6/20 RAW HITS
Opening Segment: This is a marginal Hit. This was a pretty good way to follow up on the big events from Money in the Bank with Seth Rollins defeating Roman Reigns for the WWE World Championship, only to lose it a moment later to Dean Ambrose when he cashed in MITB. Here we got a solid promo from Ambrose about becoming the new champion. Then he was interrupted first by Reigns and then by Rollins. None of them were great on the mic and the crowd didn’t seem as excited for Ambrose as you would hope, but everyone played their parts well enough. It did set up the big main event #1 contender match between Rollins and Reigns to see who would face Ambrose at Battleground.
Zayn vs. Owens: This was a good match, but not great. In the context of this feud, Sami Zayn should not want to just win the match. He should want to beat the crap out of Owens. So, I was a little bothered by the fact that he ended up winning with a leverage pin. Now it was after a decent amount of action, so it wasn’t as bad as it would have been if he had been trying to get a roll up win in the opening minutes of the match. But it did bother me. However, the great brawl that commenced right away after the match more than made up for it. So this Hit is as much if not more for the brawl that spanned two segments than for the match itself.
Styles-Cena Follow Up: This is another marginal Hit. A.J. Styles seems so much more comfortable in his role as a heel than he did as a babyface. I think part of it is that he is in a better position on the card as a heel than he was likely to be as a face, which makes him more comfortable in his position in the company which makes him more comfortable on the mic. I liked the disingenuous way he acted wanting Anderson & Gallows to apologize to him and to John Cena for ruining their great match at MITB. Everyone played their parts well. It just went on too long for my tastes so it started to drag at the end.
Pre-Match Interviews: It doesn’t take a lot of effort on WWE’s part to help make matches feel more important with interviews before the matches. It can be quite a bit earlier in the night like the ones with Rollins and Reigns before their main event match, or it can be right before a match like with Paige talking about her Women’s Championship match or later Titus O’Neil talking about Rusev disrespecting his family the night before. It is so easy and helps create interest in the matches and should be done more often.
Rollins vs. Reigns: This was a good main event. Dean Ambrose was better doing guest commentary than he was in the opening segment. He seemed more like himself. Reigns and Rollins had a good main event Title match at MITB. This wasn’t as good, but it shouldn’t be. It was good enough for what it was. It was physical and worked well with the double count-out to set up the triple threat at Battle Ground. That was a better way to go to get to that ending than if Ambrose had somehow got involved after they had accidentally crashed into him or something.
6/20 RAW MISSES
Big Johnny: So we got Teddy Long, Corporate Kane, and now Big Johnny angling to become the head of Smackdown when it goes live. This wasn’t good. It was a reminder of how bad things were when he was running Raw against Long’s Smackdown. It is also an excuse for me to say how little I am looking forward to Smackdown going live with its own brand. I like having some time in between Raw on Monday and Smackdown on Thursday. I don’t want them back to back nights. That’s too much. The brand split didn’t work before, which doesn’t mean it won’t work this time, but I don’t have faith in WWE to pull it off. They are doing the same things to tease it like they did before like talking about tag teams being split apart, Miz and Maryse being drafted to different shows, and general managers and what not none of which get me excited. All the women wrestlers should be on one show, probably Raw. Smackdown can have women managers like Lana. They don’t have enough to split them up. Raw is too long to have a smaller roster. The tag teams should also be on one show. But I don’t want a show without tag teams. So, this is bad. I’m worried that we’ll get what we got before with one heel GM and one face GM. And I’m not looking forward to that either. Okay, rant over.
Paige vs. Charlotte: I was disappointed in this match. It wasn’t that bad, but Charlotte and Paige are capable of so much more than they showed here. There were some awkward spots. Paige never really turned back babyface and she still is showing some heel tendencies in the ring which didn’t play well in this match. Dana Brooke did a bad job executing the end of the match when she tried to pull Charlotte’s foot on top of the rope. That did not work well at all. And the ending came too quickly as the referee was kicking Brooke out of the match, so his ejecting her from the match didn’t have any impact. It was good to see Sasha Banks back, but she needs to do something with her character. She is a natural heel and is great at playing that role. She gets pops from the live crowds because she is great at what she does. But if she is going to be a face, she needs to be more than just a great performer playing more of a heel character.
Wyatt Family Return: The return of the Wyatt Family and the subsequent interruption by The New Day did nothing for me. I’ve never been as high on Bray Wyatt as a lot of others are. I do like the fact that the Family was positioned as heels as he was turning babyface before he got hurt and there is absolutely NOTHING about Wyatt that says babyface. I didn’t enjoy the dichotomy between the dark and serious Wyatt Family and the ultra light and goofy New Day. New Day no selling everything doesn’t work against the Wyatts and that goofy way that Xavier Woods sort of went into a trance was stupid. Another problem is that my favorite member of the Wyatt Family is Luke Harper who is still hurt, so he isn’t there. I have ZERO interest in seeing Braun Strowman do anything. I have very little interest in seeing Erick Rowan do anything.
Roman Reigns Involvement: I watched the first two hours of Raw before I saw the news that Roman Reigns had been suspended for 30 days for a Wellness Policy violation. Now, we don’t know what type of failure he had, and we know that WWE knew about it before MITB, which is why they had him drop the title at the PPV. I can live with WWE having him drop the title before the suspension, but he should not have been on Raw in a main event spot before the suspension starts. And it is very convenient that they were able to set him up for another PPV main event title match before his suspension with the match happening after the suspension will be over. I believe his punishment should have some impact on his push like it has for some others who have been suspended in the past (Rob Van Dam comes to mind). Instead, this feels more like a vacation for him where he comes right back to the spot he was in before his suspension.
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.
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For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell’s views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET’s “Hitlist” section here.