Damian Lillard leads the charge for Bucks; road playoff teams reeling; Reddick takes wild finish at Talladega

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🏀 Good morning to everyone but especially to …

With Giannis Antetokounmpo out with a strained calf, the buck stopped with Damian Lillard in Milwaukee as the 2024 NBA playoffs began. On Sunday, Lillard set the tone in the Bucks’ 109-94 Game 1 win over the Pacers.

Upset-minded Indiana came into Fiserv Forum hoping to catch the host Bucks without their two-time MVP in the lineup. However, Lillard made sure those dreams were dashed rather quickly. Lillard exploded for 35 points in the first half and helped Milwaukee take a 17-point lead into the locker room at intermission.

After scoring 19 points in the first frame, Lillard walked off the court telling the crowd, “This is what y’all brought me here for.” Indeed. Lillard would end the first half with 35 points, setting a franchise playoff record, but he went scoreless in the second half. But it didn’t matter — the Bucks nursed their 69-42 halftime lead to the easy win.

The Bucks are hopeful that Antetokounmpo can return at some point in the playoffs, but if Lillard keeps throwing up nearly three dozen points in the first half, the 2021 Finals MVP can take his time.

👍 Honorable mentions
Nelly Korda, the No. 1 women’s golfer in the world, tied an LPGA record with five straight wins.
Scottie Scheffler is poised to make it four victories in his last five tournaments with a five-stroke lead at the RBC Heritage.
Deion Sanders and Colorado landed former Pittsburgh DE Dayon Hayes out of the NCAA Transfer Portal.
🏀 🏒 And not such a good morning for …
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They say home is where the heart is, and it’s apparently where all the wins are too. This weekend’s series openers in the NBA and NHL playoffs led to a 0-14 mark for the road teams.

In the NBA, road teams went 0-8 and suffered an average margin of defeat of 13.3 points. With a chance to take a 1-0 series lead over the Kawhi Leonard-less Clippers, the Mavericks laid an egg in a 109-97 loss. Oddly, the closest NBA game of the weekend saw the No. 8 seed Pelicans, without Zion Williamson, take the top-seeded Thunder down to the wire. CJ McCollum missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have given New Orleans a stunning Game 1 win.

In the NHL, the road teams were generally more competitive, but the results were the same. Visiting clubs scored a combined 13 goals on the weekend, and six of those came in a losing effort by the Avalanche. But perhaps the most discouraging performance was that of the great Alex Ovechkin, who failed to register so much as a shot on goal against the Rangers in the Captials’ 4-1 loss.

All those road teams have now dug themselves an early postseason hole, and they may want to consider asking the hotel for some new sheets or softer pillows.

👎 Not so honorable mentions
Injuries keep mounting for the Red Sox with slugger Tristan Cases now landing on the 10-day IL.
Aaron Judge went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts against the Rays, continuing his awful start to the season.
A possible Rockies walk-off home run was called back due to fan interference (but they would go on to win the game anyway).
🏎 Reddick wins amid chaotic finish at Talladega
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NASCAR was in Talladega for the GEICO 500 on Sunday, and the marquee race didn’t disappoint. The entire race was turned on its head on the final lap, and Tyler Reddick was able to steal the sixth win of his Cup career with mayhem unfolding around him.

On the final lap, race leader Michael McDowell was facing some serious pressure from Brad Keselowski, and he was desperate to remain in front of the pack. Unfortunately, that desperation cost those two drivers and a few others who were jockeying for position down the stretch.

McDowell went from high to low as he tried to block Keselowski and keep him in his rearview mirror when Keselowski’s No. 6 car clipped the back of McDowell’s No. 34. McDowell went spinning out, chaos ensued and Reddick capitalized. With cars flailing all around him, Reddick’s No. 45 car emerged from the pack unscatched. Reddick hit the accelerator and blew by Keselowski at the last second to pick up a big win for himself and 23XI racing.

Reddick was among the 23 different drivers to hold a lead at some point during the GEICO 500.
Reddick’s late push represented the 72nd and final lead change of the day.
This is the second consecutive Talladega race in which there were 70 or more lead changes.
The legend himself, Michael Jordan, was in attendance for one of his team’s wins for the first time.

