WWE RAW HITS & MISSES (4/1): Gable and Sami Zayn coaching session, Drew McIntyre funeral home video, Becky-Rhea brawl, Lack of Ending in Solo vs. Seth match, more

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch contributor


Opening Segment – HIT: Usually the opening segment goes until the first commercial break, but without any commercials for the first hour (or slightly less than an hour), the opening segment ended after Seth Rollins and Solo Sikoa was agreed upon for the main event. It isn’t a great idea to tease a match involving The Rock, or Roman Reigns, only to deliver Sikoa instead. That clearly deflated the audience. But while this segment was very long, it was very good. The Rock and Reigns were both good on the mic. They effectively followed up on the brutal and bloody beating of Cody Rhodes to end last week’s Raw. They gave more time to Rollins who is a bit forgotten as part of Night 1’s main event. They set up the idea that Rhodes wasn’t even there after his injuries which of course was a swerve, but effective nonetheless.

New Day & DIY vs. Judgment Day – HIT: This was a solid opening match which gave Judgment Day a much needed win heading into WrestleMania. I am intrigued by the 6 pack ladder match challenge. WWE made it clear that both the Raw and Smackdown Tag Titles would be on the line in the match, strongly suggesting that the Titles will be split up as a result. But, maybe they went so strong making fans think that, that they will swerve us and keep it unified.

Chad Gable and Sami Zayn – MISS: I get what WWE is trying to do with Chad Gable coaching Sami Zayn to build up his confidence going into his Intercontinental Championship against Gunther at WM. But, I am not buying it. Gable has been presented as more of a lovable loser than a strong willed capable winner. I wouldn’t go to the guy training Maxxine Dupri and doing goofy crap with Akira Tozawa for help getting ready for Gunther. I’m also concerned with Gable’s potential role in the match itself, bringing down what should be a great straightforward title match. The physicality of Gunther beating up both Gable and Sami interrupting Sami’s rematch against Bronson Reed was okay, but the whole thing felt uninspired to me.

Dupri & Nile vs. Hartwell & LeRae – MISS: I’m lukewarm on the heel turn for Candace ReRae. She wasn’t getting over as a babyface, so maybe a heel role will be better. I have been a fan of Ivy Nile, but don’t like seeing her saddled with Dupri. This reminded me that after a hot start, WWE has fumbled Diamond Mine. Where are the Creeds? I would be much more excited about them being part of the Tag Title Ladder match than Awesome Truth, or New Day. This also reminded me that nothing has been very good about the Women’s Division on Raw outside of Rhea Ripley in a long time. With a little bit of effort, WWE could have built to Liv Morgan vs. Nia Jax as a solid undercard WM match. Each night should have two women’s matches.

Drew McIntyre Video – HIT: This was a very good performance from Drew McIntyre, another in a long line in of good performances from him. I am glad that he is getting the World Title match against Rollins at WM, but I wish WWE had done a little more to keep more focus on that match, which has gotten lost in the shuffle a little with the Bloodline story. Drew is my favorite WWE character right now. I loved how he kept poking CM Punk while also focusing on Rollins. If I were running WWE, putting the Title on McIntyre would be a no brainer.

Ricochet vs. Ivar – HIT: WWE did plenty to hype WM on this go home Raw, so having a match like this without any WM implications was fine, especially on a 3 hour show without a lot of other great wrestling. This was a very good match between Ricochet and Ivar. WWE seems to be really getting behind Ricochet, so perhaps he is in for a big post-WM push?

Lynch – Ripley Brawl – HIT: There are various ways to do a final hype for a match going into a PLE. WWE used those methods effectively. For the Raw Women’s Championship match, they kept it simple with a pull apart brawl. We’ve heard enough talking from Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch. It has gotten personal, as effectively shown by Lynch interrupting Ripley’s podcast appearance. At this point, just let them fight.

Damage CTRL vs. Stark & Baszler & Nox – MISS: This was a fine tag match. I get the idea was to give Damage CTRL a strong win before their six woman tag against Bianca Bel Air, Naomi & Jade Cargill at WM. But, this once again exposed the weakness of the Raw women’s division. I like Zoey Stark, Shayna Baszler and Tegan Nox, but they aren’t over. They could all be valuable members of the roster, but this won’t help them. Nox’s involvement was too random. She was just there to take the loss since she’s lower on the card than Stark or Baszler.

Bloodline Rules – MISS: I had a big problem with the end of the main event, which is that it didn’t have an ending. It was Bloodline Rules. You want to make Bloodline Rules feel like this major threat to Cody Rhodes if he and Rollins lose on Night 1. When Rock first brought it up, he said that it meant they controlled everything, including who was the referee and the time keeper, to suggest they would greatly stack the deck against Rhodes. Instead, it was just no DQ. Sure, it allowed for The Bloodline to interfere, but it also allowed for Jey Uso and Rhodes to get involved. There were no other shenanigans to suggest that The Bloodline is really in control of the match. And in the end, Sikoa didn’t even get the win. He should have pinned Rollins to end the show and drive home the point that if the Night 2 main event ends up being Bloodline Rules, then Rhodes is going to lose. The match itself was certainly Hit worthy until that point. The physicality and brutality was very good. It all worked overall. But, it should have worked better.

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.

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OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Seth Rollins vs. Solo Sikoa in a Bloodline Rules match, The Rock and Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn vs. Bronson Reed, Ricochet vs. Ivar, Judgment Day vs. New Day and DIY

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