Heading into this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, there was a lot to talk about. CM Punk was seen backstage, the news that Triple H was going to make a major announcement and one more show before the WWE draft got people speculating. In the end, WWE introduced a new title, Bad Bunny made a big change to the WrestleMania Backlash card, and a few more developments, with some interesting booking decisions filling out the three-hour show.
Here are the winners and losers of Monday Night Raw, April 24, 2023:
Winner: Cody Rhodes challenges Finn Balor
The show opened with Cody Rhodes recording a promo and talking about Brock Lesnar. He mentioned that he’s been through worse than the Beast Incarnate, but was quickly interrupted by Finn Bálor, who said that he sympathized with Cody, suggesting that he only lost their match at WrestleMania because he had no endorsement. Balor then offered Cody Rhodes a spot in the Judgment Day group, which Cody turned down.
Balor did not appreciate Cody’s polite refusal and gave him a warning before attempting to leave the ring. Rhodes responded by saying that he is medically cleared and that he wants a fight later tonight. Balor shook his head and the music played, suggesting that the match was official.
This segment worked to open the show, even though it was a bit off. Judgment Day is actively recruiting again? Is that the message here? Outside of that, Cody received a huge pop from the live crowd, and they were just as excited at the prospect of Balor vs. Rhodes for later that night.
Fans were right to be excited as Rhodes and Balor put on a great match for 15 minutes to kick off the third hour of the show. Rhodes took the decisive victory with a Pedigree and then a Cross Rhodes. This was a match meant to send a message to Lesnar. Beating Balor was definitely a big deal.
Winner: LWO vs The Bloodline
Six-man tags are usually well done in WWE. With these six competitors, this was going to be an exciting match. They were flying around the ring and the intense action provided a fun opening contest on a night that might not be as intense as other episodes. Bloodline was victorious when Solo Sikoa caught an LWO member with a Samoan Spike in the air.
The Usos then took the microphone and dedicated their match and pending victory in Friday’s tag title match to Roman Reigns. Jey Uso bumped into Sami Zayn backstage and after Sami suggested that Jey try to win the titles for himself and Jimmy (not Roman), Jey told him to stay out of the Bloodline business.
Win/Loser: Street Profits defeats Alexander and Benjamin
It was nice to see Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander on Raw, but the match was pretty short and the Raw broadcast team spent more time talking about the potential breakup of The Street Profits than the action. The tease seems to be that Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins will go their own way during the WWE Draft and personally, that sounds like a mistake.
Eventually, WWE needs to pull the trigger on this division, but it must be done in a way that turns one member against the other. Both have the chops to be a strong heel, but a career in that regard needs to start off on the right foot.
Winner: Triple H Introduces New World Heavyweight Championship
Triple H came out and credited Roman Reigns for being as iconic and dominant a champion as he has been, saying that his nearly 1000 days as champion might be the most impressive thing in the modern era of wrestling. He also revealed that Reigns traded for the right to defend the title less often than most. He then announced that whichever brand Roman Reigns is drafted into, he will take the title to that brand and stay there exclusively. The other brand will see a new field of champions at the night of champions, pay-per-view and Triple H, then introduced the new World Heavyweight Championship belt.
This is great news for fans who have called for the titles to be split. With Reigns working a more relaxed schedule, WWE needed to have a heavyweight belt that could defend itself on a regular basis. This also opens the door for Rhodes or another star to win that title.
The only downside to this segment was that it made the new title feel a bit like a side title to the one Roman has.
Loser: Damage CTRL
It feels inevitable that a Damage CTRL split is coming. In a six-woman match that was meant to give Iyo Sky an advantage in her attempt to challenge Bianca Belair, the rue faction lost to Belair’s team and the Women’s Tag Team Champions, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodríguez. The fact that Bayley took the pin in the match seemed to offer even greater omen that the WWE Draft might not be kind to these three.
Winner: Bronson Reed
Austin Theory came out and did a promo about deserving a shot at the new World Heavyweight Championship. Instead, he got screwed having to defend his United States Championship at Backlash in a Triple Threat Match where he didn’t even need to be pinned or submitted to lose the title. Bobby Lashley came out and said that Theory should be ashamed that he’s trying to escape a title defense. That led to a fight between the two. Bronson Reed appeared and helped Theory. As the two men dispatched The All Mighty, Reed turned Theory on and dropped him with a splash on the top rope.
This was a great segment for Reed. He looks like a dominant force heading into the Triple Threat Match and it would be hard to bet against him, even if Theory is likely to walk out of the match and remain champion.
In a match that was too short to really comment on, Mustafa Ali defeated Chad Gable in a singles match.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Rollins came out to do a promo and did a fantastic job of selling the importance of the new World Championship, but he also took an opponent who came at him out of nowhere before Backlash and cemented his future match. Omos didn’t have to say a word as MVP and Rollins promoted a contest that should see Rollins badly outpowered, but he came out the winner as he pushes for the new belt or Roman Reigns.
Winner: Bad Bunny will fight Damian Priest in a street fight
The main event was entertaining, but the surprise twist was that Bad Bunny announced that he will no longer host Backlash. He is now booked to go toe to toe with Damian Priest in a street fight. Bunny came down to the ring after Priest was disqualified against Rey Mysterio. Kendo stick in hand, he proceeded to pummel Priest on the announce table. He then made the announcement to close the show.