By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Becky Lynch promo: No ambulances or cosplay needed. Lynch bounced back with a strong pro wrestling promo. It’s simple and that’s okay because this is how Lynch truly shines. I like the swagger of The Man persona, but Lynch is good enough that she doesn’t need all the extra bells and whistles.
Rey Mysterio vs. Angel Garza: Another strong outing from Mysterio and Garza. They both deliver consistently good television matches and hopefully Garza has done enough in his limited appearances that he’ll be staying put on Raw. Mysterio has done such a good job in his role as the full-time legend on the Raw brand that one can only hope they have something good in mind for him at WrestleMania. I wonder if it’s as simple as Mysterio, Garza, and Humberto Carrillo all challenging Andrade for the U.S. Championship in a four-way, perhaps even in the big WrestleMania ladder match.
Edge, Randy Orton, and MVP: I didn’t expect to see MVP involved in this segment and I was actually liking the teased idea of him starting a new faction. I was daydreaming about Ricochet developing an edge and playing the foundation of the stable that MVP mentioned before he expressed his desire to have Edge in that slot. This was a decent way to let Edge destroy someone in his return without getting his full revenge on Orton. The two Conchairtos to MVP felt a bit much given how little MVP did to irk Edge, but the overall segment worked as they continue the build to the Edge vs. Orton showdown match at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles calls out Undertaker: This was one strange promo. Styles tearing down Undertaker was jarring and that was the point, much like Styles stating that he’ll make sure Taker dies in the ring was also for shock value. It felt a bit desperate, but I’m giving the segment a soft Hit because desperate times call for desperate measures. The build to this match has been terrible with Taker dominating Styles twice. They needed to do something and while the jury is still out on whether this worked, at least the creative forces recognized the need to give this feud some juice. Michelle McCool being brought into the storyline does nothing for me in the moment, but we’ll see where it goes.
Drew McIntyre vs. Erick Rowan: It’s odd that WWE advertised McIntyre as simply being “in action” rather than naming Rowan as his opponent. The “in action” label is typically reserved for when an established wrestler is facing someone low on the company totem pole or even an enhancement wrestler. McIntyre continues to develop momentum heading into his title match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. I could have done without him smashing the mechanical spider, but I guess that’s their way out of that pet cage mess. I’d be a lot more sour about McIntyre killing a dude’s pet if it hadn’t been so obvious last week that it was a mechanical spider.
Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley: A soft Hit for a decent segment. The Ripley video package is top notch and was worth replaying. I have enjoyed Flair a lot more since this program started, but she really needs to amp up her heel mic work. Flair’s approach thus far has been to play up the idea that she’s the bigger star. And while there’s a level of arrogance to what she’s doing, she legitimately is the bigger star and I wonder if some of the fans who don’t watch NXT are nodding along with her rather than taking offense to her talking down to Ripley.
Bobby Lashley vs. Zack Ryder: A simple squash win for Lashley, who actually felt like a bigger deal without his storyline wife Lana.
WWE Raw Misses
The Street Profits and The Viking Raiders vs. Seth Rollins, AOP, and Murphy: We’re already back to Rollins and his crew working throwaway eight-man tag matches in the main event slot? I was excited about the Rollins faction and I still think it has major potential. Rollins has been firmly established as the leader, and now it’s time to develop the characters around him or they run the risk of Murphy and AOP becoming directionless henchmen similar to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are for OC leader AJ Styles.
Seth Rollins vs. Aleister Black: The match was fine, but it never should have taken place on this show. Why give away a compelling first time ever match without at least advertising it in advance? Perhaps there will turn out to be a storyline reason why this match needed to happen, but as of now if feels like something that should have been saved for when it could have been featured as a bigger moment.
Asuka and Kairi Sane vs. Natalya and Liv Morgan in a non-title match: The WWE Women’s Tag Champions finally worked a televised tag team match, so that’s progress. But I’m completely over listening to Asuka and Sane yell in Japanese and laugh uproariously. Those promos were fine in small doses, but they actually seem to be going longer with these promos and the live crowd giving them the “What?” treatment suggests that I’m not alone in being turned off.
Riddick Moss vs. Cedric Alexander for the WWE 24/7 Championship: Why should viewers care about a wrestler who has yet to receive mic time and is holding a comedy title belt that apparently is no longer a comedy title belt?