The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/27/23 Review
This week’s WWE Raw featured Cody Rhodes facing Solo Sikoa, Brock Lesnar having a weigh-in with Omos and more.
It’s the final episode of Monday Night Raw going into WrestleMania 39 aka the “go-home show” episode. I’m happy that WrestleMania Week is here and looking forward to writing a lot about it all week. Stay locked in with us on TJRWrestling as we post many news stories/interviews that are insightful on the road to WrestleMania. I’ll have previews for WrestleMania 39 and NXT Stand & Deliver later in the week along with live reviews of those shows too. Busy times, but I love it. I like the WrestleMania card a lot even though there might some predictability on it. That’s okay with me.
This is the Raw Deal for episode #1557 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
There was an opening video featuring the movie The Pope’s Exorcist with Russell Crowe presenting Raw this week.
The Miz made his entrance to start the show to host his talk show. The Raw commentary team of Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves did a rundown of this week’s show.
Miz TV with Becky Lynch, Lita and Trish Stratus
The Miz was in the ring hyping up the crowd for the final Raw before WrestleMania. The Miz introduced his lovely guests the Women’s Tag Team Champions Lita & Becky Lynch along with Trish Stratus. Big pop for the ladies, who all look lovely, especially Trish…who is my all-time favorite.
After the ladies sat, Miz asked Becky about how she couldn’t take care of Damage CTRL so she needed help. Lynch ripped on Miz for having tiny balls, then Miz said his balls are massive as verified by his wife. Lynch said she guesses it’s a good thing that Maryse didn’t get around much before Miz. Good line. Lynch talked about how she thought she took care of Damage CTRL but they kept coming back. The Miz asked Lita and Trish how they feel being backup for Becky Lynch? Lita said she doesn’t feel like a backup since she felt like a Tag Team Champion.
Damage CTRL’s Bayley, Dakota Kai & IYO SKY made their entrance to interrupt. Bayley said this is not another match to them. Bayley said that this is their life. Bayley said that Lita and Trish act like they mean something when they only meant something 20 years ago. Trish said that Lita’s title on her shoulder means she means something now. Bayley talked about how she will get to face somebody she came up with in the company (Lynch) and two of her idols Lita & Trish. The fans were chant “what” so Bayley called them idiots that can’t accomplish crap. Bayley said their mission is to take out Becky and two Hall of Famers. Lynch shouted that Sky and Kai are not doing anything other than being lackeys. Lynch said they haven’t done anything. Lynch said she thought this would end at WarGames, a steel cage match and when they took the Tag Team Titles, so this can only end at WrestleMania. The women argued while Lynch will face Sky after the break.
Analysis: It was a good promo exchange in terms of building some excitement for the tag team match. The babyface trio has had the advantage for most of the build to this match. I liked what Bayley had to say as the disgruntled heel while Lynch did a nice job with her comeback as well. The Miz’s line of questioning worked for his character too. There are rumors of a Trish heel turn and it was noticeable that she didn’t speak much when asked about being Lynch’s backup while Lita did say something, so maybe that’s a tease for the future.
Becky Lynch (w/Lita & Trish Stratus) vs. IYO SKY (w/Bayley & Dakota Kai)
Lynch was in control with Bexploder Suplexes. Bayley and Kai pulled Sky out of the ring to prevent another move. Lynch grabbed Bayley’s hair, so Sky kicked Lynch to knock her back. Sky hit an impressive dropkick as she remained in control. Lynch and Sky exchanged strikes, Sky with an uppercut and Lynch bounced off the ropes with a forearm smash. Lynch came back with clotheslines, a jumping kick and a baseball slide dropkick knocking Sky down on the floor. Lynch with an elbow smash off the apron onto Sky on the floor. Back in the ring, they each tried moves leading to Lynch hitting a reverse DDT. Kai countered a move into a double foot stomp for a two count leading to a break.
