This week’s WWE Raw featured Cody Rhodes in action against Shinsuke Nakamura, a four-way tag team match and more.
I thought last week’s Raw was their best episode of the year so far. I hope the momentum continues as we head toward Elimination Chamber and onto WrestleMania 40. If you have been paying attention to our TJRWrestling News section there’s a lot of negativity from WWE fans in the past few days after Smackdown and with good reason. I certainly want to see how it’s handled tonight on Raw as well as Thursday’s WrestleMania 40 press conference as well.
The main event segment of Smackdown was shown when Cody Rhodes told Roman Reigns he wasn’t coming after his Undisputed WWE Universal Title at WrestleMania. That led to The Rock making a surprising return for a staredown with Reigns. That ended that show. Nothing was officially announced for WrestleMania 40 yet.
Let’s Hear from Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Seth Rollins made his entrance as the World Heavyweight Champion with a brace on his left knee. The commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to the show.
Rollins quickly mentioned what happened on Smackdown, the fans booed that quickly and the fans chanted “Cody” repeatedly. Rollins: “I sense that you guys want Cody.” Rollins said that he wants Cody as well. Rollins said after Friday he has more questions than answers, so he’s calling for Cody Rhodes to come on down.
Cody Rhodes made his entrance in a suit as usual and the fans popped big for him. There was the usual “WHOA-OH” pop for the song. The announcers talked about how #WeWantCody has been trending for the last three hours and that really is legit. I should also note that it was reported that that WWE handed out #WeWantCody signs to the fans and you could certainly see them in the crowd.
Cody: “So, World Heavyweight Champion Seth Freakin’ Rollins…St. Louis…what do we want to talk about?” There were some “Rocky Sucks” chants so Cole wondered if it was 1996 again. Good reference. Rollins admitted that he didn’t think he would hear that one again.
Rollins had a tough time talking. Rollins said he’s been there and he gets it. Rollins said we need answers. Rollins said last week he said this was the most prestigious championship in this industry and he stands by those words. Some fans booed that. Rollins said that if he’s being perfectly honest then he needs this match as much as Cody does. Rollins needs to know that he’s better than he was when they did this a couple of years ago. Rollins said that the way to know if he’s the best is if he faces the best and Cody is the best. Rollins asked directly if Cody was going to fight him at WrestleMania.
Drew McIntyre walked into the ring and Drew asks: “What the hell?” Drew said that they screwed it up. Drew said that he took Punk out while saying that Seth is the only one who hates Punk as much as Drew. Drew showed off a new shirt mocking CM Punk for not winning Royal Rumble and Punk isn’t going to WrestleMania.
Drew told Cody he had to finish the story and don’t let your family down and don’t let the people down. The fans were cheering this. Drew told Cody not to let his dad down while saying he was Dusty’s champion in FCW. Rollins told Drew he didn’t have to be a prick. Rollins told Drew he beat him twice. Drew pointed out that Rollins lost to Cody three times. Drew praised Rollins for working his ass off to make him the true workhorse champion. Drew told Rollins to ignore what Reigns said. Drew said in Roman’s matches, we know that Roman’s family is going to interfere, but in Seth’s matches it’s about being the best. Cody tried to speak, but Drew told him he was not finished.
Drew said that Rollins has done an amazing job of taking the title this far, but it was time for Drew to take it from here. Drew headbutted Rollins. Cody punched Drew and Cody knocked Drew out of the ring. McIntyre was laughing. Rollins got back up while Cody stood in the ring.
Analysis: The crowd reactions were the big story here because the fans were showing love for Cody, booing The Rock who is not even there and they clearly want Cody to go after Roman Reigns at WrestleMania as well. I thought Rollins had some great remarks, Cody really didn’t get to say that much and Drew McIntyre was tremendous as usual as this heel character who loves to push people’s buttons. Anyway, if you tuned in to get some answers about WrestleMania 40, it didn’t happen here.
The announcers mentioned what was coming up including the four-team tag team match up next.
The Creed Brothers – Julius & Brutus Creed vs. #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs. The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. Imperium – Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci
The first fall wins in a match like this. The winners face Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate on Smackdown. The winners of that match get to challenge Finn Balor & Damian Priest for the Tag Team Titles at Elimination Chamber.
