SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Orton Challenges McIntyre – HIT: Randy Orton challenging Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship is the biggest main event WWE could do for this year’s SummerSlam. Orton’s string of strong mic work continued with his show opening promo where he addressed his past and looked to the future to challenge McIntyre. McIntyre later accepted the challenge and it is something to look forward to going forward.
Jax vs. Baszler – MISS: There were parts of what WWE did with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler which were good, but there were too many problems with it. Jax was fine in her promo talking about wanting to face the winner of Sasha Banks vs. Asuka for the Women’s Title. Having a heel like Baszler interrupt her didn’t get me excited. I’m not interested in heel vs. heel match ups. They started to brawl and Samoa Joe made a comment about how WWE would need much more security to break up the two women, but when the show came back from commercial break, they were out of the ring. That felt like a let down. We got a match later, but they didn’t do a good enough job right away to capitalize on that brawl before the first commercial. Then the match didn’t end up happening which was a bait-and-switch. The brawl itself was intense, but the context was off. Also, going for comedy in the middle of the brawl with the official losing his shirt took away from the intensity of the moment.
Triple Threat Tag Team Match – MISS: The wrestling action was good for this triple threat match to determine the #1 contender for the Raw Tag Team Championship. It was a bit hectic and at one point it seemed like all three teams were in the ring at the same time for a prolonged period which made me question the rules of this particular match. But, the real issue is that none of these teams seemed to be deserving of being in this match. When you have a #1 contenders match, the contenders should feel like they deserve a chance to become the #1 contender. The Viking Raiders lost to the Street Profits in a title match not that long ago and I don’t think they’ve won a match since then. Ricochet & Cedric Alexander seem to lose either singles or tag matches on Raw every week to some combination of MVP and Bobby Lashley. And Angel Garza & Andrade just lost to the Street Profits last week. So, it was difficult to take this match seriously when all three potential contenders have been losers lately.
Rollins – Dominic – HIT: This is a marginal Hit. I am growing tired of this never ending storyline with Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio. We are finally getting more of Dominic in the story presumably leading to a match between him and Rollins, perhaps at SS? Their performances were good, but Aleister Black’s role in all of this wasn’t good. He is such a great wrestler and good overall performer, but having him play third fiddle on the babyface side in this storyline isn’t helping him. He is being wasted. I was intrigued by Buddy Murphy being reluctant to go to the extreme measures that Rollins wanted him to do.
VIP Lounge – HIT: This was a pretty good segment with MVP addressing Mustafa Ali after he returned last week. The mic work from MVP was good and it was nice to hear from Ali as well. The 24/7 silliness at the end wasn’t as good and took away from the segment.
Ali vs. Lashley – MISS: Ali did a great job of bumping for Bobby Lashley, but that shouldn’t be his role at this point. He has so much talent to be a star in WWE and they need stars. They treated him well last week in his return and he got the win in the 6 man tag match. So, why are they jobbing him out one week later? They have ZERO idea about how to build a star. And you can’t make the argument that he gained something from defeat. He sold for the vast majority of the match. He only got in a few brief flurries of offense. He did not take Lashley “to the limit.” He showed heart and toughness by lasting as long as he did, but he was getting beat on for most of that time.
Asuka vs. Banks – HIT: I was torn by this match as to what to do with it. The wrestling action for nearly 20 minutes was clearly Hit worthy as Asuka and Banks are my two favorite women wrestlers in the ring. Put them in the ring together and get the booking out of the way and let them wrestle for 20 minutes and you are pretty much guaranteed to have a very good if not great match. And that’s what we were getting until the terrible ending.
End of Asuka vs. Banks – MISS: I have to give the ending a Miss. The ridiculous rules for this match to have the title changing hands on a disqualification or a count out was stupid. You knew that there was going to be some type of shenanigans in the end to take advantage of that stipulation, so none of the other near falls or near tap outs were as dramatic because Bayley wasn’t involved. I liked the idea that she was chased away by Kairi Sane before the match, but her presence was clearly looming in the stipulation. The biggest issue with the ending was that there was no reason why the director would suddenly start showing what was happening in the back on the big screen. That was so stupid. That just wouldn’t happen in a real sport. I get that they want Asuka to look like she put her friend over her title, but it didn’t work for me. Asuka is so good, so it was disappointing to see her title run cut short like this with this stupidity.
Murphy vs. Carillo – HIT: This was a good match as you’d expect with the returning Humberto Carillo taking on Buddy Murphy. It did bring up the question as to where was Carillo earlier in the show when Murphy and Rollins were trying to blind Aleister Black? It was good to see Murphy get a clean strong win so he doesn’t just seem like Rollins’ loser lackey.
McIntyre vs. Ziggler – HIT: Having an extreme rules match did make some storyline sense since at the PPV, Ziggler got to use those rules, but McIntyre couldn’t, whereas here, McIntyre was able to use them. However, considering he won at the PPV despite the deck being stacked against him, it didn’t seem like he needed to have extreme rules in this case. But it was ok. The match itself was good enough to get a Hit. It was a fine way to end their short feud and now McIntyre can focus 100% on Randy Orton who hit him with and RKO out of nowhere afterwards.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonMezzera.