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WWE RAW TV REPORT
MAY 22, 2023
HERSHEY, PA. AT GIANT CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-Kevin Patrick introduced the show briefly and then went to a clip from earlier when Cody Rhodes arrived backstage. Brock Lesnar attacked Cody and threw him into a garage door and then rammed his arm with a beer keg. Cody went down screaming in pain.
-They went to Corey Graves and Patrick at ringside to react.
-Paul Heyman stood mid-ring. He introduced themself, then said: “For the record, I had nothing to do with that.” Heyman plugged the start time for Night of Champions and said what happened to Cody is just a taste of what he’s in for on Saturday afternoon. He said he stopped by “the hellhole known as Hershey, Pennsylvania” to enlighten the fans on one single fact. He touted three main events on Saturday. He said Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens will lose the WWE Tag Team Titles back to The Bloodline. “Ladies and gentleman and things that live in Pennsylvania, welcome to Monday Night Raw!” Owens’ music then played and Heyman’s expression changed.
Owens marched out and yelled, “Where you goin’, Paul?” Sami Zayn then joined him as his music played. Clips aired of what happened on Smackdown with The Bloodline and then the Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar beating The Usos. Back live, fans were singing Sami’s song as the music faded. Sami wondered where Heyman went. He said they’re moving into the biggest title defense they could have on Saturday. He said this event is really personal to him. Owens said there is something he’d like to say. He said Reigns dedicated his presumed win on Saturday to the Wild Samoans. Owens said he is going to dedicate their win over Reigns & Solo on Saturday to the “true pillars of the Bloodline, the Usos.” Sami said they have business to take care of tonight against Imperium.
Imperium’s music played and they walked out and surrounded the ring. Matt Riddle ran into the ring to even the odds. Imperium retreated, but then charged back into the ring. They cleared the ring of Imperium, but it took three of them to dump Gunther over the top rope to the floor. KO’s music played as Imperium regrouped and threw a fit at ringside. Graves said they are just getting started.
-They went to Graves and Patrick at ringside. They hyped the six-man tag match just teased in the previous segment plus the Trish Stratus-Becky Lynch contract signing, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Finn Balor, and more Seth Rollins segments.
-Ricochet made his ring entrance next. [c]
-A replay aired of Lesnar attacking Cody.
-Byron Saxton stood outside of Cody’s locker room. He said it’s not clear at this time whether Cody can compete at Night of Champions. Adam Pearce stepped out of the locker room. Pearce said he’s still being evaluated. Saxton said there’s a rumor Cody broke his arm. Pearce didn’t want to address that specifically, then walked away.
(1) RICOCHET vs. BRONSON REED
As Reed made his entrance, a soundbite aired where Reed blamed Ricochet for costing him his chance to win he Intercontinental Title. He said Ricochet will suffer as a result, as will anyone who gets in his way. The bell rang 22 minutes into the hour. Ricochet took Reed down with an enzuigiri a minute in. Reed fought back and landed a leaping elbow and a quick steamroller. When Ricochet rolled to ringside, Reed leaped off the ring apron with a shoulder check to Ricochet as they cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Ricochet rallied after the break. Reed swatted his leg on a kick attempt and then knocked him to ringside. When Reed leaped off the ring apron at Ricochet again, Ricochet met him with a leaping kick. Reed yanked on the top rope when Ricochet went for a slingshot into the ring. He followed with a powerslam and then climbed to the top rope and landed a top rope splash for the win.
WINNER: Reed in 8:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good win for Reed that establishes he gets clean wins over opponents the level of Ricochet, which is important if he’s going be credible against top tier babyfaces eventually. Good mix of styles.)
-Cathy Kelley interviewed Apollo Crews. He mentioned that he hopes Cody is okay “because that looked rough.” He said he was excited to be back. Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley interrupted. Dom complained that this was Rhea’s time. Kelley said Rhea was scheduled after Crews. Crews said he’s everything that Dom isn’t. “Whatever, man,” said Dom. Crews left. Rhea addressed Natalya. She said Natalya has had a legendary career, but at NOC she’s going to make an example of her and end her legendary career. Crews interrupted and said this is his interview time. Dom said, “You don’t interrupt Mommy!” Crews asked what he’s going to do about it. Rhea said he’ll show Crews who runs Raw. Crews said he can’t wait to see him try.
(Keller’s Analysis: You see the rough awkward body language and inflection around the edges of what Crews does, which has held back his push. That said, it seems like if he’s just himself and gets lots of reps, he’s not far from seeming more comfortable and smooth in a situation like this. Dom continues to be a great punk ass heel.) [c]
-Another sitdown interview segment aired with Rollins and Graves. Rollins said this is a chance with the new World Hvt. Title to do a world title the right way. Graves asked what Seth thinks about Roman Reigns’s reign. Seth took off his sunglasses and took a deep breath. “I love Roman Reigns, but I don’t like Roman Reigns,” he said. He said the person he has become and the champion he has become he doesn’t respect. “I just think he’s been poisoned by his own ego,” he said. He said Reigns is being selfish by taking title opportunities away from everyone else.
