The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/06/23 Review
This week’s WWE Raw featured Becky Lynch facing Bayley in a Steel Cage Match, plus more Elimination Chamber qualifying matches.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1549 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The Raw intro video aired to start the show. That was followed by an impressive pyro display.
Let’s Hear from Edge & Beth Phoenix
On this day I see clearly, it’s the WWE Hall of Fame married couple Edge & Beth Phoenix starting Raw with some promo time. It’s Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves on commentary as usual.
A video package aired recapping Edge & Beth Phoenix getting destroyed by The Judgment Day at Extreme Rules last October. Edge & Beth came back for revenge at the Royal Rumble and now we get to hear from them on Raw.
Edge said it was so damn good to be back while joking that he’s the king of comebacks at this point and it’s getting silly. Edge mentioned The Judgment Day, the crowd booed and Edge and said that J-Day was his fault. Edge said that the group was his way of trying to elevate new talent and all of them are in a better place now than they were a year ago. Edge put over Finn Balor operating at a high level, Damian Priest is a workhorse, Rhea Ripley won the Royal Rumble so she’s headed to WrestleMania (he did a sign point)…and Dom is there too.
Edge talked about all the fighting they have done over the last year. Edge said he was helpless to stop his wife Beth Phoenix from getting attacked by Rhea Ripley with a steel chair. Edge did a golf clap to congratulate The Judgment Day. Some fans chanted “you still got it” and Edge said he’s never lost it. Edge said he’s a cruel, vindictive, sick bastard that will sink to any level to get his pound of flesh.
Beth Phoenix said if they’ve got the stones, Ripley and Balor, Beth and her husband are ready to finish…and here’s the interruption.
The Judgment Day’s Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio interrupted. Balor talked about how Edge makes these comebacks only for The Judgment Day to beat him down again and again. Balor told Edge it might be time for him to say “I Quit.” Dominik spoke with the fans booing while Dominik claimed he has served hard time. Dominik threatened to beat them up just like he did to his dad because he didn’t even make it to the Royal Rumble match. Priest said that every time Edge and Rey come back, they get laid out and they keep coming back for more. Priest threatened to beat them down like they have done in the past. Priest said he’s going to Elimination Chamber (he said Money in the Bank first as a mistake) so he can be the United States Champion again. Dominik claimed that Rhea Ripley was traveling the world to promote WrestleMania and Edge told Dom to shut up.
Edge trashed Priest saying he didn’t want a leader, but he’s following Balor. Edge threw in a Jamiroquai reference saying it’s virtual insanity. Edge trashed Dominik for being an ex-con, with a dropping pants joke and Edge told Dom he can’t wait until Rey 619’s Dominik’s teeth down his throat.
Beth said she didn’t come here to talk. She came here to beat Rhea Ripley’s ass and since she’s not here tonight then how about Edge & Beth team up against Balor & Ripley at Elimination Chamber. Edge asked Dominik if Rhea is in, Dominik says she is and Balor said they accept. Balor said that’s only if Edge & Beth make it to Elimination Chamber.
The Judgment Day fought with Edge while Phoenix scared Dominik out of the ring. Angelo Dawkins ran out to the ring since he’s against Priest and he knocked Priest out of the ring. Edge hit Balor with a Spear. Dominik tried to run away, Montez Ford scared him back into the ring and Beth hit Dominik with a Glam Slam to end it. Dominik had his mouth open and shouted “Mami” for Ripley too. That’s funny.
Analysis: It was a good segment to continue the story. I like how Edge joked about all of his comments. There have been many of them over the last three years, but the crowd still loves him and pops big for him every time. The match being made for Elimination Chamber makes a lot of sense.
Angelo Dawkins vs. Damian Priest
This is an Elimination Chamber qualification match.
Dawkins knocked Priest out of the ring. They showed Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, coming out during the break to tell everybody to leave other than Dawkins and Priest for their match. Dawkins hit a running shoulder tackle over Priest at the commentary table. Back in the ring, Priest punched Dawkins in the jaw. Priest hit a Broken Arrow slam followed by a chinlock. Dawkins got out of that, a punch to the jaw, a leaping kick to the head and Dawkins sent Priest out of the ring. Dawkins tried a charge on the floor, but Priest hit him with a clothesline on the floor. Priest suplexed Dawkins on the floor. Priest jumped off the steel steps with a kick to knock down Dawkins leading to a break.
