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WWE Raw Review 31/7/23

Tonight’s episode of Raw comes to us Live from the Toyota Centre in Houston Texas. This is also the final episode of Raw before SummerSlam.

In Ring Segment:

Logan Paul comes to the ring and is booed by the crowd. He welcomes everyone to Monday Night Raw. Logan says that he does not like speaking in front of brain dead people for too long so he will make this quick. He says he isn’t here for the crowd, he is here for Ricochet.

Logan says that last week, he tried to get Ricochet over to his audience. He tried to build some hype around their match at SummerSlam, but he was sneak attacked, victimised and abused. He said that while he was down, Ricochet tried to make a spectacle of it all. Logan says that at SummerSlam, he will beat Ricochet in the most viral match in WWE history.

Ricochet’s music hits and out he comes. Ricochet says that last week he was in Logan’s live stream, but this week, he is in Logan’s head. Ricochet tells Logan that Logan is not the good guy in this situation. Ricochet says that Logan can fool the people that pay to follow him online, but he cannot fool Houston. Ricochet says that their match at SummerSlam will be box office. Ricochet gets into the ring. He tells Logan that while he might not like anything about him and he is a horrible human being, there is one thing he can respect, and that’s an athlete. Ricochet says that Logan is an athlete, competitor and a showman, and he can always respect that.

Logan tells Ricochet that he appreciates that. Logan then tells Ricochet that he is one of the best to ever do this, until Logan showed up. Logan says that all this started when he turned up at the Royal Rumble and made them go viral.

Logan says that he really has it, but Ricochet is right. They are going to put on one hell of a match. Logan and Ricochet fist bump. Logan says that after he beats Ricochet at SummerSlam, he hopes there are no hard feelings when he makes Ricochet’s girl say “and the winner is Logan Paul”. Logan then waves at the ring announcer Samantha Irvin (Ricochet’s fiancee). Ricochet takes down Logan with right hands. Both men begin to fight in the middle of the ring. Logan takes down Ricochet with a right hand.

Backstage Interview:

Jackie Redmond is backstage with Imperium. She asks Gunther about his Intercontinental Championship match at SummerSlam against Drew McIntyre. Gunther tells Jackie that he lives in the here and now, and his only concern right now is his disappointment with Ludwig Kaiser. He says that he expected more from him. Gunther says that Kaiser can redeem himself tonight, when he takes on Matt Riddle. Gunther says that Drew is not here tonight, and Gunther will personally end Drew McIntrye once and for all.

Match 1: Ludwig Kaiser w/Imperium vs Matt Riddle

Riddle with a take down but Kaiser gets out of it and reverses it into a headlock and a roll up but Riddle kicks out. Both men to their feet and Riddle with a gut wrench suplex. Riddle with a chop to the chest and Kaiser with a chop to the chest. Both men exchange right hands and Riddle knocks Kaiser down with a punch.

Riddle with a fisherman’s suplex, goes for the cover but Kaiser is able to kick out. Riddle goes for a spear towards Kaiser but Kaiser moves out of the way and Riddle runs into the ring post. Kaiser with a big drop kick that sends Riddle to the outside. The match is back in the ring now, Riddle with a big clothesline to Kaiser, sending him to the outside as we go to a break.

Back from the break, Riddle with an overhead kick in the middle of the ring. Kaiser in the corner and Riddle with a right hand followed by an exploder suplex. Riddle with a German suplex cover but Kaiser kicks out. Riddle goes for a splash but Kaiser gets his knees up. Kaiser with a clothesline as he goes for the cover but Riddle kicks out. Kaiser grabs Riddle but Riddle reverses it into a suplex. Vinci gets on the ring apron but Riddle knocks him down. Riddle with a power bomb followed by a knee to the face. He goes for the cover but Kaiser kicks out.

Kaiser with an uppercut to Riddle. Kaiser to the ropes and Riddle with a right hand. Riddle climbs the top rope and he goes for a moonsault, Kaiser moves, Riddle lands on his feet and a kick to the side of the head by Kaiser. Gunther tells Kaiser to go for the kill. Kaiser with a big DDT. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

A good opening match. Looks like there were some stiff shots in this one, possibly by accident. A very impressive match from these two men, and it was nice to see Kaiser picking up the win. I’m wondering if there will be a little bit of dissension between Kaiser and Gunther at some point down the line, so having Kaiser picking up wins will hold him in good stead if that does happen. Grade B

Backstage Interview:

Logan Paul is walking backstage, he is stopped by Byron Saxton. Logan says that he gave Ricochet a small taste of what will happen at SummerSlam. He promises that their match at SummerSlam will go viral and he will make Ricochet look like a full grown foetus….

