Monday Night Raw
Date: April 17, 2023
Location: Simmons Bank Arena, North Little Rock, Arkansas
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
We are just a few weeks away from Backlash and you can probably guess the show’s big matches from here. There is a good chance that at least one of them will be announced this week, as Brock Lesnar is scheduled to be here to address what he did to Cody Rhodes two weeks ago. Let’s get to it.
Here is the Bloodline for a chat. Jey Uso says the Bloodline is here and Paul Heyman explains his role as advisor to Roman Reigns (not here). Cue Judgment Day of all people to interrupt and we get a big staredown between the two sides. Apparently Reigns has put together a short term deal with the teams, which has the non Heyman Bloodline surprised.
Reigns didn’t want anyone but Heyman and Solo (Heyman: “Because there are no sudden movements.”) knowing and apparently Finn Balor isn’t happy with the whole thing. Sikoa is going to help deal with the Bad Bunny situation…but Rhea Ripley switches places to stare at him. Heyman asks if everything is ok and Ripley says “for now”. While Solo deals with the Bad Bunny problem, the Bloodline needs to deal with their Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle problems.
Since the Bloodline is facing those three at Backlash, the Judgment Day will take care of them tonight. As for right now, we have a Sikoa showdown. This was a nice creative way to go and it very well could be a one night change of pace, which is cool to see for a change. Solo having Reigns’ trust but not so much with the Usos makes it all the more interesting.
Rey Mysterio vs. Solo Sikoa
Everyone else has left ringside. Mysterio jumps over Sikoa to start but gets taken down by straight power. Sikoa starts hammering away at his usual slow pace and Rey is in early trouble. We hit the nerve hold to keep Rey down, which only works so well as a headscissors sends both of them crashing down to the floor as we take a break.
Back with Rey caught in a neck crank before being sent into the corner. The running Umaga Attack misses and Rey scores with a basement dropkick. A springboard moonsault is countered into the Samoan drop for two though and Rey is right back with a frog splash for the same. Cue the Usos to break up the 619 though but here is the LWO to cut them off. After Sikoa breaks up a 619 attempt, a second version connects, only for Rey to miss a top rope splash. The Samoan Spike finishes Rey at 12:41.
Rating: C. This wasn’t the most interesting match, as it was more about the Usos coming out for a distraction so Solo could hang in there. Sikoa continues to feel like a monster and that Spike is getting over as a big time move. Piling up one win after another is the best way to get Sikoa over and they did it again here. Rey is firmly at this point where he doesn’t need to win very often to stay a star and the Wrestlemania win will carry him for a long time. Sikoa got something out of this, even if it was just an ok match.
Post match Solo and the Usos take out Mysterio and the LWO.
Earlier today, Chad Gable and Maxxine Durpi argue over Otis’ future. A SHUSH off ensues so Adam Pearce throws them out.
We recap Iyo Sky earning a Women’s Title match last week.
Bianca Belair vs. Dakota Kai
Non-title and the rest of Damage Ctrl is here too. Belair can’t quite get a slam to start but she manages to block a rollup out of the corner. A dropkick into a nipup sets up the standing moonsault for two on Kai. Belair is sent outside though and we take a break. Back with Belair hitting a running Blockbuster and some rolling suplexes.
The handspring moonsault gets two but a victory roll faceplant drops Belair for a change. Belair is back up and tries for the KOD but Kai grabs the hair. Another victory roll sends Belair into the corner but the running knee in the corner misses. Now the KOD can finish Kai at 9:10.
Rating: C+. They kept things moving here and Kai got to show off what she is capable of doing. It also felt like a fresh match and that is a good thing in a division that Belair has dominated for over a year now. Belair beating the rest of Damage Ctrl before she faces Iyo Sky should work well enough and at least it is off to a good start.
We look back at Brock Lesnar taking out Cody Rhodes two weeks ago.
Video on Bronson Reed.
