SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
OCTOBER 2, 2023
SAN JOSE, CALIF. AT SAP CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin
-After the “Then, Now, Forever, Together” brand stamp, they cut to the arena where Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler were brawling down the aisle. Michael Cole said they were scheduled to wrestle, but a brawl broke out before the show. They fought into the ring where Baszler leaped onto Jax’s back and applied a sleeper. Jax powered Baszler into the corner to break it. Baszler clutched her ribs. Raquel Rodriguez’s music played and she ran to the ring. Jax waited for her, but looked worried. Wade Barrett said it appeared Jax felt she had bitten off more than she could chew.
Rodriguez went to kick Jax, but Jax moved and the kick connected with Baszler. Jax hit Rodriguez from behind. With Rodriguez down, Rhea Ripley ran out and charged into the ring and tackled Jax. Rodriguez and Baszler recovered and swarmed Jax. Ripley and Rodriguez brawled in one corner as Baszler and Jax battled in another. Security ran out and separated them. Ripley attacked security guys (who were just doing their job!). She gave one a Rip Tide. Cole exclaimed that Ripley “is pissed off tonight.” Fans chanted “Mami! Mami!”
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside to react. Baszler said she’s not leaving the ring because she has other business. She called The Judgment Day to the ring because they needed to talk. Cole plugged the line-up for Raw. Dominik Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio walked out. Cole noted that Dom lost his NXT North American Title at No Mercy. Ripley paced as they made their way to the ring. Cole said they heard rumors that Finn Balor wasn’t there tonight “and I guess those rumors are true.” They cut to a break. [c]
-Back from the break, Ripley was finishing up saying something and said, “Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I have some business day business to attend.” (What did she get off her chest?) She said asked Dom and Priest if there is no leader. They nodded. She said they each have responsibilities, though. She said she was out for two weeks because of Jax “and all of a sudden things start falling apart for The Judgment Day because Mami is the one who makes the plans.” She said she left that responsibility up to Priest while she was gone and that person disappointed her. She said he couldn’t handle the job.
She said Balor is out hurt and now Priest can’t compete against Jey as scheduled because he’s not medically cleared, and Dom lost his title to Trick Williams at No Mercy. Fans cheered. She blamed Priest for not being there to help him. She said they now have a “Cody and Jey situation.” She said they don’t fear them because they’re not cohesive now. She said they think they can in their tag titles.
Priest said he’s aware of everything she’s saying. He said when push comes to shove, he’ll push harder. He said he has the Money in the Bank briefcase and a tag title. He said he’s not trying to stir trouble, “but where’s Dom-Dom’s title?” Dom looked sheepish as fans chanted “Where’s your title?” Ripley turned to Dom and said he has a rematch tomorrow night. “You’re welcome,” she said. She then told him if he doesn’t win the title, don’t bother coming home. Jey Uso’s music broke the tension.
Jey danced out and got the crowd to raise their arms over and over to the beat of his song. Fans chanted “U-so! U-so!” Jey welcomed Rhea back. He said the Tribal Chief of Judgment Day is back “and apparently she has bigger balls than Roman Reigns ever did.” Priest said he’s tired of Jey opening his mouth. He said something in Spanish, dropped the mic, and took a step toward Jey. Dom put his hand on Priest’s chest and said, “Damian, you’re not medically cleared.” He said he’s gonna take care of business for Mami. (This was the most blatant instance of it sounding like WWE turned the volume way up on the crowd boos to drown him out.)
Dom took a swing, but Jey ducked and then superkicked Dom. J.D. McDonagh then attacked Jey. Dom and McDonagh stomped away at Jey. As Priest was about to enter with the briefcase to use as a weapon, Cody charged out. He helped Jey clear the ring of the heels. Adam Pearce booked Cody & Jey vs. Balor & Priest for Fastlane with the WWE Tag Team Titles at stake.
-They went back to Cole and Barrett at ringside. Cole talked about the signing of Jade Cargill. He called it one of the biggest free agent signings in recent years. He touted the 20 million social media views of her contract signing. He said she already looks like a super hero, but she’ll work as hard as needed to have marquee matches that will have the world talking.