Graves asked what Raw looks like if he wins the world title. Seth said it can be the land of opportunity and the catalyst for change and push the industry forward. He said he’ll be around and he wants challenges and he wants people to come for him. Graves asked about Styles. Seth said they have crossed paths before. A vintage clip aired from 2006 from an NWA No Limits Wrestling event. Styles said he beat Seth, but he was impressed and thought he’d be a superstar some day. “I was right,” he said. Seth said he’s feeling invincible lately. They said more to come later with Seth’s answer to why this championship match is special to him.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice segment. It’s making the new title feel important and Seth feel like a big star who is framing himself as a type of champion different than Reigns has been.)
-They went to Graves and Patrick at ringside. Graves said the Seth-Styles match will be talked about for years.
-A clip aired from last week of Damian Priest and Finn Balor interrupting a Nakamura interview on Raw Talk where things got heated. Balor calmed Priest down and said he’d take care of Nakamura next week.
-Saxton approached Balor backstage for an interview. Priest gave Saxton a hard time for approaching Balor so close to his match. Balor said he wanted Saxton to congratulate them on their win last week. Balor said Nakamura cost Priest an opportunity at the World Hvt. Title and then rubbed salt in the wound by disrespecting Priest. He said he’ll make him pay tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good heel promo from Balor. He’s got some fire in him as a heel right now.)
-Candice LeRae made her ring entrance. [c]
-A vignette aired on Zoey Stark showing her on a motorcycle as she talked about being clear, calculated, and vicious. “You’re not going to like me,” she said. She vowed to tear apart and exposed the weaknesses of the fans’ favorite wrestlers. “The time of heroes is over,” she said. “The Zoey Stark era begins.”
(2) ZOEY STARK vs. CANDICE LERAE
The bell rang 50 minutes into the hour. Stark attacked LeRae at the bell. Nikki Cross was at ringside cheering on LeRae. LeRae made a comeback at 2:00 and landed a dive onto Stark at ringside. Nikki hugged LeRae which left her vulnerable to a Stark attack. Stark then threw LeRae into the ring where she finished her with her Z360 for the win.
WINNER: Stark in 3:00. [c]
-Graves and Patrick congratulated Batista for his role in the no. 2 movie in the country, “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
-Saxton interviewed Mustafa Ali about facing Gunther on Saturday. Ali said he’s been dreaming about this since he was a kid. He said his career has been failure after failure and no one believes he can beat Gunther. Lesnar walked in front of the camera passed Ali, then yelled, “Get a life, kid!”
-Lesnar walked out without music, getting across the idea this wasn’t planned. His music kicked in a few seconds later. Lesnar entered the ring and said, “So, Hershey, what do you want to talk about?” Fans booed. Lesnar said he’d boo Cody too. He said Cody wouldn’t be out there tonight nor will he be able to wrestle Saturday. He issued an open challenge to anyone in the back to fight him at Night of Champions. “All you gotta do is step out here and step up to Brock Lesnar,” he said.
Cody walked out, his arm covered in ice packs. He entered the ring. Lesnar fended off his one-armed attack easily and applied a nasty Kimura lock. Lesnar yelled, “Wanna fight me? Fight me! Fight!” He then snapped his arm and let go. Cody writhed in pain on the mat as Lesnar stood over him and smiled. Lesnar then stomped on his forearm, put on his cowboy hat, and left. [c]
-They replayed Lesnar snapping Cody’s arm. Graves said things look bleak regarding Saturday’s scheduled match. They showed Cody being tended to during the break. Graves praised Cody’s guts but said Cody pushed things too far and paid the price. Patrick said they’d pass along updates on Cody’s condition throughout the course of the show.
(3) ALPHA ACADEMY (Otis & Chad Gable w/Maxxine Dupree) vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS (w/Valhalla)
Patrick said Maxxine sees Otis as strikingly handsome. The bell rang 14 minutes into the hour. At 3:00 Gable hot-tagged in Otis who went on the attack against both Raiders. He did the Caterpillar on Erik. Gable tagged in and went after Ivar with a back suplex attempt. Erik blocked it and tagged in and caught Gable with a kneelift. Maxxine and Valhalla exchanged words. Valhalla chased Maxxine away. Gable then recovered and escaped a double-team move, then rolled up Erik for the win.
WINNERS: Otis & Gable in 5:00.
-Saxton stood outside of Cody’s locker room. Pearce stormed past him. Cody pushed Pearce out and said there is nothing to talk about. “Get out of here!” Cody yelled before slamming the door closed.