Dawkins got some offense with clotheslines, a neckbreaker, jumping kick in the corner and Dawkins hit an Exploder Suplex for a two count. Dawkins went up top, Priest went after him, Dawkins drove the arm into the top rope, Priest with a kick and an elevated flatliner for a two count. Priest went for a slam, Dawkins slipped out of it and Dawkins hit a Silencer suplex for a two count. Dawkins went up top, took a long time and hit a Swanton Bomb for two. The crowd thought that was it. They exchanged punches, Priest hit a spin kick to the head and Priest hit the South of Heaven sitout Chokeslam for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ***1/4 It was an entertaining, competitive match. We don’t see Dawkins in singles matches very often, but he was impressive in the match while Priest figured out a way to win as a heel that is a former US Champion. The crowd bought the idea that Dawkins could win, so that’s nice to see because he did well in this match. Priest winning is what I expected here.
Damian Priest is now in the Men’s Elimination Chamber match for the US Title along with champion Austin Theory, Seth “Freakin” Rollins, Bronson Reed and Johnny Gargano.
Austin Theory, the United States Champion, was shown arriving earlier in the day in a Lamborghini. A lot of the WWE roster lives in Orlando so that might be his guy instead of just a rental.
Coming up next is a look at The Bloodline story from Smackdown.
A graphic was shown congratulating WWE’s friend Bad Bunny for winning a 2023 Grammy Award for Best Musica Urbana Album. Cool.
There was a scene in Adam Pearce’s office with the Maximum Male Models – Maxxine Dupri, Mace & Mansoor with a contract welcoming to Raw. Chelsea Green walked into the office to complain about her dressing room and not being in the Elimination Chamber match. Pearce noted that she didn’t last very long in the Royal Rumble. Green said her family was there, so she wanted to be in a match. Green threatened to call to complain and she could get him fired, so she left and Pearce said nothing.
Analysis: Green has a “Karen” gimmick meaning she is a whiner and complainer. She is good at it.
There was a video package recapping Smackdown from last Friday when Sami Zayn attacked the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Sami made Reigns retreat, but Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa attacked Sami at that point. Reigns told Zayn that he wants him at Elimination Chamber with Reigns planning to beat Zayn in front of his family in Montreal. Reigns was booed heavily.
Analysis: The best storyline in wrestling and the best in WWE in many years. Everybody is doing such a great job in their roles. The Elimination Chamber crowd in Montreal will be amazing. I think Jey Uso will cost Sami Zayn the match with Reigns getting massive heel heat for the cheap win. That will set up Zayn & Kevin Owens beating The Usos at WrestleMania 39. I’ll probably write that prediction a few times before now and Elimination Chamber. It would work very well.
This Friday on Smackdown: The Usos defending the Smackdown Tag Team Titles vs. Braun Strowman & Ricochet.
Baron Corbin made his entrance with John Bradshaw Layfield for a match up next.
Dexter Lumis (w/Johnny Gargano) vs. Baron Corbin (w/John Bradshaw Layfield)
Johnny Gargano beat Baron Corbin last week leading to this match. Corbin stomped on Lumis before the bell. The bell rang and Corbin hit a corner splash. Corbin with a chinlock, Lumis was back up and Corbin hit a running back elbow. Corbin whipped Lumis into the turnbuckle. Corbin with another chinlock, Lumis broke free with punches and a running bulldog out of the corner. Lumis with a belly-to-back suplex along with a leg drop. Corbin with elbows to the head. Corbin charged at Lumis, who hit a sitout sidewalk slam for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dexter Lumis
Analysis: *3/4 It was a decent match with Lumis picking up the clean win with the sitout slam. Lumis usually wins with his version of a sleeper hold, so it’s a bit different to see a pinfall win. Corbin has not been booked well for a while as the announcers pushed the losing streak.
After the match, JBL looked disappointed about the loss. The announcers pushed the story about Corbin on a losing streak, so it was another loss for Corbin.
