SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – HIT: Raw got off to a good start this week with the follow up on the RKBro situation. Because of Randy Orton’s seven week absence, it feels like WWE had to cram several weeks of story into the last two which certainly wasn’t ideal and hurt the build to RKBro vs. Styles & Omos for the Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam. But, given what they had to work with, they handled the last two weeks pretty well. Orton and Riddle were good here in talking about the RKO to end Raw last week. A.J. Styles was also good in his interruption. It worked to set the stage for the rest of the show.
Styles vs. Riddle – HIT: The next step in the development of the story was this opening match. Orton walking out and refusing to be in Riddle’s corner worked well. Styles and Riddle are such good workers that of course they are going to have a good match against each other. Being WWE, the match had to have a distraction finish with Omos causing a brief distraction allowing Styles to get the win. Riddle’s dejected interview after the match worked well too. This led to Orton vs. Omos which had the really stupid moment when Styles caused a disqualification by attacking Orton on the outside of the ring. That brought things down some, but the beating that followed plus the save by Riddle were good leading to the reunion of RKBro. The Tag Team Championship match at SummerSlam should be very good despite Omos’ limitations.
Women’s Title Picture – MISS: This miss encompasses several segments throughout Raw. The first was the Nikki Cross interview where she continues to sell the fact that she isn’t actually ready to be the women’s champion. This character doesn’t belong anywhere near the title until she grows in confidence and becomes the super hero she aspires to be. This isn’t a main event act. Having the women’s champion lose again, this time to Rhea Ripley doesn’t help matters. She is being booked to be a very weak champion. The match was ok, but we keep seeing variations of matches involving these two and Charlotte Flair. In fact, this wasn’t good enough for one show, so we had to see Nikki and Ripley team together against Flair & Nia Jax later on. I fear that Nikki will win given WWE’s 50-50 booking. They need to get the Title off of her and do something to inject life into this division.
McIntyre – Mahal – MISS: This miss is for the entirety of this feud between Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Nothing that WWE has done with these two in the last several weeks has been interesting. It feels like a major come down for McIntyre who really helped carry WWE throughout the empty arena era. It is a shame that this is what he gets to do back in front of fans again. I’m glad he isn’t doing the story time with Drew bit anymore, but swinging a sword around isn’t a lot better. Everything in the feud has gone Drew’s way so far, which makes me worried given WWE’s booking pattern that Mahal will win at the PPV which is a major mistake.
Miz/Morrison/Priest/Sheamus – HIT: I had mixed feelings about what WWE did with Moist TV, and everything else involving John Morrison, The Miz, Damian Priest and Sheamus as they build towards the United States Championship match at SummerSlam. I would have liked to have seen more focus on Sheamus vs. Priest and less on Miz & Morrison. I am totally over the Johnny Drip Drip persona and all the wet metaphors. However, given what WWE has done in the past few weeks, wrapping up the Priest vs. Miz portion of the story did make sense and giving him a strong win heading into the PPV was good. Having him win with the Brogue Kick to taunt Sheamus was a nice touch. Having grown very tired of Miz & Morrison, I am hoping that this is the start of their breakup. However, if they do break up it seems to be that they are going to keep Johnny Drip Drip as a babyface character.
Goldberg vs. Lashley – MISS: This wasn’t bad. Goldberg actually performed well in his promo addressing his son and why he came out of retirement in the first place. Bobby Lashley was good too and the physicality worked fine. The issue is that I just don’t care. I don’t care about Goldberg’s son. MVP getting in his face a few weeks ago and then talking about him last week didn’t seem like that big a deal to be upset over. He speared MVP right afterwards, so he got revenge. It is hard to be excited about Goldberg’s involvement in anything at this point. I certainly am not looking forward to this match. Nothing they could do would get me excited about it, so this miss is more for having this match in the first place than anything negative on this particular go home show.
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.