By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,571)
Live from Baltimore, Maryland at CFG Bank Arena
Aired July 3, 2023 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a memorial graphic for Darren “Droz” Drozdov… A video package recapped the Money in the Bank event… Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves were on commentary, and Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer…
World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins made his entrance dressed in all white. Rollins entered the ring and held his arms out while the fans chanted his entrance theme. “Welcome to Monday Night Rollins,” Rollins started. He told the crowd that their singing sounded sweet and then asked them how sweet was Money in the Bank. The fans cheered.
Rollins praised Jey Uso for pinning Roman Reigns and spoke about the Money in the Bank ladder match winners. Rollins said he beat Finn Balor “by the skin of my teeth.” Rollins noted that SummerSlam was only five weeks away. He said there was only one thing on his mind, but then he was interrupted by entrance music.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance dressed in his ring gear. Cody removed his weight lifting belt and kissed it before handing it to a young female fan who looked emotional. Cody entered the ring while Graves said they’ve been like Batman and The Joker over the last couple of years. Rollins removed his shades and stared stone-faced at Cody. “So…” Cody said before he was interrupted.
Brock Lesnar’s theme played and he walked onto the stage and smiled. Cody left the ring and went to the stage and fought Lesnar, who got the better of him and tossed him inside the ring. Lesnar followed and went for his finisher, but Cody slipped away and then put Lesnar down with a Cody Cutter. Lesnar stayed down at ringside and sold the move for a moment before making his exit while Cody’s entrance theme played heading into a commercial… [C]
Powell’s POV: Lots of star power to start the show. Nobody actually said much and that was obviously by design.
Patrick narrated highlights of the Cody and Lesnar brawl…
Seth Rollins was still in the ring and said that was a crazy way to kick off the show. Rollins said it looked like Cody and Lesnar had unfinished business, but now it was time for his business. Rollins was once again interrupted by entrance music.
Money in the Bank winner Damian Priest, Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley, and Dominik Mysterio made their entrance. Rollins asked where Finn Balor was. Rollins said Balor likes sneak attacks, but he assumed that wouldn’t be happening. Ripley said Balor was fine.
Priest, Ripley, and Dom entered the ring. Priest told Rollins not to worry about Judgment Day business. He said the only thing Rollins should be worried about is his MITB contract. Priest teased the various places he could cash in his contract, including tonight.
Rollins said Priest needs him worn down and he doesn’t have a match. Priest proposed that Rollins face “somebody next to me.” Rollins wondered whether it would be Ripley or Dom. Ripley said she already had a title defense and said Dom was looking for a fight.
Dom tried to speak and was booed loudly. “You suck” chants broke out. “Daddy Dom says he wants to face Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins’ tonight,” Ripley said. Rollins said that as an expert of MITB, this seemed like a very obvious and poor attempt to set a trap. Rollins asked the crowd if he should beat the brakes off of Dom. The fans cheered. Rollins said they got their answer and he would see them later…
Shinsuke Nakamura was shown walking backstage. Priest warmed up in the ring while the broadcast team said they would meet after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: There was either a typo in the Raw preview email or they made a change, because the email listed Priest as facing Ricochet for the first time ever.
An ad for Smackdown spotlighted The Trial of Roman Reigns segment… Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance…
1. Damian Priest (w/Rhea Ripley, Dominik Mysterio) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. After some early back and forth action, both men ended up at ringside. Priest slammed Nakamura on top of the barricade in front of the timekeepers area heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
A Nakamura chant broke out before he rolled up Priest for a two count. Nakamura went for a crossarm breaker, but Priest prevented him from locking it in. Priest put Nakamura down with a boot to the head for a two count. Priest went for the Razor’s Edge, but Nakamura countered into a rollup for a two count.
Nakamura picked up another near fall and then went to the ropes hit Priest with a flying knee. Nakamura went for the Kinshasa, but Priest avoided it. Priest blasted Nakamura with a big clothesline and followed up with the South of Heaven chokeslam and scored the pin…
Damian Priest defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in roughly 10:00.
The broadcast team hyped Rollins vs. Dom and said they would recap Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles… The NXT ad focused on the NXT Underground match and Bron Breakker… [C]
Powell’s POV: Priest being referred to as Señor Money in the Bank was cute the first time. Then again, I’m also annoyed by the Mr. and Ms. MITB, so perhaps I’m just a curmudgeon. Anyway, the match was fine and concluded with the logical outcome of Priest going over after winning MITB. They booked him to lose a before MITB, so he needs some television wins in addition to holding the briefcase.
