Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: The Rock and Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Seth Rollins, and Drew McIntyre, Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch, Jey Uso vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn vs. Bronson Reed


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw Hits

The Rock and Cody Rhodes: An awesome beatdown angle that left me even more excited to see the WrestleMania Night Two showdown match… Er, okay, so the feud between Rock and Cody feels bigger than the feud between Cody and Roman Reigns, but this was still a terrific segment. If nothing else, at least Cody finally expressed his hatred for Reigns and the way he was screwed out of the championship at WrestleMania 39. Rock’s unadvertised appearance was fun and I loved the hook of him saying something to Cody that neither man would repeat. I also loved that they included a backstage background shot of Paul Heyman talking with Drew McIntyre, as it came off like everything in the final segment was a well orchestrated plan that allowed McIntyre to take out Rollins while also setting up Cody for The Rock’s beatdown. I’m a big believer in the effectiveness of blood being an enhancement when used in small doses. It really packed a punch when Rock left Cody a bloody mess because it’s something that happens so infrequently in WWE.

CM Punk, Seth Rollins, and Drew McIntyre: A wild verbal segment that felt edgy and combustable due to how hard all three wrestlers hit. Punk daring McIntyre to say who named him The Chosen One was a jaw-dropping moment. I’m not sure how that line was received backstage, but it certainly added to the edginess. Punk’s line about never needing to put another man’s name on a t-shirt in order to sell it was also great. McIntyre’s firing back with the line about Punk not drinking or doing drugs and yet spending all of his time in rehab was a gem. The only thing that didn’t work was the tease of Punk being the special referee at WrestleMania. It was clearly the most appealing option, so I’m surprised that no one figured out that the live crowd would get behind the idea, which made the announcement of Punk being the guest color commentator feel like a bit of a letdown. Overall, though, this was great and I found myself hanging on every word.

Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch: Lynch delivered an emotional promo that felt genuine while Ripley played her role perfectly as the brash and cocky champion. The fans continue to side with Ripley and I’m not sure if they can do much to change that aside from having Dominik Mysterio get more involved. Speaking of Dom, the slow motion replay of his face rippling from Becky Lynch’s punch was a fun reminder of Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power” album cover. Fun stuff.

Bronson Reed vs. Sami Zayn: A rare upset win that saw a wrestler who has yet to be announced for a WrestleMania match beating a wrestler who is challenging for a title on the biggest show of the year. Best of all, this upset wasn’t booked just for the sake of shock value. Rather, it played in perfectly with the story they are telling about Zayn letting Gunther beat him mentally. Chad Gable showed once again that he can be a serious character through his conversations with Zayn. I don’t know how much Reed really gained from this win, but it sets him up as an obvious challenger if Zayn wins the Intercontinental Championship.

Ricochet vs. JD McDonagh: The best match of the night. The broadcast team did a really good job of putting over Ricochet’s flashy offense by acting like they were in awe. I came away from the match feeling like there’s still some hope for Ricochet despite how poorly he was booked in the past.

Andrade vs. Giovanni Vinci: More of an in the middle for Andrade’s showcase match. The match was well worked, but the live crowd was quiet, presumably because they don’t know what to make of Andrade, who was the babyface in this match despite his recent flirtation with The Judgment Day.

Overall Show: A great show and easily the best Raw of 2024. This was a loaded show and the most important segments really delivered. It’s tough to produce moments that will be remembered by the masses for more than a week in this era where there’s an overwhelming amount of pro wrestling content available. In this case, it felt like WWE was able to deliver multiple segments that will really stick with viewers and it all served as tremendous hype for WrestleMania XL.

WWE Raw Misses

Candice LeRae vs. Ivy Nile: An apparent victim of timing issues. Neither entrance was televised and the match lasted less than two minutes. LeRae feigning an injury and stealing the win was fine, but everything about this felt too rushed to make an impact.

Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa: A soft Miss. The idea of having a friendly match between two babyface teams that will be in the ladder match at WrestleMania XL was unappealing. In fact, I was actually happy to see Judgment Day attack both teams because I just wasn’t invested in a match that lacked conflict and had no stakes.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. I am probably in the minority here, but I think it’s kind of a shame that so much of “Voice of the Voiceless” CM Punk’s schtick these days revolves around how much money he makes, merch he sells etc. Isn’t he supposed to be the guy who DOESN’T only care about money, in kayfabe at least?

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