Monday Night Raw – January 30, 2023: The Next Step
Monday Night Raw
Date: January 30, 2023
Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Commentators: Corey Graves, Kevin Patrick
It’s the first show after the Royal Rumble and that means we are going to be seeing a lot of build towards Wrestlemania. Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley are the Royal Rumble winners and are on their way to Los Angeles, but the Sami Zayn situation is going to have to be resolved at some point. Let’s get to it.
Here is the Royal Rumble if you need a recap.
We open with a look at Cody Rhodes returning and winning the Royal Rumble on Saturday.
Here is Cody Rhodes to a pretty awesome reaction. Cody soaks in the cheers and asks what we want to talk about. Rhodes has been doing this for over fifteen years and he started in Ohio Valley Wrestling. There is a sign on their building that says “tomorrow’s superstars today”. He remembers getting ready to go in on his first day and thinking he would be WWE Champion in two years and he would be the next John Cena. If he could talk to his 19 year old self, he would tell him that it would be a little harder than that.
Would he tell him about Dashing Cody Rhodes or about painting his face or marrying the woman who keeps saying the wrestlers’ names every night? Or that he lost a 295lb friend but gaining a six pound one with the same eyes? Or about taking a hiatus to try to build up the industry but then coming back to punch a ticket to go to Wrestlemania? Cody wouldn’t tell himself a single thing because every step on this broken road has been 100% worth it.
He heard some people singing Kingdom with him on the way to the ring tonight and the first words are true: wrestling has more than one royal family. That is true in WWE as well, and to prove it, he has to stand across from the Tribal Chief. He has to stand across from the LeBron James of this era and the man who has been the champion for 800-something says: Roman Reigns.
Wrestlemania is in 62 days and that is 62 days for the rest of his life. That is the night for Cody to prove everything but here is Judgment Day to interrupt. Dominik Mysterio talks about how Cody ruined his Royal Rumble, which wouldn’t have worked in prison. Now if Cody had run the whole way through like Rhea Ripley, it might have meant something. They insult each others’ family and Cody is ready to fight any of them tonight. The match seems to come on.
We look at tonight’s card.
Back in the arena, Cody is high fiving fans but here is Edge to go after the Judgment Day. The big brawl takes us to a break.
Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Seth Rollins vs. Chad Gable
Gable wrestles him down to start and Rollins has to think about this a bit. Another takedown has Rollins in trouble and we take an early break. Back with Rollins hitting a clothesline and some kicks to the face. The Chaos theory doesn’t work for Gable and the Falcon Arrow gives Rollins two. They go to the pinfall reversal sequence until Gable muscles him down for two more. The ankle lock goes on but Rollins kicks him away and rolls into the Pedigree to plant Gable for the pin at 9:06.
Rating: C. This is the kind of match that probably would have been better off being dropped with Rollins just getting the spot, but WWE has to fill in the next few weeks somehow. Rollins is someone you can put into any title match at any time and he’ll be fine here. On the other hand you have Gable, who is still better than most in the ring, and as long as you can keep him away from repeating his one line over and over, he has a job for a long time.
Iyo Sky vs. Candice LeRae
Damage Ctrl and Michin (her name this week) are here too. Sky takes her down without much effort to start and we take a break…for a few seconds as it’s just a quick ad for a movie. LeRae gets sent outside for the big suicide dive but she’s right back up with a springboard spinning dive.
We take a real break and come back with LeRae grabbing a German superplex (from the bottom rope) for two. A poisonrana plants Sky again but Mrs. LeRae’s Wild Ride is blocked. Over The Moonsault only hits knees but the distraction at ringside means it’s only good for two. LeRae goes after Bayley, allowing Sky to grab a sunset flip for the pin at 9:15.
Rating: C-. Not much to this one as they had a big chunk cut out and the distraction wasn’t exactly inspired stuff. LeRae needs to win something at some point because these constant losses are taking away a lot of her interest. Also, it’s not like Sky is a singles star at the moment so having her lose here wouldn’t have been some devastating moment.
We look at Rhea Ripley winning the Women’s Royal Rumble.
