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WWE RAW TV REPORT
MAY 29, 2023
ALBANY, N.Y. AT MVP ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-They opened with scenes from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the host city of Saturday night’s WWE Night of Champions PLE and then a four minute video package of highlights from the event.
-Seth Rollins made his way through the crowd. He entered the ring and did his catch phrases. Fans enthusiastically chanted, “You deserve it!” He said he is World Heavyweight Champion “and it just feels right, doesn’t it?” He said he doesn’t want to talk about the past, but rather talk about the future. He said finally Raw has a champion who wants to be there and is going to be there and is ready for a fight. (Roman Reigns is so successful as the 1,000+ day champion, does it make sense to be burying him on TV like that and point out an actual flaw in his reign.) Seth said he wants a fight. He said if you step up to face him, the result will always be the same, ending with his arm raised and fans singing his song. A.J. Styles’s music played.
Styles walked out. Graves said he is from Smackdown and he’s the wrestler Seth defeated at Night of Champions. Styles entered the ring and said he knows he’s on Smackdown, but he couldn’t resist showing up to Raw to congratulate him. He said Seth knew what he was going to do before he did it. He said the fans say he deserves it, but he doesn’t think Seth deserves anything. He said he earned the right to be World Hvt. Champion. (If you “earn” something, you then “deserve” it. Not the best logic on Styles’s part there to portray them as different things. I get that the implication is that “deserve” applies to a booker deciding you will win rather than “earn” meaning you won it in the ring, but again that just doesn’t make sense in the context of the narrative of the show.) They shook hands.
The Judgment Day walked out. Finn Balor asked if that is making everyone feel sick. He dry heaved. Damian Priest said it’s making them feel nauseous. Priest said after watching NOC, he realized they run WWE. Balor said they beat the Undisputed Tag Team Champions, which is something Roman Reigns couldn’t even do. Ripley told Seth he shouldn’t get too comfortable with being champion, because one of them might beat them. Balor said it could be Priest. Priest said it could be Balor. Ripley said it could be “my Dom-Dom.” Styles and Seth broke into the laughter. Fans chanted, “Dom, you suck!”
Balor said they watched Seth and Styles beat each other half to death. Dominik broke in and said they’ll finish the job tonight. Styles said that almost sounded like a challenge. Seth liked the sound of any two of them against him and Styles in the main event tonight.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was solid. I liked Styles endorsing Seth and then setting up a novelty one-off tag match later. The Judgment Day’s chemistry playing off of each other has improved over time.)
-They went to Corey Graves and Kevin Patrick at ringside. Graves said challenge issued and accepted, so let’s make it official. They wondered who would represent The Judgment Day. They shifted to hyping the rest of the show including Cody Rhodes appearing live, the Women’s Tag Team Four-Way, and the Money in the Bank Qualifying matches.
-Ricochet made his ring entrance. [c]
-They showed WWE exec Adam Pearce backstage on the phone saying everyone wants the tag match, even though “it flies in the face of what they’re trying to do” with separating Raw and Smackdown and Styles was drafted to Smackdown. He walked over to Seth and Styles told them he’s trying to work through the red tape. Seth said just make the match. Pearce asked Styles if he has his gear. Styles said he’s a professional so of course he has his gear. Seth looked at Pearce’s phone and saw who he was talking to and acted impressed. Pearce then heard from the person on the phone it was official.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like how they acknowledged Styles shouldn’t just be allowed on Raw without some hoops to jump through given the Draft just took place. This covered that base well enough for me.)
(1) THE MIZ vs. RICOCHET – Money in the Bank Qualifier
The bell rang 24 minutes into the hour. Ricochet landed some early offense at ringside. Back in the ring, Miz took Ricochet down with a head scissors and then a kick to the chin. Miz went after Ricochet at ringside, ramming him into the announce desk and then throwing him back into the ring. Miz landed a top rope forearm for a two count. They cut to a break at 3:00 as Miz settled into a chinlock. [c]
They battled back and forth after the break. Miz scored a near fall after a DDT at 8:00. Ricochet came back and landed a top rope shooting star press for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet in 9:00 t0 earn a spot in the MITB match
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a lot to this. This continues to show the shift of Miz to a veteran role player and not a serious in-ring threat. Ricochet has been so defined down over his time in WWE, a win over Miz isn’t going to redefine him, unfortunately, as an exciting mid-carder at this point. But he’s good wrestler to have in the MITB match to elevate the excitement of it.)
