Monday Night Raw
Date: April 10, 2023
Location: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, Washington
Commentators: Corey Graves, Kevin Patrick
So this show just got a lot more interesting, as we had quite the out of nowhere show last week. That would have been the Vince McMahon version of Raw, but then Smackdown felt much more normal. You can call this one the rubber show I guess, but hopefully last week was just an anomaly. Let’s get to it.
Commentary welcomes us to the show and says that there have been some travel issues so some wrestlers are late arriving.
Here is Rey Mysterio to talk about how cool it was to go into the Hall of Fame (pause for YOU DESERVE IT) and then wrestle at Wrestlemania. Unfortunately it was against his son and cue Dominik to interrupt. Dominik talks about how Rey has to make everything about himself, just like Bad Bunny, who cost Dominik the match at Wrestlemania.
We see the big angle with Bad Bunny last week, with Dominik calling it music to his ears when Bunny went through the table. Rey says he talked to Bunny last night and he’s coming for revenge. Dominik doesn’t buy it so Rey challenges him to a Wrestlemania rematch. That’s a no, but Dominik knows someone who will.
Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor
Dominik is here too as Finn takes Rey into the corner to start. Rey fights out and snaps off a headscissors but Balor stomps him down against the ropes. Balor chokes on the ropes a bit as they’re certainly in a slow pace to start. Some forearms to the neck set up a chinlock but Rey is right back up. A kick to the face sends Balor outside where the sliding splash can connect as we take a break.
Back with Rey hitting the springboard spinning crossbody for two but the 619 is broken up. Rey takes him up top for a super hurricanrana and a near fall. Now the 619 can connect but the frog splash only hits knees. Cue Dominik with the chain but Rey knocks him down, setting up the dive to take them both out. The second chain shot works on the way back in though and the Coup de Grace to the out cold Rey finishes at 14:12.
Rating: B-. This was a way to keep the Rey vs. Dominik stuff going as the likely tag match at Backlash looms. These two can still go in the ring and have a good match with just about anyone so there was no way this couldn’t work. The ending even played into things perfectly and Rey is protected in the loss.
Earlier today Maxxine Dupri wasn’t happy with how Otis was dressed but we find Lita down. Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan are concerned but Trish Stratus and Bayley come in to accuse them of doing it.
We look back at the Cody Rhodes/Brock Lesnar ordeal last week.
Becky Lynch says Lita is at a local medical facility but Trish Stratus will be teaming with her to defend the titles right now.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Liv Morgan/Raquel Rodriguez vs. Becky Lynch/Trish Stratus
Stratus (substituting for Lita) and Lynch are defending. Rodriguez throws Lynch into the corner to start and it’s Morgan coming in for a running shoulder in the corner. Becky fights back and takes over on the arm, allowing the tag to Trish. Liv’s Matrix is broken up (with Trish getting a laugh) and Becky drops the top rope leg for two as we take a break. Back with Liv fighting out of a chinlock until a double hair takedown means a double knockdown.
Rodriguez comes in to clothesline the also legal Becky, setting up the spinning Vader Bomb for two. Everything breaks down and Becky hits a missile dropkick for two. Rodriguez is sat on top but blocks a double superplex. Instead Trish hurricanranas her down for two but Rodriguez is back to assist Liv with a tornado DDT.
Everyone goes to the corner for the Tower of Doom and they’re all down again. Back up and Rodriguez seems to accidentally slam Becky out of the corner onto Liv for two. Oblivion is countered into the Manhandle Slam but Rodriguez makes the save. Trish comes back in but misses the Chick Kick, allowing Liv to roll her up for the pin and the titles at 15:28.
Rating: B. They were working here and the titles changing hands clean (as clean as you can have with a substitute partner) is a good way to make Rodriguez and Morgan look better. The action did well here and now we can move on to the who jumped Lita story, which probably has quite the details. For now though, the titles are off Lita/Lynch, who never felt like long term champions anyway.
Post match Becky is upset but holds Trish’s arm up, only to have Trish lay her out. They weren’t really hiding that and it’s still the way to go.
Paul Heyman mocks a question about Brock Lesnar attacking Cody Rhodes last week and says Kevin Owens has a problem tonight. Owens has to face Solo Sikoa but Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle aren’t here tonight. Heyman doesn’t buy the travel problems, because they must be scared of Sikoa. Who would take advantage of Owens be on his own? We the ones.
Trish Stratus has nothing to say.
We look back at HHH announcing the Draft.
Damage Ctrl is in the back with Bayley trying to get the team staying together in the Draft. Instead of Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai getting a Women’s Tag Team Title match, Bayley has gotten into a #1 contenders match. That’s not cool with Sky, who goes to talk to Adam Pearce again. Tensions seem present.
Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed
Reed knocks him into the corner to start but walks into a Downward Spiral. Back up and Reed lifts him to the apron where neither can get the better of things. Lashley is knocked to the floor and Reed shoulders him down as we take a break. Back with….a split screen clip from the new movie Renfield. We go full screen again to see Lashley sending him into the corner for a running shoulder to the ribs.
A swinging neckbreaker drops Reed again and there’s a suplex to show off Lashley’s power. The Hurt Lock can’t go on so Reed drops back onto him for the break. Lashley is up before the Tsunami so Reed hits a kind of Thesz press instead. Back up and Lashley grabs the spinebuster but still can’t get the Hurt Lock. They fight to the floor and it’s a double countout at 10:43.
