By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman: It was refreshing to see Lashley go over clean as part of his continued big build for WrestleMania. Strowman is ice cold and there was no reason to add him to next week’s WWE Championship match.
The Miz and Bobby Lashley: This isn’t an endorsement of Miz’s title reign, but it was a positive that WWE actually advertised a big match a week in advance. The question now is whether they pull the trigger and have Lashley win the title or if someone such as Drew McIntyre will interfere to delay what feels like the inevitable.
Raw Tag Champions Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin vs. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik in a non-title Tornado Tag match: I’m not a fan of WWE adding stipulations for no good reason, but at least the champions looked strong while going over clean in a non-title match. There aren’t many tag teams on Raw these days, so I assume that Alexander and Benjamin will end up defending the tag titles against New Day at WrestleMania.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka and Charlotte Flair in a non-title match: The Asuka and Flair split is underway after Flair accidentally kicked her tag partner. Jax and Baszler are supposed to be the monster tag team, but they are booked to look soft on a regular basis, so it was good to see them get a win over a quality team.
Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy: A soft Hit for a well worked match that felt a bit like time filler. Hardy has lost so many matches lately that it’s hard to be excited about much of anything involving his damaged character. Sheamus was being positioned for a title match with Drew McIntyre, but I guess he’s in a holding pattern now until McIntyre returns to television.
WWE Raw Hits
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. T-Bar and Mace: It feels like Retribution’s days are numbered. The New Day duo won this mach quickly, and then Mustafa Ali chewed out his faction mates in a post match promo. I’m all for putting an end to his poorly conceived faction and freeing Dominik Dijakovic and Mia Yim from their bad gimmicks. But that hasn’t happened yet, and Retribution feels like an act that triggers viewers to reach for their remote controls.
U.S. Champion Riddle vs. John Morrison in a non-title match: A soft Miss for a match that went longer than it needed to. Like Miz, Riddle is a weak champion. He was dominated by Bobby Lashley repeatedly, and even lost to Keith Lee on last week’s show. There was no real storyline reason for Riddle to have been in the U.S. Championship match at Elimination Chamber, and then he beat Morrison rather than Lashley to win the championship. With all of that in mind, it felt like this should have been more of a dominant win for Riddle on his first night as champion, especially considering that Morrison loses far more than he wins these days.
Damian Priest vs. Angel Garza: I’m all for WWE doing more with Garza, but it was an odd call to have him put up a strong fight while he was in the ring with Priest, who is still in the midst of his introductory push. And why in the world is Humberto Carrillo chasing after the WWE 24/7 Championship when this company desperately needs to create younger stars?
Naomi and Lana vs. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke: Neither team has shown any semblance of chemistry. Naomi and Lana going over will probably lead to them getting another tag title shot, which means we’ll be subjected to more of the awful Lana vs. Nia Jax feud that just won’t end.
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet: The brief match was well wrestled, but it’s sad to see just how meaningless this one-time dream match has become due to bad booking that’s turned Ricochet into a scrub. The real purpose of the match seemed to be Omos getting physical with Ricochet, which is a nice addition to the Styles and Omos act.