Welcome to the Wrestlepurists’ live coverage of Monday Night Raw for the July 24th, 2023 episode.
JUDGEMENT DAY IN RING PROMO:
We are live in Tampa, Florida and the majority of the Judgment Day are already in the ring. Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest, and Finn Balor say that they run WWE. They throw to a video package of Dominik Mysterio’s win over Wes Lee to become the new North American Champion. Rhea introduces Dominik to nuclear heat. Dominik almost immediately throws to a video package highlighting himself. Looks like the Judgment Day retained an editor over the weekend. The video only makes the crowd madder, but the boos change to cheers when the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens make their way to the stage. This crowd is HOT. Kevin asks Sami “didn’t we do this last week?” Kevin tells Dominik that nobody cares what he has to say ever. “The best thing you can ever do for this business is shut your mouth forever!.” Sami says Dominik is right that he is being disrespected, but its only because no one here respects him. Sami says Dominik Mysterio v.s. Sami Zayn would be a way to earn some respect. Dominik accepts but Sami reminds them that last week the Judgment Day made a big deal about Sami and Kevin putting their titles on the line. He says if Dominik is a real fighting champion, he will put his title on the line. Rhea accepts on Dominik’s behalf, who seems less than confident in the idea.
Really great start to the show. They are getting in dangerous territory of being too repetitive with the Judgment Day promos, so it’s nice to see them acknowledge that and use it to set up Sami and Dominik later tonight.
BECKY LYNCH DEFEATS ZOEY STARK:
Becky Lynch is out for a rematch with Zoey Stark. If Becky wins then she gets a rematch with Trish Stratus, but if Becky loses than she will have to tattoo “Thank You Trish” on her body. Quick shout out to Becky for having a cyst removed and still wrestling Zoey two weeks ago. The Man is certified tough. Becky is all over Zoey to start this. This feud hasn’t been my favorite, but Becky has been excellent with keeping the intensity in her matches and promos. Zoey creates some space and hits a springboard missile dropkick to take the advantage. We come back from break with Becky throwing Zoey into the barricade. Becky tosses Zoey back in the ring and lands a leg drop from the top rope for a two count. It seems like Becky has a counter for every counter that Zoey has. With the referee distracted, Trish headbutts Becky with her facemask. Zoey superkicks Becky but only gets a two. Zoey goes for the Z360 but Becky blocks it just in time and turns it into an exploder suplex. Zoey goes up top but Becky brings her down with a superplex. Zoey goes for it all on from top rope but misses. Becky tries for the Manhandle Slam but Zoey rolls through for a two count. Becky counters that for two and then into the Dis-Arm-Her. Trish throws her mask in the ring and that distraction allows Zoey to roll up Becky for the nearfall. Zoey goes for another springboard but this time Becky catches and plants Zoey with the Manhandle Slam for the win
This was the best match of the entire Becky/Zoey/Trish program and the crowd was really into it. I was really impressed by Zoey and Becky is clearly on a mission right now. This bodes well for the inevitable Trish and Becky match at Summerslam.
CODY RHODES IN RING PROMO:
We see a video package recapping Brock Lesnar’s attack on Cody Rhodes in Atlanta last week. The always sharp-dressed American Nightmare is out to address Brock’s attack. I can’t believe we are going to get through this entire feud with no real explanation as to why Brock hates Cody. This Tampa crowd is singing along to all of “Kingdom” and it’s beautiful. Cody says we’ve all seen the clip of Brock Lesnar beating him up with a chair in front of his mother. Cody says he isn’t surprised, he’s more so impressed by Brock. Cody runs down some of Brock’s accomplishments and calls Brock “Mr. Summerslam.” Cody says the one person who wasn’t impressed was his mother. He says this is the same lady who saw Terry Funk throw fireballs in Dusty’s face. Cody says that Brock made a mistake. He made a mistake by leaving Cody breathing. Cody says he doesn’t want to go to Summerslam just to win the rubber match. He says he is going to Summerslam to embarrass Brock. Cody says he doesn’t want to beat Brock because it’s personal or because it will be good for his career. Cody wants to beat Brock because it’s what Brock deserves. When Cody is old and grey, he wants to look back on the Brock Lesnar chapter of his life and say that he finished it. Cody with another great promo here, though I’m wondering when they will introduce the stipulation if it’s not tonight. There is always next week, I just thought they would want two weeks to promote whatever that ends up being.
