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WWE Raw Review 22/5/23

This week's Raw is live from The GIANT Center in Hershey PA.

Backstage Segment:

We kick off tonight’s episode with Cody Rhodes arriving at the arena and being attacked by Brock Lesnar. Brock throws Cody around, throwing him into equipment and shouting at Cody to fight him. Cody is leaning against a shutter and Brock picks up a barrel/keg and smashes it into Cody’s arm, causing Cody to scream in agony.

In Ring Segment:

Paul Heyman is standing in the ring. He introduces himself and he says he had nothing to do with the attack that was just shown. He says that it is only an example of what Cody is in for at Night of Champions when he attempts to slay the beast. Heyman says he understands how his special appearance on Raw last week was so well received, he has been invited back again this week to enlighten everyone.

He says there are three main events at Night of Champions capped off by the historic battle in which Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will lose the undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships back to the Bloodline. Heyman says with The Usos watching proud at home, the new Tag Team Champions will be Solo and the Tribal Chief, the Undisputed WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns.

Heyman says for the final time before Night of Champions, welcome to Monday Night Raw!

Kevin’s music hits and out comes Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Heyman leaves the ring as Owens and Zayn make their way to the ring. Zayn asks where Heyman went, he must think they have a score to settle after what he did last week but they feel pretty good. Zayn says they are heading into the biggest title match they could have against Solo and Reigns. Zayn says this is important to him but he already said everything there is to say to Roman’s face.

Owens says a few weeks ago, Roman dedicated the win he thinks they will have against them to the Wild Samoans. He says he would like to dedicate their win at Night of Champions to the true pillars of the Bloodline, Jimmy and Jey Uso. Zayn tells him that that is at Night of Champions but they have business tonight.

Imperium’s music hits and they make their way to the ring. Imperium climb onto the ring apron and surround the ring as Matt Riddle runs to the ring and joins Zayn and Owens. Imperium then back off as Gunther tells them all to leave. Imperium then run back down to the ring but Zayn, Owens and Riddle throw Kaiser and Vinci to the outside. It takes all three of them to throw Gunther over the top rope and to the outside of the ring.

Backstage Segment:

Byron Saxton is backstage and he says it is not clear if Cody will be able to compete at Night of Champions. Adam Pearce walks in and says Cody is still being evaluated and is still being seen by the doctor. Saxton says there are rumours that Cody has a broken arm as Pearce tells him Cody is still being evaluated.

Match 1: Ricochet vs Bronson Reed

The bell rings and the match is underway. Reed chases Ricochet but Ricochet begins hitting him with kicks and right hands. Ricochet with a basement dropkick. Ricochet runs to the ropes and hits Reed with a kick to the side of the head and Reed is down to one knee. Ricochet with right hands but Reed with a big splash followed by an elbow. Ricochet rolls to the outside of the ring and Reed with a shoulder tackle as he jumps off the ring apron. We then go to a break.

Back from the break, Reed hits Ricochet with a Samoan drop. He goes for the cover but Ricochet kicks out. Ricochet on the ring apron as Reed grabs him but Ricochet hangs him up on the top rope. Ricochet back in the ring and a dropkick onto Reed’s knee. Right hands by Ricochet followed by a knee to the face. A super kick by Ricochet followed by another kick. A standing shooting star by Ricochet. He goes for the cover but Reed kicks out. Ricochet with a moonsault off the second rope. Ricochet with kicks and right hands as Reed gets to his feet. Ricochet goes for a kick but Reed with a big punch onto Ricochet’s leg and Reed clotheslines him to the outside of the ring. Reed on the ring apron, he runs and jumps but Ricochet hits him with a knee to the face. Ricochet throws Reed back into the ring. Ricochet goes to jump off the top rope but Reed trips him up. Reed with a splash in the corner followed by a power slam. Reed climbs the top rope and Reed hits him with the Tsunami. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

A pretty good opening match. Ricochet, as always, bumping around for the bigger man. Bronson is getting better at selling whilst still looking dominant. Grade C+

Backstage Interview:

Cathy Kelly is backstage with Apollo Crews. Apollo tells Cathy he hopes Cody is fine but he is excited to be back. Dominik and Rhea Ripley appear. Dominik tells Cathy that this is Rhea’s interview time but Cathy tells Dominik that this is Apollo’s interview time. Dominik asks her who that is, in regards to Apollo Crews. Apollo tells Dominik that he is everything Dominik wishes he was.

