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6/27 RAW HITS
Paige & Banks vs. Charlotte & Brooke: I enjoyed this tag match. Three of the four women in the match are good if not great workers and the fourth is solid with a big upside. I have so much appreciation for the fact that a women’s match like this can go over eight minutes in this day and age, whereas not that long ago, it would be lucky to go four minutes. This was fun to watch from start to finish. It was formulaic, but well executed. It was booked to give Sasha Banks the strong win, while protecting Charlotte so Dana Brooke took the loss. And I have to give it to Paige for that stiff KO kick that she gave Charlotte on the outside to take her out of the match.
Rusev vs. O’Neil: WWE has done a nice job with this feud over the United States Championship. It has given Titus O’Neil a chance to show some fire and intensity as he has become angry over Rusev’s comments about his family. This was a short match, but very physical while it lasted. I have never been a big fan of O’Neil, but he is carrying himself well here and by making him look more legit, it should give a bigger boost to Rusev when he presumably wins in the end.
Rollins vs. Cena: This was a good match. The outcome was predictable that A.J. Styles would get involved to cost John Cena against Seth Rollins, but it was still 16 minutes of good wrestling. We’ve seen Rollins vs. Cena multiple times in the past and they usually deliver as they did here. They went back and forth nicely with some teases that Cena might actually get the win to earn a spot in the Battleground main event. Now, I wasn’t buying it as it was predictable what would happen from the start of the show (more later), but it was still a good match.
Becky Lynch: Becky Lynch has been one of the best babyface characters in WWE this year. I loved how she went after Natalya at the commentary table. She needed to stand up for herself after Natalya attacked her at Money in the Bank and then again on Raw last week. I didn’t think Natalya did a good job on commentary before the announced match. She just kept saying that Lynch was in the wrong place at the wrong time which isn’t a strong enough statement from a recently turned heel. At least the attack was strong.
Highlight Reel: I enjoyed this segment with Chris Jericho hosting Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. All three played their parts well. I loved the emotion that Zayn brought to the segment when he was practically begging Owens to admit that he was jealous of the fact that Zayn got to WWE first. That was the highlight of the Highlight Reel to me, but it was far from the only good part of it. I also loved how it ended with Jericho trying to take the spotlight from Zayn and Owens, only to get kicked in the head by them at the same time. This was a great way to set up for their big match at the next PPV.
Styles vs. Ambrose: Like Cena vs. Rollins, the outcome of this match was predictable. But, this one was also good and went about the same length. Unlike the previous one, the main event featured the first meeting between the two wrestlers. We’ve seen Cena vs. Rollins before, but this was the first time we’ve seen A.J. Styles vs. Dean Ambrose. That probably should have been saved for a bigger match down the line at a PPV. But, it did tease what they could do in a bigger match at some point. I certainly am looking forward to seeing it again.
6/27 RAW MISSES
Opening Segment: I’m assuming that every WWE fan was curious how WWE would handle Roman Reigns’s suspension on Raw. Would they ignore it? Would they talk about it? Would they have some other storyline excuse for why Reigns is going absent for a month? I was not expecting them to talk about it, so I was a little taken aback when Seth Rollins started talking about it right at the beginning of Raw. I didn’t like the fact that he tried to go for a “pipe bomb” feel to the promo saying that he was going to talk about Reigns even though he wasn’t supposed to. If he wasn’t supposed to talk about Reigns, then why did the director have Reigns’s statement ready to go on the Titantron for when Rollins asked for it? And Rollins is the heel, but he was being reasonable. I don’t like the idea of another babyface in Dean Ambrose simply calling it a mistake and shrugging it off. And then you get it all muddled with the interruption by A.J. Styles and then John Cena. Was anyone actually buying into the idea that they would change the Shield triple threat match? So the set up for the two big matches didn’t hold weight to me. Sure, I was looking forward to them, but the outcomes seemed very predictable. Also, if you want Shane McMahon to be the babyface authority figure, why leave him open to ridicule for being on vacation again?
Miz vs. Kane: I didn’t like much of this at all. I did like how The Miz and Maryse were upset about not having a red carpet treatment for their return to Raw after being gone filming for the past month or so. It was interesting to hear Corporate Kane bring up the WWE rule that Champions are supposed to defend their title every 30 days for the first time in several years. But, this points to the fact that Stephanie McMahon’s character is all over the place as a babyface and a heel. And if everyone sitting at home knew that Demon Kane would be the cliff hanger opponent for Miz’s Intercontinental Championship (I mean, I knew and I’m assuming everyone reading this knew), then why were the announcers so surprised? How stupid are they? The match itself was nothing. Maryse’s tactics were cheesy. I like their act in general, but wasn’t a fan of what they did here. And the way that the announcers just sort of ignored what happened at the end and went on to talk about whatever was coming up next was awkward.
The Wave: I hate the Wave. Now I know it is popular at many stadiums and arenas, but to me it is a sign of fans entertaining themselves because they aren’t entertained by what they are watching. So just when I think that Enzo Amore can’t get more annoying, he starts encouraging the fans to do the wave. Ugh. I love the spontaneous nature of some wrestling crowds. Even though I don’t like the wave, the first time I saw a wrestling crowd doing it, I did appreciate the originality of it. But then you get copy cat crowds who want to do the same thing because they think it will make them look cool. And having a wrestler trying to start a chant is always cheesy to me. And turning that up a notch by having him start a wave is even worse.
Cesaro & Crews vs. Sheamus & Del Rio: This match did nothing for me. I guess the point was to get to what seems to be a babyface turn for Alberto Del Rio. He probably should be a babyface, so if that was a turn then that’s a good thing. However, the turn came in a far too random and thrown together tag match against a cold heel in Sheamus. We are in the middle of a Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews feud, so I doubt we are going to get a Sheamus vs. Del Rio feud at this point. I hope that this leads to a nice push as a babyface for Del Rio, but this wasn’t the best way to start. And the match itself was kind of boring.
New Day and The Wyatts: I’m not into this feud at all. The goofiness of The New Day is too much of a juxtaposition to the serious creepiness of The Wyatt Family. I understand that juxtapositions like that can make for good feuds, but in this case it isn’t working. I did laugh a few times at New Day’s imitation of the Wyatts. I was having flashbacks to the NWO doing the Four Horsemen (not a liver spot) or DX doing the Nation of Domination (if you smell what the Crock is cookin’). But, this wasn’t quite as good. And the idea that Bray Wyatt is having an effect on Xavier Woods is strange. And in the end, this does not feel like a great way to reintroduce the Wyatts after their absence do to Bray’s injury.
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.