It is officially WrestleMania season and we kick things off on the road to ‘Mania with the first Monday Night Raw following the Royal Rumble.

Raw’s new commentary team. Credit: WWE

We get quite the surprise to kick off the show, Pat McAfee has arrived on Raw after returning at the Rumble. McAfee and Cole are the new commentary team for Raw going forward!

CM Punk made his way out with his arm in a sling, it was reported earlier today that he tore his triceps in the Royal Rumble match. Punk said he felt like he had ‘Mania in the palm of his hand Saturday, but he isn’t mad at anyone and wanted to congratulate Cody Rhodes for winning his second consecutive rumble.

He said he has never believed in luck, but he feels a bit unlucky as he did tear his right tricep in the match. Punk hoped he could tape this injury up and keep going, but that just isn’t in the cards. He doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him because his dream has always been to be the main event at ‘Mania, however, it just may never happen.

Punk addresses his injury. Credit: WWE

This injury is just a flesh wound to him, a bump in the road, but he has overcome adversity multiple times in the past. The real bests in the world are the people fighting cancer or the firefighters in the world, he guaranteed he will be back and there is always next year!

Punk could not continue though, as he was interrupted by Drew McIntyre, he said he could relate to everything Punk is saying. He said despite him not being a spiritual person, he prayed that Punk’s injury would happen. Drew said as soon as he got in the rumble he wanted to attack Punk and make sure he was not the next World Champion. When he found out he injured Punk he slept like a baby, and now he’s gonna go on to the main event of ‘Mania and live Punk’s dream.

Drew is the #1 hater in 2024. Credit: WWE

He said his heart hurts more than his tricep and when he comes back he will main-event WrestleMania, but his first point of attack will be Drew. In true villain fashion, Drew attacked Punk with a Glasgow Kiss and stomped on his torn tricep. Sami Zayn, who returned at the Rumble charged into the ring to stop the attack and chased Drew out of there. Drew just showed everyone how evil he is.

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Judgement Day (Finn Bálor & Damian Priest) (c) vs. #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa)

J-Day began this match by beating down on Ciampa, but #DIY then showcased their chemistry by hitting simultaneous springboard crossbodies onto Bálor and Priest. They tried to continue their attack, however, Priest got a sneaky tag to toss Ciampa into the ring apron. Ciampa battled for a tag by dropping Bálor with a reverse DDT and Gargano came in hot. He super-kicked Priest before hitting Bálor with a slingshot spear, Ciampa then helped Gargano deliver an assisted sliced bread to Priest.

The champs eventually got back into it, Priest dropped Ciampa with a tombstone slam and went for South of Heaven, but it was reversed. Gargano then hit Priest with a slingshot DDT, Ciampa hit Bálor with an avalanche White Noise and #DIY caught Bálor with a Meeting in the Middle. However, Priest placed Bálor’s feet on the ropes to break the count. #DIY then locked in two submissions, Gargano had Bálor in the Gargano Escape and Ciampa had Priest in the Sicilian Stretch. Priest broke both holds by lifting Ciampa and dumping him on Gargano.

All four men were now trading strikes, Priest knocked Ciampa to the floor with a superkick and then dropped Gargano with a flat liner on the announce table. He now delivered a Razor’s Edge to Ciampa and Bálor followed that with a Coup de Grace for J-Day to retain their titles.

Winners: Still Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, The Judgement Day (Finn Bálor & Damian Priest)

Following their victory, Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh joined them in the ring to celebrate. Priest said for weeks they’ve shown a different side of J-Day and that is all because of R-Truth. He believes they all owe Truth an apology and invites him out to the ring. Truth made his way out and Priest allowed Truth to say “All rise for the Judgement Day!” He then said he hadn’t been able to sleep because Priest eliminated him in the rumble, so he liquidated all of Priest’s assets!

Truth thinks of Priest as his brother, Bálor is like his weird uncle, there is nothing more he can say about “Tom and Nick” Mysterio and JD is a weird step-brother they don’t want. Priest responded by saying that J-Day is a family, but Truth is not a part of that family. He then said he likes Truth, so he can’t be the one to do this. JD and Dom then attacked Truth ripping his J-Day shirt off, The Miz tried to make the save, but the numbers were still too much. Dom hit Miz with a Frog Splash and J-Day left The Awesome Truth out cold in the ring.

