“Rocky Sucks, Rocky Sucks.”
Now that’s a chant I haven’t heard in a long time. A long time.
Props to WWE for leaning into, well, everything as it relates to The Rock, Roman Reigns, and Cody Rhodes. Word is they even handed out “We Want Cody” signs for the wonderful St. Lunatics in attendance. And they didn’t bury the lede either; Seth Rollins opened the show and called Cody to the ring.
That’s when the those chants started and like Seth, I didn’t see that coming.
But I’m not here to talk solely about the backstage drama revolving around the championship. I will take about how they handled it on screen, the execution, and what I think it means for the near future.
Seth still wants his match with Cody even though the audience clearly doesn’t. WWE’s solution? Drew McIntyre. Drew’s on fire right now so throw him in anything and I’m sold. He once again tried worming his way into a championship match. He gave Seth props for holding everything down for this long. He tried talking Cody into making another decision—even though Michael Cole often told us no match between anyone is official. He played both sides if it meant giving him what he wants. He was funny and even a little unhinged. He hit Seth with a Glasgow Kiss for an exclamation point to the segment, which got Cody in physical mode.
For a man who clearly has a lot to say, we heard very little from Cody here. And I get it. WWE will ride this thing out until the wheels fall off. I have no idea what their decision is nor do I pretend to know about their actual plan. I don’t just work for Cageside Seats; I’m a fan. So I read the rumors and stories just like the rest of you. And while all of that is rumor and conjecture like most professional wrestling entertainment “news,” it at least paints a picture of a very messy situation right now filled with possibly even messier people.
Keeping Cody quiet for now makes sense. Especially since they want everyone watching their Las Vegas press conference. If there’s one company on this planet who thinks they can snatch some juice away from the NFL during Super Bowl week, it’s WWE.
I don’t know if everyone gets what they want this week, but at least it gets us one step closer to a resolution.
But let’s get back to Drew. Adam Pearce fined him for hitting Seth since the champ isn’t cleared for competition. He also admonished him for rocking his CM Punk headstone t-shirt. That whole scene reminded me of one of my more rebellious days as a high school sophomore. So I know how Drew felt.
After Cody’s Bull Rope match with Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew attacked...Cody. Is WWE putting several options on the table just in case? Or this is simple misdirection? That’s the intrigue and that’s the opportunity they have right now.
I wish I had more to say about this whole thing but I’m saving all of that for once we get to the final destination. Until then, I’m going along for the story. No matter who finishes it.
Maybe it’s old age but I agree with Bret Hart on so many more things now than I did 10-15 years ago. So I thought about him during this otherwise incredible multi-team tag match with big stakes on the line.
Bret decried the spot where multiple cats stand up outside the ring while someone jumps onto them for a big move. He said it’s unrealistic and takes away from the idea that wrestling is supposed to look like a real fight. And he’s 1000 percent right.
I’m not going to use this space to complain about that because this match delivered and it contained so much more than that, but I just found it funny that it happened at least three times during the opening match on the same day Bret reminded everyone he’s the Canadian Buc Nasty. And he’s still right.
But I digress. This was a lot of fun. It was chaotic, it never lost its momentum, and everyone got their time to shine. That said, I’d give the spot to The Creed Bros. over DIY. Julius & Brutus just entertain me more and make for a bigger clash against Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate. I understand DIY vs, those two is the juicer story given the history between all four men, but sue me; I want what I want.
I also hope this match gets us one step closer to an all out war between IMPERIUM and New Day.
I really liked the setup for this Elimination Chamber qualifier match between Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler. Becky needed this W because it’s her way to get to WrestleMania. It’s her ticker to the chamber, which is a new match for her. She said put her future on this match and the next, which meant she came in desperate. Shayna? She just wanted to decimate Becky. She wanted to win too, of course, but that was more of a bonus than the main draw.
And Shayna delivered on that promise. These two wrestled an incredibly physical match built on Shayna attacking limbs and Becky surviving. That’s not to say Becky didn’t get her licks in, but that wasn’t the story. Becky persevering to get to the next level sticks with the recent facts:
A. Nia Jax defeated Becky pretty handedly.
B. Becky approached Rhea Ripley pre-Royal Rumble and told her she needs a match with Rhea to prove to herself that she’s still as dope as she thinks. What’s worse, she thinks Rhea might be better.
C. She lost the Rumble.
Put all those things together and you get a woman finding her confidence who isn’t on her A-game right now. Shayna took advantage of that constantly targeting Becky’s hand.
Now, not all the hand spots worked the best. The camera caught Becky moving her hand into position a few times and some things just didn’t quite make sense (She “locked” Becky’s hands in the steps?) but Becky sold like an all-star and made Shayna look great.
Even the ending purely came down to Becky pulling a move out of seemingly nowhere for the W. The Manhandle Slam looked a little off but I chalk that up to Becky selling the hand injury. She looked spent when the match ended, which played into the larger narrative.
It’s all about the Benjamins.
If not for his love of money, the cash he demanded for so long, JD McDonagh probably gets a W over Miz this week. But R-Truth showed up and finally gave JD his cut.
The R-Truth saga continues this week. Hilarious segment with Judgment Day as each member (minus Rhea) walked away in disgust when Truth showed up in their clubhouse. Yup, he believes the beatdown last night was part of his initiation, which makes him an official member now. Damian, with perfect timing, tried talking sense into Truth but just looked exasperated. He threw up his hands and told Truth to make himself at home.
Miz wanted this match with JD to stand up for his friend. As Pat Mac put it on commentary, this was the first time in a long time where Miz fought for someone other than himself. But let’s be honest: This match became about Truth the second his minute hit.
The Truth and Judgment Day story continues with JD looking for his own revenge next week. It looks like they’re trying to get JD back to his original incarnation, if only slightly. They referred to him as “the necessary evil” and highlighted his sadist nature. Remains to be seen how much any of that sticks given that I fully expect R-Truth to defeat him. Plus. he’s still silly enough to get distracted by money during a match.
Something about this tag match felt off. I love Kayden Carter & Katana Chance and The Kabuki Warriors, but this bout looked like it was in slow motion. Almost like the rhythm was off between everyone.
I have no problem with Kairi Sane & Asuka winning, even though they weren’t my first choice, but I get keeping them strong right now.
I wanted more from this. It never got out of first fear and I don’t know why.
Couple quick hits before I close this chapter of Raw:
Bron Breakker showed up in Adam’s office and color me intrigued. I know there’s a “bidding war” for his services but since I review Raw, I want him on Mondays.
The New Day continued their war with IMPERIUM and GUNTHER’s new challenger is Jey Uso. I like all of that. Jey is so over that I can see him taking GUNTHER’s championship. We’ll get a six-man tag first. IMPERIUM on one side of the ring with New Day & Jey on the other. Jey interrupted GUNTHER’s 600 day reign celebration, IMPERIUM jumped him, and New Day made the save. Great segment.
I loved Sami Zayn’s interview in the rafters. Sami’s gift is his conviction.
Rhea vs. Nia at Elimination Chamber? Yes, please. That building is going to lose their minds when Rhea’s music plays.
Fun show and quite eventful if you didn’t think we’d get a decision from Cody. There’s so much uncertainty on what happens next, it actually makes for a more surprising show. I like my wrestling at least a tad unpredictable. Raw pleased me this week and that’s all I can ask.
What say you, Cagesiders? What do you think about Drew putting his nose in Cody’s business? Am I the only one looking forward to Rhea vs. Nia?