KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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Opening Segment – MISS: This was dull. Alexa Bliss didn’t have good material to work with in introducing the four Raw men who will be in the Money in the Bank ladder match. I’m not that excited about the four men in the match. Ricochet will be great in the match, but he’ll be the new Shelton Benjamin. He will do some great moves and look cool, but he won’t win. He lost to Robert Rude last week, so why did he deserve to be in this match? Shouldn’t Roode be upset that the guy he beat is getting this opportunity? Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin have won it before, so they feel like been there done that. I am happy to see Drew McIntyre in the match. He makes the most sense to win this year. The mic work from the four of them wasn’t particularly good. I did like how McIntyre was upset at Corbin. But, this didn’t get me excited for MITB.
McIntyre & Corbin vs. Ricochet & Strowman – HIT: This wasn’t a great match, but it was good enough to get a Hit. It filled a good amount of tv time with some solid to good action. The Claymore Kick from McIntyre to Strowman on the outside of the ring was a cool spot which put Ricochet in more trouble without a partner to tag out to. The eventual hot tag and the action leading to the end was well done and got the fans into it.
Wait… Is the Superstar Shakeup Still Going? – MISS: How did Gallows & Anderson end up on Raw? I swear they hadn’t been announced in either of the first two weeks. How are The Usos supposed to feel more fresh coming out of the Shakeup when they are wrestling another team from Smackdown? We’ve seen this match multiple times. It isn’t fresh just because it is on a different night of the week. The match itself was fine, but why did it happen?
Back Shaving – MISS: The Usos have been my favorite tag team in WWE for a long time. But, they had a terrible week with their presentation. Why were they singing their theme song? That was just odd. They are usually a very cool act, but that was the opposite of cool. I really hope it is just a one week experiment that goes away. But, the worst part was their big reveal of the video that they recorded of Dash Wilder shaving Scott Dawson’s back. They looked so silly for their part in this. It was a bad look. The Revival are such a great team that WWE has a chance to do something great with a feud against the Usos. Instead, they are going for cheap bathroom humor which borders on homophobia. I mean, they aren’t making fun of Dawson for shaving his back. They are making fun of a man shaving another man’s back. This was one of the worst moments on Raw in a long time.
Miz – Lashley – Shane – HIT: MizTV wasn’t good enough to get a Hit, but it was solid. Bobby Lashley was better on the mic than he usually is. I didn’t like the fact that Lio Rush was not there and not mentioned at all. There should be at least a reason why he wasn’t there. The announcers should talk about it. The questions from Miz and Lashley’s answers felt random, but the performances were good. The match that followed was too short to amount to much. The real reason this is getting a Hit is that last week it appeared that WWE was totally moving away from the Miz’s feud against Shane McMahon. I’m not a fan of that feud. But, it is important to get a payoff to it given how long it the storyline has lasted and how much they invested in getting the fans to want to see Miz beat up Shane. The post-match beating with Lashley helping Shane get the better of Miz worked well to heat up the program. Lashley as a Shane enforcer has potential.
2nd Moment of Bliss – MISS: This was terrible. The women other than Bliss came across horribly. Apparently, Dana Brooke only has the ability to say the word “opportunity” over and over again. Try winning a match once in awhile and you might get your opportunity. The cattiness from all three was bad to watch. None of them were good on the mic. None of them had anything interesting to say. Bliss’ tease of a fourth wrestler only to turn out to be herself was ok. The segment ended a bit better with Naomi challenging her to a match, but it wasn’t enough to save the bad segment.
Firefly Funhouse – MISS: I may be in the minority but this is just stupid. This to me is the epitome of “Sports Entertainment” juxtaposed to “Professional Wrestling.” If this were real, why would a wrestling promotor agree to air a children’s show with one of their wrestlers? How is this going to translate into the ring? Why would someone who hosts a children’s show want to wrestle? The segments may be entertaining (not saying they are), but that’s not the point. What does it have to do with wrestling?
Naomi vs. Bliss – MISS: Alexa Bliss had enough time to get some real wrestling shoes on and tied. Putting together a match around one wrestler having to constantly tie her shoe didn’t work well. The wrestling action wasn’t particularly good. Bliss is over even though she’s a heel. She was more of a babyface the previous week. So her character isn’t consistent. But, the fans were more behind her than Naomi in this match. The shoe failure actually seemed to put her in more of the underdog babyface role here which wasn’t what WWE intended to do.
Becky Two Belts – HIT: I’ve enjoyed Becky Lynch post-WrestleMania more than others who feel like she’s not found her voice as the duel Champion as well as she found herself as the underdog challenger. I see that point, but I’ve still enjoyed her. But, here she was definitely the best she’s been since WM. Her interview was great in explaining why she was willing to defend both of her belts in the same night. She set herself up as being different from Charlotte Flair. She also did a nice job of putting the focus on her Raw Title defense against Lacey Evans. The fight that broke out between her and Evans at that point was good. Evans is playing her role well also. This was all well done.
Sami Zayn – MISS: This felt like the week when Sami Zayn’s act ran out of steam. He is so great, but this wasn’t his best work. WWE needs to start an actual program for him next week. We need to see a challenger step up to try to shut him up, so that it isn’t just perpetually a feud between Zayn and the fans.
Joe vs. Mysterio – HIT: This is a marginal Hit. The match only lasted 7 minutes, but that was 6 minutes longer than their match at WM. I didn’t mind that squash, but I was glad to see more time here. The issue is that Samoa Joe is not protected as the United States Champion. I hate seeing the Champions in WWE losing non-title matches as often as they do. WWE is setting up something with Rey’s son Dominic, but I don’t care about it all. Mysterio’s win over Joe gets him some momentum and should set up another Title shot for him which presumably will involve Dominic in some way.
Contract Signing – HIT: The mic word from Seth Rollins and AJ Styles in this show closing segment was strong. They were good in presenting their case for why they will win their Universal Title match at MITB. My only issue is that Styles talked about the reason he came to Raw, as if he had a choice in the matter. The segment proceeded nicely from them showing a lot of respect for each other to growing tension leading to the big fight at the end. That fight was fun to watch with the Phenomenal Forearm putting Rollins through the table to end it. Styles seemed a little bit like a heel, but this felt mostly like two top babyfaces going at it with the hope that the fans will cheer for whichever they like better. It worked in that way.
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 me on Twitter @JonMezzera(pretty clever handle right?). Just be aware that I don’t live tweet Raw, I don’t tweet much about wrestling, and I don’t tweet much at all.