SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Bit – MISS: Everything with Alexa Bliss ends up a miss. It was hard for me to look forward to anything happening on Raw when the first thing I saw was Bliss. I didn’t enjoy her interaction with Nia Jax and I didn’t get enthused about their announced match. The horror movie music that played while they talked on the set of Alexa’s playground was bad. Bliss did so many fake apologies in her previous personas that it got old. She hasn’t done one like that in awhile, but brought it back here. Of course, it still didn’t work.
Flair vs. Cross – MISS: Hurting your women’s champion and her top challenger in order to give a bunch of fluke wins to a lower card comedy character is a mistake.
Jeff Hardy Matches: MISS: There is a lot in this miss. The Miz has been unbearable. John Morrison is sometimes amusing, but isn’t great and could use a refresh. The Miz’s injury is a perfect opportunity to get him off TV to give him a chance to be something other than what he has been once he returns. I get wanting to keep injured wrestlers on in some capacity, but this is not the time with Miz. Let Morrison do something else. They just gave Jeff Hardy a win over Cedric Alexander last week, so they follow up on that win by having him lose to the ice cold Morrison? It makes no sense. It was a fine match, but short and with the wrong outcome. I don’t want to see more interference or distraction finishes, but it would have made some sense to have Alexander cost Hardy here. Then, the idea that Hardy would put his career on the line right away in an impromptu second match made no sense. I don’t think people were buying him losing his career like that. There wasn’t any drama for the rematch and it was very short. I would have rather seen Morrison vs. Hardy last the entire time and then set up a rematch afterwards for next week.
Naomi vs. An Unnamed Opponent – MISS: Not that I was looking forward to seeing Eva Marie wrestle, but they made a huge deal about her return only to not deliver. Some fans might actually be disappointed. I have never watched a single episode of NXT UK, but I know who Piper Niven is. The fact that the announcers had to pretend that they didn’t was idiotic. It kills their credibility, not that they have much to begin with. Also, why did the referee allow the match to happen? What happened to match contracts? Didn’t Naomi and Eva Marie have a contract? Why did he ring the bell? It makes no sense.
New Day vs. RKBro – HIT: After an hour of terrible television, it was nice to finally see something good in this anticipated tag match between New Day and RKBro. This was definitely a very good match. It lasted over 20 minutes and was fun to watch from start to finish. WWE has done a nice job of developing the team of Matt Riddle and Randy Orton, while building to this match against Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. There was tons of talent in the ring and they all delivered well. It will be interesting to see where they go from here with both of these teams.
Ripley’s Interview: MISS: WWE has had major issues with defining Rhea Ripley’s character on Raw. She hasn’t clicked the way she has in the past in NXT. Earlier in the show, they had clearly set up Charlotte Flair as the heel and Ripley as the face. But in this interview, Ripley came across like the least likable person in the world. Why is she being a jerk to Sarah Schreiber? I know her character always has an edge to it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make her be a likable person and she certainly wasn’t here. Drew McIntyre had a similar moment earlier in an interview too, but it wasn’t quite as bad.
Ripley vs. Asuka – HIT: This is a marginal hit considering we’ve already seen enough of Ripley vs. Asuka for this to mean much, but the match itself was good enough to get a hit. Ripley needed a strong clean win and she got it here. It is unfortunate that after her long reign as women’s champion, that Asuka hasn’t been treated like anything special or protected in any way. But, I guess they aren’t protecting any woman on this brand other than Bliss and Cross.
Flair – Ripley Brawl – HIT: It is too little too late. Plus, having Ripley positioned as a wrestler fans want to see win would have been better than doing this pull apart brawl. However, the brawl itself was well done. It was intense and physical. Charlotte’s bloody nose helped to make it look real. At least they sold the idea of how much these two hate each other going into their Women’s Title match at Hell in a Cell.
MVP and Lashley Interview – HIT: I liked how MVP stopped the interviewer from interrupting Bobby Lashley partying in his dressing room. MVP gave a good promo and Lashley was also really good as he just sat on the couch and listened and reacted to what was being said. Then, they reversed roles as Lashley stood and made a strong statement about what he is going to do to McIntyre inside Hell in a Cell while MVP gave some very good reactions.
Bliss vs. Jax – MISS: I wasn’t looking forward to this match and it did not disappoint. Neither Bliss nor Jax is particularly good in the ring. They can have good matches, but need better opponents to elevate them. It doesn’t help when the match is interrupted by Reginald. It wasn’t a good match and the bit afterwards with Bliss apparently hypnotizing him was stupid.
MVP – New Day – HIT: I continue to be intrigued by whatever WWE is doing with MVP and Kofi Kingston. We got to see Xavier Woods’ reaction to it this week as he was not there for the first conversation last week. So far, Kofi isn’t showing any signs of listening to MVP. But, what is he thinking? I wonder if we end up with a swerve with Woods turning heel.
Ryker vs. Elias – MISS: I didn’t like their first match and didn’t need to see almost an exact replay of it in their second match. I don’t look forward to seeing their third either.
McIntyre & The Viking Raiders vs. Styles & Omos & Lashley – HIT: This Hit basically encompasses the final two matches which took up about the final 40 minutes of Raw with some good wrestling action. It started out as McIntyre vs. Styles which was very good while it lasted, but then turned into the six man tag. While that is cheesy, it worked ok and we got another good match. The ending was a bit odd as Styles seemed confused when he tried to tag out to Omos but tagged out to Lashley instead. That was a bit over booked to give the confused Lashley an excuse to lose to McIntyre. But otherwise, I enjoyed this long stretch of wrestling action.
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.