wrestling / TV Reports

Acero’s WWE RAW Review 1.30.23

January 30, 2023 | Posted by Tony Acero
Cody Rhodes WWE Raw Image Credit: WWE
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Acero’s WWE RAW Review 1.30.23  

I got a chance to win some Raspberry Dunks in like thirty minutes, so if I disappear, please fill in the blanks like a Mad Lib, k thx.

It’s Monday…you know what that means.

Cody Rhodes is here to start the show and remind us that wrestling has more than one royal family.

Cody gets a YOU DESERVE IT chant as he stares at the Mania sign. He ponders if there is anything worth talking about. He says every week there is someone new watching the show, so he wants us and them to know that he is not the same person he was at 19, first day on the job at OVW. A sign on the door, says “Tomorrow’s Superstars Today,” and he thinks to himself before he walks in that he’d be WWE Champion within two years. He was ambitious and delusional. He also thought he’d be the next John Cena. If he could talk to 19 year old him, would he tell him it wasn’t happening? Tell him he’d be slapped so hard on live TV in London that his knees would buckle. Would he tell him about Dashing Cody Rhodes, or bringing the white title back, or that he’d paint his face and become less than. Would he tell him that he’d wife up Brandi or lose his father or gain his child? That he’d bleed all over the world, take an excursion in 2015 and fully focus on the industry’s health and neglecting his own or that he would win the 2023 Royal Rumble?

Truth be Told (Remember that column?!) he wouldn’t tell 19 year old Cody a single thing. Everything he has gone through has been 100% worth it. He comes out and hears the words to Kingdom, his song, but the first words are his own, and he reminds us of those words. WWE has more than one royal family. For this to be real, though, he must stand across from another. He must stand across from an entire Bloodline, the Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table, a man who has had the title for over 800 days.


He has tons of respect for Roman, but in 62 days, he will be crowned. At Mania, pull up a chair, sit wherever you want, because on that night, someone else will be eating. After Mania, he can be Tribal Chief, head of the table, the biggest superstar, but the one thing he wont be is the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion.

Judgment Day cuts the celebration short, and Finn Balor wonders if Cody is returning to do something original, or is he here to knock off his old stuff like Cody has done before? Dominik says Cody ruined their plans for the Rumble. Later tonight, Rhea will tell us who her opponent is. But Dominik was supposed to win the Rumble Match. Cody put his hands on Dom, and ruined his moment. If Cody would have done that in prison, he woulda got got.

Damien Priest takes offense at the Golden Boy, Cody, getting #30.

Dom tells Cody he owes him an apology for ruining his moment.

Cody finally speaks, says he must ask – is he trying to scare Cody straight? Is that what’s going on? This can be very different. He has an immense amount of respect for Rey Mysterio, but Dom says he has none. In fact, he doesn’t respect anyone’s father, especially Cody’s.

Cody offers an ass-kicking to any of the three before him. His music hits and Judgment Day argue silently over who will get the long straw. As they banter, EDGE comes out to attack all three! Cody serves as backup for Edge and joins the beat down as we go to break.

Earlier Today, Austin Theory walked. Not with Elias, though. By himself.

Later Tonight, Cody Rhodes will take on Finn Balor.

Seth Rollins is here to surely talk about that dastardly Logan Paul.

Elimination Chamber Qualifier Match
Seth Rollins vs Chad Gable

Seth tries to outwrestle Gable, but Gable sends him into the corner. Seth faces some stress, but the crowd sings for him and he gets back up. Go behind from Gable, into the corner, roll through, GERMAN to Seth! Into a pin for 1…2..NO!!!! Seth rolls to the outside, but Gable is on the apron. He cannonballs off the top, then sends Seth into the ring. Throat thrust then Gable heads to the top rope. Headbutt! Cover for 1..2…NO!!!!

We are back, and Gable eats a chop from Rollins. Another to the chest. Seth corners Gable, whips, reverse, Seth into the corner, able grabs the leg. Dragon Screw! Gable to the top rope. Moonsault, lands on his feet, Rollins rols through, pin for 1…2.NO!! Seth lifts Gable up for a Buckle Bomb! Seth’s knee still hurting. Otis checks on Gable. Gable corners Seth, tries for Chaos Theory, Rollins lands on his feet. Superkick. Falcon Arrow. Grabs the leg. 1..2…..NO!!!! Rollins up first. Gable on hands and knees. Seth tries for a stomp, Gable dodges, kick from Seth, double underhook, Gable turns this into a pin for 1..2.NO!!! Rollins rolls up for a 1..2…NO!!! They trade pins, Gable bridges out, and tries for a backslide, flips Seth into a DDT and covers for 1……2…..NO!!! SO CLOSE! Gable deadlifts Seth, tries for a German, elbow from Seth. Another. Enzigu—NO!!! Gable picks the ankle! He gets t he lock in! Seth kicks Gable away, Gable still holds onto the ankle, turns back into the Lock. Seth rolls through for a pin! 1..2..NO!!!!

