The John Report: WWE Raw Deal 03/11/24 Review

wwe raw deal march 11

This week’s WWE Raw featured a Cody Rhodes interview, Becky Lynch in action against Liv Morgan, plus a huge 6-Man Gauntlet Match for a shot at GUNTHER’s Intercontinental Title.

The main event of WrestleMania 40 Saturday was officially confirmed on Smackdown last week when Seth “Freakin” Rollins & Cody Rhodes agreed to a tag team match against The Rock & Roman Reigns. It’s a big match with implications for the Reigns-Rhodes match at WrestleMania 40 Sunday too. It should be a fun two nights, that’s for sure. Before we get there, we need to learn about more of the WrestleMania card as well.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1607 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

Raw started with Michael Cole mentioning WrestleMania 40 is 26 days away. The graphic was shown for the Rollins/Rhodes vs. Rock/Reigns (lots of R’s going on) match at WrestleMania 40 Saturday.

They showed some arrivals earlier in the day including rapper Travis Scott greeting Jey Uso. GUNTHER’s arrival was also shown earlier in the day. It was Michael Cole and Pat McAfee on commentary.

Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre made his entrance for a show opening promo. At WrestleMania 40, Drew will challenge Seth “Freakin” Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title.

Drew started his promo by saying that Seth Rollins was a junkie that had to accept the tag team match to have two main events back to back. Drew said that Rollins has a selfish agenda. The fans chanted “WHAT” so Drew told the fans to say “WHAT” if they liked that he took out CM Punk. Drew tried to continue, but the fans chanted “CM Punk” at him. Drew laughed at him. Drew said that he wanted a thank you card from Punk since he’s keeping him relevant.

Drew said that the bigger picture here is not Reigns, Rollins, Rhodes or Drew – it’s The Rock. Drew talked about the business of pro wrestling evolving into billion dollar deals. Drew talked about how obviously Rock is upset with Cody for taking away Rock’s match. Drew said that it’s not any of his business and said it’s not any of Seth’s business either. Drew said that we have a future World Champion in Drew that everybody can be proud of.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins walked out with the World Heavyweight Title while wearing a sparking red suit. Rollins told Drew to shut his mouth and got into the ring.

Rollins told Drew that now that the Night 1 main event of WrestleMania is in the bag, he thought about the Claymore Kick that Drew hit him with last week. Rollins dared Drew to hit him with another Claymore right here and right now. Rollins got on his knees while daring Drew to hit him. Rollins called Drew a coward, so he turned his back to Drew, who resisted. Drew said before this gets any weirder, he wants Rollins to actually listen because Drew wanted to tell Seth that he was right. Drew reminded Seth that Damian Priest screwed up his last match with Seth. Drew said that Seth was right that Drew had to get over The Bloodline. Drew said he took Seth’s advice, he focused on the tasks at hand and he has picked up the wins and the momentum. Drew said he does it for Raw. Drew told Rollins to take his own advice and he didn’t take it because all Seth cares about is Seth Rollins.

Rollins told Drew that he reminds him of somebody that Drew doesn’t like and has a lot of tattoos, he’s from Chicago…and there were CM Punk chants. Rollins said he always thought Punk was the biggest hypocrite in the world until he met Drew. Rollins said that Drew has gone on for years about how The Bloodline has cost him the title, the big match and he’s been saying it over and over. Rollins said a couple of weeks back, Drew beat Cody Rhodes and could have done it without the Bloodline? No. Drew also beat Jey because of the Bloodline. Rollins said that Drew would like nothing more than The Bloodline helping Drew take the title off Seth’s waist. Rollins said that Drew wants to be The Rock’s Chosen One.

Rollins said that at WrestleMania 40 Night 1, Seth & Cody Rhodes will take down The Bloodline. Rollins said when he faces McIntyre at WrestleMania 40 Night 2, he’s going to Stomp his head into the mat and pin his shoulders into the ground. Rollins told Drew the last thing he’ll hear is the people singing his song. Drew told Rollins he knew what he was trying to do. Drew said that he’s not going to take out Rollins because Drew has to face him and beat him and there’s nothing he can say to provoke him. Drew left the ring, so Rollins said there was one more thing. Rollins said that on the list of things he’s worried about going into WrestleMania, he’s got The Rock, Roman Reigns, his broken back, his blown out knee and what he’s worrying about the least is Drew McIntyre. That led to Drew going back to ringside and Rollins dared him to come into the ring, but Drew walked away angrily instead.

