SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – MISS: This was a bit of a mess. Roman Reigns has made liberal use of the Wildcard Rule to appear on Raw the last two weeks, but Miz can’t be on Smackdown because he didn’t get invited? Shane didn’t want Miz on Smackdown to help Reigns, but he allowed The Uson on to help him instead? Some of the mic work was good here, but it didn’t make me want to see the rest of the show or Money in the Bank.
Andrade vs. Ali vs. Balor vs. Orton – HIT: This was a fun fatal four way to hype the MITB ladder match with the four Smackdown participants. There was a lot of talent in the ring and were given 13 minutes to have a good match. Andrade getting the win in the end presumably means that he won’t be winning the MITB briefcase, but given that the win was over Finn Balor, it may point to a feud between the two of them over the Intercontinental Championship. I would certainly be happy with that feud. Ricochet coming out afterwards to tip Andrade off the ladder and grab the meaningless briefcase was just stupid.
Charlotte – Becky Video – HIT: This was a nice video package to tell the long history of Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair going back to the NXT days. But, I’m sure the fans who bought tickets to Smackdown knowing that Becky is a Smackdown wrestler are disappointed that she was on Raw this week and not Smackdown.
Reigns & The Usos vs. Shane, Elias, Bryan & Rowan – MISS: This match definitely had a much better second half than the first half. The problem is that I can’t just ignore the first half which was overly long and got boring with the heels dominating leading to the eventual hot tag. That formula is fine, but it was too drawn out in this match. I have trouble giving any Shane McMahon match a Hit as it isn’t believable that he is able to be that good in a match against actual wrestlers. It was bad enough when he was a young man, but now that he’s pushing 50, it is terrible. The fact that he won clean with the bad looking coast to coast helped nudge the match into the Miss column.
Fire & Desire vs. The Kabuki Warriors – MISS: The Kabuki Warriors is a bad name. It feels like Vince McMahon thought of a Japanese word that Americans know and added Warriors to it. Kabuki is a type of Japanese stylized theater, which I doubt WWE gave much thought to when they picked the name. I mean, Kabuki does fit Asuka, but not Sane at all. Fire & Desire is better. I like their team better to. I can’t wait for Asuka to turn heel on Kairi Sane. That would set up a great potential feud and they both should be singles wrestlers, not in a tag team where Paige is talking for them. Paige can be an effective manager, but it isn’t working with this duo. And this match was more about teasing dissension between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. There was some fine wrestling action in this match. It wasn’t bad at all. But, Rose and Deville are a good team. They have had tension in the past, so WWE should stay away from any tension for a long time before breaking them up. This did nothing for Asuka & Sane given how they won. It hurt Rose who is a potential MITB winner (seriously, I am leaning towards her being the best to win the briefcase). If Rose wins on Sunday, she’s coming off a stupid loss. So how does that help her? They could have accomplished the same thing by having her distract Deville begging for a tag, leading to Deville getting rolled up from behind for the win. It still wouldn’t have been good, but at least it would have protected the MITB participant and possible winner.
The KO Show – HIT: This wasn’t a great ending to the show, but it was good enough to get a Hit. I liked how it started with Kofi Kingston coming out to start Kevin Owens’ show instead of Owens himself. It was also good how Kofi attacked Owens as he was walking to the ring. The Sami Zayn save worked well. It made sense given their history and was a tease that he might get involved in the WWE Title match on Sunday. However, I lost track of how many Raw wrestlers showed up “taking advantage” of the Wildcard Rule. It is just ridiculous. Xavier Woods making the save was fine, only to end up getting hurt again. The problem is that it would have been ok for Owens to get the better of Kofi at that point. It would have made sense to let the heel challenger stand tall on the go home show before the PPV. Given WWE history and patterns, this could mean they plan on putting the Title on Owens.
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.
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.