The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/30/23 Review
This week’s WWE Raw included Royal Rumble match winners Cody Rhodes & Rhea Ripley, plus the road to Elimination Chamber began.
It’s the first Raw after the Royal Rumble PLE on Saturday night. Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley won the Royal Rumble matches. Elimination Chamber is in less than three weeks on February 18th. It was announced by WWE that they will have a US Title match inside Elimination Chamber with qualifying matches starting this week on Raw.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1548 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
A video aired about Cody Rhodes talking about his comeback to WWE at the Royal Rumble. They showed highlights of Cody going on to win the Royal Rumble from the #30 spot. Cody last eliminated GUNTHER, who entered the match first. Great win for Cody. He was the obvious choice, but also the right choice.
Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes
The Royal Rumble winner “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes made his entrance to his familiar theme song with Cody wearing a suit. Big pop for Cody as he entered the ring for a promo. The commentary team was Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves as usual.
Cody started the promo about how early in his career he thought he would be the WWE Champion within two years and he would be the next John Cena. Cody said if he could talk to the 19-year-old version of himself, what would he say? Would he tell him that one night he would give out grooming tips and restore the Intercontinental Title along with all of these other things. Cody kept talking about his journey in wrestling while recapping meeting his wife as well as leaving WWE when he did. Then he mentioned that on January 28, 2023 that he outlasted 29 other men to win the Royal Rumble. Cody talked about going to the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania. There were “Cody” chants. He spoke really fast there, so it was tough to get all of it.
Cody said that truth be told, he wouldn’t tell him a single thing because every piece on this broken road on this journey has been worth it. Cody talked about how the song “Kingdom” will continue to be with him. Cody said that when his song plays he says “Wrestling has more than one royal family.” Cody said that WWE has more than one royal family. Cody said that for that to be true, he has to stand across from another, from an entire Bloodline and he has to stand across from The Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table. Cody called him the LeBron James of this generation of superstars, a man that has held the title for 800-something days and he has to stand across from Roman Reigns. The fans chanted “Roman sucks” at that point.
Cody said that he had a great deal of respect for Roman. Cody spoke about how WrestleMania is in 62 days, but for Cody, it is 62 days for the rest of his life. Cody said that undeniable remains uncrowned, but on that day somebody else will be eating. Cody said that Reigns can be the Tribal Chief and the Head of the Table, but the one thing Roman Reigns will not be is the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Cody’s music played, but then The Judgment Day’s music hit.
The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor, Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio interrupted. Balor trashed Cody while Dominik talked about Mami Rhea Ripley winning the Royal Rumble match, but he was supposed to win. Balor laughed about what happened to Rey Mysterio and Balor mentioned they found his mask. Dominik told Cody that he ruined his moment in the Rumble while telling him that he wouldn’t survive in prison. Priest said that Dominik should be going to WrestleMania after winning the Rumble and Priest complained about how Cody was handed #30 in the Rumble. Dominik said that Cody owes him an apology for ruining his moment.
Cody wondered Dominik if he was trying to scare him straight. Cody said he respected Dom’s dad Rey Mysterio, then Dominik said he had no respect for his dad and no respect for any dad, especially Cody’s dad, which drew boos. The fans chanted “kick his ass” at that point. Cody said he could sit back for 62 days or he can kick any of their asses tonight. Cody wanted to do the match tonight and Cody’s music played to end it.
Analysis: A strong Cody Rhodes promo to start the show. Cody comes across as very likable just being himself and the fans knowing his story so well. Cody spoke really quickly while recapping his career story, but I think most fans watching know all about it, so that’s probably why he went through as fast as he did. The Judgment Day promo was a lot of Dominik Mysterio with some of his prison jargon thrown in throughout. I like how the fans were into it with the “kick his ass” chant with Cody playing into it, so the fans will want to see Cody beat one of them later in the show. I also mentioned Cody mentioned the Undisputed WWE Universal Title rather than just the one title held by Roman Reigns so for now, the two titles are staying together.
