WWE Raw results (10/16): Powell’s live review of the season premiere, Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso vs. Damian Priest and Finn Balor for the Undisputed WWE Tag Titles, Gunther vs. Bronson Reed for the IC Title


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw (Episode 1,586)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at Paycom Center
Aired live October 16, 2023 on USA Network

[Hour One] The Raw opening aired along with a logo for the season premiere… Kevin Patrick and Wade Barrett checked in on commentary and hyped the previously advertised matches…

Sami Zayn made his entrance in non-wrestling attire and was introduced by ring announcer Samantha Irvin. Patrick and Barrett checked in from ringside. Patrick noted that he was filling in for “the legend” Michael Cole. They set up a highlight package from Smackdown that featured new Smackdown general manager Nick Aldis introducing Kevin Owens as the compensation for the trade that brought Jey Uso to Raw.

Zayn said he was sorry to see his team with Kevin Owens end in this way, but he said he was excited to see what Owens will do on Smackdown, as well as excited for himself. Zayn said he was struggling with the idea that Jey Uso coming to Raw is the reason that Owens was moved to Smackdown.

Zayn said he had a lot of mixed emotions and vented about Judgment Day being bothersome while he and Owens were tag team champions and now getting a tag team title shot. Zayn said the last year of his career was by far the best. Zayn credited the fans for being the reason that he was able to be so successful.

The Judgment Day entrance theme interrupted Zayn. Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley, and Dominik Mysterio walked to ringside. Balor said Judgment Day should be kicking off the season premiere of Raw. He mocked Zayn for being left alone.

Priest spoke about Zayn being alone and then vented about being happy to remove Drew McIntyre, but Ripley and Balor cut him off. “We talked about this,” Ripley told him. Dom said Ripley was putting the entire women’s division back on notice.

Ripley agreed and said that Balor and Priest would bring the tag titles back to Judgment Day. Ripley said Zayn that they want to get rid of him permanently. The Judgment Day members climbed onto the apron and surrounded Zayn.

Jey Uso’s music played and he ran out and brought chairs with him. Jey entered the ring and gave one of the chairs to Zayn, which made the Judgment Day members back down. Zayn tossed the chair down and gave Jey a long look before exiting the ring. Patrick said Zayn was “a little unsure” as he walked away from Jey…

Highlights aired of last week’s drama involving Ricochet and Shinsuke Nakamura… Ricochet made his entrance for the Falls Count Anywhere match and received a pretty mild reaction heading into the first break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Michael Cole is missing the season premiere of Raw?!? Anyway, Zayn feeling uncertain about Jey is an interesting development. He was Jey’s biggest backer, but the idea that Jey coming to Raw has now cost Zayn his partnership with his longtime best friend feels like a logical reason for his character to be conflicted.

Patrick hyped Royal Rumble tickets going on sale on Friday (be ready for pre-sales before then if you intend to purchase tickets)…

Backstage, Jey asked Zayn if he was good. Zayn said he needed a little space. Jey asked Zayn to talk to him. Zayn thanked Jey for having his back, but he also said he looked at Jey and felt that it should have been Owens having his back instead. Zayn said he wants to be happy for Jey.

Zayn said Jey has the tag titles and his friend in Cody Rhodes, but he doesn’t have that. Jey told Zayn that he didn’t know he felt that way and said that Zayn still has him. Jey said it is what it is and then walked away. Zayn shoved a ladder over and then called out for Jey and chased him down.

Zayn told Jey to forget what he said and apologized. He said it was a tough week for him and he’s happy for Jey, who deserves everything he has. Zayn asked if they were good and then offered a handshake. Jey stared at him and then pulled him in for a hug…

Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance…

1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Nakamura struck his in-ring pose and was kicked by Ricochet to start the match (so it’s not just heels are rewarded for cheating?). Ricochet performed an early flip dive onto Nakamura at ringside and covered him for a two count.

Both wrestlers fought to the Gorilla Position area. Ricochet spun over the referee’s back and then dropped Nakamura with a kick and covered him for another two count. They returned to the stage. Nakamura whipped Ricochet toward the video wall and then Ricochet ran up the wall and performed a flip onto his feet. Ricochet put Nakamura down and executed a standing shooting star press. [C]

Coming out of the break, Ricochet climbed onto the guardrail above a concourse in section 116 and then performing a shooting star press onto Nakamura below. They had a great camera shot from below Ricochet amongst the replay footage.

Nakamura and Ricochet returned to ringside. Nakamura pulled out nunchucks and hit Ricochet with them a couple of times. Nakamura started to clear the broadcast table, but Ricochet flew into the picture with a flying knee. Ricochet placed Nakamura on a regular table. Ricochet went to the ropes, but Nakamura slipped off the table and was booed.

