WWE RAW from the Intro Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina on October 30, 2023 was both the Halloween episode, and the go-home show for Crown Jewel. We got a wonderfully fiery promo, a debut that really impressed me, some solid costuming, and a truly WTF moment. Here are my thoughts:

  • Wow, that Sami Zayn promo was fire! Zayn laced into Rhea Ripley verbally with the same passion he used on Roman Reigns just after leaving The Bloodline. Though some online have speculated that he may not have been talking about The Judgement Day at all, but rather about something real-world. In-universe, though, he was directing it at the right person. The right person physically, though, is Damian Priest, and I’m really looking forward to the two of them feuding over the World Championship (sorry Seth). Here’s the promo:
  • Sami’s amazing promo was bookended by a Judgement Day promo opening to the show, and the Ricochet versus Dominik Mysterio match. While Judgement Day kicking RAW off is nothing new, who came out was interesting. Rhea Ripley was flanked by Dirty Dom, and wannabe member JD McDonagh, with Damian Priest and Finn Bálor still in the back. It made sense when Ricochet came out for the save, leading into the match where Rhea and JD stayed at ringside.
  • The match itself was quick, but good. Ricochet provided his usual arial brilliance, Dom missed a Six One Nine, and interference and cheating won the day. While the real purpose of this match was to show how JD the wrestler had won over JD the faction, or at least Ripley and Mysterio, I do hope the Dom/Ricochet feud continues.
Ricochet Moonsaults onto Dominik Mysterio on WWE RAW October 30 2023
  • Not watching NXT on a regular basis, I really wanted to make a “Wish.com version of The Alpha Academy” post with a picture of The Creed Brothers. After watching the match, though, scratch that. These guys are damn impressive. Holding Chad Gable in the air for an extended period of time, as Brutus Creed did, and holding up Otis at all, let alone on your shoulders, as Julius Creed did, are a sight to see. Also, a man the size of Julius doing Standing Moonsaults and Standing Shooting Star Presses is not something you see every day. The Alphas were on the ball, too, as they always are. Otis got to do the Caterpillar, and Maxxine Dupri got into it outside of the ring with Ivy Nile who accompanied the Creeds, and I learned is a member of the Diamond Mine stable (along with the brothers) on NXT. I wasn’t expecting the Creed Brothers to win their first main roster match, but when Brutus came off the top rope to clothesline Otis off Julius’ shoulders, they did. And deservedly so.
Brutus Creed clotheslines Otis off Julius Creed’s shoulders during The Creed Brothers’ match with The Alpha Academy on WWE RAW October 30 2023
  • I did not have a babyface The Miz challenging Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship on my 2023 Bingo Card, but here we are. Gunther sending out his flunkies instead of showing up for the interview himself, and then berating Miz for being all that’s wrong with wrestling today makes perfect sense for his character. Miz hilariously dismantling Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci made sense, too, if you take The Miz seriously, as he does, they’re just not on his level. I love how the “Take it back” chants were done in the same rhythm as the “tiny balls” chants. The Greenville crowd caught on right away. The Miz was serious. While I don’t think Miz will be the one to dethrone the Ring General, I hope this match happens in a prominent spot at Survivor Series of the Royal Rumble, and not just on RAW.
The Miz responds to Gunther on WWE RAW October 30 2023
  • Now I understand DIY’s appeal. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, when together, feel like a real tag team, not just two mid-card singles stars slapped together. It’s like this is each of their best versions, and Meeting in the Middle is a great finisher. Also, I don’t think Vinci will last that much longer in Imperium.
  • If Candace LeRae really got her bell rung (old school way of saying a concussion) in her match with Xia Li, then stopping the match was the right call, and I hope Candace feels better soon. If it was a work (in storyline), then that makes no sense. Why fake an accident? It doesn’t give any more heat to Xia, and it’s not like they have to write Candace off TV, even if she did have to take some time off. If the show needed to be shortened, why have the match at all?
  • Drew McIntyre’s video promo felt real, as it played on the reality of the pandemic. World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins’ in-ring rebuttal put things in perspective, and effectively cast what Drew had said as a self-absorbed heel promo. Like yeah, Drew, people had it worse than you in 2020, much worse. And Sami and Cody got screwed by The Bloodline too, and one of them main evented WrestleMania, and the other is the most over babyface (or second to LA Knight, depending on who you ask) in the company. What’s your excuse? JD McDonagh attacking Rollins brought things back to the present, and to the very real threat of The Judgement Day.
World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins on WWE RAW October 30 2023
  • The actual McDonagh/Rollins match was solid, but we all knew, that even though it was non-title, McDonagh wouldn’t beat the champ. It was all about Priest coming to ringside with his briefcase.
  • Chelsea Green and Piper Niven win Halloween by dressing as The Hart Foundation. Natalya must have okayed Niven coming out as her late father Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, so if she’s okay with it, I am too. Green offering her sunglasses to a kid on the alleyway, then pulling them back was a perfect heel twist on her costume. This was a deep dive done right.
Piper Niven and Chelsea Green dressed as The Hart Foundation speak with Adam Pearce on WWE RAW October 30 2023
  • The Trick or Street Fight itself, between Chelsea and Natalya, was what you would expect from WWE on the day before Halloween. It was fun, there were pumpkins, a bump on candy corn, Nikki Cross’s head appearing, staring from under a table, Chelsea getting a pumpkin on her head, and then winning the match with an Unpretty Her. Can’t complain.
  • I said at the beginning that I’m looking forward to a Zayn/Priest feud, and I still am. Their main event match wasn’t that. It was good while it lasted, but when Dirty Dom and JD came down, and Jey Uso superkicked Priest, causing a DQ, we were all waiting for Cody Rhodes to arrive, and arrive he did. This was all about setting up Rhodes versus Priest at Crown Jewel, something they kind of had to do. Breaking Cody’s foot was not enough setup to make this feel important. Maybe the promo Cody cut after giving JD the Crossroads twice on the announce table will.
Cody Rhodes gives JD McDonagh the Cross Rhodes on the announce table on WWE RAW October 30 2023
  • One tidbit of info I gleaned during this match was that Sami would be at Crown Jewel after all, in the pre-show against McDonagh. It didn’t make sense, storyline-wise, to have him in the main show, but the Saudi crowds love Sami, so they’ll get to see him a second time this year.

So Miz is a babyface challenging Gunther, The Creed Brothers are future stars, Sami Zayn is on fire, and I now care about the World Title match. Happy Halloween!

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