SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Rollins vs. Ziggler: After a terrible first two hours of Raw, we finally got the first and only Hit with this Intercontinental Championship match with Dolph Ziggler answering Seth Rollins’ open challenge. I did groan when Ziggler came out to accept the challenge as we’ve seen this match too many times this year, including Ziggler answering an open challenge once before. Despite the stale nature of the match up, they delivered a great match. It went over 20 minutes and was fun to watch from start to finish. I particularly liked the fact that Rollins won with the Superplex into the Falcon Arrow spot. That always looks like it should finish off his opponents, but it seldom does. I have long been a proponent of wrestlers winning with secondary moves from time to time, instead of always winning with their one finisher. If Ziggler had ever won a match in the past with a Famasser, his near fall with that move on Rollins here would have actually been believable. Ziggler and the announcers always act so shocked when he doesn’t win with a Fameasser, but he never has, so why do you think he would in this match? That is really a tangent, something for him to think about in future matches. This match was very good.
Opening Segment: Seeing Drew McIntyre with Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush just made me sad for him to be associated with those guys, and that’s coming off of his relationship with Ziggler. WWE has not explained why they aren’t working together any more, but that’s another issue. He should be above all this petty Corbin heel authority figure crap. I’m just not into Corbin’s storyline and his new heel stable, so this opening segment did nothing for me. It was boring. It was overly wordy and long. It didn’t get me excited for the rest of the show.
“The Almighty” Bobby Lashley: Vince McMahon loves these nicknames and when he comes up with one like The Almighty for Lashley, he has the announcers and wrestlers really drive it into the ground. I got so sick of hearing everyone using that moniker every single time they said his name. It was lame. His match against Elias was fine, but I hated it because the announcers must have said The Almighty Bobby Lashley at least 10 times.
LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST REVIEWING THIS EPISODE OF RAW…
PWTorch editor Wade Keller is joined by cohost Zack Heydorn from PWTorch to discuss WWE Monday Night Raw from Los Angeles, Calif. including two on-site reporters along with live callers and a lot of mailbag feedback on Dolph Ziggler challenging Seth Rollins, the promos from Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey, Baron Corbin dominating with his power, Alexa Bliss’s new role, and much more.
The Baron Corbin Show: his show was far too heavy on a performer who should be a mid-card act at best. Corbin isn’t good enough to take up as much time on this show as he did, in the long opening segment, at ringside during the opening match, in backstage segments, and the main event. That main event was ok, not Hit worthy, but not Miss worthy either. However, when you look at it in the totality of the show, it certainly wasn’t a good ending. Where are the other babyfaces on this show who are going to stand up to the heel authority figure and his new faction? Throw in Corbin naming Alexa Bliss to head up the women’s division with her taking up multiple segments, and you had heel authority figures all over this show which dragged it down.
Ambrose Gets Vaccinated: At least Dean Ambrose wasn’t making fun of fire victims this week. However, I wasn’t a fan of his weird promo from the doctor’s office getting vaccinations. It was strange. This also felt disconnected to the character he’s played since turning heel. Making fun of the fans seems beneath him when his whole heel character is based on him believing that The Shield held him down and made him a worse person. It was bad enough, but then they showed a replay of it later.
Jax – Rousey: There was some good in this segment, so I will call it a minor Miss. The performance from Nia Jax was uneven. At times she was strong on the mic, but other times she was shaky. The scripting was pretty good to get heat on her for breaking Becky Lynch’s face, but the performance wasn’t strong enough. Ronda Rousey had a similar performance to Jax. Some of her lines were delivered very well, but others were not. The scripting wasn’t as good either with some odd lines about Jax being lucky to be from a warrior culture and what not. What was that all about? I did like her line about ripping Jax’s arm off and hitting Charlotte with it. But, the rest of the promo was up and down. Then, Jax was so proud of herself for stalling to double team her with Tamina, but Tamina was out there the entire time. Why did she need to stall? I liked that Natalya came out to try to help her friend, and it did make sense for the Riott Squad to attack her at that point. But, that also added to the overstuffed segment. Instead of focusing solely on the upcoming Raw Women’s Title match, they also had references to Jax breaking Lynch’s face, Rousey’s unfinished business with Charlotte, and the Riott Squad vs. Natalya feud.
AOP vs. Roode & Gable: This should have been a good Tag Team Title match. In fact, the wrestling was solid to good throughout. I appreciated the fact that we got to hear from both teams before the match. Both teams seemed to be putting the jokes aside. I thought WWE was going to finally go away from the Drake Maverick peeing himself angle. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable even said that the time for jokes was over. But then during the match, Maverick stole Roode’s robe, took it to the bathroom, and peed on it. I did get a chuckle out of him humming Roode’s music while doing it, but this literal bathroom humor needs to go. Roode looked so bad for allowing himself to become distracted by his robe. Win the damn match.
Back to Back Filler Matches: I guess the point of these matches was to hype the Mixed Match Challenge, but I don’t watch that, so I don’t care about it. Also, I don’t care much about Alicia Fox, Kurt Hawkins, Jinder Mahal or No Way Jose. Ember Moon seems wasted being involved with it. Moon vs. Fox was too short to amount to much. Mahal vs. Jose was too long at only 5 minutes. This felt like meaningless filler. I hope they don’t bring back the Mixed Match Challenge next year.
Ask Bayley and Banks a Question: This was odd. Were we supposed to actually buy into the idea that WWE would give fans at ringside an open mic? That would never happen if this was real. The whole concept of the segment took me out of the moment. Sasha Banks was good, but Bayley wasn’t. Her line about Alexa Bliss going back to Hell was a bad line and she delivered it poorly. The attack from the other heel women was random, especially Dana Brooke. I thought she was a babyface, but I guess I wouldn’t have put money on it. Then the babyfaces got the better of the heels despite being at a disadvantage. So, what was the 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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.
CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 11/19: Rousey damage control, AOP lose, Potty Humor, Ambrose-Seth, Banks & Bayley vs. Jax & Tamina