Zoey Stark & Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green & Piper Niven

This match did not last long at all, in less than 3 minutes Stark hit Green with a Z360 to get the victory.

Winners: Zoey Stark & Shayna Baszler

Cody Rhodes has won back-to-back Royal Rumbles, on Saturday he won his second consecutive Rumble and will now head to the main event of WrestleMania to try and finish his story. He started his promo by asking Samantha Irvin to announce him as a two-time Rumble winner once again. Rhodes knows the fans come to live WWE events for action and escape, but people don’t often realize the wrestlers sometimes need to escape too. With tears in his eyes he said Saturday he needed the fans so much, but now let’s get to it and make WrestleMania 40 official.

Potential ‘Mania main event. Credit: WWE

Before he could say anymore he was interrupted by the World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins. He agreed with the Tampa crowd that Rhodes deserved his win and over the last year they’ve developed a mutual respect, so he wanted to congratulate him. Rollins then wanted to be real, he said if he chooses Roman Reigns at ‘Mania he’s making a mistake, he thinks he should fight him instead. He continued that at the Rumble press conference, Cody called himself the guy, but he’s not the guy and Reigns isn’t even the guy either, Rollins says he is the guy and his world title is the title in WWE.

Last year it made sense for Cody to choose Roman and for the last year all he has thought about is Roman, but the landscape of WWE has changed. Rhodes has been there for all of Rollins’ title reign and he has seen him main eventing shows every night defending the World Heavyweight title. Rollins’ title came to be because everyone was sick of Reigns never showing up, never defending the title and cheating his way to victories. Rollins’ title is their title, he has worked through everything with that title and we don’t need to pretend like Reigns is a God anymore, the WWE doesn’t even need Reigns anymore.

He then asked Cody, do you want the Hollywood title, the Hulk Hogan title for posers that politic their way to the top? Or do you want the Dusty Rhodes title? The workhorse championship? The blue-collar championship? The World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins said this isn’t about Dusty anymore, this is about Cody’s decision and he needs to think about this because it’s the biggest decision of his life and he wants to know what’s in Cody’s heart.

Cody responded by saying he has an insane amount of respect for Rollins and this is the last thing he thought he would be thinking about, but he told Rollins he will think about it. Cody then dropped the microphone and left Rollins in the ring. Could Cody be changing his mind about ‘Mania?

Jey Uso vs. Bronson Reed

Reed was quickly using his size advantage to overpower Uso, but Uso responded with his quickness and dove into Reed with a suicide dive. Uso continued with a diving crossbody and sent Reed crashing off the top rope. However, Reed fired back with a running senton and Death Valley driver. He then went to the top rope and dove with a Tsunami, but Uso rolled out of the way and hit Reed with a spear. Uso then went to the top himself and dove with a Uso Splash to get the victory.

Winner: Jey Uso

Andrade chooses Raw. Credit: WWE

Andrade returned in the Royal Rumble and he was in Adam Pearce’s office signing his Raw contract. The GM of Smackdown, Nick Aldis then entered the office and he was visibly disappointed about losing out on Andrade. He said he sees how Pearce plays things after he lent him Bayley for the night, but he was there to discuss Elimination Chamber. However, they never got to discuss the Chamber as Aldis’ phone rang and it was Bron Breakker of NXT!

Becky Lynch was being interviewed about losing the Royal Rumble match. She said she knows she let a lot of people down, but she will not stop until she is back at the top and gets the title back to The Man.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Gunther (c) vs. Kofi Kingston

Kingston tried to start hot, but it was not long before he was planted with a backbreaker and locked into a Boston crab. The hold was released and Gunther delivered an elbow and chop to Kingston before throwing him into the turnbuckle. Kingston battled back with kicks and went for a diving crossbody, but he was caught in mid-air and planted with another backbreaker.

