Welcome to first Monday Night Raw after the Royal Rumble. Cody Rhodes and Bayley came out victorious and we will hear from both of them tonight. We also have two big championship matches tonight. GUNTHER defends the Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston, while The Judgment Day defend the Tag Team Championships against D.I.Y.
CM PUNK IN-RING PROMO
Pat McAfee is here and it’s announced he and Michael Cole will be the new commentary team on Monday Night Raw. Love me some McAfee but wish Wade Barrett was staying. But starting off the show proper is CM Punk out with his arm in a sling. Sadly the reports are he suffered a torn triceps and he won’t be main-eventing Wrestlemania this year. Punk says he’s not mad at anyone and congratulates Cody Rhodes. Punk says he did suffer a torn triceps at the Rumble. He won’t make it to the main-event of Wrestlemania. Maybe he will never make the main-event. He cuts a fantastic promo about real people fighting life struggles. He says he loses more than he wins in life. But he keeps fighting for his dreams because that’s what the Best in the World does. Punk says Wrestlemania 40 isn’t in the cards but “there’s always next year.” Out comes Drew McIntyre who both eliminated and injured Punk. Drew says he meant every negative word about Punk but he can relate to what Punk has been saying. Drew says he isn’t a spiritual person but he prayed for this to happen to Punk. Drew says he is going to find a way to the main-event of Wrestlemania and he is going to live CM Punk’s dream again. Punk tells him that when he gets back he will main-event Wrestlemania but his first checklist is Drew. “I’m coming right for you.” Drew tries to take a cheapshot to Punk but Punk is able to fight him off until Drew connects with the Glasgow Kiss. Drew stomps on the injured triceps of Punk! Sami Zayn is here to run off Drew. What an opening segment. Honestly I’m very bummed that Punk isn’t getting his Mania moment, but his return run is going to be something else with this built in feud with Drew.
BACKSTAGE WITH THE JUDGMENT DAY
The Judgment Day are backstage in their lair. Rhea Ripley says she will put Bayley in her place if she shows her face. The group agree to put the distractions to the side and show the world how vicious they are.
DIY are walking backstage and cut a promo to the camera. They say this is the time they show the world who they are!
THE JUDGMENT DAY DEFEATS D.I.Y. (UNDISPUTED WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP)
This is a even match up early until the champions are able to isolate Tommaso Ciampa and use classic heel tag team tactics to prevent Johnny Gargano from making a successful tag. Ciampa finally gets Gargano in, who takes out both members of the Judgment Day and almost wins the titles by himself. D.I.Y. hit an assisted Sliced Bred that almost gets the three. Priest and Balor set up for a perfect double team but Gargano reverses the South of Heaven chokeslam into a DDT and Ciampa plants Balor with a Super White Noise for an super close two count. Meet In the Middle on Balor! That would have been it but Priest puts Balor’s foot on the rope. Balor goes for the Coup De Grace but misses. Gargano rolls through and gets the Gargano Escape on Balor. Ciampa locks Priest in the Sicilian Stretch and for a brief moment we had new champions. Priest picks up Ciampa and drops him onto Gargano to break up both holds. Priest lays out Gargano with a Flatliner onto the announce table but almost gets caught with a rollup from Ciampa. Priest kicks out and hits a Razor’s Edge onto Ciampa that Balor quickly follows up with a Coup De Grace. That’s enough for the win, great new tag finish for the Judgment Day as they try to refocus.
THE JUDGMENT DAY IN-RING PROMO
Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh come down to celebrate as Balor grabs a mic. They gloat before Priest says we’ve all seen a different side of the Judgment Day the past few weeks. Priest says we all know who is responsible for that. Priest calls R-Truth to the ring for an apology. Priest tries to apologize for what happened at the Royal Rumble but Truth is busy telling Priest that he took care of his taxes. R-Truth says Priest is like an older brother and Priest just says “you’re older than me.” LOL Priest tells Truth that the Judgment Day is a family but Truth is not part of the Judgment Day. Priest says he have always liked Truth and thought he was funny, so he’s not going to be the one to do this. JD and Dominik jump Truth! The Miz comes out to Truth’s aide but the numbers are just too much. The Judgment Day stand tall over the Awesome Truth.
ZOEY STARK & SHAYNA BASZLER DEFEAT CHELSEA GREEN & PIPER NIVEN
This one was a very standard WWE women’s tag team match where they give them only three minutes and the wrestlers try their best to fit everything in. A pretty dominating performance from Zoey Stark and Shayna Baszler and it means something when you defeat the former tag champions in Chelsea Green and Piper Niven. I’m wondering if we will get a multi-team match at Wrestlemania for the tag titles at this point.