-Alpha Academy began their ring entrance. [c]
(1) ALPHA ACADEMY (w/Maxxine) vs. IMPERIUM (Gionvani Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser)
The bell rang 28 minutes into the hour. Cole and Barrett talked about how Gunther ordered Kaiser to keep Vinci in line and get him back on track. At 3:00 Gable climbed to the top rope with Vinci on nearly the opposite side of the ring. Kaiser pulled him to ringside. Otis then flung a charging Gable onto Kaiser at rinsgide. Kaiser was in a bad position and the impact was awkward. Gable and Otis celebrated in the ring as they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Kaiser slammed Gable on the ring apron as Kaiser was chatting with the ref. Gable knocked Vinci off the ring apron. When Kaiser went for a tag, Vinci was still on the floor. Otis tagged in and went to work on Kaiser with a flurry of offense. Otis hit the Caterpillar on Kaiser and then placed him over the top turnbuckle. He set up an overhead suplex, but Vinci shoved Otis down. Kaiser then connected with an enzguigiri for the win as Vinci knocked Gable down at ringside. Cole said Vinci & Kaiser were given marching orders and they turned things around.
WINNERS: Kaiser & Vinci in 12:00.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. They plugged the contract signing with Gunther and Tomasso Ciampa.
-Highlights aired of the Becky Lynch vs. Tiffany Stratton match at No Mercy on Saturday night.
-Back live at ringside, Cole said Becky isn’t medically cleared. He warned viewers about how graphic the image was of the gash in Becky’s elbow. He said it required 11 stitches. (That was nasty.)
-Pearce told Tegan Nox that her title match against Becky was postponed. In walked Chelsea Green who said she didn’t want to hear Tegan complain and suck it up. She told Tegan she should be glad she’s not going wrestle Becky because she’s not championship material. Tegan suggested Pearce book her against Green so they can see who is championship material. Pearce said it’s official. [c]
(2) BRONSON REED vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Cole called Bronson “the burly bruiser.” That’s better than being called “big.” Cedric dove through the ropes at Reed early. He followed up with a running flip dive over the top rope onto Reed. Back in the ring, Reed knocked Cedric out of mid-air with his arm. Cedric came back with an enzuigiri for a two count. Reed and Cedric collided mid-air, and Reed ended up on top. He followed with a running senton and then landed his top rope Tsunami splash for the win.
WINNER: Reed in 2:00.
-A clip aired of Drew McIntyre on Miz TV last week.
-Backstage Drew walked up to Pearce who was on the phone. Pearce told Drew that Miz offered Drew an open forum. Drew said he’s not interested if it was Miz’s idea. He told Pearce to tell Miz to stay out of his business. Pearce asked if he’s okay because he seems off lately. Drew asked if he was referring to him not doing “the right thing” with Jey and the New Day. He said he doesn’t recall anyone doing the right thing when the Bloodline were beating him down. [c]
-Pearce stood in the ring with a table set up for the signing and introduced Ciampa, who made his ring entrance. Pearce then introduced Gunther.
Cole said Gunther has been champion 479 days. Gunther wore a nice suit and carried the Intercontinental Title over his shoulder. Gunther sat down. Pearce said two signatures make this official. Ciampa said when he wakes up the day they wrestle, only two people in the world will matter “and I’m one of them.” He said ever since Gunther has come to WWE, he’s been served five-course meals and been given opportunities. He said people like him are served road kill and have to turn it into a fillets. He said if you do that enough times, then you get an opportunity. “Boy, look at me when I’m talking to you,” he said.
Gunther smiled and looked at him. Ciampa said he’s dreamed of winning the Intercontinental Title since he was five years old. He said he’ll have his family at ringside, but he will be wrestling for the five-year old version of himself. He said at the end of the night, he’ll be the new champion. He was fired up. He threw down the mic and signed the contract as fans cheered.
-Gunther paused and wore an arrogant, patronizing smile. He said this is an official contract signing for the most important title in the world, and he showed up dressed like that (in camouflage pants and a sleeveless shirt.) He said that tells him everything he needs to know. He said the IC Title means the most to him. He said he is the greatest IC Champion of all time. Ciampa applauded and then interrupted. He said he feels so confident for someone who is about to lose his prized possession. He told him to just sign the damn contract.
Gunther told him sternly to never, ever interrupt him again. Gunther told him to hug his family tight and keep on dreaming, because he will never get any closer to the IC Title than there in the ring. Ciampa told him he hasn’t signed the contract yet. Ciampa said he’d be happy to face him tonight instead and make him tap out tonight. Fans chanted, “Yes! Yes!” Gunther thought for a few seconds and then told Pearce that Ciampa should prove he can make him tap out tonight. He signed the contract. Pearce said it’s official and the match takes place tonight. Gunther took a swing at Ciampa, but Ciampa avoided it and then leaped off the table at him. Ciampa applied his Sicilian Stretch. Gunther rolled out of it and retreated.
