SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Rollins vs. Balor – HIT: This was a good way to follow up on the match that never happened between Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. Rollin’s show opening promo about facing Big E for the WWE Championship at Day One was good. I liked how Balor attacked Rollins before their match, mirroring what happened last week. Balor brought the right level of intensity. The prematch brawl worked well. The match itself was very good while it lasted, but wasn’t long with a commercial break, so there wasn’t a lot of the match to see. But, it worked to give Rollins a strong win as the #1 contender. Hopefully they have something planned for Balor as well.
McMahon and Theory – HIT: I didn’t love everything involved with Vince McMahon and Austin Theory, and I’d be happy to never see McMahon on my TV again. However, the fact that WWE is putting Theory in this position to share so much screen time with McMahon is a sign that they are going to get behind him. So, while the content of the scenes with McMahon weren’t really Hit worthy, this Hit is for the hope that they actually get behind a promising young talent like Theory.
Morgan – Lynch – HIT: The contract signing went well with the verbal exchange between Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch. Becky was great as usual. Morgan was much better than usual on the mic. She actually showed good fire and stood up for herself. I didn’t like showing the behind-the-scenes video of Becky crying after her Survivor Series match against Charlotte Flair. That was out of place in this context and not needed. Morgan could have found other fuel to throw at Becky. The rest of it worked well. They were clearly inspired by the CM Punk – MJF exchange from last week’s Dynamite (which would come up later too). They didn’t reach that level of excellence, but it was still good.
RKBro vs. Dirty Dawgs – HIT: This is a minor Hit for a solid to good, but short Tag Team Championship match. I get a kick out of Matt Riddle and Randy Orton. I liked their pre-match backstage bit. The match itself was good, but felt rather inconsequential as Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode haven’t been treated like a serious threat to actually win the titles.
Edge – The Miz – HIT: I groaned when The Miz came out to interrupt Edge’s promo. I also didn’t like how Edge put over Seth Rollins at the start of his promo. So, I wasn’t expecting to give this a Hit. Edge was better once he started talking about all the wrestlers he wants to face on Raw. The Miz interrupting complaining about not getting all the hype for his return the way Edge got for his was ok. I kept thinking that Miz should be interrupting the authority figures, not Edge, but Edge actually addressed that when he retorted Miz’s promo. This was another segment that tried to recreate the Punk-MJF moment, and even referenced that exchange since Punk had called MJF a less famous Miz. It is fascinating to see a WWE wrestler make a reference to AEW (whereas it isn’t surprising at all for AEW wrestlers to reference WWE). Edge made a reference to John Morrison getting fired and blamed Miz. That got a big Oooh from the crowd. It didn’t all work, and I’m not sure seeing Edge vs. Miz is going to excite many people (it is a big comedown when you consider Edge has faced Orton, Roman Reigns and Rollins). But, I have to admit that I became much more infringed by it by the end of the segment than when Miz’s music first hit.
Priest vs. Crews – MISS: WWE spent some time building up to this United States Title match. I am fine with keeping Damian Priest strong as the champ, but an eight minute title match where about half of the match happens on a commercial break is not good. This should be the end of the program between Priest and Apollo Crews, but I fear that for no reason at all, Crews will get another title shot in the next few weeks.
10 Woman Tag – MISS: There was some good wrestling action in this 10 woman tag between Team Liv and Team Becky. Giving Liv Morgan a strong win was the right way to go. However, this match started to drag at nearly 20 minutes. I’m glad we are so far away from the Divas era where a match like this might be lucky to get 3 minutes. 15 would have been better to cut out some of the extraneous material and make it a little tighter. At one point, it seemed like the point of the match was to get Rhea Ripley over, but then it kept going for 10 more minutes. Those moments where one wrestler after another enters the ring to hit a big move on another only to take a big move from someone else coming in have became far too cliche for me also.
Bobby Lashley Video – HIT: This was a very good video on Bobby Lashley, but it came across like something hyping a babyface, not a top heel like Lashley. If they keep him a heel going forward, then this becomes a retroactive Miss.
Big E vs. Owens – HIT: I appreciate the fact that Kevin Owens manipulated Seth Rollins into planting the seeds with Adam Pearce and Sonya DeVille to add him to the WWE Title match at Day One. That all worked well. The wrestling action in the main event between Big E and Owens was very good as expected. However, the match ended with a disqualification. Obviously, that was part of the larger storyline and in a vacuum it made sense and worked well. But, the match doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but in a world where far too many matches end with some type of non-finish, or DQ, or distraction, etc. I liked how Owens tried to get Rollins to interfere early in the match only to have Rollins keep his cool. That made me think they would actually have a clean finish. So, the second attempt from Owens surprised me a bit. It worked ok, and Rollins was great when he realized he caused exactly what he didn’t want to happen. I also enjoyed him on guest commentary. The triple threat seemed inevitable with the story WWE has been telling, but I’m not sure it is more interesting than just Rollins vs. E.
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.