The commentary team plugged what is coming up on the show including Elimination Chamber qualifying matches: Johnny Gargano vs. Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler vs. Bronson Reed and Seth “Freakin” Rollins facing Chad Gable up next.
Edge’s music hit while The Judgment Day was standing by the entrance. Edge knocked all three guys down with punches. Edge tackled Balor and was going after him. Security and officials tried to break it up while Cody joined the fight as well. The show went to break there. It took about 18 minutes for the first commercial.
Analysis: There’s a little bit of chaos to get things going. I like that since it builds excitement for what’s to come.
They showed some images from the Royal Rumble.
Austin Theory, the US Champion, was shown walking backstage noting that he’ll be on the VIP Lounge with MVP for later in the show.
Later on Raw it’s Cody Rhodes facing Finn Balor. That’s the main event.
Elimination Chamber US Title Qualifying Match: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis)
Gable got some offense early with the rolling German Suplex for a two count. Rollins left the ring, Gable hit a flipping dive off the apron onto Rollins on the floor. Back in the ring, Gable knocked him down with a chop and a headbutt off the top for a two count.
Gable remained on offense with a dragon screw leg whip out of the corner. Gable jumped off the top with a moonsault, Rollins avoided it and Rollins gave Gable a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Rollins was down selling the left knee injury. Rollins with clotheslines, Gable wanted a suplex, Rollins landed on his feet, Rollins with a superkick and a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count. Gable countered a Rollins move to a jackknife pin attempt, then they got into an exchange of pin attempts and Gable hit an impressive slam off the shoulders for a two count. Rollins went for a kick to the head, but Gable caught the foot for an Ankle Lock. Rollins got out of it, then Gable applied the Ankle Lock again and Rollins hit a Pedigree for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good match between two of the best workers on Raw. Gable doesn’t win very many singles matches, but he will always have an entertaining match. Gable also got a lot of offense here before Rollins was able to put him away. I doubt anybody watching this thought that Gable had a chance of winning. I like that Chad was able to hold his own before Rollins could hit that Pedigree for the win. Rollins has a few finishers that he can use, so winning with a Pedigree sometimes is fine with me.
The win by Rollins means that he will be in the Elimination Chamber match for the US Title at Elimination Chamber with Austin Theory and four others.
A commercial aired for the Elimination Chamber PLE in Montreal on February 18th, which is less than three weeks away.
They showed media coverage of the Royal Rumble event. They didn’t include TJRWrestling, so I’m not putting the others over.
IYO SKY (w/Bayley & Dakota Kai) vs. Candice LeRae (w/“Michin” Mia Yim)
Sky and Kai are Women’s Tag Team Champions. Title defenses are rare. Sky went for a dropkick, LeRae avoided it and got a pin attempt for two. LeRae hit a senton to the back. Sky came back with a flapjack and Sky hit a body slam. Sky grabbed a chinlock while a commercial aired for the movie Knock at the Cabin with Batista. LeRae hit a running kick that knocked Sky out of the ring. Sky managed to recover from that and Sky ran the ropes with a suicide dive tackle onto LeRae on the floor. LeRae kicked Sky and hit a springboard dive off the middle ropes onto Sky on the floor. That led to a break with both women down.
Candice was up top and she hit a missile dropkick for two. Sky tripped up Candice by the turnbuckle followed by Sky hitting a backbreaker. Sky hit a double knee attack in the corner. Sky went for a move off the turnbuckle, LeRae grabbed her and hit a German Suplex off the middle rope for two. LeRae with an elbow on a charging Sky, but Sky had LeRae on her shoulders and LeRae countered with a Poison Rana spiking Sky for a two count. LeRae went for a move off the ropes, but Sky knocked her down. Sky went for the moonsault off the top, LeRae got her knees up and grabbed a cradle, but the referee was distracted by Kai. It was only a two count when the referee counted the pin. LeRae hit a double knee attack. Bayley to the apron, LeRae punched her and Sky got a sunset flip pin on Sky for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: IYO SKY
Analysis: *** A good match with a lot of chaos around the ring leading to the finish. The numbers game helped Sky and Damage CTRL because Dakota distracted the referee while LeRae had to punch Bayley off the apron, so that allowed Sky to get a sunset flip to win. LeRae hit some cool moves with Sky taking some rough bumps in the match. I thought LeRae would win because a tag team champion losing can set up a title match, but instead, the champion won here. We know Triple H likes booking distraction finishes so this was along those lines.
