The John Report: WWE Raw Deal 05/13/24 Review

WWE Raw Deal May 13

It’s WWE Raw featuring King and Queen of the Ring quarterfinal matches including Jey Uso against Ilja Dragunov, GUNTHER facing Kofi Kingston, and more.

The two women’s Queen of the Ring Quarterfinal matches are Zoey Stark vs. Lyra Valkyria and Shayna Baszler vs. IYO SKY. They also announced Women’s World Champion Becky Lynch in action against Dakota Kai.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1616 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

They showed some arrivals from earlier in the day including GUNTHER and Kofi Kingston. There was also Jey Uso with his son along with Ilja Dragunov. Those four men are in the King of the Ring Quarterfinal matches.

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre was shown walking in the backstage area and the camera followed him out to the arena for a promo.

It’s Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary as usual on Raw. As Cole called Drew a “hypocrite” there was a moment where Drew stared at Drew and Pat said that Cole called Drew a hypocrite.

The crowd chanted “CM Punk” so Drew said if it was Atlanta or Charlotte you might see Punk, but he’s not coming to Greenville. That was funny. Drew said that the greatest trick that CM Punk ever pulled was looking like a drug addict without taking any drugs. Drew wondered why people keep taking Punk back. Drew said that if you’re a CM Punk fan then you’re stupid. Drew mocked Punk for talking trash about Drew last week when he knew Drew left. Drew said eventually he’ll get his hands on Punk and torture him. Drew said until then he’s not going to waste time on a guy that won’t be cleared for another 20 years. Drew complained about how Jey Uso lost the World Heavyweight Title shot and Drew said that Jey lost Drew’s title shot. Drew said he’ll deal with Jey later and then said that he’s focused on the World Title held by Damian Priest.

Analysis: This Drew McIntyre character is so great right now. I love how he talks trash about CM Punk constantly and a lot of it makes sense for him as a character.

That led to Damian Priest making his entrance with the World Title. Priest said that Drew had some serious issues. Priest wanted Drew to say something to somebody’s face. Drew said he would say something to CM Punk but Punk isn’t here. Drew talked about how Priest put in the work over the years and he said that Priest shouldn’t be World Heavyweight Champion. Drew told Priest that the World Title needs the man to make the title – it needs Drew McIntyre. Drew told Priest he knew he couldn’t beat Drew one-on-one so he needed the briefcase. Priest said that Drew is delusional. Priest said that Drew chose this life to be a WWE Superstar. Drew said he’s been a WWE Superstar since he’s been 21. Priest told Drew to find a mirror, look at the reflection and then blame that a**hole. It got muted. Priest said he wanted to cash in on Rollins, but Drew stopped Priest from cashing in multiple times and that is Drew’s fault. Priest said that he cashed in on Drew just like Drew told him to do. Priest told Drew all he had to do was grab his wife’s hand and enjoy his moment, but then Drew saw Punk. Priest said he made Punk more important than this championship and Drew’s wife. Priest said that Drew got his arm whooped by a one-armed man. Priest said that Drew’s arm will heal and if he wants a shot at the World Title, then fine. Priest said that Drew could call him a paper champion, but he said Drew would eat those words. Priest left.

Analysis: The big news there is that Damian Priest told Drew McIntyre he’ll get a World Title shot when Drew is cleared. If Drew isn’t ready for King and Queen of the Ring in a few weeks then the next PLE is Clash at the Castle in Drew’s home country of Scotland, so that will be interesting to see. A lot of what Priest said was the truth and almost made him come across like a babyface, but I think anybody talking to Drew at this point will sound like a face since Drew is such a great heel.

A video aired showing highlights from last week’s Raw recapping the Queen of the Ring Tournament on the Raw side to set up the Baszler-Sky match.

They showed Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark arriving earlier in the day. They were confronted by Damage CTRL leading to some light shoving, but WWE Producers were there to break it up before there was a fight.