Rating: B. I always appreciate a match where they don’t bother trying to do anything but what they should be doing. Reed and Lashley are two bulls who are going to be able to hit each other really hard and do some cool looking power stuff. That is exactly what we got here and they even kept both of them from taking a loss. Hard hitting match here and I could go for the rematch when they get to do it again.
Post match referees and agents have to break them up.
Here is a banged up Cody Rhodes for a chat. Cody says he usually has one thing to talk about (Seth Rollins, his injury, the Royal Rumble, completing the story) but after last week, things are a little more complicated. He lost at Wrestlemania and there is no one to blame but him. Cody lost to the champion Roman Reigns, which has people giving him some thoughts about what happened. One thing came from Paul Heyman, saying Cody had to earn another shot. Cody has gone from Dashing to Stardust to the EVP to the leader of the pack so there is no earning it because he IS it.
Then you have another factor though and that is Brock Lesnar. The question is why Brock did what he did. Cody heard that Brock was upset about his spot on the Wrestlemania card, but Cody thinks that it was uncertainty about what Cody meant for Brock’s future. We hear about Lesnar’s accolades and yes, Cody is scared of him….but he still wants a fight. Cody wants Lesnar to look in the mirror and see a victim and he’ll fight him anywhere. Say at (Wrestlemania) Backlash? Good stuff here as Cody talked about what happened and still looked to the future.
Usos vs. Alpha Academy
Otis jiggles away from Jey’s waistlock and then easily blocks a sunset flip. Gable armbars Jimmy’s arm over the top and a top rope clotheslines gives Gable two. Jimmy gets taken down and slapped in the back of the head as the Usos are way off to start. A quick Demolition Decapitator hits Gable though and Otis is knocked outside as we take a break.
Back with Gable trying to get over for a tag but there is no Otis. Jimmy chokes on the rope but charges into an exploder suplex. It’s back to Otis for the Caterpillar but Jey makes the save. Jey sends Otis outside but the suicide dive is blocked. Jimmy’s isn’t blocked though and it’s a double superkick to send Otis over the announcers’ table. Gable moonsaults down onto both Usos though and it’s a top rope headbutt for two back inside. The ankle lock is blocked but the Usos get in a blind tag and hit the double superkick. The 1D finishes Gable at 13:02.
Rating: B. Heck of a match here as the Usos sold the idea that they were in serious danger. Alpha Academy are goofs most of the time but they are former champions so this isn’t the biggest stretch. I got into this one and there was even a chance of the big upset. This worked very well and I could go for more of this version of the Academy.
Piper Niven vs. Michin vs. Iyo Sky
The winner gets a shot at Bianca Belair’s Raw Women’s Title. Niven shoves Sky down to start but a double team sends Niven outside. Michin hits a suicide dive but Sky moonsaults onto both of them as we take a break. Back with Niven getting double teamed, including an upside down choke so Michin can hit a dropkick. Sky turns on Michin and takes her down as well, setting up the springboard missile dropkick to Niven. Michin drops Sky and Niven drops the big elbow. A Code Red gives Michin two on Niven but Sky moonsaults in for the pin at 8:15.
Rating: C+. They kept the pace going here and all three got in some stuff. Michin looked better than she has in a long time and Niven was playing the wrecking ball role. Sky winning fits the story best as Damage Ctrl’s problems just might grow despite her success. Now can we have Niven get a win somewhere?
Kevin Owens knows he isn’t smart to face Solo Sikoa on his own tonight but that’s what he has done for his entire career.
Kevin Owens vs. Solo Sikoa
The Usos are here too and Owens has a bad leg, which is exactly where Sikoa starts. The stomps to the leg have Owens in trouble and he is sent outside. A superkick drops Jey and Owens sends Sikoa into the steps, only to have the bad leg taken out again. There’s the running Umaga Attack in the corner and we take a break.
Back with Sikoa still on the leg but Owens gets in some shots of his own. The leg gives out again though and Sikoa superkicks him for two. Owens drops him again and goes up for the frog splash, which bangs up the knee even more. The Stunner is blocked and a Samoan drop gives Sikoa two.
Owens catches him on top for some headbutts but the knee gives out again. Instead Owens slams him off the top and hits the Swanton (that’s a stretch on the bad leg) for two. The Pop Up Powerbomb connects but the knee gives out, allowing Sikoa to block the Stunner. Jey gets in a cheap shot superkick and it’s the Samoan Spike to give Sikoa the pin at 13:25.
Rating: B-. Good brawl here, with Owens selling the leg (mostly) throughout. They were playing into the idea of Sikoa having the numbers advantage so Owens losing here isn’t some horrible defeat. This version of Owens is always going to fight and he was trying as much as he could here, with the fans behind him all the way.
Post match the beatdown stays on but here are Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle for the very last second save. The Usos and Sikoa are beaten up and sent to the floor to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. This was great. It was a night full of wrestling as the wrestlers who did make the show and there was nothing close to a bad match. I had a great time with the wrestling we got and they kept some stories advancing well enough. Cody Rhodes got in a good, long form promo and set up what was a fairly obvious match with Brock Lesnar at Backlash. There wasn’t a bad thing on this show and to keep things going so well for three hours, it was a smash hit.
Finn Balor b. Rey Mysterio – Coup de Grace
Liv Morgan/Raquel Rodriguez b. Trish Stratus/Becky Lynch – Rollup to Stratus
Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed went to a double countout
Usos b. Alpha Academy – 1D to Gable
Iyo Sky b. Piper Niven and Michin – Moonsault to Niven
Solo Sikoa b. Kevin Owens – Samoan Spike
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