Becky Lynch was interviewed by Byron Saxton with Lynch talking about her WWE journey that started about ten years ago here in Orlando. Lynch said that’s where she first met Byron Saxton and saw Bayley too. Lynch talked about how just like Bayley wanted to be great, Lynch had those same goals and she became “The Man” in this business. Lynch spoke about Bayley’s cheap attacks while also mentioning Lynch’s family (husband Seth Rollins), so Lynch wasn’t happy about that. Lynch dared Bayley to bring her friends in Damage CTRL with her. Lynch talked about how there is one hand she hasn’t played yet, so tonight might be the night.
Analysis: It is a tease about Becky having some help to deal with Becky Lynch and Damage CTRL. There’s a spoiler out there, but I won’t mention it here.
Brock Lesnar is up next on Raw.
Let’s Hear from Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar got a huge ovation from the crowd as soon as his music hit. Brock was in smiling cowboy mode with the black hat, jean jacket, a Megadeth shirt and jeans. Lesnar smacked hands with fans around the ring.
Lesnar: “Good evening, Orlando.” Lesnar asked the fans if they caught the Royal Rumble, the fans cheered and Lesnar thought it sucked. Lesnar said he had a sucky experience. Lesnar talked about how he got his ass thrown over the top rope. Lesnar said he got his ass thrown over the top by Bobby who…Bobby Lashley. Lesnar spoke about how he wasn’t on Raw because he had to get his head together a little bit. Lesnar spoke about how he couldn’t get Bobby out of his head. Lesnar talked about when he tried to go hunting and all he could think about was Bobby who? Bobby Lashley. Lesnar spoke about wanting to go ice finishing, thought about Bobby Lashley, he got a steak dinner and all he can do is think about Bobby Lashley. Lesnar said he crawled out of bed with his wife…about four or five hours later…and all he can do is think about Bobby Lashley. Lesnar said he has come up with a resolution. Lesnar said that in this $5 denim jacket is a multi-million dollar contract. Lesnar said on this contract it states that Bobby Lashley will face Brock Lesnar at Elimination Chamber. Lesnar told Lashley, if he’s got a set of balls, then he’ll get down here to sign this contract.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance to cheers from the crowd with Lashley wearing dress clothes without a jacket. Lashley did a slow walk out to the ring and he got into the ring with Lesnar.
Lashley told Brock it was nice of him to grace them with Brock’s presence. Lashley said they had match number one and Lashley pinned him (it was cheap, but that was not mentioned). Lashley said when they had match number two, Lesnar won, but Lashley laid his knock unconscious as Lashley left the ring. Lashley mentioned tossing Brock out of the Royal Rumble. Lashley said that he thinks things will be done on his terms. Lashley said he’ll let his agent, manager and lawyer look at it. Lashley said that he’ll take it under consideration. Bobby talked about how “Bobby Who” has one up on Lesnar and put his finger on Brock’s face. Lashley turned his back, which was a big mistake and Lesnar dropped Lashley with an F5. Lesnar grabbed his hat, the fans chanted “one more time” and Lesnar gave Lashley a second F5. Lesnar left to a big ovation.
Analysis: That was well done. Lesnar had fun with that promo from the “Bobby who” parts to mentioning his wife (hey Sable) and throwing some jokes in there too. When it was time to get serious they did that well too. The fans absolutely loved Lesnar hit the F5 once and called it for it again, so Brock was happy to do it. This crowd loved Lesnar. Anyway, one more Lesnar-Lashley is certainly fine with me.
F-5! F-5! F-5!@BrockLesnar takes down The All Mighty @fightbobby on #WWERaw! pic.twitter.com/8DdKZPk95y
— WWE (@WWE) February 7, 2023
Candice LeRae was shown backstage getting ready when her husband Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis showed up. Dexter had a drawing for Candice of the Gargano family, plus Nikki Cross lurking in the background. They looked down the hall to see Nikki randomly there too. Candice chased Nikki away. Sure.
Carmella made her entrance for her first match in seven months. Corey Graves was excited to see his wife back in action.
Piper Niven vs. Carmella vs. “Michin” Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae
It was an Elimination Chamber qualifying match with the winner getting into a Chamber match for a Raw Women’s Title match at WrestleMania 39.