The match returned with Lynch hitting a superplex for two. Yes, cameraman, more shots of Trish at ringside. Sky came back with two German Suplexes for a two count. Lynch hit Sky with a forearm followed by a Bexploder Suplex across the ring again. Lynch was seated on the top rope, so Sky jumped up to the top rope and hit a dropkick. That was great. Sky hit a springboard moonsault onto Lynch on the floor for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Back in the ring, Sky went for the moonsault off the top, Lynch avoided it and got a couple of nearfalls. Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great match that was a nice reminder of how talented Iyo Sky is since she doesn’t get to have singles matches that often. Some of the moves she does are so cool and she makes it look easy. Lynch sold great, hit some big moves herself and got the clean win. It was cool to see the crowd get into it with “this is awesome” chants too.
The two teams argued from a distance while Lynch, Lita and Stratus celebrated in the ring.
Analysis: I was leaning towards picking Becky’s team at WrestleMania, but I don’t know. There are rumors of a Trish Stratus heel turn at some point, so maybe something happens to set that in motion. Lots of babyfaces should win at WrestleMania, but it doesn’t mean that this team has to win.
They showed some promo clips from Cody Rhodes dealing with Roman Reigns on Raw last week telling Roman he’ll have no Bloodline after WrestleMania and then on Smackdown with Cody telling Sikoa he was not ready.
They showed Solo Sikoa, The Usos and Paul Heyman walking around backstage since Solo faces Cody later on Raw.
There was a video package about Asuka’s incredible success in WWE with people like Corey Graves, Kevin Owens, Lita and Molly Holly talking about her incredible accomplishments. Charlotte Flair said she was in awe of Asuka because she can do it all. They went over all of the titles and other key victories that Asuka has had in her career. MVP spoke about Asuka’s psychological games are an X-Factor that Bianca Belair may not be prepared for.
Analysis: That was good to put over Asuka. They don’t have much of a story there, but it should be an outstanding match at WrestleMania.
The Seth “Freakin” Rollins-Logan Paul fight was shown from last week’s Raw leading to Logan punching Seth to knock him out at the end of it.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins was interviewed (earlier today) by Cathy Kelley, who pointed out that Logan has knocked Seth out twice. Mustafa Ali interrupted it saying that he wants Seth to see the more “positive” side to Logan knocking Seth out twice. Ali told him to think more “positively” like “Positive-Ali” so Rollins laughed about it. Rollins recalled Ali begging him for a fight a few months ago and Rollins suggested a match against Ali with Seth laughing about it. That match is next.
Analysis: A simple promo exchange to set up a match. We ran a story a few days ago about Ali getting a bigger spotlight after WrestleMania, so we’ll see if it happens for him.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins got a big ovation as the fans sang along with the catchy theme song even after the song stopped playing.
Mustafa Ali vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Ali avoided Rollins followed by Ali hitting a forearm. Ali ran the ropes leading to Rollins hitting a clothesline. Ali tried to escape by going up top, but Rollins hit him with two forearms to the back. Ali was upside down against the turnbuckle and Rollins gave him The Stomp to the chest to drive Ali to the mat. Rollins hit The Stomp the traditional way for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Analysis: *1/2 A squash win for Rollins over Ali, who isn’t pushed much these days. It was smart to give Rollins some positive momentum like that.
Rollins did a promo about how in five days on Night 1 of WrestleMania he’ll finally get his hands on Logan Paul. Rollins said if he can’t Paul at WrestleMania then he’s not the joke, Seth is. Rollins said that Paul threw him out of the Royal Rumble, he cost Seth at Elimination Chamber and he has cheapshotted Seth twice. Rollins said that in five days it all comes back around. Rollins said that April 1st is Logan Paul’s birthday. Rollins said that the WWE Universe will be singing, but it won’t be Happy Birthday and Seth told them to “sing that damn song” so they sang Seth’s song without it playing in the building. Rollins wrapped up the promo saying he’ll see Logan at WrestleMania while ending it with a laugh.
Analysis: Seth was very confident as usual. I think Seth should beat Paul, who is doing fine as a heel, but since Paul has had the advantage throughout the story, Rollins winning makes the most sense.
They showed Baron Corbin complaining to Adam Pearce about things. Pearce told him he’s in the battle royal on Smackdown this Friday. Chelsea Green interrupted to whine about how she’s not in the Women’s 4-Way Tag Team Match. Pearce didn’t have much of an answer and Sonya Deville showed up to trash Pearce. That led to Pearce telling them to team up and if they win their match tonight they will be the final team in the Women’s Showcase match at WrestleMania. Green and Deville seemed to like it.