Here is Rhea Ripley for her Wrestlemania announcement. She ran the gauntlet on Saturday and now she gets to pick who she wants to face at Wrestlemania. Three years ago, her career was just about to start but then Charlotte took her down at Wrestlemania. Somehow, Charlotte is always in the title picture and somehow always at the top of her game. Ripley doesn’t like things to be overplayed though, so Charlotte should enjoy everyone bowing down to the queen, because they are about to rise to someone new. The challenge is officially on and for once, I actually have the hope that WWE will go the right way.
Seth Rollins is ready for Elimination Chamber so he can win the US Title and then go on to Wrestlemania. Rollins is asked about Logan Paul eliminating him from the Royal Rumble but he just smiles and walks away.
Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Baron Corbin
Dexter Lumis and JBL are here too. Corbin starts fast and hits an early chokebreaker for two. That’s broken up and Gargano sends him to the floor for the dropkick through the ropes. Corbin breaks up the One Final Beat though and punches Gargano to the floor. There’s the chokeslam onto the barricade and we take a break.
Back with Gargano hitting the slingshot spear, followed by a superkick for two. Deep Six gives Corbin two more but Gargano knocks him outside. Lumis is up with his hatches and hacks up JBL’s hat, which is enough of a distraction for Gargano to….get kneed out of the air. End of Days is countered into a rollup though and Gargano is going to the Chamber at 9:08.
Rating: C. What in the world happened to Corbin? He was looking primed for his latest push a few months ago but now it seems to have all fallen away. Granted that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s more than a bit surprising to see him dropping so much. Gargano isn’t going to win the title, though I can go with him finally winning a match or two.
It’s time for the VIP Lounge with MVP with special guest Austin Theory. After some nice welcomes, Theory talks about watching the VIP Lounge a long time ago. Theory wants to come here and revitalize the show, but instead they should just change the show to Austin Theory Live. MVP doesn’t think that has the same ring but shifts over to the Elimination Chamber.
Theory says he has been in the Chamber before and got beaten up by Brock Lesnar. MVP talks about being in the Chamber before and getting beaten up by the Undertaker, which is what would happen if Theory faced Bobby Lashley. That’s brushed off, as Theory has already beaten Lashley twice. Theory isn’t scared of Lashley because Brock Lesnar is coming for him, but MVP thinks he should be. Cue Lashley to go after Theory but MVP is accidentally run over by Lashley. Theory bails and yells at Lashley as he goes.
Finn Balor wants Edge to know that he works Mondays. As for Cody Rhodes, tonight Balor is proving that it should have been his.
Batista has a new movie.
It’s time for MizTV and he isn’t happy that he was the first man out. Miz has been humiliated about everything that has gone wrong and he wants what he deserves. Cue Adam Pearce to say there is a new member of the Raw roster who wants to fight so it’s match time.
Miz vs. Rick Boogs
Hold on though as Miz wants to know if Pearce is serious. Does Pearce know that he is in at $10,000 suit that his wife bought him? Cue a referee so we’re ready to go. Boogs powers Miz into the corner to start so Miz can unbutton his jacket. A left hand just annoys Boogs so he does the spinning gutwrench suplex. The gorilla press World’s Strongest Slam finishes Miz at 1:12.
The Alpha Academy walk past the Maximum Male Models. Maxine Dupree thinks someone, presumably Otis, is perfect.
We look back at Roman Reigns retaining the World Title over Kevin Owens, leading to the big Bloodline beatdown. Sami Zayn tried to call him off but eventually turned on Reigns, earning himself a huge beatdown. That pop/eruption is going to be in my head for a bit.
Here is Bayley for a chat. She dominated the Royal Rumble, with a highlight of eliminating Becky Lynch. That means it’s over with Lynch because she has beaten her again and again. Cue Becky to say they’re not done until she says they’re done. Her goal at the Royal Rumble was to prevent Bayley or Damage Ctrl from winning. Becky thinks Bayley is making excuses for getting out of the cage match last week but Bayley isn’t having that.
