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Opening Segment – MISS: This felt too repetitive. It is a problem with having a PPV full of rematches from a Network Special less than two weeks before. How many times are we going to have to hear Dolph Ziggler give the same promo about how Kofi Kingston doesn’t deserve to be WWE Champion and how it should have been him? Plus, we had to hear Ziggler giving the corporate line about kicking ass and taking names which was so forced. The storyline surrounding the steel cage stipulation hasn’t been good. It is painful to hear Byron Saxton try to justify Xavier Woods cheating at Super Showdown to help Kingston beat Ziggler. This didn’t get me excited for the rest of the show or Stomping Grounds.
Ziggler vs. Woods – HIT: This is a minor Hit for the good effort put into the match by Ziggler and Woods. The problem is that you had the outside interference early on in the match which took away from it. On an aside, Tom Phillips identified both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn as being from Raw, but Owens is from Smackdown. The announcers can’t even keep the stupid Wildcard Rule straight, so it has become totally meaningless. Getting back to the match, it did have a strong enough second half after the commercial break with Ziggler getting a strong win to build momentum to his WWE Title match on Sunday.
Moment of Bliss – HIT: I continue to enjoy the storyline with Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross and Bayley. This was a good chapter in that story with Bayley defending herself against the charges brought against her by Bliss. The fans certainly seemed to be behind Bayley at this point. I am curious to see where they go with the Smackdown Women’s Title match at the PPV. Some people are predicting a double turn which could work very well. I’m leaning more towards Cross trying to help Bliss, but having it backfire to set up a match between them while Bayley moves on to another challenger. No matter what happens next, I’m enjoying the ride.
Aleister Black – HIT: I liked the cryptic promos that Aleister Black started doing once he was firmly on Smackdown with Ricochet moving to Raw. However, they started to get a little repetitive and weird and weren’t as strong. But, they’ve taken a better turn with the idea of him begging someone to pick a fight with him. That’s an interesting hook which is working for him. But, they can’t keep this up forever. It is getting to the point where he is going to have to go out and pick the fight and get this into the ring.
Shane/McIntyre/Elias/Miz/Truth – MISS: This was a long mess. The feuds involving The Miz, Roman Reigns, Shane McMahon, Drew McIntyre, and now Elias seem to go on forever. Again, I’ve heard all this before. None of the mic work was that bad, but none of it was good enough to save what felt like more of the same. R-Truth randomly showing up at ringside just at that moment was too cute. One of the problems with the 24/7 Title is that it turns something that should be serious like Miz & Truth vs. McIntyre & Elias into a joke. They had to take a break in the middle of the match for the 24/7 silliness. That was the reason that the match was elimination so from a storyline standpoint, it didn’t make much sense to have Shane add that stipulation. And where was Roman Reigns? He’s always on Raw as a Wildcard, but never on his own show.
Rollins & Kingston vs. Owens & Zayn – HIT: This is another marginal Hit. The match had good quality wrestling action. That is to be expected with these four in the ring. The match wasn’t very long at only 10 minutes, especially when 3 of those minutes were on a commercial. So, that wasn’t great. WWE has done a good job for the most part of protecting both Rollins and Kingston since they won their Titles at WrestleMania, and this continued that push which is nice. However, Owens and Zayn have been losing almost every match that they are in. They are on both shows because of the Wildcard Rule, but mostly as losers. I’m not saying that they should have won here, but if they had been better protected over the past month or so, they would have felt like bigger threats to the two Champs, and the loss would have meant more.
Wildcard Rule – MISS: There are a lot of problems with the Wildcard Rule. For instance, it has not been strictly enforced as it was supposed to be only three and then four wrestlers each show, and often it is more like eight. Also, it is the same eight every week, so we aren’t getting any variety. Also, it is over exposing guys like Zayn, Owens, Kingston, Reigns, Rollins, and McIntyre who seem to be on every show every week (yes, I did complain about Reigns not being on Smackdown, but that was more of a complaint about him being on Raw instead). The biggest problem is that those wrestlers appearing on both shows is taking away time for the rest of the card, so that WWE isn’t developing any type of undercard which can move up and become the upper card down the line. Some of these guys may be hurt, but this week we did not see Ali, Buddy Murphy, Finn Balor, Randy Orton, Rusev, Sheamus, or Shinsuke Nakamura. That’s a lot of talent not on this show (and some of them haven’t been on in weeks). Instead, we saw more of a bunch of guys we saw the night before.
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 email@example.com.
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