WWE is just days away from the Draft this Friday on SmackDown, but before we get there we have Monday Night Raw live in Chicago. It is being reported that Raw is fully sold out and Triple H had a major announcement to make on the show.
Triple H’s announcement ended up being that WWE will be crowning a brand new World Heavyweight Champion.
HHH praised Roman Reigns, who is approaching 1000 days as the Unified World Champion, however, Roman negotiated his way into defending the Unified World titles less frequently. He said that is good for Roman, but bad for the fans and he said that after the draft Roman will be taking his titles to whatever brand picks him and stay there.
So, whatever brand doesn’t have Roman will be getting the brand new World Heavyweight Championship, and the first champion will be crowned on May 27 at Night of Champions. HHH guaranteed that this title will be defended anywhere and everywhere, seems this will be the true workhorse title of the WWE.
Cody Rhodes was out to kick us off, and he said there are a number of things he could talk about. He could talk about the Draft or his upcoming match with Brock Lesnar, and he described as Lesnar as one of the best athletes ever. Rhodes called Lesnar’s attack on him from the Raw after ‘Mania one of the most humiliating moments of his career.
Rhodes then took the upper half of his suit off, to show everyone the scar on his shoulder from the surgery on his torn pectoral muscle. He said the last time he was in Chicago was when he competed in Hell in a Cell with the injury. That scar shows that he was able to beat one of the best, Seth Rollins, with his injury and it shows how tough he is.
He credits the sold-out arena in Chicago from Hell in a Cell for his performance and he thanked the fans. Then the music of Finn Bálor was hit and out he came, Bálor said he saw what happened to Rhodes at ‘Mania and that he knows how he feels. He said the reason he got screwed at ‘Mania was that he has nobody to watch his back. Bálor described Rhodes’ upcoming match with Lesnar, a match that Rhodes cannot win.
Bálor then said that Rhodes in the Judgement Day would be unreal, he was out to recruit Rhodes to the faction. He told Cody to let J-Day have his back at Backlash, but Cody respectfully declined. Bálor replied you’re either with us or against us, so Cody decided to challenge Bálor to a match tonight!
The Usos & Solo Sikoa vs. Latino World Order
Jey Uso and Joaquin Wilde started it off, but it wasn’t long before The Bloodline trio was making quick tags and triple-teaming Wilde. Santos Escobar and Cruz Del Toro then got involved, and the LWO was showcasing their high-flying. Toro and Wilde flew onto The Usos with corkscrews and Escobar hit Sikoa with a suicide dive.
After a brief commercial break, Escobar got the hot tag and was going head to head with all three members of The Bloodline. He hit Jimmy with a bicycle knee and a diving crossbody from the top rope. Toro then hit Jimmy with a springboard missile dropkick, followed by a Phoenix splash.
Toro wanted to hit the coast to coast, but Sikoa caught him in the air with a Samoan spike and then The Usos hit him with 1D to get the win.
Winners: The Usos & Solo Sikoa
After the match, Jey said the longest-reigning tag champs had one bad night when they lost the titles at ‘Mania. Jimmy then said this Friday they will become nine-time champs and they are dedicating their match to Roman Reigns.
Where's the lie?@SamiZayn has something important to tell Jey @WWEUsos. #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/0SwXTCfMQF
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 2023
Later in the night, Jey bumped into Sami Zayn backstage and Sami questioned him for not competing for himself on Friday. Zayn said he still feels bad for Jey, but Jey did not want to hear anything by saying Zayn made his choice long ago.
The fact that Jey spoke to Sami, aggravated Jimmy to the point that he went and found Sami himself. Jimmy told him Kevin Owens just used him to get the tag titles and after they lose the titles on Friday Kevin will turn on him again.
Cathy Kelley was now chatting with Bianca Belair about her upcoming defence against Iyo Sky at Backlash. She was quickly interrupted by Bayley saying Belair should be prepared to kiss her title goodbye. Sky then said she wanted to face Belair tonight, but Bayley changed that to a six-woman tag match. So, Belair has some partners to find.
Trish Stratus was backstage to discuss why Becky Lynch has been away, she said Lynch can’t handle the pressure of being the face of the women’s division and a mother. Stratus said she is also a mother, but she can handle the pressure, so she did Lynch a favour by taking her out.
The Street Profits vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander wasted no time, Benjamin kneed Dawkins off the apron and they double-teamed Ford. However, the Profits quickly got back in control and in no time they hit the spine buster-frog splash combo to get the win.
Winners: The Street Profits
Damian Priest was backstage to talk about Bad Bunny appearing on Raw tonight after he choke-slammed Bad Bunny a few weeks ago. He said he is happy to have him back, but if he gets in his way again he has no problem putting him through another table.
Damage Ctrl vs. Bianca Belair, Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan
Belair, Rodriguez and Morgan were quickly in control and utilized quick tags to maintain control. Morgan landed a senton onto Kai and Bayley, jumping from the shoulders of Rodriguez. Damage Ctrl then used their sneaky ways to distract the ref and allow Sky to knee Morgan in the face.
