Raw this week takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In Ring Segment:
The Undisputed WWE Tag-Team Champions head to the ring to kick off tonight’s show. We see footage from SmackDown of Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa challenging them to a match via Paul Heyman at WWE Night Of Champions, which was later confirmed. Zayn and Owens say they found out like we did when watching the show on Friday. Zayn says it isn’t a punishment but something he and Owens consider to be a gift. An unexpected gift. They talk about how they can finally get revenge on Roman Reigns. Zayn says he and Owens both deserved to beat him for the title when they fought him. He says Reigns has cheated his way through his entire reign and now he and Owens get the chance to check him at Night Of Champions. He then takes pleasure in talking about how, as predicted, he is watching The Bloodline crumble. As he continues to talk, his voice cracks and he gets emotional talking about how it’s never enough for Reigns. He’s had the title for 1,000 days after unifying them both. He says now he wants the tag titles. He says he can’t have them. Before they can say anything else, The Judgment Day theme hits. As the group heads to the ring, Owens talks about being excited to talk about anything other than The Bloodline. He says he can safely assume The Judgment Day aren’t out here to ask to hang out later. Owens says he assumes they want to fight, so let’s fight. Zayn says it’s his fault because he started off at a ten. He says Owens is at a ten now and maybe The Judgment Day aren’t out here to fight. He says let’s see what the gentlemen, and Dom, want to say. Damian Priest says he does want to fight. Owens says, “See!” Finn Balor then tells everyone to calm down as The Judgment Day heads inside the ring. He says if they do win at Night of Champions, there’s gonna be a whole line of Superstars waiting to challenge them for the titles. And the line starts here. Rhea Ripley then chimes in and says just in case they forget, The Judgment Day runs Monday Night Raw. Zayn goes to talk but is cut off by a “Mami!” chant. He says, him personally, he wants to hear what Dom has to say. He says he knows these people just love when he talks. Dom asks if the people wanna know what he has to say. They boo loudly. He tries to talk and they boo so loud it drowns him out, as usual. Owens chimes in all wound up saying can we just punch them in the face already. Finally he gets his wish and the boys start brawling. The Judgment Day exits the ring and backs off when Zayn brings in a chair.
Match 1: Shinsuke Nakamura vs The Miz
Before the two even touch, the fans break out in a loud “Tiny Balls!” chant to reference Nakamura’s backstage segment with Miz last week. Nakamura goes on to jump into an early offensive lead over Miz. Nakamura drapes Miz’s head over the ring apron and leaps from the floor to drop a knee to the back of his head. Miz ends up recovering and hitting a neck-breaker on Nakamura over the middle rope. Nakamura slumps and crashes and burns on the floor. Miz runs and blasts him with a big kick as we head to a mid-match commercial break. When we return, Nakamura blasts Miz with a big knee and then looks for an armbar. Miz ends up escaping and planting Nakamura face-first into the mat with a big DDT. Nakamura fights back into the lead but Miz counters and nearly hits his Skull Crushing Finale. Nakamura avoids it but then Miz goes to the eyes of Nakamura and this time connects with his Skull Crushing Finale. MIz goes for the cover but Nakamura gets his foot on the ropes. He ends up hitting his Kinshasha kick for the pin fall victory seconds later.
An OK match, a decent start to the action on Raw. Nothing much really to say about the match, hopefully we get to see more of Nakamura now he is back. Grade C
Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville are speaking (or should that be complaining) with Adam Pearce about not getting their title shot because Liv Morgan is injured. Deville says that since the champions cannot defend their titles, then they should be vacated and handed to Deville and Green. Raquel says that she is sick of their crying, she is willing to take on Chelsea Green in a singles match tonight. Adam Pearce makes it official.
We see Gunther walking backstage with the rest of Imperium. Akira Tozawa briefly walks into the frame but he sees Gunther and quickly walks away.
Sit Down Interview:
We see part one of a lengthy sit down interview between Corey Graves and Seth Rollins. The two talk back-and-forth about Seth Rollins’ early days in FCW and NXT and his arrival to the WWE main roster as part of The Shield. Part one of this multi-part sit down discussion wraps up after the point in Rollins’ career where he blasts Roman Reigns with a chair shot and turns heel to join The Authority.
In Ring Segment:
Imperium’s theme hits and out comes Gunther accompanied by Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser. The three stand at ringside, Gunther stands on top of the commentary desk. Kaiser and Vinci introduce the Intercontinental Champion and then hand the mic off to him. He talks from atop the commentary desk about how he has arrived on Raw after dominating the scene for over a year on SmackDown. Gunther then goes on to hype tonight’s battle royal to determine the next challenger to his I-C title at Night of Champions.
