Bobby Heenan Tributes: WWE did a nice job with their tributes to Bobby “the Brain” Heenan throughout this week’s show. I tweeted Sunday night that Heenan was THE manager and color commentator when I started watching wrestling in 1988 WWF. They had the opening video and then a few times during the show they showed a series of tweets honoring his memory. They also had the very nice long video on his career. We can nitpick a bit of what was excluded from his pre-WWF days, but it was a nice way to honor a legend in pro wrestling.
Rollins & Ambrose vs. The Bar vs. Gallows & Anderson: This triple threat tag match took up 19 minutes of time on a 3 hour show that wasn’t very good. But, this match was good. It was fun to watch. It was one of the better aspects of an otherwise poor show. I don’t like the rules of a triple threat tag match. I’m not a fan of the idea that you can tag out to anyone or the blind tags. They should just have one member from each team in the ring at all times. There were some off moments in the match, but overall the wrestlers all performed well. It had good action throughout. It built well to the ending with Cesaro & Sheamus getting the win to build momentum to their Tag Team Championship opportunity.
Lesnar – Strowman: This was a good way to go for the go home show before the Universal Title match between Brock Lesnar and Brawn Strowman. Michael Cole conducted a nice split screen interview with the Champion, his advocate Paul Heyman, and the challenger. Everyone played their parts nicely. They didn’t need to have more physicality between Lesnar and Strowman. Lesnar got to talk a little to drive home the segment. Heyman was able to lift up Strowman as a huge challenger, while also reminding the fans that Lesnar has faced these types of odds before and he always comes out on top. This is the most anticipated Universal Title match. I don’t think that’s hyperbole. It isn’t a long history, but it is true.
Opening Segment: I’ve enjoyed Raw overall for the past several months. I considered going to this Raw in San Jose, but the early start time and the distance from my house (a little over an hour without traffic which would be much longer in the afternoon traffic) make San Jose the least convenient local location for me to see WWE. Sacramento is a bit better. Oakland is by far the best as a good 30 minutes closer and I can take public transportation and save a ton on parking. I skipped Smackdown in Oakland too, but that’s based on how terrible Smackdown has been lately which is why I’m not covering it with Hits & Misses. Under other circumstances, the chance to see Raw would be something I would jump at. However, I’m glad I skipped this week as this was a boring episode. Nothing made me regret skipping the show. It started off dull from the beginning with this opening segment centered on the on again, off again feud between Jason Jordan and The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. None of the performances were good. With two major angles on Raw right now, this felt small by comparison. Like most of the show, it felt like WWE was going through the motions on the go home show. This failed to get me excited for the rest of Raw.
Jax vs. Bliss: WWE has been building to a one-on-one match between Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss for a long time. Instead of going to that match for the Raw Women’s Championship, they decided to go with a fatal four way. Instead of getting that match at a PPV, we got it on Raw instead, not for the Title. It only went 6 minutes and half of that was during a commercial break. This was a big let down. The end with Bayley making her return was nice, but I don’t see why she was added to the match. The others earned their spots. Bliss was funny in trying to celebrate afterwards with Bayley and Sasha Banks, but she was more sympathetic as a heel instead of the two supposed babyfaces.
Reigns Promo: This was another boring segment. Most of it consisted of Roman Reigns replaying a John Cena promo on the Rock from five years ago. Reigns repeated some of his weakest arguments and statements about Cena. It did nothing to make me want to see this match more than I did before. It was weak.
Wyatt vs. Rhodes: This was anti-climactic. I wasn’t a fan of what they did last week with Goldust vs. Bray Wyatt. I didn’t have a strong negative feeling about it either. It didn’t land as either a Hit or a Miss. I was intrigued when Dustin Rhodes challenged Bray Wyatt for a rematch. I wanted to see where WWE was going with the idea. He showed great fire during the match which was nice, but then he got hit with one move 3 minutes into the match and it was over. It was a let down. I am not enjoying what WWE is doing with Wyatt – Finn Balor feud. So, I wasn’t fond of what they did afterwards with Balor talking about being the man behind the Demon. WWE did this backwards, selling us on their first match as being a big deal because it was the Demon facing Wyatt. Now they are trying to sell us on the rematch being a bigger deal, because it isn’t the Demon. That makes no sense.
Main Event: This is a minor Miss. There was plenty of good wrestling during the 6 way match to determine the #1 contender for Miz’s Intercontinental Title. However, it only went 8 minutes which wasn’t long enough of a main event on a show that was lacking in terms of in ring action. The Miz getting involved played into the silly rules behind these types of matches. The referee should at least be able to expel him from the ringside area for getting involved in the match that he isn’t part of. But, because it is no DQ, then he lets him cheat. Why didn’t Miz get in the match the entire time? He could have legally fought the entire match. The ending didn’t get me excited. Jordan continues to look strong, but isn’t connecting with the fans. It is too early to go to one of the members of the Miz-tourage. We just saw Jeff Hardy vs. Miz, so he wouldn’t have made sense. Elias is showing a lot, but as a heel he wouldn’t have made sense. I would have gone with Matt Hardy to get the Hardys on the PPV. WWE was building to a frustrated Jordan having good showings but not being able to win big matches. This win took that storyline away. He won a big match here. He could have had a strong showing and still lost to continue that angle, instead of having him win and setting up a match that fans aren’t that interested in. Matt vs. Miz would have made me much more excited for the PPV.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 9/11: Reigns vs. Jordan, Lesnar-Strowman brawl, Cena vs. Strowman, Cena-Reigns III, Miz TV
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.