Monday Night Raw – September 25, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 25th September 2023
Monday Night Raw
Date: September 25, 2023
Location: Toyota Arena, Ontario, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
Things are getting interesting around here again as we are almost up to Fastlane, and this week might actually see something added to the card. Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura should be announced this week, though I think I’ve been saying that for the better part of a month now. Let’s get to it.
Here is Cody Rhodes to get things going. After a clip of last week, with Cody saving Jey Uso from the Judgment Day as Drew McIntyre stood and watched, Cody talks about how someone is going to have to go to Smackdown in return for Uso. It also means a disgruntled locker room who wanted to watch Uso sink. He and Uso are not best friends but something tells him “we’re not in the third inning anymore boys” (a reference to Paul Heyman saying the Bloodline story was only in the third inning a few weeks back).
Rhodes say Uso make the right decision by turning down the Judgment Day, but cue Judgment Day (again minus Rhea Ripley) to interrupt. Dominik is booed out of the building, so Rhodes points out that no one likes him. Rhodes mentions Ripley so the fight is teased, only to have Uso run in to even things up a bit.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens come in as well and the Judgment Day backs off. Cue JD McDonagh with some chairs so everyone but Priest go inside. Priest realizes this is a bad idea and everyone but Priest gets beaten down. Priest goes in as well and gets beaten down four on one, with Rhodes getting in a loud chair shot to the back to send him running.
Otis vs. Bronson Reed
Maxxine Dupri is here with Otis. They fight over a lockup to start with neither going anywhere. An exchange of clotheslines goes nowhere but another double clothesline sends them both to the floor. Otis hits a running clothesline of his own for a knockdown but Reed hits his own clothesline for his own knockdown. Back in and a Samoan drop hits Otis, setting up the neck crank to slow things down a bit. Otis fights up and they both hit crossbodies to leave them both down. Something close to an Angle Slam drops Reed but Otis misses the Vader Bomb. A backsplash sets up the Tsunami to finish Otis at 4:22.
Rating: C+. This was a match where they didn’t hide what they were going for and there is nothing wrong with that. Commentary described this as big meaty men slapping meat and that Big E. would be happy. It worked well in that regard and Reed wins, as he should be doing on his way (hopefully) back up the ladder.
Becky Lynch is shining her title when Tegan Nox comes in. Lynch wanted Nox to answer last week’s open challenge but Nox says she deferred to the veteran Natalya. Lynch says you need to step on some toes so she’ll see Nox in the ring one day.
Post break Nox comes up to Adam Pearce and asks for the winner of the NXT Women’s Title match. Shouldn’t she be asking Shawn Michaels? Anyway Natalya comes in and says you have to earn title shots, so Pearce makes the #1 contenders match.
Ludwig Kaiser vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Giovanni Vinci is here with Kaiser and this is the result of a backstage argument between Kaiser and Ciampa. Kaiser grabs a headlock to start but Ciampa is back up with some right hands. That doesn’t last long as Kaiser sends him outside and we take a break. Back with Ciampa being sent into the corner but managing a backdrop to the floor.
Ciampa sends him into the steps and grabs the Willow’s Bell for two. The Fairy Tale Ending is broken up so Ciampa settles for a reverse DDT. Vinci offers a distraction though and Kaiser drops Ciampa, only for the referee to be distracted. Ciampa scores with a jumping knee for the pin at 8:18.
Rating: B-. WWE needs to build up new challengers for Gunther and Ciampa is one of the best choices they have at the moment. With Gunther now holding the record, there is more of a reason to believe that the title could change hands and that opens some doors. Beating the minions to get to the big guy is a good way to go and it’s what they’re doing here.
Post match Ciampa says he wants Gunther, who isn’t happy in the back.
Video on Dragon Lee.
Tegan Nox vs. Natalya
Becky Lynch is on commentary and the winner gets the winner of the NXT Women’s Title match at No Mercy. Nox elbows her in the ace to start and hits a sitout gordbuster, followed by the reverse Cannonball in the corner for two. Natalya grabs a suplex but it’s too early for the Sharpshooter. Instead Nox hits the Shiniest Wizard for the pin at 2:36. That’s a good way to bring Nox back.
Damian Priest storms into the Judgment Day’s locker room, where he finds JD McDonagh. Yelling ensues, with Priest saying McDonagh will never be one of them and blaming him for the beating earlier. McDonagh is promptly thrown out.
Here is Seth Rollins for a chat. Rollins says the fans are tired of Shinsuke Nakamura attacking him and asks them to sing his song if they agree. Rollins says he’s challenged Nakamura to fight him in a rematch so if Nakamura isn’t out here right now, he’s moving on. Nakamura pops up on screen to say (in Japanese) that Rollins’ body is failing him, but he wants one last change. At Fastlane. In a Last Man Standing match.