-They went to Graves and Patrick at ringside who talked about the Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus match with Zoey Stark interfering to help Trish win.
-Trish made her ring entrance. [c]
-Trish said she doesn’t care about the fans or what they say. She said she didn’t need Stark’s help, but Stark wanted to help. She said she hasn’t seen that much aggression and ruthlessness in a long time. She said Stark reminds her of her. She asked fans to stand and applaud as she introduced her. Stark walked out and was booed.
Stark entered the ring and hugged Trish. She took the mic as fans booed louder. She said she wanted to come to WWE and make a statement. She said the best way to do that was with the O.G. herself. She said she could have taken the long road like Becky did, or she could be smart and be led by Trish. She said Trish was so giving and so humble and so kind. She thanked Trish.
Trish said if Becky shows up again and try to mess with her perfect face, she’ll have her friend Stark mess her up. Lynch walked out in her yellow jump suit. Becky said since they’re all in their gear, she suggested to Trish they finish their match one-on-one right now. When Stark charged at Becky, Becky knocked her down with a punch and then threw her into the barricade. She turned back to Trish as fans chanted “Becky!” Becky knocked Trish down then turned to knock Starks off the ring apron. When Becky mounted Trish and punched her, Stark attacked her from behind. Trish and Stark double-teamed Becky as boos rang out.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wouldn’t have predicted a Trish/Stark alliance, but I think it could work well after seeing them interact in that segment.)
-They cut to Indus Sher backstage with the camera at knee level pointing up to accentuate their size. [c]
-They showed various headlines from mainstream media entitles about happenings at Night of Champions.
(2) INDUS SHER (Veer & Sanga w/Jinder Mahal) vs. TWO JOBBERS
Graves said the jobbers were Performance Center wrestlers, not two bums off the streets of Albany. (Well, I’d hope not!) Veer and Sanga won with a double-team move.
WINNERS: Indus Sher in about 1:00.
-They showed a jubilant Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens walking backstage. [c]
-They showed a clip of the Sami & Owens vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa match followed by the incident with the Usos and Reigns afterward.
-Graves plugged the Roman Reigns 1,000 Day Celebration on Smackdown on Friday.
-Sami and Owens came out to Sami’s music. Sami said they didn’t just retain their tag titles, they won. He said they did what they said they were going to do. He said they watched The Bloodline crumble and it was the worst night of Roman Reigns’s life and he deserved everything he got. He said Reigns might hold his title for another 1,000 days and main event the next six WrestleManias, but it doesn’t matter more than the fact that “we won.” Imperium interrupted.
Owens asked what they were doing out there. He said it’s not the wild wild west, you have to wait for someone to call you out. He went into a rage and flipped out over breaking “the unwritten rule.” Sami told him to calm down and chill. Fans chanted “KO! KO!” Sami told Owens to take it easy for a second. Sami said it’s an unwritten rule because they didn’t say their name. He said the last time they faced off, they along with Matt Riddle beat them and embarrassed them. Ludwig Kaiser said they embarrass themselves and aren’t worthy of standing on the sacred mat and representing Raw.
Owens said what he wonders is why the bald guy never talks. “I really want to know what his opinion on everything is.” He called Kaiser “slenderman” and called Gunther “the one with the ears.” They called him “baldy” and asked to hear from him. Kaiser yelled, “How dare you besmirch us!” Chad Gable interrupted with a “Shoooosh!” Gable walked out with Otis and Maxxine Dupri. He said they want to hand out lessons. Owens and Sami asked Gable to say his thing. Gable then said, “Ah-thank-youuuu!” [c]
(3) OTIS & CHAD GABLE (w/Maxxine Dupri) vs. IMPERIUM (Ludwig Kaiser & Gionvani Vinci w/Gunther)
Owens and Sami joined in on commentary. Sami said Imperium should be at the back of the line because they beat them. The match began 15 minutes into the hour. When Otis tagged in against Kaiser, the crowd popped. He did the his Caterpillar into the elbow. Vinci broke up his cover. Imperium came back with a double-team sequence on Gable for the win. Owens told Sami they’ll never hear the end of this.
WINNERS: Imperium in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This seemed like a way to try to rebuild Imperium into credible contenders to Sami & Owens. If they want to feud those two teams, that’s a needed step.)
