By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,549)
Live from Tulsa, Oklahoma at BOK Center
Aired January 30, 2023 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a Cody Rhodes video package that touched on his recovery from surgery and his Royal Rumble win… Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves were on commentary, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer…
Cody Rhodes made his entrance dressed in a suit. Pyro shot off once he stood on the middle rope opposite the WrestleMania sign. A “you deserve it” chant broke out. Rhodes teased talking, then played to the crowd for a moment. “So, what do you guys want to talk about?” Rhodes asked.
Cody said there are new people watching the show every week. He said he’s not the same person he was when he started with the company, but he has thought a lot about when he started in then WWE developmental group Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Cody said that he thought to himself that he would be WWE Champion within two years as he entered the OVW facility. He said he was also delusional enough to believe that he would be the next John Cena. Cody said that if he could write a letter to his 19 year-old self, he wondered whether he would tell him things such as that he would be Dashing and give grooming tips and that the ring announcer would become his wife.
Rhodes wondered if he would tell his younger self that in 2015 he would do what everyone told him not to do or that he would become the first in his family to punch a ticket to go to WrestleMania. A “Cody” chant broke out. “Truth be told, I wouldn’t tell him a single thing,” Rhodes said. He explained that everything he’s gone through has been 100 precent worth it.
Cody said he heard the fans singing his entrance theme. He said the first words are his own – “wrestling has more than one royal family.” Cody said WWE has more than one royal family. Cody said that in order for that to be true and vindicated in his heart, he has to stand across from an entire Bloodline and the Tribal Chief.
Cody spoke about standing across the ring from the biggest superstar on the planet and a man who has held the title for over 800 days – Roman Reigns. The fans booed and a “Roman sucks” chant broke out. Cody said he has a great deal of respect for Reigns. He added that WrestleMania was in 62 days. He said that it’s 62 days for Reigns, whereas it’s 62 days in Cody’s life.
Cody said Reigns could still be the Tribal Chief and the Head of the Table, but the one thing he will not be is the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Cody’s entrance music played and Graves said that the mission statement was clear and that Rhodes was highly motivated on his road to WrestleMania.
The Judgment Day entrance theme replaced Cody’s theme. Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, and Damian Priest walked out with microphones. Balor asked if Cody was returning to do something original or knock off all of his old stuff like he’s done before.
Dom said Cody ruined their plans at the Rumble. Dom said Mami Rhea Ripley won the the women’s Royal Rumble and will tell everyone what her plan is later. “But I was supposed to win the men’s Royal Rumble match,” Dom said. Balor laughed while wondering what happened to Rey Mysterio. Balor said Dom was lucky enough to find Rey’s mask.
Dom said Cody put his hands on him and ruined his night at the Rumble. Dom said that Cody “would have got got” if he tried that in prison. Priest said Dom should have been the only multigenerational superstar to main event WrestleMania, “not some suck-up who gets his way whenever he wants.” Priest said Ripley entered first and earned her way, while Cody was handed No. 30. Dom said Cody owes him an apology for ruining his moment.
Cody asked Dom if he was trying to scare him straight. Cody said he has tremendous respect for Dom’s father Rey Mysterio. Dom said he doesn’t respect his own father, the fathers of anyone in attendance, or Cody’s father. A “kick his ass” chant broke out.
Cody said he could play it safe and try to stay healthy until WrestleMania “or I can be me and kick some ass.” Cody challenged any of the three Judgment Day members to face him later in the show. Cody’s entrance theme played to end the segment…
The broadcast team spoke about the Elimination Chamber qualifiers and added Dolph Ziggler vs. Bronson Reed to the previously advertised qualifiers. They said Seth Rollins and Chad Gable would meet in the first qualifier.
The Judgment Day trio was still standing on the stage after the broadcast team ran though the show’s lineup. “You think you know me…” played and then Edge came out and brawled with the Balor, Dom, and Priest. Cody ran to ringside to help and then Adam Pearce and his crew of producers made the first of what will likely be seven appearances tonight to pull them apart heading into a commercial break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A great start for Rhodes. While there’s still plenty of time between now and WrestleMania, there was no sign of fans rejecting Cody because they want to see Sami Zayn in the WrestleMania main event. Cody delivered a strong promo and had the crowd with him every step of the way. And Judgment Day were a good trio to start him off with just in case, as there’s no way the fans will cheer Dom right now. On a side note, if Adam Pearce is paid for each time he appears on camera during Raw and Smackdown pull-apart segments, we may need to add him to the list of potential buyers of WWE.
