By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,590)
Washington, D.C. at Capital One Arena
Aired live November 13, 2023 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with highlights of Seth Rollins beating Drew McIntyre at Crown Jewel, as well as last week’s Raw closing angle that led to Adam Pearce announcing WarGames for Survivor Series (WWE has licensed the Black Sabbath classic “War Pigs” for WarGames again)… The Raw opening aired…
Pyro shot off on the stage and then Michael Cole and Wade Barrett were on commentary, and Samantha Irvin was the ring announcer…
Cody Rhodes made his entrance while Cole and Barrett ran through the previously advertised matches. Cody started with his usual line and then said they could talk about the wonderful memories he has in the arena.
Cody said he wanted to give the fans a memory when he and Jey Uso regain the tag team titles. Rhodes brought up the WarGames match and said he wanted to introduce the fans to his team.
Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, and Seth Rollins made separate entrances. Cole said that Jey and Zayn were the only two entrants in this year’s WarGames match who have competed in a WarGames match before (no, they are not counting AEW’s Blood & Guts match).
The fans continued to chant Rollins’ entrance theme until he told them they were too kind. Cody said they were all in the ring because of Judgment Day. Cody looked to Zayn while saying whether he’s gotten along with him for his entire career, then looked at Jey and said whether he’s only gotten along recently. “Or…” Cody and Rollins had a staredown.
The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, and JD McDonagh came out. Balor said the babyface team is a bunch of randos trying to compete against a family. Balor asked Rollins how it felt to be World Heavyweight Champion when he was standing next to a man in Rhodes that he could never beat.
Priest said Cody could beat his partners in any match he wants, but the one thing he can’t do is be a champion. Balor said Zayn refers to himself as a world championship level superstar, but after his performance last week, his partners know he’s nothing more than a loser. Priest asked Jey’s partners whether they could trust him when he screwed them in the name of The Bloodline.
Dom tried to speak and was met with boos from the crowd. Zayn told Dom that nobody wanted to hear him talk. Zayn said he and his teammates knew that the Judgment Day was trying to pit them against one another. Zayn said it’s about power and he and his teammates can put aside their issues. Zayn said there will be two rings, one cage, and it will be the most brutal match of their lives.
Zayn said the power on Raw lies in the hands of him and his partners. Rhodes said he was surprised the Judgment Day group was able to walk to the ring without Rhea Ripley. Cody asked if she was the leader. Cody continued to stir the pot until Priest declared, “I’m the leader.”
Rollins said he was sick of the talking and was ready for a fight. Rollins said he and Zayn were ready for a fight and challenged Dom and McDonagh to face them. “We accept,” Priest said, which drew looks from the other three members of his alliance heading into the first break… [C]
Powell’s POV: An interesting start with the heels attempting to drive a wedge between the babyfaces, yet ultimately the babyfaces succeeded in creating problems amongst the heels.
1. World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn vs. Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh. Cold played the story of Priest declaring himself the leader of Judgment Day. Rollins performed a suicide dive while Zayn simultaneously executed a flip dives onto Dom and McDonagh at ringside. [C]
Dom put Rollins in position for a 619, but Rollins cut him off with a superkick. Rollins followed up with a Buckle Bomb. Rollins went to his corner and set up for his finisher, but Damian Priest and Finn Balor jumped the barricade and attacked him for the DQ finish.
World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn defeated Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh by DQ in 10:15.
Rhea Ripley also showed up with the Priest and Balor and barked orders while they put the boots to Rollins. Zayn tried to help and was outnumbered. Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso ran out and helped their WarGames teammates.
Producers, referees, and a big wave of security guards ran out to separate the two teams. Jey went for a spear on Priest, but McDonagh shoved Priest out of the way and took the spear instead.
Adam Pearce entered the ring with a microphone and barked, “Enough.” He recalled saying that he’s sick of the games. Pearce said that everyone involved in WarGames would be banned from ringside during the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Title match. Pearce said that wasn’t good enough and then banned them from the arena. Rhea Ripley protested heading into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Ripley isn’t in the WarGames match, so that should give Judgment Day the advantage. As much as I grumble over some DQ finishes, this one was fine, as it played into the out of control nature of the feud between the two sides with the idea being that only WarGames can end it.
Ripley was still protesting coming out of the break. Pearce said he didn’t give a damn what she thought. He reminded her that he runs Raw. Pearce was on the verge of banning her, but he was interrupted.
Zoey Stark made her entrance. Pearce tried to say they’d had enough drama, but Ripley said she wanted to hear what Stark had to say. Some fans gave Stark the “What?” treatment while she told Ripley not to overlook her.