Rollins looks a big unsure but recaps what Nakamura just said. His broken back is a strength and his family will only be ashamed of him if he doesn’t give it everything he has. His family knows he loves them but they know he loves this. Rollins’ 100% makes him the best in the world, so they can get crazy at Fastlane, Last Man Standing.
Ricochet, on crutches after last week’s attack, isn’t done with Shinsuke Nakamura and wants him no matter what happens at Fastlane.
We look at the Judgment Day defeating Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at Payback to win the Tag Team Titles.
NXT North American Title: Dominik Mysterio vs. Dragon Lee
Dominik, on his own, is defending. They start fast with Lee sending him to the floor and hitting a big running flip dive. Back in and Dominik rolls him into a half crab, with Lee going straight to the rope. A DDT on the apron drops Lee again and we take a break. We come back with Dominik’s frog splash hitting raised knees. Some running dropkicks in the corner have Dominik in trouble as Cole goes over the top in his praise of Lee.
Back up and they trade knees to the face until Dominik gets two off a Michinoku Driver. The 619 misses so Lee hits another knee for two. Lee hits a snappy running hurricanrana off the apron, followed by a sitout powerbomb for two back inside. Dominik manages to counter a running DDT by crotching him on top, setting up the frog splash to retain the title at 10:06.
Rating: B. This was all about making Lee and NXT as a whole look good and they did both of those things rather well. Lee was flying all over the place and looked awesome more than once, though Dominik needed to win a match on his own just to show what he can do. That was even more important after last week’s loss to Cody Rhodes and this worked well on all levels.
We look at Nia Jax’s path of destruction.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are ready to win their Tag Team Titles back. Note that Owens is wearing a Rey Mysterio/Eddie Guerrero shirt. If that’s a very subtle hint at a team having success and then splitting (which it very well may not be), WWE has upgraded their foreshadowing game.
Here is Nia Jax for a chat. She introduces herself as the baddest human in all of WWE. Everyone thought Rhea Ripley would be the big star but Nia squashed her. Shayna Baszler, Zoey Stark, Raquel Rodriguez, Chelsea Green and Piper Niven got squashed too. Anyone else would get that treatment, so cue Stark to go after Jax. Referees break it up rather quickly.
Zoey Stark vs. Nia Jax
Jax runs her over with an elbow to start and hits the running splash in the corner. Stark avoid a charge though and Jax goes shoulder first into the post. Some kicks to the head rock Jax and a springboard missile dropkick knocks Jax into the ropes. Stark tries a fireman’s carry but Jax falls hard onto her instead. A legdrop sends Stark throat first onto the bottom rope and the Annihilator finishes for Jax at 2:42.
Jey Uso didn’t join the Judgment Day because he didn’t want anything to do with any groups. He’ll be watching the Tag Team Title match tonight and will be there if Judgment Day is up to their normal stuff.
Finn Balor congratulates Dominik Mysterio on his win but says Damian Priest isn’t in the best place. Dominik will have their backs in the main event.
Here is Miz for MizTV, with special guest Drew McIntyre. Miz says he would have left Jey Uso to get beaten up last week but McIntyre says they’re nothing alike. That sends Miz into a speech about how they’ve both been the backbone of the company, with McIntyre being the WWE Champion. Then he lost, but had another chance at Clash At The Castle. The Bloodline cost him the title, with Uso being the one to lead a lot of the beatdowns. Then the Judgment Day beat up Uso and…..McIntyre: “Karma’s a b****.” Miz calls McIntyre the Batman of WWE, with Cody Rhodes being the Superman.
Cue New Day (including McIntyre’s scheduled opponent for tonight, Kofi Kingston) to interrupt and they don’t know this McIntyre. The one they know isn’t a coward because the one they know is Big D. But now there seems to have been a bit of shrinkage, as that big sword might not be enough to do the job. Miz gets cut off, with McIntyre saying he was expected to save the day as always.
Rhodes didn’t make a save out of the goodness of his heart, but rather because it was his mess. Kofi says McIntyre should have saved Uso, but McIntyre brings up all of the beatings the Bloodline, including Uso, gave Xavier Woods. Miz gets cut off (McIntyre says “Shut up Miz!” for the third time), leaving Kofi to talk about how McIntyre will always do what’s right. After the fourth SHUT UP MIZ (which the fans chant), McIntyre finally headbutts him down and we’re ready to fight.
