SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 24, 2023
ROSEMONT, ILL. AT ALLSTATE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA
REPORT BY MAURICIO POMARES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
– The show opened with Cody Rhodes making his way to the ring. Cody talked about where he could end up after the Draft and his upcoming encounter with Brock Lesnar. Cody showed pictures of Lesnar’s assault from 3 weeks ago while calling it one of the most embarrassing beatdowns he has received. He took off his suit to reveal the scar from the torn pec he suffered at Hell in a Cell at this same arena. Cody thanked the crowd from the bottom of his heart for lifting him up.
– Finn Bálor interrupted to tell Cody that everyone has scars. Finn agreed that Cody got screwed over at WrestleMania because he had no backup. He told Cody that he should be smarter and that he can’t win on his own. Cody told Finn that whatever he is selling, he is not buying. Finn said that Cody Rhodes in the Judgment Day would be unstoppable. Finn put over each member of his stable before warning Cody to not make the same mistake at Backlash. Cody thanked Finn for all that he has done for him, but he respectfully declines the offer. Finn said that he would slap his bleached hair someday. Cody announced that he was cleared to compete and challenged Finn to a match tonight.
(Pomares’s Analysis: Another pretty good promo from Cody Rhodes that set up a match I’m not that excited to watch. Finn Bálor has taken way too many losses in recent times and we already saw him come up short against Cody earlier this year.)
– The Usos and Solo Sikoa made their way to the ring for their match with the LWO.
(1) THE BLOODLINE (The Usos & Solo Sikoa) vs. LWO (Santos Escobar & Joaquin Wilde & Cruz Del Toro)
Wilde took control early on with a headscissors takedown and a dropkick on Jey. The Usos nailed Wilde with strikes in the corner, setting him up for a back elbow from Sikoa. Del Toro and Escobar knocked the Usos down with dropkicks, sending them out of the ring. The LWO took the Bloodline down with stereo Topes con Hilo and a suicide dive, as WWE RAW went to commercials.
Back from break, Sikoa blasted Wilde with a running back elbow, only to receive a Tornado DDT. Escobar got the hot tag, hitting the Usos with clotheslines and Sikoa with an enzuigiri. Escobar caught Jimmy with a rising kick, following it with an enzuigiri and a high crossbody for a two count. Jimmy cracked Escobar with an enzuigiri, but Del Toro immediately tagged in. Del Toro struck Jimmy with a missile dropkick, followed by a Phoenix Splash, but Jey broke the pinfall. Jey smashed Escobar into the ring post before being pulled down by Wilde. Sikoa crushed Wilde with an uranage on the apron while Del Toro nailed Jimmy with an enzuigiri. Sikoa blocked a Coast-to-Coast dropkick with a Samoan Spike, allowing the Usos to hit the 1D for the win.
WINNERS: The Bloodline in 8:00
– After the match, the Usos grabbed mics to say that they would become 9-time tag champions on Friday for the Tribal Chief.
(Pomares’s Analysis: Really fun match for the time given, but I’m getting tired of seeing the LWO lose every time. I’m really hoping they get some actual momentum after the draft)
– At backstage, Cathy Kelley interviewed Bianca Belair about her title defense at Backlash. Belair said that she was excited to face Iyo Sky before being interrupted by Damage CTRL. Bayley started putting over Sky, only for Sky to interrupt and challenge Belair to a match tonight. Bayley got in the way and made their match a six-woman tag match instead.
– At backstage, Jey Uso was talking on the phone before crossing paths with Sami Zayn. Sami called out Jey for dedicating his title win for Roman Reigns and not himself. Sami told Jey that he would lose, bad things would happen to him and he doesn’t deserve it. Jey told Sami to not feel bad for him because both of them made their choices already.
– A recap of Trish Stratus’ explanation of her assault on Becky Lynch aired.
– At backstage, Cathy Kelley interviewed Trish Stratus about why Becky Lynch is missing. Stratus said that Lynch is not doing so well and is struggling to keep up with the pressure of being a WWE superstar and a mother. Stratus said that she took Lynch out of her misery and that she should thank her for that.
– The Street Profits made their way to the ring.
(2) STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN
Benjamin immediately cracked Dawkins with a high knee before powerbombing Ford. Alexander laid Ford out with a Michinoku Driver, but he kicked out at one. Ford caught Benjamin with an enzuigiri, reaching Dawkins for the tag. Dawkins knocked Alexander down with a leaping back elbow, a corner elbow strike and the Silencer for a nearfall. The Profits took care of Benjamin with an enzuigiri and a forearm strike. Dawkins planted Alexander with Sky High, setting him for Ford’s Frog Splash.
WINNERS: Street Profits in 3:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: This was a fine win for the Profits, but didn’t do much for Alexander & Benjamin who have been given nothing since the Hurt Business teases earlier this year.)
– It was confirmed that Triple H’s announcement would come next.