Ciampa ran over Woods with a shoulder tackle, but Woods came back with a dropkick. Kofi tagged in with a springboard cross body block. New Day hit some combo moves as Woods hit a fist drop. Kofi was legal, he jumped over Ciampa a few times and Ciampa delivered a kick. Kaiser was legal as he drove Kofi into the ring post and both Imperium guys hit dropkicks on Kofi, who was out on the floor. That led to a break.
Kofi was isolated by Imperium, but Kofi came back with an impressive springboard dropkick. Woods tagged in against Vinci with a leg lariat. Ciampa in illegally and Woods hit Ciampa with a forearm. Julius in illegally (although there are no disqualifications in a 4-way match), Woods kicked him and hit an Honor Roll clothesline. Woods superkicked legal man Vinci. Gargano tagged in and hit a slingshot Spear. Gargano & Ciampa hit cross body blocks on both Creeds on the floor. Kofi cleared the ring of #DIY and wanted to dive, but Imperium pulled Kofi out of the ring. Gargano hit a suicide dive onto Imperium. Julius Creed jumped off the top with a Swanton onto a pile of guys on the floor. Woods battled with Ciampa on the top rope and Ciampa gave Woods an Air Raid Crash (White Noise) onto everybody on the floor. That was crazy but it’s fine when guys on the floor are there to break the fall. There’s another break.
The match returned with a Tower of Doom spot as New Day Powerbombed both Imperium guys and Ciampa took the double superplex off the top. Brutus went up top and hit a moonsault on Kaiser for a two count. It wasn’t a smooth landing, but it worked out okay. Vinci nailed Brutus with a running cross body block. Julius with a knee, Gargano with an enziguri, Kofi with a Fameasser, Kaiser with a clothesline, Woods with double knees and Ciampa kneed Woods out of the ring. Brutus hit a Pounce on Ciampa. Vinci jumped off the top rope, but Brutus caught him and applied an Ankle Lock. Julius with multiple belly to belly suplexes to prevent a save, so Ciampa jumped on Brutus’ back. Julius suplexed two more guys and everybody else broke up the Ankle Lock so everybody was down on the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” right on cue. Kofi and Kaiser went tumbling out of the ring. New Day and Imperium were fighting on the floor. Brutus went up top and Brutus hit a Brutus Ball dive onto the four guys on the floor. Brutus sent Vinci back into the ring. Ciampa made a blind tag and Brutus hit a Brutus Ball on Vinci. #DIY hit running knee and kick to the face on the Creed Brothers. #DIY’s Ciampa & Gargano hit Meet in the Middle (knee/superkick) on Vinci. Gargano went to cover, but Ciampa was legal and Ciampa made the cover to win after 19 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano
Analysis: ***3/4 Great match that was given a lot of time. The finish was a bit off because the referee was counting Gargano’s pin until Ciampa took it over, but it’s the thought that counts. Cole covered for it well. They ignored tag team rules throughout the match because in a WWE 4-Way match there are no disqualifications, but you still need to tag in and only the legal men can be involved in the falls. I thought that last third of the match was absolutely outstanding with the Brutus/Vinci Ankle Lock spot where Julius was preventing guys from breaking it up until it was finally broken up. I didn’t really have a preference about who the winners should be because I like all the teams involved. Ciampa & Gargano came close to winning the Tag Team Titles so maybe if they get another shot, they can get a win next time.
This Friday on Smackdown: Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate vs. #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano.
Shayna Baszler was backstage in the locker room talking about how the last time she was in an Elimination Chamber she beat everybody and faced Becky Lynch after that. Tonight, she gets to tear apart Shayna Baszler limb by limb.
Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage saying the last time she faced Shayna Baszler she needed to beat her because her title was on the line, but this time she needs to beat Shayan because her future was on the line.
Analysis: It was four years ago at WrestleMania 36 in 2020 when Lynch last faced Baszler. Lynch was the Raw Women’s Champion. That match had no fans as Lynch got the win. Soon after that, Lynch got pregnant and had her daughter later that year.
Becky Lynch made her entrance for the Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match.
This Thursday night is the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Event that will air on Peacock, YouTube and WWE social media. I’ll review that for TJRWrestling. Cole and McAfee are hosting it. Pat: “I’m sure that’s going to be very calm.” Good use of sarcasm.
Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Shayna Baszler vs. Becky Lynch
The winner of the Women’s Elimination Chamber match will face Rhea Ripley for the Women’s World Championship at WrestleMania 40.
