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WWE Raw Review 4/9/23

This week’s episode of Raw from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It's the fallout episode from Payback. Let’s see what new rivalries we may have and any old rivalries continuing. Also, let’s see how “Main Event” Jey Uso does on a new brand, on his own.

We open the show with a video package that recaps what happened at Payback.

In Ring Segment:

Jey Uso makes his way to the ring through the crowd. A loud “Uso” chant breaks out. Jey says that he appreciates that. Jey says that he has always wanted to do this next part - “Welcome to Monday Night Raw!” Another loud ovation from the crowd. Jey says that he has only been gone for two or three weeks, but it feels like longer and he has missed the crowds. Jey says that he hit breaking point. He says that every week on national television, he was fighting his family, the “family feud” was real. Then he got the unexpected call from “the American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes. Jey says that he is on “Main Event Mondays” by himself. He says that he may have created some enemies in the back because of his past, but they know where to find him. “Main Event” Jey Uso is now in your city!

Sami Zayn’s music hits and he walks out onto the stage. Sami walks down the ramp and enters the ring. An “Ucey” chant breaks out. Sami says that it is pretty crazy to see Jey standing here. Sami says that a lot of what Jey said is true, but one thing that is definitely true is that many people will have a problem with being here right now. Sami says that he and Kevin Owens haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with him, but Kevin Owens isn’t here tonight. Tonight it's about Sami and Jey. Sami says that he wanted to make sure he was the first person Jey saw on Raw so that Sami could look Jey in the eyes and tell him straight to his face that he is happy that Jey is here. Sami says that he knows Jey, and knows what is in his heart. Sami says that everything Jey did in the past few months had to be hard, but he did it, Jey broke free. Now Jey is standing here on his own two feet, all by himself. Sami says that Jey truly is “Main Event” Jey Uso.

Sami says he knows that they have a history. He isn’t expecting them to be friends overnight. Sami says that he is proud of Jey and he holds out his hand. Jey stares at Sami, but he doesn’t shake his hand. Sami slowly puts down his hand and tells Jey that whenever he is ready to talk, he will be here. Sami attempts to leave the ring, but he is called back by Jey. Jey says that wasn’t very “Ucey” of him. Jey then extends his hand. Jey and Sami embrace in the ring! This gets a huge pop from the crowd. Jey celebrates on the turnbuckle as Sami leaves the ring.

As Jey Uso leaves the ring and begins to walk up the ramp, Drew McIntyre’s music hits. Sami Zayn stands between the two men to keep the peace. McIntyre walks off, but then Matt Riddle comes out. Matt looks at Jey, before heading to the ring.

Video Package:

We see that Shinsuke Nakamura attacked Seth Rollins after Payback went off the air. Shinsuke says that he will become the World Heavyweight Champion.

Backstage Segment:

Ricochet is backstage with Adam Pearce. Ricochet says that he wants a new opportunity after what happened at SummerSlam. Pearce tells Ricochet he is working on it. Adam then runs off as he sees Seth Rollins walking backstage. Pearce says that Seth is not medically cleared. Seth says that this is “Monday Night Raw” and he is totally fine. Ricochet says that he has respect for Seth for being here. Seth says that Ricochet gets it. Ricochet says that what he means to say is Seth doesn’t need to carry the show on his own. Seth reassures them both that he is fine.

Video Replay:

We see a replay of last week when the Viking Raider faced the New Day. The Viking Raiders got McIntyre and Riddle involved. McIntyre threw a chair at Erik, but it instead hit Xavier Woods. After the match, McIntyre explained that he did not mean to hit Woods.

Match 1: Tornado Tag Team Match - Drew McIntyre & Matt Riddle vs The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) w/Valhalla

Erik is quickly knocked out of the ring. Drew and Riddle take the fight to Ivar. Ivar fights back, but Drew hits him with a spinebuster. Riddle charges at Ivar in the corner, but Ivar hits Riddle with a seated senton. Drew attacks Ivar and lifts him up, but Erik knees Drew in the face. The Viking Raiders attack Riddle, but Drew quickly runs in. The Viking Raiders are knocked out of the ring. Drew and Riddle hug before Drew gives him an overhead belly-to-belly suplex over the top rope onto the Viking Raiders.

Riddle enters the ring and shoves Drew before telling him to “Get the tables!” Drew shoves Riddle back and shouts, “YOU get the tables!” Riddle goes to get the tables.