Royal Rumble still shots were shown… U.S. Champion Austin Theory was shown walking backstage and was advertised as appearing on MVP’s VIP Lounge. Graves announced Cody Rhodes vs. Finn Balor for later in the show… Entrances for the opening match took place…
1. Seth Rollins vs. Chad Gable (w/Otis) in an Elimination Chamber match qualifier. Graves noted that the winner would be one of six entrants in the Chamber match for the U.S. Championship. They cut to an early picture-in-picture break. [C]
Gable targeted the left knee of Rollins during and after the break. Rollins eventually rallied and performed a buckle bomb. Gable went for a suplex, but Rollins landed on his feet and superkicked him. Rollins executed a falcon arrow for a near fall.
Rollins continued to sell his knee and missed a Stomp. Rollins went for a Pedigree, but Gable countered into a pin for a two count. Both wrestlers traded rapid fire pin attempts. Gable powered up Rollins and slammed him face down with a cliffhanger DDT and covered him for a near fall.
Gable lowered the straps on his singlet and went for a suplex that was stuffed by Rollins. Gable ducked an enzuigiri and countered into an ankle lock. Rollins rolled Gable into a pin to break the hold, which Gable then reapplied. Rollins escaped again and hit the Pedigree. Rollins sold knee pain and then covered Gable for the win…
Seth Rollins defeated Chad Gable in 9:10 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match for the U.S. Championship.
Patrick hyped Iyo Sky vs. Candice LeRae as coming up next… An Elimination Chamber ad aired for the February 18 even that will be held in Montreal. Brock Lesnar was among the wrestlers shown in the ad… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match despite there being zero mystery regarding the outcome. I continue to hope that Gable will eventually be pushed as more than a quirky comedy heel. Am I the only one disappointed that the U.S. Title is being defended in the Elimination Chamber? I’d prefer that the match determine the challenger for the U.S.Championship or the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, perhaps even with wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown competing with the winner then choosing which title go challenge for.
Mainstream headlines related to the Royal Rumble were shown… Entrances for the second match took place…
2. Iyo Sky (w/Bayley, Dakota Kai) vs. Candice LeRae (w/Michin). Bayley tore a couple of fan signs in half on her way to the ring. There was an early split-screen ad for Batista’s Knock at the Cabin movie. With LeRae at ringside, Sky performed a wild suicide dive. LeRae caught Sky with a kick when she returned to the ring and sent her back to the floor. LeRae dove onto Sky heading into another PIP break. [C]
LeRae put Sky down with a missile dropkick and covered her for a two count. LeRae caught Sky on the middle rope and executed a German suplex for another near fall. A short time later, Sky caught LeRae in the Electric Chair position, which LeRae countered with a Poison Rana for another near fall. LeRae put Sky on the ropes and joined her. LeRae went for a move, but Sky shoved her off and stayed on the ropes.
Sky went for a moonsault, but LeRae put her knees up. LeRae caught Sky in an inside cradle and got a visual pinfall while the referee was distracted by Bayley and Kai. The referee eventually made a two count. LeRae followed up with a Codebreaker. Bayley distracted LeRae, who was then rolled up and pinned by Sky…
Iyo Sky beat Candice LeRae in 9:20.
Rhea Ripley was shown walking backstage while the broadcast team hyped that she would choose which title to challenge for at WrestleMania… An ad for Saturday’s NXT Vengeance Day aired… [C]
Powell’s POV: Graves was fun afterward by questioning why Michin didn’t do more to help. I don’t think he was foreshadowing anything because LeRae and Michin seemed fine afterward, but it did feel like a fair question. Anyway, Sky and LeRae worked hard and produced an entertaining match. On a side note, join John Moore for his live review of NXT Vengeance Day on Saturday night.
Skillet’s “Psycho In My Head” was listed as the official theme song of the Royal Rumble… A video package recapped the women’s Royal Rumble match…
[Hour Two] The Rumble match video carried into the second hour…
Mike Rome introduced Rhea Ripley as the winner of the women’s Royal Rumble match. Ripley made a solo entrance. Ripley explained that she really just wanted the attention on her. Ripley said she disrupted the status quo and did the unthinkable by starting first and winning the Rumble.
Ripley pointed out that she gets to choose which champion to challenge at WrestleMania. The crowd became very quiet. Ripley recalled three years ago when she was 24. She said she challenged Charlotte Flair to a match at WrestleMania. “And she, she put me in my place,” Ripley said while looking at the WrestleMania sign.
