Whether WWE had planned for this RAW to be an ordinary episode or not, after everything that happened online over the weekend, by showtime they surely knew it couldn’t be. The #WeWantCody hashtag trended number one for three days, and the video from Friday’s Smackdown of Cody Rhodes apparently introducing The Rock as an alternate WrestleMania challenger for Roman Reigns was downvoted more than any other WWE YouTube upload in company history.

It was clear that a decent portion of the company’s fans were not happy with the seemingly last-minute creative pivot, and weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure. Whether they would try and hijack the show, and how WWE would respond if they did, had yet to be seen.

So, WWE RAW was Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 5, 2024. These are my thoughts:

  • Well, they’re leading with, and leaning into the controversy. The crowd, on the hard-cam side at least, was full of “We Want Cody” signs. Whether WWE produced and handed these signs out themselves, as some have suggested, or if they were fan-made, it was clear that this particular messaging was something the company was okay with, and were trying to control.
  • World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins headed to the ring first. I feel bad for him that he had to be the one, who, in storyline, instigated this very unpopular twist. At least the crowd was only booing the suggestion that Cody should face him at Mania instead of Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, and not booing Rollins for anything else.
  • Seth only spoke for a bit, as much as the crowd would allow, before asking Cody to join him in the ring. As they stood together, the crowd started chanting “Rocky Sucks!”, which was not something Rollins expected to hear, he said as much. Michael Cole on commentary even remarked “Is this 1996?”. This was not messaging WWE expected to hear. It aired this time, but they muted the crowd when they were chanting it later in the show.
The crowd holding We Want Cody signs as Cody Rhodes arrives at the ring on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • Before Cody could announce his decision, because officially in storyline it is his decision. Because he won the Royal Rumble. Why did he win the Rumble if they were going with Roman/Rock? I digress, and will save that for somewhere else. Back to RAW. Yes, before Cody could announce his decision, Drew McIntyre’s music hit, and Drew came out. Because of course he did.
  • I love how Drew has decided to make every major storyline, including the real world-inspired storylines, about himself. In this case, he even used the occasion to plug his new CM Punk’s WrestleMania Main Event Dreams Gravestone meme t-shirt. This, and McIntyre attacking Rollins, was pretty much the only way to end a segment that couldn’t answer any questions that we found out would be answered at a press conference on Thursday.
Drew McIntyre, wearing his new CM Punk meme shirt, confronts Cody Rhodes and World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • RAW rolls on. And it did so with the Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Match to determine who will face British Strong Style, with the winner of that match facing Judgement Day’s Finn Bálor and Damian Priest for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships at Elimination Chamber.
  • It was a little bit more methodical than its Smackdown equivalent last Friday, but it was still chaotic. It was clear that either The Creed Brothers or DIY would win. Imperium and The New Day were in it mainly to continue their feud with each other. Julius and Brutus Creed were impressive as always, but Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa just seemed like they wanted it more, and won.
  • I’m 50/50 on who is going to Australia. On one hand, DIY have a history with Judgement Day, but on the other, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate seem poised for a push. Albeit, a championship match at a stadium show against established heels is a helluva push for a new team.
Brutus Creed applies an ankle lock on Giovanni Vinci, as Julius Creed prepares to slam Tommaso Ciampa while Xavier Woods kicks him during the Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Match on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • Becky Lynch doing one of those walking promos? I’m here for it!
  • Her match against Shayna Baszler was an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match, and since the winner of the Women’s Elimination Chamber will face Rhea Ripley for the Women’s World Championship at WrestleMania, the outcome of this match was almost certain. Lynch is a massive favorite to face Ripley, so at the very least, she’ll qualify.
  • Still, it was a good match. There were plenty of near falls. Baszler had the Kirafuta Clutch applied at one point, and Lynch even tried an armbar, despite not being known for her submission holds. Eventually, the Manhandle Slam secured the victory, and the spot at the Chamber for Becky. Her first time in the structure.
Shayna Baszler applies the Kirafuta Clutch to Becky Lynch during an Elimination Chamber Qualifier Match on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • Pat McAfee’s “No The Man’s Land” line was kinda funny.
  • I’m glad to see Liv Morgan back on RAW.
  • Glad to see Liv Morgan’s on Raw. While Lynch is still my favorite to win in Perth, Liv makes a compelling case for her wanting to get revenge on Ripley. She’s now a close second in my books.
  • Drew’s backstage interaction with Adam Pearce was a fun way to showcase McIntyre’s attitude, and Pearce’s strong, but frazzled, persona once again. Also, the production nerd in me wonders about if the people in the arena were still listening to Pearce and Drew on the screen when Rhea Ripley’s music hit.
