SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Lashley vs. Riddle – MISS: While Matt Riddle remains the most annoying person in the world, and while Bobby Lashley getting a strong win to continue his dominating streak was the right way to go, I wish WWE had done something to rebuild Riddle. He is so talented in the ring, that it is a shame to see him basically getting squashed for 12 minutes. After losing the United States Championship the night before at WrestleMania, he should have done something to get some momentum back. Hopefully, they have something in mind, which includes a shift in his personality, but I doubt it.
Viking Raiders Return – HIT: The Viking Raiders have a dippy gimmick and the goofy stuff they did with The Street Profits in the early days of the pandemic era was terrible. However, like Riddle, they are super talented in the ring. I really do enjoy watching them wrestle. The Raw tag division can definitely use a shot in the arm. I wish their win didn’t come at the expense of Alexander & Benjamin, but the writing is unfortunately on the wall for their team. The match was good. I wish they would repackage the Raiders. But, I am glad to see them back.
Where Were the New Champs? – MISS: Where was Sheamus? It would have been very good to get him on Raw after Mania when he just won the United States Championship. WWE should have capitalized on that momentum with some type of appearance. The same goes for AJ Styles & Omos. We needed an obnoxious celebration from Styles. It would have been so easy to have them celebrating in the back and get interrupted for an interview to allow Styles to gloat. You could even have him say something like “there are no teams on Raw who have the size to contend with Omos” and then have the Viking Raiders (before their match) walk in and just give them a look. Don’t go to that match for awhile, but plant the seeds now and then have the Raiders go on a tear through the other teams to build to that match.
Charlotte Flair Promo – HIT: It was good to see Charlotte Flair return. I liked her new look. She wasn’t doing a lot of her old mannerisms. Her delivery was great. This was maybe her best mic work to date. She didn’t sound robotic, but came across as herself. It pointed to her being a heel which is the right role for her. She recapped what had happened for the last few months to keep her off of WrestleMania and pointed to getting back to the top of the women’s division.
Asuka vs. Ripley – MISS: While the angle was cold going into their women’s title match at WrestleMania, I enjoyed the match itself. It wasn’t great, but it was good. Unfortunately, their rematch wasn’t nearly as good. They had some bad spots. I’m still not entirely sure what they were trying to do with that electric chair into a crucifix spot that they tried twice and botched both times. It wasn’t all bad, but it didn’t make them look good at all. The interference from Charlotte to cause a no contest was disappointing and predictable. It is ok for further establishing her as the heel and presumably sets up a triple threat which has potential. But, it was still disappointing to see a non-finish here.
Bliss / Fiend Follow Up – MISS: What was supposedly this big moment on WrestleMania where Alexa Bliss turned on The Fiend to distract him and cost him the match against Randy Orton didn’t matter much to me at all. I’m just not into this storyline or these characters. Is Bliss going to wrestle again now that she isn’t managing Fiend? If so, I guess she can work as a solo act. But, they aren’t going to face each other, so how does he get revenge on her turning on him? His return to the Firefly Funhouse wasn’t good either. It didn’t seem to naturally follow from all those months of being gone for being burned alive by Orton. Now he is back to wearing sweaters and was not particularly upset at Bliss for leaving him. The biggest problem is that now you have two separate acts doing something similar with the supernatural b.s.
Priest vs. Miz & Morrison – MISS: Were they planting seeds for a breakup between Miz & Morrison? It felt that way during the MizTV segment with Maryse. It set up the handicap match ok, but how are you going to job out Damian Priest on the first Raw after he teamed with Bad Bunny? I know that it was was a handicap match and that Maryse cheated, but it still feels like a total waste of any rub that Priest got from working with a major music star. He clearly has more upside at this point than Miz or John Morrison. He lost to a comedy duo who looked silly with Miz losing his pants during the match. This was a big disappointment.
Jax & Baszler vs. Rose & Brooke – MISS: This was terrible. I’m ok with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler making fun of Mandy Rose for slipping, but Rose & Brooke came across as heels for the cheap shot and two on one attack on Jax in the back. And it is idiotic to have Jax suddenly slipping multiple times for the first time in her career just after making fun of Rose for slipping. How convenient. Then, how do you ever take Rose & Brooke seriously as an act when they gave up and walked out on a match that they wanted. They should never get a tag team title match again after giving up on this match. And why? Because they were worried that Jax might slip and fall on them?
New Day – MISS: I already mentioned being disappointed that the new tag team champs weren’t on this week. Unfortunately, the former champs were on and were terrible. They didn’t sell being upset about losing the titles. They made fun of Elias and Jackson Ryker for recently losing a handicap match to Braun Strowman which was hypocritical considering what happened to them against Omos. Elias even pointed it out. They were even more annoying here than they have been recently and I didn’t think they could get more annoying than they have been. The yelling, trombone playing, screeching, etc. just gave me a headache. The match that followed was fine and it got them a win, but it took them a long time to beat a joke of a team, so I’m not sure they gained much.
Main Event – HIT: I enjoyed the action of the main event and it felt like an important match to determine Lashley’s opponent for WrestleMania Backlash. I’d have gone with Strowman as the winner here. It would be good to move away from McIntyre vs. Lashley for awhile and actually make Drew go to the back of the line and build up again to an eventual rematch, perhaps at SummerSlam. Going right to the rematch at the next PPV means either Lashley loses the title, which would be a mistake, or McIntyre loses on back to back shows. That’s a mistake. But, the triple threat was good and potentially sets up an Orton vs. Strowman feud which has some potential.
New Hurt Business? – MISS: There is some possibilities with two former Retribution members going to work for MVP. Is it a new Hurt Business? It it more of a short term deal? Will Mace and T-Bar unmask themselves now and go back to their “real” names? I have some hopes for Dominik Dijakovic, but only without the mask and without the stupid name. Retribution was so defined down as losers, I fear that they will bring MVP and Lashley down by association as opposed to bringing them up. I hope that I am wrong, and if I am, I will gladly praise what they end up doing. But for now, it just doesn’t do anything for me.
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.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S RAW HITS & MISSES: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 4/5: Styles and New Day give too much away, Drew McIntyre delivers in final WrestleMania hype with Lashley, more