SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – HIT: WWE Raw got off to a hot start with the pull apart brawl between The Miz and Logan Paul. It was a nice way to shake up the routine a little. Unfortunately, it was downhill after that for Miz and Paul (more later). The opening segment however did continue nicely with the Bloodline coming out to talk about Brock Lesnar and SummerSlam. Paul Heyman continues to do his best to find ways to make Lesnar vs. Reigns seem important or interesting. I’m not sure anyone is buying it, but I give him credit for his spoil the party promo this week. The interchange with Theory was interesting, especially the “your Daddy’s not here anymore” line. I’m curious to see how they push Theory going forward without Vince McMahon as part of the act. I liked how he carried himself despite being intimidated by the Bloodline. It was a good start to the show.
Theory & Sheamus vs. McIntyre & Lashley – HIT: There were issues with this series of matches involving Theory, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Bobby Lashley. The announcers were genuinely surprised by McIntyre’s presence, so how did Sheamus know he was going to be there to attack him? Having the first match in the post-Vince era end in a disqualification was certainly disappointing. Having the second one end after a distraction was too. But, I am giving it a Hit based on the quality of wrestling action over both matches which were fun to watch and took up a long stretch of time on Raw.
Mysterio’s Celebration – HIT: It was great to see Rey Mysterio get such nice treatment for his 20th anniversary with WWE. The video package on his career was very well done. Rey was good in talking about his career and all the wrestlers who influenced him over the years. It was a nice tribute and surprising that WWE let him talk so long without being interrupted. Sure, Finn Balor and Damian Priest showed up at the end, but he was done talking at that point. The match that followed was good and again it was surprising that WWE let the Mysterios get the win. The celebration afterwards in the back was a bit cheesy, but Rhea Ripley’s return and the attack that followed worked well. I loved that she was wearing an I’m Your Papi shirt. Dominik still hasn’t turned on his father like everyone seems to expect.
Belair – Lynch – MISS: This was not a good go home segment for the WWE Raw Women’s Title match at the PLE on Saturday. I appreciate the fact that Bianca Belair wouldn’t let Becky Lynch interrupt her. Unfortunately, Belair had nothing interesting to say. Neither did Lynch. Belair was basically saying “you can’t interrupt me, I need to get out all of my empty catchphrases and platitudes.” The pull apart brawl that ended the segment was fine, but it was a big nothing before that.
Impaulsive TV – MISS: Like I said earlier, the highlight of the night for Paul and The Miz was their brawl at the start of the show. Unfortunately, it the first episode of Impaulsive TV was pretty bad. WWE still doesn’t get the fact that Paul is a heel. Hopefully they change direction after SS because Paul is set to get booed out of the building while Miz is taunted for having small balls. Maryse’s involvement was a surprise, but it served as a reminder that in terms of pro wrestling, she isn’t actually good at anything other than looking good in a ring. None of the performances were good here. It is all backwards. They insist on tripling down every week on the small balls bit. Ciampa needing Miz’s help to get the better of Paul physically despite jumping him from behind is stupid. It is all just crap.
Alpha Academy vs. Ziggler & Styles – MISS: I’m not sure about the pairing of Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles. What does it have to do with Ziggler’s budding feud with Theory? What happened to Styles’ feud with Miz? This seemed like an unusual tangent for these two. It had a feeling of being time filler. But, maybe they have something more in the works? I guess we will find out. Their match against Alpha Academy was good, albeit too short.
Bloodline vs. The Street Profits & Riddle – HIT: Raw had a good main event with this six man tag as Roman Reigns teamed with his cousins the Usos to take on The Street Profits & Riddle. There was a lot of talent in the ring. It was a little too one sided at times with some long beatdowns of the babyfaces by the heel trio. It fit into that typical WWE tag team formula, but it was still good. It does feel special when you actually see Reigns in a match. Everyone performed well in the match. It is interesting to hear the announcers talking about both Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins as future singles stars. I wonder if they end up breaking up as a team, because they want to focus on singles wrestling instead of the typical tag team break up. They could potentially both move forwards as faces. Riddle taking the loss makes the most sense. But, he hasn’t looked very strong since the end of RKBro. I am looking forward to his match against Seth Rollins at SS, but the story between them hasn’t been great.
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.