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Miz TV – MISS: I liked when Drew McIntyre took control of the opening segment by telling The Miz to shut up and then head butting him when he didn’t. However, I wasn’t buying into the idea that McIntyre was starting to crack under the pressure of being WWE Champion. I wasn’t buying into the more serious character that Miz was trying to portray in his monologue either. He has been far too much of a goof for far too long to ever be taken seriously. It rings false. The idea that he was backing out of the Elimination Chamber was intriguing, but not significantly so.
Lacey’s Pregnancy – MISS: I mean the real life pregnancy is a hit, but the way WWE incorporated it into Lacey Evans’ Flair family storyline wasn’t good. In hindsight, it was odd that she was bragging about getting a Women’s Championship match against Asuka at the PPV when she knew she wasn’t going to be able to actually be in the match. She knew she couldn’t wrestle and avoided getting in the ring during her tag match teaming with Peyton Royce against Asuka & Charlotte Flair. That said, wrestlers on the ring apron get attacked and knocked off all the time. The idea that she would take that chance or not tell her partner didn’t make sense. I didn’t like the fact that they teased that Ric Flair is the father. To be fair, I wasn’t looking forward to Lacey’s championship match on Sunday, so I’m at least curious now to see what WWE does to change the story going forward. I assume it will end up being Flair vs. Asuka at WrestleMania.
Miz vs. Kingston – HIT: This was a pretty good match that went maybe a bit too long. I didn’t like the set up for the match as it has been clear that the idea behind the Raw EC match is former WWE Champions getting a shot and John Morrison isn’t one. He just didn’t seem worthy of consideration. Kofi Kingston barely seemed worthy either. This was a chance to actually give The Miz a win, which he desperately needed, but of course he has to keep being the biggest loser in WWE. So, this is a marginal hit at best with most of the positive rooted in the in-ring work.
Use of the Gauntlet – MISS: The idea of having a Gauntlet match which is inherently unfair to begin with to give any type of reward to the winner seldom makes sense. When that reward is the final spot in another match where the “luck of the draw” is so pivotal to success in the match like the EC makes even less sense. The idea is that the winner has earned the right to be the final wrestler in the EC instead of just a random draw like normal. How did Sheamus earn the final spot in the gauntlet to get a relatively easy win to earn that final spot in the EC? Why didn’t WWE have a match to determine the order of entry in the gauntlet? I would much rather see something like a six-man battle royal, or a six pack elimination match where the order of eliminations becomes the order of entry for the chamber. Do something like that where all six wrestlers are on an even footing to begin with.
Styles vs. Kingston – HIT: While I didn’t like the concept of the gauntlet, I did enjoy most of it. It had a lot of good wrestling action and some nice storytelling starting with the opening match with AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston. It played well into the fact that Kofi had already been in the match against Miz earlier.
Styles vs. McIntyre – HIT: This was the best stretch of the gauntlet. We’ve seen Styles vs. McIntyre recently and it’s always good. This was a long stretch of wrestling with two commercial breaks. The two breaks were the only negative about the match. Styles has been well protected recently, so it was good to see him get the win in the first match over Kofi, but you could sense he wasn’t going to go far in the gauntlet. Having him lose to McIntyre in the second match made sense. Styles didn’t lose much in the loss considering he had just had a match against Kofi and this loss was to the WWE Champion.
McIntyre vs. Hardy – HIT: This wasn’t nearly as good as the Styles segment, but it was still good enough to get a hit. Jeff Hardy isn’t credible and he didn’t gain much credibility here. He didn’t lose much either. I rolled my eyes when he tried to get a Hardy chant going in an empty stadium. Overall though, the wrestling action was good. McIntyre continued to look strong by ultimately beating Hardy despite the long match he already had against Styles. Hardy still has value, but unfortunately he hasn’t been booked strong enough to take him seriously at this point. I do worry about him inside the chamber given where he’s at in his career and the punishment his body has taken to this point. No reason to see him do any risky spots on Sunday.
McIntyre vs. Orton – MISS: I can’t find any part of me that has any interest in the Fiend vs. Randy Orton feud. I absolutely hate it. This portion of the gauntlet suffered from the fact that it was only a backdrop for Alexa Bliss using hocus-pocus and a maniacal laugh to distract Orton to cause him to get counted out. That was way too cheesy. You know that the resurrected Fiend will play a part in the EC which is disappointing. My hope is that Bray Wyatt is resurrected as a realistic human being who can actually have good wrestling matches.
McIntyre vs. Sheamus – HIT: Sheamus didn’t need a long time to finish off McIntyre at the final stage of the gauntlet. McIntyre was selling the long stretch of wrestling he had gone through before Sheamus came out. Having Sheamus win makes the most sense and he gave a nice promo to end the show bragging about winning and naming himself the odds on favorite to win the EC. This was a good cap to what was mostly a good hour long gauntlet.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at email@example.com.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S RAW HITS & MISSES: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 2/8: Elimination Chamber announcement, Edge wins on the mic, and McIntyre vs. Orton issues