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Welcome to the Wrestlepurists’ live coverage of Monday Night Raw for the July 17th, 2023 episode.


We are live from a sold out State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. There is no better way to start off then the hometown boy himself, Cody Rhodes! The crowd gives an incredible “WOAH” and Cody is already tearing up on the turnbuckle. Cody says we don’t really have to talk, because there is a large shadow that looms over this arena tonight. He is talking of course about Brock Lesnar. He says one thing that’s for sure about Brock is that when he is called out, he shows up. Cody doesn’t want to wait, he calls for Brock to come out right now. Brock doesn’t show, and Cody says it doesn’t matter what time tonight Brock shows up because Cody will be here in this ring waiting for Brock. Cody says he’d be remiss if he didn’t mention his mom is here in the front-row. Uh-oh Cody is getting destroyed in front of her later isn’t he? Cody says his relationship with Brock is complicated. The only way he can describe it is “hard times.” But tonight it won’t be hard times for Cody. Tonight in front of his hometown, his people, it will be hard times for Brock Lesnar! And WELP we won’t have to wait long. Brock’s music hits and Cody waits for him at the entrance ramp. Or will we? Brock’s music cuts off, and Brock may be playing mind-games. The music hits again just as Cody is waving goodbye to the crowd. Cody isn’t going to wait for Brock to come to him. He storms backstage but is thrown right back out as Brock emerges with a steel cage. Brock alternates knees and chair shots to Cody as they head ringside. Brock hits an F5 on Cody right in front of his mother. Brock stares down Cody’s mom and then locks in the Kimura lock on Cody. Brock tosses Cody back into the ring and reapplies the Kimura. Brock yells to Cody that his challenge is accepted and he will see him at Summerslam.


Matt Riddle is out to take on GUNTHER, but this time Riddle has gotten Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci banned from ringside. With Drew McIntyre not here this week, Riddle went to Adam Pearce to ensure a fair fight. This is a rematch from Money in the Bank where GUNTHER defeated Riddle, but commentary points out that Riddle had an injured ankle at that point. The two men exchange sleeper holds to start, with Riddle locking GUNTHER in a triangle choke. GUNTHER picks Riddle up for a powerbomb counter, but Riddle uses the ropes to hurricanrana the Intercontinental champion over the ropes to the outside. Just as Riddle seems to have the momentum, GUNTHER catches him mid air with a vicious chop. Riddle is making what seems like a bad business decision to exchange chops with GUNTHER. But Riddle has learned from his previous matches and is not letting up on the attack. Now Riddle is matching GUNTHER’s chops with kicks that are much more effective. A HUGE lariat from GUNTHER that shockingly only gets a two. Ripcord knee from Riddle, followed by a second, and a running knee to the back of the head. Riddle goes up top for the Floating Bro but GUNTHER gets the knees up. GUNTHER hits the shotgun dropkick and powerbomb combo for the three count!

GUNTHER gets on top of the announce table and says tonight is the greatest night of the crowd’s lives because they get to see the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time. He says Matt Riddle is done. “I am building a legacy, Drew McIntyre if you want to ride on my coattail be my guest. But just like everyone else, you will fall victim to the ring general.” Excellent promo by GUNTHER, and the crowd was super hot for it. Really looking forward to him versus Drew at Summerslam.


Jackie Redmond is with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriquez. Liv says Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville like to complain about the rules but they don’t really follow them. Rhea Ripley comes into frame and stares down Raquel. Raquel says they wont back down to Rhea. Liv starts to talk to Rhea, but gets a headbutt for her trouble. This leads to a big brawl between Raquel and Rhea which seemingly leaves Raquel with an injured knee.


