SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Weigh In – MISS: I didn’t mind when Brock Lesnar acted like he didn’t know who Bobby Lashley was two weeks ago, but I added that Lashley needed to show Lesnar who he is. He did not have that chance on this go home episode of Raw. Instead, the tone from Lesnar was still goofy. I like how Lashley carried himself, but it wasn’t enough to save this opening segment. This was particularly disappointing after that great hype video that they had last week which treated the fight as a big serious deal.
Priest vs. Owens – MISS: This feud seems to be following the exact same script as Damian Priest’s last feud against Dolph Ziggler. The heel wins a non-title match. The heel wins the title match via disqualification due to Damian Priest’s inability to control his anger. The next step against Ziggler was a title rematch where Priest loses the United States Championship if he gets disqualified again. Will that happen here? We will find out. Either way, this is another example of a good match with a crap finish. It is also damaging Priest in the meantime. I hope they want him to turn heel, because this isn’t a good way to present a babyface.
Ripley, Morgan & Brooke vs. Cross, Carmella & Tamina – MISS: When Maryse mentioned the era of 2 minute Divas matches, these were the types of matches she was talking about. A short singles match to put one wrestler over another (aka a squash) isn’t a problem. I didn’t mind the short nature of Bianca Bel Air vs. Queen Zelina. I didn’t give it a Hit, but it was fine. The bad thing about those 2 minute Divas matches was that they were almost always multi-women tag matches, 6 woman tags like this or even 8 or 10 women. How can anyone get over when you are only given 30-45 seconds in the ring? I did appreciate the pre-match brief promos from each woman talking about being in the Royal Rumble.
Orton vs. Gable – HIT: The spelling bee which preceded this match was fine. It wasn’t good enough to get a Hit as that type of segment doesn’t belong on a professional wrestling show, but it wasn’t the terrible train wreck that I expected. Matt Riddle, Randy Orton, Chad Gable and Otis certainly gave it their all. So I won’t give it a Miss. But, the match that followed between Orton and Gable was certainly a Hit. After a bad first hour of the show, it was nice to see this really good long match. I’m happy WWE gave them 14 minutes for their match. They delivered. It was fun to watch from start to finish. But, I’m not sure how a scooter race counts as part of an academic challenge.
Styles vs. Theory – HIT: That match was followed shortly by another very good long match, this one between AJ Styles and Austin Theory. We saw the start of a match between these two a few weeks ago before Grayson Waller got involved. So, it was nice to see a full match between them here. Theory definitely is a star on the rise on Raw. I do fear his connection with Vince McMahon now much more than when their relationship started. Yes, he lost here, but in a way where he should be elevated given his great performance and his ability to hang with Styles in such a long match.
Mysterios vs. Street Profits – HIT: This was a nice way to follow up on the post-match angle last week with the Mysterios getting one up on The Street Profits after their 8 man tag. There was a lot of athleticism on display here, although at only 8 minutes with a commercial break interruption, we didn’t get to see much of it. The Royal Rumble antics afterwards with the Dirty Dawgs getting involved was ok. WWE didn’t do much on this show to actually hype the Rumble itself, so this was at least something.
Maryse’s Birthday Bash – MISS: During the previous tag match, I kept thinking “what is going to be the main event?” I couldn’t remember WWE announcing a main event, or hyping anything big for the end of the show. I was going through all the players on Raw who would be in big matches at the PLE on Saturday like Lesnar, Lashley, Becky Lynch, Doudrop, and Seth Rollins, plus guys who are likely to play a part in the actual Rumble like Owens and Priest. They had all been on the show. I totally forgot about The Miz and Edge which is a shame. The idea that this was the final segment on the go home show doesn’t make sense. This match is definitely at the bottom of the PLE card, so it should not have been in the main event slot on Raw. WWE didn’t do enough on this show to hype the PLE, so this was a particularly bad way to end it.
Getting to the segment itself (regardless of where it was placed on the show), it was just ok at best. I’m over Miz & Maryse’s schtick. It is definitely more go away heat with me than see them get their asses kicked heat. Edge and Beth Phoenix were fun in coming out to beat up security guards and destroy the set, but it still wasn’t a good segment.
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.