By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins and Murphy: Murphy finally stood up to Rollins. It’s strange that he’s a 32 year-old man and it took his relationship with a 19 year-old woman to make him step up, but we’ll see where it goes. It’s another twist in the ongoing Rollins vs. Mysterio family saga, and it could lead to some terrific matches if the creative forces keep Rollins and Murphy pitted against one another.
Braun Strowman vs. Keith Lee in an exhibition match: A battle of the behemoths. I had no interest in seeing WWE give away this match without any build or advertising, but they wisely labeled it an unsanctioned match, meaning they can bill their next meeting as their first sanctioned match. They also wisely went with a double count-out finish, then delivered an entertaining brawl on the stage that didn’t leave either man looking dominant over the other. I wish they would have used a similar formula to protect Dabba-Kato when he faced Strowman at Raw Underground.
Drew McIntyre and The Street Profits vs. Randy Orton, Robert Roode, and Dolph Ziggler: As much as I grumble about WWE repeatedly booking their secondary and tag team champions to lose non-title matches, it’s not something that they do often with their men’s world champions. In fact, I believe this was the first time that McIntyre has been pinned since he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. So while it means nothing now to see secondary or tag champions lose a non-title match, it actually packed a punch when Orton pinned McIntyre.
Bray Wyatt and Kevin Owens: A solid segment that essentially served as an advertisement for Friday’s Smackdown. I continue to wonder if Aleister Black is aligned with Wyatt or if they just have a mutual enemy in Owens.
WWE Raw Misses
Mustafa Ali revealed as the Retribution leader: Ali’s push is long overdue, but let’s not pretend like this was a good angle simply because we are happy for Ali. My concern is that the Retribution gimmick is so awful that creative team opted to book a mid-card wrestler to be the face of it because they didn’t want to bog down a high level player with a dead end faction. It’s not like they built up the mystery of who was in charge of Retribution and this was a great reveal. It came out of nowhere. The broadcast team had to jump to the conclusion that Ali was pulling the strings all along even though there was nothing that actually suggested that was the case. I hope this works out for Ali and some of the other talented people in the Retribution faction, but this continues to be a mess of a storyline.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: The women’s tag titles feel meaningless and it’s not just because a pair of singles wrestlers hold the belts. Creative never builds up actual women’s tag teams. Riott and Morgan beating The IIconics didn’t give them the boost they needed heading into this match. I want to like Riott and Morgan, but there’s nothing fun about their act. Morgan acting emotional after being forced to watch Riott tap out was a groaner. I’m not calling for the return of those corny acts of teenage vandalism that the original version of Riott Squad was known for, but it’s time for these two to become a little more punk and a lot less emo.
Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin vs. Ricochet and Apollo Crews: We get it, Crews can’t escape the Full Nelson, the Full Lashley, or the Hurt Lock. Changing the name of the move every week doesn’t make this any less tired or predictable.
Asuka, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke vs. Zelina Vega, Natalya, and Lana: A throwaway match to set up Lana being put through a table for the third time since her husband stated on AEW Dynamite that Vince McMahon can kiss his ass. Coincidence?
WWE 24/7 Championship: Same gag, different week.