Monday Night Raw – October 16, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 16th October 2023
Monday Night Raw
Date: October 16, 2023
Location: Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Wade Barrett
It’s the season premiere, which comes off of last week’s season finale, as the idea of seasons in wrestling is still weird. One of the big attractions this week is Judgment Day getting their rematch for the Tag Team Titles against Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso, which could be a heck of a showdown. Let’s get to it.
Here is Sami Zayn to get things going. After welcoming us to the season premiere, Sami says it feels a little weird to be out here by himself. His brother and partner has been moved to Smackdown and he is obviously very sad that their partnership has ended this way. He is excited for Owens though because he knows Owens will do huge things on Smackdown. He’s excited for himself too, because now he gets to stand on his own two feet.
It’s time to prove that he is a World Heavyweight Champion level superstar, which the fans seem to find accurate. There is an elephant in the room though and that is due to the arrival of Jey Uso. It took Owens and Zayn years to get to the highest point but then they had to deal with Judgment Day. Now they’re getting a Tag Team Title shot tonight, but Zayn wants to thank the fans for getting him here.
Cue Judgment Day to interrupt, with Damian Priest bragging about who they’ve gotten rid of around here. Rhea Ripley cuts him off and talks about how they would recruit lost wrestlers and give them directions. In Zayn’s case though, they want to get rid of him permanently. The team surrounds him but Jey Uso runs in with a pair of chairs to even things up a lot. Finn Balor calls the team off and Sami leaves, not looking completely pleased with Jey.
We look at Shinsuke Nakamura and Ricochet getting in a fight last week, with Nakamura possibly costing him an Intercontinental Title shot.
Nakamura gives us another subtitled video about how he is going to smash Ricochet like a fly.
Jey Uso catches up with Sami Zayn in the back and asks if they’re cool. Sami says he needs a minute to think because even though Jey made the save, all he was thinking was that it should have been Kevin Owens making the save. Owens isn’t here and it’s because of Jey, even though Zayn wants him to be happy. Jey has the momentum and the titles and Sami has nothing and it’s because Jey is here. Jey says Sami has him and walks off. Sami shoves a ladder over and catches up to Jey, apologizing for what he said. He offers a handshake but Jey hugs him instead.
Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Falls Count Anywhere and Ricochet kicks him to the floor before the bell. They get inside with Nakamura kicking him in the head, setting up the reverse exploder for two. The Recoil gives Ricochet the same and a triangle dropkick puts Nakamura on the floor. That sets up a big twisting flip dive to drop Nakamura for two and they fight up to the stage.
That means a trip to the gorilla position, where Ricochet flips over Nakamura and hits a knee to the face for two. They come back to the stage, where Nakamura gets his knees up to block a standing moonsault. We take a break and come back with Ricochet climbing a balcony (where he half hugs a fan) and then shooting stars onto Nakamura and a bunch of security.
They head back to ringside and it’s time for a table….and nunchucks. Ricochet shrugs that off (because nunchucks) and kicks him down inside, setting up a springboard 450 for two. Nakamura cuts him off on top though and sends him crashing through the table at ringside. Kinshasa finishes Ricochet at 13:43.
Rating: B. This was what it needed to be, as it was a display of violence between two guys who have a reason to be mad at each other. Nakamura gets a nice win to put him back on track, though I could have gone with Ricochet winning to establish him as a bit of a bigger star. Still though, rather hard hitting match though and that’s what it needed to be.
Piper Niven and Chelsea Green interrupt a group of women who are standing around not doing much. Green says she and Nox are best friends, though Nox points out that Niven ordered them to be a team. Green doesn’t want to hear it but Nox threatens her away. Niven seems to threaten Nox on the way.
Video on Imperium.
Piper Niven vs. Natalya
Chelsea Green is here with Niven. Natalya tries an early rollup before going with a basement dropkick for two more. Niven manages a ram into the buckle though and Natalya crashes out to the floor as we take a break. Back with Niven missing a backsplash and getting…not hit with a basement dropkick, which thankfully Niven doesn’t sell. Niven’s basement crossbody misses as well and Natalya hits the discus lariat for two. That’s enough for Niven, who runs Natalya over and hits the basement crossbody for the pin at 6:27. Not enough shown to rate but Natalya worked well trying to fight the monster.
Post match Green comes in for the beatdown but Tegan Nox runs in for the save.
Damian Priest and Finn Balor want to take out Drew McIntyre but Dominik Mysterio doesn’t seem to like the idea. Rhea Ripley comes up after a phone call, saying she was handling Judgment Day business, as usual. She has Shayna Baszler on her own tonight too.
