This week’s WWE Raw featured Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso defending the Tag Team Titles, GUNTHER defending the Intercontinental Title and more.
It was billed as the “Season Premiere” of WWE Monday Night Raw. They did the same thing for Smackdown last Friday too. These shows are new every week and they don’t have a season finale, yet here we are for a Season Premiere.
Last Friday on Smackdown, WWE Official Adam Pearce was named as the new General Manager of Raw while Nick Aldis is the GM of Smackdown. It’s a bit of a change for the shows, but Pearce has been a storyline authority figure for over three years. He’s good at the job, so I’m certainly fine with him in the GM role. We also found out Kevin Owens was moved to Smackdown as part of the trade that sent Jimmy Uso to Raw last month.
The Raw intro video aired to start the show. The commentary team was Kevin Patrick and Wade Barrett as they talked about what’s coming up this week. Kevin is filling in for Michael Cole this week.
Let’s Hear from Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn made his entrance to a huge pop. Zayn was wearing a Kevin Owens “KO” shirt. They showed the clip from Smackdown introducing Kevin Owens as Smackdown’s newest superstar.
Sami Zayn welcomed us to the Season Premiere of Raw. Zayn talked about Owens going to Smackdown with Sami saying he was sad about, but he’s excited to see what Kevin is going to do on Smackdown. Sami said he’s also excited about himself getting the chance to be by himself on Raw to show he’s a World Heavyweight Championship caliber of superstar. Sami reminded us that the reason Owens isn’t on Raw is because of the arrival of Jey Uso. Sami said that it took him and Owens their entire lives to become Tag Team Champions and main event WrestleMania, but for the last six months they had to deal with The Judgment Day. Zayn said he had mixed emotions.
Zayn said that the last year of his career has been by far the best of his career. Zayn said that the reason he reached the highs that he did was because of the fans. Zayn said that the reason he’s able to come out here…and here comes The Judgment Day.
Finn Balor of The Judgment Day said that they should have started the Season Premiere of Raw. Balor mocked Zayn for being sad. Damian Priest said it was great that one of the thorns in their sides is gone and he would like to remove Zayn. Priest mentioned the Tag Team Champion idiots and wanted to go after Drew McIntyre as well while looking at his Money in the Bank briefcase, but Rhea Ripley calmed him down. Dominik Mysterio talked about Ripley beating Shayna Baszler while Ripley said that Priest & Balor will bring back the Tag Team Titles.
Rhea Ripley told Sami Zayn he looked a little lost. Ripley said that in the past, they tried to recruit lost superstars like Jey Uso, but when it comes to Sami, they want to get rid of him permanently. The Judgment Day surrounded Zayn, who stood in the middle of the ring.
Jey Uso ran out for the save with a steel chair and he handed Zayn a steel chair as well. The Judgment Day foursome backed away like the heels that they are. After The Judgment Day left, Zayn dropped the chair and left the ring to leave Jey alone.
Analysis: It was a typical Raw opening segment although in this case, it didn’t set up a match. I thought Sami Zayn’s mission statement about showing what he can do as a singles star was good. Zayn has been an Intercontinental Champion before, but can he get to the next level? I would like to see it happen for him. The Judgment Day’s promo was their usual “we run Raw” promo that they do all the time. Jey Uso saving Sami shows that Jey still thinks of him as a friend even though Zayn is a little upset that Jey being on Raw is what led to Kevin Owens moving to Smackdown. There could be some tension there.
A video aired about the Shinsuke Nakamura-Ricochet issues from last week on Raw. That set up their match this week.
Shinsuke Nakamura was featured in a taped promo about what he’s going to do to Ricochet.
Ricochet made his entrance for the Falls Count Anywhere Match against Shinsuke Nakamura.
Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage. Jey Uso walked up to him asking if they were good. Sami said that he just needed some space. Zayn said he was happy about Jey saving him, but it should have been Kevin Owens there to save him. Zayn said that things are going great for Jey, but Zayn doesn’t have his friend Owens with him. Jey told Zayn he still had him. Jey left, Zayn knocked over a ladder and Zayn walked up to him. Zayn walked up to Jey saying it’s been a tough week. Zayn told Jey he’s happy for him, Jey deserves everything he’s got and Zayn is sorry. Jey said “YEET” and hugged Zayn to show that everything was good.
