SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – MISS: A dreadful episode of Raw got off to a bad start with this in ring appearance by The Hurt Business. Bobby Lashley can talk, but he has the reputation of not being able to cut good promos. Performances like this are the reason he has that reputation. He was very bad here and the scripting wasn’t good either. I’m not a fan of breaking up the Hurt Business right now, as they have been one of the few bright spots on Raw during the pandemic era. This was disappointing and I’m worried that Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander will be doing jobs now that they aren’t linked to Lashley and MVP anymore.
MVP – HIT: One of the few bright spots on the show was MVP filling in for Samoa Joe on commentary. He played the part well. He was in character talking up Lashley and giving insight into the Hurt Business story, while doing a nice job with the other matches and programs.
Sheamus vs. Riddle – HIT: This Hit is for the work put in by Matt Riddle and Sheamus in their non-title match. It was good. The problem is that it shouldn’t have happened. WWE needs to do away with the crutch of having their champions lose non-title matches to set up future title matches. It drives me crazy and it overexposes their champions. It makes the title match a rematch and therefore makes it less special since the fans just saw it. It’s even worse for a WrestleMania match.
Shane and Braun – MISS: This continues to be a terrible feud. The silly humor with Shane McMahon exposing Braun Strowman’s report card wasn’t funny. It didn’t make me want to see Shane “get these hands” either. I get the idea of having the match be inside a steel cage, but that doesn’t excite me either. Elias and Jackson Ryker’s involvement doesn’t help as they are at the bottom of the card. If Strowman wants to prove that he’s so smart, why not take out Drew McIntyre to get himself a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania? That seems like a better revenge to me.
Hey Hey Hop Hop – MISS: That’s five minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I get that it is supposed to be bad and supposed to make me want to see Miz & Morrison get what’s coming to them. The problem is that it was change the channel heat. It was the type of thing that makes me embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. I did appreciate how Damian Priest allowed Miz & Morrison past him to take a shot at Bad Bunny. Bunny had looked bad too often in the past for hiding behind Priest. So I was glad that he didn’t do that here. The punch he threw looked pretty good, too. I still don’t understand why this is a singles match instead of a tag match.
Game Night – HIT: There’s no way that this should be a Hit, but I have to admit to getting a kick out of it as a guilty pleasure. It was idiotic that the clues for charades were on the screen. It would be nice if they were doing less comedy. But while the comedy hasn’t worked for the most part, it worked for me here. What I particularly appreciated is that Omos didn’t participate. He was the serious one in the ring. He needs to be more serious and intense and not goofy like A.J. Styles. It was good to see him above (pun intended) all of this silliness. The match that followed with Styles taking on Xavier Woods was fine and it was good to see Omos finally get more physical to tease what he might do in the tag title match at WrestleMania.
Orton/Bliss/Fiend – MISS: Just more of the same hocus-pocus nonsense with Randy Orton, Alexa Bliss ,and The Fiend. I fear this will be one of the three worst “matches” in WrestleMania history.
McIntyre in the Locker Room – MISS: I liked the intensity from McIntyre throughout the show trying to challenge someone to step up and accept Lashley’s call for someone to take him out. In the locker room he looked like a jerk for the most part. He looked like a bully. It made the rest of the locker room look bad, even the stars like Styles (earlier in the night), Strowman, and Riddle who all had good excuses for not stepping up. They should have wanted that WWE Championship match at WrestleMania instead of whatever matches they already were involved in.
Women’s Division – MISS: I had assumed they would do the Women’s Battle Royal on the pre-show of one of the nights of WrestleMania. It looks like they are going to go to with some type of multi-team tag title match instead. Perhaps a gauntlet or something? I wish WWE would just build a strong challenger for Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax. They have the battle royal to get all the other women a pay day. They don’t need Naomi & Lana, Rose & Brooke, Natalya & Tamina, The Riott Squad, and some other team I’m probably forgetting about in one messy match. I liked the start of the contract signing between Asuka and Rhea Ripley. The verbal exchange was strong. Ripley tipping over the table on Asuka worked to position her as more of the heel in the matchup which makes sense. Because of the interruption, Asuka had to sell that for way longer than she should have. That was terrible and it went on too long. I actually did a double take when I heard Baszler say that they had dominated the women’s division for a year about five minutes after she lost to Naomi in two minutes. I talked about the crutch of the non-title matches, but WWE also needs to do away with the crutch of future opponents teaming together against the tag champs. Didn’t they just do this with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair? Why do we want to see Asuka and Ripley team up?
Main Events – MISS: I liked that Ricochet stepped up in a respectful way to face Drew and while McIntyre was always going to win the match, it would be nice to see Ricochet treated better than doing a job in three minutes. That led to Mustafa Ali attacking McIntyre after the match to get his own match only to job pretty quickly too. It is good to see Ali moving away from Retribution, but he has too much talent for this. WWE is wasting a lot of talent on Raw which desperately needs it. We got Baron Corbin from Smackdown coming over to “take out” Drew. I guess he gets the WWE Championship match now? The whole storyline was poorly defined and didn’t work. I guess we will actually get Corbin vs. McIntyre, but I have no interest in that. Corbin is too much of a loser to have him anywhere close to what is a hot match up for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
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 3/22: Miz fizzles with Miz TV, too much for Ripley, Styles vs. Kingston delivered