– Triple H made his way to the ring to talk about having the privilege of competing in this ring, recapping his match against John Cena at WrestleMania 22. Triple H talked about Roman Reigns approaching 1000 days of championship reign and how good he is. He mentioned Roman getting a deal that allowed him to not defend the belt nearly as often. Triple H said that WWE and the fans deserve more before confirming that the brand that doesn’t get Roman Reigns in the Draft would determine a new champion. Triple H announced that at Night of Champions they would crown a new World Heavyweight champion before revealing a new belt. He said that this champion would earn the fans’ acknowledgment
(Pomares’ sAnalysis: It was necessary to create another world title with Roman Reigns’s light schedule. However, the fact it came in the midst of Roman’s reign after many of WWE’s top names lost to him really makes his title feel like a consolation prize.)
– A recap of Damian Priest assaulting Bad Bunny on the Raw after Mania aired.
– At backstage, Cathy Kelley interviewed Damian Priest about Bad Bunny’s appearance tonight. Priest said that he would put Bunny through a table again if he messed with his
– Damage CTRL made their way to the ring for their match against Bianca Belair.
– A vignette aired, showcasing Bronson Reed’s skills.
– At backstage, Jimmy Uso talked with Jey about their upcoming title match, but he seemed zoned out. Jey asked Jimmy what would happen if they lost on Friday. Jimmy told Jey to stop talking with Sami Zayn and stay focused. Jimmy tried to hype Jey up, but he didn’t react to Jimmy’s words.
– Bianca Belair made her way to the ring, revealing Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan as her tag team partners.
(3) BIANCA BELAIR & RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ & LIV MORGAN vs. DAMAGE CTRL (Bayley & Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky)
Belair and Sky evaded each othe’s moves, until Belair knodked Sky down with a dropkick. Belair planted Kai with a suplex, setting her up for a tag team splash from Liv and Raquel. Liv drove Raquel into a shoulder strike on Bayley and Kai in the corner. Raquel dropped Liv on top of Kai, but she kicked out at two. Kai caught Liv with a scorpion kick, but she immediately responded with a Codebreaker. Bayley distracted the referee, allowing Sky to blast Liv with a drive-by dropkick, as WWE RAW went to an ad break.
Back from break, Kai struck Liv with a running boot, followed by knee strikes from Bayley and Sky. Sky knocked Raquel off the apron and prepared to hit a move alongside Kai, but Liv knocked both DAMAGE CTRL members down. Sky pulled Belair off the apron before she could tag in, but Liv still managed to hit Kai with a backstabber. Raquel got the hot tag, knocking Bayley off her feet with a series of clotheslines and a Fallaway Slam. Raquel crushed Bayley with the corkscrew Vader Bomb, only for Kai to break the pinfall. After sending Kai out of the ring, Raquel powerbombed Liv into Bayley at ringside. Sky evaded the KOD, but was still driven into the ring post. Belair floored Bayley with the KOD to pick up the victory.
WINNERS: Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez in 10:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: Fun match to keep the Belair and Sky plate spinning. After their backstage segment and this match, it is clear Damage CTRL is on its last legs and will likely break up at Backlash or the Raw after that.)
– A recap of Bronson Reed interfering in Lashley and Theory’s match last week aired.
– Austin Theory made his way to the ring.
– Austin Theory said that he is not being shown respect by being booked in a triple threat match. Theory said that the new title should be around his waist. Theory gloated about his win over John Cena before being interrupted by Bobby Lashley. Lashley said that Theory is holding his title before calling out that Theory hasn’t stepped up and is scared. Lashley said that he requested the triple threat match, only for Theory to make fun of him not having a match at WrestleMania. Theory tried to take a cheap shot at Lashley, but he quickly took the upper hand. Bronson Reed joined the brawl to beat Lashley down alongside Theory. Reed crushed Lashley with a splash into the ring post, allowing Theory to hit him with A-Town Down. Reed took Theory down with a body block, a senton and a Tsunami.
(Pomares’s Analysis: The promo part of this segment was fine, but the brawl was the standout. I didn’t really care about Austin Theory getting involved in this feud, but if it means Bronson Reed winning the U.S. Title, I’m all for it.)
– Earlier today, Rick Boogs was getting overwhelmed by the draft and the new title announcement. Chad Gable explained how the draft works before claiming that Alpha Academy would be drafted together. Maxxine Dupri showed up to argue with Gable before Mustafa Ali interrupted. Ali said that Gable could reach his full potential if Alpha Academy is separated before calling him a loser ahead of their match tonight.
– A TikTok featuring Bad Bunny making his way to the arena was shown on screen.
– Chad Gable made his way to the ring for his match against Mustafa Ali.
