Date: May 6, 2023
Location: Coliseo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
We are off the mainland with this show as WWE heads to Puerto Rico for its first major show in over eighteen years. The card is more than a little different this time as we have a double main event, featuring Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes and Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest in a street fight. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at the double main event, with Bad Bunny talking about how he is stepping out of his world but wanting to fight. The rest of the card gets some highlights as well.
We get the awesome drone shot, with the camera coming from outside and into the arena. That’s just sweet.
Raw Women’s Title: Bianca Belair vs. Iyo Sky
Sky, without Damage Ctrl, is challenging. Feeling out process to start with Belair getting a headscissors before dropkicking Sky down. Back up and Sky snaps the arm across the top rope before adding a top rope double stomp to the arm. Sky kicks the arm out again and works on an armbar, sending Belair crawling into the corner. Belair avoids a charge but what looked to be a Glam Slam is countered into a double stomp to the chest.
A headscissors is countered into a backbreaker but Belair bangs up the arm again. The delayed suplex drops Sky and Belair pounds away in the corner. The good arm is ok enough to hit a one armed gorilla press, though Belair drops Sky hard onto her face. Belair’s handspring moonsault gets two but Sky avoids a charge in the corner. The arm gets snapped over the top again and there’s the springboard missile dropkick to send Belair outside.
Belair shoves her off the top but the 450 hits raised knees. Sky crabs a Crossface but Belair powers up to her feet and muscles Sky up. The powerbomb is countered into an X Factor for a rather near fall. Belair tries another Glam Slam but has to counter another double stomp. The KOD is reversed as well with Sky sending her outside, setting up another kick to the arm. There’s the middle rope moonsault to drop Belair again and Sky drives shoulders into the ribs back inside.
Belair knocks her off the ropes to the apron but Sky is right back up. Her super hurricanrana is blocked and countered into a super sitout powerbomb….for two in a heck of a kickout. Cue Damage Ctrl for a distraction but Belair forearms Sky in the face. Dakota Kai gets knocked off the apron but Sky reverses the KOD into a rollup for a very close two. Bayley’s interference lets Sky send Belair into the ropes and Kai gets in a kick to the face. Bayley holds Belair’s hair as Over The Moonsault is loaded up. The referee cuts that off and the moonsault misses, allowing Belair to hit the KOD to retain at 17:57.
Rating: B+. Oh man they were ROCKING out there until the interference brought things down a bit. I know that’s going to be part of the Damage Ctrl split but these two were having one of the best matches of their careers. Awesome opener in front of a red hot crowd and you can’t ask for much more than that.
Rey Mysterio gives Bad Bunny a pep talk when Savio Vega of all people (that gets a heck of a reaction) to bring him a Puerto Rico themed kendo stick.
We look at the post Draft rosters.
We recap Seth Rollins vs. Omos, which isn’t much of a feud. Basically Rollins is on a roll, Omos is a monster, they’re having a match.
Omos vs. Seth Rollins
MVP is here with Omos, who breaks up Rollins conducting the fans before the bell. Rollins is ready to go and gets knocked down as the match officially starts. A chest first whip into the corner drops Rollins again and Omos mockingly conducts the crowd. They fight outside with Rollins managing to slip away and get in a posting. The second suicide dive is cut off though and Omos chokeslams him onto the apron.
Back in and Snake Eyes into the big boot drops Rollins again, with Omos not being able to hear the fans again. Rollins manages a superkick but the Pedigree attempt is easily blocked. Something like a bulldog onto the post rocks Omos again and a tornado DDT puts him down. The frog splash gets one, with the kickout sending Rollins flying. Rollins tries the Stomp but Omos just doesn’t go down, blocking it through straight power.
A chokeslam gives Omos two and the kickout leaves him stunned. Rollins flips up into a sleeper to slow Omos down but he shrugs things off. MVP tries to throw in the cane, allowing Rollins to hit a Stomp. The superkick knocks MVP off the apron and a second Stomp only gets two. That leaves Rollins stunned for a change so it’s a top rope Stomp (looked pretty good) to finish Omos at 10:31.
Rating: B. This match had me flashing back to HHH vs. Great Khali at Summerslam 2008 and that is a good thing. Omos doesn’t have the best reputation in the ring but he and Rollins had a pretty awesome match here. Rollins can hit the Stomp on anyone but he had to bust out the big one to survive here. Good stuff here as Rollins sold rather well and Omos is clearly getting better in the ring.
We look at Damian Priest and Bad Bunny getting into a fight at the press conference.
US Title: Bronson Reed vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory
Theory is defending. Lashley slugs away at both of them to start and sends Theory into Reed. A clothesline to Reed makes him DDT Theory, who has to save Reed from the Hurt Lock. Lashley is back up with the one armed delayed vertical suplex on Theory, who is smart enough to take Lashley’s leg out. Reed adds a splash to Lashley’s back and the basement rolling body block hits him again.