As for McDowell, it was a frustrating finish for him after leading more laps than any other driver (36). His six points in the Cup standings are little consolation for a devastating last lap.

⚾ Ohtani passes Matsui in MLB record books
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As it turns out, Shohei Ohtani is pretty good at hitting the baseball a long way. On Sunday, Ohtani became the most prolific Japanese slugger in MLB history, passing former Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui in the process.

In the third inning of the Dodgers’ 10-0 drubbing of the Mets, Ohtani hammered his fifth home run of the season off Adrian Houser into the right field bleachers at Dodger Stadium.

That was the 176th home run of Ohtani’s MLB career, and that set the record for the most homers hit by a Japanese-born player in MLB history. That pushed him past Matsui, who smacked 175 dingers in his 10-year career.

To make Ohtani’s historic feat even more impressive, he needed roughly 60% of the plate appearances as Matsui to hit 176 homers. Matsui hit 175 round-trippers in 5,066 plate appearances. Ohtani needed just 2,979 plate appearances to pass him.

Oddly enough, Ohtani’s five home runs this season put him second all-time among Japanese-born Dodgers. The person he’s chasing down? His manager, Dave Roberts, who hit seven career home runs in 302 games with the Dodgers.

⚾ Separating contenders from pretenders in MLB
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The MLB season is still young, and everyone is still trying to separate the pretenders from the contenders. That’s the case with the Guardians, a team that has some skeptics despite its 16-6 record.

In his latest CBS Sports MLB Power Rankings, Matt Snyder reluctantly placed the Guardians in the top five, despite his doubts about their personnel. Snyder explains his questions about Cleveland’s resume, which doesn’t exactly include many wins against murderer’s row.

Snyder: “First off, they are 6-1 against the A’s. I know the A’s aren’t as atrocious as last year, but they aren’t a good baseball team, either. The Guardians are also 2-1 against the hapless White Sox, meaning half of their wins are against two of the worst teams in baseball.”
With 140 games left this season, there is still plenty of time for the Guardians to show that they really do belong on this list. But, for now, their hot start has given them a spot in our weekly top five:

Atlanta Braves (14-6)
Baltimore Orioles (15-7)
New York Yankees (15-7)
Philadelphia Phillies (14-8)
Cleveland Guardians (16-6)
📺 What we’re watching Monday
🏀 Game 2: Magic at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. on NBA TV
🏒 Game 2: Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Game 2: 76ers at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Game 2: Islanders at Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
🏒 Game 1: Golden Knights at Stars, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
⚾️ Mets at Giants, 9:45 p.m. on ESPN+
🏀 Game 2: Lakers at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Game 1: Kings at Oilers, 10 p.m. on ESPN2

Can Knicks go up 2-0 vs. 76ers? Will Lakers guard struggle again?

Now that the 2024 NBA postseason has begun, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals.

Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers
I was excited to hammer the under again in this series, and truthfully, you could probably justify under bets in every game these two teams play. But aside from the fact that doing so would be boring, the line dropped five points between Games 1 and 2. I’d still advocate the play, and would do so at any total until it drops down into the 195-point range, but for now, let’s turn our attention to an individual player. Georges Niang shot 1-of-7 from the floor and 0-of-4 from deep. He’s in the game to make 3s. The Cavaliers have a better version of that player in Sam Merrill. He’s smaller, but Orlando’s offense is so inept that the Cavs can stomach his defense. Niang played 24 minutes and 42 seconds in Game 1, the highest total of his playoff career. His minutes tend to go down as series progress because his weaknesses are relatively simple to game-plan against. I’m expecting more Merrill minutes and fewer Niang minutes. The Pick: Niang Under 1.5 3’s

Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
The 76ers were +14 with Joel Embiid in the game on Saturday and -21 when he sat. That’s basically the story of every playoff series he plays in (go back to the 2019 Toronto series if you want to see the most horrifying plus-minus splits you can possibly imagine). Embiid is currently listed as questionable. He’ll probably play just given the moment. But if you watched him play in the second half on Saturday at all, you know he’s physically compromised. Until I have reason to believe he’s healthy, I’m picking the Knicks in every game of this series. He is simply too important to every facet of 76ers basketball to bet on in his current state, and it does not help matters that Tyrese Maxey is listed as questionable with an illness. The Pick: Knicks -5.5

Looking for more NBA insight? Alex Selesnick is SportsLine’s No. 1 NBA expert, and he’ll be choosing his favorite picks all postseason long. Check them out here.

Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
I picked D’Angelo Russell to go under 15.5 points in Game 1. He attempted 20 shots… and still went under. Russell has played seven games against the Nuggets as a Laker and has reached 16 points only once, in a regular-season game in which he scored 17. He is averaging 7.6 points on 31/13/75 shooting in five playoff games against the Nuggets. This isn’t his matchup. It’s obvious to everyone who watches the games. Lakers coach Darvin Ham vowed not to turn away from a key player after one bad shooting game, but remember, he benched Russell in last year’s Denver series. I’m going to keep taking this under until it either drops or Russell hits an over. There’s just too much evidence suggesting he can’t score on the Nuggets in the playoffs. The Pick: Russell under 15.5 Points

French star Zaccharie Risacher, the potential No. 1 pick, officially enters

French prospect Zaccharie Risacher, a 19-year-old forward prospect who is a viable candidate to be drafted No. 1 overall in this summer’s NBA Draft, filed paperwork on Monday to formally make himself available for selection later this summer, he told ESPN. Risacher is enjoying a breakout season playing for JL Bourg in the Pro A after leaving ASVEL on loan last year.

Risacher left ASVEL and a smaller role to play for a smaller team in the Pro A in a bigger role and has as a result flourished in JL Bourg’s system. He has Bourg sitting at third in the Pro A standings and the team has done well in EuroCup play, too, reaching the EuroCup finals while averaging 13.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 56.1% from 3-point range on 57 attempts.

The trajectory of Risacher is similar to that of fellow Frenchman, Victor Wembanyama, who left ASVEL in 2022 to join Mets 92 in the Pro A. Wembanyama thrived in a system custom-fitted around him with Mets 92 and enjoyed a gigantic role, where he went on to win league MVP before becoming the No. 1 pick to the San Antonio Spurs last summer.

Risacher prjects to go high
In a 2024 NBA Draft class that is wide-open at the top with no clear No. 1, Risacher has floated at or near the top of projections for the better part of the last year. At 6-foot-10 with a long frame, smooth athleticism and an improved outside shot, he profiles as a jumbo wing at the NBA level who can defend multiple positions and be a reliable shooter with room to grow into a bigger role as he develops.

in the 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings from CBS Sports, Risacher currently sits at No. 2. That’s the sweet spot in the middle where Gary Parrish, who has him at No. 3, and myself, who has him at No. 1, put him in our latest mock drafts. Here’s what Parrish said about the French star in his latest mock:

Risacher could be the first or second player from France selected in this draft depending on how franchises at the top ultimately settle on their evaluations of him and Sarr. Either way, Risacher shouldn’t last long given that he’s a good-enough athlete to play either forward spot. Also worth noting: he’s shooting nearly 50% from 3-point range this season.

Risacher has struggled the last few weeks shooting the ball from distance, which this season has developed into one of his biggest selling points, but his production profile for a pro in France and his youth have thrust him in the mix as a likely top-five pick in June with a draft range starting at the very top of the board.

2023 WWE Backlash live stream, how to watch online, start time, card, matches, viewing information

WWE Backlash touches down in Puerto Rico for the promotion’s first major event on the Caribbean island in 18 years. Some of the biggest superstars, figuratively and literally, in sports entertainment and beyond are aligning for Saturday’s show.

A first-time encounter between Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar headlines the event, plus global music superstar Bad Bunny takes on Damian Priest in a street fight. Rhodes has been foaming at the mouth for a shot at Lesnar since the former champion cost him a rematch against undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns. Bad Bunny and Priest teamed together in artist’s first major WWE match at WrestleMania 37. The former friends found themselves at odds after Bad Bunny aided Rey Mysterio against Priest’s Judgement Day cohort Dominik Mysterio at WrestleMania 39.

