SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
JANUARY 9, 2023
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-Then “Vince McMahon – Then, Now, Forever” brand stamp aired. Then the Raw opening theme played.
-They cut to the arena live as pyro blasted. Kevin Patrick introduced the show and said there’s no better time to be a fan of WWE. (He didn’t say “part of the WWE Universe,” so there’s at least that).
-Kevin Owens walked to the ring to his music with a mic in hand. Patrick said KO capitalized on “a rare emotionally-charged moment for Roman Reigns.” As KO began talking about facing Reigns at the Royal Rumble, JBL’s music interrupted. JBL walked out and insulted the people of Alabama being about one generation away from walking on all fours. He said they are smart enough to know KO can’t beat Reigns. Baron Corbin walked out and concurred with JBL. He made some regional college football references to work up the locals. KO buried his head in the top turnbuckle. Corbin said he’ll beat Reigns again in the main event of WrestleMania because he will win the Rumble to earn that position. JBL called KO a snowflake. Corbin said if he wants to take a nap, he can go to the ring and put him to sleep. KO said they just talked for three minutes and put him in a coma. KO challenged Corbin to a fight.
(Keller’s Analysis: Listening to JBL spout tired cheat heat buzzwords like “woke” and “snowflakes” like it’s 2018 is blah. KO reflected how viewers felt, and at least that was funny.)
(1) BARON CORBIN (w/JBL) vs. KEVIN OWENS
The bell rang nine minute into the show. A distraction at ringside by JBL opened up Corbin to take early control. KO made a comeback. He set up a piledriver at ringside at 2:00. Corbin escaped and chokeslammed KO on the edge of the ring apron. They cut to an early break. [c]
After the break, Corbin hit a Deep Six, but KO kicked out at 2. KO then hit a Stunner for the win.
WINNER: Owens in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to this, but giving KO a clean win over JBL is at least the right decision for this match. Corbin is so ice cold now, and his lack of chemistry with JBL is remarkable.)
-The Usos and Solo Sikoa attacked KO afterward. KO fended them off with a chair. KO sat mid-ring in a chair. Solo tried to charge back to the ring, but the Usos grabbed him. Adam Pearce and other officials ran out to try to preserve some order.
-Patrick hyped that they’d look at the new side of Alexa Bliss that emerged last week and they’d have an update on Bianca Belair next. [c]
-Patrick and Graves commented on the Usos and Solo attacking Reigns, noting KO is scheduled to face Reigns at the Rumble.
-Backstage, Pearce confronted the Usos and Solo. He told them that there would be a Tag Team Turmoil match later, and the winner will earn a chance to face them at Smackdown for the tag team titles. Pearce said the Usos can leave, but Solo has to stay and face Dolph Ziggler later. Jey Uso protested. Pearce held his ground and told security to see them out.
-They went to Graves and Patrick at ringside. Patrick said their medical team said Belair needed stitches, but otherwise is fine. Graves said Bliss was fined an undisclosed amount of money. Bliss walked into the view on the announce table. She said Belair is afraid of her, not Bray Wyatt or Uncle Howdy. “Because I am the face of evil,” she said. She said she doesn’t feel bad about what she did because she hasn’t felt this good in a really long time. She took a deep exhale, then got sinister and said she’s finally in charge of what she does. She said she has the whole world in her hands and isn’t afraid to use those hands to tear more scars into Belair’s face and take her title. An Uncle Howdy vignette interrupted. The voice asked, “Do you feel in charge?” a few times. The lights went dark, then back on. Uncle Howdy’s music played and he walked out onto the entrance stage through a cloud of fog. They cut to a break. [c]
(1) BAYLEY (w/Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky) vs. MICHIN
Before the match, Bayley said they had a message for Becky Lynch since she seems obsessed with them. She said she might be jealous of the bond they have because she doesn’t have any friends besides Michin maybe. Bayley gave Kai and Sky the night off and she told Becky to watch what she does to her friend, Michin. Graves did refer to Michin as Mia Yim during the match. Bayley bailed out early. Michin landed a running kick from the ring apron. Patrick said this could a statement win for Michin as they cut to a break. [c]
Graves said he remembers the day Bayley walked into the pre-NXT developmental system, FCW, and her change from a “starry-eyed dreamer” to a one of the most successful wrestlers in WWE is something to behold. Bayley took over after the break at ringside with a suplex off the ring apron. Bayley ultimately got the three count with her feet on the ropes for added leverage.
WINNER: Bayley in 8:00.
-They went to Patrick and Graves at ringside. Patrick said Johnny Gargano has a grade two AC sprain.
-Cathy Kelley interviewed Candice LaRae backstage. She said her husband is doing what it takes to get back to 100 percent. There was a reflection of Nikki Cross in the background. As LeRae talked about the Rumble, Rhea Ripley interrupted her and said she overheard her. She said it’s infuriating that she thinks she has a chance to win the Rumble. LeRae said she’s got as good of a chance as she does. LeRae challenged her to a match tonight. Ripley said she’d enjoy squishing her like a bug.
