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WWE RAW TV REPORT
APRIL 3, 2023
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. (AT THE MAIN DOWNTOWN ARENA ON FIGUEROA ST.)
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-The “Then, Now, Forever, Together” brand stamp aired.
-A video package on WrestleMania 39 aired which did not include Shane McMahon but did include KSI dressed as an energy drink, Snoop Dogg punching out The Miz, and Pat McAfee flying through the air. It closed with a more extended recap of the Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes main event including Cody and fans reacting to Reigns’s win.
-Kevin Patrick introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd.
-Triple H’s entrance theme played and he walked out in a suit and tie with his arms extended. He was introduced as “WWE Hall of Famer, Triple H.” He talked up how WrestleMania lived up to expectations. He thanked the wrestlers and the people behind the scenes who make this possible. “Even Stu,” he said, pointing at a cameraman. Fans chanted “Stu! Stu!” He touted the WrestleMania set, saying the first time he saw it it took his breath away. He said the most important people are the fans who make it possible for them to do what they love to do.
He said the day after they’re dominating the news and social media with WrestleMania happenings, they then made an announcement that is all anybody wants to talk about. He didn’t specify, but he said, “I am here to assure you we ain’t going nowhere. The same WWE that you love, the same WWE that put 161,000 people to the rafters at SoFi Stadium is going nowhere. The same WWE that you love, the Superstars, the action, the drama, all of it, we are going nowhere. We will be here week in and week out… Because we are the WWE!” He closed with “Then, Now, Together Forever.”
(Keller’s Analysis: So the message was to make sure fans, who are nervous about the WWE or even nervous about Vince McMahon being part of the new corporate structure of the new WWE-UFC company, could see Triple H front and center as the person celebrating the success of WrestleMania with the fans and acknowledging the sale without specifically saying that’s what he was talking about. He is seen as credible with fans so he’s a good person to assure them WWE won’t change as a result. There also could be a lot of people who work for WWE who are now concerned about their futures, so this was giving them perhaps a morale boost by praising them for their role in the big weekend. It also very well could have been mainly a genuine celebration of what a successful weekend WrestleMania was.)
Triple H pivoted to asking the fans to help him acknowledge one more person. “Nine-hundred and forty-six days,” he said. “Please rise and help me welcome the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns.” Roman’s music played and he walked out with Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa, but not the Usos. Graves said it’s time to start adding Reigns to the conversation about the greatest of all-time. They entered the ring and the music stopped. Fans booed. Some “You suck!” chants rang out. Reigns milked the moment for a while. He asked to be acknowledged. Cody Rhodes’s music interrupted.
Cody walked out in a suit with a vest and tie. He was still holding his ribs. He managed a smile as his pyro blasted. Graves said Cody took Reigns to the limit, but ultimately couldn’t finish the story. Patrick said all heroes get knocked down. Graves said it’s daring for him to enter the ring. “I know what I want to talk about,” Cody said as he stared at Reigns, Heyman, and Solo 23 minutes into the show.
Cody said today is turning out a lot differently for him than he anticipated. He said he thought he’d be standing there as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. “Oh, I can see I don’t have them,” he said. “I felt it.” Reigns and Heyman smiled and laughed. Cody said Reigns was the better competitor at WrestleMania 39. Fans booed. He shook his head like it pained him to say it. He said he knows they always have to do this with the world watching, that’s part of the job, but he knows that Roman knows he won a lot of matches where he narrowly beat people and skated by, but he was the victor. “Last night, I had you,” Cody said as fans cheered. Reigns shrugged like it didn’t matter or it wasn’t true.” He said what he wants to talk about boils down to one word. Fans began chanting: “Rematch!” Cody then confirmed it. “Rematch,” he said.
Heyman and Reigns looked at each other. Heyman begged Reigns to get to be the one to respond. “I was thinking, on behalf of the Tribal Chief, when exactly would you like this hypothetical rematch?” Cody said, “Tonight.” Fans popped. Reigns snarled a bit as Heyman had some private words with him. Fans booed as Heyman said, “No rematch. Not tonight. Not in Puerto Rico. Not at Summerslam. Not at Survivor Series. Not at the Royal Rumble. Not at Madison Square Garden. Not in San Francisco, where life does exist in California. No, no, no, no!” Fans began a “bullshit” chant. Heyman said, “That’s what you call calling the shots because you live on the Island of Relevancy.”