The Viking Raiders attack Drew as Riddle grabs a table from under the ring. They double-team Riddle until Drew gets involved. Erik tries to bounce Drew off the steel steps, but Drew blocks it. Drew gets Erik in the ring and chops his chest. Drew sends Erik into the ropes, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Drew quickly makes a comeback, but Erik manages to send him shoulder-first into the ring post. Riddle gets in the ring and kicks Ivar in the head. Riddle attacks him in the corner before Erik sweeps the feet. The Viking Raiders get the table in the ring and set it up in the middle. They then drag it to the corner. Riddle attacks them, but Ivar quickly boots him down. The table is put back in the centre of the ring. Riddle kicks Erik in the head, but Ivar attacks Riddle and puts him on the table.

Ivar heads to the top rope. Drew attacks Ivar and punches him in the face. Drew sets up for a superplex, and Riddle joins in. Erik pulls the table away. Drew and Riddle hit Ivar with a double-team superplex off the second rope. Erik quickly knees Drew in the face for a two-count. Erik goes for a powerbomb on Riddle, but Riddle gets out and knocks him back. Ivar quickly attacks Riddle before whipping him into a forearm from Erik for a two-count.

The Viking Raiders lean the table in the corner. Drew runs in and attacks Erik before shoulder tackling Ivar. Drew hits Erik with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex before hitting Ivar with a neckbreaker. Drew then hits Ivar with a neckbreaker and kips up. Drew lifts Ivar and hits a Death Valley Driver. Drew counts down for a Claymore Kick, but Erik pulls Ivar out of the ring. Drew attacks them at ringside and clears the commentary table. Drew goes to powerbomb Erik, but Ivar breaks it up. Drew then sends Ivar over the commentary table and attacks Erik. Drew hits Erik with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. Ivar then follows up with a splash on McIntyre off the commentary table.

The Viking Raiders go for Ragnarök through the commentary table on Drew, but Riddle breaks it up. Riddle gets in the ring and puts the table in the middle of the ring. Riddle puts Erik on the table, but Valhalla distracts him. Ivar kicks Riddle in the head. The table is repositioned. The Viking Raiders go for Ragnarök through the table, but Kofi Kingston runs down and attacks them. Kofi hits some kicks. Ivar ducks a Trouble in Paradise attempt and it hits Riddle. The Viking Raiders grab Kingston and throw him into Drew. The Viking Raiders hit Riddle with Ragnarök through the table for the win.

A good opening match. It's nice to see a Tornado tag match, as we don’t see these types of matches that often. Having the miscommunication from Kofi really plays well considering what happened last week. It's great to see more teams feuding together so we get a variety of styles. Grade C+

Video Package:

We see a video package, showcasing the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time.

In Ring Segment:

Seth Rollins makes his way to the ring. He stands in the centre of the ring as the crowd sings his song.

Seth welcomes the crowd to Monday Night Rollins. Seth says that Charlotte is hot tonight, but he has to be honest with them. Seth says that two days ago at Payback, Shinsuke did everything he said he was going to do. Seth says that Shinsuke put a bullet on his back and dropped bombs on it all night. Seth says there were a few times where he didn’t know if he could get back up and continue fighting. Seth then smiles and shows off the World Heavyweight Championship around his waist. Seth says the last time he checked, he was still champion.

Seth says that there is one thing that hasn’t sat right with him for the last two days. Seth says that even though he was able to beat Shinsuke, at the end of the night, Shinsuke was able to walk out of the arena, while Seth had to be pushed out in a wheelchair by his wife. Seth says that doesn’t sit right with him. Seth says that he wants to right some wrongs here in Charlotte. Seth calls out Shinsuke and says that he will make his dreams come true.

Shinsuke’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring. Shinsuke pauses halfway down the ramp. Seth calls for him to get into the ring. Shinsuke does not respond. Seth offers Shinsuke a World Heavyweight Championship match, right here, right now. Shinsuke gets a manic look on his face and he starts to walk towards the ring before turning around. Shinsuke lifts a microphone and speaks in Japanese. Seth looks confused. Seth says that he won't pretend to understand Shinsuke’s native tongue, but he can only assume that Shinsuke just accepted his challenge. Seth tells Shinsuke to get in the ring. Shinsuke says “no”. Seth wants this clarified, are they having a World Heavyweight Championship rematch? Yes or no? Shinsuke says “no”. Seth says that won’t work for him. Seth says that he understands that it's Labour Day, but it is Monday Night Raw. Seth says that he is clocked in. Whether Shinsuke wants it or not, Seth will give it to him.

