SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Main Event Starts & Stops – MISS: WWE often will do something like this, having the main event early in the show only because of some storyline reason which doesn’t make sense. In this case, they started off the show with the triple threat match to determine the #1 contender to the Fiend’s Universal Championship. They had a slew of shenanigans planned, so they started the show with the main event. But, if the authority figures didn’t know that those shenanigans were going to happen, there is no way they would start the show off with the main event. Where do you go from there? If wrestling wasn’t predetermined, there’s no way they start with that match, and wrestling should always be booked as if it wasn’t predetermined. As if the tease at the start wasn’t bad enough with Roman Reigns attacking Baron Corbin, later on you restarted the match with just The Miz and Daniel Bryan, only to have Corbin send his minions out to interrupt the match. Again, why would the authority figures put that match on in the middle of the show instead of the end if they didn’t already know that Corbin would put a stop to it?
New Day & Strowman vs. Nakamura & Cesaro & Zayn – HIT: It was good to see Sami Zayn actually wrestling again, although his role in the match wasn’t much more than his role has been in regular tag matches when he’s been in the corner of Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro. Either way, this was a good six man tag. It was fun to watch. It continued the feud between the heel trio and The New Day while building towards an eventual Intercontinental Title match between Nakamura and Braun Strowman. Will Cesaro and Zayn continue as a team at that point to face New Day?
Fire & Desire – MISS: Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose are a good team. But, they haven’t had enough success to make a break up angle mean something. They both lose every singles match that they are in. They lose all of their tag matches. So who cares if they are having problems as a team? The Rose storyline with Otis doesn’t do anything for me either.
Moment of Bliss – MISS: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are far more interesting to me than Lacey Evans, especially this rather lame babyface version of Evans. So, we saw and heard very little of the hosts of a Moment of Bliss, but a long not very good promo from Evans. She seemed much more comfortable on the mic playing the sassy southern belle heel than this “hey look, I’m a mother so cheer for me” babyface. The tag match that followed was ok, but Dana Brooke continues to be a total loser, blind tagging herself in to get an advantage, only to have it cost her team the win.
Mustafa Ali Video – HIT: I have always liked Mustafa Ali’s videos that he has done going back to his early days on 205 Live. He has an authenticity to him helps him connect to the audience. He is great in the ring. He can talk. He has a good story in terms of his background and what he is trying to accomplish. I hope that WWE is going to get behind him in the New Year or videos like this are just going to be a waste.
Corbin vs. Miz vs. Bryan – HIT: After the two false starts, the actual main event turned out to be a good triple threat match. It didn’t feel as formulaic as WWE’s triple threat matches tend to be. Until Reigns came out to take Corbin out of the match and it turned into a singles match, it felt like the three of them were in the ring together for a much higher percentage of the match than usual. In other words, often one of the three will get knocked out of the ring for an extended period of time, before coming back and knocking one of the other two out. That’s the usual formula which wasn’t the case here. They did a lot of creative things like Miz and Bryan taking turns with the running kicks into the corner. The best was when Miz had Corbin in a figure four, and Bryan turned Corbin over into the Yes Lock, which reversed the figure four, putting Miz into jeopardy too. The final few minutes after Corbin was taken out was also strong leading to the right man winning the match.
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.