Analysis: They are back on the same page. For now. I don’t know if everything is going to be great for them long term, but it is for now. Anyway, if the Raw brand has the WarGames match as I expect then those two guys will probably be on the babyface team.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
In a Falls Count Anywhere Match, there are no countouts and no disqualifications. Falls count anywhere just like the name of the match says.
Ricochet attacked Nakamura with a dropkick as soon as Nakamura made his way to ringside. Nakamura came back with a jumping kick, knees to the ribs and an Exploder Suplex. Ricochet came back with a jumping knee smash to the face for two. Nakamura was on the apron, so Ricochet hit a springboard dropkick to knock Nakamura down. Ricochet hit a twisting dive over the top onto Nakamura on the floor leading to a two count on the floor. They went fighting by the entrance area with Nakamura throwing Ricochet into the LED screens by the entrance. They went backstage in the Gorilla Position near the WWE Officials and Ricochet hit a jumping knee for two. Ricochet told The Hurricane “stand back Hurricane, there’s a Ricochet coming through.” Nice catchphrase usage. Ricochet did a backflip off the LED screens to jump over Nakamura. Ricochet did a dragon screw leg whip takedown on the floor. Ricochet hit a standing SSP onto Nakamura on the floor as both guys were down selling. That led to a break.
The action spilled into the crowd with Ricochet jumping off a railing and hit a Shooting Star Press on Nakamura, who was on the steps in the crowd. They had a few security guys there to help break Ricochet’s fall. They went down to ringside with Nakamura tossing popcorn in Ricochet’s face. Nakamura kicked Ricochet off the barricade at ringside and then Nakamura threw Ricochet into the barricade. Nakamura used nunchucks to strike Ricochet in the ribs. Nakamura set up a table o the floor and also cleared off the commentary table. Ricochet was back up with a jumping knee. Ricochet put Nakamura on a table at ringside followed by some punches. Ricochet went up top, but Nakamura rolled off the table. They were back in the ring with Nakamura hit the Go To Sleep (GTS) so Wade Barrett referenced it saying it was “close to bedtime” for Ricochet, but they didn’t call it the GTS. Ricochet came back with a jumping kick and a spinning kick leading to a back flip. Ricochet with another jumping kick. Ricochet jumped off the top with a springboard 450 Splash for a two count. Ricochet went up top, Nakamura tried to go after him and Ricochet knocked him down. Ricochet kicked Nakamura to stun him on the apron. Ricochet was still on the top as Nakamura kicked him in the head and Ricochet went crashing through the table at ringside. Nakamura hit a Kinshasha running knee for the pinfall win after about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a very good match to give Nakamura a big win. Ricochet got a few high spots to really stand out in the match. That SSP he did by the fans was incredible. There weren’t that many used in the match, but the table bump was treated as a big deal with Ricochet bumping off the top to go through a table. If you have a table spot, treat it like a big deal and if it sets up the finish then that’s good too. A quality win for Nakamura.
There was a backstage scene with Tegan Nox, Kayden Carter, Katana Chance and Nikki Cross was sitting on some boxes nearby. Chelsea Green & Piper Niven walked in as the Women’s Tag Team Champions with Green talking about how Niven was going to beat Natalya. Green did her usual awkward trash talk. Nox wondered how quickly Green could hide behind Niven before Nox hit her. Niven and Green left.
Piper Niven made her entrance for singles action.
This Tuesday on NXT it’s Carmelo Hayes vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dijak for a shot at the NXT Title.
A video aired about GUNTHER as the dominant WWE Intercontinental Champion. He’s in action against Bronson Reed later in the show.
