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Lashley vs. E – MISS: In other circumstances, this could have been a Hit. It was Hit worthy in terms of the wrestling action between Bobby Lashley and Big E in this WWE Championship match which opened up Raw. However, after Extreme Rules ended with two very bad finishes in the two title main events, WWE should have delivered an ending to this match. I get what they were doing to set up the steel cage rematch, but I was already upset from those bad endings the night before, so I was not in a forgiving mood. For me, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the restart of the match later inside the cage. Instead I was left angry, remembering the bad endings which ruined an otherwise good PPV the night before. Also, I am happy to see the Hurt Business back together as they never should have been broken up in the first place, but there was no story as to why Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were suddenly back in Lashley’s corner.
Keith “Bearcat” Lee – HIT: I don’t have a strong feeling about the new Bearcat moniker for Keith Lee. It will be interesting to see if he drops the Keith part over time. This Hit is for what is hopefully going to be a new push for Lee who deserves it. After his recent return after all sorts of health issues, he wasn’t used well at all. He did get a win over Karrion Kross, but then disappeared again. Now he’s back and got a squash win over Akira Tozawa. I would love to see this be the start of a string of strong victories eventually leading to a meaningful feud for Lee. Now whatever happened to Mia Yim?
Big E and Lashley Promos – HIT: Once WWE decided to have the WWE Title match in the main event after the opening match, it was good to get promos from both Big E and Lashley throughout the show to build up to that huge main event. I will echo what a lot of people said about Big E’s serious promo from Extreme Rules and how nice it was to see him in that type of presentation for a change. That was also on display here. Lashley wasn’t as good in his promo later in the show, but he was still strong enough to help sell the main event.
Priest vs. Sheamus – HIT: I don’t understand what Sheamus did to deserve a United States Championship match, but at least it was good. The fact that it felt more extreme than their match from Extreme Rules says volumes about the silliness of having a PPV named Extreme Rules (just rename the PPV next year). Getting back to this match, there were some sloppy spots. But, overall it had good hard hitting action throughout. Sheamus continues to have a good year in the ring. Priest continues to do well as the US Champion. It was nice to see him get a positive babyface reaction after the night before when the fans were much more excited about Jeff Hardy.
Mansoor, Ali & Hardy vs. Mahal, Veer & Shanky – MISS: Speaking of Jeff Hardy, why did WWE fail to capitalize on the reaction that the fans gave Hardy at the PPV? Instead of using that as a reason to catapult him up the card to get something out of him late in his career, he was part of a losing effort in a six man tag to a trio of wrestlers who have been defined as losers. This was more about the relationship between Mansoor and Mustafa Ali than anything else, but they could have found another partner for them and given Hardy a win against someone else.
Kross vs. Ryker – MISS: WWE doesn’t follow up on anything. I’m not a fan of Jackson Ryker, but they got absolutely nothing from him winning his feud against Elias. They have even stopped doing those Elias reborn vignettes. So what was the point? Now he is getting squashed by Kross. I don’t care about him jobbing, but it doesn’t gain Kross anything. His promos have been bad. His new look is stupid. Where is Scarlet? He is boring in the ring. His Cross Jacket sleeper hold didn’t look like he was actually applying it at all. The announcers sort of covered by saying he was cranking the neck instead of using it as a sleeper. I don’t think that was the intent.
On a side note, if I was the supreme god of wrestling, I would ban all sleeper holds as finishing moves. I know they are based on legit MMA moves, but they are boring and never look good in a professional wrestling context. They remind me of the 80s when I first started watching. And the fact that so many current WWE wrestlers do them with their own name (Cross Jacket, Kirifuda Clutch, Coquina Clutch), makes it worse.
Riddle vs. Styles – HIT: This was a very good match between Matt Riddle and AJ Styles. It isn’t surprising as they have had very good matches (both singles and tags) in the past. They are both great wrestlers and they have good chemistry in the ring together. I would like to see WWE giving Styles a singles push, but it appears that he and Omos are going to stay as a tag team at least for the foreseeable future to continue feuding with RKBro.
Charlotte vs. Doudrop – MISS: WWE has done a terrible job with Doudrop early in her career on Raw since being elevated from NXT UK. She is finally not working for Eva Marie any more. I was hopeful that her feud with Marie would be over too, but Marie came out to distract her during her Women’s Title match against Charlotte Flair. It made Doudrop look bad for being easily distracted and losing after just taking one move. Flair didn’t gain anything either, but she actually looked like a babyface for clotheslining Marie afterwards. Plus unfortunately, Marie vs. Doudrop will continue. I still assume Marie will bring in a new protege to feud with her.
Baszler Destroys Marie – MISS: I would love to give this a Hit since it was more of the badass Shayna Baszler character that we saw last week. The problem is that she keeps injuring annoying heels, so she doesn’t come across as a heel herself. But, I think WWE wants her to be a heel. She even got a “one more time” chant after stomping on Marie’s arm on the steps. Again, I doubt that was the reaction WWE wanted. So, it leaves me feeling a little cold where I can’t really get behind her as a heel when she’s injuring wrestlers I don’t like.
Goldberg’s Gonna Kill You – MISS: Literally apparently. The problem with Goldberg saying that he is hoping that he kills Bobby Lashley at Blood Money is that nobody is buying that is even a remote possibility, nor that he actually wants to kill him. The rest of the promo was actually good. The substance of the promo and the more understated and intense (as opposed to just yelling) performance was strong. That line ruined it.
Steel Cage – HIT: I assume WWE always keeps a steel cage hanging over the ring just in case the need for it comes up. Moving past the preposterous idea of having a cage ready and the stupidity of the end of the opening match, it did lead to a good place with this Steel Cage WWE Title match. The way Lashley jumped E before the match and beat him up on the outside of the ring worked well. I would have rather seen no interference from the Hurt Business or the New Day, but at least it was kept small and early in the match so that the match could move past it to build towards the end. There were some believable near falls as the match proceeded. It had the satisfying ending with E getting the pin in the middle of the ring after that middle rope Big Ending. The appearance by Drew McIntyre afterwards was intriguing. I wonder where Lashley goes form here after losing all his momentum after such a long stretch of dominating Raw.
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.