Analysis: It was a solid promo exchange by two guys who have been feuding together a lot for the last five months. McIntyre refusing to attack Rollins is a thing because Drew doesn’t want to injure him and miss out on having the match. In Seth’s case, he’s trying to play mind games and get under Drew’s skin by saying he doesn’t think of Drew as a major threat. I wouldn’t say the feud is super hot or the best thing going in WWE right now, but it’s good work by two top guys. I think Drew should beat Seth at WrestleMania 40 too.

They showed Damage CTRL arriving earlier in the day.

Becky Lynch made her entrance for the first match of the night.


It was mentioned by Cole that WWE reached 100 million YouTube subscribers. Only ten accounts have reached that level. It was last week, but it’s worth mentioning for sure.

A video aired about Chad Gable talking about running the gauntlet ever since his last loss against GUNTHER. Gable talked about his daughter crying after that match. Gable said he’ll overcome the obstacles ahead of him for his date with destiny and a date with redemption. Gable said that he will endure because this match just means more.

Analysis: Awesome video.

Liv Morgan vs. Becky Lynch

They exchanged strikes early on. Morgan went to the apron, Lynch knocked her down and Lynch tried a sliding attack to the floor, but Morgan moved out of the way. Morgan hit a suicide dive that wasn’t great, but it got the job done in terms of knocking them both down. They went to a break there.


Morgan hit two shoulder tackles followed by some kicks to the body and an enziguri kick. Lynch came back with two Bexploder Suplexes. Lynch jumped off the apron with a punch onto Morgan on the floor. Back in the ring, Lynch jumped off the middle turnbuckle and Morgan got both knees up to block. Lynch delivered some kicks along with punches. Morgan hit the springboard Codebreaker double knee attack for a two count. Morgan sent Lynch to the apron and went for a suplex, but Morgan held onto the ropes. Morgan kicked Lynch into the turnbuckle followed by a sunset flip Powerbomb off the apron on the floor. Great move there. That was impressive. Back in the ring, Morgan got a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Lynch was able to connect with the Manhandle Slam, but Morgan rolled out of the ring to the floor leading to a break.


The match continued with Morgan going for a submission on the arm, but Lynch got out of that and Lynch hit an armdrag leading to a cross armbreaker. Morgan got out of that leading to another submission attempt and then they each got two counts. Morgan hit a leaping DDT followed by Oblivion off the ropes. Lynch rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. They were back in the ring with Morgan hitting Lynch with a knee. Morgan jumped off the turnbuckle going for something with the knees, Lynch avoided it and Lynch it the Manhandle Slam for the pinfall win after 16 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch

Analysis: ***3/4 Excellent match. They worked hard and had a very even matchup the whole way. I’m glad it had a clean finish because both women were in matches that ended in DQ the last two weeks, so I’m glad this one didn’t have a similar finish. Lynch getting the win is the right decision since she is on her way to the Women’s World Heavyweight Title match against Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 40. I liked the spot where Lynch hit a Manhandle Slam earlier but she couldn’t cover because Morgan left the ring and when Morgan hit Oblivion, Lynch did the same thing to her. Lynch was able to come back with another Manhandle Slam and got the decisive win, which was a smart way to end it.

Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Women’s World Champion. Liv Morgan was still at ringside, so Liv warned Ripley saying that she was going to take everything from her.

Let’s Hear from Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch

Ripley went into the ring with Lynch. The fans chanted “Mami” for Ripley, who is popular as a heel. Ripley congratulated Lynch for beating Liv Morgan and wondered if it was all worth it. Ripley said she knows Lynch will fight anyone and anywhere. Ripley claimed she knew Lynch wanted to prove she was the best, but Ripley said that Lynch knew that Ripley was better than her. Ripley told Lynch she wants an excuse as to why she can’t beat Ripley. That led to Ripley saying that Lynch will no longer be The Man because she’ll be a disappointment.

