By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin in a TLC match for the Intercontinental Championship: WWE gave away a gimmick match in hopes of bouncing back in the ratings. We’ll find out later today if it worked, but it sure is strange to dedicate so much time telling everyone that Raw sucks because of Corbin and then putting him in the main event segment. Even so, the actual match was entertaining. Both wrestlers worked hard and the crowd was given a satisfying finish.
Seth Rollins opening: A mixed bag. Listening to a wrestler talk about how terrible his show is brought back some memories of the dying days of WCW. On the bright side, Rollins worked as the man of the people and voice of the babyface locker room. It was a unique segment in that Vince McMahon essentially acknowledged through Rollins that his creative approach has been disastrous. As bizarre as it was to hear someone tell viewers that they show they are watching and may actually be enjoying is awful and setting ratings lows, it was encouraging to come away knowing that Vince recognizes there is a problem.
Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler: McIntyre got his revenge for losing to Ziggler last week. It was fun in the moment, but I can’t say it left me looking forward to the inevitable rubber match between the two. On a side note, I have fun mocking Ziggler’s awful record scratch and terrible theme music every week in my live Raw review, but I’m also sincere it that it really is tired and dreadful. How can a wrestler who has been with the company so long and had so many restarts never get a full presentation makeover complete with new music?
Bayley vs. Alicia Fox: A minor Hit for the weekly Mixed Match Challenge preview. Here’s hoping that creative comes up with something meaningful for Sasha Banks and Bayley now that the MMC is wrapping up. Are they waiting for MMC to end to announce how they will crown the first women’s tag champions? Will they do a tournament on Facebook Watch to determine the first tag champions?
WWE Raw Misses
Akam, Rezar, and Drake Maverick vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable in a handicap match for the Raw Tag Titles: You had to know WWE was going to follow up the Rollins promo with something that they felt represented a fan pleasing change. But they have to know that the Roode and Gable team just hasn’t clicked and the one note Glorious line lost its cool when Roode was still on Smackdown. Furthermore, they won the titles by pinning Maverick. I’m sure the idea was to protect AOP, but it also prevented Roode and Gable from gaining any sense of momentum when from this win. More than anything, I came away hoping that that they are transitional champions who will drop the tag titles to The Revival soon.
Natalya and Ruby Riott: With Vince McMahon apparently in the midst of a rare moment of self reflection regarding his bookie failures, has he ever stopped to think that exploiting a man’s death and another man’s battle with leukemia is playing some part in turning off his viewers? And before any defenders offer the usual argument that it is somehow okay if Natalya, her family, and Reigns have all given their blessing, stop and realize that none of that actually matters if it’s turning away other viewers.
Elias segment: A rare swing and a miss for Elias, who seemed off his game with his song of the week. It was also odd that WWE just gave away Lio Rush’s first singles match on Raw. Rush is a pest heel and they should build up to one of the babyfaces getting their hands on him in a match. Instead, they just threw the Rush vs. Elias match out there without any hype.
Final push for Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax: Jax delivered a decent promo until it started to feel like it would never end. Less is more with her. Last week we saw Jax show fear of Rousey during the tag match. This week we got to see Rousey rough up Jax and dump her over the barricade with ease. Jax is the monster of the women’s division and yet she’s being booked the same way the company would book Alexa Bliss or any non-monster heel.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guests David McLane and Selina “Bambi” Majors discussing the launch of the WOW women’s wrestling promotion series on AXS TV.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...