(Keller’s Analysis: Moving this match up is a good solution to losing their top two scheduled matches on this show. Really good, fired up promo from Ciampa. Gunther continues to rise to top tier stature in the way he carries himself.)
-As Priest was ranting in frustration over not being able to beat anybody up tonight, but they have to defend their titles on Saturday night. McDonagh told him to calm down because this could be a good thing. Priest yelled, “Why are you talking to me?!” Ripley said he might have a point. Ripley said he doesn’t want Kevin or Cody or Sami or Jey on the same page. Kevin Owens already doesn’t like Jey, so this could be the wedge they need to divide them. McDonagh said, “Divide, not conquer.” Preist said, “Alright, not bad.”
-Cole said McDonagh made some good points.
-New Day made their ring entrance. [c]
(3) XAVIER WOODS vs. IVAR
Kofi Kingston joined Barrett and Cole on commentary. Barrett asked Kofi how he feels about Drew. He said Drew’s action speak for themselves and he’s obviously going through something. The bell rang 15 minutes into the hour. Xavier took Ivar down at ringside at 2:00. Kofi cheered as they cut to a break. [c]
Xavier levaraged Ivar’s shoulder’s down for a two count and then scored a three count with a small package seconds later.
WINNER: Xavier in 8:00.
-Ivar attacked Xavier afterward. Kofi made the save. Ivar, though, landed spin wheel kicks against a charging Kofi and then to a charging Xavier. Ivar then slammed Kofi onto Xavier.He climbed to the top rope and leaped off with a moonsault onto both. The crowd roared.
-Cole and Barrett threw to a video package on the Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura build. [c]
-Seth Rollins made his full ring entrance as fans sang his song. Cole, standing mid-ring, introduced him. Cole said he’s had the pleasure of calling most of the (televised) matches in his career. He said he’s had the pleasure of coming up with most of his nicknames over the years including “The Architect.” He said he seems more like “The Puppet” now, though. Seth said he’s been asking Shinsuke for a rematch for weeks and he finally gave it to him. Cole asked Seth if he’s serious. He asked if he understands what’s going to happen on Saturday. He said the match is one of the most brutally in WWE because you can use any weapon and the only rule is you beat the opponent down so badly that they can’t get up for a count of ten. Cole said his back is so bad, he’s hanging on by a thread. “So I ask you why the hell are you putting yourself through this?” Cole asked. Seth’s mood changed and he hung his head pensively. Fans sang his song.
Seth said he’s not sure how to put it into words, but he wanted to ask Cole a question. He asked him how many years he’s been at the commentary desk. Cole said 26 years. Fans cheered. Seth asked how many shows he’s missed. Cole said two. Fans cheered louder. Seth said he’s addicted to it and it’s a compulsion and he loves it.
Seth said that’s what it’s like for him. He said he needs the fans to sign his song. He said he has a responsibility and duty. “For me, man, this ring has given me everything,” he said. “It’s put a roof over my head, it puts food on my table, it’s how I met my wife, it’s the reason I have a beautiful baby girl.” He said that responsibility gets amplified when you are World Heavyweight Champion. He said he has to “be the change.” He said if Saturday is his last ride, what matters is he left it all in the ring. He said he will have fulfilled his responsibility at that point and he will have been an example for his daughter. He said that’s the best he’s got. “It’s not words, it’s just a feeling,” he said. He said it feels right.
Nakamura interrupted and said he’s tired of listening to his nonsense. “Nobody believes you anymore,” he said. “Did I plan this perfectly or did you”?” He asked if his back injury is a lie to get sympathy. He said he wants the world to feel sorry for him. He said he can thank him when he makes it happen. Nakamura attacked Seth from behind and delivered a Kinshasa. Nakamura strutted around the ring. The recording of Seth began counting to ten with Seth down. Nakamura bashed Seth over and over with a chair. Nakamura went back to counting to ten. Seth got up at eight. Nakamura kicked him down again. Nakamura then slammed Seth onto a chair and hit another Kinshasa. Then live in the ring he began counting Seth down and he got to ten quickly.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was actually pretty cool. Instead of feeling fake, it came across like Nakamura has Seth totally figured out and anticipated he could distract him and then attack him. The pre-recorded counting was a bit of a stretch, though, since it’s tough to believe he’d anticipate exactly when Seth would stand up. Seth’s promo was really strong too, and Cole played his role really well. The comparison between Cole’s work ethic and Seth’s worked.)