Nakamura returned to the ring and hit a GTS for a near fall. Ricochet came back and ran up Nakamura’s body to perform a back flip. Ricochet hit a springboard 450 splash for a near fall. Ricochet went to the ropes. Nakamura cut him off and threw a kick that knocked Ricochet off the ropes and through the table on the floor. Nakamura followed up with a Kinshasa and scored the pin on the floor…

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Ricochet in 13:55 in a Falls Count Anywhere match.

Powell’s POV: A really good match with Ricochet showing off some flashy offense at times, while both men stayed true to the gritty nature of the match. I got excited when I misread the section number sign. Longtime Dot Net Member Jeremy “J-Mos” Moses is in section 106 tonight, but it turned out the wrestlers were fighting in section 116. I really wanted to see Nakamura use J-Mos as a weapon!

Backstage, Chelsea Green and Piper Niven interrupted a conversation that Tegan Nox was having with Kayden Carter and Katana Chance while Nikki Cross sat on production crates behind them. Green mocked Nox about her friendship with Natalya. Nox said she may have lost to Becky Lynch, but one thing she learned from her is not to let anyone disrespect her. Green and Niven made their entrance.. [C]

An Gunther video package aired… Patrick hyped Gunther vs. Bronson Reed for the Intercontinental Championship for later in the show… Natalya made her entrance and gave her shades to a young girl at ringside…

Powell’s POV: Natalya giving her shades to the girl clearly disappointed the young boy she had to reach around, but it looked like the little bugger inadvertently(?) touched one of her breasts.

2. Natalya vs. Piper Niven (w/Chelsea Green). Niven caught Natalya on the ropes and knocked her to the apron. Niven threw a knee at Natalya that sent her to ringside. [C] Late in the match, Natalya set up for a Sharpshooter. Green climbed onto the apron. Niven kicked Natalya into Green. Niven threw a distracted Natalya to the mat and then performed a crossbody block and pinned her…

Piper Niven beat Natalya in 6:25.

After the match, Niven and Green attacked Natalya. Tegan Nox ran out and cleared Green from the ring. Natalya and Nox doubled up on Niven, who held the ropes and escaped before they could hit her with a move they set up for…

Powell’s POV: Well, I guess we know what the next WWE Women’s Tag Team Title feud will be.

Backstage, Damian Priest tried to convince Finn Balor and Dominik Mysterio that they needed to take out Drew McIntyre. Dom said Rhea Ripley declared that no one could mess with McIntyre. Ripley showed up. Priest questioned where she’d been. She said she was on the phone doing Judgment Day business. Priest said there’s been a lot of those lately. Balor asked if she was ready for her match. Ripley said she would start with Baszler and remind everyone who runs Raw…

World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins made his entrance… [C]

[Hour Two] The broadcast team congratulated Bad Bunny for having the most streamed album in a single day on Spotify…

Rollins stood in the ring and said they had a hell of a season finale and Drew McIntyre stepped up as No. 1 contender. Rollins recalled McIntyre saying he wanted him at 100 percent when they meet, but then he didn’t help him when Damian Priest attacked him. He said McIntyre become his white knight once Dom showed up with Priest’s Money in the Bank contract. Rollins invited McIntyre to come out.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance and left the stupid sword in the back. McIntyre said he would babysit Rollins for the next couple of weeks. Rollins said he can handle his business on his own and then asked if McIntyre was doing the same. “Or have you enlisted a little help?” Rollins asked. McIntyre said everyone knows that he handles his own business.

Rollins showed footage of McIntyre speaking with Rhea Ripley last week in the background while Adam Pearce was speaking with Ricochet. Rollins asked McIntyre if he cared to elaborate. McIntyre said Ripley came to him and whatever they spoke about was not Rollins’ business.

Rollins said the last couple years have messed with McIntyre’s head. He said McIntyre had a lot of opportunities and had some big success along with some big failures. Rollins said that enlisting Judgment Day to help won’t work out for McIntyre the way he thinks it will. He said it’s a slippery slope that McIntyre doesn’t want to go down.

McIntyre recalled beating Rollins’ ass the last time they met in a title match and said he doesn’t need help. McIntyre mentioned The Bloodline. Rollins cut him off and said he needs to move on from The Bloodline because The Bloodline has clearly moved on from him. Rollins told McIntyre to get over it.

McIntyre said Rollins likes when the fans chant his theme song. He said he has a catchy song of his own that he could bring back, but he doesn’t need that crutch. He spoke of stepping up when needed and beating Brock Lesnar. He said he caught lightning in a bottle again at Clash at the Castle and The Bloodline ruined that.

