This week’s WWE Raw featured Finn Balor & Damian Priest defending the WWE Tag Team Titles against Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens, plus Drew McIntyre facing Kofi Kingston, Dominik Mysterio defending the NXT North American Title and more.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Fastlane on October 7th. It’s time for WWE to start making some matches official.
My beloved Los Angeles Rams were playing in one of the two NFL Monday Night Football games, so I watched this show on Tuesday morning. Tough loss for my team, but playing at Cincinnati against a good Bengals team was a tough place to pick up a win.
As soon as the show came on the air, they went right to the entrance of Cody Rhodes. Big pop for Cody, who was in a suit with a tie as he usually is when he’s not in a match. A video package aired with highlights from the end of Raw last week when Cody saved Jey Uso from The Judgment Day.
Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes welcomed us to Raw. Cody noted he was interrupted two weeks ago talking about this subject and that subject is “Main Event” Jey Uso coming to Raw. Cody said somebody will be drafted over to Smackdown as well. Cody made it clear that he is not “best friends” and perhaps there are other reasons that he wants Jey Uso here. Cody said it doesn’t seem like we’re in the “third inning” any more, boys. Cody talked about Jey making the right decision by turning down The Judgment Day. Cody called The Judgment Day “the most toxic faction in the history” and here they are.
The Judgment Day’s WWE Tag Team Champions Finn Balor & Damian Priest were joined by NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio with all of their titles as Priest’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Balor wondered why Cody had to get in Judgment Day’s business. Priest said last week they gave Jey an opportunity to join a real family. Priest said everything always has to be about Cody with him. Dominik was booed loudly as usual when he tried to speak. Dominik said that Jey was going to pay for disrespecting them. The crowd was so loud that they booed Dominik. Cody pointed out that Dominik’s real family can’t stand him. Cody wondered what happens when “Mami” comes back and the guys are empty-handed. Dominik told him to keep Mami’s name out of his mouth.
The Judgment Day threw their microphones down and got on the apron, but that’s when Jey Uso arrived to back up Cody in the ring. As The Judgment Day approached further, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn arrived on the scene to stand beside Cody & Jey, so it was 4 on 3 for the good guys. Priest said they will deal with this later.
JD McDonagh walked out from the back and brought two chairs, which he handed to Balor. Priest didn’t want to do it, but McDonagh and Balor went into the ring along with Dominik. Priest went in there but ended up being one on four because the others were sent out of the ring. The four faces punched Priest, Jey hit a superkick on Priest and Cody hit Priest with a chair shot to knock him out of the ring.
Analysis: It’s a typical scene from Raw to open the show. It’s always about focusing on The Judgment Day and who they have issues with. Cody’s line about the “third inning” was a reference to what Paul Heyman & Roman Reigns said about WrestleMania 39, so that tells me it’s very likely that Cody is the guy that gets moved to Smackdown so he can go after Roman Reigns again. Anyway, the good guys had the advantage while the story will continue throughout the show as usual.
The commentary team of Michael Cole & Wade Barrett went over what’s coming up this week.
Otis entered with Maxxine Dupri for a match.
Bronson Reed vs. Otis
Both guys weigh around 330 pounds, so there’s a lot of weight in there. They did the run into eachother spot with neither guy moving. They ran into eachother in the ring and did a clothesline that knocked both guys down. Out on the floor, Otis hit a clothesline. Reed avoided a charging Otis, who hit the ring post and then Reed clotheslined Otis on the floor. Back in the ring, Reed picked up Otis and hit a Samoan Drop, which looks impressive. Reed applied a weak chinlock, then they ran the ropes and did a double cross body block spot. Otis hit a spinning clothesline along with his version of an Olympic Slam. Otis delivered a running splash on Reed in the corner. Otis did the Caterpillar leading to an elbow. Otis went for a Vader Bomb off the ropes, but Reed avoided it and hit a senton. Reed went up top and hit the Tsunami splash for the pinfall win after nearly five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed
Analysis: **1/4 It was fun for a short match with a bunch “running into eachother and fall down” spots throughout the match. Reed has been receiving a decent push of late, so it made sense for him to win. Otis is still a tag team guy and isn’t being pushed much in terms of singles. I thought Reed hitting that Samoan Drop on Otis was really impressive. Solid match overall.