Match 2: Battle Royal to determine the No1 Contender for the Intercontinental Championship.
The match begins in usual fashion with everyone attacking everyone. Corbin eliminates Tozawa, then Lumis clotheslines Corbin out of the match. Mace dumps out Lumis, then both Mace and Mansoor square up with Otis and Chad Gable. Mace is tossed, but he catches Mansoor only to drop him as Lumis is staring daggers at the models. JD McDonough takes out Humberto but Dolph Ziggler superkicks him out. Von Wagner grabs Ziggler and just launches him out of the ring. That sends us to break.
We come back from the break to the Viking Raiders more or less in control. Erik and Ivar eject Cedric Alexander then beat down Zion Quinn and toss him out as well. Shelton Benjamin goes after Erik and Ivar, he does OK for a bit before getting beaten down and tossed out. Gable and Otis square off with Erik and Ivar and we’ve got a brawl. Erik avoids elimination, tries to suplex Gable out of the ring but they wind up on the apron together. Knee from Erik drops Gable but Otis eliminates Erik. Ivar then eliminates Gable leading to Otis and Ivar trading strikes, only for Bronson Reed to toss both of them. Everyone left jumps on Reed. Gargano and Ali wind up squaring off, Ali hits the rolling neckbreaker but Gargano wont go out of the ring. Gargano with the slingshot spear but Ricochet crushes him with a running Shooting Star Press. Riddick Moss catches Ricochet with a fall away slam, then Reed crushes Moss. Elias knees Apollo but can’t eliminate him. Apollo gets rid of Elias, then Reed eliminates Apollo. Reed runs wild, slamming Gargano onto Ricochet. Riddle with strikes to Reed but Reed swats him away only to eat a Floating Bro. Moss runs over Riddle but gets tossed out of the ring by Riddle. Gargano kicks Riddle, but Riddle takes Gargano out of the ring with a hurricanrana. Riddle is on the apron where Kaiser and Vinci attack him to set up Reed eliminating him. Ricochet goes after Reed, he lands a knee strike, then a dropkick but even with the help of Ali they can’t get rid of Reed yet. Reed hangs on, Ricochet keeps kicking him until Reed grabs Ricochet on his shoulders, only for Ali to dropkick both of them out and to the floor and win.
An action filled battle royal. I do enjoy watching Battle Royals as they can be very unpredictable. I’m extremely surprised that Ali won the match, but happy that he is having a title opportunity, even though I do not see him beating Gunther. There was a lot of talent in this match who definitely deserve a title opportunity, so fingers crossed we shall see Gunther as a fighting champion on Raw. Grade B-
In Ring Segment:
Out comes Becky Lynch to address the recent actions of her former friend Trish Stratus. Lynch is in the ring as we are shown footage of her surprise return and attack on Trish last week. As the footage wraps up, we hear a “Becky! Becky!” chant. She begins, “The Man has come around to Greensboro!” The fans pop. She says part of being “The Man” is admitting when you’re going through some stuff. She admits that lately she has been going through some stuff. She says when those times come you have to be able to ask for help. She says that’s what she did. She asked for help from two WWE legends — Trish Stratus and Lita. She says Lita was great. She came back and they won some gold. Becky goes on to mention how Trish got close to her and says she couldn’t see what even the fans may have seen a mile away. Which is that Trish came back and aligned with Lynch to help herself like the ego maniac she is. She says she does want to come out here and say, “Thank you, Trish.” Not for the reasons she gave but for hitting her in the back of the head, standing in the ring and calling her daughter stupid, she reminded her that the only thing that matters in this life is standing up for a reason that’s important. She gave all the badness in her head a name and a face and a target. She says she will show how thankful she is when she kicks in Trish’s head at Night of Champions. She throws the mic down to end the promo segment.
We see Rhea Ripley watching the Becky Lynch segment on a monitor. Cathy Kelley approaches her and says she’s been keeping a close eye on the division. With that in mind, she asks her about the arrival to Raw of Natalya, who saved Dana Brooke from a beatdown from “Mami” last week. Ripley says Nattie has had an impressive career for herself. Before she can say anything else, up walks Nattie to tell Ripley she knows she’s had an impressive career. Ripley then warns Nattie to never stick her nose in her business again or she’ll regret it. Up walks Dominik Mysterio. Rhea and Dom leave together.
Match 3: Xavier Woods vs Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley
Dom has a mic and tries to talk on his way down, he brings up Xavier Woods trying to convince himself that he’ll beat Dom. Woods gets a mic and tells Dom that he knows he doesn’t have anyone to watch his back right now, but Woods can stand on his own two feet while Dom can’t fight his own battles. Dom resumes walking to the ring with Ripley.
