WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (May 8, 2023) from the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, featuring all the fallout from the Backlash Premium Live Event that went down this past Saturday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Advertised for tonight: It’s the start of the WWE World Heavyweight championship tournament, which will include the likes of Cody Rhodes, Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Shinsuke Nakamura, and The Miz on the Raw side. Elsewhere, this will be the first show with the new rosters taking effect, and there’s much to work out in that regard!
Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the Raw live blog will kick off once the show starts on USA Network. It will be below this line here. Reminder: GIFs and pics allowed, but no links to illegal streams, please.
WWE RAW RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR MAY 8
You can always tell the winners, the saints and the sinners down at the starting line. I’m a lucid vision of the unforgiven, and I’m here to liveblog this here pro wrestling show for you, folks.
The show opens with a hype reel for the World Heavyweight Championship tournament, starting tonight.
Cody Rhodes makes his entrance and gets on the mic, asking Jacksonville what they want to talk about. He says this was his home during the pandemic and we made a lot of wonderful memories together and he wants to make another one tonight.
But first he wants to talk about Backlash. The biggest most-watched Backlash of all time, in Puerto Rico with all pomp and circumstance, but he had the daunting task of competing against Brock Lesnar. Here’s what he discovered— he discovered that Brock can be defeated, because at Backlash, he did.
After WrestleMania, Lesnar took away his focus and clarity and put him in a fight for survival, but he knows what is next for him, sitting right over there, the World Heavyweight Championship. He asks the truck to throw the tournament bracket up and points out the multiple world champions in the field.
Considering he just got out of a fight for survival, he intends to fight the same way in this tournament until Samantha Irving announces him as your new World Heavyweight Champion, the American Nightmare, Cody Rhodes. He gets the honor to say the words ushering the tournament in and we’re off!
Seth Rollins makes his entrance and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get a recap of Backlash.
Damian Priest is interviewed at Gorilla.
He says Bad Bunny did his thing, but it’s his name that’s gonna live forever after it took a whole island to bring him down. Now he’s gonna put Shinsuke Nakamura and Seth Rollins down and we’ll see whather it’s him or Finn Balor that brings the World Heavyweight Championship home to the Judgment Day.
Damian Priest vs. Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round Match)
Priest lighting Nakamura up early, stomps in the corner, back elbow for Rollins! Shinsuke catches Seth with the sliding German suplex in the ropes, sidesteps a boot from Damian on the floor and nails him with a running knee! Guillotine knee drop across the back of the neck follows and we go to break!
Back from commercial, Rollins starting to rally, headed up top, diving crossbody wipes both guys out! Seth going for dives, Priest cuts him off with an elbow, big back elbow, Nakamura slides in and beats on him, whip reversed, sidestep a charge and Shinsuke sets him up top for the big rising knee!
Off the second, diving Kinshasa... NOPE! Rollins in, he wants a Pedigree, Damian puts him on the apron and lays Nakamura out with an elbow! Reverse STO takes Seth down... BUT DOESN’T TAKE HIM OUT! All three men down and out after a big strike exchange, back on their feet, trading more right hands, Shinsuke kicks Damian’s knee out from under him and grabs a sleeper hold on Rollins!
Knee lift, inverted exploder, Seth lands on his feet, discus lariat! Rollins up top, Damian crotches him in the turnbuckles, thinking Razor’s Edge but his knee gives out... BLACKOUT! SHINSUKE BREAKS IT UP! Seth and Shinsuke trading forearms in the middle of the ring, inverted exploder connects this time!
Fired up, lying in wait, Priest cuts him off with a lariat! Hobbling over, he dumps Seth out of the ring, drawing Nakamura up, South of Heaven blocked with knees and kicks to the injured leg, roll-through into a kneebar in the middle of the ring! Damian struggling, Rollins off the top with a frog splash!
Seth Rollins wins by pinfall with a frog splash on Shinsuke Nakamura.
Backstage, the other guys in Imperium are walking backstage, playing town crier for GUNTHER’s arrival next week.