-They showed Austin Theory backstage heading toward the entrance. [c]
-Theory made his entrance and said “The champ is here.” Fans chanted “We Want Rollins!” He said that’s too bad because Seth limped away from the ring because “his old knee just couldn’t hold up with good ol’ me.” He said fans shouldn’t boo him. He said Seth was outclassed and outshined and taken to school last week. Seth’s music played and fans cheered. He came out on crutches. Graves said they’ve been asking questions all week about Seth’s condition, but they haven’t gotten a clear answer. Seth then dropped them and danced a little. Graves said, “It’s a miracle!” Seth played to the fans singing his song as he walked to the ring with one crutch in hand. Graves said it was deafening in the ring.
Theory told Seth he’s better than him and he will go on to win the Rumble and then headline WrestleMania and walk out as both U.S. Champion and Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Seth asked, “Are you done?” He said his knee isn’t 100 percent, but it will be in time to win the Royal Rumble and go on to headline WrestleMania. Fans cheered. As Seth was leaving the ring, Bobby Lashley walked out. Theory told him he’s part of the past and this is his ring now, so don’t enter it. Lashley entered it, fended off Theory, and speared him. Graves said it’s clear Lashley has some unfinished business with Theory. Lashley tossed him over the top rope. Lashley said he’s back and he can’t wait to manhandle everyone in the Rumble. His music played. Graves said that was concise and to the point and easy for everyone listening to understand. [c]
(2) RHEA RIPLEY vs. CANDICE LERAE
Ripley dominated most of the early minutes. She put LeRae in a Prism Lock leg hold at ringside while standing and then swung her into the ringside barricade. She threw LeRae back into the ring. Graves wondered who would take care of Gargano and LeRae’s baby when they’re too injured to do so. Graves also talked about how they don’t have conjugal visits and that’s just something in the movies, a reference to Dominik Mysterio claiming he was in prison. Patrick noted that Dominik would be on Miz TV later. Graves said Ripley is helping him re-adjust to mainstream society.
WINNER: Ripley in 5:00.
-Byron Saxton entered Lashley’s locker room and asked him about entering the Rumble. MVP cut off Saxton and said that he and Lashley have business to discuss. MVP offered a handshake. Lashley turned him down. MVP said they apparently still have some things to work out. He said he thought he’d have thanked him for helping him get reinstated to Raw. Lashley said he does appreciate that. MVP said they are making progress. Lashley said he hasn’t punched him yet. MVP said he’s trying to mend fences after mistakes were made. He said he wants to get them back to doing what’s best. He said got Pearce to realize that Monday nights need Lashley. He said they have a chance in the tag turmoil match later to earn a chance to stick it to The Bloodline. Lashley said he won’t forget about what they accomplished together, but he’s good for now. MVP said if he changes his mind, his number is the same. [c]
-A video aired on Cody Rhodes’s road back to action. He said the work to get back to the level he was at before his injury is in progress.
-Kelley interviewed Ziggler backstage about facing Sikoa later. He said he is focused on being the best. He said he’s there for revenge and payback. Mustafa Ali interrupted and said he just got back from Pearce’s office where he found out Pearce offered them a chance in the tag match together, but Ziggler instead told Pearce he wanted a singles match. Ziggler said he thought he was doing the right thing when he interfered in his match last month, but tonight it’s not about championships and it’s not about him and he hopes he understands that.
-They showed Sikoa wrapping his wrist backstage. [c]
-A vignette aired on Bronson Reed featuring NXT footage.
-Saxton asked Reed why he decided to help The Miz. Miz entered the scene and said it’s because Reed isn’t just a bruiser, he’s also a highly ethical man who saw that he was outnumbered. He put his hand on Reed’s shoulder, but Reed shot him a look. Miz invited Reed to join him at Miz TV. “Anything for a friend,” Miz said. Reed said, “Friend? There is no us. If you want something from me, pay me.” Miz laughed uncomfortably and said it’s part of their rapport and he’s French.
(3) SOLO SIKOA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler put in a spirited early flurry of offense, but Solo soon took over. Patrick wondered what would happen if Solo was part of the Royal Rumble. Graves said he’d do well in a situation where it’s every man for himself. Ziggler fought back briefly, but Solo caught him and dumped him over the top rope. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back from the break, Sikoa was still in control. Ziggler caught a charging Sikoa with an elbow and rallied. He landed a leaping DDT for a two count. He hit a Zig Zag a minute later for another two count. When he went for a superkick, Sikoa blocked it. Ziggler went for a Fameasser, but Sikoa blocked it and landed a Samoan Spike for the win.
WINNER: Sikoa 11:00.
-The Usos joined Sikoa at ringside to celebrate. Graves said the Usos were thumbing their noses at Pearce who ordered them to leave earlier.
-A recap aired of Dominik being arrested and then saying prison changed him. They showed The Judgment Day heading toward the entrance for Miz TV. [c]
-Kelley interviewed Bayley backstage. Michin showed up. Bayley said she’s not afraid to accept some help, unlike Becky, and help is on the way to beat her up. Bayley, Kai, and Sky attacked Michin backstage. Bayley told her not to step up for someone who won’t be there for her. She said she’s an idiot.
