PWI Weekly for February 5, 2024
Still Rumblin': Cody's Unfinished Story, Amazing Jordynne Grace, Bayley's Big Moment?
SURE, WE’RE NOW nine days removed from the 2024 Royal Rumble event. However, all the discussion of the event’s fallout—and the implications for various WrestleMania 39 world title bouts—has kept us in a Rumble mood.
So, stop skinning the cat, place both feet firmly onto the floor, and strap in for this Royal Rumble-themed edition of the PWI Weekly.
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Until nine days ago, the only men in history to win back-to-back Royal Rumble matches were Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin. Now Cody Rhodes can add his image to that very particular Mount Rushmore. Entering at the midway point of the Men’s 2024 Rumble match, Rhodes outlasted 29 other competitors en route to claiming his second victory in the famed contest in as many years.
Finding himself in the final two participants alongside CM Punk—like Rhodes, one of the favorites to win—“The American Nightmare” had no intention of allowing the tale of Punk’s auspicious Rumble return (10 years to the day from his WWE walkout) to trump his own story. After some serious back-and-forth action that had the crowd in St. Petersburg on the edge of their seats, Rhodes was finally able to dispatch the Chicago-made man and take the victory.
The question now becomes whether Rhodes can do what he could not following his Rumble victory last year. Will he walk out of WrestleMania as champion? And, presuming he challenges Seth Rollins—allowing The Rock to battle “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns—will that actually count as “finishing the story” he’s started?
A QUICK WORD ABOUT
Paul Levesque may have shied away from using the phrase “Forbidden Door.” Yet, whatever you want to call it, Jordynne Grace’s appearance in the Women’s Royal Rumble match on January 27 constituted wrestling collaboration at its finest.
The deal to bring aboard the reigning TNA Knockouts World champion for one night was, according to all involved, an easy one to put together. That’s a testament to the kind of magic that can be made when wrestling companies work together. And while it’s true that not everyone always wins in such scenarios, it’s hard to say that anyone lost in this instance.
Grace got to showcase her considerable skills to her biggest audience yet; TNA got to have one of its World champions (and championship belts) in a prominent position on a WWE show; and WWE got a look at a top talent not under its umbrella.
The rest of us got to enjoy a wonderful Rumble moment.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
After years of arguably playing the fourth chair in the orchestra that is WWE’s Four Horsewomen, the spotlight now firmly falls on Bayley. While Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch have all tasted either Rumble victories, WrestleMania main events, or both, those accolades have long eluded Bayley … until now.
Entering at the #3 position and going on to last for over an hour, Bayley finally eliminated Liv Morgan to claim her first Royal Rumble win. With that, she has a shot to claim Iyo Sky’s WWE Women’s championship at WrestleMania in Philadelphia.
Despite Bayley’s usual heel antics, the crowd at Tropicana Field was solidly behind the now-former Damage CTRL leader throughout the match. And who knows? Maybe it was that support that spurred her to victory.
Given her split with Sky, Asuka, and Kairi Sane on last Friday’s edition of Smackdown, maybe it’s time for Bayley to reconsider those villainous tendencies of the past few years. Perhaps, she’ll even find the hugger hidden inside! Either way, the multi-time Women’s champ now has the perfect chance to shine as brightly as her peers.
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FROM THE VAULT
The above photo captures LA Knight (with The Miz partially visible at his feet) during the SummerSlam battle royal. Victorious in that outing, the veteran wrestler used the win to catapult into the main-event scene. But Knight did not get the chance to enter the titular battle royal at the 2024 Royal Rumble, as he was instead busy challenging Roman Reigns for his Undisputed Universal championship.
In that four-way, also featuring AJ Styles and Randy Orton, Knight was not quite able to ascend to the very top of the mountain. However, that certainly doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last golden pursuit from the former Eli Drake. Indeed, rumors suggest he may be challenging Logan Paul for the U.S. championship before too long.