Match 2: Maxxine Dupri w/Alpha Academy vs Valhalla w/Viking Raiders

Valhalla with a running knee and right hands, the referee breaks it up. Maxxine with an arm drag as she tries to throw Valhalla to the ropes but Valhalla reverses it and Maxxine bumps into the ropes and falls to the mat. Valhalla goes for the cover but Maxxine kicks out. Valhalla with a submission in the middle of the ring but Maxxine gets to her feet and gets out of it.

Another arm drag by Maxxine followed by a kick to the head. Maxxine with a fisherman’s suplex followed by a splash in the corner and Valhalla falls to the mat. Otis gets on the ring apron as does Gable and they cheer Maxxine on. Maxxine with the worm and the elbow drop. Maxxine climbs the top rope and she lands a cross body. She goes for the cover but Erik gets on the ring apron which distracts the referee. Both teams fight on the outside and Valhalla hits Maxxine from behind. Valhalla places Maxxine on the top rope and she goes for a suplex but Maxxine slides under her. Maxxine gets Valhalla on her shoulders and falls backwards into a cover and gets the pin.

Not the best women’s match, but to say it was Maxxine’s first singles match, she did really well. Valhalla definitely helped and guided her through that one. But huge props to both women for doing a good job in Maxxine’s first singles match. This one could have been so much worse than it was. There were some iffy spots, but that's to be expected. Grade D+

Backstage Segment:

Shinsuke Nakamura is backstage and he is approached by Tomasso Ciampa. Ciampa tells Nakamura they have a problem and tonight, he will fix that problem. Ciampa tells Nakamura that he needs to pick up some momentum and that starts with him tonight. Ciampa also says that he will go on to win the Battle Royal on Saturday. Nakamura tells Ciampa that he will see him in the ring tonight and he will be the one to win on Saturday. Problem solved.

In Ring Segment:

The Judgement Day makes their way to the ring. Damian Priest asks the crowd to rise for Judgement Day. Rhea Ripley then tells the crowd that Raw does not start until they say so. She goes on to say that anyone who doesn’t want to stand in line, the Judgement Day has no problem putting them on the shelf. Damian mentions Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins and Liv Morgan as people they have already beaten up.

Damian says that if Sami and Seth show up tonight, he and Dominik will make sure they don’t leave the arena whole. Finn Balor gets on the microphone. He says that Seth Rollins comes out every week and acts insane. He says that Seth wears stupid clothes, does a stupid dance, laughs like a clown, but that isn’t insanity. Finn says that insanity is waking up every day for the last seven years with all the scars which were left by Seth Rollins. He tells Seth that at SummerSlam, he can’t erase those scars, but he will inflict scars. Which will make him feel a little better, knowing that each day, Seth will wake up and remember the time when Finn beat him for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Dominik has a microphone and begins to talk, but he is loudly booed by the crowd. He says that at SummerSlam, all of the Judgement Day will have the goodies. Dominik says he will bring pride back to the Mysterio name. Rhea says that any idiot who tries to get in their way should take a page out of Raquel’s book, because if they don’t then they will spend time in rehab like Liv and Kevin Owens.

Raquel Rodriguez comes out, storming to the ring. Raquel and Rhea begin to fight as the rest of Judgement Day leave the ring. Raquel hits Rhea with forearm shots and sends Rhea across the ring. Raquel then clotheslines Rhea to the outside. Raquel goes to the outside and throws Rhea into the barricade. She then slams Rhea into the ring post. Raquel again throws Rhea into the barricade and then hits her with right hands. Dominik tries to get involved, but Raquel shouts at him in Spanish. Rhea is able to take advantage of this and hits Raquel from behind. Officials run down to the ring to break this up. Rhea stomps on Raquel’s knee as the officials get involved.

