RAW HITS & MISSES 1/23: Bayley & Charlotte, Seth vs. Sami, Taker and Brock and Goldberg, New Day, Enzo & Cass, Cruiserweight

Sami Zayn (credit Scott Lunn @ScottLunn © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

RAW HITS

Bayley and Charlotte Sit Down Interviews: I appreciate it when WWE does things to go away from their typical formula. I don’t mean to imply that they never do pre-taped sit down interviews like these with Bayley and Charlotte about their upcoming Women’s Championship match at The Royal Rumble. But, they don’t do them very often. These were effective getting over their characters and their issues with each other. It is a simple thing to do. And they were well done.

Rollins vs. Zayn: It doesn’t sense to put two babyfaces against each other to split the loyalties of the fans. It particularly doesn’t make sense when the stakes are this high. It is good to get Sami Zayn in the Royal Rumble, but not at the expense of Seth Rollins. Why not have Rollins lose to a heel to lose his spot? So, I didn’t like that aspect of the match. However, the match itself was very good. Rollins and Zayn executed the match very well. They are obviously great workers. The match was well booked. The attempted Helluva kick on the ring apron being turned into a Pedigree on the ring apron was a great spot. I don’t remember ever seeing a Pedigree on the ring apron like that. Triple H’s music hitting was somewhat predictable. I liked how Rollins looked around as he suspected Triple H might come through the crowd. After a few seconds, he realized it was just a trick and went back to Zayn who had recovered enough in that time to get a small package victory. That worked even though I didn’t like the concept.

Rich Swann: I liked seeing the fiery more intense character from Rich Swann. He has a great amount of talent in the ring. He is fun to watch. I don’t mind him having a fun demeanor. However, that demeanor has to go away when you have a situation like this with Neville. His line calling Neville a jester instead of a king was lame, but his performance was good. I liked how he didn’t allow Neville to leave after coming out to tease a fight. His dive through the ropes to kick start the fight was good. The fight was intense. This all followed on the heels of a good match against Noam Dar. The fact that Neville fled made me want to see Swann getting his hands on Neville even more. All in all, it was a good night for the Cruiserweight Champion.

Ending of the Show: This show had a lot of “thumbs in the middle” segments and matches. It should have felt like a bigger show considering that it was the final Raw before The Royal Rumble. But, it did have a great ending. I loved that ending. Yes, Goldberg looked bad in losing his train of thought and stumbling through a very short promo. But, Paul Heyman was great in selling the Rumble match itself. I loved how he listed a bunch of wrestlers who might end up in the ring with Goldberg at some point during the match. It all culminated with him bringing out Brock Lesnar for a legitimate surprise appearance. This felt like a big deal and the fans popped big for it. We have seen Lesnar tease fighting too many times in the past only to back away so that he can fight for a paycheck. So I liked the fact that he got in the ring with Goldberg and was about to fight when the lights went out and Undertaker’s gong sounded. That was another legit surprise. And I loved it. It popped the crowd. It saved WWE having to give away physicality between Lesnar and Goldberg without having Lesnar back down. Seeing the three of them in the ring together was a great visual. It worked on so many levels. And it got people excited for the PPV. The only thing that was missing was Jim Ross doing a final hard sell at the very end. Otherwise, it was great.

RAW MISSES

Opening Segment: Other than when Chris Jericho said that his big prediction is that Roman Reigns is a stupid idiot, I wasn’t very fond of much that happened during the opening segment. Reigns was given a good amount of time to talk before Jericho and Kevin Owens interrupted. He was ok, but he still doesn’t connect with the majority of the audience. The fans shouldn’t be popping for a heel interrupting the top babyface on the brand. Owens was fine, but not great either. The whole way the rematch for the United States Championship came about was just oddly worded to me. And then you get Reigns with the lame line to end the segment saying that he is The Guy. It didn’t quite work for me. The US Title match itself was fine, but relatively short and then had the disqualification ending. So the match was not quite good enough to get a Hit, but was good enough to avoid the Miss list as well.

Cruiserweight Six-Man Tag: Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, Mustafa Ali, TJ Perkins, and Jack Gallagher are all talented wrestlers. Gallagher in particular has some real star power. I like the fact that they aren’t doing the typical WWE thing and having Mustafa Ali be a heel just because he is from the Middle East (or of Middle Eastern heritage). I like the character that he is playing and that reverse 450 splash is a great finisher. One of my worries about the Cruiserweight division when it was first announced was that it would have too many of these multi man tag matches. And they did have some like this when the division first launched, but had gotten away from it. So it was disappointing to see them go back to one now with six wrestlers who deserve better than having a four minute meaningless filler match.

New Day, Enzo & Cass, Rusev, Mahal, O’Neal, Strowman: This was the worst segment of the show. New Day is starting to show up in more and more of the worst segments of Raw. Their act is totally played out as far as I’m concerned. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record – I don’t care if I’m in the minority – Enzo Amore is the most annoying man in the history of the universe. Big Cass isn’t good, either. Now you have five super-annoying personalities in the ring talking to each other. Eventually they were joined by another annoying presence in Titus O’Neal. In between we got an interruption from Rusev who should turn babyface as he was the only likable person in this segment. People like Lana. He has a sense of humor that can be tapped into. He would make a good babyface. Moving on, it would be a bad idea to have Brawn Strowman win the Rumble. But, it as an outside possibility (12 percent of the voters are picking him as the likeliest winner on the Torch poll, tied for third with Samoa Joe behind Undertaker and Finn Balor). WWE had been doing a good job of making him look like he belongs with the main event wrestlers on Raw. He does not belong, but if WWE wants him to, then they have to sell it like they were before this week. Here he was with a bunch of mid carders. Yes, he won the match. But, having him involved with these guys hurts his apparent star power.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: RAW HITS & MISSES 1/16: The tone-deaf Snuka highlight video, Neville, Nia Jax interview, Kurt Angle announcement, MLK video, no Stephanie

OR CHECK OUT JASON POWELL’S HITLIST ARTICLES HERE.


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.

2 Comments on RAW HITS & MISSES 1/23: Bayley & Charlotte, Seth vs. Sami, Taker and Brock and Goldberg, New Day, Enzo & Cass, Cruiserweight

  1. Jon, What have they given Enzo and Cass to do the last month? Enzo has been hurt and been doing these dumb vinietettes like “Anger Mgt” and “Nude Enzo” to set up a feud with really the ONLY HEEL you had on the RAW side Rusev, I mean Jinder Mahal? U have a KILLER HEEL in Rusev use him, and i agree with you if you watch upupdwndwn th e dude id friggin funny as hell, I would have made him a babyface and let him run with the US title but hey WWE is dumb, as for you bashing Enzo and Cass, I don`t think Vince knows what to do with them, i think he`s creaming in his pants looking at Cass and sees another Nash, As for New Day I see Kofi turning on them soon, I have NO IDEA why Kofi can`t have a run at the Universal title or if they get split after Mania WWE belt, I could see him and AJ or Rollins or Owens or Roman or Cena but Let Kofi get a title run the guy is AMAZING. I know Jon WON`T respond. But I would team Breeze and Xavier Woods like they were in florida and give Big E another singles run, Breeze needs a push and Woods with his best friend Breeze would be great together and freshen shit up. Just my opinion..Enjoy the Rumble..My pick is BALOR WINS!

  2. How can Goldberg not win the Royal Rumble? I would be stunned if they don’t take the obvious route of Reigns defending against Goldberg.

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