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WWE Raw Review 1/1/24

Michael Cole and Wade Barrett are in the ring to open things up and run down the card, which is certainly a different way to go. The former WWE Champion is confirmed to be returning tonight as well.

We recap Becky Lynch vs. Nia Jax, which started over five years ago when Jax blasted Lynch with a right hand and hurt her. Then they didn’t do anything about it for years and now we’re having a showdown.

Match 1 Nia Jax vs. Becky Lynch

Jax powers her around to start and shrugs off Becky’s right hands. A bearhug doesn’t work long for Jax but she easily blocks the Bexploder. Lynch is back up with a missile dropkick for two and we take a break.

Back with Lynch getting two off a Molly Go Round but Jax runs her over. The legdrop misses though and they head outside, where Jax punches the post by mistake.

Becky avoids a cannonball against the barricade but Jax beats the count back in. The guillotine legdrop gives Lynch two so she goes for the armbar. That’s countered into a heck of a powerbomb for two so the Annihilator is loaded up.

Lynch realizes that might hurt and goes up top, only to have a super Manhandle Slam countered into the super Samoan Drop for two. The crowd is VERY interested in the kickout so Jax sends her face first into the mat, followed by the Annihilator for the pin at 11:53.

Official Result Nia Jax Wins

Rating: C+. It’s one of Jax’s best matches ever and the fans were way into the near falls near the end. Lynch losing is a rare sight to see and in theory sets up Jax as the big challenger to Rhea Ripley in Australia at Elimination Chamber. That being said, I’m not sure where this leaves Lynch, save for a rematch where she gets her revenge down the line.

Lynch is bleeding from the mouth.

We recap Shinsuke Nakamura’s American Nightmare Before Christmas from a few weeks ago, leading to a brawl with Cody Rhodes.

Here is Cody Rhodes for a chat. Rhodes talks about how it’s a new year but he is stuck on Shinsuke Nakamura. It’s not because of the poem or the poison mist, but rather because this should be over.

Rhodes wants to finish this now, so here is Nakamura on the screen. He’d rather wait a week so he can finish Rhodes’ story and then close the book. Nakamura mists the camera for added evil effect. That should do fine for a main event next week.

Match 2 Kofi Kingston/Jey Uso vs. Imperium

Kofi is in shorts and sneakers, making me think he had a luggage issue. Kofi flips out of Vinci’s armbar to start but Vinci takes him into the corner anyway. Kaiser comes in and hammers away, including sending Kofi into the corner as we take a break.

Back with Kofi dropkicking Vinci out of the air…and the match is stopped at 6:18 as Vinci is hurt. Not enough shown to rate due to the break and the injury but that crash was nasty.

Official Result Kofi Kingston & Jey Uso Win via ref stoppage

Vinci does walk out after the match so that’s a big relief.

Video on the holiday tour.

Video on Ivy Nile.

Here is Miz for MizTV, featuring the Judgment Day as special guests. Actually never mind as here is R-Truth instead. Truth insists that the team was behind him but they slipped away. Miz asks if Truth is seeing invisible people again, which gets us a Little Jimmy reference.

Truth sits down (in the one guest chair despite the whole team being scheduled) so Miz can ask him what exactly he does for the team. It turns out Truth does a lot of things, like trying to make the team more popular.

Cue JD McDonagh and Dominik Mysterio to say this is over, but Truth brings up McDonagh losing to be thrown off the team. Dominik gets booed out of the building over and over until he eventually asks Miz how bad his 2023 went.

Miz talks about the moments he made, while Dominik’s lone moment was being spanked by Rey Mysterio. Then he got whipped by CM Punk over the holidays! Dominik issues the challenge for the tag match, but Truth isn’t sure which team he’s on.

He thinks he’s teaming with Miz to turn on him, but then ducks McDonagh’s clothesline. The villains are cleared out and we take a break.

Match 3 Miz/R-Truth vs. Judgment Day

Joined in progress with Miz taking Dominik down. Truth comes in for the twisting forearm to Mysterio as we talk about Awesome Truth for a change. A cheap shot puts Truth on the floor though and we take a break.

Back with Truth getting on the apron next to Judgment Day and Miz sending Mysterio outside. McDonagh gets in a headbutt….and tags in Truth. Judgment Day isn’t sure what’s going on but they go with it anyway. Truth accidentally hits McDonagh though, allowing the Skull Crushing Finale (after Truth says “I’m sorry Miz. I love you.”) to finish for Miz at 7:23.

Official Result Miz &R Truth Win

Rating: C. The match was goofy comedy and they aren’t hiding what they’re doing here. That’s a perfectly fine way to go as well, as Mysterio and McDonagh are hardly serious stars and beating them isn’t going to hurt them in any significant way. I could go for more of Truth and Miz, as the two of them have some very funny moments together.

Chelsea Green and Piper Niven invade the club and want a rematch with Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. Instead they get drinks thrown in their faces, because this week is about dancing.

Rhea Ripley is ready to hurt Ivy Nile.

Match 4 Raw Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley vs. Ivy Nile

Ripley is defending but has to slip out of an early fireman’s carry attempt. That’s not cool with Ripley, who powers out and sends Nile face first into the mat. Nile is back up with a toss out to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Nile striking away and hitting a leg lariat for two. Nile slips out of a belly to back suplex but gets caught with a heck of a headbutt.