Seth then runs out of the ring and attacks Shinsuke. The men brawl before referees run down to break it up. Shinsuke is able to break free and he hits Seth in the back with a knee. Shinsuke continues the attack with more knee strikes to the back. Ricochet runs down and pushes Shinsuke away before he checks on Seth.

Backstage Segment:

Backstage, Seth Rollins and Adam Pearce are arguing. Pearce says that he is trying to prevent Seth from running himself into the ground. Seth says that doesn’t work for him and he walks away.

Match 2: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Ricochet

Shinsuke immediately gets out of the ring. Ricochet chases after him. Shinsuke attacks Ricochet and sends him to the ring, but Ricochet flips off the apron. Ricochet attacks Shinsuke while he is getting into the ring and hits a dropkick. Shinsuke fights out of a suplex and applies a waistlock. Ricochet elbows Shinsuke and chops him. Ricochet goes to the ropes, but Shinsuke kicks his feet out. Ricochet is hanging off the second rope, and Shinsuke crushes him with a flying knee drop. Shinsuke puts his boot on Ricochet’s face and does some Good Vibrations. Shinsuke puts Ricochet in the corner and kicks him in the chest. Shinsuke charges, but Ricochet puts the boots up. Shinsuke blocks it and turns Ricochet on the ropes before hitting a sliding German Suplex.

Shinsuke picks up a two-count. Shinsuke then applies a rear chin lock, but Ricochet quickly fights up. Shinsuke takes Ricochet down and drops a knee for a one-count. Shinsuke goes back to the rear chin lock. Ricochet soon fights up and goes for a handspring back elbow, but Shinsuke kicks him in the ribs. Shinsuke delivers a kick to the head and saunters around the ring. Shinsuke peppers Ricochet with some kicks. Ricochet tries to fight back, but Shinsuke kicks him down. Ricochet stumbles to the corner, and Shinsuke attacks his midsection. Shinsuke chokes Ricochet with his boot in the corner. Shinsuke pulls Ricochet up and goes for a suplex, but Ricochet blocks it. Shinsuke fights Ricochet and hits a front suplex. Shinsuke then delivers some knees to the skull before applying a grounded abdominal stretch.

Ricochet fights up and gets out with a jawbreaker. Ricochet hits the ropes, but Shinsuke turns him inside out with a knee to the midsection. Shinsuke then sends Ricochet into the ropes, but Ricochet comes back with a handspring back elbow.

“Señor Money in the Bank” and Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champion Damian Priest is watching this match backstage with Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley.

Ricochet kicks away at Shinsuke and hits a head-scissors takeover. Ricochet hits a running shoulder tackle in the corner before kicking him in the head. Ricochet hits a springboard flying clothesline before getting fired up. Ricochet hits a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Ricochet sets Shinsuke up in the corner and heads to the top rope. Ricochet lands on his feet when Shinsuke moves out of the way. Ricochet ducks a kick, but Shinsuke catches him on the rebound. Ricochet flips through a back suplex and hits the Recoil for a near fall. Ricochet goes for an avalanche, but Shinsuke moves. Shinsuke knees Ricochet in the ribs and then goes outside to knee him in the face from the apron. Shinsuke goes for a knee drop on the apron, but Ricochet moves. Ricochet kicks Shinsuke away and dives off the apron with a cannonball.

Ricochet tries to get Shinsuke up, but Shinsuke drives him into the ring post. Shinsuke sends Ricochet into the barricade and backs up. Shinsuke charges, but Ricochet drops him into the timekeeper’s area. Ricochet attacks Shinsuke, but Shinsuke knocks him over the barricade. Shinsuke grabs a steel chair and hits Ricochet in the back right in front of his fiancée, Raw Ring Announcer Samantha Irvin.

A decent match, but this one was clearly just to have Shinsuke inflict pain on Ricochet to cement him as this heel who causes lots of pain. A nice touch having Shinsuke attack Ricochet with the chair in front of his fiancee. Grade C

After the match, Shinsuke hits Ricochet in the back with the chair again and then gets Ricochet back in the ring. Shinsuke then puts the chair around Ricochet’s neck and backs up. Seth Rollins runs down to make the save. Seth tackles Shinsuke and begins punching him. Security runs in to pull Seth and Shinsuke apart. Seth sends two of the security guards over the top rope and then takes out the rest of them, including Shinsuke, with a somersault senton. Seth grabs Shinsuke, but Shinsuke shoves Seth spine-first into the steel ring steps. Shinsuke then stomps away at Seth’s back until Ricochet comes for him with a steel chair, causing Shinsuke to run away.

