SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Heath Slater – HIT: I wasn’t sold entirely early on with the use of Heath Slater. Dolph Ziggler wanted to use him to make Drew McIntyre look like a jerk. The problem is that it worked, and the lead babyface of Raw looked like a jerk. By the end, the roles had reversed and it was clear that Ziggler was the one being the jerk. Slater played his role very well. I don’t know if this was a one off or something larger. At least he got a payday on the way out. While they did get to where they needed to be in the end, they still could have found a way to get there without McIntyre looking bad. Plus, I still don’t care about Ziggler as a WWE Title challenger.
Banks vs. Sane – HIT: Sasha Banks and Bayley can go too far into a territory that is mindful of The IIConics which they did in a big way on Smackdown last week. They were much better on Raw where they were egotistical and annoying, without the over the top cartoonish laughing or the delusional aspects of the IIConics’ act. Kairi Sane’s return was nice. Her match against Banks was really good. These are two very talented workers and it was fun to watch them wrestle for the first time. The disqualification ending was disappointing, but not surprising.
Eye for an Eye – MISS: There was a lot of time spent building up to this announcement from Rey Mysterio that his match against Seth Rollins would be an Eye for an Eye match. There was a lot of good work done in the lead up to that announcement, which was unfortunately undone by the ridiculous stipulation. Nobody thinks that either wrestler is going to actually lose an eye. I get that it fits into the Horror Show theme for Extreme Rules, but that’s a stupid theme. So yes, Rollins and Kevin Owens were good on the Kevin Owens show. Yes, Owens & Mysterio vs. Rollins & Murphy was a good match, but that was forgotten about moments later when Mysterio named the stipulation. The other issue is that Rollins needs some more disciples to join his Messiah Complex. With Austin Theory gone for whatever reason (presumably Covid-19 related), he and Murphy are going up against Mysterio, Dominic, Owens, Aleister Black and Humberto Carillo even if they aren’t on all together. It is too one sided in favor of the babyfaces.
New U.S. Title Belt – MISS: This was just an odd segment. I thought it was weird last week to have MVP beat Apollo Crews considering they were building to Bobby Lashley getting a United States Championship match. But, MVP is the one getting the shot at the PPV. Is the US Title too small for Lashley? Shouldn’t he want the Title, instead of his manager? Then you get this weird segment where MVP presented a new title belt, and then claimed it as if he was actually the Champion, but he isn’t. It was confusing. I get that he’s a heel and this was meant to get heat on him, but I think it created more confusion than anything. The tag match that followed with them facing Ricochet & Cedric Alexander was fine and I am intrigued to see where they go with MVP trying to recruit Alexander.
Randy Orton – HIT: I thoroughly enjoyed the performance from Randy Orton this week. It was problematic in the way that he was able to get Andrade and Angel Garza to work together better than Zelina Vega has been able to. This didn’t do much for that pair. But, Orton’s performance threatening Garza during their six man tag match against Big Show and The Viking Raiders was awesome. The match itself was ok. The Viking Raiders are looking like chumps with their backstage goofiness and now their inability to win matches. I am hoping that despite how poor Andrade and Garza looked here that this will lead to something better for them coming out of this. But, I am worried about it too, so I have to call this a marginal Hit because Orton’s performance was so good here.
Riott vs. Kaye – MISS: I wasn’t thrilled seeing Ruby Riott suddenly a babyface last week against Payton Royce, but their match was actually pretty good while it lasted. Here, she lost to Billy Kaye in much worse but equally short match. Beforehand, Riott gave a very good promo threatening the IIConics, but then she lost easily after a very minor amount of distraction by Royce which totally undercut that promo. The next time she cuts a similar promo which is supposed to make her look like a total badass, why would the fans get excited? She acted like a badass and lost. So the next time she acts like a badass, she will likely lose to.They are building to her re-teaming with Liv Morgan which might be good, but both have been defined down by losing too many matches. WWE is building a redemption storyline, but those seldom work out because the fans grow to see them as losers before they have a chance to make their comebacks.
Bayley vs. Asuka – HIT: The idea of doing a Champion vs. Champion match is stupid. But, I greatly enjoyed this main event, so I won’t complain too much. The quality of women’s wrestling in WWE right now is so strong. This was a very long match and never dragged for a moment. Nikki Cross was awesome on guest commentary early in the match before getting kicked out by security. I love what Cross is doing right now. Getting back to the match, you knew there wasn’t going to be a clean finish. But, once they got the straight up DQ out of the way in the earlier match, it was more likely to get a cleaner finish here which we did. There were still antics with Cross returning to distract Bayley and Sane stopping Banks from doing the run in at the end (a good juxtaposition to Bayley doing the run in earlier).
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 Jon on Twitter @JonMezzera.