Lynch talked about how she planted a seed of doubt toward Ripley in the past. Lynch said when people believe in her, she’s good, but when people doubt her, she is great. Lynch said if it has to be her against the whole world then the whole world doesn’t stand a chance. Cole said it would be the first time in five years when Ripley faces Lynch at WrestleMania.

Analysis: They are two confident women who continue to convey that attitude every time they speak. Ripley is a heel, but the fans love her and respect her for being the champion that she is. I think Lynch might beat Ripley at WrestleMania although I’m torn on that prediction. It certainly could go either way.

A video aired featuring Raw GM Adam Pearce and Smackdown GM Nick Aldis. They had a huge announcement. Aldis spoke about the unbelievable tag team division. Aldis said that at WrestleMania 40, the Tag Team Champions Damian Priest & Finn Balor will defend the Tag Team Titles against five of the best teams in WWE for a Six-Pack Ladder Match. Teams will compete to earn spots in the match and the winners will become the Tag Team Champions.

The WWE Tag Team Champions Damian Priest and Finn Balor reacted to that by saying they had to talk to the GMs about it.

Analysis: It’s a great way to get 12 wrestlers on the show in a chaotic tag team match with ladders. It should be an outstanding match and probably have a title change too.


There were images shown from The Oscars on Sunday night with The Rock & Bad Bunny presenting an award while John Cena was also “naked” (sort of) on stage as well.

They showed Houston’s own rapper Travis Scott at ringside. The fans popped for him.

Ivy Nile & Maxxine Dupri vs. Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae

Neither team had their entrances shown. Indi started, LeRae did a kick to the back of Ivy and LeRae tagged in with a double clothesline spot. Dupri tagged in with enziguri kicks on Indi along with a dropkick. Dupri tried to do a Caterpillar, LeRae got in her face and said you can’t do that sort of move. LeRae said that Dupri doesn’t belong here. LeRae told Dupri if you think the internet hates you, then you should hear what the women in the locker room think. LeRae mentioned Dupri having a dead brother, then Dupri tried to leave and Indi kicked Durpi with a boot. LeRae yelled at Indi to pin her, so Indi pinned Dupri to win. It went about two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae

Analysis: 1/2* That was quick. It was about advancing the story of LeRae not liking or respecting Dupri, so LeRae was a bitch to her. I guess that’s some character development for LeRae since she has been a babyface for so long without much of a character. It certainly was a “mean girl” thing for LeRae to do.

Cody Rhodes was shown leaving his bus because he was up next at the top of hour two.


The GMs Adam Pearce & Nick Aldis were in the office talking about the Tag Team Title situation. Finn Balor & Damian Priest walked in as the Tag Team Champions along with JD McDonagh. Balor & Priest complained about the Ladder Match. Pearce said it was an idea from The Miz & Truth, so that made Priest angry. Truth walked in and a match was made for Priest to face Truth in a match.

A recap was shown of the Smackdown main event segment that set up the WrestleMania 40 Night 1 tag team match with The Rock & Roman Reigns facing Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins. It ended with Cody slapping The Rock in the face.

Cody Rhodes Interview

Michael Cole introduced Cody Rhodes for an in-ring interview where they had chairs set up in the ring. Cody was in a blue suit. Cole asked what do you want to talk about and Cody laughed. Cole said that Rock made it clear that he is Cody’s boss and if he doesn’t get it done at WrestleMania Sunday then Cody may never wrestle for a champion again. There were “Rocky Sucks” chants.

