SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Owens-Rollins Saga Continues – HIT: Raw started with a long stretch involving Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. Owens started it off well with a short promo before being interrupted by Mojo Rawley. I wish WWE had done more with Rawley in the last few months so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being used out of the blue like he has been the last two weeks. But, he did play his part well. His match against Owens was solid with Owens getting the strong win in the end. The aftermath which led to Rollins and the Authors of Pain beating down Owens was also well done. Samoa Joe on commentary added the exclamation point to the beating with his strong words about Rollins and AOP. That set the stage for what would happen at the end of the show.
24/7 Title Silliness – MISS: I get that this was a taped Holiday edition of Raw, so having a series of scenes in New York with R-Truth, Akira Tozawa, a referee and Santa Claus fighting over the 24/7 Title makes some sense. They needed pre-taped footage to add to what happened in the arena. Unfortunately, this was all lame and far more Miss than Hit.
Lashley vs. Alexander – MISS: There was some good wrestling action in this match between Bobby Lashley and Cedric Alexander. But, the odd way they had Lana interrupt it right before the commercial break totally took me out of the match. It was weird. It didn’t work. After the commercial, I really didn’t care about the rest of the match. That interruption ruined what could have been a Hit.
Drew McIntyre – HIT: Drew McIntyre got a strong squash win over Zack Ryder and then beat up Kurt Hawkins too. He was physically dominating in the way that he should be against guys like that. His post-match promo was also very strong. Hopefully, 2020 will be the year of McIntyre.
Lynch – Asuka – HIT: It is interesting to see Becky Lynch framing herself as being protected by WWE now that she is the face of the company, but she doesn’t want to be protected. She is going back to more the anti-authority figure that she was going into WrestleMania which has been largely lost after becoming Becky Two Belts. I liked Asuka’s call back to that moniker here, calling herself Asuka Two Belts. They are doing a good job of building anticipation for this match presumably at The Royal Rumble.
Black – Murphy – HIT: Many fans felt that the Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy match at TLC was the best match of the night. It is cool that WWE has acknowledged that. They are building to a rematch which I won’t complain about. The “anything you can do, I can do better” feel to it this week worked well with each of them getting a squash win. The face off with a teased handshake, ultimately leading to a Black Mass to Murphy was good.
Flair vs. Green – MISS: You can look at last week’s Raw Hits & Misses, specifically the Miss for Asuka vs. Purrazzo to see why this was a Miss. I don’t get this use of Chelsea Green. They gave her a quick video like Deonna Purrazzo last week before her match against Asuka. This time, Green was quickly introduced before a match with Charlotte Flair. In both cases, the NXT wrestler put up a nice fight, but still lost in a pretty short match. That isn’t a way to get Green over. I didn’t understand why they did it last week, and it turns out that they actually filmed it twice in the same day.
Viking Raiders & Orton vs. The OC – HIT: This was a good 15 minute six man tag match. The match was built around Randy Orton’s knee injury which ultimately cost his team the match as AJ Styles got the win. The rest of the match had some hard hitting physical action with the Viking Raiders and Gallows & Anderson. This continued to give The OC momentum in these two feuds, while protecting the Tag Team Champions from taking another pin fall loss.
The Street Profits – MISS: I don’t understand why WWE is wasting this talented team. After getting a push awhile back working with Kevin Owens against the OC, suddenly they are back to doing Raw hype videos like they did for several months when first on Raw while still wrestling in NXT. This is just not the role I would use for them.
Rusev – MISS: I wasn’t sure what to make of Rusev this week. He had a promo about being happy that Lana is marrying Bobby Lashley next week. The fun-loving, carefree Rusev seemed to be getting a strong positive reaction from the live fans, but it didn’t work as for me. Part of it is that I am having trouble separating this from the entire storyline which has been so terrible. His quick win against No Way Jose was odd. It didn’t make sense for them to have a match. Then we got him joining Jose’s conga line. Like I said, the fans ate it up. I didn’t.
Samoa Joe – HIT: Samoa Joe has been very good on commentary the last few weeks while he continues to recover from injury. It is a shame that so much of his main roster run has been marred by multiple injuries. He has a career as a commentator when he retires from the ring, but I hope that is far off as he still has a lot to give in the ring for a few years I would think. The end of Raw was very strong. The US Title match with Rey Mysterio defending against Seth Rollins was disappointing. They built it up as a big deal being the first ever Mysterio vs. Rollins match. It ended up being shorter than expected and ended with AOP attacking Mysterio causing a disqualification. The wrestling action before that was good, but it ultimately ended up being a set up for this good show closing angle with Joe refusing to leave the announce table, standing up to the AOP and Rollins, and getting beat down because of it. I look forward to seeing where they go from here with Joe, Mysterio and Owens against Rollins & the AOP going forward.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at email@example.com.