By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss: The angle left me with mixed feelings. It was bizarre to see Rousey beat her storyline buddy Kurt Angle with a briefcase for merely trying to stop her from going after Bliss. Otherwise, Rousey came off well in that she was furious with Alexa for causing the disqualification on Sunday just as Rousey was on the verge of beating Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship. Rousey’s passion made the title feel more important and left me looking forward to what will likely be a SummerSlam match between the two.
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship: A good match with Ziggler scoring the upset title win out of nowhere. Ziggler and Drew McIntyre spoke about winning multiple titles and that left me thinking about the possibility of having them add at least one more wrestler to their act to create a faction of singles wrestlers. It’s never made sense to book Ziggler and McIntyre as a tag team so hopefully this is a sign that the company is moving on from that already. Next week’s rematch will be interesting in that they could give the title right back to Rollins, but if they don’t then perhaps he will enter the WWE Universal Championship picture.
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley vs. The Revival: It’s a shame that the Raw tag division is in shambles and The Revival are wasted by being cast as just another undercard duo. Putting that aside, the match and angle did a decent job of creating tension between Reigns and Lashley heading into the “multi-person match that will be announced at a later date” to determine Brock Lesnar’s next challenger. I would love to think that this is leading to a heel turn for the miscast Lashley, but at this point it looks like they are merely creating a temporary rivalry between two babyfaces. Sadly, I fear this is all leading to a Triple Threat at SummerSlam with Reigns winning the multi-person match only to have Braun Strowman announce that he’s cashing in his Money in the Bank contract for a spot in the title match against Lesnar. It’s not that it’s a bad match on paper, it’s that I think the world could use a break from Reigns challenging for the WWE Universal Championship.
Braun Strowman and Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin and Kevin Owens: A showcase main event for Corbin that didn’t damage Strowman in any way. Raw has a shortage of heels who fans see as real threats to the top babyfaces. I’m not big on the Constable Corbin authority figure role, but I like the new calm and sinister approach he’s taken while messing with Kurt Angle. It will be interesting to see if they can elevate Corbin into a meaningful high end heel role.
Mojo Rawley vs. No Way Jose: A minor Hit. Rawley has shown improvement in his recent matches and promos. As such, it’s good to see him some television time. Jose is talented and charismatic, but the conga dance routine with the Rosebud Rejects continues to define him down.
WWE Raw Misses
Sasha Banks and Bayley: Are we finally getting to the payoff to this long, tired storyline? I’m all for longer storylines when there’s enough material and it doesn’t come off like creative is just making it up as they go along. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Banks and Bayley have a backstage meltdown. They had a big fight backstage a while back and it led to nothing. Hopefully this time is different and we get an actual heel turn or a reunion or something, hell anything that will end the bickering that makes both wrestlers unlikable.
Jinder Mahal vs. Chad Gable: A minor Miss. Did Mahal revert to the peace loving gimmick he was working before they shot him into the WWE Championship role? It was odd back then to see him saying nice things only to have fans boo him. Hopefully the idea this time around is that he will come off as hypocritical in that his actions run counter to his words. Meanwhile, it’s too bad they don’t seem to have anything for the talented Gable.
Bobby Roode vs. Curt Hawkins: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. The match filled a couple minutes of television time and didn’t seem to serve a real purpose beyond giving Hawkins another loss.
Raw Tag Champions Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno in a non-title match: A minor Miss in that the tag champions seem cold. Part of the problem is they haven’t been given a real feud yet. They continue to win forgettable non-title matches and exchange verbal jabs with the B-Team. Bo Dallas did a fun impersonation of his brother. Even so, I still don’t know how creative wants the fans to react to this slow developing feud. Dallas and Curtis Axel continue to come off like lovable underdog goofballs, but it seems like Hardy and Wyatt are slotted as the babyfaces.
See below for Monday’s Prowrestling.net Live audio show with Jason Powell and Will Pruett discussing WWE Money in the Bank, NXT Takeover: Chicago, NXT UK, the NJPW G1 Tournament blocks, and more.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Allysin Kay discussing Friday's NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, Melina dropping an unexpected f-bomb on NWA Powerrr, the WWE Mae Young Classic experience, her time as Sienna in Impact Wrestling, working in Japan, the Tessa Blanchard controversy, and more...