Cody said he’s not so sure that The Rock is his boss, but if he is then it feels good to slap your boss. Cody said that before all of his out of wrestling experiences, The Rock was a wrestler and Rock knows that slap was a receipt (since Rock slapped him first). Cole asked why he would put everything on the line for WrestleMania 40 where if they lose on Night 1 then Cody would have to face Reigns with Bloodline Rules. Cole said that Rollins is the last person to beat Reigns in a singles match and noted it was a Disqualification while not getting his rematch. Cole said perhaps Rollins wants to be the one against Reigns at WrestleMania 40. Cole asked Cody how can you trust Rollins? Cody said that people change. Cody reminded us that Cole used to rip on the talent, Cody used to smash a throne and that person that has the throne (Triple H) is now a close ally. Cody mentioned teaming with Jey Uso. Cody said that he knows Seth Rollins is somebody that will fight with him.

Cody brought up a question that Cole asked him the last time they were in the ring. It was a clip from October. Cole wondered if Cody coming close to the championship would be Cody’s story? Cody asked if he looked nervous or frightened. Cody admitted he was nervous and scared. Cody said the story is no longer about Roman Reigns’ championship and himself. Cody said that the story is about the fans that have followed him to the absolute ends. Cody spoke about a fan named Hannah, a friend named Harley and even his own family like his sister. Cody said that his mother is the only one he’s got left. Cody said he can’t hand it (the WWE Title) to Dusty Rhodes, but he can certainly hand it to his mom Michelle Rubio. Cody was nearly in tears. Cody said that his number one fan is his wife Brandi Rhodes, who Cole hired. Cody said that she took a shot on him while wearing a goofy mask and taking RKOs every night.

Cody said that last year at WrestleMania, Reigns said they were in the third inning. Cody said they are in the last (ninth) inning now. Cody told Cole he was so glad they got this moment because Cole will get to say that a Rhodes was the Undisputed WWE Champion. Cody told Michael that at WrestleMania 40 he’ll get to say that Cody finished the story. Cody shook hands and hugged Cole. When Cody went on the apron, he pointed at the WrestleMania sign.

Analysis: I liked the way this was done with Cody Rhodes getting emotional talking about his family while Michael Cole asked the right kind of questions. The only thing I think they could have done better was talk more about Cody trusting Rollins and maybe give a longer answer to why he does. Cody said that people change, which is fine, but they should have had Cole press him a bit to say more. I just think that’s an aspect of the match that could be pushed a bit more. Cody continues to come across as a nice guy who is easy to root for.

A video aired about Ricochet discussing the opportunity in the 6-Man Gauntlet match. Ricochet said he’ll win and face Gunther at WrestleMania.

There was a video about JD McDonagh saying he’ll do anything to get to the Intercontinental Title match at WrestleMania. JD told us to never bet against an ace.

The Kabuki Warriors entered for their Tag Team Title match joined by the rest of Damage CTRL. That match was next.

This Friday on Smackdown: The electrifying road to WrestleMania continues when The Rock is live in Memphis. That’s all they mentioned.


Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan had a staredown backstage. Nia Jax attacked both women. Jax knocked Morgan down. Jax picked up Lynch and slammed her through a merchandise table. Some WWE Officials walked into the picture to break it up.

Analysis: I assume we will see Lynch get that win over Jax on an upcoming Raw before we get to WrestleMania.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane (w/IYO SKY & Dakota Kai) vs. Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark

They are both heel teams, but Baszler & Stark were playing to the crowd a bit. Asuka avoided a charging Stark leading to a dropkick. Stark did a leapfrog over Asuka followed by a dropkick. Baszler tagged in, Asuka broke free from her and Sane tagged in with a running clothesline. Baszler hit Sane with a German Suplex followed by Stark kicking Sane out of the ring. Stark hit a springboard cross body block onto both opponents on the floor. They went to a break there.


