Raw recap and reactions: Is finishing this story enough?



Cody Rhodes and Sami Zayn both want to finish their stories, but as of now, only one of them is truly worth telling.

Just a few hours removed from setting Montreal on fire, WWE invaded Ottawa for Raw.

What’s on Sami Zayn’s mind? What about Cody Rhodes? And is Edge truly finished with the Judgment Day? Asuka looks focused and ready for Bianca Belair, but she made a few enemies on her way to the top. How’s that working for her?

Claire’s got you covered over there while I’m covering you here.

Let’s get dangerous talk Raw!

Championship Tribulations

Going to talk about Cody Rhodes for a bit so indulge me if you will. For starters, through no fault of his own, anything between he and Roman pales when compared to Sami. But that puts Cody and everyone else in a tight jam. How do you make his angle with Roman just as if not more compelling than everything happening around them? Well, you need another gear but so far, the best we have is Cody’s whole “finish the story” thing. Which is fine for a couple weeks but given the elephant in the room, it’s not enough. To say nothing of the fact we have an entire month of storytelling left.

Honestly? I’m not sure they can handle that right now. And it’s not because of anyone involved. Paul Heyman did his best, which is always pretty good, but count me underwhelmed. So much so that Cody only semi-acknowledged Heyman’s words. I like the angle Heyman took: schooling Cody on the champion’s responsibilities and how the job strains a family. Heyman using Dustin Rhodes’ reflection on how Dusty’s commitment affected their home life was a beautiful touch. While Cody sold the words through his body language and facial expressions, his words said otherwise. Even he is bored with Heyman already and wants Roman face to face.

We need that because these two are practically on different planets at the moment. But even when they do meet, what’s Roman’s motivation? After dealing with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the past few months, and all that comes along with those two, getting involved with Cody can’t possibly hold the same weight. Sure, defending the championship is always his goal, but Roman’s character works better when there’s something personal at stake. And Roman’s matches function at such a high level in that arena as well. This is personal for Cody as it goes back to his dad and finishing his family’s story. Cody brings the fire and passion of a man who believes his family got the short end of the stick for far too long. However, with the Bloodline in disarray, Roman seems concerned with the people he believes put his family in jeopardy. And yeah, Cody isn’t on that list.

I wish I had the answer. For one, that’s more commas in my bank account because I’d be working for WWE. But I also just wish I knew. A month is a long time and if the best we’re getting for 31 days is “finish the story” then I vote for the end of that chapter right now.


Another Enemy, Not Even a Frenemy

Sami Zayn started the show overwhelmed and unsatisfied. While he didn’t defeat Roman at Elimination Chamber, burning down the Bloodline remains high on his priority list. But between all the “thank you’s” and declarations, Zayn had one person on his mind: Kevin Owens.

After the Elimination Chamber, I said Sami and KO’s eventual reconciliation needs time. The way these two left things after Survivor Series, a quick fix and a handshake doesn’t suffice. KO confirmed that this week. After Sami acknowledged their tribulations, their wars, and their unforgivable actions toward each other, KO said he won’t ride on the Bloodline with Sami at his side.

KO also confirmed that he saved Sami at Elimination Chamber for him, not for Sami. KO did it for his family, who watched on helplessly at the Royal Rumble, and in hopes that Sami’s family won’t suffer the same fate. KO suggested Sami hit up Jey Uso if he wants a partner for his crusade against the Bloodline.

So, yeah, that’s cold. But also appropriate. They played this perfectly. Sami extended the olive branch knowing he might get smacked with said branch. KO looked nonplussed and truly emotionless as he listened to his former friend. The Jey Uso thing, while cold, acknowledges that brotherhood and reminds Sami that he has work to do if he wants any friendships in that locker room.

Give it time, let it cook, and get us where we need to go.


Maybe someone realized that they went a little too far with how JBL and Baron Corbin ended their partnership. JBL buried the guy on national television and no, he didn’t go into business for himself either. This week, we got some of a Corbin reclamation project. While no one believed Corbin might defeat Sami Zayn in Ottawa 48 hours after Elimination Chamber, Corbin at least looked competitive. That’s the most important thing for him going forward. Yes, he picked this fight because he felt Sami disrespected him last week (he didn’t) but again, Corbin looked competent and powerful. That’s a whole lot better than anything else he’s done for the past few months by JBL’s side.

Stand by Your Woman

I love Dom. Absolutely love him. Everything he and Rhea touch turns golden, and their sit-down interview with Byron Saxton showed why. Dom plays his cheerleader role perfectly, chiming in with comical tough talk every now and then with idle threats. He enhances Rhea as well, which doesn’t take a lot to do but still. Rhea quickly moved on from Beth Phoenix, although acknowledging their unfinished business, and turned her attention towards Charlotte Flair. I don’t know how WWE plays this in April, but Rhea needs that championship. She’s the hottest woman in the territory right now and is a lot more interesting than Flair.

Hopefully we get these two together rather than Byron playing telephone and relaying messages.


