Date: April 7, 2023
Location: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
We’re done with Wrestlemania and based on Raw, may be done with a way of life in WWE. The question now becomes if Raw was a one off or if it is the new normal. Triple H is apparently here for some kind of announcement and that could go in a variety of directions. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of Wrestlemania.
Imperium vs. Brawling Brutes
Butch starts fast and chases people off before handing it off to Holland to bring in the power on Kaiser. It’s right back to Butch, who works on Vinci’s finger and stomps on the arm. Kaiser shoves Butch off the middle rope into a suplex from Vinci (who catches him in the air in a scary power display) as we take a break.
Back with Butch fighting out of a chinlock and bringing Holland in to clean house. Imperium isn’t having that and catches him with a triple boot in the corner. Gunther comes in to chop Holland down, setting up the running dropkick into the corner. A powerbomb gets two with Butch having to make the save. The Boston crab goes on but the crawl lets Holland get the tag to Sheamus. The ten forearms have Gunther in trouble and White Noise gets two. Vinci and Kaiser are back in with a high/low to Butch but Sheamus knees Vinci out of the air. The Brogue Kick finishes Vinci at 11:41.
Rating: B-. These guys work well together and there is nothing wrong with letting them beat on each other for awhile. It’s nice to see Sheamus getting some momentum back after the loss at Wrestlemania and I can go for having all of the Brutes together again for a change. Good opener here and it’s nice to see that on WWE TV again.
Long recap of the Cody Rhodes/Brock Lesnar saga from Raw.
Paul Heyman, with Solo Sikoa, says he will pass over a question about Lesnar and thank Roman Reigns for the amazing Wrestlemania. Jey Uso comes in to say he hasn’t seen Jimmy Uso all night. Heyman says Jimmy isn’t here, because Reigns wanted Jey to face Sami Zayn on his own tonight. Jey leaves, and Heyman tells Solo to solve the Sami Zayn problem tonight, or solve the Bloodline’s problems tonight. Well that’s ominous.
Ricochet vs. Ivar
Both partners have been banned from ringside but Valhalla is here with Ivar. Ricochet starts fast by sending Ivar outside, where Ivar crushes him against the apron. Back in and Ricochet flips out of a suplex and hits a running knee. Ivar knocks him down again and for some reason Ricochet tries a fireman’s carry. That level of brilliance earns him a spinning kick to the face but Ricochet knocks him out of the corner. The shooting star press finishes Ivar off at 4:05.
Rating: C+. I can go with Ricochet fighting a monster and getting a nice boost out of it as a result. More Ricochet is a good thing and it would be great to see him being elevated again. I’m not sure what is next for any of the teams from the showcase match but at least Ricochet is getting a little momentum.
Kevin Owens is looking at the titles but insists that he is LEERING at them. Sami Zayn is happy to be here and Owens talks about how big Sami vs. Jey Uso is going to be tonight. They can put the Bloodline behind them but Sami thinks something about this feels off. He can’t shake the feeling that he has to talk to Jey about…something. Everything Owens has said is true but Sami feels obligated to talk to him. Owens wants to know what Sami thinks is going to happen but knows he can’t talk him out of this. Sami knows he’s right but is going to do it anyway. I don’t see this going well at all.
Raquel Rodriguez/Liv Morgan vs. Natalya/Shotzi
Natalya and Shotzi send Rodriguez outside with Shotzi hitting a dive so hard that Rodriguez kind of belly to belly suplexes her. Back in and Shotzi hits a knee but a springboard hurricanrana is countered. It’s off to Morgan, who trades rollups with Natalya to limited avail. A release German suplex into a discus clothesline drops Morgan and Shotzi is back in for an assisted Sliced Bread. Rodriguez breaks up a Hart Attack and Oblivion finishes Shotzi at 2:50. This was very fast paced and gives Morgan and Rodriguez a bit of a boot on the way to their title match.
Madcap Moss and Xavier Woods are playing WWE2K23 when LA Knight comes in to complain about all the gaming. Why was Woods on Wrestlemania for video games and not him? Woods is tired of this and says he’ll beat Knight again if he has to.
