WWE RAW Creative Updates, Conflicting Reports on Vince McMahon, WWE Did Not Want to Disrespect Natalya, Endeavor – RAW Note
Plans for WWE RAW and Main Event underwent multiple changes during the recent tapings in Norfolk, VA. Originally, the plan for Main Event was to feature Natalya vs. Zoey Stark and Bronson Reed vs. Riddick Moss. However, WWE decided to scrap Natalya vs. Stark but kept Reed vs. Moss. Additionally, the Viking Raiders vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin was moved from the RAW card to Main Event.
As for the original plan for RAW, it was scheduled for Cody Rhodes to open the show and explain why he brought Jey Uso to RAW. However, Jey Uso ended up opening the show and was interrupted by Kevin Owens and The Judgment Day. This led to Uso and Owens losing a non-title match to Damian Priest and Finn Balor due to miscommunication.
Cody Rhodes eventually came out around 9:30pm, but before he could discuss Uso, WWE NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio interrupted him, accompanied by JD McDonagh. Mysterio claimed that Uso would join The Judgment Day and make Rhodes look foolish. This resulted in Rhodes attacking Mysterio, but then McDonagh blindsided Rhodes. Despite the attack, Rhodes fought back and executed a Cody Cutter on Mysterio and a CrossRhodes on McDonagh. He then hit another CrossRhodes on Mysterio before McDonagh pulled him to safety.
There have been conflicting reports regarding the involvement of Chairman Vince McMahon in these changes. While some reports suggest that McMahon was responsible for most of the changes, it should be noted that he has not been physically present at RAW in a regular role for months. McMahon has been checking in remotely with changes or suggestions since his major spinal surgery in late July. It is important to clarify that McMahon did make multiple changes to the show, but WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H also made his own changes throughout the day.
According to PWInsider, McMahon was not present at RAW as the show was run by Triple H and Creative’s Executive Director Bruce Prichard, which has become the norm in recent times. The final RAW script was not finalized until 5pm ET, with several matches and segments being shifted, added, and dropped until then.
A report from Fightful Select further revealed that even though Cody Rhodes’ segment was no longer the opener, he still received the same amount of time as originally planned. The match between The Viking Raiders and Benjamin/Alexander was moved to Main Event, where it was supposed to take place after the Shayna Baszler vs. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Chelsea Green match. However, Imperium vs. Alpha Academy and Tommaso Ciampa followed the women’s match instead.
Regarding Natalya vs. Stark, the plans for this match changed multiple times throughout the day before ultimately being pulled from Main Event. Zoey Stark ended up working with Baszler, while Natalya was involved in a backstage segment with Raquel Rodriguez. WWE wanted to avoid disrespecting Natalya after she stepped up and pulled double duty at WWE Superstar Spectacle in India when Becky Lynch was unable to make the trip.
There were also some time adjustments that affected the presentation of the main event between Rodriguez and WWE Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley. Additionally, there were two segments that weren’t listed with specifics internally, one after the opening tag match (possibly Drew McIntyre – Xavier Woods segment) and one after Imperium vs. Tommaso