It started with each woman trying to get the advantage. Baszler hit a running knee into Lynch’s face. Lynch managed to send Baszler out of the ring followed by a baseball slide. Baszler choked Lynch on the floor followed by a kick to the face. Baszler trapped Lynch’s left arm against the steel steps and Baszler kicked the steps so Lynch was selling a left arm injury.
Lynch got some offense going with a running forearm. Baszler came back with a German Suplex and a running knee for two. Lynch tried a stomp on the arm, but Lynch moved. Baszler countered a sleeper attempt. Lynch with a forearm and Lynch went up top leading to a missile dropkick for two. Lynch went for the Disarm-Her, but Baszler shoved Lynch into the ropes. Lynch went up top where Baszler slammed Lynch down. Baszler hit a running knee on Lynch for a two count. Lynch hit a slam for a two count while Lynch continued to sell the arm. Baszler got out of a Manhandle Slam attempt and Baszler applied an Ankle Lock, but Lynch managed to send Baszler to the apron. Lynch went for a leg drop, Baszler avoided that and Baszler trapped the left arm until Lynch broke free and Lynch punched Baszler while on the top rope. Lynch hit a superplex from the middle rope. Lynch went for an armbar, but Baszler turned out of it and Baszler hit a gutwrench suplex for two. They countered moves again, Lynch landed on her feet after a gutwrench suplex attempt and Lynch came back with a Manhandle Slam for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good match that felt like a fight between two tough women. Baszler is aggressive while Lynch is so likable as a woman that never gives up and always keeps on fighting. This match was all about the counter moves because when it appeared that one of them had control, the other woman came back with a different move and it was full of counters leading to nearfalls. I thought that Lynch winning was obvious, but I do like that it was a competitive match and it certainly wasn’t an easy win.
That win means that Becky Lynch has qualified for the Women’s Elimination Chamber match.
Liv Morgan was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Morgan talked about being in the Elimination Chamber qualifying match next week against Zoey Stark. Morgan said she nearly had a year of her career taken away (it was about six months) and she was coming for revenge against Rhea Ripley, who was the woman who injured Liv.
Analysis: I think the story of Liv Morgan coming back to face Rhea Ripley is a good one, but I think WWE has been saving Ripley-Lynch for nearly a full year. That’s the match.
A clip was shown of Shinsuke Nakamura spraying the red mist in Cody Rhodes’ face at a WWE live event on Saturday.
Cody Rhodes will face Shinsuke Nakamura in a Bullrope Match later on Raw.
A commercial aired for Bianca Belair & Montez Ford’s Love & WWE reality show that is now available on Hulu. There are eight episodes and they are available now.
Drew McIntyre was backstage talking to Raw General Manager Adam Pearce. Pearce told McIntyre that somebody wasn’t medically cleared and I think he was referring to Rollins. Pearce told Rollins he was fined for what he did out there and warned McIntyre about wearing that shirt. Meanwhile, Rhea Ripley walked out with the Women’s World Title, so Drew suggested that Pearce go deal with that.
Let’s Hear from Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley walked out to the ring with the Women’s World Championship. Ripley spoke about how Becky Lynch just qualified for Elimination Chamber, but she’s not here to talk about qualifying matches. Ripley said she wants Nia Jax.
Adam Pearce walked out to the ring saying he knows what she wanted: Nia Jax. Pearce said that he’s given Ripley a match with Nia Jax for the Women’s World Championship at Elimination Chamber. Pearce said let’s keep the show going.
Nia Jax made her way out to the ring, Pearce tried to stop her and Pearce shoved Pearce away. Jax and Ripley got into a fight. Pearce was knocked off the apron to the floor. Ripley and Jax exchanged punches until Ripley took control with punches/knees against the turnbuckle. The indy security guys pulled Ripley off, so Jax beat up the security jobbers. Jax went to the middle rope and Jax hit the Annihilator splash on Ripley. Jax: “I’ll see you in Perth, baby.” Jax slapped Ripley in the face and left.
Analysis: That match at Elimination Chamber in Perth, Australia will be a lot of fun because the atmosphere should be amazing with the fans supporting Australia’s own Ripley. Jax was actually born in Australia too, but didn’t grow up there like Ripley did. Anyway, I liked how this was a fight. I didn’t think they would have Ripley get beat up again, but it does get heat on Jax.