Becky Lynch was backstage with her NXT Women’s Title when Tegan Nox walked up to her. Lynch wondered where Nox was last week because she saw Nox standing backstage for the open challenge. Nox said she let Natalya step in front of her last week since she’s a veteran. Lynch said you don’t have to do that and said that you have to claim your worth. Lynch said she has her big match at No Mercy on Saturday and after that she wants Nox to be next in line. Nox was interested in that.
Tommaso Ciampa entered for singles action.
Tegan Nox was shown talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce, who was talking on the phone saying they haven’t picked who is getting moved to Smackdown. Nox wanted a shot at the winner of the Lynch-Stratton match. Natalya walked in saying it was great to see Nox standing up for herself. They exchanged words with Natalya talking about Nox lacking passion and Nox said she has plenty of passion, but she doesn’t get opportunities. The women bickered leading to Pearce making a match.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/Giovanni Vinci)
There was a backstage confrontation earlier in the day to set up this match. Ciampa beat Vinci last week so he gets Kaiser this week. Kaiser ran over Ciampa with a shoulder tackle. Ciampa with a Thesz Press followed by punches and a stomp on the head. Kaiser set up Ciampa so he was seated on the turnbuckle along with a punch putting Ciampa on the apron. Kaiser shoved Ciampa off the apron and crashing into the steel steps.
Kaiser was in control with a dropkick knocking Ciampa out of the ring. Ciampa gave Kaiser a back body drop over the top to the floor. Ciampa came back with a clothesline knocking Kaiser out of the ring. Ciampa threw Kaiser into the hood of the commentary table and into the steps. Ciampa hit the Willow’s Bell DDT by the apron for a two count. Kaiser picked up Ciampa for a lift and Ciampa hit a reverse DDT. Vinci was on the apron and Ciampa hit him with a knee. Kaiser hit a jumping kick but there was no pinfall because the referee was looking Vinci. Ciampa came back with a jumping knee smash for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa
Analysis: **3/4 A solid match here with Ciampa picking up another win to set him up for an Intercontinental Title match. Since Vinci was in the ring, Kaiser’s kick to the head didn’t lead to a pin attempt and Ciampa took advantage for the win. I think winning with a jumping knee is okay once in a while, but I’d rather see his finisher Fairytale Ending used for the finish.
After the match, Ciampa did a promo into the ringside camera saying he was coming after GUNTHER’s Intercontinental Title. A frustrated GUNTHER was shown watching on a TV backstage and he walked away.
A video package aired about NXT’s Dragon Lee ahead of his first match on Raw. I’m a regular NXT watcher/reviewer and Dragon is a talented guy in his late 20s with a bright future.
Dragon Lee was shown getting ready ahead of his match later in the show.
Becky Lynch made her entrance as the NXT Women’s Champion to join commentary.
Natalya vs. Tegan Nox
They did some mat wrestling to start. Natalya hit an elbow smash. Nox got a double leg takedown followed by punches and a running uppercut. Nox with a kick and a front suplex. Box with a cannonball in the corner for two. Natalya did a kick to the gut followed by a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Nox blocked a Sharpshooter attempt by sending Nox into the ropes. Nox hit the World’s Shiniest Wizard (running knee smash) for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tegan Nox
Analysis: ** A younger star like Nox getting a needed win over a veteran like Natalya. Nothing wrong with that. Good booking to try to show that Nox is worthy of a title shot in the future. Second straight match with a knee strike finish.
After the match, Nox pointed at Lynch with the NXT Women’s Title with Lynch looking back at her.
The Judgment Day was in their locker room along with JD McDonagh as Damian Priest was angry and got in JD’s face. Priest said that he didn’t care who JD was friends with. Priest said JD is not in The Judgment Day and he’s not going to be in the group. Priest said he just took a beating because of him. Priest yelled at JD to leave, so JD left. Priest just stared at Balor.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as the World Heavyweight Champion with the fans singing his song as usual.
Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Seth Rollins welcomed us to Monday Night Rollins while wearing some giant red/black sunglasses and a red leather outfit. Rollins said if you are tired of Shinsuke Nakamura dodging him then sing his song, so the crowd sang the song as usual. Rollins told the fans to sing if it was time for him to defend his championship, so the fans sang again. Rollins called out Shinsuke Nakamura saying if Nakamura doesn’t accept the challenge for a rematch, then Rollins is pulling the opportunity. Rollins said that this was Nakamura’s last chance.
A Shinsuke Nakamura video aired speaking in Japanese and English while the words were shown on the screen. Nakamura said that Rollins has no patience, only impulse. Nakamura said they will have a match that is so brutal that Rollins will never walk again and Seth’s daughter will be afraid to look at him. Nakamura said he’ll stand tall while Rollins will never stand again. Nakamura accepted the challenge. Nakamura said he wanted a Last Man Standing Match at Fastlane.
Seth Rollins contemplated the Last Man Standing match stipulation. Two men walk in and only one man walks out. Rollins said he made one critical mistake. Rollins said Nakamura thinks that Seth’s broken back is a weakness and Nakamura thinks he’ll expose that weakness, so that Seth’s daughter will be ashamed to look at him. Rollins claimed his broken back is a strength and the only way his family will be ashamed of him is if he doesn’t give everything he has. Rollins said his family knows they love them, but they know Rollins loves this. Rollins shouted about how his 100% makes him the best in the world and that makes him the World Heavyweight Champion. Rollins said at Fastlane it will be Last Man Standing. Rollins said only one of them will be walking out of there, but it won’t be you because it’s going to be Seth “Freakin” Rollins (with the fans chanting his name). Rollins had a serious stare into the camera.
Analysis: A strong babyface promo from Rollins as usual while Nakamura’s video was good too. The Last Man Standing stipulation made sense since Rollins needed help getting out of the arena after the last match while Nakamura stood tall. This could have been announced last week or the week before, but they finally got to it this week. I don’t think Nakamura will beat Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title although I think WWE has done a nice job of making Nakamura look like a threat. There is a good story here.
Ricochet was interviewed by Jackie Redmond with Ricochet on crutches. Ricochet said he will return and it will take more than this to keep him down. Ricochet said it didn’t matter who wins at Fastlane because whether Shinsuke Nakamura walks out as World Heavyweight Champion or not, Ricochet has unfinished business with Nakamura. That was it.
Dominik Mysterio was shown walking with his NXT North American Title for his title match up next.
A video package aired showing highlights of Payback earlier this month when Balor & Priest beat Owens & Zayn to become WWE Tag Team Champions in a Steel City Street Fight due to a lot of chaos and interference during the match.
NXT North American Championship: “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio vs. Dragon Lee
Dragon delivered headscissors to knock Dominik out of the ring. Dragon hit a somersault dive over the top onto Dom for two. Great move. Back in the ring, Dominik tripped up Dragon leading to a half crab submission. Dragon got to the apron, Dominik met him there and Dominik hit a DDT on the apron leading to a break.
