The John Report: WWE Night of Champions 2023 Review

wwe night of champions 2023 review tjrwrestling

It’s WWE Night of Champions with Cody Rhodes facing Brock Lesnar, Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn face Roman Reigns/Solo Sikoa, Seth Rollins-AJ Styles for the new World Title and more.

This is WWE Night of Champions with a 1 p.m. ET start time for me since it starts at 8 p.m. in Jeddah. The Seth Rollins/AJ Styles match is up first. I’m on Twitter @johnreport as usual. Let’s rock.

WWE Night of Champions
From the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
May 27, 2023

There was an opening video package covering the big matches on the show. There were comments from Triple H about the pressure of being a champion. It ended with Triple H saying: “This is a Night of Champions.”

The show began with an impressive pyro display in the Jeddah Super Dome. The setup was similar to how they have done Saudi shows with a cover on the ring.

It’s the World Heavyweight Championship match up first. Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary. Cole mentioned that the new World Title has an eagle on it as a tribute to the old Winged Eagle WWE World Title along with the history of the McMahons and Bruno Sammartino. The Arabic announce team was at ringside as well.

Analysis: I love the look of the new World Heavyweight Title. The base of it looks like the classic NWA/WCW World Heavyweight Title, there’s the WWE logo on it and I like that the eagle is on it too. It’s a beautiful championship for sure.

AJ Styles made his entrance first to a big ovation. A video package followed to set up the match between two guys that won two matches to earn their spot in this match.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance wearing a ridiculous leopard “jacket” if you want to call it that. Seth likes doing that. Anyway, the crowd was singing Seth’s catchy song loudly as usual. Rollins was soaking it all in. When Rollins got into the ring, ring announcer Mike Rome did the big championship introduction.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. AJ Styles

The brand new WWE World Heavyweight Title was at ringside and it will go to the winner of this match. The title belongs to Raw. Seth is already a Raw guy and if AJ wins then he goes to Raw too.

Rollins played mind games early by getting the crowd to sing his song repeatedly. Styles hit a dropkick and knocked Rollins out of the ring. Rollins quickly got back in the ring. They exchanged some holds leading to Rollins hitting a Blockbuster neckbreaker and a running knee to the face. Rollins charged with a kick, Styles caught him and Rollins hit a back kick. Styles with a snapmare leading to a knee drop to the face. Styles avoided a charging Rollins, who hit the turnbuckle and Styles chopped Seth a few times. Rollins caught a leaping Styles with a flatliner into the turnbuckle and Rollins sent a sliding Styles into the middle turnbuckle as well. Rollins wanted a superplex, Styles slipped out of it and sent Rollins face first into the top turnbuckle. They exchanged punches with the friends liking Rollins more as Styles suplexed Rollins into the turnbuckle. Rollins with punches, Styles came back with his strikes leading to a clothesline and a sliding forearm. Styles hit a corner clothesline followed by Styles hitting a sitout slam driving Rollins face first into the mat. Rollins has gold fingernails, which is unique. Styles with an elbow followed by a backflip into a reverse DDT for two. Rollins hit a sunset flip for two, then Rollins picked him up and hit a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Rollins went up top and a hit a Frog Splash across the ring for a two count. Rollins with a forearm to the head, Styles avoided a move and Styles hit the Ushigoroshi (slamming the neck into the knee) for a two count. Styles and Rollins each tried, moves Styles got out of that and hit a step up enziguri kick to the head. Rollins blocked a Styles Clash attempt off the ropes and hit a hurricanrana. Rollins set up Styles on the turnbuckle, Styles hit Rollins with elbows and Rollins was back up with a reverse superplex followed by a lifting reverse suplex for a two count. Great sequence of moves by Rollins there. Seth usually does a superplex into a Falcon Arrow combo, so he reversed it this time.

