By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net Members are listening to my Raw audio review, my Q&A audio show, and my review of the first day of the WWE UK Championship Tournament. They will hear my day two review this afternoon along with my audio review of this week’s ROH television show heading into Friday’s ROH Best in the World pay-per-view. Join us on our ad-free website and unlock over a decade of audio content by signing up today via PWAudio.net.
WWE Raw Hits
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship: A strong television main event in front of a hot crowd. I don’t think of San Diego when I think of traditional pro wrestling hotbeds, but this crowd was rowdy throughout the night and created a great atmosphere. The fans were hanging on the near falls for both men and this was the best Raw main event in recent memory. The finish with Drew McIntyre pulling the referee out of the ring was disappointing after such a lengthy match, but it also seemed to work in terms of putting heat on him and Ziggler rather than on the company for booking the finish.
Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor and Baron Corbin: An awkward storyline in that Strowman seemed to forget about his friendship with Balor in order to mess with Owens. And it’s unclear why he’s tormenting Owens to the degree he is. Sure, Owens came up with the idea of having everyone gang up on him at Money in the Bank, but Strowman already got his revenge by throwing him off a ladder during that match. Despite this, the oddball partner dynamic in this match worked in that they held my interest from bell to bell.
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley vs. The Revival: A nice win for The Revival. Heck, any win is a nice win for the talented duo at this point. Reigns and Lashley lost nothing here because the story was all about the friction between them leading to their meltdown loss. I’d love to see The Revival simply move on and develop more momentum in the tag division, but I assume the babyfaces will eventually get their win back.
Alexa Bliss promo and the Ronda Rousey countdown: This is very similar to what I wanted the company to do to explain why Daniel Bryan wasn’t going after The Miz during his program with Big Cass. In Bryan’s case, I was hoping for the equivalent of a restraining order to prevent him from putting his hands on Miz for a certain period of time. The approach with Rousey’s suspension countdown is works the same way in that the interest in seeing the babyface get her hands on the heel will build as we get closer to the end of her suspension.
Curtis Axel vs. Matt Hardy: A minor Hit for forwarding the story of the B-Team’s winning streak with Hardy slipping on the ropes and being pinned after Axel fell on top of him. The negative is that it’s still hard to tell which team the company wants fans to root for.
The Authors of Pain vs. Rick and Rex Gibson: A minor Hit for a decent squash win for AOP. I got a big kick out of Titus O’Neil telling AOP to respect the crew members when he’s currently being sued for $1.2 million for allegedly assaulting a crew member following a “Swerved” prank gone wrong.
Mojo Rawley: The Hype version of Rawley was a turnoff, but heel Rawley is off to a solid start. Mojo bullying the Rosebud Reject didn’t really work because the crowd got a kick out of the guy and didn’t react to Mojo ridiculing him. Even so, Rawley’s delivery was solid. Is it wrong that I want Rawley to rid the company of the Rosebud Rejects forever? The funny thing is that doing so would actually help his new rival No Way Jose, who is defined down by his association with the goof troop.
WWE Raw Misses
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley verbal exchange: It started with Kurt Angle announcing that the multi-man match to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship is off due to a contractual issue with Brock Lesnar. I have no idea what they are going for. If the idea is to make Lesnar look selfish then they have to know that they’ve already made this point. If the idea is that Lesnar is ducking Braun Strowman now that he has the Money in the Bank briefcase then they need to make that clear. The actual verbal exchange had its moments, but Roman’s argument that Lashley left the company because he wanted to become an MMA star and failed was counterproductive. I don’t blame WWE for not getting into the real reasons that Lashley and then girlfriend Kristal Marshall left the company, but why frame his MMA career as a failure? He has a 15-2 record. Granted, he didn’t face the strongest competition, but this easily could have been framed as Lashley not getting the title opportunities he felt he deserved given his strong record and now refusing to let that happen in WWE. They clearly want Reigns to be edgy, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of another wrestler they are trying to build up.
Bayley attacks Sasha Banks and has to go to counseling: The awful breakup saga took a completely nonsensical turn with Kurt Angle ordering Bayley to attend counseling. The attack itself was bizarre. Bayley did a nice job of making it look violent and realistic to the point that it seemed like a heel turn, but the live crowd popped huge for everything she did to Banks. Meanwhile, we found out it wasn’t a heel turn because the broadcast team acted surprised rather than outraged by Bayley’s actions. Angle’s counseling announcement was eye rolling material. We’ve seen countless tag teams and allies break up over the years, but suddenly Angle thinks Bayley needs counseling. Why does he care about Bailey and Banks being on the same page? As much as I despised this announcement, I must admit that all will be forgiven if guilty pleasure Dr. Shelby makes his triumphant return.
Check below for my interview with former NWA Champion Tim Storm regarding his career before and after his NWA Title win, playing competitive softball, and the softball skills of Sid Vicious.