SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 13, 2023
BROOKLYN, N.Y. AT BARCLAYS CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Kevin Patrick, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Mike Rome
-The Raw opening aired. Then pyro blasted in the arena. Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves introduced the show.
-Becky Lynch made her ring entrance. The camera showed her profile and the WrestleMania sign above her. She said, “The Man has come to Brooklyn!” She said she dressed up spiffy for them and brought Adam Pearce with her. She pointed at him. Fans booed. “Don’t hold it against me,” she said. “I’ll get to it later.” She said it felt great to beat Bayley in the cage match last week. She thanked Lita for having her back. She said she realized this past week that her path to WrestleMania was no longer clear. She said she was so distracted by the Damage CTRL fools, she lost sight of the Raw Championship. She said she likes to fight into things, and she’s less than a week away from the Elimination Chamber. She told Pearce likes to up the ante and make fights. She asked for the opportunity to fight her way into the Chamber tonight. Bayley’s music interrupted.
Bayley entered the ring and asked Pearce to wipe from the record books what happened in the cage match last week. She told Becky she’s a Grand Slam Champion and Becky doesn’t know what that’s like. Becky fired back that she’s a WrestleMania main eventer which Bayley doesn’t know anything about. Bayley said nobody wants to see Becky vs. Bianca Belair again because Becky lost. Becky said they stole the show, whereas Bayley was “nowhere to be found on your little peg leg.” (Why is Becky making fun of Bayley having an injury and needing time to recover? That’s not a character flaw or even really a choice she made. The line fell flat with the crowd for a reason.) Bayley said she has successfully defended both her Raw and Smackdown titles at WrestleManias. Becky said she won them both on one night. They began talking over each other. (Both acted like immature fourth graders here.) Belair’s entrance theme played.
Belair entered the ring and said she likes where this is going because she likes competition and wants to face the best of the best. She said there are already six women in the Chamber, but if they want to get to her, they should have to go through her. He proposed a Triple Threat match with all three of them later, and if Belair wins, Becky and Bayley are out, but if Bayley or Becky win, she get to be in the Chamber which will expand to seven competitors and start as a Triple Threat.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m okay with this. It felt manufactured to a degree, but it does give Raw a high-stakes additional match. I’m not bothered by adding a wrestler to the start of the Chamber.)
-They went to Patrick and Graves at ringside. Graves raved about the prospects of Becky or Bayley being added to the Chamber. They went on to hype the rest of the show including the Bobby Lashley-Brock Lesnar contract signing and Miz TV with Seth Rollins.
-Byron Saxton approached Dominic Mysterio, Finn Balor, and Damian Priest backstage. He asked Priest if he’s ready for the Chamber. Priest said the real question is whether everyone else in the Chamber is ready to step in the Chamber with him. Dominik said he learned a thing or two when he was locked up, and Priest is going to win the Chamber just like he won his cell block. He said he talked to Rhea Ripley earlier and she’s as excited for the Chamber as he is for Valentine’s Day. Balor said they’re ready to handle tonight’s business.
-The Street Profits made their ring entrance. [c]
(1) THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. FINN BALOR & DAMIAN PRIEST (w/Dominik Mysterio)
The Profits knocked Priest to the floor less than minutes in and they cut to an early break. [c]
Back from the break, Dawkins made a comeback against Balor. The Profits hit a mega-blockbuster with Ford taking Balor off of Dawkins’ shoulders, leading to a near fall. Ford flip-dove over the top rope onto Priest at ringside. In the ring, Dawkins yanked Dominik into the ring when he stood on the ring apron. He knocked him around. Balor then caught Dawkins with a sling blade and a dropkick. Balor followed with a Coup de Grace for the win.
WINNERS: Balor & Priest in 7:00.
-Afterward, Priest attacked Ford in the corner of the ring. Edge and Beth Phoenix charged to the ring. Edge and the Profits cleared the ring. Phoenix gave Dominik a clothesline when he charged at her. Ripley showed up and attacked Phoenix from behind. Patrick gasped and said, “We were told Rhea Ripley wasn’t even here!” The Judgement Day gathered at ringside and smiled.
-Graves hyped the Lashley-Lesnar segment next. [c]
-Graves narrated a video package on Patrick Mahomes holding a replica WWE title belt and posing for pictures with it, plus congratulating the Chiefs on their latest Super Bowl win.