  • You don’t usually see a fired up Rhea Ripley, but we when you do it something special. Nia Jax as her Elimination Chamber opponent is a very good choice, if an expected one. This way, Rhea will undoubtedly be the incredibly over hometown babyface, and quite possibly the Main Event of the Australian Premium Live Event. The rest of Judgement Day should, and will, stay out of this one. I’d even suggest Hell in a Cell, if it wasn’t for the fact that there will already be one massive structure in Perth. Maybe a street fight?
Nia Jax after attacking Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley, after RAW General Manager Adam Pearce tried to stop the altercation on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • Ivar got his win back over Akira Tozawa in the mixed tag team match that saw them teaming with Valhalla and Maxxine Dupri respectively. There was some back-and-forth between Valhalla and Dupree, and some of it didn’t look that great TBH. When Ivar hit the World’s Strongest Slam, that was all she wrote for the match, and I hope for the feud, or at least this chapter in it.
  • So R-Truth thinks that what Judgement Day did to him last week was just another initiation, and Priest is cool with him hanging out in their clubhouse as long as no one else from the faction heard him say it. Okay, so this is continuing, or is it?
  • The Miz versus JD McDonough was both a really nice hard-hitting match and a funny bit of comedy when Truth came in through the stands giving away t-shirts. I’m starting to think, though, that Truth may realize he’s not part of Judgement Day, but is pretending that he doesn’t know, so he can screw them over by “accident” like when he essentially put Dominik Mysterio at ringside in a strait jacket, and when he distracted McDonagh with the money. He doesn’t even like JD, and he picked up the cash quickly after Miz used the distraction to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
The Miz pins JD McDonagh as R-Truth’s money falls all over the ring on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • So Kayden Carter and Katana Chance are going to bring the fight instead of the party this time? Good call. Come to think of it, in storyline it would make more sense if they were on Smackdown, that way they could start the clubbing after the show, rather than show up hung over on Mondays.
  • Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci being interrupted by Bron Breakker backstage? Hmm, I wonder if this might be foreshadowing something!
  • Yes! We’re getting Gunther versus Jey for the Intercontinental Championship. Probably on another RAW episode, but still.
  • The segment was the right way to set this up, with Gunther being perfectly snobby, and Jey working the crowd while listing off his accomplishments. Regardless of what may have been on this crowd’s mind, they all got happy and started dancing with Main Event Jey Uso.
Intercontinental Champion Gunther shoves Jey Uso on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • Is “Yeet!” becoming the new “What?” If so, I’m here for it.
  • The Kabuki Warriors are clearly the most theatrically stylized tag team going. Also, they are the sort of champions that I can see elevating the division. Them in a main event of a show, or even in the middle of the card at WrestleMania, wouldn’t need any returning legends as opponents to make it feel like the match belongs. Of course, that is if they get worthy opponents. saying in particular are probably the most theatrical stylized team I’ve seen in a while
  • I like how Chelsea Green and Piper Niven are now just hanging with the other teams, but standing out, watching the match backstage. Maybe the former champs could take on the current champs, if it can somehow work story-wise.
  • I knew Carter and Chance wouldn’t win unless there was interference from Bayley. There wasn’t, and they didn’t. They did put on a good show. There were near-falls, and they almost pulled off a Keg Stand, but it wasn’t enough for Kairi Sane sneaking around, and her pulling off her Insane Elbow, which is quickly becoming my new favorite move. And Asuka is just Asuka…’nuff said.
The Kabuki Warriors Kairi Sane (l) and Asuka (r) double-team Katana Chance on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • Cody’s Main Event Bull Rope Match with Shinsuke Nakamura was a hard-fought contest steeped in tradition. I’m sure this was planned to happen around now, well in advance. But given what was on everyone’s mind, it seemed like a step backward to an earlier feud that nobody wanted to see in the current climate.
  • If the crowd seemed quiet during this match, it wasn’t. WWE was muting them because they were chanting “Rocky Sucks!” throughout it.
Cody Rhodes and Shinsuke Nakamura try to submit each other during the Bullwhip Match on WWE RAW February 5 2024
  • After Cody survived the mist to the face and won, Drew McIntyre attacked him. Maybe they are setting up an Elimination Chamber match, or maybe Drew is trying to make Cody versus Seth at Mania be a Triple-Threat. While I’m personally not wild about Cody being anywhere near the World Heavyweight Championship picture, I think we can all agree that a triple-threat is the way to go with Seth’s Mania match. Regardless of who Rollins’ opponent is, if it’s only one, that person is going to win. Seth is injured, and we know he’ll probably be taking time off after Mania. With a triple-threat the match’s outcome will be less predictable.
Drew McIntyre sneak-attacks Cody Rhodes on WWE RAW February 5 2024

This was an awkward episode of RAW to watch, with a few high-spots not related to Cody Rhodes. The crowd reaction, especially the parts of it that didn’t go out on TV, definitely will have WWE thinking, and left us with questions. We’ll have to wait for the Press Confrerence on Thursday to get answers.

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