The John Report: WWE Raw Deal 03/25/24 Review

WWE Raw Deal March 25

This week’s WWE Raw featured Cody Rhodes starting the show, CM Punk was there to address the fans, and Sami Zayn in action.

It’s the second last episode of Raw before WrestleMania 40 takes place. Next week’s Raw features the return of The Rock. I will be going to WrestleMania and I’ll be in Philadelphia for nearly a whole look. I arrive next Tuesday, April 2nd, and come back on Monday morning, April 8th. I’m really looking forward to experience a new city. I’ll be at Wrestlecon for two days I think and WWE World at least once I’m sure. Plus, a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. I’m excited about the trip. This will be my fifth WrestleMania. It may be my last one, but I guess they go to Vegas in a couple of years I might go for that one too. Anyway, I look forward to seeing how WWE continues to build up the card. Earlier today I got to write about muffins in a wrestling story. What a life.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1609 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a clip shown of CM Punk arriving at the arena earlier in the day.

A video aired recapping the Roman Reigns-Cody Rhodes chat in the main event of Smackdown last Friday. It ended with Cody having backup from Seth Rollins & Jey Uso for a staredown with Reigns who had backup from Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso. A good way to end the show.

Let’s Hear from Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes made his entrance to a huge pop as usual. Cody had dress clothes on without a suit jacket. They were sold out in Chicago as is usual for most WWE shows these days. They had a different entrance area in order to get more people into the building. There were still screens, but it was shaped differently.

Cody: “So Chicago, what do you want to talk about?” Cody said he knows we are less than two weeks until WrestleMania and it’s the time for action. Cody said that Roman Reigns said a lot on his friend Pat McAfee’s show. Pat was on commentary, so he saluted the crowd as they cheered for him. Cole to Pat: “Nice shirt.” Cody called out Michael Cole too and the fans popped. Cody got back to the point saying that Roman Reigns referred to him as a politician and the fans chanted “Roman Sucks” about the Tribal Chief. Cody said that when he makes a promise, he 110% keeps it and he was referencing when he ran the All In show in Chicago in 2018.

Cody talked about how he’s going to be best man at a wedding, he’ll be at a kid’s birthday and pay for the Wrestling Club to go to WrestleMania both nights. Cody said that this is not desperation. Cody said that he spends all this time at the end of the night with the fans and he pretends to be the champion because the “champion isn’t here.” There were more Cody chants. Cody said that even though he respects Roman Reigns: “I hate your guts.” Cody said it’s totally fine with him that Roman can’t have this “wank fest” with his cousin The Rock. Cody said that it’s his fault because he won the Royal Rumble not once, but twice. Cody said that if he learned anything from pointing at that sign last year is that he can’t do it alone. Cody said that on April 6th, him and Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns and The Rock, Cody asked the fans will they ride with him? The fans cheered. Cody said on April 7th in what’s hopefully a fair fight, he wants to know if the fans will fight with him? The fans cheered. Cody told the fans to point at the WrestleMania sign so they did and Cody pointed at the sign too.

If you smell…it’s The Rock! He is there unadvertised. The Rock’s return was advertised for next week’s Raw in Brooklyn, but not this show, so it’s a surprise appearance. There was a huge response from the Chicago fans because they didn’t expect The Rock to be there. The Rock did his posing around the ring while Michael Cole and Pat McAfee kept on calling him “The Final Boss” while Pat was sucking up to Rock a lot.

The Rock stood across the ring from Cody while the fans chanted “Holy Shit” for this moment. The Rock continued stare across the ring from Cody while the fans were screaming and chanting things like Cody’s name along with “this is awesome” as well. There were also “CM Punk” chants that had nothing to do with this, but Cole said “he’s here too.” The Rock didn’t have a microphone in his hand and instead put his hands behind his back. The Rock said a few words to Cody that we couldn’t hear and then The Rock left the ring. The fans booed Rock loudly after that. Cody sold it like he was angry about whatever he said. When The Rock was on the floor, the fans chanted “Rocky sucks” and Rock laughed about it. The Rock left while Cody had a confused look on his face as his music played to end it.

