Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev, TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Sheamus and Cesaro form a team, Stephanie McMahon scolds Mick Foley

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

WWE Raw Hits

Roman Reigns vs. Rusev: A minor Hit for WWE opening a show with a match rather than a lengthy talking segment. As much as I enjoy lengthy matches, it was a bit much to have these two work 25 minutes and then end the match in an unsatisfying double count-out. The Reigns’ clothesline and Rusev kick count was off the charts. This feud has been overexposed and is running on fumes at this point, yet they clearly intend to stretch this out to Hell in a Cell. In fairness, it’s one of the only feuds that feels HIAC match ready, but giving fans yet another taste of the match for free on Raw may have done more harm than good. Reigns standing tall at the end didn’t leave me anxious to see more, but there’s still time to put heat on Rusev before HIAC.

Sheamus and Cesaro teaming up: This in no way an endorsement of the lame finish to the best of seven series. However, I like the idea of Sheamus and Cesaro forming a tag team. Sheamus is not clicking in the singles division, and it’s obvious that the company has no plans for Cesaro as a singles wrestler. I really wish they were challenging Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the tag titles. The hard hitting styles of those teams would mesh well. A feud with New Day can produce some entertaining matches, but WWE has to be careful to avoid having New Day tear down the newly formed tag team before it even gets started.

Charlotte and Sasha Banks: Charlotte is a terrific heel. She generates great heat with her arrogant promos on a weekly basis. Sasha getting another title shot on television runs the risk of overexposing this feud as well, but I have more faith in these women to deliver the type of match that will leave fans wanting more. It’s good to see WWE advertising two title matches for next week’s Raw. It was also good to see them take a break from Charlotte berating Brooke so that the entire focus can be on the champion and the challenger.

TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick: A good backstage exchange. Perkins came off as a likable personality, and Kendrick is charismatic enough that he commanded the attention of viewers the moment he walked onto the interview set. Kendrick’s character felt a bit unstable, yet completely driven to win the championship.

WWE Raw Misses

Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass: A minor Miss for a throwaway main event that should have felt bigger. Enzo and Cass were the hottest act in the company not all that long ago. They have lost momentum. The fans still get excited about talking along with their pre-match routine, but the excitement seemed to end there for this live crowd. I completely understand the decision to go with this as the main event on a night when Raw was opposed by the U.S. Presidential debate, and I like that Owens got a clean win. Conversely, it didn’t make for a hot ending to a marathon show, and Enzo and Cass followed up their recent losses to The Shining Stars with yet another loss.

Stephanie McMahon puts Mick Foley in his place: It took longer than expected, but we got the inevitable moment with Stephanie dressing down Foley on television. The only thing missing was the big slap. So much of Raw is built around why Triple H sided with Kevin Owens rather than Seth Rollins and whether Stephanie was in on the plan. I was initially intrigued by the Triple H storyline, but I lose interest with each week that passes without an explanation from him. WWE continues to do a good job of making Stephanie look sketchy while also giving her outs, but I can’t stress enough that I just don’t care about her involvement. It’s not intriguing and it’s also damaging Rollins as a babyface to continue to have him be upset that Triple H cheated to help Owens win the title rather than him.

Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs. Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak: Just a random spot fest with WWE giving fans no reason to side with one team over the other. The wrestlers are doing their part, but now creative has to step up their game and give these guys real characters, storylines, and feuds.

TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese: I enjoyed the match and it was certainly worthy of a Hit from an in-ring standpoint. Unfortunately, there’s no denying that the live crowd was more interested in chanting for CM Punk and Randy Savage than watching the in-ring action. Some of this may be due to third hour fatigue. Some of it may be due to most of the fans barely knowing Perkins and having no clue about Nese. Some of it may be due to the lack of a strong babyface vs. heel dynamic. A couple of those issues can be resolved as the cruiserweights get more exposure, but at this point I just don’t have a sense of whether they intend to have anyone other than Kendrick play a strong heel.


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