Ripley said the funny thing about Charlotte is that she’s always in the title picture, always at the top of her game, and while she hates to give her credit, she seems to get better every year. Ripley said the normal flow in WWE is that Charlotte Flair is at the top. Ripley described herself as the disrupter. She said she doesn’t like the normal formula or things being overplayed.
“So Charlotte, I advise you to enjoy everyone rising and bowing down to The Queen because they are about to rise to Rhea Ripley,” Ripley said. “At WrestleMania, I put you in your place. Charlotte Flair, I choose you.” Ripley dropped the mic…
Powell’s POV: I’m a little disappointed. I was hoping for a Ripley vs. Bianca Belair match at WrestleMania. That said, I’m not going to complain about a Ripley vs. Flair rematch, as it should be a gem. The big question now is who challenges Belair.
Seth Rollins was interviewed by Cathy Kelley in the backstage area. She asked him for comment on Logan Paul eliminating him from the Royal Rumble match. Rollins chuckled, then walked away without responding…
The broadcast team hyped the Johnny Gargano vs. Baron Corbin qualifier for after the break… [C] Additional Royal Rumble still shots aired… Patrick said the Rumble would be remembered for what happened with The Bloodline and said they would have footage of the implosion later in the show…
3. Baron Corbin (w/JBL) vs. Johnny Gargano (w/Dexter Lumis) in an Elimination Chamber match qualifier. Both entrances were televised and they replayed footage of IRS taking the bulk of Corbin’s poker winnings at Raw XXX. Gargano set up for a springboard move and was punched to the floor by Corbin. Corbin followed to the floor and chokeslammed Gargano on the barricade heading into another PIP break. [C]
Late in the match, Corbin ended up at ringside. JBL slammed his cowboy hat on the table out of frustration. Gargano hit Corbin with a suicide dive and then threw him back inside the ring. JBL threw the top of the broadcast table down and barked at Gargano. Lumis pulled out a hatchet and slammed it through JBL’s hat on the table. In the ring, Gargano caught Corbin in an inside cradle and got the three count.
Johnny Gargano defeated Baron Corbin in 9:30 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match for the U.S. Championship.
After the match, Gargano rubbed JBL’s hat on his ass while standing on the broadcast table…
Patrick hyped Austin Theory on MVP’s VIP Lounge for after the break… An ad for Smackdown played up fallout from The Bloodline drama at the Royal Rumble, plus Charlotte Flair vs. Sonya Deville for the Smackdown Women’s Championship… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see Gargano qualify for the Chamber match, but his presentation is still rough. While there’s a place for Dexter Lumis in WWE, it’s not being part of the Gargano act. And don’t even get me started on the vanilla new version of “Rebel Heart” entrance theme.
A graphic listed the 2023 Royal Rumble as the most viewed Rumble in history and noted that it was up 52 percent in viewership compared to the prior year…
Powell’s POV: Wow, that’s an impressive increase. I’m sure the executives will be touting that viewership increase during Thursday’s conference call that will follow the release of the fourth quarter and year-end financial report.
MVP stood in the ring with the VIP Lounge set and said it’s still “for people better than you.” MVP introduced Austin Theory and touted him as being courageous enough to defend the U.S. Title inside Elimination Chamber.
Once in the ring, Theory told MVP that he used to watch the VIP Lounge when he was a little kid. He told MVP that he wanted to help make the VIP Lounge relevant again. First, he suggested VIP Lounge Live, then changed it to Austin Theory Live. MVP said classics never go out of style, then suggested they go with the VIP Lounge Presents Austin Theory Live.
MVP turned the focus to Theory entering the Elimination Chamber. A “you suck” chant broke out. Theory barked at the crowd. Theory recalled MVP stating that Bobby Lashley would beat him. Theory said he was just messing with MVP and then said they could talk about the Chamber.
Theory recalled being F5’d off the top of a Chamber pod by Brock Lesnar. Theory said he was still standing there because he’s the ruthlessness that the new generation needs and no amount of aggression can stop him. MVP said he liked what Theory was saying and said he was once a young, brash U.S. Champion. MVP said Undertaker once threw him off the top of a pod.
MVP said he also knew that Theory was afraid and wasn’t showing it, then warned him that you never know who will be in the match. Theory wondered if that was a threat. MVP spoke about Bobby Lashley potentially being in the match. Theory said he already beat Lashley twice and said Lashley would not be in the match.
