This week’s WWE Raw featured Seth “Freakin” Rollins defending the World Heavyweight Title against “Don’t Hinder” Jinder Mahal, plus we hear from Cody Rhodes to start the show.
It’s the last Raw against NFL Monday competition until September. That means starting next week I’ll be doing a live Raw review most weeks until September. I love the NFL even though I’m a bit heartbroken after my beloved LA Rams lost a close game 24-23 on Sunday night to Detroit. Since Detroit hasn’t had a lot of success as a franchise, I am happy for them and hope they make the Super Bowl. I just wish the referees were better in that game because I think it affected the game negatively for both sides, especially the Rams late in the game. Just saying.
There was an opening video package about Martin Luther King Jr. since it was MLK Day in the US on Monday. They do this every year.
It was Michael Cole and Wade Barrett on commentary. They showed snow outside of the arena and said that Arkansas isn’t used to that kind of thing, but a lot of the US/Canada has dealt with the snow over the last week.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins was shown arriving earlier and he had his daughter Roux with him. Jinder Mahal was shown arriving in a truck earlier in the day as well.
Let’s Hear From Cody Rhodes…and Drew McIntyre
The suit man Cody Rhodes made his entrance for a show opening promo. They had a new big screen by the entrance area. Regarding the look of the set, apparently it was because of concern over the snow that was on the roof and WWE had to use an alternative set instead. It was similar to what it used to be but just aligned a bit differently. Cole mentioned the Royal Rumble in less than two weeks.
Cody: “So, Little Rock, what do you guys want to talk about?” Cody mentioned a song about Little Rock or we can talk about Cody beating Shinsuke Nakamura last week or we can talk about the reason why he’s standing here. Cody said that it’s the reason he came back to WWE and the thing that he came back to WWE for. Drew McIntyre interrupted the promo.
Drew asked Cody what does he want to talk about? Drew said that they grew up in WWE together, they’re the same age and took similar career paths. Drew told Cody he was proud of him. Drew remembered when they were 23-24 years old and they were WWE Tag Team Champions. Cody mentioned their tag team name: The Dashing Ones. No reaction. Drew said that at the time they didn’t have the respect they have now. Drew said they had to leave WWE to get that perspective and they redefined themselves. Drew said that they were both so undeniable that WWE called them back. Drew said his last match before he returned to WWE was with Cody and Cody told him he would be a future World Champion. Drew said he did it twice. Drew said that it doesn’t matter who comes back. Drew told Cody to keep doing what he’s doing and he’ll be the first member of his family to raise that championship. The fans cheered. Drew told Cody he was going to finish the story, but not before Drew finishes his. The fans booed.
Cody said that they have both declared for the Royal Rumble. Cody said that they could win. Cody said Jey Uso could win, CM Punk could win and there were light “CM Punk” chants. Cody said they’ve both won the Royal Rumble and said that you can’t count anybody out. Drew said it’s just about the two of them right now. Drew told Cody to be himself. Drew said you don’t have to wear the suits since you’re not running for office and Drew told Cody you don’t have to smile all the time because Drew used to do. Drew said if anybody has an issue with the real Cody, Drew told Cody to drop them on their arse. Cody told Drew this is not an act. Cody said that he smiles because he loves it and he made opportunities for himself. Cody said he is thankful, he is grateful, he is relishing his second chance and Drew is just standing here complaining about his second chance. Drew complained about Cody bringing Jey Uso to Raw. Drew complained about Cody endorsing CM Punk and wondered if it was done to make everybody else happy. Drew said that he did like Cody. Drew said that if Damian Priest didn’t try to cash in that briefcase then Drew would be World Champion right now. Drew said that Cody will get eaten alive when he steps in his face. Drew said he is this damn business and at WrestleMania, the story belongs to Drew McIntyre. The fans booed.
Cody mentioned Drew saying “if” all the time. Cody said that Drew is brimming with grievances and Drew wants that for Cody. Cody said that he doesn’t look at Drew to finish the story, Cody looks at his heart and he looks at the fans. The fans cheered. Cody said that if you want to settle this in the Royal Rumble, Cody will do that. Cody mentioned the last match they had and Cody asked who won? Cody left. I assume that means Cody won.
