WWE RAW 2/12/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE Raw," the only show in wrestling history where you can see three men with 1000 combined days as champions in WWE team up together to beat up some Europeans. Seriously, that happened, when Jey Uso teamed up with the New Day on Monday night. Are we going to talk about it here? No! We have other things to talk about — things that appealed not to our minds, but to our hearts.

"Raw" is a three-hour show, so we tend to skip a lot here; for an article about "Raw" that skips absolutely nothing, check out our live coverage/results page. But if you want to know what the WINC writing and editorial staff thought about this episode — the moments that stood out to us, for better or for worse — this is the place to be. Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 2/12/24 episode of "WWE Raw."

Hated: Ivar deserves better

Anyone up for a little peeling back of the curtain? Guess what: Sometimes these "loves" and "hates" are hard to come up with — but that's the assignment; that's the gig. We gotta find something to go gaga over or rail on. For a long time, in the beginning of the Paul "Triple H" Levesque era (love the new on-screen name presentation, by the way), that was tough, because not a lot sucked. And you know what? Not a lot sucks now. But back then, I was reaching, and at least twice I pitched ripping on The Viking Raiders. I mean, both Erik and Ivar are phenomenal athletes and beyond gifted big men, but WHO IN THE WORLD DRESSES LIKE A VIKING?

Anyway, thanks to an infallible editor and a great colleague in ol' What's-His-Name, I pivoted away from my ideas about letting these guys continue to "be vikings" but maybe dress in, like, biker gear or something. And here we are, all this time later, with Ivar left to do whatever he can in the absence of an injured Erik (get well soon, sir!) and I'm loving all over this guy, yes, even in a "Hate" column.

What more could this guy have done to earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber? I know, I know, LA Knight is everybody's Johnny-come-lately favorite underdog (and I dig the guy to a certain extent as well) but what happened to barging your way into an opportunity? And who better than Ivar as far as that goes? And why didn't we take advantage of the EASY OUT here in that AJ Styles owes Knight quite the receipt for costing him his own spot in the Chamber last week on "SmackDown?"

Maybe Mr. Viking Guy will find his way after all, though I'm not sure about that, what with a last chance battle royal for the ladies announced, and nothing similar for the fellas. Instead, I see him now as a big time contender in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal (if that's till a thing). And that sucks.

Skol!

Written by Jon Jordan

Hated: Does WWE know Becky vs. Rhea isn't official yet?

At the WrestleMania XL kickoff press conference, Becky Lynch confronted Rhea Ripley (reminder: Bayley vs. IYO Sky is actually official for Mania and neither were present at the press conference, but I digress). In order to even face Ripley, Lynch has to win the women's Elimination Chamber match in a few weeks, while Ripley has to retain against Nia Jax at the Elimination Chamber.

On "Raw," Lynch came to the ring to once again to say that she will be the one to face Ripley. This was following an Elimination Chamber qualifying match in which Liv Morgan beat Zoey Stark; Bianca Belair has also qualified, and there are still several more qualifying matches to go. While Lynch seems to be the most obvious person to win the Chamber match, Belair is a former women's champion, while Morgan has a history with Ripley — Ripley was the one who (kayfabe) injured Morgan to the point that she was out of action for nearly a year, and Morgan is openly out revenge. Shouldn't people go into the match believing for one second that Morgan has a chance at winning?

There are multiple compelling stories for Ripley's opponent at "The Show of Shows," but WWE is honing in on one, and making the winner of a huge match a foregone conclusion. At least, let there be the possibility of someone else winning the Chamber and facing Ripley at WrestleMania Otherwise, the match seems pointless.

Written by Samantha Schipman

Hated: Nakamura's whole video screen promo thing is getting ridiculous

I'm not going to come in here and be all mad about Sami Zayn losing again this week, this time to Shinsuke Nakamura. Partially because it would just be the same thing I said on Friday, but mostly because I'm more convinced than ever that all this losing is actually going somewhere, and that somewhere is very likely a world title match at WrestleMania. So I am much too optimistic to hate the result of that match, which was also excellent on its face.

That said, I could not help but die laughing when Sami was doing another empty arena interview, only to be confronted by Nakamura ... ON HIS VIDEO SCREEN. Like, Sami's doing this pre-taped promo segment, but he's in the arena, so Nakamura can do what's become his standard subtitled video promo where he shows up on the big screen in the arena and the audience can see him. But the audience can't see him here, because there is no audience, there's just Sami. The effect was unbelievably silly. And who knows, maybe sombody could explain it to me logistically in a way that makes it make sense, but that simply doesn't change the fat that this segment was utterly hilarious from the moment Nakamura's disembodied voice began to float through the arena, briefly making some viewers think Sami might have ascended and started talking to God.

