post and into the barricade. Nakamura kicked Ricochet as they fought by the barricade. Nakamura hit Ricochet with a chair to the back for the DQ finish.
Winner by disqualification: Ricochet
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match for the time given, but the story was all about Nakamura wanting to cause pain to Ricochet rather than win the math. I think it’s better to have wrestlers go for the win in general. However, for this story, it gets more heat on Nakamura for being a sadistic heel.
Nakamura hit Ricochet with another chair shot to the back. Nakamura put Ricochet in the ring attempting to do more, but Seth Rollins ran out to the ring to go after Nakamura. Rollins ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive onto Nakamura and security guys on the floor. When Rollins tried to do more, Nakamura shoved Rollins back-first into the steel steps. Ricochet was back with a chair, so Nakamura bailed to the back.
Analysis: They have done a really nice job of continuing the Rollins-Nakamura story with the segments on this week’s Raw. The story is working.
Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley was shown watching while Priest held the Money in the Bank briefcase. Ripley said “not tonight” referring to an MITB cash-in attempt.
They showed highlights of Becky Lynch beating Trish Stratus in an awesome Steel Cage Match at Payback on Saturday night. It was one of the best WWE women’s matches this year and one of the best matches overall in WWE this year. After the match, Trish was angry with Zoey Stark, so Zoey dropped Trish with a Z360 knee to the face.
Zoey Stark was interviewed by Jackie Redmond backstage, who asked if Zoey’s partnership with Trish is over. Stark said she respects Trish and she proved she was one of the greatest of all time. Stark said you don’t push Zoey Stark. Shayna Baszler walked into the picture where they exchanged words. Stark suggested a match tonight. Baszler said you can show Stark out there in the ring.
The Judgment Day made their entrance for a promo gloating about all of their success. That’s coming after a break.
This Friday on Smackdown: Jimmy Uso faces AJ Styles. Plus, the fallout from WWE Payback.
Let’s Hear From The Judgment Day
The Judgment Day foursome of WWE Tag Team Champions Damian Priest & Finn Balor, Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley and NXT North American Champion were in the ring celebrating the fact that all of them have titles now. Plus, Priest is Mr. Money in the Bank too. Priest started it saying they were dripping in gold. Dominik spoke with the fans booing him loudly.
Finn Balor congratulated Dominik on his one year anniversary since joining The Judgment Day. Balor thanked “sis” Ripley for being a voice of reason. Balor said he’s had his ups and downs with Priest, but now they are the Undisputed Tag Team Champions of the world. Balor thanked his friend JD McDonagh for having his back for 20 years. Balor said that he just reached a career milestone in becoming Grand Slam Finn.
Rhea Ripley said that Finn and Damian showed everybody that they are brothers. Ripley said they showed everybody that they are truly a family. Ripley complained about Jey Uso coming to Raw and getting a lot of attention. Ripley said that The Bloodline has fallen while The Judgment Day is the most dominant faction in WWE.
JD McDonagh interrupted the promo. Priest said that a small part of him was starting to like him, so he told him to make it good.
JD said that he took a bullet for them on Saturday so the least they can do is let him explain why he is out there. Priest had something in a bag. JD said that Ripley wanted changes in The Judgment Day and JD said that Priest’s briefcase needs to go. JD had a new briefcase for Priest that was purple, which was The Judgment Day’s color. It said “Senor Money in the Bank” on it. Priest liked it.
Analysis: That’s a cool looking briefcase. I like it when they modify MITB briefcases to fit a character. It works for Priest and Judgment Day because of the colors as well as the word “Senor” being on it.
Sami Zayn interrupted the promo. Zayn: “Gentleman…and Dom.” That’s funny. Zayn said it took all five of them to take the Tag Team Titles so Zayn isn’t going to let that slide. Zayn said he didn’t see five champions, he sees five championship stealing turds. Zayn said that a special beating is owed to the one that cost them the titles, the biggest turd of them all…Dominik Mysterio.
JD McDonagh said that Dominik wasn’t the only one that screwed them out of the titles. JD suggested that Sami faces him instead. Sami was fine with that and the match is on.
Analysis: Easy way to set up the match. Zayn & Owens were screwed out of the Tag Team Titles, so Zayn wanting revenge makes sense.
There were photos shown of past Intercontinental Champions: Pedro Morales, Ultimate Warrior, Razor Ramon, The Rock, Rey Mysterio, Wade Barrett and Seth “Freakin” Rollins.
GUNTHER did a promo with the Intercontinental Title on his shoulder. GUNTHER said that Chad Gable thinks he can put an end to GUNTHER’s title reign. GUNTHER said he deserves to be in the history books and his legacy will be forever. GUNTHER said tonight after the bell rings, he’ll go down in history as the greatest and longest reigning Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion in history.
