SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 5, 2023
HARTFORD, CONN. AT XL CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA
REPORT BY MAURICIO POMARES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
– The show opened with Seth Rollins making his way to the ring to loud cheers and singing from the crowd. Rollins said that he asked himself when was the last time they had a world title match on RAW. Rollins said that it has been two years since the last time, so he told himself that two years is too long. He confirmed that he made an open challenge which was answered by Damian Priest. Rollins said that he wanted all the fights and the Judgment Day are as good as it gets. Rollins said that the Judgment Day isn’t him, only for Damian Priest and Finn Bálor to interrupt. Priest said that he is the only person that Rollins should care about tonight.
– Rollins pointed out that Finn Bálor is with him and made fun of them never being apart. Finn said that Priest would take the world heavyweight title from him. Priest said that Rollins is a deserving champion before saying that he doesn’t need Dominik, Rhea or Finn to win tonight. Rollins said that Priest doesn’t stand a chance without them before daring Priest to leave his group in the back. Finn tried to refuse Rollins’ stipulation, only for Priest to accept the challenge. Priest said that Rollins would go down as one of the shortest ever, only for Rollins to point out that his reign is already longer than Finn’s.
(Pomares’s Analysis: Solid opening segment with an interesting angle for the Judgment Day. This is the first time they’ve shown any kind of dissension since Finn Bálor joined in. I don’t expect them to break up anytime soon, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Priest vs Bálor at some point in the future.)
– Becky Lynch made her way to the ring, ahead of her match against Sonya Deville
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. SONYA DEVILLE (w/Chelsea Green) – Money in the Bank Qualifying match
Green distracted Lynch, allowing Deville to attack her from behind and smash her head into the turnbuckle. Deville put Lynch in a headlock before stepping on her hair and attacking her with forearm strikes. Lynch knocked Deville down with a shoulder tackle, followed by a leaping kick and a Xploder. Lynch caught Deville with a back elbow and a corkscrew crossbody for a two count. Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark showed up on the ramp to distract Lynch. Lynch dropped Deville with a reverse DDT, as WWE RAW went to commercials.
Back from break, Deville laid Lynch out with a superplex for a two count. They started trading elbow strikes, until Lynch blasted Deville with a leaping forearm strike. Lynch took Deville down with a sliding dropkick, only for Green to attack her with a pump kick behind the referee’s back. Back in the ring, Deville cracked Lynch with a pump knee for a two count. Lynch clocked Deville with an enzuigiri and knocked Green off the apron.
Lynch smashed both Green and Deville into the barricade three times. Deville countered the Manhandle Slam with a roll-up for a nearfall. Deville blocked the Dis-Arm-Her and tripped Lynch into the ropes. Green tried to help Deville pin Lynch, but she still kicked out at two. Lynch countered a diving move with the Manhandle Slam for the victory.
WINNER: Becky Lynch in 11:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: Decent match to get Becky Lynch into Money in the Bank. It has been a while since we last saw Sonya Deville in a lengthy singles showcase.)
– A lengthy recap of Roman Reigns’ 1000 Days celebration from SmackDown aired.
– At backstage, Byron Saxton interviewed Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens about what happened to the Bloodline on SmackDown. Sami said that he was happy to see Jimmy Uso do what he should have done months ago. Sami said that it’s no longer his problem, until Imperium interrupted them. Ludwig Kaiser said that they are their problems, angering Kevin for showing up without being mentioned. Gunther told Kevin that he lacked discipline and he would teach it to him, setting up a match for tonight.
– Kevin Owens made his way to the ring, ahead of his match against Gunther.
(2) GUNTHER (w/Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) vs. KEVIN OWENS (w/Sami Zayn)
Gunther cornered Kevin and knocked him off his feet with a headlock takeover. Gunther put Kevin in a headlock and blasted him with a shoulder tackle. Kevin slapped Gunther and started pummeling him down in the corner. Kevin attacked Gunther with an uppercut, only for Gunther to retaliate with a big boot and a German suplex. At ringside, Gunther smashed Kevin into the barricade and dropped him onto the barricade, as WWE RAW went to a commercial break.