The match returned with Stark tagging in against Sane with a jumping forearm. Stark hit a corner splash on Sane. Stark wanted a superplex, Sane tripped her up and Sane delivered a headbutt. Sane hit a double foot stomp on Stark by the turnbuckle for a two count. Asuka tagged in against Baszler, Asuka delivered some strikes to the head followed by a back elbow and Asuka hit double knees on Baszler. Sane hit a neckbreaker on Baszler. Asuka and Sane hit a sliding knee/clothesline combo on Baszler for two because Stark made the save. Stark sent Sane out of the ring. Baszler kicked Asuka and Stark tagged in, but Asuka was ready with a German Suplex on Stark. Sane got the tag, Stark avoided the elbow off the top and Stark hit a superkick. Baszler got the tag, Stark hit Sane with a Z360 and Baszler hit a knee on Sane for two because Asuka made the save. Stark tried a dive onto Asuka on the floor, but Asuka moved. Baszler trapped Sane in the Kirifuda Clutch, Sane countered it into a pin attempt and Kai held onto Baszler’s leg. Baszler let go of Sane, so Sane hit a back fist to the head. Asuka hit a roundhouse kick on Baszler. Sane tagged in with an Insane Elbow on Baszler for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kabuki Warriors – Asuka & Kairi Sane

Analysis: *** It was a pretty good match by four talented athletes. The key spot, as Michael Cole pointed out, was when Kai grabbed Baszler’s leg while Baszler was applying a submission move. That distracted Baszler, so Asuka & Sane finished off Baszler soon after that. The crowd wasn’t behind Stark & Baszler as babyfaces because they have been heels for so long.

The Judgment Day was shown in their clubhouse. Andrade walked in and Rhea Ripley told the guys she invited Andrade. Ripley said that Dominik Mysterio wasn’t there tonight, but in the future, they could talk business. Andrade said he’s all about business. Andrade left. Balor said that he’s known Andrade for a long time and praised him. Priest left for him.

Analysis: The reason Dominik was absent is that he got married last week and was likely given some time off for his honeymoon. Congrats to Dominik and his new bride.

R-Truth made his entrance doing his “What’s Up” rap on the way to the ring.


A Shinsuke Nakamura promo video aired about becoming the next Intercontinental Champion.

Bronson Reed did a promo saying he’s taking it all and punching his ticket to WrestleMania.

Damian Priest vs. R-Truth

Priest punched Truth in the face as soon as he got into the ring. Priest punched Truth repeatedly, Truth got a kick and Priest punched Truth again. Priest tossed Truth out of the ring. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa went to ringside to support Truth. Priest picked up Truth, who slipped out of it and Truth sent Priest into the ring post. Truth jumped off the apron with a clothesline onto Priest on the floor. That led to a break.


Priest was in control and Priest went up for nothing, so Truth knocked him down. Truth hit two shoulder tackles followed by the spinning suplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle like John Cena. Truth hit the Attitude Adjustment for two. The fans thought that was it. Truth applied the STF that John Cena uses, but Priest was able to fight out of it. Finn Balor and JD McDonagh went to ringside to fight with the #DIY guys. Truth jumped off the top with a cross body block onto the four guys on the floor. Truth hit the floor hard as the fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Back in the ring, Priest nailed Truth with a running clothesline. Priest hit South of Heaven for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest

Analysis: **3/4 It was fun while it lasted. That flurry of offense from Truth doing the Cena moves leading to the AA for a two count was really well done. Prist winning was the obvious result and that’s fine with me, but I like how Truth was given a shot to look like he might win.

Post match, The Judgment Day attacked Truth and the #DIY guys. Priest gave Ciampa a Chokeslam on the apron. Balor jumped off the top with Coup de Grace on Gargano. The J-Day guys left triumphantly.

Analysis: It gets more heat on the heels I think #DIY winning the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania would be a good thing.

Jey Uso was shown walking backstage because he was up next.


They showed the stars at UFC over the weekend. When they showed Rhea Ripley with fiance Buddy Matthews (Murphy), Pat shouted “With who?” Cole didn’t answer. Buddy works for AEW, so it’s interesting that they showed him and I thought Pat’s comment was funny.

Becky Lynch was shown in the trainer’s room. Lynch said she knows she shouldn’t be doing this close when it’s this close to WrestleMania, but it’s her against the world. Lynch said next week on Raw it’ll be her against Nia Jax in a Last Woman Standing Match.

Analysis: There’s the match I was expecting. It should be a win for Lynch.