Mainstream media headlines regarding MITB were shown. Graves thanked London for the “amazing job” they did of hosting MITB. Patrick and Graves recapped Shayna Baszler turning on Ronda Rousey out of nowhere and basically handling Morgan and Rodriguez the women’s tag team titles…
Ronda Rousey made her entrance. “Well,” Rousey said. Shayna Baszler’s entrance theme interrupted her. Baszler walked out and said we’re all sick of hearing Rousey speak on a microphone. Rousey asked her why she did what she did at ten years and said Baszler at least owed her that.
Baszler stood on the apron and said he brought Rousey into the business and mocked the idea that she owes her anything. Rousey spoke about being the tag team champions. Baszler said she didn’t recall seeing Rousey putting the ring together or attend her tryouts. Baszler said she paid her dues while Rousey went straight to WrestleMania.
Baszler said the thing she owes Rousey is the sobering reality that there is someone in WWE who can finally shut her up. Rousey kicked Baszler off the apron. Rousey pulled Baszler inside the ring. Baszler escaped a Rousey hold and countered into an ankle lock. Rousey eventually kicked her away. Baszler blasted Rousey with a knee to the face. Baszler left the ring while her music played. Rousey called for Baszler to return to the ring, saying they weren’t done…
Powell’s POV: I gave them the benefit of the doubt when Baszler turned out of nowhere because I was hoping for a good explanation in the follow-up promo. The explanation was weak and didn’t explain the timing in any way. If Baszler was so bothered by Rousey being fast tracked to the top, then why did she wait until now to attack her? Why team with her to win the tag team titles? Oddly, Baszler’s promo seemed geared toward getting the fans behind her. Regardless of whether that was the goal, the fans who reacted did cheer for Baszler.
Backstage, Maxxine Dupri had Otis in a headlock and released it. Chad Gable stepped in and asked if she was ready. She said she’s ready and was sick of the Viking Raiders underestimating them. Gable said they would slap the Viking Raiders in the face with the biggest dose of patriotism they’ve ever seen. A graphic listed a six-person tag match for later in the show…
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez made their entrance. Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green were introduced for a tag team turmoil match to determine the No. 1 contenders. Additional entrances took place during a PIP break… [C]
[Hour Two] The remainder of the entrances took place. Footage aired from earlier in the day of Nikki Cross asking Candice LeRae to team up in the turmoil match, but LeRae said she already agreed to team with Indi Hartwell. Emma showed up and told Cross that she could team with her…
2. Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green vs. Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Dana Brooke and Tegan Nox vs. Nikki Cross and Emma in a tag team turmoil match to determine the No. 1 contenders to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Morgan and Rodriguez sat at ringside. Deville blasted LeRae in the face with a running knee and pinned her.
Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell were eliminated by Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green in 1:30.
Cross and Emma were the next entrants. Cross ran in after LeRae was pinned and plowed into Deville and Green. Cross tagged in Emma and then went to ringside and asked LeRae if she was okay. Cross sat at ringside looking distraught after LeRae headed to the back. Green put Emma down with an Unprettier and then Deville hit her with a running knee and pinned her.
Nikki Cross and Emma were eliminated by Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green in 3:55.
Brooke and Nox were the next entrants. Brooke was down at ringside heading into a PIP break. [C] Green put Nox down with an Unprettier and then Deville hit her with a running knee and pinned her just before the show returned from the PIP break.
Dana Brooke and Tegan Nox were eliminated by Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green in roughly 9:00.
Carter and Chance were the final entrants. Carter got Green her shoulders while she was seated on the top rope and then tagged in Chance, who performed a huracanrana. Chance had the pin, but Deville broke it up. A short time later, Deville stood at ringside and hit Carter while the referee wasn’t looking. Green put Carter away with the Unprettier…
Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green defeated Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae, Kayden Carter & Katana Chance, Dana Brooke & Tegan Nox, and Nikki Cross & Emma in a tag team turmoil match in 11:55 to become No. 1 contenders to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: While it’s good to see Deville and Green get a rare win, the crowd was cold for this match. It’s hard to blame them given that it involved a few makeshift teams that consisted of some people they rarely see on Raw.