-Lesnar made his ring entrance. Pearce stood in the ring at the table with the contract in hand. He said Lesnar is present, and he signed the contract last week. Lesnar lifted his cowboy hat and saluted the fans, who cheered. Pearce said Lashley hadn’t signed it and he wasn’t there. Lesnar told Pearce to get to the point. He said all he needs is Lashley to sign the contract. He told Lashley to sign the damn contract. Lashley’s music played. Lesnar smiled. Lashley didn’t come out, but workers brought a table and a chair onto the stage. Graves said Lashley’s mind games continue making Lesnar wait for him. Lashley walked out and stood at the table. Pearce asked what this is all about and said he can come to the ring to keep things simple.
Lashley said this isn’t The Brock Lesnar Show where he gets whatever he wants. He said whenever they wrestle, he either leaves him unconscious or eliminates him from the Rumble. Lesnar told Lashley to get his ass up there and sign the contract. Lashley kicked his feet up on the desk on the entrance stage and listed all the people he had look at the contract including his kids. Pearce interjected, “Then come and sign it!” Lashley said he doesn’t know if he’s going to. Lesnar told Lashley, “Bobby, get your ass up here and sign the contract.” Fans chanted, “Bobby’s scared!” Lesnar acknowledged it and laughed. Lesnar said if he doesn’t sign the contract, he’ll go to him and beat his ass. Lashley said he doesn’t think he has the balls to. Lesnar plowed through Lashley’s security, but when he charged at Lashley, Lashlay backdropped him onto the hard ramp and then speared him onto the ramp. Graves said Lesnar fell right into Lashley’s trap. Lashley signed the contract and slapped the folder onto Lesnar’s chest. Graves said it appears official, “but the Beast is down.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m really glad they’ve made it clear who the babyface and heel is in this situation, and the fans are more into it as a result. Those were punishing bumps Lesnar took. Lashley and Lesnar both played their roles well. So did Pearce.) [c]
(2) PIPER NIVEN vs. “MICHIN” MIA YIM
Graves said Niven nearly punched her ticket to the Chamber last week. They aired clips of last week’s match that Carmella won and the fallout. Niven took Michin down at the start. Michin DDT’d Niven on her head. Niven seemed to hit harder than planned or was just good at selling the impact, grabbing her head as she stood. Niven caught a charging Michin with a Loch Ness Slam (one-armed turning power slam) for the win.
WINNER: Niven in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like that Niven is being framed and presented as a straight-up badass, a Samoa Joe of the women’s wrestling world.)
-A lengthy video recap aired of the Smackdown happenings with The Bloodline and Sami Zayn last week.
-Graves shifted to hyping the Roman Reigns vs. Sami match at the Chamber on Saturday night. [c]
-They aired photos of Brooklyn.
-They showed footage of Baron Corbin losing last week and then JBL dumping him.
-In a backstage interview with Cathy Kelley, Corbin addressed JBL’s harsh comments. A sad-looking Corbin said it’s been a depressing week. Kelley cut him off and abruptly went to the ring.
-Sami Zayn entered the ring and said he’s not there to hold up the show, but he’s got something to say about Saturday. He called Cody Rhodes to the ring. He said he knows he’s back there and he asked him to indulge him and come to the ring. Cody’s entrance theme played and he walked out. Graves said Cody won the Rumble, but it remains to be seen who he will face at WrestleMania; he noted it could be Reigns or it could be Sami if he wins on Saturday. Sami said his exchange last week with Paul Heyman stirred a lot of conversation and “set the world on fire.” He said there was one thing he said that has been playing in his mind over and over since then, which was when he said it was appearing more and more like it’s going to be Cody vs. Sami at WrestleMania. Sami said he came all the way to look him dead in the eyes. He said he wants to hear him face to face if that was just lip service or does he actually believe he can beat Reigns. Fans chanted “Yes! Yes!”
Cody said his bandwidth has been dedicated to focusing on winning the title at WrestleMania, so he doesn’t have time to b.s. He said he meant it when he said Sami most likely will be his opponent at WrestleMania. Fans began chanting, “This is awesome!” Cody paused. “But I, respectfully, I don’t think that’s what this is about.” He asked if it really matters what he believes. He said what matters is what Sami believes. He asked Sami if he believes he can defeat Reigns. Sami flexed his jaw and said, “Do you want the truth?” Fans began singing Olé.
Sami said the truth is, he doesn’t know. He said Cody hasn’t seen what he’s seen. He said he has been in the trenches with the Bloodline and been shoulder to shoulder with Reigns. He said he’s seen them make gameplans. He said they always find a way. He said “God mode” isn’t just a catch phrase. He said he is as good as he says he is. He said he’s operating on a level he’s never seen before. He said he’s seen guys bigger and stronger than him, full of conviction, sure they were going to beat Reigns, and every single one went down.