Dominik did a slow climb to the top rope with the fans booing him. Dominik jumped off with a Frog Splash, but Dragon got the knees up to block. Dragon lifted up Dominik leading to a kick to the head. Dragon hit a running kick in the corner along with a leap over the top with a kick to the face. Dragon hit a running corner dropkick for two. The fans bought that as a nearfall. Dragon caught Dominik and hit a German Suplex. Dragon hit a flash knee to the head, but Dominik came back with a Michinoku Driver for two. Dominik dropkicked Dragon in the back and Dragon avoided a 619 kick. Dragon hit a kick to the leg along with a running knee for a two count. Dominik with a chop to the chest. Dominik to the apron, Dragon jumped over the top and delivered a hurricanrana to the floor. Big pop from the crowd for that. Dragon makes that look so easy. Back in the ring, Dragon hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Dragon went up top, Dominik went after him and Dragon knocked him down leading to a double foot stomp. Dragon charged, but Dominik lifted him and crotched him on the top rope. Dragon sold it really well as Dominik went up top and hit a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dominik Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/2 That was great. I really liked the match. They worked at a fast pace. Dragon Lee got to show how talented he is with a lot of fast-paced offense and the fans loved him. Dominik winning without getting an assist from Ripley or anybody else in The Judgment Day is a good thing for him to show he can find ways to win on his own. I thought the finish was clever with Dominik crotching Dragon on the top rope leading to the Frog Splash to win. Dragon Lee impressed a lot of people with this performance, so that’s great to see since Dragon is one of my favorites in NXT. Dominik is getting better all the time too.
They showed a video package from two weeks ago when Nia Jax destroyed Raquel Rodriguez and Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley. Jax beat up more women last week on Raw too.
Nia Jax was shown walking backstage. Akira Tozawa was standing there, then he was scared and left. That was funny.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens were interviewed by their fellow Canadian Jackie Redmond. Owens said earlier wasn’t about helping Jey Uso. Owens said all he cares about is getting his hands on The Judgment Day. Zayn said this is about two guys who started doing this as kids together, who started at the bottom and worked together to become WWE Tag Team Champions in the main event of WrestleMania. Zayn said this is about them and taking back what is theirs. Owens said he’s so sick of talking, so let’s go punch some faces.
Analysis: Great energy shown by Zayn & Owens as usual.
Nia Jax Interview
Nia Jax was interviewed in the ring by Michael Cole. Cole asked why is Jax targeting everybody in the women’s locker room? Jax said she’s the baddest human in all of WWE. Jax said she squashed Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler, Zoey Stark, Raquel Rodriguez, Chelsea Green and Piper Niven. The fans shouted “what” during the promo as Jax said she’s going to squash anybody put in front of her.
Zoey Stark arrived for the promo interruption. Stark got in Jax’s face saying she squashed Stark when her back was turned. Stark dared Jax to do something right now. Jax slammed Stark down, but Stark came back fighting. Referees broke it up or at least they tried to do it.
Analysis: A basic promo from Nia Jax talking about how bad she is and how mean she is. The fans hate her, so it got a lot of heat.
It’s official for Fastlane: John Cena vs. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa. I assume LA Knight becomes Cena’s partner there.
Zoey Stark vs. Nia Jax
This will be quick. Stark went for a springboard move, but Jax avoided it and Stark hit the mat. Jax hit an elbow drop. Jax delivered a running splash against the turnbuckle two times. Jax went for a running shoulder tackle, Stark moved and Jax hit the ring post. Stark came back with a springboard dropkick, but Jax didn’t go down. Stark tried a lift and Jax landed on top of her. Jax delivered a leg drop to the back of the neck while Stark was against the ropes. Jax hit the Banzai Drop called the Annihilator (A-Nia-lator?) for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax
Analysis: * It’s a Nia Jax match. She dominated the whole match and got the easy win. The spot where Stark tried a lift and Jax fell on top did lead to a reaction from the crowd at least.
Jey Uso was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Jey said no groups and no Judgment Day. Jey said Cody Rhodes took a chance on him so he’s not going to do him like that. Saxton asked about Jey’s relationship with Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. Jey said he has beef with KO so it is what it is. Jey said Sami is still his dog. Jey said he’ll keep his eye on The Judgment Day during the Tag Team Title match later in the show.
Analysis: That’s a way of telling the audience there will be some chaos at ringside during the main event.
The Miz made his entrance to host Miz TV.
Finn Balor and Dominik Mysterio were shown talking in their dressing room. Balor congratulated Dominik while Dom asked where Damian was. Balor told him that Priest is cooling off. Dominik had an ice pack on the side of his head.
