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Raw recap & reactions (Aug. 7, 2023): Raw feelings all around

The New Day return, Judgment Day squabbles, and here comes a new challenger on this edition of Monday Night Raw.

99 Problems

The Judgment Day continue their reign as the most intriguing faction in WWE. Yes, more than The Bloodline, if only because while I love that story, it’s getting just a little long in the tooth. But Judgment Day feels fresh and piles on more intrigue every week.

How so this week? Well, first, they interrupted Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes’ stare down. Cody sees nobody better than him right now. Seth proposed they test that theory. The Judgment Day, sans Finn Balor, stopped all that before it started. But Finn showed. up with a sneak attack. Sami Zayn made it all even then Adam Pearce set up a six-man tag: Seth, Cody, & Sami vs. Judgment Day.

Then it turns out that the sneak attack wasn’t exactly that. Finn acted on his own and changed the plan because he believes Damian went off script at SummerSlam. Rhea played peacemaker, as usual, and forced her two friends to get over it and “act like men.”

While those two bickered and Rhea mediated, JD McDonnagh stood by. Damian interrupted he and Damian’s conversation and Finn insisted that he trusts JD enough for him to hear Judgment Day business. JD rightly observed the briefcase putting a wedge between friends so maybe it’s time for Damian to get rid of it.

You know what? He’s right. The sooner Damian cashes in, win or lose, the sooner those two get over all this. They’re Bart & Millhouse and the briefcase is their Radioactive Man #1.

But I digress. JD took out Sami for, at least in storyline, basketball reasons. That left a spot open on a team where Sami played peacemaker because Seth and Cody have bad blood between them. Without Sami, their whole thing falls a part doesn't it?

Enter Shinsuke, who volunteered his services and Seth happily obliged.

So let’s recap: Judgment Day aren’t on the same page, JD is tangentially involved, and they keep making enemies while coming apart internally. That’s a lot. Oh, and that’s not even acknowledging Raquel Rodriguez sneak attacking Rhea before the main event started! Nobody likes these cats and they have far too many outside antagonists for a group with internal strife.

Before Raquel’s surprise, Judgment Day entered the arena and Finn kept his eyes squarely on Damian. And when the match started, Damian tagged himself in before Finn even got out the starters block. Dirty Dom tagged himself in while his partners bickered and tired playing peacemaker.

And it actually worked. Eventually, their team got on the same page and they moved like they usually move. But then that briefcase got in the way yet again and they replayed what happened at SummerSlam only with a slight twist. Finn took the briefcase from Damian this time and understood his objective.

But he still didn’t get the job done. While waiting to blast Cody with the briefcase, Finn ate a face full of it after Seth kicked him. One Cross Roads later and yeah, see you at the Crossroads, Finn.

Damian never took his eyes off Finn when Judgment Day licked their wounds after taking the L. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and it smells like fertilizer.


B-Sides

Jam 4 U

Ricochet, rightly, took umbrage with how his SummerSlam ended. Adam Pearce felt him and agreed about the injustice. The world’s most semi-competent manager came with a solution: A Fatal 4 Way between Ricochet, Chad Gable, Tommaso Ciampa, and Matt Riddle. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? An Intercontinental championship match with GUNTHER. Not exactly a bowl of Lucky Charms but it sufficed for all four men.

This was fantastic. Just a great match between four men who mesh really well. We got tons of offense, including a top tope four-way German Suplex. Props to Ricochet for taking the brunt of that and getting up.

Now, with Raw in Minneapolis this week, obviously the crowd favored Chad. And the Alpha Academy hometown boy thrived under the spotlight. The best moment came when he Tommaso blocked Chaos Theory early, but then Chad went back to the well later during the third act. He went for it Matt, but Ricochet blocked it. Then he tried Ricochet but then Tommaso blocked it. He finally nailed the Tommaso with it and sent the crowd home happy.

Great storytelling in the third act while telling a larger story between Chad and GUNTHER. I don’t know if Chad beats the Ring General, but I look forward to their magic together in the ring.

