By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler: A hot main event with good work from everyone involved. Ambrose storming off again was intriguing until the story after the show became that he walked off because he’s questioning whether he belongs in the group after losing this match. Does anyone want to see is a pouty Ambrose feeling sorry for himself? One of the key moments of the match was McIntyre spinning Strowman around and jawing at him. It’s hard to say whether this is going somewhere, but here’s hoping that McIntyre will be splitting away from the group soon to begin a babyface run. Sadly, my guess is that McIntyre is being protected because they intend to feed him to Reigns soon.
Ronda Rousey, Nikki Bella, and Brie Bella vs. Riott Squad: Ruby Riott taking the submission loss for her team made no sense. She had a competitive match with Rousey last week, and this week she was backing down from Rousey despite having a potential two-on-one situation in the Riott Squad corner. Of course, the real story coming out of the match was the Bella Twins attacking Rousey afterward. I can’t say that I’m counting down the days to seeing Rousey vs. Nikki at Evolution, but the mach is far more appealing to me with Nikki as a heel than it would have been as a babyface vs. babyface match.
Kurt Angle wins the Global Battle Royal: Baron Corbin’s silly battle royal was painful initially, but the payoff was well done with the Conquistador winning and then revealing himself to be Angle. This was a fun surprise for the live crowd and the viewers.
Trish and Lita segment with Alexa Bliss and Mickie James: A minor Hit for the Lita surprise. I felt bad for Trish when she did her pre-match poses and they cut to the crowd and the fans were just sitting there. Trish and Lita are the legends of the women’s division and the company just hasn’t placed them on the same pedestal as even some of the mid-level male legends over the years and the company is paying the price for it now.
Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens: A minor Hit simply because it looks like Vince McMahon finally came to his senses and realized that Lashley is better heel than a babyface. I must note that people who believe Lashley must have a manager clearly didn’t watch his 2016 run in Impact Wrestling. That said, Lio Rush will work much better as a heel mouthpiece than as a babyface hype man. The live mic at ringside gimmick served its purpose. I just hope it doesn’t become the norm because it has the potential to be go away heat rather than good heat. Was this segment meant to be a double turn with Owens becoming a babyface? Fingers crossed.
WWE Raw Misses
Shawn Michaels’ return to the ring announcement: The issue is that there really wasn’t an actual announcement. Triple H simply said he knew Shawn’s answer to the “are you ready?” question. There was no big buildup. They didn’t work up the fans in a way that had them clamoring to see Michaels back in the ring. It was just thrown out there in a way that was more about a DX reunion than the legendary HBK returning to the ring for another match. Imagine how big this could have been if this had been done differently. What if Michaels had been left out of the Super Show-Down build and off the actual event, and that show had concluded with Taker and Kane delivering a savage beatdown to Triple H. Last night could have featured Hunter talking about calling in a huge favor from a friend who would serve as his tag partner at Crown Jewel. They could have teased Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, or anyone from Triple H’s past before delivering the huge payoff of HBK’ entrance music playing while the announcers went crazy over him returning to the ring. Michaels could have used the same logic about the lack of respect that Taker and Kane showed by beating up his longtime friend to justify his return. That would have been a moment. The actual angle they gave us was more of a DX t-shirt advertisement than a true moment.
Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon: The Moon character was not established well in NXT. I chalked up some of that to the idea that she had a dark and mysterious persona. She carried that vibe with her when she debuted on the main roster, but she recently lost it in favor of becoming Jax’s little buddy. That was on full display when Jax lost the match via count-out and then rubbed Moon’s head like Jax was the adult and Moon was the kid. I’m not a fan of this in the moment, but it seems like this is leading to something so let’s see how this develops.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Ascension: Gable continues to be overzealous and stole yet another pin from Roode. It’s hard to care about where this is going when they both lost singles matches to Konnor over the last two weeks, and then they finally get a win over The Ascension only to have AOP destroy them and Viktor afterward. By the way, if creative intends to do something with Konnor then hopefully he will get a cosmetic makeover because the Ascension look just screams failure.
Finn Balor and Bayley vs. Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox: Balor and Bayley were well received by the live crowd. The problem continues to be that they are walking advertisements for the Mixed Match Challenge and don’t seem to figure into the actual Raw creative plans in any way.
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The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...