By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Goldust and R-Truth vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno in a Tag Team Turmoil match: A good story was told with Sheamus and Cesaro starting the match and managing to go through the other four teams to win 27 minutes later. There was also a nice story told with Goldust and R-Truth that started last week and ended with a nice tease for the duo resurrecting their careers. Saving Golden Truth for last gave the impression that the stars were aligned for them as they faced a weary Sheamus and Cesaro. I couldn’t help but feel bad for Gallows and Anderson. They could just as easily have been cast as the kick ass heel tag team that Sheamus and Cesaro are, but the company just hasn’t gotten behind them from a creative standpoint.
Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins: A good match yet not particularly memorable. I came away feeling like it may have been better for the feud to have these two go all out in a match half as long as the 15 minutes they were given. It was too difficult to maintain the intensity of the feud during the long match with the surprisingly flat crowd. Fortunately, the finish with Joe running Rollins into the exposed turnbuckle along with Joe barking at Rollins put some heat on Joe at the end.
Finn Balor vs. The Miz: An entertaining opening match. It was a odd to see Miz lose clean a week before he will challenge for the Intercontinental Championship. It will be interesting to see if Balor is fast tracked into a match with Brock Lesnar now that Braun Strowman is iffy for the July pay-per-view.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt: The interference by The Miz and the post match attack on Ambrose served as a solid final push for next week’s IC Title match. I had less of an issue with champion Ambrose losing this match heading into next week, especially given the way he lost.
Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James: The Bliss and Nia Jax pairing is a unique story heading into what appears to be an eventual showdown match. Bayley showed good fire in going after Bliss and eventually chasing her to the back. I still came away feeling bad for Mickie James, whose return to WWE should mean so much more than it has thus far.
Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns: Reigns returning to get a measure of revenge on Strowman was well done. It’s hard to imagine that this would have been such a lopsided brawl if they didn’t need to write out Strowman for a bit due to his elbow injury, but it was effective in building some momentum for Reigns. Kalisto’s character showed some heart in demanding a match with Strowman, but he’s still in a rough place based on the live crowd’s non-reaction to him.
TJP vs. Jack Gallagher: The continued heel push of TJP is one of the highlights of the cold division. It will be interesting to see how they pay off this story of Neville making TJP jump through hoops and do his bidding under the guise of TJP earning a title shot. My guess is that TJP gets the shot in a three-way or four-way rather than in a singles match between the two heels.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: The lopsided Hit count may seem to suggest that this was a good show. In reality, it was more of an average show than a true Hit or Miss (sorry, there’s not a section for “WWE Raw In The Middle” in the Hit List). WWE delivered a wrestling heavy show and it just didn’t seem to click with a surprisingly mellow London crowd.
Dean Ambrose and The Miz named co-general managers: Even if you can look past the absurdity of active wrestlers being named general managers of their own show, the company didn’t even do a good job of building things around Ambrose’s personality. A show run by the Ambrose character should have been more chaotic and less straight forward than this one. Granted, he called for “less talk and more action” nearly an hour into the show, which is basically what the show was about. So why not have him deliver that as a mission statement at the beginning of the show so that fans could embrace it?
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox: The live crowd became distracted by something during the match. Before that occurred, their tame reaction to Sasha’s entrance was telling. The UK crowds popped big for Sasha in the past. And while this was not one of London’s livelier crowds, the lack of enthusiasm for Banks is further evidence of the poor job the company has done with her from a creative standpoint in recent months.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...