RAW HITS & MISSES 1/16: The tone-deaf Snuka highlight video, Neville, Nia Jax interview, Kurt Angle announcement, MLK video, no Stephanie

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist

Titus O'Neal (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)



Opening Segment: This was a good Raw. And it got off to a good start. Normally I don’t say that when the show starts with Roman Reigns coming out to talk. I wasn’t a fan of what Reigns said at that point, but the segment got going after he was interrupted by Paul Heyman. The interruptions that followed by Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Seth Rollins were also fun. It was starting to drag a little until Brock Lesnar came out followed by Sami Zayn who jump started the physicality by attacking Braun Strowman. And that physicality worked well. Lesnar looked like a big deal and got some heat back after his humiliating loss at Survivor Series. It also was a good set up for the six man tag that ended up being the main event.

Tag Title Match: I’m not sure about the Dusty Finish ending of this match as it seems more like the thing you’d do to screw a babyface team to make it look like they won the Tag Team Championship and trick the fans. Instead, they used it to tease the heel team. So, I wasn’t really a fan of that. However, the match itself up to that point was quite good. It featured good back and forth wrestling action. Everyone performed well in it. The fans were even chanting “This is Awesome!” at one point. I wouldn’t quite go that far, but it was certainly good.

Neville: I don’t like the anti-America aspect of Neville’s heel character. It isn’t needed. But, I do like the rest of what WWE and Neville himself are doing with the character. His attack on Rich Swann before Swann’s match against Tony Nese was good. I like that he attacked Nese too. His interview afterwards worked well. They are doing a nice job of building towards his Cruiserweight Title match at The Royal Rumble.

Charlotte – Bayley: This is a marginal Hit. It was too long and Charlotte wasn’t great. She was good at times, and I liked the idea of her making fun of Bayley for being a fan girl. The pictures part worked well. The poems part didn’t work as well. If you are going to plan to read poems off the big screen, you should probably make sure you can read the words beforehand. Bayley showed good passion when she came out. It worked as a juxtaposition between Bayley who had the passion and love for WWE and has worked her entire life to get here, and Charlotte who was born into the business, didn’t love it as she was off training for volleyball while Bayley was dreaming of working in WWE, and got an opportunity for free because of her father. Again, the poetry was a weakness. That part didn’t work as well. So, if they had done away from the poetry for the entire segment, it would have been shorter, tighter and a better overall segment.

Nia Jax Interview: I remain far from sold on Nia Jax. She isn’t good in the ring. She has size going for her and not much else. That’s at least how I felt until this interview. This to me was by far her best work on the mic. It was her best work in terms of presenting her character. She came across as a menacing threat to Sasha Banks. This made me want to see Banks get her revenge. I still am not sold on her in ring work, but she did very well here.

Kurt Angle into the Hall of Fame: One of my favorite moments as a wrestling fan was chanting “You Suck! You Suck!” at a popular babyface Kurt Angle at the 2004 No Way Out PPV when he came to the ring to face John Cena and The Big Show in a match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 20. Angle would win and go on to face Eddie Guerrero who defeated Brock Lesnar at that same event at the Cow Palace to become the Champ. Just to show how things change, everyone was cheering for Cena that night. I’ve gotten off on a tangent. Kurt Angle is certainly deserving of an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The video package was well done. I loved that the fans chanted “You Suck!” with his music at the end. I don’t want to see him wrestle again, but he certainly has value which can be used in a number of different ways by WWE and I am curious to see what role if any he takes.

Main Event: Just as this good Raw got off to a good start, it had a better ending with the main event and the fight that happened afterwards. This was a good long 6 man tag with Reigns, Rollins & Zayn vs. Owens, Jericho & Strowman. I enjoyed it a lot. What happened afterwards was even better. I loved how Rollins and Reigns made the save as Strowman was attempting to destroy Zayn. That was physical and intense. The lack of commentary added to the quality of the situation. Owens and Jericho were able to attack them from behind to get the upper hand. The Pedigree to Jericho on the top of the ramp was vicious as were the multiple chair shots used on multiple wrestlers. The power bomb of Reigns through the announce table by Owens to end the show was memorable and a great way to finish a good show.