Shayna Baszler made her entrance for singles action.
Raquel Rodriguez was talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce with Pearce saying that he’ll do what she wanted. Chelsea Green walked into the picture with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Anyway, Raquel was still hanging around while Green was doing her complaining gimmick and Pearce put them in a match for later.
Zoey Stark vs. Shayna Baszler
Baszler got a shoulder tackle knockdown and Stark came back with a dropkick. Stark kicked Baszler out of the ring. Baszler grabbed Stark in Kirifuda Clutch on the floor, but Stark drove Baszler backward into the commentary table. Stark did a slingshot attack over the top onto Baszler. The show went to break there.
Stark was in control with a belly-to-back suplex. Stark with a jumping kick and a springboard dropkick for two. Baszler avoided a move leading to a knee strike (with loud slap) to the face for two. Stark flipped Baszler over and hit a forearm to knock Baszler out of the ring. Back in the ring, Stark went for a splash off the ropes, but Baszler avoided it and Baszler applied a Kirifuda Clutch submission. Stark tried to fight out of it, but Baszler wore her down and the referee called for the bell with Stark passing out in the Kirifuda Clutch submission. It went about nine minutes.
Winner by submission: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: **3/4 The story was about putting over Zoey Stark as a tough competitor. Zoey got a lot of offense before Baszler got the win. Both women are lacking a bit in terms of personality, but they are talented in the ring.
Post match, Shayna Baszler credited Stark for putting up a better fight than Ronda Rousey did. Stark said that she put up more of a fight than Trish. Baszler and Stark touched knuckles as a sign of respect.
Analysis: Perhaps they will be a pairing in the future. I don’t know if that’s the plan, but it could happen.
The Judgment Day was shown talking with Finn Balor wondering if they should bring JD McDonagh into the group officially. Priest wasn’t sure about it. Balor said they wouldn’t be Tag Team Champions without JD’s help. Dominik didn’t say much other than he’ll do what they want. Ripley said let’s see how JD does tonight against Sami Zayn. Balor & Priest left to talk to JD while Ripley told Dominik to make sure everything goes according to plan.
Raquel Rodriguez entered or singles action.
Chelsea Green vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Green is one half of the Women’s tag Team Champions with Piper Niven, who is apparently not cleared according to Adam Pearce earlier in the show. Green got in a few strikes, but then she ran the ropes and Raquel hit a boot to the face. Raquel hit a fallaway slam. Raquel decked Green with a clothesline. Raquel hit a Texana Bomb for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Raquel Rodriguez
Analysis: * A squash match to give Raquel a win after losing Rhea Ripley at Payback on Saturday. Raquel’s offense looks impressive. Green is a champion, but she is still booked like a comedy figure most of the time.
Raquel Rodriguez did a promo saying she spoke to Adam Pearce about Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio. Raquel said she’ll get a rematch against Ripley and Dominik is barred from ringside. Raquel said she’ll see Rhea next week for that Women’s World Championship.
Analysis: A big championship match for next week. I doubt Ripley will lose that match.
They showed photos of more Intercontinental Champions like Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Kofi Kingston and Cody Rhodes.
Chad Gable was backstage with Alpha Academy saying he will prove to the world that he is more than just a tag team specialist. Gable said that GUNTHER’s desire to hold on to the Intercontinental Championship doesn’t care to Chad’s desire to take the title from him.
The Miz made his entrance wearing a suit for a promo up next.
There was a recap shown of Drew McIntyre & Matt Riddle losing to the Viking Raiders because of Kofi Kingston by accident.
Drew McIntyre was angry looking for Kofi Kingston. Matt Riddle tried to get Drew to calm down. Drew didn’t like Jey Uso being there and said he’s going to watch him, but then if something goes wrong he’ll go after the guy that brought him here – Cody Rhodes. Kofi Kingston walked up as they argued about what happened. Drew said he’s going to keep his eye on a lot of things around here. Drew left and Kofi told Riddle to go talk to him so Riddle did.
A recap was shown of LA Knight beating The Miz at Payback with John Cena as the referee. Cena raised Knight’s hand after the match.
The Miz claimed that he did not lose at Payback. Miz claimed he exposed LA Knight for what he really is. Miz introduced his guest, they call him the greatest of all time…John Cena. That led to John Cena’s music playing and the fans came alive, but it really wasn’t John Cena. Cole: “I can’t see him.” Wade: “That’s the point.”
