Featured below are complete WWE Monday Night Raw results from Monday, May 8, 2023. The following report was written by Rajah.com reporter Matt Boone (@MattBoone0709) as the show aired live from 8-11pm EST. on the USA Network.
The "WWE Then. Now. Forever. Together." trademark opening signature airs as always to get things officially off-and-running for this week's post-Backlash 2023 episode of Monday Night Raw.
World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Kicks Off Tonight
From there, we shoot to a video package showing Triple H's announcement of the new Raw-exclusive World Heavyweight Championship. The video then transitions to promote the Raw Superstars involved in the first-half of the tournament designed to determine the inaugural title-holder.
Tonight, two matches will take place and two more on Friday Night SmackDown later this week, with the winners emerging to the finals at WWE Night Of Champions later this month.
Cody Rhodes Wants To Make Another "Moment" In Jacksonville Tonight
We then shoot inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL., where Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves welcome us to this week's post-Backlash edition of the weekly three-hour WWE on USA Network television program.
Then the theme for "The American Nightmare" hits and out comes Cody Rhodes, complete with the fireworks during his ring walk and the loud "WHOA!" at the correct moment during his catchy-ass entrance tune.
As he settles inside the squared circle, highlights are shown of his big win over Brock Lesnar at Saturday's WWE Backlash 2023 premium live event in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We then return live to Cody in the ring with a mic in-hand as his music wraps up.
"So, Jacksonville ..." he says with a tone to his voice clearly obvious that he's aware this is his old home turf for AEW. "DUUUVAL!" he continues. "What do you wanna talk about?" He says many people know this was his home during the pandemic.
He says "we made a lot of wonderful memories together." He follows up by saying he wants to make another one tonight. But first, he wants to talk about Backlash. The biggest and most-watched Backlash of all-time in Puerto Rico.
He says he had a daunting task of competing against "The Beast" -- the most decorated combat sports athlete -- Brock Lesnar. He says he learned what Lesnar is made of, because it was all over his hands. He said he also learned that Brock can be beaten -- because he beat him.
Now he moves on to talk about being back on a path to finish the story. He turns his attention to the beautiful World Heavyweight Championship belt on the podium with the red velvet carpet under it. He exits the ring and tells his friends in the production truck to throw up the bracket for the tournament that kicks off tonight and concludes at WWE Night Of Champions.
World Heavyweight Championship (Opening Round)
Seth "Freakin'" Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Damian Priest
"Jacksonville ... let the tournament begin!" He says. Before that, however, we hear "BURN IT DOWN!" And out comes the conductor of competing "whoa's" in entrance tunes designed for crowd sing-alongs, "The Visionary" himself, Seth Rollins. He heads to the ring as Cody heads to the back.
As he settles in the ring, Kevin Patrick talks us into a pre-match commercial break. When we return from the break, we see highlights of the epic San Juan Street Fight between Damian Priest and Bad Bunny.
From there, we shoot backstage and Cathy Kelley stutters her way through introducing The Judgment Day member. Priest talks about the brutal San Juan Street Fight and how his name will live forever because it took an entire island to keep him down.
He vows to put down Shinsuke Nakamura and Seth "Freakin'" Rollins by himself. He says from there, we'll see if it's he or Finn Balor who brings the new World Heavyweight Championship home to The Judgment Day.
He laughs and walks off as his music hits in the arena. Out he comes to some boos and he makes his way to the ring. The commentators point out Priest is limping as he settles inside the squared circle, pointing to the physicality in the aforementioned San Juan Street Fight.
Now the violins play and the crowd pops as "The King of Strong Style" heads out to make his official debut on Raw after being drafted by the red brand in the 2023 WWE Draft a couple of weeks ago. Shinsuke Nakamura heads to the ring and settles inside for our opening contest.
The first round of the World Heavyweight Championship tournament designed to crowd the inaugural title-holder that will b decided at WWE Night Of Champions later this month is now officially off-and-running, as the bell sounds to get this one started.
Priest immediately jumps off into the offensive lead, taking it to Rollins and Nakamura straight out of the gate. The signs of wears on his leg is already showing, as he limps and sells the leg multiple times as soon as the action gets going.
Rollins ends up slowing Priest's momentum down. He throws him out of the ring, where he crashes and burns on the floor. Nakamura and Rollins stare each other down in the ring and the fans pop as they circle each other and eventually start mixing it up.
Nakamura drops Rollins with a scissors kick to the back of his head / neck and then slides in for a baseball slide-style drop kick. He runs and hits a sliding German suplex on Rollins. He rolls out to the floor and avoids a big boot from Priest.