He said now he’s supposed to believe that after around 900 days, he’s going to be the one to take Reigns down. He said if he’s asking him if he believes he capable of beating Reigns, he believes it. He said he doesn’t believe he’s incapable. He said he believes he is WrestleMania main event material. Fans cheered. He was emphatic and worked up. He said he has to believe that. He said if he’s asking if he believes he’ll be walking out of Montreal as the new champion, “I don’t know.” Fans chanted, “You can do it!”
Cody said Montreal will be chanting his name and they believe he can win. He said he hasn’t been where Sami has. He said he hasn’t watched Reigns up close, but he watched him from the sidelines. He said every challenger has fallen, but there is dissension in the Bloodline for the first time. He said there are cracks in the foundation, and it’s because of Sami. He said this awesome moment in time is because of him. He said Reigns might like to talk about God Mode, but he’s just a man. Cody said he intends to finish his story. He emphatically told Sami that he needs to finish his. A “Cody” chant sorta started, and Cody paused, but it lost it’s way pretty quickly. Cody told Sami he doesn’t want to see him on Raw next Monday because he’d rather see him at WrestleMania. He pointed at the sign. Cody’s music then played. Patrick said he’s got chills. Sami nodded.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cody’s answering critics, I think, with really good performances on the mic. He has such confidence in himself, at least on camera, that he exudes the alpha vibe necessary to headline a show like WrestleMania. I really like this approach of having Cody being Sami’s sincere biggest cheerleadeer. Having them share the ring makes it more plausible to the average viewer that they could face each other at WrestleMania, even if they wouldn’t bet on it for a second. Sami’s performance was also really strong here. I loved the idea that he believes he can win but he also isn’t sure he will, and citing one of the reasons is because he’s been in the trenches with Reigns and knows him so well. I think segments like this make people interested in watching Sami’s attempt to unseat Reigns.)
-Backstage, Carmella approached Nikki Cross and asked where she’s been. Nikki said she’s been playing hide and seek with her new friend, then laughed weirdly. Carmella asked where their partner was. Asuka walked up behind Carmella and Nikki. They smiled at each other. Carmella said they’re so weird and then stormed off. Candice LeRae walked up to Nikki and asked why she’s been following her. Nikki just went into maniacal laughter. [c]
-Cathy Kelley resumed her interview with Corbin and apologized for what happened earlier. He said he’s better off without JBL. He said he’s a has-been hobbling around while giving him bad advice. He said it’s time to remind people who he is. He said he’s sick and tired of being disrespected. He said he felt disrespected that she interrupted his interview for Sami Zayn earlier. He said he hates to rain on everybody’s parade, but Reigns is going to destroy Sami in front of his family and friends. “He’s a walking dead man,” he said. “In no world does Sami Zayn beat Roman Reigns.” He said he was the last person to beat Reigns. He said he was blindsided by Lesnar in the Rumble which cleared the path for Cody to win. He said Cody took eight months to nurse a “minor injury.” Cody wandered into the background. Corbin said he doesn’t see what people see in Cody. He said he thinks his brother, his dad, and his dog are a joke. Cody heard enough and jumped Corbin. He called for a referee.
Cody fought Corbin onto the entrance stage. Graves said he crossed a line mentioning Cody’s family.
(3) CODY RHODES vs. BARON CORBIN
They fought into the ring and a ref joined them and called for the bell. Cody, still in his suit, leaped through the ropes and tackled Corbin. Patrick said, “Not a bother!” Graves asked, “Did you say Nutter Butter?” (That’s hilarious. It did sound like that.) Cody yanked off his suit jacket and shirt. They stood on the announce desk and fought. Cody battered Corbin and rammed him into the ringside steps. He delivered a Cody Cutter in the ring, then played to the crowd and the WrestleMania sign. He got a tepid response. Cody then hit Crosroads for the win. Fans counted to three with the ref.
WINNER: Cody in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cody is getting mostly cheered, and barely booed, but there are times where it feels like the intensity of love for Cody is pretty narrow amongst fans. Cody beating up Corbin is a good way to set him up to be cheered and also show off his key moves.)
-Backstage, Natalya told Liv Morgan and Racquel Rodriguez that she can’t believe Becky and Bayley are trying to weasel their way into the Chamber match. Liv said she understands, but she thinks they’re just one more person to lose on her road to WrestleMania. Rodriguez told them to save it for Saturday because they have a match tonight.