They run into Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Zayn tells them they’re busy and to give them five minutes, Imperium aren’t happy about it and demand respect but Sami won’t back down. Ludwig Kaiser puts a finger in his face and says with GUNTHER arriving next week they’ll be in a very unfortunate situation if they keep disrespecting Imperium.
KO asks if they’re like the Usos for Roman Reigns, saying there’s lots of henchmen running around, and Zayn says the difference is the Usos took months to take care of and they’ll deal with Imperium tonight.
Alpha Academy make their entrance and we go to break.
Mustafa Ali vs. Otis Dozovic
Ali going right for a sleeper hold, Dozovic shrugs him off, draws him up, whip across, duck a lariat, Mustafa with a couple dropkicks but Otis freight trains him! Military press, Ali floats out, right hands, whip blocked, dumped to the apron, slingshot back in, roll through, Dozer blasts him with a lariat!
Otis confused by Maxxine Dupri and Chad Gable both trying to get his attention at the same time, Ali sidesteps a charge and Dozovic eats the post hard! Off the top...
Mustafa Ali wins by pinfall with a 450 splash.
The Miz cuts a promo in Gorilla about how he’s a history-maker and the only true workhorse in this tournament, and when he wins we’ll put respect on his name.
He makes his entrance and we go to break.
Cody Rhodes vs. Finn Balor vs. the Miz (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round Match)
Rhodes holding court, O’Connor roll on the Miz for two, dropkick follows, off the ropes, Balor cuts him off with a lariat! Trading schoolboy pins, Cody has lariats, right hands in the corner, side Russian legsweep on the A-Lister and then he suplexes Balor into Miz for a nearfall and we go to break!
Back from commercial, Cody off the top with a double dropkick, all three men down and out! He and Balor get to their feet first, trading punches, drop down slaps on both of them, whip reversed, flying forearm takes Miz out and a snap scoop powerslam for Finn!
One for Miz, too, Rhodes fired up and fighting through the pain, inverted headlock reversed, upkick sets up Beautiful Disaster... NOPE! Powerbomb lift, float over, roll away from the double stomp, Miz hits a double basement DDT but can’t finish them off!
Inverted headlock elbow drop from Balor, shotgun dropkick follows, up top for Coup de Grace, nobody home! Miz throws Finn into Cody, Skull-Crushing Finale... RHODES BREAKS IT UP! Small package, Cody kicks out, inverted headlock, Cross Rhodes connects but the A-Lister tries to steal it!
Rhodes back in to break it up, Cross Rhodes, hanging on, another one, hanging on for the trifecta! Brock Lesnar runs in, forehead glued together, and lays Cody out with an F-5! Finn off the top...
Finn Balor wins by pinfall with Coup de Grace.
Brock puts Cody through the announce desk and gets on the mic, asking him what he wants to talk about before demanding we look at his face. He says he wants to talk about himself over and over and asks if Rhodes will take credit for it before telling him he lucked into his victory and he wants to talk about a fight.
A fight! He wants a fight! At Night of Champions! A fight! He asks Cody what he has to say but he’s unconscious, so he just asks who the coward is now before dropping the mic on him.
Road agents (including Adam Pearce and Kenn Doane) check on Cody while Brock leaves, taking a moment to smile and laugh at the new World Heavyweight Championship, and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a recap of what we just saw, because Raw is three hours long. (Three hours long.)
We go backstage where a trainer is walking with Cody Rhodes.
Dana Brooke gets an inset promo where she says we’re gonna see her untapped potential tonight.
Dana Brooke vs. Rhea Ripley
Rushing in on Ripley, Brooke soon cut down by a headbutt and mounted punches! Smashing her face into the mat, Dana fights her off with a chop block and a jawbreaker, la casadora bulldog connects! Brooke off the second, caught into a crossbody, gutbuster follows!
Riptide connects but Rhea decides she wants the submission finish...
Rhea Ripley wins by submission with her elevated inverted cloverleaf.
Post-match, Rhea hits another Riptide and puts Dana right back into the hold until Natalya makes the save!