-Shinsuke Nakamura made his ring entrance. [c]
-A vignette aired with Indus Sher (Veer Mahaan & Sanga) narrated by Jinder Mahal. He said they debut on next week’s Raw.
(4) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. FINN BALOR
The bell rang 28 minutes into the hour. They battled onto the ring apron. Nakamura tried to suplex Balor. Priest yanked Nakamura by his boots to the floor and then hit him as Balor occupied the ref. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back from the break, Nakamura made a comeback. He landed a sliding German suplex, then confronted Priest at ringside. He ducked a charging Priest, then re-entered the ring and gave Balor a spinning wheel kick to the head for a near fall. He eventually signaled for the Kinsasha, but Balor blocked it with a kick. He went for a Coup de Gras, but Nakamura moved. Both were down and slow to get up. Priest pulled Balor to the floor to regroup. Nakamura went on the attack with a flying knee. He pounded away at Priest at ringside and clotheslined him into the time keeper’s area. Balor landed a running dropkick on Nakamura from behind. He followed with a top rope Coup de Gras for the win.
WINNER: Balor in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match.)
-They went to Graves and Patrick at ringside who then commented on clips of Liv Morgan’s shoulder injury against Dakota Kai. Patrick hyped a Fatal Four-way next week for the vacant tag titles.
-Raquel Rodriguez made her ring entrance. She smiled, then turned and flexed her back and arm muscles. [c]
-A clip aired of Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler attacking Rodriguez last week.
(5) RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Chelsea Green)
The bell rang 47 minutes into the hour. Rodriguez won with her Tahana Bomb.
WINNER: Rodriguez in 2:00.
-Afterward, Chelsea Green attacked Rodriguez. Shotzi Green ran out for the save, a pretty strong indicator that she’d be teaming with her next week. Shotzi dove under Rodriguez’s legs and tackled both Deville and Green on the floor. Graves said it appeared Rodriguez found a partner.
-A referee said nobody can talk to Cody, but he’s hurting really bad. Trish Stratus approached Pearce and she said Becky is a little feisty so it might be a good idea to have a “no touch policy” in effect tonight. Pearce said there’s a lot going on tonight and he’s not sure if there’s a need for that clause, so no. Trish was not pleased. [c]
-A vignette aired on Matt Riddle. He said the biggest mistake you can make in life is fearing you’ll make one. Footage aired of Riddle working out and hitting big moves in matches. He said it’s his time and no one should underestimate him.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cool video. I like this little extra pizzazz WWE is doing with different ways to hype wrestlers, especially newer ones on Raw or those who have been absent for a while.)
-Becky made her ring entrance. A clip aired of Becky making her return two weeks ago on Raw, interrupting a Trish promo mid-ring.
-Becky sat at the contract signing desk and kicked her feet up and called Trish out. Trish made her entrance. Trish said this is her first-ever contract signing and it’s a big deal. She said she wants to enjoy it. She asked Graves where they were. “Oh, Hershey? Like the chocolate?” she said, snidely. Trish said Becky has had so many contract signings. She said it all is because of the work she did to single-handedly change women’s wrestling.
She asked what happens when she beats her at “Night of Champion.” (She left off the “s” in Champions. Who does that?) She asked if Becky will go to a deep, dark place and disappear to deal with her stuff again. She said she is her own worst enemy. She said she’ll sign the contract. She told fans she doesn’t need them to tell her what to do. She said it’s ironic that this is her first contract signing and it’ll be Becky’s last contract signing. She signed it and then shoved the mic to Becky.
Becky said, “You’re scared, aren’t you, Trish?” She said she saw Trish asked for the no-touch rule earlier. She said she’s also scared that history will forget her. She said the fans remember her as being better than she is, but she’s even better than she thinks she is. She said she doesn’t need to worry about why she was gone, but rather concern herself with the fact that she’s back. She thanked Trish for being everything she hopes she never becomes. “You’re vapid, I’m passion,” she said. “You’re trashy, I’m soul, heart, and fashion. You’re cold, I’m hot. I’m it, you’re not.”
She said Trish can stab people in the back, whereas she’ll punch her in the face every single time. She said that’s why she can look herself in the mirror. She said she isn’t perfect, but she can carry on regardless. She said she’s had a career that Trish could only dream of. She said, “If barking like a dog is embarrassing, just wait until I whip your ass at Night of Champions. Welcome to the big time, bitch. Woof woof.” Trish snarled and then kicked over the table and left the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Trish seems to test the patience of the fans with her cadence and soft-talking, but she’s effective at being unlikable with her snotty, snide demeanor. She just needs to talk a little louder and more clearly and pick up the pace slightly. Becky was as cool as ever there. Some good digs were taken by both, but Trish’s felt out of bounds and personal while Becky’s felt biting but fair game.)