Cody asked, “You think I’m in a normal mood tonight, Mr. Heyman? You think I’m in the normal mood for your games, your chicanery. After everything I’ve been through in my entire career to get to last night and for last night to happen to me?” He said he wants cut to it and read between the lines. He said if they don’t want to give them what the fans want, a rematch right here and right now, then why not do a tag match since he had to fight both Roman and Sikoa basically last night.
Heyman asked for a moment. He said something to Reigns to the side. Reigns nodded. Heyman turned back and announced that he was authorized to inform him that his challenge is accepted. Fans cheered for the consolation prize. He said there were two parameters. He said if someone is so stupid as to team with him, it has to be someone who wrestled this past weekend at WrestleMania. He said he will realize how alone he is, because anyone who walks down the aisle and agrees to team with him against Reigns and Solo will never get another title match against Reigns as long as Reigns is champion. Heyman then said, “So who’ya want to talk about now, Cody?” Heyman let out a self-satisfied laugh. Brock Lesnar’s music then played.
Lesnar walked out with a smile on his face. Graves asked if he’s there to be Cody’s partner. Graves said Lesnar already lost the right to fight Reigns at Summerslam last year, so he loses nothing by stepping out for this match. Lesnar entered the ring and shook hands with Cody. They hugged and then stared down at Reigns, Heyman, and Solo as they walked to the back. Cody raised Lesnar’s arm and encouraged fans to cheer his partner.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cody had a great presence and great fire there. He handled the situation really well, and I’m really glad that Codyu was allowed to point out that he had Reigns beat and that he essentially lost to both Reigns and Solo. It also makes sense for him to request a rematch. It does bring up the question of who decides who gets rematches and why Cody wouldn’t deserve one given how he lost. The Lesnar partnership is interesting and a good hook to keep fans tuned in.)
-They cut to Graves and Patrick at ringside. Graves excitedly touted the “WrestleMania-caliber” tag team match. He told viewers not to go anywhere because this will be a night for the ages. Lesnar raised Cody’s arm on the stage.
-A collage aired of WrestleMania 39 moments.
(1) OMOS (w/MVP) vs. ELIAS
As Omos walked out, Graves said even in defeat, Omos mandhandled and dominated Lesnar in a way they hadn’t seen before. Patrick told everyone to imagine Omos’s future with MVP by his side. Graves said Lesnar might be less effective later considering the beating Omos gave him. Elias then walked out without much fanfare. Graves said it was his decision to have MVP wrestle so soon after the Lesnar match to show how dominant he can be. Omos knocked Elias hard to the mat at the start and then bodyslammed him. Graves said Omos got overconfident against Lesnar. Omos dropped Elias over the top turnbuckle and then head-vice slammed him for the win.
WINNER: Omos in under 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: WWE is trying to eat their cake and have it too here. Lesnar gets credit for beating Omos, but Omos gets credit for dominating Lesnar. This shows Omos wasn’t fed to Lesnar because they were done with him as a pushed attraction.)
-The Usos pounded on the door of Roman Reigns’s locker room. Heyman walked out and smiled and said, “If it’s not the greatest tag team of all time.” Jimmy said they were there to see Roman. Heyman said Reigns just stepped outside to have a chat with Solo about the tag match. He asked if they saw what happened with Cody earlier. Heyman said Roman wanted to know their contributions this weekend were greatly appreciated. He said the jet is ready to leave L.A. after Reigns and Solo wipe the floor with Cody and Brock. He said “Brock Lesnar” like he was smelling vomit as he said it. He told them to get a head start as there is fresh seafood waiting. Jey didn’t seem to love it, but didn’t protest. Jimmy said, “Yeet.” They walked away. The camera waited as Heyman re-entered Reigns’s locker room. The mic picked up Heyman saying, “I took care of it, my Tribal Chief.” Fans oooh’d.
-Graves said it’s clear Reigns doesn’t want their help tonight and it might not be a stretch to say this is Reigns’s reaction to the Usos losing at WrestleMania.
-A video package aired on the Hall of Fame from last Friday night.
-They showed various headlines from major corporate brand websites covering WrestleMania.