Rhea Ripley was shown walking backstage for some promo time up next.
A commercial aired for NXT Vengeance Day this Saturday, February 4th in Charlotte, NC.
There was a video package about Rhea Ripley winning the Women’s Royal Rumble match. Ripley was #1, Liv Morgan was #2 and they lasted until the end. Ripley eliminated Asuka and defeated Morgan to win the match at 1:01:08. Ripley pointed at the WrestleMania sign because she’s going to challenge for a major championship at WrestleMania.
Let’s Hear from Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley said it’s been a while since she has been out there with Dominik Mysterio and The Judgment Day, but she wanted the attention to be on her. Ripley talked about how she outlasted 29 other women to win the Royal Rumble match. Ripley said she gets to choose what champion she will face at WrestleMania.
Ripley spoke about how three years ago she just turned 24, her career was just getting started and she challenged the winner of the Royal Rumble match, Charlotte Flair. Ripley said that she put Charlotte put her in her place at WrestleMania. Ripley talked about how Charlotte is always in the title picture and she hates to give her credit but she seems to get better every year. Ripley said that she is the disruptor, she doesn’t like the formula and she doesn’t like things being overplayed. Ripley advised Flair to enjoy people bowing down to The Queen because she’s going to put Flair in her place. Ripley: “Charlotte Flair – I choose you!” That was it.
Analysis: It was straight to the point for Ripley talking about her intentions going after Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39. We have seen them at WrestleMania 36 with no fans in attendance as well as matches after that as well. I thought they’d go with Ripley facing Bianca Belair, but I guess not. The Smackdown Women’s division isn’t deep compared to Raw, so it does make sense in that regard.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins was interviewed by Cathy Kelley with Rollins talking about how he’s going to win back the US Title at Elimination Chamber. When Cathy asked Rollins about Logan Paul eliminating him at the Royal Rumble, Rollins just laughed it off and walked away without saying anything.
Analysis: I think we can pencil in Rollins vs. Logan Paul at WrestleMania 39 at this point. They didn’t do it by accident in the Royal Rumble match and Rollins not even talking about Logan is a way to continue the story without giving it away yet.
A video aired about WrestleMania in 61 days.
There were more images shown from the Royal Rumble.
Elimination Chamber US Title Qualifying Match: Baron Corbin (w/John Bradshaw Layfield) vs. Johnny Gargano (w/Dexter Lumis)
Gargano got a headscissors takedown, but Corbin hit a kick to knock Gargano down. Corbin whipped Gargano hard into the turnbuckle. Corbin hit a backbreaker for a two count. Gargano with a kick, then he tossed Corbin out of the ring and Gargano went to the apron while Corbin was in the ring. Gargano went for a move, but Corbin punched Gargano off the apron to the floor. Corbin slammed Gargano back-first onto the barricade leading to a break.
Corbin was in control with punches. Corbin ran the ropes, but Gargano hit a slingshot Spear. Corbin charged, Gargano got the boots up and hit a superkick. Gargano hit a second superkick for a two count. Gargano ran off the ropes right into a Deep Six slam by Corbin, which got a two count as usual. Corbin took his shirt off, which he doesn’t do that often since he usually has a shirt on during his matches. Corbin charged at Gargano in the corner, Gargano move and Corbin hit the ring post leading to a bump to the floor. Gargano hit a suicide dive onto Corbin on the floor. JBL looked at Gargano, so Lumis pulled out a small ax and JBL was scared. Lumis used the ax to strike through JBL’s cowboy hat. Corbin went for his End of Days finisher, but Gargano countered it into a cradle for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Johnny Gargano
Analysis: *** It was another good match on the show with a big man-little man story featuring Corbin doing a bunch of power moves, Gargano countering a lot and finding a way to win after Lumis prevented JBL from interfering. Nice counter by Gargano for the finish as well.