The Brock Lesnar-Omos weigh-in was next.
Brock Lesnar-Omos Weigh-In
Corey Graves was in the ring to host the weigh-in segment with Adam Peace and a referee in the ring too. Omos made his entrance first with his manager MVP by his side.
Montel Vontavious Porter did a promo saying he’ll give Brock Lesnar because he respects him immensely. MVP said that Lesnar has conquered some of the best in the business at previous WrestleManias like Kurt Angle, Bill Goldberg, Roman Reigns and ending The Streak of The Undertaker at WrestleMania. MVP said you can’t suplex or F5 Omos and you cannot defeat him at WrestleMania. Omos went on the scale with the referee announcing it: 410 pounds. MVP said Lesnar is a bad man, but he isn’t badder than this man (Omos).
Brock Lesnar got a huge pop from the crowd as he made his entrance wearing the jean jacket, jeans and black cowboy hat attire. Lesnar got into the ring with Omos and hit Omos with two running forearms. Lesnar hit a running shoulder tackle. Lesnar tried using the scale as a weapon, but Omos kicked him in the head. Lesnar bailed from the ring while Omos held the scale. The fans chanted “Suplex City” for Lesnar, who was out on the floor. They played Omos’ music to end it.
Analysis: That was a quick segment after Lesnar got out there. We never got to see how much Lesnar weighs although it’s not like it matters. Lesnar tried to get some shots in on Omos and he did rock Omos a bit, but Omos overpowered Lesnar yet again. I know Omos is the younger guy. I just think Lesnar is going to hit one F5 and win the match.
A video package aired about Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair showing plenty of her career highlights.
Rhea Ripley was interviewed by Byron Saxton with Ripley wearing a “Bail Me Out” Dominik shirt. Ripley said Charlotte’s legacy will not define Ripley’s destiny. Ripley said she must beat Charlotte to prove she’s the best. It comes down to Charlotte’s legacy against Rhea’s destiny. Ripley said that Charlotte can’t stop her from being the new Smackdown Women’s Champion at WrestleMania.
Analysis: I’m going with Ripley there.
The Street Profits made their entrance for some tag team action. Braun Strowman & Ricochet were next as the tag team partners of The Street Profits on this show.
There was a Finn Balor with a message for Edge saying it was always going to be this way, wasn’t it? Finn said that Edge is familiar with the cell and Edge was baptized in the cell. Finn spoke about how there was nothing more dangerous than a locked demon. Finn told Edge to get his candles and bring whatever he has to while telling Edge that his demons are always here – you just have to look closely.
The graphic shown for the Edge-Finn Balor match has Finn as “Demon” Balor, so that’s confirmed now.
Analysis: It should be a great Hell in a Cell match. A long storyline going into that match. I think Balor should win as the younger guy, but it could go either way because the good guy Edge winning would end the story. It will be cool to see Balor’s Demon entrance at WrestleMania while Edge is rumored to have Garngrel with him too.
Braun Strowman, Ricochet, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins vs. Chad Gable, Otis, Erik & Ivar (w/Valhalla)
The four teams are on opposite sides at WrestleMania. Dawkins with a shoulder tackle. Gable and Dawkins exchanged some holds leading to Gable doing an arm drag. Ricochet made the tag leading to a dropkick. Strowman tagged in with a corner splash and shoulder tackle. Ford tagged in leading to a series of arm drags, then Ford with a backhand to the face and Gable knocked down Ford with a forearm. All eight guys went into the ring to throw punches leading to some of them leaving the ring. Strowman was alone in the ring against the big men Otis and Ivar. Strowman punched Ivar, Otis bumped Braun out of the ring and Ford jumped off the top, but Otis caught him with a powerslam. They went to break there.
