SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 25, 2023
ONTARIO, CALIF. AT TOYOTA ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin
-The show opened with Cody Rhodes’s ring entrance. He came out in a suit, tie, and dress shoes. Michael Cole said there’s not a empty seat to be found as they’re sold out at the arena, noting they were just outside of Los Angeles. They cut to a three minute video recap of all the drama lately with The Judgment Day, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Cody. Back live, fans were chanting “Cody!” He welcomed everyone to Raw. He asked viewers at home to indulge him as he turned around to look at everyone in the sold out arena.
He said he’s already been interrupted twice in past weeks so he’s going to cut right to talking about Jey Uso. He said because Jey was sent to Raw, someone will be sent to Smackdown. He said many in the Raw locker room are upset with him and think he should have just let Jey sink, “but that’s not me.” He said he and Jey aren’t great friends, but he wasn’t going to stand by and watch him getting jumped by three people for making the right decision to turn down The Judgment Day. He said they are the most toxic faction in the history of – at which point the Judgment Day music interrupted.
Damian Priest, Finn Balor, and Dominik Mysterio walked out. Balor scolded Cody for sticking his nose in their business. He said they offered Jey a chance to join a real family, but Cody couldn’t help himself and he had to “save the day” after he turned them down because “everything is always about Cody.” He snuck in some Spanish at the end.
Dom began speaking and was booed loudly. Dom said Cody will pay for disrespecting them. The boos continued and Cody leaned in to try to hear him better. Cody said since they’re all defending their titles, what happens when Rhea Ripley returns and they’re all empty-handed. Dom told him to leave Mami’s name out of his mouth.
Judgment Day began making their way toward the ring when Jey Uso showed up behind Cody. Fans chanted “Uso! Uso!” Judgment Day still liked their odds, so Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens then hopped into the ring. Judgement Day then retreated. J.D. McDonagh joined them in the aisle. McDonagh, Balor, and Dom went into the ring, but Priest told them not to. He was frustrated as he watched them get beat down. He joined in the fight. Priest ended up isolated after the other three were knocked out of the ring. Jey superkicked him and Cody bashed him with a chair. Dom nervously checked on Priest.
-Cole and Wade Barrett hyped scheduled matches and segments.
-Otis made his ring entrance, accompanied by Maxxine. [c]
(1) OTIS vs. “BIG” BRONSON REED
The bell rang 21 minutes into the hour. They were a close physical match-up, and they played that up with their back and forth offense in the ring and at ringside. At 2:00 they collided mid-ring with simultaneous bodyblocks. Otis did the Caterpillar into an elbowdrop. Otis then went for a swing splash, but Reed moved and then landed a running senton. He landed his Tsunami splash off the top rope for the win. Cole said both men were so impressive.
WINNER: Bronson in 4:00.
-Backstage, Becky asked Tegan Nox why she was waiting at the curtain last week, yet she let Natalya pass her. Nox said she wanted to respect Nataya’s veteran status, so she let her jump in front. Becky said she can’t do that and she needs to step on some toes and claim her worth. She said she has a big match on Saturday at No Mercy and she wants her to be next in line after she wins.
-As Tommaso Ciampa made his way to the ring, Cole said those were encouraging words by Becky to Nox. [c]
-Tegan approached Adam Pearce backstage and asked if she can face the winner of the No Mercy match. Then Natalya walked in and said she wanted a rematch. Tegan said she has a lot of respect for her, but she got an opportunity last week and lost. Natalya accused Tegan of not having passion. Tegan lashed out and said she never got the chances she got. They argued until Pearce told them to calm down. He suggested they wrestle each other and the winner will have earned the match they want.
(2) TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. LUDWIG KAISER (w/Giovani Vinci)
The bell rang 34 minutes into the hour. Barrett said Imperium’s job is to snuff out any challenges for Gunther before they get anywhere near Gunther. They showed Gunther watching on a monitor backstage. Ciampa got in early offense, but Kaiser shoved him off the ring apron and into the ringside steps. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
When Ciampa got control and landed a reverse DDT, Vinci entered the ring. Ciampa gave him a knee to the face. Cole said he might’ve broken his nose. The ref checked on him. Kaiser caught Ciampa with a high roundkick as he turned around. He made the cover, but the ref was still checking on Vinci.