Natalya vs. Piper Niven (w/Chelsea Green)
Niven tried to intimidate, so Natalya slapped her in the face. Natalya sent Niven into the turnbuckle and went for a rollup for two. Natalya hit a dropkick followed by a pin attempt for two. Natalya rammed Niven’s head into the turnbuckle repeatedly. Niven hit a knee smash to knock Natalya off the apron to the floor.
Niven went for a senton, Natalya avoided it and Natalya got a crucifix pin for two. They each avoided charging moves. Natalya did a cradle for two followed by a discus lariat for two. Green went on the apron, so Niven kicked Natalya into Green to knock her down. Niven did a hair pull and a running cross body block for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Piper Niven
Analysis: *3/4 It was decent for a shorter match where we only got to see about three minutes of action. Good counters by both women. Green getting on the apron led to Niven using Green to her advantage and hitting the cross body block to pin Natalya for the clean win. Green usually loses her matches, so having Niven win is a good thing for that team.
After the match, Niven and Green attacked Natalya some more, so Tegan Nox ran out for the save. Niven was thrown into the ropes, she held on and bailed to the floor.
Analysis: That’s an obvious tag team feud. Natalya has had several different tag team partners over the years, so now it’s a case of her teaming with a newer star like Nox.
Damian Priest was in the dressing room with Finn Balor and Dominik Mysterio with Priest saying he wanted to take out Drew McIntyre (because Drew stopped Priest’s Money in the Bank cash in). Balor was fine with it, but Dominik said Ripley didn’t want them to do that. Rhea Ripley walked in saying she was on a phone call handling Judgment Day business. Rhea said they trust him and Priest said they do. Dominik asked if Ripley needed him in her corner and Ripley said she’s got this.
The World Heavyweight Championship Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance wearing a ridiculous outfit as usual. Promo time is up next.
Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins and Drew McIntyre
A video aired recapping last week’s Raw when Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre agreed to a World Heavyweight Title match at Crown Jewel. Drew stopped a Money in the Bank cash-in attempt right after that.
Seth welcomed us to the Season Premiere of Monday Night Rollins. Those sunglasses are ridiculous. Seth said that Drew is a good guy who wants Rollins at 100% so he’s a good guy, right? Seth said that Drew was his white knight stopping a Money in the Bank cash in attempt. Seth called out Drew to join him in the ring to talk about this.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance to a big ovation as well wearing his leather jacket and a kilt. Drew joined Seth in the ring while Rollins took off his silly sunglasses.
Drew said he’s not going to babysit Seth for the next couple of weeks before their match at Crown Jewel. Seth said that he has proven he can handle his business on his own. Seth wondered if Drew was handling business on his own, or has he enlisted a little help?
Seth cued up a video from last week. It was Ricochet talking to Adam Pearce and then they zoomed into the background to Drew talking to The Judgment Day’s Rhea Ripley, so Seth wanted to know what that was about. Drew said she came to him since he’s not a thirsty creep like Jey Uso. Drew said it is none of Seth’s business. Drew said Seth only needs to worry about Drew taking that damn title from him. Seth said nobody is taking that title off of him, especially Drew.
Seth spoke about how the last couple of years really messed with Drew’s head. Seth noted that Drew has had a lot of big failures in the last few years, so now Drew has side help with The Judgment Day? Seth said that won’t work out for him. Seth said that dealing with The Judgment Day is a slippery slope you don’t want to go down.
Drew mentioned the last time they had a World Title match, Drew beat his ass. Drew talked about outside interference that cost him those big matches and said The Bloodline, so Seth shouted: “Would you shut up about The Bloodline?” Seth told Drew to move on since The Bloodline has moved on. Seth told Drew to get over it.
Drew said that Rollins likes being World Champion with thousands of people singing his song every week…so the fans sang the song. Drew said he has a catchy theme song he could bring back. Drew said that when he accomplished his dream to become WWE Champion he beat Brock Lesnar and there was nobody there. Drew said that they were in a worldwide pandemic, they needed somebody to step up and Drew stepped up. By the time everybody was back, the moment was past. Drew mentioned Clash at the Castle in the UK against Roman Reigns with 50,000 people and who screwed him over, The Bloodline. Drew said that he’s not over it so quickly. Drew said Seth is going to need to think about how he’ll reinvent himself for the 53rd time when Drew beats him for the title at Crown Jewel.