Carmella ran away from Niven leading to Niven hitting a corner splash on her other two opponents. Candice and Michin sent Niven into the ropes leading to a double team kick knocking Niven out of the ring. Michin set up Candice on the top rope, then Michin had Candice on her shoulder and Candice hit a Poison Rana on Michin. Carmella went back into the ring for two counts on both women. Niven hit a diving cross body block on all three women for a two count on Michin. Niven dumped Carmella out of the ring leading to a break.
The match continued with Niven catching Candice, but Michin hit a neckbreaker on Niven to stop that. Carmella faced off with Michin as they exchanged forearms, Michin hit Eat Defeat and Niven pulled out Carmella to stop a pin. LeRae got back into it with a dropkick off the top followed by a springboard moonsault onto Niven for a two count because Michin broke up the pin. Niven caught Yim for a spinning slam, but LeRae broke up that pin. Niven missed a senton on Candice, then Candice jumped on Niven’s back and Carmella got a rollup on Candice for two. Carmella sent LeRae face first into the turnbuckle along with some kicks. Carmella hit a running corner splash, then Niven with a cannonball on Candice, Carmella superkicked Niven and Carmella pinned Candice for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Carmella
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with a bunch of nearfalls and people breaking up the pin. I thought the finish was booked well with Carmella avoiding the cannonball attack, then she kicked Niven out of the ring and got the savvy heel win after that. Going into it I thought Niven might win to give her some momentum now that she has her old name back, but nothing wrong with a Carmella victory.
Carmella celebrated the win while Graves celebrated his wife’s win saying Mella is Money.
The win means that the Women’s Elimination Chamber Match for a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 39 is Asuka vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. Natalya vs. Carmella.
Baron Corbin was shown walking backstage as he walked up to JBL suggesting they go hang out in Orlando. JBL told Corbin he is channel-changing television. JBL said that his Hall of Fame career has lost all credibility because of Corbin. JBL told Corbin he’s a clown, he does not belong near JBL and Corbin said he can change. Corbin told him he’ll do better. JBL said you can’t polish a turd…he tried. While that was going on, MVP was in the background talking to Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander. It looks like they shook hands.
Analysis: That could be the end of JBL’s run with Corbin as the manager. Then again, maybe not. Find out more next week I guess.
The Alpha Academy entered for a match.
Candice LeRae was shown walking backstage, Piper Niven shoved her and Mia Yim made the save to make Niven move back. Niven warned them about not getting her in the way when it comes to the Raw Women’s Champion. Niven left.
Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander (w/MVP) vs. Alpha Academy – Chad Gable & Otis
Cedric and Gable started exchanging moves. Cedric went for a handspring move, but Gable caught him and hit a German Suplex. Otis tagged in to run over Cedric. Benjamin tagged in with a kick, but when he tried a corner attack, Otis caught Benjamin with a front powerslam. Otis hit a running splash on Benjamin. Otis blocked a kick, but then Benjamin hit a spin kick. Otis with a body slam. Otis charged, Benjamin moved and Cedric tagged in against Gable. Cedric got a takedown followed by a running dropkick to the head. Cedric did the handspring off the ropes followed by the Neuralizer kick out of the ring. Gable caught a diving Alexander with an Exploder Suplex on the floor. Gable with a headbutt off the top. Benjamin made the save on the two count. Benjamin hit two knees on Otis and a Samoan Drop on Otis as well. Gable went for a moonsault on Cedric, then Cedric hit a lifting slam onto the knees for the backstabber for the pinfall after five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander
Analysis: **1/4 A shorter match to give Benjamin & Alexander again with MVP as their manager just like in the past. It’s a Hurt Business reunion tease again. Poor Gable loses nearly every match he has.
The Miz was shown losing to Rick Boogs last week.
There was a backstage interview with The Miz talking to Cathy Kelley. Miz complained about Boogs ruining a suit while standing outside of Adam Pearce’s office. Boog walked out of the room talking about the Boogs Crew in WWE. The Miz trashed Pearce, who walked out of the room and Pearce said if Miz wants a rematch then he get it next week. Boogs was excited and left.
Chelsea Green walked up to Adam Pearce to find her an opponent or she will call his manager.
A graphic was shown congratulating Ozzy Osbourne for winning two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album and Best Metal Performance.