Seth tries for the stomp, again, but Gable snatches his leg out of the air!!! Gable rolls through, RIGHT INTO A PEDIGREE!!!! Seth covers! 1….2…..3!!!

Winner: Seth Rollins
They didn’t need to have a barn burner the day after the Rumble. They didn’t need to have Gable go toe-to-toe with Seth here. But they damn sure did and this was a 100% certified BRISCOE BABY! Holy shit, that was a great 9 minutes. Damn shame there was a commercial.
Total Rating: ****
Match Time: 9:22

Iyo Sky (w/ Bayley and Dakota Kai) vs Candice LeRae (w/ Michin)

LeRae picks the leg, hits the ropes, hops over Iyo, Iyo hits the ropes, ducks under a clothesline, tries for a dropkick, Candice steps back, pins for 1..2.N!O!! Senton to the back and a pin for 1..2…NO! One armed flapjack to Candice. Body slam from Iyo. Iyo with a straightjacket hold from behind. Candice backs Iyo into the corner, then tosses her forward. A kick out of the corner. Running kick to the face. Iyo rolls outside and Candice hits a dropkick from in the ring. Candice heads outside, sends Iyo into the ring, she spins with a kick to Candice on the outside. Iyo hits the ropes. She dives through the ropes with a cross body! Iyo sends Candice into the ring. Iyo to the apron, turns into a kick, and goes flying back outside. Candice springboards into a crossbody of her own!

We back, and Candice has Iyo stacked for a pin. 1..2..NO!!! Candice corners Iyo, lifts her to the top rope, slaps the chest, and sits aside her. Iyo hops down and pulls the leg out from under Candice. She double underhooks and flips Candice onto the knee for a backbreaker. Candice in the corner, Iyo runs with knees to the face. Iyo steps over Candice, heads to the top, Candice up, slaps some ass, and locks up for a German! 1..2….NO!!!! So close. Iyo and Candice go forearm to forearm, fighting their way up to their feet. Candice corners, Iyo shoves, Candice runs with aback elbow, Iyo moves, elbow to running Iyo, Candice ot the top rope, Iyo gets her on the shoulders, Candice with a poison rana! Cover for 1..2…NO!!!! Candice sits Iyo on the top rope again, sits aside again, locks the head and swings, but Iyo holds on and Candice flies by herself to the mat. Iyo with a moonsault, but Candice with the knees! Cradle! Dakota distracts the ref! Michin runs over. Ref notices the pin. 1..2…NO!!!! Iyo with the double knees!

Candice looks to shoot off the ropes but Bayley is there to distract. Iyo rolls Candice up for 1..2…3!!!

Winner: Iyo Sky
They had a bit of a rough start, with the choreographed spots being a bit too obvious, and some miscommunication causing a bit of a stutter on Candice’s part, but they regained their composure after the break and got back on track to give a pretty good second half.
Total Rating: **
Match Time: 9:41

Backstage, Rhea Ripley walks slowly, all smiles, ready to announce her choice.

Rhea Ripley comes out solo, says its been a while since she’s come out by herself, but she really just wanted all the attention on her. Two nights ago, she disrupted the status quo by winning the Rumble at #1. Now she gets to choose who she wants to face.

Three years ago, she had just turned 24, her career had just started, and she was the NXT Women’s Champion. She stood in this ring and challenged Charlotte Flair. She challenged Charlotte, and Charlotte put Rhea in her place. The funny thing about Charlotte is that she is always somehow in the title picture, always at the top of her game, and she hates to give her the credit, but she gets better every year. The normal flow here in the WWE is that Flair is at the top. But she is the disruptor. She doesn’t like the normal formula, the natural flow, and hates things being overplayed. So Charlotte…Rhea advises to enjoy the bowing down to the Queen, because they are about to rise to Rhea Ripley. At Wrestlemania, she puts Charlotte in her place.

Rhea: “Charlotte Flair…I choose you.”

Nice and easy.