In addition to three title matches set for the evening, there are some interest bookings to look forward to. The Bloodline look to finally rid themselves of their problem in undisputed tag team champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as well as Riddle when they meet in a six-man tag match. Plus, one of the stranger bookings in recent memory comes to a head when the giant Omos takes on Seth Rollins.

Here’s how you can catch all the action on Saturday night.

Watch 2023 WWE Backlash
Date: Saturday, May 6
Location: Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Start time: 8 p.m. ET (kickoff show starts at 7 p.m.)
Watch live: Peacock

Watch 2023 WWE Backlash match card
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest (San Juan Street Fight)
SmackDown women’s championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega
Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. The Bloodline (Solo Sikoa and The Usos)
Raw women’s championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Iyo Sky
United States championship — Austin Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed
Seth Rollins vs. Omos

2023 WWE Night of Champions card, matches, date, match card, rumors, predictions, start time, location

WWE returns to Saudi Arabia on May 27 for Night of Champions, the next event in the promotion’s lucrative and controversial deal as part of the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 program. As always, WWE is bringing a big card to the country, with potential for some massive promotion-shifting results.

Five of the card’s seven matches will have a title up for grabs. That includes the main event, where undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns will attempt to leave Saudi Arabia with four belts as he teams with Solo Sikoa to battle undisputed tag team champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Also, the first world heavyweight champion since 2013 will be crowned when Seth Rollins and AJ Styles clash over the recently-reintroduced title.

Plus, both women’s titles will be at stake. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair will face off against Asuka while SmackDown women’s champ Rhea Ripley takes on Natalya. And a clash of legends is also scheduled when Trish Stratus takes on Becky Lynch.

Let’s take a look at what we know, and what we think, is happening at Night of Champions, which streams live on Peacock on May 27 at 1 p.m. ET.

WWE Night of Champions 2023 matches

World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles: After Roman Reigns retained the undisputed WWE universal championship against Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania, Triple H announced that WWE was reviving the world heavyweight championship so that whichever brand Reigns was not drafted to in the WWE Draft would have a champion. Rollins won his way to the finals by winning a triple threat match and then defeating Finn Balor in the semifinals. Styles followed the same path on SmackDown, beating Bobby Lashley in the semifinals.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes: After losing to Reigns at WrestleMania, Rhodes found himself in the sights of Lesnar. The pair met at Backlash, with Rhodes winning a match that saw Lesnar badly bloodied. Lesnar went for his revenge on Raw, interrupting a triple threat and beating Rhodes down before demanding Rhodes face him in “a fight.” In the final Raw before Night of Champions, Lesnar attacked Rhodes twice more, this time badly injuring Rhodes’ arm.

Undisputed Tag Team Championship — Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa: After Zayn and Owens beat The Usos to win the titles at WrestleMania, it was clear there would be some trouble within The Bloodline. That has proven to be the case, with Reigns appearing increasingly angry with The Usos before a very surprising turn on SmackDown. As it seemed Paul Heyman was about to announce The Usos would rematch Zayn and Owens, he instead announced that Reigns and Sikoa would take the title shot, leaving The Usos shocked.


Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Mustafa Ali: Gunther was recently drafted to Raw, providing the longest-reigning intercontinental champion in the modern era with a fresh crop of challengers for his title. The first man up would be determined by a battle royal, which saw Ali emerge as the winner by last eliminating Bronson Reed and Ricochet.

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya: After beating Dana Brooke on Raw, Ripley continued the attack. This brought out Natalya to make the save. That alone is enough to set up a match in WWE. But add in Natalya’s history in Saudi Arabia, where she was one half of the first women’s match in the country, and it made sense she would be involved in a title match as WWE returns to the country.

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka: Asuka ruined Belair’s homecoming celebration in Knoxville, blinding the champion with a chili-blended poison mist. Belair attempted a measure of vengeance the following week on SmackDown, but Asuka’s mist proved a powerful repellent. The two superstars will re-run their blistering WrestleMania 39 match at Night of Champions.