Chelsea Green made her entrance for a match wearing some really short shorts. That’s not a complaint, trust me. It’s an observation. Green’s opponent was the great Asuka wearing a mask and then she took the mask off to reveal the white face paint.
Asuka vs. Chelsea Green
They had Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Natalya and Carmella watching the match since they are in the Elimination Chamber match with Asuka. Green lifted up Asuka leading to a slam into the mat. Green trash talked fellow Canadian Natalya and Nikki Cross showed up from under the ring since she’s in the Chamber match too. Green was yelling at the women at ringside. Asuka went wild with strikes to the body, then a German Suplex and a roundhouse kick. Asuka charged, Green with a kick and then Asuka got an armbar on the right arm leading to Asuka pulling on the left arm as well. Green quit at that point to give Asuka to win. It went about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: * Easy win by Asuka as you would expect. Green is entertaining, but it’s hard to take her seriously as a competitor.
Bianca Belair walked out with the Raw Women’s Championship. Belair said they are six top tier women in WWE, but who has what it takes to win the Elimination Chamber match? Belair said last year she was in the Chamber match, she won and that’s how she got this title. Belair said she will see the winner at WrestleMania. Bianca’s music played to end it.
Analysis: I pick Asuka to win the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Belair-Asuka is a babyface matchup, but it feels fresh and makes a lot of sense for WrestleMania. I feel pretty confident about it too.
Cody Rhodes was shown walking backstage for a promo up next.
Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes…and Paul Heyman
Cody Rhodes made his entrance in a suit with the crowd popping big for him as usual. Cody stared at the WrestleMania sign above the ring because he’s headed to WrestleMania against the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
Cody: “What do you guys want to talk about?” He mentioned last week he started talking about the best in the world, Roman Reigns. There were some “Sami” chants. Cody said that Roman was his current opponent, but the destination is foggy because our champion is putting the titles on the line at Elimination Chamber against a guy with momentum and a guy walking into his hometown…that is Sami Zayn. More “Sami” chants. Cody said it’s looking like at WrestleMania he may be facing Sami Zayn. Cody looked into the camera telling Sami good luck and may the best man win.
Paul Heyman interrupted with his “ladies and gentlemen” line to start the promo. Heyman said that he is the Special Counsel and the Wise Man to your Tribal Chief, the reigning and defending Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Heyman walked into the ring with Cody.
Heyman said that what Cody may one day find out in his life is that life at the very top in this industry requires an understanding. Heyman spoke about how the week coming out of a major event like a Royal Rumble or WrestleMania with Heyman talking about how few things fell through the cracks. Heyman said that the Tribal Chief and Heyman wanted to congratulate Cody on winning the Royal Rumble match. Heyman shook Cody’s hand and said he was proud of Cody.
Cody said that his father and brother had a nickname for him, but Cody will call him Mr. Heyman. Cody said he had an unparalleled respect for him and he’ll tell that story now. Cody spoke about how the year 2000 was tough for his family saying that his dad Dusty Rhodes was broke. Cody said that his dad was doing local car commercials not for the money, but just so he can keep the car. Cody said that Paul Heyman called Dusty to say that Steve Corino was going to do a promo on Dusty and Paul told Dusty he’d pay him well. Cody said that they did pay Dusty well and gave Dusty his confidence back. Paul was getting emotional. Cody said that there was another time when Cody was away from this company and Paul showed him the way, so Cody thanked him.
Heyman said that Cody is really good and caught him off guard with this. Heyman said that Cody got him personally. The fans cheered Heyman to encourage him. Heyman said let’s go all the way and shoot from the hip. Heyman said that this is not about him and it’s not about Cody’s dad. Heyman said that this is about Cody fighting all the way from the bottom, going out the door, coming back, winning the Royal Rumble and now going on to WrestleMania. Heyman talked about how getting to WrestleMania is Cody’s story to try to find out if his dream can come true or he can come this close. Heyman spoke about how Cody isn’t just headlining WrestleMania, but he’s dealing with the great box office attraction Roman Reigns. Heyman said that Cody has no idea what it’s like under that spotlight and under that pressure.