-Cathy Kelley interviewed Bad Bunny at ringside. She said he is host of “WrestleMania Backlash.” She asked how happy he is to bringing WWE back to Puerto Rico. He said it’s great WWE is returning to Puerto Rico. He said he’s just there to enjoy Raw and is grateful for everything. “See you in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Rey made his entrance and interacted briefly with Bad Bunny at ringside. Rey entered the ring with a mic hand. Fans chanted, “619!” Rey said, “What an emotional week.” He said he was just inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fans chanted, “You deserve it!” He thanked the fans. He said he wanted to thank the “WWE Universe” because they have welcomed him with open arms. He pointed at Bad Bunny and thanked him specifically. Austin Theory’s music interrupted.
As Theory walked out, fans booed. Graves said he defeated John Cena. Theory asked Rey to hear him out because they were the only two who did exactly what they said they were going to do at WrestleMania. “You beat the product of your own bad parenting, and I beat a Legend,” he said. “I beat the greatest of all-time, John Cena.” He said Rey was too busy trying to correct the past. Fans taunted Theory with a chant of “You tapped out!” Theory said, “Nah, you all tapped out because you didn’t believe in me. I’m the damn champ.”
Theory entered the ring and said the fans chanting at him is what Cena warned him would happen. He said he’s still on top and he can’t be touched. He said he doesn’t suck because he beat Cena. Fans chanted “Cena! Cena!” He said he isn’t there, he’s a part-timer. He said the fans should be chanting Rey’s name, too. Fans began chanting “Rey!” He said he’s going to add Rey’s ass to the collection. Rey said the only thing he’ll be collecting are his teeth after a 619. “Oh please make this match official,” said Patrick. A ref entered the ring and called for the bell.
(2) REY MYSTERIO vs. AUSTIN THEORY
The bell rang 55 minutes into the hour. They cut to a split screen break at the start of the match. [c/ss]
Theory got the better of Rey as they brawled at ringside during the break. Back to full screen, Theory had Rey grounded in a headlock. They fought back and forth for a few minutes.
At 8:00, when Rey set up a 619, Theory turned around and clotheslined him. Theory charged at Rey, but Rey head scissored him into position again for a 619. Dominik showed up and distracted Rey. Theory then caught Rey’s subsequent 619 attempt and gave him the A-Town Down for the win.
WINNER: Theory in 9:00.
-Dominik entered the ring with Damien Priest. Dominik pounded away at Rey. Dominik then approached Bad Bunny at ringside. They exchanged some words face to face. Dom turned away, then tried to surprise Bunny with a cheap shot. Bunny blocked it and punched Dominik. Priest, established as a pal of Bunny last year, yanked Bunny over the barricade. He yelled down at him and said he doesn’t need to get involved. Bunny stood and shoved Priest. Dominik spun Bunny around. Bunny punched him. Dom went down. Priest then forearmed Bunny across the side of his head. Bunny went down. Patrick said, “This is the hottest artist on Planet Earth.” Priest then cleared the announce desk. Graves told him not to do it and said it’d cost him a lot of money. Priest then chokeslammed Bunny onto the table. The ref immediately checked on Bunny. Dominik returned to the ring and stomped away on Rey some more before leaving with Priest. Rey went down to check on Bunny. Priest said he shouldn’t have gotten involved. Graves called for help from medical. He apologized on behalf of all WWE to all of Bad Bunny’s fans.
-A video package aired on the Usos vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. Patrick hyped that Sami & Owens would be out next.
-A commercial for Smackdown hyped that Roman’s title reign continues while another ended. [c]
-A clip aired of Priest attacking Bunny.
-Adam Pearce chewed out Priest, saying Bad Bunny was there to support them. Priest said he took a swing at Dom. He said if he didn’t like Bad Bunny, he’d really have a reason to be angry.
(Keller’s Analysis: Priest didn’t have a big WrestleMania match, but he’s got a big Backlash match it appears.)
-Owens and Sami came out. Owens came out first and his music played briefly. Then Sami’s music played and he came out, holding his tag belts and smiling wide. Fans chanted, “You deserve it!” Owens agreed. Sami said it’s corny but he has to say it wouldn’t have happened without the fans. He said he has been wrestling in L.A. for a while he know they like to celebrate. Owens said that sounds pretty good. He said nothing says celebration like a good fight. He said there’s probably a lot of people in the locker room who’d like to try to make a name for themselves on the Raw After WrestleMania. He said they’re “right here.” The Street Profit’s music played.