IYO SKY entered for her Queen of the Ring tournament match joined by Dakota Kai & Kairi Sane, but those two women went to the back. When Sky posed on the apron, Baszler pulled Sky down by the neck. Baszler hit Sky with a running knee strike on the floor. Referees held Baszler back as the show went to break.


Queen of the Ring Quarterfinals: IYO SKY vs. Shayna Baszler

It was mentioned by Cole that these women battled in Stardom in the past and also in NXT. That’s interesting to hear a Stardom reference. I’m sure the nerds on social media will be geeking out. Baszler was on offense wrenching Sky’s left arm and ramming Sky into the barricade. Baszler pulled up the ring apron followed by Baszler ramming Sky’s left arm against the steel barrier under the ring. The match continued with Sky getting a hurricanrana along with a kick to the head. Baszler came back with another pull on the left arm. Baszler hit a jumping knee strike. Sky avoided a Baszler move off the ropes, but then Baszler’s right knee was twisted against the ropes. Sky hit a springboard moonsault off the middle ropes onto Baszler on the floor. They went to a break there.


The match continued with Sky wrenching Baszler’s right knee against the middle rope. Sky jumped off the top with a missile dropkick followed by double knees to the back for two. Sky jumped off the top with Over The Moonsault, Baszler got the knees up and Sky landed on her feet. Sky went for a bridging pin, but Baszler caught her leading to a Kirifuda Clutch submission. Sky rolled through leading to an STF submission. Baszler got out of that leading to a backbreaker and another running knee strike for two. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Baszler charged, Sky caught her and did a dragon screw leg whip. Sky hit a double knee strike against the turnbuckle. Sky went up top and hit Over the Moonsault for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: IYO SKY

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a very good match. Baszler worked on the left arm while Sky worked on the right knee. They had some nice counter moves toward the end of the match. I think the right woman won because while I like Baszler, Sky is outstanding and I think it’s a quality win for her after losing the Women’s Title at WrestleMania. It was good to hear the crowd getting into it with a “this is awesome” chant at the end of it.

The win means IYO SKY is in the Queen of the Ring tournament semifinals.

IYO SKY was interviewed in the ring by Jackie Redmond. Sky took the microphone, spoke in Japanese and said the word “champion” along with some more Japanese. Sky said “I am the queen” into the camera.

The Judgment Day group was shown with Carlito hanging out with Dominik Mysterio while Finn Balor and JD McDonagh were standing by. Damian Priest walked in with the World Title. Carlito said that they all agree that Rey Mysterio is a selfish bastard. Carlito said that Rhea was out and Dom was injured. Carlito said that they could use some extra muscle. Damian Priest said if the boys want to work with Carlito then that’s on them, but Priest said Carlito isn’t welcome there. Carlito said that Priest doesn’t trust him. Carlito said that the most stubborn minds can be changed and one day they can all be amigos. Carlito left.

Analysis: It feels like last year when JD McDonagh wanted to be in the group and it took a while for the group to trust him. It might end up being the same sort of thing with Carlito. That’s fine with me if they go that route because I think Carlito is unlikely to get a big push in singles, but putting him in a heel group is a good thing for him.

This Friday on Smackdown is a Cody Rhodes-Logan Paul contract signing and King & Queen of the Ring quarterfinal matches.


Chad Gable was backstage with Alpha Academy’s Maxxine Dupri, Otis & Akira Tozawa. Gable trashed Maxxine Dupri for losing her Queen of the Ring tournament match. Gable told Otis he’s going to face Sami Zayn tonight and said he didn’t want to see any hip action. Otis said he understood. Gable told Akira Tozawa he gets to face Bronson Reed and he didn’t want Tozawa to do that dance. Ivy Nile told Dupri she didn’t need to hang out with Gable anymore. Gable yelled at Dupri to go train somewhere and Gable mocked Dupri calling her Taylor Not So Swift. Ivy didn’t say anything back to Gable.

Analysis: There are rumors of The Creed Brothers going heel to form a group with Gable. I hope it happens.

A video aired setting up the GUNTHER-Kofi Kingston match.