Here is Seth Rollins for a chat. Rollins recaps last week with the Crown Jewel title match against Drew McIntyre being set up, plus McIntyre saving him from a Money In The Bank cash-in. Cue McIntyre, with Rollins asking if McIntyre has been getting himself a little help. We see a clip of McIntyre and Rhea Ripley talking in the background last week.
McIntyre says first of all, he isn’t a thirsty creep like Jey Uso and Ripley came up to him. Second of all, what they were talking about is none of Rollins’ business and he should be worried about McIntyre taking his title. Rollins says no one is doing that to him but McIntyre needs to worry about stepping up in the big moment. McIntyre talks about the Bloodline costing him but Rollins tells him to GET OVER IT.
We hear about McIntyre stepping up during the pandemic when WWE needed it. Then he had his chance again in front of 50,000 people but the Bloodline cost him the title. Rollins says he understands what McIntyre is going though as he spent four years trying to get back to the top of the mountain. McIntyre is pointing fingers and making excuses and it won’t get him anywhere. When Rollins beats him at Crown Jewel, it will be the best thing to happen to him, because McIntyre will have no one to blame but himself. This was a good exchange and got more to the core of McIntyre’s issues, with Rollins calling him out for his whining.
Video on Bronson Reed.
Johnny Gargano vs. Ludwig Kaiser
Giovanni Vinci is here too but Tommaso Ciampa is injured after last week’s Imperium attack. Gargano starts fast but Kaiser kicks the knee out to take over. Kaiser knocks him down again and we take an early break. Back with Gargano fighting out of a chinlock and hitting the rolling kick to the head.
A springboard swinging Downward Spiral gives Gargano two and the Cheeky Nandos Kick connects. The sunset bomb gives Gargano two more and Willow’s Bell rocks Kaiser again. One Final Beat connects but Kaiser pokes Gargano in the eye. Gargano goes after Vinci but the distraction lets Kaiser kick him in the face. A twisting DDT finishes Gargano at 9:51.
Rating: C+. They’re playing up the idea that Gargano needs help to fight Imperium and losing to the numbers game isn’t the worst way to go. DIY vs. Imperium can be a big showdown when they get the chance, though I’m really not sure about having Gargano lose in his first match back. He doesn’t have the strongest reputation in the world on the main roster and this isn’t going to help things, cheating or not.
Indi Hartwell asks Becky Lynch for an NXT Women’s Title shot. Becky is cool with that and says she’ll go get it set up. As Becky leaves, she runs into Rhea Ripley for a staredown. Ripley smiles and walks away, with Becky saying something about being Becky Two Belts.
Drew McIntyre comes up to Sami Zayn and isn’t happy with him instantly forgiving Jey Uso earlier. That’s the right hand man of the Bloodline and Zayn just easily forgave him. Zayn doesn’t like that and we get a match set up between the two of them for next week.
Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler
Non-title. Before the match, Ripley says that no matter what, this is her division and Mami will always be on top. Baszler takes her to the mat with a quickly broken ankle lock but Ripley gets up and unloads in the corner. With that not working, Baszler takes her down by the arm and starts stomping. Ripley is back up with a spinning back elbow for a breather.
They go into the slugout with Baszler snapping off a German suplex. Baszler hits a knee to the face for two but Ripley knocks her back again. A missile dropkick of all things drops Baszler and Ripley loads up Riptide. That’s countered into a cross armbreaker (that was cool) but Ripley powerbombs her way out of trouble. Cue Nia Jax but Raquel Rodriguez and Zoey Stark pop up to take her down. Stark comes in and decks Ripley for the DQ at 5:35.
Rating: C+. This was good while it lasted but then the last minute plus was focusing on everything at ringside. Jax showing up took a lot of the fun out of this one and it didn’t get any better. As usual, Baszler is treated like someone who happens to be there as well and that gets annoying in a hurry.
Post match Ripley calls Jax in for the fight and Stark/Ripley beat Jax down, only for Stark to break up a slam and clear the ring. They’ve got something here
Becky Lynch gets a match with Indi Hartwell next week, per Shawn Michaels’ approval. Xia Li comes in to say she wants a shot too. Becky says say the word, but Li says on her time. Then why did she come in? Anyway here is Jade Cargill, with Becky telling her to get in line. Becky leaves and Cargill calls her funny.
Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso are ready for the main event.
Intercontinental Title: Bronson Reed vs. Gunther
Gunther, with Imperium, is defending. Reed powers out of the corner to start and staggers Gunther with a shoulder. That’s fine with Gunther, who boots him in the face twice in a row. Reed comes back out with a knockdown of his own, setting up a splash in the corner. They head outside with Gunther powering him into the apron, setting up the sleeper back inside. That’s broken up and Reed drops him on the apron, setting up the running shoulder to drop Gunther as we take a break.