CODY RHODES IN-RING PROMO
The man who went back to back in the Royal Rumble for the first time in twenty six years, the American Nightmare Cody Rhodes, is out to kick off the second hour of Raw! Cody asks Samantha Irvin to repeat her announcing him as the winner of the 2023 and 2024 Royal Rumble. Cody says he is grateful for the fans and their support as he had something personal going on. Seemed like a genuine moment, glad everything seems to be okay. Cody says he wants to make Wrestlemania 40 official but here comes Seth “Freakin” Rollins! Well he does need a challenger, let’s see what he’s got. Seth congratulates Cody on his win, but then tells Cody that if he chooses to fight Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania he’d be making a mistake. Seth says Cody should face him instead. Seth says he is the guy and the World Heavyweight Championship is the title in WWE. Seth makes a somewhat compelling argument that the World title was created because the fans were tired of Roman Reigns cheating or not showing up. Seth asks if Cody wants the “Hollywood title”, the title for people who politic their way to the top. Or does Cody want the Dusty Rhodes title. The workhorse title. I have a bad feeling Cody is about to accept. Seth tells Cody to think about it, but he wants to know whats in Cody’s heart. “What kind of man do you want to be.” Cody says he never expected to be talking about this right now, but he will at least say “I’ll think about it.” Man this was excellent. To be clear I still want Cody to pick Roman, but Seth made some great points and Cody really sold the promo.
KOFI KINGSTON PROMO
Kofi Kingston is backstage with Xavier Woods and they are hyped up about their battle with Imperium last week. Kofi says the one thing people forget about the New Day is that they win championships.
BRON BREAKKER VIDEO PACKAGE
We get a video package showing Bron Breakker’s dominance in this year’s Royal Rumble. He was so impressive and I’m hoping he at the very least gets a soft call up to the main roster.
JEY USO DEFEATS BRONSON REED
This was a really fun match with Bronson Reed working so well against a smaller Jey Uso. Neither man can put the other away, trading big move after big move. Reed hits a Samoan Drop that only gets two but a corner splash is enough to lay out Jey. Reed goes for the Tsunami but Jey moves. Jey hits a superkick and then a Spear, followed by an Uso Splash for the win! A big time win for Jey to get back on track in the singles division. Perhaps with Seth’s injury they decided they didn’t need to heat up Reed for a World title shot at the Elimination Chamber. I’m assuming Jey and Jimmy is the plan for Wrestlemania, but after that I do hope Jey gets a run with a singles championship.
BACKSTAGE WITH ANDRADE & ADAM PEARCE
We see highlights from Andrade’s Royal Rumble return while Cole and McAfee put him over. We go back to Adam Pearce getting Andrade to sign a contract to Monday Night Raw. Nick Aldis is here and congratulates Andrade. Andrade tells Nick to say hello to Zelina Vega. Nick wants to talk Elimination Chamber but he gets a phone call. He says it’s from Bron Breakker which gets a big pop from the crowd. So glad they are pushing that man.
GUNTHER cuts a promo on Kofi telling him to leave it all out in the ring because once GUNTHER is done with him, no one will remember his accomplishments.
BECKY LYNCH INTERVIEW
Jackie Redmond is with Becky Lynch and asks her what plan B is after losing the Royal Rumble. Becky says giving up isn’t in her nature. Becky will not stop until she takes that title to the main-event where it belongs.
GUNTHER DEFEATS KOFI KINGSTON (WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP)
Kofi wastes no time going right at GUNTHER. I’m all for GUNTHER racking up wins over former World champions at this point. Kofi is using his heart and experience to stay in this thing but GUNTHER is just on another level. Kofi dives out to GUNTHER who catches Kofi and launches him into the apron. Somehow Kofi shakes it off and sends GUNTHER into the ring post. Kofi hits on two dives and then hits Trouble In Paradise on the champion! Before Kofi can make the cover, GUNTHER rolls out of the ring. Kofi hits a splash off the barricade onto GUNTHER who is laying on the stairs. Kofi gets GUNTHER back in the ring and hits a top rope leg drop that almost gets a three. Kofi goes for Trouble in Paradise again but GUNTHER reverses into a submission. Kofi gets out of that but then gets run over by a lariat. Even that’s not it as Kofi catches the champion with the SOS for a two count. GUNTHER pops back up with another lariat and this time follows it up with the shotgun dropkick. GUNTHER plants Kofi with a powerbomb to retain his championship. Awesome match, exactly what I wanted out of these two.