The Profits entered the ring. Montez Ford said nobody seems to know their name, so why not tonight on Raw. Angelo Dawkins joined Ford in saying, “We want the smoke!” They cut to a break. [c]
(3) KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN vs. THE STREET PROFITS
They fought back and forth as the announcers hyped the main event tag with Cody & Lesnar vs. Reigns & Solo. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
Deep into the match, the Profits hit a double blockbuster. Ford made the cover on Sami. KO landed on Ford from above to interrupt the ref’s count, although Ford was still covering Sami and Sami’s shoulders were still down, so the ref didn’t need to stop his count. (A “save” should break up the cover or free up the wrestler who’s on his back to raise his shoulder as a result of the interference, not just involved hitting the wrestler making the cover from behind and then the ref needlessly stops his count. Anyway…) A minute later, with Sami and Owens down at ringside, Ford landed a running flip dive. Back in the ring, Ford went for a top rope splash on Owens, but Owens moved. Owens stood and tagged in Sami. He hit a stunner before leaving the ring. Sami then landed a Helluva Kick for the win.
WINNERS: Sami & KO in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a strange choice of a first match for Sami & Owens because fans wanted to celebrate and cheer Sami & Owens, but they didn’t take great joy in seeing them beat up the Profits and beat them.)
-Highlights aired of Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul.
-Kelley interfered Seth backstage. He celebrating beating Logan with the Curb Stomp. He said he is feeling good and is on cloud nine. He said he sent Logan and KSI back to the wasteland of social media. He said something about tonight is missing, though. He then said he realized the party isn’t back there, it’s in the ring. He called for his song to play. Seth made his ring entrance as fans sang his song. [c]
-Back from the break, fans were still singing Seth’s song as he walked around in the ring encouraging it. Graves said 75,000-plus were doing that on WrestleMania Saturday.
-Kelly interviewed Bobby Lashley backstage. She asked how he’s feeling about winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. He said standing in front of that WrestleMania audience and not competing is eating at him. Bronson Reed said Lashley taught him how to lose, so maybe he’s his pupil, but eventually the pupil can school the teacher. Lashley said he’d fight him if that’s what he wants. Reed told Lashley he can’t do it tonight, but eventually he will learn his lesson. He smiled and walked away. Then in walked Mustafa Ali who said that’s a lot of “no’s” coming his way lately. He said he didn’t get a match with Reed tonight nor a match at WrestleMania. He said if he wants to change the negative energy, he needs to change the way he thinks and think more positive-Ali. He said he should never take no for an answer again. Lashley asked if he means he has to be more positive. He said maybe he should take him to the ring and maul him. Ali said no. Lashley threw him down and then dragged him through the Gorilla position (which had been vacated for that segment) and then to the ring.
(4) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. MUSTAFA ALI
Somehow the match became official with a bell ringing and a referee. Lashley battered Ali for a minute and then finished him with a Hurt Lock.
WINNER: Lashley in 1:00. [c]
-More highlights aired from WrestleMania.
-Backstage, Reigns asked Heyman if the Usos were gone. Heyman said they went to the jet. Solo stared and listened. Reigns asked, “Did you know Brock would be there?” Heyman said the day after WrestleMania is when Brock takes six to nine months off and leaves everyone hanging. “Which is a life you rescued me from, my Tribal Chief, which is why I love you, my Tribal Chief,” Heyman said. Reigns asked how it happened. Heyman said Summerslam was the last match between Reigns and Lesnar ever, so Lesnar will never get another title match against him. He said Lesnar answered the challenge because he has nothing to lose. Reigns talked himself into being excited about this since one of his biggest accomplishments and accolades of all time is smashing Lesnar. He said when he’s done with that, he’ll smash Cody like he did at WrestleMania. He looked at Solo and said then he’ll tag in Solo. “Then we’ll see who’s ready now,” he said. He told Solo to show Cody who’s ready.
-Bianca Belair made her ring entrance. Fans chanted “EST!” She said the EST of WWE is still their Raw Women’s Champion. She said she can’t be the EST without stepping into the ring with the best. She saluted Asuka for being one of the most dangerous women she’s ever stepped into the ring with. She said she pushed her to be the toughest she can be. She said now she can proudly stand there and say “we did it.” Rhea Ripley interrupted, walking onto the stage to her music.
