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WWE RAW TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 12, 2024
LEXINGTON, KY. AT RUPP ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
Ring Announcer: Samantha Irvin
Attendance: WrestleTix reported earlier today that 9,130 tickets were distributed so far; arena set up for 9,911.
-They showed the exterior of what Michael Cole called “the legendary Rupp Arena.” Then they showed Cody Rhodes arriving at the arena earlier in the day. He said it’s now official that in 54 nights, he’ll try to finish the story the right way.
(1) THE NEW DAY (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) & JEY USO & IMPERIUM (Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser & Gionvani Vinci)
The New Day made their entrance first. They went to Cole and Pat McAfee at ringside briefly. As Jey came out, Cole hyped scheduled matches for the show. The bell rang 6 minutes into the hour. At 2:00, with Jey in the ring, Gunther tagged in. Gunther, though, tagged out before locking up with Jey. Fans booed. Once Jey was down, Gunther tagged in and chopped his chest. Gunther kicked Jey at ringside and they cut to a break at 3:30. [c]
Back from the break, New Day were rallying against Vinci and Kofi scored a two count at 8:00. Kofi landed his Boom Drop a minute later, played to the crowd, and then set up his Trouble in Paradise. Kaiser grabbed his leg. When Kofi went after him, Kaiser threw Kofi into the ringside steps. Vinci kicked Kofi off the ring apron and then threw him back into the ring and scored a two count. Gunther then tagged in. Gunther put Kofi in a Boston Crab. Gunther trash-talked Jey. Jey slapped Gunther. Gunther let go of Kofi. The ref pushed Jey out of the ring. They cut to another break. [c]
Back from the break, the camera looked over Jey’s shoulders as he reached for a tag. Kofi leaped and tagged in Jey. Jey rallied against Vinci as fans yelled “Yeet!” Jey eyed Gunther on the ring apron. Jey rallied against Vinci and Kaiser a minute later. Gunther jumped to ringside to avoid him. Jey superkicked both Kaiser and then Vinci. Jey pointed at Gunther. Fans cheered. Gunther asked for a tag and entered16:00.
Gunther swung at Jey, but Jey ducked and punched away at Gunther. Gunther chopped Jey after Jey played to the crowd for too long. Jey landed an enzuigiri and then a top rope bodypress for a two count. Gunther stuffed a Jey spear attempt and then kicked Xavier and Kofi off the ring apron. He turned back to Jey and landed a short-arm clothesline for a near fall. Gunther climbed to the top rope and smiled and then went for a splash, but Jey lifted his knees. Jey speared Gunther and scored a near fall, broken up by Kaiser. Xavier went after Kaiser at ringside. Kofi threw Kaiser into the ringpost. Vinci then set up Jey for a powerbomb, but Jey slipped free. New Day sent Vinci into a cutter by Jey. Jey then landed a top rope frog splash on Vinci for the win.
WINNER: Jey & New Day in 19:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good lengthy match to start the show. They gave Jey some strong moments with Gunther to build him up as the challenge for Gunther’s title. Vinci, unsurprisingly, was the designated person to get pinned in this one.)
-They cut to McAfee doing the arm dance with Jey. Cole threw to a video package on the WrestleMania Kickoff event.
-Bobby Lashley made his entrance, accompanied by The Street Profits and B-Fab. Cole and McAfee talked about needing t0 qualify to get into the Elimination Chamber to earn the match against Seth Rollins at WrestleMania. [c]
-A vignette aired on Andrade who talked about having his first match at age 13. He talked about becoming NXT Champion and the U.S. Champion. He said, “Three three ago he needed to elave to remember who I was.” He said now he knows and his direction is clear.
(2) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. BRONSON REED – Qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber
Reed’s entrance aired with a video showing him knocking over skyscrapers. Cole noted that on Smackdown, Drew and Orton qualified for the Chamber already. The bell rang 40 minutes into the hour. Bronson dominated at first. Lashley went for an early Hurt Lock, but Reed powered out quickly. McAfee said Bronson is so thick “wiping his butt must be impossible.” Cole said only McAfee would think about it. Bronson threw a charging Lashley shoulder-first into the ringpost. Lashley dropped to ringside. Bronson leaped off the apron and knocked him into the time keeper’s area. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Back from the break, Bronson was in control. Lashley scored a two count after landing a vertical suplex. Fans chanted “Bobby!” Broson came back and landed a senton for a two count. When he climbed to the top rope, Lashley slammed him off the top rope and then landed a spear for the win.