Ripley said she wasn’t overlooking her and has been watching her since she was in NXT. Ripley said she knew it was only a matter of time before they would go face to face. She noted that Stark sent Trish Stratus packing and beat Becky Lynch. Ripley said Stark reminds her of herself.
Ripley called Stark a future champion, but she said the only way she will become a champion is if she’s on the opposite brand as her. Ripley said she’s not overlooking Stark or spreading herself too thin. She got fired up and spoke about how she could handle it all.
Ripley told Stark to get out of her ring so that she could get back to handling Judgment Day business. Ripley dropped the mic and barked at Pearce. Stark said she nearly beat Ripley at Crown Jewel and will become champion at Survivor Series. Ripley charged Stark, who ducked and lowered the rope, causing Ripley to tumble to the floor. Stark went to the top rope, smiled, and then dropped down…
Powell’s POV: The live crowd didn’t buy Stark as a threat to Ripley. And while it’s only one live crowd, I suspect that’s the way most fans look at the match. I don’t think Stark wins, but hopefully it’s laid out in a way that will make fans see her in a new light.
Shinsuke Nakamura delivered a promo while seated on a staircase. Subtitles were used as Nakamura said he is frustrated and whoever he was addressing is blessed with so much privilege. He said he was taking the opportunity away and it is now his. He said that win or lose your next battle, the person will be less than. Nakamura said that’s not his problem and he will wait for now, because he knows it all ends at his hands…
The broadcast team wondered who Nakamura was speaking to while Alpha Academy made their entrance… [C] The broadcast team hyped tickets for the WrestleMania weekend events…
Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn were walking and talking backstage when Cody Rhodes appeared and asked Zayn for a moment with Rollins. Cody spoke about dismantling Judgment Day. Rollins told him to cut the foreplay and just ask.
Cody said he needed Rollins for one night. He said they can hate each other for 364 nights out of the year, but he and their teammates needed him during WarGames. Rollins said he doesn’t like Cody and doesn’t know if he ever will, but he respects him. Rollins promised that he and Rhodes were good for one night. “Now go win your damn titles,” Rollins said with a smile before walking away…
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance…
2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Otis (w/Chad Gable, Maxxine Dupri, Akira Tozawa). The broadcast team continued to wonder which wrestler Nakamura was referring to in his promos. Otis slammed Nakamura and hit him with a hip attack in the corner.
When Nakamura used the ropes to get to his feet, Otis splashed him. Otis set up for the Caterpillar, but Nakamura rolled to the floor. Otis followed and put Nakamura down with a shoulder block. [C]
[Hour Two] Nakamura eventually slipped under Otis, who was standing over him on the middle rope. Nakamura kicked Otis’s legs out from under him. Nakamura set up for his finisher, but Otis avoided it and performed a powerslam for a near fall. Otis went for a splash from the middle rope, but Nakamura put his feet up.
Nakamura hit Otis with a flying knee from the ropes that didn’t knock Otis down. Nakamura kicked Otis’s legs out from under him and hit him with a Kinshasa to the back of the head, then followed up with another Kinshasa and scored the pin.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Otis in roughly 9:00.
After the match, the other Alpha Academy members checked on Otis. Nakamura walked over and shoved the head of Gable, who had to be held back by his allies…
Powell’s POV: Cole said it took three Kinshasas to put Otis away, as he counted the knee strike from the ropes as a Kinshasa. I’m surprised they protected Otis as much as they did, but it worked, as this came off as a more impressive win for Nakamura than when he gave up a lot of offense before beating Akira Tozawa last week.
A WarGames video aired while Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” played. The video showed footage from past matches and laid out the basics of the match… Cole read through the rules of the match…
Seth Rollins was walking backstage he was approached by Drew McIntyre, who recalled Rollins telling him that he’d have no one to blame but himself if he lost at Crown Jewel. McIntyre said Rollins was right. McIntyre also recalled Rollins saying that the loss might be the best thing that ever happens to him. McIntyre said Rollins may have been right about that too.
McIntyre said there’s something he’s been waiting to give Rollins. McIntyre offered his hand, which Rollins shook. McIntyre said Rollins represents the title the way a world champion should. McIntyre congratulated Rollins and then said he would do what he always does by working his ass off and earning a rematch. Rollins said he knew McIntyre would and then walked away…
Piper Niven and Chelsea Green made their entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: The McIntyre character continues to keep us guessing. There was a lot of speculation that McIntyre would interfere in last week’s Rollins vs. Zayn match, but that didn’t happen. He was in total babyface mode here. Will it stick? I have no idea and I love it.
