WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 9/26: Raw misses out on Lashley strength, Belair and Sky hit, more

BY JON MEZZERA, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

WWE Raw analysis
Bobby Lashley (photo credit Wade Keller © 2019)

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

Belair vs. Sky – HIT: The opening segment of Raw with Damage CTRL interrupting Bianca Belair, Asuka & Alexa Bliss was ok. It wasn’t good enough to get a Hit, but it wasn’t a Miss either. It set up this opening match between Iyo Sky and Belair which ended up being a good long match. With all the other women at ringside, the idea that we’d get a clean ending from this match was not expected, but we did. It was good to see Belair win clean in the end even if that doesn’t make Sky look that strong. I’m not too concerned about that. The clean victory for the Women’s Champion was the important thing.

Rollins vs. Mysterio – HIT: Like the first match, this match was preceded by a decent segment with Seth Rollins talking about his upcoming fight against Matt Riddle. I will join in with those saying that Rollins is doing a disservice to his babyface opponents by continuing to play into the humming of his song. I’ve been a long time critic of Chris Jericho continuing to use “Judas” in AEW for the same reason. Of course, WWE wasn’t going to do two clean finishes in a row on Raw, so this match was going to have Judgement Day get involved to cost Rey Mysterio. I am still giving the match a marginal Hit, given the very good wrestling action. But, it is hard to enjoy the matches as much when I’m just waiting for the interference. I did get a kick out of Rollins’ reactions to Dominik at ringside, and it certainly fit in with his storyline with Rey. And as I said, it was a good match. Unfortunately, the finishes continue to bring down the matches.

Use of Lashley – MISS: WWE continues to miss out on Bobby Lashley. They don’t have anything for him which has been the case for several weeks, ever since his feud with Austin Theory. I liked his short scene this week with Riddle, but that shouldn’t be the only appearance for the top Champion on Raw. I’m begging WWE to give Lashley a meaningful feud soon.

Owens & Gargano vs. Alpha Academy – HIT: Alpha Academy continue to be valuable members of the Raw roster, but now that role is entertaining jobbers. WWE needs entertaining jobbers who can have good matches like this one against Kevin Owens & Johnny Gargano. They could mean more if given a push, but they are at least being featured and continue to have good matches. I am glad that Theory’s interference didn’t lead to the end of the match. The babyfaces got another clean win which is good. But, I would have kept Theory out of the match all together. Have him try to attack Gargano afterwards, but fail. You can do something similar to advance their story without it coming during the match.

LeRae vs. ASH – HIT: This was just a short match to introduce the returning Candice LeRae to the Raw audience. But, it was what it needed to be. LeRae got a strong win, was talked up in a big way by the announcers, and later got to be seen in the back with Belair and her crew. The other positive coming out of this match was the reaction to losing from Nikki ASH. She had her mask off, and was crying. They have teased some type of character (and name!) change for her and Doudrop for awhile now. Hopefully, this is a big step in that direction. Nikki Cross has talent. So does Piper Niven. They can be so much more than Nikki ASH and Doudrop.

Styles vs. Zayn – HIT: Yet another marginal Hit in what would be a PLE quality Hit if it had a clean ending. Like other matches, you can justify Solo Sikoa getting involved to help Sami Zayn defeat AJ Styles. It made sense given both the Bloodline story, and what they are doing with Judgement Day trying to recruit Styles. It was part of a good larger story. If it had been the exception instead of the rule, it would be ok. Again, the wrestling quality of this match was too high to give it a Miss. Styles and Zayn are so good in the ring and they showed great chemistry here. It was fun to watch, but that fun was tempered a little by the specter of outside interference.

Judgement Day – Styles – HIT: I am enjoying what WWE is doing with this recruitment angle. It is similar to what NXT is doing with Joe Gacy trying to recruit Cameron Grimes into The Schism. Time will tell how similar the two stories end up being. Finn Balor is doing a great job playing up his long time friendship with Styles and their history going back to the (unnamed) Bullet Club. Styles is also doing well in refusing to stand with Balor. What particularly worked well this week was the attack on Styles from the group after his loss to Zayn. The idea of him losing because he didn’t have back up while Zayn did fit in perfectly with Balor’s pitch to join Judgement Day. The attack when he flipped Balor off was good, but the best part was when Balor didn’t follow through with injuring Styles saying that he wouldn’t do that to a friend. That allows for the story to continue.

Riddle vs. Priest – HIT: Raw had a strong main event which they built well to during the show, as Matt Riddle took on Damian Priest. I like the idea of this match as both wrestlers are involved in other feuds, but peripherally involved with each other. The match had meaning, but it wasn’t the blowoff to a big angle. Like other matches on this show, there was definitely the specter of outside interference hanging over the outcome which distracted from my enjoyment of it. Judgement Day did get involved, but thankfully Riddle was able to overcome those odds to get a clean win which he needed going into the Fight Pit against Rollins at Extreme Rules.

Edge’s Return – MISS: WWE made a big deal about how Judgment Day had almost ended Edge’s career again when they attacked his leg recently. This return from Edge was a nice surprise, but it seemed to come much too soon after that injury. It didn’t seem believable that he’d be back to 100% so soon. I like the idea of Edge vs. Balor at a PLE. But, the Extreme Rules nature of Extreme Rules makes it need a stipulation. So, the first ever match between Edge and Balor is now an I Quit match. The first match ever between stars the size of Edge and Balor shouldn’t have a stipulation like that. Edge’s performance was good, so this Miss is really for the story and circumstances.

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: 9/26 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW RESULTS: Keller’s report on Belair vs. Sky, Rey vs. Seth, Riddle vs. Priest, Alpha Academy vs. KO & Gargano

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