WWE HELL IN A CELL POST-SHOW - LIVE CALLERS INSTANT BACKLASH...
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Miz TV – HIT: This is a minor Hit for the show opening talk show. The Hit is for The Miz’s performance once he was pushed to be the “new Miz” by Roman Reigns. The promo he cut at that point on Shane McMahon was very strong. He is finding his voice as a babyface. The minor part of this Hit is for the Reigns part before that. It wasn’t his best mic work. It wasn’t bad, just ok. It was odd how he just happened to have a video of Miz chasing Shane last week ready to go just in case he had to prod Miz like that. That was too convenient. The end of the segment with Shane setting up the opening tag match gave a nice hook for the audience to stick around.
Lashley & Elias vs. Reigns & Miz – HIT: That opening tag match was a good one. The disqualification after Shane’s interference made sense. The brawl that followed was well done, although it was stupid that Shane recovered from Reigns’ huge dive over the rope so quickly while the two actual wrestlers were still hurt on the outside. Miz and Reigns standing tall at the end worked well.
Rollins – Styles Video – HIT: This was a great video on the feud between Seth Rollins and AJ Styles leading to their Universal Title match at Money in the Bank. This Raw was overly heavy on video packages, but this one was a good one. The follow up later in the show with Rollins and Styles both getting some mic time to talk about the match was good too, including the bit of video of their match at an indie show many years ago. While Styles has leaned heel in this feud, it is still basically two popular babyfaces going after a huge prize and WWE is doing a good job of hyping that match.
Rawley vs. Crews – MISS: WWE has been off and on with the Mojo Rawley hype. They show vignettes of him talking to himself in the mirror, then stop for a few weeks, then show it again for a week or two, and then stop again. He hasn’t been on in a few weeks, so the timing of his in ring return was questionable. Apollo Crews hasn’t actually been on Smackdown since moving there in the Superstar Shakeup, but he was back on Raw this week? The Wildcard Rule is out of control and overshadowing in a bad way the Superstar Shakeup. Rawley’s yelling and taunting Crews after the knee injury didn’t work. Really, none of this worked.
Bliss – Cross – MISS: Alexa Bliss was funny in complaining on the phone about the airline losing her luggage and the obsession over the birth of the royal baby (I’m with her on that!). The problem was the disconnect between Nikki Cross of the past with Nikki Cross in this segment. It was like a totally different character. Bliss manipulated her into taking her place in the fatal four way later in the show which is fine, but afterwards Cross smiled in a way to suggest she had actually manipulated Bliss, but it wasn’t clear. This was also a disconnect with how she acted in the match later on when she was more her old self.
Double Contract Signing – HIT: This was a great segment. Becky Lynch held court and did a very good job of addressing her matches against both Lacey Evans and Charlotte Flair at MITB. Evans also did a very good job with her mic work. Charlotte was fine, but not as good as the others. Her cadence and vocal tone is so monotonous and predictable. Give me her script and I could read it exactly how she will end up reciting it in the show. But like I said, she was fine, not bad. The fight at the end worked very well to show that Becky is in huge peril at the PPV having to wrestle both of them. One little thing that I particularly liked in terms of the characters was how Evans put her hat back on in the middle of the fight.
Corbin vs. Ricochet – MISS: This was a Hit in terms of wrestling quality, but a Miss for the outcome. Ricochet hasn’t recovered fully from losing to Robert Roode a few weeks back. He is such a talent and a new wrestler who was given a good push out of the gate in his tag team with Aleister Black. They were protected for awhile as a team. Now that he is a singles wrestler, he hasn’t been. He was been treated more as a jobber. Baron Corbin is who he is. He is never going to be thought of as a top star. Ricochet could be. There is no way that he should be losing at all, much less cleanly, to Corbin at this point.
Reigns Video – MISS: This was a Miss on Smackdown and again here on Raw. I won’t repeat what I said last week when it was on Smackdown, but I will say that on a show that was too filled with video packages, this is definitely one that should have been cut. Also, Michael Cole shouldn’t be referring to Reigns as a Beacon of Hope. That won’t help get him cheers from the fans who are reluctant to boo him because of his illness, but still aren’t sold on cheering him.
Fatal Four Way – HIT: This was a good fatal four way to sell the hectic craziness that we are likely to see in the MITB ladder match on Sunday. Naomi, Cross, Natalya, and Dana Brooke performed well in the match. Bliss added to the match with her fun guest commentary. I’m not sure what to make of Cross getting the win. She isn’t in the match. Shouldn’t WWE put over one of the MITB participants here? They wanted Bliss to stand tall on top of the ladder after the match, so having her surrogate win does make some sense I guess.
Samoa Joe’s Promo – HIT: The selfie video from Samoa Joe was a nice way to follow up on his scene last week with Dominic Mysterio. Joe plays his part very well. He comes across as so threatening to Mysterio’s family. Unfortunately, WWE doesn’t protect Joe in the ring to match the way he comes across on the mic in good promos like this.
Mysterio vs. Cesaro – HIT: The backstage segment that set up this match between Mysterio and Cesaro was ok. The match was quite good as you’d expect. These are two great workers who put on a fun match. The Cesaro Swings into the ring side barriers were brutal. They worked well together. The match built well to Mysterio getting the needed victory heading into his United States Championship match against Joe on Sunday.
Strowman vs. Zayn – HIT: This was a pretty good episode of Raw and it had a strong ending with this last man standing match between Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn. They played their parts well in telling the story of Zayn trying to survive Strowman by running away. The interference from Corbin and Drew McIntyre made sense. The physicality that they brought to the match with Strowman fighting through it twice worked. I would rather see Zayn in MITB instead of Strowman, so I was fine with the outcome of the match. Corbin was on character afterwards by throwing Zayn back to Strowman to be destroyed at the end. There were a few problems. Despite the interference being legal, Michael Cole or Renee Young should have shown outrage over what they did. How are the heels supposed to get heat for their actions if the face announcers shrug them off? The other issue is that the babyface roster looks bad for not coming to Strowman’s aid. I can understand Ricochet wanting Strowman out of the match, but you’d think he’d still stand up and do the right thing. Reigns has hated Corbin and McIntyre, and he wouldn’t benefit from Strowman’s loss. So where was he?
For another viewpoint, check out Jason Powell’s original “Hitlist” column on ProWrestling.net covering this episode 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 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.