Seth spoke about how nobody understands what Drew is going through better than Seth. Rollins said he spent four years to get back to the top of that mountain to be a World Champion again. Seth said all he’s hearing from Drew are a bunch of excuses and pointing fingers, which is not going to get Drew where he wants to go. Seth said that when he beats Drew at Crown Jewel, it will be the best thing that happens to Drew. Seth said that for the first time in a long time, Drew would have nobody to blame but himself. Seth left while Drew was left in the ring alone.
Analysis: I thought it was an excellent promo exchange by two of Raw’s top stars. Drew is still a face, but he’s showing heel tendencies as well. Rollins shouting at Drew to stop complaining about The Bloodline got a big pop because Drew talks about it all the time, so the fans reacted to that perfectly. Drew made a lot of great points about carrying WWE during the pandemic and then getting screwed against Reigns, which leads to fans sympathizing with him a bit. There was no fight or anything like that. It was just about making their points well, which they did. I think Drew might be the guy to take the World Title off Rollins, but if he does it will probably be by cheating to solidify the heel turn. It might not happen at Crown Jewel, though. Perhaps it extends to Survivor Series and it happens there. I don’t know. Just saying it’s a possibility.
A video aired about “Big” Bronson Reed leading up to his Intercontinental Title match coming up later.
Ludwig Kaiser entered for a singles match with Giovanni Vinci by his side.
Logan Paul beating Dillon Danis in a bad boxing match was mentioned. They showed a clip of Logan calling out Rey Mysterio for a US Title match after the match.
Rey Mysterio and Logan Paul will be on Smackdown this Friday. That should set up their match at Crown Jewel.
Ludwig Kaiser (w/Giovanni Vinci) vs. Johnny Gargano
Kaiser & Vinci attacked Gargano & Vinci last week, so that set up this match. Gargano was aggressive with punches along with a headscissors. Barrett mentioned that “Ciampa was not medically cleared” after last week’s attack, so Gargano was alone. Kaiser kicked the leg of Gargano and then set him up against the ropes leading to a dropkick. Gargano tried to come back with a slingshot attack, but Kaiser punched him. Gargano was on the apron, so Kaiser hit a running uppercut to the back to send Gargano to the floor. They went to break.
Gargano got some offense going by pulling Kaiser by the arm and sending him into the turnbuckle. Gargano hit a rolling kick to the head. Gargano with a jumping kick to the head and a slingshot Spear from the apron. Gargano jumped off the middle ropes leading to a flatliner for two. Gargano avoided a punch and hit a superkick against the turnbuckle. Gargano hit a sunset flip Powerbomb off the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Kaiser came back with some strikes along with a rolling senton slam and a kick to the chest for two. Gargano countered a move into a rollup for two. Kaiser to the floor, then he was on the apron and Gargano hit the Willow’s Bell DDT that Ciampa uses. Gargano hit is own One Final Beat DDT for two by the ropes because Vinci poked him in the eye (the referee never saw it). Gargano left the ring and he hit Vinci with a forearm. Vinci ran into the ring, Gargano went after him and Kaiser hit a jumping kick to the head. Kaiser hit his twisting DDT finish for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ludwig Kaiser
Analysis: *** A cheap win by Kaiser due to the number’s game advantage. It should lead to another match with Ciampa back in the mix to help Gargano against the two heels. I’m glad to see Gargano back in action after being off for several months because he’s such a fun guy to watch with a lot of cool moves and he sells very well too. Vinci proved to be valuable here instead of making mistakes.
Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage with the NXT Women’s Champion. Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae walked up to her with Indi saying she never lost the title, so she wanted an opportunity. Lynch agreed to match. Lynch turned the corner and stared at Rhea Ripley, who then walked away.
Analysis: Rhea and Becky have been kept apart other than a few staredowns like that. I think that is being saved until WrestleMania. Just a feeling on my part.
