On January 15, WWE Raw went live from Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The show featured an anticipated match between Jinder Mahal and Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Awesome Truth faced Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and Gunther returned to the show. Let’s take a look at everything that happened on Monday Night Raw.
Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre Exchanged Words
Cody was set to open the show as WWE officially advertised it. Rhodes asked the audience, “What you guys wanna talk about?” He said they could talk about beating Shinsuke Nakamura or the Royal Rumble.
Drew McIntyre’s theme played, and he arrived in the ring. McIntyre said he praises Cody’s journey and the Man he has become. Drew reminded Cody of their tag team, The Dashing Ones. He said we went out and became undeniable, so WWE called us back. The Scottish Warrior said Cody won’t finish his story until I finish his.
Cody mentioned CM Punk and Jey Uso on winning the Royal Rumble. McIntyre said that it’s between him and Cody. Drew advised Cody to be himself. He questioned The American Nightmare, “Is this the real Cody.” He asked why Rhodes brought Jey to Raw and why he endorsed CM Punk. Cody said he is thankful for a second chance, while Drew always complained about his second chance. McIntyre said the same stuff as Damian Priest is why he is not Champion today. Rhodes gave a strong message in the end and walked off.
Analysis: It was a solid promo segment to kick off things on Monday Night Raw. McIntyre is high in this character, and his promo abilities have improved. Cody was nice, as always. Both guys made it clear to win the Royal Rumble.
Backstage: R-Truth was counting money as Priest reached. He asked why Truth was selling Judgment Day t-shirts in the parking lot. R-Truth gave Damian his cut from the sales. Damian advised Truth not to tag in the match later in the night but It didn’t seem as though he picked up on what Damian was telling him to do.
Tag Team Match
DIY vs Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh
Michael Cole mentioned fewer crowds due to the winter storm in that region. McDonagh and Gargano started with early takedowns and face locks.
Johnny delivered a running hurricanrana. Dominik tried to interfere, but Ciampa laid him out with a corkscrew plancha. Gargano came with a suicide dive to send us to break.
We saw a double-team lariat by DIY. Mysterio got some advantage with his dirty tactics but later suffered a slingshot spear from Gargano. A dropkick by Dom ended in a two-count.
Ciampa got the hot tag and delivered a series of clotheslines. He took out McDonagh with a reverse DDT for a two-count. Dom tagged in and delivered a slingshot senton bomb. DIY hit a double-team back suplex, but JD broke up the pin.
McDonagh with a standing Spanish Fly and a moonsault for a near fall. Johnny super-kicked Dominik to save the match. Gargano blocked 619 from Dom. Ciampa with a spike DDT on McDonagh, and he tagged Johnny in. DIY got the win with Meet in the Middle.
Analysis: It was a great tag team match. The chemistry between all four competitors seemed brilliant. DIY is next in line for the Undisputed Tag Team Titles.
Tag Team Match
Chelsea Green and Piper Niven vs Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae
Women’s Tag Champions Katana Chance and Kayden Carter were watching this match backstage. Candice performed well in the match. She delivered a Codebreaker to Green and sentons to Niven.
Green had a superkick on LeRae, but Hartwell laid her out with a spinebuster. A scoop slam by Niven on Indi, but Hartwell escaped the crossbody block. In the end, LeRae and Hartwell with a double team Lionsault on Chelsea for the victory.
Winner: Chelsea Green and Indi Hartwell
Analysis: It was a short match. The Women’s tag titles look fresh in Chance and Carter’s hands. Indi and Candice are the possible future contenders for the titles.
Judgment Day’s Clubhouse
Rhea Ripley walked off to address the women’s division. Priest walked in, and everyone asked him where he’d been. Priest said he talked to Pearce about the Drew McIntyre issue.
JD wanted to beat R-Truth. Priest said no and explained that Truth earned for Judgment Day by selling t-shirts.
Ludwig Kaiser introduced Gunther. The IC Champion talked to the mic about his brilliant performance in the Royal Rumble last year, where he entered number 1 and lasted till the end. Gunther made it clear to win the Royal Rumble this year and the main event WrestleMania.
Gunther then praised Kaiser for his performance against Kofi. The Ring General hugged Kaiser in appreciation.
Xavier Woods arrived angrily and showed his anger at Kaiser for injuring Kingston last week. He challenged Ludwig to a match. Kaiser accepted and said he would take Wood’s head off as he did to Kofi.
Analysis: Gunther is back and has declared himself for the Royal Rumble match. Beware that he is one of the favorites to win the decorated match.
Ludwig Kaiser vs Xavier Woods
Kaiser dominated for a bit as we joined the match in the middle. Woods bounced back, and punches and chops were exchanged.