We get a WWE Draft hype reel centered around those superstars drafted from NXT.
Zoey Stark is interviewed backstage.
She says she’s amazing at what she does and she has complete confidence in what she does. She walks over to Nikki Cross, who is being a weirdo, and says she’s gonna succeed becasue the roster is nothing but weirdos. She challenges Nikki to a fight and Nikki is weird about it.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn make their entrance and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for the recent WWE tour of Europe.
Imperium (Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Zayn and Kaiser to start, Ludwig in control with a side headlock, shot off, drop down, leapfrog, arm drag into an armbar and Sami’s in control! Shot off, whip reversed, tag to Vinci and he puts boots to Zayn! Imperium working Sami over, they stand tall in the turnbuckles and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Owens with the hot tag, stomping a proverbial mudhole in Kaiser! Whip across, big back body drop, Manhattan Drop, a big right hand, fisherman buster over the knee... SO CLOSE! Tag to Vinci, the tide turns, Ludwig back in, big lariat from Owens and both men are down!
Crawling, the path is clear, but Sami gets knocked off the apron! Stunner for Kaiser, superkick for Vinci, tag made...
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn win by pinfall with a Helluva Kick from Sami on Giovanni Vinci.
Backstage, Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green are circulating a petition to address the injustices of the world. They approach Candice LeRae, Johnny Gargano, and Indi Hartwell to sign before revealing that it’s actually to get them their rematch for the tag titles, and Indi asks Dexter Lumis what he thinks, and he gives the thumbs down.
Green and Deville tell them they’ll regret it and then the Gargano family talk about how the family is back together.
Nikki Cross makes her entrance and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get some hype for Batista getting another #1 film role with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
A recap of the Bloodline trios match from Backlash follows.
Nikki Cross vs. Zoey Stark
Stark opens with a slap and Cross overwhelms her with clubbing blows into the corner. Putting Nikki into the turnbuckles, putting boots to her, slingshot Arabian press senton atomico connects! Falling lariat, cover for two, working a reverse chinlock to try and grind Cross down.
Nikki with body blows and a jawbreaker, sidestep the charge, big right hands, Zoey recovers and a superkick sets her up...
Zoey Stark wins by pinfall with Z360.
Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio are interviewed backstage.
She says she welcomes the pressure but Xavier Woods and Akira Tozawa come along in the middle of a giggle fit.
Dominik tells them to stop being so disrespectful, Woods tells him he got dressed out of a lost-and-found and Xavier challenges Mysterio to a match. Rhea accepts for him, Tozawa disappears and Woods goes looking for him.
Trish Stratus is handing out flyers for a missing Becky Lynch and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for Backlash’s commercial and critical success.
Trish Stratus makes her entrance and gets on the mic, asking if anyone’s seen Becky Lynch, reassuring Kevin Patrick that she’s gonna find his fellow Irish for him and everything’s gonna be okay. She’s used all her platforms and tools and we’re gonna find Becky and when she is, we can thank her for it.
She says she’ll probably find her crying in the corner with her dumb daughter who is two and can’t even name her colors, and she won’t be coming back to Raw, because nobody steals Trish’s spotlight—
Becky Lynch’s music plays and Trish laughs about her obvious ruse when nobody comes out. She says Becky’s never coming back and wnats to tell us a little story. One time her daughter wanted a cute little doll so they bought it for her and she wanted to name the doll after Becky Lynch—
Becky’s music plays again and Trish frantically calls for the truck to cut the music because the joke is done, but of course Becky is in the ring behind her. She decks Stratus with a series of punches before hitting the exploder suplex and sending her packing!
Lynch gets on the mic to tell Trish the Man is back to kick her ass specifically!
We go in the trainer’s room where Adam Pearce is getting an update on Cody Rhodes’ status and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are there for moral support.
Xavier Woods makes his entrance and we go to break.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Xavier Woods
Woods with a side headlock, headscissors reverses, Xavier reverses to a deathlock but Mysterio gets the ropes for the break! Rhea Ripley running interference, Woods sees the cheap shot coming, catches a boot, headlock, shot off, front kick into a mat slam and Dominik is in control!