The broadcast team narrated highlights of Iyo Sky winning the women’s MITB ladder match… Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage. Patrick said Lynch would be out after the break… [C]
A Bronson Reed vignette aired. He said he got to where he is due to fear. He said if someone disrespects him, he breaks that person. He said he’s a nice guy, but sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences. Reed said he’s inescapable and then laughed…
Becky Lynch made her entrance. Once in the ring, she said she didn’t win MITB. She said that’s okay and she can move on from that, but she can’t get past Trish Stratus. Lynch said she couldn’t think of a better place to end things than now. Lynch called out Stratus.
Trish Stratus walked with a hat over her face and was accompanied by Zoey Stark. Stratus removed the hat to reveal a face shield. Lynch laughed. Stratus said Lynch broke her moneymaker. She said she’s still better looking than all the fans.
Stratus said she would indulge Lynch’s request, but she’s not medically cleared. Lynch told Stratus to send her lapdog Stark to the ring instead. Stratus asked Lynch if she really wanted that after she saw Stark dominate. Lynch said Stark is better than Stratus anyway. Stratus said no one is better than she is.
Lynch recalled Stark hitting her with the Z360, which led to Stratus pinning her. Lynch said Stratus isn’t the GOAT, she is. Lynch questioned what would happen to Stark once Stratus went home. Lynch asked Stratus why she was still there if she didn’t want to fight her.
Stratus said she is the face of the women’s division. Stratus said Lynch hated it when they hung out backstage and people would come up and thank Stratus. Trish said Lynch broke the face of the division and now Stark would break her face. Stratus and Stark walked toward the ring, but Trish said she had an appointment and told Lynch to keep her calendar open for Stark next week…
Powell’s POV: I want to like this feud, but it just can’t seem to get out of second gear.
Highlights aired of the Lesnar and Rhodes brawl from earlier in the show…
New Raw broadcast team member Jackie Redmond stood near the entrance aisle and introduced Cody Rhodes as her guest. Cody made another entrance. The crowd was tame this time, but they still yelled the “woah oh” part. Redmond asked Cody to comment on the Lesnar fight.
Cody noted that it was Redmond’s first night on Raw and had the crowd say hello to her. Rhodes said he spoke Lesnar’s language. He said he welcomed him and back and they are not done yet. Cody said Lesnar broke his arm, while Cody broke Lesnar’s face.
Cody said they can’t coexist on Raw. Cody said he’ll fight any night, and would fight him every night. Cody signed an autograph and then stood with his back to the entrance. Shockingly, he wasn’t attacked from behind…
The broadcast team hyped the six-person tag match for after a break… [C]
3. Chad Gable, Otis, and Maxxine Dupri vs. Erik, Ivar, and Valhalla in a six-person tag match. Valhalla worked barefoot. Otis tagged in during the opening minute and the crowd came to life as the worked over Erik and Ivar. Otis tore his shirt off and executed the Caterpillar on Erik. The Alpha Academy trio stood in the middle of the ring and said “thank you” heading into a PIP break. [C]
Gable performed a top rope headbutt on Ivar and had him pinned, but Erik broke it up at the last moment. Dupri tagged in and got a good reaction for putting Valhalla down. Dupri tried to perform her own version of ht Caterpillar, but Valhalla kicked her. Gable performed a top rope moonsault onto Erik and Ivar on the floor. In the ring, Dupri performed a sunset flip on Valhalla and pinned her…
Chad Gable, Otis, and Maxxine Dupri beat Erik, Ivar, and Valhalla in 7:55 in a six-person tag match.
Powell’s POV: Why is Gable performing top rope headbutts? I admire his work ethic and really enjoy him as a wrestler, but I’m not a fan of that move in any match, let alone a comedy match. Anyway, the crowd was hot for Otis and when Dupri checked in.
Highlights aired of Rhea Ripley destroying Natalya two weeks earlier… Natalya was shown standing in between Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez, who tried to fire her up before she headed off for her match… Patrick hyped footage of the ridiculous Logan Paul and Ricochet spot from MITB… [C] More mainstream headlines regarding MITB were shown…
Highlights aired of the Logan Paul and Ricochet spot from MITB, plus additional footage was shown of them having a pull apart brawl in the backstage area afterward…
Ricochet was interviewed on the backstage ring set by Redmond. Ricochet said a lot of people thought Paul didn’t belong in the MITB match. Ricochet said Paul can hang and he respects that, but he doesn’t respect that Paul got in his face afterward when it simply wasn’t his night. Ricochet challenged Paul to show up and meet him face-to-face in the middle of the ring next week…
Rhea Ripley made her entrance. Natalya ran out and attacked Ripley from behind and ran her into the barricade and then the ring steps. Natalya threw her inside the ring.