Kaiser kicked Vinci out of the ring and yelled at him. Ciampa then caught Kaiser with a flash knee when he turned around, although it didn’t look like it made contact and showed quite a bit of light, unfortunately. Ciampa scored a three count. They showed a reverse angle on replay from behind and it looked better when you couldn’t see the supposed impact point. Ciampa yelled at the camera and sent a message to Gunther that he’s taking it all. “Sign the damn contract!” he yelled. Gunther stormed off.
WINNER: Ciampa in 8:00.
-Cole asked Barrett if Ciampa deserves a title shot now. Barrett said the way Gunther sets it up, Ciampa has earned it.
-A video package aired on Dragon Lee. Cole then plugged his North American Title match later tonight.
-Becky made her ring entrance as she held her NXT Title above her head. Cole said she will be on commentary for the next match with Tegan and Natalya. [c]
(3) TEGAN NOX vs. NATALYA
The bell rang 50 minutes into the hour. Becky talked about having defeated all the top names and she wants to bring out the best in her opponents. Tegan finished Natalya decisively with her Shiniest Wizard. Cole said Tegan might get a championship opportunity.
WINNER: Nox in 2:30.
-Priest got in McDonagh’s face and yelled at him that he’s not going to be in Judgment Day. He said he took a beating because of him. He told him to get out. McDonagh backed off and said okay, then left. Dom and Balor looked wide-eyed in shock at Priest’s show of anger.
-Seth Rollins made his way out wearing an outfit that appeared to potentially be made of bright red raincoats or trash bags. He listened to fans sing his song. They cut to a break. [c]
Seth stood mid-ring and welcomed everyone to Monday Night Rollins. He asked them to play a little game. He said if they’re all as sick as he is over Shinsuke Nakamura ducking him, sing his song. Fans sang his song. He told Nakamura that the time for games is over. He said he wants the answer tonight. He said if he doesn’t accept his challenge for a rematch, he’s pulling the opportunity and moving on. He said there are a million willing talents in that locker room. “The floor is yours,” he said.
Nakamura appeared on the big screen. He said Seth has many demands, and said “no wonder your body fails you.” He said his daughter will be ashamed to look ta him. He said this will be Seth’s last chance to be called champion and to hear fans sing his song. He said he will stand tall with the championship. “Yes, I accept your challenge for Fastlane. Last man standing,” he said.
Back in the ring, Seth paused (trying to figure out how Nakamura put such an elaborate video together with the various clips and captions so quickly). He described a Last Man Standing match. He said two men walk in and only one walk out. He cackled and accepted his challenge. He said Nakamura played it perfectly. He said he got the match he wanted on his terms. He said he has made one critical error, though.
He said Nakamura thinks he can exploit his weakness and beat him so badly that his daughter will be ashamed to look at him. He said his broken back isn’t a weakness. He said for him it’s actually a strength. He said the only reason his family would be ashamed of him is if he doesn’t give it everything he’s got. He said he knows that every time he steps into the ring, he knows it could be the last time. He said he never gives it less than 100 percent. He said his 100 percent makes him the best in the world. He held up the World Hvt. Title belt. He said the one who walks out of the match will be a visionary and a revolutionary. Fans yelled “Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins!” His music played and he dropped the mic.
-Jackie Redmond interviewed Ricochet backstage. He was on crutches. She asked for an update on when he’ll be cleared to wrestle again. Ricochet said he will return and it’ll take more than what happened last week to hold him down. He said whether Nakamura walks out with the title or not, he has unfinished business with Nakamura. [c]
(4) DOMINIK MYSTERIO vs. DRAGON LEE – NXT North American Title match
As Lee came out, Barrett said he’s one of the most hyped signings in the history of NXT. “This guy is the real deal,” he said. Dom got tons of boos. The bell rang 19 minutes into the hour. Cole listed wrestlers who have held the North American Title including Solo Sikoa, Ricochet, Damian Priest, Bronson Reed, Wes Lee, and Carmello Hayes.
Lee head scissored Dom out of the ring and then landed a running flip dive. Dom countered Lee into a half crab. Lee reached the bottom rope quickly. Dom DDT’d Lee on the ring apron at 2:00 and they cut to a break. [c]
Lee hit a barrage of rapid-fire kicks and moves in the corner leading Cole to compare it to a video game sequence. It led to a near fall after a running dropkick in the corner. There was a little botch when Dom slipped out of a powerbomb attempt. Lee hit a series of cool moves, but Dom countered into a Michinoku Driver for a two count.