-Graves commented about a lack of medical update regarding Cody as a clip aired of the angles earlier in the show between Cody and Lesnar.
-Pearce was on the phone with someone and saying Cody keeps getting rid of any medical personnel who try to help him. He said that’s why he’s calling him (whoever it was).
-Dominik made his ring entrance with Ripley. [c]
-Saxton asked Shotzi what motivated her to come to Rodriguez’s aid earlier. She said she has a ton of respect for her. Rodriguez said she appears to have found her tag partner. Shotzi howled in celebration.
(6) DOMINIK MYSTERIO (w/Rhea Ripley) vs. APOLLO CREWS
The bell rang 18 minutes into the hour. Dom begged off early and offered a handshake. Graves said people fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer. He said that’s why fans respond the way they do to Dom. Dom took over after knocking Crews off the top rope. After some back and forth action, they brawled at ringside. When Crews got the better of Dom, Ripley got in his face. Dom recovered and then sent Crews into the ringside steps. He followed by shoving Crews into the ringpost. Dom gloated as Ripley counted along with the ref. Crews beat the count, but Dom immediately landed a top rope splash for the win.
WINNER: Dominik in 5:00.
-A vignette aired on Styles. [c]
-Graves and Patrick plugged the Friday press conference in Saudi Arabia.
-They went to the final installment of the sit-down interview Graves conducted with Seth. Seth said it is time for change. He said he always felt like he was never pegged to be the guy, it makes him work harder to take the spot. He said this is his first love. He said since he was four years old, this is all he’s ever thought of. He said it’s given him a life beyond his wildest dreams and he wants it to be the best it can be. “This is our moment to do something special,” he said. “I’m going all in on this World Heavyweight Championship. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I want to create something that is legendary, something that will live forever. I’m the change you’ve been waiting for. I want to be somebody that the future can look to and say that’s the guy, that’s how to carry things forward.”
(Keller’s Analysis: That was practically a political ad by the end. These are doing a really nice job building up this new title and what Seth’s reign will look like or at least aspires to be.)
-Graves and Patrick hyped the Night of Champions line-up.
-Imperium made their ring entrance. [c]
(7) SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS & MATT RIDDLE vs. IMPERIUM (Gunther & Giovani Vinci & Ludvig Kaiser)
The bell rang 40 minutes into the hour. A minute in, Gunther chopped away at Riddle’s chest. He went down and they cut to an early break. [c]
Riddle took Gunther down at 6:00 with a high knee. Kaiser interfered before Riddle could tag out to Sami, then yanked Sami off the ring apron and Riddle leaped toward him. Gunther attacked Riddle and scored a two count. Riddle gave Gunther a German suplex and then tagged in Owens. Vinci also tagged in. Owens took it to him aggressively. Vinci and Kaiser double-teamed Owens to take control. They cut to another break at at 8:00. [c]
Back from the break, Owens landed a frog splash on Vinci, but was slow to get up. Sami encouraged a tag. Owens crawled over and tagged in Sami. Kaiser also tagged in. Sami went on a flurry of offense including a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Chaos ensued with everyone. Sami charged Gunther, but Gunther countered his Helluva kick with a sleeper. Riddle landed on Gunther with a Floating Bro. Vinci entered next. Sami gave him an exploder into the corner turnbuckle. Gunther held Sami’s boot from ringside. Owens and Riddle attacked Gunther at ringside. Back in the ring, Sami then gave Vinci a Helluva Kick. Owens then landed a top rope swanton bomb for the win.
WINNERS: Sami & KO & Riddle in 15:00.
-The announcers hyped Night of Champions as Sami, KO, and Riddle celebrated.
-Cody yelled at someone knocking on the door to his locker room that he didn’t want help. In walked Triple H. He pushed Cody that he needs medical attention. Cody insisted he was fine. Triple H said he can look ta his arm and tell it’s broken, and he knows Cody knows that it’s broken. He said nobody is questioning how tough he is and no one thinks he’s afraid. Cody stood and took offense at the word “afraid” being used. Triple H said he’s afraid that the doctor won’t clear him if he checks him out. Cody said his legs are working fine. Triple H said he let him go to the ring with a torn pec and there’s no question how tough he is. He told him to think about the year he spent on the shelf after that, a year out of his career. Cody said what is far worse is if he came back to Raw as a complete shadow of himself and didn’t go to Night of Champions and fight. Cody told Triple H would have fought, and he’s going to do the same thing. “I am going to fight Brock Lesnar,” he said. He sat down. Triple H sat next to him and patted his leg and shoulder and said, “Alright.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting choice to end the show that way. They created doubt throughout the show that Cody would be at NOC on Saturday, but then told a story of Cody deciding he’s going even if his arm is broken to continue to tell the story of Cody being tough and fighting through pain.)