Kofi Kingston was interviewed by Cathy Kelley while Xavier Woods standing by with a crutch on his right side. Kofi said tonight is about payback for what Gunther did to Woods. Kofi said that going toe to toe with Rey Mysterio reminded him there is no room for fear in that ring and there is no room for failure. Kofi said he knows what this tournament means to Woods. Woods said that earning King of the Ring is an honor and this year he can’t go out to win because he’s hurt, but he knows Kofi Kingston will show Gunther exactly why New Day rocks.

The ring announcer Samantha Irvin introduced legendary WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia. The fans popped for Lilian in the ring. Garcia told Samantha she was doing a great job and the fans cheered. Garcia introduced Kofi Kingston for the next match.

Analysis: It was cool to see Lilian Garcia in a WWE ring again. She did that job very well for a long time. I think Samantha Irvin is tremendous and carrying on that legacy well.

Kofi Kingston made his entrance for the King of the Ring quarterfinals.


R-Truth was backstage talking to Raw GM Adam Pearce in Pearce’s office. The Miz walked in wondering if his team had a title defense and Pearce said not tonight. Pearce said that tonight, the Raw tag team division will have an opportunity. Kiana James walked in to introduce herself and she ended it by saying she adjudicates while Truth said he didn’t think that was PG.

Analysis: To summarize that, Truth didn’t know what she said by using that word. It’s more comedy from Truth and a reminder that Truth rules. I’m interested to see what is being planned for the tag team division on Raw.

For Gunther’s entrance, Samantha Irvin did the introduction. She’s the best at that.

Kofi attacked Gunther on the floor with a kick along with a suicide dive. Gunther chopped Kofi. That led to Kofi coming back with a cross body block off the middle turnbuckle. Kofi rammed Gunther’s right leg into the ring post. Kofi trapped Gunther’s leg against the ropes leading to Kofi hitting a running dropkick into the knee. Referee Eddie Orengo called for the bell while Gunther was down.

Analysis: That’s the second straight match where there was an attack before the match. A running theme for the night perhaps.

King of the Ring Quarterfinals: GUNTHER vs. Kofi Kingston

Gunther went for a German Suplex, but Kofi flipped over and landed on his feet. Kofi hit a Boom Drop leg drop off the top on Gunther for two. Gunther left the ring, Kofi dove on him and Gunther caught Kofi leading to Gunther sending Kofi into the barricade. Gunther slammed Kofi back-first onto the barricade. Gunther slammed Kofi back first onto the commentary table like Randy Orton does. Gunther broke the referee’s count. Gunther applied a Boston Crab on the table, then the referee stopped that, and Gunther applied a half crab submission.


The match returned with Gunther chopping Kofi hard in the chest. Gunther stomped on Kofi’s back. Gunther whipped Kofi hard into the turnbuckle. Kofi came back with kicks to the legs, but Gunther nailed a body slam. Gunther went for a submission on the back, which Kofi turned into a pin and Gunther kicked out leading to a boot to the face. Kofi hit a jawbreaker, but Gunther came back with a spinning backbreaker onto the right knee that Gunther hurt earlier in the match. Gunther jumped off the middle ropes with an elbow drop attempt, but Kofi moved out of the way. Gunther hit a forearm to the lower back. Kofi came back with a spinning kick to the head (more like the hand) and Kofi hit a froggy cross body block off the top. The fans chanted “New Day rocks” for Kofi. Gunther stopped the momentum with a Boston Crab submission. Gunther fought back with up-kicks and Kofi hit the SOS trip into a pin for two. That move always gets a two count, but the fans bought it as a nearfall. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Kofi went up top, jumped off with nothing because Gunther moved and Gunther dropkicked Kofi down. Gunther nailed a clothesline that Kofi sold with a spinning bump for two. Gunther pulled on Kofi’s head/foot against the ring post so it was Kofi’s back against the ring post. Gunther tried a lift leading to a headscissors by Kofi that sent Gunther into the ring post. Gunther hit a Trouble in Paradise kick on the floor. Kofi was back in by seven while Gunther got back in right before the ten count. They were both back in the ring as Kofi went for Trouble in Paradise again, but Gunther avoided it and Gunther hit a Powerbomb for two. Gunther turned it right into a Boston Crab submission, but Kofi tapped out. It went about 15 minutes.

