SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Orton’s Opening – MISS: This didn’t do it for me. I appreciate WWE doing something different with Randy Orton doing his promo from the scene of his attack on the legends last week, instead of just standing in the ring with a microphone. I like that format. The problem is the content wasn’t good. It felt overly produced with the videos from after the attack being edited into his statements. I think it would have been better to leave some of that to the imagination. It went on a little too long. It wasn’t terrible, but it could have been better, so it gets a minor Miss.
Vega & Natalya & Lana vs. Asuka & Rose & Brooke – MISS: You had six women in this match. Two are very good workers. Three are ok, but not really good. One is bad. That’s not a formula for a Hit. Zelina Vega lost pretty easily twice to Asuka, so it worries me that she is still involved with her at this point. They seemed to be building sympathy for her last week, but that was totally gone this week. So the match was poor, and the storyline around it wasn’t great either. I do have to admit to getting a guilty pleasure kick out of Lana being put through the announce table every week.
Rollins & Murphy vs. Dominik & Carrillo – HIT: It has been awhile since we’ve seen Humberto Carrillo as part of the Mysterio family vs. Messiah Complex feud, so at least his presence was a bit fresh to give something slightly new to this match up with him teaming with Dominik against Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy. I am losing interest in the greater storyline. The pre-match encounter between Rollins and Murphy was ok. The match itself didn’t last long, but it was a good 6 minutes of wrestling action.
The KO Show – MISS: I hate The Fiend as a pro wrestling character. They always make a big deal about how everyone who comes into contact with him comes out changed, which is true. The problem is that the change is never for the good. I hate seeing him involved with characters whom I like, because it seems to damage those characters. I don’t want to see the same thing happen to Kevin Owens. I know I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t find the new Alexa Bliss to be interesting at all. Even if you take away the Fiend’s history, I don’t find watching Owens talking to Bray Wyatt on a screen with puppets and a goofy song entertaining at all. It didn’t make me want to watch their match on Smackdown either.
Strowman vs. Lee – HIT: This was headed for the Miss column. Giving away this match with little advanced notice didn’t seem like a good idea. Unsanctioned matches by their very definition are stupid. Having a double count out in an unsanctioned match also is stupid. I thought they were pin fall or submission only. Having Braun Strowman dominate Kieth Lee and drive him (in a bit of a clumsy spot) through the barrier wasn’t good for Lee who needs to be presented better than he has been since being called up to Raw. This was a big Miss. But then, Lee got up. He fought back and took the brawl to Strowman. It turned out to be a good brawl with Lee mostly getting the better of Strowman. He was able to physically dominate Strowman who is usually the physically dominating one. The crash down to the floor at the end was a memorable way to end the fight and make fans want to see more of these two down the line. When they do, I hope they clearly position Strowman as a heel.
Hurt Business vs. Ricochet & Crews – MISS: These are four good wrestlers who are going to put on a good 10 minute tag match. The problem is that we’ve seen various matches involving these two, plus Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and MVP far too often in the past several months. It means nothing any more, especially when we see the babyfaces losing almost every time. How many times are we going to see Apollo Crews tapping out to the full nelson from Lashley?
Rollins – Murphy – HIT: This is a minor Hit for being something different in this never ending story, as Murphy finally snapped on Rollins and attacked him for refusing to apologize to Aaliyah. The acting from Rollins and Murphy was good. The actual brawl was well done leading to Rollins pretending to apologize to get the upper hand after taking the beating for awhile. The various Mysterios coming out to help Murphy or chastise each other wasn’t as good. I don’t like how Dominik and Rey treat Aaliyah. She showed compassion for someone and that makes her the bad guy? The idea that a 19 year old woman is treated like a little kid comes across as sexist to me. So, I still have major issues with this storyline as a whole, but at least the part between Rollins and Murphy was good.
Women’s Tag Title Match – HIT: There were some sloppy spots in this match for sure, but overall I enjoyed it. It told the story of the two big, imposing heels who don’t get along being able to overcome their tension to beat the scrappy underdogs who put up a good fight. The ending with Shayna Baszler locking in the Kirafuda Clutch on Ruby Riott with Liv Morgan trying to make the save only to be cut off by Nia Jax was particularly strong.
Ali & Retribution – MISS: It is hard to give anything other than a Miss to an angle where fans are confused as to whether or not a wrestler’s actions constitute a heel turn. Are we supposed to be excited about Mustafa Ali joining Retribution, or are we supposed to be upset? Retribution has been presented as 100% heels for their entire time in the company. So, you’d think it was a heel turn. But, The Hurt Business is also cast as a heel group. So, why would I be upset about Ali fighting them? I mean, he was already fighting them. He didn’t turn on them, he was facing MVP when this happened. The announcers acted like it was 100% clear that Ali had been behind Retribution all along, but that wasn’t clear at all. I am a huge fan of Ali and I hope that this leads to a bigger role for him. But, Retribution sucks and it is hard for me to get excited about Rollins playing Zartan to this group of Dreadnok rejects, particularly as part of such a messy angle.
Main Event Six-Man Tag – HIT: Raw ended strong with this main event as Drew McIntyre teamed up with the Street Profits to take on Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. The Street Profits need a new tag team to challenge them for their Championships. While I am not going to get excited for Ziggler & Roode, at least it is something different. They have a lot of talent, so I will not be excited, but happy to see them have a feud with the Street Profits. This match was the start of that feud which works well. It also continued to build towards McIntyre vs. Orton in Hell in a Cell. It was predictable that Orton would go over McIntyre, but that’s ok. It was a good match building up to that point.
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 him on Twitter @JonMezzera.