A video package aired on Tegan Nox. She said she’s been defined by an injury for a long time. Footage of her surgery was shown. She said no one wants to be known for a bunch of crying. She said the last year of her career has been the craziest of her life. She said she’s faced some of the greatest wrestlers of all-time and she can hang with the best of them. “Tegan Nox, WWE Superstar, got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?” Nox asked…
Tegan Nox made her entrance with Natalya…
3. Tegan Nox (w/Natalya) vs. Piper Niven (w/Chelsea Green). Niven cut off a fast start from Nox with a suplex and a senton that led to a two count. Niven performed a shoulder breaker a short time later for another two count. Nox came back with a rollup for a two count, then caught Niven with a knee strike for a near fall.
Green climbed onto the apron and distracted Nox, who was then hit by a Niven clothesline. Natalya headed over and shoved Green off the apron. Niven knocked Natalya off the apron.
Niven went for her running crossbody block finisher, but Niven avoided it. Niven hit the Shiniest Wizard and covered Niven, who put her foot on the ropes to break the count. Niven came back and went for a seated senton, but Nox avoided it. Nox hooked Niven into a pin and got the three count…
Tegan Nox beat Piper Niven in 4:45.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was a little livelier than usual for Nox in this match, but she still hasn’t made a connection with the main roster fans. I assume this win is leading to Nox and Natalya challenging for Niven and Green for the tag team titles.
The broadcast team recapped footage of The Miz winning last week’s four-way match to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship, followed by Ivar attacking Miz afterward…
The Miz was interviewed by Jackie Redmond on the backstage interview set. She asked what was driving Miz to dethrone Gunther. Miz said a bus. He said it took him a long time, but he finally has a bus.
Miz then assumed she meant the match and said it’s about respect. Miz said Gunther has been trying to diminish him by calling him a sports entertainer and a clown.
Ivar and Valhalla showed up. Ivar said Miz is a clown and a joke. Bronson Reed arrived and said the only person luckier than Miz was Gunther for escaping him. Ivar said Reed had his chance and failed. Reed threatened to send Ivar back to his Viking gods. Miz made his exit while Ivar pie-faced Reed. Valhalla got in Reed’s face…
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano made their entrance… [C] Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci made their entrance while the broadcast team recapped Kaiser taking a cheap shot at Gargano during DIY’s loss to the Creed Brothers last week…
4. Tommaso Ciampa (w/Johnny Gargano) vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/Giovanni Vinci). Vinci grabbed the leg of Ciampa while he was running the ropes. The official spotted it. Kaiser clotheslined Ciampa and then the referee ejected Vinci from ringside. Kaiser barked at Gargano. [C]
Ciampa took control and set up for a running knee, but Kaiser cut him off and performed a rolling driver. Kaiser got up and threw a kick at Ciampa before covering him for a two count. Kaiser set up for his DDT, but Ciampa stuffed it.
Both wrestlers traded forearms in the middle of the ring. Ciampa ended up placing Kaiser on the top rope in a seated position and then joined him on the ropes where they traded more strikes. Ciampa hoisted Kaiser onto his back, but Kaiser slipped away and set up for a powerbomb, but Ciampa fought free.
Kaiser went for a move from the ropes, but Ciampa caught him with a knee strike. Vinci showed up at ringside and blindsided Gargano. Kaiser rolled up a distracted Ciampa and got the three count. Cole said he was surprised that the referee made the count…
Ludwig Kaiser defeated Tommaso Ciampa in 10:00.
Powell’s POV: What? Cole is right. That finish made no sense. It’s not like Vinci snuck out there and the referee didn’t see him. The referee spotted him and then made the three count. I don’t get it.
The Judgment Day spoke in their goth clubhouse. Dom was upset about what Stark said to Ripley, who said they need to focus on Priest and Balor keeping the tag titles despite Dom and McDonagh being banned from ringside.
Ripley said they should see what their fearless leader had to say. Priest said he got hot and he didn’t mean it. Ripley said it actually sounded good for WarGames and said that she thinks Priest is the man for the job. Balor and Dom agreed.
Balor asked about “that other thing we need to take care of.” Ripley pulled out a duffle bag. Priest asked if they were doing this now. Ripley said they were because McDonagh was in medical because he took a shot for Priest. Ripley wondered what it would have meant for the tag titles if Priest had taken the shot instead.
