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Entertainment

Raw Recap and Reactions (February 12, 2024): The Sword and the Shield

The last time we saw Cody Rhodes on WWE television, so to speak, was at FightMania 40 Kickoff press event, where he was slapped by The Rock after clashing with “The Great One” over remarks that Roman Reigns’ family was ashamed of them. CM Punk implored Rhodes to fight back in kind.

It’s the fighting game, dammit!

Well, Rhodes appeared on Monday Night Raw this week to address the events of the aforementioned presser and my biggest fear was that he would go out and work on the gimmick, opening his promo with the same tired refrain.

“So what do we want to talk about?”

Which, I mean, it’s good. It’s his thing and all that. But I’m with Punk, it’s about getting good, getting angry and fighting back, not going back to what’s familiar. But that’s what he did, he used the gadget with a smile, and it seemed a little too standard for my liking.

But what can you do?

Meanwhile, he told fans that they made a big difference with their words and how they treated him after Royal Rumble and that whole situation that happened once The Rock came back. The “we want Cody” chants really mattered.

Almost enough to make him emotional.

But he can’t do that, because then he would cry.

Then they went the comedy route, Rhodes pitched it on The Rock’s appearance on Pat McAfee’s show and talked about the “Cody crybabies” and how they eat chicken nuggets and maybe also shove them up their asses. So Cody replied, “What am I supposed to do with the nuggets?”

He.

Haha.

Eventually, thankfully, Rhodes brought up the fact that a grown man had slapped him and what that meant. “I’ll hit you back.”

Yeah.

At this point, Seth Rollins entered the scene.

He also worked on a comedy with a small Moana reference before saying he was looking forward to another battle with Cody but he understands why he made the decision he did. And then he gave it one hell of an endorsement.

Rollins told him he must finish his story, for his father and for himself but just as important for everyone. This may be their last best chance to defeat Reigns, the most powerful champion in many years, take back power and give it back to the people.

It was a hell of a motivational message, but he framed it with a question: What’s the plan, man?

Because we all saw how the match played out at FightMania 39, with Reigns and all his lackeys and all the help he always has. And now he’s getting even more help, in the form of one of the most influential forces in not only professional wrestling but Hollywood, The Rock. So it has become clear that enough is enough and it is time for change.

And he had to tell Cody that yes, this is his fight, but he needs to know that he doesn’t have to be alone in this fight.

Rollins then took some of the blame for Reigns and what he became, seeing as they were running together in The Shield and everything that was happening there. But that only means one thing: When it comes to fighting The Bloodline, there’s only one man fit to be Cody’s “shield.”

This was one of the best promos of Seth Rollins’ career, maybe the best, and he did more for the story than even Cody did on this show. They took this from the simple fact that Cody was trying to finish his story and turned it into a fight for the future of this whole damn promotion. Rollins made it look like it was the most important match in the history of the industry.

I was already ridiculously excited about all of this and somehow they just turned that up to 11.

FightMania I can’t get here soon enough.


Elimination Chamber Qualifications

Bronzilla – I’m going to call him that now – Reed fought with Bobby Lashley in the first qualifier on this show, and the match was fun if only to hear Pat McAfee call out Reed and talk about how he constantly seems like he’s carrying extra. luggage. Plus, he probably can’t wipe his ass.

He’s a big, meaty man, folks.

They had a fun big man match and Lashley survived all that meat to advance to Perth.

We went to the women’s side for the second qualifier of the evening, since Liv Morgan is back and on what she calls a revenge tour. She needs to get back at Rhea Ripley for putting her on the shelf. She really wants you to check on her too.

Since Zoey Stark didn’t even have a TV entrance, it was obvious which way the match was going. She was competitive, but ultimately Morgan scored the pinfall to advance to the Chamber and another chance to move closer to a showdown with her former tag team partner.

The final qualifying match featured none other than LA Knight (YEAH), with arguably the toughest qualifying match against Ivar of the Viking Raiders. The latter has been in one heck of a great series of televised matches and this one was no different, as the crowd made clear with chants of “this is awesome” during the match.