Rollins went up top, he went for a twisting attack, but Styles avoided it and Styles went to the apron while Rollins was in the ring. Styles lifted Rollins to the apron and gave Rollins a brainbuster on the apron! Ouch. Styles did it safely and the referee checked on Seth if he was okay. It’s still a dangerous bump, but Styles did it about as safe as you could. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm and Rollins knocked him down to the floor. Rollins hit a suicide dive on Styles on the floor. Rollins was grabbing his left knee as if he hurt it doing that move. Back in the ring, Styles immediately applied the Calf Crusher submission on the left leg. Rollins managed to get out of it by grabbing Styles around the neck. Rollins hit a clothesline to knock Styles down as both guys were down selling. They got back leading to an exchange of strikes, Rollins ducked a clothesline and hit a kick to the head. Rollins avoided a Pele Kick and hit a superkick. Styles stomped on AJ’s right hand. Rollins wanted a Pedigree, Styles got out of it and Styles hit a Pele Kick. Style shit a Pedigree for one…two…and no. Styles kicked out. Rollins with a forearm to the face. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Rollins hit a superkick. Rollins went for The Stomp, but Rollins collapsed like his left knee buckled. Rollins hit a Pedigree, sold the left knee injury and Rollins hit a Pedigree. Rollins covered Styles for the one…two…and three. It went 20:38.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE World Champion: Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding match. They both hit the Pedigree in the match, but Rollins was the only one to hit his own finisher and that’s what he used to get the win. The right guy won because Rollins is the top face on the Raw brand, Rollins hasn’t held a World Title in a few years and it just makes sense to put the title on him. I think it was AJ’s best singles match in a few years. It’s not because Styles is slipping, but he just hasn’t had those great matches that he had in the first few years in WWE. The story of Rollins selling the left knee injury added to the drama because Styles was able to weaken Rollins with the Calf Crusher submission and Rollins was able to overcome all that to win. I thought maybe Rollins would need to hit The Stomp twice to win, but he only did it once and that was enough. I’m glad they got a lot of time and delivered a memorable match to crown the new World Heavyweight Champion.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was presented with the new World Heavyweight Title by Triple H. Hunter raised Seth’s hand as the winner and also put the title around Seth’s waist. The fans were going wild singing Seth’s song while there was also a pyro display for Rollins. Rollins posed on the ramp with his title and held it over his head as well to continue the celebration.

Analysis: I thought Rollins would win since they announced the creation of the title. I know he has filmed scenes in a movie recently, but we know he’s going to be around and we know he’s going to put on some incredible matches defending the title. There was a report that they put this match on first so that Rollins could film more movie scenes. I don’t know if that’s definitely true, but I think it’s fine that this went on first. Congrats to Seth Rollins.

There was a commercial for Money in the Bank on Saturday, July 1 in London, England. I don’t know if I’ll see it live since it’s Canada Day here and I’m usually at family festivities, but I’ll know more closer to the date.

Cody Rhodes was shown with a trainer. Cody had a cast/brace on his left arm.

The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) were shown watching in the crowd.

A video package aired to set up the Becky Lynch match against Trish Stratus, who turned heel post WrestleMania to set this up.

Trish Stratus was up first with the fans booing her followed by Becky Lynch, who got a big pop. The announcers said that Lynch never idolized Trish, she idolized Lita. This is Trish’s first singles match in four years since SummerSlam 2019 against Charlotte Flair.

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

They were both wearing outfits that covered their entire body other than their heads. That’s just due to the laws/rules in Saudi Arabia. Trish was in black with pink while Lynch was in all yellow. Trish’s outfit says “Thank You Trish” on the back of it.

Lynch was aggressive early with punches. Trish took things out of the ring and took over for a bit. Back in the ring, Trish kicked Lynch in the ribs along with more kicks in the corner. Trish applied a choke hold while they were by the turnbuckle. After Lynch punched Trish, Trish hit a Tornado DDT off the turnbuckle. Trish pointed at the “Thank You Trish” phrase on her back. Trish pulled on Lynch’s mouth to cause some pain followed by a hair pull takedown. Trish hit a Thesz Press, then some punches and Trish hit a neckbreaker for two. Lynch fired back with punches along with a leaping forearm. Lynch hit a jumping kick along with a Bexploder Suplex. Lynch jumped off the middle rope with a leg drop to the back of Trish’s head for a two count. Lynch hit a baseball slide dropkick knocking Trish down along with a forearm. Trish did an impressive headscissors that sent Lynch into the ring post. Back in the ring, Trish hit a spinebuster for two. Trish set Lynch up on the turnbuckle and Trish hit her headscissors off the ropes for a two count. That didn’t look as smooth as Trish had done it in the past. Trish tried for the Stratusfaction, Lynch countered it and Lynch hit the Diamond Dust neckbreaker. Lynch went up top and hit a leg drop for two. Trish countered a move, Lynch countered a submission attempt and Lynch hit a forearm. Lynch blocked a hurricanrana off the ropes leading to Lynch applying a Boston Crab submission although it wasn’t applied that well as Trish made it to the bottom rope to get out of it. Trish was on the floor, Lynch jumped off the steps and Trish kicked Lynch in the ribs. Back in the ring, Trish hit the Chick Kick for a two count. Trish trash talked Trish, she punched Lynch a few times and Lynch applied the Dis-Arm-Her submission, but Trish pulled Lynch’s hair to get out of it. They were both pulling hair, the referee separated and Lynch got a rollup for two. Lynch hit a Manhandle Slam for two because Trish’s foot was on the bottom rope. Lynch was surprised by it even though it was obvious that was coming. Trish went under the ring for something, then Zoey Stark appeared from under the ring, grabbed Lynch and Starl hit the Z360 knee to Lynch’s face. The referee never saw it because he was looking at Stratus. Trish hit the Stratusfaction on Lynch for the pinfall win at 14:45.

