WWE RAW 4/29/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE Raw," the show where, going forward, we're mostly going to see the same people we were seeing before because the draft was completely boring and pointless! Hooray!


Seriously though, pretty much everyone here at WINC was left underwhelmed (again) by the 2024 WWE Draft, and we are definitely going to get into that, but that's not all we'll get into, and not everything we're getting into is bad! Any guesses on what we liked about the show? Was it the Stephanie McMahon appearance, or the Braun Strowman appearance, or maybe the Patrick Mahomes appearance? Was it the ongoing storyline involving CM Punk, or the ongoing storyline involving Sami Zayn? Or could it possibly have been the massive shiner that encompassed JD McDonagh's entire face Monday night? (Spoiler: Probably not that one.)

You want something comprehensive? Something objective? Take those desires elsewhere! (More specifically, take them to our "SmackDown" results page.) It's detail-oriented subjectivity that's on tap in this column! Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 4/29/24 episode of "WWE Raw,"


Hated: Stephanie McMahon back as a TV personality

There was much to hate about "Raw" Monday night, mostly because it was extremely boring. Since we can't all hate the same thing (we did), I'll go with the other thing I hated. I recently lamented "Triple H Mania" and Paul Levesque being all over TV to be the new public face of WWE. It's problematic for multiple reasons, and one of those reasons was bringing Stephanie McMahon out on Night 2 of WrestleMania 40.


Stephanie has been confirmed by Janel Grant's attorney to be Corporate Officer No. 3 in Grant's lawsuit against Stephanie's father, Vince McMahon, WWE, and John Laurinaitis. The optics of having her on TV while being involved in the lawsuit are awful. Is WWE really trying to distance themselves from both Vince and the lawsuit by having someone named in said lawsuit on television? Not only that, but she was out there announcing draft picks.

Perhaps WWE is only bringing Stephanie in for certain occasions, but most likely, they are testing the live crowd's response, along with the online reaction, to seeing Stephanie on TV. If it's mostly positive, they might bring her on TV regularly, possibly as an authority figure. And if she's on TV often, fans might have more sympathy for her if and when the lawsuit goes in front of a jury.


WWE is continuing to fumble their response to the Grant lawsuit by having members of the McMahon family (and Nick Khan) on camera. While they're trying to appeal to fans by presenting management with faces they're comfortable with, they also seem to not be taking some serious allegations very seriously. Their public response has been to put Levesque and Stephanie on TV like nothing is wrong.

WWE wants fans to think that since Vince and Laurinaitis are no longer employed, the problem is solved. Don't forget that WWE itself is named in the lawsuit, as well.

Written by Samantha Schipman

Loved: Heel Mahomes (Maheelmes?)

While I thought this was a pretty lackluster show and I found myself quite bored with the draft, there was one super interesting angle in the first half that kept me pretty entertained. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was involved in the show (as probably everyone watching and realizing where "Raw" was being held expected) but usually these celebrities or athletes are on the side of the babyfaces. Not the case for Mahomes, which I suppose makes sense with how many Super Bowl rings he has and how easy it is for non-KC sports fans to hate. I have nothing against the Chiefs personally, so I found heel Mahomes very entertaining, albeit surprising.


Mahomes started out his heel era by entering the arena not just with United States Champion Logan Paul, but alongside The Judgment Day, even getting some respect from World Heavyweight Champion Damian Priest personally. When I saw that at the beginning of the show, I fully expected Mahomes to be ringside, but not necessarily involved in any angle. I thought maybe he just kicked things off for a cheap pop from the crowd before the "Raw" action got started. Boy, was I ever happy to be wrong. While the quarterback didn't get physical, Mahomes was involved in an angle with Paul, Finn Balor, JD McDonagh, and Jey Uso. Mahomes didn't turn face when push came to shove, siding with the dastardly Paul and giving him his Super Bowl rings (and I doubt those suckers were fake) to put on like a pair of his brass knuckles to attempt to knock out Uso. Only he accidentally hit McDonagh, who was sporting either some excellent makeup backstage later on, or Paul actually punched him in the face.


The other thing I loved on the show that closely ties in with Mahomes playing the bad guy was the return of Braun Strowman from injury and looking absolutely jacked. Strowman's music hit as Balor and Paul looked to beat up Uso after McDonagh was KO'ed, and he raced down the ramp to make the save. He delivered a big chokeslam to Balor and Paul ran out of the ring through the crowd. Strowman wasn't done, however, and got into the face of Mahomes, who was flanked by two Chiefs linebackers. The camera even caught him saying, "You better bring bigger guys next time," or something like that, which I found quite charming.

The integration of Mahomes was to be expected with WWE in Kansas City, but I didn't expect him to be the heel and side with Paul. While I'm certainly not the biggest Logan Paul fan in the world, I acknowledge and appreciate just how good he is in the ring and on the mic, so teaming him up with a "bad boy" football star gave him a little more shine. While Paul might not necessarily need that, I found the whole thing entertaining, and it lent itself well to the return of Strowman.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Hated: JD McDonagh's head

Three Super Bowl rings to the dome, from a guy who can actually throw a punch no less, is gonna leave a mark. When WWE United States Champion Logan Paul borrowed Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes' trio of top tier NFL hardware and missed "Main Event" Jey Uso, instead hitting JD McDonagh in the forehead, damage was going to be done. What we saw a few segments later, when McDonagh removed an ice pack from his forehead while huddling backstage with his Judgment Day comrades, was either a gaudy makeup job (that will now have to be maintained over the next few weeks) or a real deal hematoma/contusion/scrape/scratch/cut combination that did not look fun in the least.