Cathy Kelley is backstage with Seth Rollins who wants to talk about Oklahoma, what a crowd, what a fight and win against Gable, and now he is going on to the Chamber. He will take the US Title from Theory, and then come Mania in LA, let’s goooo.

Cathy must ask about the Logan Paul incident, and asks for a comment. Seth chuckles it off a bit, then says….nothing. He walks away from Cathy…something I’d never do.

Elimination Chamber Qualifer Match
Baron Corbin (w/ JBL) vs Johnny Gargano (w/ Dexter Lumis)

Corbin lifts Johnny and corners him, then hits a hard right, knocking him on his ass. Whip to Gargano, who ducks under once, twice, rana to Corbin. Dropkick. Big Boot off the rebound from Corbin. Right from Corbin. He tosses Johnny into the corner, flipping him upside down. GOOZLE! Chokeslam onto the knee! Cover for 1..2.NO!!!! Corbin works the left arm, then lifts up for a body slam. Corbin loses control, and Johnny hits an elbow. Lockup from behind, toss, kick to the head. Corbin runs and gets sent outside. Johnny with a dropkick through the ropes. He hops to the apron, Corbin slides into the ring, shoulder, Johnny springs forward, but Corbin punches him midair.

On the outside, Corbin grabs Johnny by the throat and chokeslams him onto the barricade.

We come back from a break, and Corbin is spinning Johnny in the air for some Deep Six. Cover for 1..2.NO!!! He mounts Johnny and hits a few punches, then removes his shirt. Corbin corners Johnny, runs for a shoulder, but Johnny moves. Corbin to the outside. Johnny with a suicide dive! JBL is pissed! He removes the top of the announce table, but Dexter pulls an axe out of his pants and hacks at JBLs hat. Geez.

Johnny tries to dive into the ring, gets punched, Johnny with a cradle. 1..2….3!!!

Winner: Johnny Gargano
It’s a Corbin match, y’all. What you want me to say?
Total Rating: *
Match Time: 9:08

Up next, the MVP Lounge.

MVP makes his entrance, crosses the velvet rope, and enters the ring to give a little dig to the crowd before introducing his guest.

Austin Theory comes out in the tightest jeans known to man as we see Brock crushing his dreams.

Theory sits on the couch and puts his feet up, then grabs a mic and says wow. Just wow. He thanks MVP for inviting him, saying when he was a little kid, he used to watch the VIP Lounge, that was a long time ago. He’s here to help MVP re-invent it and make it relevant, just like MVP. Think about this: The VIP Lounge Presents: ATL, Austin Theory Live. Even better – just call it Austin Theory Live.

MVP says there is a ring to it, but hot trends come and go, but classics never go out of style. MVP tries to shout out the ATL marquee, says it has a ring to it, but after the Elimination Chamber, Theory may not be. Going in, where is his head?

DID MVP just call him champ? MVP is the same man that calls Lashley the champ, and last week MVP said Lashley was going to beat him. Is that what he thinks? MVP says yes, he knows Bobby can beat him. Just messin, says Theory. Let’s talk about the Chamber. It’s grueling, hard to survive, but he has survived it already. He was in the most grueling spot. Brock F5d him off the top, but here he is. Know why? Cuz he is the ruthlessness that the new generation needs, and no amount of aggression can stop him.

MVP loves this, says he was once a hungry US Champion, and Taker threw him off the top oif the pod, so he knows damn well Theory is terrified. Ya never know who will be in the chamber.

Theory wonders if this is a threat, and MVP says no, he’s putting Theory up on game, kid. MVP calls Lashley more dangerous than The Undertaker to Theory. Theory is glad, because he’s beatin Lashley twice. Lashley wont be in the EC match, so let’s talk about something that isn’t the past.

MVP tries to talk health, and Theory tells him to worry about his. He should be worried about Lashley’s health, too. Everyone knows that Bobby is MVPs meal ticket, and he is going to be chewed up by Brock Lesnar.

Bobby Lashley is here to end this boring ass segment and, hopefully, add to it.

Lashley enters the VIP Lounge, MVP holds him back, Theory tells Bobby to listen to your daddy, and Bobby takes offense. MVP moves aside, and Bobby attacks. He tosses Theory aside, then ruins some furniture. Bobby calls for a spear! Theory up, with the help of MVP’s cane. Lashley with a spear, but Theory pulls MVP in the way, and Bobby hits the spear on MVP!