Mad Rapper

Shinsuke Nakamura is mad. Tired of everyone getting in his business but especially angry at Bronson Reed. They put on a solid contest under the circumstances. I mean, they followed that Fatal 4 Way. But Shinsuke got the win and the best moment came with Bronson missed the Tsunami. Why was it the best? Because it took all the wind out Wade Barrett’s sails. I chuckled. Part of me thinks they booked that spot just for that moment.

Shinsuke’s clean W surprised me but that led into him attacking Seth after their win over Judgment Day in the main event. Shinsuke finally took control and called his shot. Shinsuke vs. Seth sounds like so much fun. I just wonder how Judgment Day factors into their proceedings.

The Overweight Lover’s in the House

I like this thing between IMPERIUM and Alpha Academy. It started last week when GUNTHER challenged Chad and insulted his crew. It continued during the Slim Jim (Snap into it!) Battle Royal with a few interactions. This week, we know it’s GUNTHER vs. Chad eventually, so it only makes sense that Ludwig Kaiser poke his nose into the fray. He tried spitting game at Maxxine Dupri, but to quote Wade, he’s got less game than Michael Cole. Although, most married men lose their game after a while. Ludwig’s recruiting pitch failed, and Otts stepped to him.

A fun match that really displayed the philosophical differences between Alpha Academy and IMPERIUM. Otis has fun and shows off for the crowd. Ludwig? Nah. All serious, all business but also all cheating. When it became apparent Ludwig found himself in deep water, GUNTHER interfered and kicked Otis with his gigantic Flintstone boot. The ref missed it, and Ludwig got the W.

You know wrestling, so obviously Chad came to his number one guy’s rescue and chased off IMPERIUM.

Good stuff. Also? loved the moment where Ludwig tried again with Maxxine during the match.

Oh Yeah

I rarely get to wax poetic about LA Knight. I don’t have the space for everything on my mind but just a few things here so it’s at least semi-coherent.

1. He and Miz are perfect foils.

2. Love Miz always seeing himself as the barometer for respect in WWE.

3. Both men cut fire promos, and clearly relished going toe-to-toe.

4. I wondered when the Attitude Era dig at LA might come. For the record, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that he sounds like a wrestler from WWE’s most successful period. Nor is it a problem that he feels like a combination of two of wrestling’s biggest stars ever. That audiences still find themselves entertained by such things says a lot about LA, that time period, and the fact that entertaining things never go out of fashion.

5. LA stumbled a bit during the promo but recovered well. Even showed his quick wit during a moment where the few Miz fans showed their appreciation for the veteran.

6. LA got the upper hand here with a BFT but I hope it’s not over between these two.

Assassination Day

The New Day returned! The Viking Raiders called out anyone who dare test them. They didn’t expect Kofi & Xavier but that’s what they got. And they did the favors too because taking the L on their first night back after five months wasn’t an option. Fun match.

Pit Bull Fights

I enjoyed Shayna Baszler vs. Zoey Stark.Really enjoyed it. And shoutout to Shayna for wrestling tonight after what transpired between her and Ronda at SummerSlam. Her face looked worse for wear and I can’t imagine doing anything, much less wrestling, with one good eye. But I’m intrigued by everything involving Becky Lynch. First off, she tried coaxing Zoey away from Trish’s side. Zoey didn’t bite but nice foreshadowing.

Becky also sat ringside with a jar of lemonade, harkening back to her recent social media post about making lemonade from all those lemons. I love Becky’s sense of humor and she just does this professional sports entertainment wrestling correctly.

After Sonya defeated Zoey, she told Becky that with Ronda in her rear view mirror, it’s time for the rest of her enemies list. And Becky sits somewhere on said list.

I’m so intrigued.


This show worked for me top to bottom. Stories flowed from one to the next and we got crisp matches. The main event scene gets more tense by the second, and the World Heavyweight champion finally sees a challenge not named Finn Balor. The tag team division got a shot of positivity, which helps since Sami & KO can’t defend their championships right now.

Interesting and fun Monday Night Raw.

What say you, Cagesiders?

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