Here is HHH for a chat. After saying there is nothing like that kind of a reaction, HHH brags about Wrestlemania and all of the successes it has had. Now though, Wrestlemania is behind us and we look to the future. Are you ready? In just a few weeks, it is time for the WWE Draft. This year’s will be bigger than ever with every single superstar eligible. When it is time, this year’s Draft will truly change the game. Speaking of that, here is someone who is doing just that: Rhea Ripley (with the rest of the Judgment Day.
Ripley says that everything changed at Wrestlemania when she did the impossible. She’s the star now and it is time to rise for Mami. Finn Balor talks about how Edge hut him but he is still standing (PLEASE tell me that story isn’t continuing). Dominik….has to pause for the fans booing him before talking about how he couldn’t bring himself to really hurt his father at Wrestlemania. He can’t stand Bad Bunny though and we see the big brawl with Bad Bunny on Monday. Damian Priest can forgive Bunny for what he did, but hopes Bunny can forgive Priest for what he had to do. Cue Rey Mysterio and the LWO as we’re ready to go.
Rey Mysterio/Santos Escobar vs. Judgment Day
It’s Dominik Mysterio/Damian Priest for the team here and Dominik tags out rather than face his dad to start. With Priest knocked down, Dominik comes in to hammer away and gets one off a suplex. Rey manages to flip out bring in Escobar to pick up the pace. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker drops Dominik and stereo dives take the villains down.
We take a break and come back with Dominik grabbing a front facelock on Escobar. A backdrop gets Escobar out of trouble and it’s Rey coming back in. Rey starts firing off some dropkicks but Rhea Ripley has to chase Zelina Vega. The 619 hits Dominik but Priest breaks up the Phantom Driver. South of Heaven finishes Escobar at 10:06.
Rating: C+. This was a fast paced match that you would expect from Escobar and company, but unfortunately there was no real way to end this other than Escobar getting pinned. Since you can more or less pencil in Rey/Bunny vs. Priest/Dominik at Backlash, how else could they have gone? For now, it’s nice to see Priest getting a win as it doesn’t happen very often.
Shinsuke Nakamura is back next week.
Sami Zayn comes up to Jey Uso and says it’s fine if Jey doesn’t want to talk. Zayn says it’s the same as it has been for the last few months: everything Zayn has said would happen has happened. Jimmy Uso isn’t here and Roman Reigns isn’t here, while Solo Sikoa is looking like he is ready to drop the hammer. Now Sami will beat as much sense into Jey as he has to, but he’d rather not. Jey doesn’t say anything but we hear some kind of a fracas. Kevin Owens has been attacked by Solo Sikoa, who has dropped an anvil case on Owens’ leg.
Jey Uso vs. Sami Zayn
Before the match, Sami says Kevin Owens was right but he’s about to show Uso that he isn’t the only one with a problem. Jey shoulders him down to start but gets sent to the floor. Cue Solo Sikoa for a distraction as we take a break. Back with Sami hitting a superplex and hammering away. Sami gets superkicked out of the air but exploder suplexes Jey into the corner. The Blue Thunder Bomb gets two and they go up top, where Sami gets headbutted to the apron. Sikoa gets in a cheap shot and Jey superkicks him for the pin at 9:54.
Rating: B-. If the Bloodline is continuing for the time being (or beyond), Uso needed to win here as the non-Reigns members needed the boost. If nothing else, this keeps up the idea of Sami/Owens needing each other to deal with the Bloodline, though Owens is not going to be happy here. In other words, the saga continues, despite a huge step being taken at Wrestlemania.
Post match the beatdown is on but Jey breaks up the Samoan Spike. Then he superkicks Sami himself and has Sikoa get a chair. Cue Matt Riddle for the save (remember that Sikoa put him on the shelf in December) to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Maybe it was just the comparison to Raw, but this was a rather good show and felt like everything before this Monday’s debacle. There were good matches and storylines advanced so it was a totally useful two hours of TV. That is better than I would have expected and we’ll it a huge relief. On top of that there is the Draft announcement so something big is on the horizon.
Brawling Brutes b. Imperium – Brogue Kick to Vinci
Ricochet b. Ivar – Shooting star press
Raquel Rodriguez/Liv Morgan b. Natalya/Shotzi – Oblivion to Shotzi
Judgment Day b. Rey Mysterio/Santos Escobar – South of Heaven to Escobar
Jey Uso b. Sami Zayn – Superkick
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