He then runs and blasts him with a knee to the grill and a big knee drop over the back of his neck as he hangs over the hard part of the ring apron. We see a shot of the World Heavyweight Championship on the fancy podium as we head into a mid-match commercial break as this first round tournament bout continues.
When we return from the break, we see Rollins get laid out on the floor. Nakamura heads to the top-rope and connects with a big shot on Priest on the way down. Rollins re-enters the ring as all three guys recover and are all back at it in a three-way brawl.
Priest hits a big shot that decks Nakamura and then hits an elevated flat-liner for a close near fall. All three guys end up laid out moments later and the crowd pops, sensing a close to this one coming when they finally do get back up.
Rollins fires up and starts to take over, until Priest crotches him on the top rope. He goes for a Broken Arrow off the top but Rollins escapes as Priest's bum wheel gives out on him. Rollins hits a Stomp on Priest for a close near fall, which Nakamura breaks up.
From there, all three guys trade big high spots and near falls until finally Seth "Freakin'" Rollins emerges victorious. With the win, he advances in the tournament semi-finals in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament.
Winner and ADVANCING in the tournament: Seth "Freakin' Rollins
Imperium Runs Into Undisputed WWE Tag-Team Champions Backstage
We shoot backstage after the match and we see Imperium duo Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser, who are walking the hall-ways talking about WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER making his way to Raw next week.
They stumble into Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens backstage and the two teams bicker for a bit. Vinci and Kaiser tell the two if they disrespect them, not only are they putting themselves but their titles in danger.
Owens questions if they're like GUNTHER's henchmen like The Usos are for Roman Reigns. He asks what's going on with henchmen. Zayn tells them they can settle their differences in the ring tonight.
Otis vs. Mustafa Ali
Now we shoot back inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena where we hear "SHOOSH! SHOOSH PLEASE!" as Alpha Academy duo Chad Gable and Otis emerge, with Maxine Dupree by their side. As they head to the ring, we head to another commercial break.
When we return from the break, we see Otis in the ring ready for singles action. The theme for Mustafa Ali hits and out comes the modern day "Positively Page" version of Diamond Dallas Page. The bell sounds and we're off-and-running with this one.
Otis dominates from the word "go," however when he has Ali down and out, we see Maxxine and Gable both get on the ring apron and give him conflicting instructions. Gable wants the Caterpillar while Maxxine wants something different.
This ends up back-firing on the Alpha Academy member / emerging model, as Ali takes over from there and seconds later, finishes off the big man for the pin fall victory to keep his momentum going.
Winner: Mustafa Ali
World Heavyweight Championship (Opening Round)
Cody Rhodes vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz
We head backstage and see The Miz in his ring gear. He talks into the camera about being the first two-time Grand Slam Champion in WWE history and vows to become the first-ever World Heavyweight Champion when he wins the tournament and is crowned champion at WWE Night Of Champions.
On that note, his music hits and he makes his way out and heads to the ring, where it's time for our second triple-threat match of the evening in the opening round of the World Heavyweight Championship Tournament.
From there, we head to a pre-match commercial break as "The Most Must-See Superstar" settles inside the squared circle. When we return from the break, we see photos of The Miz and Maryse at the Kentucky Derby horse race over the weekend.
Now we shoot back inside the ring where we see Finn Balor wrapping up his ring entrance, in progress. His music dies down and then the heart beat kicks in to start off the catchy-ass entrance theme for "The American Nightmare."
Cody Rhodes emerges and makes his way down to the ring for our second first-round tourney bout here on the post-Backlash episode of Monday Night Raw. The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one.
We see Rhodes jump off to a hot start, dominating the offense and taking it to Miz and Balor coming straight out of the gate. As he continues to control the action, we hear Corey Graves question if he can pull off the victory as we head into a mid-match commercial break.
When we return, we see Cody fighting from underneath, but he hits a double Cutter to flatten Miz and Balor. The two heels take over from there, however, and we see Balor go for the double stomp off the top-rope. He misses and Miz connects with a Skull Crushing Finale.
As the action continues, we see Cody fire up for a big comeback. He gets close to finishing this one off, when out of nowhere Brock Lesnar emerges and attacks Cody on the floor. Graves points out that there are no disqualifications in triple-threat matches. Is that a rule for all triple-threats? Alrighty!
Back in the ring, we see Balor pull in front and connect this time after leaping off the top-rope with his Coup de Grace. He scores the pin fall victory and then our attention returns to Lesnar, who is beating down Cody some more at ringside.
