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Styles & Amos – The New Day – HIT: This “hit” is for the verbal exchange between the Raw Tag Team Champions, AJ Styles & Amos and the New Day. Styles did a nice job to start things off explaining that he and Omos had gone on vacation after winning the tag titles at WrestleMania. This set up a juxtaposition between them and New Day who pride themselves on coming to work every week. I appreciated this version of New Day, particularly Kofi Kingston much more than usual. They did have some humor, but it was toned down and not as annoying as usual. Kingston got serious in talking about why they were successful and how they are different than the tag champs. The match itself was ok, but very similar to their WrestleMania match, it was booked backwards with the heels getting the hot tag. Also, the bump that Kingston took was scary. Luckily, he didn’t appear to be hurt.
Eva Marie – MISS: They fired The IIconics, Mickie James, and Chelsea Green, only to turn around and re-hire Eva Marie after being gone for several years? That makes no sense. Yes, she is a very attractive woman, but she brought nothing else to the table. She wasn’t good in the ring, she wasn’t particularly good on the mic, and got by on go away heat which management took for legit heat. I don’t think she’s been wrestling anywhere since leaving WWE, so I have no expectation that she’s done anything to improve.
Main Event Hype – HIT: WWE did a nice job throughout Raw making the main event match between Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman feel like a big deal. They had a coin flip at the start of the show to determine whether Strowman or Drew McIntyre would face Lashley. They had multiple interviews throughout the show with everyone involved. They planted seeds for McIntyre possibly working with Lashley to eliminate Strowman from the triple threat at Backlash. Overall, they did a nice job of making the match important.
Women’s Title Segment – MISS: I have enjoyed the new character for Charlotte Flair and her performances on the mic have been better lately, but this week she fell back a little bit into some old speaking patterns which wasn’t great. The bigger issue is that she went on forever to Sonya Deville to get her to added to the women’s title match at Backlash. Deville already seemed to be on her side, so why did she need to go on for five minutes making her case? This could have easily been half as long. This also played into the growing tension between Deville and Adam Pearce, which I don’t care about. Rhea Ripley and Asuka came out next to whine about the match becoming a triple threat which made neither of them look good considering Flair had whined too. It also is too similar to the storyline that they are doing with the men in that a singles match is turning into a triple threat and the original wrestlers in the title match are upset about it.
Sheamus – Carrillo – HIT: I am only giving this a marginal “hit.” I liked a lot of what WWE did with Sheamus and Humberto Carrillo this week. Carrillo got a chance to talk on the mic, albeit very briefly and Sheamus was great in gloating over him after beating him up. It was good to see Carrillo come out later to attack Sheamus. Sheamus vs. Mansoor wasn’t the best way to introduce Mansoor, but they apparently have plans for him. The other reservation I have is that Sheamus ended up getting the better of him despite being in a match and getting surprised. That didn’t make Carrillo look good.
Miz & Morrison – HIT: This “hit” is for the further tease that The Miz and John Morrison might be breaking up soon. I’m hopeful that it will lead to something different from these two who are talented, but have become caricatures of their old selves at this point. Also, hopefully it will allow Damian Priest to move on to something else.
Alexander and Benjamin Split Up – HIT: I would rather see Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin still in the Hurt Business. If they had to leave, I would rather see them as a strong tag team considering how good they were as the tag team champs. If they have to lose every week, then I’d rather see them split up. I will take this if it means a decent push as a singles wrestler for Alexander.
Gulak vs. Garza – MISS: I would have given this match a “hit” for Angel Garza getting a squash win over Drew Gulak. They have been giving Garza screen time recently to reintroduce him to the audience. Having him get a strong win was good, but the kicking the rose up Gulak’s behind afterwards is what makes it a miss.
Team R-K-Bro vs. Ryker & Elias – HIT: The set up for this match was dippy with Elias & Ryker trying to throw tomatoes at New Day only to hit Randy Orton accidentally. I did like the backstage encounter between Orton and Matt Riddle, where Orton reminded him that they had only had one match together so far. This second match was good and continued to show their interesting chemistry in and out of the ring.
Jax & Baszler vs. Naomi & Lana – MISS: Title matches should be important. They shouldn’t last 2 minutes and end after a stupid distraction.
Lashley vs. Strowman – HIT: The action between Lashley and Strowman was good enough to give this main event a “hit.” McIntyre did a nice job on guest commentary, including coming up with an answer to the unexpected (and totally silly) question about taking a promo class in WWE. Of course the match wasn’t going to end without some type of confrontation between McIntyre and Strowman. This worked well for what it was. It was a relief that there wasn’t interference from Mace & T-Bar.
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.