Knight ultimately won the match by avoiding the Doomsault and hitting Blunt Force Trauma. It was a fun little showcase for these two, but they could do more if given more time.

The unfortunate thing is that it seemed clear to me that Knight’s star is fading a bit with time and he is not being presented as a big star needs to be to maintain a good sequence. Inevitable, I suppose. Yet he has the goods.


Becky Lynch cut a surprisingly emotional promo on this show, speaking openly about the many struggles she’s faced while pursuing her dreams in this profession she loves. She missed her own father’s funeral because of it, had to have difficult conversations with her three-year-old daughter over it and said her daughter was going to have to watch her mother get her face thrown into a cage in Australia .

All this to win the Elimination Chamber so she can face one of the most dominant women’s champions we’ve ever seen.

Mom.

And, hey, people love Mami, and Becky realizes that. In fact, she knows people think no one can beat her, but she’s not just anyone and Rhea Ripley hasn’t faced anyone like her. So whether you love Rhea or Becky, here’s a toast to the wild journey ahead, from Kentucky to Perth and all the way to Philadelphia.

From bottom to top.

But wait, we’re forgetting something here: Nia Jax.

They had some disagreements but Jax wanted to get in the ring with her and say a few words to her. She, too, became emotional, saying she had “so much respect” for Becky. If her own mother was half Becky’s mother, she’d be really lucky. “God willing, one day I will become a mother and I can be the example that you are.”

what was that?

Jax said Lynch would win at Elimination Chamber because she had the passion and drive, and nothing would stop her.

(stop crying here)

As if nothing would stop Jax from beating Ripley to Elimination Chamber and go on to WrestleMania to defeat Lynch once again.

The Becky part was really good, but the Jax part seemed entirely too forced and unnatural. Ripley showed up to fight Jax, saying “you’re going to have to kill me” at one point, and we got yet another look between Ripley and Lynch, with Jax watching from afar. It really feels like WWE wants to promote the match they’re inevitably going to be in and they don’t care about spoilers at all.

And you know what? All things considered, I’m fine with that.


Everything else

  • One of the things I really like about Monday Night Raw can they start the show by jumping straight into a six-man tag team match that has nothing to do with the main storylines, but rather pushing the intercontinental title agenda that we are about to get. In this case, that meant The New Day and Jey Uso teaming up to fight Imperium. What this match showed more than anything else is that Jey still has the fans eating out of the palms of his hands. He even got something approaching a visual pin on GUNTHER before it disbanded and the babyfaces banded together to handle business on Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci to get the win. Uso vs. GUNTHER is clearly going to be fun, as they later announced that their title match would take place next week.
  • Andrade told us via pre-recording that he left years ago to find who he was and now that he’s done that, he’s back and his “direction is clear.” It was a brief video but it looked cool!
  • Sami Zayn had a follow-up interview in the empty stands with Jackie Redmond and vowed once again to become a WWE Champion no matter how long or how long it takes to get there. Shinsuke Nakamura interrupted said interview to do what he does and pretend to bring out the real man beneath the empty words. While preparing for the match, Rhodes approached Zayn and offered him some words of encouragement. Everyone still believes in Sami. Zayn vs. Nakamura was actually awarded the spot in the main event, and a distraction from Drew McIntyre helped Nakamura get the victory. Rhodes, of course, showed up to help Zayn fend off a post-match beating. Another ally for Cody, and it helps set up Cody vs. Drew for next week. A solid deal.
  • The Judgment Day once again attempted to exclude R-Truth from their group, with Damian Priest even calling his match against JD McDonagh an “execution”. Sure enough, McDonagh won the match with relative ease and Truth attempted to fight them afterward, but was no match for their numbers. DIY arrived to make the backup and scare the group away. I’m definitely not saying JD fell but I felt like they were involved in all the hottest storylines and they were running Raw for a while and now they’re mid card players in a comedic angle with Truth. I’m not even sure what happened either.

It was a solid show, but that Rhodes/Rollins segment was absolute money, enough to get this rating.

Grade: A-

Your turn.

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