By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Edge: Edge said Miz is content with being awesome after he did it twenty years earlier, and then delivered the knockout blow by stating that the Miz character talks about being champion, whereas he needs to be champion. It’s a far cry from Eminem delivering the Killshot to Machine Gun Kelly, but this was pretty good for a modern day WWE diss promo.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton in a non-title match: Been there and done that. I couldn’t shake that feeling when they advertised the match or even while it was taking place. So why is it in the Hit section? Because we got something other than a dark magic Alexa Bliss finish. Raw has set the bar so low lately that it doesn’t take much to satisfy me.
Shane McMahon appearance: The idea of creating an anything can happen feeling by having Shane make an unadvertised appearance was fine. But that doesn’t explain why WWE failed to advertise Edge, Bianca Belair, Keith Lee vs. Riddle, a tables match, Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles, etc. It’s odd that a company with slumping ratings isn’t doing more to sell potential viewers on watching their show.
AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy: The Hit goes for match quality. Hardy’s storyline knee injury gave him an out for losing, but ultimately it was yet another loss for the guy heading into the Elimination Chamber title match with zero momentum. I can’t even remember the last time that Hardy beat someone other than Elias.
Keith Lee vs. Riddle: A solid match with a decisive finish. Perhaps they should have avoided that decisive finish, though, as it sure was a strange way to get to both men challenging Lashley in a Triple Threat match. Lashley destroys Riddle on a near weekly basis, Lee beat Riddle clean, and for some reason Riddle is getting the same title shot as Lee at Elimination Chamber. It does have me curious if the plan is to have Lashley drop the U.S. Title without being pinned to free him up for a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. Lashley getting the title shot would explain his recent streak of dominance as the secondary champion.
Damian Priest vs. Angel Garza: This was fine for what it was with Priest going over strong in his second Raw match. The Bad Bunny story isn’t doing anything for me, but hopefully it will bring in younger television and social media viewers.
Asuka and Bianca Belair: A good backstage segment that established some tension between the Raw Champion and her potential challenger at WrestleMania. It’s interesting that Belair was respectful, whereas Asuka said Belair wasn’t ready for her and then went on to shoot Belair a look as she was walking away.
Overall show: It will probably be the worst pro wrestling television show that I watch all week, but there were more redeeming qualities than usual. Baby steps.
WWE Raw Misses
Elimination Chamber match: The usual suspects converge for a WWE Championship match inside the Chamber structure. I’m sure the match will be entertaining, but I’m beginning to wonder if this company will ever get around to creating new stars on Raw. From a storyline standpoint, Jeff Hardy and The Miz have no business in the match because they lose constantly.
Sheamus: Fresh off of one of the least eventful betrayals in pro wrestling history with last week’s “That’s It?” Brogue Kick, Sheamus followed up by threatening to destroy people during a backstage segment with Adam Pearce. Rather than being scripted to make good on his promise, Sheamus accidentally hit Randy Orton with a Brogue Kick, and was then knocked out by Drew McIntyre’s Claymore Kick.
Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans: A rough match. I don’t know if it’s a lack of reps during the pandemic for Evans, but she had an off night. Still, I find myself enjoying the oddball story of Ric Flair aligning with Evans and working against his own daughter, especially because it’s required Charlotte to leave the comfort zone of her cliche royalty promos.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. T-Bar and Slapjack: Angry Mustafa Ali was way too over the top, but it gives me some hope that Retribution is going to implode so that the faction members can unmask and get a real chance to get over. If that’s not the plan, then I have no idea why New Day would get one over on T-Bar and Slapjack when Retribution desperately needs heat in order to get this feud out of first gear.
Nia Jax vs. Lana in a tables match: Her hole? Every Jax and Lana match feels the same. Jax destroys Lana, Lana throws some kicks, they go to the finish, and I don’t care no matter who goes over.
Shayna Baszler vs. Naomi: It’s sad to think of how great Baszler was in NXT compared to just how terribly she’s been booked on the main roster.