WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 1/10: Alpha Academy works as tag champs, more of the same with Edge and Miz saga, more

BY JON MEZZERA, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Edge reportedly will adopt old gimmick in WWE

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Opening Segment – HIT: I am enjoying babyface Brock Lesnar. He and Paul Heyman got a more positive reaction in front of this Philadelphia crowd than last week. WWE still needed to do a better job of transitioning Heyman from the heel special council of Roman Reigns to the babyface advocate of Lesnar. But this was still a very good encounter between Lesnar and his challenger at The Royal Rumble, Bobby Lashley. I got a kick out of him acting like he doesn’t know who Lashley is and his knock-knock joke. However, before the Rumble, Lashley needs to show Lesnar who he is. The stuff with the previous Hurt Business wasn’t as good as it was sort of confusing. I’m not sure what the point is of having Lashley getting cheered for beating up those losers.

RK-Bro vs. Alpha Academy – HIT: I wish WWE had built up and protected Alpha Academy in the previous weeks more than they did. Yes, there have been times when Otis has been protected and he has won most of his matches, but he lost in a singles match to Randy Orton just two weeks ago. Also, Chad Gable always seems to lose his singles matches. This win was desperately needed by their team, but a desperately needed win shouldn’t come in a Title match. It should come at the start of a build towards a Title victory. I am giving the match a Hit as it was a good match and I am a fan of Alpha Academy. I am intrigued to see where WWE goes from here with these two teams as their roles have now switched.

Dirty Dawgs & Crews vs. Street Profits & Priest – HIT: I assumed this match would be a way to get Apollo Crews into the United States Championship picture with a six man tag win over the current Champion Damian Priest. I also thought the babyfaces might go over. So, I was a little surprised that Dolph Ziggler got the win over one of the Profits. This was a good match which isn’t surprising given the talent in the ring. I don’t mind seeing a Profits vs. Dawgs feud which this might be setting up. They also seem to be hinting at Commander Azeez vs. Priest which I’m not looking forward to.

Big E vs. Rollins – HIT: The talking segment which set this match up was fine. The match itself was easily the best match of the show. That was to be expected with Big E and Seth Rollins in the ring getting 18 minutes for their match. Seth Rollins needed the strong win given that he is facing Reigns for the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble. It is a shame that Big E lost so soon after losing his WWE Title. But, I feel like WWE has plans for him. I don’t have that feeling of despair that he is going to go back to the mid card. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic. Either way, it was a very good match with a clean ending, and that has to get a Hit.

Ripley & Cross – HIT: It is great that WWE has finally moved the story between Rhea Ripley and Nikki Cross to a new level. The performances from them were strong here. It was great that it is Nikki who snapped and turned on Ripley instead of the other way around. She has not connected as Nikki A.S.H. with the fans. I’m glad WWE isn’t trying to force her into the sympathetic babyface role with a frustrated Ripley turning on her. Instead, she is the delusional heel (which goes with her delusional super hero persona) with Ripley as the rightful babyface.

Cutting Edge – MISS: There were some good performances in this interview segment with Edge and Beth Phoenix eventually being interrupted by Miz and Maryse. The problem is that it felt like more of the same that we’ve already heard from them. There wasn’t anything new. It felt redundant. We’ve already seen Miz and Maryse tease that they aren’t on the same page, so to see her walk out on Miz at the end of the segment was meaningless.

Theory vs. Styles – MISS: This was on its way to being a Hit before the typical WWE copout ending with Grayson Waller attacking AJ Styles to cause a disqualification in this match against Austin Theory. WWE had to keep Theory strong with his storyline with Vince McMahon. They wanted to keep Styles strong after his loss to Omos. So, they booked a match that couldn’t have an ending. It seems like they could have done something similar without an actual match with the key elements of Waller attacking Styles and Theory being obnoxious.

Alexa Bliss – MISS: Ugh. I had so much hope for a new Alexa Bliss without the hocus-pocus BS, but here she was using her powers to stop the pendulum on her psychiatrist’s desk. The whole idea that a therapist would allow his sessions to be filmed is stupid. I know it is “just wrestling” or “just sports entertainment” and that WWE has done it many times before, but it still feels stupid to me. This was so bad that it made me go from cautiously looking forward to Bliss’ return to dreading it.

Doudrop vs. Bel Air vs. Morgan – HIT: I had mixed feelings about this. It seemed like WWE wants to save Bianca Bel Air vs. Becky Lynch for WrestleMania (it is at least a strong possibility). Liv Morgan has already faced Lynch twice recently, so having her get another Title match didn’t make much sense either. So they had Doudrop win, but that sets up an odd heel vs. heel match which don’t typically have great dynamics. I also was disappointed in the interference from Lynch at the end, but that does help build to the eventual rematch against Bel Air. But, this was a good match. I enjoyed it other than the interference at the end. Doudrop, Bel Air and Morgan all performed well here. The match was well put together. It was well executed. It was Hit worthy. But, I continue to be sick and tired of writing something like “it was a good match with a bad ending.”

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.


CATCH-UP: 1/10 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on Belair vs. Doudrop vs. Morgan, RK-Bro defend against American Alpha, Alexa Bliss’s journey back video

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