By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor in a Triple Threat for a spot in the No. 1 contenders match: The better of the two Triple Threats despite the outcome everyone expected (more on that in the Miss section). It looks like WWE officials know what they have in McIntyre in that he was protected again by not taking the pin. I wonder if Vince McMahon has any idea of just how good McIntyre was as the flag bearing babyface in Impact Wrestling? When people within WWE defend the Reigns babyface push by questioning who else Vince would realistically consider for that slot, do they realize that McIntyre has many of the qualities that Vince looks for? Anyway, this was a highly entertaining match and the future looks bright for McIntyre even if they continue to feature him in a heel role.
Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins vs. Elias in a Triple Threat for a spot in the No. 1 contenders match: A good match with the obvious outcome (notice the trend?). Putting Rollins in the match made the match quality better, but it also gave the fans false hope that he would end up in the title match at WrestleMania. They made the fans choose between Lashley and Rollins. The fans seem to like Lashley, but Rollins is the most popular wrestler on the brand. Fortunately, the fans didn’t turn on Lashley, but the reaction to his win was flat..
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode in a non-title match: A solid match with Ziggler getting good heat for refusing to defend the championship at the last second. The backstage scene with Roode and Mojo Rawley was interesting in that it appears to set the stage for a feud between the two of them. I like the pairing, as Rawley can learn a lot from working a program with veteran Roode.
Paul Heyman and Kurt Angle: It was an easy night for Heyman in that the crowd was anxious to boo anything involving Brock Lesnar. Creative has successfully turned the fans against Lesnar. The question is whether they will end up booking a match that allows someone to benefit from the angst that fans feel over the absent champion. Lashley or Braun Strowman would surely be cheered against Lesnar, but if Vince McMahon’s grand plan is once again to put Reigns in the challenger slot in a singles match then he has to know that the Brooklyn crowd will turn on the match and simply wait for Strowman’s music to hit for a cash-in. On a side note, it was nice to see the Angle character stand up to someone for a change.
Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss: A minor Hit for Rousey showing good intensity in going after Bliss and Mickie James. This would have been better if the story of the Rousey suspension storyline wasn’t so ridiculous. Baron Corbin became the voice of reason when he called for Rousey to be punished for blowing off her suspension, while Kurt Angle actually rewarded her by giving her a title shot at SummerSlam.
The Authors of Pain vs. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews: A minor Hit for the latest AOP squash win. It’s nice to see them on the show, but it also feels like creative should be pushing The Revival coming off of their matches against Reigns and Lashley. Unfortunately, The Revival were relegated to the WWE Main Event taping, which leaves me wondering if the company has anything in mind for them.
Mojo Rawley vs. Tyler Breeze: A minor Hit for the continued push of Rawley, who continues to impress with his new heel persona.
WWE Raw Misses
Predictability: The Triple Threat matches were well worked and entertaining on that level. The flaw of both matches is that the outcome of Reigns and Lashley winning their respective matches was obvious. The other wrestlers coming out during the opening segment to make their case for getting a shot at Brock Lesnar provided hope of something fresh and new. Lashley fits that description to some extent, but Reigns advancing and moving a step closer to the rematch that only Vince McMahon wants to see is predictable and downright boring at this point.
Sasha Banks and Bayley: The worst storyline in WWE took another strange twist. Is this a terribly written love story? Banks professing her love for Bayley left me wondering. Backstage brawls, a brutal post match beating, and therapy sessions have somehow brought us to this moment. Is Sasha professing her love for Bayley a set up for Bayley rejecting her in a heelish manner? Is Kurt Angle a lesbian matchmaker on the side and that’s why he forced the duo to seek therapy and team together against their will? Was I the only one hoping for a meltdown that resulted in Angle trading one of the women to Smackdown so this horrible story would be put out of its misery?
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. The Ascension: While I gave Rawley vs. Breeze and the AOP squashes minor Hits, this was a show that had two meaningful Triple Threat matches and a lot of filler in between. As usual, I came away from this match wondering if creative wants fans to cheer or boo Axel and Dallas or the team of Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy.
Ember Moon vs. Sarah Logan: I praised WWE last week for giving Moon back to back wins over Liv Morgan rather than falling into their usual parity booking pattern. It looks like they fell into it again with Logan getting the win in this match, as it’s hard not to believe that Moon will get her win back.
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