McIntyre told Rollins that he’ll need to think long and hard about how he’ll reinvent himself for the 53rd time after he takes the title from him at Crown Jewel. Rollins said no one knows better than he does about what McIntyre is going through. He said he spent four years fighting to get back there.

Rollins said McIntyre is making excuses and pointing fingers and it won’t get him where he wants to go. Rollins said he would beat McIntyre at Crown Jewel and it will be the best thing that could happen to him because he’ll have no one to blame but himself. Rollins dropped the mic and made his exit…

Powell’s POV: Rollins continues to do a really good job of pivoting from his flamboyant persona to taking a more serious approach when the situation calls for it. They did a really nice job of laying out why McIntyre’s character is so upset, and I like that Rollins said he could relate, yet told him to get over it.

A Bronson Reed video package aired… The broadcast team hyped the Intercontinental Championship match for later in the show…

Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci made their entrance for Kaiser’s match against Johnny Gargano… [C] Oklahoma City sports imagery was shown…

Patrick acknowledged Logan Paul winning his boxing match and then stating in the ring afterward that he’s coming for Rey Mysterio’s U.S. Championship… Footage aired of Rey Mysterio appearing on The Michael Kay Show on YES Network and stating that he’s always up for a challenge. Patrick hyped that Logan Paul will appear on Friday’s Smackdown…

Footage aired of Kaiser and Vinci attacking Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa last week… Gargano made his entrance…

3. Johnny Gargano vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/Giovanni Vinci). Gargano was the early aggressor. Kaiser headed to ringside and was hit by a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Kaiser kicked Gargano’s knee and went on the offensive. Gargano set up for a move on the apron, but Kaiser knocked him down. Kaiser knocked Gargano off the apron and into the ringside barricade. [C]

Gargano performed a sunset flip that pulled Kaiser from the ropes and covered him for a two count. Gargano caught Kaiser with a Willow’s Bell style DDT and followed up with One Final Beat. Gargano had the pin, but Vinci poked his eye to break it up from ringside.

Gargano rolled to ringside and slammed Vinci’s head on the broadcast table. Vinci entered the ring to escape. Gargano followed Vinci and was dropped by a Kaiser kick. Kaiser followed up with a DDT of his own and scored the pin…

Ludwig Kaiser defeated Johnny Gargano in 10:00.

Powell’s POV: Vinci was the difference in this match, so I assume it’s just a matter of time before Gargano and Cimapa officially reunite.

Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage when she encountered Indi Hartwell and Candice LaRae. Hartwell said she respects all of the opportunities that she’s given lately and then asked when she would give one to the person who never lost the title. Lynch said she would go talk to Adam Pearce. When Lynch turned around, she went face to face briefly with Rhea Ripley, who smirked at her and walked away. Lynch mentioned “Becky Two Belts” as they cut to break… [C]

Backstage, Drew McIntyre told Sami Zayn that he appreciated the way he diffused the situation between him and Jey Uso last week. McIntyre also said he was apprehensive about Zayn when he left The Bloodline, but he’s really stepped up and become a leader. McIntyre said Jey Uso did the opposite by expecting forgiveness immediately.

Zayn told McIntyre that he might need to put The Bloodline stuff behind him, just as Rollins said. He defended Jey and said that McIntyre is the only one who doesn’t buy that he’s changed. Zayn said he can relate to struggling to put The Bloodline behind him. McIntyre said Zayn can’t relate because he’s never been a world champion.

McIntyre said Zayn changes with the wind and will never be a world champion if he acts that way. Zayn said that if McIntyre feels that way, they could have a match next week. McIntyre said he doesn’t back down from a challenge and would see him next week…

Rhea Ripley made her entrance and delivered an in-ring promo. She said everyone wants a piece of Monday Night Mami. She recalled Nia Jax, Raquel Rodriguez, and Shayna Baszler trying to prove their toughness last week. Ripley said it’s her division and Mami will always be on top. Baszler made her entrance… [C] An ad aired for WWE Crown Jewel…

4. Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler in a non-title match. Baszler wrenched the arm of Ripley, whose shoulder was spiked on the mat. Ripley held her arm at her side and eventually hit a back elbow. Baszler came back with a suplex and put Ripley down with a knee to the face, which led to a two count.

Ripley rallied and performed a missile dropkick. Ripley went for her finisher, but Baszler countered into an armbar. Ripley powered up Baszler and slammed her to the mat to break the hold. Ripley had a cut on the back of her elbow.