MVP said he and Lashley are no longer business partners, so he couldn’t speak on his behalf. MVP mentioned something about Theory’s health. Theory said MVP should be worried about his own health and Lashley’s health. Theory said everyone knows that Lashley is MVP’s meal ticket and said his meal ticket was about to be eaten up by Brock Lesnar.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance and played to the crowd. Once Lashley entered the ring, MVP tried to talk him down. Theory told Lashley to listen to his daddy, which made MVP step aside. Lashley roughed up Theory and a “Bobby” chant broke out. Lashley tried to spear Theory, who pulled MVP, who took the spear while Theory escaped the ring. Patrick questioned what this would mean for the relationship between Lashley and MVP…
Powell’s POV: Lashley spearing MVP was an unexpected development. Perhaps we won’t be getting a reunited Hurt Business after all.
Byron Saxton interviewed Judgment Day’s Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Dominik Myterio, and Rhea Ripley. Saxton brought up their altercation with Edge. Balor said he works Mondays and isn’t hard to find. Balor complained that the No. 30 spot that Cody had should have been his. Balor said Cody has been stealing from him for years and he was coming to collect…
Patrick set up a video that featured Batista talking about his movie Knock at the Cabin… [C] Footage aired from “Young Rock” of the Pat Patterson character talking about the Royal Rumble, and Rock saying that it changed the sport forever…
The Miz stood in the ring dressed in a suit and complained that he wasn’t given the proper spotlight at Raw XXX, was attacked by Kevin Owens, and then he got a bad number in the Royal Rumble match. Miz said everyone ganged up on him because they knew what a threat he was and he was the first man out. Miz got the crowd to chant “first man out” and then scolded them. Miz also complained that he wasn’t given a chance to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match. Miz demanded respect.
Adam Pearce walked out and said that Miz wanted an opportunity and he also had someone beating down his door who was also looking for an opportunity. Pearce introduced Rick Boogs as the newest member of the Raw roster. Boogs came out and played air guitar and air drums while heading to the ring dressed his gear.
Boogs continued to be an air musician once he entered the ring. Miz cut him off and then asked Pearce if he really wanted him to have a match with Boogs. Miz said he was wearing a $10,000 suit “that my wife bought me.” Pearce called for a referee and made the match official…
4. Rick Boogs vs. The Miz. Miz stalled by saying he needed to remove his suit jacket. Boogs played air drums and then no-sold a Miz punch. Boogs suplexed Miz. Boogs followed up with a press slam and scored the pin. Graves said Boogs’ brain goes to eleven, then added that it’s on a scale of 100. Funny…
Rick Boogs beat The Miz in 1:15.
Powell’s POV: It’s great that Boogs is finally back after suffering a torn quadriceps and patellar tendon at WrestleMania 38. Unfortunately, this was a rough reintroduction. His guitar playing entrance with Shinsuke Nakamura was over. The air musician routine felt really flat.
Chad Gable and Otis were talking as they walked backstage. Otis let out an “oh yeah.” Maxxine Dupri, Mace said it was disgusting. Mansoor said it was grotesque. “It’s perfect,” Dupri said…
Patrick hyped a look back at what happened with The Bloodline after the Royal Rumble main event… [C] Footage aired of The Bloodline’s implosion at the Royal Rumble…
[Hour Three] The video carried over into the third hour… The broadcast team said the footage left them with more questions than answers and plugged Smackdown as a can’t miss show…
Bayley made her entrance dressed in non-wrestling attire while the broadcast team recapped Damage CTRL’s attack on Becky Lynch from last week. Bayley laughed at the footage, which was shown on the big screen. She mockingly asked the crowd if they really thought she was going to leave the building without discussing it.
Bayley said everyone is talking about how Damage CTRL took out Lynch and made history. Bayley said it felt good and they had so much confidence heading into the Rumble. She claimed they had countless eliminations during the match and said her favorite was when she eliminated Lynch. Bayley said the story between Lynch and Damage CTRL was over.
Becky Lynch made her birthday while Patrick noted that it was her birthday. Lynch stood on the stage with a mic and looked to the crowd. Lynch told Bayley to shut up and called her a stupid fool. Lynch said they weren’t done until The Man says they are done. Lynch said she’s already won the Rumble and just needed to make sure that Bayley and her girls did not win it.
