SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: I am not a fan of Kurt Angle’s character. He isn’t very good at being a general manager. I have not been a fan of his mystery personal problem with the reveal that Jason Jordan is his long lost son. So, the beginning of this opening segment was not good. But, once they moved past that and got into the question of the #1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship, it started getting better. I still don’t like Angle’s character in constantly changing his mind. He isn’t a strong leader. But, the performances from Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns were good. It built up to Angle announcing a fatal four way for the Title at SummerSlam. I would prefer two singles matches instead. But, the fatal four way is ok. The big fight at the end was also strong. So, the opening segment had a big SummerSlam announcement with some good mic work and a nice brawl at the end. That adds up to a Hit.
Sampson vs. Balor: I am annoyed by matches that are interrupted by two commercial breaks. One is annoying enough, but two is bad. Also, the ending of this match was 100% predictable. If you didn’t know with certainty that Bray Wyatt was going to appear and cost Finn Balor the match and hand Elias Sampson the victory, you probably haven’t been watching WWE very long. Otherwise, I enjoyed this match. This Hit is for the work put in by Balor and Sampson who worked hard and had a good match playing well with the no DQ stipulation. It went over 18 minutes and was fun to watch until the predictable ending. This gives Sampson a win to launch him on to something else, while moving Balor into the feud with Wyatt.
Bayley vs. Banks: The #1 contender match between Sasha Banks and Bayley to see who would face Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam was good. Bliss didn’t add much on commentary which was disappointing considering how good she usually is on the mic. After a long stretch with only two short matches (more later), it was nice to see a match like this go 12 minutes. I was fearful that Bliss would get involved, so it was good to see the match have a clean ending with Bayley getting the win. I’m not a fan of that ending with Bayley just rolling through and pinning Banks after kicking out of her pin attempt following the frog splash. That’s one of those wrestling spots that I have never liked and wouldn’t mind seeing go away. But otherwise, this was a good match with a strong effort from Bayley and Banks playing into their friendship throughout the match.
Jordan vs. Hawkins: This was a good squash win for Jason Jordan in his first match on Raw. He needs a string of these victories to build him up and introduce him to the larger Raw audience considering he had hardly been on Smackdown over the past several months. This might be the first squash match in the history of WWE to have three interviews building it up earlier in the show.
Rollins & Ambrose vs. The Miz-tourage: This was a good 3-on-2 handicap tag team main event. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins played into their past and their current storyline very well during the match. They told a story and had a match with plenty of good wrestling action. There were some close near falls towards the end. The spot where Rollins and Ambrose slowly recovered and realized they were in position to do their old double team leap through the ropes onto their opponents on the outside worked very well. This was a good tease of a Shield reunion. There were a few sloppy spots and that move where Bo Dallas almost got decapitated by the bottom rope was scary. That reminded me of when Enzo Amore got the concussion last year. But, otherwise it was a good main event with the feel good ending of the former Shield mates getting the strong win. I liked how despite working well together and getting the win, that Ambrose still doesn’t trust Rollins. This is a longer storyline and a good one. When Rollins offered the Shield fist bump, it was smart to have Ambrose ignore him and walk away. Where do they go from here? This was a decisive victory, so I’m hoping they move on from The Miz. Please! I don’t know who could step up to face Miz next for the Intercontinental Championship. I just hope it won’t be Ambrose or Rollins. I’d love to see them move on to (reluctantly for Ambrose) team again to take on Cesaro & Sheamus for the Tag Team Championship.
Long Stretch, Little Wrestling: After Sampson vs. Balor which was a long match, there was a long stretch with very little wrestling. I grew restless waiting for more wrestling action. In that time, we got a video on Jason Jordan, the Kurt Angle interview that was interrupted by Emma, and the backstage encounter between Enzo and Big Show. Then we got the 2nd match of the show, Enzo vs. Big Cass which was under 4 minutes. That was a fine squash. The fight with Big Show followed. We got the Bliss interview. Then the 3rd match of the show with Nia Jax squashing Emma in 2 minutes. We had a big stretch there with Akira Tozawa’s storyline with an interview and everything in the ring with Titus O’Neal, Neville and Ariya Daivari. That was all ok, but not Hit worthy. It also wasn’t a wrestling match and bridged two segments. We then got the backstage encounter between Bayley and Sasha Banks. Then we got Jason Jordan’s boring interview. I mean, I could probably give that a Miss for showing that it was really Chad Gable that brought out a personality in Jordan in NXT. Without him, he is bland. Then we got the backstage encounter between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. That was good. But, it wasn’t until close to the end of the 2nd hour that we finally got the start of another longer match with Bayley vs. Banks. That had to have been over an hour with only two matches totaling under 6 minutes of action. That was a lot of interviews, videos, backstage encounters and commercials without much wrestling and I got bored, even though some of those bits were good.
The Revival vs. Gallows & Anderson: This was a bit of a storytelling mess. The effort from the wrestlers was good, but it was odd to suddenly see Gallows & Anderson sort of playing babyfaces in this match. This points to the lack of depth in the tag team roster on Raw where the only other team that The Revival could face is Gallows & Anderson. They don’t have another babyface team. And since they don’t use jobbers enough, they don’t have them facing a series of jobbers to help establish their team. This was an odd match up to begin with. Then the Hardys come out presumably to distract The Revival, but instead they accidentally help them get the win since it was Gallows & Anderson who got more distracted. This wasn’t a strong step in the Hardys vs. Revival feud. It didn’t make Gallows & Anderson look good either. And in the end, it feels like the Tag Team Champions are being totally forgotten at this point.
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.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 7/19: Ambrose and Rollins, Reigns vs. Joe, Angle-Jordan, Cass and Enzo and Show, Hardys, Bliss-Bayley