WINNER: Lashley in 8:00 to qualify for the Chamber.
(Keller’s Analysis: The expected finish, but competitive enough to make Bronson feel like he gave Lashley a tough challenge.)
-Clips aired of Raw last Monday with Drew McIntyre and Shinsuke Nakamura double-teaming Cody, then Sami Zayn running out for the save after Raw went off the air. Cole said that set up tonight’s match featuring Sami vs. Nakamura.
-Jackie Redmond interviewed Sami in the stands of the empty arena earlier in the day. She asked how shaken his confidence is given coming up short last week to qualify for the Chamber. He said anytime an athlete talks about doing something and fails, there’s a feeling of embarrassment and a part of you that wants to crawl into bed and not show up the next week. He said that feeling with him is always overtaken by an unwavering belief in himself. He talked about being in the ring with Cody one year ago and saying he believed in himself and carried him to the main event of WrestleMania. He said his path won’t be easy, but he’s willing to do what it takes. Nakamura interrupted on the big screen and said he’s acting like he’s in misery and wants sympathy. He said he won’t tolerate it. He said he will pick up his soul and continue his warpath forward. Sami watched intently.
-Cole hyped Sami vs. Nakamura later.
-They showed Cody Rhodes backstage smiling as he headed to the entrance.[c]
-Cole touted that the WrestleMania Kickoff show drew over 200 million social views so far. They showed Triple H posting on sical media they’re taking WrestleMania to a whole new level.
-Cody Rhodes made his ring entrance. He asked the crowd, “What do we want to talk about?” He said they could talk about how he’ll be challenging Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania. Fans cheered. He said it took him a while to be able to say it, and the only reason he’s able to say it “is you guys.” He said they certainly made their voices heard with a full week of it trending worldwide, spreading the word. “And the word was…” at which point the crowd chanted, “We want Cody!” He said he doesn’t know how he could repay them. “Maybe there’s one way,” he said. He said they are making him emotional. He said he’s passionate about WWE and his place in it. He said he wears his heart on his sleeve, but he doesn’t want to get emotional because then he might be a “crybaby.” Fans booed. A “Rocky sucks!” chant broke out.
He talked about Rock being one of the most famous people alive and said he coined the term “Cody Crybabies.” They aired a clip of Rock on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Fans booed as they aired the clip of Rock insulting fans who cheer Cody. Cole told McAfee, “It was all your fault!” Cody said promos are different than the last time Rock was there, and very few can fathom matching Rock on the microphone, “but what are we expected to do with the nuggets?” He looked at McAfee. McAfee said under his breath, “Shove them up your ass.”
Cody said all of them at one point have been fans of The Rock. He paused briefly as some fans booed. He said one thing Rock doesn’t do well is listen. He said he didn’t say anything to defile his ancestors at the Kickoff, but he slapped him. Cody said he recognized that the look in Rock’s eyes was no longer The People’s energy, but rather malevolence. He said Rock and Roman Reigns together was the perfect storm. He said Rock put his hands on him and slapped him across the face, “and what that means is I’m going to hit you back.” Fans cheered. Seth Rollins’s music interrupted.
Seth made his entrance and danced as fans sang his song. Cody thanked Seth for coming to his aid at the press conference. Seth said, “You’re welcome.” Seth said as much as he was looking forward to defending the World Hvt. Title against him at WrestleMania, he understands his decision and why he picked Roman and why he needs that title. “You need to finish that story, right?” he said. He said now that the decision has been made, he wants to be make it clear to him that he needs to finish his story for himself, his dad, him, and all the fans. He said if he doesn’t beat Reigns and take the Undisputed Title from him, the landscape on the other side of WrestleMania is “very, very dark.” (Sounds like the stakes of the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.)
He said Reigns, if he beats Cody, will get more leverage and show up less and the brass rings get high and the glass ceiling gets thicker. “This probably is the last real chance either of us have to take that title and give it to the people,” he said. He said he might be the man for the job, but he asked what his plan is. He said last year, he got screwed out of the title in the main event of WrestleMania. He said Paul Heyman, the Usos, and Solo Sikoa were there and he couldn’t get the job done. He said he fought his way back and won the Royal Rumble again. He said the deck is stacked against him just the same, but now the bar has been raised. He said he’s not dealing with just Heyman and Solo and Jimmy and Roman, but also the biggest star and most influential man in the entertainment industry, The Rock. Fans booed. Cody pensively nodded in agreement. A loud “Rocky sucks!” chant broke out.