Erik was in control of Ford with a chinlock in the heel corner. Ivar was back in with multiple punches to Ford’s back. Erik was back in as both VR guys hit knees to the ribs with Erik doing a loud leg slap. Otis with a lefty clothesline on Ford while Maxxine Dupri was watching from backstage. Otis hit a running elbow drop. Ford with a kick to the body, but Otis ran over Ford with a back elbow. Ford with a jumping kick to the head. Dawkins tagged in against Ivar with a clothesline, then a jumping back elbow and Dawkins hit a corner splash along with a jumping kick. After Dawkins was distracted by Erik, Ivar came back with a clothesline. Erik got a two count, but Ricochet broke that up with an SSP. Ricochet and Dawkins cleared house, so Strowman got the tag. Strowman with shoulder tackles on the floor on Otis, Gable and Ivar. Erik with a knee lift on Strowman, but Braun came back with a spinebuster. Strowman hit a powerslam. Ricochet got the tag, he went on Strowman’s shoulders and Ricochet hit a senton bomb. Ford tagged himself in and jumped over Strowman with a Frog Splash for the pinfall win. Ford jumped far while twisting in the air. It went 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Braun Strowman, Ricochet, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins
Analysis: *** That was good with the babyfaces really working well together leading to the exciting final moments of the match. Ford’s Frog Splash off the top is amazing every time he does it, so seeing him twist in the air like he did made it even more impressive.
Post match, Maxxine Dupri was watching the TV and wasn’t happy about Otis losing.
Cody Rhodes was interviewed by Cathy Kelley, who asked Cody if he was in a vulnerable position taking this match against Solo Sikoa. Cody said he loves being in this position while saying that Solo is undefeated just like Cody is. Cody wondered why it was so important for him to face “Enforcer” Solo this week on Raw. Cody said he has earned it, he has lived it and tonight Solo finds out he’s not ready. Cody said at WrestleMania, he defeats Roman Reigns and becomes the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
Analysis: I think Cody is right about what he said at the end there.
There was a WrestleMania Goes Hollywood parody commercial featuring The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa) doing a Goodfellas parody. They were laughing. Paul Heyman told Reigns how he was funny, then Reigns asked Heyman why he thought Reigns was funny and Heyman tried to explain it. Reigns seemed angry, but then Heyman laughed. Reigns smashed a bottle on the waiter’s head and said just last week he was asking for WrestleMania tickets. They all laughed. Solo said “you really are a funny Tribal Chief” to end it.
Analysis: That was great. Goodfellas is also one of my favorite movies ever that I have seen many times, so of course I’m going to love it. Reigns was in the Joe Pesci role while Heyman was in the Ray Liotta role in this instance. They had some good lines.
#TheBloodline isn't clowning around ahead of #WrestleMania this weekend!@WWERomanReigns@HeymanHustle@WWEUsos@WWESoloSikoapic.twitter.com/MRyfBqiUW5
— WWE (@WWE) March 28, 2023
There was a video package about Bianca Belair. They featured comments from many people including her husband Montez Ford while they showed some of her accomplishments. Others featured in the video were Beth Phoenix, Corey Graves, Molly Holly, Corey Graves and Kevin Owens, who called Belair-Asuka a must-see match.
Analysis: There was an Asuka video, so it made sense to do a Belair video too. It could go either way in terms of that WrestleMania match.
Austin Theory Has A Message For John Cena
Austin Theory was in the ring with the US Title doing a promo earlier today with nobody in the crowd. Theory said that John Cena exposed himself because he can’t see the future right in front of his eyes. Theory said he was in the arena all alone saying he doesn’t do this for the WWE Universe or some kid growing up that wants to be the next Austin Theory and he doesn’t do this to be the next John Cena. Theory said he had a purpose before anybody had an opinion about him. Theory said that Cena had to make this personal while adding that Cena is going to look up at Theory. Austin said he’ll make John believe in Austin Theory while making the WWE Universe stop believing in Cena. Austin said that’s going to happen this Saturday at WrestleMania as Austin looked at the WM sign.
The Theory-Cena match will open WrestleMania Saturday on April 1st as the first match.
Analysis: Austin Theory has grown a lot over the last year and is a better performer in the last six months for sure. I like his intensity and the way he appears to be more focused than ever. It’s a great choice for an opening match at WrestleMania too because the crowd will be hot to see Cena in action. I think Theory should win and if he doesn’t I’ll be surprised by it.
Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green as a new tag team. Sonya is usually on Smackdown, but it’s not like the brand split matters.
Stacy Keibler joins the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2023. It was announced earlier today as we covered here.
Candice LeRae & “Michin” Mia Yim vs. Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green
The winners will join the Women’s 4-Way Showcase Match at WrestleMania.
Michin with a dropkick on Deville along with a boot to the face. Green distracted, Michin missed a corner attack and Green tagged in with a slap to the face. Deville and Green made some quick tags, but Michin countered a double team with a neckbreaker. LeRae tagged in with a cross body block on both opponents off the top. LeRae hit a running clothesline, a running back splash and a senton on the back of Green. Michin was back in for a double team slam onto Green for two, but Deville made the save. Deville with a reverse DDT/elbow on LeRae. Michin with a dropkick on Deville. Deville got a cheap punch and Green hit an Unprettier on Yim for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville
Analysis: ** It was okay for a shorter match with no story going into it other than the winners getting into a WrestleMania match. Green and Deville worked well together for the win.
That means that Green & Deville are in the Women’s Showcase 4-Way match against Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan, Natalya & Shotzi and Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler.
Analysis: I will go with Rousey/Baszler winning even though Rousey is dealing with an arm injury. Raquel & Liv have a shot to win too.
Damian Priest entered with Dominik Mysterio for Priest’s match against Rey Mysterio after a break.
There was a WrestleMania moment video showing highlights from WrestleMania 1.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Cathy Kelley with Heyman saying that Cody Rhodes doesn’t fear the Tribal Chief (Roman Reigns) because Cody is not ready. Heyman said that Solo Sikoa is ready to weaken Cody Rhodes for his match against Roman Reigns. Heyman said that Reigns is ready to get any advantage that he can to remain Tribal Chief on the Island of Relevancy. Heyman said that Cody Rhodes has never been ready and said he’s never been ready to fill the shoes of the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and he’s not ready to be the man of this generation. Heyman said that Cody is not ready for Reigns. Heyman talked about Reigns confronting Cody this Friday on Smackdown. Heyman said that Cody will be ready to lose to Roman Reigns. Heyman told Cody that when he disappoints the WWE Universe, he wanted Cody to acknowledge the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns in the main event, this Sunday…of WrestleMania.
Analysis: A tremendous promo from Paul Heyman as usual. Nobody sells a big match as well as Heyman.
Dominik Mysterio and Damian Priest were in the ring saying with Dom saying that Rey was a lowlife for attacking Dominik on Smackdown. Dominik said that Rey really is a deadbeat. Dominik said that when Priest beats Rey and Dominik beats Rey, everyone will know Rey is a failure as a father. They showed Smackdown last Friday with Dominik telling his mom to shut up, so Rey had enough and decked his son with a punch. Huge pop for Rey doing that and telling Dominik you don’t respect your mother like that, so Rey will face Dominik at WrestleMania. Dominik ranted in Spanish with the fans booing him. Dominik asked what kind of father hits his own son? Dominik said he should have told his mother to shut up a long time ago. The fans were booing loudly. Dominik said he wishes that Eddie (Guerrero) was his father and he wished that Rey didn’t exist. Dominik said that the Mysterio name will be his at WrestleMania.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance for the match against Priest.
Analysis: The heat for Dominik continues to be strong. He has grown so much as a performer. It took a long time for Rey to finally accept the match, but now it’s official and I expect a hot crowd for the match when it happens at WrestleMania. They have done a great job with the story.
A commercial aired for NXT Stand & Deliver on Saturday, April 1st with a 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT start time. That will be weird for the wrestlers in LA wrestling at 10 a.m. but that’s what it is.
Rey Mysterio vs. Damian Priest (w/Dominik Mysterio)
Rey countered a Priest move with a bulldog followed by a senton off the ropes. Rey hit a springboard moonsault for two. Rey jumped off the ropes, Priest caught him and hit a flatliner for two. Priest charged with a kick attempt, Rey avoided it and Rey wanted a 619 kick attempt, but Priest hit him with a running lariat for two. Priest set up Rey on the ropes, he tried for a move and Rey countered with a hurricanrana off the top. Rey with a dropkick into the 619 kick. Rey went up top, Dominik tripped him there and that was the DQ finish. It went three minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ** It was pretty obvious this wouldn’t end with a clean finish with Dominik out there. I thought maybe Rey would win, but the DQ ending is fine for this storyline. Priest sold well for Rey and hit some big power moves too.