Winner by pinfall: Trish Stratus

Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good. Trish was in control for most of the first half, Lynch came back and nearly won a few times, but Trish did the hair pull to get out of the submission move and was by the ropes after the Manhandle Slam. In my preview, I wrote that I thought Trish would win to keep the story going and I figured it would be cheap. That’s exactly what it was. I like that pairing of Zoey Stark with Trish Stratus. I don’t know how often Trish will wrestle, but it’s an alliance that should do well.

After the match, Stratus celebrated with Stark by her side. Lynch was bleeding from the nose likely from that knee from Stark. Stratus was laughing about her win.

Analysis: They can use Stark as a heel that will push the “thank you Trish” story. Zoey is a really good in-ring performer, but character-wise needs to improve. Being with Trish like that will help her a lot as a heel too. Plus, Stark against Lynch will be good.

Becky Lynch posted this after the match.

A commercial aired for NXT Battleground on Sunday night.

There was a video of Mustafa Ali visiting Mecca earlier in the week.

Mustafa Ali made his entrance first to a good pop. Ali is a Muslim, so the fans love him and will be behind him in this match. GUNTHER was introduced by Ludwig Kaiser of Imperium and Giovanni Vinci was with them as well. It was mentioned by Cole that only Honky Tonk Man and Randy Savage have held the IC Title for longer.

Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. Mustafa Ali

Ali used his speed to avoid a Gunther attack, then Ali delivered kicks to the body and a running kick. Ali hit a second running kick. Ali charged again, but Gunther caught him and hit a body slam. Gunther decked Ali with a couple of thunderous chops. Gunther with a body slam leading to a Boston Crab submission, which he turned into an STF submission. After Ali got up, Gunther sent him to the apron, Ali tried a move and Gunther kicked him to the floor. Gunther whipped Ali face first into the ring post. Ali got some offense going leading to a neckbreaker. Ali went up top, Gunther met him there with a punch and Ali went for a sunset flip that Ali turned into a Powerbomb. Ali went up top and hit a 450 Splash off the top for the one…two…and no. Cole did a great job of screaming excitement saying it could be the upset the year. Gunther blocked an Ali move and hit a clothesline. Gunther hit a stiff lariat for two. Gunther with a chop, he wanted a Powerbomb, Ali landed on his feet and Ali hit a Tornado DDT. Ali went up top and jumped off with a 450 Splash again, but Gunther moved out of the way. Gunther hit a running dropkick and Powerbomb into a pin for the pinfall win at 8:35.

Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER

Analysis: ***1/2 It was very entertaining for a match that was under ten minutes. I don’t think it needed to be longer because Gunther needs to be a dominant champion, so he needs to win matches decisively. Ali got plenty of offense and nearfalls in the match although Gunther was just too much for him. I liked the nearfall after the SSP by Ali. Gunther winning clean is the right result and fitting for him since he doesn’t cheat like most heel champions.

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn were shown talking backstage. Owens had a cool Razor Ramon shirt on. Zayn talked about how it has been incredible since they main evented WrestleMania and won the Tag Team Titles. Zayn talked about it possibly ending tonight, Owens said it’s not going to end and Zayn said that Roman Reigns has screwed them both over in the past. Owens said that The Usos are a much better team than Roman & Solo Sikoa. Owens said today is their day. Owens said today, Solo loses and Roman loses. Zayn agreed with it.

