By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins reveals his alliance with AOP: As much as I was hoping that they would stretch things out before Rollins revealed that he’s aligned with AOP, it’s still refreshing that WWE isn’t making the Roman Reigns mistake again by forcing Rollins as the babyface even though many fans had clearly soured on him. It’s interesting that Sami Zayn showed up as a manager. Sami is good in that role, but hopefully this is leading to Zayn aligning with Kevin Owens as a wrestler to go against Rollins and AOP. Either way, I like Owens as a babyface, but he still needs to make a personal connection with the viewers. He’s a gifted talker, a family man, an everyman, and the fans who know his history respect the path he took to get to this position. It’s time to find a way to let him work all those traits into a promo that I have no doubt he can hit out of the park.
Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade: The broadcast team laid it on thick throughout the match while trying to make it seem like Carrillo was a heavy underdog. As good as Andrade is in the ring, it’s not like he has a lot of marquee wins in WWE, so it just didn’t ring true. Nevertheless, the match was entertaining and it’s good to see that the creative forces are still behind Carrillo despite some stops and starts with his push. Here’s hoping that the post match bickering between Andrade and Zelina Vega isn’t leading to a split between an act that really slicked in NXT.
Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles for the U.S. Championship: A good match despite the botched Styles Clash from the ropes that nearly caused the show to go off the air without a finish. I could have done without Mysterio needing help in the form of a Randy Orton wink to keep his title, but hopefully this will eventually lead to a rematch. But if Styles is moving on to feud with Orton, then who will be next in line to challenge Mysterio for the U.S. Title?
The Kabuki Warriors vs. Becky Lynch in a handicap match: I enjoyed last week’s handicap match between the Kabuki Warriors and Charlotte Flair more than this match, but it was still entertaining and served a purpose in terms of setting up Lynch and Flair agreeing to team up to face the WWE Women’s Tag Champions in a TLC match at Sunday’s pay-per-view. I just pray that this isn’t leading to another Lynch vs. Flair feud in the near future.
Erick Rowan vs. a local wrestler: A fun match with the unnamed enhancement wrestler placing Rowan’s animal cage on the stage in hopes of stealing a count-out win.
Aleister Black vs. Akira Tozawa: Tozawa’s suicide dive into a Black’s knee to the head was a thing of beauty.
WWE Raw Misses
Rusev and Lana divorce: This dragged on to the point that it felt like they ate up the entire first hour of the show even though it actually clicked in under 20 minutes. On the bright side, Rusev has gone from being sad and pathetic in pining for his cheating wife to come back to being happy go lucky and fun.
The Viking Raiders vs. The Street Profits for the Raw Tag Titles: What was the point of having the Street Profits lose this match in three minutes? The Viking Raiders squashing jobbers ran its course, but why sacrifice the Street Profits in such a throwaway segment when there are so many other options? And here’s hoping the lousy SNL “Weekend Update” parody was a one and done.
Buddy Murphy vs. Zack Ryder: A showcase win for Murphy that just didn’t pack a punch. I had to laugh at the Aleister Black promo that aired during the match. After months of begging people to knock on his door, now he’s telling Murphy that doing so will be the biggest mistake he’s ever made.
Drew McIntyre vs. Matt Hardy: Another wheel spinning week for McIntyre. He continues to beat undercard wrestlers and is typically protected when he works with bigger names, but it never seems to lead to anything. What a waste of a tremendous talent. With Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, and AJ Styles holding down the top three heel spots, it’s time to consider flipping McIntyre into the babyface role that he played so well in Impact Wrestling.
Becky was way too protected in that match, IMO. The tag champs couldn’t beat her even with double teaming, top rope moves, and cheating, and eventually just gave up. Then, Kairi Sane does an awesome top rope elbow to the outside through a table, and Becky immediately pops up and no-sells. Total Super Cena all over again.
Not just your opinion. I can’t watch her matches anymore because there is never any real sense she would lose. If she and Flair win the titles Sunday I will be Smackdown exclusive.
As funny as Kevin Owens’ response to AOP was, I wish WWE would stop it with the “foreign baddies speaking foreign” stuff. We had it twice on RAW with AOP then the Kabuki Warriors. This isn’t 1985, that silly trope should have been put to bed a long time ago.