Dominik tells Cathy that this is Mami’s interview time. Rhea begins to talk and tells Natalya that she will retain her title at Night of Champions. Apollo cuts Rhea off and apologises as he tells her that this is his interview time. Dominik cuts him off as Apollo asks him what he will do about it. Rhea says Dominik will beat him up as Apollo says he cannot wait to see that.

Interview Segment:

Rollins talks about Roman Reigns, he loves Roman but doesn’t like him, such is the nature of brotherhood. He references their history, but feels the person Roman is now, and the champion he is, well that he doesn’t respect. He thinks Roman has been poisoned by his own ego and is taking away opportunities. Cory asked about RAW with him as champion and he thinks it can be a catalyst for change. He wants to know who’ll carry the torch when Rollins and Roman are gone. This leads to AJ Styles, he puts over AJ as a generational talent and we get some video of their indy wrestling days against each other, including AJ putting Rollins over on the mic when Rollins was just 19. Rollins is feeling invincible, he’s held every title in the company. What will happen with this new title?

Backstage Segment:

A recap of a RAW Talk when Damian Priest and Finn Balor got into things with Shinsuka Nakamura. Balor and Priest are warming up for the match. Priest doesn’t like getting interrupted by Byron Saxton, and Balor has to calm things down before asking for props for beating Sami and Owens last week. Balor then gives us a recap of what has happened over the past couple of weeks.

Match 2: Candice LaRae vs Zoey Stark

The bell rings and the match is underway. Stark with right hands and kicks onto Candice. Stark throws Candice in the corner and hits her with kicks. Stark with a suplex followed by a knee to the face. She goes for the cover but Candice kicks out. Right hands by Stark in the middle of the ring. A head lock by Stark as Nikki Cross runs down to the ring and tries to encourage Candice. Candice is still in a headlock but hits Stark with a jaw breaker. A drop kick by Candice to Stark in the corner. Candice with a snap mare as Stark rolls onto the ring apron. Candice with a drop kick and Stark falls to the outside. Candice with a splash off the second rope onto Stark. Candice throws Stark back into the ring. Nikki grabs Candice and hugs her as Stark pushes them both into the ring steps. Stark throws Candice back into the ring. She hits her with the Z360. She goes for the cover and gets the pin.

This was a disappointing match. There seemed to be no crowd interest in it. Stark is supposed to be this big destroyer but yet she ended up with unintentional help in that match, so it made her look less like a destroyer. Grade D

Backstage Interview:

Byron Saxton is backstage with Mustafa Ali. He asks him about his upcoming match for the Intercontinental title against Gunther at Night of Champions. Ali says he can’t do this. This is too real for him. He says he has been dreaming about this since he was a kid. Dreaming about being a champion. But if you look back at his career, he hasn’t come close to that. It has been failure after failure. And no one believes he can defeat Gunther and become Champion. As he is talking, Brock Lesnar passes by him and tells him to get a life, kid.

In Ring Segment:

Brock Lesnar walks through the curtain and walks down to the ring as his music plays. Lesnar asks the crowd what they want to talk about as they boo him. He says he would boo Cody too. Unfortunately, Cody will not be out there tonight. He says Cody will not be fighting Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions on Saturday either as he laughs. He tells them not to worry because Brock Lesnar will not let them down.

Brock issues an open challenge for anyone back there to fight him at Night of Champions. Lesnar says all they have to do is walk out and step up to Brock Lesnar as he stands in the middle of the ring. Cody comes out with his arm in a sling. Adam Pearce and WWE officials are speaking with Cody as he walks down. The fans chant “Cody” as he gets in the ring.

Cody removes the sling and the ice. Lesnar takes off his hat and both men fight. Cody is fighting with one hand as Lesnar gets Cody’s arm in an arm lock. Lesnar tells Cody to fight him. Lesnar lets go of the hold. He stands on Cody’s arm and stomps on it. Lesnar puts his hat back on as Pearce gets in the ring and calls for more officials.

Match 3: Alpha Academy w/Maxxine Dupri vs The Viking Raiders w/Valhalla

The bell rings and the match is underway. Chad Gable and Erik start the match. Gable goes for a leg take down but Erik overpowers him and stays on his feet. Erik with a forearm to the face and he tags Ivar into the match. They double team Gable. Ivar with a right hand as the fans chant “We want Otis”. Erik is tagged back in and he hits Gable with a splash in the corner. Ivar tagged back in and he goes for the cover but Gable kicks out.

