SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Tag Team Turmoil Part 1 – MISS: I appreciate the way that WWE started off Raw with the soundbites from the tag teams who would be taking part of the Tag Team Turmoil match to determine the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Championship. However, it served the purpose of reminding me how lame the tag team division of Raw is. Ultimately, that was the major problem with the first part of the match. The Viking Raiders were given a win last week and seemed like they might be protected having recently had a Tag Title match against AJ Styles & Omos. But, they lost the first stage of the gauntlet. This was all about showcasing New Day, which is fine, but all the teams they beat after the Viking Raiders looked bad. How did this do anything for any of these other teams? I already thought they were losers, and this proved it. The beating from Mace & T-Bar on New Day and Mustafa Ali & Mansoor was very well done to put a pause to the match. However, WWE hasn’t done anything in their recent history to suggest that there will be any type of follow up to the angle. What will they gain? Where will it go? My guess is nothing and nowhere. So, a team that’s been defined down as losers looked like bad losers, but nothing good comes out of it. This ultimately felt like a long waste of time because you knew nothing important was going to happen until either Styles & Omos or Bobby Lashley & MVP came out.
McIntyre vs. Sheamus – HIT: After that first hour of Raw, we finally got to something good with this match between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus to determine the #1 contender to Damian Priest’s United States Title. McIntyre and Sheamus have shown good chemistry in the ring together in the past and this was no different. I enjoy watching these two wrestling each other. It was smart to have Sheamus get the win to set up the match against Priest, but it was also odd to see McIntyre take a second straight loss on Raw. That’s not a complaint. I want to see what WWE has planned for him.
Natalya & Tamina Lose – MISS: Their Title Contenders match or whatever they are called now, was good. The problem is the way that WWE presents their Women’s Tag Team Champions. On Smackdown, we’ve seen Natalya & Tamina lose several non-title matches to Shotzi & Tegan Nox on Smackdown. It is hard enough to take them seriously as the Champions when they keep losing on one show, but now they are losing on the other show too? I have a feeling that given recency bias, Nikki Cross & Rhea Ripley will be given a Title shot before Shotzi & Nox which isn’t fair. I’m much more interested in that duo than Cross & Ripley who are playing a lame copy of RKBro.
Kross vs. Morrison – MISS: I don’t understand why WWE turned John Morrison babyface only to feed him to two bigger wrestlers in squashes the next two weeks. I don’t know why The Miz has been absent from Raw the last few weeks, but it seems like they could find something else to do with Morrison in Miz’s absence, because by the time they get to Morrison vs. Miz, Morrison is going to look like a total loser. So who is going to care about the match?
Flair vs. Jax – MISS: This was certainly better than their match last week, but it felt like Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax were trying too hard early on to force a similar feel to last week’s match in order to capitalize on the buzz from the shoot feel that it had. It didn’t work. The rest of the match was solid to good, but ended with the Shayna Baszler distraction. Baszler’s behavior before and during the match was odd. They’ve had tension on again and off again between her and Jax, but this felt a little out of place. Hopefully it means the end of their team, but is one of them going to go babyface? Neither feels like a good babyface.
24/7 – MISS: Seeing Jeff Hardy with the 24/7 losers made me very sad. At this point in his career, I don’t think he should be at the top of the card, but he should have way more value than this. Then, I had forgotten all about Drake Maverick’s early association with the 24/7 title. So, I wasn’t interested in him coming out to tease getting back involved. I was more confused. Yes, once I thought about it, I remembered all his antics with the belt and his wife. But, nothing about the stupid title sticks out. So, when WWE tries to do something intriguing with it like having an old champion like Maverick show up unexpectedly, who really cares?
Styles & Omos vs. Lashley & MVP – HIT: Once Tag Team Turmoil got restarted at the end of the show, it was better than the first half for sure. New Day vs. Ali & Mansoor was solid and further advanced the storyline of how Ali and Mansoor aren’t on the same page as a team. Styles & Omos coming out to put an end to New Day’s long run in the match worked well. The gauntlet match ended strong with the heel vs. heel match up in part because the fans were fully behind Bobby Lashley and MVP. They were also excited to see Lashley square off against Omos. I don’t care about Omos, but clearly there are fans who are intrigued by him and how WWE has presented and protected him to pop for him going face to face with the WWE Champion. With RKBro at ringside likely to get involved, I could see either of these teams winning, so I wasn’t totally sure what was going to happen. WWE continued to build towards Randy Orton vs. Bobby Lashley while keeping Styles & Omos in the picture as well. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Tag Title match next week.
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.