-They went to Cole and Barrett. Cole said Seth might’ve gotten suckered into this situation by Nakamura.
-Tegan was warming up backstage when Becky showed up with her right arm in a sling. She said she figured Tegan would want to face the best version of her. Tegan said she’s right. As Becky walked away, Natalya approached Tegan and said they got off on the wrong foot. She said she’s genuinely proud of her. She said when she gets her opportunity against Becky, she’ll nail it. Tegan smiled and thanked her.
-Chelsea Green made her ring entrance with Piper Niven. [c]
(4) TEGAN NOX vs. CHELSEA GREEN (w/Piper Niven)
The bell rang 51 minutes into the hour. Tegan climbed to the top rope a minute in. Niven climbed up the steps and distracted her. Natalya then came out to her music. Green met Tegan on the top rope. Green was distracted by Natalya, so Tegan knocked her to the mat. She then hit the Shiniest Wizard for the win. Natalya entered the ring and raised Tegan’s arm.
WINNER: Tegan in 2:00.
-Drew made his ring entrance. [c]
-Bryon Saxton interviewed Jey backstage. He asked about his mindset. Jey said when he was in The Bloodline, Cody was the enemy. He said he’s good taking on The Judgment Day with Cody as his partner. “We’re good, full speed ahead, yo. Yeet.”
-Drew snidely asked what people wants to talk about. He said the only people he answers to are his fans. He said they’ve been with him through the ups and downs. He said he’s going to stop being the savior in fights he didn’t start. He said he’s done with it. He said nobody’s been stepping up when he hasn’t been saving the day. He said that makes those questioning him hypocrites. He said sometimes he feels like he’s in the Codyverse “where he does what he wants, says what he wants.” He said when it comes to Jey, it’s weakness, not strength. Miz’s music interrupted.
Miz marched out and said he doesn’t forgive Drew for what he did to him last week on Miz TV or cancelling this week’s edition of Miz TV. Miz said he was looking out for him. Drew told him to shut up. Miz said he had 10,000 people chanting “Shut up, Miz!” last week. Fans chanted it again briefly. Miz told Drew to embrace who he really is. Fans again chanted “Shut up, Miz.”
Drew said they want him to be the bad guy and attack Seth backstage and beat him down and drag him to the ring and maybe screw Uso over at Fastlane. “Is that what you want?” he asked. “No, that’s not how I operate.” He said he goes to the ring and racks up the wins to earn title shots. Drew challenged Miz to a fight “unless those balls are still tiny.” Fans chanted, “Tiny balls!” Miz asked the fans if they really want that. Miz said he’s not dressed for a match. He said he’s in a suit and Drew is in a skirt. He said Drew is self-absorbed and he’s good Drew, but if someone is getting beaten down, then he’ll be bad Drew. He said he’s two-faced and plays both sides, whichever benefits Drew.
Drew sternly said he really suggests he shut up. Miz yelled that he doesn’t shut up, he grows up, and when he looks at him, he throws up. Drew said he’s a bloody idiot. Miz said he’s not worth his time. Drew threw the mic down and got ready to fight. Miz said his mom always taught him a bigger man will walk away from a fight, so he’ll be the hero and walk away. Miz dropped to the floor. But he charged into the ring and knocked Drew out of the ring with a mic. Drew stormed back into the ring and slammed Miz. Two referees pulled Drew off of Miz. Miz bailed out. [c]
(5) DREW MCINTYRE vs. MIZ
The bell rang after the break and the match was on. Barrett said Miz is wearing a $10,000 suit, so this should be illegal. (Miz was wearing wrestling boots, by the way.) Drew beat up Miz at ringside a few seconds into the match. Miz shoved Drew into the ringpost and entered the ring. He took off his suit jacket and continued on the attack on Drew in the ring. Fans chanted, “Tiny balls!” Drew came back with two belly-to-belly suplexes. Drew kipped up and then set up a Future Shock DDT. Miz caught Drew with double-knees to the chest as SDrew was on the ring apron. As the ref checked on Drew, Miz began to remove a turnbuckle. The ref caught him. Drew delivered a Glasgow Kiss and then called for a Claymore. He paused, though, and grabbed his sword. The ref took it from him. Drew yanked off the turnbuckle that Miz had loosened. He rammed Miz into it and then delivered a Future Shock DDT for the win.