Miz TV with Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre was in his wrestling gear because he had a match right after this. The Miz told Drew this was a judgment-free zone where Drew can speak freely. The Miz said he commends Drew for throwing Jey Uso to the wolves because The Miz would have done the same thing. The Miz asked why Drew would leave Jey to be beaten down by The Judgment Day. Drew claimed he was nothing like The Miz and Miz claimed that leaving Jey Uso to get beaten was the “Miz move.” The Miz said they both know what it’s like to be the hard-working WWE Champion. The Miz brought up Clash at the Castle one year ago when The Bloodline prevented Drew from winning the WWE Championship. The Miz said Jey was right there giving him beatdown after beatdown. Drew said “karma’s a bitch” when it came to The Judgment Day beating up Jey Uso. The Miz said that Drew is like Batman of WWE while Cody Rhodes is Superman. The Miz asked how it felt to be upstage by Cody last week. Drew wanted to reply, but there was an interruption.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods interrupted the promo. Kofi said they didn’t know Drew was cold-blooded like that. Kofi said the Drew they know is not a coward like he showed them last week. Woods said they’ve been calling him “Big D” for a few years, but it looks like last week there was a bit of shrinkage. Woods wondered if Drew’s sword was too limp to the job done. Miz said “Massive Miz and Big D were having a conversation” which was funny and Drew told him to shut up.
Drew said they expect him to save the day. Drew said New Day didn’t come out there to save the day, neither did anybody else. Drew said Cody wasn’t doing it out of the goodness of his heart because Cody is why Jey is here and Cody is trying to clean it up. Drew said that the actions tonight were the actions of a hypocrite. Kofi said that Drew didn’t do what he was supposed to do. Miz tried to speak and Drew spoke up. Drew reminded New Day getting beat up by The Bloodline. Kofi said that Jey is here now and he’s trying to make it right. Drew said they hadn’t stepped up to Jey one time. Kofi said that they are watching Drew and Kofi said that they respect Drew for doing what is right. Miz kept trying to talk and Drew kept telling him to shut up. There was even a “Shut Up Miz” chant from the crowd. Drew decked Miz with a headbutt.
Drew told Kofi that the time for talking is over and Kofi would find out what hard times are all about.
Analysis: That was really well done. They are following up what happened last week on Raw with multiple people questioning Drew McIntyre’s actions as they should. It certainly feels like Drew is on his way to becoming a heel within a few weeks or months, but I like that there’s a slow build to it. Kofi and Woods did a nice job of being the babyfaces that see the good in others like Jey Uso while Drew still doubts Jey because of the past. The Miz was entertaining and even funny a bit in his role in all of this.
Chad Gable was with his American Alpha friends. Gable said that Otis has nothing to be ashamed of. Ludwig Kaiser told Maxxine Dupri that Imperium holds themselves up to a higher standard while AA celebrates losses. Dupri told Kaiser to go away. Gable did a “SHOOSH” to Kaiser while pointing out that he lost. Gable said he still has his eyes locked on GUNTHER’s Intercontinental Title and he’s going to take the title from him.
Analysis: No match for Gable this week, but a quick segment like this reminds the audience that Gable is still going after GUNTHER.
Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)
Drew decked a running Kofi with a chop. Kofi came back with a dropkick off the middle rope. Kofi went for a corner attack, but Drew caught him leading to a delayed vertical suplex. Kofi hit a running dropkick knocking Drew out of the ring. Kofi went up top and did a Trust Fal dive onto Drew on the floor. Kofi jumped off the apron with an elbow smash to the head. Back in the ring, Kofi hit a top rope cross body block for two.