Analysis: Nice job by Owens firing up his buddy Sami going into their title match which is the main event.

They showed LA Knight in the crowd. He was sitting where The Street Profits were.

A video aired about WWE superstars visiting a children’s hospital and granting a wish as part of the Make-A-Wish foundation. They said it’s the first Make-A-Wish in Saudi Arabia.

There was a video package for the Bianca Belair-Asuka match.

Asuka was up first followed by the Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair for this match involving two women from Smackdown.

Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Asuka

Belair with a shoulder tackle. When Belair went for a monkey flip, Asuka countered with a dropkick to the body. Belair used her power to toss Asuka across the ring. Belair caught a charging Asuka with a running dropkick. Belair with a body slam, then Belair tried a handspring attack, but Asuka went to the apron. Belair kicked Asuka off the apron. When Belair left the ring, Asuka grabbed Belair by the hair and sent Belair into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Asuka hit a German Suplex followed by a running knee. Asuka delivered a kick to the left arm. Belair with a jawbreaker. Asuka countered a suplex into a cradle for two and a clothesline for two. Belair got out of a submission attempt and Asuka did another hair pull takedown. The crowd wasn’t reacting to this match very much at all. Belair fought back with punches and a running blockbuster by Belair. There was a backflip by Belair off the ropes followed by a dropkick and delayed vertical suplex. Belair caught a charging Asuka into a backbreaker. Belair the handstand off the ropes leading to a moonsault for two. Asuka was back in control with kicks to the body, then Asuka went to the turnbuckle and Belair met her there. Asuka knocked Belair down leading to a missile dropkick for two. Asuka got an armbar takedown while pulling on the left arm. Belair got out of that, she picked up Asuka and Belair hit a spinebuster for two. Belair went for the move off the ropes again, but Asuka caught her and tried a submission. Belair got out of that. They exchanged pin attempts a few times. Asuka got a backslide pin attempt on Belair for two. The action spilled to the floor with Belair sending Asuka into the steel steps.

They got into a slugfest on the floor, then back into the ring and Asuka was grabbing Belair’s hair again. Belair punched Asuka repeatedly, then the referee Jessika Carr made them break by the ropes and Belair attacked by the turnbuckle. Asuka tried the mist spit, but Belair avoided it and the referee never saw the mist. Belair went for the KOD, Asuka got out of it and Asuka applied an armbar on the right arm. Belair got out of it and gave Asuka a Powerbomb. Asuka went to the ropes, Belair told the referee to back her up and the referee backed her up. Asuka put the blue mist on her hands, then Belair picked up Asuka and Asuka put the mist to the eyes (the mist that was on Asuka’s hand while the referee wasn’t looking) and Belair was stunned by it. Asuka delivered a kick to Belair’s head, then a kick to the back of Belair’s head and got the pinfall at 15:01.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Asuka

Analysis: ***1/4 I liked the match about the same as their WrestleMania match or maybe a bit less. Asuka being a heel made it interesting due to the hair pulling and cheating at the end. It was another heel woman cheating to win on this show as Asuka used the dreaded blue mist on her hands to do an eye gouge leading to the finish. I thought they might do a title change just because of Asuka’s heel turn going into the match. The fans really weren’t into the match very much, but they did care about the ending with Asuka using the mist to the eyes and getting the win shortly after.

Asuka celebrated the Raw Women’s Title while Belair was frustrated about the loss. Belair’s title reign ended at 416 days.

Analysis: I am fine with Belair losing the title. It’s been a long reign, so doing something different is welcome by me.

There were commercials about WWE shows on A&E and WWE on Peacock.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett were shown watching from ringside.

Natalya was up first for the Smackdown Women’s Title match featuring two women that are on Raw now. Happy birthday to Natalya as well. The Smackdown Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley made her entrance joined by Dominik Mysterio wearing a “She’s My Mami” shirt. No video package for them because there wasn’t much of a storyline here other than Natalya standing up to Ripley for being a bully on Raw.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. Natalya

Dominik was yelling at Natalya at the start of the match, so Ripley attacked Natalya from behind. Ripley beat up Natalya outside the ring by sending Natalya into the steel steps twice. Back in the ring, Ripley hit the Riptide slam for the pinfall win at 1:13.

Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: * A dominant win by Ripley. I feel like it’s going to lead to a story with Natalya trying to get another match with Ripley where it’s more fair next time, but I don’t know if that’s the plan. Weird booking for Natalya on her birthday. I just feel like there will be more to the story.

After the match, Rhea Ripley and Dominik celebrated the win by laughing as the evil heels that they are. They replayed Dominik jumping into Ripley’s arms after she won.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins, the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Rollins made Saxton introduce him twice. Rollins said it’s been nearly four years since he won championship gold. Rollins said that he’ll be there on Monday Night Raw and every single Monday night moving forward. Rollins said that he’s a visionary, a revolutionary, a World Champion and he is Seth Freakin’ Rollins.

Analysis: I think that was a way for Rollins to tell the crowd that he’ll be around every week after missing the last two weeks due to filming a movie. It’s not like Rollins is the star of the movie, so his presence on WWE TV is unlikely to be affected that much moving forward.

A video package aired to set up the Cody Rhodes-Brock Lesnar match that is a rematch from Backlash three weeks ago.

Brock Lesnar made his entrance first to a loud reaction from the crowd. Lesnar looked massive as usual. Cody Rhodes got a huge ovation from the fans and they shouted the “WHOA-OH” part as usual. Instead of putting both of his arms out as usual, Cody only put his right arm out while selling the “broken” left arm. Cole did a nice job of calling Lesnar a “shark in the water” ready to attack Cody again. Cody had a black cast with white tape on his lower left arm.

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

It was mentioned by Cole that Cody had “titanium” in the cast on the left hand. Cody tried to create some space, but Lesnar got a hold of him with shoulder tackles to the ribs against the turnbuckle. Lesnar hit two belly-to-belly suplexes with Lesnar tossing Cody across the ring. Lesnar hit a third belly-to-belly suplex with Cole doing a nice job of pointing out that Cody was also hitting the mat with his left arm. Cody used the left arm with the cast to hit Lesnar a few times in the head. Cody knocked Lesnar out of the ring leading to Cody hitting a suicide dive. Cody with a double axhandle on Lesnar on the floor. Back in the ring, Cody with a double axhandle on Lesnar in the ring for two. Cody hit a Disaster Kick. A springboard Cody Cutter got a two count for Rhodes. Cody hit Cross Rhodes on Lesnar, then Cody sold the arm injury and Cody hit Cross Rhodes again. Lesnar fought out of a Cross Rhodes attempt leading to Lesnar applying the Kimura Lock submission on the left arm. Graves was shouting for the referee Eddie Orengo to stop the match. Cody pushed forward for a pinfall like he did at Backlash, but Lesnar got his shoulder up to get out of that. Cody managed to turn it so he was in a seated position in the ring, but Lesnar still had the Kimura Lock on the arm. Cody was fading away until tried to get out of it. Cody managed to turn his body toward the rope and Cody grabbed the bottom rope with his right hand to break the hold. The fans popped for that. Lesnar went for the F5, but Cody hit Cross Rhodes for a third time for one…two…and no! Lesnar got the shoulder up. Lesnar hit an F5 on Cody for a two count. Lesnar applied the Kimura Lock submission on the left arm again. The referee raised Cody’s hand and Cody wasn’t responding, so the referee Eddie Orengo called for the bell. Cody never tapped out, but he passed out. It went 9:40.

Winner by submission: Brock Lesnar

Analysis: ***3/4 I thought it was a tremendous match for something that was kept under ten minutes. I liked the story of the match a lot. They could have booked this in a way to make Lesnar look very dominant, but Cody managed to get a lot of offense and looked competitive throughout the match. Cody showed so much heart and comes across as such a likable babyface. I thought Cody using the left arm with the cast was smart. Both guys kicked out finishers, but Lesnar’s relentless Kimura Lock gets the win. I called it perfectly in our preview: “Lesnar wins with a Kimura Lock armbar while Cody passes out from the pain.” Anyway, the series is 1-1 now so they will probably have a blow off match at Money in the Bank or SummerSlam, which is fine. Cody should win the feud.

There were commercials for Money in the Bank, WWE Shop and NXT Battleground.

This Monday on Raw is a Fatal 4-Way Match for the vacant Women’s Tag Team Titles: Raquel Rodriguez & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley & IYO SKY vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville.

A video aired about Ronda Rousey.

They showed Omos in the crowd hanging out with the Omosapiens in the crowd.

The Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches begin on Raw and continue on Smackdown.

This Friday on Smackdown: “Roman Reigns Celebrates 1,000 Days As Champion.” The graphic doesn’t specify what title, but it’s really the WWE Universal Title. Today is actually day 1,000 for Reigns.

It’s main event time with Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defending the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles against Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa. It focused on the issues between The Bloodline.

Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa made their entrance with Paul Heyman for the main event. Reigns was wearing the WWE Championship while Heyman was carrying the WWE Universal Title. It is 1,000 days for Reigns holding that Universal Championship. Cole pushed the story about how The Usos were not with The Bloodline for this match.

Kevin Owens was up first for the Undisputed (Raw & Smackdown) WWE Tag Team Champions with KO getting a nice ovation from the crowd. Sami Zayn got a HUGE ovation as a Syrian who hasn’t been allowed to perform at WWE’s Saudi Arabia shows for several years, but things changed and they are there now. Cole said Zayn was in front of family and friends. Reigns had a cocky smile on his face.

Paul Heyman took the microphone from Mike Rome to introduce The Bloodline. Heyman simply said “This is Solo” without saying the full Solo Sikoa name. Paul Heyman followed by doing a spectacular introduction for Roman Reigns as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.

Sami Zayn took the microphone from Mike Rome and Sami spoke in Arabic, which led to cheers from the crowd. Reigns was reacting to it: “What is he saying?” Zayn introduced Owens and himself by saying their names in English. That was a nice touch for the local fans.

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa (w/Paul Heyman)

Owens was going to start the match, but the fans chanted “Ole” repeatedly so Zayn tagged in to cheers. Reigns did the cheap heel thing by tagging out. Solo tried to overpower Zayn in the corner, but Zayn came back with a chop. Solo took control with punches on Zayn. Elbow smash by Zayn off the middle rope. Solo hit a high back elbow to knock Zayn down. Owens tagged in with some offense, but Solo stopped him with an uppercut. Owens with kicks to the body, Zayn tagged in with a trip on Solo and Owens hit a senton splash on Solo. Reigns punched Owens, distracted Zayn and then Solo knocked down Zayn with a clothesline. Solo with a body slam followed by a headbutt. Solo with a standing headbutt as Reigns tagged in against Zayn. Reigns with a suplex. Zayn tried to get some offense with chops and Reigns decked him with an uppercut. Reigns sent Zayn out of the ring so that Solo could get some cheap shots on Zayn. There were some punches from Zayn, but Reigns knocked Sami down with an uppercut punch again. Solo back in as he hit a Samoan Drop on Zayn. Solo did some shoulder squeezing. The slow paced offense against Zayn continued while Solo also superkicked Owens off the apron to the floor. Zayn fought back against Solo with a Tornado DDT off the middle rope.

Owens got the tag against Reigns with Owens unleashing on Reigns with punches and stomps that sent Reigns out of the ring. Owens hit a running clothesline while on the floor along with a running senton. Back in the ring, Owens hit a superkick. Solo was on the apron, so Owens punched him and Reigns came back with a clothesline on KO to take control again. Owens avoided a Superman Punch attempt by Reigns and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for a two count. Owens went up top and hit a Frog Splash for two. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for two as usual for that move. Reigns set up for a Spear, Owens met him with a kick and Owens hit a Stunner, but Owens bounced off the ropes and hit a Spear. Both guys were down after those big moves.

Zayn tagged in against Solo as they exchanged punches, Zayn jumped over Solo and Zayn clotheslined Solo out of the ring. Zayn ran the ropes leading to a somersault dive over the top onto Solo on the floor. Back in the ring, Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for two as usual with that move. Zayn charged, Solo stopped him with a superkick and Sami avoided a Samoan Spike by hitting an Exploder Suplex. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Solo for one…two…and no because Reigns broke up the pin. Reigns was the illegal man in the match as he punched Zayn repeatedly. Referee Dan Engler said that’s your save and told him to get out of the ring. Reigns went for a Spear, Zayn moved and Reigns hit referee Engler with a Spear. As Reigns checked on the referee, Zayn hit a Superman Punch on Reigns. Zayn charged, but Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch. Owens was back in the ring with a Spear on Reigns. Owens and Reigns left the ring with Owens sending Reigns into the table and into the steel steps. Owens cleared off both commentary tables. Owens tried to put Reigns on the table, but The Usos showed up as Jimmy & Jey Uso saved Reigns with a double superkick on Owens. The Usos turned the announce table onto Owens. The Usos each hit superkicks on Zayn, then tried a double superkick, Zayn moved and The Usos hit a double superkick on Solo. Reigns saw it and was freaking out. Reigns: “Why are you here? Who told you to come here?” Reigns shoved Jimmy out of the way. Jey tried to reason with Reigns, Roman shoved Jey and Jimmy superkicked Reigns! Huge pop for that. Jimmy superkicked Reigns and that knocked Roman out of the ring. Jimmy said that he is Jey’s brother, not Roman. Jimmy said it’s about them. Jimmy convinced Jey that they had to go now. Back in the ring, Owens hit Solo with a Stunner. Zayn hit Solo with a Helluva Kick. A new referee slid into the ring and counted the pin as Zayn pinned Solo to win the match. It went 26:25.