Gable with right hands as he tries to fight back. He tries to make the tag but Ivar grabs him but Gable gets out of it and tags Otis into the match. Otis with a shoulder tackle onto Ivar. In comes Erik and Otis hits him with a back elbow. Otis with a bodyslam onto Ivar and a splash onto Erik in the corner. Erik falls to the mat. Otis with the caterpillar. Otis goes for a splash onto Ivar but Valhalla moves him out of the way and Otis hits the turnbuckle. Gable tags himself in. Erik is tagged in and he hits Gable with a knee to the face.

Maxxine and Valhalla argue on the outside as Valhalla chases her away. Ivar is on the top rope. Erik lifts Gable up but Gable kicks Ivar off the top rope and rolls backwards onto Erik and gets the pin.

An OK match. Personally, I think these four men are capable of putting on a better match. It could just be because of bad booking, but I don’t know. There have been better matches from all of them. Grade C

Backstage Segment:

Byron Saxton wants more updates, but Adam Pearce wont give him one. Cody Rhodes storms out yelling that there’s nothing to talk about and ejecting Pearce.

Match 4: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor w/Damien Priest

The bell rings and the match is underway. A waist lock takedown by Balor and he gets a chin lock on Nakamura but Nakamura gets out of it. Nakamura with a headlock takedown but Balor gets out of it as he reverses it into a head scissor. Balor with several kicks. He throws Nakamura into the corner but Nakamura comes running back to him with a knee to the body. Nakamura with kicks in the corner. Nakamura places Balor on the top rope and Nakamura with a knee to the body and Balor falls onto the ring apron. Nakamura with a sliding kick and Balor falls to the outside of the ring. Nakamura throws him back in. Nakamura on the ring apron as he goes for a suplex but Balor gets out of it. Balor distracts the referee as Priest trips Nakamura off the ring apron and clotheslines him on the outside of the ring. We go to the break.

Back from the break, Nakamura places Balor on the second rope and he hits him with a release German suplex. Nakamura face to face with Priest as Priest goes for a clothesline but Nakamura ducks and gets in the ring. Nakamura with a kick onto Balor. He goes for the cover but Balor kicks out. Nakamura with knees onto Balor in the middle of the ring. Nakamura grabs Balor but Balor with elbows. He rolls Nakamura up but Nakamura kicks out. Balor hits Nakamura with the Slingblade.

Balor goes for a drop kick but Nakamura with a kick to the face. Nakamura goes for the Kinshasa but Balor hits him with a double stomp. Balor climbs the top rope as he goes for the Coup de Grace but Nakamura moves out of the way. Nakamura with a kick to the back of the neck.

Priest drags Balor to the outside of the ring. Nakamura on the ring apron and he hits Priest with a knee to the face. Nakamura with right hands onto Priest. He clotheslines Priest over the barricade. Balor hits Nakamura with a drop kick and he throws Nakamura back into the ring. Balor hits him with the Coup de Grace. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

A good match from two great workers. I just wish there wasn’t the distraction and interference from Priest. Grade B

Match 5: Raquel Rodriguez vs Sonya Deville w/Chelsea Green

The bell rings and the match is underway. Sonya with a knee to the face. She goes for the cover but Raquel kicks out. A forearm to the face by Sonya as she climbs the second rope. She hits Raquel with a knee to the face. She goes for the cover but Raquel kicks out. Right hands by Sonya in the corner but Raquel with a big boot. A twisted senton off the second rope by Raquel. She lifts Sonya up and hits her with the Tejana Bomb. She goes for the cover and gets the pin.

Kind of a squash match, but not a dominant squash match. Overall, not a very good match in my opinion. I don’t really understand what is happening with the booking of the women’s division (I know injuries have happened, but it’s been floundering for a while).

After the match, Chelsea Green gets in the ring and attacks Raquel from behind. Chelsea and Sonya double team Raquel as Shotzi runs to the ring. Shotzi hits Chelsea with a kick and Raquel hits Sonya with a big boot. Shotzi with a suicide dive onto them both on the outside of the ring.