Anytime Kingston tried to build momentum, Gunther cut him off, he slammed Kingston head-first into the ring apron. He then went for a powerbomb, but Kingston sent Gunther into the ring post before landing two suicide dives. Kingston was then able to hit a Trouble in Paradise, however, Gunther rolled out to the floor before Kingston could get a pin. He followed him to the floor and slammed Gunther onto the steel steps before landing a diving leg drop from the top rope back in the ring.

Kingston attempted a second Trouble in Paradise, but it was reversed and Gunther hit a brutal clothesline. However, a second clothesline was blocked and Kingston landed an SOS. Once back on their feet, Gunther was able to hit that second clothesline, a running missile dropkick and a powerbomb to get the victory.

Gunther retains. Credit: WWE

Winner: Still Intercontinental Champion, Gunther

After the match, Xavier Woods came to check on Kingston, but they were then both attacked by Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser. They took out Kingston before throwing Woods head-first into the ring post.

The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) vs. Tegan Nox & Natalya

Nox was giving the women’s tag champs some work as she hit Asuka with a cannonball before she and Natalya both hit sliding dropkicks. However, the Kabuki Warriors came right back to give Nox a beating and Asuka locked her in an ankle lock. Nox broke the hold to land a headbutt and uppercut, she then tagged Natalya in.

Natalya got some offence in, but after Nox was taken out on the outside by Sane she was doomed. The tag champs hit her with a reverse DDT-Insane Elbow combination to get the win.

Winners: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane)

It was announced after the match that Kayden Carter and Katana Chance are getting their rematch for the tag titles next week on Raw.

The Kabuki Warriors were joined in the ring by the rest of Damage CTRL, to welcome their stablemate and the 2024 Women’s Royal Rumble Match winner, Bayley to the ring. Bayley pointed to the ‘Mania sign before giving everyone a chance to take a picture. Damage CTRL has the tag champs, the world champ and the Royal Rumble winner. Bayley said that is all thanks to her, she warned everyone about Damage CTRL and she is proud to stand here as the Rumble winner.

She was in the match the longest that anyone has ever been in the match, beating Rhea Ripley’s record from last year. The Women’s World Champion, Ripley now made her way out to tell her she has accomplished nothing. All of Damage CTRL has a title except Bayley and if she chooses to face her at ‘Mania it will stay that way.

Before Ripley could say anything else she was attacked from behind by Nia Jax and dragged to the ring where Jax dropped three leg drops on Ripley. Jax then went to the second rope and crushed the champion with an Annihilator.

Bayley will instead decide on Friday. Credit: WWE

Jax then told Bayley she can choose Iyo Sky or anyone else, but Ripley won’t be making it to WrestleMania. Bayley shakily said she is making her decision on Friday and left the ring. Jax is coming for Ripley’s title.

Sami Zayn vs. Drew McIntyre

Zayn has a bone to pick with McIntyre after he took him out of action for over a month, but McIntyre began this match by slamming Zayn onto the announce table. However, McIntrye was then distracted by Pat McAfee’s commentary and Zayn hit him with a suicide dive. Despite that dive, McIntyre got back into it with a kick to Zayn’s chest. McIntyre then chopped through Zayn’s chest before placing him on the top rope.

He was looking for an avalanche White Noise, but it was blocked and Zayn hit a sunset flip powerbomb. Zayn then walked the ropes to hit McIntyre with a tornado DDT, he tried to follow that with a Helluva Kick, but he was cut off halfway with a spinebuster. McIntyre followed that with a deadlift sit-out powerbomb and then hit a Glasgow Kiss. He then went to the top rope, but Zayn swept his legs and dropped him with a superplex from the top. Zayn continued his attack with a Blue Thunder Bomb, only to then be caught with a belly-to-belly from McIntyre.

A Claymore finishes the match. Credit: WWE

McIntyre then lifted Zayn on his shoulders, carried him to the top rope and delivered an avalanche White Noise. Zayn recovered and tried to battle back, he went for a Helluva Kick, but McIntyre kneeled with his arms up. Zayn collided with McIntyre’s arms causing an inadvertent low blow. McIntyre then delivered a Claymore to get the victory.

Winner: Drew McIntyre