By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Drew McIntyre, Keith Lee, and Sheamus vs. AJ Styles, The Miz, and John Morrison in a Holiday Street Fight: A soft Hit for WWE’s latest holiday themed battle. As corny as it was to watch Styles work over McIntyre’s bad knee with a kendo stick made to look like a candy cane, we’ve certainly seen worse from WWE around the holidays. For that matter, we made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving without any WWE holiday madness. In fact, I have a bigger issue with WWE continuing to book ice cold Miz and Morrison in main event matches. We get it, they can’t hang with McIntyre, Lee, or Sheamus. On a positive note, the post match development with Sheamus taking a cheap shot at Lee and then being scolded by McIntyre was solid.
Bobby Lashley and MVP vs. Jeff Hardy and Riddle: A decent match that filled some time. That said, I’m still not sure why the company feels the need to have Hardy tap out to Lashley’s finisher repeatedly when they could have built him up as a credible threat to the U.S. Championship.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka vs. Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce in a non-title match: Flair’s return was a soft Hit at best. She went right back into Queen mode when she should have returned with something fresh. Vince McMahon obviously views Flair as a big star. And she is, but that Queen gimmick is lousy and leads to bad and even confusing promos when she’s a babyface. Still, the Flair and Asuka pairing is a big upgrade over Asuka teaming with Lana, and holding the tag titles means they can appear on multiple brands. Speaking of which, I’d love to see a Flair and Asuka vs. Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley match on NXT television.
Angel Garza vs. Drew Gulak: A simple showcase match for Garza, who returned to the ring after delivering a series of strange Lothario promos directed at every woman watching. By the way, shouldn’t the Lothario character actually get the girl at least once? It’s a shame he’s on Raw, because there’s storyline potential in Garza making a play for Aliyah Mysterio.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: Don’t be fooled by the even Hit/Miss count. Raw is still in a lousy place from a creative standpoint. Stunts such as The Fiend being burned alive and even the Legends Night concept may bring in viewers for a night, but WWE has to sell the added viewers on the regular product in order to get those viewers to come back for more.
Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss: If you enjoyed watching Orton burn The Fiend to a crisp at TLC then you probably enjoyed this too. None of it is working for me. The Fiend playing the horror movie villain who won’t die is a turnoff. Yes, Undertaker and Kane took part in some ridiculous supernatural storylines over the years, but two wrongs doesn’t make a right.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke: A needlessly long match with some rough work from Rose and Burke. Jax and Baszler lost the tag titles the night before, so this really should have been about trying to get their heat back with a dominant performance. Jax and Baszler eventually won the match, but it didn’t seem like they gained much of anything in the process.
Jaxson Ryker vs. Gran Metalik: The story of Ryker being reborn because of Elias’s music is a groaner. Ryker destroying Metalik was fine for a squash, but why damage one of the only babyface tag teams when there are new heel tag team champions?
Ricochet vs. T-Bar: Apparently, Ricochet’s master plan is to lose to every member of Retribution in order to get his match against Mustafa Ali. Meanwhile, Retribution’s plan of destroying WWE seems to be on hold until Ali can either recruit or ruin Ricochet.