Drew McIntyre walked down a hallway where he saw Sami Zayn. Drew said he respected Zayn for diffusing the situation. Drew said that Zayn has proved himself as a leader around here since leaving The Bloodline. Zayn said he respected him for saying that. Drew didn’t like Zayn instantly forgiving Jey earlier in the show. Drew said that the “right hand man” of The Bloodline expected forgiveness and trust from everybody. Zayn said that Seth was right that Drew had to put The Bloodline behind him. Zayn said that Jey has done everything he can to make everybody believe him. Zayn said that Drew is the only one who doesn’t buy it. Zayn said that putting The Bloodline behind you can be hard because he can relate. Drew said that no offense and no disrespect, but Sami has never been World Champion and doesn’t understand the pressure of that. Drew said you’ll never be a World Champion if you’re trusting everybody. Sami suggested a match next week on Raw so that Sami can show him what level he is at. Drew agreed to it.
Analysis: Good chat here to set up a match for next week. That should be an awesome match next. Once again, it’s another promo with Drew making his points well as a guy who is skeptical about everything. Drew took a bit of a shot at Sami saying he’s never been a World Champion, but it’s also true.
Rhea Ripley walked out as the Women’s World Champion saying that everybody wants a part of Monday Night Mami. Ripley mentioned Nia Jax, Raquel Rodgriguez and Shayna Baszler trying to prove they’re the baddest woman in WWE. Ripley said this is her division and “Mami will always be on top.”
Shayna Baszler entered for her match against Ripley.
Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler
This is not for Ripley’s Women’s World Title. Baszler got an armbar takedown sending Ripley’s left arm into the mat. Baszler stomped on the left arm. Ripley came back with a head smash into the knee followed by a clothesline. They each tried for moves leading to Ripley hitting a back elbow smash to the head. Baszler hit a German Suplex followed by a knee to the face for two. Ripley went up top, she headbutted Baszler down and Ripley hit a missile dropkick. Baszler countered a Riptide attempt into an armbar. Ripley did a deadlift Powerbomb. Both women were down, which led to Nia Jax walking down to the ring. Raquel Rodriguez showed up as well with punches for Jax. Zoey Stark hit a dive off the barricade on Jax. Raquel threw Stark into the barricade and into the ring. Raquel kicked Jax down. Raquel charged, Jax moved and Raquel went shoulder first not the steel steps. Stark kicked Ripley for the DQ finish after six minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Rhea Ripley
Analysis: ** The DQ finish didn’t surprise me because both women are booked to be strong. If one of them lost this match then they’d be hurt by it, so I get why it was a DQ ending. Ripley shouldn’t lose non-title and Baszler has been used better since SummerSlam when she beat Ronda Rousey. This also led to the post match attack.
Post match, Ripley picked up Stark and threw her onto Baszler. Jax went into the ring, Stark kicked her a few times and Ripley headbutted Jax. Stark kicked Jax while she was in Ripley’s arms and Jax landed on Ripley. Jax left the ring. Stark stood tall in the ring as her music played to end it.
Analysis: This continued the story of several badass women going after Ripley. It was obvious they were setting up a multi-woman match and that became official later in the show.
Becky Lynch was talking to the Raw GM Adam Pearce, who made the Lynch-Hartwell match for Raw next week. Xia Li walked in complaining about how she wants a title shot. Li said she wants a shot on her time. Jade Cargill walked in looking much taller than Lynch. Cargill pointed at the title and Lynch told her to get in line. Lynch left. Cargill: “She’s funny?” Pearce said she could do that when she’s the man. Pearce welcomed Cargill to Raw as they shook hands. That doesn’t mean she’s only on Raw, but it means she was on Raw at that moment.
Analysis: There is the first Cargill-Lynch meeting. We saw Cargill have a moment with Charlotte Flair on Smackdown, so now Cargill got to see Lynch up close too.
The powerful Australian “Big” Bronson Reed entered for his match against GUNTHER.
Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso, the WWE Tag Team Champions, were interviewed by Jackie Redmond. Jey said that Sami Zayn had a lot going through his head and he always has Zayn’s back. Cody said it’s all about maximizing opportunities tonight. Cody said that The Judgment Day wants to own Raw, but one faction isn’t going to cast their shadow over Raw. Cody told Jey to say the word…“YEET.” They left.
GUNTHER made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion. The terrific ring announcer Samantha Irvin did the in-ring introductions. They are really pushing the “Big” Bronson Reed name every time he’s on screen. We know Gunther is the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time.
Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. Bronson Reed
It’s a heel vs. heel match, which is rare, but I like it as a matchup between the talented Gunther and a super heavyweight like Reed. Gunther and Reed each did shoulder tackles followed by Gunther hitting a boot to the face two times in a row. Gunther delivered a hard chop. Reed hit a running body attack to knock him down followed by a splash against the turnbuckle. Gunther left to the floor where he got some offense including a chop. Gunther teased a Powerbomb, but Reed was too heavy to lift at this point in the match. Gunther tried a sleeper, so Reed powered it out with a piggyback slam falling on his back. Reed went up top and Gunther chopped him to stop that. They went to the apron where Reed countered a move with a back body drop on the apron. Reed jumped off the apron with a shoulder tackle on Gunther on the floor. That led to a break.
Reed and Gunther were exchanging hard chops with the fans chanting “WOO” for all of it. Reed with a headbutt, then they did a double clothesline and Reed hit a superkick. Reed hit a powerslam for a two count. Gunther escaped a move, then Gunther delivered several short clotheslines to the front and the back. Reed caught Gunther on his shoulders leading to a Death Valley Driver for two count. That looked impressive. Reed went for a senton attack, but Gunther got the knees up to block. Gunther with a lariat for a two count. Gunther went up top, Reed went after him and Reed gave Gunther a superplex! That’s a lot of weight crashing to the match Reed turned over with one arm for two count. Reed went up top, jumped off with a Tsunami, but Gunther avoided it. Gunther hit a dropkick and lariat. Gunther went up top and hit a Superfly Splash for a two count. A nice flurry of offense there from Gunther with three big moves in a row. Gunther hit the Powerbomb! Gunther covered for the one…two…and three! That was a great finish. It went 13 minutes. Barrett: “Oh man, I need a cold shower after that one!” Agreed.
Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER
Analysis: **** Excellent match as usual for a Gunther Intercontinental Title defense. I knew the result going into it, but I still got invested in the match and loved the way they built to that finish. I feel like every match Gunther has gets around four stars or higher because he’s so terrific at building the match and telling a different story depending on the opponent. A match with Reed is lot different than a smaller guy like Chad Gable or Tommaso Ciampa, yet Gunther is able to adapt and still put on an incredible performance. This crowd wasn’t into it that much early, but after the break they really got into it and were reacting loudly to the big moves. I’m not surprised by Gunther retaining the title because I expected it. Kudos to both guys for putting on a very entertaining match. Gunther has really become one of my favorite wrestlers in the entire business. Reed had a nice showing in this match because he put up a fight.
Gunther celebrated the win with his Intercontinental Title while Reed nodded at him. They both acknowledged eachother as if to say they knew it was a great match.
The Miz was interviewed by Jackie Redmond. Miz complained about how he had to wait until the third hour to be on the show. The Miz complained about Sami Zayn starting the show whining about Kevin Owens not being there. Miz said that Raw GM Adam Pearce should be fired for this and said maybe Nick Aldis should be the GM of Smackdown and Raw. Nia Jax interrupted. Jax looked into the camera saying everybody had hit her with their best shot, but she was still standing and looking pretty. Jax said on Raw, she does the squashing. Jax left. Jackie told Miz they were out of time.
Finn Balor & Damian Priest were backstage getting ready for their match up next.
Adam Pearce, the Raw GM, was on the phone talking to somebody. Rhea Ripley walked in with her Women’s World Title complaining about what happened. Pearce told Ripley she’s defeating the Women’s World Title at Crown Jewel in a 5-Way Match against Nia Jax, Raquel Rodriguez, Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark. Ripley wasn’t happy about it but said she would eradicate them all. Ripley left. Jinder Mahal and Indus Sher walked in saying they wanted to talk to Pearce. It cut out there.
