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Stone Cold – HIT: Raw got off to a good start with the contract signing between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman for their Universal Title match at Clash of Champions. Rollins and Strowman were good, as was AJ Styles when he came out with The OC to interrupt. But, the real highlight of the segment was Stone Cold Steve Austin who held court. It was great to hear him talking about his biggest moments inside Maddison Square Garden and interact with three of the top WWE stars of today. The physicality at the end worked well leading to the Stone Cold Stunner on Styles to close it out.
Alexander vs. Styles – HIT: WWE did a nice job of having Cedric Alexander take advantage of Styles after that opening segment to get an early advantage over him in their match. The match was good as you’d expect. The disqualification in the end worked well to make fans want to see Alexander getting another chance in a United States Championship match. The fight at the end with the Viking Raiders making the save helped to build to what would turn out to be the main event 10 man tag.
The Man Glares at Charlotte – HIT: This was such a short moment, but it was perfect. After a brief, good promo from Bayley and Sasha Banks, we saw Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in their locker room. Bayley and Banks are a team. They are best friends. They wanted this match. Becky and Charlotte hate each other. They are enemies. They only reluctantly are having this match. And you got all that from that brief promo followed by the shot of Becky glaring a hole into Charlotte. Charlotte was intense, but came across more like she just was preparing for the match, trying to ignore Becky. Becky was so good in that moment. I usually don’t go on and on about something that took maybe 5 second, but I loved this.
Lynch & Flair vs. Bayley & Banks – HIT: The match that was hyped in that brief moment ended up being quite good. There were some sloppy spots. Someone needs to tell Charlotte not to do the stupid moonsault any more. She is bad at it and is going to hurt either herself or her opponent or both. And she is so good otherwise that she doesn’t need it. Other than those few spots, this was a very good match. The four women are very talented workers and they got 17 minutes to shine here. With a Champion and a challenger on both teams, you couldn’t predict which team would win. Charlotte getting the pin on Bayley worked, but you could see Banks getting the win over Becky instead. So, that helped make the outcome unpredictable.
Mysterio vs. Metalik – HIT: It was nice to see an uninterrupted 7 minute match on Raw. This was a good way to start the comeback portion of the current Rey Mysterio program. Gran Metalik is very talented and was a nice opponent for Mysterio. They had a good match which allowed Mysterio a chance to remind fans how good he is. This is hopefully the start of a series of good matches for him going forward.
Corbin vs. Joe vs. Ricochet – MISS: There was some good action in this triple threat, but in the end it felt like there wasn’t a good reason to have this match be a triple threat. It was predictable from the start that Ricochet would hit a big move on Samoa Joe only to have Baron Corbin steal the victory. So I guess the purpose of the triple threat was to give Corbin a cheap win, but that wasn’t worth it. And I still question WWE trolling their fans with the tease of Corbin possibly winning the King of the Ring tournament. I know he gets heat, but it just seems to be to be mostly go away heat, not pay to see get beat up heat.
Evans vs. Natalya – MISS: I was starting to get tired of the MSG crowd during this match. I was already annoyed by the fans chanting in favor of Corbin. Now you got “CM Punk” chants here. Give it a rest already. Lacey Evans and Natalya had a solid match last week with Evans getting the win. Here, they had a rematch which was ok, but Natalya went over. So you get that WWE 50-50 booking. If they were trying to help get Evans over last week, why undo that by having her lose this week?
Firefly Funhouse – MISS: Why was WWE teasing The Fiend attacking Stone Cold Steve Austin in this episode of the Firefly Funhouse if he wasn’t going to get attacked? The Fiend has a history of attacking WWE legends, so it made sense that fans would naturally speculate as to whether or not he would attack Austin. That’s fine. But, to play it up in such a strong way here and not deliver doesn’t make much sense to me. I know that there is a chance they will have some interaction in the future. So if that happens, this might make sense. But, I doubt it. When will Austin even be on WWE tv again? While I’m not a fan of this gimmick, a lot of people are. So, why tease a big confrontation and not follow through?
Ten-Man Tag – MISS: Raw was really good for the first two hours, but not nearly as good for the third hour. The fans in MSG loved so much of what happened on this show, but crapped all over the main event. That main event featured some wrestlers like Styles, Rollins and Strowman who are over. I don’t know why the fans rejected this match from the start, but part of it has to do with the other acts who aren’t as over like the Viking Raiders and Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode. Part of it is probably the length of the show and getting tired out over 3 hours. I feel bad for the wrestlers because the fans were very disrespectful to these 10 guys. The match was ok. It wasn’t bad, but it was too long. It had two commercial interruptions. The first break had the tease for Strowman getting upset at Rollins, but then they never went back to it. This wasn’t a good way to go for a final sell for the PPV. They did get a nice win for Alexander over Styles to earn that US Title match, but it didn’t do much to build to the Universal Title match or the Raw Tag Team Title match either.
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 him on Twitter @JonMezzera
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