SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE RAW TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 5, 2024
ST. LOUIS, MO. AT ENTERPRISE CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin
Attendance: WrestleTix reports today that 7,853 tickets were distributed so far; arena set up for 8,422.
-They opened with a recap of the big angle at the end of Smackdown last Friday where Cody Rhodes told Roman Reigns that finishing his story means taking everything from him, not just his title, so he’s coming for him, but just not at WrestleMania, and thus he was ceding the WrestleMania match against Reigns to The Rock. Then Rock came out and shook hands with and hugged Cody, passed along a message, and then watched Cody leave so he could stare down Reigns.
-They went live to the arena where Seth Rollins made his entrance. They cut to Michael Cole and Pat McAfee at ringside who said the events on Smackdown have been a huge topic all weekend. “It’s a beautiful time to be here,” McAfee said.
Seth listened to fans singing his song. “That sounds like a pretty big pop to me,” he said, a counter to Rock’s quip about his mention of Seth on Friday not getting a pop. He led the crowd in shouting “Monday Night Rollins!” Seth added, “Another big pop; how about that?”
He said it’s been a hell of a week in WWE and after last Friday’s Smackdown, he smells what’s cooking. Fans broke out in boos. (Uh oh.) A loud “Cody!” chant broke out. Seth said, “I sense that you guys want Cody.” He said he had good news. “I want Cody Rhodes as well,” he said.
Cody then made his entrance. Cole said Cody has been trending worldwide on Twitter/X for three days. He said there is so much to dissect. Cody entered the ring and asked Seth and St. Louis, “What do we want to talk about?” A “Rocky sucks!” chant broke out. Seth smiled. Cole asked, “Is it 1996 again?” (The chant wasn’t super-loud, but Seth and Cody let it play out and it was strong enough to make a clear statement.) Seth said, “I gotta be honest with ya’, I didn’t think we were going to hear that.” He chuckled. Cody had a poker face. A “We want Cody!” chant broke out. Cody extended his arms and fans cheered. Another “Rocky sucks!” broke out.
Drew entered the ring and said, “I think I speak on behalf of everybody when I say, what the hell?” He said they are potentially going to screw up WrestleMania. He turned to Seth and said he took out C.M. Punk and it was supposed to be the two of them battling it out at WrestleMania. Drew took off his jacket and showed him kneeling at a gravestone that said, ‘CM Punk’s WrestleMania Main Event: 2024-2024.” He told Seth his extra small is in the back.
Drew turned to Cody and said emphatically, “You’ve got to finish the story.” He said to think about all the work he’s done this year on TV and off-TV and all the media events. “You’ve earned it,” Drew said. “Don’t let me down, don’t let your family down, don’t let all these people down and all the people across the world.” He told him not to let his dad down.
Seth said, “Hey, Drew, you don’t need to be a prick.” Seth said he shouldn’t assume that if Cody picked Reigns that it’d be Drew versus him at WrestleMania. Seth said Drew lost to him. Drew asked Seth if he lost to Cody three times. Drew said he’s done an amazing job with the title and has worked his butt off every week to make the title mean something. Drew said nobody wants to fight Reigns anymore because everyone knows the finish – his family interferes. Cody tried to interrupt, but Drew said he wasn’t finished yet.
Drew told Seth that if he was a real workhorse, they’d have shot him dead after the first injury. He said he’s done a great job taking the title as far as he has, but it’s time for him to take it from here. He punched Seth. Cody quickly punched Drew and knocked him to the floor. Cody’s music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re not being clear whether Cody, when turning down Reigns, automatically is going to face Seth instead at WrestleMania. In fact, they’re acting like it’s all still up in the air. Can Cody defer his title shot against Reigns that he won in the Rumble to Summerslam? As for the crowd reaction to The Rock, it wasn’t intense enough to trigger panic internally in WWE, but it should make Rock a bit uncomfortable that he’s going to be seen as a big-shot with friends in high places coming in and taking something Cody earned that the fans were looking forward to. I don’t think Rock walked into this thinking it’d backfire or having any nefarious intentions, but the reality is fans by a pretty wide margin are in favor of Cody facing Reigns instead of Rock by every metric right now, unless there’s a “silent majority” of non-vocal more casual fans who will offset the anti-Rock sentiment right now. The segment was super compelling; watching Seth and Cody react to the anti-Rock chants was fascinating and Drew was entertaining as a ruthless heel picking his spots.)
