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Seth’s Show-Opening Promo – HIT: This was one of Seth Rollins’ best promos as he talked about beating Brock Lesnar to become the Universal Champion at SummerSlam. I would argue that he did more to connect with the fans in his promo than he ever has before. He brought them onto his journey and gave them credit for lifting him up to the win. The interruption that followed from the OC with AJ Styles challenging him to a match later in the show worked well to hook the audience to stick around.
Joe vs. Zayn – MISS: The set up for this match worked with Sami Zayn interrupting The Street Profits where they turned things around on him to make him make fun of Samoa Joe. This seemed like a step in a babyface turn for Joe which started last week with him showing compassion for Roman Reigns. Joe vs. Zayn could be a great match, but they ended up having Joe squash Zayn in a minute. That was disappointing. It isn’t too bad as Joe needed a strong win and Zayn can get his heat back with his great mic work. But, it was still disappointing. The problem is that after the match, Joe basically said “screw you” to the fans, thus canceling any idea of a face turn. Joe is a great heel, but it feels like the right time for a babyface run.
Ziggler – Miz – HIT: This is a marginal Hit for the follow up to Dolph Ziggler getting squashed by Goldberg the night before at the PPV. Both Ziggler and The Miz were good on the mic before the match. I liked how Ziggler accused Miz of using Goldberg to soften him up for their match. The idea of him pretending to be hurt worked well to jumpstart the match. The match itself was solid with Miz getting a strong win in the end. Ziggler continued what he did at SS by running his mouth afterwards and getting a skull crushing finale. We’ll see where they go from here with this new character trait.
Ricochet vs. Elias – MISS: This was an ugly match. It felt out of place and random. Ricochet and Elias did not work well together. There were some sloppy moments. And then you got the end of the match where Elias clearly had his shoulder up for the 3 count. If that was the plan, that was a bad plan. If it wasn’t the plan, it was bad execution. Either way, it was bad.
Mysterio vs. Andrade – HIT: This was not about having the best match of the night which under other circumstances Rey Mysterio and Andrade could certainly do. This was about telling a story. By having Mysterio lose two straight falls to Andrade, after losing to him twice in other matches recently, WWE set up a big potential storyline. Even though Zelina Vega cheated to help Andrade win the first fall quickly, everyone had to assume Rey would win the second fall. But, he lost cleanly. It was nice to see a 2-out-of-3 falls match end in two falls. WWE seldom does that. And they treated it like a huge deal. The follow up interview with a dejected Mysterio was very strong and potentially sets up a storyline with his son Dominic getting involved again.
Steve Austin – HIT: It was great to hear a legend like Stone Cold Steve Austin give his endorsement to Seth Rollins. It was another step in what was a great night for Rollins. Sure, Austin was on to promote his new show, but he was great in putting Rollins over. Fans who pay attention to the world of wrestling podcasts have heard Austin question who Seth Freakin Rollins is before (including with Wade Keller). He played into that history well by talking about it here, but in a way where more casual fans would understand what he was talking about even if they had never heard him on a podcast. He brought that real life criticism and made it feel like a legit kayfabe criticism which Rollins has now answered. He was clear that he now knows who Seth Rollins is and that was a big endorsement.
McIntyre vs. Alexander – HIT: A wrestler doesn’t have to win a match to get a big bump from it. That felt like the case for Cedric Alexander in this loss to Drew McIntyre. This was a great 7 minute match. Alexander looked like he belonged with McIntyre and almost picked up the win on multiple occasions. It all culminated in what was the greatest bump on a Claymore Kick ever. McIntyre needed the win and needs to be built up as a strong contender for Rollins’ Universal Title. But, Alexander should be a bigger start because of the match too.
Roode vs. Jose – HIT: WWE was very smart in having the tease that Charlie Caruso would interview Paul Heyman about Lesnar and the Universal Title after the match between Robert Roode and No Way Jose. That should work to keep fans from flipping channels for what would be a major channel changing moment. If WWE wants to get behind a new push for Roode, that can be good and this squash of Jose can be the start of it.
24/7 Title – MISS: The 24/7 title can be fun, but it always feels out of place. I would rather see a full match between The Lucha House Party and The Revival than just seeing a few minutes of it before it gets interrupted by R-Truth and the 24/7 rejects running into the ring.
Return of The Boss – HIT: Sasha Banks returning after several months being gone was a genuine nice surprise. She did a good job of acting like she was there to give support to Natalya on the anniversary of her father’s death, only to have her attack her instead. The beating that followed was very brutal. It was nice to see Becky Lynch make the save, only to have Sasha turn the tables and get the better of her. The problem is that the fans were so happy to see her back that they treated her like the babyface, but hopefully that won’t continue going forward. I have to say that each week I get a little more tired of a lot of wrestling fans who don’t care about stories or characters. I do look forward to hearing from Sasha next week.
Rollins vs. Styles – HIT: The main event which was set up in the opening segment and effectively hyped throughout the show was pretty good. It was a set up for the fight afterwards, so we didn’t get a great match. It lasted 8 minutes, and nearly half of that was on commercial. But, what we saw was good. Most of this Hit is for what happened once Anderson & Gallows attacked Rollins to end the match in a DQ. It was good to see Ricochet come to Rollins’ aid given his recent feud against Styles. I was trying to think of who else could come out to even the odds, but I was not thinking about Braun Strowman. That worked well. There isn’t much of a storyline reason for it, but sometimes it is ok to have babyfaces helping other babyfaces even if they don’t have a storyline connection. This worked and got a nice pop from the crowd. Beyond a six man tag that we are likely to get next week, I am curious to know where they go from here. Is this ultimately setting up Strowman vs. Styles for the United States Champion?
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.
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.
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