Nia Jax walked out without entrance music and tried to enter the ring, but Raquel Rodriguez was there to stop her. Zoey Stark dove off the barricade and onto Jax. Rodriguez threw Stark into the barricade and then tossed her inside the ring. Rodriguez dropped Jax with a big boot. Rodriguez charged at Jax, who moved, causing Rodriguez to crash into the ring steps. Stark entered the ring and kicked Ripley to end the match.

Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley fought Shayna Baszler to a no-contest in 5:40 in a non-title match.

After the match, Ripley picked up Stark and threw her at Baszler. Ripley turned her focus to Jax. Ripley drew an imaginary line in the ring and told Jax to cross it. Ripley continued to hold her left arm at her side while she ducked a charging Jax, who then ate a superkick from Stark. Ripley tried to power up Jax, but Stark kicked Jax onto Ripley. Stark kicked Jax’s ass as she was trying to leave the ring…

Backstage, Adam Pearce told Becky Lynch he loved the idea of her defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Indi Hartwell. He said he had to check with Shawn Michaels and the match will take place next week if he agrees to it. Xia Li showed up and asked about her title shot. Lynch told her to say the word. Li said she will but on her time.

Jade Cargill entered the room and went face to face with Lynch. Cargill said something about Lynch’s title. Lynch told her to get in line and then left the room. Pearce welcomed Cargill to Raw and told her that she needed a red version of something she was wearing…

Bronson Reed made his entrance for the Intercontinental Championship… [C]

[Hour Three] Jackie Redmond spoke with Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso on the backstage interview set. She asked Jey about what happened with Sami Zayn. Jey said Sami had a lot going on in his head, but he’s always going to be there for him. Cody spoke about the season premiere and things that happened earlier in the show and then spoke briefly about defending the tag titles…

The Imperium trio made their entrance…

5. Gunther vs. Bronson Reed for the Intercontinental Championship. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Reed knocked Gunther down early and then hit him with a splash in the corner. Gunther rolled to the floor. Reed jumped from the apron and ate a chop. Gunther threw another chop and then threw Reed back inside the ring.

Gunther set up for a powerbomb, but Reed stuffed it. Gunther caught Reed in a sleeper. Barrett fired up and said the hold could end the match. Reed tried to power up Gunther, who hit him with elbows and then reapplied the sleeper. Reed powered him up again and then fell back and landed on top of him.

Reed went to the ropes for his finisher, but Gunther cut him off with a chop. Both men fought on the apron. A short time later, Reed sent Gunther to the floor and then dove off the apron and hit him with a shoulder block. [C]

Late in the match, Reed executed a superplex. He tried to follow up with a Tsunami splash, but Gunther avoided it. Gunther caught Reed with a big boot and a lariat, and then performed a top rope splash for a near fall. Gunther powered up Reed and then powerbombed him to get the three count…

Gunther defeated Bronson Reed in 12:40 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Powell’s POV: That was fun and I love that the match concluded with a clean finish. As much as grumble about protecting Reed, there’s no shame in losing a competitive match to Gunther.

Jackie Redmond interviewed The Miz on the backstage ring set. Miz complained about not appearing on the season premiere until the third hour of the show. Miz mocked Sami Zayn for missing Kevin Owens. Miz said Adam Pearce should be fired and then Nick Aldis could take over both shows. Miz said maybe Aldis would understand to put respect on his name.

Nia Jax showed up and took the microphone. Jax looked into the camera and asked if viewers saw what was going on. She said everyone was hitting her with their best shot. She said she’s still standing and she’s still pretty. Jax said that she hasn’t hit anyone with her best shot yet and boasted that she does the squashing on Raw. Jax slammed the mic into the chest of Miz and stormed away. Miz tried to express his frustration, but Redmond told him that they were out of time…

Finn Balor and Damian Priest were shown warming up backstage… [C] Patrick hyped Royal Rumble tickets going on sale on Friday…

Adam Pearce was shown talking on the phone in his office and said it was a pleasure doing business with the person. Rhea Ripley stormed in and complained about people interfering in her matches. Pearce told her if she wants to make a statement, she could do it his way when she defends her title against Nia Jax, Raquel Rodriguez, Zoey Stark, and Shayna Baszler in a five-way. Ripley got fired up and spoke about how she would take them all and then exited the room.

Jinder Mahal entered the room with Veer Mahaan and Sanga after Ripley exited. Mahal told Pearce that they wanted to talk….

Backstage, Maxxine Dupri led Otis through a pilates workout while Chad Gable told Akira Tozawa that the comedic exercises he was doing were terrible. Gable had Otis chop him. Gable said it was for Gunther and he’s going after the Intercontinental Title, and he and Otis are going after the tag team titles.