Balor said McDonagh has proven himself repeatedly and it was time to make McDonagh a full member. Priest said fine. He said he would handle it himself and then added that McDonagh earned it…
Powell’s POV: I wonder if Priest essentially being named the captain of the Judgement Day’s WarGames team will lead to his dismissal from the faction if they lose the match. They addressed that part quickly before moving right on to talking about McDonagh becoming a full member of Judgment Day
Xia Li made her entrance to a quiet reaction while Cole hyped the Barmageddon season premiere for after Raw. Cole made no mention of the show featuring Nikki Bella, though she has been all over USA Network’s advertising tonight… [C]
Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae made their entrance while the broadcast team recapped Li attacking Becky Lynch before the battle royal last week…
5. Xia Li vs. Indi Hartwell (w/Candice LeRae). Hartwell caught Li with a boot to the head to start the match. The wrestlers went to ringside where Li shoved Hartwell into the ring post. Back in the ring, Hartwell made a brief comeback with a couple of lazy looking clotheslines and a spinebuster for a two count. Li caught Hartwell with a shot to the throat and hit her with a spinning heel kick. Hartwell sold it like she was knocked loopy, so the referee called for the bell.
Xia Li defeated Indi Hartwell in 2:35 via ref stoppage.
Becky Lynch made her entrance and said that now that Li kicked her in the head, they would do things on her time rather than on Li’s time. Lynch said she was looking for a fight. Lynch set up for a Manhandle Slam, but Li slipped away and headed to the back. Lynch said Li had seven more days to run because next week they would meet in a match on Raw…
Powell’s POV: They are really trying to establish Li’s finishing kick. Meanwhile, the limited offense that Hartwell had looked pretty rough.
The Miz was shown warming up for his match in the backstage area. Gunther showed up and congratulated him. “To the surprise of absolutely everybody, you won last week,” Gunther said. Gunther added that the fun and games are now over. Miz interrupted Gunther and told him to watch his match.
Miz said he didn’t think Gunther understood what he was dealing with. He said he does whatever it takes to win and there’s a reason he’s held the Intercontinental Championship eight times. Gunther said he knows exactly who he is dealing with. He said whatever happened during Miz’s match with Ivar would not compare to the beating of a lifetime he’ll get at Survivor Series…
Ivar and Valhalla made their entrance… [C] Washington D.C. imagery was shown and then Cole hyped the tag team title match as the show’s main event… Highlights aired of Zoey Stark eliminating Shayna Baszler to win last week’s battle royal to earn a shot at the Women’s World Championship…
Backstage, Stark told Baszler that Ripley had no idea what was coming to her after the battle royal because she was feeling unstoppable. Baszler claimed she should be champion, then conceded that Stark has been on a roll and said she’d be lying if she said she didn’t want to see her beat Ripley at Survivor Series.
Raquel Rodriguez showed up and indicated that she wasn’t happy about the way they eliminated her last week, but she conceded that Stark has been showing out.
[Overrun] Nia Jax arrived and said she should be getting the title shot and would have had it if everyone didn’t gang up on her.
Jax said none of them could beat her in a one-on-one match. Rodriguez got in Jax’s face and told her that she’s not afraid of her and knows that she will beat Jax when they meet in a singles match…
6. The Miz vs. Ivar (w/Valhalla). Miz’s entrance was televised. It took a few tries, but Miz was able to clothesline Ivar over the top rope. Miz got distracted by Valhalla and was attacked by Ivar, who then splashed him against the apron.
Back inside the ring, Miz came back with a DDT for a two count. Miz set up for a Skull Crushing Finale, but Ivar backed him into a corner and then powerslammed him for a two count.
Bronson Reed walked to ringside, which distracted Ivar and allowed Miz to go back on the offensive. A “Let’s Go Miz” chant broke out. Ivar sat down on Miz in the corner, which led to Miz rolling the floor. Reed set up a chair and took a seat at ringside, which distracted Ivar. [C]
Ivar put Miz down with a sit-out powerbomb for another two count. Miz avoided a charging Ivar and then DDT’d him for a two count. Miz threw kicks at Ivar and connected with the finale and a bonus kick. Ivar came back and then Valhalla took a cheap shot at Miz, which led to a near fall for Ivar.
Ivar went to the ropes and was cut off by Miz, who joined him on the ropes. Ivar powerslammed Miz from the middle rope and got a near fall. Ivar went to the ropes and was distracted by Reed jawing at him. Miz snuck underneath Ivar and powerbombed him and then used the ropes for leverage while getting the three count.
The Miz defeated Ivar in roughly 10:00.
After the match, Reed knocked Ivar down and then hit him with his Tsunami splash…
Powell’s POV: The match made Miz look resilient while facing a super heavyweight while also backing up what he said earlier about doing what it takes to win.