Analysis: I liked Cody’s promo a lot. He sounded like the top babyface in the company, which he is and Cody had a good line about how he acts like the top guy because Roman isn’t at the shows. The Rock appearing was a shock and the fact that he didn’t say a word was also a shock, but it puts over the idea that he got in Cody’s head. It’s all about he mind games going into WrestleMania. The crowd reaction to The Rock was incredible and added to the

Ricochet was shown warming up for his match up next.

This Sunday on Superstar Sunday on A&E it’s The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan on the Rivals show and Roman Reigns on Biography. That Reigns biography was directed by Paul Heyman, which is pretty cool. That should be awesome.


A replay was shown of Cody Rhodes getting confronted by The Rock before the break.

The commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee were shown at ringside welcoming us to the show. Cole was teasing Pat for wearing a Rock-like shirt and sucking up to Roman Reigns when Pat interviewed him last week.

The Rock was shown walking backstage. The Rock was asked by Jackie Redmond what Rock said to Cody Rhodes. Rock said: “Go ask Cody Rhodes.” The Rock left.

Analysis: I guess that’s all we’re getting from The Rock tonight. Four words. I assume he’ll say more next week.

There was a backstage scene showing The Bloodline group. Finn Balor said that he was sick and tired of JD McDonagh and Dominik Mysterio being made fools of Ricochet. Damian Priest said he had a plan going into their WrestleMania Ladder Match. JD said that he had Ricochet’s number and Rhea Ripley told him to win. Dominik said he’ll make sure things go their way.

Ricochet vs. JD McDonagh (w/Dominik Mysterio)

It started with JD hitting a back elbow leading to Ricochet doing a headscissors. A dropkick sent JD out of the ring. JD avoided an attack on the floor, but then Ricochet went to the other side of the ring for a twisting dive over the top onto Dominik on the floor.


The match continued with a running knee to the ribs to take control. Ricochet avoided a moonsault attempt by JD. They were using a different ringside camera as Ricochet hit a handspring back elbow. Ricochet hit a jumping knee to the ribs, a shoulder to the ribs and Ricochet hit a springboard clothesline. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Ricochet went for a leaping kick, JD blocked it and Ricochet hit a step up enziguri. Ricochet charged right into a Spanish Fly by JD for two. JD hit a brainbuster for two. They went up top where JD tried to do something off the top, but Ricochet hit a Reverse Rana off the top! Wow. That was so good. Ricochet hit the Recoil knee for a two count because Dominik put JD’s leg on the rope at two. Ricochet went for a springboard 450 Splash and JD got his knees up so JD cradled Ricochet for a two count. That led to another break.


Ricochet missed a spin kick so JD hit a clothesline. JD hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. JD picked up Ricochet for a move and JD countered it into a Canadian Destroyer! Wow. That was crazy good. Ricochet was on the apron, Dominik went on the apron and Dominik dropped down while hitting the ropes to crotch Ricochet on there. The referee ejected Dominik from ringside. Ricochet hit a Shooting Star Press on a standing JD for the pinfall win. It went about 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricochet

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match. They are so talented and it’s an example of how good some of these guys are that don’t always get to show what they can do. I didn’t expect this to be a three-segment match, but I’m happy for the wrestlers getting that much time. JD is technically sound and he can do a lot in the ring, which he proves any time he gets time like this. Ricochet was especially impressive with the moves he did like that Canadian Destroyer that was a counter move and the SSP on a standing opponent. That’s not easy to do, but Ricochet makes it all look easy. Very impressive moves by him.

CM Punk is up next.


A commercial aired for the Bray Wyatt documentary that airs on Peacock on April 1st. That’s going to be an emotional watch for sure. Just seeing the clip of his dad Mike Rotunda (I.R.S.) crying while talking about him makes me so sad. We miss Bray a lot.

