By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship: WWE raised the hopes of fans by making this an open challenge because they knew the reaction to announcing another Rollins vs. Ziggler match on the same night that they were giving us yet another Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin match would not be favorable. Even so, Rollins and Ziggler deserve credit for taking a crowd that had to feel let down by the open challenge leading to more of the same and drawing them into the match with their hard work.
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley: A minor Hit for WWE’s attempt to put heat on its heel trio. I get the idea of having Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Lashley rough up the babyfaces in beatdown angles. But WWE has to know that there’s no chemistry between the makeshift heel faction and it’s actually starting to drag down the wisely protected McIntyre. Here’s hoping the heel trio go their separate ways after the TLC pay-per-view.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: Last week’s show was one of the worst we’ve seen all year, and somehow this show was worse. I’m sympathetic to the fact that the company lost top players Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman temporarily, but my sympathy only extends so far when Vince McMahon is paying the price for dedicating the vast majority of his creative attention to the top talent while the mid and undercard talent are wasted in bad parity booking programs. And it’s not like he doesn’t have an overstocked developmental system to draw talent from.
AOP vs. Chad Gable and Bobby Roode for the Raw Tag Titles: As ridiculous as it was to see Drake Maverick piss on Bobby Roode’s robe, the real absurdity is that Roode cared more about his precious robe than winning the tag titles. Even Renee Young even pointed out on commentary that Roode could afford to buy ten more robes if he won the tag titles. Maybe I shouldn’t complain. After all, the only thing WWE viewers knew about Roode coming into the match was that he was obsessed with the word glorious. So creative essentially doubled his character traits by letting the world know that he’s way too fond of his robes. Great work, gang!
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin: Forget match quality. This is a perfect example of a program that was booked as a mid-card parity feud and run into the ground. And now because Vince’s top guys are sidelined, they had to not only bring this tired program back, they put it in the main event slot. Let me guess, this is leading to a big six-man tag match?
Nia Jax: Jax is paying a price for one too many character turns. She looks more comfortable on the mic these days, but her promo before Ronda Rousey arrived didn’t do much for me. I’d actually prefer to have Jax take the silent approach while someone else does the talking for her. By the way, why did she tell Ronda Rousey she was stalling for time when she and Tamina had the numbers advantage and could have attacked her at any point?
The Revival vs. Lucha House Party: Fans are supposed to side with a babyface group that has a numbers advantage over the heels. I don’t get it.
Alicia Fox vs. Ember Moon: A match designed to fill a little time while promoting the Mixed Match Challenge. Yawn. I did get a kick out of Curt Hawkins celebrating Moon’s win as if she’s won the Stanley Cup.
Jinder Mahal vs. No Way Jose: Just when it seemed like the show couldn’t get any duller, out came Jose with his Rosebud Rejects for a conga dance. And that sports entertainment nonsense led to Mahal getting a rare win.
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