Post match, Dominik punched Rey a bunch of times. Priest held Rey leading to Dominik punching Rey in the ribs. Legado del Fantasma arrived for the save with Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro chasing Priest & Dominik out of the ring.
Analysis: It was another cheap attack from Dominik on his father to get some more heat. It worked as usual. I like the Legado guys supporting Rey like that.
A video aired about the Andre the Giant Battle Royal that is airing this Friday on Smackdown. The battle royal started in 2014. It was originally on WrestleMania, but now they just do it on Smackdown.
There was a backstage video of Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & Johnny Gargano looking to see if they are on the list for the battle royal amd they are. They left. Rick Boogs & Elias found out they were both in the battle royal with Elias saying he was a lock to win it. Elias bumped into Dexter Lumis, Bronson Reed and also Bobby Lashley standing there. Lashley said he’ll see Elias on Friday.
Analysis: Poor Bobby Lashley is downgraded to the battle royal because Bray Wyatt isn’t able to do their planned match due to some illness. I think the battle royal should be at WrestleMania to let the wrestlers get to perform on that stage, but it’s not happening that way.
GUNTHER, the Intercontinental Champion, entered with his Imperium buddies for a match up next.
This Friday on Smackdown: Roman Reigns & Cody Rhodes meet face-to-face on the last stop before WrestleMania. Plus, the Andre the Giant battle royal will take place.
A video was shown from last week’s Smackdown when The Usos attacked Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to end the show. It was the right time to give The Usos the advantage.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were shown backstage for a promo. Zayn said that this is the biggest Tag Team Championship match of all time. Zayn said that everybody knows that Sami and Kevin started in Montreal, but Los Angeles is where they really made their names as a team. Owens said that every fight has been about moving their careers forward. Owens said that it was us against The Usos, who are the best team in WWE, but Owens said they will show what they can do. Owens shouted about how they are going to become the WWE Tag Team Champions and they are doing it at WrestleMania.
Analysis: An energetic promo from Sami and Kevin there. I think that match is going to be outstanding. I’m going with Sami and Kevin to beat The Usos at WrestleMania.
GUNTHER (Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler with a dropkick and a DDT to start the match. Gunther blocked a kick and hit a hard chop to the chest. Gunther with an uppercut along with another hard chop to the chest. Gunther kicked Ziggler out of the ring leading to a break.
Ziggler got some offense going with a headbutt and a Fameasser for two. Ziggler went for a running attack, but Gunther chopped him. Gunther hit a German Suplex followed by a Powerbomb. Gunther hit a powerslam called The Last Symphony for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Gunther
Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for Gunther. It was basically a three-minute match that got six minutes since there was a commercial break in the middle of it.
Gunther did a promo shouting out Sheamus and Drew McIntyre by complaining about having to defend the Intercontinental Title against two men. Gunther told them that this is the fate that awaits them at WrestleMania.
Analysis: That match could go either way. I’m leaning toward a Sheamus win to give him the IC Title for the first time in his career. However, I would be fine with Gunther winning or Drew McIntyre having a title again. There are no bad choices there.
A video aired the WWE 2K23 video game with some positive comments about it since it has been getting good reviews.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance to a huge ovation. The fans do a good job of shouting out the “WHOA-OH” part of the song. Cody is getting cheered heavily by the fans and that’s great to see every week. I’m happy for the guy.
Solo Sikoa entered with the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman joining him. That led to the break.
This Friday on Smackdown: Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes go face to face.
Cody Rhodes vs. Solo Sikoa (w/Paul Heyman)
Solo with a shoulder tackle, they exchanged punches and Cody hit a dropkick. Cody ran right into a Samoan Drop by Solo. Cody left the ring, Solo went after him and Cody sent Solo into the steel steps. Cody rammed Solo’s left knee into the ring post. Cody went for a springboard attack, but Solo caught him and Solo hit a belly-to-belly slam. Cody to the apron, so Solo punched him off the apron leading to Cody bumping onto the commentary table. They were fighting on the floor with Cody sending Solo’s head into the hood of the commentary table a few times. Cody went for a suicide dive, Solo caught him and hit a Spinning Solo slam onto the hood of the commentary table. Solo hit another Spinning Solo slam onto the commentary table – it was not enough to break the table. They went to break.
