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WWE RAW TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 11, 2023
NORFOLK, VA. AT THE SCOPE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin
-The Raw opening theme aired. Michael Cole then introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. Cole and Wade Barrett hyped the Women’s Title match, Gunther’s celebration, and a Cody Rhodes appearance.
-Jey Uso made his ring entrance. Barrett said Jey is a toxic element to the rest of the locker room. He said he has a lot of bridges to rebuild and it won’t happen overnight. Jey said, “Main event Jey Uso is now in your city!” (That’s a great catch phrase because you can’t get the city wrong if you never say it specifically.) He said it feels really good to be on Raw. He was interrupted by Kevin Owens’ music. (Wait, he didn’t mention KO’s name, and isn’t KO always ranting about the unofficial rules of interrupting promos?) Cole said KO clearly has an issue with Jey being there. He said you can’t blame KO for those feelings.
Owens walked to the ring, eyeing Jey the whole way. Jey paced nervously as KO stared him down in the ring. KO told Jey that he should’ve said, “Jey Uso is now on the Kevin Owens Show.” He said he’s been exactly where he is right now. He said he knows what he’s going through. He said he’s done a lot of bad things to a lot of good people. He said he felt he needed to change and make things right, but it was hard. He said it took a while to earn people’s respect and trust. He said some people still don’t trust and respect him.
KO said Drew McIntyre and Matt Riddle are just two of the wrestlers in the back who don’t want him there. He said there are people he otherwise never talks about who have come up to him and tell him they don’t want Jey there. KO said Sami welcomed him back with open arms, but that was it. He said he has a long way to go earn his respect and prove to him that he’s not the same scumbag he was when he was running around with The Bloodline.
Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and Dominik Mysterio walked out. Balor said nobody should be allowed to speak to Jey like that. Balor said he and the entire Judgment Day respects him. Priest said KO doesn’t speak for the entire locker room. He said they are the ones who run the show. He said The Judgment Day door is always open to him and he just needs to walk through it. He mentioned Dom’s name and fans erupted in boos. Priest said Dom said no at first, but he’s the best version of himself now and is a champion.
Dom lifted the mic and fans roared with boos. He said the Judgment Day have always been there for him during the lowest of lows and highest of highs. Priest said they came out there because he thought they had a match scheduled against KO & Sami Zayn. KO said Sami wasn’t there, but he’ll fight them anyway. “I’m here for a fight,” he said. Jey offered to team with him in place of Sami. Fans cheered. Jey said this is a chance to earn his trust and respect. KO took a minute as Dom yelled at Jey, then said, “Let’s do it!” Jey superkicked Dom. KO tackled Priest. Jey threw Balor out of the ring. Cole said, “Let’s make this match official! Can this alliance get along?”
(Keller’s Analysis: I really like the way they’re telling the story of Jey trying to integrate and be accepted on Raw. So often in pro wrestling, the reset button is often hit when a heel who’s done terrible things turns babyface. This owns his history and is turning it into a compelling, relatable story. It was good for KO to acknowledge his similar past.) [c]
(1) KEVIN OWENS & JEY USO vs. DAMIAN PRIEST & FINN BALOR (w/Dominik Mysterio)
The bell rang 18 minutes into the hour. Priest and Balor isolated KO and worked over his knee for two minutes. KO tagged in Jey who went on a flurry of offense. Priest rolled to ringside. Jey threw an interfering Balor to ringside also. Jey then leaped over the top rope onto both Priest and Balor. Dom took a cheap shot at KO from the ring apron, clipping his knee. Cole said that could change the complexion of the match. [c]
Back live, Priest scored a two count against KO. Balor tagged in and settled into a chinlock. Jey tagged in and rallied. When he went for a top rope splash at 9:00, Balor lifted his knees. Both were down and slow to get up. KO tagged back in. When he ran to hit a cannonball in the corner, his knee gave out. Priest went after him, but KO turned it into a tornado DDT for a two count.
KO reversed a Balor superplex attempt into a fisherman’s buster. Priest broke up the cover. Jey entered and went to superkick Priest, but Priest moved and Jey connected with KO’s chin instead. Priest and Jey awkwardly tumbled over the top rope. Balor then landed a Coup de Grace for the three count. Cole said it was inadvertent, but when you have the past Jey has, people are going to question him.