Drew was dominating with two belly-to-belly suplexes across the ring along with a neckbreaker. Kofi countered a DDT attempt for two. Kofi hit a Fameasser for a two count. Kofi hit the Boom Drop leg drop on Drew. Kofi went for Trouble in Paradise, Drew avoided it and Drew hit a Future Shock DDT for a two count. That’s always good for a two count for Drew. Barrett spoke about how Drew wasn’t responding to his texts this week and Drew’s other closest friends are having a hard time reaching him. Drew with two chops. Kofi sent Drew out of the ring followed by a suicide dive that sent Drew into the commentary table. Drew avoided a charging Cody and hit a forearm to the jaw. Drew gave Kofi a reverse Alabama Slam slamming Kofi face first into the ring apron. That looked vicious. Drew charged with a Claymore Kick, Kofi avoided it and Kofi did an SOS for two, which is one of his usual nearfall spots. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Drew got back for his headbutt to knock Kofi down. Ivar of the Viking Raiders showed up with Valhalla. Ivar hit Woods with a forearm to the back, then he threw Woods into the barricade and a spin kick. Ivar splashed Woods against the barricade. Kofi was watching all that, so Drew threw Kofi down and when Kofi got back up, Drew hit a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match with Drew getting the big win because he was focused on the win and not distracted by what happened on the floor. Drew definitely showed some heel tendencies here with how he acted throughout the match, including he finish when he shoved Kofi down and hit the Claymore Kick to win. Kofi was very good as usual, but it’s obviously the right move to have Drew get the win. The distraction finish also continues the Viking Raiders/New Day rivalry.
After the match, Ivar went into the ring and beat up Kofi. Drew walked to the back. Drew looked back to the ring and walked to the back instead of helping Kofi. Ivar went up top and hit a moonsault on Kofi. Ivar and Valhalla posed over a fallen Kofi to end it.
Analysis: It gets more heat on Drew McIntyre because he walked away instead of helping Kofi. When Erik comes back, the Viking Raiders-New Day rivalry will pick up again.
GUNTHER, the Intercontinental Champion, was backstage yelling at Giovanni Vinci. Ludwig Kaiser walked up. Gunther said it was ridiculous what happened out there. Kaiser blamed Vinci. Kaiser said from now on, Vinci is Kaiser’s responsibility. Gunther said if Kaiser messes up, they have an issue and if Vinci messes up, they have an issue. Gunther will continue to be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time and he’ll beat Tommaso Ciampa by himself.
Finn Balor and Damian Priest were ready for the main event. Cole said they defend the titles against Kevin Owens and Sami Owens. Oops.
Ivar and Valhalla were interviewed backstage by Byron Saxton. Ivar said New Day took Erik out of the fight, so Valhalla said “eye for an eye.” They left.
Next week on Raw:
* Becky Lynch or Tiffany Stratton defends the NXT Women’s Champion against Tegan Knox
* GUNTHER and Tommaso Ciampa will have an Intercontinental Championship contract signing
Damian Priest & Finn Balor entered as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions while Priest also had his Money in the Bank briefcase. Wade mentioned Cole saying “Sami Owens” and Cole joked that it’s been a long night. Big ovations for Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn during their entrance.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Judgment Day – Damian Priest & Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Balor and Zayn started in the ring with Zayn hitting arm drags. They went to break right after it began.
The heel champions isolated Zayn in their half of the ring. Balor elbowed Zayn and grabbed a chinlock. Zayn came back with a clothesline. Owens tagged in with a senton splash to Balor’s back. Owens worked over Balor with punches, then a kick for Priest and Balor did a double leg takedown leading to a double foot stomp. Priest choked Owens against the middle rope leading to Balor doing a cheap shot kick. Owens and Priest got into a slugfest, which led to Owens bouncing off the ropes with a DDT. Zayn tagged in with a leapfrog and clothesline on Priest. Zayn hit a dropkick on Priest and tossed Balor out of the ring. Zayn knocked Priest out of the ring followed by Zayn hitting a somersault dive over the top onto both J-Day guys on the floor.
