By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
The Miz vs. Roman Reigns for the Intercontinental Championship: A good match. It was nice to see Miz positioned as a competitive opponent for Reigns rather than as a pest heel pushover. The near fall with Reigns kicking out at the last second after taking the Skull Crushing Finale was well done, and it was also nice to see Miz kick out of the Superman Punch in another good near fall. The post match attack by Sheamus and Cesaro was effective in terms of establishing Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro as a unit heading into what appears to be a match with The Shield.
Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins: Strowman beating the tag champs in singles match in back to back weeks is obviously a case of WWE rebuilding the big man after having him lose clean to Brock Lesnar at No Mercy. It’s been fairly effective, though I am curious to see where Strowman goes from here. I assumed he was going to end up teaming with Sheamus and Cesaro to face The Shield, but it appears that spot belongs to Miz. If that’s the case, then who does Strowman end up working with at TLC? For what it’s worth, he’s not actually advertised for the show on the live events page or on the Target Center website, but he is advertised for the WWE live events that weekend and Raw the next night. If Strowman does work the show, could Samoa Joe be his opponent given that he is advertised for TLC?
Mickie James vs. Nia Jax: A well booked match that made James look strong by appearing to be on the verge of pinning Jax before Alexa Bliss interfered for the DQ. At the same time, Jax wasn’t actually pinned, so she maintains her monster credibility and this is a match they can revisit once James gets her title shot at TLC. I could definitely do without the old woman jokes that are being told at the expense of James. I get that heels are going to be heels, but it’s just not a joke that the creative team would tell about a 38 year-old male wrestler. For that matter, there’s no heat in the cornball jokes they are telling.
Bray Wyatt and Sister Abigail: Wyatt’s first promo appeared to be his usual gibberish as he spoke about how “she” never lied to him. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise when he stated later in the show that Sister Abigail is alive. Putting aside the silliness that was Randy Orton burning the spirit of Sister Abigail, I’m genuinely curious to see who plays the role of Wyatt’s spiritual adviser or whatever she is supposed to be. Paige? Nikki Cross? Ember Moon? Raw ring announcer JoJo Offerman?
Matt Hardy and Jason Jordan vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: A minor Hit of booking the makeshift tag team of Hardy and Jordan to give Gallows and Anderson a rare win.
WWE Raw Misses
Cruiserweight segment: Another week of Enzo Amore insult humor at the expense of the other cruiserweights was bad enough, but they topped themselves by having Kurt Angle tease a big signing. Rey Mysterio? Johnny Gargano? Kota Ibushi? Nope, it was Kalisto. And as much as Kalisto belongs in the cruiserweight division and this should ultimately turn out to be a positive, Angle giving him the big hype needlessly set the stage for Kalisto to be a letdown. The cruiserweight segments closing two shows in a row combined with most of the material that takes place after the second hour main event is sending the message that the third hour of Raw is completely missable.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Emma and Alicia Fox: A needlessly long tag match that seemed to be more about filling time than anything. Fox being introduced as Emma’s partner was flat, and Emma walking out on her falls into the same category.
Breast Cancer Awareness segment: Let’s put aside the questionable charity that WWE continues to work with for an otherwise great cause. PWTorch.com writer Todd Martin summed this up perfectly on Twitter this morning: “Last night, they built a breast cancer charity segment around glorifying a man who celebrated (Bobby) Heenan getting cancer and called it karma.” I don’t pretend to know how Dana Warrior feels about the hateful things that her late husband said about Heenan and homosexuals and thus I have no issue with the company’s working relationship with her. However, there is a way they can include her without making the segments about her late husband. To close on a positive note, the opening scene of Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and the entire roster standing for a moment of silence over the Las Vegas shootings was classy.