Let’s Hear from Jey Uso

Jey Uso made his entrance to a big pop. The fans loved the arm-swinging that’s part of the entrance. Pat was on the commentary table doing it as usual. Jey let the fans know that “Main Event” Jey Uso is now in your city and the fans chanted “Yeet” at him.

Jey got right to the point saying Jimmy Uso, let me holler at you. Jey said he came to Monday Night Raw for a fresh start, but The Bloodline and Jimmy won’t let him go. Jey suggested brother vs. brother, twin vs. twin, blood vs. blood, Uso vs. Uso, me vs. me and Jimmy vs. Jey at WrestleMania. The fans cheered for that. Jey told Jimmy to accept his challenge because Jey will “knock the yeet out of your ass.” Jey celebrated to end it.

Analysis: That was all it needed to be. It didn’t drag on too long. It was simple and right to the point. I think we knew the Jey vs. Jimmy match was coming since last year at SummerSlam when Jimmy cost Jey the match against Roman Reigns. They re-ignited at the Royal Rumble. My main issue is that Jimmy doesn’t have many singles win so he’s hurting a bit in terms of credibility as a singles wrestler and it makes Jey a big favorite to win.

A video aired about GUNTHER, who has been Intercontinental Champion for a record 640 days. They showed highlights of some of Gunther’s title defenses. The video showed some of the matches that Gunther has had over the last two years as IC Champion and his dominant run as the champion.

GUNTHER, the Intercontinental Champion, was interviewed by Jackie Redmond backstage. Redmond wondered if he felt he was overconfident as the IC Champion. Gunther said 640 days ago, he beat Ricochet to be the IC Champion and he took on the legacy of this great title. Gunther bragged about elevating that title. Gunther said that six men will compete to try to face him on the grand stage of WrestleMania. Gunther said it takes a lot to be in his position. Gunther wished good luck to whoever wins the Gauntlet Match tonight.

Analysis: The usual good promo from Gunther showing that he remains a confident champion as he should be.

Ricochet was up first for the Gauntlet Match.


A graphic was shown about Muhammad Ali for the WWE Hall of Fame, which was announced earlier on Monday. Ali passed away many years ago, but I assume somebody from his family will be there.

Next week on Raw:

There will be three Tag Team Title Qualifying matches:

* The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Alpha Academy (Otis & Akira Tozawa)

* DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed)

* The Miz & R-Truth vs. Indus Sher (Veer & Sanga)

* Becky Lynch vs. Nia Jax in a Last Woman Standing Match

6-Man Gauntlet Match for Intercontinental Title Match at WrestleMania 40

The way a 6-Man Gauntlet Match works is it starts with two men in a 1 vs. 1 match, then after somebody, the next man is up so there are five singles match. The man that wins that last match is the winner and will face GUNTHER for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania 40.

Gauntlet Match #1: Ricochet vs. JD McDonagh

It started at 10:17 p.m. so it will get a lot of time. Ricochet was in control early and went for a top rope cross body block, but JD blocked it with a double knee attack to the ribs. They left the ring where JD sent Ricochet into the barricade a few times. JD hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Ricochet for a two count. JD sent Ricochet hard into the turnbuckle. JD hit a Chokeslam-style move followed by a standing moonsault for two. Ricochet hit a springboard back elbow off the ropes. Ricochet jumped off the top with a cross body block. Ricochet went for a springboard moonsault, JD blocked with the knees up and JD hit a brainbuster for two. Ricochet hit some forearm shots to the body along with a Reverse Rana. Ricochet charged, JD caught him and hit a Spanish Fly that was good for a two count for JD. Nice spot into a break.


JD and Ricochet exchanged strikes followed by JD kicking Ricochet in the head. Ricochet caught JD on the apron leading to a Death Valley Driver slam on the apron. Back in the ring, Ricochet hit three moves in a row including a moonsault and suplex for a two count. Ricochet with a left, JD raked the eyes and JD sent Ricochet ribs-first into the steel post. They battled on the top rope, Ricochet knocked JD down and Ricochet hit a Shooting Star Press on JD for the pinfall win. That fall went 12 minutes.

