SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: I have been a big critic of Bray Wyatt at times. At other times, I have praised him. He has had some great matches and some real clunkers. His mic work can be interesting and engaging, but it often comes across as him spewing gobbledygook which makes no sense. I have to say that he owned that Fatal Five Way at Extreme Rules. I saw him as the top star in that match. Finn Balor was great in his selling and come backs. Samoa Joe was very good also. Roman Reigns did his part. Seth Rollins was sort of the forgotten man, but that splash through the announce table and his and Reigns’ fight towards the end was very good. It was a great match all around. But, Wyatt owned it. That was some of his best work in the ring. And then he came out to start off Raw and he owned that segment too. He gave a much better promo than he often does. It was dark and creepy, but it made sense. It was easy to follow and he was not talking about supernatural nonsense. He talked about getting revenge on all of his opponents from Extreme Rules. Reigns’ interruption was fine, but he still comes across more like a heel to me including giving Wyatt a cheap shot to kick off their match.
Wyatt vs. Reigns: That match went on too long and I wasn’t thrilled with Wyatt losing. However, it was a good match. It would have been better at 20 minutes instead of 26, but Reigns and Wyatt put in a good effort to have a good match. That Drive By into the hard clothesline on the outside was a very good spot. If Wyatt is going on a mission to get revenge on his opponents from Extreme Rules – which was added to in the end when he distracted Seth Rollins in the main event – then it would have been nice if he had gotten his hunt off to a successful start with a win here. So because of that ending and the overly long time, I will call this a minor Hit.
Enzo & Cass Mystery: This is another minor Hit. The writing for this angle has been pretty good, other than Big Cass at times coming across as a total ass. If that’s what they are going for, then I guess they are doing a good job, but I’m not convinced that’s what they want. But, they have set up some intriguing possibilities of it being The Revival, or Big Cass himself, and this week they added that maybe it was Enzo Amore who is behind the whole thing. My issue is that I don’t like Enzo & Cass. I don’t think either of them is good enough in the ring or on the mic to deserve a spot on the roster. They annoy the hell out of me. I know they get positive reactions, but those people are writing PW Torch Hits & Misses. They are terrible and annoying and I want them to go away. So, even though WWE is doing a nice job for the most part with this angle, I don’t care about it, so my interest is tepid.
Joe – Heyman: I liked what Wyatt did in the opening segment, but as much as he owned Extreme Rules, Samoa Joe owned Monday Night Raw. His promo about how he wants everything that Brock Lesnar has was probably my favorite promo of the year so far. That was awesome. This was Joe on the mic at his best. It was well written and well delivered. I did not expect Joe to win the Fatal Five Way (I was going back and forth between Balor and Wyatt as the most likely victors, but felt that all five were possibilities). I am very glad that he did. I hope that his match against Lesnar at the next PPV (refusing to say the name) is not a one and done situation. This was way too good of a start. And that was before Paul Heyman came out and did his great work. His promo worked very well too. And then you got that great moment when Joe backed Heyman into the corner and quietly, off mic, told Heyman what he was going to do to him and what it would feel like. This was pure gold and if anyone wasn’t excited about Joe vs. Lesnar, they should be now.
Neville and TJP: I’m not sure where WWE is going with this and it isn’t good. They had a strong feud with Neville vs. Austin Aries. TJP was part of that feud, with this promise of an eventual Cruiserweight Title match from Neville. Here, Neville failed to deliver on that promise and when TJP got upset, Neville beat him up. And then he gave him a Title shot. I’m not a fan of this heel vs. heel match up. I don’t want to root for either of these guys as neither of them is likable in any way.
Miz’s Celebration: I wanted Dean Ambrose to retain the Intercontinental Championship for a few reasons. For one, The Miz winning the IC Title again is a little SOS to me. Been there, done that, and then been there, done that again and again. Also, I am sick and tired of this feud between Ambrose and Miz. It was ridiculous that this is what WWE went to after the Superstar Shakeup when they had feuded already on Smackdown. It wasn’t new or fresh. It was a bad idea. So, I knew that if Ambrose won, they both could move on to something else. If Miz won, then the feud would have to continue. And that is what happened. And when you have the heel looking way smarter than the babyface like you had at Extreme Rules, then the pendulum has to swing back the other way, and here on Raw you got Miz looking like a total idiot. The bear mascot was so conspicuous, you knew that they wanted the fans to think it was Ambrose, so you knew it wasn’t. The same went for the big gift bit. Miz was funny in attacking the gift box, but it didn’t mean much. Then you get the lame reveal that Ambrose was the camera man the entire time. This didn’t work for me, and I am not looking forward to seeing it for 5 more weeks, or whatever it turns out to be.
Bliss vs. Jax: Once again, the heel is the smartest person in the room. It made no sense why Mickie James and Alexa Bliss would be at ringside for the Women’s Championship match. It was a silly cop out ending. It made the babyfaces look bad. And you don’t deliver a promised Title match.
Angle Mystery: This is similar to the Enzo & Cass mystery in that I don’t really care about either one. The other is at least more intriguing to me and involves wrestlers. The Kurt Angle mystery texts or whatever is going on involves an authority figure and a disappointing color commentator. I am still worried that this is ultimately going to result in the return of Stephanie McMahon with or without Triple H. Give me stories about the wrestlers, not people who don’t wrestle. I mean, Finn Balor wasn’t on this week. Give us a storyline about him. I know WWE has 3 hours to fill, but filling that time with Angle coming out to the announce table to talk to Corey Graves isn’t the way to go.
Joe vs. Rollins: I have to say that at least some of my excitement over the Joe vs. Lesnar match was dampened by the main event when Joe needed a distraction from Bray Wyatt to beat Seth Rollins. I know I can’t expect Joe to squash Rollins, but he should have won clean in this case without the distraction from Wyatt. Joe dominated the early part of the match which was good. Having Rollins make a come back and get in a decent amount of offense was fine. That made for a good match, without taking away from Joe. But, Joe needs to be a monster in the build up to his match with the Beast. He was a monster in attacking Heyman, but wasn’t a monster in the actual match. That hurt, because Joe isn’t fighting Heyman at the PPV, he’s fighting Lesnar and he needs to look stronger than this in the ring until that match. And it is hard to get excited about a potential Wyatt vs. Rollins match when Wyatt lost earlier in the show.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 5/24: Elias Samson’s in-ring debut, Heyman addresses Balor, Bliss promo, Hardys stip, Banks-Fox
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell’s views to mine by visiting ProWrestling.net’s “Hitlist” section 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.