[Hour Three] The referee checked on Ripley before calling for the bell to start the match…
4. Rhea Ripley vs. Natalya for the Women’s World Championship. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, but Ripley ducked to ringside. Natalya followed and ate a punch. Ripley slammed Natalya’s head on the broadcast table a few times.
When they returned to the ring, Natalya put Ripley down with a German suplex. Ripley came back and hit Natalya with a few kidney punches. Natalya came back briefly and then charged Ripley, who held Natalya between her legs and headbutted her. Cool spot.
A short time later, Ripley placed Natalya on the top rope. Natalya headbutted Ripley and then performed a crossbody block. Ripley came right back by dropkicking Natalya while she was down and then covered her for a two count. Ripley barked at the referee over his count heading into another PIP break. [C]
Natalya performed a huracanrana and followed up with a discus lariat before covering Ripley for a two count. Ripley came back and applied the Prism Lock. Natalya kicked her off and Ripley crashed into the corner. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, but Ripley sent her face first into the corner.
Ripley went up top and did the Eddie Guerrero shimmy before pointing to the “Dirty Dom” on her cheek. Ripley dove from the top rope into a big boot from Natalya. Ripley got up and went for a spear that Natalya avoided. Natalya powered up Ripley and powerslammed her. Natalya put Ripley in the Sharpshooter. Ripley, who had blood in her mouth, crawled to the ropes to break the hold.
Ripley rolled to the floor and avoided a sliding kick. Ripley booted Natalya when she returned to the ring and then headbutted her. Ripley hit the Riptide and scored the clean pin…
Rhea Ripley defeated Natalya in 12:45 to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Ripley attacked Natalya. Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan ran out, causing Ripley to slip out to ringside…
Powell’s POV: A competitive match after their two previous matches were dominated by Ripley. It’s tough to buy into the possibility of Natalya beating Ripley for the title, which probably explains why the crowd was so quiet early on.
Highlights aired of The Miz attacking Tommaso Ciampa on last week’s Raw…
Tommaso Ciampa sat on a chair backstage and spoke about the difference between him and Miz. Ciampa said he saw the ruthless aggression in Miz’s eyes last week. Ciampa told him to bring it, just as he’ll bring his chip on his shoulder. Ciampa said now that Miz has shown his cards,, he has no idea what he’s holding in his hands.
The Miz said he’s a royal flush and he’s not bluffing. Miz said everyone he’s taken under his wing and then double crossed him is gone. Miz told Ciampa to bring the chip on his shoulder when they meet in a No DQ match. Miz said Ciampa would get the best version of him…
Powell’s POV: It’s encouraging that they seem to be trying to give Miz more of an edge after having him become a pushover who lost nearly every match.
A graphic boasted that highlights of the Bloodline Civil War have been viewed over 40 million times across WWE’s social media platforms… A video package recapped Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso defeating Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa at MITB…
Matt Riddle made his entrance for a match against Giovanni Vinci… [C]
Rhea Ripley was standing backstage when Iyo Sky approached her. Sky spoke in Japanese and then held up her Money in the Bank briefcase. “Try me, it will be the biggest mistake of your life,” Ripley said. Sky walked away. Dominik Mysterio and Damian Priest showed up. Ripley was upset about Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan getting involved in her business. She said they would regret if they did it again. Dom said Rollins would regret getting in the ring with Dirty Dom. Dom said he would be the last one standing…
The Imperium trio made their entrance…
5. Matt Riddle vs. Giovanni Vinci (w/Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser). Riddle has his ankle wrapped and was distracted by the duo at ringside, which led to Vinci attacking him to start the match. Riddle rallied with a knee strike. Riddle set up for a move, but Vinci rolled him into an ankle lock. Riddle countered into a pin and got the three count.
Matt Riddle defeated Giovanni Vinci in 1:40.
Gunther and Kaiser attacked Riddle afterward. Drew McIntyre made his entrance. Kaiser ran to ringside and was put down with a big boot. McIntyre climbed onto the apron and hit Vinci with a Glasgow Kiss. McIntyre stared at Gunther, who was at ringside, and then hit the Claymore Kick on Vinci. McIntyre kipped up and went face to face with Gunter, who was on the apron. McIntyre dared Gunther to make a move. Gunther dropped off the apron…
Powell’s POV: I wish Riddle and Vinci had more time to work with. It was fun while it lasted. I also wish we heard more backstage gloating from Dom ahead of his match with Rollins.
