SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: This was such a bad episode of Raw after a very good episode last week. There wasn’t much to like. There were plenty of Misses. And, so much fell in between the Hit and Miss columns. Even if those matches or segments weren’t bad, they didn’t help to elevate the show. Even this opening segment, which was good enough to get a Hit, wasn’t great. Goldberg and Kevin Owens were just good enough to get a Hit. They got in their points well and teased a fight right then and there. It hyped their Universal Title match at Fastlane and continued to put off Owens talking about Chris Jericho.
Kendrick: The Brian Kendrick was good in his role continuing his feud with Akira Tozawa. He had a good pre-taped promo as part of the video package before Tozawa vs. Noam Dar. He was also good in attacking Tozawa after the match and continuing to teach Tozawa lessons. The match itself was solid, but not good enough to get a Hit.
The New Day: New Day continue to stink. I heard some people say that they were happy that New Day was hosting WrestleMania because it meant we would not get a New Day match. But, I would much rather watch them wrestle than hear them talking like this at this point. I am so over them as an act. I don’t mind WWE doing an Oscar Best Picture gaffe joke. I mean everyone else did. But, make it funny. This wasn’t. The match that followed was too short to amount to much when you consider about half of it was on the commercial break. Was the ending a tease of a possible face turn for Rusev? Jindar Mahal was upset at him for not being there for a tag. He could get upset and turn on Rusev thus turning the much more popular Rusev babyface in the process.
Stephanie – Foley: One of the worst parts of WWE over the last several years has been listening to Stephanie McMahon berate other people. Usually it is wrestlers, once it was Dusty Rhodes, and this time it was Mic Foley. I know she is a heel. But she is also the public face of WWE. These segments don’t make me look forward to seeing the heel get her comeuppance because I know she never will. It just makes me want to stop watching.
Bayley Loses: I hate it when a newly crowned Champion loses in their first match as Champ. It happens a lot in WWE. Champions should be kept strong. Bayley’s Championship has been terrible so far. She should not have won the Title when she did. It was too soon. And she shouldn’t have won the Title with Sasha Banks’ help. It was a weak victory for her. Last week I complained about the terrible segment when Stephanie tried to get her to relinquish the Title. Here, she lost in her first match on tv since winning the Title. I don’t get it. Why not make her look strong? The long talking segment that preceded the match was an example of something being just ok on this show. The match itself was just ok with a disappointing ending.
Gallows vs. Cass: I probably shouldn’t complain about a Big Cass match being short as he isn’t good enough to have longer matches at this point. But, a 2 minute match between half of the Tag Team Champions and half of their #1 contenders is a joke. Just like Bayley, Luke Gallows looked very weak here which isn’t a good thing for someone who is supposed to be a Champion. Cass talked up Gallows & Anderson earlier in the show which is nice, but this undid any good that was achieved at that point.
Rollins Interview: I felt like leaving this off the list, because it was just ok too. But, it was an important segment, and the fact that it was just ok instead of great (which it needed to be) makes it a Miss. Seth Rollins was fine in his interview. His performance wasn’t good enough, but it wasn’t bad either. The crowd was dead all night so I can’t read too much into them being dead for him, but a CM Punk chant in the middle of it had to be discouraging to Rollins and a sign that he isn’t over. Triple H was better in his interruption threatening Rollins to not show up at WrestleMania. But in the end, this was all a waste of time. It didn’t lead to an announced match. The wishy-washy notion of Rollins promising to show up to call out Triple H without an actual match doesn’t get me excited. Michael Cole even undercut the promise from Rollins by saying that the doctors would not allow him to be there if he wasn’t cleared to be there.
Joe vs. Cesaro: This was not a well booked match. Samoa Joe and Cesaro executed it well, but it was a bad game plan. Joe is supposed to be a destroyer. He should be squashing people lower on the card than Cesaro. WWE wanted to protect Cesaro which I understand, but in doing so he got in far too much offense on Joe. Joe only won by taking advantage of a fluke knee injury that Cesaro suffered early on. If they had to do this match, they should have made it shorter and had Joe destroy Cesaro as soon as the knee injury occurred. That would have given Cesaro an out and made Joe look like the destroyer that he purports to be. But, a lower card wrestlers whom Joe could have just squashed would have been a better idea. The attack by Sami Zayn and their pull apart brawl was good. It worked to continue to set up their Fastlane match.
Contract Signing: I appreciate the fact that WWE had a storyline reason why this match had a contract when most matches don’t. That has always been my biggest complaint about contract signings. They have them for some matches. but not for most. I have been told by readers in response to my complaints that all matches have contracts, but we only see the signing for some of them. That of course is total BS. On this show alone, there were two matches when some of the wrestlers in the match didn’t know their actual opponent. I’m quite sure that Bayley and Sasha Banks hadn’t seen a contract with Nia Jax’s name on it. I’m also quite sure that The Shinning Stars didn’t see a contract with The Big Show’s name on it. So, please don’t try to sell the idea that all matches have contracts even if they aren’t signed on camera. Braun Strowman demanded this contract to ensure that Roman Reigns didn’t back out of their match at the PPV. I guess that makes some sense. At least it was something.
But, the segment itself didn’t work for me. Foley growing a pair and getting in Strowman’s face did nothing. I mean, he isn’t going to wrestle. He reminded us that he might be fired at any moment, so who cares if he finally is standing up for himself now? Plus, Strowman totally no sold Foley getting in his face and stealing his “or else” catch phrase, which is a pretty weak catch phrase. Once Reigns came out, there was far too much physicality between them. They gave away too much. And it was redundant. Strowman always gets the better of Reigns in the end. There has been no variation in the formula. I get that they are building up Strowman and have done a good job of it. I get that they want to make it look impossible for Reigns to win so that when he does win, it makes it that much more impressive. All of that makes sense. But that still leads to a redundant presentation. And as I said, the bigger issue was giving away too much. How many times have we already seen Reigns hit a Super Man Punch on Strowman? He has speared him a bunch too. And we’ve seen Strowman hit his moves on Reigns several times too.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 2/22: Owens promo, Thank You Sheamus, Lesnar & Heyman, New Day Hosting, Bayley, Reigns, Gallagher, Zayn
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.