Ripley said after her humongous Royal Rumble victory, she decided to challenge Charlotte instead of Belair. She entered the ring and said she will beat Belair just like she beat Charlotte at WrestleMania. Belair said, “Hold up. I’m the luckiest because you chose not to face me?” She said Ripley chose Charlotte for a reason. She said she is all about getting in the ring with the best, and that includes Ripley. “One day, when you’re ready, we’ll really see which one of us is the best of the best,” Belair said. Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodrigues walked out to the ring. The eyed Ripley as they passed her and then they greeted Belair before Belair left the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is this the beginning of the end of two separate women’s titles in WWE like has happened with the men’s singles and tag team titles?) [c]
-They showed Cody walking backstage, smiling. Graves said Lesnar hasn’t wrestled a tag team match since 2004.
(5) RACQUEL RODRIGUEZ & LIV MORGAN vs. DAMAGE CTRL (Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky)
They cut to a split screen break right after Raquel launched Liv over the top rope onto Kai and Sky. Graves said they’d find out next who will earn a future tag team title shot. [c/ss]
For the finish, Rodriguez slammed Kai with the Tahana Bomb and then Liv landed Oblivion for the win.
WINNER: Rodriguez & Morgan in 7:00 to earn a future WWE Tag Team Title match. [c]
-Miz entered the ring. He said he had more matches than any other Superstar at WrestleMania Weekend because the Dogg Father kept surprising him. “Surprise, here’s Pat McAfee! Surprise, here’s George Kittle! Surprise, here’s Jumpin’ Shane McMahon! Surprise, I beat him so badly, he couldn’t finish the match. Then surprise, Snoop Dogg sucker punches me.” He said he used his rings as brass knuckles “and then did the worse People’s Elbow in the history of People’s Elbows.” He said he’s done with surprises. Riddle then interrupted Miz.
Riddle rolled down the ramp on a scooter. He entered the ring and struck a pose. Fans chanted, “Bro! Bro! Bro!” When Riddle asked, “Surprise! Did you miss me?” Miz attacked him from behind. Graves said Miz was standing up for himself after constant humiliation. Riddle popped up and attacked Miz including a Bro Derek. Riddle’s music played and he then stood on the ropes and pointed at fans as he celebrated.
-Graves plugged the main event tag team match. [c]
-They replayed the Priest chokeslam of Bad Bunny earlier. Graves said Bunny might’ve suffered a separated shoulder. He said he’s been taken a local medical facility.
-Byron Saxton interviewed Trish Stratus, Becky Lynch, and Lita backstage. He asked how it felt to win “such a monumental victory on the WrestleMania stage.” Trish said it was amazing. Lita said she’s still riding high. Becky said now that the chapter has ended battling Damage CTRL, they’re ready to elevate the tag titles. She said there’s no better way than beating Morgan & Rodriguez next week on Raw.
-Graves and Patrick plugged next week’s Raw matches: The Women’s Tag Title match just mentioned and Miz vs. Riddle.
-Reigns, Solo, and Heyman made their ring entrance. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
–Cody made his entrance after the break. Lesnar made his entrance last. As the ring announcer introduced Cody, Lesnar gave him an F5. Fans gasped. He gave Cody a second F5. Reigns looked at Heyman with curiosity as they walked to the back with Solo. Graves asked why he was doing that to Cody. Cody looked up at Lesnar in shock. Lesnar stomped on Cody and then stood on his throat. He gave him a suplex, then lifted him by his waistband and threw him to the floor. Then he rammed him into the ringside barricade. Graves said Cody’s ribs were already damaged. “Cody is crumbling before our very eyes, but why?” Graves asked. He said Cody was caught off guard. Lesnar then suplexed Cody over the barricade into the time keeper’s area. Lesnar rang the bell and threw it down. Then he picked up a chair and bashed him with it. “What is this about?” asked Graves. He said Lesnar knows why he’s doing this, but he’s the only one. Lesnar picked up the ringside steps and bashed Cody with it, then threw it into the ring. “What is going through Lesnar’s head right now?” Graves asked.
Pearce came to ringside to yell at Lesnar. Lesnar lifted Cody and delivered an F5 onto the ringside steps. Other referees and officials then walked to ringside. Lesnar began his walk to the back, but then he stopped and turned and looked back at Cody. Lesnar chased away the producers and referees, then grabbed a chair and bashed Cody with it twice. Graves wondered why. Patrick said there was nobody there to help him. (Good point. Where are all of Cody’s friends?) Lesnar shoved the chair into Cody’s neck and yelled down at him. He was bleeped. Then he walked away as Pearce and others checked on him. They cut away to several fans who were concerned and shocked.
Lesnar walked back onto the entrance stage and lifted his two middle fingers aimed toward the ring as the show ended.