Bayley accused Lynch of making excuses. Lynch said robbing the fans of a cage match is excuses. Lynch accused Bayley of three-on-one attacks because she’s afraid of facing her one-on-one. Bayley said Lynch has to make everything about her.
“It is my birthday,” Lynch said. Bayley said she didn’t give a damn and doesn’t suck up to her. “I know you and I don’t like you, Rebecca,” Bayley said. Bayley accused Lynch of being overrated and said she’s not good enough to be in the ring with her one-on-one, then said that Lynch isn’t even good enough to be with Seth Rollins.
“The only reason he married you is because he knocked you up,” Bayley said of Rollins. Lynch said she thought all this time that they were only fighting over wrestling. Lynch said that whatever it is that Lynch has against her started ten years ago in NXT in Orlando. Lynch called for them to end it where it started by having a cage match in Orlando on Raw next week. Bayley declined.
Lynch said she thought Bayley would decline, so she would be right back. Lynch put her mic down and headed backstage. Lynch dragged Dakota Kai onto the stage with a chair wrapped around her leg. “What’s it gonna be, Bayley?” Lynch asked. Lynch held up the chair and teased hitting Kai with it, but Bayley stopped her and said she had her match. Lynch told her she could bring her girls with her next week, but she might want to check on Iyo Sky backstage…
The broadcast team hyped Cody vs. Balor, and the other Elimination Chamber qualifier… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m actually surprised that they had the Bayley character show concern for Kai and Sky, as I always assumed the idea is that she was using them. If nothing else, it’s good to see them make up the cage match they called off at Raw XXX because The Bloodline segment reportedly ran long.
Backstage, Cathy Kelley interviewed Adam Pearce, who announced the Lynch vs. Bayley match was official. He also announced that Bianca Belair’s challenger at WrestleMania will be determined in an Elimination Chamber match. He said the final four wrestlers eliminated from the Royal Rumble qualified, meaning Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross, and Asuka.
Pearce announced that Michin vs. Candice LeRae vs. Piper Niven vs. Carmella in a four-way on next week’s Raw would determine one of the other Chamber entrants. Chelsea Green tapped Pearce on the shoulder and complained to him about the poor accommodations he gave her. Green wondered where her private dressing room, fresh spring water, and Swiss chocolate was at. Pearce said they would go get her some Swiss chocolate and then looked annoyed after she turned around…
Powell’s POV: I guess we’ll have to wait to see how they fill the final spot in the Chamber match. Will it be as simple as the winner of the Lynch vs. Bayley cage match will get the spot? Or perhaps they are saving the other qualifying match for Smackdown.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance to his Hardy live at the Royal Rumble level of shittiness theme song. Footage aired from earlier in the day of Byron Saxton attempting to interview Ziggler when Mustafa Ali showed up and took the mic. Ali said Ziggler got another opportunity handed to him. Ali asked how he keeps doing it. Ziggler said he doesn’t book the show, but he would steal it since he was on it. Back live, Bronson Reed made his entrance…
5. Bronson Reed vs. Dolph Ziggler in an Elimination Chamber match qualifier. Ziggler jumped out to a quick start, but Reed knocked him down and then took control of the match. Ziggler came back with a DDT and actually got a near fall. Ziggler followed up moments later with a Zigzag for another near fall. Reed rallied with a powerbomb and then followed up with his Tsunami splash for the win…
Bronson Reed defeated Dolph Ziggler in 3:15 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match for the U.S. Championship.
Patrick hyped an appearance by Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair for after a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Reed went over strong in the end, but why in the world is Ziggler getting two near falls on the monster at this early stage of Reed’s main roster run?
Carmella was interviewed by Cathy Kelley on the interview set. Kelley noted that Carmella had been away for seven months. Carmella said she wanted Kelley to show more enthusiasm. Carmella said she would win the qualifier and earn her spot in the Elimination Chamber.
Asuka showed up without any face paint. Carmella told Asuka that she’s not ready for her. Asuka smiled and had green mist liquid all over her teeth and dripping out of her mouth…
The broadcast team recapped Rick Boogs being injured at WrestleMania and then returning earlier on Raw. Backstage, Boogs was celebrating his return with The Street Profits and Elias. Saxton asked Boogs how it felt to get a victory on his first night back. He said it felt like climbing a mountain in a loin cloth. He said he wanted to scream at the top of his lungs and then he did. Boogs yelled that he’s back. Elias said it takes great skill to be an artist and he believes Boogs has all the tools to be one.