-Cole hyped upcoming matches and segments. They showed Katana Chance & Kayden Carter walking backstage. [c]
(1) THE CREED BROTHERS vs. DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa) vs. THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. IMPERIUM (Gionvani Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser) – Four-way to advance to no. 1 contendership final
The bell rang 24 minutes into the hour. Cole said DIY have been on a roll lately. Lots of rapid-fire moves early including Xavier scoring a two count on Ciampa. Kaiser threw Kofi shoulder-first into the ringpost and then slidekicked him to the floor. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Creed leaped off the top rope and flipped onto a awaiting crowd on the floor. A minute later, Ciampa then leaped off the top rope with Xavier on his shoulders and crashed onto another crowd. With everyone down at ringside, they cut to another break at 10:00. [c]
As Julius rallied after the break, Cole touted his athleticism. Julius overhead suplexed both Xavier and Ciampa at once and then kipped up. Brutus had Vinci in an anklelock, broken up by a crowd of wrestling. With everyone down in the ring, fans chanted “This is awesome!” Brutus landed a Brutus Ball off the top rope onto a crowd at ringside at 17:00. DIY finished Vinci with their Meet in the Middle.
WINNERS: DIY in 18:00 to advance to a match against Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate on Friday’s Smackdown to earn a WWE Tag Team Title match at Elimination Chamber.
-Becky Lynch made her ring entrance. Cole said six women will battle it out to see who faces Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania in the Elimination Chamber next month and there will be six qualifying matches. [c]
-Cole hyped the WrestleMania press conference on Thursday at 7 ET / 4 PT including The Rock, Reigns, Paul Levesque, Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair, and Rhea Ripley. McAfee said it’ll be interesting how they navigate that event. “I’m sure it’s going to be very calm,” he said. Cole said indeed they will be hosting.
(2) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. BECKY LYNCH
The bell rang 51 minutes into the hour. They showed Zoey Stark watching a monitor backstage. Cole said she’d face Liv Morgan next week on Raw in another qualifier. They cut to an early break at 2:00 after Baszler kicked Becky’s arm up against the ringside steps. [c]
Back from the break, Becky attempted a comeback, but Baszler stayed on offense and landed a running knee for a two count. Baszler blocked a sudden Manhandle Slam attempt. Becky charged, but Baszler backdropped Becky. Becky climbed to the top rope and landed a missile dropkick for a near fall at 7:00. Becky then applied a Disarm Her. Baszler threw Becky off the top rope seconds later and landed a running kick to score a two count. They cut to Liv Morgan watching backstage.
Baszler snapped Becky’s arm over the top rope. Becky came back with a Manhandle Slam for a three count. Cole said that for the first time in Becky’s career, she’s stepping inside the Elimination Chamber.
WINNER: Lynch in 12:00.
-Jackie Redmond interviewed Liv Morgan backstage about facing Zoey next week. She said Zoey is incredible, “but respectfully, these girls have absolutely nothing to do with my business and my business has absolutely nothing to do with these girls.” She said she had a year of her career taken away from her, “so next week is about my revenge, and my revenge is about Rhea Ripley.”
-They went to Cole and McAfee at ringside. Cole said Shinsuke Nakamura took advantage of a very emotional Cody at a WWE event Saturday night in Knoxville. They showed an incident Saturday of Cody caming through the curtain and Nakamura spraying red mist in his face. Cole then plugged the bullrope match later between them. [c]
-Raw G.M. Adam Pearce asked Drew to help him understand how he doesn’t understand what “not medically cleared” means. Pearce scolded him for headbutting Seth. He fined him and he said if he keeps wearing that t-shirt gloating about injuring Punk, he’ll double it. He said all he wants is to maintain some order around there. Drew said maybe shouting at him isn’t the best approach and he should do his job. The monitor showed Rhea Ripley beginning her ring entrance.
-Ripley was raging and said she’s not there to talk about Becky qualifying for the EC. She said she’s out there because she wants Nia Jax one-on-one “so I can rip her bloody head off.” Pearce walked out and said this isn’t the time and place for it. He said everyone can see she’s upset, but they’re not doing this right now. He said he’s given her a match at the Elimination Chamber with her title on the line. He said if that works for her, then leave the ring so they can continue with the show. Jax marched out to her music. Ripley yelled for her to enter the ring. Jax knocked Pearce off the ring apron inadvertently. Pearce called for help from the back. Security pulled them apart. Jack charged and crushed Ripley in the corner, knocked down security officers, and then let out a yell. She then landed her Annihilator on Ripley. Pearce leaned down to check on Ripley.
-They went to Cole and McAfee again. McAfee said he’s not sure how anyone survives that. Cole pivoted to a video package on Bayley choosing to face Iyo Sky at WrestleMania last Friday on Smackdown.