Winner by submission: GUNTHER

Analysis: **** An excellent match as usual by Gunther when he has a lengthy Raw match and Kofi Kingston certainly can deliver in matches like that as well. It started out intense with Kofi attacking Gunther before the bell and wearing him down a bit, but Gunther was able to come back leading to an even match the rest of the way. I liked all the sweet counters by both guys, especially Kofi, who is one of the best at countering moves and doing his own incredible spots. I’ve reviewed so many Kofi matches over the last 15 years and I’m happy he got a chance to have a classic match with Gunther here. As for Gunther, it’s the usual four-star level match from him that we see all the time. It’s hard to put into words because it’s such a regular thing now. Gunther is so great.

A recap was shown of Becky Lynch having to deal with Damage CTRL while Lyra Valkyria made the save.

Lyra Valkyria was interviewed by Jackie Redmond. Lyra said that Damage CTRL has to get used to her being on Raw. Lyra said any time Becky Lynch needs her, Lyra will be there. Becky Lynch walked up to Lyra saying thank you. Lynch left. Liv Morgan welcomed Lyra to Raw. Liv asked if Becky has always been such a bitch and Lynch was standing right behind Morgan, so Lyra told Morgan to ask her. Lynch punched Morgan in the mouth. Lynch told Morgan she’s not the one that is scared of a face to face fight…bitch. Lynch left while Morgan was selling the punch.

Analysis: That was well done. I liked that.


Kofi Kingston was walking backstage holding onto his back. Karrion Kross walked up to Kofi telling him there was always time to turn things around. Kross laughed and left. Xavier Woods walked up to Kofi asking what he wanted and Kofi said he didn’t know.

Analysis: That’s probably the start of a rivalry with Karrion Kross and The Final Testament against The New Day guys.

Bronson Reed vs. Akira Tozawa (w/Chad Gable)

Tozawa slipped under Reed leading to a kick to the head. Tozawa went up top and hit a missile dropkick. Tozawa did a shirt rip leading to cheers while Gable didn’t like that. Tozawa jumped off the top, Reed caught him and Reed hit a Death Valley Driver. Reed went up top and hit a Tsunami splash for the pinfall win after less than two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed

Analysis: 1/2* A squash match for Reed after Tozawa got a bit of offense at the start of the match. The Tsunami is a great finisher.

After the match, Gable yelled at Tozawa for losing.

Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser were walking backstage when Cathy Kelley tried an advantage. Gunther left so Kaiser did the interview. Cathy said that Kaiser helped Gunther win over Sheamus last week. Kaiser said that Gunther doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone around here. Kaiser said if Sheamus thinks he lost because of Kaiser then Sheamus must be delusional. Kaiser said that Sheamus has accomplished a lot, but he’s never beaten Gunther and he never will. Kaiser claimed that he would be the guy to put Sheamus out of his misery and he’ll expose him in front of the whole world.

Analysis: That seems like it will lead to a Kaiser match with Sheamus soon.


Raw GM Adam Pearce was about to be interviewed by Jackie Redmond when New Catch Republic’s Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne talked to Pearce. It was just Bate because Dunne never said anything. Pearce said that there will be a Fatal 4-Way match in a Tag Team Match to determine the contenders for the World Tag Team Titles. Jackie mentioned Bron Breakker not being in the King of the Ring tournament and Pearce said he talked to Bron Breakker last week. Pearce said that he explained to Bron that the other guys deserved it. Bron walked in saying the other wrestlers wouldn’t have been in the deep end with him. Bron said that he would have drowned them in the water and smiled. Bron said he should have been in the tournament. Pearce was overwhelmed by that and said “wow” to sell it.

The announcers talked about it with Pat saying that Pearce blew it by not putting Bron Breakker in the tournament. Pat did some excessive dog barking for Bron too.