Analysis: There is the multi-women match that I expected. It could have been a four-way, but they added Zoey Stark to it after what happened earlier in the show. I expect Ripley to retain at Crown Jewel.
Alpha Academy were in some gym training with Chad Gable, Otis and Maxxine Dupri doing some pilates. Akira Tozawa was in the room in a silly outfit as well. Alpha Academy were talking about the Tag Team Titles, so The New Day walked in because they heard what they were talking about. Gable challenged New Day to a match. Tozawa kept doing his unique exercising.
Analysis: That was a bit strange with some comedy from Tozawa thrown in there as well.
The announcers went over next week’s Raw lineup so far:
* Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn
* NXT Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Indi Hartwell
* Logan Paul returns
* The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)
* Giovanni Vinci vs. Johnny Gargano
The Judgment Day’s “Senor Money in the Bank” Damian Priest and Finn Balor entered for the main event.
A video aired about Kofi Kingston about Kofi and his mother opening a library and digital center. Kofi went to Ghana for the ceremony opening the new facility. Kofi is a great man. I love to see that.
GUNTHER was shown walking backstage with the Intercontinental Title where Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci were clapping for him. Gunther said that Kaiser had a great accomplishment beating Johnny Gargano while Vinci did not. Vinci said he helped him win the match. Gunther said he wanted Vinci to cause Johnny Gargano to be stretchered out next week and it is Kaiser’s responsibility. Kaiser to Vinci: “No pressure.”
Jey Uso made his entrance as one half of the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. Cody Rhodes was next as the other half of the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions. Both guys got big reaction as usual from the fans. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin did the in-ring championship introductions to start the match. They went to break before the bell rang.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso vs. The Judgment Day – Damian Priest & Finn Balor
The bell rang as they returned from break. Cody started with Balor with Cody holding Balor on his back leading to a backbreaker. Jey tagged in with an elbow smash on the arm. Priest did a blind tag and pulled the rope down to send Jey crashing on the floor. Priest worked over Jey with a corner splash. Balor tagged in with a stomp on Jey followed by Priest tagging back in for a leg drop/backbreaker combo. Jey hit a spinning kick to Priest’s back. Cody tagged in with punches on Priest, then two punches and a powerslam. Cody hit a powerslam on Balor too. Cody with a Disaster Kick on Priest for two. Dominik Mysterio arrived at ringside to distract Cody, but Cody made him drop down and Cody sent Priest into the turnbuckle. Balor went after Cody, but Jey was there to superkick Balor. Jey with a superkick on Priest leading to Cody hitting Cross Rhodes on Priest. Dominik put Priest’s leg on the bottom rope for a two count. Cody chased after Dominik around the ring while Balor tagged in and Balor decked Cody with a clothesline on the floor. Nice move.