A video package aired showing Smackdown highlights when Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bayley was turned on by her Damage CTRL friends IYO SKY, Asuka & Kairi Sane. Bayley fought back and told Sky she’ll challenge her for the WWE Women’s Title at WrestleMania 40.
Asuka & Kairi Sane aka The Kabuki Warriors were shown warming up for their match later.
Alpha Academy’s Akira Tozawa & Maxxine Dupri entered for a mixed tag team match.
They showed some media coverage of The Rock having a staredown with Roman Reigns while showing footage about it. Cole noted it wasn’t yet official at WrestleMania 40, but we may find out at the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Event this coming Thursday. Here’s what Cole said exactly: “Though not yet official, it appears The Rock and Roman Reigns are on a collision course at WrestleMania.” Do with that what you will.
Ivar & Valhalla vs. Alpha Academy – Akira Tozawa & Maxxine Dupri
It’s women against women and men against men in a match like this. Tozawa kicked Ivar out of the ring and Tozawa hit a dive onto Ivar on the floor. Maxxine hit a sloppy sunset flip. Maxxine hit a hit a cartwheel elbow. Tozawa tagged in with a cross body block and Maxxine jumped onto the guys too. Valhalla clotheslined Maxxine out of the ring. Maxxine clotheslined Valhalla on the floor. Ivar went to the turnbuckle, Ivar blocked a Tozawa move attempt and Ivar hit a World’s Strongest Slam off the middle turnbuckle for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ivar & Valhalla
Analysis: * A quick match to give Ivar & Valhalla a victory. Maxxine did a few moves and at least two of them didn’t look good. It’s not the first time. I know Maxxine is new to this, but they should probably avoid putting her in matches until she gets more experience. Good final move by Ivar to win the match.
A replay was shown of The Judgment Day beating up R-Truth last week and The Miz made the save. Miz got beat up too.
The Judgment Day were shown in their clubhouse. Finn Balor & Damian Priest didn’t care who they defended the titles against. Dominik Mysterio walked in saying Rhea Ripley is angry and they talked about how Ripley will handle it. Priest asked JD if he was handling Miz. R-Truth walked in saying he was sorry he was late. Dominik grabbed JD and said they had to go. Truth said that they gave him a re-initiation last week. Balor and Priest were frustrated by Truth being there. Priest said whatever, make yourself at home. Truth looked at some shirts that were in a box.
JD McDonagh entered with Dominik Mysterio for JD’s match with The Miz.
This Friday on Smackdown: General Manager Nick Aldis announces Logan Paul’s next challenger. That’s all they promoted.
The Miz was interviewed backstage by Jackie Redmond, who asked how Miz was approaching this match. Miz said that Truth is crazy and a genius. Miz talked about how The Judgment Day has declared war and Miz reminded us he’s awesome.
JD McDonagh (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. The Miz
It started off with JD getting some offense with some knees and chops. Miz blocked a dropkick followed by a catapult into the turnbuckle. Miz hit a clothesline. Miz hit a back body drop. Miz clotheslined JD over the top to the floor. Miz whipped JD into the barricade at ringside. Miz suplexed JD on the floor. JD distracted the referee, so Dominik grabbed Miz’s leg. JD knocked Miz off the apron to send Miz into the commentary table. There’s the floor to commercial break.
JD was in control as the show returned from break. R-Truth made his entrance while his music played. Truth had some merchandise and tossed some of The Judgment Day t-shirts that had his name on the bottom of them. The music stopped, JD went for a moonsault, but Miz blocked that by getting his knees up. Miz worked over JD with kicks along with a running clothesline. Miz jumped off the top with a cross body block. Truth was hanging out with fans. Miz went JD out of the ring followed by a kick that knocked Dominik down to the floor. Miz did a headscissors on JD on the floor. Truth put a t-shirt on Dominik at ringside. Miz nailed Dominik with a boot to the face. Truth: “Why did you do that?” JD headbutted Miz to knock him down. JD went up top and hit a moonsault for two because Miz got his left shoulder up. Truth had a stack of bills that he said were for JD. That led to JD looking at the money and putting them in his trunks. Miz gave JD the Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: **1/4 The match was an afterthought for the most part after Truth made his presence and it became a silly match with Truth’s involvement leading to the finish. I’m entertained by Truth because he’s so ridiculous and he pulls it off well. It just takes away from the match because Miz and JD felt like afterthoughts by the time it was done.
