KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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Opening Segment – HIT: This is a marginal Hit. The mic work from Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch was good. It was fun to see them as “a real life couple” (I mean, that was a phrase that should NOT have been uttered on air). They followed up nicely on their wins against Lacey Evans and Baron Corbin at Stomping Grounds the night before. “The Man’s man” was a good line. I liked how Rollins tried to separate Lynch and Evans, only to have Lynch give him a look, so he was like “okay, go for it” and let her beat her up. What I didn’t like was where the segment ended with the mixed tag match announcement for Extreme Rules. Both Lynch and Evans needed something new coming out of the PPV, but they are still feuding. WWE needed to move on from Corbin in the Universal Title picture, but he’s still in it. I am not interested in seeing the mixed tag and I’m not a fan of having singles titles up for grabs in a tag match.
Match Restarts – HIT: This is also a marginal Hit. I don’t think WWE can keep going with this idea of coming up with various reasons to have matches restart so that they are not happening on commercial breaks. However, for now I like what WWE is trying to do. They can probably come up with a better way of doing it, but there has been a conscious effort by WWE to not have matches going on during commercials. So, they restart a match after interference. Or they make a match elimination style and do a pause for a commercial break after an elimination, or two-out-of-three falls and pause after each fall. It isn’t a perfect solution. I hope WWE keeps working on it and finds a better way to get to the same point. But, after complaining about matches being interrupted by commercials so many times, I have to say that I will take this for now as a good step in the right direction.
Usos vs. The Revival – HIT: Another marginal Hit. The eight-man elimination tag was fine early on, but it got going well after the restart when it came down to The Usos vs. The Revival. That was a good, but short stretch of wrestling. The ending was pretty cool with Jay getting a blind tag, and keeping Dash Wilder from leaping off the top rope, only to climb over him to leap off his back onto Scott Dawson who had just superplexed Jimmy. That wasn’t the easiest thing to describe. The reason that I’m giving it a marginal Hit is that The Revival shouldn’t lose. They just won the Raw Tag Team Championship. I would have preferred to see The Usos lose, and have to go on a journey to get back into the Title picture. Give Revival short feuds with other teams where they get wins in defending the Titles to build them up as strong Champions. Meanwhile, build up another heel team while rebuilding the Usos. Then you can gave the Usos vs. that other team in a #1 contenders match at a PPV where it will be a big deal between two strong teams to get a shot at a strong Champion.
24/7 – MISS: There are some legitimately funny moments with R-Truth and the 24/7 title. But, it is still a waste of time and a waste of talent, especially a guy like Cedric Alexander. This week, it also took up way too much time with Miz TV, a short match, followed by more chasing around of Truth, and then later on interrupting a match that would have never happened if the plan wasn’t for the 24/7 title to interrupt it. Can you imagine actually having Heath Slater vs. Mojo Rawley on Raw? They could. But, they wouldn’t. There is a better use of this talent.
Undertaker – HIT: I don’t have any interest in seeing Undertaker wrestle any more. I don’t understand why anyone would. Will Clark was my favorite baseball player growing up, but as bad as the Giants are, I don’t think they should bring him back as a pinch hitter at this point. He’s 55, only 1 year older that Undertaker. That being said, this was a good use of Undertaker. It was a genuine surprise when he came out to stop Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre from beating up Roman Reigns. Nobody saw that coming. A tag match for him at Extreme Rules is better than a singles match. He looked good. I don’t want to see the feud of Reigns vs. McIntyre/Shane continue, but at least Undertaker adds a different dimension to it.
Tug-o-War – MISS: Like the arm wrestling match from a few weeks ago, this came across like a waste of time. I’m not interested in these types of competitions between wrestlers. This is what happens when you take a talented mouth piece like Lio Rush away from Bobby Lashley’s act. You won’t let him talk and so you have to find other ways to build to a match against a guy like Braun Strowman and you end up with this crap.
Gallows & Anderson – HIT: I enjoyed the 1st chapter in the story about Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson trying to be more serious after their interaction with AJ Styles. Chapter 2 was also good when Styles got annoyed by their goofing around with No Way Jose’s conga line and their loss to The Viking Raiders later on. They also tried to get involved with Styles’ main even match (more later) against Ricochet. That all worked well too. I want to see chapter 3 next week. The one thing I didn’t like was the start of the Styles interview where Charlie Caruso said “tell me about your first night back from your injury” and then Styles started to talk about his rehab from that injury and she was like “I don’t want to hear about that, talk about tonight instead.” That wasn’t a good start to the interview.
Kingston – KO & Zayn – MISS: There was a lot to like about what WWE did with Kofi Kingston, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. So, I will call this a marginal Miss. The issue is that Zayn and Owens lose every match on Raw and Smackdown, and since they are always taking advantage of the Wildcard Rule, they are on both Raw and Smackdown losing two tv matches every week. They finally got a big win at the PPV, only to lose singles matches the next night. They didn’t have a chance to build on their momentum. Yes, it was to the WWE Champion. And no, I don’t want to see him lose either. So you should have found a better way of presenting them then these two quick back to back matches.
Joe Attacks Kingston – MISS: I would love to give this a Hit. There is certainly a huge amount of potential in Samoa Joe feuding with Kofi over the WWE Title. The attack and beating itself were well executed. However, Joe just lost to Ricochet the night before. He always talks a great game and has these moments where he looks like a total badass. But, he loses the actual matches. Why would I think this will be any different? As a general rule, losing a mid-card title like the United States Championship isn’t a good way to launch someone to a main event title like the WWE Championship.
Bliss & Cross – HIT: I continue to enjoy the relationship between Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. It seems like they are moving them away from Bayley which is good so that she can move on to something new on Smackdown. Getting Naomi and Natalya involved worked. There is a good roster of women wrestlers who haven’t gotten much tv time since the Superstar Shakeup and the start of the Wildcard Rule. So, getting them involved here makes sense. Use your talent. Even if it is just to advance the relationship between Bliss and Cross, it was still good to see them on tv.
Ricochet vs. Styles – HIT: This is another case where a new Champion loses a non-Title match right away which needs to stop happening. However, given what we saw with Gallows & Anderson at the start and how well that was handled, and then the great stretch of wrestling we got to see in this main event between Styles and Ricochet, I have to give it a Hit. It was a good main event and it was nice to see the respect shown between Styles and Ricochet afterwards. How will it play into the Gallows & Anderson story going forward? How will Ricochet look to ricochet (I was bound to do it at some point) from this loss? How will Styles look to capitalize on it? It was a good match with some intriguing possibilities coming out of it.
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.
RECOMMENDED: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 6/17: Anderson & Gallows get TV time, Seth Rollins going wild with chair at prospective referees, Heath Slater in VIP room, KO & Sami show, Bryan vs. Seth main event, Becky-Lacey hype, Ricochet win