Heyman mentioned the WWE Performance Center was right down the road. At that Performance Center, Dusty Rhodes trained and prepped the biggest stars of this generation. Heyman named Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Kevin Owens and “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns. The fans booed. Heyman said that Dusty didn’t train and prep…Cody. Heyman that as a father himself, maybe Cody’s dad wanted him to shine on his own and didn’t want Cody to go through life as Dusty’s son. Heyman said maybe Dusty wanted Cody to be the man that stopped The Tribal Chief. Heyman talked about how much he loved Cody’s father and he knows that Dusty loved Cody.
Heyman told Cody that in his last conversation with Dusty, he told Heyman that Cody was his favorite son…but Roman Reigns was the son he always wanted. The fans booed that! Heyman dropped the microphone. Cody walked up to Heyman and stared right at him. Cody extended his hand, then he shook Heyman’s hand. Cody said that everybody wants to make it personal and that’s what Heyman just did. Cody told Heyman he isn’t going to pay for it, Roman Reigns will pay for it when Cody takes those titles…personally.
Analysis: This was outstanding! I thought they both did an excellent job of making their points well and getting plenty of time for it as well. That’s the benefit of being on a three-hour show. Cody shared a story about Heyman helping Dusty when Dusty’s family needed it and Cody is grateful for it while Heyman made it clear that he loved Dusty. What I liked about the promo the most is when Heyman made the claim that Roman Reigns is the son that Dusty wishes he had meaning the success of Reigns is what Dusty would have liked more than what Cody has done in his career. Cody was fired up after that and said that has made this championship match more personal. As much as I respect the legacy of Dusty Rhodes, I hope they mention him a little less moving forward to make this even more of a Cody story to prove he has what it takes to be the WWE/Universal Champion. Anyway, I liked this a lot.
Montez Ford made his entrance for singles action.
A video aired about Kofi Kingston for Black History Month.
Montez Ford vs. Elias
They did not show Elias’ entrance. This is an Elimination Chamber qualifying match. The US Champion Austin Theory joined commentary.
Elias ran over Ford with a shoulder tackle. Ford got an inside cradle for two. Ford hit his own shoulder tackle along with a dropkick. Ford with a kick to the chest, Elias sent Ford into the top rope with a stun gun and Elias beat up Ford with strikes. Elias with a back body drop on Ford, who left the ring. Elias sent Ford into the barricade followed by a belly-to-back suplex onto the steel steps. That led to a break.
Elias was in control with a backbreaker. Elias went for a sunset flip off the ropes, but Ford blocked it. Ford was on Elias’ shoulders, but Elias turned it around into a sitout Powerbomb for two. That almost looked bad although Elias did land him safely. Ford to the apron, he got two kicks to the head and Ford hit a cross body block off the top. Ford hit three straight clotheslines along with a belly-to-back suplex and a standing moonsault for two. Elias hit a jumping knee followed by an Attitude Adjustment-like slam for a two count. Ford sent Elias to the apron, Ford punched a leaping Elias and Ford hit a somersault dive over the turnbuckle onto Elias on the floor. Ford went up top and hit a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Montez Ford
Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay with the crowd not really caring much in the first half, but the fans got into it more toward the end. Elias really didn’t look like he had a chance to win. Ford winning is interesting since he’s a tag team wrestler, so it’s a big opportunity for him. Ford’s dive over the turnbuckle was outstanding and I like his Frog Splash finisher too. Ford is easy to like.
That means the US Championship Elimination Chamber Match looks like this: Austin Theory (c) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Montez Ford.
Analysis: I think Theory likely will retain, but if he’s facing John Cena at WrestleMania then it’s not like Theory needs the title. They can put it on somebody else.
Austin Theory celebrated on the commentary table with his US Title in his hands. Seth “Freakin” Rollins showed up to trip up Theory on the table. Theory was on the ground, so Rollins hit him with The Stomp to put Theory down.
Bayley was shown getting ready for her match with Dakota Kai (on crutches) and IYO SKY standing by.
The Steel Cage Match main event was next.
Next week on Raw:
* Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar have a contract signing.
