By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Seth Rollins, and Kofi Kingston opening segment: A strong opening segment with Lesnar and Heyman gloating over having possession of the Money in the Bank briefcase. Heyman tried to explain away the silliness of Lesnar being allowed to enter the MITB ladder match at the last moment, but it still doesn’t explain who actually signed off on it. We’re just left to assume that a McMahon family member allowed it to happen. But why? I wish WWE cared about those details. On the plus side, Rollins and Kingston looked like fighting champions by openly expressing their hope that Lesnar would choose to come after their respective title. And while you had to know that Lesnar wasn’t going to cash in last night, it was still a nice hook for the remainder of the show to tease that he would return.
Cesaro vs. Ricochet: It was refreshing to see WWE use injuries suffered in the MITB ladder match as the cause of Ricochet losing. It gave Cesaro a needed win while also protecting Ricochet. I’d like to see more of this coming out of the more violent pay-per-view matches. The loss didn’t hurt Ricochet and it sets up the need for a rematch.
The Usos vs. The Revival: A minor Hit for a good tag team match that was hurt by the atrocious booking that preceded it. WWE officials should pretend like the awful back shaving and Ucey Hot segments never happened, but they just keep showing replays. So while the in-ring work was really good, the match lacked a sense of importance because The Revival duo have been made to look like comedy goofballs. What a waste.
Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn: A crowd pleasing match with Strowman getting revenge on Zayn for costing him his spot in the Money in the Bank match. I would have stretched it out at least another week by having Zayn pick up another fluke win or just escape the wrath of Strowman for a week. Instead, it looked like WWE was rushing to turn the page and move on to setting up Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley for the show in Saudi Arabia.
Drew McIntyre vs. The Miz: A minor Hit for a well worked match. As someone who enjoyed Miz’s heel work, I’m still having a tough time buying him as a guy who can hang in a fair fight with someone such as McIntyre. That said, repetition is probably the key, so it’s not like they should shy away from it if they are serious about establishing Miz as a top level babyface. Shane McMahon interfering to help McIntyre win the match was logical given that I doubt we’ve seen the last of Shane vs. Miz despite Shane’s claim that he’s moving on.
Becky Lynch, Nikki Cross, and Alexa Bliss vs. Lacey Evans, Peyton Royce, and Billie Kay: There was some rough in-ring work at times, but I liked the storytelling of the ultra confident Lynch using Cross and even the non-wrestling Bliss as her tag partners. Evans continues to be highly entertaining and it was a nice touch to avoid contact between her and Lynch by having Evans walk out on her tag partners. I was surprised that they didn’t play up the referee being out of position when Evans rolled up Lynch just prior to the Disarmer finish at MITB, but I guess they opted to save that for Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio. Speaking of which, why are they making so many referees look incompetent?
WWE Raw Misses
WWE 24/7 Title: I felt bad for poor Mick Foley, who had to introduce this comedy nonsense title. Everything about this was terrible, including the ugly title belt. I learned everything I need to know about the value of the title when Robert Roode shared a camera shot with Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley and the two heels showed zero interest in trying to take the belt from him. So now we can look forward to seeing underutilized talent such as EC3, Cedric Alexander, etc. chase each other around like jackasses while vying for a worthless title belt. As I mentioned in my audio review last night, Halftime Heat returned in February, the XFL is coming back, WWE rehired Bruce Prichard, and now the 24/7 Title has returned. Vince McMahon partying like it’s 1999.
Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston vs. Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin in a No DQ match: A minor Miss. The in-ring work was fine and as much as I liked the hook of Lesnar teasing a cash-in during the opening segment, it was just too predictable when he took the lap around the ring at the end of the show. I had zero expectation of Lesnar cashing in last night, but I was hoping for something more at the end of the three-hour marathon than the usual Lesnar lap around the ring. I did like the Heyman tease that he and Lesnar will return next week to reveal which champion they intend to challenge, as it’s a solid hook. That said, I actually prefer the mystery. I just hope that the plan isn’t for Lesnar to announce that he’s cashing in at the WWE Super ShowDown event. It will make Lesnar winning MITB a major waste, as they could have simply booked Lesnar against one of the champions for Saudi Arabia and used MITB to give another wrestler a boost. After all, are we really supposed to believe that the McMahons were will willing to let Lesnar enter the MITB ladder match at the last moment, yet they wouldn’t agree to give him a title match in Saudi Arabia?
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Conrad Thompson discussing Starrcast II, Undertaker pulling out of the event, hosting AEW rallies and his friendship with Tony Khan, thoughts on how WWE podcasts could work, and more.