Back with Reed winning a slugout, setting up a nasty Death Valley Driver for two. Gunther’s big clothesline gets two so he goes up top, only to get superplexed down for the huge crash. The Tsunami misses though and Gunther clotheslines him down. The top rope splash only gives Gunther two and he can’t believe the kickout. With nothing else working, Gunther hits the powerbomb to retain the title at 12:39.
Rating: B. I’ve said this before but there is something about building up a match between two monsters who are going to hit each other really hard. That’s exactly what you go there as it was a question of which one was going to manage to survive, which is how Gunther felt in the end. Reed didn’t feel like a major threat to win the title, but my goodness it was a heck of a fight on the way there.
Miz complains about being put on the third hour of the show and thinks Nick Aldis should take over Raw. Nia Jax comes in and says she’s still taking everyone’s best shot and looking pretty. No one has taken her best shot because she does the squashing around here. Miz isn’t pleased but we’re out of time for him.
Rhea Ripley comes in to see Adam Pearce and tells him to get the women’s division in line. Pearce is tired of threats so it’s a five way match for the title at Crown Jewel. Ripley isn’t happy and says she’ll eradicate them all. With Ripley gone, Jinder Mahal and Indus Sher come in to say they want to talk.
The Alpha Academy, with Akira Tozawa, is doing Pilates, when New Day comes in. Gyrations occur and a match is made for next week.
Here’s what’s coming next week, including Logan Paul.
We look at the opening of Kofi Kingston’s children’s library and digital center in Ghana to help with education. That’s awesome.
Gunther is proud of Ludwig Kaiser for his win tonight. Giovanni Vinci on the other hand, didn’t accomplish his goal. Gunther saw Johnny Gargano walking around tonight, so next week, he wants Gargano stretchered out. It’s Kaiser’s responsibility.
Tag Team Titles: Judgment Day vs. Cody Rhodes/Jey Uso
Rhodes and Uso are defending. We’re joined in progress with Cody working on Balor’s arm and handing it off to Uso to do the same. Uso gets low bridged to the floor and it’s a backbreaker/elbow combination for two back inside. A quick escape allows the tag back to Cody, who hits a pair of powerslams. Cue Dominik Mysterio for a distraction but Uso superkicks Balor to break up 1916.
Cody hits Cross Rhodes on Priest but Dominik puts the foot on the ropes. Balor hits a dropkick on the floor and we take a break. Back with Cody snapping off the leg hands but Priest kicks him in the head. Cody manages to get over to Jey for the tag and the pace picks up. The Cody 1D hits Balor for two but Priest hits a chokeslam to put Cody onto the apron. Dominik shoves Uso off the top so Balor can roll him up for two.
Cue Sami Zayn to jump Dominik so Cody throws Priest over the barricade. Balor breaks up the tag though and it’s a double clothesline to put Uso and Balor down. Priest is back with a low blow to Cody and the toss Razor’s Edge puts Cody through the announcers’ table. Jey dives onto Priest but gets caught by Balor’s Sling Blade. Balor hits the shotgun dropkick but misses the Coup de Grace. Uso spears Balor and gives Priest another one before loading up the Superfly Splash. Cue Jimmy Uso to superkick Jey, allowing Balor to hit the Coup de Grace and win the titles back at 14:00.
Rating: B-. It wasn’t quite as good as the Fastlane match but they got things rolling by the end. There is definitely chemistry between these teams and it was a big time feel with the title change. I’m not sure what this is going to mean for Jimmy vs. Jey going forward, but it would not surprise me to see them getting a showdown at Crown Jewel. For now though, the title change is big enough.
Judgment Day poses to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This show felt like a big deal and it was nice to see a bunch of stories advanced with an important moment at the end. There was nothing bad (save for maybe the ending to Ripley vs. Baszler) on the show and the matches were good to pretty good on the low end. I had a fun time with this show and it was one of the better Raw’s in awhile. WWE is starting to heat up again and that’s great timing as the important season is around the corner.
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Ricochet – Kinshasa
Piper Niven b. Natalya – Basement crossbody
Ludwig Kaiser b. Johnny Gargano – Twisting DDT
Rhea Ripley b. Shayna Baszler via DQ when Zoey Stark interfered
Gunther b. Bronson Reed – Powerbomb
Judgment Day b. Cody Rhodes/Jey Uso – Coup de Grace to Uso
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