After the match, JD’s money was all over the ring so Truth was collecting the money. They showed replays. Truth celebrated with his buddy The Miz by the entrance area.
Analysis: I’m starting to think that The Miz & Truth will be the team that beats Damian Priest & Finn Balor for the WWE Tag Team Titles. Other teams are contenders for sure, but The Miz & Truth winning is certainly a possibility at this point.
Kayden Carter & Katana Chance did a quick promo talking about getting their Women’s Tag Team Titles back later in the show.
Adam Pearce’s office was shown with Imperium’s Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci there making sure that everything was ready for GUNTHER’s celebration. Pearce said it would be like they requested. Bron Breakker walked in and Imperium didn’t say anything to him. Pearce talked to Bron about signing a Raw contract while saying that Nick Aldis on Smackdown will offer him a lot, but Pearce said they can beat it on Raw. Bron didn’t say anything. The fans did pop when Bron appeared on screen, so that’s good.
This coming Tuesday on NXT, the fallout from Vengeance Day when Carmelo Hayes turned on Trick Williams. That was a very obvious heel turn, but it was done well.
A video was shown of CM Punk after having right triceps surgery last week. I believe it was on Thursday. Punk said it will be the greatest comeback of all time. Cole said that Punk will be out “a number of months” so he wasn’t specific at all about the timeline. Pat said they missed Punk here.
GUNTHER’s Intercontinental Championship 600-Day Celebration
GUNTHER’s Intercontinental Title reign passed 600 days, so this was a celebration. Imperium’s Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci were in the ring wearing suits. Kaiser did a special introduction. A graphic let us know that GUNTHER’s title reign is at 605 days, which is well past the all-time record.
The great Gunther made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion dressed in all blank. Gunther said he was celebrated more than 600 days as Intercontinental Champion. Gunther told Kaiser he appreciated the gesture of setting it up. Gunther said he didn’t want any more going forward. Gunther said that 600 days, 700 days, 800 days or 1000 days is a given anyway. Gunther said that one thing that will never change is Gunther being the greatest and longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. Gunther said he’s running out of competition here. Gunther claimed there was no man there worthy of challenging him for the Intercontinental Championship. Gunther asked who? Uso! Jey Uso’s hit for the interruption.
Jey Uso made his way down to the ring for his arm swinging entrance. Pat McAfee was on the commentary table doing the arm swinging with the fans.
Jey started the promo saying “Main Event Jey Uso is now in your city.” Gunther said he gets it. Gunther said they are just simple gestures for a simple audience. Gunther reminded Jey that he eliminated him from the Royal Rumble. Gunther felt disrespected by Jey interrupting the celebration. Jey said he wasn’t disrespecting him. Jey talked about how for 600+ days history, Gunther is the longest IC Champion in WWE history and the fans were chanting “YEET” during Jey’s speech. Gunther talked about how Jey is one of the most decorated Tag Team wrestlers of all time and he was part of the best tag team in WWE history and they hold the record for longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all time. Gunther mocked Jey for only putting in 50% of the work for it. Gunther said that he achieved all of this by doing all the work on his own.
Jey said that he’s about to get 100% of this work. Jey talked about his accomplishments as a Tag Team wrestler and Jey said that in 2024 he’s going to win his first singles championship. Jey asked the crowd to say “YEET” if they want Jey to be Intercontinental Champion so the fans chanted “YEET” repeatedly.
Gunther congratulated Jey for trying to achieve something on his own. Gunther said you’re not the first or the last to ride the Ring General’s coattails. Gunther said he’ll beat up Jey like his family used to beat him up. Gunther said he’ll beat Jey so it’ll be like when people couldn’t tell Jey apart from his brother. Gunther did a shoulder tackle to Jey, so Jey tackled him and Vinci/Kaiser attacked Jey. The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods retreated, so that was the end of the segment.
Analysis: I like that choice of a Jey Uso rivalry with GUNTHER. There were a lot of good lines by Gunther bragging about his record title reign and taking shot at Jey’s record title reign in a tag team when he only had to do half the work. It’s a fresh matchup and the fans absolutely believe in Jey Uso as a guy that could beat Gunther for the Intercontinental Title. I don’t know if it will happen where Jey gets the title, but I think Jey is a viable contender and that’s important. They could also do a 3-on-3 tag team match with New Day & Jey against Imperium, so that would be a terrific match too.
