By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, and Paul Heyman: There’s not a lot to like about the creative work on the three-hour Monday night marathon lately, but this was an exception. I spent every segment related to Goldberg vs. Lesnar just hoping the company wouldn’t kill Goldberg’s momentum following his hot return in Denver. There was the hiccup in Minneapolis when Heyman was given the unenviable task of getting Lesnar’s hometown fans to root against him, but WWE did an otherwise excellent job of building up anticipation for this showdown match. There’s no telling how the Toronto crowd will react, and there’s certainly no guarantee the match will live up to the hype. Either way, WWE did a great job from a creative standpoint and this match feels much bigger than it did when it was first teased.
Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus and Cesaro: It was good to get a long match early in the show after getting three forgettable matches during the first two hours of last week’s Raw. I feel bad for Sheamus and Cesaro in that the Survivor Series format has led to countless wrestlers performing their odd couple routine.
Sami Zayn vs. Bo Dallas: A minor Hit for Zayn getting a showcase win heading into Survivor Series. The Bo character is still a mess, as he inexplicably continues to carry the awful campaign sign even though the election is over. The only thing more out of touch would be holding a mock debate nearly a week after the election. Oh, wait…
Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, and Chris Jericho vs. New Day: The real Hit goes to the backstage segment with Jericho presenting scarves to his teammates while also deeming himself captain. The Strowman character is too one dimensional, but it worked here with him taking the $750 scarf that Jericho was wearing and then tearing it to shreds. This was another lengthy match that seemed to put the emphasis on the members of the male Team Raw at the expense of the tag champions. New Day is what it is and I don’t think this loss will change anything.
Sasha Banks and Charlotte vs. Nia Jax and Alicia Fox: A minor Hit for making Jax look good despite her team losing the match. The bickering tag partners act was tired by this point in the show, and Sasha comes off just as petty as heel Charlotte by arguing with her constantly. How about the babyface actually acts above the silly squabbling for once?
WWE Raw Misses
Survivor Series Summit: The verbal exchange between the authority figures left me dreading the State of the WWE Universe debate that followed Raw (and sucked). I had to laugh over Team Smackdown coming off like the babyfaces on Raw. I laughed even harder when a small group of fans chanted “holy shit” over Team Smackdown showing up. It hasn’t even been four months since these wrestlers were all on the same brand together! Anyway, heel champion AJ Styles came off like the star of the segment and the most likable guy in the ring. Roman Reigns just stood there and let everyone talk again. The last ditch attempt to make up a story that never existed between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman fell flat. New heel Randy Orton received the best pop of the segment. While the action was solid and things definitely improved once the wrestlers showed up, this whole thing is a mess and I can’t wait until WWE gets through Survivor Series. The idea of watching babyfaces and heels fight for something that only the authority figures care about is about as dull as it gets. On a positive note, James Ellworth’s pained reaction to being added to Jericho’s list was priceless.
WWE Cruiserweights: All the wrestlers standing around talking backstage with complete disregard for the babyface and heel dynamic was maddening. Are they using the failed X Division as a blueprint for the cruiserweight division? Brian Kendrick eventually addressed the wrestlers, which led to TJ Perkins and Rich Swann both claiming they deserve the next title shot. Will that lead to a Kickoff show match? Is there anyone out there who doesn’t hope the cruiserweights move to Smackdown?
Brian Kendrick vs. Sin Cara: I’m all for good, competitive matches receiving good amount of time, but this was just flat on paper. Heck, everything involving Sin Cara feels that way. I feel bad for Hunico. The company should have given up on the Sin Cara gimmick rather than transferring it to him. It’s a damaged gimmick that needs to be retired.
The Best of The Boom features Eric Bischoff joining Jason Powell in this March 20, 2019 discussion on whether there are similarities between Verne Gagne's booking during the AWA's dying days and Vince McMahon's WWE booking today, AEW, a Turner network shakeup, and more...