The match begins and they tie up, Woods grabs an arm wringer and they start trading counters with Woods getting the better of it. Woods starts firing up with strikes. Low dropkick from Woods. Dom with some stomps in the corner, then Woods fires back with a dropkick. Woods hits a suplex, and Dom rolls out of the ring and hides behind Ripley. The distraction sends us to break. Dom lands an elbow as we come back. They head to the top rope, Woods headbutts Dom down then hits a dropkick. Woods with some strikes then hits the ropes and lands an elbow, sort of as Dom was out of position. Corner attacks from Woods, then Dom runs into a boot and Woods hits a rolling clothesline. Dom sends Woods out of the ring, then lands a knee and drags Woods into the ring for an attempted 3 Amigos, he actually hits them then climbs the ropes. Woods blocks a Frog Splash and tries a cover for 2, then a military press into a gutbuster for 2. Woods goes for the rope walk elbow drop, but Dom is pulled away by Ripley, so Woods dives onto Dom on the floor. Dom hits a baseball slide, then Ripley whacks Woods, setting up Dom to grab an Alligator Clutch for the win.
Another typical Dominik match, winning by a distraction from Rhea. I really don’t enjoy Dominik’s matches, they seem too predictable. I really hope that Rhea steps away from Judgement Day soon, or just drops Dominik. Grade D+
A vignette for “The Irish Ace” JD McDonagh airs in black and white to formally introduce the former NXT Superstar to the WWE main roster.
Cathy Kelley catches up with McDonagh to ask about his attack of Dolph Ziggler earlier tonight. He says Ziggler found out what the rest of the roster is gonna find out.
Match 4: Indus Sheer (Veer & Sanga) w/Jinder Mahal vs Local Talents
Veer with a cheap shot then a jumping clothesline to one of the opponents. Sanga tags in, and hits a boot. Sanga demands the other guy tag in, he does but gets tossed around. Veer back in and squashes his opponent in the corner then tags in Sanga. The Demolition Decapitation follows and Indus Sher pick up the win.
After the match, Jinder speaks some Hindi, then gets on commentary to say they run RAW and their future will be written in gold. More Hindi from Jinder on a mic, and once again there is no crowd reaction at all.
A completely boring squash match, that seemed to go on forever. There was no crowd reaction at all. Looks like nobody cares about Indus Sher. Grade F
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are talking to each other when GUNTHER and Imperium appear. The WWE Intercontinental champion tells the Undisputed Tag champions that he will not tolerate the disrespect they showed his men Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser on last week’s show. Kevin Owens says they can’t fight tonight because they already have a fight, but how about they fight next week. Zayn says they’ll find a partner and do it and then tells Owens to calm down.
In Ring Segment:
“The American Nightmare” emerges and heads to the ring as the fans in Greensboro sing along with his theme music. He enters the ring and asks “So, Greensboro, North Carolina … what ya wanna talk about?” He talks about how he knows this building and city well, as it hosted the first-ever Starrcade event created by his father. He talks about how Brock elected not to be here tonight. He asks if we’ve heard about the scorpion and the frog. It’s a simple story about how to get to the other side. The frog says the scorpion will sting him. Scorpion says he won’t. Frog carries the scorpion on his back and half way across, what do you think happens? He stings him. As the poison fills up his lungs, the frog asks why? The scorpion says because it’s my nature. He says it’s Brock Lesnar’s nature to hunt. He must always be hunting. He says while you’re hunting, let me ask you something — how’s your face? He says when he looks in the mirror, he sees an animal but also stitches and staples. He says when he looks in the mirror he sees the man who put them there. Cody isn’t going to bring up the backstage stuff with Lesnar, Lesnar has been on top forever because he’s better than 99.9% of the people who step into this ring. But at Backlash, Lesnar was not better than Cody. How cheap was Cody to use a wrestling move in a wrestling ring to get a win? This isn’t about how quick Cody won, this is about who’s the big thing on RAW. That prompts a “Cody” chant from the crowd. They used to call Lesnar “The Next Big Thing”, and they were right. But eventually people just say “next”. Lesnar has conquered WWE, but now Cody needs Lesnar to step aside because he’s no longer the big thing, he’s just in Cody’s way.
Match 5: Raquel Rodriguez vs Chelsea Green w/Sonya Deville
Raquel opens with a big boot and trash talks Sonya. Some corner work from Raquel, then Sonya gets on the apron to distract Raquel and allows Green to hit a Backstabber, then stomps Raquel into the corner. Green with corner work then a chop block. Low angle Flatliner from Green gets a 1 count. Rest hold from Green, Raquel powers her up and hits Snake Eyes. Green hits a drop toe hold then a low dropkick. Green wants an Unprettier, Raquel counters into a reverse Alabama Slam that sends Green into the ropes. Raquel fires up with clotheslines, then hits a fall away slam and another one. A third fall away slam from Raquel, then the twisting Vader Bomb. Raquel hits a Tejana Bomb and picks up the victory.