Winner and ADVANCING: Finn Balor
LOOK AT THIS FACE: Brock Lesnar Wants To FIGHT Cody Rhodes
Brock gets on the mic and says, "So ... Cody. What do YOU want to talk about?" His mic doesn't work though.
He gets in the camera and shouts, "LOOK AT THIS FACE!" and we see his swollen eye, cut eye and stitches. His mic works now. He leans down and tells Cody he wants to talk about "ME! ME! ME! ME!"
He says, "Cody Rhodes ... LOOK AT MY FACE! You wanna take credit for this, Cody? You lucked into this face. You lucked into a victory on Saturday night. I wanna talk about a fight. I WANNA FIGHT! You -- me -- WWE Night Of Champions. A fight. What do you got to say, huh?! Who is the coward now??"
He throws the mic down and walks away. We head to another commercial break.
An Update On Cody Rhodes
When we return from the break, we see highlights of the savage attack from Brock Lesnar to Cody Rhodes, complete with the F-5 through the commentary table. We then shoot backstage live and see a trainer helping a beat up Cody Rhodes to the medics room.
Rhea Ripley vs. Dana Brooke
Now we shoot back inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville where the SmackDown Women's Champion Rhea Ripley emerges and makes her way down to the ring for our next match of the evening.
Ripley settles inside the squared circle and her theme music dies down and Dominik Mysterio takes his place at ringside. Now we shoot to a split-screen "earlier today" interview, which shows Dana Brooke vowing to show her "untapped potential."
From there, we hear the theme music for Dana Brooke as the women's wrestling star makes her way down to the ring to challenge the champ. The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one.
We see Ripley dominate straight out of the gate. She dominates for the first two minutes or so of the bout and then Brooke connects with a DDT. Right after that, however, she leaps off the top-rope and is caught and Donkey Kong'd into the mat by Ripley.
Ripley follows that up by hitting a Rip-Tide. She then grabs up the legs of Dana and slaps a prison lock submission on her for the tap out victory. Pretty much a squash match. Dana Brooke's potential isn't untapped, it tapped out.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
Natalya Has Sights Set On "Mami's" Title
After the match, Ripley hits Brooke with another Rip-Tide and then re-applies the prison lock submission. As Dana yells in agony, the guitar screech hits and the theme for Natalya hits.
Out comes what Kevin Patrick describes as "the gate-keeper of the women's locker room." She settles in the ring and has an intense face-to-face stare down with the SmackDown Women's Champion.
Zoey Stark Ready To Make A Splash On Raw Tonight
We shoot backstage and we see Byron Saxton with a big cheesy grin on his face. He welcomes his guest at this time, former NXT Superstar Zoey Stark. She enters the camera shot and talks about being ready to make a splash on the WWE main roster.
She says she is confident she can beat anyone in the women's division on the Raw roster. Up walks Nikki Cross, who ends up nervously accepting a challenge from Stark for a showdown later tonight in Starks' official Raw in-ring debut.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Imperium
Now we head back inside the arena where Kevin Owens' theme hits. "The Prize Fighter" emerges and stops. His music cuts off and then the super catchy-ass entrance tune for Sami Zayn plays and the crowd goes wild.
The Undisputed WWE Tag-Team Champions make their way down to the ring for our next match of the evening. As they settle inside the squared circle, we head to another quick pre-match commercial break.
When we return from the break, we see the Imperium duo of Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci make their way to the ring. As they do, a video package airs showing some of the highlights of the recent WWE European tour, an annual post-WrestleMania tradition in the company.
As we settle back in live in the ring, we see this one get off-and-running with Zayn and Owens jumping into the early offensive lead. We then head to a mid-match commercial break as Imperium starts to pull into the offensive driver's seat.
We're back from the break and we see Kaiser and Vinci still in control of the action. Zayn eventually fires up and takes over, hitting his kick in the corner finisher for the pin fall victory. The crowd goes wild as Zayn and Owens celebrate their latest tag-team victory.
Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
In-Dex Aren't Interested In Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green's Movement
We shoot backstage and we see the duo of Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green getting petitions signed by various Superstars. They approach newcomer to Raw, Indi Hartwell, who is still on a bum wheel.
She is with Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano when Dexter Lumis walks up. They want nothing to do with the petition. Deville and Green tell them they'll regret that when they win the tag team titles.
Nikki Cross vs. Zoey Stark
Nikki Cross' theme hits back inside the arena and out comes the WWE veteran for our next match of the evening. As she settles inside the squared circle, we head to a pre-match commercial break.
