By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus in a Team Raw qualifier for Survivor Series: Riddle and Sheamus delivered the match of the night. This was a slugfest. Sheamus going over in the end was a bit of a surprise. Riddle lost to AJ Styles last week and followed up with another loss to Sheamus. It’s not exactly a strong start for Riddle on the Raw brand, but the actual match delivered.
AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy in a Team Raw qualifier for Survivor Series: A solid match with Styles getting another rebuild win following his move back to Raw. The addition of “his enormous new associate” to the act has freshened up Styles, and hopefully he can be positioned as an eventual challenger to the WWE Championship rather than wasting time in the U.S. Title picture. Now if only they could come up with a name other than “his enormous new associate” for Jordan Omogbehin.
Drew McIntyre vs. The Miz: A Hit for a bounce back win for McIntyre after he dropped the WWE Championship the night before. That said, I have no idea why they booked this match. With Miz winning the Money in the Bank contract, this feels like the time to give him some credibility building wins. I’m not suggesting that he should have beaten McIntyre by any means, but why book Miz to lose at a time when they should want viewers to see him as a threat to win one of the championships?
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: Why does WWE insist upon moving forward with the flawed concept of brand vs. brand supremacy at Survivor Series? Does anyone really care whether Raw or Smackdown emerge victorious? Why would wrestlers who were just drafted from one brand to the other care about fighting for the honor of their new brand? None of this makes sense and it leads to an uneventful pay-per-view with mostly throwaway non-title matches that weaken most of the losing champions. I’d like to see WWE scrap the brand vs. brand rubbish, but if they really want to move forward with it, then why not use the theme prior to the draft as a swan song for the rosters prior to the annual shakeup? The pay-per-view theme is flawed and leads to weeks of lousy television with qualifying matches that somehow feel less meaningful than standard matches involving the same wrestlers.
Keith Lee vs. Elias in a Team Raw qualifier for Survivor Series: I understand if WWE officials are hesitant to get behind Riddle due to his drama outside the ring. But what’s their excuse for not pushing Lee aggressively? It took a distraction finish involving Jeff Hardy’s entrance music for Lee to beat the wrestling musician. Are you kidding me? Will Lee be added to the long list of readymade stars from NXT who were squandered once they arrived on the main roster?
Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, and The Fiend: The final segment of the night was fine until the very end. One night after dropping the WWE Championship, the final image of the night was of former champion McIntyre being beaten up by Orton. Shouldn’t this have been the other way around? I assume this is all leading to a Triple Threat. Here’s hoping WWE scraps the needless Orton vs. Roman Reigns champion vs. champion match in favor of having both men defend their titles against different challengers, which would make Survivor Series feel at least somewhat relevant.
The Hurt Business vs. Retribution in an elimination match: I don’t care how many times poor Mustafa Ali is scripted to tell us that Retribution is not dead, the faction is deader than Osama bin Laden (despite what some conspiracy theory pushing lunatics might tell you). I continue to feel for Ali. He’s finally getting some mic time, but only as the face of a failed faction that has yet to actually win a match. Retribution needs to go away before further damage is done to Ali and the easily identifiable wrestlers wearing the bad Halloween masks.
Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik vs. Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak: Just imagine how good of a match these four could have if they weren’t just comedy chasers in R-Truth’s 24/7 division.
Lana vs. Lacey Evans vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross for a spot on Team Raw at Survivor Series: Lana stole the pin, then was put through the broadcast table for the sixth time since her husband told Vince McMahon to kiss his ass. I’m sure it’s all just one great big coincidence, right?