Date: August 21, 2023
Location: Centre Vidéotron in Québec City
Show Recap —
Sami Zayn kicked off Raw in Quebec and his home province gave him a thunderous ovation. This went on for a good five minutes or so and probably would’ve gone longer if he let them. Zayn welcomed us to Raw while speaking French but he was abruptly interrupted by Judgment Day.
Judgment Day surrounded the ring like the Shield as the crowd booed. Zayn asked them if they really thought he came to Quebec alone.
Kevin Owens marched out. Owens took out Dominik Mysterio and Finn Bálor, chucking them both into the barricade. Zayn avoided a Damian Priest chokeslam and Owens gave Priest a stunner. Owens got a massive ovation. (Seriously, crowds rarely get this loud.)
Owens said it’s been far too long since he’s had a match on Raw so he challenged any two members of Judgment Day to a tag match. Judgment Day seemed on board. Owens swore at them in French and the crowd cheered.
The announcers thanked the fans for already breaking the WrestleMania gate record for WrestleMania 40.
Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods defeated Drew McIntyre & Matt Riddle (9:29)
McIntyre tossed Kingston and Woods around and they fell from the ring. Riddle was pumped and gave McIntyre a big hug. McIntyre grabbed him in response and suplexed him over the top onto New Day. McIntyre smiled and Riddle was excited (that McIntryre didn’t turn on him).
New Day were in control over Riddle anyway after a break. Kingston came off the top but Riddle nailed him in the face with a lifting knee strike. Riddle then gave Woods an avalanche fisherman’s suplex.
Before Riddle could even attempt a hot tag, Erik of the Viking Raiders yanked McIntyre off the apron. Kingston then gave Riddle a Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall win.
— Erik and Ivar laid out New Day and Riddle after the match but McIntyre fought them off by himself.
(The crowd was into McIntyre and Riddle as a team and seemed to particularly like McIntyre. They probably would’ve gotten a big pop if they won.)
Jackie Redmond interviewed JD McDonagh and Finn Bálor. She asked if McDonagh’s involvement was creating more tension within Judgment Day. McDonagh said he’s known Bálor his own life and he was like an older brother. He hoped his involvement would make Judgment Day even stronger.
Bálor was offended by Redmond’s question and reminded her that they laid out Zayn and Cody Rhodes last week thanks to McDonagh. Ripley (with Dom) interrupted the interview because she wanted to discuss tonight’s tag match with Bálor — but not with McDonagh. Bálor was ok with this and he left with Ripley.
There was a Shayna Baszler video with clips showcasing the damage of her strikes. “I’m not here to be your hero, I’m here to set it all on fire.”
Gunther cut a backstage promo. He said he was building his lifelong legacy and Chad Gable wouldn’t make a name at his expense. Gable’s fairytale story would end tonight.
Byron Saxton was about to interview Gable but Otis and Maxxine Dupri both stepped in and spoke highly of Gable. He said they were making him blush and yelled, “Thank you!”
They announced the return of John Cena on the September 1st edition of Smackdown.
Intercontinental Championship match: Chad Gable defeated Gunther via countout — Gunther retains the title (13:10)
They did some mat wrestling until Gunther chopped Gable down ahead of a break.
Gunther dropped Gable back-first onto the top of the barricade and Gable just barely got back in the ring at a nine count. Gunther used a double underhook suplex for two and whipped him hard into the corner. Gable was so beaten up that Gunther tried another Irish whip and Gable collapsed.
Gunther mockingly kicked him so Gable fired back with kicks of his own before applying an armbar between the ropes. Gable came off the top but Gunther chopped him and hit a clothesline for two. Gunther hit another clothesline for two.
Gable countered another clothesline attempt into a crucifix pin for two. Gunther applied a sleeper but Gable got to his feet with Gunther on his back. Gable fought back with running forearms and a back suplex.
Gable blocked a knee strike and applied an ankle lock but Gunther kicked his way out of it. Gable tackled Gunther and hammered away at him. Gable hit a few chops and a German suplex for two. The crowd chanted, “This is awesome.”
Gable set up for a moonsault but Gunther shoved him off the top to the outside. Gable ducked a chop and Gunther chopped the ring post. Gable then gave Gunther a German suplex over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area — which looked awesome.
Gable slipped back into the ring at a nine count and Gunther was counted out.
— Gable celebrated big as they announced him the winner by countout. Gable said he was coming back for more. Gunther was pissed and his Imperium teammates demanded Samantha Irvin announce that Gunther was still the champion.
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Cole said Gable was the first person to beat Gunther in a singles match since he debuted in WWE.
Judgment Day discussed who should team up tonight. Bálor thought it should be him and Dom. Priest thought it should be him and Dom since he was Mr. Money in the Bank and Dom was the NXT North American Champion. Bálor was offended.