Backstage, Saxton runs up on Judgment Day to ask about Edge. Finn says he isn’t hard to find, so tell Edge this – he works Mondays. As for Cody, he has been stealing from Finn for years, so tonight he is getting taxed. Finn is comin to collect.

The Miz is in the middle of the ring and is cut off quickly by Adam Pearce, who would like to re-introduce someone to us…

It’s Rick Boogs! He rocks his way down the ramp and enters the ring. Miz questions this presence. He is in a $10,000 suit that his wife bought him. Pearce brings out a ref, and wants Miz to prove how awesome he is.

The Miz vs Rick Boogs

Boogs lifts Miz up and drops him in the corner. Miz stops Rick, teling him he wants to remove his jacket. Rick drums his way into the heart of America so Miz hits him with a left hand. Rick grabs te running Miz, gutwrench toss from one side to the other as Miz’shoes fly off, into a toss.

Miz turns, Boogs lifts with a press, into a slam and a cover. 1…..2….3!!!

Winner: Rick Boogs
I mean…I guess.
Total Rating: NR
Match Time: Less than 3

Otis and Gablw walk by the Maximum Male Models, who call him disgusting and grotesque, but Maxxine says it’s perfect.

Uh oh…

Bayley is back! Did we think she was going to leave the building tonight without talking about taking out Becky Lynch last week. It felt so good. They had so much confidence going into the Rumble. They were dominant. She’s gotta say, though, her personal favorite part was when she eliminated Becky. Finally, the story is over. They’ve ended things. It’s all over.

Becky Lynch must disagree, because here comes the birthday girl.

She calls Bayley a stupid fool and tells her to shut up. They are not done till The Man says they’re done. What Bayley has forgotten is that she has already won the Rumble. She didn’t need to win this year, just needed to make sure Damage Control didn’t. Bayley finds this to be an excuse, Becky says an excuse is robbing these people of a cage match. Bayley is doing whatever she can to avoid a one-on-one, and Bayley laughs at that. She is smart, ok. Read a book.

Bayley knows Becky. She doesn’t like “Rebecca,” she thinks she is overrated. She isn’t good enough for all of this, to be champion, to be in the ring with Bayley one-on-one. She’s not even good enough for her husband. Come on, don’t act like you don’t know. The only reason Seth married her is because he knocked her up.

Becky says whatever this once friendship is, it all started ten years ago in NXT in Orlando, so how bout next week in Orlando, they end it where it began and give her the steel cage match. Bayley says no and laughs.

Becky says she thought she’d say no, so she has something…

Becky drags Dakota Kai out with her leg trapped in a chair. Becky steps on Kai, asks Bayley what’s it going to be?

Bayley seems concerned as Becky grabs the chair and looks to murder Kai with it. Bayley accepts. Becky says thank you, good. Now next week, bring your friends, but Bayley might wanna go check on Iyo in the back.

Backstage, Adam Pearce has two huge announcements. One – Bayley vs Becky next week in a cage. Two – we will find out who will face Bianca at Elimination Chamber when six women enter, and one wins. So far, Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross, and Asuka are automatically in. Next week, a Fatal Four Way will determine who else is in. In that match? Candice LeRae, Michin, Piper Niven, and Carmella.

Chelsea Green is here to complain about the unacceptable accommodations she has been given. She is Chelsea Green, where is her private dressing room and swiss chocolate. She wants this resolved. Pearce is willing to do so, it appears.

Dolph Ziggler vs Bronson Reed

Ziggler tries to escape the clutches, but Reed captures him and tosses him into the corner. Ziggler out, splash in the corner after a kick to the head. POUUNNNNCCEEEEE from Reed! Headbutt to Dolph. Huge body slam. Reed hits the ropes and cannonballs his way into Dolph. Cover for 1..2…NO!!! Cravat from behind by Reed. Jawbreaker creates separation, but Reed hops right back into the hold. DOlph turns into it, another jawbreaker. Reed runs into an elbow, then a kick, Reed misses a splsh. DDT from Ziggler! Cover for 1..2…NO!!!! Ziggler tries for a superkick ,Reed spins him, right hand sends Ziggler reeling. Lockup for a supelx, Ziggler with a surprise Zig Zag!!!! Cover for 1..2…NO!!!! Ziggler attacks on the mat, hitting some knees to the face. He lifts Reed for a headbutt, kick to the knee, hits the ropes, tries for a fameasser, but Reed catches him and hits a powerbomb.

Reed to the top rope. Splash and a cover for 1..2…3!!!