The match was fine, but the aftermath was interesting. As the fight went to the commentary table, Kaiser tried to do the same as he did to Kofi and threw a chair at Woods, but he escaped.
Woods’ anger took over, and he attacked Kaiser with the office chair. The referee saw it, and Kaiser was the winner via disqualification.
Ludwig attacked with the steel chair and tried to take out Woods on the steel steps. Xavier escaped and double-stomped Ludwig. This was enough as Kaiser retrieved through the crowd. Woods was bleeding from the mouth.
Winner: Ludwig Kaiser (via Disqualification)
Analysis: It was a decent match. It seems like this is building into an Imperium vs. New Day feud, with Big E returning to even the odds against Gunther.
Backstage: Woods was interviewed, and Kaiser attacked him again. Jey Uso was standing there, and Kaiser walked off.
Ivar vs Akira Tozawa
Ivar was mostly dominant. Tozawa delivered a DDT, too. Ultimately, Ivar took him out with a spinning slam and a basement crossbody block.
Ivar went up the ropes where Maxxine distracted him. Akira got the advantage and delivered a sunset flip bomb for the win. Ivar and Valhalla took out Tozawaand Maxxine after the match.
Winner: Akira Tozawa
Analysis: It is nice seeing Ivar getting TV time. He is an attraction and had a good run as a singles star.
Rhea Ripley addressed the Women’s Division
Rhea made her entrance to a great ovation and a “Mami” chant. Ripley said she’s tired of people like Nia Jax claiming this division.
She said that this was her division. Ripley told the Royal Rumble winner in advance that if she wants to ruin her WrestleMania, she can choose Ripley after winning.
Becky Lynch’s music hit. The Man told Ripley about the similarities and differences in their journeys.
Becky said Rhea might be better, but she will prove that The Man is better. Lynch claimed to win the Royal Rumble to go on to WrestleMania. Ripley also wanted to face her.
Analysis: Intense moment between Ripley and Lynch. Many people want to see this clash at WrestleMania. WWE is making this Road to WrestleMania very interesting.
Non Title Tag Team Match
The Awesome Truth vs Finn Balor and Damian Priest
R-Truth gave money to Balor and Dominik from the revenue of t-shirt sales. He said McDonagh had no money as he was not a part of Judgment Day.
Miz reminded Truth that they were in a tag team. Truth had some offense on Balor but soon realized and apologized to Finn. Double stomp by Balor sent the match to commercial break.
After the commercial, The Miz was in the ring attacking Balor. Truth with a Scissors Kick on Finn, but again, he thought he attacked his stable-mate. Priest won in the end with a South of Heaven on Truth.
Winners: Finn Balor and Damian Priest
Analysis: It was more of a fun match with R-Truth’s hilarious stuff. WWE is using him greatly. The Miz needs a mega feud soon.
Tag Team Match
Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark vs Natalya and Tegan Nox
Natalya started for her team. Baszler and Stark exchanged tags and dominated her for a bit. In comes Tegan Nox with a crossbody and uppercut.
Natalya has great offense on Stark. She delivered an Atomic Drop, basement dropkick, and a German Suplex. In the end, Baszler submitted Nattie with the KirifudaClutch.
Winners: Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark
Analysis: It was another short tag match from the women’s division. As a team, Stark and Baszler can potentially do top-tier work if WWE books them properly.
World Heavyweight Title Match
Seth Rollins vs Jinder Mahal
Indus Sher was at ringside. Sanga provided a distraction at the start, and Mahal attacked from behind. Jinder delivered a scoop slam. Mahal avoids stomp and a pedigree and manages to drop Rollins to the outside.
Damian Priest walked to the stage. Rollins and Mahal exchanged forearms, with Rollins delivering a discus forearm.
Rollins hits a diving crossbody and a superkick. Later, Seth delivered a springboard senton bomb and a Lionsault for a near fall. Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow and a Pedigree. Pinfall attempted, but Veer put Jinder’s foot on the rope. Rollins laid out Veer outside.
Priest stood up to cash in, but Drew McIntyre appeared. They fought to the ramp. Veer and Sanga distracted the referee and attacked Rollins with the briefcase. Khallas by Mahal, but Seth kicked out. Mahal tried for another Khallas, but Rollins escaped and delivered a Stomp to retain his title.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Analysis: It was an anticipated match and delivered well. Rollins retained the title as expected. The tensions between Priest and McIntyre are increasing.
It was a decent Raw episode with a build to the Royal Rumble. McIntyre’s future seems to be a most interesting angle, being somewhat of an anti hero to root for.