The Miz acted as if Cena was sitting in the chair. Miz said that Cena screwed him over. Miz asked: “Can you see him? You can’t see John Cena.” Miz claimed that Cena was sitting right there. Miz said not only has he been able to see Cena, but he’s seen through Cena as well. Miz asked “Cena” if LA Knight paid him and offered him a job. The fans were chanting “YEAH” while Miz was asking so Miz yelled at them about it. Miz said Knight’s victory should be thrown out. Miz told “Cena” to leave and then Miz acted like he left. The fans chanted “tiny balls” at Miz. This led to Miz slapping the invisible Cena and then Miz acted like he was shoved. Cole said Miz has lost his mind and said that this was ridiculous. Miz acted like he punched “Cena” followed by a Skull Crushing Finale.
The Miz said there’s nothing invisible or imaginary about what happened at Payback. The Miz said he challenged LA Knight to a match with no special guest referee. Miz said that Knight will fade away because his future success is about as realistic as an invisible John Cena in this ring. Miz said that this LA Knight fairytale will come crashing down burning by him. The Miz reminded us he’s The Miz and he’s awesome. Cole said that Miz has lost it.
Analysis: That segment was a miss in my opinion. The Miz is a great talker and he can handle ten minutes on his own like that, but I didn’t think this was a good idea at all. The fans chanting “YEAH” at least made it passable, but I was dozing off hoping this would end or that somebody would interrupt. I’m fine with Miz facing Knight again to continue the rivalry. I just think this dragged on too long and wasn’t a good segment. It has nothing to do with the performer. I just think the idea was a flop.
A video aired about GUNTHER’s story as the Intercontinental Champion dealing with Chad Gable over the last month to set up this match.
Sami Zayn entered for his singles match.
Jey Uso was shown walking backstage where he saw Akira Tozawa and then kept walking to see WWE Official Adam Pearce. Pearce told Jey that a lot of people don’t like Jey being on Raw and Pearce heard there will be trade compensation with somebody going to Smackdown because of Jey moving to Raw, so that might upset some people too. Jey left.
Analysis: I think the guy that gets moved to Smackdown could be Cody Rhodes. Just a hunch. Raw has a lot of top faces right now and moving Cody to Smackdown could help that show.
Tommaso Ciampa walked up to Pearce asking if he can talk so they went into Pearce’s office to talk.
JD McDonagh vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn hit a monkey flip sending JD across the ring. Zayn whipped JD hard into the turnbuckle. JD hit a neckbreaker across the top rope. Zayn unleashed on JD with chops along with a hard whip into the turnbuckle as JD bumped over the top to the floor. JD pulled Zayn out of the ring and sent Zayn’s head into the commentary table repeatedly. JD sent Zayn into the ring post leading to a break.
Zayn was in control with an impressive Michinoku Driver for a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle. JD jumped off the top, Zayn moved and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Dominik Mysterio pulled JD out of the way to save JD. Zayn went after Dominik with a clothesline and punches. Zayn sent JD back in the ring. Dominik distracted Zayn on the apron, Zayn punched Dominik down and JD did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: JD McDonagh
Analysis: **3/4 The dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again. In this case, it was done as an extremely cheap finish with the Dominik distraction allowing McDonagh an opportunity to roll up Zayn with the tights. Zayn has an out because it was another cheap loss for him.
After the match, Zayn beat up Dominik with punches. Zayn put Dominik into the ring while JD was in the aisle. Zayn gave Dominik an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn set up for a Helluva Kick, but JD grabbed Zayn and sent Zayn into the ring post. Dominik left backstage, so Zayn hit JD with an Exploder Suplex. Zayn hit JD with a Helluva Kick to put JD down.
The announcers talked about it with Barrett saying that JD deserved to be in The Judgment Day.
Analysis: Sami Zayn lost the match, but at least he got some measure of revenge after it was over.
An interview was shown with Becky Lynch after her win at Payback. Tiffany Stratton, the NXT Women’s Champion, interrupted the promo. They exchanged words with Lynch saying maybe she’ll see Stratton soon.
There were more photos shown of past Intercontinental Champions: Randy Savage, Tito Santana, Triple H, Edge, The Miz and Bobby Lashley.
The Intercontinental Title match between GUNTHER and Chad Gable was up next.
JD McDonagh and Dominik Mysterio were shown walking backstage. The rest of The Judgment Day said they did a good job.
Dominik Mysterio walked up to Jey Uso to say they both came up from messed up Hall of Fame families. Dominik said he didn’t have a family and now he has the tightest family. Dominik said that Jey comes from a broken family just like Dominik did. Dominik said now he’s part of a family in The Judgment Day. Dominik told Jey that The Judgment Day is here with open arms if Jey needs it. Dominik told Jey to think about it. Jey didn’t say anything in reply.