-Liv Morgan made her ring entrance first.
(Keller’s Analysis: What exactly is Liv going for with her ring entrance gyrations and gait?) [c]
-Graves and Patrick hyped the Bayley vs. Becky match later.
(4) RACQUEL RODRIGUEZ & LIV MORGAN & NATALYA vs. CARMELLA & ASUKA & NIKKI CROSS
Rodriguez made her entrance. Then Natalya. When Carmella began her entrance, Nikki charged out and ran past her. Finally, Asuka came out. They cut to an early split-screen break. [c/ss]
Asuka eventually attacked her own partners before finishing Liv Morgan with a submission hold.
WINNERS: Asuka & Cross & Carmella in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strange match-up, but it seemed mostly just there to emphasize who’s in the Chamber and also how crazy Asuka’s new character is.)
-Backstage, Otis was enjoying a hot dog. Chad Gable told him it’s terrible for him. He threw it aside. The hot dog hit Mansour in the sunglasses, which were splashed with mustard. She asked Otis if he’s ever done modelling as they’re looking for a new face and body for the MMM. Gable assumed she was talking to him. He said he considers himself more of a role model. Mace said, “Maybe a hand model!” He and Mansour laughed. She said she was actually talking to Otis. She gave him her card and said she’d be in touch. MMM left. Gable began critiquing her business card. Bronson Reed walked up to Gable and gave him a look, then turned to head toward the entrance tunnel. [c]
(5) MUSTAFA ALI vs. BRONSON REED
As Ali made his entrance, they aired a clip of the Ali-Dolph Ziggler conversation last week which was interrupted by Reed challenging Ali to try to prove himself against him. Graves said Bronson grew up idolizing Bam Bam Bigelow. Reed knocked Ali down early. Reed tossed Ali into the time keeper’s area, then tossed chairs around wildly before dragging Ali back into the ring. Ali made a comeback with a tornado DDT off the top rope for a one count. Reed came back with a clothesline; Ali flip-bumped for it. Reed then landed a top rope splash for the win.
WINNER: Reed in 3:00.
-A clip aired of the Judgment Day angle earlier with Edge and Phoenix.
-Kelly interviewed Edge and Phoenix backstage. Edge said he’s sick of the Judgment Day. He said their sneak attack was right out of the playbook. Edge said at the Chamber event, what they do to them won’t be pretty. Phoenix said they will find out why people call them the Grit Couple.
-Miz made his ring entrance. Patrick said Miz has been on a media tour all week long. [c]
-Miz TV: Miz made his entrance. He complained about not being in the Chamber, but then said he intended not to talk about himself, but his guest. He talked about Seth’s squabble with Logan Paul. He introduced Seth, who made his entrance. Fans sang his song. Miz said he only has ten minutes, so he has to get to it. Seth wore gigantic red boots. When Miz asked about Logan, Seth said nobody wants to hear him talk about “that dumpster fire of a human being.” He said fans would rather hear him sing. He stood and fans sang. Miz said if people wanted to hear singing, they’d want to hear Taylor Swift. Fans booed. Miz said they’re just jealous because he snagged tickets and they didn’t.
Miz pressed Seth and asked why he won’t talk about Logan Paul. Seth snapped, “Shut up, Mike!” Fans chanted “Shut up, Mike!” Seth said he doesn’t want to talk about him because of WrestleMania. He pointed at the sign and said for his whole life all he wanted to do was headline WrestleMania and close the show. He said that dream matters to him and matters to Miz and matters to everyone in the arena “because we love this!” Fans sang Seth’s song. Seth said Logan doesn’t care about that dream. He said he’s selfish and soulless and is only interested being famous and lining his pockets. He said Logan doesn’t deserve to have his name mentioned in a WWE ring. He said Logan wants attention, but what he deserves is having his teeth kicked in. Miz said Seth sounds jealous and made fun of his Super Mario boots. Seth said everyone knows Miz is jealous, but he’s not that stupid. Miz insisted he’s not stupid. Fans chanted, “Yes you are!”
Seth asked Miz to help out. He asked if Miz is stupid. Fans chanted “Yes! Yes!” Miz yelled, “I am not stupid!” (At least he’s not yelling about the size of his balls.) Miz said at least he headlines WrestleMania, which is something Seth will never do, in part because of Logan. Seth attacked Miz. Austin Theory yanked Seth out of the ring by his boot. Patrick asked where he came from. Miz recovered and attacked Seth. Seth made a comeback and delivered a Stomp to Miz. Theory attacked Seth again. Theory said he’s done with Seth. He stood over Seth and held his U.S. Title belt in the air.
