Rollins & Reigns vs. Elias & Mahal: This was a bad episode of Raw. Obviously, I’ll have a lot more to say about that in the Misses section. It did get off to a good start with a solid, but not Hit-worthy opening segment (I was disappointed that Elias who was playing a total heel last week was back to playing a heel trying to get cheers this week). That was followed by a good long tag match with Seth Rollins teaming up with his Shield brother Roman Reigns against Elias and Jinder Mahal. Rollins was great in selling his neck injury and it will clearly play into the story of his Intercontinental Title defense against Elias at Money in the Bank. At this point, I really thought we were in store for a good Raw.
David Otunga: I will take David Otunga as a replacement for The Coach over Booker T any time. In fact, I’d be ok with him as a permanent replacement as I’m not fond of Coach either. It was nice to actually have a babyface voice as one of the color commentators on Raw this week to balance out Corey Graves. Neither Coach nor Booker does that. His best moment came in the opening match when he called Graves into question for using the term “out class” to describe Mahal, considering he had cheated to gain the advantage. It was very nice to hear something like that from a WWE announcer. He wasn’t great, but I would still rather have him than the other two at this point.
Strowman Destroys a Ladder: This is minor Hit for the cool visual of Braun Strowman destroying a ladder during his match against Bobby Roode. However, it wasn’t a particularly good match. It didn’t do anything for Roode who looked like a chicken here. And while the visual was cool, Corey Graves would go on to undercut it by the end of the night when he pointed out that you don’t win Money in the Bank by breaking ladders, but by climbing one.
Balor vs. Owens: This was a good main event with a fun angle at the end to help sell MITB. Finn Balor and Kevin Owens had a nice long match against each other. While I don’t like the Constable Corbin character (more later), they played into it well with the referee showing more strength in admonishing Owens for beating on Balor in the corner. That was well done as a set up early in the match which would pay off in the end with the disqualification ending. I was ok with that ending in this case. I know that Balor and Owens have a much better match in them which I hope to see down the line. But, this was still a Hit worthy main event. The bit afterwards with Owens showing some fear of heights and an unwillingness to jump off the top of the ladder worked to let Balor stand strong in the end and show that he will do what Owens wouldn’t do. It plants the seeds for something Owens can play into in the actual MITB match.
Constable Corbin: What has Raw been missing lately? Apparently, WWE thinks the answer to that is more of a heel authority figure presence on the show and someone else other than Stephanie McMahon to emasculate Kurt Angle. I don’t see another explanation for why they started this out-of-the-blue angle with Baron Corbin becoming the Constable of Raw. More authority figures is never the answer to any problem on a wrestling show. A cowering wimpy Angle isn’t a character I want to watch. The segment that set it up with Kurt Hawkins was kind of fun, a nice way to play up his 200th straight loss. I was curious to know where WWE was going with Corbin ruining everyone’s fun at that point, but was disappointed by the answer.
Rousey-Jax-Natalya: This was very bad. Ronda Rousey got a nice pop when she came out to do guest commentary for Natalya vs. Nia Jax, but that was the only positive coming out of this. She was terrible on commentary. She had one good line when talking about her Judo background helping her use Jax’s size against her. Otherwise, her answers to the questions were bad. She stumbled over her words multiple times. She did not sound natural. She had a scripted line about her husband being the only one to say that she’s ripe for the picking sort of talked over when she delivered it. It was a bad line and it was probably best that it was talked over. For some inexplicable reason, WWE had her repeat the line after the commercial break. That just made it worse! Then you get the actual angle with the injury to Natalya’s knee. What happened to heel Jax from last week? WWE was going in the right direction with her, but this week she was acting like a babyface again. What did she do wrong? Why was Rousey upset at her? None of this story made any sense. The performances were not good, but the terrible script is really the issue. That didn’t make me want to watch her wrestle Jax for the Women’s Title. It made me like her less.
Tag Team Battle Royal: When you see all of the non-Champion tag teams in one ring at one time, you realize how bad the tag team division is on Raw. They only team in the match that hasn’t been defined as a joke on Raw was Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre, and they were jokes in this match when Ziggler got eliminated so early. They got a bit of heat by beating some people up after they were eliminated, but not enough to make up for losing to these bunch of losers. The B Team was the predictable winner, so I guess that’s ok. This looks like just a place holder as the Deleters of Worlds need a team to feud with for awhile, before moving on to something more meaningful down the line.
Lashley-Zayn: This continues to be a bad angle was bad writing and bad performances from Bobby Lashley. Sami Zayn is doing his best with bad material. But, these segments are boring. They aren’t giving Lashley anything to work with to try to show how he has improved on the mic since his first run in WWE. The crowd didn’t seem to care about this at all until the very end when Zayn questioned whether Lashley was really in the army or not. That got a rise out of the crowd. Maybe that is something they can latch onto and run with next week to head into the PPV. But for this week, it was too little too late.
Six-Woman Tag: There was some good wrestling action in this match, but that was secondary to all of the crap that surrounded it. It made sense for Alexa Bliss to fake an injury to get out of the match early, but it doesn’t explain why she was expected to team with two enemies in the first place. The referee was an idiot for allowing Bayley to join the match at the end and to count the three when she tagged in and pinned Sarah Logan. I get trying to put over The Riott Squad, but this was another chance for Otunga to point out that they always cheat which is why Ruby Riott had so much success in the gauntlet match last week, but he swung and missed this time. The narrative from the announcers is always just how great Riott is. And the women in the actual MITB match should be protected over the women who aren’t in it. This tied in to the earlier Constable Corbin Miss in how he had to tell Angle to do the right thing. If you have to do that storyline, at least make Corbin force Angle to do the wrong thing. Clearly, he did the right thing by reversing the referee’s terrible decision, but the WWE writers don’t want the viewers to think that. And then this played into the never ending feud between Bayley and Sasha Banks. Am I supposed to like Ember Moon and Banks for being happy with Bayley for saving them in one moment only to become mad at her the next when Angle reversed the decision? Because, I don’t like either of them for that.
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.
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