Jackie Redmond is backstage with Ricochet who says he is thrilled that Logan Paul has accepted his invitation to come to Raw even though he isn’t here yet. Ricochet says everything he wants to say to Logan, he is going to say it to his face.
DOMINIK MYSTERIO (c) DEFEATS SAMI ZAYN (NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP):
Corey Graves points out that Dominik Mysterio is wearing boots made from shark skin that Rhea gifted him. I guess that’s cool? Sami wastes no time diving to the outside to take out the North American champion as we head to an early break. We come back with Sami punching Dominik repeatedly in the face. Rhea distracts the referee and Damian pushes Sami off the top rope. Kevin gets on the apron but gets thrown out by the referee. Rhea and Damian are laughing, but they are quickly thrown out so now its a one on one match. Sami wants a Helluva kick but Dominik is able to run to the outside and avoid it. Dominik goes for a 619 but eats a clothesline from Sami. Dominik catches Sami out of midair with a dropkick for a two count. Dominik is really getting a lot of use out of the dropkicks, not sure how I feel about it. Sami tries for the Blue Thunder Bomb but Dominik rolls through into a hurricanrana into the 619 position! Beautiful counter. Sami ducks the 619 and connects with the Blue Thunder bomb for a really close two. Dominik finally hits the 619 on Sami but that only gets a two count. Dominik hits a nice three amigos but Sami gets the knees up to counter the Frog Splash. Sami hits the exploder into the corner and the crowd feels a new champion. Before Sami can hit the Helluva kick he sees Damian and Rhea toss an injured Kevin Owens onto the stage. That opens the door for Dominik to roll Sami up and hold the tights to retain his title.
I really loved that they ejected Damian and Rhea early, it made the near falls on Dominik that much more believable. Dominik is the quintessential exmaple of a heel that is going to benefit from dirty wins over top stars like this. Some people (cough Theory cough) just aren’t able to make their big wins count. Dominik can definitely milk a lot of these.
BACKSTAGE WITH SAMI ZAYN AND KEVIN OWENS:
The doctors are evaluating Kevin and he is clearly in a lot of pain. You’ve got to think Dominik and Damian are their Summerslam opponents at this point?
RECAP OF RULES OF ENGAGEMENT ROMAN REIGNS & JEY USO SEGMENT FROM SMACKDOWN:
We get a recap of Roman Reigns and Jey Uso setting the terms for their match at Summerslam. Of course it’s excellent, and we are set for Tribal Combat in Detroit.
BACKSTAGE WITH RICOCHET & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Ricochet asks Shinsuke Nakamura if he has seen Logan Paul anywhere. Shinsuke says he hasn’t and Ricochet isn’t surprised. Tommaso Cimapa comes into frame and says the kick to Shinsuke last week was on him. But he is only giving out one freebie, and if he sees Shinsuke out there tonight he will know they have a problem. Love it, all for multiple fires in the iron for these guys. With three hours of television, no reason we can’t litter the show with segments like this.
BACKSTAGE WITH THE JUDGEMENT DAY:
Dominik is celebrating his win backstage with Rhea and Damian until they run into Apollo Crews and Akira Tozawa. Apollo stands up to the Judgment Day but Akira dips as soon as Rhea confronts him. Apollo says they pick on people, and he would love to see them try it with him. Damian accepts and says tonight Apollo receives his punishment.
