Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 7/20 WWE Raw: Taker-Lesnar, Rollins-Cena, Divas Matches, more
Jul 22, 2015 - 4:00:40 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Opening Segment: I should preface by saying that I wasn't a fan of The Undertaker's return at Battleground. His match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 was poor and I don't want to see it again. This positioned Undertaker as a heel, which I don't understand. Why not have The Authority bring back Lesnar as a heel to take on a babyface WWE World Champion? If there was a babyface Champion whom the Authority couldn't stand, it would make sense for them to reinstate Lesnar to take him on as a heel. Then it would make sense to have Undertaker come back and stop Lesnar from winning the Title. Once you get past how they brought Taker back, it was important for WWE to move on in a strong way towards SummerSlam. And I think they did that nicely starting with Undertaker's promo on Raw. This felt special, in part because Undertaker didn't appear in the build up to this year's WrestleMania match against Bray Wyatt. So, we haven't seen Undertaker on Raw in over a year. Undertaker did a nice job of explaining himself and why he had attacked Lesnar. It made some sense in how he was upset about the gloating from Lesnar and Paul Heyman. I also liked the tease afterwards with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon talking about how bad it would be if Lesnar showed up, making fans want to stay tuned in for that inevitability.
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella: Hopefully we will continue to get better and better Divas matches moving forward now with the promotion of Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks. The triple threat at the PPV was good and here we had another good match with Brie Bella taking on Charlotte. The match went 9 minutes which might not be as long as many women's matches in NXT, but longer than we usually get for a Divas match on Raw. Charlotte clearly deserves to be on the main roster. Brie held up her part of the match well. I still wish Team Bella's role was better defined. Brie's use of the Yes! Kicks is a babyface move despite her being more of a heel. But either way, this was a good match.
Taker - Lesnar Brawl: WWE doesn't do these big pull apart brawls very often. I can't even recall off the top of my head when they had the most recent one. That helped make this feel like a big deal. This brawl between Undertaker and Lesnar was well done and memorable. Paul Heyman's promo that started it out was also good and positioned Lesnar as more of a heel, so I'm not totally sure what WWE wants out of this situation. They probably want the fans to cheer or boo for either guy, as long as they are making noise. Getting back to the brawl, this was very intense. I could have done without a few of the wrestlers like Kevin Owens and Cesaro being part of the group trying to hold them apart. But, it was a good way to make the SummerSlam match seem like must see tv. I particularly liked how they continued in the back after seeming to be separated after the in ring portion of the brawl.
Reigns vs. Harper: The second half of Roman Reigns' match against Bray Wyatt at Battleground was very good. Unfortunately in order to stretch out the match to over 20 minutes, they had to fill way too much time with headlocks early on. But, I did like seeing Luke Harper rejoining Wyatt at the end of the match. I have said multiple times that it doesn't make much sense to me to have a cult leader without a cult. The Bray Wyatt character needs a Wyatt Family. I didn't like how Harper and Erick Rowan were separated from Bray, so this is a good move. Harper and Reigns had a good match here. Dean Ambrose's presence definitely helped. His work with Reigns over the past several months has gone along way to help get more positive responses for Reigns from the live crowd and continued to help here. This appears to be setting up a tag match for SummerSlam and I am certainly ok with that. After the Wyatt Family got the better of Reigns at the PPV, it made sense to have Reigns and Ambrose stand tall here.
Rollins - Cena: I liked how Seth Rollins started off this segment with his promo about still being the WWE World Champion. The best part was when he brought in Lilian Garcia to make the official announcement from that Championship match. It was great that he actually wanted to be announced as the loser of the match, just to be able to have her announce him as still being the World Champion. John Cena's interruption was also good. I'm not too excited about the prospects of a Rollins vs. Cena match at SummerSlam, but unfortunately I don't see a better alternative challenger at this point. They did a nice job of juxtaposing Cena as The United States Champion against Rollins as the WWE World Champion. The tease of a fight with Rollins heelishly backing away worked well. I do wish that Cena had done something during this segment to make fans want to see his main event six man tag.
Lynch & Paige vs. Banks & Naomi: It was amazing to me to see two Divas matches on Raw, both go over 9 minutes. This tag match was even better than the singles match earlier and went over 13 minutes. It was a good way to introduce Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks to the larger Raw audience who haven't seen them in the ring on NXT. Paige and Noami are certainly two of the best main roster women wrestlers, so when they are put together with these two talented wrestlers from NXT, you should get a good tag match. And that is exactly what we got here. And having Banks go over with a tap out victory over Paige with the Banks Statement was the right way to go here.
Guest Commentary: Part of the reason that I don't like having a three man announce booth is that when you have a wrestler doing guest commentary, there are suddenly four voices which is just too many. But on Raw, twice we had Divas matches with three Divas doing guest commentary, making 6 voices. First, you had Team BAD joining the announce team during Charlotte vs. Brie and then later you had Team Bella joining them for Lynch & Paige vs. Banks & Naomi. And this Miss isn't for the performances of any of these Divas. They were put in a bad position and did what they were told to do. It was a mistake to put them in that situation. The commentary often became garbled and distracted from the matches. WWE doesn't have to rush into fully establishing these new Divas and these new teams. It felt like they were trying too hard to make sure they all got plenty of mic time this week in a limited amount of time.
Lana, Rusev and Summer Rae: I was hopeful last week with the presentation of Rusev that WWE was going to do something better with Rusev now that Dolph Ziggler had been temporarily written off of tv with his throat injury. Rusev got a star treatment and presentation last week looking much stronger, getting him back to being the badass that he should be. I did not miss Lana at all. Unfortunately, she was back this week. I don't even buy her relationship with Ziggler when she's giving a health update on him. I did laugh at Summer Rae dressing up like Lana with the suit with the short skirt and her hairdo in a bun. Rusev had a good comedic performance in kissing Summer while sneaking a peak at Lana to see if she was jealous. It was funny. But, why is Rusev doing comedy? This type of comedy even when well done is detrimental to his development and his place on the card. And it should have been obvious after last week that a more serious presentation of Rusev without Lana or Ziggler is the way to go.
6 Man Tag Main Event: WWE had some major star power in this match with Cena, Randy Orton, Cesaro, Owens, Sheamus and Rusev. Yet they failed to do a good job of hyping this match during 3 hours of Raw. And the match didn't deliver to me at all. There was some good wrestling action here and there, but there was too long of a stretch in the middle of the match with the heels beating down Cesaro. It really started to drag at that point. I didn't like how the babyface team only could compete because the heel team self destructed. I didn't understand why Rusev and Owens were teaming up after what happened between them last week. They did have tension eventually here, but it was Owens walking out on Rusev, even though it should have been Rusev upset over Owens costing him the US Title last week. I get that WWE wanted to end the show on a high note to send the fans home happy, and the Cesaro swing into a slingshot into an RKO from Orton was a cool spot to end the match. But, that doesn't make up for what was otherwise a pretty lackluster main event.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at his NEW email address - email@example.com.
Act now and become my 15th Twitter follower @JonMezzera (pretty clever handle right?). Just be aware that I don't live tweet Raw, I don't tweet much about wrestling, and I don't tweet much at all. But, it would be nice to say I have more than 14 followers!
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell's views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET's "Hitlist" section here.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**