Chad Gable gives Otis a pep talk after the loss when Ludwig Kaiser interrupts. They don’t want Kaiser there so Gable sends him off to get brow beaten by Gunther again. And remember: Gable is still coming for Gunther’s Intercontinental Title.
Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston
Xavier Woods is at ringside and Cole says this was made official during the break, despite Miz saying he wanted McIntyre to beat Kingston up tonight before New Day came out. McIntyre wastes no time in running Kofi over but Kofi is back with the double leapfrogs. The second is pulled out of the air but Kofi is fine enough to hit a running dropkick to the floor. The big dive to the floor takes McIntyre down again and there’s a high crossbody to do it one more time.
We take a break and come back with McIntyre sending him flying off an overhead belly to belly. Kingston manages a quick Fameasser for two and the Boom Drop connects as well. McIntyre grabs the Futureshock but Kingston sidesteps a charge to send him outside. The suicide dive connects but McIntyre gives him a nasty looking Alabama Slam onto the apron. The Claymore misses though and Kingston grabs the SOS for two. Cue Ivar, with Valhalla, to take Woods out, including a running crossbody against the barricade. McIntyre hits the Claymore on the distracted Kingston for the pin at 12:32.
Rating: B-. So that’s more or less the confirmation of McIntyre’s heel turn and it’s pretty overdue at this point. McIntyre has been needing to do something different for a long time now and letting him go evil again isn’t the worst idea in the world. He might not be all the way there yet, but it’s an idea that could have some legs.
Post match Ivar unloads on Kingston as McIntyre looks back, shrugs, and walks away. Ivar hits the moonsault to leave Kingston laying.
Gunther yells at Giovanni Vinci until Ludwig Kaiser interrupts to tell him what Chad Gable said. Gunther isn’t happy with either of them and says Vinci is Kaiser’s responsibility. If either of them screw up, they have a problem. Now Gunther is going to deal with Tommaso Ciampa himself.
Ivar says he took out Xavier Woods because New Day took out Erick. Eye for an eye.
Tag Team Titles: Judgment Day vs. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
Judgment Day (Damian Priest/Finn Balor) are defending. It’s a brawl at the bell until Sami snaps off some armdrags to Balor. We take an early break and come back with Sami being taken into champs’ corner so Balor can send him into the buckle. The chinlock doesn’t last long as Sami fights over to the corner for the tag off to Owens. Instead of going after Balor though, Owens goes after the illegal Priest and gets knocked down by Balor.
Priest comes in for the kicks to the chest but Owens comes back with the hockey fight punches. A DDT plants Priest and it’s Sami coming back for some right hands in the corner. The champs are knocked to the floor and there’s a big dive to the floor. We take another break and come back with Sami running the ropes for the tornado DDT on Priest. Owens comes back in to unload on Balor, including the Cannonball. With Priest knocked outside, Owens hits the frog splash for two on Balor as the fans declare this AWESOME.
Balor catches Owens on top but it’s a super Regal Roll to give Owens two more. The Swanton hits Balor’s raised knees and it’s the Sling Blade into the Coup de Grace with Sami having to make the save. South of Heaven is broken up and the hot tag brings in Sami but Dominik Mysterio runs in to break up the Coup de Grace.
Instead it’s a Blue Thunder Bomb for two on Priest as Balor and Owens fight to the floor. Cue Jey Uso to take out Dominik but JD McDonagh runs in to go after Uso. Cody Rhodes runs in as well and the brawl is on in the aisle. A Stunner hits Balor but McDonagh belts Sami in the face so Priest can get the pin to retain the titles at 20:13.
Rating: B. They were getting somewhere in the end with all of the run-ins and craziness and that made you think that something nutty might happen. At the same time, they had McDonagh come in and to redeem himself from earlier and that is a good way to go. There is a strong chance that this is going to set up WarGames in November and that is about as smart of an option as there is for that match at the moment.
Judgment Day celebrates but Rhodes, Uso, Owens and Zayn jump them for the big brawl to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This show covered a lot of ground, set things up for the future and had some strong action throughout at the same time. That’s a rather nice way to go for three hours and even though Fastlane has a lot more that needs to be done in the next week and a half, at least they have a big Raw match set up. I liked this show a good bit and I want to see where some of these stories are going, so we’ll call this a strong success.
Bronson Reed b. Otis – Tsunami
Tommaso Ciampa b. Ludwig Kaiser – Jumping knee
Tegan Nox b. Natalya – Shiniest Wizard
Dominik Mysterio b. Dragon Lee – Frog splash
Nia Jax b. Zoey Stark – Annihilator
Drew McIntyre b. Kofi Kingston – Claymore
Judgment Day b. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens – Belt shot to Zayn
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