Let’s Hear from CM Punk

CM Punk made his entrance to a thunderous ovation as usual. They showed Punk walking through the curtain. Punk had his right arm in a brace due to his surgically repaired right triceps. Punk returned to WWE in this building four months ago at Survivor Series. The fans love him, especially in Chicago. CM Punk went over to the commentary table and back into the ring with a microphone in hand. There were loud “CM Punk” chants as usual.

CM Punk said that there were a lot of things he wanted to say and then he asked the fans if it was good to be alive in Chicago on a Monday night. The fans cheered. Punk said that he would be at WrestleMania. Punk said that people have suggestions like maybe he would host WrestleMania. Punk said that he wished WrestleMania was here in Chicago…hint hint. Punk talked about how people suggest he could be on commentary and even be a referee for a title match that needs an impartial referee.

Punk said that a lot of people love to talk about him. Punk said that he is not a daily listener of Pat’s show because he was more of an Experience and Drive Thru guy (a reference to Jim Cornette podcasts). I like the Corny podcasts, so that was cool to hear. Punk wondered why Roman Reigns brought up CM Punk and Punk respects Roman. Punk said that when he goes up the mountain and Roman comes down the mountain, they will see eachother soon.

Punk mentioned Seth Rollins having issues with him and Punk mocked Rollins for wearing heels in his shoes so that makes Rollins taller than Punk now.

Punk said that somebody who hasn’t talked about him – who hasn’t said a word – is The Rock. Punk said that it’s because 10 years ago (11 years ago actually) The Rock realized that his arms were too short to box with God. That’s a line that Punk used during his feud with The Rock in 2013.

That led to Punk mentioning Drew McIntyre, who has called out Punk repeatedly for several months. Punk said he doesn’t live on social media and he said that he calls people out face to face. Drew McIntyre’s music hit as Drew appeared by the entrance and Punk told them to shut the music off.

Punk said he’s not medically cleared, but he’s not looking to have a match and Punk told Drew to get his bitch ass in there. Drew reminded Punk that he hurt him the last time they were in the ring together. Drew walked down to ringside while showing off his shirts mocking Punk. Punk ripped Drew saying that he never had to put another man’s name on a shirt to sell it.

Drew said that Punk doesn’t drink or do drugs, but he spends all that time in rehab. Drew told Punk he doesn’t hate him. Drew said that Punk completes him. Drew said that at Elimination Chamber, he was in there for 30 minutes and he got the job done because he thought about CM Punk. Punk invited Drew into the ring while Drew stood on the commentary table. Drew said that Punk probably had a weapon in the ring and try to take Drew out. Punk laid down in the ring. Drew sat on the commentary table. Drew said he wanted Punk to have a front row seat at WrestleMania. Drew told Punk he shouldn’t be in Drew’s position because Drew has always been the Chosen One. Punk asked Drew who chose him? Punk said that it wasn’t the people who chose him. Punk led the crowd in a “CM Punk” chant.

Analysis: It was Vince McMahon who chose Drew, but they aren’t going to say Vince’s name and that’s the right call.

Drew McIntyre said that CM Punk is good at commentary, so Drew invited CM Punk to be the guest commentator for Drew McIntyre’s match at WrestleMania 40 when he challenges Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title. Drew said he’ll finally have his moment at WrestleMania when he wins the World Title in front of the fans.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance as the World Heavyweight Champion and he’s been the champion for 303 days. The fans were chanting along to Seth’s song as usual.

Rollins got into the ring with Punk while McIntyre stood on the commentary table. When the Rollins song chant died out, there were “CM Punk” chants again. Rollins welcomed Chicago to “Monday Night Rollins.” Rollins said that now that we’ve firmly established whose show this is, whose show this has been and whose show this is going to be. There were “CM Punk” chants again. Punk said it can be your show, but it is Punk’s city.

Seth said if you two morons had even one brain cell amongst the two of you then you know that you don’t get to make decisions about the World Heavyweight Title match at WrestleMania when you’re not on it. Rollins pointed at Punk when he said that. Rollins said they should take a poll of the whole city of Chicago. Rollins asked the fans if CM Punk should be on commentary for the Rollins-McIntyre match at WrestleMania 40. There was some cheering for that and then the fans chanted “Referee” instead. Rollins told the fans that it was Punk’s counting arm, so Punk counted to three with his left arm. Punk said he couldn’t be objectively fair with these two dicks (muted) in there. Drew: “PG, brother.”

