By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Drew McIntyre vs. Heath Slater in a non-title match: The show peaked in the opening segment. It was cool to see a serious side of Slater, who delivered a good promo. The only negative is that it made McIntyre look bad when Slater stated that McIntyre hadn’t called him since he was released from his WWE contract. All was forgiven in the end, but it still seemed odd that McIntyre’s facial expression essentially confirmed that there was truth in what Slater’s character had claimed. Nevertheless, the promo was strong enough that I wanted the match to be more than it was. It was disappointing that it was so brief and played out so early in the show. I didn’t expect McIntyre to sell a lot for Slater straight up, but with the presence of Dolph Ziggler at ringside, they surely could have done some interference spots to stretch it out.
Randy Orton, Andrade, and Angel Garza vs. Big Show and The Viking Raiders: As awful as the Viking Raiders’ characters are (more on that later), they are still entertaining once the bell rings. The ongoing issues between Andrade and Garza continue to be strange, but I liked the way that Orton didn’t put up with their drama. I guess we have to wait until next week to find out what type of match Orton and Show will have at the pay-per-view.
Kevin Owens and Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy: Putting aside the ridiculous match stipulation that Mysterio chose for Extreme Rules for now, the KO Show and the match were entertaining. On a side note, it’s interesting that we’ve gone two weeks without anyone on Raw even mentioning Austin Theory.
Bobby Lashley and MVP vs. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander: It was odd to see the pay-per-view challenger introduce the new U.S. Championship belt when they could have simply waited to unveil it at the pay-per-view when Apollo Crews will presumably be present. That said, I can see how this will put a little bit of heat on MVP for walking around with a title that doesn’t belong to him.
Sasha Banks vs. Kairi Sane: A good match with a puzzling finish. Banks is challenging for the Raw Women’s Championship at the pay-per-view, yet it seemed like creative was more concerned with making The Kabuki Warriors look strong heading into the WWE Women’s Tag Title match that will air on next week’s Raw. Banks was on the verge of tapping out in this match before Bayley interfered to cause the DQ, and Banks is also coming off a loss to Io Shirai on last week’s NXT television show. I guess the silver lining is that Shirai was finally booked strong in a main roster singles match.
All spectator wrestlers wearing masks: It’s a shame that it took a reported 30-plus positive COVID-19 cases amongst the WWE crew, but this along with the use of actual COVID tests are steps in the right direction. Now if only company officials would come to their senses about using 71 year-old Ric Flair during a pandemic, especially given his recent medical history and after the company experienced a COVID outbreak.
WWE Raw Misses
An Eye For An Eye match: As if Mysterio stating that he wanted to gouge out the eye of Rollins wasn’t enough, the actual match description on the WWE website actually reads that “a winner can only determined by extracting the opponent’s eye.” Isn’t this the same promotion run by a man who complained that his competition was blood and guts?
Asuka vs. Bayley in a champion vs. champion match: A Hit from a match quality standpoint. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but these non-title champion vs. champion matches don’t do anything for me. In fact, these matches being part of the nonsensical battle for brand supremacy are reason why I hate what Survivor Series has become. I’d actually prefer that WWE show some semblance of discipline by keeping these wrestlers away from one another so that it means more once they end up on the same brand together.
The Viking Raiders backstage: This jolly viking gimmick is dreadful. I miss the badass War Machine tag team. Erik and Ivar feel like throwbacks to the days of the WWF cartoon characters and not in a fun, nostalgic way.
Ruby Riott vs. Billie Kay: It wouldn’t be fair to label this as filler because they are clearly setting up Liv Morgan returning to team with Riott against The IIconics, but the finish appeared to be botched and this was the least interesting match on the show. Despite losing matches over the last two weeks, the talented Riott does seem to be benefitting from the creative shakeup, as she’d pretty much disappeared from television until recently.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...