Backstage Segment:

Alpha Academy is backstage. Chad Gable tells Maxxine that she did well representing them tonight. Imperium then interrupts them. Gunther says that the first match of the night was a stellar performance by Kaiser, and then they try to turn it into an absolute joke. Gable hypes Maxxine up, and she tells Imperium that her coach is an Olympic Athlete. Gunther says that Gable is making Maxxine speak for him. Ludwig Kaiser then says that Gable cannot last 5 minutes in the ring with Gunther. Gunther says that they should put a clock on the wall as Gable won’t last 5 minutes. Gable says that he could last 5 hours and tonight, they can both leave their teams in the back.

Match 3: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Tomasso Ciampa

Nakamura with a shoulder block to Ciampa. We are shown Bronson Reed watching the match backstage. Nakamura goes for kicks but Ciampa with a big kick followed by a back breaker. A drop kick by Ciampa followed by stomps. Ciampa grabs Nakamura but Nakamura with a kick to the body. Both men on the ring apron and Nakamura with kicks to the chest and Ciampa falls to the outside. Nakamura throws him back into the ring. Nakamura on the ring apron and Ciampa with a knee to the face and Nakamura falls to the outside. Ciampa places Nakamura on the barricade and he hits him with a knee to the face as we go to a break.

Back from the break, Nakamura with a kick to the side of the head in the middle of the ring. Nakamura places Ciampa on the second rope and he hits him with a sliding German suplex. Nakamura goes for the cover but Ciampa kicks out. Nakamura grabs Ciampa but Ciampa with an elbow to the face. Nakamura on the ring apron and Ciampa hits him with a DDT. He goes for the cover but Nakamura kicks out.

Ciampa places Nakamura on the top rope and a chop to the chest by Ciampa. He climbs the second rope but Nakamura with right hands knocks Ciampa down. Nakamura jumps down, Ciampa moves out of the way and Nakamura hits him with a kick. He places Ciampa across the top turnbuckle and he hits him with a knee. Nakamura goes for the cover but Ciampa kicks out. Nakamura goes for a kick but Ciampa hits him with a knee to the face. Ciampa with a forearm but Nakamura with a kick. He rolls Ciampa up by the tights and gets the pin.

A rather lacklustre match. The crowd didn’t really seem into this one either. I think this feud was a little doomed from the beginning as it was too similar to the previous one. Hopefully, Shinsuke and Ciampa can come away from this feud and enter a better one. Grade D

Backstage Segment:

Raquel Rodriguez is backstage with the trainer. Adam Pearce tells her that she is not cleared to compete, but as soon as she is, she will get her match with Rhea Ripley.

In Ring Segment:

Brock Lesnar comes out and stands in the ring. The crowd starts a “Cody” chant. Lesnar smirks at this. Lesnar introduces himself and says that he is an NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion, he is a UFC champion, he is a WWE heavyweight champion of the world. He says that if he knows one thing about championships is that this is fight week. He says the hype is over, this Saturday at SummerSlam, he gets paid to fight and to kick ass against Cody Rhodes.

Lesnar says that at SummerSlam, Cody gets paid to have his ass kicked by Brock Lesnar. The crowd boos this and Lesnar tells them to cut the crap. Lesnar says he has been there far too long tonight. He calls out Cody, telling him to come out to the ring, shake his hand and he will see him on Saturday. But if Cody doesn’t come out, then he will see him Saturday. He says that Cody has 5 seconds before he leaves this town. Lesnar starts to count down and Cody’s music hits.

Out comes Cody, He stares at Lesnar as he makes his way to the ring. Cody circles the ring and slowly makes his way into the ring. Both men stare each other down and the crowd chant “Cody” again. The men are face to face and Lesnar removes his cowboy hat, grinning at Cody. Cody holds out his hand to Lesnar. Lesnar smiles and shakes Cody’s hand. The men again stare each other down. As Lesnar is leaving the ring, he shoves Cody with his shoulder and gets out of the ring. Cody hits Lesnar with a suicide dive. Lesnar picks up Cody and smashes Cody into the ring post.

Lesnar then hits Cody with the ring steps. Lesnar’s music hits, but Lesnar isn’t done. He hits Cody again with the ring steps. Lesnar begins to walk away, but he turns back to the ring. Cody gets to his feet, but Lesnar hits him with a knee and throws Cody back into the ring. Lesnar then hits Cody with an F5, puts on his cowboy hat and leaves.