Analysis: I thought both guys did very well here. They touched on their history as two young guys who started in WWE very young in their early 20s, both guys ended up leaving and coming back as better performers. Drew is crushing it as this whiny heel who also speaks the truth and does it with a lot of conviction, which is why it works so well. Cody did a nice job of firing back at Drew and trashing him for complaining all the time. A main event level Cody-Drew feud would be cool to see at some point this year. I just hope Drew stays in WWE long term.
R-Truth was backstage with his new The Judgment Day shirts and Damian Priest complained about it. Truth gave Priest a stack of cash saying it was his cut from the t-shirts. Truth was still looking for Tom & Nick Mysterio. Priest took the money and said that the others in the group didn’t like it. Priest told Truth not to tag in during tonight’s match. Truth said he’s got it and winked at him. Truth gave Priest a shirt. Priest left while Truth did a “heart” sign with his hands.
Analysis: R-Truth is hilarious as usual.
The Judgment Day’s JD McDonagh & Dominik Mysterio entered for tag team action.
#DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs. The Judgment Day – Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh
Johnny and JD did some mat wrestling to start the show. Johnny hit a running hurricanrana on JD to send JD out of the ring. Johnny ran to the ropes, so Dominik opened the ropes and Johnny bumped to the floor. Ciampa went after Dominik with a dive onto him. JD tried to go after Ciampa, who moved, so Johnny dove onto JD on the floor. After JD bumped over the commentary table, Ciampa & Johnny did their clapping on the apron.
Ciampa and JD did a double clothesline collision spot that looked awkward. Johnny tagged in leading to some double team moves including a clothesline by Ciampa. Dominik nailed legal man Johnny with a forearm to the back while the referee wasn’t looking. Dominik and JD worked over Johnny in their corner for a couple of minutes. Johnny pulled Dominik down and Johnny hit a rolling kick. The heels used some referee manipulation to prevent the referee from seeing Ciampa’s hot tag, so Johnny was isolated some more. Johnny sent JD out of the ring and Johnny hit a slingshot Spear on Dominik. JD pulled Ciampa off the apron to prevent a tag while Dominik hit a dropkick on Johnny for two.
Ciampa got the tag leading to a lot of rope running and clotheslines. The fans liked that. Ciampa hit a back body drop on JD followed by a reverse DDT for two. JD broke free, Dominik got the tag back in and Dominik hit a senton splash. Gargano stopped a double team move by tackling JD and Ciampa rolled up Dom for two. Gargano tagged in for a double team suplex for two as JD broke up the pin. Ciampa delivered a knee strike, there was a headbutt, Dominik hit a superkick and Johnny nailed Dominik with a clothesline. All four guys were down selling as the fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. JD caught a running Ciampa with a standing Spanish Fly. JD hit a top rope moonsault for two because Johnny broke it up. Dominik dropkicked Johnny into the ropes. Johnny blocked a 619 attempt and Ciampa kneed Dominik out of the ring. JD got a rollup for two on Ciampa. Ciampa hit a DDT on JD. Johnny tagged in leading to the Meet in the Middle superkick/knee combo on JD for the pinfall win. It went 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano
Analysis: ***1/4 It took a while, but #DIY got the win as expected here. The fans got into it, especially in the final third of the match. I don’t think they needed to go nearly 20 minutes, but sometimes Raw matches go longer than usual because it’s a three-hour show. Since #DIY got the win here, perhaps they will get a Tag Team Title match against Balor & Priest soon. Whenever JD is in a match he usually loses, so it wasn’t surprising to see him take the pin here.
There was a video from earlier today with Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell talking to Raw GM Adam Pearce. Chelsea Green & Piper Niven walked in leading to Green’s usual complaining. Pearce put the tag teams in a match tonight.
Chelsea Green & Piper Niven entered for tag team action. I don’t like that Samantha Irvin has stopped saying Green’s name in a unique way. Whoever told her to stop that made the wrong call. It’s fun hearing names like that.
Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae vs. Chelsea Green & Piper Niven
Niven gave Indi a shoulder breaker to start the match. Green slapped Indi. Indi came back with an uppercut and a kick. Indi tripped up Green on the apron followed by Indi hitting a boot to the face. Niven whipped Indi hard into the turnbuckle. Niven missed a splash off the middle turnbuckle when Indi moved. LeRae tagged in with a bunch of kicks for Niven and double knees to green. Indi slammed LeRae onto Niven. Green was in there illegally, so Indi hit a spinebuster on Green. Niven missed a running cross body block while Green made a blind tag. Indi kicked Niven out of the ring. Indi held Green by the ropes and LeRae hit a Lionsault while Indi was holding Green. Weird looking pin since Indi started the pin, but LeRae was legal so LeRae finished the cover. It went about four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae
Analysis: *3/4 They worked hard and it was fast-paced, but it just felt off at times, especially at the finish when Indi went for the pin even though LeRae was legal. The crowd was dead for most of this match. The win gives LeRae and Indi a bit of a boost going forward as potential Women’s Tag Team Title challengers.
The Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER and Ludwig Kaiser were shown walking backstage for a promo up next.
A video aired about Nia Jax. They had comments from Jax about how nobody would beat her at the Royal Rumble.
Analysis: I mentioned last week that I think they’ll do Jax challenging Rhea Ripley at Elimination Chamber since Ripley will be cheered heavily in her home country of Australia, so putting Ripley against a hated heel like Jax makes sense.
Rhea Ripley and The Judgment Day were watching on a TV. Ripley said she had to go address this. Damian Priest walked in while Finn Balor wondered where he was. Damian Priest said he went to talk to Adam Pearce about Drew McIntyre. JD McDonagh complained about R-Truth and Priest sounded like he was defending Truth, so Balor asked about that. Priest said Truth earns for the crew while taking the stack of bills that Truth gave him. Priest said this was just his cut. JD asked if he got a cut. Priest said that JD’s shirt wasn’t on the shirt. Priest told Balor they had to focus on this match, so Balor touched knuckles with him.
Let’s Hear from GUNTHER
Ludwig Kaiser did a special introduction for the “Ring General” Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER. Welcome back to Gunther after being off for the last month. His wife gave birth to their son about three weeks ago. No word on whether the baby can throw chops yet. Cole mentioned Gunther’s record IC Title reign is at 584 days. There was some cheering before Gunther spoke.
Gunther said that we are two weeks away from the Royal Rumble and he can feel the desperation around this place. Gunther said he could smell it and he could smell excrement too since they were in Arkansas. Gunther said when he was away, all he saw was his fellow superstars arguing about who was going to win the Royal Rumble and who was going to win WrestleMania. Gunther said that he entered the Royal Rumble last year as #1 and made it to the end where he was one elimination away from winning the Royal Rumble. The fans chanted “Cody” at that. Gunther bragged about lasting longer in the Royal Rumble than any man before. Gunther said that this year he’s going to win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania.
Analysis: I would love to see WWE use the Royal Rumble to set up the Gunther-Brock Lesnar dream match. Bring Brock back at the Rumble, have him take out Gunther and that sets them up for WrestleMania 40. I’m not saying I want to see Brock as Intercontinental Champion. I just want to see that match at WrestleMania this year.
Gunther wanted to talk about Kaiser and review what happened while Gunther was away. A replay was shown of Kaiser’s fight with Kofi Kingston last week that saw Kaiser dropkick Kofi’s head against the steps. Cole said that Kofi will be out “a number of days” which is very vague.
Gunther told Kaiser he loved to see that. Gunther said that Kaiser showed a side of himself that Gunther always wanted to see. Gunther told Kaiser he showed confidence and courage while saying it was well done. Gunther and Kaiser hugged.
Xavier Woods of The New Day walked out in his ring gear with a jacket. Woods said that he had a problem with Kaiser and said he talked to Kofi Kingston while making it clear that Kaiser was the reason why Kofi wasn’t there. Woods said that he was there, so tonight he’s going to face Kaiser in a match. Woods wondered if Kaiser had to ask his daddy for permission. Gunther handed Kaiser the microphone while some fans chanted “Who’s Your Daddy?”
Kaiser said after you saw what Kaiser did last week, you want to challenge him? Kaiser said that what he did to Kofi last week was nothing compared to what he does to Woods tonight. Kaiser said he would take Xavier’s head tonight and he accepts. Woods got onto the apron and Woods gave Kaiser a back body drop to the floor. Woods jumped onto Kaiser on the floor leading to punches to the head. A referee was at ringside to start the match after a break.