-Miz TV: Miz made his ring entrance. He welcomed everyone to Miz TV. He said he has outdone himself. He said he realizes he has had notable guests on Miz TV before like John Cena and Roman Reigns. He said tonight he’s going to give everyone an exclusive look at their justice system. He introduced Dominik.
The Judgment Day walked out. Mysterio came out looking like he was cosplaying Konnan. Graves said he’s out on bail and covering his face with a bandana because he’s seen things that have taken away his ability to smile. As Graves talked about terrible things that happened to him in prison, a skeptical Patrick said he wasn’t sure he was in there very long. Miz said he sees Dominik brought his whole crew and he’s sorry he doesn’t have enough chairs for all of them. He said he was expecting Dominik and his mommy. Dominik said he learned in prison you always stay close to your crew. Miz asked what it’s like on the inside. Dominik said, “Snitches get stitches.”
Dominik said he overheard his bunk mate saying he wanted to punch a hole in his face. He said that night he slapped him and asked if they had a problem, and that was that. Miz said the fans should show appreciation for Dominik’s show of human spirit. Dominik then said: “Now I truly know how Martha Stewart feels.” (That didn’t get much reaction and feels like a bit of dated reference, but a few years ago that would have been a great line for Dominik.) Miz said his sources tell him he was only held in county jail for a few hours. Damian Priest angrily said, “What did you just say?” Miz said Dominik’s wearing a designer flannel and hardly looks hardened from prison. As Priest got more upset, Miz backed down and said maybe he was misinformed. Priest said that they’re going to win the Tag Team Turmoil match tonight and are coming for the Usos.
-Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance, sans the injured A.J. Styles.
(4) TAG TEAM TURMOIL MATCH
(a) Finn Balor & Damian Priest (w/Dominik Mysterio, Rhea Ripley) vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
The match began 10 minutes into the hour. They cut to a break at 5:00 with Anderson down at ringside after being thrown into the ringside steps. [c]
Back from the break, Anderson leaped to hot-tag in Gallows. He beat up Balor and fended off interference by Priest. Dominik tripped Anderson running the ropes. Balor then rolled up Anderson for a three count in 10:00.
(b) Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin vs. Priest & Balor
Cedric and Shelton took early control. Balor eventually landed the Coup de Gras on Cedric for the three count at 16:00 overall.
(c) Chad Gable & Otis vs. Priest & Balor
Graves said Priest & Balor have been competing for over 15 minutes so it won’t be easy to take on these two fresh opponents. They cut to a break during the Gable & Otis ring entrance. [c]
Balor settled into a chinlock on Gable after the break. Otis and Priest tagged in 23:00 overall. Otis took control. He didn’t get much reaction as he tossed around Priest and Balor. Priest fell onto his back in perfect position for Otis doing The Caterpillar into an elbowdrop. “I thought we were done with that!” exclaimed Graves. Otis powerslammed Balor. When Otis went for a corner swing splash, Balor grabbed Gable so when Otis splashed down, he landed on both Gable and Balor. Otis was distraught. Priest then caught Otis with a running clothesline for the pin at 25:00 overall.
Medics checked on Balor at ringside who was clutching his ribs in pain. They made a big show of it as his Judgment Day cohorts crowded him too. Pearce asked the medic if he can continue. Balor tried to stand, but cried out in pain. Pearce said he’s medically disqualified. Priest said he’d do it by himself. Dominik yelled, “Finn, get up! You’re good! Come on!” Pearce said Dominik must take his place or else they have to forfeit. Dominik didn’t like that. Pearce said that’s the choice. Priest said that’ll work. Dominik nodded as if he was okay with it. Ripley slapped Priest harmlessly as if to express that she didn’t love the idea.
The Street Profits made their ring entrance as they cut to a break. Graves said Dominik is in great shape from working out in prison. [c]
(d) The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Priest & Dominik
Graves said Dominik wants to show everyone that prison didn’t break him and he has a lot to prove to the world. When Ford took over against Dominik, they showed Ripley getting increasingly nervous at ringside. Priest tagged in and took it to Ford. Dawkins flip dove onto Priest and Dominik at ringside after Priest threw Ford onto the announce desk. Graves exclaimed, “What was that?!” as they cut to a break. [c]
Dawkins hit a charging Dominik with a flying elbow to the chest. Both were down and slow to get up. Ford eventually tagged in and went after Priest. Four-way action broke out. Dominik tagged in. Priest and Dawkins battled at ringside. Ford flip-dove onto Priest. “What are we witnessing?” asked Patrick. Ford then landed a 450 splash for a near fall, interrupted by Priest yanking Ford out of the ring by his leg. Ford avoided a charging Priest who hit the ringside steps. As he re-entered the ring, Dominik rolled him up as Ripley pushed down on the pin for the three count.
WINNERS: Dominik & Priest & Balor 48:00 to earn a tag title shot against the Usos.
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