Seth said he tends to agree with the fans. He said he came out there to tell Cody that he doesn’t have to fight this battle alone. Cody stared back intently. He said they haven’t always seen eye to eye, but he feels what he has been saying. He said that’s why at the press conference, he stepped up after Rock put his hands on him. He said he’s sick and tired of people like Rock and Reigns, “these arrogant pricks thinking they can do whatever they want… and always getting away with it.” He said he has to admit something now. He said the man Reigns has become is partly his fault. He said nearly 12 years ago they came down the stairs in tactical vests and he taught him everything he knew. He said he couldn’t have imagined the monster he’s become, and now that monster has two heads. He said he’s now standing alongside the only man as entitled as selfish as he is. He said when it comes to fighting The Bloodline and The Rock and Reigns, there is only one man on Earth who is uniquely suited to his shield. Fans cheered, Cody smiled. Seth dropped the mic and told him to think about it.
As Seth left the ring to his music, Cole said Cody might have some back-up. “What will Cody Rhodes do?” asked McAfee. “He’s going to need it!”
-They went backstage to New Day and Jey Uso celebrating their win. Redmond said next week Gunther will have to defend his Intercontinental Title against Jey. Jey was elated and predicted victory.
-Liv Morgan made her ring entrance. Cole said Liv told him she’s on a “revenge tour.” [c]
-A plug aired for WWE’s official Super Bowl commemorative title belt.
-A video package aired with Liv Morgan talking about being on the run of a lifetime until Rhea Ripley injured her shoulder and took it all away from her. She said tonight is the first stop on her revenge tour. Zoey Stark then predicted she’ll win the Chamber and make history at WrestleMania. She bragged that she beat Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch, and Liv is next.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good extra effort to build this match and have each woman make a case for winning, which adds suspense to the match that fans might otherwise think was clearly going to be won by the returning Liv.)
(3) LIV MORGAN vs. ZOEY STARK – Qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber
The bell rang 26 minutes into the hour. Liv went after Stark aggressively in the corner. She shrieked when the ref tried to back her off. Stark took Liv down with a lariat. Liv countered with a head scissors and then tossed a charging Stark onto the ring apron. She springboard kicked Stark off the ring apron. When she dove through the ropes, Stark punched her out of mid-air. Liv climbed to the top rope, but Stark met her up there and delivered a Death Valley Driver onto the ring apron. They cut to a break at 2:30. [c]
Back from the break, Liv landed a Code Breaker. Stark caught a charging Liv a minute later with a kick to the face for a near fall. Liv avoided a top rope corkscrew dive and then delivered Oblivion for the win. Cole said three of the six spots for the Chamber are now filled.
WINNER: Liv in 9:00.
-Backstage, Damian Priest, J.D. McDonagh, Finn Balor, and Dominik Mysterio were joined by R-Truth who said they looked good together. McDonagh yelled, “Enough!” Priest said he’d handle it. He calmly but firmly told Truth he has never been part of their group. He said every beating he has taken hasn’t been an initiation. Truth looked crestfallen. Priest said he knows it’s hard for him to comprehend things, but tonight will be an execution. He asked if he can get that through his skull.
-As The Judgment Day began their ring entrance, Cole asked if Truth finally get it. [c]
-They showed postcard shots of the University of Kentucky.
-Truth approached Adam Pearce backstage and asked how long it takes to get a flight from Los Angeles to Lexington. Truth called Miz. Pearce urgently told Truth that his match is now. Truth told Miz to fly to Raw right now because The Judgment Day plan to kill him. Pearce shoved Truth through the curtain to the entrance stage.