Priest asked for Dom’s opinion but Dom sheepishly asked Ripley what she thought instead. Ripley had enough. She left to get ready for her match and told them they better make a decision by the time she was back or else she will.
Gunther screamed at Imperium backstage before leaving. Ludwig Kaiser said he was going to make things right and asked Giovanni Vinci what he planned on doing. Vinci looked around confused.
Cody Rhodes segment
Saxton interviewed Rhodes backstage. Rhodes said Bálor sat on him like he was furniture last week. Rhodes wondered what McDonagh’s problem was and said he looked like a Funko Pop (because of his big head and small body).
Rhodes didn’t want to continue this backstage and had Saxton follow him through the back and out to the stage. Rhodes greeted the fans in French. Rhodes also gave Cole and Wade Barrett a shout-out.
Rhodes said Judgment Day had the numbers advantage but they wouldn’t here in Quebec City. Rhodes said tonight was about Owens and Zayn. He would have their backs and we would see Judgment Day fall.
(So Rhodes won’t be at ringside but will appear if he must.)
Shinsuke Nakamura video
Nakamura did a video promo in Japanese and English (with English subtitles). Nakamura said Seth Rollins acted like he had it all but Nakamura knew Rollins and his weaknesses. The words Nakamura whispered to Rollins were, “I know about your back.”
Nakamura said Rollins’ back has been broken for many years. “He lives in pain and this pain creates a void inside of him that nothing can fill. No matter how successful he is, he is still in pain.” He’s in pain when he hugs his wife and holds his child. Rollins’ worst fears were coming true because he knows Nakamura can break him once and for all.
Nakamura said he had a void too. They live by a code that others do not. That code is displayed on Rollins’ back (his back tattoo) — the same back that was failing him. Rollins tried to live by that code but his body is crumbling under the pressure of his own vanity.
“Are you satisfied, Seth, with what you have done with your life?” Nakamura said he would not be satisfied until he takes this burden from Rollins and breaks him once and for all. “Watch your back.”
The title match was officially announced for Payback.
(I thought this was really well put together.)
Non-title match: Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley (w/NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio) defeated Candice LeRae (w/Indi Hartwell) (1:20)
LeRae got some offence in but Ripley won quickly by submission with a standing cloverleaf.
— Raquel Rodriguez limped out on a crutch after the match. Ripley mocked her but Rodriguez chucked to crutch at Ripley, revealing that her leg was fine. Rodriguez laid out Ripley who rolled out of the ring and backed off with Dom.
Rodriguez announced that she’s been cleared — and she’s got a title shot at Payback.
Tommaso Ciampa cut a backstage promo. He spoke about being this close against Gable, who got the IC title shot, and against Nakamura, who got a world title shot.
Ciampa didn't want to complain about being this close because he didn't want to be that guy, he came back to be the guy. He’s been that guy before and was dying to buy that guy again. Ciampa dropped a “do it yourself” line before saying he was here to “take over.”
Miz said he was a trendsetter while LA Knight would be remembered as a blip on the radar. Miz rambled about the same things he always does before saying he hand-picked his opponent tonight.
Akira Tozawa entered. Miz called Tozawa a former 24/7 Champion and it was unfortunate that the title didn’t exist anymore because it was a throwback to the Attitude Era — just like LA Knight. Miz asked Tozawa some questions and Tozawa kept responding, “Yeah!” which pissed off Miz. Miz booted Tozawa.
Akira Tozawa defeated The Miz (7:19)
Knight entered as the match started. The distraction allowed Tozawa to dropkick Miz out of the ring and hit a suicide dive. Knight tossed some tissues on Miz. (Knight joined commentary as they went to break.)
Miz was in control after a break. Tozawa fought back but Miz got his knees up on a diving senton attempt. Miz kept yelling at Knight so Tozawa rolled him up for the pinfall win.
— As Miz argued with the referee, Knight laid him out with Blunt Force Trauma. The crowd liked Knight.
McIntyre told Riddle that they weren’t working out as a team. New Day chimed in. Woods said the crowd loved them and they had a good thing going. Kingston agreed and said they had potential. Woods suggested their team name be “McRiddle.”
Woods offered them a rematch after they beat the Viking Raiders next week. Riddle asked McIntyre to team up again and McIntyre left without answering. Riddle was happy he didn’t say no.
Ripley asked Priest if they made a decision. Priest said no because Bálor didn’t trust him and wanted him to talk to McDonagh. Priest didn’t really trust Bálor either. Ripley was annoyed and said they were going to do things her way. She left without explaining.
