By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Edge and Randy Orton: Let’s get it out of the way. The hype their traditional wrestling match perhaps being the greatest match ever is awful. Why in the world would the company set the bar so insanely high? Aren’t the wrestlers handicapped enough as it is without having fans in attendance? Putting that aside, I enjoyed the actual exchange between Edge and Orton. They delivered some of the best mic work of the year heading into their WrestleMania match and they have done a nice job of picking up where they left off heading into their match at WWE Backlash.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin in a non-title match: A well worked main event and the only match of the night that topped four minutes in length. It was a nice touch to have Bobby Lashley and MVP watch the match from the stage as they continue the build to the McIntyre vs. Lashley title match that will presumably take place at Backlash. On a side note, it’s hard not to laugh at how many times poor Tom Phillips had to tell viewers that wrestlers can only appear on other brands four times throughout the year as part of the brand to brand invitation gimmick. This isn’t our first rodeo, WWE. We’ve all seen how these things start when the company bends the rules of their brand split. They usually have some type of rule for a few weeks before they completely blow it off and then the free for all begins.
Humberto Carrillo vs. Murphy: Carrillo showed good fire by standing up for Rey Mysterio during the verbal exchange that set up this match. This was another brief outing and it ended with a forgettable distraction finish, but it was logical to give Murphy the win since this was the first of his two matches on this show, and Samoa Joe was there on commentary to soften the blow for Carrillo by claiming that he would have won the match had it not been for the distraction caused by Seth Rollins. Speaking of Joe, he’s doing excellent work on color commentary and he should become a permanent fixture on commentary once his in-ring career concludes.
Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews vs. Andrade and Angel Garza: This match didn’t do anything to showcase Owens in his first match back since WrestleMania. But the segment did set up Crews for another U.S. Title match, and the post match attack by Andrade and Garza set the table for Austin Theory to be at ringside for the next match.
Aleister Black vs. Murphy: This wasn’t one of those Black vs. Murphy gems, but it led to the surprising twist of Austin Theory becoming the latest disciple of Seth Rollins. I didn’t see this coming until Theory was still at ringside after taking a beating from Andrade and Garza. It was similar to the way Murphy stayed at ringside after losing a past match to Black, which led to him opting to join Rollins. Hey, maybe Denzel Dejournette should stick around the ringside area after he takes his next enhancement match loss and then hope for the best with Rollins.
WWE Raw Misses
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles: Bliss and Cross actually lost a non-title match to set up this throwaway title match? Peyton Royce running Bliss into the ring post a few times for the DQ was an eye-roller, but I must admit that the backstage moment with Billie Kay slapping her partner and then hugging her was mildly intriguing.
Liv Morgan promo: I’m sure Morgan’s mother is a lovely person, but this promo was bizarre. Her mother didn’t have a job or much of a savings account. Um, yeah, it’s pretty hard to have a savings account when you don’t have a job. But wait, she had determination. Yes, it takes a special kind of determination to get through life without working for a living. What was the point of this?
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott in a non-title match: Well, at least the champion didn’t lose a non-title match. Aside from that, I really don’t get why Riott has been cast in the Cesaro role, meaning that she’s a very good wrestler who is being wasted in the proverbial good hand spot. There’s no shame in losing to Flair in WWE’s storyline universe, but it’s been disappointing that WWE isn’t getting more out of the talented Riott.
Bobby Lashley vs. R-Truth: Did we really need a rematch? Is there ever a need for Pretty Ricky? On the bright side, I like the Lashley and MVP pairing and the overall build they are giving Lashley heading into a title match with Drew McIntyre. Lashley and McIntyre worked well together in Impact Wrestling, so I have high hopes for a good series of matches between them.
Street Profits and Viking Raiders: The Viking Raiders beat The Street Profits in a non-title match (imagine that) on the Money in the Bank go-home show. At that point, I was enjoying the story of the Viking Raiders having the number of the Street Profits and assumed they would meet in a title match at MITB. Instead, they haven’t wrestled since and have instead taken part in a basketball game and an axe-tossing contest, which has ruined my interest in what was a strong, logical feud between two good tag teams.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast features Shane Taylor returning to discuss ROH Wrestling, his friendship with WWE's Erik (Ray Rowe) and attending his viking wedding, his relationship with the SOS tag team, his feud with EC3 and their history, the Cleveland pro wrestler connection, and much more...