Back from break, Kevin attacked Gunther with a few kicks to the knee, only for Gunther to shut him down with a body slam and a neck twist. Kevin tried to make a comeback, but Gunther immediately laid him out with a big boot. Kevin nailed Gunther with a pair of elbow strikes before receiving two huge chops. Gunther put Kevin in a deep Boston Crab before transitioning into a crossface. Kevin managed to get up and chop Gunther, only for Gunther to drop him with a chop of his own.
Kevin tried to hit Gunther with a fisherman suplex before receiving a pair of lariats. They started a lariat exchange, until Gunther planted Kevin with a German suplex. Kevin surprised Gunther with a German suplex of his own, finding a few seconds to recuperate. They traded elbow strikes, until Gunther shut Kevin down with a chop to the chest and a stomp to the head. Kevin blasted Gunther with three thrust kicks, setting him up for a corner cannonball and a two count. Gunther countered the Stunner with a sleeper hold, followed by a shotgun dropkick.
They exchanged chops, until Kevin planted Gunther with a fisherman buster for a nearfall. Gunther stopped Kevin atop the turnbuckle and dropped him with a superplex for a close two count. Kevin blocked a diving splash with his knees and crushed Gunther with a Swanton Bomb for a close nearfall. Vinci distracted Kevin, but Sami immediately pulled him out of the ring. Kaiser and Kevin joined in the brawl and took into the ring. Kevin nailed Kaiser with a Stunner, allowing Gunther to roll him up for the three count.
WINNER: Gunther in 17:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: Easily one of the best TV matches we’ve seen on RAW this whole year. Gunther hasn’t missed since becoming Intercontinental champion and this is another huge win for him. The only thing I would have changed was the ending. I’m not the biggest fan of Gunther having to win with a roll-up.)
– It was announced that we would see the new women’s tag team champions next.
– A recap of Gunther’s victory over Kevin Owens aired.
– At backstage, Cathy Kelly interviewed Matt Riddle about Gunther’s match. Riddle called his win a disgrace, only for Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci to interrupt. Riddle tossed Kaiser over a storage box and put Vinci in an Ankle lock, as referees arrived to separate them.
– A recap of Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler winning the women’s tag titles aired.
– At backstage, Byron Saxton interviewed Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler about winning the women’s tag titles. Rousey said that they would dare anyone to face them before being interrupted by Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. Chance and Carter challenged them to a match, only for Baszler to threaten them and Ronda to accept the challenge.
– Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler made their way to the ring, ahead of their match.
(3) RONDA ROUSEY & SHAYNA BASZLER vs. KAYDEN CARTER & KATANA CHANCE
Ronda pushed Carter into the corner, only for Carter to knock her off her feet. Carter caught Baszler with a dropkick, setting her up for a slingshot senton from Chance. Ronda launched Carter out of the ring and put Chance in an armbar using the ropes. Carter nailed Ronda with a thrust kick to break the hold before crushing Baszler with a diving crossbody at ringside. Chance landed on top of Ronda with a Tornillo, but couldn’t follow up after Baszler pulled her arm into the rope. Baszler hit Chance with a sliding knee strike and stomped her elbow.
Chance knocked Ronda off the apron and reached Carter for the tag. Carter attacked Baszler with a dropkick and a thrust kick, setting her up for a running boot through the ropes. Carter spiked Baszler with a rope assisted piledriver for a two count. Chance got a blind tag while Carter drove Ronda into the ring post. Chance and Carter put Ronda down with a 450 splash and reverse DDT combination, but Baszler broke the pin at the last moment.
Carter blasted Baszler with a dropkick off the apron while Chance crushed Ronda with a high crossbody for a two count. Ronda trapped Chance in an Ankle Lock, only for Chance to get out and clock her with a Codebreaker. Baszler knocked Chance down with a knee strike, but Baszler nearly beat her with a roll-up. Baszler planted Carter with a Saito suplex, followed by the Kirifuda Clutch for the win.