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods showed up. Gable said they were late for class. Kingston said they weren’t there for class, but they heard him mention the tag team titles. Gable said Alpha Academy would face New Day next week to find out who has the best hips in the biz. Tozawa yelled and then did some silly exercise moves…

The broadcast team listed the following matches for next week’s WWE Raw in Dallas: Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn, Becky Lynch vs. Indi Hartwell for the NXT Women’s Championship, Logan Paul appears…

Damian Priest and Finn Balor made their entrance for the main event… [C] Footage aired of Kofi Kingston’s new library and digital center in Ghana…

Gunther was applauded by Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci as he walked backstage. Gunther praised Kaiser for beating Johnny Gargano and said that he fulfilled his responsibilities. Gunther said Vinci did not. Vinci pointed out that he helped Kaiser win his match. Gunther said he saw Gargano walking around after the match. He said he expected Gargano to be stretchered out of the building after his match with Vinci next week and said that it was Kaiser’s responsibility…

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Jey Uso and Cody Rhodes made separate entrances. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. [C]

6. Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso vs. Damian Priest and Finn Balor for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles. Cody caught Priest with a Disaster Kick and got an early two count. Dominik Mysterio ran out and distracted Cody, who avoided a charging Priest. Balor ran in and set up Cody for a move and then had to wait for Jey to superkick him.

Cody put Priest down with CrossRhodes and went for the pin, but Dom put Priest’s foot over the bottom rope. Cody left the ring and chased Dom around the ringside area until Balor dropped Cody with a clothesline. [C]

Cody and Jey hit the 1D Cutter on Balor. Jey covered Balor, who kicked out for a close near fall. The broadcast team acted shocked. Priest chokeslammed Cody on the apron. Priest cleared the broadcast table. Jey went up top. Priest spotted him and went after him, but the referee cut him off. Dom grabbed Jey’s ankles and slowed him down for a moment. Jey shook free and went for a top rope splash, but Balor put his knees up.

Sami Zayn ran out and attacked Dom. Zayn ran Dom into the ring post and then into the ring steps. Priest grabbed Zayn from behind and ran him into the ring post. Cody sent Priest over the ringside barricade. Cody went to his corner and fired up the crowd while waiting for a tag. Jey nearly made it to the corner, but Balor took out Cody.

At ringside, Priest kicked Cody below the belt and then performed a Razor’s Edge that drove Cody through the broadcast table. Jey hit Priest with a suicide dive. Jey tried to drag Cody back to the ring and then gave up and returned to the ring where he ate a sling blade clothesline from Balor.

Balor hit Jey with a shotgun dropkick. Balor went for his finisher, but Jey avoided it and then speared Balor. Jey went up top and jumped over the returning Priest before running the ropes and spearing him.

Jimmy Uso showed up and superkicked Jey on the apron. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace on Jey and then pinned him…

Damian Priest and Finn Balor defeated Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso in 14:05 to win the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles.

The new champions celebrated with their title belts while highlights aired from the match. Rhea Ripley came out and joined the celebration in the entrance aisle. Pyro shot off on the stage behind the Judgment Day members. A Raw Talk graphic listed Drew McIntyre, Zoey Stark, and Tegan Nox for the Peacock show…

Powell’s POV: A strong main event complete with a title change. Jimmy Uso taking out his brother was a surprise. In theory, this prevents Cody and Jey from appearing on Smackdown since they no longer have the tag titles. Of course, Jimmy should not have been able to appear on Raw, so I guess they are just picking and choosing when to adhere to the rules of the brand split.

The “season premiere” billing typically feels like a random stunt for ratings. But WWE did a really good job of presenting loaded editions of Smackdown and now Raw, which should go a long way toward making future season premieres feel important. I will have a lot more to say about this strong show in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Raw by grading the show below.

WWE Raw Poll: Grade the October 16 season premiere edition

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Readers Comments (8)

  1. Cole misses his third show!!!

  2. I think Michael Cole has been kidnapped. Imagine if the kidnappers called in with their demands and kept calling in through out the show. It might be the storyline that saves WWE.

  3. If Michael Cole is indeed kidnapped then it’s gotta be those dreaded parking lot ninjas.

  4. So I was thinking, since Cody isn’t being traded to Smackdown, he could just use those tag titles to challenge Reigns given that tag champs can be on both brands.

  5. Good lord, what a fantastic big man match. Gunther made Bronson Reed look like the monster he should be. Star making performance by Reed in looking like he belonged and was an actual threat.

  6. Richard Mulkerin October 17, 2023 @ 2:23 am

    What a shock another interference match to end the show – how many is that now 1000? Enough already!

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