And don't get me wrong, I don't think he should stop doing these altogether or anything, but in practice, maybe don't have the guy in the pre-taped backstage segment suddenly get confronted by another guy in a different pre-taped backstage segment. It just doesn't really work, and it's more likely to induce laughter than pathos.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: ¡Andrade Es El Mejor!

Fair warning: I'm arguing out the gate here that in three weeks' time (albeit in WWE round two for our hero here), Andrade is already a bigger deal than he ever was in two-and-a-half years in AEW. And if you're gonna start whining about his time in Jacksonville, can it. The guy had a grand total of six singles matches on their #1 show and/or pay-per-views, and exactly one of the latter. IN DAMN NEAR THREE YEARS.

If you followed Andrade "Cien" Almas during his NXT run, you understand the greatness already. His "Black and Gold" work with Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, and Drew McIntyre was as good as it gets. And so many of us had so much hope for his main roster run, starting with a fantastic surprise Royal Rumble debut (as "NXT" Champion) in 2018, but it fizzled thereafter, thanks largely to the guy who we don't talk about anymore. So nobody could blame him when he went elsewhere. As he said in tonight's outstanding vignette, he "needed to leave to remember who [he was]."

Know what else he said? "Now I know. The direction is clear." Though the bar may be lowered (six matches in almost three years will do that), he says he has direction now, and I believe it. I'm not saying Andrade will be a world champion in WWE anytime soon, but given the elevation of the Intercontinental and United States titles in recent times, are you gonna tell me he can't instantly add to either or both of those divisions, at the very least?

Written by Jon Jordan

Loved: Seth Rollins pours his heart out

Everyone loves a good enemies to allies story in professional wrestling, from the Brothers of Destruction to Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston and everything else in between. If WWE keeps up what they're doing with Seth "Freakin" Rollins and Cody Rhodes, then those two will certainly be part of that list in no time. `

Up until this point, I haven't been a fan of the build towards the Rhodes-Roman Reigns WrestleMania XL main event build, because it's all just felt messy, as though WWE is playing it week-to-week rather than long term (which if we're being honest is probably exactly what's happening). However, the one aspect of things I have been enjoying is the looming alliance between Rhodes and Rollins, and the exchange between the pair tonight only furthered this because of just how good Rollins was on the mic.

See, it wasn't just words that Rollins was saying. You could tell that he meant every word he said and felt it in his bones. That kind of delivery isn't an everyday occurrence in modern professional wrestling, but when you do, it makes it all the more special. Rollins and his World Heavyweight Championship match at "The Grandest Stage Of Them All" have been lost in the chaos of everything else going on with Rhodes, Reigns, and The Rock, but he proved Monday night why that shouldn't be the case.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Love: Chelsea Green did it for the ladies!

Chelsea Green, dressed to the pinkest of nines, waltzed into General Manager Adam Pearce's office in order to complain, per usual. This time, she was airing her grievances about not being involved in a last chance battle royale to determine a competitor for the women's Elimination Chamber match. As she continued to catfight Indi Hartwell and cower in fear in the presence of Shayna Baszler, though, I could not help but think about a recent interview she had with Chris Van Vliet.

In that interview, Green mentioned that she loved the "girliness" of the Divas era, and embraced the parts of it that are widely regarded as shallow or low-brow, like the "good old b**** slap". Watching Green perform her signature catty, bratty routine with this information made me appreciate her art more than ever, and prompted me to think about performances of femininity in a post-Divas Revolution WWE.

To put it simply, all brands of feminine presentation should be celebrated. Women like Becky Lynch and Rhea Ripley are applauded for incorporating hegemonic masculinity — ruling, dominant "manliness" — into their performances. They are strong, they do not complain, and they are tough as nails. In an industry with a history of objectifying women, their rebellion against established expectations for their sex is saluted — as it should be! In the same breath, though, performers like Green and Maxxine Dupri are not taken seriously, either partially or entirely because they like pink and wear sparkles. It feels like a death sentence to have a "girly girl" gimmick, when there is really no good reason for it to be. We had a Divas Revolution, but what is the point if not all women can exist as they want to with the same level of respect?

There are exceptions to this generalization, such as Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Tiffany Stratton. However, the number of successful female superstars who present as tough and edgy far outnumber those who embrace their femininity. When not all femininity is embraced, then all women are failed, full stop.

I'm not saying that we need to bring back bra and panty matches, or the objectifying segments that painted Divas as subhuman. What I am saying, and what Green is showing, is that femininity, in all of its forms, should be celebrated. Female superstars should not feel like they have to conform to a certain type of performance to be recognized — and this includes performances of hegemonic masculinity. Green is a certified girly-girl, and she is also a skilled performer who could show up and show out in the Elimination Chamber. Both can exist.

Written by Angeline Phu

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