By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
The Street Profits: Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins have quickly become one of the hottest acts on the brand with only hometown hero Randy Orton getting a similar response from the live crowd. Only time will tell whether the act has staying power, but the Street Profits are off to a strong start.
Seth Rollins vs. Erick Rowan in a non-title, falls count anywhere match: A good brawl around the building with a forklift finish that protected Rowan to some extent. It’s interesting that Rollins is getting some boos when he’s interviewed, but they haven’t been carrying over to his matches unless they involve Bray Wyatt.
Divorce Court segment with Rusev, Lana, and Bobby Lashley: A soft Hit for the segment getting over with the live crowd. The love triangle does nothing for me, but they had just enough adult male pleasing references to Rusev being a sex addict to keep the crowd engaged.
AJ Styles vs. Humberto Carrillo in a non-title match: A good match with Carrillo putting in back to back quality performances with the two singles champions of the Raw brands. I enjoyed last week’s Carrillo vs. Seth Rollins match more, but it was still a good showing for Carrillo, who now needs a significant victory to make up for the two losses.
Becky Lynch vs. Kairi Sane in a non-title match: I have no idea why creative wants Asuka and Kairi Sane to be heels, but the Asuka spraying mist at Paige was a good angle to help establish them in that role. The actual match was entertaining, as Lynch and Sane were given plenty of time and the match ended with a clean and decisive win for Lynch. Props to Lynch for her new “I Don’t Care About Your Stupid Feelings” t-shirt.
Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet: No one gets over with parity booking, so the DQ finish with Randy Orton getting involved was so much better than Ricochet just getting his win back in this rematch. It was strange to see them replay the footage of a young girl freaking out over heel Randy Orton as if he was a big babyface. I get that it’s his hometown and he’s going to be cheered, but I’m not really sure why WWE would feel the need to spotlight him being cheered without acknowledging the circumstances.
Andrade vs. Sin Cara: A soft Hit for not taking the parity booking approach of having Sin Cara get his win back (yes, there’s a trend). That said, it was strange that they introduced Catalina to Sin Cara’s act only to have her taking out Zelina Vega at ringside be the cause of the Sin Cara distraction that allowed Andrade to roll him up for the win.
WWE Raw Misses
R-Truth vs. Buddy Murphy: Before the match, Murphy told Truth that he would not forget him once it was over. And then Murphy needed a distraction in the form of the latest WWE 24/7 chase just to get the win. Worse yet, Murphy blasted Truth with a knee to the head before pinning him, yet Truth was back on his feet moments later and back to chasing the championship.
The Viking Raiders vs. Rizzo and Bryant in a non-title match: Dressing up the independent wrestlers in Chicago Cubs gear was sappy and untimely. Sure, the Cardinals and Cubs have a strong rivalry, but the Cardinals were eliminated in the NLCS and the Cubs didn’t even make the MLB playoffs. It’s one thing to get cheap heat for a reference to a rival sports team, but having both wrestlers work in full baseball gear was ridiculous.
Charlotte Flair and Natalya vs. The IIconics: Billie Kay’s odd swing at Charlotte was comically bad. And it’s too bad because this was one of the better showings for the IIconcis prior to that moment of strangeness. Perhaps they are building up Flair and Natalya to challenge for the tag titles, but in the moment the match felt flat and pointless.
Aleister Black and AOP: I’m all for vignettes and/or sit-down promos being used to introduce new acts, but there’s nothing left for these wrestlers to say. Black has been doing some variation of these sit-down promos in front of a backdrop since he was moved to Smackdown in the previous roster shakeup. There’s only so many deep thoughts that one man can share before they become tired and repetitive. Enough already.
Crown Jewel go-home show: Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury didn’t appear, we didn’t hear from Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan, Paul Heyman didn’t even cut a go-home promo. There were plenty of ads for Thursday’s show, but the final push left a lot to be desired.