Analysis: It was the logical next step in the story since Kaiser took out Kofi, so Woods was there to step up to try to get revenge on Kaiser. It’s simple storytelling that works.
Xavier Woods vs. Ludwig Kaiser
Woods was going after Kaiser with punches as Cole clarified that Kofi would be out for a “couple of weeks” due to the attack by Kaiser. Kaiser took control with a clothesline. They exchanged strikes a bit. Kaiser caught Woods by the ropes followed by more punches. Kaiser delivered a running uppercut along with a kick to the back. Woods worked over Kaiser with punches, but then Kaiser broke free with a forearm to the back of the leg. Kaiser delivered a running kick to the chest for two. Woods hit a running forearm to the face. Woods hit a jumping kick to the ear and then Kaiser came back with a clothesline. Kaiser sent Woods shoulder first into the ringpost followed by a basement dropkick that knocked Woods out of the ring.
Woods did a necksnap against the ropes followed by Woods jumping off the ropes with a DDT. Woods’ mouth was bleeding. Woods was fired up with punches and stomps. Woods clotheslined Kaiser over the top to the floor. Woods dropkicked Kaiser over the commentary table on the floor. Kaiser tried throwing a chair, but Woods avoided it. Woods grabbed the leader chair and hit Kaiser in the back with it. The referee called for the bell for the DQ. The fans booed that, but it was the right call. It went 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ludwig Kaiser
Analysis: **3/4 I liked the intensity shown by both guys. A DQ finish isn’t loved by fans, but sometimes it works because it builds to another match. The non-finish continues the story of Imperium and New Day having issues for several weeks now since Vinci’s concussion as well as Kaiser taking out Kofi last week. It has become a personal feud, so ending in DQ is okay because it’s going to lead to more matches.
After the match, Woods grabbed a steel chair and Kaiser hit a leaping kick sending it into Woods’ face. The fans wanted a table. Kaiser set up Woods on the steel steps, but Woods was back up and Woods kicked Kaiser to knock him down. Woods threw the steps at Kaiser, who avoided it and Kaiser jumped the barricade to get away. The referee held Woods back while Kaiser manager to get away.
Analysis: This should lead to another match between them or when Kofi is back and Vinci is back they can do a tag team match. It’s a story that has worked for the most part.
Bronson Reed was featured in a promo looking at the camera. Reed said there’s a man in WWE who holds a championship in WWE right now who doesn’t realize it will soon belong to Bronson Reed. That was it.
Xavier Woods was backstage when Byron Saxton showed up asking Woods about what happened. Ludwig Kaiser attacked Woods with punches, so Jey Uso was there to pull Kaiser off. Referees showed up to stop another fight.
Analysis: That could certainly set up Jey Uso against Ludwig Kaiser. I also think a Jey Uso match against GUNTHER could be coming soon too.
A video aired about Seth “Freakin” Rollins facing Jinder Mahal later in the show. They recapped the segment from last week’s Raw to set up this match.
Akira Tozawa made his entrance for a singles match.
Ivar (w/Valhalla) vs. Akira Tozawa (w/Maxxine Dupri)
Ivar nailed a running Tozawa with a boot to the face. Tozawa delivered a spin kick to the head. Ivar lifted Tozawa into the air, but Tozawa came back with a DDT. Tozawa ripped off his Alpha Academy shirt, but Ivar hit a spinning powerslam and a running cross body block. Ivar went up top, Maxxine went on the apron to distract a bit and Tozawa kicked Ivar. Tozawa hit a Sunset Flip Powerbomb off the ropes of the pinfall win. Ivar kicked out right after the pin. It went two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa
Analysis: *1/2 An upset win for Tozawa in a short match. It was done in a way that protected Ivar a bit due to the distraction, but it’s still a rare win for Tozawa.
After the match, Valhalla attacked Maxxine on the floor. Valhalla sent Maxxine into the ring for some face gouging. Ivar nailed Tozawa with a spin kick. Valhalla headbutted Maxxine out of the ring. Ivar went up top and he hit a Doomsault (top rope moonsault) on Tozawa. Ivar and Valhalla stood tall to end it.