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus: After Stratus turned on Lynch when the pair lost the women’s tag team titles, it was clear this was a program WWE thought had legs to go through a major event or two. One week after Lynch returned and attacked Stratus as Stratus was handing out missing flyers with Lynch’s face on them, Lynch laid out an official challenge for the two to have a match at Night of Champions.

2023 WWE Night of Champions predictions, card, PPV preview, matches, start time, date, location

The WWE ring returns to Saudi Arabia on Saturday for the Night of Champions pay-per-view event. While this year’s edition of the event doesn’t follow the old rules of “every title in WWE will be on the line,” the card is still loaded with intriguing and important matches.

Five of the card’s seven matches will have a title up for grabs. That includes the main event, where undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns will attempt to leave Saudi Arabia with four belts as he teams with Solo Sikoa to battle undisputed tag team champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Also, the first world heavyweight champion since 2013 will be crowned when Seth Rollins and AJ Styles clash over the recently-reintroduced title.

Plus, both women’s titles will be at stake. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair will face off against Asuka while SmackDown women’s champ Rhea Ripley takes on Natalya. And a clash of legends is also scheduled when Trish Stratus takes on Becky Lynch.

The card also sees the return of dominant intercontinental champion Gunther as he welcomes his latest challenger in Mustafa Ali. Gunther has wreaked havoc over the SmackDown brand and a recent move to Raw offers a new roster of challengers to attempt to mow down. Ali represents the first of those challengers after he beat Dolph Ziggler to earn the opportunity.

Let’s take a look at who the CBS Sports experts are picking in each match at Night of Champions, which streams live on Peacock on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.

WWE Night of Champions 2023 predictions
Undisputed Tag Team Championship — Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa

I am all in on this tag team match. Reigns has lost faith in The Usos and is taking matters into his own hands, accelerating The Bloodline’s demise. Putting the tag titles at stake allows the rare opportunity for Reigns to go out on his back without jeopardizing his record title run. Zayn and Owens, particularly the former, are long overdue for revenge on the undisputed world champion. There will be few sweeter moments in 2023 than seeing Zayn Helluva Kick Reigns and pick up the three-count. Reigns is bulletproof and a clean loss at his expense won’t knock him down a peg as much as it will elevate everyone directly and indirectly involved in the match. Owens and Zayn will score a marquee win, The Usos’ will be validated despite their recent losses and the aura of Sikoa as the group’s true biggest threat will continue to build. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn retain the titles — Shakiel Mahjouri (also Brent Brookhouse)

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

Rhodes’ win over Lesnar at Backlash was shocking. Not that it was shocking that Rhodes won as much as it was shocking to see Lesnar gushing blood for nearly the entirety of the match. The blood — intentional or not — added a whole new level of intensity to the rivalry between Lesnar and Rhodes and has set Lesnar off on a violent path of revenge. In the final Raw before Night of Champions, Lesnar badly injured Rhodes’ arm, which sets up another excuse for how Lesnar can get his win back without harming Rhodes’ place as a top talent too much. It’s also unclear what Rhodes’ big SummerSlam program would be, so dragging things forward with Lesnar makes a good amount of sense. Pick: Brock Lesnar wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles

Rollins vs. Styles will be a fantastic match, no doubt about it. It’s also refreshing to see Styles return to the main event scene after his latest midcard run and a stint in NXT. It’s certainly feasible for Styles to have another world title run at age 45. The issue is that his momentum — barring something like an O.C. heel turn — is non-existent. Rollins is hotter than ever and is long, long overdue for a top spot after giving the rub to Cody Rhodes, Logan Paul and others in 2021 and 2022. WWE missed the mark with elevating Rhodes and Sami Zayn this year. They can’t do it again. Pick: Seth Rollins wins the vacant title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Mustafa Ali

Ali won a battle royal to earn a shot at long-reigning champion Gunther. That probably shouldn’t be shocking given he is a regular on WWE’s cards in Saudi Arabia. What would be shocking would be Ali winning the match. Gunther is on a hell of a run and just got a fresh batch of challengers when he was drafted to Raw. His reign won’t last forever, but there is no reason for it to end without there being a compelling program around the title swap, not a guy just winning a battle royal. Pick: Gunther retains the title — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka

WWE have booked themselves into a corner with this match. Belair and Asuka had a strong showing at WrestleMania 39 despite a mismanaged build. Belair is a marketable and valuable champion for the company; meanwhile, Asuka is one of the division’s few legitimate threats. Asuka has not been booked well enough to dethrone Belair this weekend, but a second loss to the champ won’t remedy that either. The safe play is to keep the title on Belair, but much needs to be done after Night of Champions to prepare Asuka for an eventual title run. Pick: Bianca Belair retains the title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya

Similar to Gunther’s match with Ali, this match doesn’t feel like there’s any intrigue. Natalya was in the first women’s match in Saudi Arabia and she gets a title shot in the latest trip to the country. But the entire thing came about because Natalya stepped in when Ripley continued to attack Dana Brooke after winning a one-on-one match. Ripley isn’t going to have her still-young title reign end yet and certainly not against Natalya, who is no longer really a player as a potential world champion. Pick: Rhea Ripley retains the title — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

It feels like WWE wants to extend this story to SummerSlam, maybe with Stratus only occasionally appearing between Night of Champions and the summer’s big pay-per-view extravaganza. The only way that can happen is with Stratus picking up a cheap win over Lynch. It feels like that’s the easiest play for all involved here. Pick: Trish Stratus wins — Brookhouse

This is a match buoyed purely by star power and dream status. The price tag on these Saudi Arabia shows dictate marquee matchups, after all. It’s nice that WWE has at least tried to build a story around Lynch vs. Stratus instead of slapping it onto a poster and calling it a day. Lynch should pick up the victory in a historic-ish match and can move forward to an intriguing world title program with Rhea Ripley. Pick: Becky Lynch wins — Mahjouri

2023 WWE Night of Champions start time, live stream, how to watch online, card, matches, viewing information

WWE superstars return to Saudi Arabia for WWE Night of Champions. Not every title is at stake on Saturday, but a champions vs. champion super match and the crowning of a new world heavyweight titleholder tip the bill.

A triple-headliner is advertised for the promotion’s return to Jeddah. Undisputed tag team champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will defend their crowns against undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns and Bloodline enforcer Solo Sikoa. A Backlash rematch pits Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes against each other. Finally, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles meet in the finals of a tournament to crown Raw’s new world heavyweight champion.

WWE’s trips to Saudi Arabia often have a dramatic flair. This year’s dream match features two all-time great female superstars from different generations: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus.

The card also sees the return of dominant intercontinental champion Gunther as he welcomes his latest challenger in Mustafa Ali. Gunther has wreaked havoc over the SmackDown brand and a recent move to Raw offers a new roster of challengers to attempt to mow down. Ali represents the first of those challengers after he beat Dolph Ziggler to earn the opportunity.

Here’s how you can catch all the action on Saturday night.

Watch 2023 WWE Night of Champions
Date: Saturday, May 27
Location: Jeddah Superdome — Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Start time: 1 p.m. ET (kickoff show starts at noon)
Watch live: Peacock

2023 WWE Night of Champions match card
Undisputed Tag Team Championship — Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa
Brock Lesnar vs Cody Rhodes
World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles
Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Mustafa Ali
Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya
Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

WWE Hall of Famer and social media personality passes away

Former WWF champion Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, better known by his wrestling persona “The Iron Sheik,” has died at age 81. The news of Khosrow’s passing was announced on his official Twitter page on Wednesday.

Born in Iran, Khosrow was a solid amateur wrestler who competed for a spot on Iran’s 1968 Olympic Greco-Roman team. After failing to secure a spot, he moved to the United States where he continued his involvement in amateur wrestling, helping to coach the U.S. Olympic team while continuing to compete.

Khosrow eventually transitioned to a career in professional wrestling after being trained by AWA promoter and accomplished wrestler Verne Gagne. He would go on to wrestle for many of the biggest territories in the United States, adopting a persona as an Iranian heel with signature curled-toe boots.