Analysis: It is weird that they didn’t include Bron Breakker in the King of the Ring tournament. If they had another story for Bron I would get it, but there is nothing else for him now. I guess the story is that Bron isn’t in the tournament and now we’ll see how they follow up to it.

A video aired to set up the Lyra Valkyria-Zoey Stark match in the Queen of the Ring tournament.

Queen of the Ring Quarterfinals: Lyra Valkyria vs. Zoey Stark

Lyra got an armdrag takedown followed by an elbow attack off the turnbuckle. Lyra got a headscissors to send Stark out of the ring. Lyra jumped off the apron to attack, Stark avoided it and Stark hit a clothesline on the floor.


The match continued with Stark going for a sliding kick but Lyra avoided it and got a crucifix pin for two. Lyra hit an enziguri kick to the head to knock Stark out of the ring. Lyra hit a running dropkick to knock Stark down. Back in the ring, Lyra hit a cross body block off the top. Lyra hit a Tornado DDT for two. There were some “Lyra” chants for the Raw newcomer. Stark hit a back elbow a kick to the back of the leg. Stark hit a superkick followed by an overhead suplex leading to Lyra doing a flip bump over to her stomach for a two count. Stark went up top, jumped with nothing, Lyra avoided it and Lyra hit a spinning heel kick. Stark blocked a DDT and suplexed Lyra into the turnbuckle for two. Stark did a slap, so Lyra slapped back and Lyra hit a superkick with no leg slap. Stark went for Z360, but Lyra countered with the Nightwing sitout slam for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lyra Valkyria

Analysis: *** A pretty good match with Lyra picking up the big win. They had a decent amount of time although it was shorter than the other women’s match. Stark really didn’t get enough nearfalls to make it look like she might win. Lyra winning gives her some more momentum as a newcomer on Raw.

That win means that Lyra Valkyria is in the Queen of the Ring semifinals against IYO SKY next week.

Analysis: I think IYO SKY will win that, but I wouldn’t mind a win for Lyra. She’s good too.

After the match, Jackie Redmond interviewed Lyra Valkyria in the ring. Lyra spoke Gaelic at first, so I had no idea what she was saying. Lyra said she is a former NXT Women’s Champion who only travels as the crow flies and said it was straight to the top.

A video aired to set up the Jey Uso-Ilja Dragunov in the King of the Ring tournament.

Jey Uso was backstage doing a promo saying that Drew McIntyre was out of the tournament, so last week Finn Balor got the Yeetdown. Jey said that Ilja Dragunov will get the work this week. Jey said he’d take care of Gunther next week and Jey would become the new King of the Ring…yeet.

Sami Zayn entered as the Intercontinental Champion for his match up next.


Otis (w/Chad Gable) vs. Sami Zayn

The big man Otis overpowered Zayn with forearm smashes. Otis hit a spinning back elbow while Gable told Otis to keep it up. Otis hit a running corner splash. Zayn was down leading to Otis thinking about the Caterpillar, but Gable told Otis not to do it. The fans booed that. Otis did it anyway while Zayn had to lay on the mat for about 20 seconds waiting for the elbow drop. Gable yelled at Otis again. Otis went to the turnbuckle and went for a splash, but Zayn avoided it. Otis was against the turnbuckle, so Zayn hit a Helluva Kick on Otis for the pinfall win. It went about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: * It was a match where Zayn barely got any offense except for the Helluva Kick to the face for the pinfall win. This was about advancing the story of Gable being a mean leader of the Alpha Academy and getting mad at Otis during the match.

After the match, Gable yelled at Otis and shoved Otis in the head. Zayn went into the ring and gave Gable a suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn wanted to do more, but Gable bailed to the floor. Otis helped Gable up and Gable told Otis it was his fault. Gable slapped Otis in the face. The fans booed that. There were “Otis” chants after that.

Analysis: When Otis turns babyface it’s going to be an easy turn in terms of having the fans by his side. The fans are ready for Otis to kick Gable’s ass.