Rhea & Damian are still watching backstage. Rhea taps Damian on the chest and says “not tonight”.

Seth gets to his feet and says that he is fine.

Video Package:

We see a video package of the Steel Cage match between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus. We also see Trish slapping Zoey Stark in the face and Zoey hitting Trish with the Z-360.

Backstage Interview:

Zoey Stark is backstage with Jackie Redmond. Jackie asks if the partnership between Zoey and Trish is over with. Zoey says that she respects Trish, she has proven that she is the greatest of all time, but nobody pushes Zoey Stark. Shayna Baszler walks up to Zoey. Shayna says that she was wondering when Zoey was going to get rid of that dead weight. Shayna says that everything changed when she got rid of Ronda Rousey. Zoey suggests that the two women go one-on-one tonight to see who the baddest woman of the WWE is. Shayna accepts the challenge.

In Ring Segment:

The Judgement Day are in the ring. Damian Priest shouts for everyone to rise for the crew that is dripping in gold. Dominik Mysterio starts to speak, but the crowd boos him as usual. Dominik says they did what they said they would do on Saturday by taking all the gold. Finn Bálor thanks Dominik and congratulates him on the one-year anniversary of him joining the Judgement Day. Finn also thanks Rhea for always being the voice of reason. As for Damian, they’ve had their ups and downs, but now they’re the Undisputed Tag Team Champions of the world. Finn gives a shout out to JD McDonagh for having his back for twenty years. Finally, Finn thanks himself for unleashing his most recent career milestone by becoming “Grand Slam Finn”. A “You deserve it” chant picks up in the crowd.

Rhea says they know Finn deserves it. Last week, she gave Finn & Damian an ultimatum, so the pressure was on. Finn and Damian really rose to the occasion and showed everyone that they are truly brothers. They truly are a family. Rhea says she loves them. Rhea says that there is one thing that has been aggravating her. She says the focus isn’t on the Judgement Day and their accomplishments. Instead, people are talking about Jey Uso coming to Raw and what that means to the Bloodline. As far as she is concerned, the Bloodline has fallen, and the Judgement Day has risen as the most dominant faction in the WWE.

JD McDonagh makes his way to the ring carrying a black bag, but Damian stops him. Damian says a small part of him is starting to like McDonagh, so this better be good. McDonagh says he took a bullet for them on Saturday and wants to explain why he’s out here. It’s the least they can do. McDonagh is out here because of something Rhea said last week. She said big changes are needed for the Judgement Day. McDonagh says Damian’s briefcase has to go. Damian looks confused. McDonagh says they have all the gold. Damian doesn’t need that briefcase. He needs this one. McDonagh reveals a purple briefcase that says, “Señor Money in the Bank.” Damian holds it up.

Sami Zayn’s music hits, and Damian throws his microphone down in frustration. Sami says, “Gentlemen, and Dom…” Kevin Owens isn’t here tonight, but after it took all five of them to rob Sami & Kevin of their Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships, did they really think they would let that slide? They’re bragging about holding all the titles, but he doesn’t see five champions when he looks in the ring. He sees five championship-stealing turds. A very big beating is reserved for the biggest turd of them all, Dominik Mysterio. Sami asks if Dominik has the balls. McDonagh says Dominik isn’t fighting anyone. If Sami wants to fight someone, he can fight McDonagh. Sami says McDonagh deserves an ass-kicking, and he’ll get that tonight.

Video Package:

We see a video package of more of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time.

Backstage Segment:

Gunther is backstage. He begins to speak in his native language. Gunther then says that Chad Gable thinks he can stand in the way of him and his legacy. He asks who Gable thinks he is. Gunther says that tonight, history will be made. Gunther says that someone like Gable does not belong in the history books. He says that Gable’s story is a fairytale and it is temporary, but Gunther’s legacy is forever. Gunther says that when the bell rings tonight, he will go down as the greatest and longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in history.