Shinsuke Nakamura was featured in a promo speaking in Japanese while the captions appeared on the bottom of the screen. Nakamura told Cody he was going to suffer shame, pain and loss. Nakamura said he hears people saying “We Want Cody” but Nakamura said that he wants Cody too meaning he wants to beat Cody. That match is later.
Kayden Carter & Katana Chance entered for their championship rematch up next.
A video aired about WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia letting us know it is 61 days away. The end of the video featured The Rock and Roman Reigns staring at each other from Smackdown. Just saying.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane vs. Kayden Carter & Katana Chance
Asuka worked over Chance with kicks. Asuka had taped ribs on the right side. They showed three other women’s tag teams watching backstage on a TV. Asuka did a hair grab so Chance slapped Asuka in the mouth. Chance avoided a kick and got a rollup for two. Carter made the tag and pulled Asuka out of the ring. Carter tossed Asuka into Sane. Carter launched Chance in the air and Chance dove onto both opponents on the floor. There’s the floor to commercial break.
The action continued with Asuka hitting a bulldog on Carter while Sane hit a dropkick. Asuka sent Carter into the turnbuckle, but then Carter avoided that attack. Sane tagged in, jumped off the top and Carter avoided whatever Sane was trying. Chance tagged in against Sane with a bulldog and a running dropkick. Chance hit a running clothesline on Sane followed by Chance hitting a double foot stomp to the back for a two count. Asuka tagged in going for double knees, but Chance blocked it. Asuka and Sane each hit kicks on Chance for a two count. Chance went for a jackknife cover for two. Carter tagged back in as Chance hit double knees to the ribs of Asuka. Chance and Carter hit the After Party 450/neckbreaker combo for two because Sane broke up the pin. Carter & Chance went for the Keg Stand, but Sane stopped that. Sane sent Carter into the steel steps. Asuka delivered a kick to Chance’s head. Sane tagged in leading to the Insane Elbow drop off the top onto Chance for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane
Analysis: **3/4 The match was pretty good, but the crowd wasn’t into it that much. They did react for some big spots although there were plenty of moments where the crowd was quiet. The challengers had a good nearfall after the After Party spot, but Sane broke up the pin at the last possible moment. Sane also prevented the Keg Stand double team move.
Sami Zayn Interview
Sami Zayn was interviewed by Jackie Redmond in the empty seats earlier in the day. Jackie mentioned Zayn’s recent issues with Drew McIntyre. Zayn talked about how he has taken some time thinking about the last year of his career. Zayn talked about coming up a little short at Elimination Chamber last year in his hometown of Montreal. Zayn said that after the match, Triple H told him you have nothing to be down about. Zayn said that Triple H told him he was Rocky. Zayn mentioned in the first Rocky movie, Rocky didn’t win the title, but he went the distance and proved himself. Triple H told Zayn he made a name for himself. Zayn said he gives it his all in the ring and he will fight like an underdog. Zayn said he knows that he’s a contender who is going to be a champion. Zayn spoke about how he has to prove it to himself and to prove it to the people who sit in these seats. Zayn said that he needs to prove them right for believing in him. Zayn said that’s what it is about.
Analysis: That was a different kind of interview since it was in the crowd earlier in the day, but I like it. It’s different and that makes it stand out. I really do hope Zayn can become a World Champion in WWE because he’s got all the tools to be a top guy.
Shinsuke Nakamura was shown getting ready for the main event. The Bullrope match was up next in the main event.
Next week on Raw:
* Jey Uso & The New Day vs. Imperium – GUNTHER, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci
* R-Truth vs. JD McDonagh
* Liv Morgan vs. Zoey Stark in a Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
Analysis: I predict that Jey will pin Vinci in that tag team match. I’ll go with Truth and Morgan getting wins too.
The entrances took place for the main event.
Bull Rope Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Both men had their left wrists connected to the bull rope. The last Bullrope Match on WWE TV took place at the 2007 Great American Bash when Randy Orton faced off against the legendary “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. It’s a match that ends by pinfall or submission.
It was mentioned by Michael Cole that this was the same bullrope that Cody’s father Dusty Rhodes used and his brother Dustin Rhodes used it as well. Nakamura attacked as soon as the bell rang, but Cody came back with punches. The action spilled to the floor with Nakamura going over the barricade into the crowd. They went to break there.