Analysis: It was some revenge for Ivar after losing the match. It works in terms of getting heat on the heels Ivar & Valhalla for doing the cheap attack.
There were highlights shown of the Cody Rhodes-Drew McIntyre promo segment to start the show.
They showed an Instagram post from CM Punk, who wrote that he wanted to talk to Cody Rhodes next week on Raw.
Rhea Ripley was shown walking backstage for a promo up next.
Alpha Academy and The Creed Brothers were shown backstage talking after that match. Ivy Nile said she’ll talk to Adam Pearce and Valhalla will pay for what he did. Chad Gable praised Akira Tozawa for his victory. Chad Gable said that next week, he’s going to teach Ivar a lesson.
Let’s Hear from Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Women’s World Champion. The fans cheer for her even though she’s a heel and there were “Mami” chants too. Ripley said she was sick and tired of people like Nia Jax claiming that this is their division. Ripley said that this is her division and that’s why this is her championship. Ripley warned whoever wins the Women’s Royal Rumble match. Ripley advised the winner of the Royal Rumble to choose somebody else unless you want to waste your opportunity because Mami is always on top. It sounded like Ripley messed up a line slightly, but she recovered and made her point.
Becky Lynch interrupted the promo for a rare confrontation between these two women. They have been kept apart aside from a few staredowns.
Lynch talked about how they had similar journeys because they came from foreign lands and became two of the best women to ever do it. Lynch spoke about how they spent years trying to figure it out. Lynch talked about being afterthoughts one year to becoming faces of the industry the next year. Lynch said that one of them went on to win the main event of WrestleMania while the other did not. Lynch said that one of them has a natural ability in this ring and a finesse that is unmatched. Lynch said one has a strength of a bear while the other has a heart of a lion. Lynch claimed they were the two very best to do it. Lynch talked about how this voice in her head is saying to her that Ripley might be better than Lynch.
Lynch said she needs to prove that Ripley is not better. Lynch said that to do that she needs to take that title from Ripley. Lynch said that she needs to win the Royal Rumble, point to the sign and declare that at WrestleMania, it will be Mami vs. The Man.
Ripley: “There’s only one other person that wants you to win the Royal Rumble match more than yourself, and that’s me. I’ll see you at WrestleMania.” Ripley stared at Lynch while Ripley’s music played.
Analysis: I have said for months now that WWE was likely saving the Ripley-Lynch match for WrestleMania 40 and I think they sealed it with that promo exchange. The reality is that Lynch doesn’t have to win the Royal Rumble to face Ripley. Lynch could win Elimination Chamber or some other match to get there. With all that said, I think Lynch is going to be my pick to win the Women’s Royal Rumble. Bianca Belair will be a contender as well as some others including possibly Jade Cargill, but I think Lynch makes a lot of sense as the winner.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins, the World Heavyweight Champion, was interviewed by Jackie Redmond as Seth welcomed us to “Monday Night Rollins.” You could see Seth’s breath as he spoke, so yeah it is cold there. Rollins spoke about being World Heavyweight Champion for over 200 days. Rollins claimed he gets stronger, he gets better and he is going to continue to be a fighting champion – a workhorse champion. Rollins said that this isn’t his first dance with Jinder Mahal. Rollins said this isn’t the same Jinder he beat to become the first NXT Champion and claimed that this is the best version of Jinder Mahal – a deserving Jinder Mahal. Rollins said he wouldn’t have it any other way. Rollins went over his nicknames to end it.
Analysis: I think the line about Mahal being a deserving challenger is a bit of a stretch since Jinder hasn’t won a match in a year. I think WWE could have made Jinder look more deserving, but I also doubt most people went into this match thinking that Jinder had a chance to win.
The Miz entered for tag team action.
The Judgment Day made their entrance and R-Truth also entered by walking behind them. While Balor & Priest posed, Truth put his arms on their shoulders to pose with them. Truth also hugged Miz to show he was with him. Truth reached into his pocket and a bunch of money fell out. Truth handed Balor some of the money and put it in his jacket. Truth gave Dominik some money and Truth hugged Dominik. Truth told JD he had to be a member of the group.