Saxton announced Angelo Dawkins vs. Damian Priest, and Montez Ford vs. Elias in Elimination Chamber qualifiers for next week’s Raw. Ford said he would advance. Elias said he’s an American icon like Elvis and Johnny Cash. Dawkins said he would walk into Sofi Stadium as the new U.S. Champion. The three men bickered…
Graves hyped Rhodes vs. Balor. Patrick set up yet another clip from Batista’s movie…
Powell’s POV: Will Boogs and Elias have a bad feud or form an annoying tag team? Meanwhile, I like the idea of Dawkins and Ford both competing in the Chamber match, but I’m guessing that they’ll go with Priest and Ford instead. By the way, what happened to Bianca Belair appearing after the break?
A graphic touted the success of WWE’s social media platforms during the Royal Rumble… The broadcast team ran through the previously advertised matches for next week’s Raw…
Cody Rhodes made his entrance. He kissed his weight belt and then handed it to a kid in the crowd before entering the ring. Judgment Day made their entrance…
6. Cody Rhodes vs. Finn Balor (w/Rhea Ripley, Dominik Myterio, Damian Priest). The building was hazy due to all of the pyro used during Cody’s entrance. Cody hit an early drop down punch and followed up with a vertical suplex. They cut to another PIP break. [C]
Balor avoided an Alabama Slam and then blocked another drop down punch. Balor stomped the bad pec area, which Cody sold by rolling under the ropes. Cody eventually rallied and performed a suicide dive and then threw Balor back inside the ring. Cody avoided a charging Priest, who ended up in the timekeepers’ area. Cody tossed Dom over the broadcast table.
Back in the ring, Cody powerslammed Balor for a two count. Balor stuffed a Cody Cutter and put Cody down. Balor was back in offensive control heading into yet another PIP break. [C] Cody eventually came back with a Cody Cutter for a near fall.
Balor avoided CrossRhodes and put Cody down with a sling blade clothesline. Balor set up for a dropkick, but Cody cut him off with a superkick. Cody let out a woooo and went for a figure four, but Balor countered into an inside cradle for a two count. Cody went for the move again, but this time Balor kicked him to ringside near the other Judgment Day members.
Edge ran in through the crowd. Edge ran Priest into a wall and ended up spearing Dom. Ripley attacked Edge. Beth Phoenix ran out and speared Ripley. In the ring, Balor performed a standing double stomp and then followed up with a drop kick. Balor went up top for his finisher, but Edge climbed onto the apron and distracted him.
Balor went for the Coup De Grace after Edge dropped off the apron, but Cody rolled out of the way. Cody hit three CrossRhodes on Balor and then pinned him.
Cody Rhodes defeated Finn Balor in roughly 15:00.
After the match, Cody looked down to Edge and Phoenix. Edge nodded at Cody while Graves said he didn’t know if Cody would have gotten by without a little help from his friends.
The broadcast team hyped Lynch vs. Bayley in a cage match for next week. A graphic listed Austin Theory, Carmella, and Bronson Reed for Raw Talk…
Powell’s POV: The guy challenging for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania needed a distraction to stop Finn Balor from hitting him with his finisher? Strange. I don’t think it did any real damage, but it was a surprising approach for Cody’s first singles match back.
Overall, a good episode of Raw. While there are times when it makes sense to give viewers a breather between premium live events, they have a quick turn around between the Rumble and the Chamber. Plus, I like the idea of trying to hook any extra viewers who were watching because it was the first show coming out of the Royal Rumble. I will have more to say about this episode in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Raw by grading the show below.
I can’t think of anyone besides Becky Lynch or perhaps Rhonda Rousey to challenge Belair.Or maybe a multi woman title match?
“Dolph Ziggler made his entrance to his Hardy live at the Royal Rumble level of shittiness theme song”
Seriously, Jason, sometimes I just read your live report to see commetns like this
>The crowd became very quiet. <<
There is a ton of crowd noise piped in, so when it's not done, it shows.
As for Bayley using Kai and Sky, that WAS the idea, but of course, we aren't supposed to notice she suddenly gives a damn about them.
I still think its sad they keep allowing wrestlers to just make matches on the fly, but hey, when so much else doesn't make sense, I get it.
Lastly, Cody needed help to beat Finn Balor? We know Cody is walking out with the belt, so it makes it even less sense that he needed help. But like the aforementioned Bayley issue as well as so many others, WWE just expects you to make excuses for total lack of logic, and of course, that's what happens (even by reviewers).