In 1983, Khosrow returned to the WWF for a second time, entering a program with Bob Backlund, who was at the tail end of a reign as WWF champion that lasted 1,470 days. Khosrow won the championship on Dec. 26, 1983 when Backlund’s corner threw in the towel as Khosrow had his finishing move, the camel clutch, locked in.

Khosrow’s title reign served as a transitional one to move the title to Hulk Hogan, who defeated him to become champion 28 days after Khosrow defeated Backlund. This allowed WWF to avoid a match between popular babyfaces Backlund and Hogan with the use of a brief reign by a heel champion.

Khosrow continued to find success in WWF after his stint as champion, teaming with Nikolai Volkoff and eventually winning the WWF tag team championships.

A drug-related arrest while traveling with storyline rival “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in 1987 preceded Khosrow’s departure from WWF, though he returned to the promotion briefly in 1988 and then again in 1991. The 1991 return saw Khosrow in the new character of Colonel Mustafa, aligning with Sgt. Slaughter, the former all-American wrestler turned Iraqui sympathizer in a controversial angle at the height of the Gulf War.

Khosrow struggled with drug addiction for many years and often made media appearances where he would swear and often use homophobic and racist language.

Khosrow eventually found sobriety and became a popular Twitter personality though the tweets were almost entirely written by a management team.

World heavyweight championship match set for Money in the Bank

Monday night’s edition of Raw was a big one for advancing the place of champions and the state of the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view.

World heavyweight champion Seth Rollins has a challenger for Money in the Bank. After Finn Balor couldn’t help himself and interfered in fellow Judgement Day member Damian Priest’s title match with Rollins the previous week, Balor made it official that he would challenge for the belt at the July 1 event in London.

The story of the match draws on the history between Rollins and Balor, which includes Rollins accidentally injuring Balor in their 2016 match to crown the first universal champion. That injury led to Balor having to give up the title less than 24 hours after winning it. Balor cited that moment as Rollins robbing his momentum when he’d reached the mountaintop.

The other major champion on Raw got a championship upgrade. Despite being on Raw, Rhea Ripley held the SmackDown women’s championship after using her Royal Rumble victory to target then-SmackDown champ Charlotte Flair.

On Monday, Ripley was awarded a new championship, the women’s world championship. This pairs with Asuka’s Raw women’s championship recently being renamed to the WWE women’s championship, removing the show branding and establishing the belts more firmly as world titles.

What else happened on WWE Raw?
Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio is official for Money in the Bank after multiple confrontations between the two led to a formal challenge to open the show. During the segment, The Miz snuck in to attack Rhodes, leading to the start of their match.
Cody Rhodes def. The Miz via pinfall with Cross Rhodes. The match started immediately after Miz’s attack. Mysterio did not remain at ringside after he hit Rhodes with a cheap shot and ran to the back.
Becky Lynch def. Chelsea Green via submission with the Dis-arm-her. Before the match, Lynch was confronted by Zoey Stark, with Stark saying Lynch can’t beat Trish Stratus and also won’t be able to win Money in the Bank.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match — Damian Priest def. Matt Riddle via pinfall with a Razor’s Edge. After the match, Gunther and Imperium came to the ring to further beat down Riddle.
Indus Sher was interviewed and offered Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin a “real match” after beating down the duo before their planned match last week.
Bronson Reed def. Ricochet via disqualification after interference by Shinsuke Nakamura.
Shayna Baszler def. Raquel Rodriguez via pinfall with a roll-up after Ronda Rousey distracted Rodriguez.
Chad Gable def. Erik via pinfall with a sunset flip. During the match, Valhalla attacked Maxxine Dupri only for Dupri to hit an arm drag, a move Gable was seen teaching Dupri earlier in the night.
WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship — Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) def. Imperium (Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser) via pinfall after Zayn hit Kaiser with a blue thunder driver. The match came about after yet another backstage confrontation between the groups. Imperium asked Owens and Zayn if they were confident enough to put their titles on the line, which the champs agreed to do. Matt Riddle came to the ring late in the match, drawing Gunther’s attention and leading to the finish.