BRONSON REED DEFEATS TOMMASO CIAMPA:
I’m so glad Ciampa (and No One Will Survive) are back on Monday Night Raw. I’m curious what is going on with Johnny Gargano right now, but I’m assuming he will come to Ciampa’s aid at some point. Ciampa throws his jacket at Reed before the bell even rings and that enrages the big man. Ciampa nails Reed with the corner running knee but Reed recovers quickly and scoops Ciampa up for a brutal powerslam that starts against the turnbuckle before slamming him into the mat. Ciampa has a tight choke on Reed but Reed jumps back and drives all of his weight onto the former Blackheart of NXT. Reed starts throwing his body around; first with a body block and then with a Bonzai Drop. Right before break Reed jumps off the apron and Ciampa connects with a knee. Reed has regained the advantage during the break, and hits a great powerslam that he calls the Cyclone Slam. The more I watch Reed wrestle the more impressed I am. Ciampa tries for the Fairy Tale ending but Reed is just too massive. Another Banzai drop that only gets a two. These two are really laying in the strikes, this is a fun fight. My god Ciampa picks Reed up and hits an Air Raid Crash! That only gets a two count but it also brings Shinsuke to ringside. Ciampa quickly shifts his attention to Shinsuke and that’s just enough time for Reed to shoulder block Ciampa from the apron. After that its a big Tsunami and a three count.
This is a match you should go out of your way to watch, two guys with something to prove beating the crap out of each other. I’m really excited for a Ciampa and Shinsuke program too.
BACKSTAGE WITH LIV MORGAN:
We see a recap of the events last week that lead to Cheslea Green and Sonya Deville winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. Byron Saxton is backstage with Liv Morgan. Byron says he understands Raquel Rodriguez suffered a knee injury last week. Liv says she did but she is strong and will be back as soon as she can. As far as Rhea, now she is all Liv’s. Liv reminds Byron that she was the last person to pin Rhea Ripley. I love when they mention things like this. She leaves and the new Women’s Tag Team Champions come into frame. They call Byron stupid for interviewing Liv and not them. They were about to bad mouth Rhea, but Rhea is here. Green and Deville quickly leave. Rhea says she told Liv and Raquel to stay away, and they got what they deserved.
RHEA RIPLEY ATTACKS LIV MORGAN:
Liv is ready for a fight but gets blindsided by Rhea before she can even make it to the ring. Rhea tosses Liv around ringside before yanking her arm across the barricade. Liv tries to escape to the ring but Rhea hits a nasty headbutt on Liv. Rhea puts a chair around Liv’s arm and tells her to “get our of her business” before stomping on the chair. Rhea says “have fun in rehab” which really popped me. She seems like she is going to leave but puts the chair around Liv’s arm and stomps it again. Massive heat for Rhea and some major motivation for Raquel to come for the gold.
BACKSTAGE WITH LIV MORGAN
Liv is being checked out by the doctor. The injury looks bad and she is crying. the damage has been done by our Women’s World Champion.
BACKSTAGE WITH ALPHA ACADEMY:
The Alpha Academy are backstage. Chad Gable congratulates the Viking Raiders for winning the Viking Rules match last week, but the problem is no one knows the rules to the Viking Rules match! Gable wants them in an Academy Rules match but Maxxine says she wants Valhalla one on one next week. Otis gives us an “oooh yeaaah.” Short, simple, and fun. Love it.
RICOCHET IN-RING PROMO:
Ricochet asks for Logan Paul. He says he knows Logan is here so its time for him to come out and show his stupid face. Ricochet says he knows Logan isn’t back there hanging out because there is a locker room full of guys who know Logan doesn’t belong here. Just like the arena in Tampa knows he doesn’t belong here. Most importantly the man standing in the ring knows he doesn’t belong. Ricochet says it’s not because he isn’t good. It isn’t because he hasn’t put in the work. It’s because Logan is an “arrogant little prick” who doesn’t respect anything that they do. Ricochet mentions how long they have to go without seeing their families for even a small shot of success, and Logan will never understand that. He challenges Logan to a match at Summerslam. Logan comes from behind and cheap shots Ricochet. Hilarious shot of Logan shrugging will go in the meme folder. He grabs his phone and accepts Ricochet’s challenge. Logan starts to run down the crowd before eating a superkick from Ricochet! Ricochet follows that up with a standing Shooting Star Press.