Match 4: Beat the Clock Challenge - Gunther vs Chad Gable

Gunther with a headlock takedown on Gable. Gable gets to his feet as he goes for a take down but Gunther grabs Gable, Gable grabs the ropes. Both men to their feet and a test of strength which is won by Gunther. He gets Gable down and goes for the cover but Gable kicks out. Gunther with a headlock takedown and he twists Gable’s neck.

A power slam by Gunther. He goes for the cover but Gable kicks out. Gunther with right hands and upper cuts. Gable in the corner and an uppercut by Gunther as he looks at the clock. The fans chant “Let’s go Gable” as he fights back with right hands. Gunther goes for a chop, Gable ducks, he goes for a German suplex but Gunther blocks it. Gunther hits Gable with a chop to the chest. He goes for a power bomb, Gable lands on his feet, trips Gunther up and gets him in the ankle lock with one minute left. Gunther kicks Gable away. Gable with forearms but Gunther with a chop followed by a sleeper hold. Gable tries to get out of it but begins to fade. He goes for a power bomb but Gable with right hands and he throws Gunther to the outside of the ring as the clock strikes zero. Gable has lasted 5 minutes with Gunther!

Impressive that the WWE didn’t just have Gable be squashed in 10 seconds. The crowd were definitely invested in that, the pop when Gable technically won was great. Hopefully this will get Gable in the Intercontinental Championship picture. Grade B-

After the match, Gunther takes the microphone from Samantha Irvin and says that the match is not over. Samantha then says that she has been informed that the match will continue right now. Gable hits Gunther with a dropkick as we go to a break.

We come back from the break to the match continuing. Gunther with chops in the corner. He places Gable on the top rope but Gable gets him in an arm bar. Gable lets go as he lands a knee to the arm off the second rope. Gable with an arm bar but Gunther gets to his feet and hits him with a German suplex. He goes for the cover but Gable kicks out. Gunther climbs the top rope but Gable gets to the second rope and he lands a suplex. A right hand by Gable. He runs to the ropes but Gunther chops him down.

Gunther grabs Gable by the legs but Gable kicks him away. Gable with a deadlift German suplex. He goes for the cover but Gunther kicks out. Gable goes for another German but Gunther kicks him away. Gunther with a big clothesline. He goes for the cover but Gable kicks out. He grabs Gable but Gable ducks and rolls Gunther, going for a German but Gunther blocks it and he chops Gable several times. Gunther hits him with a powerbomb as he goes for the cover and gets the pin.

So, I’m counting this as another match for grading purposes. Again, another great match. Gable needs to be pushed more, he is a brilliant wrestler. Having him put on a strong showing against Gunther proves that. It was a bit strange having the beat the clock challenge for this match to happen straight after. Why not just have the match in the first place. We would still have the same outcome, although, this way it does give Gable a technical win over Gunther. Grade B-

After the match, Gunther stands on the commentary table and says that at SummerSlam, he will not lose the Intercontinental Championship. He tells Drew McIntyre to take a good look at what he just did to Chad Gable, because that is what will happen to him.

Backstage Segment:

We see Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn backstage discussing their match tonight.

Backstage Segment:

Cody Rhodes is backstage with Byron Saxton. Cody tells Byron that Lesnar can break his arm again, his ribs, his jaw. The brutality that Lesnar has brought to him, he will bring to Lesnar at SummerSlam. Cody says that the aura of the Beast of Brock Lesnar will be shattered at SummerSlam.

In Ring Segment:

Becky Lynch is in the ring. Becky states that she said everything she wanted to say and did everything she had to do to get her rematch with Trish Stratus. And there isn’t much left to do than to do it. She calls Trish out by her real name Patricia.

Out comes Trish with Zoey Stark. Trish says that she thought she was going to have the match right now, but then she realised that no one tells her when to fight. Trish says that by some fluke, Becky beat Zoey so she will get her rematch. But Trish will tell her when. Trish says that she won't cheat Becky out of her rematch, because she isn’t a cheater (unlike the Astros).

The crowd chants “you suck”. Trish asks Zoey if they are saying “thank you Trish”. Trish then tells Becky that she is dealing with a situation right now, pointing to the face mask. Adam Peace comes out, and says that as per the agreement, the match will happen tonight. Adam calls for a referee and the match will take place now.

Match 5: Becky Lynch vs Trish Stratus w/Zoey Stark

The bell rings, Trish goes on the attack to Trish, but Zoey gets in the ring and attacks Becky. The ref calls for the bell.