Becky Lynch/Trish Stratus segment
Lynch entered. She said the person who is considered the best ever comes down to legacy. Lynch said her legacy wouldn’t be defined by wins or losses or by championships, it would be defined by survival. You can break her bones and put her on the shelf but she would always come back. She was unstoppable — not because she always won because she would always fight.
Lynch said she had Trish Stratus in a cage match at Payback but still had an issue to settle with Zoey Stark.
Stratus and Stark interrupted. Stratus was happy to be north of the border instead of with the “U.S.A-holes.” Stratus then turned on Quebec City because she said they meant nothing. They booed and she let them know that the Maple Leafs at least made the playoffs. Stratus said she should make like Justin Trudeau and split. (Trudeau and his wife recently separated.)
The crowd chanted something in French at Stratus who claimed she didn’t understand. Stratus said she would prove she was the greatest of her generation and of the current one.
Stratus said Payback would be her first cage match and she admitted that she was scared. But she was scared when she debuted at 24 years old with no experience — and she killed it. She was scared when she was the first woman to main event Raw — and she killed it.
Stratus once again found herself in a position where she had to prove herself. She was sick of having to prove herself and Lynch would see a side of her she hasn’t seen before. Stratus said Lynch should be scared because, “you’re not gonna survive this one, bitch.”
Lynch pretended to be scared and announced that she was facing Stark next week in a falls count anywhere match.
Saxton interviewed Chelsea Green and Piper Niven. Green called him “Bryan.” She rambled for a bit before Niven cut her off.
Non-title match: Women’s Tag Team Champions Chelsea Green & Piper Niven defeated Kayden Carter & Katana Chance (1:36)
Carter and Chance hit a nice double-team move on Green but she wasn’t the legal woman. Niven took out Carter and pinned Katana with a running crossbody.
Seth Rollins interview
Redmond interviewed Seth Rollins. He wanted to hear the crowd sing his song before moving on to Nakamura.
Rollins said Nakamura caught him off guard last week when he brought up his back injury. It wasn’t something he wanted to talk about publicly but he admitted to having two fractures in his lumbar spine.
Rollins has been living with it for four years and it doesn’t get better on its own — it gets worse. He didn’t know how much longer he could keep going at this level. But it was part of the gig. It was also part of the gig if Nakamura wanted to play mind games and take shots at him.
But if Nakamura wanted to bring his wife and daughter into this then he better be prepared to face him man-to-man. Rollins questioned if Nakamura wanted this because he wasn’t even there tonight. Rollins invited Nakamura to play mind games again next week. Rollins would be in the centre of the ring with the world singing his song.
Next week on Raw in Memphis:
Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark – falls count anywhere Chad Gable vs. Ludwig Kaiser
Priest entered moments before Ripley dragged out Bálor. She demanded that the two of them team up tonight. They marched down together to attack Owens and Zayn who got the better of the exchange before the match officially began.
Non-title match: Damian Priest & Finn Bálor (w/Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio) defeated Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn via disqualification (2:37)
Owens was all over Bálor to the delight of the crowd. Priest grabbed his briefcase but Zayn decked him. McDonagh tried sliding the briefcase in to Bálor but Owens grabbed it and hit Bálor with it for the DQ.
Judgment Day swarmed Owens and Zayn until Rhodes ran out to even the odds. Rhodes challenged them to a six-man match and the crowd cheered. Adam Pearce made it official.
Six-man tag team match: Cody Rhodes & Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn defeated Damian Priest, Finn Bálor & NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio (w/Rhea Ripley) (14:22)
The match was underway following a break.
Judgment Day took turns hitting moves on Owens — including Ripley who bodyslammed him. After a break, Owens dropped Bálor onto the announce desk but Priest tagged in and prevented a tag. The crowd chanted for Owens who superkicked Bálor. Bálor fell into Rhodes who fell off the apron. Zayn made the tag and he hammered away at Priest and knocked his partners off the apron.
Zayn gave Priest a tornado DDT for two. Bálor distracted the ref allowing Ripley to yank Zayn off the top. Priest followed with a chokeslam but Owens broke up the cover. Owens chucked Bálor out of the ring but Priest clotheslined Owens. Dom tagged in but Zayn got his knees up on a frog splash.
Rhodes reappeared on the apron and Zayn made the hot tag. Rhodes hit Dom with a Disaster Kick before hitting both Dom and Priest with a double Cody Cutter. Rhodes gave Bálor a Cross Rhodes before Dom tried a schoolboy for two.
Rhodes gave Dom a Cross Rhodes, Zayn gave Dom a Helluva Kick, and Owens finished him off with a stunner for the pinfall win.
— After the match, Zayn grabbed the mic and said, “Hey Judgment Day — better luck next time, eh bud?” Zayn thanked Quebec and posed with the title belts. The babyfaces embraced as the show ended.