The match returned with Zayn hitting a DDT on Priest out of the corner. Balor tagged in leading to Owens stomping on him repeatedly. Owens ran around the ring on the floor with clotheslines for both guys. Owens punched Balor and did a cannonball on Priest on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens hit a cannonball on Balor. Owens slammed Priest belly-to-back style onto the hood of the commentary table. Owens went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Balor for a two count. Dominik Mysterio can beat people with a Frog Splash, but a bigger man can’t beat people with that move. Anyway, that’s just how wrestling is. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. They were battling by the turnbuckle with Owens putting Balor on his shoulders and hitting a rolling senton off the middle turnbuckle for two. Priest went towards Owens, so Owens knocked him down. Owens with a Swanton Bomb off the top, but Balor got the knees up. Balor hit a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor hit a Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Owens for a two count with Zayn making the save. The fans were really into this. Priest tagged back in, Owens avoided a South of Heaven Chokeslam, Zayn got the tag and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex on Priest into the turnbuckle. Dominik Mysterio showed up on the apron, Zayn went after him and Priest delivered a kick to the gut. Zayn avoided a charging Priest and Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Priest for two because Balor made the save. Owens was back up to tackle Balor out of the ring. Dominik with a neck snap to Zayn across the top rope while the referee was looking at Owens. Priest hit a lifting flatliner on Zayn for two. Jey Uso ran down to ringside and went after Dominik with punches. JD McDonagh arrived to double team Jey with Dominik. Cody Rhodes was next to join the party with a suicide dive onto JD. Cody and Jey were attacking Dominik in the aisle, so WWE Officials showed up to break it up. Back in the ring, Owens hit a Stunner on Balor and Priest threw Owens out of the ring. Zayn hit a Helluva Kick on Priest as the two legal men. While Zayn was against the turnbuckle, McDonagh hit Zayn with the title shot to the head! The referee wasn’t looking because he was looking at the chaos in the aisle. Priest with an arm cover on Zayn for the pinfall win after 20 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Judgment Day – Damian Priest & Finn Balor
Analysis: **** Awesome match. They got a lot of time and a very exciting finish with all the chaos around ringside. It was also another cheap win for The Judgment Day guys thanks to JD McDonagh getting involved, which led to Priest covering Zayn for the cheap win. I thought it was booked really well in terms of the guys being in the right spots to have it make logical sense since the referee wasn’t looking for a cheap finish. The chemistry between Zayn/Owens and Balor/Priest is obviously there since they have been wrestling eachother for about five months at this point. I know fans don’t like cheap finishes in general, but it was fitting for heels like The Judgment Day. I didn’t mind it all. This was an excellent match.
After the match, Cody & Jey ran back out to ringside to fight with The Judgment Day guys and McDonagh. The faces took control with Owens hitting a Stunner on Dominik. The foursome of Owens, Rhodes, Zayn and Jey Uso were alone in the ring to end the show.
Analysis: It seems like these two sides could be meeting in a WarGames match at Survivor Series, but there’s still Fastlane before that. Normally WarGames is 5-on-5, but right now it’s 4 on 4 in terms of the guys fighting here. Drew McIntyre could be a fifth one of the sides as well.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
- Finn Balor & Damian Priest/Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- Kofi Kingston, Dominik Mysterio & Dragon Lee
8 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2023 Average: 7.33
This felt like a great show carried by some excellent matches. They also advanced a lot of the important stories. The main event tag team match with Balor & Priest beating Owens & Zayn in a cheap manner was an excellent match. Those guys have been wrestling regularly for so many months now, so obviously there’s a lot of chemistry. I also really liked the Drew McIntyre promo with Kofi Kingston leading to their match. Drew is on his way to being a heel now and I like that.
That Dominik Mysterio/Dragon Lee match was a lot of fun too. It wasn’t that long at ten minutes, but it was so fast-paced and full of action. The fans reacted very well to Dragon Lee in his first Raw match. Dominik winning without the help of The Judgment Day is also a good thing for him too.
I liked the Seth Rollins-Shinsuke Nakamura segment again to set up that match at Fastlane. I think WWE has done a tremendous job of making Nakamura feel like a legit threat to take the World Title from Rollins. I’m not predicting, but I am saying that the build coming off of their Payback match has been strong. Raw is doing a nice job of building stories week to week as well. This was the second great episode in the last three weeks.
The next WWE PLE is Fastlane on October 7th with this lineup so far:
* World Heavyweight Championship – Last Man Standing Match: Dominik Mysterio vs. Dragon Lee
* John Cena vs. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.