Winner: Bronson Reed
Squishy squish squish
Total Rating: *
Match Time: 3:12

When we return, Carmella is here to tell us she will be winning her spot in the Chamber because Mella is Money.

Insert Asuka, who looks like she’s bout to drop the sickest Bowie-inspired album. Mella tells her she is not afraid of her. Asuka starts to giggle, letting blue liquid seep from her mouth and drip onto her outfit.

Backstage, Rick Boogs feels like he’s climbing a mountain in a loin cloth and he just wants to scream. Being back is electric. The Street Profits are narby, and so is Elias. Boogs says it’s official, he’s back. Ford shares the excitement. Ford says to keep your eyes on him. Boogs flexes. Elias says it takes true skill to be an artist, and Boogs has plenty of potential. Ford tells Elais not to be a hater, tells Rick to put some clothes on so they can head out for a night on the town.

Byron asks the remaining three men how they feel about next week, with Dawkins and Ford getting their own shot at the EC. Ford says he’s beating Elias, but Elias says just like Elvis and Cash, Elias is an American icon. He’s gotta be the next US Champ. Dawkins says next week when he beats priest, he’ll be walking into SoFi the US Champion.

The three argue a bit as we ready for the main event.

Cody Rhodes vs Finn Balor

LOCKUP! Cody corners Finn then Finn shoves Cody off of him. They meet in the middle, with Finn accusing Cody of theft. Cody kicks, drops to his back, uppercut. He grabs Finn for a delayed suplex, holding Finn up for quite some time. He drops Finn in front.

We are back and Cody sets up for an Alabama Slam, but Finn slinks off, drops Cody, and tries to stomp. Finn grabs the arm, trips up Cody, and stomps the pec a few times. Rhea tralks some shit as Cody favors his chest. Finn grabs the head, sends Cody into the corner. Chop to Cody. Finn grabs Cody by the arm again, and again stomps the chest, using the rope for help. Ref stops him at 4, tells him to get off the ropes. Finn to the apron to yell at the crowd. He drapes Cody over the middle rope and hits a knee, another knee attempt but Cody catches the leg. Dragon Screw to Finn’s leg! Disaster Kick to Balor! Finn falls to the outside! Cody hits the ropes! Suicide Dive! Priest gets sent over the timekeepers area, Dom gets sent on the table! Cody back in the ring, flies over Finn, powerslam! Cover for 1..2..NO!!! Finn is able to drop Cody hard and cover for 1..2.NO!!!

We come back and Cody hits a superplex off the top. Finn and Cody go toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring. Back and forth. Finn kicks, holds his hands high, hits the ropes, Cody follows. Cody Cutter! Cover! 1..2…NO!!! Cody grabs Finn, calls for Cross Rhodes, Balor reverses, Cody drops, kicks the head, Slingblade from Finn, he rushes the corner and gets hit by a Superkick! Cover! 1..2…NO!!!! Cody grabs Finn by the boot, goes for a Figure Four, Finn with a cradle. Gets 1..2..N!O!! Cody tries for a Figure Four again, but Finn kicks him outside. Priest and Dom corner Cody, but from the crowd comes EDGE to attack! Priest meets him halfway and gets his ass handed to him. Edge heads towards the ring, attacking Dominik all the way towards the ramp. SPEAR to Dom! Rhea attacks Edge, beating him down on his back with a bunch of rights but…


In the ring, Finn shoots the legs, stomp to the chest of Cody. Finn in the corner. He runs with a shotgun dropkick!

Finn to the top rope! Cody rolls out of the way! Hooks the head! Cross Rhodes! Stands ANOTHER CROSS ROHDES! Stands A THIRD CROS RHODES! Cover for 1..2…3!!!

Winner: Cody Rhodes
Really picked up steam there at the end. The story was simple but effective. A solid main event.
Total Rating: ***
Match Time: 15:18

End Show

The final score: review Good
The 411
Tonight’s episode was a bit of a cooldown after last night, and although that can sometimes be a welcomed change of pace, tonight’s show seemed to drag just a bit too much. A whole lot of talking was had, with varying results. Theory and Dominik both struggled while Lynch and Rhodes did quite well. Still, a lot of talking, and two matches that were hardly that. Thankfully, some solid efforts since H took over makes nights like this much more acceptable as a cool down/set up for future programs. We got some matches settled for both Elimination Chamber and Mania, so I can’t complain too much.

article topics :

RAW, WWE, Tony Acero