When we return, the theme for Zoey Stark hits and out she comes to make her WWE main roster in-ring debut here on the post-Backlash episode of Monday Night Raw. She settles inside the squared circle and her music dies down.
The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one. Stark's talents are being praised by Graves on commentary as she dominates Cross in what is a complete one-sided affair from the word "go."
Cross finally slows Starks' momentum down, getting in some offense of her own after a few minutes of being completely on the defensive. Cross hits a drop kick on Starks while she's trying to get up. She pounds her chest and then runs across the ring for a splash on Stark in the corner.
We see Cross look for a tornado DDT to Stark off the ropes. Stark counters and blasts her with a super kick. She follows that up with a Z360 for the pin fall victory.
Winner: Zoey Stark
Dominik Mysterio Won't Tolerate "Mami" Being Disrespected
We shoot backstage and Byron Saxton is standing by with the SmackDown Women's Champion Rhea Ripley, who has Dominik Mysterio by her side as always. As she gloats about her victory and face-off with Natalya, we hear some laughter.
Up walks Xavier Woods and Akira Tozawa who upset Dom with their disrespect of "Mami" by being loud. They argue back-and-forth and a match is set up between Dom and Woods for later tonight.
Trish Stratus Leads A Search For "The Man" ... Who Is Found!
From there, we shoot to another hallway backstage and we see WWE Hall of Fame legend Trish Stratus walking around putting up "Missing" signs throughout the building with Becky Lynch's face on them. On that note, we head to another commercial break.
When we return from the break, Trish makes her way out to the ring as we see video highlights of her heel turn on "The Man" Becky Lynch several weeks ago. Trish is wearing a "Missing Becky Lynch" t-shirt like the posters she was hanging up.
Now she gets on the mic and asks "Has anyone seen her?" She assures Kevin Patrick that his fellow country-woman will be okay. He tells Corey Graves to tweet it out for her. She says for fans not to worry because she will be found and everyone can then say, "Thank you, Trish!"
She goes on to mock Lynch's daughter for being dumb and not knowing her colors. She says Lynch will be back, but she just won't be coming to Raw -- because this is her show and her spotlight. Just to be clear, no one is going to steal her spotlight, she says.
Whether you're Becky Freakin' Lynch or not, no one is gonna steal her spotlight. The theme for Becky Lynch hits but no one comes out. Trish laughs and says we're so stupid. She tells a story about her own daughter and a doll she had. She says she wanted to name the doll Becky Lynch.
Trish says she questioned why she would want to do that. She says her daughter told her because she's pretty. Before she can say anything else, the theme for Becky Lynch hits again. Trish says the joke is over and to turn the music off.
That doesn't happen though, as Lynch appears in the ring behind her. She flashes a big phony grin to Trish and then lays her out. Trish scurries and exits the ring and heads up the ramp as fans chant "Becky! Becky!" She says if Trish wants her -- she's right here. Her music hits again to end the segment.
Another Update On Cody Rhodes
We shoot backstage after highlights are shown again of Brock Lesnar's savage attack on Cody Rhodes earlier this evening. We shoot backstage live and we see Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens sitting with "The American Nightmare" as medics check on him.
Xavier Woods vs. Dominik Mysterio
Now we head back inside the arena where The New Day theme hits and out comes Xavier Woods. He heads to the ring for our next match of the evening. As he settles inside the squared circle, we head to a quick pre-match commercial break.
When we return from the break, The Judgment Day theme hits and out comes "The Hardened Criminal" himself emerges with "Mami" by his side. Dominik Mysterio heads to the ring ready for action.
He settles inside the ring and his music dies down. The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one. We see Woods jump off to an early offensive advantage, but this doesn't last, as Dom starts to take over.
As Dom settles into the offensive driver's seat, we head to a mid-match commercial break as the action continues. When we return from the break, we see Dom still in the offensive lead. Woods starts to fight from underneath and eventually takes over control of the action.
Things wrap up soon after, with Woods nearly finishing off Dom, only for Ripley to get involved and provide a huge assist to her fellow Judgment Day member, helping Dom pick up the "W."
Winner: Dominik Mysterio
Indus Sher Ready To Shake The Foundation Of Raw
We head to another commercial break after seeing Finn Balor warming up backstage for his showdown with Seth "Freakin'" Rollins later in the show to determine the winner of the Raw side of the Night of Champions tournament.
When we return from the break, we see Veer and Sanga staring at the camera with hard looks in their eyes as we hear Jinder Mahal talking in the background.
"The Modern Day Maharaja" talks about how these two men have conquered continents and now, after waiting patiently for their moment to strike, from the shadows we will see Indus Sher emerge to shake the very foundation of Raw.