WINNERS: in 7:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: An actually strong showcase for Kayden Carter and Katana Chance in their RAW debut. I’m not the biggest fan of Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler, but this kind of showcase matches are good for the women’s tag division. Kind of weird that the belts weren’t in the line though.)
– At backstage, Bronson Reed confronted Ricochet about him getting a spot for Money in the Bank instead of him. Ricochet pointed out that Shinsuke Nakamura broke his streak, joined by Nakamura. Ricochet and Nakamura taunted each other before facing off at Money in the Bank.
– Ricochet made his way to the ring, ahead of his match against Shinsuke Nakamura.
– A video package aired, showcasing Johnny Gargano’s journey to get to WWE.
(4) RICOCHET vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Nakamura knocked Ricochet down with a shoulder tackle, only for Ricochet to put him in a headscissors hold. Ricochet took Nakamura down with a headscissors takedown and a dropkick. Nakamura blocked a suicide dive with a kick to the head. Ricochet knocked Nakamura off the top turnbuckle with an enzuigiri, setting him up for a running corkscrew moonsault, as WWE RAW went to an ad break.
Back from break, Ricochet clocked Nakamura with a handspring back elbow. Ricochet smashed Nakamura’s head into the turnbuckle and knocked him off his feet with a diving clothesline. Ricochet crushed Nakamura with a running Shooting Star Press for a two count. Nakamura caught Ricochet’s kick, only for Ricochet to crack him with a Rewind kick. Ricochet missed a strike into the corner, allowing Nakamura to hit him with a rising knee to the mid-section and a sliding German suplex.
Nakamura blasted Ricochet with a spinning kick, followed by an inverted Xploder. Ricochet blocked the Kinshasa with a jumping knee, setting him up for the Recoil. Nakamura stopped Ricochet atop the turnbuckle and tried to hit him with a superplex. Bronson Reed showed up to attack Nakamura and Ricochet and end the match abruptly.
WINNER: No Contest in 8:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: This was a fun match for the time given, but with both men already booked for Money in the Bank, it was obvious it wouldn’t have a clean ending. I am assuming Bronson Reed will find a way to insert himself to the ladder match sooner rather than later.)
– Bronson Reed crushed both of his opponents with Tsunamis and stood tall.
– A recap of Valhalla costing Alpha Academy their match to Imperium aired.
– At backstage, Chad Gable told Maxxine Dupri that an Alpha doesn’t run from a fight. Gable said that they would take out the Viking Raiders and Dupri should get a better outfit to handle Valhalla.
– At backstage, Cody Rhodes made his way to the ring.
– The Miz introduced Cody Rhodes to the set of Miz TV. Miz mentioned the fact that Brock Lesnar beat Cody at Night of Champions and broke his arm before saying that his call-out to a rematch was stupid. Miz said that they like surprises before introducing Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley to the ring. Dominik tried to speak, but the crowd showered him in boos. Dominik told Cody that he is a bad father for not taking care of his daughter.
– Cody made fun of Dominik’s tattoo before reminding him of the fact that his father gave him a public spanking. Cody said that he knows Rey made huge mistakes because he is looking at one. Dominik slapped Cody before hiding Ripley. As Dominik and Ripley walked away, Cody knocked Miz out with a punch.
(Pomares’s Analysis: This was one of the better Miz TV segments, mostly thanks to Cody. The Dominik Mysterio interjection feels very random, but I guess it’s a short-term feud for Money in the Bank while we wait for the Lesnar rubber match at Summerslam.)
– A recap of Damian Priest accepting to leave the Judgment Day behind aired.
– Zoey Stark made her way to the ring alongside Trish Stratus, ahead of her match against Natalya.