All four members of the Judgment Day are in the ring. Rhea Ripley says they are stronger than ever, and mocks the idea that they would ever break up. Rhea says Raquel just found out how dominant the Judgment Day is, and Finn and Damian will follow and become World Champions. She says tomorrow night, Dominik Mysterio will become the NXT North American Champion. Even just the mention of Dominik gets massive boos. Damian says all the boos won’t change the fact that tomorrow night Dominik will become champion. They also don’t change the fact that Damian will become champion. He assures Finn Balor that Finn still has first crack at Seth Rollins. Finn tells Seth that he will be listening to whatever Seth has to say tonight. But Seth needs to know that their issues will never be over until Finn’s hand is raised. Dominik tries to talk through the boos until Sami Zayn’s music hits and the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions come out! Sami says he feels like he has a pretty good relationship with the WWE Universe. But just to be sure, he asks the crowd if they paid their money to listen to Dominik Mysterio talk. They did not. He then asks if they paid their money to see someone shut Dominik’s mouth for him. Sami says not only is the crowd in luck but him and Kevin Owens are the one’s in luck because they take on Dominik and Damian later tonight. Damian says they’ve been focused on other championships, but if Sami and Kevin are so confident then they should put their championships on the line tonight. Sami says he should check in with Kevin, who is agitated as he’s had to listen to the Judgment Day talk for five minutes. Kevin says he doesn’t care about putting the titles on the line as long as he gets to stun Damian and put his fist through Dominik’s stupid face, they are on!


The doctor is checking out Raquel’s knee and says that she is technically cleared but he would feel more comfortable if they got scans. Raquel refuses as they’ve already had to forfeit the championships. Adam Pearce sanctions the match, and the titles are on the line next.


After an impressive gauntlet win, Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville are here for their tag team championship shot. I feel like another quick title change would hurt the division but I also don’t see the logic in building Chelsea and Sonya back up only for them to lose two weeks later. Sonya and Chelsea waste no time cutting off the ring and isolating Liv. She is finally able to make the tag to Raquel who cleans house on one good leg. Raquel is in control until she misses a shoulder tackle and rams herself into the post. Sonya jumps on it and chop-blocks Raquel, and then locks in a Single Leg Boston Crab. Sonya is pulling back hard, but Liv is able to break up the move just before her partner has to tap. Chelsea gets the tag as well, and Liv is on fire. She hits Oblivion on Chlesea but right before the three count Sonya hits a running knee. Raquel wants the tag but Sonya yanks her off the apron and chop-blocks the knee again. Chelsea goes for the Unprettiher, and after a reversal, hits it with the help of Sonya. But it only gets a two count. These four are working working! Chelsea makes the tag and goes for the Unprettiher her again. Liv rolls out and ducks Sonya’s attack but that puts her right into Chelsea’s crosshairs. Unprettiher! Sonya follows up with the knee and we have new WWE Woman’s Tag Team Champions!

A really good match from these four and the best outcome for when they booked the match. I’m wondering if they will run this back at Summerslam or if they go Raquel and Rhea. It will probably be the latter, but then they need to give the new champs a proper feud.


Bryon Saxton catches up with the new WWE Woman Tag Team Champions and tries to ask them about the two on one advantage they had for most of the match. Neither Sonya nor Chelsea wants to hear it, and say they will run this division their way.


We see a recap of the mult-segment storyline with the Bloodline and the Usos from this past Friday. As usual with the Bloodline stuff, it’s worth catching. Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman were all excellent here.


Byron Saxton sits down with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. Saxton says we know what Finn Balor wants, but what are Seth’s plans for Summerslam? Seth says the championship deserves a marquee matchup at Summerslam. Seth says its a short list but Finn has earned a place on that list. As Seth starts to list all the names, Finn walks into frame and tells Saxton to leave. Balor says he doesn’t care how many contenders their are, the line starts with him. He says Seth knows the issues between them are far from over. Finn tells Seth to talk to Pearce and make the match. Seth tells Finn to stop living in the past and move on but Finn cuts him off. “I don’t live in the past, I live in the chaos. And that’s where I’m going to take the title.” Finn says he is going to do to Seth what he did to him. “I’m going to laugh in your face, and I’m going to take your career and alter it forever.” Seth tells him that the World Heavyweight championship is bigger than the both of them. If Finn wants to settle a score, they can do that right here right now, they don’t need a title involved. “So take your shot, or get out of my face.” Finn leaves but quickly comes back into frame to attack Seth. He tells Seth to just make the match.