Johnny Gargano joins the US Title match at Elimination Chamber along with champion Austin Theory, Seth Rollins and three others.
The VIP Lounge was up next.
VIP Lounge Hosted By MVP with Austin Theory
The US Champion Austin Theory was introduced by MVP for the talk show appearance. Theory had sunglasses on. There were couches in the ring with MVP. Theory made comments about how he used to watch this show when he was a kid. Theory suggested they should call this Austin Theory Live and the fans booed that idea. MVP asked Theory where his head is at going into the Elimination Chamber and Theory told them to shut up.
Theory got in MVP’s face about how MVP thinks that Bobby Lashley can beat him. MVP said he knows Lashley can beat Theory. Theory said that he survived the Elimination Chamber last year when Brock Lesnar F5’d him off the top of the Elimination Chamber. Theory said that he is the ruthlessness that this generation needs and no amount of aggression can stop him. (A Ruthless Aggression reference since Theory’s facing John Cena at WrestleMania.)
MVP mentioned The Undertaker throwing him off the top of the Elimination Chamber so he knows what it’s like there. MVP warned Theory about how he doesn’t know who is going to be in the Elimination Chamber. MVP warned Theory that Bobby Lashley is a danger to him more than The Undertaker is. MVP wanted to move on while Theory said that he beat Bobby Lashley twice. Theory said that everybody knows Bobby Lashley is MVP’s meal ticket and Lashley is about to get beat up by Brock Lesnar.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance to a pop from the crowd. Lashley got into the ring, MVP tried to stop him and Theory shouted that Lashley should listen to his “daddy.” Lashley clotheslined Theory and gave him a flatliner in the ring onto the black carpet that was in the ring. MVP lifted up Theory with his cane, Lashley went for a Spear, Theory pulled MVP in front and Lashley hit MVP with a Spear by mistake because Theory left the ring. Theory walked to the back saying he was done with Lashley.
Analysis: The segment was okay, but also felt a bit awkward since Theory and MVP are both heels, yet they didn’t seem to get along. Since Theory doesn’t have a singular opponent right now, there wasn’t anybody specific for him to talk about. Bobby Lashley showing up made a lot of sense due to his history with Theory. It wasn’t a bad segment. I just don’t think it was that interesting in terms of its execution.
Finn Balor and The Judgment Day were standing by backstage with Byron Saxton interviewing them. Balor said that Edge knows where he works so he can come find him. Balor issued a warning to Cody Rhodes about the main event later in the show.
There was an interview with Batista about his new movie Knock At the Cabin. They showed clips of the film with Batista saying it’s a deep dive into emotions and conflict.
A clip aired for Young Rock with a clip of an actor playing Pat Patterson pitching the Royal Rumble idea. Patterson did create the Royal Rumble, but I don’t think he revealed it at a dinner table with Rocky Johnson and others. The show isn’t always factual in how they present things, but I still enjoy it.
Let’s Hear from The Miz
The Miz did a promo complaining about how was disrespected at Raw’s 30th Anniversary last week. Miz also whined about how he was the first person eliminated in the Royal Rumble match. The Miz also complained about not being in a qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber.
Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, showed up saying that lucky for Miz, there’s a guy that has been looking for an opportunity. It is Rick Boogs, who is now part of the Raw roster. He got hurt at WrestleMania last year, so he’s back now.
Rick Boogs was wearing a singlet with a short haircut. It was a different look for Boogs. The Miz complained about how he’s in a $10,000 suit that his wife bought him, so he can’t wrestle like this. Pearce told Miz that he can prove how awesome he is right now. A referee went to the ring to call for the bell.