-Akira Tozawa and Maxxinne Dupree made their ring entrance. They were accompanied by Chad Gable and Otis on the stage. [c]
-Cole hyped the WrestleMania press conference this Thursday airing live on Peacock. He said “it appears Rock and Roman Reigns are on a collision course, perhaps at WrestleMania.” Cole said the segment on Friday became the most talked about story on the planet last weekend. He said news outlets around the world covered it. He said they’d find out if it’s official on Thursday.
(3) AKIRA TOZAWA & MAXXINE DUPREE vs. VIKING RAIDER IVAR & VALHALA
Tozawa ripped off his t-shirt. The bell rang 25 minutes into the hour. Tozawa battled Ivar at ringside as Maxxinne scored a one count after a sloppy sunset flip. She followed with a handspring into a back elbow at Valhala in the corner. Tozawa tagged himself in, but it didn’t take long for Ivar to land a second rope powerslam for the win.
WINNERS: Ivar & Valhala in 2:00.
-A clip aired of the angle with The Judgment Day attacking R-Truth last week and the Miz making the save, setting up this week’s match between Miz and J.D. McDonagh.
-They went backstage to Finn Balor, Damian Priest, McDonagh, and Dominik Mysterio. Dom said Rhea needs some space, but she’ll be alright. Truth showed up and put his arms around Balor and Priest enthusiastically. “I’m sorry I’m late,” he said. McDonaugh said it’s a good thing he’s got a match next or he’d wipe the floor with him. Truth said he needs to be wiping his windows. Truth thought last week was an initiation. Balor asked what planet he is on and said that wasn’t an initiation last week. Balor left. An exasperated Priest told him to make himself at home, then walked away. Truth then looked at a box of t-shirts with his name added at the bottom.
-As McDonaugh made his entrance accompanied by Dom, Cole asked if Truth is back in. [c]
-Redmond interviewed The Miz backstage. Miz said Truth still believes he’s in Judgment Day. “I don’t know if that makes him crazy or genius.” He said that is why they love him and have his back. Miz said last week was a declaration of war.
(4) J.D. MCDONAUGH (w/Dominik Mysterio) vs. THE MIZ
The bell rang 37 minutes into the hour. McDonagh took early control. Miz made a comeback and threw McDonagh over the ringside barricade and then suplexed him back to ringside. He rammed him into the announce table. Dom yanked Miz’s leg on the ring apron, and then McDonaugh knocked Miz off the ring apron into the announce desk. They cut to an early break at 2:00. [c]
Back from the break, Truth made his way to the ring to his music. McDonagh halted his momentum to stare at Truth who began throwing t-shirts to the crowd. McDonaugh avoided a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz threw McDonaugh out of the ring. Miz landed a wrecking ball kick on Dom and then head scissored McDonaugh off the ring apron to the floor. Miz pointed at Dom and then Truth pulled a t-shirt over Dom’s head and arms. Miz then kicked Dom with his arms stuck in the t-shirt. McDonagh head-butted Miz. Truth stood on the ring apron and offered McDonaugh a handful of cash. McDonagh walked over and yanked it out of his hand and began to tuck it into his trunks. Miz recovered and gave McDonagh a Skull Crushing Finale for the win. The cash flew all over the ring. Truth began gathering the cash. McAfee said McDonagh lost focus.
WINNER: Miz in 10:00.
-A video package aired on Chance & Carter.
-Backstage, Kaiser pressed Pearce on whether everything would be perfect for the Gunther ceremony. Pearce assured them it would. Bron Breakker entered. Pearce told Bron that Nick Aldis is overpromising and he’ll beat his offer. He said he given him his word and it’s now on paper. Bron seemed receptive. [c]
-They showed the exterior of the arena.
-Footage aired of C.M. Punk going in for surgery on his triceps and then being knocked out with anesthesia. He said after surgery he was in a lot of pain. He said doing simple tasks was hard. He said he can power through pain and P.T., but the mental aspect is harder. He said when he returns, his comeback will be the greatest of all time. Cole said he’s expected to miss several months. McAfee wished him luck.
-Imperium made their ring entrance. Cole talked about the history of the Intercontinental Title and no one has held it longer than Gunther.
-Gunther said he’s celebrating 600 days as champion to the surprise of no one. He told Kaiser he appreciates the set-up for the celebration, but what’s left to celebrate because it’s a given he’ll be champion for 700 and 800 days. He said one thing will never change, which is that he is the greatest IC Champion of all time. He said he’s running out of competition and no one is worthy of challenging him. “I mean, who is it? You tell me?” Jey Uso’s music played.