Rollins told Punk he didn’t think anything about him. Rollins said that Punk hasn’t crossed his mind since the last time they were in the ring together. Rollins told Punk that he was a non-factor to him. Rollins said that Punk claims that everybody needs him, but Rollins said that Punk needs Rollins. Seth said that the irony of Punk narrating Rollins’ match is good for him and Seth said that this is the closest Punk will get to a World Championship. Rollins told Punk to stay out of his way.

CM Punk said it’s decided that he’s going to sit beside Michael Cole and do some guest commentary. Punk trashed Drew and Seth while saying that he’ll do what his ten year absence from this company couldn’t do and that’s make these two guys interesting. Punk’s music played, but Drew stopped it.

Drew claimed that CM Punk is obsessed with Drew because Drew is living Punk’s dream. Drew claimed that Punk is his number one stan. Drew was in the ring, so Rollins hit Drew with a superkick followed by The Stomp. Seth’s music played to end it.

Analysis: I really enjoyed that. It was the second 20-minute promo segment on the show, so that does seem like a lot, but it’s kind of expected during WrestleMania season. CM Punk was beloved by the Chicago crowd as usual, Drew McIntyre was a jerk like the heel that he is and Seth Rollins was more like a tweener because the fans are always going to support Punk the most in Chicago. The fans wanting Punk to be the referee was interesting, but I like the commentary idea better. I think it will be interesting either way. My prediction is that McIntyre wins the World Title at WrestleMania 40, but it can obviously go either way. It was a fun segment overall.

Shinsuke Nakamura was featured doing a promo saying that he would turn Jey Uso’s dream into a nightmare.


Ivy Nile (w/Maxxine Dupri) vs. Candice LeRae (w/Indi Hartwell)

There were no entrances shown. Nile hit a suplex. LeRae sent Nile out of the ring and wanted Indi to attack her, but Indi wouldn’t do it. Nile was back in, LeRae sent Nile out again and Indi didn’t help LeRae again. Dupri was on the apron, so LeRae punched Dupri down. LeRae faked a leg injury to get Indi to attack again and Indi didn’t do it. Nile went after LeRae, the referee made Nile go back and LeRae did a pin with her feet on the rope for the win. It only went about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ivy Nile

Analysis: * A rushed match that was given very little time to tell the story as the Candice LeRae heel turn continues. It’s working in terms of giving LeRae some wins while she does underhanded actions.

There was a backstage discussion between #DIY and The New Day chatting backstage about the Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania. Paul Heyman was talking to Drew McIntyre in the background. The Miz & R-Truth walked in with Truth doing his usual thing of messing up names. That New Day/#DIY match was next while Heyman & McIntyre kept talking in the background.


A video aired featuring Jey Uso talking about how special WrestleMania is and how great it is that his family is still a part of it. It was sponsored by Snickers, which sponsors WrestleMania nearly every year.

The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. #DIY -Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano

The Miz & R-Truth were on commentary. Truth thought that Pat was JBL. There were no entrances for these guys.

#DIY was in control early with Ciampa nailing Kofi with a clothesline. Gargano went for a rolling kick, but Kofi avoided it and hit a Fameasser for two. Woods tagged in as New Day did their stomp routine on Gargano. New Day hit a double superkick on Ciampa followed by New Day each hitting dropkicks on their opponents in the corners.


The match returned with Ciampa doing his running clothesline routine on both opponents. Gargano tagged in with an impressive kick and a reverse neckbreaker on Woods. Ciampa kneed Kofi off the apron. Gargano hit a suicide dive onto both guys on the floor. Damian Priest showed up at ringside to kick Gargano, so that led to the DQ finish after seven minutes.

Match Result: No Contest

Analysis: **1/4 They were on their way to a good match when it was cut off by The Judgment Day. I’d like to see this match again because I think #DIY and New Day are very talented teams that can put on a show if they get the chance.

