WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 4/11: Hot start with Miz and Cody, Priest vs. Styles misses, more

BY JON MEZZERA, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Full analysis of this week's Monday Night Raw
PHOTO CREDIT: Peacock

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

MizTV – HIT: WWE Raw got off to a good start with Cody Rhodes as a guest on MizTV. Miz was good in his antagonistic role trying to get under Rhodes’ skin. Rhodes continues to do a nice job on the mic since his return to WWE. I’m not sure how I feel about the corporate speak. It is interesting to hear Cody talking like a wrestler and not a WWE Sports Entertainer. It was odd to hear Miz correcting him to use that WWE corporate speak. If they are self aware of how that corporate speak comes across and are using Cody to break through it as a babyface while the heel Miz insists on using it, it may be a good sign. I just don’t know. It is weird so I will take a wait and see approach to it. Regardless, they did a nice job of setting up their match for later in the show while also hinting at a rematch for Rhodes against Seth Rollins.

Veer Mahaan – MISS: Veer comes across like a generic angry heel. It is smart to have him squash Dominik, but there wasn’t anything particularly impressive about what he did in the ring. It was also odd that the announcers never addressed where Rey Mysterio was. I’m sure most of the fans watching were wondering where he was and why he wasn’t coming to his son’s defense. All it would have taken would be for one of the announcers to say “Rey couldn’t be here to be in Dominik’s corner as he is battling an illness.” Or make something up. Later on, Veer was not good at all in his back stage interview. So far, he is not living up to the idiotically long hype.

Styles vs. Priest – MISS: This was well on its way to being a Hit, until that horrible ending, or non-ending. I liked what they did before the match with AJ Styles being interviewed and then seeing Damian Priest and attacking him. I like that attitude from Styles. The match was going well, but then suddenly the lights went out and they had that weird Edge lighting, with Priest posing in the middle of the ring, and then the match was just over. Why did the match end? Was it a no-contest? It was the latest way WWE creative came up with to not have a real finish to a match. Whoever had this idea should be fired.

Rhodes vs. Miz – HIT: This wasn’t a great match, but good enough to get a Hit. Rhodes isn’t a great wrestler, so he isn’t going to carry Miz to a great match. But, he is a good wrestler and can have very good if not great matches in the right circumstances. Here, they had a good match which was what it needed to be, with Cody getting the strong win. It seemed like every match he had in AEW was meant to be some epic encounter where he had to hit his Cross Rhodes finisher 5 times to beat his opponent, similar to his WrestleMania match against Rollins. It was nice to see him just get a strong win over an established star.

Ezekiel and Owens – HIT: I stand by my belief that this is below Kevin Owens coming off of a main event match with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WM. But, I have to also admit how amused I am at the situation. Owens is great at this stuff. Ezekiel is playing his part well. I even liked Tommaso Ciampa’s role this week. I am hoping that we get a Ciampa vs. Owens match out of it. I am also hopeful that we get something meaningful for Ciampa now that he is officially part of the Raw roster, but I fear that he won’t be well utilized and be gone by October.

Morgan vs. Naomi – MISS: I get that there was a change of plans due to Rhea Ripley’s absence from the show (due to being in protocol of some type, presumably Covid). But, why do they have to do the 50-50 booking? Liv Morgan got a big win over Sasha Banks on Smackdown. Why take that win away by having her lose to Naomi here? It was also a very short match, so that makes Morgan look even weaker. I’m not advocating for Champions losing, but there have to be better ways to promote a Championship match than by making the challenger look bad.

VIP Lounge – HIT: I liked the performances here from both Bobby Lashley and MVP talking about MVP turning on Lashley and joining Omos last week. This was a good way to follow up on that angle. Both Lashley and MVP were passionate and sounded sincere. You could sort of see MVP’s side of the story, but then you ultimately sided with Lashley. I like when a heel isn’t so outlandish in their views where you can at least see where they are coming from. I’m not looking forward to Omos vs. Lashley again, but the story they are telling has been good.

Theory Loses His First Name – MISS: WWE is getting out of hand with these name changes, especially someone like Austin Theory who has been on the Raw roster for a long time.

Belair and Deville – HIT: I like seeing a fresh match up for Bianca Belair as the new Raw Women’s Champion. I’m not a fan of Sonya Deville the authority figure, and I don’t like seeing a heel authority figure abusing her power. I am hopeful that this is going to lead to a full time return to the ring for her. At the very least, she is a new opponent for Belair who already has defeated most of the women on the Raw roster in her build up to becoming the Champion. We don’t need to see her against Doudrop. A waiting period before seeing her in a rematch with Becky Lynch is smart too. A feud with a heel Ripley would be good, but they aren’t there yet with the heel turn. So, Deville makes sense.

RK-Bro vs. Alpha Academy – MISS: Matches between RK-Bro and Alpha Academy are going to be Hit worthy in terms of the wrestling quality which was the case here. The issue is that we’ve seen these two teams facing far too often for it to mean anything at this point. I would love to see Alpha Academy move on to a feud away from the Tag Team Titles for awhile. They are too talented to not be featured, but watching them lose again wasn’t good.

The Usos vs. The Street Profits – HIT: It is odd that WWE wouldn’t have anything planned for the main event of Raw, so it was good that The Street Profits came out to interrupt the in ring encounter between The Usos and RK-Bro. I liked how Randy Orton manipulated the situation to set up this match. It was a very good match between two very good teams. While The Usos winning made the most sense, I wasn’t totally sure. There was a small part of me that thought they might actually have the Profits go over, to set them up to face the Usos at Backlash, in a way to draw out the eventual Champion vs. Champion match. Telling longer stories isn’t a bad thing. But, we will get that unification match at the next PLE which is fine. The aftermath with The Street Profits and RK-Bro fighting didn’t work well. I didn’t understand that 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: 4/11 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on Cody vs. Miz, MVP Lounge with Omos, Morgan vs. , Veer vs. Rey

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