This was awesome, best promo I’ve ever seen from Ricochet. The content was easy to buy into but he also just nailed the delivery. Logan and Ricochet doesn’t just have in-ring chemistry, can’t wait for this match.
SHAYNA BASZLER INTERVIEW:
Jackie Redmond is backstage with Shayna Baszler. Shayna says she is sick and tired of hearing the name Ronda Rousey. To have her name be brought up with everything Shanya does is so tiring. Shanya says talking hasn’t settled it, a match will not settle it, so at Summerslam she is going to fight Ronda Rousey. Oooh are we getting a Fight Pit??
BACKSTAGE WITH LOGAN PAUL:
Logan Paul is walking backstage nursing his wounds. Bryon Saxton catches up with him and Logan says that Ricochet was very unprofessional tonight. Logan says he was victimized, but he is coming to Raw next Monday to pop Ricochet’s stupid bald head.
DAMIAN PRIEST DEFEATS APOLLO CREWS:
Mr. Money in the Bank looks to add another one to the win column against Apollo Crews. I know Crews was drafted to Raw and has been wrestling on Main Event, but I just don’t see why they couldn’t find a spot for him on a three hour show until now. Crews has a flurry but Priest hits a sick Broken Arrow on Crews for a two count. Priest connects with a roaring elbow that almost takes Crews head off. The straps are down and South of Heaven gets the three count. I’m a big Crews fan but I can’t argue with Priest winning this quickly with where he is (and where is is going) on the card.
BECKY LYNCH INTERVIEW:
Becky Lynch is walking backstage, pumped up with her win over Zoey Stark. Jackie Redmond finds her and Becky says about Trish “It ain’t over till I win.”
VIKING RAIDERS PROMO;
The Viking Raiders say it’s known throughout the nine realms that Vikings love to fight. Valhalla accepts Maxxine challenge. I wonder what the tenth realm has to say?
GUNTHER & DREW MCINTYRE FACE TO FACE:
The Intercontinental champion GUNTHER and his Imperium mates arrive for their face to face confrontation with Drew McIntyre. The Scottish Warrior comes out to a huge ovation. Drew says he heard what GUNTHER had to say last week. Drew is here and dressed, so why don’t they fight for the championship right now? GUNTHER says he put prestige back on this title, and now Drew wants him to defend the title in front of the degenerates of Tampa, Florida? Awesome lol GUNTHER says he understands why the people like Drew. Just like them, he doesn’t get anything done. GUNTHER brings up Drew’s losses at Clash at the Castle and Wrestlemania. GUNTHER says if Drew wants to ride his coattails, he accepts for Summerslam. Drew says if we are going to talk about Wrestlemania, then lets talk about Wrestlemania. Him and Sheamus always dreamed of having a one on one match at Wrestlemania. And they beat each other down for ten minutes this year until GUNTHER picked the bones. Drew says that is exactly what GUNTHER should have done. But at Summerslam it will be one on one, and he will find out why Drew is called the chosen one. Ludwig Kaiser interrupts to defend GUNTHER which leads to Drew pitching Kaiser as the new leader of Imperium because he is more exciting than GUNTHER. Kaiser takes offense to the disrespect, and Drew asks Kaiser why don’t they fight right now? Kaiser isn’t backing down, and it looks like we have a match. Really fun back and forth here, I like that Drew pointed out that Kaiser is the one to always speak out for Imperium first.
