WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 2/3: Charlie Caruso, Angle’s retirement tease, Rousey, Becky-Stephanie, EC3-Ambrose, Elias-Jarrett

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist

WWE Raw analysis and discussion
Elias Samson (art credit Joel Tesch © PWTorch)


Opening Segment – MISS: The parallels between The Man Becky Lynch and Stone Cold Steve Austin are quite clear. But, that doesn’t mean that WWE has to retell the Austin vs. McMahon storyline from 1998 step by step. The only thing that was missing was Lynch being taken away in handcuffs yelling “I’m not through with you Stephanie, not by a long shot!” I don’t want to see a return of the heel McMahons, but that’s what we got with the heel Stephanie. But despite being a heel, she was perfectly reasonable. All wrestlers have to be cleared by WWE’s doctors to wrestle. Becky came across poorly to me. When the babyface announcers don’t have a response to the heel announcer, you know it is a bad story because the heels are right. Another issue is that there are 2 months before WrestleMania, so the idea that she has to be cleared now is stupid. It took the announcers later in the show to actually state Becky’s concerns about seeing the doctor, so in the opening segment, it wasn’t clear at all. This continues to point to Charlotte being added to her match against Rousey at WM.

Rousey – HIT: This was a better week for Ronda Rousey than last week. Her backstage encounter with Becky was good. This felt like a continuation of the momentum she built at the end of their encounter last week when she redeemed herself a bit from the terrible performance earlier in the show. Here she came across as confident and in control. It also made sense after some near losses to Sasha Banks and Bayley on back to back nights last week to have her look so dominant in back to back matches against Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. They aren’t presented as top acts, so it didn’t feel like they were sacrificed for her. The Riott Squad are a good act, but Ruby Riott is the star. I was worried that she would lose to Rousey too, so it was good that she walked away to save it for another day. It was interesting how Rousey acknowledged the boos of the crowd. I’m not sure where WWE is going to go with her in that way.

Charlie Caruso – MISS: This Miss is for how Charlie Caruso was produced this week to come across as totally combative and negative in the way she interviewed multiple babyfaces throughout the show. I don’t mind a backstage interviewer asking tough questions, but she was over the top this week over and over again. It started with Banks and Bayley where she basically asked them “you both were humiliated by Rousey, how will that effect your attempt to win the tag team championship?” That oddly timed interview (while the tag teams were waiting in the ring to wrestle) seemed a bit off to me, but I didn’t think too much about it as it was just the first one of the night. Later, she was super combative in interviewing Apollo Crews about Kurt Angle. It was like “why do you want to see Angle wrestle when he always loses and gets beaten up every time he’s in the ring?” It wasn’t quite as bad with Finn Balor, but she still came across like a heel. By the time she got to interview Angle himself, I was sick and tired of her act. Again, she was heeling on Angle basically suggesting he had no chance to win. Like I said, I don’t mind hard questions, but the way she was scripted throughout the show was a turn off to me.

Fatal Four-Way Tag Match – MISS: I appreciate that the announcers acknowledged that this was the same type of match that happened on Smackdown last week, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was the same type of match that happened on Smackdown last week. Where is the creativity? Heavy Machinery doesn’t look very good when they lose fatal four way matches on both Smackdown and Raw in a week. I don’t get that for a new team that is trying to establish itself. The Revival are a great team, but I’m sick of seeing them face Roode & Gabel so I wasn’t thrilled with them winning. But, the prospect of the other three teams winning didn’t excite me either which shows the lack of depth in the tag team division on the Raw roster.

Angle – HIT: We don’t know where WWE is going with Angle’s potential retirement, but this segment was good. Angle gave a strong performance in teasing that he might be retiring after disappointing matches against Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin. Corbin’s interruption got a lot of heat with the live crowd. He was better on the mic than usual. McIntyre came out and was his usual good self on the mic. They surrounded Angle who was saved by Braun Strowman which made sense given his history with both McIntyre and Corbin. That set up the main event which worked well.