Rick Boogs vs. The Miz
Boogs grabbed Miz, who was in a suit, and sent him into the turnbuckle. Miz punched Boogs, then complained about being in a suit and Boogs spun Miz around with a gutwrench slam leading to Miz’s shoes flying off. Boogs with a press slam over his head into a front slam for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rick Boogs
Analysis: 1/2* A squash win by Rick Boogs for his return. The Miz has not been booked well for a long time now. A lot of losses for him.
Otis and Chad Gable were shown walking backstage. The Maximum Male Models were shown looking at them with Mansoor & Mace saying Otis was disgusting, but Maxxine Dupri said it was perfect.
Analysis: I guess she thinks Otis should be in the Maximum Male Models. That should lead to some comedy bits with Otis becoming a model because fat guys acting like that is pure comedy, of course. That smells like Vince McMahon booking to me, but it’s still Triple H in charge…I hope.
A look at what happened to The Bloodline at the Royal Rumble was up next.
There was a video package showing the incredible story that unfolded at the end of the Royal Rumble. Roman Reigns wanted Sami Zayn to attack Kevin Owens, but Sami refused to do it and Sami hit Reigns with a steel chair to the back. The crowd popped huge for that! The Bloodline attacked Zayn at that point, but Jey Uso refused because he likes Sami and Jey walked to the back alone. Zayn was left beaten in the ring while Owens was destroyed as well. The announcers plugged Smackdown to see what happens next.
Let’s Hear from Bayley and Becky Lynch
Bayley did a promo laughing about beating up Becky Lynch inside the Steel Cage last week on Raw. Bayley said that everybody was talking about how Damage CTRL took out Becky and made history. Bayley bragged about how her group dominated the Royal Rumble. Bayley spoke about how her personal favorite was when she single-handedly eliminated Becky Lynch. Bayley claimed that this story is finally done because Bayley beat her.
Becky Lynch made her entrance on her birthday. Lynch called Bayley a “stupid fool” that should shut up. Lynch said that she already won the Royal Rumble while adding she didn’t need to win it this year. Lynch ripped on Bayley for robbing the people of a Steel Cage Match while saying that Bayley was trying to avoid going one-on-one because Lynch is better than her. Bayley told Lynch she’s not making excuses and said she was smart. Bayley said that Becky has to make everything about her with Becky saying it’s her birthday. Bayley didn’t care that it was Becky’s birthday.
Bayley told “Rebecca” she didn’t like her and said she thought she was overrated. Bayley said that Lynch isn’t good enough to be in the ring with her and Lynch isn’t good enough to be with Seth “Freakin” Rollins. Bayley said that the only reason Seth married Becky is because Seth knocked her up! Lynch said that all this time she thought that they were fighting over wrestling. Lynch said that this all started ten years ago in NXT in Orlando. Lynch told Bayley they should finish this in Orlando next week on Raw and have a Steel Cage Match once and for all. Lynch said she knew Bayley would say that, so Lynch went to the back and pulled out Dakota Kai with a chair on her right ankle. Lynch threatened to hit Kai’s ankle, so Bayley accepted the match. Lynch said you can bring your friends with you, but you might want to check Iyo Sky in the back too. Lynch left to the backstage area.
Analysis: That was a good promo exchange between two of the better talkers in the women’s division. Bayley made it personal by talking about Becky’s husband Seth Rollins, so that only got Lynch more fired up about facing Bayley in a match. Lynch’s promo made a lot of sense about wanting to have the Steel Cage Match that didn’t happen, so we get it next week on Raw in Orlando. That sounds cool to me. Lynch should win that match.
It was Dolph Ziggler facing Bronson Reed up next.
A commercial aired for the WWE 2K23 video game featuring cover boy John Cena. It is released on March 14th.
They showed Royal Rumble photos again.