Was this supposed to be a squash match? Are Sonya and Chelsea supposed to be a legitimate threat to the tag team titles? I genuinely don’t understand where most of the women's division is going at the minute. A bad match. Grade F.
Once the match wraps up, we see Raquel Rodriguez head up the ramp. Before she can pass through the curtain backstage, we see someone dive out and tackle her. Ronda Rousey takes her out and Shayna Baszler helps beat her down. Ronda gets on the mic and holds Rodriguez by her arm. She taunts her and then holds her while Baszler runs over and flattens her with a big kick. They leave her laying and head backstage.
Sit Down Interview:
Part 2 of the Corey Graves and Seth Rollins sit down interview. Graves asks about all the iterations of Rollins and the current one, he says his hands are off the wheel as he’s just in a synergistic experience with the fans. For the first time he’s not forcing the change, the WWE universe is forcing the change in him. He thinks things need to change again, no one at the top wants to take risks anymore, they’re about protecting themselves rather than pushing the industry forward. He was then asked about Roman, but we will have to wait until next week for the answer.
Main Event Match: Judgement Day (Damien Priest & Finn Balor) vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Balor and Zayn kick things off for their respective teams. We see Zayn jump off to an early offensive lead. As he continues to dominate, he tags in Owens and we head to a mid-match commercial break soon thereafter. When we return from the break, we see Priest pounding Zayn over the back with a big forearm before tagging in Balor, who heads into the ring and picks up where the fellow Judgment Day member left off, taking it to Zayn. Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley are shown cheering on Balor as he continues to take it to Zayn. Zayn finally hits a big clothesline that slows Balor down and he begins crawling towards his corner for a much-needed tag. Balor stops him but Zayn kicks him off and tags Owens in. Priest also tags in but is the ultra hyper Owens who hits the ring like a man possessed. Owens takes the hot tag and runs over Priest on the floor at ringside. He rolls him back in and ducks a cheap shot from Ripley and then runs over Dom and Balor with lariats. Back in the ring, Owens fires up and hits a big cannonball splash on Priest in the corner. Dom ends up tripping up Owens, which allows Priest to blast him from behind. This shifts the offensive momentum in the favour of The Judgment Day duo. The referee notices this at ringside and ends up ejecting Dom and Rhea from the ringside area. They bicker and complain as the crowd cheers and they head to the back. Xavier Woods runs out and attacks Dom and beats on him as they disappear to the backstage area in the midst of their brawl. In the ring, we see Priest roll up Owens from behind as he was distracted by Paul Heyman. Another break. When we return from the break, we see Priest taking it to Owens. They head to the top rope where Priest looks for a super-plex, but Owens knocks Priest down and connects with a Swanton Bomb. He makes the much needed tag to Zayn. Zayn hits the ring and starts taking out everything that moves. He plants Balor into the mat with a Michinoku Driver. Zayn notices Paul Heyman on the phone at the top of the ramp. He heads to the top rope but Balor recovers and blasts him with a Sling Blade. Balor goes for a big kick on Zayn but Zayn counters with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Zayn again notices Heyman and then looks at ringside and notices Gunther and Imperium. Balor takes over again off the multiple distractions. Owens breaks up a pin attempt so Priest hits the ring. Priest and Owens duke it out and Owens takes him out with a stunner. Balor knocks Owens out to the floor. Zayn suplexes Balor in the corner and then hits his kick finisher. He can’t cover him because Gunther and Imperium hit the ring. Owens deals with them but is taken out. Zayn leaps and splashes onto Priest on the floor. Zayn re-enters the ring and runs at Balor in the corner. He looks for his kick finisher but Imperium again hits the ring. The distraction allows Balor to hit a John Wu drop kick in the corner. He follows that up with his top rope Coup de Grace for the pin fall victory.
After the match, we see a very happy “Wise Man” from The Bloodline, as Paul Heyman is shown with a big smile on his face at the top of the entrance ramp. Imperium is shown at ringside again as Balor and Priest celebrate their victory.
A very messy, overbooked match. Too much was happening in the way of interference and just people being involved in the match in general. The work in the match was good, but I feel that the focus was taken away from the match by everything else. Grade C-
Overall, a very chaotic and messy episode of Raw. Too many cut away pieces during entrances (such as video packages) and just an overall hectic episode. The matches were OK. Hopefully we will have less chaos on next weeks episode as we are on the run to the next Premium Live Event “Night of Champions”.