Winner of Gauntlet Match #1: Ricochet

Analysis: ***1/2 Excellent fall by Ricochet and JD. They are guys that don’t get a lot of long matches on Raw, but they made the most of the opportunity given.

It was Bronson Reed up next. Ricochet dove on him on the floor.

Gauntlet Match #2: Ricochet vs. Bronson Reed

Ricochet sent Reed out of the ring. Ricochet hit a twisting dive over the top onto a standing Reed on the floor. Back in the ring, Ricochet jumped onto Reed, who caught him and slammed Ricochet into the turnbuckle followed by Reed hitting a powerslam. Ricochet did a backflip off the chest along with an enziguri kick. Reed caught Ricochet leading to a slam and a senton splash. Reed went up top and hit the Tsunami splash to pin Ricochet after about two minutes.

Winner Of Gauntlet Match #2: Bronson Reed

Analysis: * That was quick. It put over Reed’s power while Ricochet was tired after the first match.

Gauntlet Match #3: Bronson Reed vs. Sami Zayn

The action spilled to the floor quickly when Zayn hit a moonsault off the barricade onto a standing Reed on the floor. They went to break there.


Zayn ran the ropes leading to Reed knocking him down with a body attack. Reed hit a twisting suplex for a two count. Zayn hit Reed with a back elbow, but Reed came back with a uranage slam followed by a leaping elbow drop for two. Reed Went for a move off the turnbuckle, but Zayn was able to counter it and Zayn hit a sunset flip Powerbomb for the pinfall. That fall went about six minutes.

Winner Of Gauntlet Match #3: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ** A lot of selling by Zayn before finding a way to get the win. Reed did a good job of selling the Powerbomb and trying to kick out, but he wasn’t able to do it.

After the fall, Reed knocked down Zayn with a forearm to the back as Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance. Reed jumped off the top with a Tsunami splash. Multiple referees went to the ring to get Reed out there.

Gauntlet Match #4: Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Nakamura went for a Kinshasha right away, but Zayn managed to avoid it. Nakamura knocked Zayn out of the ring leading to Nakamura delivering a kick. Zayn bumped over the commentary table and they went to break there.


The match was going on as they went to a replay with Pat analyzing while Reed attacked Zayn after the fall. Nakamura hit a roundhouse kick to the head. Zayn jumped off the ropes over Nakamura and Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two, which is the usual for that move. Nakamura hit a lefty spin kick to the head. Nakamura countered an Exploder attempt and hit a kick to the back of the head. Nakamura jumped off the ropes, Zayn avoided it and Zayn hit a Helluva Kick for the pinfall win. That fall went about six minutes.

Winner Of Gauntlet Match #4: Sami Zayn

Analysis: **3/4 A lot of heart shown by Sami Zayn there. I liked how they set up the finish with Zayn avoiding a move before he hit the Helluva Kick to win.

Chad Gable got into the ring and told Zayn to get up because this is about going to WrestleMania. Gable said let’s do this for WrestleMania. The fans popped for it.

Gauntlet Match #5: Sami Zayn vs. Chad Gable

Gable was aggressive with a German Suplex and he went for an Ankle Lock, but Zayn got to the ropes. Got a hold of Zayn’s left ankle on the floor with an Ankle Lock and Zayn got out of that by kicking Gable into the steel steps. They went to break there. It was the last break of the show.


There were under ten minutes left in the show. It was Gable on offense with a superplex off the top rope for a two count. They went to the turnbuckle, Gable elbowed Zayn down and Gable went for a moonsault, but Zayn got the knees up. Zayn got an inside cradle for two. Gable worked over Zayn punches, then Zayn came back with own punches and there were some slaps from both guys too. Zayn hit a boot to the face. Zayn wanted a Blue Thunder Bomb, Gable landed on his feet an Gable applied an Ankle Lock saying Gable needs this more than him while Zayn got his right hand on the bottom rope to break the hold. Gable went for a German Suplex, Zayn held the ropes and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn was limping around the ring due to the injured left ankle and Gable applied the Ankle Lock submission again. Zayn tried to kick himself free, but Gable held onto the Ankle Lock again and Gable let go leading to a German Suplex. Gable went up top wit ha moonsault, Zayn avoided it and Gable hit the mat hard. Zayn limped to the corner leading to a Helluva Kick for the one…two…no, Gable kicked out! Gable did a crucifix pin for one…two…no! That was a two count. The fans were getting into it more as Cole called it an incredible match. Zayn delivered crossface forearm strikes to the face. Gable’s mouth was bloody as he hit a delayed German Suplex for two. Gable applied the Ankle Lock submission again, Zayn countered it and Zayn rolled forward into a pin where he held onto Gable’s legs for the one…two…and three! Sami Zayn wins! That terrific fall went 14 minutes. The entire Gauntlet Match went 42 minutes.

