5/9 RAW HITS
The Club Backstage Interview: While I strongly dislike the name “The Club” (more later), I am enjoying the dynamic that WWE is presenting between A.J. Styles and Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. They were good in their backstage interview. I liked how Styles talked about taking the high road last week when he could have bashed Roman Reigns with a chair, but then transitioned into the fact that he won’t make that mistake again. This was a good way to build anticipation for their 6 man elimination tag match against Reigns & The Usos later in the show.
Charlotte vs. Paige: Paige is being underutilized this year. Ever since she dropped out of the Divas Title picture late last year, she has been an after thought to Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and now Natalya. With this new Women’s Division, there is a lot of talent and someone like Paige doesn’t have to be in the title picture to be useful. She has too much talent to be an afterthought even with the talent of these other women. She showed here why she should be getting more matches. She is really good. This was a good match against Charlotte although I found Natalya’s presence doing guest commentary to be a bit distracting. The ending was also a bit over booked with Ric Flair’s involvement, but it was still a good match.
Zayn vs. The Miz: I appreciate the fact that after I complained last week that Sami Zayn had done nothing to deserve a shot at the Intercontinental Championship, that Shane McMahon seemed to listen to my criticisms. So when Zayn asked to be added to the triple threat IC Title match at Extreme Rules with Kevin Owens and Cesaro, I was happy when Shane said that Zayn hadn’t earned it yet. So, he set up this match against champion Miz to see if Zayn could earn the shot. I liked the set up for this match, and the match itself was very good. Miz has been doing good work lately in the ring, Zayn is always great, and They worked well together and put on a good match that went nearly 13 minutes. Zayn got the win in the end to earn himself a slot in what is now a fatal four-way at Extreme Rules.
Dana Brooke: I am a fan of Dana Brooke from NXT, particularly her team with Emma. So, I was a little disappointed when Emma got a deserved recall to the main roster which seemed to mean that their team would be finished, with Brooke still being in NXT. So, I was happy to see Brooke helping Emma attack Lynch in the back. I am not convinced that Brooke is ready for the main roster and she is another in a long list of recent call-ups, which is too many. I hope that we get a video package next week showing her and Emma together from NXT to help introduce her to the larger audience. But I do like this Emma vs. Lynch feud which is an example of a Women’s Division feud that isn’t for the Title, but can have good matches and help elevate both women. I am intrigued by her call up and want to know where they go from here.
Reigns – Styles: The six-man elimination tag match was okay. There was good wrestling action, but the rapid-fire cheap eliminations of the Usos and Anderson & Gallows were weak and kept the match out of the Hit column. I did like the fight between Styles and Reigns at the end of the match. Styles showed great fire and intensity in trying to get revenge on Reigns for putting him through the announce table last week. The brawl that ensued causing the disqualification with the other Club members and the Usos returning worked well. Some of the post-match fight with the chair got a little too cute for my tastes, but it was still strong on the whole. It was a good tease for their extreme rules match at Extreme Rules.
5/9 RAW MISSES
New Era: I’m tired of people talk about this being a New Era in WWE. Ugh. A wrestler should be talking about wanting to be the World Champion or getting revenge on another wrestler or something like that, not talking about how happy he is to be part of a New Era. That’s why the only good use of the term on Raw was Baron Corbin saying that this isn’t a New Era, it is the Baron Corbin Era. And if this really is a New Era, then why is Raw still three hours? Why are the McMahons still taking up so much time? Why is Roman Reigns still being pushed as the top star? Why are is the same three crappy announcers on Raw? Those are all marks of the Old Era. So what makes this new? It seems like the fact that there are some new wrestlers who have been introduced is what makes it new. But, the Old Era had new wrestlers introduced at various times. So it just sounds like an empty buzzword to me.
Highlight Reel: I was not a fan of Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel which started Raw. I like the feud between Dean Ambrose and Jericho. But, the eulogy for Mitch wasn’t particularly good. And I was uninspired by the interruption by Colin Cassidy. I get the idea of trying to push a new wrestler by having him interact with a legend like Jericho. However, I thought Big Cass was out of place here. He did not look like he belonged at all. And the writing made no sense. I didn’t buy why he would come out to interrupt Jericho at that particular moment. It was too random for me. And I was not buying the idea that Jericho vs. Cass should be the main event.
The Club: This Miss is for the name “The Club.” It is lame. Taking their name from New Japan and dropping the word “Bullet” from it to make a name for them in WWE sounds stupid. There just aren’t enough WWE fans who know The Bullet Club to justify that name. It is too insider for me. It is good to acknowledge their past in New Japan. That has been fine. It is good to talk about how they were part of a faction that dominated New Japan for years. But, it was bad enough to have JBL doing wink-wink comments like “the club is back together” over the past few weeks. It is even worse to have the faction called The Club.
Fandango vs. R-Truth: Crap. I don’t want to talk about this. The fact that the tag match of Fandango & Goldust vs. R-Truth & Tyler Breeze is one of the selling points for this week’s Smackdown just makes me want to cry.
Darren Young: I don’t care about Young’s hunt for a new life coach, and I don’t look forward to his interacting with crazy Bob Backlund. I also didn’t understand why the announcers were acting shocked at what they had just seen when it was the same exact video that was shown on Smackdown.
Rusev vs. Cara: I hated the end of this match. Kalisto was a heel here in getting up on the apron where he didn’t belong and then kicking Rusev in the face allowing Sin Cara to roll him up from behind for the pin and the win. What a jerk. I’m not cheering for that cheater any more. And I’m not cheering for a wimp like Rusev for being pinned for so long as it took the referee forever to come over and make the three count. He could have easily counted to six in that amount of time. That turned a poorly booked moment into a poorly executed one.
Booty – Os: Am I the only one who is tired of this one-note joke? New Day had made it over and over again in the past and really drove it into the ground here. They have talent and chemistry and I am more likely to enjoy their matches than when they talk, but when they talk like this, I tend to hate it. And I hated it this week to be sure.
Jericho vs. Cass: Obviously, this match didn’t happen. I’m not a fan of WWE promising a main event and not delivering. I didn’t like the idea of the match in the first place, but when you announce it and hype it throughout the entire show, you probably should actually have the match. It would not have been a bad idea to keep Dean Ambrose off of Raw for a week to sell the attack from Jericho last week. Having Ambrose destroy Jericho’s light up jacket wasn’t a great way to advance their feud. I was not a fan of this at all. And at least they could have ended the show with a focus on these (or any) wresters. Instead, they ended with a focus on Shane and Stephanie McMahon talking about why they are getting along all of a sudden. Yuck.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Act now and become my 57th 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. I finally hit 50 followers, but why stop there? Plus, I reached 57 last week, but lost one at some point.
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell’s views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET’s “Hitlist” section here.