In only the second ever Viking Rules match, the Alpha Academy look to conquer the weird ship. This shouldn’t work but I’m sure it’ll be a blast. Titus O’Neil is out on commentary which I’m actually a big fan of. He already has wondered out loud if Valhalla serves Jesus Christ, just awesome. Alpha Academy jump the Viking Raiders but the advantage doesn’t last long. Erik body slams Ivar off the ship onto Otis, my god they are starting hot. Chad Gable has an ankle Lock on Erik on the boat, but is throw off onto Ivar. Otis channels his inner Dudley Boy and tells Chad to get the tables! The Viking Raiders cut them off and have a quick two on one advantage in the ring. Ivar tries a springboard crossbody but Otis catches and powerslams him. Titus is going crazy. Ivar climbs to the top and hits a huge moonsault on Otis but Chad hits one on Ivar before the three count. Chad then turns his grasp into a rolling german, its wild how good Chad is. The crowd is HOT for this match. Chad and Erik exchange blows in the ring, before Chad catches him with an exploder suplex. Chad goes up and hits a diving headbutt that would have had it if it wasn’t for Valhalla. Maxxine catches Valhalla with a top rope crossbody. Chad gets the stolen varsity jacket and puts it on Maxxine, but Valhlla hits her with a spear through the table. Chad checks on Maxxine, but that distraction allows Erik and Ivar to throw him through a pair of shields. Now its Otis versus both of them and Otis is a brick house on fire. This is the may be the most over Otis has been, which is saying something as he’s been pretty damn over during his career. Otis hits the Caterpillar but Valahlla cuts off Otis with a slap. Erik and Ivar hit a double powerbomb on Otis for the three count.


Nikki Cross lasts all of thirty seconds, as she is destroyed and taps to the Kirifuda clutch. Ronda Rousey is on the mic in the audience and calls B.S. on Shayna’s claim that Ronda took the easy road to WWE. Ronda runs down her accomplishments and calls Shayna a knockoff version of herself. Shayna says it’s easy doing all that talking from up there. “I think everyone knows in this ring I’m a better Ronda Rousey than you.” Shayna challenges Ronda to come down to the ring, but Ronda refuses and takes a seat. Okay they are at least not going clear Ronda babyface here. Ronda says she is going to do Shayna a favor and get her booked on Summerslam. Ronda tells Shayna she will see her in the Motor City bitch. Honestly I think the move is too have Shayna win at Summerslam and keep winning until you do Rhea and Shayna at one point. It worked in NXT, no reason it can’t work in reverse on Raw.


We see a recap of the really fun Logan Paul/Ricochet segment from last week. Jackie Redmond is standing by with Ricochet in a really fly purple shirt. She asks Ricochet what he thinks about Logan’s comments last week. Ricochet says Logan likes to make jokes out of everything. But in this world, Logan is the real joke. So Ricochet is challenging Logan to come to Raw next week and he will hurt him where it really hurts, his ego.


The Miz says he is back and he is a winner. Miz calls himself the biggest star in the WWE. He introduces Becky Lynch, who is fresh off a loss to Zoey Stark last week. Miz runs down all Becky’s recent losses and asks her if the Man has lost a step. Becky stands up and throws the chairs out of the ring. Becky backs the Miz into the ropes and says she has lost a lot of things over the past year “I have lost titles, i have lost friends, I might have lost my mind but one thing I haven’t lost is a step!” She tells Miz she knows how his show works and she isn’t the only guest. Becky tells Miz to bring Trish Stratus out before he loses his tiny testicles. Miz tries to get her to calm down and invites Zoey and Trish down to the ring. Before Trish’s music can stop playing Becky is yelling for her rematch. Trish compares Becky to a toddler and asks Becky why she is so obsessed with her. Trish says she already beat Becky, so the answer is no. Her and Zoey are going to move on from Becky except one final thing. Trish needs Becky to say “Thank you Trish.” Becky says this is Trish’s whole thing, she is selfish. Becky let Trish in when Becky was at her weakest and Trish hit her then because she knew she couldn’t handle Becky at her strongest. Becky says Trish is not better than her. Becky asks Trish if she is only good at running away, posting on social media, or hiding behind Zoey? This gets to Trish. She says she will fight Becky under a few conditions. First Becky needs to beat Zoey. Then, when Zoey beats her, Becky will need to get on her knees and say “Thank you Trish.” And the final thing, is Becky will need to write “Thank you Trish” across her chest. Becky agrees to all of them and then Zoey and Trish attack. But Becky is ready and grabs the mask off of Trish and lays both of them out with it. Becky puts the mask on herself and headbutts Zoey.