No Stephanie: Perhaps the single most important factor in making this Raw much more enjoyable than usual (even more than the Hits above) was the fact that Stephanie McMahon wasn’t on. And she wasn’t missed. I didn’t miss Mick Foley either. I’m ok with any authority figure only appearing on Raw or Smackdown on occasion. They don’t have to be on every week. And that’s the good ones. The bad ones like Stephanie McMahon shouldn’t be on at all.


MLK Video: I wish a video tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. would be a Hit. They do a good job of producing these videos every year. However, they come across as disingenuous to me given the history of racism in WWE. There is a long list of racist characters and using stereotypes for blacks to define certain black wrestlers. There have been relatively few black wrestlers to get a main event push, with only a handful ever winning either the WWE or World Championship. I don’t need to rehash the history here, but it does feel hypocritical to me.

Snuka Tribute: What was even worse was their tribute to Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. I get that he was a big star. I get that his daughter is in the company and he has other family associated with WWE. I get that he was never proven guilty in a court of law. However, after 30 years he was indicted on murder charges because our legal system believed there was enough evidence to get a conviction. The only reason he was not on trial at the time of his death was because the judge deemed him unfit to stand trial based on his terminal cancer. You can say that he didn’t do it, but there is enough evidence to suggest that he was responsible for the death of Nancy Argentina. Nancy’s family’s feelings should trump the feelings of the Snuka family at this point. I can see them doing a still of Snuka with RIP and his dates at the start of the show. If they want to show a few tweets from Tamina and some of his other family, I guess that would be okay. But it was ridiculous and horribly tone deaf and offensive to run that long tribute video to him.

New Day and Titus O’Neal: This wasn’t as bad as last week, but it still wasn’t good. At least this should be the end of the angle with Titus O’Neal trying to join The New Day. So, maybe I should give it a Hit?

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: RAW HITS & MISSES 1/9: Undertaker, HBK and Cass & Enzo, Strowman vs. Seth, Neville’s New Move, Stephanie, Gallagher


Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at jmezz_torch@yahoo.com. Act now and become my 68th 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.

7 Comments on RAW HITS & MISSES 1/16: The tone-deaf Snuka highlight video, Neville, Nia Jax interview, Kurt Angle announcement, MLK video, no Stephanie

  1. Wow, your misses are so off that you should be fired. First, the ALLEGED history of racism is mild at most. WWE did a great thing by doing that tribute video.

    Second, one single DA who wanted to make a name for himself thought there was enough evidence. No previous DA did though, because there was never any evidence he had anything to do with her death. Besides, he had a great career and deserved to have his life honored. It would have been offensive if they HADN’T aired a tribute video

    • I don’t know about fired but clearly we have a writer who doesn’t like WWE. Seems to be a problem on many sites. I am so tired of WWE being called racist and sexist, it is an easy cop out and just as we had Koko-B-Ware and the dumb bird, we had Hillbilly’s, Trashmen, Redneck Jailers. WWE’s bad ideas weren’t racist, they were just bad.

  2. Yeah plenty of people have been indicted. I’m no fan of Snuka. I’m no hater either. Too young to care. However I’m a fan of America and believing in INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. So back off with your crybaby crap because he wasn’t found guilty. They couldn’t even indict him for 30 years which makes me side for him even more so.

    Also I guess America shouldn’t celebrate MLK since we also have a “history of Racism”

    As long as they are moving beyond that racism then what point does it make? Quit crying about the damn past and grow up. Please tell me what racist crap they are guilty of lately? Which person has accused them of being racist? Alberto did several years ago, and he came back. So much for that.

  3. Couple thoughts here.

    MLK video: Monday Night Rae was on Martin Luther King Jr Day; not doing a video would be worse than doing one.

    Snuka tribute: If his daughter wasn’t working for the company, I’d probably agree, stay away from the landmine. But Snuka’s daughter does work for the company; as such, to say that respecting the family of the woman he’s accused – but not convicted – of killing should be a higher priority than respecting the daughter WHO IS CURRENTLY IN THE WWE just strikes me as a call for employer betrayal.

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