Bayley & Banks vs. Fox & Cross – HIT: Bayley & Banks are seen by many fans as the odds on favorites to become the first Women’s Tag Team Champions. They were facing a thrown together team in Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox in their qualifying match. Nobody was going to buy Fox & Cross as potential winners in this match. So having them attack Bayley and Banks before the match made sense to give them some credibility. The match was interesting in that Banks never got the hot tag. She took the worst of the beating before hand, so it made sense that she wasn’t going to be in the match much, but I figured she’d get in eventually. She did save Bayley on the outside which was a turning point in the match, so she did contribute. I’m wondering if this will be part of a larger story.

Elias vs. Jarrett – MISS: So this week, Jeff Jarrett was dressed like he did in his 2nd run in WWE, but still playing the character from his 1st run. He was a heel, so now he is playing up that heel persona in an attempt to get a fun nostalgia reaction from the fans and it didn’t work well this week. The nostalgia act should have been left in the past after last week’s Raw. It felt odd having the DX version of Road Dogg with Jarrett at this point. Elias is back to doing the same things that kept him from getting over as a heel in his first heel run now that he’s back to being a heel after a short babyface run. WWE doesn’t learn its lessons. The match itself wasn’t anything to write home about. I really hope that this is it for Double J.

Balor vs. Rush – HIT: I didn’t think it was a good idea to have Balor wrestling Bobby Lashley right away after last week. Save it for the PPV. So it made sense change the match to Lio Rush instead. However, I didn’t understand how Lashley had the power to change the match. But moving past that, Lashley got heat for attacking Balor before hand which put Balor in jeopardy of losing to Rush. The match itself was good. Rush is fun to watch and it was nice to see Balor against a smaller opponent. It hopefully shows that Balor isn’t a Cruiserweight considering he’s so much bigger than one of their 205 Live stars.

EC3 – Ambrose – MISS: This Miss encapsulates A Moment of Bliss and the match between EC3 and Dean Ambrose. Alexa Bliss’ talk show has become a joke because it always gets interrupted. She even referenced that fact which doesn’t make it ok. I don’t understand EC3’s character. I don’t get why he never talks. I’ve never been impressed with him, so it isn’t like I’m disappointed in how he’s been introduced. He isn’t that good. Part of the problem is that Ambrose was so funny in taking over the interview. It is stupid to call him EC3 when that is based on a character he played on Impact, particularly when you can’t actually explain what the initials stand for. So when Ambrose asked him what the letters stood for and what happened to EC1 and EC2, he connected with the fans as a babyface and got a laugh, even though he’s a heel. So, there was a disjointed aspect to this. The match was too short to amount to much. That doesn’t allow for EC3 to really connect with the fans and establish himself in the ring. Getting a fluky win over Ambrose didn’t really do much for him either.

Angle & Strowman vs. McIntyre & Corbin – MISS: As much as I liked the set up for this match, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I don’t care to see Angle wrestling again. The match was solid. But, the ending was stupid. We’ve seen illegal members of a team do far more than what Strowman did and not get a disqualification. That felt forced to get out of having a clean ending to this match. WWE needs to have more consistency in how the rules of the matches (like this) and how the matches are made (Lashley changing his match). These things take the fans out of so many moments. It is lazy writing. In the end, this didn’t do much to make me want to see more of Angle or to know where they are going with his character despite the good work that he did earlier in the show.

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 jmezz_torch@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.

CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 1/28: Rousey-Becky, Elias-Jeff Jarrett and Road Dogg, Strowman vs. McIntyre, Lesnar-Rollins angle, Mojo Rawley, Angle-Corbin, Seth and Triple H, Jax, Balor-Lashley

3 Comments on WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 2/3: Charlie Caruso, Angle’s retirement tease, Rousey, Becky-Stephanie, EC3-Ambrose, Elias-Jarrett

  1. Ronda is a hypocrite that she said Becky was unprofessional for attacking Stephanie when she did attack the security which leading to her getting suspended and she also attack Stephanie on Raw after Summerslam and lock her into Armbar without being provoked.

    • Yeah, Ronda is a hypocrite for saying Becky was unprofessional for attacking Stephanie when she once attacked the security and got suspended and even locked Stephanie into the Armbar on Raw after Summerslam without being provoked.

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