I have no clue what they’re doing with Ali. Dolph Ziggler gave him a pep talk last week and the two wrestled this week. Ali countered the Fameasser rather dopely and surprised Dolph with crucifix pin. It wasn’t a long affair, which works when it’s a surprise victory, but hopefully this puts an end to Ali’s current complaining character. While I think his arguments hold tons of weight as it relates to his career and behind the scenes machinations, those arguments come off as whining without aggressively doing something about it. Stone Cold Steve Austin turned years of frustration into something tangible that the crowd got behind in a major way.

I’m not comparing Ali to Austin, but just using him as an example of someone taking their real-life frustrations and using it for character accentuation. Whether they plan on pushing Ali to the moon or not, it better serves his character if he shows more assertiveness, aggression, and anger rather than using sarcasm as his chief tool.

Just my thoughts.

Asuka x Crazy

Nikki Cross is the perfect opponent for Asuka this week. Asuka has her date Bianca Belair but Nikki battling Nikki presents a different type of danger. Cross has no scruples or rules; she does what she does and hopes her opponents hurt as a result. So it’s no wonder that Asuka hurt her foot or shin at one point in the match when Nikki ducked a kick and Asuka connected with the ring post. While it didn’t have long-lasting effects, it did illustrate how unpaved Asuka’s rode to Bianca is for the next month.

Asuka got the win but it took a lot out of her. She tried getting into Bianca’s head with some post match mind games, but she’s got Carmela on next week’s plate. So maybe, just maybe, focusing on the people in front of her rather than the person behind the WrestleMania sign might serve her better.

Bianca’s the champ but seemingly Asuka has the bullseye on her back.

You’ll Do

Seth Rollins using Miz as a Logan Paul surrogate makes so much sense. It’s well-done storytelling through matchmaking with both men acknowledging what’s happening. Seth almost let Miz get the better of him on several occasions, proving his emotions ran hotter than New York City pavement in August.

So what’s the big deal here? Well, the ending. Seth set up Miz for a Curb Stomp. Cool, match over. Right? Nah. Seth paced around the ring, listened to the crowd, and stomped Miz’s face into the mat one more time.

Then, he paced the ring some more with visions of Logan dancing in his head, ignored the ref, and hit Miz with a third Curb Stomp.

The ref stopped the match, called it in Seth’s favor, and WWE’s Joker walked away with a win. But he clearly wants Paul and this match served as a nice appetizer.


Let’s just keep this one simple: Becky and Lita challenged Damage CTRL for their tag team championships. When? Next week. Once again, Bayley answered for her teammates and probably got them in more trouble than they wanted.

The best moments for this Ding, Dong, Hello? Bayley laughing at Becky for having no friends, Bayley telling Becky and Lita to use the door, Bayley telling them they can’t come in, and lastly, Bayley telling Lita she doesn’t work here anymore so she can’t come in the door.

So, yeah, Bayley. I clearly chose the wrong headline.


Shoutout to Corey Graves for the line of the night when Maxxine Dupri showed up during Chad Gable’s match with Bryson Reed: “Otis is a man easily distracted by snacks.”

I mean, I get it, Otis. I completely get and feel you.

Bronson Reed’s domination tour continues. While Gable gave him some go, and even lifted the big man for beautiful German Suplex, this was all about Bronson and Otis. Bronson got the W while Maxxine’s eye for Otis got bigger.

Edge’s Judgment

Edge vs. Judgment Day is a long feud. The more Edge said he put the group in his rearview mirror, the more we all knew the reality. Edge did the equivalent of saying he’ll be right back in a horror movie.

Sure enough, Finn Balor crept ringside, proverbial knife in hand, with designs on ruining Edge’s United States championship match against Austin Theory. Before the match, Edge spoke on getting back to his original goals, with championship gold sitting at the top of the list.

Again, they telegraphed the ending, but that’s not a bad thing. Well, that depends on your feelings about this feud overall and whether you want Finn vs. Edge, possibly at WrestleMania.

The fact Edge came this close to defeating Austin Theory makes it sting even more for the R-Rated One. I wonder if Edge goes back to another persona or channels something different since I’m positive his anger towards Finn knows no bounds right now. Meanwhile, he and Theory wrestled an entertaining match, with both men cutting some corners for the W. As always, I appreciate the fact Edge’s matches incorporate his entire WWE history.

Yeah, No

As part of vengeance for Bobby Lashley, and to get in his good graces, MVP challenged Brock Lesnar to a Mania match with…Omos.

Nope, don’t want it. But I look forward to whatever way they wiggle out of that one and into Brock’s actual Mania match.

It’s also weird that MVP pulled that move with no pushback from Bobby, who was in the building and clearly pissed. Really weird.

Raw was, as it is usually these days, a solid show. Nothing spectacular, nor was it awful. The truly out of this world great shows don’t come often. But after years of haphazardness, Raw finally does all the basics right and simply builds on those weekly.

That’s my thoughts. Right or wrong, just how I felt at the time. What are your thoughts?

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