SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – HIT: This heel version of Drew McIntyre is one of my favorite things going in WWE right now. He was very good in the opening segment in continuing to complain about Jey Uso, talking about wanting a shot at Seth Rollins, hinting at a future match against C.M. Punk, and ultimately building to his opening match against Sami Zayn. Sami was good in his role too.
McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn – HIT: As expected, McIntyre vs. Zayn was a very good match. I like how so much of what McIntyre is doing is the same as when he was a babyface. He still is a babyface in his own mind. I like that he still does the 3-2-1 countdown before the Claymore Kick. The action throughout this 20 minute match was great from start to finish. The way that McIntyre took advantage of the injury to Zayn’s leg worked perfectly in the more heel-like character, without being over the top in a cheating way. The attack in the back worked very well too. The question now is how long will the “injury” keep Zayn out of action?
Jey Uso Video – HIT: This was a good video package on Jey Uso’s entire WWE career. It was well done to give him a voice without cutting a long in ring promo which isn’t his strong suit. It was effective in building him up as a legit challenger for Seth Rollins’ World Championship.
DIY vs. Imperium – HIT: This match would have been better if it was just a single fall match instead of being two-out-of-three falls. I’m not sure there was a strong storyline reason for that stipulation. It was a good match and it was still a Hit, but would have been better without the two early falls. We got to see plenty of good in ring action. DIY needed the win and Imperium’s loss continues to play into the idea that Gunther is losing patience with Ludwig Kaiser & Giovani Vinci.
Tag Team Goofiness – MISS: I can’t believe WWE continues to do these super silly, idiotic, and non-funny segments with the entire Raw Tag Division doing stupid things with Alpha Academy. If you are going to keep doing them, please keep Diamond Mine out of them.
Carter & Chance vs. Natalya & Nox – MISS: I wanted to like this match. I appreciate how much work Kayden Carter and Katana Chance put into their team. They work hard and I like a lot of their double team moves. They seem like the only woman team to put that type of effort into being a cohesive team. I am glad that they got the win, even though I also am a fan of Tegan Nox. The problem is that a few of their spots were overly ambitious and didn’t quite work. But, the other problem is that they need to be better introduced as a team to start to get over with the fans before moving them on to a potential WWE Tag Team Title match. We need to see them in a few vignettes and some back stage segments to get across their characters and personalities. We need to see them get at least a few wins before they are wrestling in front of Chelsea Green & Piper Niven. Give them a chance to get over, and then set them up as challengers. Now, they probably will get the next title shot even though they’ve only won one match.
Rhodes – Nakamura – HIT: It was interesting to see Shinsuke Nakamura draw parallels between his career and Cody Rhodes’s. The idea that neither of them had the opportunity to finish their own story, but he’s going to finish Cody’s for him was cool. The continued use of subtitles for these segments is working. I appreciated how Cody was looking around to protect himself from a potential sneak attack, having learned from what happened last week. This is a good feud to bridge where Cody was coming out of Survivor Series and The Royal Rumble.
The Creeds vs. Judgment Day – HIT: I get a kick out of R-Truth and found his backstage bit in the Judgment Day’s clubhouse to be amusing. But, I would have kept his interaction with them limited to that and not have him come to ringside during this match. His presence was a little distracting. The rest of the match was good. The Creed Brothers continue to shine in their early run on the Raw roster, at least in the ring. They are being effectively built up as the next challenger for Finn Balor & Damian Priest. Dominik Mysterio & J.D. McDonagh were good in the match, too. The Brutus Ball is starting to get over as a popular double team finisher.
Jey vs. Rollins – HIT: This was a great main event World Hvt. Title match. I never thought that Jey would actually win the Title, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the match or from getting invested in the strong near falls. The match went over 20 minutes and felt PLE quality. I was sure that McIntyre would interfere in the match, so the fact that we got a straight up clean win for Rollins was unexpected and great. I am hopeful that this type of booking will continue to be more and more the rule and less and less the exception. The post-match attack from McIntyre on Uso and the failed attempt at a rescue from Rollins worked very well too.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Raw Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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