WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley build momentum after Royal Rumble victories


Two days after the Royal Rumble, WWE began the build to both Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania. That build included both Royal Rumble winners appearing on the show and calling their shots.

For men's Rumble winner Cody Rhodes, that meant addressing his WrestleMania match with undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns -- though he'd end up getting in the ring with Finn Balor before the end of the night. For the winner of the women's Rumble, Rhea Ripley, it meant calling her shot between Raw champion Bianca Belair and SmackDown champion Charlotte Flair, with Ripley eventually choosing Flair as her WrestleMania opponent.

In addition, four men and four women were confirmed for the upcoming Elimination Chamber matches and groundwork was laid to begin to clear up who the other participants in the match would be.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Cody Rhodes builds on Royal Rumble victory

Rhodes opened the show just two days removed from his triumph in the men's Royal Rumble match. After a typically emotional Rhodes promo about the challenge standing in front of him in the form of Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, The Judgement Day's music hit. The group accused Rhodes of robbing Dominik Mysterio of his moment in the Rumble. Rhodes eventually said he was not going to play it safe ahead of WrestleMania and that he was going to face someone from The Judgement Day before the night was over.

Cody Rhodes def. Finn Balor via pinfall. As Damian Priest and Mysterio appeared ready to interfere, Edge entered from the crowd and took out both men before being attacked by Rhea Ripley. Beth Phoenix then ran to the ring and laid out Ripley with a spear. Edge provided one final distraction, causing Balor to miss the Coup de Grace and allowing Rhodes to hit Cross Rhodes three times for the victory.

WWE has a tough balancing act with keeping Rhodes occupied as the right guy to win the Royal Rumble but also feeling like he's not the top focal point for Reigns given the drama with Sami Zayn and The Bloodline. It was smart to have him open and close the show and get back in some one-on-one action and giving a "first-time ever" match with Balor guaranteed some solid wrestling, which is what we got. But there's going to have to be more than a weekly nod from Cody toward the challenge ahead to truly build up the WrestleMania main event. Grade: B

What else happened on WWE Raw?

  • Seth Rollins def. Chad Gable via pinfall to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. Austin Theory will defend his United States championship inside the Chamber and Rollins vs. Gable was the first of two matches on the night to qualify.
  • IYO Sky def. Candice LaRae via pinfall with a roll-up. Bayley interfered multiple times, first distracting the referee as LaRae had the match won and then distracting LaRae to set up the roll-up for Sky.
  • Rhea Ripley chose to challenge Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania. After winning Saturday's Royal Rumble, Ripley had her choice between SmackDown women's champion Flair and Raw champion Bianca Belair. Ripley ultimately chose to try to get revenge on Flair after Flair defeated her at WrestleMania 36 in 2020.
  • Johnny Gargano def. Baron Corbin via pinfall with a small package to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. Dexter Lumis prevented JBL from interfering in the finish by pulling out a hatchet.
  • MVP hosted Austin Theory in the VIP Lounge. MVP and Theory traded words about Bobby Lashley, with Lashley eventually coming to the ring and attacking Theory. Theory managed to avoid a spear by pulling MVP in the line of fire before escaping from the ring.
  • Rick Boogs def. The Miz via pinfall. As Miz was in the ring complaining about the Royal Rumble, Adam Pearce said he had a man who was looking for an opportunity, leading to the surprise return of Boogs after a nasty injury suffered at last year's WrestleMania.
  • Becky Lynch challenged Bayley to a steel cage match for next Monday night. After their previously scheduled cage match didn't happen at Raw is XXX, Lynch again made the challenge, which Bayley initially refused before relenting as Lynch pulled Dakota Kai out from backstage with a chair wrapped around her ankle.
  • Asuka, Nikki Cross, Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan were all announced entrants in the women's Elimination Chamber match, with two more women set to qualify in the coming weeks. The winner will face Bianca Belair at WrestleMania for the Raw women's championship.
  • Bronson Reed def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. This left just two more open slots to fill in the Elimination Chamber match.
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January 31, 2023, 3:55 AM
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