By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe: A solid Hit for a good brawl, though it was disappointing that WWE didn’t get more out of this. WWE hyped that Lesnar was seeking revenge on Joe for choking out Paul Heyman last week. And while the brawl was intense, it also felt a little formula in that it lasted one segment. A vengeance seeking Lesnar should be an uncontrollable monster, not a guy who was content with the brief give and take of a pull apart. This show and the build to the Great Balls of Fire needed more of Lesnar and Joe. WWE seems too content with Lesnar appearing in a single segment. Why not use this opening segment as a hook for more Lesnar to keep viewers engaged or at least flipping channels during the NBA game’s commercial breaks?
Dean Ambrose vs. Elias Samson: A minor Hit for the match and Samson getting good heat from a tough crowd. It was interesting that they pointed out that Samson rejected Miz’s request to team with him later in the show. Keep in mind that Miz once punched Samson in order to get Ambrose disqualified. Are they setting up a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship?
Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks: Bliss was entertaining as she tried to weasel her way out of feeling the wrath of Nia Jax. It was eye rolling material when Jax had to act like she was unaware of the backstage segments that aired on Raw last week. It was also odd that the talking segment set up an awkward six-woman tag match when it seemed like everyone involved had more issues with Bliss than anyone else. It was also sad to see Emma lose in her television return. Despite all of this, the crowd was hot for the idea of Bliss vs. Banks, which strikes me as the best title feud the Raw brand has to offer at this point.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: A minor Hit for the latest installment of the whodunnit saga involving Enzo and Cass. All signs point to Cass turning heel given the way he continues to act jealous of Big Show. Of course, it could be a red herring. At this point, I’ll settle for anything other than another Big Show turn.
WWE Raw Misses
Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy in a best of three falls match for the Raw Tag Titles: More of an in the middle than a true Miss. The work of the wrestlers was entertaining. The match layout with the quick fall to open the match felt too convenient in that these teams always have long and competitive tag matches, yet there just happened to be a quick fall when WWE wanted to cram three falls into a 15-minute match. I’m not even opposed to the double count-out finish, though I wish the creative forces would have been a little more creative in how it played out. The real issue I have with the match is that it could have been more. On a night when WWE was opposed by the deciding game of the NBA Finals and felt like they were phoning it in at times, why not give these teams more time? Why not reward the fans who stuck with Raw on a night when WWE submitted to another big sporting event?
The Miz and a Bear vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno: An embarrassing segment with a guy wrestling in a bear suit and the broadcast team (or more likely the people feeding them cornball jokes through the headsets) enjoying this way too much. The Ambrose character is terrific at times, but there are too many cutesy moments like this one. Will the Miz vs. Ambrose feud ever end?
Bayley interview with Corey Graves: The interview consisted of Bayley telling viewers that she will be true to herself. This didn’t feel like a reboot for the character, nor did it serve as an effective rally cry when so many viewers are crying for creative improvement. Bayley’s line about preferring to give hugs rather than bruises was sappy. If her character feels that way then why didn’t she just take up Kurt Angle on his offer to sit out of Extreme Rules? Maybe this would all be working better if the in-ring actions had matched the commentary. The broadcast team told us repeatedly that Bayley was hesitant to use the kendo stick, but there was never a moment where that was truly showcased in the ring. I don’t even know what to say about the hug that Bayley and Graves shared at the end of the segment. It made Bayley look like an oddball more than it made Graves seem heelish.
Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt: A minor Miss. Both wrestlers feel like they are just spinning their wheels. There doesn’t seem to be a real plan in place for either guy, and it feels like creative just put them together in a feud of no consequence.
Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar: No real complaints about the seven second match if only because it put a quick end to the obnoxiousness of Alicia Fox talking over FaceTime on the big screen.
Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews: It’s bad enough that the Titus Brand silliness is bogging down everything Kalisto and Crews do, but now they have Akira Tozawa involved in this bottom of the card nonsense when it appears as though they are setting him up as the No. 1 contender to the cruiserweight title?
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...