Backstage Segment:

A WWE referee is with Adam Pearce, the ref tells Pearce that Cody wont let anyone in his locker room. Trish Stratus interrupts. She tells Pearce it might be a good idea to have a no touch policy for their contract signing tonight. Pearce says there is no need for a no touch policy and walks away.

Contract Signing - Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus

Becky comes to the ring first. Becky plays with the crowd and calls out Trish Stratus so they can handle business. Becky just signs the contract before anything else. Trish does come out and heads to the ring. She tries to get into Becky’s head with some trash talk, but that doesn’t seem to work. Next she brings up this is her first ever in ring contract signing and she wants to enjoy this as the GOAT has come to this particular town. Trish says this isn’t a big deal for Becky, but she’s had all those contract signings because of what Trish did, and how she changed the women’s wrestling game. A reference to Becky’s Irish jig gimmick makes Becky have to hide her face briefly. Trish is still number one, and always will be, she didn’t need a broken nose to get over. After Trish beats Becky at Night of Champions what will happen to Becky, will she have to go through her stuff again? Trish has Becky figured out, and knows Becky is her own worst enemy. When Becky wanted to find a name or a face for the badness in her head she just had to look in the mirror. Trish will sign the contract, her first and this will make it Becky’s last. She signs and Becky takes off her sunglasses. Becky knows Trish is scared, but she wont hurt her tonight. This is all about Trish being forgotten by history, Trish just stayed the same, and the real problem for her is that the fans remember Trish as better than she actually was while Becky is even better than you think she is. But Trish wants her flowers, so Becky will say thank you Trish, thank you for being everything she hopes she never turns into. Trish can stab people in the back, but Becky prefers to punch people in the face, it’s why she can look at herself in the mirror despite her imperfections. Becky has had a career that Trish could only dream of, while Trish has done things that would give Becky nightmares. If Trish thinks barking like a dog is embarrassing just wait for Night of Champions. Trish tips the table over at that and storms off.

Backstage Segment:

We get a recap of the various attacks from Brock Lesnar to Cody Rhodes. In the back Adam Pearce is on the phone admitting that Cody’s arm is mangled but Cody keeps tossing out medical personnel when they try to examine him. Pearce needs advice, and he seems to get something from whoever’s on the other end of the line.

Backstage Interview:

Byron is backstage with Raquel and Shotzi. He asks Shotzi why she went out and helped Raquel. Shotzi says she has a lot of respect for Raquel and has her back. Raquel says she found herself a new tag team partner.

Match 6: Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley vs Apollo Crews

The bell rings and the match is underway. Apollo with a forearm to the face followed by a vertical suplex. Apollo with a gorilla press. He goes for the cover but Dominik kicks out. Apollo climbs the top rope but Dominik trips him up and Apollo falls to the mat. Dominik stomping on Apollo. He grabs Apollo and hits him with a suplex and goes for the cover but Apollo kicks out. Dominik with a head lock in the middle of the ring but Apollo with right hands and he gets out of it. The fans chant “We want Mami”. Dominik runs to the ropes but Apollo catches him and hits him with a fall away slam.

Apollo with a splash in the corner. He climbs the second rope and hits Dominik with a blockbuster. Apollo again on the top rope and he hits Dominik with a cross body. He goes for the cover but Dominik kicks out. Apollo lifts Dominik up but Dominik lands on his feet. Dominik with a drop kick and Apollo falls to the second rope. Dominik goes for the 619 but Apollo rolls to the outside of the ring. He grabs Dominik to the outside and hits him with a clothesline. Rhea gets in Apollo’s face. Apollo goes around Rhea and Dominik trips Apollo up into the ring steps. Dominik gets back in the ring and distracts the referee as Rhea throws Apollo into the ring post.

The referee counts to nine but Apollo gets in the ring. Dominik hits Apollo with a frog splash from more than halfway across the ring. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

An alright match, but nothing to shout about. The fans clearly care more about Rhea than anything Dominik does in the ring, so that always seems to garner more attention than anything happening in any of Dominik’s matches. Grade C-

Sit Down Interview:

Rollins feels it’s time for a change. He feels he was never meant to be the guy, he’s worked harder for it. This has been everything he’s ever dreamed of, and has given him a life beyond his wildest dreams. He wants the new title to be the best it can be, it’s a moment to do something special. Rollins wants to create something legendary.

