WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 12/16: Seth Rollins heel promo, Viking Raiders vs. The OC, Orton vs. Styles, Becky Lynch sit-down promo, Rowan squash

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist

Becky Lynch (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)


Seth Rollins – HIT: Seth Rollins had a good night starting with the opening promo where he talked about joining up with the Authors of Pain and doing what he had to do to Kevin Owens. They were smart to keep Owens off this show after the beating that he took last week. The hook that Rollins provided by promising to get revenge on someone was strong for the rest of the show. That hook had a good payoff when he and the AOP attacked Rey Mysterio later on for giving Owens the pipe last week. Rollins’ performance here was even better than the main event. The way he left and then came back to give Rey the stomp was great. This set up his challenge to Mysterio for a United States Championship match next week which was accepted. That’s a good hook for next week. All in all, this was well done.

The Viking Raiders vs. The OC – HIT: This was a good long hard hitting tag team match. It was confusing as to whether or not it was a Tag Team Title match. I mean when an announcer says “New Champions!” at the end, and has to correct himself, it is safe to say that this was confusing. This will lead to a Tag Title match in the future and it will be interesting to see what happens there with the OC getting the better of the Viking Raiders twice now.

Rowan – MISS: This is just getting old. I don’t care what’s in the cage. I don’t get why jobbers keep trying to look. This week, the guy had plenty of time to look, but he didn’t. It is just stupid. I can’t imagine the payoff being anything good enough to justify all this time.

Liv Morgan – MISS: I like Liv Morgan. I enjoyed her act as part of the Riott Squad. I’m intrigued that she is remaking her image after being gone for several months. However, her look was unique. She’s cute. She has a distinct personality. This vignette makes it seem like they are turning her into another Mandy Rose. She looked more like Dana Brooke than Liv Morgan to me. I don’t know how they could remake her while keeping what makes her unique to begin with, but hopefully there is more to it than just a sexy bombshell taking baths and showing off skin. I hope I am wrong and they do end up in a good spot with her.

R-Truth – HIT: I got a kick out of R-Truth’s pre-gauntlet promo talking about winning the gauntlet and going on to win the US Title and carrying it all the way to WrestleMania. I loved when he pointed at the sign that isn’t there and then realized that it isn’t there and asked where it was. That was funny in a self referential way that says to me someone on WWE creative knows how stupid it is to have so many wrestlers point at that sign starting at the Royal Rumble.

The Gauntlet Action – HIT: There were definitely some issues with the Gauntlet, but the wrestling action was good throughout. They should have had a better mix of heels and babyfaces considering it was all faces until Andrade at the end. That created some good match ups, but also some awkward spots where fans were rooting for one face over another, particularly when they booed Ricochet for eliminating Matt Hardy. After Truth vs. Akira Tozawa, the gauntlet picked up nicely with Tozawa vs. Ricochet. That was very good. It continued well with the Ricochet vs. Hardy match, which unfortunately suffered from the face vs. face matchup and the odd ending without an official announcement for too long after the pin. It was still good wrestling action. Humberto Carrillo vs. Ricochet was a great 18 minute match. That was so fun to watch. You figured that Carrillo would get the win in the end as he made more sense to face Andrade in the last segment. This was definitely the highlight of the gauntlet. The end was a bit odd without an actual winner (more later), but the physicality of Andrade destroying Carrillo before the final match could start was very well done. That was some beating leading to the hammerlock DDT on the exposed concrete. This seemed to put to bed the tension between Andrade and Zelina Vega which is good as they are too good together to break up.

No Gauntlet Winner – MISS: That was a long stretch of wrestling, basically an hour of Raw given to this gauntlet with the winner to get a US Title match next week against Mysterio. In the end, there wasn’t a winner. I liked what they did with Andrade and Carrillo, but they should have still found a way to have a winner in that match. They didn’t want to have a winner so that they could go to Rollins vs. Mysterio instead, but that’s bad storytelling.

Asuka vs. Purrazzo – MISS: The wrestling action between Asuka and Deonna Purrazzo was Hit worthy. But, why was an NXT wrestler on Raw? Why would you have her make her Raw debut without any type of build up? I liked that they at least showed a short video on her to introduce her to the larger audience. But considering how little she’s actually been on NXT tv (and not at all lately I don’t think), and how long it has been since she was in the Mae Young Classic (over a year), she isn’t well known at all. If you want to use her on Raw, great. But then you need to do a better job of introducing her to the audience and not have her lose in her debut. If you wanted someone to lose to Asuka, then use Sarah Logan. I would have rather seen this as Purrazzo’s Raw debut in a winning effort against Logan and give Asuka a night off after she was in TLC the night before. She didn’t have to be on. A video package on her and Becky Lynch’s history would have been more effective.

Lynch Interview – HIT: The interview with Becky Lynch after that Asuka match was good. It was nice to have her acknowledge her lack of success against Asuka in the past. This sets up a big match in the future between them. It was interesting how she framed being in tag team matches with Charlotte Flair lately as a way of WWE trying to protect her from Asuka, although that doesn’t make much sense considering she was in tag matches against her. It wasn’t great. But overall, it was a Hit and I look forward to seeing where they go with the two of them heading into what will presumably be a Royal Rumble rematch.

Orton vs. Styles – HIT: The main event was good, but suffered from the feeling that I had of it being rushed. After last week’s main event was literally rushed to fit it in at the very end of the hour, this week USA gave WWE an extra few minutes of an overrun. I’m not a fan of that. 3 hours is enough. However, if I had known that it was going to be extended, I wouldn’t have had that anxious feeling that the match was going to end abruptly. Randy Orton and AJ Styles did put on a good match. I liked how Styles locked in that calf crusher on Orton pretty early in the match to put Orton in danger the rest of the time. Orton sold that leg injury well. The final few minutes of the match were particularly strong as it built towards the ending with Orton getting the win with the RKO. The brawl at the end with the rest of the OC getting involved along with the Viking Raiders was fine to set up a 6 man tag next week.

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.

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