Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal for the Intercontinental Championship, Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor, gauntlet match for the last spot in the women’s MITB match, Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw Hits

Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal for the Intercontinental Championship: Another quality outing for Rollins. It’s interesting that the broadcast team noted that he wants to be the fighting champion of the brand. It would be cool if they are planting the seeds for an eventual match between the fighting champion and the part-time WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. For now, we’ll obviously be seeing Rollins feud with Elias following that big post match guitar shot that knocked Rollins off the broadcast table. It was a good angle and I’m anxious to see how Elias performs. He definitely has the gift of gab and an It Factor quality, and a feud with Rollins gives him a chance to show whether he can hold up his end in the ring.

Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor: A good rematch from last week that made Balor look strong in that he’d hit his finisher once on Strowman and was preparing to go for it a second time when he was attacked by Kevin Owens. A different opponent may have been left looking weak in this scenario, but Strowman has been so dominant that many viewers were probably left assuming that he would have kicked out even if Balor had a second Coup de Grace. In other words, Balor looked good and Strowman lost nothing.

Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey angle: A minor Hit for Jax reverting to her heel persona heading into her title defense against Rousey. The initial angle at the NBC Upfronts was really weak because they were too chummy. They added some tension last week and Jax was back in all out heel mode this week with her destruction of the enhancement wrestler and with the insult directed at the live crowd. The segment did a good job of establishing that Jax isn’t intimidated by Rousey, which should help establish this as a showdown match.

Drew McIntyre (w/Dolph Ziggler) vs. Chad Gable: A good showcase win for McIntyre, who continues to feel wasted in the tag division on a brand that is desperate for meaningful heels. McIntyre won clean and thus there was nothing that pointed to Jason Jordan returning to reunite with Gable as American Alpha to feud with McIntyre and Ziggler. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but I haven’t seen anything in the booking that really foreshadows it. And as much as I enjoyed American Alpha, the shortage of meaningful singles heels actually leaves me hoping that Jordan will return as a singles act. He was just starting to click as an annoying heel prior to his injury and hopefully they can pick up where they left off with him.

Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Roode: A minor Hit. The right guy went over in that Owens needs more credible wins (and Roode needs a heel turn).

Raw Tag Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The Ascension in a non-title match: A minor Hit for another showcase win for Hardy and Wyatt. The Raw tag champs desperately need real rivals. Hopefully they get them next week via the tag team battle royal.

WWE Raw Misses

Overall show: More of an in the middle than a true Miss due to the circumstances. It was a holiday edition that aired opposite the seventh game of an NBA playoff series and the first game of the NHL Stanley Cup Final. WWE got the important business out of the way early on and then seemed to coast to the finish line with a mostly forgettable third hour. It wasn’t a fun three hours, but WWE took a logical approach given their strong competition.

The B-Team Memorial Day BBQ: A showcase of just how awful the Raw tag team division is. Granted, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler, and Authors of Pain were not involved. Unfortunately, the poor Revival duo had to take part in this and their talents continue to be wasted on the main roster. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a holiday food fight. Here’s hoping there’s an even longer wait before the next one.

Gauntlet match for the final spot in the Women’s Money in the Bank match: A minor Miss for a mostly forgettable gauntlet match. The early eliminations felt rushed and yet by the time they got to Sasha Banks vs. Ruby Riott there wasn’t enough time for them to do anything that felt special.

Sami Zayn and Bobby Lashley: A minor Miss for a rather flat segment to set up their match at Money in the Bank. The actual match has a chance to be very good as you’d be hard pressed to find someone better than Zayn to make Lashley’s dominator offense look good. The problem remains that Lashley has never clicked as a babyface to the level that the company wants him to. It will be interesting to see how the Chicago crowd reacts to these two. I could see a lot of those fans siding with the heel Zayn over smiling babyface Bobby.



Readers Comments (4)

  1. Alexa was right! Nia is a bully!

    Seriously, it was so good to see Nia Jax back in heel mode going into her match with Rousey. She’s a thousand times better playing the role, and now I’m at least a little bit intrigued by this feud- whereas before I had zero interest.

    For a holiday show, this was solid. I agree with all of your hits, and most of your misses. They really need to continue to put some work in though, because there are a lot of badly damaged personalities on this brand.

    And do almost anything different with Lashley please.

    • I know you were speaking a little in jest here, but this thing with Nia Jax really shows how low our expectations are when it comes to writing for WWE. All this stuff about Jax being bullied for being different, and weeks of hearing about how we should admire her for standing up to bullies, and then it’s all just dropped with no explanation or acknowledgement whatsoever, because it’s convenient for her to be a heel again? I know it’s only wrestling, but am I wrong in expecting a bit more effort to go into the writing than that?

      • I’ve come to accept that WWE isn’t going to invest a lot of time or energy into the continuity of their stories, because it’s just not something Vince prioritizes, apparently. In this case though, it doesn’t bother me. Jax never should’ve been turned face to begin with, in my opinion- and this sorta rights that wrong. I don’t know if I could’ve taken a few more weeks of babyface Nia’s work that would’ve been needed to slow burn the turn. Plus they have so many character issues across the board that need addressed (Lashley, Roode, Reigns…) that they’re going to have to hotshot a bit for the brand not to suffer.

        • I guess this is a fine example of how a product suffers when it doesn’t have serious competition. The company can just phone it in as they are the only game in town.

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