WINNER: McIntyre in 4:00.
-Drew said he’s feeling different than he was 30 seconds ago. He said he’s sorry for his actions, and now that he’s said he’s sorry, he’s automatically forgiven. Cole asked what that was about. Barrett said Drew said earlier that forgiveness is a weakness, and there’s nothing weak about this version of Drew.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. Cole commented on clips of the Dominik vs. Trick Williams match at No Mercy.
-Jackie Redmond interviewed Williams backstage. She congratulated him on his win, then brought up that he’ll be defending against Dom tomorrow night on NXT. Trick introduced himself to Dom and the rest of the world. He said he’s 6-4 and 250 pounds of muscle. He was interrupted by Dom, McDonagh, and Ripley. Ripley told Trick that Dom won’t be coming to NXT alone and he’s leaving with his title. Dom said, “Keep it clean for me.”
-They showed Ciampa warming up backstage. [c]
-Redmond interviewed Cody in the aisle. She asked him about teaming with Jey against Priest & Balor for the WWE Tag Team Titles. Cody said he never anticipated he’d be teaming with Jey, but it’s The Judgment Day who have backed themselves into this fight. He said he’s heard their plan is to be at Smackdown this Friday. He said he’d be there too and he won’t be alone because Jey will be there as well. He said they’ll march to Fastlane and win the titles and then it’ll be a very different Monday Night Raw. “Thank you, guys!” he said. He blew kisses and shook hands.
(Keller’s Analysis: Short and to the point, and effective.)
-Cole and Barrett hyped the full Fastlane line-up. [c]
-Gunther made his entrance. [c]
-Gable told Otis and Maxxinne that he hasn’t peaked yet, unlike Gunther, and everyone will know when he has. He said all the idiots are going to pay for what they’ve done. “Savages! Idiots!” he yelled.
-Cole and Barrett hyped Smackdown and next week’s Raw. Raw includes Becky vs. Tegan, Kofi vs. Ivar in a Viking Rules match, and Rodriguez vs. Nia Jax.
(6) GUNTHER vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA – Intercontinental Title match
As Ciampa made his entrance, Cole talked about the history of the IC Title. He said many see this title as the most important title on the way to the top of WWE. He said Ciampa wants to take that step tonight. Formal ring introductions took place. Ciampa shoved Gunther in the chest as his name was announced. Gunther smiled. Cole congratulated Ilya Dragoniv for becoming NXT Champion at No Mercy. The bell rang 35 minutes into the hour. Intense opening few minutes including a battle at ringside. Gunther reached the bottom rope to escape Ciampa’s early Sicilian Stretch submission attempt. [c]
Gunther threw Ciampa around ringside and chopped him against the barricade and slammed him on the ring apron. They cut to another break at 10:00. [c]
They battled at ringside again at 16:00. Gunther favored his right arm. Ciampa gave Gunther a Widow’s Bell as Gunther was entering the ring and scored a two count. Barrett said that’s finished a lot of opponents over the years. He set up his Fairy Tale Ending, but Gunther resisted. Ciampa kicked away at Gunther’s right hand and wrist. Cole called it a great strategy. Ciampa lowered his kneepad and charged, but Gunther dropkicked him and scored a two count.
Ciampa came back and landed a reverse DDT for a near fall a minute later. They went to a wide shot of the arena as Cole touted the capacity crowd. Gunther applied a sleeper and then suplexed Ciampa onto his head for a near fall. Fans began chanting, “This is awesome!” Ciampa came back with his Sicilian Stretch. Gunther leveraged Ciampa’s shoulders down for a one count. Ciampa pulled himself back over and cinched on the hold. Gunther yelled out in agony and tried to get his boot onto the bottom rope. He finally did. Both were slow to get up.
Ciampa chopped away at Gunther. He lifted Gunther, but Gunther shifted into a powerbomb. He hit another and then applied a sleeper. Ciampa faded and the ref called for the bell when he collapsed.
WINNER: Gunther in 23:00 to retain the Intercontinental Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Excellent TV main event. They told a great story throughout the show to build it up that made it seems slightly plausible Ciampa would win, or at least effective in getting fans to root for Ciampa knowing his backstory valuing the IC Title.)
-Afterward, Vinci and Kaiser attacked Ciampa as Gunther returned to the back. Johnny Gargano charged out and made the save.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a smooth way to reunite DIY and set up a really promising tag feud with Imperium.)