Jey told KO as he left the ring that it was on him. KO looked at him resentfully and suspiciously as he limped to the back without Jey.
WINNERS: Priest & Balor in 12:00.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. They commented on the Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez match at Payback nine days ago where Ripley retained her title after a Dominic distraction. Cole said Dom is banned from ringside tonight.
-Backstage Natalya was chatting with Rodriguez, seemingly offering her advice or encouragement. [c]
-Jey approached KO backstage. KO was not interested in talking to him and yelled at him. He told him to go join the “new Bloodline.” He said they’re in The Judgment Day’s locker room. He said he should dye his hair purple while he’s at it.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. They threw to a video package recapping the Gunther vs. Chad Gable match last week, which Cole called “a classic.” They showed Gable’s daughter crying after her dad was pinned.
-They showed a Mercedes arriving backstage. Imperium got out of the vehicle. They were dressed in black suits. Gunther was all smiles. Barrett said they arrived in style.
-Miz made his ring entrance.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside who talked about 9/11 and said it’s a day they can never forget. The brief video was quite the crown jewel. [c]
(2) THE MIZ vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
The bell rang 47 minutes into the hour. As Miz dominated early, he walked out making a “big balls” gesture and looking at the crowd. Miz finished Tozawa with three Skull Crushing Finales. Cole said Miz was making an example out of Tozawa. As Miz celebrated, Cole plugged Miz vs. L.A. Knight for Smackdown this Friday.
WINNER: Miz in 4:00.
-They went backstage to Byron Saxton who interviewed Rodriguez. Saxton talked slowly, like he was trying to fill time or stall for something. Rodriguez said Dom won’t be there to help Ripley tonight. She said Ripley won’t be the biggest, strongest, or angriest in that ring tonight.
-Imperium began their ring entrance.
-A commercial aired for NXT tomorrow night hyping Becky Lynch showing up to take on Tiffany Straton for her NXT Title. [c]
-Jackie Redmond interviewed Shayna Baszler. Baszler said Zoey Stark surprised her last week by lasting as long as she did in the Kirafuda Clutch. She said nine out of ten times, people tap right away. Chelsea Green walked in and brought up that Baszler sent Ronda Rousey packing at Summerslam. She said her tag partner isn’t medically cleared, so she is looking for a new partner. She said they’re both champions “so basically we’re peers.” Baszler laughed at that categorization. She said she would like to tear her apart limp by limb in the ring and show how big the gap is between them. Green said she’ll regret it and find someone else. Piper Niven showed up. Green said she’s so glad to see her. Niven yanked her tag belt from Green and said, “Medically cleared.”
-Ludwig Kaiser stood mid-ring with Giovani Vinci and introduced Gunther as the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in history. Gunther walked out. Cole said he’s been phenomenal since winning the title in June 2022. He said he’s been unstoppable. He said people are starting to say he’s perhaps the most dominant IC Champion of all time. Barrett said Gunther isn’t usually one to celebrate and take pleasure in his accomplishments because he thinks that’s for lazy people. He said this achievement is so significant, he’s making an exception. Cole said he is breaking a 35 year record.
Gunther spoke in German first. He said to the surprise of no one, he has rewritten history. Gunther said it seems like he’s only competing against himself at this point. Chad Gable interrupted. Fans cheered. Imperium all turned to the stage with looks of surprise and irritation.
Gable walked out and said last week they had a match for the ages. He said the world hasn’t stopped talking about it. He said a week later, Gunther is celebrating after walking his way into the history books. Gunther told him to enter the ring and say what he wants to say right to his face.
Gable said he saw the look in Gunther’s face after that match. He said it told him everything he needed to know. He said nobody pushed him to his limit like he did. He said he saw the tears rolling down the face of his oldest daughter, “tears that you caused!” he said, pointing at Gunther. Gable said you’d have to be a parent to know the effect it has seeing your child cry. He said Gunther lit a fire that won’t go out until he makes things right. He said he beat him once and he’ll beat him again. He said he doesn’t know when, where, or how, but he’ll get another shot at that championship. “I swear to God, I’m winning that championship,” he said. “And I swear to God, my daughter is walking out with a smile on her face.”
