WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 9/30: The new announce team, Miz TV with Flair and Hogan, Rusev watches his wife Lana kissed by Lashley, Heyman promo, Lynch promo, Lesnar-Mysterio attack

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist

Bobby Roode (art credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)


The Announcers – MISS: With two new green announcers, Vic Joseph and Dio Maddin on the Raw team on this “season premiere,” it was good to hear an old voice in Jerry “the King” Lawler as a veteran who could help the two new guys along the way. But, he had some off moments despite overall doing a solid job. Sometimes, it sounded like he was plugged into the current product although at other times, he clearly wasn’t like when he didn’t know that Cedric Alexander has recently defeated AJ Styles in a non-title match. It was good to actually hear him say the word “wrestling” on multiple occasions. But otherwise, it wasn’t strong enough to make up for Maddin who was bad. He didn’t say much, but whenever he did say something, it was not good. For instance, saying that Rusev was getting a “well earned Title shot” at Seth Rollins’ Universal Title after just coming back for only two matches against jobbers. How did he earn a title shot? I could go on, but to keep it short I will say that he had a bad first week. Also, who is he? He’s only been on 205 Live a few weeks, so why not do something to introduce him to the audience? He isn’t known by most of the viewers. There are a lot of viewers who don’t know Joseph either, so do something more to have them connect with those viewers. Joseph was fine, and has gotten good experience on 205 Live and NXT UK, so he should do well going forward.

Lesnar-Mysterio – HIT: Raw got off to a good start. You knew things were not going to go well for Rey Mysterio when he came out to talk about his Universal Title match later in the show. WWE never lets Mysterio talk, so you knew something had to happen. That something was Brock Lesnar coming out to interrupt and beat the crap out of Mysterio. He also pulled Mysterio’s son Dominic out of the front row and beat the crap out of him too. The two beating were very physical. Dominic isn’t a good actor, but he did a good job of selling here. This was a strong show opening which shook up the rest of the show since it forced the cancelation of the main event. WWE also followed up on it nicely throughout the show with replays and updates.

Becky Lynch Promo – HIT: Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss was a good match, but too short to amount to much, plus the ending was weak. I like the idea that Banks would pretend to call for help to Bayley who wasn’t actually there as a distraction to Bliss. But even with Bliss’ leg injury, it should have taken more for Banks to win than just kicking her in her bad leg. So, that took it out of the Hit column, but it was good enough to not be a Miss either. After the match, Becky Lynch chased Banks away and cut a short, but very good promo. I loved her line about how Banks had made their feud personal, but she was going to make it painful. That’s a great go home line to hype their Hell in a Cell match on Sunday. The follow up later in the show with Banks cutting a promo about Lynch wasn’t quite as strong, but still good.

Roode & Ziggler vs. Heavy Machinery – HIT: This was a good Raw Tag Team Title match. Otis gets a good reaction and can be fun to watch. He and Tucker can do some impressive things in the ring given their size. This match continued the story that despite just being a team for a short amount of time, they have grown into a very good team. They came across as the more experienced team here, and while they are more experienced as singles wrestlers, they haven’t been a team for nearly as long. Another bad example of the announcing came in this match when Lawler appeared to never have seen the caterpillar before.

Miz TV – MISS: I hated this. I don’t want to see Hulk Hogan in WWE so any segment featuring him like this is going to have to battle hard to not get a MISS. This one didn’t. Ric Flair sounded incoherent at times. He seemed angry too quickly. Hogan said it was an honor to be in the ring with the greatest wrestler of all time which sounded like a very nice compliment. Flair’s response was that Hogan might have been a bigger draw in “this company” along with guys like Austin and Taker, but he was a better wrestler. Yeah, Hogan just called him the best, so why was he upset? The pretend physicality was too cute. Miz did his best to keep things on track, but then he announces what both Hogan and Flair already knew about the Team Flair vs. Team Hogan match for Crown Jewel. It was odd how that was staged. Reminding me that they are still doing business with Saudi Arabia didn’t help. I have not spent money on WWE (no Network or live events) since the last Blood Money event. Having team captains of Team Hogan and Team Flair doesn’t make sense to me. The segment turned into such a mess with Randy Orton starting to have a match against Rollins. Rollins had made a challenge to find a replacement for Mysterio earlier in the show, but this didn’t seem to be the answer to that challenge. If it was, then Orton should be upset that the match didn’t end up actually happening as Baron Corbin got involved. Then Rusev randomly got involved to join team Hogan. There was just too much going on here.

The Viking Raiders vs. The OC – HIT: This was another good match between these two, but I wish WWE would do more to explain why the match was happening. Why did the OC get a rematch this week after losing last week? It wouldn’t take much to have some backstage interviews with each team to set the stage for this match. But, it was fun to watch and it was good that WWE didn’t do their typical 50-50 booking and had the Raiders get the win again.

Ricochet vs. Cesaro – MISS: The effort from Ricochet and Cesaro was really strong, but I can’t give the match a Hit when it only goes 3 minutes. There were things that should have happened on this show that would have been better uses of time than just having such a short match between two very talented wrestlers. The set up for the match was a bit dippy too, but at least Ricochet did a better job of acting than usual.

Styles vs. Alexander – HIT: This is another match that could have used some more build during the show. Instead of Ricochet vs. Alexander, how about use that time to hype this United States Championship match? Cedric Alexander lost at the last PPV to Styles, so why was he getting another US Title match? Tell that story. The fans were more behind Styles at the start of the match than Alexander when he first came out to very little response. He won them over as he usually does with his great in ring work. But, if you told a better story with him and gave him a better chance to connect with the fans before the match, then he already has momentum at the start of the match and doesn’t have to earn all of his reaction in the ring. I wish the match had been longer, but it was very good while it lasted.

Heyman – HIT: Paul Heyman did a very good job in addressing what Lesnar had done early in the show while putting the focus back onto his WWE Title match against Kofi Kingston on Smackdown. Overall, WWE did a strong job of hyping that first Smackdown on FOX with a lot of talk about the WWE Title match, announcing the Rock’s special appearance, and talking about the ladder match between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon.

End of the Show – MISS: It didn’t make much sense for Rusev to challenge Rollins for the Universal Title. He just helped Rollins and joined his team (or Hogan’s team). The match was fine, but was just a set up for two show closing angles. We got a bait-and-switch with Mysterio being advertised for a Universal Title match which didn’t happen. We got a bait-and-switch when it looked like we were going to see Orton vs. Rollins, which didn’t happen either. We did get part of this match, but we didn’t get it all, which is basically the third bait-and-switch involving Rollins on this show. The whole Bobby Lashley – Lana angle was bad. This was the culmination of a very short storyline. We didn’t get much development at all. I don’t like the direction they went in, but if they are going to go in that direction, why not allow it to develop over time? Lets get a few weeks of wondering where Lana is. Sure, Rusev has been back without her for two weeks, but her absence alone didn’t make for a compelling story. They only had Rusev address potential problems between him and his wife earlier on this show. The make out session was awkward to watch. Rusev standing there and watching for so long made him look bad. It was emasculating. It was also bad how long Lashley had to stand there motioning for Lana to come out before they finally played her music. That was a bad production moment. The only good thing that happened was The Fiend attacking Rollins at the very end. Rollins has looked bad for being so paralyzed by fear of a man in a clown mask who beats up old decrepit retired wrestlers. At least here, he was attacked by The Fiend instead to really sell the idea that he is in major trouble at Hell in a Cell.

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Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at jmezz_torch@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera


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