The Becky Lynch-Dakota Kai match was up next.


There was a backstage scene where Braun Strowman was shown talking to The Creed Brothers and Ivy Nile. Strowman told The Creed Brothers he was impressed by them and wished them good luck. JD McDonagh walked up to Strowman saying that The Judgment Day didn’t like Strowman getting involved in their business. JD told Strowman to consider himself warned. JD left while Strowman laughed it off.

Becky Lynch vs. Dakota Kai (w/IYO SKY & Kairi Sane)

This was not for Becky Lynch’s Women’s World Title.

Lynch was in control early as she rammed Kai’s head into the turnbuckle repeatedly. Lynch hit a sliding kick on Kai on the floor along with a forearm smash. Lynch was on the apron delivering some kicks to Kai and a kick to Sky on the apron. Sane went on the apron to distract, so Kai slammed Lynch off the top. Kai choked Lynch across the ropes. Lynch sent Kai into the turnbuckle, but Kai came back with a kick to the gut. Lynch avoided a charging Kai leading to Lynch doing a jumping kick to knock Kai down. That led to a break.


Kai was in control as she put Lynch’s body against the ropes leading to a knee drop to the back for a two count. Kai charged, Lynch stopped that with a punch and Kai nailed a punch of her own. Lynch punched Kai a few times followed by a leg drop to the back of the neck for two. Kai sent Lynch into the turnbuckle followed by Kai hitting a pump kick for a two count. Kai went up top, took way too long and Lynch hit a superplex. They each got two counts and Lynch went for the Disarm-her, so Sane & Sky attacked Lynch for the DQ finish. It went 11 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Becky Lynch

Analysis: **3/4 They were on their way to an entertaining match when the DQ ending took place. Kai held her own against the champion although it’s not people watching thought that Kai would win here. I don’t mind a DQ ending once in a while.

After the match, Sane & Sky attacked Lynch some more. Lyra Valkyria made the save by taking care of Kai first. Lyra faced off with her King of the Ring opponent Sky and Lyra knocked down Sky, who retreated. Liv Morgan snuck up behind Lynch and threw Lynch into the ring post. Liv left while Lynch was selling on the floor.

Analysis: It’s smart to have Lyra Valkyria saving Becky Lynch because it will elevate Lyra as an ally of Lynch, who is of course very popular. Morgan is coming across as a heel in this rivalry with Lynch, but it’s not like Morgan is being booed heavily for her actions. People still like her, at least for now.

Ilja Dragunov was interviewed by Jackie Redmond. Ilja said that he was here to make an impact night after night on his way to becoming the Czar of the Ring. Ilja said he had a great match with Ricochet, but now he’s on to face the “Main Event” Jey Uso. Ilja said that he knows up next is Jey Uso while waiting on the other side is another challenge. Ilja mentioned that few men have beaten Gunther. Ilja said that he beat Gunther and Ilja said that it was not over. Gunther walked up to Ilja, smirked at him, and left.

Analysis: The Ilja Dragunov-Gunther tease excites me. It should excite you too because they’re incredible together. I don’t know for sure if it’s coming in this tournament but it’s so close.

The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor & JD McDonagh entered for the four-way tag team match for a shot at the World Tag Team Titles. That match is next.


World Tag Team Titles Contender’s Match: The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & JD McDonagh vs. New Catch Republic – Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne vs. The Creed Brothers – Julius & Brutus Creed vs. Authors of Pain – Akam & Rezar (w/Karrion Kross, Scarlett & Paul Ellering)

The World Tag Team Champions The Miz & R-Truth were watching at ringside. The winners will face Miz & Truth for the titles. Two guys are legal while the others watch from the apron.

Pete took down JD with a headscissors and Dunne tagged in for a double team back body drop. JD hit Dunne with a forearm while Julius tagged in leading to the Creeds doing a double team attack on JD. The AOP guys both went into the ring and used power moves including a Chokeslam and body slam. AOP launched JD over the top onto the other guys on the floor. They went to commercial showing the highlight of that toss to the floor and it looks so cool. That was the second time that was done on the show. I like that.