Adam Pearce was interviewed by Cathy Kelly with Pearce making the Lynch-Bayley Steel Cage Match official for Raw next week. Pearce also said Bianca Belair needs a WrestleMania opponent for the Raw Women’s Title. Pearce announced a #1 Contender Women’s Elimination Chamber match with Raquel Rodriguez, Asuka, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross and two more spots with the winner getting a shot at the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania. Next week there’s a Fatal 4-Way between Candice LeRae, Michin, Piper Niven and Carmella for another spot in the match. Chelsea Green interrupted asking Pearce if he’s the manager. Green wanted a private dressing room, water and some swiss chocolate. She left with Pearce following her.
Analysis: There was a lot of information there presented very quickly. Welcome back to Carmella next week. Green is supposed to be a “Karen” character meaning a woman that complains about things a lot.
Elimination Chamber US Title Qualifying Match: Bronson Reed vs. Dolph Ziggler
They showed an interview with Dolph Ziggler earlier in the day with Mustafa Ali complaining about Ziggler getting an opportunity. Ziggler tried to attack, but Reed shoved him down and ran over Ziggler with a running body attack. Reed with a body slam followed by a running splash for two. Reed with a chinlock, Ziggler broke free and Dolph hit a leaping DDT for a two count. Reed went for a suplex, but Ziggler got out of it and hit a Zig Zag for two. Ziggler went for a Fameasser, Reed caught him and Reed hit a Powerbomb. Reed went up top and hit a Tsunami splash for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed
Analysis: *1/2 A dominant performance from Reed to put away Ziggler. There was some of Dolph’s signature offense in the match, but I doubt anybody watching thought he was going to win. Reed continues to look impressive.
The win means that Bronson Reed is in the US Title match at Elimination Chamber along with champion Austin Theory, Seth Rollins, Johnny Gargano and two others.
This Friday on Smackdown, the fallout from Royal Rumble with The Bloodline and Charlotte Flair faces Sonya Deville again.
Carmella was interviewed by Cathy Kelly backstage with Cathy noting that Carmella was back after seven months. Carmella did a promo about how great she is. Asuka walked up to Carmella with Carmella saying she’s not scared of her. Asuka laughed with some blue paint all over her teeth and Carmella walked away grossed out by it. Asuka smirked at her.
Analysis: I like this version of Asuka. Very interesting. It’s good to see Carmella. She went through something very personal while away as a lot of us know, so I hope she is rested and happy to be back.
A clip was shown from WrestleMania 38 when Rick Boogs suffered a torn quadriceps when he teamed with Shinsuke Nakamura against The Usos. They showed Boogs beating The Miz.
Rick Boogs was in the locker room with The Street Profits and Elias with Byron Saxton interviewing him. Boogs was shouting loudly while saying he was back. The Street Profits said he’s shredded and he can shred a guitar too. Elias said he thinks Boogs has all the potential. Boogs said he was “booging out” and he left. Byron Saxton said that Angelo Dawkins will face Damian Priest in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match while Montez Ford will face Elias. Ford and Elias exchanged some words about their match next week while Dawkins said he’s going to beat Priest.
Analysis: That was another informative backstage segment. I think Priest will beat Dawkins while I can see Ford beating Elias in their match.
It is Cody Rhodes facing Finn Balor for the first time ever in the main event.
Next week on Raw in Orlando:
* Candice LeRae vs. Michin vs. Carmella vs. Piper Niven in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match
* Montez Ford vs. Elias in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match
* Angelo Dawkins vs. Damian Priest in an Elimination Chamber qualifying match
* Becky Lynch vs. Bayley in a Steel Cage Match
Cody Rhodes made his entrance for the main event. Finn Balor was next joined by his allies in The Judgment Day group.
Finn Balor (w/Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley) vs. Cody Rhodes
Cody hit his uppercut punch while on his back. Cody did a delayed front suplex leading to Balor bailing to the floor. They went to a commercial one minute into the match.
