The WWE Draft is now in the rearview mirror and the “new era” of Monday Night RAW has rolled on into the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Night of Champions Premium Live Event takes place a week from today, so here are the important takeaways from the last WWE Monday Night RAW.
Takeaway 1. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will be very busy in the near future.
Since they are the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have a long line of challengers waiting for a shot at their gold. However, before Sami and Kevin fight new opponents they must first get past The Bloodline as they will defend their titles against the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa at Night of Champions.
On RAW, Sami spoke about how he was excited about this matchup and that he and Kevin will finally get their revenge against The Tribal Chief. Sami confidently stated, “Roman has gotten unchecked for too long.” He also spoke about how Roman will never be satisfied with the championships he already holds, and that he will always want more. In a powerful moment, Zayn looked directly into the camera and said, “Roman you psycho, you manipulator, you want these championships you can’t have them!”
Enter The Judgment Day, who in typical Judgment Day fashion picked a fight while interrupting superstars already in the ring. Finn said that if Sami and Kevin were to get past The Bloodline in Jeddah, The Judgment Day would be next in line.
Sami then gave Dominik the chance to speak, but he couldn’t because (also in typical Dominik fashion) he got booed out of the building. This led to Kevin trying to punch him, with Rhea Ripley jumping in front of her supposed “boyfriend.” The distraction further created the show’s main event in the process, as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn battled Finn Balor and Damian Priest of The Judgment Day.
Before the main event, the champions were greeted backstage with a warning from Intercontinental Champion Gunther for disrespecting his men. Owens responded by challenging all three members of Imperium to a six-man tag team match for next week’s show.
During the tag team main event, Rhea and Dominik got ejected from ringside, Xavier Woods battled Dominik to the back, Paul Heyman made an appearance, and Imperium interfered without the referee seeing, creating an opening for Finn Balor to hit a Coup de grâce on Sami Zayn for the win.
Ultimately, the fan-favorite champions seem to have a lot on their plate with not only The Bloodline, but now also Imperium and The Judgment Day targeting them as well. I truly hope Roman and Solo lose because I would love to see these teams feud in the coming weeks.
Takeaway 2. Gunther’s next challengers revealed
Outside of interfering in the main event, Gunther and Imperium made their presence known on Monday’s show as Gunther watched a battle royale ringside. The battle royale was made in order to determine who would face the ring general for his Intercontinental Championship at Night of Champions.
While entering the battle royale, Matt Riddle flung his flip-flops off into the faces of Imperium ringside. This infuriated the champion, who ordered Kaiser and Vinci to assist in the elimination of Matt Riddle from the match.
Mustafa Ali won the battle royal and will face Gunther in Saudi Arabia.
Overall, I love the fact that WWE is presenting Gunther as a major star on the red brand (as they should), and I think Ali is a nice two-week filler feud for the champ before his next program seemingly begins against Matt Riddle.
Takeaway 3. Judgment Day tease having a new member who made his presence felt on the show
Monday’s Intercontinental Championship contender battle royal saw multiple NXT call-ups from the draft compete on the show for the first time. The most notable performance came from the Irish Ace: JD McDonagh.
After Dolph Ziggler eliminated the Irish Ace, McDonagh snapped and brutally attacked him ringside.
Additionally, there was a brilliantly edited and executed cinematic promo introducing JD and his violent worldviews. A brief interview with the superstar ensued, while Finn Balor watched from a distance.
This was the first tease of JD McDonagh joining The Judgment Day, and I think adding him to this faction would be the perfect career move for the ace. I’m also excited to see JD’s first feud with veteran Dolph Ziggler as I’m sure the showoff will put him over in the coming weeks.
Other results from WWE Monday Night RAW include
- Becky Lynch cutting a short but intense promo, challenging rival Trish Stratus to a match at Night of Champions
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeating the Miz
- Rhea Ripley threatening Natalya backstage
- Cody Rhodes cutting a passionate promo for his second match with Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions
- Dominik Mysterio cheating to beat Xavier Woods for the second week in a row
- Raquel Rodriguez defeating Chelsea Green followed by her getting jumped by Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler
- Indus Sher squashing local talent
- Candice Lerae sticking up for Nikki Cross and challenging Zoey Stark to a match next week
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WWE 'Monday Night Raw' May 15, 2023WWE 'Monday Night Raw' May 15, 2023
Building Future Matches and Feuds3/5 NeutralOutside of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens not a lot of storylines were progressed and the build to 'Night of Champions' continues to be stagnant
Excitement2.5/5 PassablyThis normally happens when WWE builds towards their Saudi Arabia shows. At this point, most fans seem like they are ready to move on into the build for 'Money in the Bank'
Pushing New Talent4/5 GoodThe introduction of JD McDonagh was fantastic, as Indus Sher also made their debut tonight. Zoey Stark also continues to have a spotlight put on her as she will face Candice Lerae next week.
Show Rating3/5 NeutralThe show did feel long and dragged out, but there were a lot of positives, and the WWE Universe now has a lot to look forward to following 'Night of Champions'