Winner Of Gauntlet Match #5: Sami Zayn

Analysis: **** It was an excellent wrestling match between two of the best in Zayn and Gable. When a match has a title shot on the line it means that much more, almost like a title match itself. Every nearfall worked and the drama built up well throughout the match. I liked the story of the match with Gable working over the left ankle a lot, Zayn sold it so well and even when Zayn hit the Helluva Kick he couldn’t win because he was too hurt to cover right away. Doing a counter pin with Zayn sitting on top and holding onto the legs shows how close it was. Zayn won and it was his third straight win, but it showed how exhausted he was after wrestling for 30 minutes and finding a way to win.

Winner Of Gauntlet Match To Earn Intercontinental Title Match At WrestleMania 40: Sami Zayn

Analysis of Entire Gauntlet Match: ***3/4 It was awesome. This isn’t an average rating or anything like that. It’s more about what I thought of it overall. It was booked well and fun to watch.

After the match, Chad Gable was stunned by what happened and he was in better health than Zayn, who was grabbing his ankle. Gable picked up Zayn and Zayn hugged him. Gable looked disappointed but Zayn talked to him. The graphic was shown for WrestleMania 40 GUNTHER defending the Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn

GUNTHER walked out with the Intercontinental Title and stared at Zayn from a distance. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: A win for Sami Zayn at WrestleMania? I think so. Zayn has been Intercontinental Champion before, but never as this kind of main event level babyface. It would feel fresh and new for Zayn to win. I don’t know who else Gunther would lose to or when, so it might as well be at WrestleMania 40.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Sami Zayn
  2. Chad Gable
  3. Becky Lynch/Liv Morgan


The Scoreboard

8 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2024 Average: 7.57


Final Thoughts on WWE Raw

I thought it was a great show. The main event 6-man Gauntlet Match went about 45 minutes and had a lot of great action. The final two with Sami Zayn & Chad Gable was a lot of fun. Zayn found a way to win after Gable applied the Ankle Lock multiple times. I really liked how Zayn sold the ankle while getting the fall by countering and sitting on top to win. The Becky Lynch-Liv Morgan match was also great and got plenty of time.

They did a very nice job of building the WrestleMania 40 key matches as well. The promo from Drew McIntyre-Seth Rollins wasn’t anything new, but furthered their issues. Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch’s promo exchange could have been longer. They need to build that story more. The Cody Rhodes interview with Michael Cole did what it needed to do in terms of having Cody show a lot of confidence while talking about the important people in his life. Cody saying he’s doing it for the fans is also going to endear him with the audience even more.

It was also announced that there will be a 6-team Ladder Match at WrestleMania for the Tag Team Titles. I like that idea as a way to get six deserving teams on the show. It should be a great match and a title change is certainly possible too.

The next WWE Premium Live Event is WrestleMania 40 on April 6 & 7 from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Here’s the lineup so far.

* Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes (SUNDAY)

* The Rock & Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes & Seth “Freakin” Rollins (SATURDAY)

* WWE Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Becky Lynch

* WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (SUNDAY)

* WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY (c) vs. Bayley

* Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER (c) vs. Sami Zayn

* Six-Pack Ladder Match For WWE Tag Team Championships: Damian Priest & Finn Balor vs. five other teams.

You can watch WrestleMania 40 on April 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, streaming LIVE on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.


Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter/X @johnreport