Backstage Segment:

Adam Pearce is backstage with Raquel Rodriguez. Pearce says that he will work on making that official. Chelsea Green interrupts. She says that she does not wait in line. Pearce says that Piper Niven is not medically cleared to compete. Chelsea says that people are saying that the titles are cursed, but she doesn’t believe it. Pearce implies that maybe it is Chelsea who is cursed. Chelsea then asks Pearce what he was talking about with Raquel. She asks if they were talking about her being a loser. Raquel is still standing behind Chelsea. Raquel asks Pearce if he would mind, Pearce says that it is official. Raquel says that she will see Chelsea in the ring.

Match 3: Shayna Baszler vs Zoey Stark

Shayna takes Zoey down to start the match. Zoey grapevines the head, but Shayna gets out. Zoey kips up and hits the ropes, but Shayna takes her down. Shayna hits the ropes, but Zoey hits a dropkick. Zoey hits a headlock takeover but Shayna fights out of it and bends the arm back for a stomp. Shayna then wrenches the arm and sends Zoey to the corner. Shayna wrenches the arm and sends Zoey into the corner. Shayna avoids a slingshot and goes for a Kirifuda Clutch. Zoey fights it and goes for a roll-up, but Shayna sits on the shoulders for a one-count. Zoey knocks Shayna out of the ring. Shayna grabs Zoey in a Kirifuda Clutch attempt at ringside. Zoey backs Shayna into the commentary table and gets in the ring. Zoey hits a plancha.

Zoey gets Shayna in the ring and hits a slingshot twisting senton for a two-count. Zoey attacks Shayna in the corner and hits an arm breaker. Zoey shoulders Shayna in the corner and wrenches the arm. Zoey then applies a hammerlock and sends Shayna’s shoulder into the turnbuckles. Shayna fights back and hits an arm snapper on the injured arm. Shayna applies a hammerlock. Zoey gets out of it with a roll-up for a two-count. Shayna quickly takes Zoey down for a two-count. Shayna applies an armbar. Zoey fights up and hits an arm drag. Zoey elbows Shayna back and boots her in the face. Zoey hits a forearm, followed by a pair of clotheslines. Zoey then connects with a back elbow.

Zoey is sizing Shayna up. Zoey hits a German Suplex and kips up. Shayna drops Zoey on the apron, but Zoey kicks Shayna back and hits a springboard missile dropkick for a two-count. Shayna soon avoids a sliding kick and knees her in the face for a near fall. Zoey elbows and kicks Shayna in the face. Shayna fights back and lifts Zoey, but Zoey elbows out of it. Shayna goes for a Kirifuda Clutch again, but Zoey fights out. Zoey goes for a Z-360, but it isn’t hit cleanly. Zoey punches Shayna out of the ring. Zoey hits a splash off the apron to the floor and gets Shayna back in the ring. Shayna avoids a slingshot twisting senton and applies a Kirifuda Clutch. Zoey fights it and manages to twist out. Zoey gets to her feet, but Shayna pulls her down in the Kirifuda Clutch. Zoey is fading away, but she continues to fight. The referee eventually calls for the bell.

A decent match, neither woman was shown to look weak here. Having the ref call for the bell helped, so as to not show Zoey tap out. The crowd didn’t seem too interested in this one. I think some character work is needed from both women to help elevate them. Grade C

After the match, Shayna is celebrating her win. She then approaches Zoey who is in the corner, coming to. The women show each other some mutual respect with a fist bump.

Backstage Segment:

The Judgement Day is backstage. Finn Bálor says it might be time to bring JD McDonagh into the group officially. Damian Priest says he agrees but wants McDonagh to prove himself more. Finn thinks they might not be champions if not for McDonagh. Finn asks what Dominik thinks. Dominik says he’s cool with whatever they decide. Rhea says they should see how McDonagh does against Sami Zayn tonight. Finn believes that they will get this done and asks if Damian wants to help. Damian says he’ll do it. Finn and Damian walk off. Rhea tells Dominik that she wants him to make sure everything goes right. They’ll talk about “that other thing” later. Dominik gets up.

