WWE RAW HITS & MISSES (5/27): Chad Gable as Bobby Knight, Breakker Breaking, Carlito Cooler Than Usual, Gunther-Priest-Drew

By Derrick Hubbard, PWTorch contributor


I am filling in this week for Jon Mezzera, the usual Raw Hits & Misses author. Here are my hits and misses for The Memorial Day Edition of Monday Night Raw on May 27, 2024.


Chad Gable has been cast to play Bobby Knight in the upcoming biopic

From start to finish, I loved everything about the Chad Gable and Otis angle. They are playing the audience like a fiddle. The physical acting and storytelling is pitch perfect for the pro wrestling drama. It is exaggerated enough in presentation to display the story to the live crowd without being overexaggerated to a silly degree. They are making the crowd wait for the individual moments as well as the eventual outcome. In the set up match, Otis showed great babyface fire in his comeback and Bronson Reed played his role as the spoiler well. Sami is perfectly cast as the moral compass and truth teller. Moreover, Sami is drastically underrated as a talker. He never lacks authenticity in his verbal performances. Backstage, live crowd, interview segment. It does not matter. Sami is a believable character who can carry a storyline. Right now he is an integral supporting character in an interesting story that has earned my emotional investment.


Without context, words and actions have no meaning

I am a strong believer in the quote above and I contend that it accurately describes the importance of storytelling in episodic wrestling television. What WWE has been doing considerably better in the last year plus is providing context to virtually everything on the show. Rarely, do they put on a match without some semblance of a backstory. Wrestlers are not wrestling for the sake of wrestling and wrestlers are not talking for the sake of talking. There is a purpose. On a macro level, this was the primary strength of the Memorial Day addition of RAW. Between video recaps reviewing recent occurrences, backstage segments, and the announcers providing backstory, the context for all the matches and rivalries is established in the format of the show.

Breakker is still breaking

Ricochet and Ilja Draganov had a strong match. They did a fine job of providing some backstory to give a reason for the match taking place. Moreover, they set out to tell a story that went beyond talented wrestlers having an athletic and competitive match. Prior to the eventual interference by Breakker, they put on a strong match with some exciting spots and impactful moves which were spaced out appropriately to allow for adequate selling. I would have preferred a finish prior to the arrival of Bron Breakker. Nonetheless, it was appropriate to keep the attention and focus on Breakker.

Previously, on WWE television

I am a fan of using recap videos to highlight the essential story beats coming out of weekend PLE events. It reminds me of the old episodic television starter, “Previously, on ____.” It serves two purposes, serving as a catch up for those who missed the show and providing a quick reminder for those who watched the show and then continued on with their lives. No matter what category the individual fan rolls into, the goal is that nobody gets left behind in following the stories on weekly television. This makes the PLE event seem important and the storyline progression appear meaningful.

Strowman is awaiting his Judgment

J.D. McDonagh is the pesky and annoying tag along who you want to see get beat up. Moreover, he is really good at playing the rag doll who gets thrown around and slammed down. His style of selling reminds me of Shawn Michaels. It is exaggerated, but not to a comical degree. I appreciate the fact that they did give JD some offense, but not to a degree that prolonged the inevitable. Given the post match shenanigans, I expect the Strownman and Judgment Day feud will continue. I question the legs on another focused Strowman push, but he is a character that stands out visually and appeals to the live crowd.

Carlito cooler than usual

Though his character work has been fine, I have not been impressed with Carlito’s in-ring work since returning last year. One of my pet peeves is lazy wrestling. Wrestling without purpose or urgency undermines the believability and entertainment of pro wrestling. Often, I find Carlito to be a lazy wrestler. This was the case during the early stages of his match against Mysterio tonight. However, to his credit, he did turn up the gear from neutral to second during the match. Consequently, I believe he delivered his most impressive singles match since returning to WWE. It was not phenomenal, but it was enjoyable. Furthermore, I thought the closing sequence and aftermath with the Judgement Day continued to push the relationship between Carlito and the Judgement Day forward. I am intrigued to watch where this relationship ends up.


The magic is gone, and something is missing

As a match, the main event cage match between Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch was fine. Between the lukewarm and perhaps negative reaction to Becky, and the emotionless response to Liv, the match felt lifeless. I don’t know what is going on with Becky Lynch. I cannot put my figure on why her character is not resonating with me, and I cannot rationalize why the live crowd is no longer passionately behind her. I can say the magic she once had has dissipated to dust. I have seen the rumors regarding her contract, and I think the best path forward for Becky is a lengthy absence to reform her persona and refresh her act.

Liv is missing a special characteristic or attribute that helps her stand out or elevate her in ring game to the next level. This missing element could be a nasty mean streak, an unhinged aggression or a next gear explosiveness. Without one or more of these components, I do not perceive her as a main event star. Given the fact that she has been wrestling for 10 years, I am less than optimistic that she will find and develop what she is missing. As a heel champion, she needs to be threatening and aggressive enough to carry the heat of the match and build sympathy for the babyface. She was not able to carry the load of fulfilling this role tonight.

As for the finishing sequence, if I read it on paper and followed the story threads throughout the show, I would probably support it and pass it off as a climatic conclusion to the show equipped with some intriguing questions that need to be answered in the following weeks. However, because of the tepid crowd reaction and the lack of escalation in urgency and desperation towards the conclusion of the match, it felt cold and fell flat.


Setting the table, but not for a special dinner guest

The opening segment did not light the world on five, but it also did not douse the show in cold water. In Gunther, Damian Priest, and Drew Mcintyre we have three distinct personalities with three different perspectives and one ultimate goal. I appreciate the fact that they are not telegraphing who will be champion going into Summerslam. The talking was fine, but not outstanding. My quibble is how the segment ended with the interruption by Braun Strowman just as hostility between Drew and Priest started to intensify. It felt like an abrupt ending to a segment that did not accomplish much. Twenty minutes of television time without a major development or takeaway is not efficient use of time. For me this was a minor miss.

My name is Derrick Hubbard. I have been given the opportunity to try my hand at writing the Raw Hit List for the PWTorch.com. In five bullet points, this is my background.

  • I am a lifelong fan.
  • I wrestled small scale indy wrestling shows for 15 plus years.
  • Most of my matches were in Utah, but I wrestled in all of the surrounding states.
  • I have shared a locker room with many wrestlers on national television and have shared the ring with quite a few of these stars.
  • I am a High School Social Studies teacher in Utah.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed my style or want to support my wrestling ramblings, you can check out my substack and subscribe to my page. The price is right. It is free: https://derrickhubbard.substack.com/

RECOMMENDED NEXT: WWE RAW RESULTS (5/27): Keller’s report on Liv Morgan vs. Becky Lynch in a cage match, JD McDonagh vs. Strowman, Creed vs. AOP, King and Queen fallout

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: WWE King and Queen of the Ring results: Powell’s live review of Cody Rhodes vs. Logan Paul for the WWE Title, Gunther vs. Randy Orton in the KOTR finals, Nia Jax vs. Lyra Valkyria in the QOTR finals

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