Gunther said he apparently wants his family to see him take the biggest beating of his life. He said he is a great athlete, but a terrible, disgusting father. Gable snarled and punched Gunter. Vinci and Kaiser attacked Gable. Gunther joined in. Otis ran out to try to save his partner. He backdropped Kaiser and Vinci over the top rope and then turned to Gunther. Gunther took Otis down. Gable tried to fight back, but he was overwhelmed three-on-one. Tommaso Ciampa ran out with a chair and cleared the ring of Imperium. Barrett asked what Ciampa’s interest in this situation is.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. They reviewed the storyline going on with Drew McIntyre, Matt Riddle, Kofi Kingston, and The Viking Raiders.
-They cut to footage of Drew earlier in the day on his phone smiling when Xavier Woods walked up to him. He asked why he was talking trash to Kofi. Drew said he has a lot on his mind, but Kofi “should man up and grow a set and talk to me himself.” He turned to leave but Xavier stopped him and said he went man to man and he tried to turn his back and walk away. Xavier said Drew is jealous that Kofi won his World Title at WrestleMania in front of 82,000 “screaming bodies” whereas the biggest moment of his career was in an empty Performance Center. He told Drew it must keep him awake. Drew got in his face and said he knows what he’s trying to do. He said he doesn’t want to hurt him. Xavier asked if he’s going to run straight through him. Drew said he said it, not him. He said he’ll gladly wrestle him tonight and what happens to him won’t be an accident.
-Xavier made his ring entrance.
-A Smackdown commercial hyped John Cena on The Grayson Waller effect, plus Knight vs. Miz. [c]
-Redmond asked Ciampa, who was hanging with Otiz and Gable backstage, to explain himself. He said Adam Pearce told him last week to seize his moment, and there was no bigger moment than Gunther’s celebration. Otis suggested the three of them wrestle Imperium. Gable liked the idea. Ciampa nodded and walked away. Otis yelled, “Oh yeah!”
(3) XAVIER WOODS vs. DREW MCINTYRE
Xavier’s music faded out and then Drew made his ring entrance. Barrett said Xavier chose an unnecessary way of ruffling the feathers of Drew and he will pay. Cole said Drew “in many ways carried WWE through that dark time.” He said maybe that does bother Drew, though, that Kofi won his title the way he did. Barrett said Drew is known to be a hot-head who can overreact to things.
The bell rang 20 minutes into the second hour. Drew tossed Xavier around for a while. Xavier leaped over the top rope at Drew, but Drew caught him and threw him onto the announce desk. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Drew was in control after the break. He lifted Xavier onto his shoulders on the second rope, but Xavier maneuvered into a sunset bomb instead. Xavier climbed to the top rope and landed a top rope legdrop for a two count. Drew overhead release suplexed Xavier twice, then delivered a neckbreaker. He kipped up and signaled for the Claymore, but Xavier kicked him as he charged and scored another two count. Drew went for an Alabama Slam, but Xavier turned it into a victory roll for a two count. He kicked Drew in the face, landed a senton, and then connected with a low knee to Drew’s head for a near fall.
Drew sat up as fans chanted, “This is awesome!” Drew and Xavier exchanged wild swings mid-ring. Drew then landed a Claymore out of nowhere for a sudden pin. Barrett said those two beat some respect into one another. As Drew returned to the entrance stage, he yelled to Xavier that it didn’t have to be that way.
WINNER: Drew in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I admire the way they’re changing how people should perceive Drew through commentary to prep fans to boo him, planting seeds about Drew having a different temperament and overreacting to things.)
-They showed Ripley warming up backstage as Cole plugged her title defense. [c]
-A Connor’s Cure video aired.
-Cody Rhodes made his ring entrance. Fans cheered and then chanted “Cody!” after his music faded. Cody said, “So, Norfolk, Virginia, what do we want to talk about?” He said they should talk about “Main Event” Jey Uso. He was immediately interrupted by Dominik. “What on Earth could this fool want?” asked Cole. Dom and J.D. McDonagh walked out.