The Judgement Day’s four male wrestlers Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio & JD McDonagh beat up The New Day and the #DIY guys. The Miz tried to help, but he was beaten up too. Priest pointed out Truth at ringside while Truth said that he was on commentary. Truth wanted them to go to a commercial, but instead, Judgment Day tried to beat up Truth. That led to Truth getting some offense on Balor, JD and Dominik, but Priest was back in with a Razor’s Edge on Truth. Balor went up top and hit a Coup de Grace double foot stomp on Truth. Cole reminded us that Priest had a message for the other tag teams earlier in the show and that was the message.

Analysis: It gets heat on The Judgment Day guys while they also looked strong since they took out six guys. The teams taken out are in the Tag Team Title Ladder Match at WrestleMania, so it’s a way to make J-Day look strong. Simple booking, really. I know fans don’t like DQ finishes to matches, but sometimes you need to do it to advance a story and I’m fine with it in this case.

Cody Rhodes was interviewed by Jackie Redmond in the locker room. Redmond asked Cody if he can share what The Rock said. Cody said that it’s not something that he would rather repeat. Cody said that it was a promise that The Rock can’t keep and that was it.

Analysis: The mystery of what The Rock said continues. I guess the lip readers out there know what he said.

It’s Andrade against Giovanni Vinci up next.

A commercial aired for The Rock returning to Raw next week in Brooklyn.


The Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Gunther said that Sami Zayn’s words last week were empty and claimed that Sami doesn’t believe that he can beat Gunther at WrestleMania. Gunther said that the nerds in the crowd don’t believe that Zayn can beat Gunther. That led to Gunther saying that he didn’t think Zayn could beat Bronson Reed tonight. Cathy asked if Gunther would scout Zayn and Gunther repeated that he didn’t think Zayn would win tonight.

Analysis: It’s a confident Gunther as usual.

Andrade vs. Giovanni Vinci

It was originally Andrade against Ivar, but Ivar had some minor injury and wasn’t cleared to compete. Andrade slapped Vinci hard in the chest and Andrade posed in the ropes. Vinci punched Andrade in the jaw, but when Vinci tried a springboard attack, Andrade nailed him with a double dropkick. Andrade hit a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle onto Vinci on the floor. Back in the ring, Andrade did his double moonsault spot off the top for a two count. Andrade hit a vertical suplex, Vinci countered a second attempt and Vinci hit an uppercut. Andrade came back with a running boot. Vinci ran the ropes leading to a running cross body block. That led to a break.


Andrade was in full control with the running double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Vinci caught a kick and hit a clothesline. Andrade came back with a spinning back elbow to the head. Andrade hit a double underhook move into a sitout neckbreaker that Cole said is called The Message. Andrade got the pinfall win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Andrade

Analysis: **1/4 It was an easy, predictable win for Andrade in a match where Vinci got some offense, but he wasn’t a threat to win. Ivar wasn’t going to beat Andrade either, but he would have been a more credible opponent if he was cleared to compete. That could have been a five minute match without a break instead of what they did. I’m glad that Andrade is back in WWE.

Rhea Ripley, the Women’s World Champion, was shown walking backstage with Dominik Mysterio for some promo time up next.

Analysis: I barely looked at social media this past weekend, but when I did I saw a lot of clips of Rhea Ripley giving Nia Jax a Stinkface at a live event. People like Mami a lot.


The announcers Michael Cole and Pat McAfee talked about Pat talking to Seth Rollins earlier because Cole posted a pic of it.

Let’s Hear from Rhea Ripley

Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the Women’s World Champion with Dominik Mysterio by her side. The fans were cheering Ripley and there was a “Mami” chant. Ripley said she feels like she’s not getting enough attention. Ripley claimed that a certain someone isn’t giving Ripley her attention. Ripley said that she could have attacked Becky Lynch during one of her matches, but Ripley is impatient now. Ripley wondered if Lynch should be giving Ripley her full attention. Ripley wanted Dominik to talk, so here comes Lynch to interrupt.