The Miz Can't Get Shinsuke Nakamura To Have His Back
As we return from the break, we see Shinsuke Nakamura looking disappointed backstage when up walks The Miz. He complains to him about how he told him last week they need to have each other's backs.
He says tonight was proof of that, because had they had each other's backs, they would still be in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Miz tries telling Nakamura to team up with him going forward, but instead "The King of Strong Style" challenges him to a one-on-one showdown on next week's Raw.
Cody Rhodes Accept Challenge To Fight Brock Lesnar At WWE Night Of Champions
Now we see Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green with their petition running around the backstage area some more. Up walks the WWE Women's Tag-Team Champions Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez. The two teams bicker back-and-forth.
We then shoot to Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves who talk about Brock Lesnar's savage assault on Cody Rhodes and subsequent challenge to a fight at WWE Night Of Champions earlier in the show.
From there, we shoot backstage where Cathy Kelley is standing by with Cody Rhodes. She brings up the attack from Brock Lesnar and how it resulted in him losing his chance to advance in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament to "finish his story."
Cody says he knows she had to ask that question. He says it took him out of a tourney that was his to win. He doesn't know what to say. He walks off, but then turns around and says he will say this. This is the second time he's been attacked by Lesnar.
Rhodes talks about being the man around here and proving it in every metric there is to measure success. He brings up Brock Lesnar wanting a fight. He says against all his better judgment -- let's fight. At WWE Night Of Champions 2023 -- Cody accepts.
World Heavyweight Championship (Semifinals)
Seth "Freakin'" Rollins vs. Finn Balor
We head back inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. where the theme for "The Prince" Finn Balor hits. Out comes the leader of The Judgment Day for his scheduled semifinal showdown in the ongoing WWE Night Of Champions World Heavyweight Championship Tournament.
As Balor settles inside the squared circle for our final match of the evening, we head to a pre-match commercial break. When we return from the break, Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves run down some confirmed matches for next week's show.
From there, we shoot back inside the arena where the familiar sounds of Seth Rollins' theme hits. The fans "Whoa-oh-oh" loudly as he makes his way to the ring for the semi-finals of the WWE Night Of Champions World Heavyweight Championship tourney against Finn Balor.
The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running. The fans are still singing the Rollins theme song as these two start to mix it up in the early goings here in our main event of the evening. We see Rollins jump into the early offensive lead.
Rollins doesn't hold onto control of the action too long, however, as Balor takes over as the fight spills out to the floor at ringside. We see Balor hoist Rollins up and connect with a "buckle bomb" type power-bomb into the barricade.
He yells at him as Graves reminds us on commentary that this was the same move Rollins did to Balor in the past that injured him. On this note, we shift gears and head into a mid-match commercial break, our last of the evening, as the main event tourney semi-final continues.
When we return from the break, we see Rollins blasting Balor with some big shots as he tries to shift the offensive momentum back in his favor. Balor slows him down and grounds him on the mat, where he slaps a fujiwara arm-bar on him and cranks back on it.
Rollins escapes and connects with a sling blade and then a huge super kick for a close near fall. Both guys are down and out and slowly recovering now as the crowd starts to rumble, knowing the finish is coming soon.
As the two recover, they end up outside the ring trading shots. Rollins starts to take over, ramming Balor face-first into the hard part of the ring apron over-and-over and over again. We see Balor bleeding from the mouth now as Rollins continues to control the action back in the ring.
Balor hits a double stomp and then heads to the top-rope for his Coup de Grace finisher. Rollins avoids it and hits a super-plex off the top-rope and floats over. He looks to follow-up with another one but his arm gives out. Balor hits a falcon arrow.
Both guys are down and slow to recover again. This time when they get up, we see Rollins hit a one-armed pedigree. He can't keep him down for a three count, with Graves again pointing on commentary to his arm as the reason.
Rollins stands up and looks around as the fans sing his "Whoa-oh-oh" from the theme. Rollins seems to realize his Stomp doesn't require the use of his arm. Balor tries for something but Rollins counters with an inverted stomp. He follows that up with another stomp and scores the pin fall victory.
With the win, Seth "Freakin'" Rollins wins the Raw side of the WWE Night Of Champions World Heavyweight Championship tournament. He will meet the winner of the SmackDown side of the tourney in the finals at WWE Night Of Champions on 5/27 to determine the inaugural World Heavyweight Champion. That's how this week's show goes off the air. Thanks for joining us!
Winner and ADVANCING in the tournament: Seth "Freakin'" Rollins
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