What on earth was the point of this? I thought that this rivalry was going to have a big payoff at SummerSlam, but they pulled something like this a few days before the PLE. Absolutely pointless. The fact that it was over in a matter of seconds is stupid, if they didn’t want the match at SummerSlam because Trish isn’t cleared or whatever, then just schedule the match for further down the line, there was no logical reason to do this at all. Grade F.

After the match, Becky and Zoey are fighting. Trish hits Becky from behind and the women fall to the outside. Becky slams Trish, face first into the commentary table. Zoey then attacks Becky, but Becky is able to fight her off. Becky throws Trish over the barricade. Becky then tries to Manhandle Slam Trish onto a chair, but Zoey again attacks Becky. Becky pushes Zoey into the ring post. Trish then hits Becky with a chair.

Backstage Segment:

Adam Pearce is backstage with Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark. Trish tells Adam that he did not give her time to prepare. Adam says that in 2 weeks, Trish will face Becky and Zoey is banned from ringside.

Main Event: Seth Rollins & Sami Zayn vs Judgement Day

As the Judgement Day is walking down to the ring, Zayn and Rollins attack them. They all fight until Zayn and Rollins fight them off as we go to a break.

Back from the break, the bell rings and the match begins. Dominik and Seth start the match. Dominik with right hands in the corner but Seth with right hands and a kick. Sami is tagged in and they double team Dominik. Sami grabs Dominik but Dominik pushes Sami in the corner and Damian is tagged in. Right hands by Sami. Sami climbs the second rope and hits Damian with a right hand. Seth is tagged in and they double team Damian. Chops to the chest by Seth.

He climbs the second rope and jumps but Damian hits him with a right hand. He throws Seth in the corner and Dominik is tagged in. Right hands by Dominik but Seth with chops. Seth hits Dominik with a forearm. He goes for another forearm but Dominik moves out of the way. Damian is tagged in and he knocks Seth down and knocks Sami off the ring apron. An arm bar by Damian and Dominik is tagged in. They double team Seth. Damian is tagged back in and right hands onto Seth. He throws Seth to the ropes but Seth with a kick. Seth on the ring apron and Damian distracts the referee as Finn runs out and trips Seth and throws him into the ring post as we go to a break.

Back from the break, Dominik and Seth are in the ring. Seth with a forearm and Dominik tags Damian in and Sami is tagged in by Seth. Right hands by Sami as he throws Damian to the ropes and a clothesline by Sami. He knocks Dominik off the ring apron. Damian with a right hand but Sami throws him to the outside of the ring. Sami to the ropes and jumps to the outside landing on Damian. Sami throws Damian back into the ring.

Sami with a tornado DDT. He goes for the cover but Dominik breaks it up. Dominik is tagged in and he drops Sami onto the second rope. Dominik goes for the 619 but Sami hits him with a clothesline. Damian and Seth are tagged in and Seth with a sling blade and Damian falls to the outside. Seth with several suicide dives onto Damian and Damian falls over the commentary table.

Seth throws Damian into the ring and hits him with a super kick. Rhea gets on the ring apron and distracts the referee as Dominik hangs Seth up on the top rope. Sami clotheslines Dominik on the outside. Rhea gets in Sami’s face and Finn hits Sami with a drop kick. Seth on the top rope but Damian hits him from behind. Damian with the Razor’s Edge. Damian looks at the Money in the Bank briefcase and asks Finn to give him the briefcase. Finn momentarily hesitates and finally gives him the briefcase. As Damian is about to cash in, Seth hits him with a super kick. Seth throws the briefcase onto Dominik’s face. Finn grabs Seth, Sami hits Finn with a Helluva Kick. Seth hits Damian with the Stomp. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

A nice main event. It was a nice touch teasing a cash in. I think the briefcase is going to play a big part in the World Heavyweight Championship match at SummerSlam. Grade C+

Overall, an OK episode of Raw. It could have been better, because again there was a lot of filler, but that is standard for Raw. To say this was the final episode before SummerSlam, there wasn’t as much excitement for the event in my opinion. I’m still not understanding the whole Brock/Cody match reasoning. I don’t really care for the Shayna/Ronda match that had a lot of video hype (I have left that out of the review as it was pointless to include it). At least the wrestling side of the show was good, well most of it was. There were some disappointments, but that's what I have come to expect from Raw. Fingers crossed that SummerSlam is a great show.


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