-Cathy Kelley interviewed Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi. They were interrupted immediately by Bayley & Iyo Sky who said they aren’t even a real team. Raquel asked Bayley if it’s true she’s the only member of Damage CTRL that hasn’t worn gold yet. She said after tonight, Bayley should look herself in the mirror.
-Rodriguez & Shotzi made their entrance. [c]
(4) RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ & SHOTZI vs. BAYLEY & IYO SKY vs. RONDA ROUSEY & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. CHELSEA GREEN & SONYA DEVILLE – Fatal Four-way for the WWE Tag Team Titles
Graves talked about how Rousey and Baszler have been friends going back to their MMA days. The bell rang 32 minutes into the hour. They cut to a break at 2:00 after Shotzi leaped onto a crowd of her opponents at ringside. [c]
Raquel and Baszler battled after the break. Rousey tagged in and they played it like it was “a moment.” Graves called it a “showdown.” Rousey punched away at Rodriguez in the corner. Raquel fired back with a clothesline and lifted Rousey for her Tahana Bomb. Baszler made the save. Rousey then caught Rodriguez with an armbar. Bayley broke it up with a top rope elbow. Iyo Sky tagged and went after Rodriguez with rapid-fire offense, but Shotzi made the save on the cover. Shotzi dove onto Bayley at ringside. Back in the ring, Shotzi and Iyo battled. Rousey tagged herself in as Sky set up her Over the Moonsault. Sky set up a superplex and then Shotzi powerbombed them both to the mat. Shotzi then leaped off the top rope with a senton attempt on Rousey, but Rousey caught her in an armbar and Shotzi tapped.
WINNERS: Rousey & Baszler in 12:00 to capture the WWE Tag Team Titles.
-Highlights aired of Seth’s title win.
-They showed Styles and Seth in the locker room chatting.
-Graves and Patrick plugged the main event tag match.
-Dolph Ziggler made his ring entrance. [c]
(5) J.D. MCDONAGH vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
McDonaugh avoided a corner charge by Ziggler and then drove his head and shoulder into the mat violently. Then he threw Ziggler to the floor and rammed him into the announce desk and then the ringside steps. When he rammed Ziggler into the stairs over and over, the ref DQ’d him.
WINNER: Ziggler via DQ in 2:00.
-Graves said McDonaugh is trying to make a name for himself, and taking out “one of the most decorated Superstars on the roster is one way to do it.” Ziggler cried out in pain. McDonagh yelled at him, “You will remember this name!” He finally walked away. Boos rang out. One fan in the front row really chastised him.
-They showed Cody walking backstage in a suit and his arm in a sling. Graves said they’d see him later on the show.
-Patrick threw to a video on veterans because it’s Memorial Day in the United States. [c]
-Clips aired of Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes at Night of Champions.
-Cody made his way to the ring to his entrance theme. He asked Albany what they want to talk about. He talked about losing via ref stoppage at Night of Champions. He said his contemporaries told him he was foolish to fight Lesnar with one arm and crazy not to tap out. He said he didn’t tap out not because he wasn’t in agony, but because that’s not the man he wants to be. He said years ago he probably would have tapped out and lived to fight another day. He said he has had enough highs and lows to know sometimes second chances don’t present themselves. He said there was once a wildly popular Superstar who said to never give up.
He said he has a question for Lesnar. He said he has to ask the question into the camera because he’s not there. “I assume you have taken your annual vacation,” he said. He asked if he’s satisfied with a 1-1 record against him. He told him to consider this an open challenge. He said he’ll post his whole schedule online. He said if he’s standing in a ring, he is ready to fight him. He said Lesnar is Beast enough to break his arms but not man enough to make him tap out. He said if Lesnar doesn’t accept his challenge, they can add another thing to the list, which is Brock Lesnar is afraid of what cannot be broken and he is afraid of Cody Rhodes. He threw the mic down and his music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good delivery and a good advancement of the feud to the next stage. I’m not a fan of demonizing tapping as anything but honorable, though. It took years to establish tapping out as okay for a wrestler to do without it seeming to indicate they’re a coward and soft.)
-Kelly interviewed Matt Riddle backstage about his chance to qualify for the MITB. Gunther interrupted. He congratulated him and wished him good luck. He said he really wants him to win the MITB ladder match and then cash in on him. He said beating him and humiliating him is fun to him. “All the best,” he said with a smile before walking away.
