SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE Draft – MISS: I spoke at length with Greg Parks on Wrestling Night in America on Sunday about my thoughts about the Draft, night 1. I don’t have a lot different to say about Night 2. Other than the use of retired wrestlers and other dignitaries to make the announcements of the picks, I don’t like much about the draft at all. I don’t like how it is some nebulous group of unnamed Raw and Smackdown executives making the picks. I don’t like Cody Rhodes ending up on the same brand as the new World Title. Is it worse for Cody to win the consolation prize, or for him to not win the consolation prize? I don’t have a problem with most of the picks, as I don’t think it matters that much. We already know a list of Brock Lesnar and a bunch of lower card wrestlers who are free agents and can appear on both shows. The way the draft works in terms of NXT wasn’t well defined. WWE has a long a history of having the brand split not matter, so until they establish it as something real, it is impossible to get excited over it.
Heyman & Rollins – HIT: I did get a kick out of the encounter between Paul Heyman and Seth Rollins to end the opening segment. It was well done to have Heyman talk about how Roman Reigns should win the new World Title, but then putting the emphasis on Rollins as a likely first Champion. This also pointed to a future Rollins vs. Reigns match and set up the main event for this week’s show of Solo Sikoa vs. Rollins.
Strowman & Ricochet vs. Alpha Academy – MISS: The wrestling on this show left a lot to be desired. Bayley & Kai vs. Rodriguez & Morgan was fine, but half of it happened on a commercial break and the troupe of the champions losing a non-title match is lazy. This match was even worse as Alpha Academy has far too much talent to be losing in 2 minutes, even if you are trying to establish Braun Strowman & Ricochet on their new show. The next match, Riddle vs. Uso was also too short with more than half happening on a commercial. It was disappointing.
Lesnar – Rhodes – MISS: I like how this segment started with Brock Lesnar coming to the ring to interrupt what was supposed to be Shawn Michaels and Adam Pearce doing the next round of draft picks. That fit in perfectly with his character. But, we never got an explanation as to why Lesnar attacked Cody Rhodes in the first place the Raw after WrestleMania. If we had already gotten that explanation, this segment would have been better. The pull apart brawl is also lazy. I suspect the match to be good, but the build has left a lot to be desired.
MizTV – MISS: This wasn’t a great way to introduce Shinsuke Nakamura to the Raw audience (although it is mostly the same as the Smackdown audience). The Miz is uninteresting in every way. Having Nakamura playing into the silly Miz has tiny balls bit was stupid. I’d like to see Nakamura get one more serious push as a singles star, and the draft to Raw could be the catalyst for it. But, he’s not off to a good start.
The Judgement Day – HIT: This was a good night for the Judgement Day. They did a nice job in their talking segment addressing multiple matches coming up at Backlash. We got to hear about Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega and Damian Priest vs. Bad Bunny. Once again, the heat on Dominik Mysterio was the highlight of the segment. The reactions he is getting are off the charts. The LWO interruption was good too. The mixed six-person tag match that followed was pretty good too. Vega got in some moves to give fans at least a bit of hope that she can win at the PLE. Priest needed to get the win here going into what will likely be the PLE main event. I am glad that at least Santos Escobar didn’t take the pin. He needs to be built up as a star. Hopefully with the LWO on a different show from Judgement Day, they will move on to something else that actually establishes them as a winning team worth cheering for. The crowd on Raw was pretty silent for Escobar in this match which is a shame considering his talent.
Belair Interview – HIT: The build to Bianca Belair vs. Iyo Sky for the Raw Women’s Championship was good this week. I liked the video package early on about Sky. Belair gave a good, straightforward interview here in the back. The interruption from Damage CTRL was good. Bayley is playing her part well. If she has issues with Sky getting the Title shot instead of her, she’s doing a good job of hiding it with her own success with Dakota Kai. But, the highlight here was Belair talking about how disappointed she is in Sky for letting the rest of Damage CTRL hold her back. I’m expecting a very good match on Saturday and hoping for a strong direction for all four of these women going forward.
Rollins vs. Sikoa – MISS: The wrestling action between Rollins and Sikoa in the main event was perfectly fine. The ending was what landed it in the Miss column. It was lame how they just had The Usos run in and cause a disqualification followed by Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Matt Riddle. I would have rather seen the show ending brawl happen after a victory. What did this do for either Sikoa or Rollins? What did Raw do at all for Rollins vs. Omos at the PLE? Throw in the abrupt ending as the show went off the air, and the end of Raw was a mess.
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.