WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 4/4: Cody Rhodes promo hits, Raw after WrestleMania misses, more

BY JON MEZZERA, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

WWE Raw hits and misses
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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

Cody Rhodes – HIT: The Raw After Mania got off to a good start with Cody Rhodes coming out to address the fans. I was assuming that the new Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion of the World would have started the show, but Rhodes made sense too. He did a good job of talking about his history, returning to WWE at WrestleMania and his mission to achieve what his dad hadn’t been able to in his long Hall of Fame career. The fans seemed excited to see him. It definitely seems like he is going to be treated like a top star. The Seth Rollins appearance was a bit odd, but I am curious to see where they go with him going forward.

Ripley – Morgan Tension – MISS: It feels like we just went through a similar storyline with Rhea Ripley and Nikki Cross. In that case, Cross was the heel and Ripley the babyface. So it feels odd to me that so soon afterwards, Ripley would be positioned more as a heel in this rift with Liv Morgan. Perhaps they need Ripley to be a heel to challenge Bianca Bel Air for the Women’s Championship. But, it feels rushed. Their match against Sasha Banks & Naomi was fine, but not that good. I don’t understand how after losing that match, they were granted a Title match for next week. They also had another women’s tag team break up on the same show.

Ezekiel – MISS: I’m not totally sure what to think of Ezekiel. I’m glad that there were people like Kevin Owens who didn’t buy that he isn’t Elias. But, I don’t know what we are supposed to think. Is he supposed to be legitimately a different person? Or is it supposed to be some type of trick? Or perhaps some type of mental breakdown? I’m ok with the fact that those questions are out there. This was his first appearance and they don’t have to have the questions answered yet. The problem is that Kevin Owens is coming off a WM main event with Stone Cold Steve Austin. He should be positioned as a top star on Raw. I liked the mic work he did before the interruption, but Elias/Ezekiel is a low card gimmick/wrestler (even if he turns out to be an entertaining one). This felt like a let down for Owens.

Miz vs. Dominik – MISS: A 1 minute match? What does that do for anyone? And why would you advertise that Veer Mahaan would finally make his Raw debut if you didn’t actually have him booked in a match? Did you advertise him for the show, just hoping he would come out to beat someone up after a match?

Belair – HIT: Bianca Belair did a nice job of addressing the fans and talking about beating Becky Lynch at WM to become the new Women’s Champion. That was the best match at WM and a big moment, the culmination of a story that started at SummerSlam last year. It was nice to see Belair get this moment to celebrate and brag a little, without being interrupted by Lynch or someone else challenging her for a Title match. Sometimes, it is ok to let a moment breath a little before moving on to something new. I didn’t feel the same way with Roman Reigns on this show, but I’ll get to that later.

Ziggler vs. Breakker – MISS: I understand wanting to have Bron Breakker win the NXT Title in front of the larger Raw audience, but it was strange to have the Title change here instead of Stand and Deliver during WM weekend. His Title match against Dolph Ziggler was good, but it felt out of place. It was rushed without any type of build. They didn’t give a good enough reason for why he was getting another Title shot 2 days after losing his last one. It didn’t work for me.

MVP, Lashley, Omos – HIT: I would be ok with Omos going away. He isn’t good. But, his act will benefit overall with this new association with MVP. I’m surprised they didn’t do the turn at WM. They could have protected Omos and had him stay undefeated by having MVP turn on Bobby Lashley then. But this worked well to firmly position Lashley as a babyface. He doesn’t need MVP. Omos does. So, this should work out well.

RK-Bro & Balor vs. The Usos & Theory – HIT: I can’t wait for Survivor Series, the one night of the year when Raw and Smackdown Superstars face off against each other. I wish WWE had gotten Finn Balor on WM. He is more deserving than some of those who were on one of the two nights. I wish they were protecting him more as the United States Champion. After losing to Pat McAfee, Austin Theory needed the win. I liked the way the Usos taunted him before the match as a motivational tool. The match was good, but too short to amount to much. But, it was good enough and hopefully this will move into a strong feud between Theory and Balor.

Edge & Priest – HIT: I would prefer to see Edge as a babyface. He is doing a fine job in this role and I am intrigued by the pairing of him and Damian Priest who needed something. He has a lot of talent, but wasn’t done any favors by the creative team over the past 6 months or so. I am curios to see if Edge’s stable grows. There are some fans thinking that Ripley is going to join them. The physicality at the end worked well with AJ Styles trying to get revenge. A Priest vs Styles feud has a lot of promise. On a side note, this was the only segment of the show that felt like a Night After Mania crowd. This was the only time that they really tried to ‘hijack’ the show or be particularly clever with their chants. While I appreciate the passion of those fans, I’m usually more annoyed by them than anything so I was ok with this being the only time they showed up in that way.

Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy – HIT: This was a good match as you’d expect between two very talented teams. I am glad that after the Raw Tag Team Title match at WM, that the Street Profits were back in the babyface role. That was still the case here against Alpha Academy. They had a good match and the Profits got the win in the end. Will they go to a babyface vs. babyface match up against RK-Bro next?

Roman Reigns – MISS: This was a let down at the end of the show. I did get a kick out of Paul Heyman’s promo where he listed all the great business that WWE has done with Roman Reigns as the head of the table. But, nothing was said. As I said earlier, it is ok to let moments breath, but this felt like a moment to do something new or exciting. Instead, all they really said was “tune into Smackdown to hear what’s next for the Bloodline.” It was a dull ending to a disappointing show.

Raw After Mania – MISS: Yes, there were quite a few Hits this week, but it didn’t feel like a big show coming off the two-night WM. They had the NXT title match, but that didn’t make sense. They had the “debut” of Ezekiel, but that was odd. We didn’t get a big NXT debut. There wasn’t a big return from an injury. Maybe it is a case of unreasonably high expectations, but WWE had fostered this feeling among the fans that this is the biggest Raw of the year. I only say that because they said it over and over again. They did nothing to make this Raw actually feel like the biggest one of the year.

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: 4/4 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on WrestleMania 38 fallout, Cody’s return, Veer appears, Reigns addresses fans

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