Dom said he’ll tell him what he wants to talk about. Fans very loudly booed. He said they offered Jey a spot in The Judgment Day, and when he accepts, “it will make you look like a fool.” He entered the ring and said it’ll be amazing when Jey joins them and there’s nothing Cody can do about it. He flipped Cody’s tie a few times. Cody punched Dom. McDonagh attacked Cody. Cody backdropped McDonagh over the top rope and then hit Dom with a Cody Cutter and a Crossroads. Dom stood, so Cody gave him another Crossroads. McDonagh helped Dom to the back as Cody’s music played again. Barrett said he wanted to know what Cody was going to say; he said maybe he was going to apologize for getting Jey moved to Raw.
(Keller’s Analysis: There was nothing stopping Cody from continuing on with what he was going to say.)
-Backstage Drew walked up to Jey and said he wanted to tell him in the eye that he doesn’t trust him at all. Jey smiled and said, “Cool.” Drew said he hasn’t seen him stand on his own two feet and that Judgment Day offer probably sounds good. Jey challenged Drew to a match next week to show him what he can do on his own. Drew said, “You’re on.” Cole said, “I’ll sign up for that.”
-Chesea Green made her entrance, accompanied by Piper Niven. [c]
(4) CHELSEA GREEN (w/Piper Niven) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
The bell rang 48 minutes into the hour. Barrett said Green’s life would be so much easier if she found a way to close her mouth. Baszler went for an early armbar. When Green rolled to ringside, Baszler went after her, but Piper blocked her. Baszler told Piper to stay out of her business. Baszler finished Green with her Exterminanous finisher. Cole said that move used to be Ronda’s Piper’s Pit, but she’s using it now.
-Baszler and Piper exchanged punches afterward. Zoey Stark ran out and superkicked Piper, who dropped face-first to the mat. Baszler and Stark eyed Piper as she stood. Piper left the ring. Fans booed.
-A vignette aired with Shinsuke Nakamura speaking with captions. He asked Seth Rollins if he feels like a champion. He asked if fans would sing his song if they remembered what he has done. A clip aired of Seth bashing Roman Reigns from behind with a chair. He said he’s a manipulator, a deceiver, and a liar. He said he brings shame upon his family. He said he would strip him of his title and expose the lies he claims to stand for. “I will challenge you when I feel like it,” he said before breaking into a maniacal laugh.
-Seth Rollins made his entrance. Fans sang his song. [c]
-Seth stood in the ring as fans were singing his song. Seth said for a long time, he didn’t know who he was. He said he was trying to figure it out and tried everything. He said he tried associating with The Authority and then tried to be what everyone wanted him to be, but that didn’t work.
He said he tried to be a messiah, but that didn’t work. He said he then built “this facade thinking I could hide from myself when the truth, what I finally figured out – what you guys have always wanted me to be – myself!” He said they don’t love him because he’s a good guy or a bad guy, but because he’s Seth “Freakin'” Rollins. He said that’s why they sing his song. Fans sang. He said it was beautiful. He said that is the reason he can go home and look his daughter in the eyes and be at peace with his past and be proud of his future.
He said he didn’t come to Virginia to talk. He said he came to fight. He said management is telling him he’s going too hard and too fast and they want him to slow down. He said he is a work horse who needs to run free. He brought up that Nakamura said no to his offer for a rematch. He said he wanted to do it on his own time. He said even though Nakamura was able to walk out of Payback, and he wasn’t, he thinks the match took more out of Nakamura than he was letting on. He said if he wants to play games, he should come and get it. Nakamura’s music played, but he didn’t come out.
Nakamura appeared on the big screen and he was attacking Ricochet backstage. Nakamura smiled and addressed the camera. He told Seth he has bad timing. He kneed Ricochet a few more times. He said he is so sorry, but he will be taking his title, just not today.
-They showed Jey Uso backstage when Balor approached him and said he came in peace. He said they’re both professionals. He said he saw what he did to KO and it was very nice. He winked. He said Drew isn’t a fan of his, but he’s a big fan of his. He said Damien, Dom, and Ripley are also fans. He said for him, the doors to The Judgment Day are always open.