Match 4: Raquel Rodriguez vs Chelsea Green

Chelsea Green gets in the ring and tries to reason with Raquel Rodriguez. The bell rings, and Chelsea tries to run away. Raquel grabs her and rag dolls Chelsea before throwing her down. Raquel blocks a kick and grabs Chelsea by the throat. Chelsea kicks Raquel in the knee and clubs her. Chelsea hits the ropes, but Raquel hits a big boot, taking Chelsea down. Raquel connects with a fallaway slam. Raquel then pulls Chelsea up on the apron, but Chelsea snaps Raquel off the top rope. Chelsea heads to the top rope and dives, but Raquel grabs her. Chelsea slides away and slaps Raquel in the face. Raquel clotheslines Chelsea down. Raquel hits Chelsea with the Tejana Bomb for the win.

A standard squash match. It seems like they were just giving Raquel a win after her loss to Rhea at Payback. It’s rather telling that they are portraying Chelsea in this way even though she is a champion. Grade D

After the match, Raquel grabs a microphone and says that earlier tonight she spoke with Adam Pearce regarding the actions of Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio at Payback. Raquel now has her rematch against Rhea and Dominik is banned from ringside. Raquel says that she will see Rhea next week for the Women's World Championship.

Video Package:

We are shown a third video package of the greatest Intercontinental Champions. These videos are showing a lot of Hall of Famers.

Backstage Segment:

Alpha Academy are backstage. Chad Gable says that Gunther thinks a guy like him doesn’t belong in the history books. Gable says that he is already in the history books! Gable says that he is an Olympian, he has a masters degree, he is a valedictorian, he raises everyone to new levels, and he has won every tag title. Gable says that in front of his family, he will show that Gunther’s desire to keep his title does not match Gable’s desire to take it from him.

Video Replay:

We see a replay of earlier tonight when Kofi Kingston accidentally hit Matt Riddle with a Trouble in Paradise.

Backstage Segment:

Drew McIntyre is backstage looking for Kofi Kingston. Matt Riddle is telling Drew to calm down. Drew says that he cannot stand that Jey Uso is now on Raw. He says that he gave Jey a pass tonight, but if Jey messes up, Drew will go for the guy who brought him here, Cody Rhodes. Kofi walks up to Drew & Riddle and apologises for what happened earlier. Drew accuses Kofi of doing it on purpose. Drew says that he will keep his eyes out for more accidents. Drew walks off. Kofi tells Riddle to have a word with his boy.

In Ring Segment: Miz TV

The Miz welcomes everyone to Miz TV. Miz says that his guest will shed some light on what happened at WWE Payback. His guest will explain what happened and right this wrong. This man promised him he would be completely transparent. They call him the greatest of all time, John Cena.

John Cena’s music hits to a huge ovation from the crowd. John Cena does not come out. The cameraman acts like he can see Cena and does the motions for his entrance. Miz tells “Cena” to take a seat. The crowd is not happy. Miz says even the adults hate Cena now. Miz says that Cena screwed him over. Miz says that this feels weird. He asks can they see Cena? He checks and says “You can’t see him?” Miz tells the crowd that Cena is sitting right here. Miz says that he has been able to see Cena for 18 years and can see right through him. Miz says that he will translate for Cena. Miz asks “Did LA Knight pay you?” “Did he offer him a job during these hard times?” “Did Cena purposely screw him over?” “Did you conspire with LA Knight?” The crowd shouts, “YEAH!” Miz wants them to shout, “YES!” Miz then realises he doesn’t like “yes” chants. Miz says that they should nod their heads. The crowd doesn't listen to him.

Miz says that Cena conspired with LA Knight and “kicks” him out of the ring. Miz tells Cena to leave, signalling that invisible Cena won’t listen to him either. Miz shoves the phantom Cena before getting shoved back. Miz removes his jacket. Miz then hits a Skull Crushing Finale on the invisible John Cena.

Miz says that there is nothing invisible or imaginary about what happened to him at Payback. Miz challenges LA Knight to a one-on-one match with no guest referees or surprises. If LA Knight accepts, he’ll find out whose game it really is. The chants will end, and LA Knight will fade away. His future success is about as realistic as the invisible John Cena in the ring. This isn’t make-believe. This LA Knight fairy tale they’re all buying into will come crashing down because he’s The Miz, and he’s awesome.

Backstage Segment:

Jey Uso is walking around backstage. Akira Tozawa sees him and immediately turns and walks in the other direction. Adam Pearce catches up with Jey. He tells Jey that Smackdown is getting a compensation pick for Jey coming to Raw. He says depending on who that pick is, it might piss people off, so he wanted to give Jey a heads up about it. Jey thanks him and walks away. Tommaso Ciampa walks up to Adam Pearce and asks if they can talk. Pearce says they can.