Winners by pinfall: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

Analysis: **** There’s a lot to digest there, but overall I thought it outstanding pro wrestling theatre. Jimmy Uso finally having enough of Reigns and superkicking twice cost his team the match. That took Reigns out, so Zayn & Owens were right to capitalize on Solo and finding a way to retain the titles. I’m not surprised by a referee bump in this match. As a story it was great. The problem with referee bumps is that when it takes four minutes for the second referee, we don’t get an explanation why it took so long. It’s because we had to wait for the story. It’s not like the new referee will say it’s a DQ finish due to The Usos attacking Owens. It’s all about the story in this case and it’s an amazing story that gets genuine reactions from the crowd because they are so invested in what The Bloodline does at all times. I thought it was booked very well and all six wrestlers involved did their jobs perfectly. Plus, the finish was fitting because The Bloodline has won in a cheap manner so many times, so now Zayn & Owens got to benefit from all the chaos and pick up the win. For people that wanted Reigns to get pinned for the first time since 2019, that didn’t happen here. I’m not shocked by Solo taking the pin in this match. I’m happy the champions retained the titles.

After the match, The Usos were up the ramp with Jey looking shocked by what Jimmy did.

Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens celebrated their win by holding their titles. Reigns was befuddled while on the ground and Zayn was taunting Reigns by holding the titles towards Reigns on the floor. Reigns got back up, he was angry and walked away with Heyman. That was the end of the show.

There was a video package to end it.

This event had a runtime of 3:17:29 on WWE Network.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
  2. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
  3. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa (plus The Usos)
  4. AJ Styles
  5. GUNTHER/Asuka


Final Thoughts

I’m going with an 7.75 out of 10 for this show.

It was yet another very good WWE PLE this year. There has not been a bad one in 2023. My favorite match was the Seth Rollins-AJ Styles opener with Seth becoming the new World Heavyweight Champion. They had plenty of time, told an interesting story and delivered a classic championship match like many of us thought they would.

In terms of story, the Zayn-Owens win over Reigns-Solo was a fantastic tale adding yet another twist to The Bloodline saga because Jimmy Uso nailed Reigns with two superkicks after there was a ref bump. Considering Zayn-Owens have gotten screwed out of wins by The Bloodline, it was great to see them capitalize on a messed up situation to get the big win. The referee bump is something we can complain about it since it took so long for a second referee, but sometimes you have to ignore logic in pro wrestling and let the story play out. The fans were so into it and loved seeing Jimmy react to Reigns like that while Jey Uso remains conflicted. It was a good match too, but once again the story was so strong.

I think those two matches mentioned above are the two that we’ll remember the most about this show. Other matches were good too. Brock Lesnar beat Cody Rhodes thanks to the storyline arm injury that Cody had, so that makes it 1-1 and should lead to a third match. GUNTHER’s win over Mustafa Ali was predictable, yet fun to watch. I liked Zoey Stark helping Trish Stratus beat Becky Lynch because that fit their story well too. The Asuka-Belair match was just okay and the crowd didn’t seem to care, but they did react to Asuka using cheap tactics to win the title. At just over three hours, it was an enjoyable event overall.

My WWE PLE/PPV rankings for 2023 look like this.

WrestleMania 39 – 8.75 (out of 10)

Elimination Chamber – 8.25

Backlash – 8

Night of Champions – 7.75

Royal Rumble – 7.5


As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you.

Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below.


Twitter: @johnreport