By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair in a non-title match: A hell of a match despite the highly predictable finish with Nia Jax providing the distraction that led to Flair getting the win. Nevertheless, it was logical for Flair to go over in this match while reestablishing that Asuka has never beaten her in a singles match. This should set the table for Asuka to get that elusive win over Flair on a future pay-per-view.
Christian, Edge, and Randy Orton: A strong segment with Christian using reverse psychology to fire up his longtime friend. It wasn’t the expected approach and thus it immediately grabbed my attention, and it built nicely to Edge showing the fire that Christian was trying to ignite. Orton did a nice job with his brief promo, and Edge closing the segment by shooting down Orton’s claim that his redemption story ends at WWE Backlash was a nice touch. These poor guys can’t help the idiotic “greatest match ever” slogan that they’ve been saddled with, but I think the masses see it for the bad marketing slogan that it is and won’t hold it against them on Sunday.
Kevin Owens vs. Andrade vs. Angel Garza for a shot at the U.S. Championship at WWE Backlash: An interesting match with Andrade and Garza working together only to get greedy in terms of who would actually pin Owens. It was another match where Owens has a good out for coming up short, but there’s only so many of those finishes that can happen before fans will start viewing him as a guy who can’t get the job done. It’s worked fine up until now, but it’s time to give the guy some wins. Whatever momentum he had from beating Seth Rollins at WrestleMania has quickly subsided.
Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo vs. Austin Theory and Murphy: A nice tag match with the same approach as last week’s Black vs. Seth Rollins match in that the babyfaces went over, but the heels got their heat back right after the match. The Rollins and Rey Mysterio storyline continues to be entertaining. It’s interesting that Rollins invited Rey and his son Dominick to Raw next week. Dom delivered the “eye for an eye” promo last week, so I’m curious to see if he shows up without his father’s approval to confront Rollins.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. The IIconics vs. Charlotte Flair and Asuka in a non-title Triple Threat match: Sasha and Bayley won the tag titles on Friday’s Smackdown and then turned around and lost a non-title match on Monday. Such is life for WWE titleholders outside of the top two men’s singles titles. As much as that approach is counterproductive, the thing I liked about the match is that it didn’t replace the advertised Asuka vs. Flair match. Rather, they actually used this match to build to what turned out to be the main event of the show.
WWE Raw Misses
Bobby Lashley and MVP vs. The Viking Raiders: This was a Hit from an entertainment standpoint, but a Miss in terms of making Lashley look like a world beater heading into his WWE Championship match at the pay-per-view. Yes, he got the win for his team, but this wasn’t the dominant showcase type of win that Lashley could have used on the brand’s go-home show. For that matter, he was also run off by champion McIntyre, and they never bothered to deliver the advertised footage of Lashley destroying McIntyre with the Full Nelson after last week’s show went off the air just moments after he applied the hold.
The Street Profits vs. Viking Raiders in a Decathlon: Here’s an idea, how about an actual pro wrestling match between these teams? These gags have one joke that hits for every ten that miss and that’s probably being generous. There was part of me hoping that the Profits would actually turn on the Viking Raiders and join MVP and Lashley during the main event segment, but starting an all black heel faction would be a risky move for the company in light of recent real world events.