By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens with Sami Zayn as the special ringside referee: Zayn’s antics as the special ringside referee made the match. And it was nice to see Owens get through a television match without putting someone over. There’s a shortage of meaningful heels in WWE and creative would be wise to make Owens and Zayn feel like credible threats to the top babyfaces instead of booking them to lose so many television main events. The addition of a special referee to the Rollins vs. Baron Corbin title match at WWE Stomping Grounds was necessary. If nothing else, this shows that the creative forces aren’t so delusional with their love for Corbin to actually believe that Corbin challenging Rollins in a standard match is a worthy pay-per-view headliner.
Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins vs. The Revival vs. The Usos for the Raw Tag Titles: A solid match that resulted in The Revival taking the tag titles back. They never should have lost the titles in the first place, as I still don’t see what good came from the Ryder and Hawkins win at WrestleMania when the company didn’t even bother to build to the match on television. The Revival are at their best when slotted as tag champions. The main roster creative team should follow the NXT blueprint when it comes to booking the duo as champs. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder do a terrific job of creating suspenseful near falls during their title defenses and in making their babyface challengers look great before pulling the rug out and stealing victories. With The Usos, Viking Raiders, and AOP as potential challengers, Raw could have a terrific tag team division.
Lars Sullivan vs. Lince Dorado, Kalisto, and Gran Metalik in a handicap elimination match: Sullivan looked like a monster while destroying all three men. It’s hard not to feel bad for the talented Lucha House Party trio, but Sullivan is the focus, and WWE is doing a very good job of building him up to be a money player.
Braun Strowman, The Miz, and Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe, Bobby Lashley, and Cesaro: A crowd pleasing, time filling, impromptu six-man tag team match. There were a couple of rough moments, but the good outweighed the bad.
Becky Lynch and Bayley vs. Lacey Evans and Alexa Bliss: A good tag team match that put heat on the heel duo heading into their title matches at Stomping Grounds.
Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse: The segments continue to be dark, twisted, and downright fun. All we can do is hope that Vince McMahon gets it right when Wyatt returns to the ring.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Lisa Lace and Aliyah Nia in a non-title match: A minor Hit for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions finally winning a television match. Now if only the company would build up some potential challengers for the duo.
WWE Raw Misses
Elevator footage: The wrestlers involved in the WWE 24/7 Title silliness are clearly trying to make the best of it, but none of the elevator comedy clicked with me. WWE is at its best when they take a more serious approach (see WrestleMania season) and this is just sports entertainment silliness.
Shane McMahon celebration: I assumed this was going to be an angle involving Roman Reigns, but it turned out to be an uneventful celebration that drew loud “boring” chants from the crowd.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Glenn “Disco Inferno” Gilbertti, who discusses how being a good heel doesn’t stop outside the ring, a trait that big name wrestlers have in common, his male chauvinist persona, why he didn’t work for WWE after the WCW sale, and more.
Kevin Owens also appeared to be making fun of the ‘wild card’ rule. One to keep an eye on…
now that Santino is retired who is Vince going to team up Lars with in a few months when he gets bored of him?