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Draft – MISS: Part of me says I should devote this entire edition of Hits & Misses to the WWE Draft, since it was so tied into the entire show. This was terrible. The rules for the draft were convoluted and confusing. The idea that Fox or USA network executives were making the picks was stupid. Having Stephanie McMahon who isn’t well liked be the one to make the announcements of the draft picks didn’t make sense as she wasn’t going to get the fans hyped. The scenes with the supposed draft war rooms celebrating their picks were some of the worst scenes in WWE history. That was terribly cartoonish overacting. Why would Raw pick The OC as a team (I get having tag teams as a whole as part of the draft, but a faction?), but then pick Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross separately? The whole idea that only part of the roster was available wasn’t well explained at first. I think there was a lot of confusion as to why guys like Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar weren’t getting picked, when guys like Ricochet were. That needed to be clearer. The special panel with Renee Young et al doing post-picks analysis was not good. They were just throwing out generic platitudes. And as I recently wrote, while I don’t want over use of on-air authority figures, this was the place to name new GMs who wouldn’t be on every week, but would be more like William Regal on NXT. Have them make the picks, don’t make it about the networks since fans don’t really care about the networks getting their ways, and you set up someone to actually make the matches now that they have a roster of wrestlers after the draft. Also, the idea that Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins would want to win a match to earn the top pick for their brand is nonsensical. They might win but someone they hate gets drafted to their brand. Or they might be happy with the pick at first, but then they end up getting drafted to the other brand instead. So why would they want to wrestle each other and win? They are good friends. It made no sense at all. And the draft hung over the entire show making this one very terrible episode of Smackdown.
Reigns vs. Rollins – HIT: The reason for this match was stupid as I wrote above. The ending was stupid as I’ll write about below. But the effort put in from Reigns and Rollins was good enough to give the fans 12 minutes of good wrestling action, which makes it worthy of a minor Hit.
The Fiend Imitates Undertaker/Kane – MISS: The Fiend is over, but the dual Bray Wyatt / Fiend character doesn’t work for me. It could be something good, but I still say the execution is weak and overall it doesn’t work for a professional wrestler. Yes, there have been characters like Undertaker and Kane who have been hugely successful over the years. I just feel like wrestling should have moved on from those types of gimmicks by 2019. I don’t want a character who is impervious to pain at this point like The Fiend was at Hell in a Cell. Doing hocus pocus stuff like appearing when the lights go out needs to be over at this point. Now, Fiend is stealing the Undertaker/Kane gimmick of coming through the ring, and dragging his opponent “to Hell!” with smoke effects. That was cheesy. Then Rollins somehow got away which sort of killed the gimmick, but I guess that’s better than him just disappearing into the netherworld. After the terrible ending to Hell in a Cell, I would have gone away from Wyatt vs. Rollins.
Corbin vs. Gable – MISS: Shorty Gable alone deserves a Miss. Having another match with Gable vs. Baron Corbin is a Miss. They have gotten worse each time they have faced. Hopefully they end up on separate brands so we won’t be subject to any more matches between them. And hopefully someone in WWE comes to their senses and stops the short jokes and references and has him go back to just being Chad Gable.
Lesnar-Velasquez Hype – HIT: Paul Heyman was good on the mic in addressing what happened last week when Cain Valesquez made his surprise WWE debut. He did a nice job of giving more of the history between Valesquez and Brock Lesnar. It was very different from the types of promos that Heyman usually gives. That delivery makes Valesquez feel important right from the start. Rey Mysterio did a nice job in interrupting with Valesquez. The best part of the segment was when Mysterio showed the still frames of their UFC fight where you could see where Lesnar got the scar under his eye and it cut back to Lesnar’s face where he was feeling that scar. That was a great moment. I am disappointed that this is happening at the next Blood Money show. Otherwise, what they’ve done building to this WWE Title match has been very good.
Kofi Kingston – MISS: After losing his WWE Championship to Lesnar last week, it would have been nice to get some type of reaction from Kofi Kingston. This is a chance to take his character into some new direction to capitalize on the last 7 or 8 months of his build to WrestleMania, his Mania victory over Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Title, followed by a long Title run. Instead, he was back to being the pancake tossing New Day member with no follow up at all. That was very disappointing. It overshadowed a solid New Day vs. The OC match.
Charlotte vs. Bayley – HIT: This Hit starts with Bayley finally changing her persona now that she’s a heel. I like that it was a slow burn. That has worked well with her still acting the same despite her friendship with the clear heel Sasha Banks, but changing over time. This got off to a good start with her popping her inflatable Bayley buddies and revealing her new look. Her match with Charlotte Flair for the Women’s Title was good as you’d expect with these two. I question taking the Title off of Flair so soon. She’s had so many title reigns now, but they don’t feel special when they are so short. I get that losing the Title to Flair at the PPV was the final straw in pushing Bayley to the dark side which I already praised. Now she’s capitalizing on that character change to win the Title back. So, that all does make sense, but I still feel like having Flair’s 10th title reign last less than a week isn’t a great way to go.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera
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