The double teaming doesn’t work for Reed, who runs Theory over instead. Lashley fights up and runs both of them over, setting up the spear to Theory. Reed breaks it up and superkicks Lashley on the floor. With that not working, Reed Vader Bombs down onto a standing Lashley on the outside (GEEZ that could have gone badly).
Back in and Theory breaks up the Tsunami but Lashley grabs the Hurt Lock on Theory. A climb up the ropes gets Theory out of it, allowing Reed to Tsunami Lashley, with Theory having to make the save. Theory hits a rolling Blockbuster on Reed but A Town Down is countered into a powerslam. Reed misses a moonsault and get speared down by Lashley, only to have Theory send Lashley outside and steal the pin to retain at 6:53.
Rating: B. It was a fast paced match with all action and Reed looked like a star, but the almost textbook ending didn’t help. I like Theory retaining the title here though, as he is rapidly improving in a lot of areas. Letting him steal a pin to retain the title fits in well and I want to see where he goes. Reed and Lashley will be fine going forward, and now I’m curious about what kind of role Lashley will play in the World Title tournament. Good stuff here again, as the show has been on a roll so far.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega
Vega, with Puerto Rico flag themed gear and tears in her eyes during the Big Match Intros, is challenging. The fans are entirely behind Vega as she starts fast but gets sent outside. Vega grabs a shoe, which apparently has some local significance, and throws it at Ripley. Back in and Ripley powerbombs her down hard to cut everything off.
A whip into the corner lets Ripley hit the Eddie Dance and the fans aren’t pleased. Ripley grabs a backbreaker into an over the shoulder backbreaker but Vega sends her shoulder first into the post. Some running clotheslines rock Ripley and Riptide is countered into a DDT. A 619 sets up a middle rope Meteora for two (as the Sasha Banks similarities build up) but Ripley kicks her in the face. Riptide retains the title at 7:14.
Rating: B-. This whole match was built around the idea of Vega only having a miracle chance at winning and that’s about all she had here. They tried and the comeback near the end was good, but it never hit that level that they were aiming for. To be fair, Vega was a fairly rushed challenger and this is probably the biggest match of her career, so it isn’t like she had anything to lose.
Post match Ripley leaves and Vega gets the crazy strong home island reception.
We recap Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest. Bunny saved Rey Mysterio from Dominik’s cheating at Wrestlemania so Priest beat Bunny up on Raw. That isn’t cool with Bunny and it’s time for a street fight.
Damian Priest vs. Bad Bunny
Street fight and Bunny is the hometown boy to a major reaction. Bunny brings the kendo stick but whips out a shopping cart full of weapons. Priest powers him into the corner to start but gets slapped in the face, with Bunny hitting a Michinoku Driver for two. Bunny grabs the kendo sticks but Priest knocks him down and breaks one of them. Back up and Bunny hammers away in the corner, only to get taken down again.
South Of Heaven connects but Priest pulls him up at two. It’s time to bring in an ax handle (single this time) but instead Priest loads up the springboard dive…which is cut off by a chair being thrown into his face. Bunny hits a big dive and drops him with a bunch of trashcan lid shots, giving us a Flair Flop on the floor. Back in and another Michinoku Driver gives Bunny two more but it’s time to head back outside.
Priest gets the better of things this time and smashes the Puerto Rico kendo stick across Bunny’s back. They head into the crowd and over to the tech area, where a Falcon Arrow sends Bunny crashing HARD through some tables. Adam Pearce comes out to say this needs to stop but Priest carries Bunny back to ringside. Priest misses a kick to the post and can barely stand, so Bunny blasts said leg with a kendo stick.
Bunny hits something like a Stunner to the leg out of the corner and the leg is wrapped around the post. A chain is wrapped around the leg to send it into the post again (with Priest begging him not to do it). Priest begs off from a chair shot and gets in a kick of his own, only to get hit low for his efforts. Cue Judgment Day to go after Bunny, with Rey Mysterio making the save.
With Rey beaten down, Carlito makes the save to an explosion, including the Backstabber and apple spit. Judgment Day gets back up but here is Savio Vega, who brings out the LWO to keep up the fight. With everyone else gone, Priest’s leg gives out on a kick to the head attempt, allowing Bunny to grab a Figure Four. Priest gets out so it’s a Sliced Bread for two (with Bunny almost landing on his head). A Canadian Destroyer finishes Priest at 25:05.
Rating: A. Yeah this was a total blast and played to the live crowd as well as anything else was going to. Bunny is as over as free beer in a frat house around here and they brought in the legends/current stars to make it feel that much bigger. It was fun and Bunny put in an all time celebrity performance, but Priest deserves all kinds of credit for holding it all together. Great stuff here, but egads how is anything supposed to follow this?