-Gable, Otis, and Maxxine made their ring entrance. [c]
(5) CHAD GABLE & OTIS (w/Maxxinne) & TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. IMPERIUM (Gunther & Gionvani Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser)
The bell rang 13 minutes into the hour. Barrett said Gable is an awful parent for bringing his daughter to ringside for a match against someone the level of Gunther. Imperium isolated Gable and triple-teamed him as they cut to a break at 3:30. [c]
Back from the break, Gunther blocked an attempted tag out by Gable and chopped his chest hard several times. Gable armdragged Gunther and then tagged in Ciampa. Gunther also tagged in Vinci. Ciampa landed an inverted DDT for a near fall at 10:00.
A distraction by Gunther on the ring apron opened up Ciampa to be clotheslined by Vinci. Kaiser tagged back in. Ciampa tagged in Otis who tossed Kaiser around the ring. Otis did the Caterpillar elbowdrop. Kaiser avoided a charging Otis, who went shoulder-first into the corner.
Gunther tagged in and called for Gable to tag in. Gable did. He applied an anklelock a minute later. Gunther tagged out to Vinci, who hit a high crossbody. Gable rolled through and applied an anklelock. He then landed Chaos Theory for a near fall, broken up by Gunther. Gunther set up a powerbomb, but Ciampa kneed Gunther. Kaiser slapped Ciampa. Otis hit Kaiser at ringside. Gunther gave Otis a running boot. Vinci surprised Gable with a roll-up from behind, but Gable kicked out at two and immediately put Vinci in an anklelock. Gunther tried to break it up, but Ciampa intercepted him and applied his Sicilian Stretch. Vinci tapped out.
WINNERS: Gable & Otis & Ciampa in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match with an especially strong finishing sequence.)
-Backstage Balor told his cohorts that they need to keep the pressure on Jey. Priest agreed. He said the more he feels isolated, the more he’ll want to join them. Dom said he wishes he could be out there with Ripley. She agreed, but she said she’ll handle her business. She said, “Mami’s always on top,” which is on a t-shirt Dom was wearing. [c]
-A clip aired of what Nakamura did earlier to Ricochet. Cole announced Nakamura vs. Ricochet was made official for next week’s Raw.
-Tiffany Stratton complained to Adam Pearce that he didn’t roll out the red carpet for her. Becky Lynch showed up. Pearce said Shawn Michaels wants them to sign the contract. Stratton said she let her emotions get the best of her last week. She asked what she did to Becky to cause her to go after the NXT Title. Becky said she tried using her name to add attention to her “dead end title reign.” She told Stratton she is a great athlete, but also dumb as a box of rocks. She said she is too focused on being famous, so she’ll make her famous for losing to her on NXT TV. Stratton said she’ll happily add to her name at Becky’s expense. She signed the contract.
-Cole hyped the match as “the biggest of Tiffany Stratton’s career.”
-Rodriguez made her ring entrance. Then Ripley made her entrance. [c]
(6) RHEA RIPLEY vs. RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ – WWE Women’s World Title match
After formal ring introductions, the bell rang 43 minutes into the hour. Rodriguez went on the early attack. Ripley flipped onto Rodriguez at ringside. A minutes later Rodriguez kicked Ripley hard into the barricade. They cut to a break at 4:00. [c]
Back from the break, Ripley had Rodriguez in a leglock on the mat. Rodriguez made a comeback at 10:00. They collided mid-ring and knocked each other down with simultaneous boots to the face. Both were down and slow to get up.
Ripley eventually hit a frog splash off the top rope for a near fall at 14:00. Ripley slidekicked Rodriguez out of the ring and then leaped off the ring apron, but Rodriguez caught her and swung her into the announce table. She dropped her back-first onto the edge of the ring apron. Nia Jax then came to ringside and gave Rodriguez a Samoan Drop. Fans booed as Jax stood and smiled at her work. Rodriguez crawled into the ring, but Ripley gave her a Rip Tide seconds later for the win. Barrett said it was an epic battle for the ages.
WINNER: Ripley in 15:00 to retain the Women’s World Title.
-Jax entered the ring as Ripley was celebrating. Jax headbutted Ripley. Fans gasped. Jax put Ripley over the bottom rope and landed a legdrop on her on the ring apron. She followed up with a Yokozuka-style sit splash in the corner. Fans booed as she struck a pose mid-ring to end the show.