Not entirely sure why these two are wrestling again. They were in a fun feud for awhile prior to Money in the Bank and wrestled a bunch. But now, not really sure where to go with them. Reed gets Shinsuke in the corner and does his version of Good Vibrations which is fun. Back from break and Shinsuke is fired up. He tells Reed to “come on” and hits a flurry of strikes. A dragon screw followed up by a precision kick only get a two count. Shinsuke tries a sleeper hold but Reed powers him up and lands a Death Valley Driver that gets a two and nine tenths! Reed goes up for the Tsunami but Shinsuke pops up and pulls Reed down from the top. Shinsuke hits the jumping knee off the ropes, and goes for the Kinshasa. Reed counters but before he can follow up, Tommaso Ciampa hits the ring and attacks Reed. Reed wins the match by DQ and Shinsuke is pissed. Ciampa tries apologizing but Shinsuke nails Ciampa with a kick. Not sure if they are going heel turn or more nuisance with Shinsuke, but if they are going to turn him heel again that’s a shame. Not that he can’t do it, but there is just a good chunk of potential still in Shinsuke as a upper midcard babyface and they refuse to invest in it.


Bryon Saxton asks Shinsuke Nakamura for his reaction for to what just happened. Shinsuke says he is tired of everyone getting involved in his business. Saxton tries to follow up about Ciampa but Shinsuke yells this time that he said he is tired of everyone getting involved in his business. Okay, not a bad start. I really like that fire from Shinsuke.


I know some people aren’t high on the tag title reign from Sami and Kevin, but I’ve really enjoyed their role on Raw. They have fun segments, but they can also be counted on week after week to deliver great matches no matter where they are slotted in the show. The Judgment Day come out and it’s announced that Seth Rollins v.s. Finn Balor for the World Heavyweight Championship has been made official at Summerslam. I’m wondering if they will add a stipulation to this one, maybe something involving Damian Priest? Before the match can start Seth Rollins runs out through the crowd, into the ring, and through the ropes onto Finn! They brawl up the ramp and then the bell rings. What an awesome way to start this one. Sami and Kevin hit double team moves on Dominik to the delight of the crowd. Sami takes it to Dominik on the outside when Rhea steps in for the distraction. Just that small moment allows Dominik to hit a baseball slide dropkick to Sami. Priest chokeslams Sami onto the hardest part of the ring as we head to break. We are back to a wild crowd with Kevin rallying them for the tag. Priest keeps preventing Sami from getting to his corner, until Sami slips out of a suplex and makes the white hot tag. Kevin goes straight for Dominik and then takes out Damian too. Kevin can’t be stopped, and hits a frog splash from the apron onto Dominik. Kevin nails Priest with the cannonball, but gets nothing but knees when he goes for the Swanton. Dominik capitalizes with the Frog Splash but only gets two. So close to new champions there. Sami tosses Priest out of the ring and Dominik tosses Sami. Kevin hits the Popup Powerbomb on Dominik but only gets two when Priest breaks it up. Priest and Sami tag in and Sami nails a torando ddt for a nearfall. Sami goes up top but is cut off by Priest. Priest hits a Frankensteiner on Sami for two. Dominik gets the blind tag and drop kicks Sami into 619 position. Sami scouts it and sends Dominik flying. Kevin dives off the apron and wipes out Priest, while Sami dives and takes out Dominik. Rhea throws Kevin into the stairs while the official is distracted and Dominik rolls up Sami for an extremely close two count. Rhea is still up on the apron until Liv Morgan runs down to brawl with Rhea. Liv clotheslines Rhea and herself over the barricade. Dominik is distracted and runs right into an exploder suplex. Priest intercepts the Helluva kick attempt, but Kevin catches him with a Stunner. That in turn allows Sami to nail Dominik with the Helluva kick for the three.

What a match! Loved the brawling to start with Finn and Seth, their feud has been well done. Really felt like they could have made a title change there prior to the Liv run-in. But I’m glad Sami and Kevin retained and sent the crowd home happy. Will be very interested to see who they end up defending the titles again at Summerslam.

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