The WarGames video package aired…
Damian Priest caught up with JD McDonagh and told him that part of him doesn’t think he’s ready and another part of him is annoyed by him. But Priest added that McDonagh took one for the team and him specifically. Priest said that’s someone he can stand with and go to war with. Priest presented McDonagh with a jacket and welcomed him to the Judgment Day.
McDonagh was pleased. Finn Balor showed up and was also happy. He told McDonagh that the celebration would have to wait because he needed to find Dom and leave the building due to Pearce’s orders. Priest and Balor got fired up about their title defense…
An ad for Smackdown touted LA Knight vs. Jimmy Uso, and the new version of Damage CTRL… [C] The broadcast team hyped the WrestleMania week events again…
Gunther spoke with Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci backstage. Gunther told Vinci “well done tonight.” Kaiser assumed that Gunther was talking to him and gloated. Gunther said he didn’t say he was talking about him, then praised Vinci again. Gunther turned and looked at Kaiser and walked away. Vinci laughed before walking away.
Jinder Mahal, Veer Mahaan, and Sanga showed up. Kaiser asked what their problem was. Mahal said there was no problem and they were going to see Adam Pearce. Mahal suggested that Kaiser choose his next move wisely. Kaiser walked away…
Alpha Academy and The Creed Brothers were in a gym area. Otis was apologetic for losing, but Gable gave him a pep talk. Julius Creed said maybe they need new training partners. Brutus Creed spoke about winning the tag team titles.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods showed up and said you can’t talk about the tag titles without mentioning New Day. Ivy Nile and Maxxine Dupri were shown being complimentary to one another. Akira Tozawa did his dance while holding a Washington Commanders title belt…
The broadcast team announced the following matches for next week’s Raw in Grand Rapids, Michigan: An advantage match for the men’s WarGames match, Becky Lynch vs. Xia Li, and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Nia Jax…
Powell’s POV: They did not list the wrestlers who will compete in the match for the advantage in WarGames. They just showed a graphic for teams involved in the WarGames match.
Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso made their entrance for the main event… [C] A Superstar Fact graphic spotlighted Xavier Woods’ education and WWE highlights…
Damian Priest and Finn Balor made their entrance… Cole hyped the WarGames match and said Dusty Rhodes created the match back in 1987, and his son Cody has never compared in an actual WarGames match…
7. Finn Balor and Damian Priest vs. Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the championship match. The match spilled over to ringside where Cody slammed Priest’s head off the top of the broadcast table. [C]
Cody was isolated for a stretch and he eventually tagged in Jey, who had a run of offense on Priest. Balor made a blind tag and then tripped up Jey. Priest sent Jey to the floor where Balor put him down with a clothesline. Balor tossed Jey over the broadcast table heading into the final break. [C]
Late in the match, Cody was selling at ringside while Jey hit both opponents with superkicks. Jey went up top and splashed Priest, which led to a two count. Cody got back to his feet and encouraged Jey before returning to the apron.
Priest put Jey down with a clothesline. Balor tagged in while Priest was setting up for his finisher, but Jey fought them both off. Cody took out Priest with CrossRhodes. Jey speared Balor. Cody and Jey hit their version of 1D on Balor, but Priest broke up the pin.
Priest and Cody fought to the floor. Priest ran Cody into the ring post and part of the casing fell off. Priest followed up by chokeslamming Cody on the apron. Jey performed a flip dive onto both opponents and then threw Balor back inside the ring.
Drew McIntyre showed up at ringside and glared at Jey before putting him down with a Claymore Kick. McIntyre rolled Jey back inside the ring. Balor covered Jey and pinned him to win the match while McIntyre headed toward the back.
Finn Balor and Damian Priest defeated Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso in 22:35 to retain the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles.
McIntyre stood on the stage and looked back at the ring. Rhea Ripley walked out and stood next to McIntyre and smiled before extending her hand. McIntyre shook Ripley’s hand while smiling back at her…
Powell’s POV: A strong show closing angle. McIntyre was complimentary of Rollins earlier. Was that a smokescreen for his character or are his issues more with Jey and perhaps Cody? Is he now a member of Judgment Day or was this a one-off arrangement? What do the other Judgment Day members think about whatever deal Ripley struck with McIntyre? Will he be added to the WarGames match? If so, who will be added to the babyface team? I love that we have a lot of unanswered questions heading into Raw’s go-home show for Survivor Series.
Overall, the show was carried with everything related to Judgment Day and the WarGames match. I will have more to say about this episode 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 it below.