Becky Lynch made her entrance to a big pop while she was rocking her backward hat look. Lynch told the fans that The Man has come around to Chicago, so that led to some “Becky” chants.

Lynch mentioned that Ripley usually confronts Lynch after Lynch has a match. Lynch mocked Ripley for not wrestling on Raw any more. Ripley wondered why would she want to compete before the biggest match of her career. Ripley said she doesn’t have to compete every week since all she has to do is post a photo or video online. Lynch told Ripley that’s the problem. Lynch said that to Ripley, a champion is posting her ass on the internet for attention and to Lynch, it’s busting her ass night in and night out to prove herself. Lynch said there will always be somebody newer, younger and hotter, but the long game is about skill, merit and survival. Lynch said that it’s about how you react when you aren’t the chosen one anymore, but Ripley hasn’t experienced that yet. Lynch said she’ll give Ripley a new experience at WrestleMania.

Ripley said that Lynch has been through everything and she’s a survivor. Ripley told Lynch she’s a cockroach because she’s really hard to kill, but it’s not impossible. Ripley said that she wants to leave Lynch alive so she can sit on her couch and what Ripley do what she does. Ripley said she wants Lynch to sit next to her daughter Roux and call Ripley “Mami.” That led to boos, but also “Mami” chants.

Lynch said Ripley gets one pass to mention Ripley’s daughter and told Ripley to never do that again or Lynch will end her. Lynch was emotional saying that her dad never got to meet her daughter. Lynch said that her dad was proud of Lynch as a wrestler but what he would be most proud of is the mother that she has become. Lynch said that it is not a joke to her while saying that the World Title isn’t a joke to her. Lynch said that there is nothing respectful about Ripley. Lynch said that after WrestleMania, neither one of them will be the same again.

Ripley looked like she was leaving, then Dominik got in Lynch’s face and Lynch punched Dominik in the jaw. Ripley nailed Lynch with a boot to the face and Ripley sent Lynch shoulder-first into the ring post. Ripley picked up Dominik from ringside, but Lynch attacked Ripley with punches. They got into a brawl in the aisle. Referees tried to break it up, both women broke free and kept on fighting. It was eventually stopped.

Analysis: I thought that was excellent. I have written in past weeks that they needed to bring the physicality with this feud and that’s what we got tonight. It also felt a bit more personal because Ripley mentioned Lynch’s daughter, which pissed off Lynch just like it would piss off any mother. I also liked Lynch talking about the importance of being a mom and missing her dad. They did a good job here without it being too long. Sometimes these promo segments drag a bit, but this one was around ten minutes and it was what it needed to be. The other thing I wanted to add is you could tell they tried to make Ripley more heelish by having Dominik with her and having her say certain things, but the fans love Ripley and still want to cheer her a lot.

Sami Zayn was shown walking backstage when he noticed Chad Gable back there. Gable walked up to Zayn saying he wanted to talk about how they ended things last week. Zayn said it’s fine if Gable doesn’t think Zayn can beat Gunther. Zayn said that he’s going to show Gunther what he can do. Gable told Zayn to get his head out of his ass and focus on Bronson Reed tonight. Zayn said Gable was right and Zayn appreciated Gable saying that. They shook hands.

Bronson Reed made his entrance for his match.

A commercial aired about WrestleMania 40 being 12 days away. Good. I’m ready.


Sami Zayn vs. Bronson Reed

The big man Reed knocked down Zayn with a shoulder tackle. Zayn sent a charging Reed out of the ring. Zayn hit a somersault dive onto Reed on the floor. Back in the ring, Zayn tried to jump on Reed, but Reed caught him. Zayn ran the ropes leading to Reed hitting a running body attack to knock Zayn down. Pat said that Reed was “round muscle” from head to toe. I wouldn’t say it’s all muscle, but he is an impressive athlete. Reed chopped Zayn out of the ring. Reed jumped off the turnbuckle wit ha shoulder tackle to knock Zayn down on the floor.


