By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels: I still remember the empty feeling I had when they originally announced Undertaker vs. Triple H for the last time for the Super Show-Down event. It was a match that I wasn’t thinking about had no desire to see, particularly given how flat the legends matches were on the Greatest Royal Rumble show. And yet here we are at the end of the build and I’m genuinely looking forward to the match. The mic work by Taker, Hunter, and Michaels over the last several weeks has been top notch and they have managed to make this feel like a major happening.
Elias upsets Seattle SuperSonics fans: A truly memorable moment with Elias dropping the usual regional sports insult and getting off the charts heat in return. Seattle fans who lost their team a decade ago unloaded with a prolonged stretch of booing that didn’t stop until Lio Rush’s entrance killed the crowd. I feel your pain, Seattle. As much as I enjoy the Minnesota Wild, I’m still bitter about the Minnesota North Stars leaving town in 1993 and continue to wish horrible things on former team owner and piece of human trash Norm Green to this day. Now that I have that out of my system, the heat in the building was insane. In fact, it strengthens my belief that Vince McMahon should take Brian Fritz’s past suggestion that he give up on the XFL pipe dream in favor of buying an NBA franchise and moving it to Seattle.
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre in a non-title match: A good match despite the ridiculous logic that made it a non-title match (more on that later). McIntyre continues to be built up in a big way with recent wins over both Ambrose and Rollins. It’s worth noting that they pulled back on The Shield members playing mind games with McIntyre this week, but there are still signs of friction between the teams with Strowman insinuating that Ziggler is the weak link.
Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose: It was a good night for Ambrose. It felt like the end of last week’s show solidified that Ambrose is sticking with his Shield mates, so I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to keep the mystery going this week. Ambrose had strong lines for Reigns and Rollins about how he could have taken their titles, and the mystery regarding where his head is at served as a nice hook for this show, Saturday’s event, and perhaps future episodes of Raw.
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match: A minor Hit. The match worked for the live crowd more than it did for me. I’ve seen so many Ziggler matches over the years that I just don’t buy some of his regular near fall spots when he’s in there with someone as high on the food chain as Reigns. The important thing is that the live crowd did.
WWE Raw Misses
Baron Corbin’s title match logic: We’ve seen a lot of silly things on WWE television this year, but this is a strong contender for the dumbest storyline logic of 2018. The idea that Corbin punished Reigns and Rollins by not allowing them to defend their titles is ludicrous. This “punishment” guarantees that Reigns will keep his championship for the next month. Corey Graves attempted to explain this away by saying that Corbin was protecting his Crown Jewel main event. Even if that excuse works for you, why would he not allow Rollins to defend his title when he doesn’t even have an advertised televised title defense on the schedule? This idiotic logic actually saved Rollins from losing the Intercontinental Championship to McIntyre last night. It felt like the laziest way that creative could come up with to have McIntyre beat Rollins and not win the championship.
Ronda Rousey vs. Ruby Riott in a non-title match: A Hit for match quality, yet a Miss in other ways. There is a very short list of women who will be viewed as credible opponents for Rousey in WWE. And the body of the match seemed to indicate that Riott would be positioned as one of them given the way she got more offense in on Rousey than perhaps anyone to date. With four women at ringside, I assumed there would be a cheap finish that would protect Riott after establishing her as a threat to Rousey for a singles match somewhere down the road. Instead, Rousey came back and won clean in a way that left me wondering why they even booked Riott as her opponent. Why not have Sarah Logan take this loss? And if the idea was for Riott to gain something in defeat, then why did Michael Cole feel the need to plug upcoming Raw matches and Super Show-Down when he should have been putting over her strong performance? Putting Riott aside, Rousey’s matches should still have a big fight feel to them, and Cole drifting off into hype mode during her match worked against the feeling that the match could end at any moment.
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. The Revival: Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are fresh off a strong outing with Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler in last week’s Raw Tag Title match. The big followup to that match was for The Revival to lose clean to the B-Team and not even get a televised entrance. It’s sad that Vince McMahon continues to get the very least out of some great acts that thrived in NXT.
Bobby Roode vs. Konnor: It seems like they are building to a Roode vs. Chad Gable feud. Will anyone care now that both men lost to a member of the Ascension?
Bayley vs. Alicia Fox: A minor Miss for what was essentially a plug for the Mixed Match Challenge. And while I understand the need to promote the MMC, the sad part is that it’s the only thing Bayley and Finn Balor have going on these days. I vote for trading Balor to Smackdown where there’s a need for another babyface to feud with Shinsuke Nakamura. The storyline is that Corbin hates Balor, so it could even be a ridiculous trade where Corbin gets a plate of New Day pancakes in return just to get Balor off his brand.