(4) J.D. MCDONAGH (w/Finn Balor, Damien Priest, Dominik Mysterio, Finn Balor) vs. R-TRUTH
McAfee asked why The Judgment Day wouldn’t want Truth in their group. Cole said perhaps because he’s annoying them. The bell rang 45 minutes into the hour. Fans chanted, “J.D. sucks!” McAfee said Truth is 52 years old and said he might be the most athletic man he’s ever seen. Cole said he’s in his 50s and he couldn’t even think of doing what Truth does. McAfee said he’s 36 and he pulled a muscle “taking a dump the other day.” (Between his comment about Reed earlier and this, he’s just being crude and tawdry in a way that’s out of step with the usual tone of WWE commentary and it’s kind off-putting. I can’t recall anyone ever referencing Truth’s age on WWE TV before, either, and I’m not sure it’s helpful or pertinent.) Truth rallied and delivered a Death Valley Driver. McDonagh bailed out to ringside as they cut to a break at 1:30. [c]
Back from the break, Truth shoved McDonagh into the corner. He went into the You Can’t See Me routine. When he set up an Attitude Adjustment, Priest eyed him and that slowed Truth. McDonagh rolled up Truth for a two count. McDonagh gave Truth his Devil Insider leaping back suplex for the win.
WINNER: McDonagh in 6:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not much aired, but solid enough action.)
-After the match, Truth ended off The Judgment Day one at at a time. Priest hesitated, but then punched Truth, taking him down. They stomped away at Truth four-on-one. Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano ran out with chairs to clear the ring.
-Cody approached Sami backstage as he was taping his hand. He thanked him for having his back last week. Cody said it’s the same for him. Sami said he appreciates it. Cody told Sami that he believes in him, and so do the fans. Sami hugged Cody.
(Keller’s Analysis: Are they planting a long-arc plan for a Cody-Sami feud here? They wouldn’t have Sami cost Cody the match at WrestleMania, would they? Or is Sami going to be a challenger for Cody after he wins the title? Something is up with all this attention being paid to Sami in recent weeks.) [c]
-They showed images of celebrities holding WWE Title belts.
-Becky Lynch made her ring entrance. Cole said Becky qualified for the Chamber, and it’s her first time in the Chamber. Becky acknowledged a fan sign inviting her to prom in 2034. She said it’s been unpredictable lately and she loves it. She said she “loves this business so much.” She said she been obsessed since the first time she entered the ring to wrestle as a teenager. She said she once failed gym class, and now has gone on to be the first woman to ever win a headline match at WrestleMania.
She said it’s how she met her husbands and how she has her daughter. She said that obsession has also been the reason she’s missed loved ones’ birthdays and weddings and her own father’s funeral. She said her daughter is three years old and she’s already had to have difficult conversations with her about her face being busted up and not being able to pick her up sometimes. She said she’ll see her face smashed against the steel in the Chamber, but she will also see the brutality that her mother is capable of. (How about *not* showing a three year old that level of violence at all? Geesh.)
She said she’s aiming to go face to face with one of the most dominant champions they’ve ever seen. She said some fans like Mami and don’t think anyone can beat her. Some fans chanted “Mami!” She said she isn’t just anyone and she has never faced someone like her. She said whether you love her or hate her, she wanted to take a moment to make a toast. She took a sip of lemonade as a toast to the wild road they’re about to go on. She asked fans to join her.
Nia Jax’s music played and she marched to the ring with a mic in hand. She told Becky that she knows they’ve had their differences, but she has something to say to her. She asked permission to get in the ring with her. Fans chanted “You suck!” at her. Jax’s voice cracked as she talked about having so much respect for her. She said if her mom was half the mother she is, she’d be so lucky. She said one day she can only hope to be the mother she is. Becky looked on suspiciously. Jax said she knows Becky is going to win the Chamber and nothing can stop her. Jax’s tone changed sinister and she said, “Just like nothing is going to stop me from beating Rhea Ripley.” She said at WrestleMania, it’ll be them fighting. Ripley’s music played.
Ripley charged to the ring. Jax went after her, but Ripley took her down. Jax fired back with a headbutt. Becky watched from the corner. Jax squashed Ripley into Becky; Becky’s lemonade spilled. Becky knocked Jax out of the ring with a top rope dropkick. Becky turned to Ripley and stared at her. “Mami!” chanted some fans. Ripley kicked Jax off the ring apron. She turned back to Becky as her music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good promo from Becky talking about what pro wrestling means to her. Jax was her usual effective self on the mic, even if no one believed her for a second. At least no one savvy.)
-Redmond interviewed Drew McIntyre backstage. Drew said all he’s ever wanted is to give the fans what they want. Drew said physically pushing Cody is the reason he went in the right direction. He said Seth wanted Cody as his opponent, but that was selfish. “Ask yourself who’s really the bad guy here,” he said. He said he’s the underdog and he had to beat Styles just to qualify for the Chamber. He said he’s doing things “the right way, the Drew way.” He implored Cody to get himself out of the match against him next week. He said he might not make WrestleMania “just like Punk.” He smiled.