Match 5: Sami Zayn vs JD McDonagh

McDonagh immediately gets out of the ring. McDonagh is chased back into the ring. Sami leapfrogs McDonagh and hits a monkey flip. Sami attacks McDonagh and viciously whips him into the corner. Sami attacks McDonagh on the apron, but McDonagh gets away by snapping Sami off the top rope. McDonagh attacks Sami with punches and taunts the crowd. McDonagh chops the chest, but Sami turns him around and chops away at him. McDonagh elbows him, but Sami sends him up and over the turnbuckles with a hard whip to the corner. McDonagh lands in a heap at ringside.

McDonagh soon gets to his feet and sweeps the feet before pulling Sami out of the ring. McDonagh bounces Sami off the apron and slams his face on the commentary table a few times. McDonagh then sends Sami into the ring post headfirst.

McDonagh poses on the commentary table briefly. McDonagh gets in the ring and hits a snap suplex on Sami. McDonagh covers, but Sami quickly kicks out. McDonagh puts Sami in the corner and shoulders away at the ribs. McDonagh goes for another suplex, but Sami fights it. Sami connects with a vertical suplex. Sami gets to his feet and composes himself. McDonagh pulls Sami face-first into the turnbuckles. McDonagh puts Sami on the top rope and punches him. McDonagh goes for a superplex, but Sami fights it. Samii head-butts McDonagh down to the canvas. Sami leaps, but McDonagh drop kicks him out of midair for a near fall. McDonagh then applies a chin lock.

Sami fights up from the chin lock. Sami has a whip reversed, but he springboards over McDonagh and hits a clothesline. Sami hits a chop to the chest and whips McDonagh to the opposite corner before hitting a back body drop. Sami sets up for a Blue Thunder Bomb, but McDonagh elbows out. McDonagh charges him, but Sami crushes him with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall.

Sami puts McDonagh on the top rope, but McDonagh knocks him away. Sami avoids a dive, but McDonagh lands on his feet. Sami hits an exploder suplex into the corner. Sami then goes for a Helluva Kick, but Dominik Mysterio pulls McDonagh out of the ring. Sami attacks Dominik at ringside with a clothesline. Sami punches away at Dominik. Sami then attacks McDonagh and puts him in the ring. Dominik gets on the apron and eats a right hand. McDonagh then rolls Sami up for the win.

An OK match, a cheap heat finish with the distraction and a roll up. It will be interesting to see where the Judgement Day goes from here and how this will impact the storyline with Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. Grade C-

After the match, Sami grabs Dominik and punches away at him before throwing Dominik into the ring. Dominik tries to crawl back out of the ring, but Sami grabs him. McDonagh is watching this from the ramp, doing nothing. Sami sets Dominik up for the Helluva Kick, but McDonah pulls Dominik out of the ring. McDonagh tells Dominik to go to the back. Dominik leaves. Sami then attacks McDonagh, hitting him with an exploder suplex in the corner. Sami then hits McDonagh with a Helluva Kick.

Video Package:

Even more former Intercontinental Champions are shown.

Backstage Segment:

Dominik Mysterio is walking backstage with JD McDonagh when the rest of Judgement Day comes to congratulate him. Dominik walks off and stops in front of Jey Uso. Dominik says that they have both come from messed up families and Hall of Fame fathers. Dominik says that he knows what Jey is going through. Dominik says that everyone respects his father, but everyone has no idea what his home life is like. Dominik says that Jey comes from a broken family. Dominik says he had no family. Dominik says that nobody likes Jey, just like nobody likes Dominik. Dominik says that since Rhea and the Judgement Day came into his life, there are no leaders. They are all equals. Dominik says if Jey wants, he will talk to Judgement Day, they will always have open arms there. They know what it's like. Dominik tells Jey to think about it. Jey says nothing.

Main Event: Intercontinental Championship Match - Gunther vs Chad Gable

Alpha Academy and Imperium have remained in the back.

The men lock up, and Gunther immediately throws Gable down. Gable slaps the mat in frustration and gets to his feet. They lock up again, and Gunther applies a side headlock. Gunther hits a headlock takeover and cinches in the headlock. Gable fights up, but Gunther hits another headlock takeover. Gable pops up, but Gunther again takes him down with a headlock takeover. Gable grabs the ankle, but Gunther gets to the ropes. Gable taps him on the chest. Gunther puts Gable in the corner, but Gable turns him and chops the chest. Gable avoids big chops and gets out of the ring. Gunther chases Gable back into the ring. Gable gets in the ring and dropkicks Gunther off the apron. Gunther tries again, but he eats a second dropkick.