-They went backstage to Boogs working out with the flex bar. Elias walked up and said there’s a lot of pressure being compared to him. He said he shouldn’t get down if he loses to Miz. Boogs thanked him. Elias said maybe they could do a collaboration some day if he wins. Boogs hit Elias on the back affectionately, but very hard. He said he’s going to shred Miz tonight. He got a strained look and froze in place and then said he was Boog’d out.
-They cut back to the ring where Miz was lying face down still KO’d. Grave implored him to get up because he has a match to be prepared for. They cut to a split-screen break, which consisted of a replay of Theory’s attack on Seth. [c/ss]
(6) MIZ vs. RICK BOOGS
Miz sat up just in time for Boogs’s ring entrance. Miz pulled himself to his feet and asked Boogs if he has any brain cells left. He said the match is not happening. The ref called for the bell. Boogs gave Miz an overhead suplex and then arm curled Miz’s entire body. Fans counted along to ten. Patrick said Boogs says he eats cat food as a treat because of the protein. Boogs pressed Miz above his head and then powerslammed him for the win.
WINNER: Boogs in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Miz is clearly in an enhancement personality slot at this point of his career. The days of treating him with any seriousness as a in-ring threat seems over.)
-Chelsea Green approached Pearce and said she has sent strongly worded emails to his manager airing her grievances. He said he got her emails because he is in charge of both shows. She said she wanted to be added to the Becky vs. Bayely vs. Belair match tonight. Pearce said that won’t happen. She said she won’t leave his office until he puts her in. She poked his chest. He was about to block her hand and she said not to touch her or she’ll scream. She said she is feeling very threatened. Pearce shook his head and left. [c]
-Saxton interviewed The Judgment Day backstage. He asked if The Judgment Day now has the upper hand. Balor said they always have the upper hand. He said they will beat Edge and Phoenix again and again. Dominik said wrestlers like Edge and his dad were once good, but the game has passed them by. Priest said at the Chamber, he will walk out as champion and Ripley will walk in a challenge and out as a champion at WrestleMania. Ripley said Charlotte keeps saying she’s at a different level, but she will rise and take her title. She said her rise begins Saturday at the Chamber when she and Balor beat the crap out of the Grit Couple.
-They went to Patrick and Graves at ringside, who hyped the Chamber line-up. A video aired on the Chamber match itself. [c]
-A clip aired of the Sami-Cody segment earlier. A graphic then showed WrestleMania’s logo and Cody as a challenger, but Reigns and Sami on the other side as his two possible opponents.
(7) BAYLEY vs. BIANCA BELAIR vs. BECKY LYNCH – Elimination Chamber slot up for grabs
Bianca Belair made her entrance first, twirling her braid as she skipped to the ring. Bayley came out second. She tore up a sign on her way to the ring. They cut to a split-screen break. [c/ss]
The match began during the break. Back from the back, Becky and Belair were battling mid-ring. Bayley stole Becky’s cover on Belair. Bayley controlled the offense for a few minutes. Becky broke up Bayley’s cover on Belair. They cut to a wide shot of the arena with all three women down. They cut to another split-screen break. [c/ss]
Back from the break, the showed that Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai had come to ringside to help Bayley. Eventually Belair rallied. She suplexed Bayley and kipped up and then landed a split-legged moonsault on Bayley’s raised knees. Belair lifted Bayley, but Kai stood on the ring apron and yanked Bayley down. Belair snapped Bayley’s throat over the top rope. Sky kicked Belair and then Bayley rolled her up for a near fall. Bayley pounded the mat angrily. Liv, Rodriguez, and Natalya charged out. Nikki, Carmella, and Asuka ran out next. A brawl broke out at ringside. Belair pressed Sky and threw her out of the ring onto a crowd gathered at ringside.
Bayley hit Belair from behind. Becky hit Bayley from behind. All three fought in mid-ring with Becky getting in most of the moves. When she had Bayley down, Belair gave Becky a KOD onto Bayley. She shoved Becky off of Bayley and then made the cover for the win. Graves said Belair has one less threat to worry about entering the Chamber.
WINNER: Belair in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: A lot of action. Some of it felt timed weirdly, but overall enough going on to crate some excitement and drama. This was a good way to create a Raw main event with some WrestleMania stakes and get three women in the main event slot, but ultimately not have it change anything, other than Becky being dejected about losing her chance to headline WrestleMania.)