SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Gable vs. Riddle – HIT: There was a lot of “thumbs in the middle” content to start off Raw. Until this match between Chad Gable and Matt Riddle, everything on the show was just ok (and there’d be several more similar segments later). No Hits. No Misses. Finally we got to this good match. While I have hated the recent direction of Riddle’s character, at least he can still put on a good match as can Gable. So, it was not surprising that they would have a good match against each other. Gable getting a win, albeit a tainted one, continues the momentum for Alpha Academy after Otis’ win over Elias last week. Unfortunately, this is pointing to a presumed Alpha Academy vs. Riddle & Elias tag match which isn’t great. Hopefully when it happens, it will be the end of the relationship between Riddle and Elias.
MizTV – MISS: This was an overly long segment which is poetic considering this is an overly long storyline. I am glad that we are finally getting the Miz vs. Dexter Lumis match, but why do we have to wait two weeks? Get it over with already. Please move Johnny Gargano onto something far away from Lumis and Miz, far away from the goofy humor. He needs to be more like his original babyface NXT character.
Benjamin vs. Dominik – MISS: Dominik Mysterio did a nice job of playing the brat in the backstage scene that set up this match against Shelton Benjamin. He has definitely been better in this heel role. But, he is still not particularly good in the ring. He clearly wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for his father. The only way that he gets heat in his matches is by doing the mocking Eddie Guerrero homages. It is so cheap and since he can’t get a reaction any other way, he is now doing that four or five times per match! Give it a break already.
Austin Theory Interview – HIT: Finally, the energy on this show picked up with this backstage interview with Austin Theory about his failed Money in the Bank cash in last week. He gave a good explanation as to why he chose to cash in last week on Seth Rollins for the United States Championship instead of waiting for a chance to cash in on Roman Reigns for the World Title. It is along the lines of what I speculated about last week. It isn’t great, but it was a good way to follow up on a bad angle. I think they were making the best of a bad situation that they put themselves in. The good news is that Theory came off much better than he could have. He performed well and seems to be on the cusp of a much better, more serious heel character.
Theory vs. Ziggler – HIT: The match that was set up in that interview also was good. We saw a lot of enhancement matches on this show. This one was not a squash or a short match like the others, but it was along the lines of an enhancement match as Theory needed a strong win to make a statement after last week. He did get to stand tall and look strong, but it came after a disqualification in a long and good match against Dolph Ziggler. The match was certainly Hit worthy from a wrestling action stand point. I am ok with the DQ finish, because it played into the new character for Theory, as opposed to some lame DQ finish which is designed more to protect the loser. WWE was not trying to protect Ziggler here.
Rollins vs. Balor – MISS: If you put Seth Rollins and Finn Balor in a Raw main event US Title match and give them over 20 minutes, you are going to have a lot of great wrestling action. This should be a Hit. But, who was buying into a single near fall in the match before Judgement Day came out? You knew they were going to be involved in the finish. You knew that AJ Styles, The OC and Mia Yim would get involved. I also thought that Bobby Lashley might get involved too. He didn’t, but the others all did. The action was fun to watch, but it totally took away from the match itself. I couldn’t get invested in this match as I was waiting for all the outside interference which was going to come at some point.
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.