DREW MCINTYRE DEFEATS LUDWIG KAISER:
Um Corey Graces does an incredible Ludwig Kaiser impression, which he does throughout the match. Drew dumps Kaiser out of the ring and follows him around to throw chop after chop. Clearly Drew is sending a message to the Ring General with these. Drew continues the chops before Giovanni Vinci causes a distraction allowing for Kaiser to get the upper hand. Kaiser hangs Drew upside down in the ropes and hits a hesitation dropkick. If Drew is throwing chops like this, their Summerslam match is going to be wild. McIntyre hits an Air Raid Crash from Bret’s rope, which is only the second most impressive Air Raid Crash of the night. McIntyre headbutts Kaiser and goes for the Claymore but Kaiser counters with a kick! Kaiser almost had it, wow that came out of nowhere. Kaiser is feeling himself now and hits a step-up enziguri. Kaiser runs the ropes but then eats the Claymore for the three count! GUNTHER and Vinci waste no time in attacking Drew, but Matt Riddle runs down to make the save. Riddle takes down Vinci but a big boot and powerbomb from the Intercontinental champion lays him out. GUNTHER goes outside and hits a big boot on Drew. He then clears the announce table to a huge ovation from the crowd. GUNTHER tries to powerbomb Drew but its countered. Drew powerbombs GUNTHER through the announce table!
Really fun match between Kaiser and Drew and I’m all about this title match for Summerslam. That could very easily steal the show.
RONDA ROUSEY INTERVIEW:
Jackie Redmond is back and she is with Ronda Rousey. Jackie asks Ronda about what Shayna said earlier. Ronda says Shayna doesn’t just get “a” fight, anytime Ronda fights its “the” fight. She accepts Shayna’s challenge for Summerslam.
SETH ROLLINS / FINN BALOR WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP CONTRACT SIGNING:
Finn Balor says Adam Pearce was supposed to host this contract signing, but he is busy dealing with all the destruction the Judgment Day has left. Finn says he and Seth Rollins are professionals so Seth should just come out and they can get the contract signed. Seth doesn’t make Finn wait long as the crowd serenades the World Heavyweight Champion to the ring. Seth signs the contract before sitting down and pushes it over to Finn. Finn hesitates to sign the contract, and Seth says that Finn has finally figured out what we all knew which is that Finn has zero chance to win the championship at Summerslam. Seth says there are two ways Summerslam could go. He could whip Finn’s ass and let the entire world sing his song. But Seth says miracles happen every day so if Finn is able to win, his World title reign will be shorter than his Universal title reign because his boy Damian Priest will cash in immediately. Seth knows that Finn knows that because Finn would do the same thing to Priest. Seth says Summerslam will not be the coronation of the Judgment Day, but the end of the Judgment Day. Finn just smiles and signs the contract. Finn says Seth thinks he has it all figured. Finn says Seth thinks he runs this place. “But you don’t, the Judgment Day run Monday Night Raw.” As Finn is talking the Judgment Day is coming from the crowd. Finn says he has been losing for seven years and its slowly been driving him insane. “Its all because of you Seth.” Finn says the insanity feels like an itch you can’t scratch. A seven year itch. “At Summerslam I’m going to make you my seven year bitch.” Seth throws the table at Priest and starts swinging on Finn. Dominik brawls with Seth but Seth throws him out. Priest nails Seth with the briefcase and looks like he is considering cashing in. Before he can make a decision Sami Zayn is out with a chair. He succumbs to the numbers game however as the Judgment Day clear the ring of the table and chairs. Priest nails Zayn with a South of Heaven and now all four members of the Judgment Day swarm the World Heavyweight Champion. Finn throws Seth into Priest who nails the champion with a Razor’s Edge. Dominik goes up and hits a Frog Splash, quickly followed by a Coup De Grace from Finn. The Judgment Day are standing tall over Seth Rollins as we go off the air.
Solid stuff from Finn and Seth here. There is no doubting the chemistry between these two and I really am invested in their program. It just is hard at times to put aside how many losses Finn has eaten over the years. I think leaning into just how important taking out Seth at Summerslam of all places is to Finn. Looking forward to what they do on the last Raw before Summerslam.