Monday Night Raw
Date: June 5, 2023
Location: XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
We’re near WWE’s home this week and it’s a big night as Seth Rollins is defending the World Heavyweight Title against Damian Priest. Other than that, we’ll have some more Money In The Bank qualifying matches and more from Imperium and Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn. Let’s get to it.
Here is Seth Rollins to get things going. It has been a party since he won the title but tonight, he has Damian Priest. Judgment Day is good, but they’re not as good as him. Cue Priest and Finn Balor, with Rollins wondering where Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio are. Priest brags about how awesome he is so Rollins challenges him to make it one on one tonight, with Judgment Day in the back.
Rollins also brings up how things go badly for Finn Balor when they square off, including a poke to the shoulder, which is a rather cruel line given how badly Balor was hurt in their first match. Anyway, Priest say deal and promises to win the title while Rollins can go down in history with one of the shortest reigns ever. Actually it’s already the longest in the history of the title but that’s not the point Priest is going for.
Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Becky Lynch vs. Sonya Deville
Chelsea Green is here with Deville, who knocks Becky into the corner to start. Some forearms in the corner and against the rope have Becky in trouble but she’s right back with the Bexploder. A middle rope crossbody gives Becky two but cue Trish Stratus and Zoey Stark to watch. The distraction rollup gets two and we take a break.
Back with Deville hitting a superplex for two, followed by the forearm off. Becky starts slugging back but Green offers a distraction, earning herself a heck of a beating on the floor. Deville goes to help and gets sent into the barricade as well (with some hair extensions coming out). Deville’s rollup with feet on the ropes gets two back inside but Becky has had it with this, setting up the Manhandle Slam for the pin at 11:24.
Rating: C+. The interference was needed to help make this match competitive as Deville has never been a big deal in the singles ranks. Winning the Money in the Bank briefcase is about all that there is left for Becky to do in her career so giving her the win here was the way to go. Green and Deville need something to do, but beating Lynch isn’t it.
We look at the Bloodline split on Smackdown.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn won’t say they told you so about the Bloodline, but you get the idea. Imperium pops up, sending Owens into a rant about how no one said their name. Gunther comes in to say Owens is undisciplined so Owens wants to go to the ring right now.
Kayden Carter and Katana Chance are ready to party. And wrestle.
Gunther vs. Kevin Owens
Non-title. They go right to the slugout to start with Owens hitting him in the face and knocking Gunther into the corner. Gunther is back with a German suplex and we take a break. We come back with Gunther working on a neck crank and hitting a big boot for two. Another big boot sets up a Boston crab but Owens is back up with a failed suplex attempt.
Instead Gunther blasts him with a clothesline, but Owens is back with some clothesline of his own. They trade German suplexes and both of them are down for a breather. Owens knocks him into the corner for the Cannonball and another near fall. Gunther blasts him with the shotgun dropkick but Owens’ fisherman’s buster gets two.
Back up and Gunther takes him to the top for a single underhook superplex, only to have the big splash hit raised knees. Owens’ Swanton hits Gunther for two but Imperium and Zayn get in a fight on the floor. Kaiser comes inside and gets Stunned, allowing Gunther to roll Owens up for the pin at 17:10.
Rating: B+. These guys beat the fire out of each other and it was a heck of a lot of fun to watch them out there. Gunther can go with anyone and those chops are still great. At the same time, Owens is going to be out there swinging away against anyone and he did thing rather well here. The ending made sense too, as you don’t want Owens taking a clean pin and Gunther rolled him up for a pin rather than hitting him low or something like that. Makes sense, and it suited him well.
Post break, Imperium interrupts Matt Riddle’s interview so Riddle takes Vinci down and hurts his leg before being pulled off. That’s a different Riddle and that’s what he needs to do.
Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler want competition and Kayden Carter/Katana Chance (both about six inches shorter than the champs) come in to ask about a title shot. The champs laugh but sure.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Katana Chance/Kayden Carter vs. Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler
Rousey and Baszler are defending. Baszler takes Chance into the corner to start and it’s off to Rousey, who wants Carter. That’s exactly what she gets as everything breaks down, with Carter and Chance hitting dives out to the floor. Back in and Rousey works on Chance’s arms but Chance fights up and brings Carter in. Carter hits a low superkick to Baszler and a hanging Pedigree, only to get elbowed in the face. Rousey comes back in but gets caught in the neckbreaker/450 combination (Carter/Chance’s finisher) for two, with Baszler making the save. Baszler has had enough and chokes out Carter to retain at 6:42.
Rating: C+. This was a weird one as you had the newcomers trying to get their start but being up against a couple of monsters in Rousey/Baszler. Carter and Chance did look good in defeat, but having a loss in their main roster debut isn’t the best look. Rousey and Baszler are likely going to be the champs for at least a bit as not only are they dominant, but there is no one out there to give them a serious challenge at the moment. Maybe there is some kind of a big twist coming, but for now, we could be seeing Baszler and Rousey with the titles for a long time.
Bronson Reed isn’t happy that Ricochet is in the Money in the Bank ladder match instead of him. Ricochet said he earned his shot and Reed lost his, but Reed says he was dominating until….and here is Nakamura to interrupt. Reed leaves, saying next time would be different.
Video on Johnny Gargano’s rise through NXT and road here, despite being told he had no place in WWE. This Gargano is more interesting than whatever else he’s been doing lately.
Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Ricochet grabs a headlock to start but gets his leg kicked out. Nakamura kicks him down again but gets knocked off the top and out to the floor in a crash. Ricochet’s big running flip dive connects and Nakamura is down as we take a break. Back with Ricochet knocking Nakamura down and hitting the running shooting star press for two. Nakamura takes him into the corner for Good Vibrations but Kinshasa is countered with the Recoil. Ricochet gets caught up top but here is Bronson Reed to jump Nakamura for the DQ at 8:07.