The J-Day guys were in control of Brutus. After J-Day took out NCR on the apron, Brutus nailed a double clothesline. Julius tagged in with an overhead suplex on Balor and a suplex on JD too. Julius hit a double suplex to JD & Finn. Julius hit a standing SSP for two. Balor came back with a Slingblade neckbreaker followed by the running dropkick into the corner. Balor went up top, but NCR attacked him there. Dunne moonsaulted onto Akam and Bate moonsaulted on Rezar. Julius jumped to the top to superplex Balor for two. The AOP guys hit a Super Collider on the J-Day guys. Bate & Dunne kicked Akam and then punched Rezar out of the ring. Akam shoved NCR out of the ring. Brutus hit a belly-to-back suplex on Akam. Brutus dove off the top with a Brutus Ball on a bunch of guys on the floor. Bate tagged Brutus to become legal. Bate clotheslined Akam followed by Bate doing an airplane spin on Akam leading to a slam. Balor rolled up Bate for two. Dunne tagged in for a double team Powerbomb for two because JD saved Balor by pulling Dunne out of the ring. Bate hit a somersault dive onto JD on the floor. Carlito showed up at ringside and gave Dunne a Backstabber on the table. There are no disqualifications in a match like this. JD sent Dunne into the ring. Balor jumped off the top with a Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Dunne for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & JD McDonagh

Analysis: ***1/4 A chaotic match. There were plenty of moments in the match where there was illegal action featuring guys not involved in the match, so that hurts it a bit. I get why it’s done, but I think it hurts the quality of the match. With that said, they did a nice job of involving everybody and really telling a story about how anybody can win. The finish furthered the story from earlier in the night when Carlito said he wanted to work with The Judgment Day and his involvement led to Balor & JD getting the win. I like how they booked the finish in a way that advanced that story. It worked well.

After the match, Finn Balor pointed at Carlito and then his eyes to say that he saw that.

Next week on Raw:

* Sami Zayn vs. Chad Gable. It’s a non-title match.

* Queen of the Ring Semifinals: Lyra Valkyria vs. IYO SKY

* King of the Ring Semifinals: GUNTHER vs. Ilja Dragunov or Jey Uso

Ilja Dragunov was shown getting ready. Ricochet walked up to Ilja saying they had a great match last week, but next week the result will be different. Ricochet wished Ilja good luck in his match.

Jey Uso made his entrance, the arena was darkened and the fans used their cell phone lights to light up the arena. Cole said to get out the “Yeetlights.” The fans lit up the arena with their lights while Pat McAfee joined Jey in the arm swinging before the match. That main event match was next.

Analysis: That is the coolest entrance in WWE right now. The fan interaction is terrific and it’s a great song too.


The Judgment Day was shown backstage where Priest asked Dominik if he was good with Rhea. Finn Balor & JD McDonagh walked in with Carlito celebrating the win. Priest told Carlito that what happened out there…that was cool. Priest mentioned Carlito talking about Rey earlier and told Carlito not to let them down because the crew doesn’t run with cowards. Priest left while Carlito and the guys celebrated the win.

Analysis: That likely sets up a Carlito match with Rey Mysterio.

Ilja Dragunov made his entrance for the main event. This man is one of the best in-ring performers in the company and I’m always excited to see his matches.

King of the Ring Quarterfinals: Jey Uso vs. Ilja Dragunov

Jey missed a spin kick and Ilja followed up with a hard chop to the chest. Ilja followed up with a knee drop off the middle ropes. Ilja went up top, so Jey nailed him with a punch that sent Ilja to the floor. Jey followed up wit ha suicide dive into the commentary table. Jey tried a lift on the floor, Ilja avoided it and hit a jumping kick to the head. Ilja broke the referee’s count. Ilja set up Jey on the commentary table. Ilja went to the barricade and Ilja went for an H-Bomb forearm, but Jey avoided that so Ilja’s forearm hit the table. Jey tackled Ilja over the commentary table leading to a break.