We recap the Bloodline vs. Matt Riddle/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens. The Bloodline is showing cracks, including the Usos losing the Tag Team Titles to Owens/Zayn at Wrestlemania. Now it is more or less a “win here or you’re in real trouble” for the Bloodline as the other three are out to end the team.
Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn/Matt Riddle vs. Bloodline
No Paul Heyman or this one. Jey takes Sami down to start but Sami is right back up with a shot to the face. Jimmy comes in and gets taken down into the corner, allowing Riddle to come in and hammer away. It’s off to Sikoa though and this time Sami gets beaten down, with Jimmy getting to do the same. Sikoa has to tag himself back in to hammer away before Jimmy grabs a chinlock. Sami manages a shot to the face though and sends the now legal Jey outside.
Jey pulls Owens off the apron and slams him HARD into the steps (YOWCH). Sami has to fight out of the corner but can’t get around the numbers game, meaning Sikoa can come back in. A tornado DDT plants Sikoa though and the hot tag brings in Riddle to clean house. Everything breaks down and Riddle hits the backsplash, only to have what looked to be a Buckshot Lariat cut off by a superkick.
Riddle gets in another shot though and hands it back to Owens, with the Swanton hitting Jimmy for two. Jimmy superkicks Jey by mistake though and it’s a pop up sitout powerbomb for two on Jey, leaving Owens stunned. Owens and Jey slug it out but the Stunner is broken up. They trade shots to the face until Owens hits a big clothesline for the double knockdown.
Sami comes back in with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two but he has to fight off both Usos on top. The double superkick knocks Sami out of the air for two more and Jey has to yell at him a bit. Sikoa tags himself in before Jey can launch the running Umaga attack, only to have Jey tag himself back in as well.
The Helluva Kick knocks Sikoa to the floor and another hits Jey, with Sikoa having to make a save. Riddle comes back in and Sikoa takes him down, followed by a Spike to Owens. Sikoa almost Spikes Jey but Sami is back in. The Superfly Splash hits raised knees to give Sami two so here is Riddle to clean house instead. Sikoa tags himself in though and the Spike finishes Riddle at 22:03.
Rating: B. It was a main event level six man tag and they go the time, but anything was going to feel like a letdown after the previous match. They were all working hard, which is always nice to see, but it feels like we’re retreading past stories with this one. Though that being said, there is something entertaining about Riddle’s continued destruction, which certainly feels like punishment.
We recap Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes. Cody lost in the biggest match of his life at Wrestlemania and tried to team with Lesnar the next night. Lesnar turned on him in a heck of a beatdown, setting up this fight.
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
Cody dives onto Lesnar to start fast on the floor before the bell. Some steps and chair shots have Lesnar in more trouble and they head inside for the official start. Lesnar drives him hard into the corner to take over and it’s a German suplex to make it worse. There’s a fall away slam and now Lesnar is starting to look back to normal. More suplexes send Rhodes into the corner and Lesnar starts in on the leg. Lesnar fires off even more suplexes and a turnbuckle pad is ripped off.
Lesnar grabs a bearhug to stay on the ribs but Cody manages to send him into the exposed buckle. A Cody Cutter and the Disaster kick rock the bleeding Lesnar, setting up a knee to the face. Another Cody Cutter connects and a pair of Cross Rhodes gives Rhodes two. Cody tries it again but gets reversed into the F5 for two. The Kimura goes on but Cody stacks him up for the pin at 9:40.
Rating: B-. I wasn’t getting into this one as well as some others, but Cody getting the big win absolutely had to happen. They can play up the idea that Lesnar got caught rather than defeated, but it isn’t like it matters all that much for him anyway. Cody needed this one a lot more than Lesnar and they went with the right direction rather than Lesnar smashing him until the ending. The Lesnar dominance in the middle was annoying, but they got the ending right and that is what matters.
Cody immediately leaves and Lesnar isn’t happy.
Overall Rating: A-. For a show with little in the way of expectations and even less in the way of meaning as the rosters reset the day after tomorrow, this was a heck of a show with the crowd elevating it by several notches. The Bunny match stole the night and was a smash hit, but the two matches after that were never going to be able to live up to that hype and it became clear very fast.
That all being said, this whole show was a blast with nothing bad and a bunch of matches elevated by the audience. I had a great time with the whole thing, starting with an awesome opener, Vega’s emotional loss, the great Bunny ordeal and Cody winning as he should have. Awesome show here and they hit on almost every possible cylinder.
Bianca Belair b. Iyo Sky – KOD
Seth Rollins b. Omos – Super Stomp
Austin Theory b. Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed – Spear to Reed
Rhea Ripley b. Zelina Vega – Riptide
Bad Bunny b. Damian Priest – Canadian Destroyer
Bloodline b. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens/Matt Riddle – Samoan Spike to Riddle
Cody Rhodes b. Brock Lesnar – Rollup
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