WWE “Raw is XXX” celebrated the 30th anniversary of Raw with a star-studded cast of WWE legends and a major angle featuring a trial of Sami Zayn. The segment was originally announced as an acknowledgment ceremony with “every generation of the Anoa’i family” set to be in attendance. With recent reports suggesting The Rock will not be part of WrestleMania 39, WWE’s abrupt change suggests Rock will not be part of Raw is 30 or WrestleMania as WWE looks to avoid getting itself into another false advertising situation like AEW with Mercedes Mone.
Raw featured cameos from D-Generation X and The Undertaker, who reprised his role as The American Badass. Undertaker teased a chokeslam to LA Knight before whispering some words to Bray Wyatt. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came when Brock Lesnar made his return in the main event, laying out both Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory with an F-5. Lesnar’s F-5 on Theory resulted in Theory landing on Lashley for the win before WWE Raw rushed off the air.
Raw also advertised Bobby Lashley challenging Austin Theory for the United States Championship amid teases that The Hurt Business will reunite. The Judgment Day challenged The Usos for the Raw Tag Team Championships and Bayley faced Becky Lynch inside a Steel Cage.
Last week’s broadcast of WWE Raw was down big against the NFL playoffs, drawing just 1.489 million viewers.
WWE Raw 30 Results on January 23, 2023
- The Usos def. The Judgment Day | WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
- Seth Rollins and The Street Profits def. IMPERIUM
- Bianca Belair def. Sonya Deville
- Austin Theory def. Bobby Lashley | WWE United States Championship
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WWE Raw Ratings
- January 16, 2023 | 1.489 million
- January 9, 2023 | 1.693 million
- January 2, 2023 | 1.605 million
- December 26, 2022 | 1.075 million
- December 19, 2022 | 1.705 million
- WWE Raw Venue: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- WWE Raw Tickets Distributed: 13,940
- WWE Raw Tickets Available: 9
WWE Raw 30 Winners And Match Card
Hulk Hogan Kicks Off WWE Raw 30
Hulk Hogan was befallen by mic issues as the microphone cut in and out. A stagehand had to run out and give him a new mic just in time for the “whatchya gonna do” line and a reference to The Eagles.
Hogan didn’t really get booed by this crowd, but if a bunch of hardcore Eagles fans booed somebody for making racist remarks, they would be recreating the Spiderman clone meme.
Sami Zayn Spared in Tribal Court
Paul Heyman immediately launchd into the role of prosecutor, delivering scathing opening remarks that begun with “ECW is dead…and I wish the same to Sami Zayn!” In a nice touch and not-so-subtle ECW Easter Egg, Paul Heyman deemed Sami Zayn “guilty as charged.”
Just as Roman Reigns sicced his bailiff Solo Sikoa on Sami Zayn, Jey Uso thwarted a Samoan Spike attempt and acted as his defense attorney. He showed evidence in defense of Sami Zayn. Zayn was spared.
Sami Zayn has one more test for the Royal Rumble and I’m dying to know what it is. WWE continues to hit home runs with this angle, and they’ve used it to make the Royal Rumble match even more interesting. There will be a wide range of outcomes for Sami Zayn, including winning it outright.
This segment was better than an acknowledgment ceremony would have been, with or without The Rock.
The Usos def. The Judgment Day
Sami Zayn added himself to the tag team match after Jimmy Uso went down injured, similar to what happened with The Judgment Day a couple weeks ago. Fans only got into this match more as Zayn proved himself as an Honorary Uce.
This was one of the most exciting tag team matches I’ve ever seen and “technical wrestling” had nothing to do with it. That was all storyline-driven and I loved it.
Backstage, JBL and Ron Simmons had a mini-APA reunion alongside The Godfather.
The American Badass Undertaker Returns
LA Knight went from being on ice as Max Dupri to rubbing elbows with the likes of Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker.
The Undertaker retired, but The American Badass never did. The fact that WWE gave away this return on Raw 30, however, tells me he won’t be at Royal Rumble.
The Undertaker passed up a chokeslam and instead fed LA Knight to Bray Wyatt. The two then shared a staredown as fans chanted “holy s—t.”
The Undertaker whispered in Bray Wyatt’s ear. Hopefully they pay it off in the Pitch Black match, but I’m not holding my breath.
Damage CTRL Destroys Becky Lynch
When this Steel Cage went on this early in the show, my suspicions were at all-time highs.
The Steel Cage match was over before it even started as Damage CTRL beat the hell out of Becky Lynch. Per usual, Adam Pearce was helpless to stop it.
D-Generation X Featuring Kurt Angle
Fans once again did not chant for “Daddy Ass.” Instead, playing the role of Bad Ass Billy Gunn was Kurt Angle.
Sean Waltman could be heard laughing hysterically as Kurt Angle hilariously delivered his lines. Waltman was all of us.
IMPERIUM came out and they were doomed to be slotted in the FTR role.
Seth Rollins and The Street Profits def. IMPERIUM
Kurt Angle, wearing red, white and blue stripes, acted as the special guest referee.
Jerry “The King” Lawler joined the announce team and had trouble pronouncing “GUNTHER.”
Though it seemed IMPERIUM was doomed, Shawn Michaels and Triple H really sold how terrifying GUNTHER is.
After months of breakup rumors, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are now wearing identically matching gear.
Ric Flair Introduces Charlotte Flair; Belair def. Deville
Bianca Belair confronted Charlotte Flair. Flair vs. Belair just feels like a WrestleMania match, but the timing might line up since both are currently champions. A lot could change between now and April.
It feels like WWE is using Sonya Deville as a placeholder until they decide what they’re going to do with Charlotte Flair this WrestleMania season.
After Belair’s victory, Alexa Bliss cut a creepy promo, once again evoking the names of Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy.
Kevin Owens Stuns Miz, Calls Out Roman Reigns
Kevin Owens gave his word, not that he would win, but that he would try to win and do his best.
Though he had a minimal role on this show, some of the more memorable modern-day moments on Raw featured The Miz and/or MizTV. One of my favorites was Bobby Lashley beating The Miz to win the WWE Championship n 2021.
Austin Theory def. Bobby Lashley; Brock Lesnar Returns
What was good about this show is the legends largely played a background role rather than laying waste to the current generation. A bit departure from the Vince McMahon tribute shows.
Corey Graves referred to an attempted table spot as “utilizing standard office furniture for nefarious means.”
Fans prepared for The Hurt Business to save Bobby Lashley at some point. Instead, they got Brock Lesnar, who screwed Lashley out of the title.