The Judgment Day is happy with what Solo Sikoa did, with Paul Heyman coming in to make sure they are satisfied. Now it is time for Judgment Day to get rid of the Bloodlines’ problems. Rhea Ripley scares Heyman off, leaving him to call Roman Reigns.
Here is Cody Rhodes for a chat. He wants to talk about Brock Lesnar but Adam Pearce comes out and asks him not to do this. Rhodes teases leaving but grabs a chair and gets back in the ring. Security comes out to break it up but here is Brock Lesnar (in a cowboy hat and a trench coat) to interrupt.
Pearce begs Rhodes not to do it and makes Lesnar vs. Rhodes for Backlash to calm Rhodes down. Rhodes goes after security, who manages to get the chair away but they hold him back from a laughing Lesnar. That’s enough for Lesnar, who walks away as Rhodes beats up the rest of security. Rhodes grabs the mic and calls Lesnar a coward.
Seth Rollins vs. The Miz
Miz jumps Rollins during his entrance but Rollins says he can go. A clothesline takes Rollins down again but he’s right back up with a clothesline. There’s the suicide dive to Miz, followed by the suicide dive and then the suicide dive, setting up a yell at the camera. Miz manages to shove him into the barricade though and we take a break.
Back with the fans singing for Rollins, who scores with a Sling Blade for two. There’s a buckle bomb to rock Miz again but he gets the knees up to block a frog splash. The Figure Four goes on but Rollins slips out, setting up the hard forearm to the back of the head. Miz goes to the knee and hits a pair of DDTs for two. A super Skull Crushing Finale is blocked and Rollins hits a superplex into the Falcon Arrow, setting up the Stomp to finish Miz at 12:03.
Rating: B-. This wound up being a stronger than expected match with Miz getting in a lot of offense. Rollins was able to get the fans into things and it was a heck of a showdown, even if there was no major reason for them to be fighting. If nothing else, it was nice to see Rollins doing something other than conducting the fans without saying a word.
Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Matt Riddle strategize for backlash, with Owens not liking the concept of listening to Riddle’s eyes. Sami says hear him out, with Riddle suggesting that he wrap up his toe and call it the Toe Bro. Owens: “WHAT?’ Sami: “The toe bro….” Owens: “WHAT?” Riddle says that he was kidding and wants to take out the Bloodline for everything they have done to him. Now Owens seems happier, but he walks away without saying anything.
We look back at Trish Stratus turning on Becky Lynch after losing the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
We look back at Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed going to a no countout last week.
Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory
Non-title and Lashley powers him down into a gator roll to start. The delayed vertical suplex drops Theory and there’s a running clothesline to the floor. Some running corner clotheslines don’t do anything for Theory as Lashley knocks him to the floor. Lashley hits the big posting and we take a break.
Back with Theory biting Lashley’s hand to escape a Hurt Lock and sending him into the post twice in a row. The chinlock goes on for a bit before Lashley gets up and avoids a charge into the post. Lashley runs him over but misses the spear. A Town Down is broken up as well and the spinning Dominator gives Lashley two. The threat of a spear sends Theory rolling to the floor but he gets caught in the Hut Lock back inside. Cue Bronson Reed to jump Lashley for the DQ at 12:09.
Rating: C+. They kind of telegraphed the Reed interference, but I’ll absolutely take that over Theory losing a match clean. Reed vs. Lashley has the potential to be something good if they have a hard hitting brawl at Backlash, which very well may be in the cards. If nothing else, having Reed beat up Lashley a time or two could help him a lot.
Post match Reed beats Lashley up but Theory has to save Reed from the Hurt Lock. Reed doesn’t quite like that but hits Lashley with the Samoan drop into the Tsunami.
Here is Trish Stratus and she has a lot of splainin to do. Stratus talks about what a joke women’s wrestling used to be. People talk about how it was her and Lita but they’re only half right. Stratus brought it credibility and single handedly started the Women’s Revolution. People like Becky Lynch would have you believe that everything started with the Four Horsewomen.