The match continued with Balor blocking a punch followed by Balor stomping on Cody’s right pectoral muscle, which is what is surgically repaired. Balor pulled on Cody’s right arm against the ropes. Balor hit a running kick to the chest for two. Balor stomped on Cody’s pectoral again followed by some kicks, but Cody blocked a kick leading to a leg whip into the ropes. Cody jumped off the ropes with a Disaster Kick. Balor was on the floor, so Cody hit him with a suicide dive. Cody sent Priest over the barricade and sent Dom over the commentary table. Cody hit a powerslam for a two count. Cody went for the cutter off the ropes, but Balor caught him and hit a reverse DDT with an elbow for two.
Cody gave Balor a superplex while Cody was standing on the middle rope. They exchanged some punches and forearms on eachother, then Cody avoided a charging Balor and jumped off the ropes with a Cody Cutter for a two count. Balor reversed a move, Cody with a kick, Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker and Cody came back with a superkick on a charging Balor for two. Balor countered a Figure Four Leglock attempt in a cradle for two. Cody went for the Figure Four again, but Balor kicked him out of the ring. Edge was shown running down the stairs in the crowd and he beat up Priest in the crowd. Edge showed up at ringside to punch Dominik repeatedly. Edge hit Dominik with a Spear on the floor. Rhea Ripley punched Edge, so Beth Phoenix showed up to support her husband Edge by hitting Ripley with a Spear on the floor. Balor tripped up Cody in the ring with a double stomp to the chest. Balor with a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor up top, Edge with a distraction, Balor jumped off the top, Cody avoided it and Cody hit the Cross Roads neckbreaker three times in a row. Cody pinned Balor for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Analysis: ***1/2 A great match by two of the best guys on Raw in their first match together. I liked the story of Balor aggressively attacking Cody’s pectoral area due to the surgery that Cody had, so having Cody come back from that made the win look impressive. Edge and Beth Phoenix getting involved furthered their story of payback against The Judgment Day, so it made sense for them to get involved. Since Edge distracted Balor a bit while Balor was on the top rope, it was a bit of a tainted win by Cody. I like how Cody aggressively hit the Cross Roads three times just to show how focused he is during WrestleMania season. Cody shouldn’t lose before WrestleMania. Wins like this are the right way to book Cody over the next two months.
Cody Rhodes celebrated the win in the ring while nodding at Edge for the assist. Cody celebrated some more while Edge and Beth went to the back. The show ended with Cody’s celebration.
Analysis: I think a match at Elimination Chamber that makes a lot of sense is Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley. With Ripley obviously busy at WrestleMania, it seems obvious that Elimination Chamber is the right spot for it.
.@EdgeRatedR & @TheBethPhoenix set their sights on The Judgment Day in a wild scene on #WWERaw! pic.twitter.com/dNdvNHbVPF
— WWE (@WWE) January 31, 2023
Three Stars of the Show
- Cody Rhodes
- Seth “Freakin” Rollins
- Johnny Gargano/Chad Gable
7.25 out of 10
Last week: 8.25
2023 Average: 7.31
A good show overall with Cody Rhodes getting pushed a lot with a long opening promo and beating Finn Balor in a great main event. They also had Edge & Beth Phoenix show up for revenge against The Judgment Day as well. There were some returns as well with Rick Boogs, Carmella and also Chelsea Green, who we saw at the Royal Rumble, but here she is on Raw too.
I thought the middle part of the show had a lot of talking with an MVP-Theory in-ring promo, The Miz complaining during a promo leading to Rick Boogs beating him and then Bayley-Becky Lynch setting up a Steel Cage Match next week. It just felt like too many promos consecutively. There was a lot of talking overall, but the match quality was strong throughout the show too.
They did a nice job of building up some matches for the Elimination Chamber PLE in three weeks. Since it’s only three weeks away, some of the announcements felt so rushed and only in backstage segments that didn’t feel that important. With that said, I like matches that reward the winners with spots in the Elimination Chamber matches, so that’s nice to see.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Elimination Chamber taking place in Montreal, Quebec on February 18th with this lineup so far:
* US Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Austin Theory (c) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Bronson Reed vs. Angelo Dawkins/Damian Priest vs. Montez Ford/Elias
* Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender Elimination Chamber Match: Asuka vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. two others
Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
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