By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Misses
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins: A match that felt out of place in the main event segment going in simply due to the lack of recent issues between the two men. Fortunately, it was good enough that it felt like the worthy main event by the time the match was over. It was good to see the return of the Curb Stomp, though I suspect they will go with a less controversial name such as The Stomp or Blackout, which were both used by the broadcast team last night. The camera focussing on a weary Balor for far too long made for a strange ending to the show even if they were attempting to put over the return of the Rollins finisher. Creative made good use of Jason Jordan even though he was unable to wrestle. Jordan “speaking on behalf of Rollins” continues to be fun, and I assume the idea is that the Rollins character was unaware of Jordan tripping Balor before Rollins hit his finisher.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax: Mixed feelings on a match that was thrown out there in the middle of the show when it easily could have been built up in a major way and slotted in the main event. The actual match was entertaining and the finish was creative in that it gave Asuka a win without having Jax submit or be pinned. Here’s hoping that the rematch will be treated like a bigger deal and cracks that main event slot. For as much as WWE pats themselves on the back for finally doing the right thing and pushing the women as actual wrestlers, they still fail to feature them as well as they should.
Sonya Deville vs. Sasha Banks: A surprising win for Deville, who shined even before the finish with her striking moves. It will be interesting to see if they follow this up with another meaningful Deville win or if they fall right back into the trap of parity booking in the women’s division. I’m optimistic that they intend to get behind Deville if only because the company may not be able to promote Paige as the centerpiece wrestler of Absolution.
The Revival: A good squash match win and quality mic work afterward. My concern is that this was a one-week push with the plan being for Steve Austin or one of the other legends they insulted to get some measure of revenge at next week’s Raw 25. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are a terrific tag team and it would be a lot of fun to actually see them get the better of a veteran act rather than being Stunner fodder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they should get the better of Austin or that I don’t want to see a series of Stunners. Put someone else in the Stunner taking role and use other veterans to elevate The Revival in a heat generating segment.
Roman Reigns vs. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel: A minor Hit more for the way the Reigns vs. Miz match was hyped than for the actual handicap match. I’m continuing to keep an eye on the relationship between Elias and Miz, and the possibility that Elias will end up with Dallas and Axel as his lackeys in a feud against a babyface Miz.
“Woken” Matt Hardy vs. Heath Slater: A minor Hit for another week of Hardy establishing what his Woken character does in the ring. I’m surprised that Bray Wyatt appear, especially considering the company was shorthanded with Jordan, Paige, and Samoa Joe sidelined by injuries, and without Brock Lesnar or Kane appearing.
WWE Raw Misses
Braun Strowman fired and rehired: More of an in the middle than a true miss. As fun as it is to watch Strowman destroy things and people, the idea of Strowman going on a rampage and being rehired out of fear of him doing more damage was ridiculous. I hope there’s a better explanation for Stephanie rehiring Strowman than it seems. On the bright side, Strowman being fired and then blowing a gasket made for a nice hook early in the show even though the firing never felt legitimate. I just hope they do a better job of showcasing the actual WWE Universal Championship match next week than they did this week.
Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews: Normally, I enjoy a good upset story, but Titus Worldwide continues to be a silly turnoff. It’s also strange to see Sheamus and Cesaro losing back to back matches to an undercard tag team so close to their rematch for the Raw Tag Titles.
Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese: Another flat cruiserweight match with Alexander getting a win heading into his latest title shot. There’s still no sign of the cruiserweights connecting with the fans. WWE has had every opportunity to showcase Alexander’s story and personality, but they instead opted to bring in Goldust to serve as his oddball sidekick.
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