Stratus couldn’t believe it and came here to see for herself, and not once did Lynch ever say thank you. She had Lita as her sidekick but Stratus is no one’s sidekick. It was so sad that Stratus had to take Lita out of the picture (Stratus: “Yeah I did that.”) so she could screw Lynch out of her Tag Team Titles. Then Lynch tried to give her the “we’ll get them next time”, so Stratus took her out. She is no nostalgia act and she is no one’s sidekick and she’ll make sure you forget it. This was a heck of a promo and it’s a story that makes perfect sense. Stick with this and they could stretch it out for a long time.
We recap the Cody Rhodes/Brock Lesnar situation from earlier in the night.
Rhodes isn’t really happy with what happened earlier and is ready to fight Lesnar at Backlash.
Candice LeRae/Michin vs. Chelsea Green/Sonya Deville
Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez are at ringside. Michin takes Green down into the corner to start and hands it off to Candice in a hurry. Candice slips out of a double suplex and backsplashes Deville for a breather. Cue Nikki Cross in the aisle though and the distraction lets Deville pull Candice off the top. Green misses an elbow though and it’s Michin coming in to clean house. Michin’s kicks set up a Code Blue for two but Deville’s rollup with feet on the ropes is caught by the referee. That’s fine with Green, who hits the Unprettier for the pin on Michin at 2:59.
The Street Profits, Elias, Rick Boogs, Baron Corbin and Akira Tozawa are worried/excited about the Draft.
The Usos are VERY ready about their six man tag at Backlash.
Judgment Day vs. Sami Zayn/Matt Riddle/Kevin Owens
Balor headlocks Zayn to start but Zayn snaps off the armdrags to flabbergast him a bit. Priest and Owens come in with Owens taking him down and hitting a quick backsplash. A right hand drops Owens though and it’s back to Balor to go after Owens’ knee. Ripley turns Owens inside out with a clothesline and the front facelock goes on back inside.
Owens fights up and hits a superkick, allowing the hot tag to Riddle to clean house. A fisherman’s buster drops Balor but the Floating Bro is countered into a chokeslam onto the apron as we take a break. Back with Riddle getting kicked in the head and a backbreaker getting two. Dominik comes in and gets German suplexed, allowing the tag back to Zayn.
A sunset bomb gets two on Dominik but Ripley crotches Zayn on top. Dominik hits the frog splash with Owens having to make the save. Everything breaks down but Ripley breaks up Zayn’s bit flip dive. That’s enough for an ejection and the Blue Thunder Bomb gets two on Dominik as the fans are actually standing. Owens’ Swanton hits raised knees but it’s a Stunner into a Helluva Kick into the Floating Bro for the pin at 12:54.
Rating: B. The fans were into this one and it made the match that much better. They went with the fast paced ending and it turned into a heck of a match by the end. When you actually have the fans on their feet for a six man tag to end Raw, something is going rather right and that’s hard to do after a three hour show. Well done.
Post match the Bloodline runs in but the LWO and Rey Mysterio are here too for a huge brawl. A 619 hits Priest and the good guys stand tall to end the show. That was a hot ending and the fans were WAY into it so nice job.
Overall Rating: B. This was a different kind of show and I liked it more as a result. They didn’t go in the same direction here and it made for a more interesting night. You can only do the same kind of show so often before you really need a break and having Judgment Day and the Bloodline swap feuds for a night was an intriguing concept. WWE shaking up the norm every so often is a very good thing and it worked well here, especially with that main event.
Solo Sikoa b. Rey Mysterio – Samoan Spike
Bianca Belair b. Dakota Kai – KOD
Seth Rollins b. The Miz – Stomp
Bobby Lashley b. Austin Theory via DQ when Bronson Reed interfered
Chelsea Green/Sonya Deville b. Candice LeRae/Michin – Unprettier to Michin
Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens/Matt Riddle b. Judgment Day – Floating Bro to Balor
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