Dom dropkicked Lee against the middle rope and got a ton of boos as he signalled for a 619. Lee ducked and fans cheered. Lee kneed Dom for a two count. Lee head-scissored Dom off the ring apron to the floor with a thud. He threw Dom back into the ring and landed a leaping sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Fans popped. Both were down and slow to get up. Fans chanted “This is awesome!”
Dom met Lee on the top rope. Lee shoved Dom down and hung him upside down. He landed a quick leaping double stomp. Dom knocked Lee off the top rope and then hit a quick frog splash for the three count.
WINNER: Dominik in 10:00 to retain the North American Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match! That was Dom’s best singles match. I wish he hadn’t lost so quickly to Cody last week. Not that there’s shame in losing to Cody, but it made Lee look week via the transitive property in his highly-touted Raw debut.)
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. Barrett emphatically said he wants more of Lee on Raw “ASAP!” He said it might’ve been the single greatest performance of Dom’s career. They commented next on Nia Jax attacking Ripley two weeks ago on Raw and then Jax attacking Chelsea Green, Piper Niven, and Shayna Baszler last week. Barrett said Baszler is also out of action as a result.
-They showed Jax backstage. Cole said he’d interview her next. [c]
-Redmond interviewed Sami and KO about coming to the aid of Cody and Jey earlier. KO said earlier wasn’t about helping Jey. He said all he cares about tonight is getting his hands on Judgment Day. Sami said he feels the same way. Sami talked about him and KO starting together and this is about them and taking back what is theirs. [c]
-Cole interviewed Jax mid-ring. She said she is the baddest person in WWE and seemed to delight in the boos. Zoey Stark charged into the ring and dared Jax to do something to her face to face. Jax shoved her down hard. Stark leaped up and went after Jax. Officials entered the ring and got between them. Starks broke free and leaped at Jax in the corner. [c]
(5) ZOEY STARKS vs. NIA JAX
The bell rang 46 minutes into the hour. Stark lifted Jax onto her shoulders two minutes in, but fell forward and Jax landed on her. Jax then legdropped the back of Starks’s neck and then stood on her throat and chest before landing her corner Annihilator sit-splash. Cole said the entire Women’s Division has been put on notice, “especially Rhea Ripley.”
WINNER: Jax in 3:00.
-Byron Saxton interviewed Jey backstage. He asked, “Can you tell me why you chose not to join the Judgment Day.” Jey said, “No group, Sax.” (But it sounded like he said, “No group sex.” But would that surprise anyone about Judgment Day?) He said Sami is still his dawg. He said his beef with KO is what it is. He said he’s keeping a close eye on the Judgment Day if they act up tonight.
-Miz made his ring entrance for Miz TV. [c]
-Backstage, Balor and Dom were chatting. Dom asked where Damien was. Balor said he needed to cool off, but he’ll be fine and be there later. Dom iced his head.
-Miz TV: Miz said his guest tonight will speak for the first time since he walked away as Jey was taking a beating at the hands of the Judgment Day last week. He said he’s either a coward or a conflicted hero. He introduced Drew McIntyre. Drew made his entrance as Cole and Barrett discussed Drew. Barrett said they’re about to get the answers they’ve been waiting for. Miz told Drew it’s a judgment-free zone for him to speak freely. Drew asked if he had any specific questions.
Miz tried to bond with him and said he would’ve done the same thing and thrown Jey to the wolves. Drew said they are not at all alike. Miz said they both know what it’s like to be the backbone of the company and to be champion only to lose it. Miz said Drew was the unbeatable champion until he wasn’t. He said he got the opportunity of a lifetime at Clash at the Castle, and then Jey cost him that opportunity.
Miz said Jey always does what is best for Jey, so it makes sense he didn’t act. “Karma’s a bitch,” said Drew, emphatically. Miz said he is the bad man of WWE. Drew sneered at him the whole time. He asked how it felt to be upstaged by Cody last week. Before Drew could answer, New Day’s music played. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods walked out. A “New Day Rocks” chant started.
Kofi said the Drew they know is not a coward like they saw last week. Xavier said they used to call Drew “Big D,” but there appears to have been some shrinkage. He asked if his sword was too limp to get the job done. Drew asked if they expected him to make the save as always. He said they were backstage, but they didn’t run out. Others acted the same. He said they’re hypocrites. Kofi said he should’ve helped Jey. Miz tried to defend Drew, but Drew told him to shut up. Kofi said Jey is trying to make things right. Drew told Miz to shut up again.