Main Event: Imperium vs Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle

The bell rings and the match is underway. Kaiser and Zayn start the match. Kaiser with right hands and he stomps on Zayn in the corner. He goes for a right hand but Zayn ducks. Zayn with a chop to the chest and a right hand. Riddle is tagged in and they double team Kaiser. Riddle runs towards Kaiser but Kaiser hits him with a European uppercut. Vinci is tagged in and Vinci with several European uppercuts. Vinci runs towards Riddle but Riddle moves out of the way and hits him with a kick. Riddle with a gutwrench suplex. Gunther is tagged in and both men are face to face.

Riddle with kicks to the chest but Gunther with a kick takes Riddle down. We go to a break.

Back from the break, Kaiser lands a suplex on Riddle. He goes for the cover but Riddle kicks out. Gunther is tagged back in. He hits Owens with a big boot off the ring apron. Riddle with a kick to the face onto Gunther. Both men are down. Kaiser gets in the ring but Riddle throws him to the outside. Gunther grabs Riddle by the leg but Riddle kicks him away. Riddle goes for the tag but Kaiser trips Zayn up. Gunther with a clothesline. He goes for the cover but Riddle kicks out.

Both men up and Riddle with a German suplex. Owens and Vinci are tagged in. Owens with right hands followed by a senton. A German suplex by Owens. Vinci is in the corner and Owens hits him with a cannonball. He goes for the cover but Vinci kicks out. Owens climbs the top rope but Kaiser gets on the ring apron. Owens with a kick but Vinci hits Owens with a kick. Kaiser is tagged in and they double team Owens. We go to another break.

Back from the break, Zayn and Kaiser are tagged into the match. Zayn with a back body drop. Zayn knocks Gunther off the ring apron and he hits Kaiser with a Michinoku driver. He goes for the cover but Kaiser kicks out. Zayn runs towards Kaiser but Kaiser hits him with a kick. Gunther is tagged in. Zayn throws Kaiser to the outside of the ring. Gunther with a chop to the chest. Gunther goes for a clothesline but Zayn with the Blue Thunder Bomb. He goes for the cover but Vinci breaks it up. Riddle gets in the ring and climbs the top rope but Vinci trips him up. Owens hits Vinci with a stunner. Kaiser throws Owens to the outside. Zayn throws Kaiser to the outside. Gunther with a sleeper onto Zayn. Riddle on the top rope and he hits Gunther with the Floating Bro. Vinci is tagged in. Zayn with an exploder into the turnbuckle. Zayn goes for the Helluva Kick but Gunther grabs Zayn’s leg. Owens hits Gunther with a super kick and Riddle throws him over the announce table. Zayn throws Kaiser to the outside. Vinci with a clothesline onto Zayn and Zayn hits him with a Helluva Kick. Owens is tagged in. Owens with a swanton bomb off the top rope. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

The best match of the night, but that isn’t difficult considering the rest of the card. I do think the match could have been better as Imperium are absolutely amazing and Owens, Zayn and Riddle are brilliant as well. The match seemed to be hindered by the advert breaks, but obviously that cannot be helped. Grade B+

After the match, Imperium regroup on the stage while Sami yells at the camera for Roman to try and take the belts from them.

Backstage Segment:

Cody is backstage and in comes Triple H. They both sit and he tells Cody he knows how angry he is. Cody tells him he knows what he is trying to do and he understands. Triple H tells him he knows he understands it but he needs to get him medical attention. Cody tells him he doesn’t. Triple H tells him he can look at that arm and tell him it is broken. And he can tell on Cody’s face that he knows it is broken. And he knows he is afraid. Cody gets angry and tells him he has nothing to be afraid of. Triple H says if a doctor sees it and he is not cleared, he will not be able to compete at Night of Champions. Cody gets angry. Triple H says he is not questioning for a second how tough he is.

Triple H tells him to think about that year when he was injured. Cody tells him he understands but what was worse if he came back to Raw and was a coward and didn’t fight. Of all people, he should know. He tells Triple H he is going to Night of Champions and he is going to fight Brock Lesnar. Triple H pats Cody on his back, stands up and leaves.

Overall, a let down of an episode really. I was expecting more from the final episode before Night of Champions. I’m honestly not really enjoying Raw anymore. It’s getting to be repetitive and it feels like it is on forever, it definitely needs to consider dropping from three hours to two hours.

Hopefully, we will get a decent PLE (PPV) and we can start concentrating on better episodes of Raw.


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