* Asuka, Nikki Cross & Carmella vs. Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan & Natalya
* Miz TV with Seth “Freakin” Rollins
* The Miz vs. Rick Boogs
Bayley made her entrance along with Damage CTRL allies Dakota Kai (with crutches) and IYO SKY. Corey Graves talked about their history coming up together in Orlando when they were in NXT. Becky Lynch made her entrance, entered the cage and they went to a break there. Good ovation for Becky as usual.
Steel Cage Match: Becky Lynch vs. Bayley (w/Dakota Kai & IYO SKY)
They got into a slugfest and took turns trying to throw eachother into the cage. Bayley tossed Lynch into the cage. Bayley stomped on Lynch a bit, Bayley tried to climb out and Lynch kicked the cage to knock Bayley down. Lynch hit running dropkicks into Bayley and into the cage. Lynch sent Bayley into the cage again. Lynch tried to climb out, Bayley followed her up there onto the top rope and Bayley tossed Lynch down to the mat. Bayley hit a top rope elbow drop for two.
There were less than ten minutes left as they exchanged punches and Lynch hit a kick off the ropes. Bayley tried a climb, Lynch stopped that and sent Bayley into the cage repeatedly. Lynch jumped off the top with a leg drop to the back for two. Bayley got out of a slam attempt and hit a belly-to-back suplex for two. Bayley tried to climb out of the cage again, Bayley stopped that and flipped Bayley into the cage. Lynch with a leg drop, but Bayley caught the leg in a submission. Lynch tried to climb out the door, Bayley let go and Lynch sent Bayley into the turnbuckle for two. Bayley tried a knee submission, Lynch fought it off and Lynch sent Bayley into the cage. Lynch tried to a climb out, Bayley stopped her and Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly suplex off the ropes for a two count. Bayley tried a climb out, but Lynch climbed the cage to go after Bayley. They were both on top of the cage, Lynch got a hold of Bayley’s left arm and gave Bayley a Dis-Arm-Her submission. Lynch tried to climb out, but Sky climbed up and knocked Lynch off the top of the cage. Bayley was handed a crutch. Lita’s music hit as the WWE Hall of Famer Lita made the save for Lynch. Lita pulled Sky off the cage and sent Kai into the steel steps. Bayley tried to climb out, Lita slammed the door on Bayley and Lynch hit a Manhandle Slam on Bayley for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/4 It was good for a PG-style cage match with plenty of bumps into the cage along with some moves off the top. It wasn’t great, but story-wise it made a lot of sense. They didn’t do anything too crazy. Bayley trying to cheat to win is fitting for her although it didn’t work. Since Lynch has been attacked multiple times by Bayley’s group, it made sense to have somebody return to help Lynch and they opted for the WWE Hall of Famer Lita. It’s a smart choice because the fans like Lita and aren’t going to boo her any time like when she lost to Lynch last year.
Post match, Lita went into the ring and hugged Lynch. They hugged again while exchanging words. The show ended there.
Three Stars of the Show
- Cody Rhodes/Paul Heyman
- Becky Lynch
- Brock Lesnar
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2023 Average: 7.33
A good show overall. I thought the three main in-ring promo segments were better than the matches this week. The Cody Rhodes-Paul Heyman exchange sounded like a respectful thing until Heyman claimed that Dusty Rhodes wishes somebody like Roman Reigns was his son instead of Cody. That led to Cody saying that made it personal.
The Edge/Beth Phoenix promo with The Judgment Day was very good in terms of setting up the mixed tag team match against Finn Balor and Rhea Ripley, who wasn’t there. Then there was cowboy Brock Lesnar having a lot of fun during his promo leading to his match challenge for Bobby Lashley at Elimination Chamber. The crowd loved Lesnar and you could tell Brock really enjoyed it.
In terms of matches, I don’t think anything really stood out as far as great matches although there were some solid matchups. Becky Lynch beating Bayley in a Steel Cage match was solid with Lita helping Lynch deal with the numbers game at ringside. Nice wins for Montez Ford, Damian Priest and Carmella qualifying for Chamber matches. The build for the Elimination Chamber PLE was good all night.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Elimination Chamber taking place in Montreal, Quebec on February 18th with this lineup so far:
* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn
* Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley
* US Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Austin Theory (c) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Montez Ford
* Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley
* Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender Elimination Chamber Match: Asuka vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. Natalya vs. Carmella
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