By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Ricochet in a non-title match: The best match of the night on a show filled with more quality matches than usual. Sheamus continued his streak of strong in-ring work, and Ricochet looked good in defeat. Do they have someone in mind to beat Sheamus in one of these non-title open challenges? If not, why not just have him successfully defend his championship more often? By the way, did anyone care that Ricochet stole Sheamus’s hat and jacket?
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka: There were some clunky moments, but it was a good match overall. Asuka going over was a surprise. Her character still feels cold and she needed a win after losing to Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania, again on last week’s Raw, and one more time on Sunday in the Triple Threat. As for Ripley, having her walk out and smirk obnoxiously is not character development. I loved Ripley’s work in NXT, but I still have no idea whether they want fans to cheer or boo her.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Kofi Kingston in a non-title match: A solid match with a soft finish. On paper, Kingston beating Lashley and Randy Orton probably reads like this was the beginning of Kingston having a singles resurgence. Nope. He needed a trombone distraction and a cane shot from Drew McIntyre to score a rollup victory over Lashley, and a trombone distraction to beat Orton. McIntyre’s involvement showed that he’s still the top babyface, and I continue to assume that he will challenge Lashley for the WWE Championship in a Hell in a Cell match.
Damian Priest vs. John Morrison in a lumberjack match: The best thing about the segment is that the lumberjacks were not zombies. The second best thing about the segment is that Priest announced after the match that he is finished with Morrison and The Miz. The actual match was solid, but I’m more than ready for WWE to turn the page on this tired feud.
WWE Raw Misses
Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston: The ruthless Orton character lost because he was distracted by Xavier Woods playing the trombone at ringside. Really? It’s a shame that Kingston dropped the WWE Championship in an eight second match and was quickly moved back into the tag division. I really wish this had been the beginning of another singles run for Kingston, but it’s hard to imagine that he won’t be fed to Lashley and then go right back to teaming with Woods in a feud against Orton and Riddle based on the booking of this show. On the bright side, it was a quality development to have Riddle shove Woods following this match.
Natalya and Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles: WWE officials seemed to get the message from fans that the lumberjack zombies were completely idiotic, but that’s not stopping them from moving forward with the story of a doll having magical powers.
Angel Garza vs. Drew Gulak: They got the order of humiliation wrong by starting with Garza shoving a rose down the back of Gulak’s tights and kicking it up his ass. It didn’t pack any punch when Garza followed up a week later by shoving a rose in Gulak’s mouth. Well, unless it was the same rose. Anyway, it’s good to see Garza getting some television time, but this feud is off to a bizarre start.
AJ Styles vs. Elias: A pair of heels working the opening match of the show with no storyline build. Both men worked hard, but this felt very random. The first half of the show was lousy. Fortunately, things picked up and the second half of the show was much better than usual.