After the match Woods is out to check on Kofi. Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser come in and attack Woods and Kofi. Woods has some fight in him but the numbers game is too much.
SAMI ZAYN INTERVIEW
Jackie Redmond is backstage with Sami Zayn. She asks how Sami handles his emotions in his match with Drew tonight. Sami says it’s tough but Drew needs a reality check. Sami can handle if Drew was just coming after him, but Drew is taking aim at everyone. Sami hopes to put a stop to it tonight in the main-event.
THE KABUKI WARRIORS DEFEAT NATALYA & TEGAN NOX
The Kabuki Warriors are here on Monday Night Raw to take on Tegan Nox & Natalya. Apparently Natalya was proud of Nox that Nox eliminated her at the Rumble. Maybe that’s what they needed to get on the same page and pick up some wins. Kairi Sane prevents Natalya from tagging back in but Nox fights off Asuka and makes the tag anyway. Natalya hits a nice combo on Asuka but is unable to lock in the Sharpshooter. Natalya wants a tag from Nox but Nox decides to go over to Kairi on the outside instead which backfires and allows Kairi to take out Nox. Back in the ring the Kabuki Warriors hit a double team Insane Elbow for the win.
KAYDEN CARTER & KATANA CHANCE INTERVIEW
Jackie Redmond is backstage with the former tag team champions Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. Katana says they talked to Adam Pearce and they have a rematch for the titles next week on Raw.
BAYLEY IN-RING PROMO
Back in the ring Damge Ctrl is waiting as Bayley is introduced as the winner of the 2024 Women’s Royal Rumble. Bayley says their group is history making and it’s all thanks to her. Bayley says she may not have been on the poster for the Royal Rumble, but she damn sure won it. Bayley says she beat Rhea Ripley’s record at the Rumble and that brings out Rhea. The Women’s World Champion says if Bayley challenges her, Bayley will come away empty handed. Nia Jax attacks Rhea from behind and they take their fight to the ring. Nia hits a leg drop to Rhea as Damage Ctrl looks on. Nia hits two more to lay out the champion. She hits the Annihilator for good measure and then turns her attention to Damage Ctrl. They all leave except for Bayley. Nia backs Bayley down and takes the microphone. Nia tells Bayley that she can pick Iyo Sky, but Rhea isn’t making it to Wrestlemania. Bayley tells Nia that she was actually going to make her announcement on Friday. Iyo doesn’t seem happy about that, but you can’t blame Bayley there.
DREW MCINTYRE INTERVIEW
Jackie Redmond is backstage with Drew McIntyre in the Gorilla position. Drew says all he has ever done was tell the truth. Him and Sami have had countless matches and Sami has beaten him zero times. Drew calls for his music and it’s main-event time.
DREW MCINTYRE DEFEATS SAMI ZAYN
Drew wastes no time, catching Sami on the outside and tossing him onto the announce table. Drew is distracted by McAfee’s commentary which allows Sami to hit a dive onto Drew into the table. Drew has been dominating the early part of this match, with some viscous strikes lighting Sami up. Sami hits a sunset flip powerbomb from the top rope and we get an awesome camera angle from the turnbuckle. Sami connects with a massive torando DDT but it only gets a two count. Drew is just throwing Sami around at this point. He hits Sami with a sitout powerbomb that takes all the wind out of Sami. Drew runs at Sami into the corner and Sami moves, making Drew’s shoulder connect with the post. The opening only lasts for a moment as Drew connects with a Glasgow Kiss onto Sami. Both men are up top and Sami takes Drew down with a superplex. Sami tries to follow up with a Helluva Kick but Drew runs through him. Drew wants the Claymore but Sami catches the big man for an impressive Blue Thunder Bomb. Drew hits a belly to belly that sends Sami all the way across the ring. Drew hits a second rope White Noise onto Sami but it only gets two. Its starting to get to Drew that he can’t put Sami away. Drew is telling Sami that he is out of Sami’s league. That fires Sami up who starts swinging lefts and rights. Drew is in the corner and Sami goes for the Helluva Kick but Drew gets his hands up that…oh man they connect as a low blow to Sami. The referee doesn’t call for the bell as it’s not clear if it was on purpose or not, but Drew takes advantage and lays Sami out with a Claymore for the win.
Great match between these two, everything Drew did looked like it hurt. These two have excellent chemistry and I love the finish. I honestly wouldn’t mind Drew and Sami in a triple threat with Seth at Mania for the World title.