(Keller’s Analysis: Drew is keeping himself involved in the WrestleMania main event scene. Not sure where it lands him, but I like him making a case he’s the one pulling the strings and making things happen.)
-Cole and McAfee plugged Rock and Reigns on Smackdown this Friday plus Cody vs. Drew next week on Raw.
-Knight made his ring entrance. [c]
-Truth thanked DIY backstage. He referred to them as DX, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. He asked how Road Dogg was doing. After Truth left, Gargano said, “I am a sexy boy.”
(Keller’s Analysis: They do look quite alike.)
(5) L.A. KNIGHT vs. IVAR – Qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber
The bell rang 19 minutes into the hour. With Ivar in control at ringside, they cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Knight hit a superplex after the break for a near fall. A “This is awesome!” chant rang out briefly. Didn’t see many mouths moving in the crowd, though. Knight charged at Ivar, but Ivar caught him and landed a turning powerslam. Knight rolled to the ring apron. Ivar dragged Knight into the ring and landed a double-underhook sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Knight came back and stomped away at Ivar in the corner. Valhalla jumped onto the ring apron and distracted Knight. Ivar took Knight down with a spinning wheel kick. He followed with his Doonsault, but Knight moved and then landed his Blunt Force Trauma for the win.
WINNER: Knight in 8:00 to qualify for the Chamber.
-They cut to Sami backstage crossing paths with Drew McIntyre. Drew told Sami to keep his name out of his mouth and his nose out of his business. Sami told Drew, “You’re in my way.” Drew stiffened, then stepped aside and invited him to walk past him. Sami kept his eye on him as he walked away, looking over his shoulder. [c]
-Cole and McAfee hyped next week’s Raw: Cody vs. Drew, Gunther vs. Jey, tark vs. Michin vs. Baszler in a “Last Chance Qualifier,” and DIY & Miz & Truth vs. The Judgment Day.
-Backstage, Chelsea Green interrupted Pearce chatting Indi Hartwell and Candice LaRae. Green asked Pearce if he put her into the Last Chance Battle Royal. He said he was considering everyone. Green said she deserved a one-on-one match. Baszler and Stark walked up and said they were looking to talk with Pearce about the tag titles. She said she’d love to have a chance in the battle royal to tear Green apart limb by limb. Green asked Pearce if he saw them behind her the whole time.
(6) SAMI ZAYN vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Both ring entrances aired. The bell rang 40 minutes into the hour. Cole talked about their history in NXT where Sami faced Nakamura in his debut match at NXT Takeover. Sami ducked a charging Nakamura who landed at ringside. They cut to a break at 1:30. [c]
They fought back and forth for several minutes. Nakamura applied a sleeper. Sami came back with a Michinku Driver for a two count at 7:00. Both were slow to get up. Sami clotheslined Nakamura over the top rope to the floor. He then landed a running flip dive over the top rope to the floor. They cut to another break at 9:00. [c]
Nakamura took control after the break and set up a Kinshasa. Sami countered the charge into a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. When Sami dove through the ropes at ringside, Nakamura kicked him out of mid-air. Nakamura then landed a leaping knee to the back of Sami’s neck for a near fall. Cole said Sami put so much pressure on himself going into this match. Nakamura landed another knee to the back of Sami’s head for another near fall. Nakamura told Sami it’s over. He did a throat slice gesture, but Sami gave him a clothesline to cut him off. Nakamura flip-bumped to the mat. Sami let out a roar. Sami pelted Nakamura with head strikes as fans began to sing Sami’s “Olé” song. Sami launched Nakamura into the corner with an Exploder suplex. Drew came out and got Sami’s attention. Nakamura clipped Sami’s legs from behind and landed a Kinshasa for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura in 17:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’ll be going live on the p0st-show in a couple minutes with more to say, but I am intrigued with this Sami story developing on Raw. The match was, as you’d expect, good.)
-Drew entered the ring afterward and stomped away at Sami. Nakamura joined in. Cody ran out for the save. He charged through Nakamura at ringside and attacked Drew. He landed a Cody Cutter. He gave Nakamura at Crossroads. Cody’s music played as he yelled down at Drew.
(Keller’s Analysis: Logical closing scene to hype next week’s Raw main event.)
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