Zayn hit some chops and a clothesline that didn’t knock Reed down. Zayn used the ropes to springboard over Reed and Zayn hit a clothesline to knock Reed down. Gunther walked out by the entrance area to watch the match. Zayn tried a lift, but Reed was too heavy for him. Zayn avoided a charging Reed splash and Zayn rolled up Reed for a two count. Zayn went for a body slam, but Reed was too heavy and Reed fell on top. Reed gave Zayn a twisting suplex for two while Reed was bleeding by the nose. Reed worked over Zayn with chops, but Zayn fought back with kicks along with a Tornado DDT. Zayn looked at Gunther, so Reed came back with a clothesline and a senton splash. Reed went up top and jumped off with a Tsunami splash on Zayn for the pinfall win after about ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed

Analysis: *** A pretty good match with Zayn losing focus by staring at Gunther and that led to Reed capitalizing for the win. It’s a result I didn’t expect because normally WWE doesn’t have a guy lose clean like that when Zayn is getting a match with Gunther at WrestleMania, but it’s a way to tell the story that Zayn might be unable to defeat Zayn. Plus, if Zayn beats Gunther then Reed can claim he beat Zayn clean so Reed can get an Intercontinental Title shot in the future. I’m fine with WWE going with the unpredictable finish here as long as the story makes sense and this time it does because Zayn was looking at Gunther too long, so Reed took advantage to win.

After the match, Gunther was laughing about Zayn losing since Gunther said that Zayn wouldn’t beat Reed earlier.

Jey Uso did a promo backstage saying that Shinsuke Nakamura has been sleeping on him. After Jey ended his promo, his brothers Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso walked up to him. Jimmy to Jey: “No Yeet.” Jimmy & Solo left while Jey said nothing.


Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jey Uso

Jey knocked Nakamura out of the ring and tried an attack, but Nakamura hit a jumping kick to knock Jey down. Nakamura set up Jey in the ring leading to two running knees to the ribs. Jey bumped to the floor, so that led to a break.


It was Jey Uso in control with punches as the fans chanted “YEET” for the punches. Jay hit a jumping kick to the head. Jey charged a corner attack, Nakamura avoided it and Nakamura hit his sliding German Suplex off the ropes for two. Nakamura went for a leaping attack off the ropes, but Jey avoided and Jey hit a superkick. Nakamura came back with a running knee to the back of the head. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa showed up at ringside, so Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins went out to ringside and fought with Jimmy & Solo at ringside. Cody went with Jimmy to the back. Drew McIntyre attacked Rollins at ringside and sent Rollins into the ring post. Drew gave Rollins a Future Shock DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Jey kicked Nakamura in the gut and Jey hit a Spear for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jey Uso

Analysis: **3/4 A dominant win by Jey Uso beating a guy like Nakamura, who can be in main event level matches, but it’s not like Nakamura is going to win here. It was a clean as can be for Jey as he gains momentum leading into his WrestleMania 40 match with brother Jimmy Uso.