Priest was in control of Cody going for a lifting move, but Cody got out of it and Cody hit a Pedigree on Priest. Jey tagged in against Balor with Jey hitting a leaping clothesline and a Samoan Drop. Jey charged at Balor, who sent him to the apron. Jey hit a jumping kick to the head and cross body block off the top for two. Jey tried a lift, Balor did an eye rake and Balor hit a reverse DDT for two. Jey was back up with a superkick and Cody went into the ring illegally for the 1D/Cody Cutter combo on Balor for a two count. Cody tried a dive onto Priest, but Priest caught him and gave him a Chokeslam onto the ring apron. Priest cleared off the commentary table. Jey went up top, he kicked Priest on the apron and Dominik held onto Jey’s foot. Jey jumped off the top, Balor got the knees up and Balor got an inside cradle for two. Dominik complained that it was a three count, so Sami Zayn ran to ringside and beat up Dominik with punches and a whip into the ring post. Zayn sent Dominik into the steel steps. Priest sent Zayn into the ring post. Cody tossed Priest over the barricade into the crowd. Priest knocked Cody off the apron to stop a tag. Jey and Balor did a double clothesline. Priest did a low blow on Cody on the floor since they were not the legal men. The referee wasn’t looking at them. Priest gave Cody the Razor’s Edge on Cody onto the commentary table to break the table. Jey hit a suicide dive onto Priest. Back in the ring, Balor hit a Slingblade and a running dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, he went for Coup de Grace and Jey avoided it. Jey with a Spear! Jey went up top, Priest back in the ring, Jey jumped over Priest and Jey hit a Spear on Priest. While Jey was on the apron to go up top, the referee was getting Priest out of the ring and Jimmy Uso came out of nowhere to hit Jey with a superkick! Jimmy left over the barricade and into the crowd. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall AND NEW Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions: The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match with a surprising finish due to Jimmy Uso costing his brother Jey. I really liked the last five minutes with a lot of action and nearfalls by both sides. Priest taking out Cody with the low blow on the floor leading to the Powerbomb through the table was a great spot to take Cody out of it. I also think the Jimmy Uso spot was booked perfectly because it came right after Jey hit a Spear on Priest, which led to the referee trying to get Priest out of the ring, so the referee never saw Jimmy’s cheap superkick on Jey. I didn’t expect that title change to end Cody & Jey’s Tag Team Title reign at just nine days. It is back to the usual with The Judgment Day “running” Raw by having all of their group members holding titles at the same time. I would have liked to see Cody & Jey have a longer title reign because I liked the Cody-Roman Reigns staredown on Smackdown last week. I don’t mind Balor & Priest as a team, of course. I just thought Cody & Jey were fun as the Tag Team Champions. At least we’ll have memories of that entertaining Fastlane press conference they did.
After the match, Jimmy Uso was in the crowd smiling about it. Balor & Priest celebrated with the titles.
The Judgment Day’s Balor, Priest, Ripley & Dominik celebrated in the aisle while fireworks went off behind them. End show.
Analysis: This was yet another reminder that The Judgment Day “runs Raw” because they all have titles again. I feel like they are headed to WarGames with the three guys in The Judgment Day possibly being joined by Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa to make it a five man team. I know that JD McDonagh could with The Judgment Day too, but I think Solo & Jimmy are a stronger duo to add to the match. There’s still Crown Jewel before that, but I think WWE is already setting up the WarGames showdown for Survivor Series too.
Three Stars of the Show
- Finn Balor & Damian Priest
- Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso, plus Bronson Reed & Drew McIntyre too.
8 out of 10
Last week: 7.75
2023 Average: 7.36
I thought it was a great episode of Raw carried by the two excellent matches in the last hour. The Intercontinental Title match with GUNTHER and Bronson Reed was a lot of fun between two guys who hit hard while pulling off some impressive moves. Gunther continues to impress while Reed put up a fight. The Judgment Day winning back the Tag Team Titles isn’t something I expected because I liked Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso as champions, but it goes back to the story about how J-Day “runs Raw” like we hear them say all the time. Jimmy Uso costing Jey was booked well as a cheap and surprising finish.
There were some great talking segments with Drew McIntyre & Seth Rollins in the ring (nice outfit, Seth) and Sami Zayn’s opening promo as well. The Drew-Sami backstage segment to set up their match next week was also well done. What I love about the booking team is that they don’t ignore or forget about the past. They bring stuff up that should matter. Seth yelling at Drew to stop whining about The Bloodline was great because fans might be annoyed by it too, but it also might set Drew off to turn into a heel. Zayn wanting to prove he’s World Championship material is also cool to hear from him.
The women’s division was well represented with a lot of different on the show in matches as well as backstage segments. That’s good to see just to show off the depth of the division. Overall, I thought it was a fun show to watch full of some great matches, storyline advancement and I liked a lot of the promos too. Raw is pretty, pretty good these days.
The next WWE PLE is Crown Jewel from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, November 4th (Happy Birthday to me). Here’s the lineup so far:
* World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
* Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Zoey Stark
WWE Crown Jewel airs on Saturday, November 4th, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, streaming live from Riyadh, exclusively on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.