(4) MUSTAFA ALI vs. CHAD GABLE (w/Otis & Maxxine Dupri)
Both men went for arm drags, until Gable launched Ali across the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex. Gable countered a rolling neckbreaker with a bridging dragon suplex for a two count. Ali caught Gable with a Satellite DDT, but couldn’t follow it up with a 450 Splash. Ali countered the Chaos Theory German suplex with a roll-through for the three count.
WINNER: Mustafa Ali in 2:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: I’m happy Mustafa Ali finally got a win, but this match wasn’t given any real time to shine.)
– At backstage, Jimmy Uso confronted Sami Zayn for talking with Jey. Jimmy said that Kevin Owens hasn’t forgiven Sami and would turn on him after they lose the tag titles.
– Finn Bálor made his way to the ring for his match against Cody Rhodes.
(5) CODY RHODES vs. FINN BÁLOR
Finn took Cody down with a hip toss, but he immediately responded with a headlock takeover. Cody caught Finn on his shoulders and dropped to his knees, hitting a gutbuster in the process. Cody dropped Finn with a suplex into a facebuster, followed by a waist lock. Finn evaded a running crossbody, making Cody crash into the ropes. Finn smashed Cody into the announce table and stood tall next to the world title, as WWE RAW went to a commercial break.
Back from break, Cody knocked Finn off his feet with a shoulder tackle, a drop down punch and a snap powerslam. Cody cracked Finn with the Disaster Kick, but he kicked out at two. Finn blocked the Cross Rhodes and the Cody Cutter, laying Cody out with an elbow drop for a two count. Finn nailed Cody with a sling blade before receiving a thrust kick and a Cody Cutter. Cody went for a powerbomb, but Finn countered it with a double stomp, followed by a shotgun dropkick. Finn missed the Coup de Grace, allowing Cody to knock him out with a Pedigree and a Cross Rhodes.
WINNER: Cory Rhodes in 11:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: Just a solid win for Cody Rhodes ahead of his match with Brock Lesnar. Not the biggest fan of Finn Bálor constantly losing, but at this point it’s clear it’s not a priority to keep him strong.)
– A recap of Damian Priest assaulting Bad Bunny on the RAW after Mania aired.
– Seth Rollins made his way to the ring.
– Seth Rollins welcomed the fans to RAW before addressing his upcoming encounter with Omos. Rollins said that something bigger had caught his eye, looking at the World Heavyweight championship. Rollins reminded everyone that he is not on the list of people Roman Reigns has beaten. He said that the title is an opportunity for them to fight and have a world champion and is more than politics and part-timers. Rollins teased going for the belt at Night of Champions, only for Omos and MVP to interrupt.
– MVP told Rollins that he is one of the greatest superstars in WWE, but it’s his responsibility to give Omos giant matchups. MVP said that Rollins shouldn’t make predictions about his future because he wouldn’t have one after Omos is done with him. Rollins put over how much of a threat Omos is and that he was born a once in a generation star. Rollins said that he is a once in a generation star because he made himself. He told Omos that he would make him famous and would beat him while the crowd sang his theme.
(Pomares’s Analysis: Not interested in the Seth Rollins and Omos encounter, but I’m all for Seth Rollins immediately positioning himself as the top contender to the new world title.)
– At backstage, Rey Mysterio was shown training ahead of his match tonight.
– It was announced that Brock Lesnar would return next week.
(6) REY MYSTERIO vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Rey tried to pummel Priest down, but was kicked away with a big boot. Rey caught Priest with a kick to the face, only for Priest to counter a flying move with a gutbuster. As Priest lifted Rey to the top turnbuckle, Bad Bunny was shown making his way to the ring. Rey launched Priest across the ring with a hurracarrana for a two count. Priest clocked Rey with elbow strikes before sliding his body out of the ring, as WWE RAW went to its final commercial break.
Back from break, Priest crushed Rey with a back elbow in the corner before being sent out of the ring. Rey crashed into Priest with an Asai moonsault, following it with a seated senton and a springboard crossbody. Rey sent Priest into the ropes, but Priest cracked him with a thrust kick before he could hit 619. Priest caught a springboard moonsault and dropped Rey with a flatliner for a nearfall. Rey stopped Priest from using a chair with a dropkick through the ropes. Priest stopped Rey from grabbing the chair, only for Rey to send him into the ropes and hit 619. Before Rey could go for the Frog Splash, Priest tossed a chair at Rey causing a DQ.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio in 11:00
– After the match, Damian Priest prepared to continue beating down Rey, only for Bad Bunny to show up with a kendo stick. Bunny blasted Priest with a barrage of kendo stick shots, forcing him to run through the crowd. Bunny grabbed a mic and announced that he was no longer hosting Backlash, but he would kick Priest’s ass instead, confirming they would face in a Street Fight.
(Pomares’s Analysis: I actually thought there was a chance Rey Mysterio vs Damian Priest would have a proper finish. The Bad Bunny post-match angle was fun and set up a surprising Street Fight. I would have bet money on the Backlash encounter being a tag team or six-man tag match.)