WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 10/18: Raw starts strong with Charlotte and Belair, DQ finish hurts main event, more

BY JON MEZZERA, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Opening Segment – HIT: Raw got off to a good start with the encounter between Charlotte Flair and Bianca Bel Air. They both played their parts well. I liked Charlotte being upset about not getting a big send off on her last night on Raw. Bel Air came across well here, as a big star. They built anticipation for their Women’s Championship main event match.

Woods Wins – HIT: The match was fine, but at least Xavier Woods won instead of Jinder Mahal. Woods vs. Finn Balor will obviously be a better match, but more importantly, we are guaranteed not to have King Mahal which would be a terrible gimmick for the next year or so.

Hardy vs. Theory – MISS: If this had been the match we saw last week and Jeff Hardy didn’t immediately make Austin Theory look bad after the match, then it probably would have been a Hit. But, there was damage done to Theory last week in his re-debut match on Raw when it was interrupted by the 24/7 geeks. This week, he and Hardy had a nice match, and Theory got the win which is good. But, then Hardy beat him up afterwards which undid the boost that Theory got from the win. People aren’t going to remember anything but Hardy getting the better of him in the end and taking the selfie with his prone body. It is another in a long list of wrestlers who aren’t treated like potential stars when they get called up from NXT.

Big E – Drew McIntyre – HIT: This was a better presentation of Big E and Drew McIntyre than last week when they were presented as petulant children. They got along here, but still showed the tension between them heading into their WWE Title match on Thursday. I liked their vignette in the back. Their tag match against The Dirty Dogs was good. The bit afterwards was the best part with them building to the Title match.

Mansoor – HIT: Mansoor’s match against Cedric Alexander was good while it lasted, but not long enough to amount to much. The real highlight was after the match when Mustafa Ali came out to berate Mansoor for smiling too much. Mansoor’s serious and intense response was very well done. Ali’s shocked expression, taken aback by Mansoor’s promo was also strong. That was a short, but very effective segment to hype their match at the PPV.

Goldberg – Lashley – HIT: I still strongly object to Goldberg continuing to bring up killing Bobby Lashley. But otherwise, this was a good back and forth between them. It felt more natural to me and less scripted than these types of segments usually feel in WWE. Both of them came across well. Neither of them are known for their great mic skills, but they performed well here.

RKBro vs. Street Profits – MISS: There was no real reason to have this match other than the fact that WWE wanted to have RKBro in the ring to get attacked by AJ Styles & Omos. The Street Profits are a very good team who get strong babyface reactions from the crowd. They are former multiple time Tag Team Champions. They should not be used as a prop in a feud between two other teams. The wrestling action was obviously Hit worthy which isn’t surprising given the talent of these four wrestlers. But, it had a lame non finish (after a nice run of four matches in a row with actual clean finishes which might be a record for Raw in 2021) and ruined what could be a big moment for the first match between the Street Profits and RKBro.

Doudrop vs. Baszler – MISS: This was a fine match, but WWE seemed to finally be getting behind Shayna Baszler as an unstoppable badass. Then she lost to Doudrop. Doudrop is good, but has been presented as a goofy joke. Also, every time Baszler loses, it seems to be on a leverage pin while she has her opponent in her Kirafuda Clutch. Come up with a different ending please.

Morrison and the Raiders – MISS: This was just a lame attempt at comedy which wasn’t funny.

Flair vs. Bel Air – MISS: This match had a disappointing (but not surprising) ending with Flair getting herself purposefully disqualified to keep her Raw Women’s Title. There were also a few sloppy moments, one of which resulted in an accidental cut to Charlotte’s face. But overall, this main event featured very good wrestling action and lasted over 20 minutes. Just give the match an actual ending and it easily is a Hit. I’m sick and tired of writing something along the lines of “good match until the bad ending.” WWE has sent the clear message to their fans that these supposedly big matches aren’t going to have satisfactory endings, so the fans don’t care about them any more. Why get invested in a big match when you know that they aren’t going to deliver in the end?

Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at jmezz_torch@yahoo.com.

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