If it was all for show, then bravo to the makeup department, because that sure looked good. But really, if we're fabricating some significant damage there to keep the ruse going, they're going to have to tend to that week-to-week for a good while. If not, they put more effort into a pretend injury to Midcard McDonagh's gigantic forehead than they did in making the draft any kind of fun! And if it was legit, though this wouldn't be my personal argument, I'm sure there are many lined up to fly the flag of "he should not have been wrestling again after what was clearly at least a minor head injury."

Ultimately, this small portion of tonight's episode was just another brick in a boring wall of WWE TV now twice in a row, so maybe I was just a little too easily annoyed at it all. Thankfully, that doesn't happen often, and thankfully, we can now move onto a non-draft episode of "WWE SmackDown," Backlash, and a new, post-draft era thereafter.


Written by Jon Jordan

Hated: One more complaint about the WWE Draft

I know we already complained about the 2024 WWE Draft in the loves/hates for last week's "SmackDown" (not to mention over and over again throughout this column) but it's worth complaining about again tonight, because it didn't get any better.


The WWE Draft is meant to be an exciting event every year with unexpected brand changes and call-ups from "NXT." While "Raw' certainly did have its fair share of surprise call-ups including Ilja Dragunov, Lyra Valkyria and Blair Davenport, that still didn't make up for the fact that the majority of the stars that were drafted Monday night remained on their brand. Keeping the rosters largely the same makes the entire draft feel pointless and boring. It made the three hours of this draft episode drag on and feel pointless, which was an especially bad look on a "Raw" that was already extremely boring and forgettable and despite only having two more extra rounds than the first night of the draft.


Okay, we are officially done being mad about the draft now, promise.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Loved: Acknowledge Bronson Reed

I was expecting Sami Zayn vs. Chad Gable to be a solo feud (Alpha Academy aside) for the foreseeable future, but after Gable ruined another Zayn vs. Bronson Reed match by attacking Zayn, followed by Reed hitting big moves on both of them, it sure looks like we have an Intercontinental title triple threat coming our way. And honestly? That rules.


Two reasons:

1. That's just a really fun match, especially if it happens on a PLE or as a "Raw" main event. The three wrestlers all work very different styles, and those styles all complement each other well. Reed can be a powerhouse monster against either opponent, Zayn can be a scrappy underdog against either opponent, and Gable can go back and forth between performing feat-of-strength suplexes on Reed and technical wrestling circles around Zayn. It's just a really promising combination, and I hope it lives up to its potential.

2. Looking back, the Gable/Zayn feud has always involved Reed. Reed was in the gauntlet match where Sami won his WrestleMania IC title match; that night, Sami pinned Reed first and Gable last. In the build to that WrestleMania match, which served as the underpinning for Gable turning heel by attacking Zayn, Zayn faced Reed twice. He lost the first time after GUNTHER distracted him; the second match ended in a no contest due to GUNTHER attacking both Gable and Zayn. With Gable causing another non-finish on Monday's "Raw," Zayn still hasn't notched a singles win against Reed (though it looked like he was about to).


Reed belongs in this feud and in the eventual title match. He's still clearly the third most important character here, but his presence enhances Zayn vs. Gable rather than detracting from it. The IC title picture continues to be the single most compelling thing on "Raw," and I can't wait for the next chapter.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: Drew and Punk keep the feud rolling

In a rare WWE show that lacked sizzle overall, leave it to a pair of injured veterans to add some spark. Though I'm not sure CM Punk leaving the suite he was in before Drew McIntyre could make his way up there was anywhere near the masterful stroke of genius that commentary made it out to be, Punk annoying "The Scottish Psychopath" to no end, injuries or not, is enough to keep me intrigued until they are both healthy enough to blow this feud off in what I imagine will be spectacularly violent fashion.


Earlier in the show, McIntyre's interaction with Booker T set the stage, with his sulking inspiring the two-time WWE Hall of Famer to try to get him to snap out of it. Later, McIntyre stormed past his best frenemy Sheamus as he got to know Bron Breakker backstage. Point is (and we get it), Drew's not happy. Drew's not getting past Punk screwing him over at WrestleMania anytime soon, and Punk's not thrilled either (other than clowning McIntyre left and right, which he really does seem to enjoy). Nor is Punk getting past McIntyre's claims of injuring him on purpose at Royal Rumble, or at least praying that it would happen.

The bottom line here is this: McIntyre/Punk hasn't missed any opportunity at story beats despite significant injuries to both men, and in McIntyre's case (prior to getting hurt) plenty of non-Punk-related storylines — until Punk decides to interject himself therein, which is every bit a masterful stroke of genius, stoking McIntyre's fire further and further toward an absolute explosive ending that can't come soon enough for me.


Written by Jon Jordan