By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Drew McIntyre and the legends: McIntyre benefits as from receiving the endorsement of the popular legends. He also comes off as a noble champion by showing so much respect to Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Christian, and Big Show. The segment featured a nice hook with the announcement of McIntyre’s open challenge for later in the show, which gave viewers who opted out for one of the big games some incentive to check back to see who would take him up on the offer.
Randy Orton attacks the legends: Orton went to great lengths by dressing up like a janitor and then using night vision goggles to destroy the legends. I’m not really sure why his character needed to dress up like a janitor to accomplish this, but the night vision goggles was a creative way for WWE to avoid having the legends take part in anything physical. All signs point to Orton challenging McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell match at the pay-per-view, which has the potential to be a great blowoff match.
Drew McIntyre vs. Robert Roode for the WWE Championship: A good television title defense for McIntyre. There was no mystery regarding the outcome, but match was well worked and they did a nice job of trying to keep things interesting by having Dolph Ziggler get involved.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Murphy Another good outing for young Dominik. The Romeo and Juliet style relationship between Murphy and Aliyah has provided a spark to extend the already long feud between Seth Rollins and the Mysterio family.
Asuka vs. Zelina Vega for the Raw Women’s Championship: A soft Hit. While Asuka’s clean win at the pay-per-view erased any need for a rematch, I did enjoy this match more than their Clash of Champions outing. With Andrade barking at Vega after the match and with Garza sidelined by an injury, does that mean Vega is finished as a manager? She is solid in the ring, but she strikes me as being far more valuable as a manager than she is as a wrestler.
WWE Raw Misses
Keith Lee vs. Andrade: While a case can be made for a dominating win being good for Lee, there was nothing about this match that would actually stick with a viewer by the end of the night. Lee needs a true showcase match where viewers get a chance to see the strong in-ring work that helped make him popular. Andrade seemed like a good opponent for that style of match, but they went with the forgettable squash instead. On a side note, Andrade splitting up with Zelina Vega and being destroyed in this match left me wondering if he’s Smackdown bound via the draft.
Kevin Owens vs. Aleister Black: It’s a feud involving two wresters who both need wins and the booking made it seem like creative is afraid to put over either wrestler in a clean and decisive manner. I’m sure the defense would be that they are trying to establish the feud, but it feels like they are just spinning their wheels. It’s been a strange feud from the start with Black blaming Owens for not saving him from having his eye driven into the ring steps while seemingly giving a pass to the person who actually caused the injury. I enjoy the work of both men, but I can’t help but hope that the feud is put to rest by having one of them moved to Smackdown in the draft.
Bobby Lashley, MVP, and Shelton Benjamin vs. Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, and Apollo Crews: The Hurt Business feuding with Crews and his partners of the week is repetitive. Ali getting the win for his team probably means he’ll likely replace Crews as the man who taps out to Lashley’s Full Nelson in several U.S. Title matches. I hope for the best for the talented Ali, but I don’t see this ending well for him.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke vs. Natalya and Lana: It was bad enough that Rose was traded to Raw in exchange for an apparent wrestler to be named later just weeks before the draft, but now they did the same thing with Brooke. From a storyline standpoint, why would either brand bother making trades right now? The only good news for the losing team is that Lana avoided being put through a table for the third straight week.
R-Truth vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak in a Triple Threat for the WWE 24/7 Championship: The skit earlier in the show was more than enough of the 24/7 silliness for one night. Has Gulak been traded to Raw too or is he just bouncing around as part of the brand to brand invitational?