Off the ropes, he runs into a dropkick, Dom returns the favor, but Woods gets away from the 619 and sets him up for a wrecking ball dropkick / senton! Off the top, crossbody, punches in the corner, but a back body drop sends Xavier to the floor!
Ripley taunts him from the steps and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Woods looking for a suplex, reversed and an elbow sets up the Three Amigos! Xavier with punches and chops, whip reversed, leapfrog, flying forearm sends Dominik spiraling! Charging elbow, whip across, corner lariat, Honor Roll connects!
Springboard DDT gets two, Mysterio on the comeback but Woods trips him on the apron! Hung up in the ropes, Xavier with a missile dropkick to the back of his neck! Nobody home on the Limit Breaker, Dom gets a handful of tights...
Dominik Mysterio wins by pinfall with a crucifix pin and a handful of tights.
We see Finn Balor and Seth Rollins getting ready for our main event and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for Indus Sher with Jinder Mahal talking about how they’re here to shake the foundation of Monday Night Raw.
The Miz rolls up on Shinsuke Nakamura to berate him for not having his back and making sure they both lost their matches. He tries to sell Shinsuke on teaming as Mizuke Nakamura and Nakamura books a singles match between them for next week instead.
Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez find Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville and say they only needed to woman up and ask to get a tag title match. They sign the petition and say they’ll take care of them after they finish off Damage CTRL and Deville and Green say they don’t care who they fight.
We get another recap of Brock and Cody from earlier tonight.
Cody Rhodes is interviewed backstage.
He says he knows Cathy Kelly is obligated to ask how he feels about not being in the hunt for the World Heavyweight Champion and of course he doesn’t feel good about being out of a tournament that was his to win. What else is there to say?
What he does know is that this is the second time that Brock Lesnar has attacked him from behind for no reason, and the only reason he can think of is that his long-reigning grip on the main event scene has been releasing and Cody’s the man around here now.
Brock wants to fight him? Against all his better judgment, he accepts the challenge!
Finn Balor makes his entrance and we go to break.
Back from commercial, commentary hypes up next week’s show.
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinals)
Collar and elbow, headlock takeover from Balor, headscissors reversal, stalemate! Armbar from Finn, kip-up, Rollins reverses but Balor gets the ropes. Test of strength, Seth gets a hammerlock and again Finn gets the ropes, breaking dirty with a back elbow this time!
Punches into the ropes, sending Rollins to the apron, clothesline to the floor! Finn powerbombs Seth into the barricade and we go to break!
Back from commercial, Rollins laying heavy chops in, Balor with a front kick, whip reversed, lariats connect, superkick sets up a discus lariat and Seth gets the better of the exchange! Charging forearm, capture backbreaker, Rollins up top, frog splash, knees up... NOPE!
Fujiwara armbar applied to attack Seth’s injured arm! Sling Blade connects, trying for a followup and Rollins cuts him off with a superkick for two! Trading forearms in the middle of the ring, arm wringer gets a big boot, Finn to the floor!
Seth follows after him, Balor smashes his face into the apron, Rollins returns the favor and they trade a few until the Architect gets the advantage! Back inside, rolling elbow gets a big chop, enzuigiri gets a Pele kick and both men are down and out!
Double stomp sets it up, Finn up top, Seth cuts him off, superplex, roll through... BALOR FLOATS OVER AND HITS THE INVERTED 1916 BUT CAN’T KEEP ROLLINS DOWN! Putting boots to Seth in the corner, referee Rod Zapata warns him off, hesitation dropkick, shotgun dropkick, up top... NOBODY HOME!
Seth with a front kick, underhooks, one-armed Pedigree... NOT ENOUGH! Lying in wait, Blackout ducked, schoolboy, roll through... INVERTED BLACKOUT! Seth charges in...
Seth Rollins wins by pinfall with Blackout, advancing to the tournament finals at Night of Champions.
Seth poses with the World Heavyweight Championship.
That’s the show, folks.