The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest (w/Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh) vs. The Miz & R-Truth
This is not for the Tag Team Titles held by Balor & Priest. Balor nailed Truth with a clothesline. Truth nailed Balor with a punch and Truth said sorry since Truth thinks he’s in The Judgment Day. Balor tripped up Truth leading to stomps. Truth left the ring leading to a break.
When Priest tagged in, Truth hit him with a jawbreaker. Truth hit Balor with an enziguri kick. Miz tagged in with clotheslines on Balor and a clothesline sending Priest out of the ring. Miz hit a knee on Balor followed by a double knee attack. Miz hit a corner clothesline on Balor. Truth tagged in leading to a scissors kick to the back of the neck. Truth felt bad about it. Priest back in with a jumping kick on Miz. Truth teased hitting Priest, but Priest stopped him and Priest mentioned they are buddies. Balor got a rollup, but Truth came back with a jumping kick. JD distracted the referee, so Priest hit South of Heavan Chokeslam (the referee was looking at JD) and Balor crawled over to Truth for the cover. It went about eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest
Analysis: **3/4 It was an entertaining match due to R-Truth’s comedic skills. It wasn’t about having a great tag team match, but it was fun to watch so that’s what matters. Priest turning on Truth (sort of) by hitting South of Heaven showed that Priest wasn’t genuine when talking to Truth earlier. At some point, Truth will realize The Judgment Day are bad guys.
Jinder Mahal was interviewed backstage talking about how he’s the most talked about superstar of 2024. Mahal said he would become World Heavyweight Champion.
Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark entered for tag team action. They got no reaction.
Shinsuke Nakamura was featured in a backstage promo talking in Japanese while the subtitles were shown on screen. Nakamura talked about how last week made him angry and hungry. Nakamura said his story with Cody doesn’t end until he said so. Nakamura talked about how he would win the Royal Rumble. Nakamura said he would feast on the dreams of the others in the match.
Analysis: I predict Cody Rhodes eliminating Nakamura from the Royal Rumble match. I like Nakamura a lot, but he’s really not a threat to win.
Natalya & Tegan Nox vs. Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark
Stark knocked down Nox with a kick. Baszler tagged in to stomp on Nox. They showed Women’s Tag Team Champions Kayden Carter & Katana Chance watching on a TV backstage like they did earlier in the show. Baszler stomped on Nox’s arm. Baszler and Stark worked over Nox with punches. Nox fought back until Stark hit her with a knee to the ribs. Baszler hit a running knee on Nox for two. Baszler sent Natalya out of the ring. Nox hit a front suplex to block a Baszler suplex. Nox hit a cross body block and a running uppercut. Natalya tagged in leading to punches and a snap suplex. Natalya did a slingshot suplex on Stark followed by a basement dropkick and a release German Suplex. Stark hit an elbow smash. Natalya with a trip, but Stark kicked her way free. Nox and Natalya tried to double clothesline Stark over the top, but it didn’t really work. Natalya with a clothesline on legal woman Baszler and Nox kicked Baszler with Nox as the legal woman for her team. Stark pulled Nox out of the ring. Baszler applied a tight headlock like a Bulldog Choke on Natalya, who tapped out. It wasn’t really a Kirifuda Clutch that Baszler normally uses. It went about five minutes.
Winners by submission: Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay for the time given. The heel side winning makes sense to set them up for a potential Women’s Tag Team Title match against the babyface champions. Stark pulling Nox out of the ring at the end set up Baszler to finish off Natalya and get the win.
Next week on Raw:
* Cody Rhodes and CM Punk are Face To Face
* Ivy Nile vs. Valhalla
* Chad Gable vs. Ivar
* Drew McIntyre vs. Damian Priest
Jinder Mahal made his entrance for the main event. Mahal was joined by the Indus Sher tag team of Veer & Sanga. Cole and Barrett talked about how Indus Sher could be a huge factor in the match.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as the World Heavyweight Champion. The fans sang Seth’s song as usual. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin did the in-ring introductions since it’s a championship match.
World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Veer & Sanga)
Rollins was distracted by Indus Sher at ringside, so Mahal attacked with forearms to the back. Mahal hit a body slam. Rollins went for a Pedigree, but Mahal got out of that and Mahal gave Rollins a back body drop over the top to the floor. Rollins worked over Mahal with chops. Rollins shoved Mahal into the ring post. Rollins hit a running knee onto Mahal on the floor. Rollins looked in the aisle and there was Damian Priest with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand.