(5) NATALYA vs. ZOEY STARK (w/Trish Stratus) – Money in the Bank Qualifying match
Stark stomped Natalya down before being taken down with a waist lock. Stark caught Natalya with a thrust kick, setting her up for a couple of stomps. Natalya tried to put Stark in a Sharpshooter before receiving a shoulder tackle. Natalya nailed Stark with a back elbow and a German suplex for a two count. Stark managed to get out of a Sharpshooter and take her down with a dropkick through the ropes. Stratus attacked Natalya’s leg as she entered the ring, allowing Stark to knock her out with the Z-360.
WINNER: Zoey Stark in 4:00
(Pomares’s Analysis: Not much to say here. Just a decent showcase for Zoey Stark before she and Becky Lynch clash at Money in the Bank.)
– At backstage, Paul Heyman invited the audience to see Jey Uso make his choice on SmackDown. Heyman said that Jey Uso would choose and stand by his brother Solo Sikoa.
– It was announced that Indus Sher would take on Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin next.
– Indus Sher made their way to the ring to face Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. Before the bell could ring, Indus Sher attacked their opponents from behind. They crushed Alexander with a side slam and diving elbow drop combination. The referee checked on Alexander and confirmed that the match would no longer take place. Indus Sher planted Alexander with the same finishing move before standing tall.
(Pomares’s Analysis: Another week, another mostly meaningless Indus Sher segment. Beating Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin doesn’t hold much weight when they have done nothing on TV in over a year.)
– It was announced that Seth Rollins would face Damian Priest next.
(6) SETH ROLLINS vs. DAMIAN PRIEST – World Heavyweight Championship
Priest quickly cornered Rollins, only for Rollins to attack him with a series of chops in the corner. Rollins caught Priest with a guillotine leg drop, followed by a diving knee strike off the apron, as WWE Raw went to an ad break.
Back from break, Rollins sent Priest out of the ring and drove his head into the ring post. Priest launched Rollins over the barricade and blocked a diving move with an elbow strike. Back in the ring, Priest stomped Rollins down and clocked him with a kick to the head for a two count. Priest pressed his knee on Rollins’ back and nailed him with an elbow strike. Rollins surprised Priest with an enzuigiri, followed by a barrage of clotheslines and kicks.
Rollins dropped Priest with a backbreaker, only for Priest to avoid a Frog Splash and nail him with a pump kick. Priest crushed Rollins with a corner elbow strike and blocked a Pedigree. Rollins took Priest down with a sling blade, forcing Priest to retreat. Priest countered a suicide dive with a flatliner onto the announce table, as WWE RAW went to its final commercial break.
Back from break, Rollins stopped Priest atop the turnbuckle and floored him with a superplex. Priest tried to counter the follow-up from the superplex, but Rollinls still laid him out with a Falcon Arrow. Rollins drove Priest over the announce table with three suicide dives. Back in the ring, Rollins hit Priest with a thrust kick and a Frog Splash for a nearfall. They traded elbow strikes, until Priest took Rollins down with a headlock driver for a close two count. Rollins evaded the South of Heaven and climbed the top turnbuckle. Priest caught Rollins with a cyclone kick atop the turnbuckle and launched across the ring with an avalanche hurracarrana for a close nearfall.
Rollins countered a lariat with a Pedigree, but took too long to make the pinfall, giving Priest time to kick out. At ringside, Rollins smashed Priest with a buckle bomb into the barricade before taking a surprise Finn Bálor with a superkick. Priest caught Rollins with South of Heaven for a close nearfall. Priest got distracted when he noticed Finn at ringside, allowing Rollins to avoid the Razor’s Edge. Rollins knocked Priest down with a few elbow strikes, setting him up for the Curb Stomp and the win.
WINNER: Seth Rollins in 18:00 (Still World Heavyweight Champion)
– After the match, Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor faced off in the middle of the ring.
(Pomares’s Analysis: A high quality first title defense from Seth Rollins and hopefully a taste of what his reign will look like. Damian Priest didn’t look out of place challenging for the world title and was even protected in defeat after Finn Bálor’s appearance. Not particularly interested in a Finn Bálor title program at the moment, especially after Rollins beat him a month ago.)