Gunther takes his time and gets back in the ring. They go for a test of strength, but Gunther kicks Gable in the midsection and hits another headlock takeover. Gunther cinches it in, but Gable soon fights up. Gable flips through a back suplex and hits a headlock takeover. Gunther fights up, but Gable takes him back down. Gunther quickly gets up and hits a nasty backbreaker. Gunther applies a Boston Crab, but Gable soon gets to the ropes. Gunther kicks Gable in the face. Gable fights back, but Gunther rebounds with a chop to the chest. Gunther stands over Gable and kicks him in the ribs. Gunther shoves Gable into the ropes and taunts the crowd. Gable fights back with some right hands, but Gunther drops him with a scoop slam and stomps him. Gable rolls to the apron to recover.

Gable hits a pair of dragon screws on the apron, twisting Gunther’s leg against the ropes. Gable attacks the knee and charges, but Gunther hits a kick to the jaw for a near fall. Gunther pulls Gable up to his feet and puts him back down with a chop. Gunther rips at the face and elbows Gable in the bridge of the nose. Gable fights back and chops the chest. Gunther quickly levels Gable with a chop to the chest.

Gunther walks around the ring before pulling Gable back to his feet. Gunther once again chops him down. Gunther shouts at the crowd and turns to see Gable pull his straps down. Gable is fired up and wildly punches away at Gunther. Gunther cuts Gable off and lays him on the top rope before bending him with a boot to the neck. Gable falls to ringside.

Gunther is now attacking Gable in front of his family. Gunther gives Gable a back suplex on the barricade and gets in the ring to break up the count. Gunther gets Gable in the ring and follows him in. Gunther grabs Gable and goes for a vertical suplex, but Gable twists out. Gable goes for a German Suplex, but Gunther fights out and chops him down. Gunther kneels on Gable’s face and knees the ribs. Gable fights back, Gable hits a chop and a throat thrust. Gunther fights out of a German Suplex and chops Gable down. Gunther backs up and sizes Gable up. Gable gets up, and Gunther hits him with a big boot, taking Gable down.

Gunther goes for a Powerbomb. Gable gets out and picks the ankle, but Gunther slaps him in the face. Gunther goes for a Powerbomb, but Gable pulls them over the top rope. Gunther gets up and goes for a chop, but Gable ducks it and hits a German Suplex on the floor. Gable gets Gunther in the ring and follows him in. Gunther immediately hits Gable with a Powerbomb for a near fall.

Gunther heads to the top rope, but Gable cuts him off. Gable attacks him, but Gunther chops him off. Gable pops up and scales the ropes for a top rope superplex. Gable goes to the top rope and hits a diving head-butt for a near fall. Gable gets up and immediately applies an ankle lock. Gunther twists out and kicks Gable away. Gable goes for Chaos Theory, but Gunther elbows out. Gable avoids a Powerbomb and hits a swinging back suplex. Gable puts the straps up and pulls them back down. Gable hits Gunther with Chaos Theory. Gunther is able to kick out before the 3.

Gable goes to the top rope and goes for a moonsault, but Gunther gets the boot up. Gable grabs the leg and applies an ankle lock. Gable grapevines the leg and cinches it in. Gunther twists and twists until Gable lets go. Gunther applies a rear naked choke, but Gable fights up. Gable falls back and rolls Gunther up for a two-count. Gunther immediately grabs Gable in a sleeper hold and spikes him on his head with a suplex. Gunther hits a Powerbomb and follows up with a lariat for the win.

There we go folks, Gunther will become the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. I love the fact that Gable was not made to look weak in this match. He got plenty of offence in and there was some nice back and forth. This was an amazing match and completely deserved the main event spot. Having Gable get some many near falls and opportunities to win, there seemed to be some fleeting hope from the crowd that maybe Gable was going to pull off the biggest upset in recent memory. Grade A

Overall, a decent episode of Raw. I still think that Raw is too long at 3 hours, a lot of the video packages and replays could be avoided if the show went back down to 2 hours. The main event definitely improved this episode of Raw. An amazing match. It was a shame that there were so many backstage segments and video packages to interrupt the flow of the show, but that will always be the case when trying to fill the time out.


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