Rating: C+. They were both talented stars in the ring and got to show themselves off a bit here, but there is only so much you can do in an eight minute match with about four minutes of that being in a break. Throw in that this is the first of the still idiotic “building momentum to Money in the Bank” (because getting a pinfall or submission somehow makes it easier to climb a ladder) matches and they did rather well with a good number of factors making it harder.
Post match the destruction is on, with Ricochet getting crushed with the Tsunami. Fans: “ONE MORE TIME!” Reed: Nah.
We look at Maxxine Dupri being chased off by Valhalla last week.
Maxxine Dupri and Chad gable aren’t sure what to do about the Viking Raiders, but Otis seems to have a plan. Dupri is ready to train and has the perfect outfit in her locker.
It’s time for MizTV with Miz wasting no time in bringing out Cody Rhodes. Miz: “You look dashing tonight.” Miz brings up Rhodes challenging Brock Lesnar to a fight anytime, which Miz thinks is rather stupid. Cody: “Mike….” Miz: “In this ring, it’s the Miz. First name The, second name Miz.” Instead, Cody has been told it was brave, not that Miz would know anything about large testicles.
Miz talks about how we love surprises around here, so here are Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley. After Ripley shushes Miz (Miz: “Yes ma’am”.), Dominik deals with quite the chorus of booing to get to his point: Cody is a bad father. Dom compared him to Rey Mysterio, but Cody says that Dominik was in jail for about 15 minutes. Cody: “You even have a worse prison tattoo than mine.”
Then Dominik got a public spanking at Wrestlemania. Dominik slaps Cody and then hides behind Ripley when Cody comes after him. Cody drops Miz with a cast shot to blow off some steam. Funny stuff here, and Cody needs something to do until Lesnar gets back. If nothing else, Dominik going against another high level opponent is a good thing, as it tells me WWE has faith in him.
We look back at the opening sequence.
Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Zoey Stark vs. Natalya
Trish Stratus is here with Stark. Natalya takes her down by the arm to start but Stark fights up and goes after the knee. Stark stomps on said knee as Trish seems to think this is rather intelligent. Some knees to the ribs have Natalya in more trouble but she armdrags her way out. A German suplex drops Stark for two and the Sharpshooter goes on. Stark makes the ropes so Natalya yells at Trish, who kicks her in the knee. The Z36 finishes Natalya at 3:45.
Rating: C. It’s a Natalya match without much time so I think you know what you’re getting here. As has been the case for….oh the last five years or so, Natalya is as smooth of an in-ring worker as you can get and there is very little reason to get interested in anything she is doing. She’s there to put people over and make them look good, which she often does, but the lack of excitement over her being in the ring doesn’t help things whatsoever.
Paul Heyman invites us to hear Jey Uso’s decision this week on Smackdown. This week, Jey will choose to stand by his brother Solo, because he can share a womb with Jimmy, but he’ll never be closer to him than he will be to Roman Reigns.
Indus Sher vs. Cedric Alexander/Shelton Benjamin
Indus Sher jumps them before the bell and lays Cedric out. No match.
Raw World Title: Seth Rollins vs. Damian Priest
Rollins is defending and takes Priest down fast to start, meaning we go to a break in less than a minute. Back with Rollins taking him to the floor but being sent into the timekeeper’s area. Rollins dive is punched out of the air, followed by a superkick back inside. We hit the chinlock for a bit, followed by a double arm crank to keep Rollins in trouble. Rollins fights up and hits a few shots, followed by a backbreaker.
The frog splash misses though and Priest kicks Rollins in the head. Rollins knocks him to the floor but the suicide dive is countered into a Downward Spiral onto the announcers’ table. We take a break and come back with Rollins hitting the superplex into the Falcon Arrow for two. Three straight suicide dives send Priest over the announcers’ table and the frog splash gives Rollins two back inside.
Priest is back up with a headlock driver for the same and a spinning kick to the head catches Rollins on top. A super hurricanrana brings Rollins down for two but he’s back with a Pedigree for the same. They go to the floor and a barricade powerbomb hits Priest, followed by a superkick to cut off an interfering Finn Balor. Priest hits South of Heaven for a slightly delayed two back inside. Rollins is back with a superkick though and the Stomp retains the title at 21:53.
Rating: B. The match was the good stuff you would expect in this spot, but they are hammering in the “workhorse title” concept like something that is hammed in rather quickly and often. Rollins beating Roman Reigns by DQ about a year and a half ago doesn’t make him feel like the other World Champion, but rather trying to make the Intercontinental Title feel like a big deal when Brock Lesnar wasn’t around. I’ll certainly take Rollins having one good match after another, but this “it’s the other World Title” stuff is going to feel lame until Reigns gets beaten, which could take a very long time.
Rollins and Balor have a staredown to end the show. Because Rollins is going to have to defend against him next, because it’s the WORKHORSE TITLE you see.
Overall Rating: B. All in all, this was a rather good Raw, as they took care of some stuff for Money in the Bank with the qualifiers, gave us a pair of very strong matches and didn’t do anything overly stupid. Cody even made fun of his own tattoo to throw in some comedy. This show worked, and I’ll absolutely take it as the offering from one of WWE’s brands for a weekly show.
Becky Lynch b. Sonya Deville – Manhandle Slam
Gunther b. Kevin Owens – Rollup
Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler b. Kayden Carter/Katana Chance – Kirifuda Clutch to Carter
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Ricochet via DQ when Bronson Reed interfered
Zoey Stark b. Natalya – Z360
Seth Rollins b. Damian Priest – Stomp
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