The match returned with Solo in control. Cody tried to get a suplex, but Solo was able to block it and Solo hit a corner clothesline on Cody. After Solo got some punches in, Cody hit a front suplex. Solo with a headbutt, but Cody came back with a forearm and a powerslam. Cody with the springboard Disaster Kick and the springboard Cody Cutter leading to cheers from the crowd. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes neckbreaker and a slow cover with Solo getting his right foot on the bottom rope for a two count. That was too choreographed for a two count. Cody stomped on Solo, then Cody went up top and Heyman shouted at Heyman: “Is this what you wanted?” Cody with a moonsault off the top, but Solo moved out of the way so Cody hit the mat. Solo with headbutts, Cody ducked the Samoan Spike attempt and Cody hit a Cody Cutter again. The Usos music hit as Solo’s brothers Jimmy & Jey Uso arrived. Cody was looking at The Usos, so Solo superkicked Cody and Solo hit a Spinning Solo slam for two. Sami Zayn’s music hit as Sami & Kevin Owens ran out to ringside to fight with The Usos. They were brawling by the entrance area. Owens and Zayn were in control as the fight went to the back. Cody tried for a Disaster Kick, Solo avoided that, Solo wanted the Samoan Spike, Cody blocked that and Cody hit the Cross Rhodes for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a great main event match that was booked well with Owens & Zayn preventing The Usos from helping Solo win the match. Solo got plenty of offense in the match, he even hit his finisher and Cody kicked out of it, which is fine because Cody’s a main event level guy that should be winning matches like this. It took a lot to beat Solo, who ate his first pinfall on the main roster. Despite the loss, Solo has a very bright future. It’s just the right booking decision to have Cody win a match like this to continue his positive momentum going into WrestleMania this weekend.
Cody Rhodes celebrated the win with Paul Heyman reacting like he was shocked that Cody found a way to win. Cody continued to celebrate with the fans cheering him. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Cody Rhodes
- Becky Lynch/IYO SKY
- Seth Rollins/Solo Sikoa
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2023 Average: 7.27
I thought it was a pretty good Raw full of some strong promos about WrestleMania matches while also delivering entertaining matches as well. The Becky Lynch/Iyo Sky match was great, I liked the 8-man tag team match and Cody Rhodes/Solo Sikoa was a fun main event also. Some of the other matches were kept short to put over WrestleMania competitors.
In terms of the promos and segments, they continue to make Omos look strong against Brock Lesnar, so it will shock people if Brock can lift Omos at WrestleMania. Plenty of people did a nice job with backstage promos like Cody Rhodes, Paul Heyman (for Roman Reigns), Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens, Rhea Ripley, Seth Rollins and others.
I wouldn’t call it an incredible must-see “go home” edition of Raw that you need to see if you missed it. However, they certainly hit on all the right notes in terms of promoting the WrestleMania matches. We know when some of the matches are taking place, but not all of them yet. That’s fine. Hopefully we find out during the week.
The official WrestleMania 39 lineup on April 1st and April 2nd looks like this right now with more to come.
* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos – Jimmy & Jey Uso (c) vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
* United States Championship:Austin Theory (c) vs. John Cena
* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka
* Hell in a Cell Match: Edge vs. Finn Balor
* Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Logan Paul
* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
* Damage CTRL – Bayley, IYO SKY & Dakota Kai vs. Trish Stratus, Becky Lynch & Lita
* Brock Lesnar vs. Omos
* Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
* Men’s Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match: The Street Profits vs. Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. Alpha Academy vs. Viking Raiders
* Women’s Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match: Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green
The Miz will host WrestleMania.
WrestleMania goes Hollywood for a special two-night Premium Live Event, Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, streaming live on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
Check out the WWE PPV Review archive right here. You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Be safe and smart out there.
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