SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Reigns vs. Nakamura – HIT: This is a minor Hit for the quality of the match before the ending. Shinsuke Nakamura and Roman Reigns put in a good effort and had a good match. The near fall after the Superman Punch was particularly well done. A little bit of Sami Zayn is good, but he was too involved. He doesn’t need to interfere multiple times during Nakamura’s matches. And of course, the match ended with Baron Corbin attacking Reigns to cause a disqualification which wasn’t surprising, but still disappointing. WWE books these matches without endings and then have to have non-finishes like this. It happens far too often. The brawl afterwards with Daniel Bryan making the save to set up the main event tag match worked well.
New Day – Heavy Machinery – MISS: The New Day can be fun and entertaining. So can Heavy Machinery. Together they didn’t accomplish being fun or entertaining. This backstage scene was bad. It continues to paint Kofi Kingston as a joke after losing the WWE Title to Brock Lesnar. There is some hope that WWE is going to tell a story of Kofi snapping eventually where trying to put on that Power of Positivity act just gets too much for him and he goes nuts. Time will tell if they go in that direction, but for now they are doing major damage to one of their top stars for most of the year.
Shorty G – MISS: Shorty Gable was bad enough, but not he’s shortened his name even more, so that he doesn’t even have a real name any more. The post-match interview was well delivered by Chad Gable, but the idea was terrible. The idea that he would give in and laugh along with his bullies and accept their way of defining him as being too short is terrible. He can get over with his talent in the ring. Nobody cares about him being short outside of WWE creative and Vince McMahon. He could be a star without ever mentioning his height.
Hulk Hogan – MISS: I don’t want to see Hulk Hogan on my TV . I don’t care about Team Hogan vs. Team Flair at the Blood Money show. Hogan wasn’t good in announcing that Ali and Gable would be part of his team. It was awkwardly produced with him being interviewed via satellite. So even if I wasn’t adverse to Hogan, the segment still wasn’t good.
Heavy Machinery & New Day vs. Revival, Roode & Ziggler – Hit: This is another minor Hit for a fun 8 man tag match. It wasn’t anything special, but it was enjoyable to watch for a decent length of time. It did end up with the Tag Team Champions taking a loss which happens far too often.
Daniel Bryan Interview – HIT: WWE set up the main event in the brawl that followed the opening tag match. It was nice to see an interview with Daniel Bryan in between where he was able to talk about the match. It was short, to the point, well written and well delivered. Mic time doesn’t have to be a 10 minute standing alone in the ring promo. Sometimes a 30-60 second pre-match (or post-match for that matter) interview to help sell the importance of a match is sufficient as it was here.
Miz TV – MISS: The Miz came across as more annoying than the heel guests on his show. Bayley was ok in explaining herself on her recent actions in terms of the heel turn. But, she wasn’t that good. Miz sniping at her didn’t work for me. It all set up the start of what appeared to be a parade of women challengers for Bayley’s Championship. Luckily, we only got a few of them, but they weren’t good. Dana Brooke’s was particularly bad as her problem is always (when given a chance to talk) that she talks about her passion and how hard she works, but she can’t point to any actual success that she has ever had, so it all sounds empty. The Six-Pack Challenge that followed was solid. It wasn’t quite good enough to get a Hit, but it wasn’t a Miss either. At least Nikki Cross was the right winner.
Strowman vs. Gulak – MISS: Drew Gulak has a lot of ability. He is getting a promotion from 205 Live (and NXT sort of) to Smackdown which is good for him. But, his first night on Smackdown saw him getting squashed by Braun Strowman. So, one of the smallest members of the roster goes against the largest. That isn’t a good start for Gulak, and it continues to send the message that the cruiserweights are 2nd class wrestlers when the long reigning Cruiserweight Champion gets squashed so easily by a heavyweight. Use a jobber there, not someone with potential making his Smackdown debut.
Bryan & Reigns vs. Nakamura & Corbin – HIT: Again, this was a minor Hit. It was a good 8 minute tag match. I like the potential of an IC Championship feud between Nakamura and Bryan, so the end of the match worked to start that feud. But again, how many times can Champions keep losing non-Title matches? At least I am high on that feud. However, I’m not nearly as high on the prospect of Reigns vs. Corbin. I’m already falling asleep thinking about it.
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.
CATCH UP… WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 10/11: The convoluted and terrible WWE Draft Night One, Reigns vs. Rollins, Corbin vs. Gable, Bayley vs. Charlotte, Lesnar-Velasquez, The Fiend, Kofi loss fallout