There were still about seven minutes left, so Cody Rhodes was shown fighting with Jimmy Uso backstage. Cody threw Jimmy into a door that opened up so Jimmy was sent out of the arena. Solo Sikoa went after Cody Rhodes, so Cody fought him off and then The Rock attacked Cody backstage as well. Rock threw a trash can to Cody’s head. Rock punched Cody and Rock sent Cody into some equipment cases. Rock threw Cody into a guard rail. The Rock said Chicago was mad that Rock didn’t say anything, but Rock has their attention now. Rock called the fans “pieces of shit.” Rock beat up Cody outside as they fought in the rain in the parking lot. Rock threw Cody into the side of his bus. Rock told Chicago and the World to look at your hero Cody. Rock threw Cody into the side of the bus again. Rock kicked Cody in the groin as well. Rock sent Cody into the side of the bus. Rock said that he wasn’t going to let Cody say what he wants. Rock said that it didn’t have to be like this but it is this way because of Cody Rhodes sticking his nose in Rock’s business. Cody was bleeding from the forehead, so it was a rare WWE blade job. Rock wanted Mama Rhodes to look at Cody. Rock had a weightlifting belt that said “Mama Rhodes” on it. Rock said that he would put Cody’s blood on that belt and Rock smeared the blood onto the belt. Rock told Mama Rhodes to look at her boy. Rock said that this is what’s going to happen to Cody at WrestleMania. Rock said Cody’s daddy talked about hard times. Rock said he’ll teach Cody about hard times for life because this is what happens when you f**k with The Final Boss. Rock threw Cody into the bus. Rock spit on Cody as well. Rock said that it didn’t have to be this way but this is the only way. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: I thought that was a terrific, old school pro wrestling beatdown kind of segment. You don’t see blade jobs in WWE for nearly two decades now, so that was a different sight to see Cody bleeding like that. It was done while Rock was talking to the camera, so they did a nice job of executing that. I liked the way Rock dominated the entire thing and Cody was beaten up so badly that he couldn’t fight back. Rock dominated the whole thing with physicality, trash talk and even some swear words thrown in again. If I had a complaint it would be that Roman Reigns wasn’t part of it because there’s more heat on the Rock-Cody story rather than the Roman-Cody story. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because it was an excellent segment. I’m just saying Roman being a part of something like that would be nice to see. What really made it work so well is that Cody Rhodes sold that beating perfectly. There was no comeback. It was a believable ass kicking. It was also cheap from Rock as a heel attacking from behind, but it makes fans want to pay to see Cody get revenge. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot as an old-school angle that Cody’s dad Dusty Rhodes and Rocky’s dad Rocky Johnson would appreciate.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. The Rock/Cody Rhodes for that final segment.
  2. CM Punk/Seth Rollins/Drew McIntyre/Rhea Ripley
  3. Ricochet/JD McDonagh

I am bad at picking just three people. Sorry. The three is the minimum number.


The Scoreboard

8.5 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2024 Average: 7.60


Final Thoughts on WWE Raw

A very enjoyable pro wrestling show that was less than two weeks before WrestleMania and I think the best Raw of 2024 so far. It was a very promo heavy show with Cody Rhodes-The Rock to open it, CM Punk-Drew McIntyre-Seth Rollins at the top of hour two and Rhea Ripley-Becky Lynch to start hour three. It’s WrestleMania season after all, so that means a lot of promos are going to be on the show. CM Punk was definitely “on” in his promo and even put over Jim Cornette’s podcasts, which was hilarious for Punk to say. Putting Punk on commentary was fine with me. I’m glad the Ripley-Lynch feud had some trash talking and brawling because that’s what that story needed.

That ending was very memorable as well because it was The Rock beating up Cody Rhodes for about five minutes outside in the rainy parking lot as Rock threw Cody repeatedly into the side of Cody’s bus. Cody came up bleeding after a blade job, which is very rare in WWE, so just to see something like that shows how they are willing to push the edginess a bit more. The Rock also swore quite a few times as well. Anyway, Rock putting Cody’s blood on the “Mama Rhodes” belt was a nice touch in terms of having Rock come across as an asshole heel. As I wrote in the review, I wish Roman Reigns was part of this too because Rock is getting so much of the focus on this story with Cody, but maybe that’s the point. Anyway, it was really cool seeing an old school pro wrestling beatdown like that. I’m sure Dusty Rhodes would have loved that.

I feel bad for the women’s division because there was only one women’s match and it was under two minutes with Candice LeRae beating Ivy Nile in a match with no heat. The Ricochet-JD McDonagh match was definitely the match of the night. I’m happy for those guys having a long match like that. There were so many promos to recap that this was easily my longest review of the year. There was a lot of chatter for sure, but like I said it’s WrestleMania season and I thought it was fun to watch in front of a hot Chicago crowd.

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

* United States Championship: Logan Paul (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens

* LA Knight vs. AJ Styles

* Jimmy Uso vs. Jey Uso

* Six-Pack Ladder Match For WWE Tag Team Championships: Damian Priest & Finn Balor vs. #DIY – Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs. Awesome Truth – The Miz & R-Truth vs. The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. two 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