By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse: The highlight of the night and my favorite of the Funhouse series to date. I’m still fear that Vince McMahon won’t be able to make this work once the time comes for Wyatt to move from the Funhouse set to the wrestling ring, but I hope I’m wrong.
Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso vs. Drew McIntyre, Scott Dawson, and Dash Wilder: The show peaked with in-ring action in this opening match. Granted, there were only three more matches the rest of the night, which just isn’t a good balance. The match outcome was logical with the heels going over and Shane McMahon getting some heat heading into his match with Reigns in Saudi Arabia.
Ricochet vs. Cesaro: A minor Hit for the worst match of their three match series. There were some clunky moments and these two are capable of better, but the match still had enough going on to land on the right side of the Hit/Miss divider. Cesaro attacking Ricochet afterward left me wondering if this will turn out to be a best of seven rather than a best of three. And while the WWE 24/7 Title does nothing for me, the bit with Cesaro pulling out the table only to have R-Truth hiding on it was good fun.
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley in an arm wrestling match: A minor Hit in that the segment accomplished its goal of putting heat on Lashley going into his match with Strowman in Saudi Arabia.
Undertaker promo: Holy rush job, Batman. The show was clearly running long and it appears they ran out of time for Taker’s “rest in peace” line, as they released the remainder of the promo on Youtube. Taker’s delivery was strong and the live crowd was thrilled to see him. Even so, the late push to promote the legends tour match just wasn’t enough to sell me on it.
Triple H and Randy Orton verbal exchange: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. Hunter and Orton delivered some quick hype for their match and worked in the usual insult that Hunter needs to remove his balls from his wife’s purse.
WWE Raw Misses
Brock Lesnar’s Money in the Bank cash-in bait and switch: The desperation to pop a rating continues in the form of the latest bait and switch involving Lesnar and the MITB contract. Last week, Lesnar was supposed to tell viewers which champion he intended to target, but he never did. This week, Paul Heyman announced that Lesnar would cash in the contract during Raw, but the twist is that Lesnar opted to cash in at WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia. This isn’t putting heat on Lesnar and Heyman as much as it’s putting heat on the company and damaging fan faith in WWE making good on what is advertised. At the very least, they should have come up with a storyline reason for why Lesnar would want to wait until Friday when he had Rollins down and out and could have pinned him on Raw. Meanwhile, Rollins isn’t coming off well in any of this. He’s pissing and moaning about Lesnar not cashing in right away when Rollins actually held the MITB contract for 273 days before cashing in unexpectedly at WrestleMania 31, where he pinned Roman Reigns and thus took the world title from Lesnar.
Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans: A poor match and one that didn’t even make a lot of sense on paper. It was a heel vs. heel battle with Becky Lynch at ringside. And rather than allow her rivals to beat the hell out of each other, Lynch made the usual pro wrestling babyface mistake of getting involved to end the fight between the heels. This wasn’t as bad as when babyfaces interrupt squabbling heels before they can come to blows during a promo segment, but it was still awkward. Are they setting up a Triple Threat match with Lynch, Flair, and Evans? Will we ever get a break from the Lynch vs. Flair feud that the company itself has mocked through other wrestlers referring to it as repetitive?
Nikki Cross vs. Peyton Royce: Another poor match and another loss for the IIconics. I’ve waited patiently in hopes that I would be proven wrong, but it’s officially “I told you so” time. When fans were clamoring for WWE Women’s Tag Titles, I warned you that it wouldn’t take long for Vince McMahon to lose interest in the women’s tag titles and they would become as directionless as the men’s tag titles. But I must confess that I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
Rey Mysterio gives the U.S. Title to Samoa Joe: A poorly crafted storyline with Mysterio oddly forfeiting the championship to the man who injured him.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and new MLW National Openweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone, who discusses his background, how the underdog story has been overplayed in pro wrestling, the Dynasty faction, and more.