Analysis: I doubt that Jey Uso will have anything to do with The Judgment Day as an ally, but he certainly could be a rival soon.
Next week on Raw:
* Rhea Ripley defends the Women’s World Championship vs. Raquel Rodriguez. Dominik is barred from ringside.
* Cody Rhodes returns.
Chad Gable entered first for the main event. Otis and Maxxine Dupri were there, but then they went to the back. Chad’s wife and kids were at ringside. GUNTHER was next as the Intercontinental Champion with Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci, but those two guys went to the back. GUNTHER and Gable stood in the ring as ring announcer Samantha Irvin did the championship introductions. Samantha is so great at it.
Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. Chad Gable
They were going for moves in the first couple of minutes with each guy doing counters. Gable sent Gunther out of the ring, then when Gunther went on the apron, Gable knocked him down again. That led to a break.
Gable was in control by wrenching on Gunther’s left knee against the middle rope. Back in the ring, Gunther hit a boot to the face on a charging Gable. Gunther chopped Gable to knock him on his ass. Gable tried some chops, but Gunther knocked him down with another chop. Gunther put his boot to Gable’s throat by the ropes, which led to Gable bumping to the floor.
Gunther went for a Powerbomb, but Gable got out of it and grabbed the left ankle. Gable did a hurricanrana to send them both over the top to the floor. Gable gave Gunther a German Suplex on the floor. The referee was counting, so Gable put Gunther back in the ring. Gunther was back up and hit a Powerbomb for two. Gunther went up top, Gable went after him there and Gable jumped up with a superplex off the top. Gable hit a top rope headbutt for two with the fans popping for that nearfall. Gable applied an Ankle Lock, but Gunther kicked him back. Gunther fought off a move with an elbow smash, so Gable came back with a belly-to-back suplex. Gable pulled the straps up and then straps down like Kurt Angle. Gable hit the Chaos Theory ending with a German Suplex for one…two…and no! Gunther kicked out. Gable went up top with a moonsault, Gunther got a boot up to block and Gable applied an Ankle Lock. Gable applied a heel hook submission on the Ankle Lock. Gunther managed to kick Gable off leading to Gunther applying a rear naked choke sleeper on the mat. There were loud “Gable” chants. Gable rolled through for a two count by reversing the suplex. Gunther hit an overhead release German Suplex with Gable landing on his head/neck. Gunther decked Gable with a stiff lariat. Gunther with a Powerbomb for the one…two…and three! Gunther wins! It went 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER
Analysis: **** That was an awesome match. It was one of the better TV matches this year. It sucks that they put two commercials in there, but that’s what happens on a live TV show. Gable put up a fight with a couple of great nearfalls and near submissions. I didn’t think Gable had any chance of winning, but the crowd sure bought into it and that’s what matters. Those final five minutes were outstanding with Gable coming so close to winning a few times with the crowd really getting behind hm. GUNTHER matches always end in such a flurry with multiple power moves, so that ending was typical for him. I thought the finish was excellent because it was so decisive.
They showed one of Chad Gable’s daughters crying about seeing her dad lose. That’s a sad thing to show.
After the match, GUNTHER put the Intercontinental Title around his waist and walked to the back. Gable was frustrated. Cole said that GUNTHER is now the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion ever. I believe the official date is on September 8th, but with no title defenses before that, it means that GUNTHER has the record. The show ended with GUNTHER walking to the back.
Analysis: Congratulations to Gunther on the record for the longest Intercontinental Title reign. He has had some outstanding matches over the last 15 months too. Gunther is one of my favorite wrestlers in WWE. I’m happy for him.
Three Stars of the Show
- Chad Gable
- Seth Rollins/Shinsuke Nakamura
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2023 Average: 7.30
I enjoyed the show. Raw has been consistently good for a while now. I thought the GUNTHER-Gable match was awesome. The result was never really in doubt, but the crowd came alive for Gable before Gunther put him away. Congratulations to Gunther on having the longest Intercontinental Title reign ever this week.
The other main stories involved the Seth Rollins-Shinsuke Nakamura rivalry continuing as well as The Judgment Day being involved heavily throughout the show. I liked all of those segments. Nakamura is coming across as a smart, devious heel while Rollins sells everything so well. The Judgment Day possibly adding JD McDonagh is an interesting story. I also liked that Jey Uso/Sami Zayn hug moment in the ring. That was cool to see.
That segment with The Miz was pretty bad. It wasn’t bad because of him, but the idea of it was lame. Having to talk to an imaginary John Cena was so silly. I get that it was done to get heat. I just don’t think it was a smart idea. Overall, though, I enjoyed the show.
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