Bayley says that Becky isn’t good enough for any of this, including her husband Seth Rollins. Bayley: “The only reason he married you is because he knocked you up.” Becky thought they were only fighting about wrestling so how about they have that cage match next week in Orlando where all of this started. Bayley says no so Becky drags out Dakota Kai with a chair wrapped around her leg. That’s enough for the match to be mad, but Becky implies she already took out Iyo Sky.
Adam Pearce has two announcements. First up: Bayley vs. Becky Lynch in a cage is set for next week. Second: there will be a women’s Elimination Chamber match for the right to challenge Bianca Belair at Wrestlemania. The first four participants are the four runners up in the Royal Rumble: Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Asuka and Nikki Cross. We will also find out one more of the final two participants in a four way match between Candice LeRae, Michin, Carmella and Piper Niven, but here is Chelsea Green to interrupt. She is NOT happy with her accommodations and wants Pearce to do something about it. Swiss chocolate is promised.
Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bronson Reed
Earlier today, Mustafa Ali annoyed Ziggler about getting ANOTHER opportunity handed to him. Ziggler tries to go fast to start but Reed runs him over without much trouble. We’re already in the chinlock but Ziggler fights up and grabs a front facelock. That’s broken up and Reed drops him, setting up the Tsunami for the pin at 3:18.
Rating: C-. Not much to see here but I wouldn’t have bet on Ziggler losing, at least not so dominantly. Reed is someone who might not have the longest shelf life, but he has one of the best looking splashes I’ve ever seen. That might be enough to take him pretty far and there are far worse ideas out there.
Carmella is back but runs into Asuka (minus clown gear). She isn’t scared of Asuka, who smiles to reveal blue teeth and mist dribbling down her chin.
Corey Graves is a bit freaked out.
Rick Boogs is glad to be back and lets out a yell. The Street Profits and Elias are glad to have him back too. Well maybe not so much Elias, who isn’t sure if Elias is a real artist. With Boogs gone, Ford and Elias talk some trash about their Elimination Chamber qualifying match. Angelo Dawkins is ready to qualify against Damian Priest too.
Cody Rhodes vs. Finn Balor
The rest of Judgment Day is here with Balor, who gets knocked outside to send us to an early break. Back with Cody not being able to hit the Alabama Slam, allowing Balor to start in on the recently repaired pectoral. Rhodes (not Rollins, Graves) grabs a dragon screw legwhip over the ropes though and there’s the suicide dive on the floor. Priest and Dominik are taken out and it’s a snap powerslam for two on Balor back inside. The Cody Cutter is blocked though and we take a break.
Back with Cody hitting a superplex and the Cody Cutter connects for two. Cross Rhodes is broken up though and Balor hits a Pele. The shotgun dropkick is countered with a superkick but Cody’s Figure Four is countered into a small package for two. The Judgment Day surrounds Cody and, like clockwork, here is Edge to go after them. Beth Phoenix runs out to spear Rhea Ripley and an Edge distraction breaks up the Coup de Grace. Three Cross Rhodes finish Balor at 14:58.
Rating: B-. Solid match here as Rhodes gets another win over another former World Champion. Rhodes is going to get the rocket strapped to his back until Wrestlemania and there is a very good chance that it works out. On the other hand you have Balor, who is somehow by far the most successful star on his team and is also the least important member at the moment. I’m not sure I get that but
Overall Rating: C+. Good enough show, though it was definitely taking a breather after the Rumble. Cody’s spot is set, but for now the more interesting thing is going to be the Sami Zayn story. WWE can work on that at Elimination Chamber, but Mondays are going to belong to Cody for the next few months. This week mainly set up Elimination Chamber, which is only going to be so interesting as qualifying matches have a pretty firm ceiling. What we got was good though, and the Road To Wrestlemania is already looking promising.
Seth Rollins b. Chad Gable – Pedigree
Iyo Sky b. Candice LeRae – Sunset flip
Johnny Gargano b. Baron Corbin – Rollup
Rick Boogs b. Miz – Gorilla press World’s Strongest Slam
Bronson Reed b. Dolph Ziggler – Tsunami
Cody Rhodes b. Finn Balor – Cross Rhodes
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