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Opening Segment – HIT: Becky Lynch had another great night on the mic after hitting it out of the park in her confrontation with Ronda Rousey on Raw. She had great lines addressing her loss to Asuka and responding to what Rousey said about her and where she comes from and the work she’s done to get to this point. It was a very strong promo which was interrupted (not surprisingly) by Charlotte Flair. I do fear that she will be added to the match at WrestleMania. Why would WWE book the Rumble the way they did if it wasn’t to give a pathway to Charlotte to be added? If their intention was to have it Becky vs. Ronda 1-on-1, why would they set it up for Charlotte to have a legit complaint about Becky not actually being in the Rumble? So, I am worried about that. I did like Charlotte’s promo and there was not a hint at her being added yet, so that was good. Charlotte certainly came across like the heel she should be, so that was good too. The fight between them was also well done.
U.S. Title Saga – MISS: Considering the McMahon family’s decree that Title matches wouldn’t be handed out and had to be earned, I’m not sure what R-Truth did to earn a United States Championship match. The match against Shinsuke Nakamura was ok, but the surprise ending didn’t work well. I guess the point was to protect Nakamura, but it made him look bad. Then suddenly, Rusev came out and turned heel for no reason. This was mindful of Elias’ sudden return to being a heel on Raw. Why turn Rusev heel? They didn’t give him much of a chance as a babyface. Truth looked stupid for accepting Rusev’s challenge, so even though he won, he still looked stupid. And now, Rusev and Nakamura are a tag team for reasons that escape me.
LISTEN TO TODAY’S WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING PODCAST “THURSDAY FLAGSHIP” with Wade Keller & Jason Powell…
PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents the Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast with guest cohost Jason Powell from ProWrestling.net and the Pro Wrestling Boom podcast. They discuss Dean Ambrose departing WWE and his potential in AEW and its impact on WWE locker room, the new look of ROH in 2019, and many other topics including Daniel Bryan, Ronda Rousey, A.J. Styles, and more.
Mysterio – Andrade – HIT: This was a simple story. Rey Mysterio was in the ring for a match against Samoa Joe which made storyline sense after what happened last week. As opposed to having a match without a clean ending, WWE just didn’t have the match. Because it wasn’t advertised ahead of time, it didn’t feel like much of a bait-and-switch to me. The distraction from Salina Vega and the attack from behind by Andrade worked well to continue their feud which has been great so far. It seems like their next match will be at Elimination Chamber which will be a strong match on that card.
Shane & Miz – MISS: Man, was this boring. Shane McMahon and The Miz came out for a big celebration and Shane’s first big surprise which was something that Miz would never forget, was a very long recap video of their storyline? What the hell? As Shane was talking after the video, I’m pretty sure I heard a “you deserve it!” chant. Please tell me that I’m wrong. I hate that chant to begin with, and if anyone did NOT deserve to become a Champion in WWE, it is the son of the owner of the company who plays fantasy wrestling and can’t actually wrestle. That made me sick to my stomach. I hope I heard that wrong. Anyway, the big surprise was Shane bringing out The Miz’s dad to tell his son how much he loves him. What a moment! I did like the “Mr. Miz” chant at that point. But, the whole segment was boring and didn’t lead to anything and was part of a ridiculous storyline which I don’t care about.
Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Elimination Match – HIT: This is a marginal Hit. It is a Hit for the work put in by the four teams involved in this #1 contender match. The two commercial breaks and the stupid way the match was booked given that it was an elimination match made it marginal. In a single fall four way tag match, it makes perfect sense to try to tag yourself into the match. Someone from your team should be in the match at all times in order to be abel to get that one fall victory. But in an elimination match, why not stay out of the ring as much as possible? You can’t be eliminated if you are in the ring. There were so many blind tags and so much of this match was built around those tags and teams getting upset over other teams tagging themselves into this match that it didn’t make any sense. Why would Sheamus or Cesaro tag themselves into the match on the Usos, when the Usos were closing in on eliminating Heavy Machinery? So none of that made sense. But, the actual wrestling work from the four teams was good enough to be enjoyable despite the braindead booking.
Bryan’s New Title Belt – HIT: There have been rumors about Daniel Bryan introducing his own version of the WWE Championship belt and we got it here. The segment did a nice job of introducing (Not Erick) Rowan as Bryan’s disciple. It gave Bryan more of a chance to talk about all the things wrong with the fans. His promo was pretty good. The real highlight of the segment was the new organic hemp and carved wood Title belt which he introduced. It fit in with his character and was funny. It was a nice touch.
Closing Segment – MISS: I don’t like ending the show with two talking segments. Yes, this final one ended with fighting, but not an actual match. In fact, there were only three matches on this show, one of which was three minutes. Those three matches only totaled 26 minutes of wrestling which included three commercial breaks, so we only saw maybe 14 or 15 minutes of wrestling. So, ending that show with two segments without a match wasn’t good. The actual closing segment was one of those annoying segments where a bunch of wrestlers come out to make a case to be the no. 1 contender to a title. I didn’t like how Randy Orton was interrupting Mustafa Ali. Ali needs some mic time to keep connecting with a new fan base, and his elimination in the Rumble by “a girl” as Orton dismissively put it, should be ignored and not brought up again. I did like Samoa Joe. He owned that segment. But, it was way too convenient that five wrestlers just happened to come out to make a claim to being #1 contender a few weeks before the Elimination Chamber where Bryan needed five opponents. It is a good thing that all five of them came out, and there wasn’t a sixth or seventh wrestler, otherwise Triple H couldn’t have made the predictable match.
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. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.