When the crowd celebrated and danced and chanted “U-So!” Gunther said, “Simple gestures for a very simple audience. I get it totally.” Gunther said it’s still a celebration, so he’s sensing disrespect. Jey said he doesn’t mean any disrespect and he sees the work he puts in. He said he’s the Ring General. Gunther smiled and said he appreciates it. Gunther said Jey is an accomplished man himself. He touted his tag team accolades. He said he only had to put in 50 percent of the work for it. McAfee said, “No yeet.”
Gunther said that confuses him because he achieved everything on his own. Jey touted being 1,000+ days as tag champs and the first team to headline WM. He said it’s 2024 and he wants to win his first singles title. He said if he wants to try to achieve something for himself, he’ll talk plain and simple to him. He said when he beats him, he will beat him worse than his own family ever did and he’ll wish he was back in the old days when people couldn’t tell him and his brother apart. Gunther bumped into Jey. Jey tackled him. Cole said Jey won’t be disrespected. New Day ran out to stop the three-on-one attack. Imperium dropped to ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good segment from everyone. It made the IC Title match feel big. It’s good Jey has something significant lined up.)
-Cole and McAfee pushed the WrestleMania press conference again.
-A vignette aired with Nakamura with captions saying Cody chose a Bull Rope match because he thought it’d given him an advantage, but the only thing it’ll do is bring embarrassment to his family. He said he hears people saying “We Want Cody!” He said, “No, no, no; I want Cody.”
-Cole hyped the main event match.
-Chance and Carter made their ring entrance. [c]
(5) KABUKI WARRIORS (Asuka & Kairi Sane) vs. KATANA CHANCE & KAYDEN CARTER – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match
The bell rang 18 minutes into the hour. They showed other teams backstage watching the match on a monitor (Piper Niven & Chelsea Green, Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell, and Natalya & Tegan Nox). They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Back from the break, Chance rallied and scored a near fall at 8:00 on Kairi after a leaping double stomp to the back. Kairi eventually landed her Insane Elbow for the pin on Carter.
WINNERS: Kabuki Warriors in 10:00 to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
-An interview Redmond conducted with Sami earlier in the day in the empty arena seats aired. Sami said he’s been thinking a lot about the last year he’s had, reflecting on the biggest match of his career in Montreal last year. He said he learned to not let that eat away at him. He said he had a conversation with Triple H afterward that he’s never spoken about. He said he was the ultimate underdog and he was like Rocky, who didn’t beat the champion at Rocky I. He said in the ring, he’ll fight like an underdog every single night of the week. He said he’s a contender who will be a champion. He said he wants to prove to the fans that they didn’t believe in him for nothing. He said he wants to prove them right. Redmond thanked him for the time. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of St. Louis.
-They plugged next week’s Raw and the WrestleMania press conference again.
(6) CODY RHODES vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – Bullrope match
After formal ring introductions, Nakamura jump-started the match with a high kick. Cole said the last time they had a Bullrope match, Dusty Rhodes competed in it. Cole noted that the bullrope is the same one Dusty used in 1977 nearly 50 years ago. The ref rewarded the pre-match attack by calling for the bell 41 minutes into the hour, rewarding the heel. Cody made a quick comeback and they cut to an early break. [c]
Nakamura went on an extended beatdown of Cody. When McAfee talked about the respect Cody has earned over the years, Cole brought up that Roman Reigns has contributed and earned a lot over the years. Cody made a comeback and put on a figure-four leglock. Nakamura broke it with a cowbell strike. They cut to another break at 7:00. [c]
Back from the break, Cody ducked a Kinshasa and then landed a Pedigree for a two count. When Cody stood, he rang the cowbell. When he wound up to hit Nakamura, Nakamura sprayed him with red mist. Cody managed to hit a Crossroads, though, for a two count. Cole said that might’ve been Cody’s one final chance.
Cody ducked a Kinshasa and then yanked the bullrope between Nakamura’s legs. Cole said it was legal in this match. He followed with a Crossroads for the win. Cole said that had be cathartic for Cody. “With those low blows, it’s almost like Rhodes was trying to drive all the emotion out of his body from the last few days.” McAfee said it could’ve been therapeutic. Cole said he’s turning his attention to Las Vegas on Thursday.
WINNER: Cody in 17:00.
-Drew McIntyre attacked Cody as he began to celebrate. He mounted him and punched away at him. Fans booed. Drew kicked Cody with the Claymore and then kipped up. Cole said when Drew says he’s not a bad guy, but he’s a hero, he thinks he’s delusional.