SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – HIT: Raw got off to a good start with Cody Rhodes coming out to talk about the Jey Uso situation. I’m still not sure he has actually explained why he brokered this deal to bring Uso to Raw, but at least he talked more about it here. The interruption from The Judgment Day was good. It is still fun to see the heat that Dominik Mysterio keeps getting. We got the saves from Jey, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, along with the encouragement from JD McDonagh to take on the babyface team. It was interesting how Damian Priest didn’t want to listen to McDonagh and got mad that Finn Balor and Dirty Dom did. That continues their story well. WWE is weaving multiple stories together and doing a good job of it.
Reed vs. Otis – HIT: This was a good, but short match between Bronson Reed and Otis. It was a nice way to follow up on Reed’s win over Chad Gable last week. Here, he got another win over Otis. This was physical and fun to watch. Reed getting a series of wins is a strong indicator that WWE is getting behind pushing him. The Tsunami is getting over as a great finisher.
Ciampa vs. Kaiser – HIT: This was another good match between Tomasso Ciampa and a member of Imperium, Ludwig Kaiser as Ciampa goes after Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship. The ending was a bit convoluted with Giovani Vinci getting involved which distracted Kaiser to allow Ciampa to take advantage to get the win. I would have rather seen Ciampa win clean, but they are telling the story of Gunther getting frustrated with his backup as they aren’t winning. This created tension between Kaiser and Vinci, but I’m not sure that was worth the distraction finish here. It was still a good match, but that ending brought it down again.
Tegan Nox – HIT: This is a marginal Hit. I’ve been a fan of Tegan Nox since getting to see her some in the second Mae Young Classic. After her injuries in those two tournaments and pushing through to finally get a chance on NXT, to getting called up, to getting released, to now being back, she has had a very up and down journey as a professional wrestler. I am pulling for her and I liked seeing her get a chance to rub elbows with Becky Lynch and Natalya backstage, as well as getting to beat Natalya. But, WWE needs to do more to really introduce her to the larger Raw audience. They need to do more to help her connect. Winning was good, but a 2 minute match doesn’t do much. Yes it is a big win, but the fans didn’t get a chance to see what she can actually do in the ring. I’m hoping this is the start of something for her, but time will tell.
Rollins – Nakamura – HIT: WWE continues to do a good job of building to the eventual rematch between Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura for the World Championship. Nobody is buying Nakamura as a legit contender despite the great presentation, so I hope he wins. It would be a surprise and you could give him a run as a heel Champion. He has been doing a nice job and these pre-recorded promos in Japanese with English subtitles have worked very well. I’m not a fan of Last Man Standing matches in general, but the stipulation at least makes sense given the story they’ve been telling about Rollins’ back injury.
Mysterio vs. Lee – HIT: This was the best singles match of Dominik’s career. WWE did a nice job of introducing Dragon Lee to the Raw audience with the video package. I assumed there would be some sort of interference from Judgement Day or McDonagh. The fact that Dom got the clean win was great. He needed that. Lee got a great reaction from the fans. He showed why he is special in the ring. Hopefully, he won’t be in NXT for too long. He should be on Raw or Smackdown already.
McIntyre vs. Kingston – HIT: I continue to enjoy the change in Drew McIntyre’s character which is still sort of a baby face, but starting to become more and more of a heel. This started on MizTV which was well done. Miz played his part well. I loved how the babyface side of McIntyre kept telling Miz to shut up. Drew made some very understandable points to New Day when they claimed he should have saved Jey Uso last week. Where were they? Why didn’t they help? Drew is playing his part to perfection. The match that followed with him against Kofi Kingston was a good match. McIntyre once again got a cheap win after Ivar attacked Xavier Woods at ringside, distracting Kingston. Taking advantage of those opportunities two weeks in a row, as well as leaving his opponent to get beat up are good examples of him leaning more heel.
Priest & Balor vs. Owens & Zayn – HIT: I liked this week’s show. I had some minor quibbles, but no actual Misses this week. The show started well, built well and culminated well with this good main event Tag Team Championship match. Yes, I had another minor quibble with the ending being over booked. But, that came at the end of what was a very good 20 minute match. I can’t complain about the ending too much when this was so fun to watch otherwise. McDonagh continues to try to join Judgment Day and was instrumental in them defending the Tag titles here. The brawl that ended the show was great. I like when WWE plays with their formula and having a brawl continuing in the ring as the show goes off the air is something different. It was exciting and hectic and should make fans want to tune in next week to see the continuation of this feud.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Raw Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw each week. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.
OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Priest & Balor vs. Owens & Sami for the WWE Tag Titles, Dominik vs. Dragon Lee for the NXT North American Title, Bronson vs. Otis