Ilja was in control with an abdominal stretch when Jey did a hiptoss to take him down. Jey came back with several punches while the crowd chanted “Yeet” for them. Jey hit an enziguri kick on Ilja to knock him down. Jey charged, but Ilja hit a running kick to the face. The fans chanted “Let’s go Uso” for Jey. Ilja hit two German Suplexes. Jey came back with strikes, but Ilja hit Jey back followed by Ilja spinning off the ropes with the running clothesline for two. Ilja worked over Jey with repeated chops to the chest. Ilja charged with a running kick to the face while Jey was against the turnbuckle. Jey kicked the arm to block a clothesline leading to Jey hitting two superkicks in a row for two. Jey’s left ear was bleeding where he had a ring. Jey charged, but Ilja blocked it with a knee. Ilja hit a running knee. Ilja gave Jey a Powerbomb. Ilja hit the H-Bomb forearm to the jaw for a two count. Ilja charged again, but Jey was back up with a Spear. Jey went up top quickly and hit an Uso Splash for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jey Uso

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a great match from two of the best wrestlers on Raw. I think if they had more time it would have been a greater match, but they had a very entertaining battle in the time given. This was more of an even matchup with Ilja Dragunov getting plenty of offense throughout the match. Jey kicking out of the H-Bomb forearm was a big deal because Ilja has beaten a lot of guys with that. I liked the spot where Ilja charged for a second time only to have Jey hit him with a Spear. What I really like about Jey is that he goes to the top quickly and hit that Uso Splash right after hitting that Spear. Some guys take too long going to the top, but I think when you go up with a sense of urgency, it’s better and more realistic. The result may surprise some people who wanted Gunther-Dragunov, but I’m fine with saving that. Also, Jey Uso was the top pick for Raw so he should get some big wins like this.

That win by Jey Uso means he will face Gunther next week in the King of the Ring Semifinals.

Jey Uso celebrated the win. GUNTHER walked out to ringside and stared at Ilja Dragunov, who was selling by the barricade. Gunther got into the ring with Jey where they exchanged words. That was the end of Raw.

Analysis: That’s an interesting matchup. I think GUNTHER will win, but I also think Jey Uso might make the finals against Tama Tonga as well. It’s a tough call. It’s also worth noting that Jey Uso wasn’t even in the tournament to start since it was supposed to be Drew McIntyre, so I wonder what this would have looked like if Drew was still involved.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. GUNTHER/Kofi Kingston
  2. Jey Uso, Ilja Dragunov, IYO SKY
  3. Lyra Valkyria, Finn Balor & JD McDonagh


The Scoreboard

8 out of 10

Last week: 8.25

2024 Average: 7.64


Final Thoughts on WWE Raw

I liked Raw a lot this week just like last week. It was the second week in a row where Raw was heavy in terms of in-ring action. There were some talking segments backstage, but only one longer talking segment in the ring. They advanced some stories throughout the show as well. This felt like when I watch NXT and they manage to get a lot of people on the show by doing so many backstage segments. That’s a good thing because it’s important to try to utilize most of the roster in some way every week.

The Gunther-Kofi match stood out the most as the best match. I enjoyed the other King and Queen of the Ring tournament matches a lot. Jey Uso beating Ilja Dragunov might have upset some people who wanted Gunther-Ilja next week, but WWE is smart to save it and I’d put it on a PLE show. Plus, Jey was the first pick for Raw so I’m not shocked by the win.

Easy show to like and enjoy if you’re a fan of the in-ring action. For the fans that love the long talking segments, there was less of that. I enjoyed this episode and I think the two tournaments are going very well so far.

The next WWE PLE is King and Queen of the Ring on May 25th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Here are the matchups so far.

* Cody Rhodes (Undisputed WWE Champion) vs. Logan Paul (United States Champion)

* Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Chad Gable vs. Bronson Reed

* Women’s World Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Liv Morgan

* King of the Ring Tournament Finals

* Queen of the Ring Tournament Finals


Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport