SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – MISS: Most of this show was a Miss as it followed up from Hell in a Cell which failed to get me excited for Raw going forward. I don’t understand taking the WWE Title off of Drew McIntyre. If the only reason is to save a match between him and Roman Reigns, then change the concept of Survivor Series and keep McIntyre strong. He was fine in his opening promo talking about losing the Title to Randy Orton, but then he was interrupted by The Miz bragging about his victory over Otis to become Mr. Money in the Bank. Yawn. I wasn’t a fan of Otis having the briefcase, but Miz is a goof who never wins matches. He is a joke. Why would I get excited about him having the briefcase? I didn’t really care about seeing McIntyre vs. Miz. This was just boring. The match that came later was solid, but nothing to write home about.
Styles vs. Hardy – HIT: This is a marginal Hit for the good work put in by AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy. This was a well worked, fun 10 minute match. So it is a Hit. But, again it is a match that we’ve seen multiple times on Smackdown over the Intercontinental Championship. So how is this anything fresh post-draft? Also, once again we have a babyface getting nervous by Styles’ new tall guy in his corner which doesn’t exactly make them look strong in defeat.
Tozawa & Gulak vs. Lucha House Party – MISS: I usually ignore the 24/7 silliness. At least I try. The problem this week was that a match of Akira Tozawa & Drew Gulak vs. Lucha House Party could be a very good tag match. These are four good wrestlers. It wasn’t that long ago that Gulak was getting a nice push as part of a storyline on Smackdown with Daniel Bryan. The tag team division on Raw is weak, but instead of using Lucha House Party to strengthen it, WWE uses them for this “comedy” instead.
Lee vs. Elias – MISS: The terrible use of Kieth Lee continues. At least he won this week, but he should have plowed through Elias the way Kenny Omega beat Sonny Kiss in like 10 seconds on Dynamite last week. The fact that it took Lee 9 minutes to beat Elias and only could do so with the help of a distraction from Jeff Hardy was idiotic. They thought they were protecting him by having him get low blowed last week, and they think putting him over is enough in this match. But, it isn’t.
Hurt Business vs. Retribution – MISS: This was more of the same with Hurt Business easily defeating Retribution. This was a preview for Survivor Series in terms of it being a 4 on 4 elimination tag match, but it reminded me that in Survivor Series elimination tags, there are often cheap finishes like double count outs, quick roll ups, and disqualifications. I don’t understand the heel vs. heel dynamic which is a problem across the board on Raw. Mustafa Ali is being wasted as Retribution’s leader. I can’t take him seriously later in the show when he talks about taking down Raw when they always lose their matches. I appreciate how strong Retribution continues to look. I would just pick them as my Survivor Series team if I was running Raw.
Survivor Series Match Ups – MISS: I did get a kick out of The New Day doing their impression of The Street Profits. Asuka is also fun in a whacky sort of way. But, the problem is that I can’t get excited about the Survivor Series cards. I don’t care about the Smackdown vs. Raw “feud.” The Champion vs. Champion matches don’t get me excited, and they are all heel vs. heel or face vs. face. Orton vs. Reigns and Lashley vs. Zayn are heel vs. heel. Asuka vs. Banks and the Street Profits vs. New Day are face vs. face. The men’s and women’s teams are mixed up with heels teaming with faces. So, it is hard for me to get invested in the matches since I don’t have a strong rooting interest in any of the matches.
Women’s Team – MISS: I did enjoy some of the back stage banter between Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, but I still question this as being the best use of either of them when there are no good challengers for Asuka’s Women’s Championship. It does make sense that they would be on the Raw women’s team, but I didn’t understand why Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose were named to the team also. They haven’t earned it. Four other women had to fight to earn the final spot, but why didn’t they have to earn their spots? Having Lana win was predictable and disappointing. They could have an actual good wrestler in the match, but instead they went with the “comic” relief with Lana winning so that Jax has a reason to put her through the announce table for the sixth week in a row.
Sheamus vs. Riddle – HIT: This was a very good match with a disappointing ending. I like Sheamus, but Matt Riddle was called on this show the fastest rising start on Raw. But, he lost last week to Styles and he lost this week to Sheamus. I don’t get that. So, I question the ending of this match for sure, but I can’t question the effort put in by Riddle and Sheamus. I thoroughly enjoyed this match. It was very hard hitting and intense. It showed off what makes Riddle special in the ring despite the loss (as opposed to Kieth Lee who won his match, but didn’t really look that good).
Moment of Bliss – MISS: I’m sorry, but I hate this role for Alexa Bliss. I keep hearing people complimenting her for her acting, but I don’t see it. Standing there laughing maniacally isn’t great acting or character development. Orton vs. Wyatt was one of the worst Title matches in recent WrestleMania history. I have zero interest in seeing WWE revisit their feud just because Wyatt now wears a scary mask. Orton was acting like a badass which is fine, but why is the heel the only one who doesn’t cry and pee his pants at the thought of The Fiend? But, when he had a choice of attacking Fiend or McIntyre, he chose McIntyre which I guess was supposed to show that he was nervous about Fiend, but it made McIntyre look bad. He’s the one Orton chose to attack so Orton must think he’s weaker than Wyatt. I’m also not a fan of the recent trend of Raw ending without an ending. The show just abruptly ended with McIntyre and Orton brawling. I’m worried about a triple threat match. I don’t care about that or Orton vs. Wyatt 1-on-1. And while I have enjoyed the Orton vs. McIntyre feud, I am tired of seeing them wrestle too.
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 me on Twitter @JonMezzera.