By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler: The match wisely focussed heavily on Rollins getting the better of Ziggler heading into their Iron Man match, while mostly protecting McIntyre. As odd as it was when the company paired McIntyre and Ziggler together as a tag team, there continue to be signs in the way McIntyre is booked that creative realizes he should be a real player in the heavyweight title picture.
Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens: A well received stunt with the live crowd loudly supporting the angle even once the wrestlers disappeared backstage. It was ridiculous that they had Strowman pull the porta-potty all the way from outside the building and to the stage just to push it off the small platform. Even so, the live crowd enjoyed it and this was an upgrade over last week’s non-stunt where the car was flipped over and fans were left to imagine Strowman pulling off the big feat.
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley vs. The Revival: It would be a blast if the company put McIntyre, Ziggler, and The Revival together as a true faction, especially with the idea being that McIntyre targets the Universal Title, Ziggler keeps the secondary title, and The Revival go for the tag titles. My guess is that this is merely leading to a Shield reunion once Ambrose returns and they face the heel foursome in a handicap match. As for the match, Reigns came off poorly, but the match did create more tension between him and Lashley, and the Revival were protected by losing by DQ rather than by pinfall.
Authors of Pain vs. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews: A squash win over a main roster team. AOP looked dominant and I’m looking forward to seeing how their main roster run plays out.
Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan: A minor Hit for another nice win for Moon. Creative is wisely taking their time with her while having her rack up victories. They have something with Moon. The live crowds always react to her entrance and they continue to be hot for her finishing move.
Nia Jax vs. Mickie James: A minor Hit for the continuation of the storyline between Jax and Bliss. It’s hard to feel like Jax has any chance to win when everything is building to the Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey rematch, so it’s a plus that they will have Rousey at the pay-per-view. The logic of getting her there? More on that later.
Matt Hardy vs. Curtis Axel: More of an in the middle that a true Hit or Miss. This was essentially more of the same with Axel getting a win and then doing an over the top celebration. It’s understandable given that Bray Wyatt was sidelined due to injuries suffered in a car accident on Friday. That said, I’m still not sure which team creative wants fans to pull for.
WWE Raw Misses
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley: The weekly insult exchanges continue to make both men look bad. Last week they mocked Lashley’s performance in MMA even though he accumulated a strong 15-2 record. This week they bounced back and forth between framing Reigns as a “proud warrior” and an egomaniac. It seems like they are simply letting the fans decide which wrestler to pull for, but it’s hard to pick a side when both men are coming off so poorly. Reigns was especially bad with his silly antics in the Revival tag match and then selfishly whining about not having an Extreme Rules pay-per-view match when Rollins told him about his own Intercontinental Title match.
Ronda Rousey suspension logic: Kurt Angle suspended the Rousey character for 30 days. It was understandable when the company announced that Rousey would still make her scheduled appearances at live events. They took it a step further by saying her suspension only pertains to Raw and thus she is eligible to appear at the Extreme Rules event. Things became even more absurd when Rousey announced that she intends to buy a ticket to a show she’s not even suspended from attending. Why not take a moment to set it up properly by having Angle indicate that she’s not allowed to appear at ringside, only to have Rousey
Sasha Banks and Bayley in therapy: Dr. Shelby is a guilty pleasure of mine and yet I still didn’t find any entertainment value in these segments beyond the initial surprise of seeing the Team Hell No doctor again. Banks and Bayley both continue to come off as angry and irrational and I couldn’t care less about their friendship or where this is going. It’s sad because I was so entertained by both characters in NXT, but their main roster stories have left so much to be desired and this one is just plain nonsensical.
Baron Corbin and Finn Balor: Was the TGI Friday’s vest line really so clever that it needed to be repeated again this week? Balor insulted Corbin and then stood there as Corbin punched him. I hate when babyfaces say something insulting and then just stand there with their guard down as if the heel wouldn’t possibly retaliate.
Check below for my interview with former WWE Smackdown Head Writer and current MLW Producer Alex Greenfield in the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...