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Opening Segment – HIT: Raw got off to a good start with Seth Rollins and the Messiah Complex (that’s what I’m calling their group until they get an official name) talking about Buddy Murphy joining the group last week. This was an effective way of following up on last week’s main event. The mic work from Rollins was strong. The interruption from Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe also worked well to get The Big Show out of the picture for now as he was hurt last week in that match. They set up The Viking Raiders as working with Owens and Joe, but that wasn’t great. The fight at the end worked well. This all set up the Tag Team Championship later in the show.
Ladder Match – HIT: After the strong opening segment, Raw continued well with this ladder match between Andrade and Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship. There were some scary spots which made me nervous. They seemed a bit off in executing some of the ladder stunts which does take the quality of the match down a bit. But, the overall action and excitement of the match certainly carried it to an easy Hit despite some of those iffy moments. Humberto Carillo’s return afterwards worked well to set him up as Andrade’s next challenger. But where will Mysterio go from here?
Lesnar – Ricochet – NEITHER: I don’t usually include segments which aren’t strong enough to get a Hit, nor bad enough to get a Miss, but sometimes one comes along like this that I feel like commenting on. The mic work from Paul Heyman to start off the segment was solid, but too similar to past promos to be a Hit. Ricochet was better than usual on the mic here, but not quite good enough to get a Hit either. The physicality at the end worked ok. It was all fine, But none of it was particularly good.
Orton vs. McIntyre – HIT: This was a good physical match. Randy Orton’s in ring acting was on point here with some of his facial reactions, almost looking shocked at how hard Drew McIntyre was hitting him, particularly early in the match. McIntyre wasn’t getting nearly as strong a babyface reaction as he has the previous few weeks, but that might be because of how over Orton is as a face right now. He is still playing sort of a heel who plays to the fans like a babyface. I still hope he wins the Royal Rumble (because I have given up on my real hope of Keith Lee). The interference from The OC worked to not have a clear winner of the match while forcing Orton and McIntyre to work together to fend them off. The RKO out of nowhere at the end was good, as was McIntyre’s promo to close out the segment, giving Orton credit, while vowing that it wouldn’t happen again.
Lynch – Asuka – HIT: This is a minor Hit as everything involving Becky Lynch and Asuka was good, but not that good on the final Raw before their Women’s Championship match at The Royal Rumble. Lynch’s pre-match promo was solid to put away some of her own doubt and point out how Asuka must have some doubt herself as she has to use a partner and the green mist to win matches. The match against Kairi Sane was good, but a little disappointing. They should have a much better match in them. I did enjoy how Asuka was perched on the top turnbuckle for much of the match. The post-match attack from Asuka was good. The interview afterwards with her gloating in Japanese was fine. As I said, it was all good, but I still feel like it should have been better.
Viking Raiders vs. Rollins & Murphy – HIT: It was surprising to see Rollins teaming up with Murphy to face and defeat The Viking Raiders instead of the firmly established team of The Authors of Pain. I wonder if it means that AOP will stay as mostly enforcers and not wrestle much? Time will tell. Either way, this was a good match. They got the involvement from AOP, Owens and Joe out of the way early so that they could just have the rest of the match without interference. I enjoyed the match and am curious to see where they go from here with the new Tag Team Champs.
Monday After the Weekend Update – MISS: Raw needs to go back to 2 hours. Recently, there seems to be two hours of good to great content on Raw, and then 30-60 minutes of crap. This show was over 2 hours of decent to very good content (with noting bad) until this segment which once again wasted the talent of The Street Profits with a terrible and totally unfunny segment. These are terrible. These guys can wrestle. Why aren’t they? These guys can be funny and very entertaining out of the ring. Why aren’t they? They need to find some writer who can work with them if they are going to stay in this role to make these segments better. But, the better thing to do would be to take them out of this type of recap/cheerleader role all together.
Mixed Tag Match – MISS: Rusev looks like the biggest loser in the world. If that was WWE’s goal with this whole storyline, then mission accomplished! He keeps losing every match involving Bobby Lashley. Lana keeps acting annoying. She does a good job with it, but it still makes me more likely to change the channel when she’s on instead of tuning in to see her get whats coming to her. There were some big matches on this show, including two Title matches which could have been the main event. Instead we get this crap which only lasted like 4 minutes. I’m not saying I want more of Lana in the ring (or Lashley for that matter), but when you build to something for several weeks and make it the main event, you’d think it would be longer than 4 minutes. This really should be over now as the heels have gotten the better of the babyfaces in every match. I also can’t imagine a colder go home segment on the last Raw before the Rumble.
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. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.
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