SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – HIT: Raw got off to a good start with the in ring confrontation between Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre. The mic work from both was strong and kept short before the physicality. The fight worked well. It was also followed up nicely later in the show when they were still fighting in the back and then at the end when they fought back to the ring. It was a good way to show the intensity between them heading into their Hell in a Cell match in a few weeks.
Owens vs. Black – HIT: I really appreciated the intensity shown by Kevin Owens at the start of this no DQ match against Aleister Black. That fit in with the feud. The match was good and played well within that no DQ stipulation. It was hard hitting and fun to watch from start to finish. It was good to see Owens getting the much needed win before moving off to Smackdown where he will (checks notes…) continue to feud with Aleister Black?
Miz TV – MISS: I didn’t enjoy the first section of Miz TV, so I certainly didn’t need to see a second section. What is frustrating to me is that The Miz and John Morrison can be an entertaining duo, but they just aren’t. It was tedious to watch them interview Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. It was bad. Natalya and Lana didn’t help. The second section with Lars Sullivan wasn’t good either. I was never impressed with him in NXT. I don’t look forward to seeing him back on the main roster.
Hardy vs. Rollins vs. Styles – HIT: Despite the lame finish to the match (more later), I will give the match a Hit for being consistently good up until that point. The talking segment with Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles which set up the match was solid. The match itself was really good. These are three good to great workers so it isn’t surprising that they would have a good match against each other. I just wish WWE came up with an actual ending to the match instead of Elias’ surprise return.
Elias – MISS: Speaking of Elias’ return, I was underwhelmed. Having him cheat to end the triple threat match was disappointing. Of the longer feuds which can continue post-draft, one that I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Hardy vs. Styles, but unfortunately we will get Hardy vs. Elias instead which isn’t as exciting. It was clear in the storyline that Sheamus was the one who ran over Elias back on Smackdown several months ago, so Elias still blaming Hardy at this point makes him look stupid. I do appreciate WWE going back to an old angle, but they shouldn’t do it this poorly. I don’t even remember if Elias was a heel or face when he got hurt. He was cold and this won’t heat him up.
Tag Title Match – HIT: New Day vs. Ziggler & Roode was a good Tag Title match. You knew who was going to win considering one of the teams was drafted to Smackdown and was clearly not going to take the Raw Tag Titles with them, but that’s ok. Predictability doesn’t automatically disqualify a match from being a Hit. This was two talented teams given a decent amount of time to have a good match to put New Day over strong in the end.
Alexander vs. Ricochet – HIT: I appreciate that WWE gave a stipulation to this match which can allow Ricochet and The Hurt Business to move on to new things. One of the few bright spots in the draft is getting Apollo Crews moved to Smackdown to finally end his feud against Hurt Business. With Ricochet winning here, he gets to move on to something new too. The match was also good, but too short to amount to much. It ended with the silly homage to Eddie Guerrero which wasn’t great. At least the story is over. Will Hurt Business continue to feud with Retribution?
No Retribution – MISS: While I normally would be happy with Retribution not being on Raw, this was the one week where they needed to be. We needed to hear from Mustafa Ali after the reveal that he is the leader of the group. It is crazy to me that WWE didn’t do anything to capitalize on that turn last week.
Women’s Battle Royal – MISS: Most of this battle royal to determine a #1 contender for Asuka’s Raw Women’s Title was forgettable. I would have liked to see certain women like Bianca Bel Air given more of a chance to shine. The final few moments of the match on the ring apron with Natalya battling Lacey Evans was quite good but then it was ruined by Lana winning. This was the main event and built to a joke wrestler winning to get a Title shot. I am not looking forward to seeing Lana vs. Asuka at all.
Draft – MISS: This Miss is for the Draft as a whole which includes what happened on Smackdown. It is so stupid on so many ways, that I can’t get into all of it here. I will do my best to be succinct. The Draft would work better if it was clearer who was making the picks and why. Why would you pick two members of New Day, but not the third? Raw could have picked Sami Zayn to have both the United States and Intercontinental Championships. But, here are people on Raw who they picked instead (some make sense) – Fiend (why would anyone want him on their show?), Charlotte Flair, Orton, Matt Riddle, Braun Strowman, Jeff Hardy, Retribution (why?), Keith Lee, Alexa Bliss, and Elias. They could have had that extra Championship, but instead they drafted Elias?
In the meantime, Smackdown had selected non-Champions like Baron Corbin and Lars Sullivan before making sure to keep their IC Title. As I said, why anyone would want to draft Retribution makes zero sense. Why Titus O’Neal got drafted, but not Andrade makes zero sense. They could tell some stories to explain some of these, but they don’t. The announcers act like very single pick is a great pick for that brand. They have to talk up all the wrestlers which hurts their credibility. You have the babyface announcer Byron Saxton praising Seth Rollins for trying to change Raw for the greater good, as if he was actually doing something positive which he can now do on Smackdown. They have a chance to put feuds to bed which won’t end by drafting say Rollins to another show to split him apart from Murphy and the Mysterio family. Instead, they all get drafted so the feud can continue to never end. The only thing that makes me happy about this is that I won’t have to write about Rollins vs. Dominik any more.
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.