By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Charlotte and Ric Flair: This could have been a turning point in the career of Charlotte. She was emotional and it was easy to buy into her apology to her father. The live crowd was merciless with the “What?” chant, but I still believe the viewing audience would have accepted this as a babyface turn had her character been sincere. By laying it on so thick, WWE better be committed to Charlotte as a long term heel because it will be tough to come back from that. What could she possibly say that fans would believe? It was a strong heel move for Charlotte and only time will tell whether it was the right move to keep her the heel in her feud with rough around the edges babyface Sasha Banks. The beatdown of Banks at the end was well done, and while their feud is really being run into the ground, I’m looking forward to the 30-minute Iron Man match at Roadblock.
Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho for the U.S. Championship: Jericho continues to get the best out of Reigns in the ring. They worked a strong match and it didn’t even include the groan moment of Reigns being run into the ring steps, which seemed to be a required element in each of his matches. It was easy to buy into the tease of Jericho winning with help from Owens. After all, Reigns is challenging for the WWE Universal Championship, so taking the title off him before then seemed at least possible, and Owens helping Jericho capture the only title that has eluded him would have put them back on the same page. Instead, the Owens interference backfired and kept their breakup story alive. I just hope it’s not a big swerve or that the two of them somehow get back on the same page in time for Jericho to interfere in the Roadblock main event.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a non-title match: It’s a shame that this match was merely mentioned in passing by Owens during the opening segment. It should be a big deal when these two wrestle, and they really should have been kept apart from one another via the draft to make their next feud more meaningful. All of that said, Owens desperately needs his in-ring credibility restored after winning most of his title defenses with help from Chris Jericho, and this win was a step in that direction.
Jack Gallagher vs. Ariya Daivari: Gallagher is the early standout of the cruiserweight division. He doesn’t have a sad story like all the other babyfaces and he’s not out there performing a bunch of rapid fire high spots. In other words, he’s unique, which is why he stands out. The post match angle set the stage for a likely rematch on tonight’s 205 Live or on next week’s Raw. It’s nice to see them put some heat on a heel other than Brian Kendrick, thought I suspect that Gallagher will simply avenge his loss and move on quickly.
WWE Raw Misses
Enzo Amore attacked by Rusev in a hotel: Bada Boom, most gullible guy in the room. Let’s review this saga. Enzo shamelessly exposed himself to another man’s wife. He made no attempt to cover himself, and instead tried to flirt with the married woman. Enzo then allowed himself to be seduced by the married woman. It wasn’t a moment of weakness, the guy had time to call Uber (which doesn’t operate in Austin) and then borrow Ric Flair’s limo to travel to the hotel, where he couldn’t resist the urge of hooking up with a married woman behind her husband’s back. Enzo is a horrible person! He and Cass were also the only two people who didn’t seem to figure out where this was going.
Seth Rollins vs. Big Show: The slimmer Show looked great, and this seemed like good use of the big man. They lost me when he walked out on his match and took the count-out. I get that he was letting fellow babyface Rollins get a piece of Owens, but it’s hard to take Show’s return seriously when he was content to take a loss in his first match back from a long layoff.
Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins in a non-title match: It wasn’t a bad match, it’s just that I expected more from the top two babyfaces of the division. Is this quick and decisive loss a sign that Perkins is no longer a major player in the division?
Bayley vs. Alicia Fox: Bayley Bears? I’m sure they will be big sellers, but I hope Bayley doesn’t pass these out on a weekly basis because it makes her look like a merchandise shill. Raw has three hours plus to work with, yet they aired the Bayley, Fox, and Cedric Alexander angle on the new and now more meaningless than ever pre-show rather than on Raw?
Mark Henry vs. Titus O’Neil: Someone seems to find humor in the Titus Brand gimmick. I’m not in on the joke. I have no idea what they found funny about having him pass out “Tussle in Texas” fliers or being squashed in short order. They’ve never explained the gimmick. It’s just Titus walking around talking about the Titus Brand.
Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: New Day is a week away from breaking the record for the longest title reign in WWE history, so why didn’t we hear from them on this show? Meanwhile, the only people in the world who didn’t know that the finish was going to lead to a Triple Threat was the broadcast team. I hate when the voice of the show comes off five steps behind the viewers. Why not have Michael Cole say he had his suspicions regarding how Mick Foley would settle this, but we’d find out officially after the break?
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...