A video package recapped Seth Rollins beating Finn Balor to retain the World Heavyweight Championship at MITB… Dominik Mysterio, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley made their entrance. Dom wore a bullet vest… [C]
McIntyre and Riddle were interviewed by Saxton in the backstage area. McIntyre said he’s back. Riddle said they should team up and face Imperium next week. McIntyre said that’s next week and they should go get some pints. Riddle snuck in a plug for Jimmy’s Seafood…
The broadcast team listed the following matches for next week’s Raw: Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark, Logan Paul and Ricochet meet face-to-face, Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Miz in a No DQ match… Seth Rollins made his entrance for the main event…
6. World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest) in a non-title match. Priest had his MITB briefcase with him. Graves questioned where Finn Balor was. Graves also pointed out Dom’s new cow print boots. He said they were gifted to him by Ripley and labeled them “cow-man boots.”
Rollins, who had his ribs taped, got the better of Dom and tossed him to the floor. Rollins wanted to go for his suicide dive, but Ripley stood on the apron. Dom tried to take advantage of the distraction, but Rollins saw him coming and dumped him to the floor. Rollins performed a flying knee from the apron heading into a PIP break. [C]
Dom put Rollins down and then grabbed the mic during the break. Dom went to the ropes and then dropped down and put the boots to Rollins. Rinse and repeat. Dom went back to the ropes and started to speak, but Rollins put him in electric chair position and dropped him on the ropes. Rollins followed up with a sling blade clothesline.
Coming out of the break, Rollins performed the Three Amigos on Dom. Rollins went up top. Ripley climbed onto the apron and distracted the referee while Priest shoved Rollins to the mat. Dom hit Rollins with a top rope frog splash and then put the boots to his injured ribs. Dom performed another frog splash and once again stood up rather than go for the pin. Dom kicked Rollins’ ribs.
Dom did the shimmy on the apron and then went up top again and went for another frog splash, but Rollins put his knees up. Rollins went on the offensive and got the crowd to sing his song again. Rollins set up for a Pedigree, but he released Dom to knock Priest off the apron.
Rollins sent Dom to the floor and then executed a suicide dive onto Dom and Priest. Back in the ring, Rollins hit Dom with rolling elbows to the face and the back of the head. Rollins went for the Stomp, but Damian Priest grabbed him and gave him a South of Heaven chokeslam to end the match.
World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins defeated Dominik Mysterio by disqualification in 10:00 in a non-title match.
Priest worked over Rollins at ringside and dropped him on the broadcast table with a Flatliner. Priest cleared the broadcast table and then went for a Razor’s Edge, but Rollins slipped away and superkicked him. Rollins set up for a Pedigree, but Dom hit him from behind with the MITB briefcase and ran him into the ring steps.
Dom picked up the briefcase and handed it to Priest. Dom told Priest to cash in and said, ‘You’ve got this.” Priest entered the ring with the briefcase, but Finn Balor showed up and ended up sending Rollins into Priest, which knocked him to the floor. Balor went up top for his finisher, but Priest climbed onto the apron and they bickered.
Rollins escaped the ring. Dom went after Rollins, who put him down with a Pedigree. Graves said Balor may have just screwed his own teammate. Balor and Priest bickered while standing over Dom. Balor claimed he’d be champion if it wasn’t for Priest.
Rollins stood on the stage and jawed at the heels, who weren’t paying any attention to him. Rather. Ripley was checking on Dom while Priest and Balor continued to argue. A graphic listed Chelsea Green, Sonya Deville, Imperium, and Tommaso Ciampa for Raw Talk…
Powell’s POV: The live crowd didn’t seem to buy into the idea that Priest was on the verge of cashing in. They came to life a bit once he entered the ring with the briefcase, but it’s also possible they were reacting to Balor showing up. Priest has taken a lot of losses lately so I get the feeling that fans don’t view him as a strong threat to cash-in successfully on Rollins. In other words, the creative forces need to put the work in to change that.
Overall, this show dragged. Money in the Bank was a hell of an event on Saturday, but this was a tame follow-up. They didn’t really kick in the build to SummerSlam despite the show taking place in less than five weeks. I will have more to say about Raw in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Grade the show below in our weekly poll.