-Shinsuke Nakamura made his ring entrance. [c]
-Kelley interviewed Rousey and Baszler backstage. Rousey said they don’t care about the fickle fans. She said it feels good to win the titles not because the fans wanted it, but because they are the baddest team on the planet. She said they demand to be recognized as the best and the belts now prove it.
(6) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. BRONSON REED – Money in the Bank Qualifier
The bell rang 18 minutes into the hour. Reed got in early offense. At 2:00 Nakamura tripped Reed on the ring apron and then landed a running kneelift followed by a kneedrop. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Nakamura landed the Kinsasha. Reed rolled to the floor. Nakamura kneed him again at ringside. They replayed the kneestrike in slo-mo and it crushed Reed’s face. Reed rolled into the ring where Nakamura hit another (messy) Kinsasha for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura in 9:00 to qualify for the MITB.
-Patrick and Graves commented on a replay of Rhea Ripley’s quick win over Natalya at NOC after Dominik distracted Natalya.
-Backstage, Byron Saxton approached The Judgment Day. He congratulated Ripley for her win at NOC. Ripley said that wasn’t just a victory, she absolutely destroyed Natalya. She said she was at home fixing herself up. Dominik said next time she’ll think twice before stepping up to Mami. Ripley said it’s on her that she got distracted so easily. Saxton asked which two of them will wrestle next. Balor said he’d like to know. Priest told Saxton to go do his job somewhere else. [c]
-Another Memorial Day video played.
-Graves and Patrick hyped upcoming qualifying matches: Becky vs. Sonya and Natalya vs. Stark next week in Women’s MITB Qualifiers.
-Styles made his full ring entrance. Seth made his full entrance next. [c]
(7) A.J. STYLES & SETH ROLLINS vs. DAMIAN PRIEST & FINN BALOR (w/Dominik Mysterio, Rhea Ripley)
The Judgment Day’s ring entrance aired after the break. It appeared Priest and Dominik were going to be the team, but when the bell rang, Balor jumped Seth from behind. Graves said Dominik was just a diversion. Seth surprised Ripley at ringside by photo-bombing her. They did a comedy spot where she screamed in shock and Seth mock-screamed in shock. Priest punched Seth leaping off the top rope and took control. Priest stomped away at Seth in the corner. Fans sang Seth’s song. Ripley yelled at the fans, “You’re all pathetic.” A few minutes later, Dominik yanked Styles to the floor as he set up a Phenomenal Forearm. Priest checked him hard over the announce desk. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Priest was in control of Styles. Styles began a comeback, but Ripley then grabbed him at ringside. Seth stopped Dom from hitting Styles and then threw Dom into the ring. Ripley yelled at Seth. The ref kicked Ripley and Dominik out of ringside. Fans cheered. Graves said that’ll negate the numbers advantage for The Judgement Day.
Styles hit Priest with a Pelé kick and then crawled over and hot-tagged in Seth. Balor also tagged in and charged at Seth, but Seth knocked him down with a clothesline and continued with a flurry of offense. He gave Priest a leaping knee at ringside and then superkicked Balor in the ring for a near fall. Fans sang Seth’s song. Balor countered a Seth powerbomb attempt into a roll-up for a two count. Balor tagged in Priest.
Priest punched Styles who was just standing in his corner. Next, he went to chokeslam Seth, but Seth escaped. Priest clotheslined Seth, though, and scored a two count. Priest climbed to the top rope, but Seth caught him up there. He fended off Balor, but Balor blind-tagged in. Priest countered a Falcon Arrow as Balor went for a Coup de Gras. Seth avoided it and then superkicked Balor. They went to a wide shot of the arena as both Balor and Seth were down and slow to get up. Fans sang Seth’s song.
Seth tagged in Styles who went at Priest with a series of moves. Seth dove at Balor at ringside as Styles set up a Phenomenal Forearm. Priest backed away and then gave Styles the Razor’s Edge for a near fall. Seth stomped Priest to break the cover. Seth asked for the tag and Styles leaped over and tagged him. Seth then played to the crowd before landing a Stomp for the win.
WINNERS: Seth & Styles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good main event. I was a bit surprised to see Priest take the fall since it seemed they might be more apt to protect him for a title challenge of Seth, but maybe they’re going with Balor first or else Priest will act out due to the loss and start a feud.)