WWE RAW HITS & MISSES (8/21): McRiddle vs. New Day, Gunther vs. Gable, Miz vs. Tozawa, Lynch-Stratus exchange, Nakamura video, more

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch contributor


Opening Segment – HIT: Raw got off to a good start with Sami Zayn and his home town (technically home province) response. That was fun. It was good to see Kevin Owens back and healthy again, fighting with Zayn against the Judgment Day. This set up the tag team main event and the story of which two Judgment Day members would face Owens & Zayn in that match which would play into the continuing tension between Damian Priest and Finn Balor.

New Day vs. McRiddle – MISS: I’m not a fan so far of the team of Matt Riddle and Drew McIntyre. The WWE formula tag team match is so beyond played out (and has been for years). AEW’s tag matches go too far the other way for my tastes, but WWE needs to learn from their presentation. Every tag match doesn’t have to be a long beat down by the heels on one of the babyfaces leading to a hot tag. More back and forth action like we get in AEW tags would be welcome. Here, you had a face vs. face match which is the perfect time to play with the formula. Instead, you still had Riddle taking the prolonged beating from New Day leading to the hot tag to McIntyre. And then you get the lame finish with The Viking Raiders costing Riddle & McIntyre the match and then beating up New Day afterwards. Part of the problem is that we’ve seen the Viking Raiders lose to both of these teams. They’ve been defined down as losers, so I can’t be interested in seeing their part in this story going forward with another match against New Day announced for next week.

Gunther vs. Gable – HIT: This was a good Intercontinental Championship match with a disappointing ending. I am giving it a Hit because it was a really good match until the count out victory for Chad Gable. Gable and Gunther have very good chemistry together in the ring. Gable did great as the underdog fighting back against the dominant Champion. I wouldn’t even mind the count out victory in general, but I would prefer to just keep Gunther undefeated as he heads towards breaking the record for longest reign as IC Champ.

Gable’s Celebration – MISS: While I am willing to overlook the count out victory for Gable, I can’t overlook his over the top victory celebration. As everyone and their mother has pointed out, it gave off major Lex Luger at SummerSlam 93 vibes. It wasn’t nearly as bad as that, but it was remindful of it. He should have been upset over not winning the IC Title. Yeah, it is ok for him to be happy to beat Gunther, and the announcers tried to sell that idea. But, his overly joyful celebration like he won an Olympic Gold medal was bad.

Nakamura Video – HIT: WWE did some videos like this with English subtitles for Io Sharai in NXT back in the day which I always found very effective. While Shinsuke Nakamura can speak English, it is with a heavy accent and often he isn’t asked to say more than a phrase or two. But, here he was able to come across much more like a real person and not a Japanese caricature. The idea that he whispered that he knew Seth Rollins had a back injury was a little underwhelming after the intriguing moment from last week. But, it works well and Rollins did a nice job following up on it in his interview later in the show. These types of presentations should be used far more often for non-English speakers. This worked well.

Rodriguez Reveal – MISS: I swear that Raquel Rodriguez has been walking on Raw without a crutch for the last two weeks. She’s gotten plenty physical with Rhea Ripley without a crutch despite not being physically cleared to compete in a WWE ring (aka “wrestle”). So this was idiotic. Why would she suddenly need a crutch after she didn’t last week? It made Ripley look stupid for buying the ruse. This moment could have worked if they had built to it correctly.

Miz vs. Tozawa – MISS: The problem with this segment is that The Miz always loses his matches. So the idea that LA Knight got revenge for Miz costing him on Smackdown by costing him against Akira Tozawa here didn’t make much of an impact. Miz cost Knight in a #1 contenders match for the United States Championship. I know we are supposed to laugh at Miz for losing to Tozawa. But, he loses all the time anyway. It also blurs the lines of the brand-split which is obviously a lost cause. Just don’t expect me to take it seriously come Survivor Series time. Ultimately this will lead to Knight getting the win over Miz, but as I said, everyone beats him so that won’t mean much either when he could have been in the US Title picture instead.

Lynch – Stratus – HIT: This was a pretty good segment. I liked how it started with Becky Lynch talking about her legacy being that she always comes back no matter what happens to her. Trish Stratus was good for the most part in her interruption. She did a nice job of getting the locals to turn on her with some cheap heat. Her direct interaction with Becky was strong. She wasn’t good at dealing with the heckling from the fans. She is certainly better on the mic as a heel than she was as a face. This effectively built to the Steel Cage match for Payback, and also the falls count anywhere match next week between Lynch and Zoey Stark.

Six-Man Tag Main Event – HIT: The short tag match that started out as the main event was fine before the interference with JD McDonagh accidentally throwing the Money in the Bank briefcase to KO. I don’t know why Judgment Day was upset. They won the match via disqualification after KO hit Balor with it. That stuff was all ok, but the predictable 6 man tag match that followed was good with Cody Rhodes joining the Tag Team Champs to take on Judgement Day. They keep doing a nice job of telling the story of McDonagh and Balor. They are potentially building to a Tag Title match at the next PLE, plus maybe Rhodes vs. Balor? It will be interesting to see where they go in the end with all these wrestlers.

(Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Raw Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw each week. Email him at jmezz_torch@yahoo.com. Follow him on TwitterX @JonMezzera.)

RECOMMENDED NEXT: WWE Raw Results (8/21): Pomares’s detailed report on KO & Sami vs. Judgment Day, Rodriguez attacks Ripley, Nakamura reveals his message to Seth, Gunther vs. Gable

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Cody Rhodes, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn vs. Judgment Day, Gunther vs. Chad Gable for the Intercontinental Title, New Day vs. Drew McIntyre and Matt Riddle

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