Drew said after everything Jey has done to him, they haven’t stood up to him even one time. Kofi said they used to think Drew always did what’s right and they respected him for it. Drew kept telling Miz to shut up. Miz told the fans, “When my hand goes up, your mouths go shut.” Drew headbutted Miz. Drew said the time for talking is over. Kofi jumped onto the ring apron. [c]
-Kaiser confronted Otis, Chad Gable, and Maxxine backstage. He said Imperium hold themselves to a higher standard while he sees them celebrating losses. Maxxine told him to go away. Gable said, “Shoosh!” He said Kaiser lost, so he’s going to go get brow beat like he always does. He told him to tell Gunther he still has his eyes locked on his Intercontinental Title. Gable acted obnoxious, and Kaiser rolled his eyes and walked off.
(6) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KOFI KINGSTON
The bell rang 11 minutes into the hour. Cole said both New Day and Drew made sense. Kofi dropkicked Xavier over the top rope to the floor. Xavier made strange noises and then played his trombone. He put Kofi on his shoulders and yelled. Kofi leaped at Drew with a forearm and followed with a headbutt. Drew rolled back into the ring. Then he landed a top rope bodypress for a two count. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Back from the break, they fought back and forth and traded momentum and near falls. Kofi dove through the ropes and knocked Drew into the ringside desk. Cole said it’s been a classic. (That’s a bit much ten minutes in.) Drew slammed Kofi onto the ring apron. Drew signaled for a Claymore at 11:00, but Kofi ducked and then landed his S.O.S. for a near fall. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” With Drew and Kofi both down, Ivar attacked Xavier at ringside. Valhalla cheered him on. Drew caught a distracted Kofi with a Claymore for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 13:00.
-Drew walked to the back as Ivar attacked Kofi in the ring. Barrett said Drew has no obligation to New Day, but he is surprised at how callous he is. Ivar landed a top rope moonsault.
-Gunther confronted Kaiser backstage. He said it was ridiculous what happened earlier. Kaiser blamed Vinci. Gunther said he messed up, so from now on, Vinci is his responsibility. He said if either of them mess up, he’ll have an issue with Kaiser. Gunther said he’d take care of his responsibility in the mean time as the IC Champion. “And I will do so by beating Tomasso Ciampa myself,” he said. Kaiser and Vinci gave each other dirty looks after Gunther walked away.
-They showed Priest and Balor warming up backstage. [c]
-Saxton asked Ivar and Valhalla to explain their actions. Ivar said New Day took Erik out of the fight. Valhalla said, “Eye for an eye.”
-Cole hyped the NXT No Mercy line-up. Barrett said Tegan Nox will face the winner of the Becky vs. Tiffany Stratton match.
(7) FINN BALOR & DAMIAN PRIEST vs. SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS – WWE Tag Team Title match
The Judgment Day’s ring entrance took place first. KO and then Sami came out. The bell rang 37 minutes into the hour. After an early flurry by Sami against Balor, Balor rolled to ringside to regroup. They cut to a very early break. [c]
After more back and forth action, Sami landed a running flip dive onto Balor and Priest at ringside and they cut to another break at 8:00. [c]
Owens landed a rolling senton off the top rope for a near fall on Balor at 15:00. Sami broke up a cover on KO after a Coup de Grace by Balor. Priest gave Balor some instructions. Sami rallied and signaled for a Heluva Kick, but then Dom showed up on the ring apron. Sami moved toward him. Priest then set up Sami for a move, but Sami slipped free and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall.
Owens tackled Balor and they rolled to the floor. Dom snapped Sami’s neck over the top rope. Priest drove Sami’s face into the mat for a near fall. Dom remained on the ring apron, arguing with the referee. Fans booed. Jey ran out and yanked Dom off the ring apron and beat him up at ringside. McDonagh ran out and helped Dom beat up Jey. Cody ran out for the save. He dove through the ropes and speared McDonagh onto and over the announce desk.
Jey and Cody pounded away at Dom. Pearce ran out to try to restore order. Balor grabbed KO in the ring, but KO hit a stunner. Priest threw KO out of the ring. Sami gave Priest a Helluva Kick. McDonagh hit Sami with a tag belt as the ref was looking at the chaos at ringside. The ref counted Sami’s shoulders down for a three count.
Balor smiled wide at ringside with Dom as he realized how the match turned out.
WINNERS: Balor & Priest in 20:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles.
-Everyone brawled in the ring as the show came to an end.