Mahal had Rollins in an abdominal stretch while Priest was sitting at ringside. Mahal nailed an elbow smash to knock Rollins down followed by Mahal delivering knee drops. Mahal went back to the stretch. Rollins ran the ropes leading to two clotheslines and Mahal nailed Rollins with a forearm smash. Rollins worked came back with a barrage of forearms followed by a clothesline. Mahal sent Rollins to the apron and Rollins jumped off the top with a cross body block. Rollins delivered a superkick followed by a springboard senton and a Lionsault off the middle ropes for two. Rollins was grabbing at his left knee after that. Mahal tried a suplex, but Rollins countered it into a Falcon Arrow slam. Mahal was back up with a kick and Rollins kicked him. Rollins hit a Pedigree leading to Rollins grabbing his knee again. Rollins covered for two near the ropes, but Veer put Mahal’s foot on the ropes. Rollins went up top and jumped onto Veer on the floor. Rollins went up top and went for a cross body block, but Mahal moved out of the way. Priest got up out of his chair, so Drew McIntyre arrived at ringside. Drew fought with Priest at ringside. Priest sent Drew into the ring post followed by Priest & Drew fighting to the back. Sanga did a cheap shot that the referee never saw and Mahal hit double knees to the ribs for a two count. Veer was on the apron, so Sanga threw a chair to Mahal. Rollins nailed Mahal with a punch. The referee was looking at the chair in the ring, so Veer hit Rollins with the MITB briefcase. Mahal hit The Khallas for one…two…no! Rollins got his shoulder up right before the three count. The referee ejected Veer and Sanga from ringside. Mahal went for The Khallas again, Rollins slipped out of that and Rollins hit The Stomp on Mahal for the pinfall win. It went about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Analysis: *** A good match, but not nearly as good as Seth’s title defenses against the likes of Drew McIntyre, Sami Zayn or Jey Uso in recent months. I did like those two nearfalls for Mahal late in the match with the double knees and then The Khallas. Both of those worked as nearfalls because of the cheap attacks before them. The fans really bought The Khallas as a nearfall here. They rushed the finish a bit because Rollins simply slipped out of The Khallas attempt and The Stomped seemed like a sudden ending. I think it’s because they were running out of time.
Seth Rollins was handed the World Heavyweight Title. Rollins talked to referee Chad Patton perhaps saying something about his knee. Rollins looked concerned about it.
Analysis: We found out after the show that Seth Rollins might have suffered a knee injury. We don’t know how serious it is yet. It looks like it happened when he did that springboard moonsault, but I don’t know for sure. I hope it’s not serious. We’ll find out more this week. Stay with us on TJRWrestling in the News section and I’m sure we’ll have updates when we learn what the news is.
Three Stars of the Show
- Seth “Freakin” Rollins
- Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre
- Becky Lynch & Rhea Ripley
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.25
2024 Average: 7.5
Final Thoughts on WWE Raw
A good show most of the way, but not great at any point. The two best segments were the Cody Rhodes-Drew McIntyre promo to open the show and the Rhea Ripley-Becky Lynch promo teasing their WrestleMania match. Those were really well done with everybody making great points about their careers. I liked Cody and Drew bringing up their similar journeys in wrestling both in WWE and when they were out of WWE as well. They are both at their peak now, so I look forward to that confrontation in the Royal Rumble.
It was quieter than a usual WWE crowd in this era because of a snowstorm in the area that led to a smaller crowd. The two women’s tag team matches on the show were examples of matches with a quiet crowd. At least the creative team is trying with the women’s tag team division.
Seth Rollins beating Jinder Mahal was the obvious result. I think they did a nice job of giving Jinder some cheap nearfalls before Rollins managed to put him away. Seth’s knee injury is a major concern, so I hope he’s okay. Also, R-Truth is hilarious and remains a highlight of the show every week. I enjoy the story he has with The Judgment Day a lot.
The Royal Rumble PLE is on January 27th at Tropicana Field in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. Here’s the lineup so far.
* 30-Man Royal Rumble Match
* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles vs. LA Knight
* 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match
* United States Championship: Logan Paul (c) vs. Kevin Owens
You can watch the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 27, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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