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Moment of Bliss – MISS: Who am I supposed to root for here? My answer is “none of the above.” I’m not comfortable with Randy Orton physically threatening Alexa Bliss. I guess we are supposed to see The Fiend as being vulnerable for the first time with his concern for Bliss, but he isn’t a sympathetic figure and neither is she. I don’t really care about any of this. And it also started a theme for this week’s show which is that much of it felt like a rerun. We just saw Orton as a guest on a Moment of Bliss a few weeks ago.
Hardy vs. Elias – MISS: The rerun theme continued in the opening match where we saw Jeff Hardy once again face Elias in a gimmick match involving musical instruments. I know I’ve seen that before. I was over this feud and disappointed it continued last week. This match better be the end of it. This was garbage. Interjecting the 24/7 silliness certainly didn’t help. My wife who hadn’t watched Raw with me in a while said “are they still talking about the same hit and run accident from like a year ago?”
Matt Riddle – MISS: I’ve always found Matt Riddle to be annoying, but so skilled in the ring that I am willing to look past his personality. I did enjoy the juxtaposition with Pete Dunne when they teamed on NXT. But on the main roster, it feels like they have turned the stoner “bro” gimmick up to 15 when he was already at 11. I was already turned off by it, but now I am totally against it. It has become channel changing in its cringe worthiness.
Miz TV – MISS: If The Miz had been protected and actually presented as a serious heel threat to win the WWE Title as Mr. Money in the Bank, I may have felt differently about this segment. But, I was annoyed by Miz’s act here as he and John Morrison interviewed Sheamus. I have liked what WWE has done with Sheamus and Drew McIntyre so far, but this felt a little off to me. It was like they were trying too hard to suddenly build some tension between Sheamus and McIntyre through Miz. Miz eventually got serious at the end and tried to be intense in his verbal takedown of Sheamus, but it was totally unbelievable based on his goofy persona. It was out of character and I didn’t buy it.
Asuka & Lana vs. Jax & Baszler – MISS: I think we saw this same match last week, so the rerun theme continued. This is wasting Asuka and Shayna Baszler who are both taking a back seat to Lana and Nia Jax, who aren’t nearly as good. Lana continuing to win in flukey ways isn’t going to make the fans like her. She continues to be delusional. This is doing nothing for the Tag Team Champions. This is doing nothing for the Women’s Champion. Plus, this is doing nothing to build a #1 contender for her Championship.
Woods vs. Alexander – MISS: The wrestling action in this match was Hit worthy, but we’ve seen enough of New Day vs. Hurt Business already. Changing it to a singles match this week doesn’t do much to stop the rerun feeling to it. The mic work from New Day before the match wasn’t good. I hate when wrestlers use their real names for any reason. If you call Xavier Woods Austin Creed here, why do you call him Xavier Woods the other 364 days of the year? I was turned off by their mic work and MVP and Shelton Benjamin weren’t particularly good either. Afterwards, I was a bit intrigued by the celebration by Alexander, but it is far too early to be teasing some type of dissension between him and the rest of the Hurt Business like they did here where MVP and Benjamin looked confused and upset by Alexander leaving the ring without them during his celebration.
Lee vs. Styles vs. Riddle – HIT: This was a bad show, but we finally got something good after a lot of crap with this triple threat match to determine McIntyre’s opponent at TLC. This was fun. I appreciate the fact that there wasn’t outside interference. I appreciate the fact that AJ Styles won clean with the Phenomenal Forearm. Heels tend to win triple threat matches after pushing a babyface out of the ring after that face hit their finisher to “steal” a victory. Any time WWE changes up their tired formulas even a little it feels like a big deal. Styles vs. McIntyre should be good, but we’ll see what they do with the TLC stipulation.
Brooke vs Reckoning – MISS: It is bad enough that the announcers don’t know that the masked Reckoning is Mia Yim. But, when she loses her mask and wrestles without it for almost an entire match, it makes it even worse. Retribution means nothing, but Yim could be a star. Having her lose to Dana Brooke who has been defined down as one of the biggest losers in WWE in her debut match was a big mistake. Mustafa Ali is doing his best with terrible material, but when he yells at her after the match that Retribution won’t accept failure, all I can think about is that they have done very little but fail in their time on Raw.
McIntyre Interview – HIT: This was a good interview before the main event. WWE did a nice job throughout the night of recapping McIntyre’s great 2020. McIntyre was good here in talking about winning the WWE Title from Orton and facing Roman Reigns at Survivor Series. What he said about Reigns should really make his fans want to see them face again down the line which was the point. This was one of the few bright spots on a terrible show.
McIntyre & Sheamus vs. Miz & Morrison – MISS: Miz continues to look weak as the MITB briefcase holder. He and Morrison were thrown around easily by McIntyre and Sheamus. They only got any type of offense because of distractions from Styles and Omos. The match ended with a blatant disqualification when Styles attacked McIntyre. It was odd that Sheamus disappeared at that point just from being thrown over the barricade. Miz has only had the MITB briefcase for a few weeks and he’s already had two aborted cash in attempts (again, a rerun aspect of the show). Having Omos carry Styles away from the ring once McIntyre had recovered from the post-match attack made Styles look bad. Yes, it was amusing, but you want fans to take Styles seriously as a threat to McIntyre. Instead, he looks like a joke.
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.