Cody rammed Nakamura into the ring post two times. Cody went for a move off the ropes, but Nakamura pulled the rope back and Cody crashed to the mat. Cody left the ring, so Nakamura pulled the rope and Cody’s leg hit the side of the apron. Nakamura hit a knee drop to the back of the head for two. Nakamura set up Cody on the top rope followed by a running knee to the ribs. Nakamura hit an enziguri kick, but Cody came back with a dropkick to the left knee. Cody applied the Figure Four Leglock as the fans shouted “WOO” for the move that Ric Flair used as a finisher. Nakamura used the cowbell to hit Cody in the head and get out of the hold. That led to a break.
It continued with Cody hitting a powerslam. Cody hit a springboard Disaster Kick for two. Nakamura trapped Cody against the middle rope and Nakamura hit a German Suplex. Nakamura charged, Cody kicked him in the gut and Cody hit a Cody Cutter as the crowd came alive. Cody did a Dusty combo leading to a bionic elbow, but Nakamura hit a leaping kick to the head. Nakamura hit a reverse suplex across the ring. Cody came back with a Pedigree for two. Cody set up for a move, but Nakamura sprayed the red mist in Cody’s eyes like he has done many times in the past. Nakamura tried to do a move after that, but Cody managed to hit Cross Rhodes for a two count. I’m surprised Nakamura kicked out of that, but he did. Nakamura used the cowbell as a weapon. Cody used the bull rope as a weapon and he hit two low blows in a row. Cody hit Cross Rhodes again for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Analysis: ***1/2 It was the usual very good match for them with Cody picking up yet another win over Nakamura. They have been wrestling at house shows a lot in recent weeks as well, so they have good chemistry. The matches don’t come across as great to me because it’s tough to get into it knowing Nakamura has very little chance to win, but I still think they do a nice job of countering eachother and coming up with some unique spots. The crowd wasn’t loud the whole way, but they got into it by the end, especially after the mist spot. A clean win for Cody was the right finish for sure.
Cody Rhodes kissed the mat and celebrated the win. The announcers talked about how that win must have meant a lot after the last few days for Cody. The announcers plugged the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Event. Drew McIntyre attacked Cody from behind with a forearm to the back. Drew punched Cody a bunch of times. Drew hit a Claymore Kick to leave Cody laying. Drew stood tall over Cody while staring at the WrestleMania 40 sign. The fans were booing. Drew stood over a fallen Cody to end the show.
Analysis: That’s probably going to set up Cody and Drew for Elimination Chamber. It seems like the right spot for a big match like that.
Three Stars of the Show
- Cody Rhodes
- Drew McIntyre
- #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 8
2024 Average: 7.5
Final Thoughts on WWE Raw
A good show, but I thought last week was definitely better and last week was my highest rated Raw of the year. I think the opening segment was very interesting with “Rocky sucks” chants while the fans were very supportive of Cody Rhodes. Seth Rollins did a nice job in his role, Cody barely said anything and Drew McIntyre was terrific again trying to instigate stuff as usual. I wish the crowd was that lively throughout the whole show, but they certainly did do a nice job in the first 15 minutes.
The match quality was solid most of the night. The four-team tag team match was chaotic and ended up being a lot of fun while also getting a lot of time. Cody Rhodes beat Shinsuke Nakamura yet again. This time it was a Bull Rope Match. I think Drew attacking Cody at the end of the show might set them up for a match at Elimination Chamber because that’s a big match to do at a show like that. The Becky Lynch-Shayna Baszler was also really good.
I also liked the GUNTER segment with Imperium that was interrupted by Jey Uso. I think that’s a new rival for Gunther that the fans can really get behind and I wouldn’t mind seeing Jey win the IC Title from Gunther, but that’s not necessarily a prediction. I’m just saying it would be cool to see Jey win. Lastly, it was obvious that Rhea Ripley-Nia Jax would be at Elimination Chamber where Ripley will get cheered heavily by the Aussie fans. They have done a nice job of building that rivalry.
The next WWE PLE is Elimination Chamber on February 24th with this lineup:
* Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Nia Jax
* Women’s Elimination Chamber Match: Becky Lynch vs. five other opponents.
There will be more matches.
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.