After a commercial break, Morgan was triple-teamed by Damage Ctrl and was isolated in their corner. Morgan did manage to hit Kai with a backstabber and tag Rodriguez in, who came in hot taking out Bayley and hitting her with the spinning senton from the second rope.
Rodriguez then threw her own partner onto Bayley and Kai, before Belair hit Bayley with the KOD to get the victory.
Winners: Bianca Belair, Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan
Austin Theory was in the ring saying Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed want the experience of facing the best United States Champion of all time. He then said the new World Heavyweight Championship should be around his waist because he has earned it. He continued to praise himself before he was interrupted by Lashley.
Lashley said that Theory is holding his title and all he does is run his mouth without stepping up to any challenges. He complimented Theory’s toughness, but he doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to defend his title. Theory then clowned Lashley for not having a match at ‘Mania and then the brawl was on and before we knew it Reed made his way out.
Theory and Reed were double-teaming Lashley, and then Theory hit Lashley with the A-Town Down. However, he could not gloat because Reed then attacked Theory and hit him with a Tsunami. Reed then stood tall with the United States Championship.
Chad Gable vs. Mustafa Ali
This match was less than five minutes, and somehow Mustafa Ali knocked off Gable with a roll-up.
Winner: Mustafa Ali
Finn Bálor vs. Cody Rhodes
I feel like we have seen this match recently, but we were now set for Finn Bálor versus Cody Rhodes. Rhodes had the early advantage and was attacking the mid-section of Bálor, but after Bálor ducked a crossbody he went after Cody’s ribs by throwing him into the announce table.
After a commercial, Rhodes was getting his comeback going and hit Bálor with a disaster kick. Bálor attempted to get back into it, but Rhodes came right back by hitting him with a Cody Cutter. After kicking out at two, Bálor swept Rhodes’ legs to hit a double stomp and went for the Coup de Grace.
Rhodes managed to roll out of the way, hit Bálor with a pedigree and then a Cross Rhodes to knock off Bálor.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Seth Rollins was now in the ring to discuss his very random match with Omos coming up at Backlash. He said he was ready to discuss that, but he said something much bigger has caught his eye, the new World Heavyweight Championship.
The crowd started a you deserve it chant, and they have never been more right. Rollins said Reigns has had a great reign, but he never beat him during that reign. He then said he doesn’t want what Reigns has because he still wants to fight, and that title is the opportunity to have a real champion that isn’t a part-timer.
Omos and MVP were then making their way to the ring, and MVP was complementing Rollins for his talent. He also said due to all of Rollins’ accolades, he has been chosen as Omos’ next opponent and that after Backlash he will have no future.
Rollins said he is not underestimating the giant that is Omos, and that Omos is once in a generation. However, he said that is due to how he was born, but Rollins made himself once in a generation. He then said at Backlash he will give Omos the match of his life and make him famous, but he will be left out cold with the crowd singing Rollins’ music.
Rey Mysterio vs. Damian Priest
It is main event time, and unfortunately for Mysterio and Priest all anyone talking about is the arrival of Bad Bunny. Not even five minutes into the match we were shown Bad Bunny arriving at the arena and heading to the ring.
Despite the Bad Bunny distractions, Priest and Mysterio were putting on an entertaining match and Priest slid Mysterio onto the outside of the ring before sending us to a commercial break. After the break, Mysterio ducked a run from Priest sending him into the ring post and he then hit a springboard moonsault to the outside.
Back in the ring, Mysterio was looking for a 619, but Priest caught him halfway with a superkick to the chin. Priest then caught Mysterio in mid-air and hit him with a flat liner, but then instead of continuing the attack Priest went to get a steel chair. Mysterio did not allow any attack with the chair and ended up hitting the 619, but when he went to the top for the splash Priest threw the chair at him getting himself disqualified.
Winner: Rey Mysterio via disqualification
BREAKING: @sanbenito has challenged @ArcherofInfamy to a STREET FIGHT at #WWEBacklash in Puerto Rico!#WWERaw pic.twitter.com/xmO1mwXzqd
— WWE (@WWE) April 25, 2023
Priest was now on the attack, hitting Mysterio with a big chokeslam and then trying to put him through the announce table. Lucky for Rey, Bad Bunny finally arrived and made his way to the ring with a kendo stick in hand. Bad Bunny started laying into Priest with the kendo stick, and Priest had no choice but to run through the crowd to escape.
Bad Bunny then grabbed a microphone and told Priest that he is no longer hosting Backlash, he is instead now going to Puerto Rico to kick Priest’s ass. He announced that at Backlash it will be Priest versus himself in a street fight!
Raw, April 24th, 2023
This was an above-average episode of Raw, but it was definitely lacking when it came to the in-ring portion of the show. Most of the matches were very short and forgettable, the major announcement from Triple H definitely added a lot to this show.