SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Rollins vs. Cesaro: After a decent opening segment with Roman Reigns coming out as the new Intercontinental Champion (not a Hit, nor a Miss), Raw started going well with this match between Seth Rollins and Cesaro. I said last week that I was looking forward to this match which was obviously going to happen this week. I was not disappointed. Rollins and Cesaro put on a good match. With neither Sheamus nor Dean Ambrose there, we could just enjoy a one on one match without the interference that we’d likely get otherwise. It was a long match which was nice, but it was interrupted by two commercials which was disappointing.
Wyatt vs. Hardy: This was a pretty short match, but good while it lasted. The announcers were expected to tell the story about Matt Hardy’s recent struggles and they did a nice job doing that during the match. Afterwards, Hardy had a breakdown which was well done. It will be interesting to see where they go from here with his character and if it ends up being tied to Bray Wyatt. And ultimately what will happen once Jeff returns from injury?
Tozawa vs. Swann vs. Dar vs. Daivari: This was a good fatal four way cruiserweight match. I have complained in the past about these types of matches where it is hard for any of the cruiserweights to get over with so many in the ring at one time. However, at least this one was focused. This is part of a series of matches to determine a #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship. Last week’s 8 man tag had nothing on the line. And the action was good here. I could see Tozawa or Swann winning, so the outcome wasn’t obvious to me. The near falls as the match built to the ending were very well done with the saves and the break ups.
Reigns vs. Elias: This was a good Intercontinental Championship match. This elevated Elias. He performed well in the ring and was booked strong to have such a competitive match against Reigns. I like using the Miz-Tourage with Elias while Miz is off filming a movie… I mean recovering from injury. The bit with them joining Elias on his song before the match was amusing. Samoa Joe’s attack on Reigns afterwards worked well. That gives Reigns a top challenger for the IC Title. There isn’t a clear top heel on Raw right now. Maybe Kane? Certainly Joe would be a great choice to be that top person if he is going to stay a heel. And WWE is smart to start elevating a guy like Elias to help fill the void of Miz’s absence especially given the fact that there wasn’t a real top heel on Raw to begin with.
Rollins Interview: I like the idea of doing post match interviews like this one after Rollins’ victory over Cesaro. However, this was not good at all. It started off with a stupid question if The Shield was going separate directions. What? Who was thinking that? That was just odd. And then in answering the question, Rollins made some terrible joke about Renee Young and her honeymoon with Dean Ambrose and he laughed like it was the funniest thing ever. It didn’t even make sense. He put the emphasis on their quest to regain the Tag Team Championship which was good, but the interview was so bad before that, so it didn’t really matter.
Absolution: This Miss is for the name Absolution which doesn’t do anything to me. I know that all factions have to have a name, but this felt like WWE writers were looking at a word of the day calendar and saw the word and thought it sounded cool. The group’s interaction with Sasha Banks and then later Asuka was fine. It was a decent way to follow up on their debut last week. I am hoping that the NXT call ups on Smackdown are also part of the group with Paige pulling the strings on both shows. But, I just wish they had a better name. Maybe it will grow on me.
End of the Show: Raw felt like a 2:30 show that was stretched out to 3:05 this week. It may feel that way every week, but it particularly felt that way this week. It seemed that each segment was 2 minutes longer than it would have normally been. We got multiple matches that had two commercial breaks in them. We got multiple appearances by Absolution, when one would have been ok. There were so many moments throughout the show where it felt like they were stretching to make time. That was certainly the case with the end of the show where we Jason Jordan’s ring entrance and promo, then Kane’s ring entrance, then a short match followed by a long beat down, followed by Finn Balor’s ring entrance. Then after a commercial, we got another short match with Balor vs. Kane, followed by another long beat down. In both cases, the beat down went on way too long before someone came out. Where was Kurt Angle when Jordan was getting destroyed by Kane? Finally, Braun Strowman returned after no time off to sell the throat injury and made the save to keep Balor from getting his neck broken. And we had what felt like an overly long beating of Kane at the hands of Strowman. Again, that felt like it lasted too long. And Strowman got his revenge. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go from here with their feud. It should be over at this point, but I’m assuming it won’t be. If they continue with it, then why not have Kane escape and hold off on Strowman getting his revenge to make the fans anticipate seeing it?
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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 11/20: Paige returns, Miz TV, Asuka, Balor vs. Joe, Jordan, Stephanie