A missile dropkick gives Ripley two but Nile’s suplex gets the same. Ripley drops her with a facebuster and clothesline, followed by a belly to back faceplant for two.

Nile catches her on top though and, after pulling Ripley face first into the turnbuckle, grabs a bottom rope German superplex for two. Nile goes up but gets headbutted out of the air for a nasty crash. Riptide retains the title at 11:54.

Official Result and still Raw Women's Champion Rhea Ripley

Rating: C+. The problem for Ripley is she has so few serious challengers. Nile was trying here but clearly not ready for this level and that made an already obvious result a bit more obvious.

The good thing here was Ripley sold for Nile and made her look a lot better than she would have otherwise. If nothing else, it’s nice to see Ripley back in the ring as that isn’t something that takes place very often these days.

It’s time for the return of a former WWE Champion and it’s…..Jinder Mahal. Even he acknowledges the disappointment before bragging about his success. Mahal rants about how divided the UNITED States are right now and goes into Punjabi.

He’s happy because everyone is united in booing….their own National Anthem in Punjabi. Mahal talks about how he’s different than foreigners like the Iron Sheik, who exposed America for what it is. We get some more Punjabi but here’s THE ROCK for the big interruption.

After taking some time to get to the ring, Rock says Mahal is in trouble now. Mahal is right about one thing: he isn’t the Iron Sheik. We get a Sheik impression from Rock, before Rock tells Mahal why he sucks.

Well hang on though as Sheik talks to Rock and tells him what to say: Mahal is the biggest as***** on God’s green earth. Also, no one likes him and he’s not funny.

Rock: “If you were one of the Rock’s movies, it would be Baywatch.” Mahal: “I’ve never seen Baywatch.” Rock: “Well nobody else did either. Shut your mouth when the Rock is talking to you.”

Rock goes on about why America is great and doesn’t want to hear Mahal call himself the Modern Day Maharajah. Instead he calls Mahal the Day 1 Douchebag and gets the fans chanting it for him, bringing back the “this side says this and this side says that”.

We get a version of the National Anthem, complete with what sounds like a steroids joke about Mahal, which is enough to trigger the fight. The Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow leave Mahal running off so Rock talks about going to get something to eat after the show. When he goes out, should he sit in a booth, at the bar, or… the head of the table?

Well. That happened. This was a long segment that is going to be remembered for six words at the end and that’s just fine. I’m not sure what the Rock is going to do or when he’s going to get in the ring (assuming he does), but there are a lot of interesting options out there for multiple shows coming up and this just made it better.

I’m not the biggest Rock fan, but you can feel the energy when he is out there and he makes things seem bigger. Also: Rock’s stuff hasn’t aged well, but Mahal handled himself better than I would have expected here, even if he was little more than a means to an end.

Match 5 Tegan Nox/Natalya vs. Shayna Baszler/Zoey Stark

Baszler runs Natalya over to start and we take a break less than a minute in. Back with Nox hitting a Molly Go Round for two but Baszler runs her over. The Z360 finishes for Stark at 5:29. Another match without enough shown to rate, but this was the death spot of death spots.

Official Result Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark win

Natalya does not seem pleased.

Video on Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre.

Match 6 Raw World Title: Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre

Rollins is defending and they go outside fast, with Rollins hitting a forearm off the steps. McIntyre can’t get an Alabama Slam but can hit a belly to belly on the floor as we take a break. Back with McIntyre still hammering away but McIntyre misses a charge into the post to put him outside again.

A suicide dive drops McIntyre again and they get back in. This time McIntyre heads up and gets superplexed back down, only to reverse Rollins’ Falcon Arrow into one of his own as we take a break. Back again with McIntyre hitting a super White Noise, followed by a neckbreaker.

The Claymore is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two, followed by a low superkick. The Pedigree gives Rollins two and they both need a breather.

Cue Damian Priest with the briefcase and he blasts Rollins in the face! McIntyre Claymores Priest and drops Dominik Mysterio, followed by a Claymore to Rollins….but the cover pulls Rollins’ foot onto the rope. McIntyre can’t believe it so they go outside, with Rollins hitting a Pedigree onto the announcers’ table. Back in and the Stomp retains the title at 18:03.

Official Result Still Raw World Heavyweight Champion Seth Freakin Rollins

Rating: B. I was getting into this one and they had me wondering where it was going with the Priest appearance. At the same time, McIntyre has no one to blame but himself here, which should push him further over the edge. Rollins gets another win to clear out McIntyre and we should be on the way to his showdown with Punk, which could very well headline one night of Wrestlemania. Good main event here, with the match getting some time to develop.

Priest is mad to end the show.

Overall Thoughts

This was a show that was more engaging/entertaining than good, as the main event was the only match that really delivered. The opener was good enough, two matches were really short (granted one was stopped early) and Ripley won a match without much drama.

The thing is, there was one big moment on here and that is what will be remembered. WWE wanted to start the year off with a bang and that is what they did, delivering a show that might not have been great but did what it was supposed to do, which is more important.


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