SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MizTV – HIT: This must be a record. I am giving MizTV a Hit two weeks in a row on Raw. Everyone played their parts well. The Miz was the annoying host getting plugs in for his reality show. Paul Heyman was a good spokesman for Roman Reigns. And Matt Riddle continued to shine in his more serious, but still himself character. They did a nice job of hyping the Riddle vs. Reigns World Title match on Smackdown. The added stipulation that Riddle can’t face Reigns again for the Title if he loses was odd. It plays into the idea that Heyman wields considerable power on behalf of the Tribal Chief, but it doesn’t seem fair and came out of nowhere.
Uso vs. Ford – HIT: This was a good match to further the feud between The Usos and The Street Profits. Jimmy Uso and Montez Ford had a good match which ended with a clean win for the heel Champion. WWE so often has the Champions lose in these non-title matches, so this was a nice change from their normal formula.
Rollins Interview – HIT: This was a nice way to continue to follow up on the big Cody Rhodes / Seth Rollins angle from last week while pivoting onto a potential feud between Rollins and AJ Styles who needs something new after the end of his feud against Judgement Day. The follow up bits with each of them talking about their Money in the Bank qualifier for later in the show were good too.
Lynch Beats Down Brooke – HIT: I didn’t need to see another match between Becky Lynch and Dana Brooke. I didn’t need to see Becky go after the 24/7 title. She needed some type of big statement after the embarrassing loss to Brooke last week. So, it was good to see Becky forgo the match in order to beat the crap out of Brooke. I like how she disparaged the 24/7 title while beating Brooke up. I appreciated how Becky didn’t back down when Asuka came out to make the save, but went right after her. Not all heels need to be cowardly. The physicality between them worked well and set up a big Money in the Bank qualifying match between them.
Ezekiel – MISS: Ezekiel’s match against Kevin Owens was fine with Owens getting distracted by the announcers continuing to call him Ezekiel instead of Elias and getting counted out. The problem is that I am over this angle and character. It is just the same thing over and over again. They are doing something new with having Elias return for a concert next week. Maybe that’ll be interesting, but I somehow doubt it.
MVP vs. Alexander – MISS: Yawn. Cedric Alexander is better than this.
Styles vs. Rollins – HIT: This was the highlight of the show and should have been the main event. It isn’t surprising that you put Styles and Rollins in a 15 minute match with some type of stakes and they are going to deliver a very good match. The crowd was very into the match. It went back and forth nicely as it built to the end with Styles’ leg giving out on him, allowing Rollins to get the win. It was another example of a heel getting a clean win in a nice long match on this show. The only issue is that WWE’s history suggests that Styles will get some type of second chance to get into the MITB match, so the stakes didn’t feel as important as they should have.
Riddle vs. Ciampa – HIT: This was a good short match to follow up on Ciampa attacking Riddle last week. But, there still hasn’t been a good explanation as to why (unless I missed it this week?). I also wish WWE would do something more with Ciampa. Riddle clearly needed the strong win and Ciampa got in enough offense for this to be more than just a squash. I do wish it had been a longer match.
Belair – Judgement Day – HIT: This was a pretty good segment to follow up on Rhea Ripley becoming the #1 contender for Bianca Belair’s Women’s Championship. Judgement Day did a much better job here of explaining why they got rid of Edge than they did last week. That was nice to hear. I like the idea that they don’t have a leader. Will that last? The mic work from Ripley was strong. Belair was good to start it off. Ripley vs. Belair should be great.
Ali vs Gable – MISS: The wrestling was perfectly good, but the match was far too short. This was a match that should have been cut to give Riddle vs. Ciampa more time. I have no problem with Chad Gable as he is a great talent, but he hasn’t been presented as a top threat in a long time. He’s lost a lot lately. Mustafa Ali has so much talent and hasn’t been treated well since his return despite getting a United States Championship match at the last PTE. It would have been nice to see him getting a much needed win here instead.
Mahaan vs. Mysterio – MISS: This was just more of the same. I hope they move on to something new for each of these guys. Let the Mysterios have a nice program to help continue building Dominik while Mahaan faces more of a challenge.
Pose Down – MISS: I would rather not have this segment on at all, but if you are going to do a pose down like this, it should definitely not be in the main event slot. As I already said, Rollins vs. Styles should have been the main event. I assumed it wasn’t the main event, because they wanted a happy ending for the show instead of Rollins winning. But, this ended with Theory standing tall after his baby oil to the eyes attack on Bobby Lashley which wasn’t a great way to send the fans home happy. I know that Vince McMahon has a bodybuilding fetish, but it doesn’t make for good tv. This was boring. Overall, this was a good episode of Raw, but the final hour or so was a let down.
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.