By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins and AOP: The opening segment was really well done with Rollins delivering a straight forward apology followed by Kevin Owens calling him on his bullshit. The dynamic between Rollins and AOP is interesting with Rollins maintaining plausible deniability despite all signs pointing to an alliance between the three. It’s a major positive that Owens expressed his suspicions regarding this alliance rather than be cast as an oblivious babyface who is the only person in the world who doesn’t pick up on the heel manipulations.
Asuka and Kairi Sane vs. Charlotte Flair in a handicap match: The most enjoyable performance from Charlotte in some time. She showed charisma and emotion through her facial expressions, which brought the live crowd into the story of her trying to fight the tag champions on her own. I hope we get more of this Charlotte and less of the robotic version of her character that spouts campy royalty lines that are way too similar to what King Corbin says on Friday nights.
AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson vs. Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, and Humberto Carrillo: A well worked main event and a good rebound win for Styles coming off his U.S. Title loss last week. It’s refreshing to see Mysterio treated like the legend that he is while also giving his endorsement to Ricochet and Carrillo.
Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley: The match was entertaining and the finish with Rusev interfering was logical in that there was no reason to book a clean finish. The real Hit goes for the arrest angle with Lashley and Lana being hauled off for assaulting the cops they hired to work as their security guards. This storyline isn’t doing much for me and his filled with holes (such as why the cops would let Rusev violate a restraining order), but the live crowd definitely had fun with the heels being arrested.
Aleister Black vs. Tony Nese: A Hit if for no other reason than Black finally left the room and stopped waiting for someone to knock on his door.
Andrade vs. Eric Young: Andrade feels a bit like Drew McIntyre in that they are giving him showcase wins that never seem to lead to anything. I assume he’ll eventually move into a program with Rey Mysterio over the U.S. Championship. It was nice to see Young get some television time in his adopted hometown of Nashville.
Erick Rowan vs. No Way Jose: The awful conga dancers being destroyed is always a Hit in my book. The sad part is that No Way Jose is charismatic and would have a much better chance of getting over without the Adam Rose leftovers.
The Viking Raiders vs. Mark Sterling and Mitchell Lyons in a non-title match: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. Have we reached the point where fans are wondering why the Raw Tag Champions keep beating up enhancement wrestlers when they could be facing real challengers?
Overall show: WWE filled the three hours nicely and this was one of the better episodes in recent memory. The big negative is that with only the go-home show remaining on the Raw side, WWE has yet to officially announce a single pay-per-view match outside the local market.
WWE Raw Misses
Drew McIntyre vs. Akira Tozawa: A Hit for match quality, but a Miss for this being just another week of wheel spinning for McIntyre in his latest showcase win over an undercard talent. Hopefully the angle with Randy Orton means there’s some light at the end of the tunnel and he’ll end up doing something more meaningful soon. But with Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, and AJ Styles holding down the top heel slots, perhaps it’s time to turn McIntyre babyface or even to book a trade to move him to Smackdown where they could use a strong heel. Of course, WWE would actually have to book McIntyre as a strong heel in order for him to fit that description.
The Street Profits: It’s tough to be the cool, rebellious newcomers while being booked to shill the company merchandise. Whatever momentum Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford developed once they started having matches on Raw has quickly faded. They are talented enough to bounce back, but the creative team hasn’t been doing them any favors lately.
Ricochet: The goal of wrestlers should be to win matches and titles, not to prove to the world that superheroes are real.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett on a Dot Net Weekly combo show discussing the concept of two nights for major events, AEW Dynamite and NXT discussion, early WWE Royal Rumble winner possibilities, the XFL, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom, and much more...