By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Drew McIntyre vs. Riddle in a Money in the Bank qualifier: It was refreshing to see McIntyre sell his Hell in a Cell injuries consistently throughout the match. This really should happen more often and not just when WWE wants to give someone an out for losing. The match was entertaining and McIntyre continues to be among the most reliable in-ring performers in the game. But WWE has to be careful about pointing out how many opportunities he’s been given. Kofi Kingston complained about it during a promo exchange, and it’s continued ever since then with Jinder Mahal bringing it up again during his backstage promo. It doesn’t help the cause that McIntyre lost this match, yet will get another opportunity to enter Money in the Bank in in a second chance qualifier next week.
WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Xavier Woods in a non-title Hell in a Cell match: It was bad enough that WWE waited until Thursday to announce that Roman Reigns would face Rey Mysterio in a Hell in a Cell match the next night on Smackdown, but they somehow topped that by waiting until Raw started to make the announcement of this match. I get the idea of giving away the HIAC matches on regular television. It’s easy to do with the shows all being held in the same venue, and obviously they hope to pop a rating. But it’s crazy to me that they didn’t announce these matches further in advance to get the most out of them. Overall, this match was a minor HIt. There was no reason to think that Woods stood any chance against Lashley, but they did what they needed to with Lashley destroying Woods in front of a helpless Kofi Kingston afterward.
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet in a Money in the Bank qualifier: Hey, it’s that time of the year when fans get their hopes up because WWE books upset wins in qualifier matches to get underutilized acrobatic wrestlers into the MITB match. Could they shock everyone by trying to make Ricochet in the MITB match? Sure. Will they? Don’t hold your breath. While the match was entertaining and thus falls in the Hit category, it’s not like they gave Ricochet a clean win in this match. Rather, it was another one of WWE’s overused distraction finishes that gave him the win.
WWE Raw Misses
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax in a Money in the Bank qualifier: It wasn’t all that long ago that Cross was heartbroken and eventually angry after Bliss fell under the spell of Bray Wyatt. She didn’t want to fight Bliss, but eventually she lost patience and did. After all that, now she’s giddily dressing like a superhero and apparently happy to team with her still possessed former friend. None of this makes any sense and the hypnotic bit that Bliss is doing is just as idiotic as her carrying around the WWE version of Annabelle.
Asuka and Naomi vs. Eva Marie and Doudrop in a Money in the Bank qualifier: Let me guess, Doudrop ends up playing Rosey to Cross’s Hurricane Helms or Mighty Molly? So Doudrop already sees through Eva Marie after a week and opted to leave her hanging when she went for a tag? Part of me wants to applaud the character for not being oblivious to something that every viewer sees, but this definitely feels rushed. Meanwhile, as great as Asuka is, it’s time to shake up her look and persona.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville: It seemed like their working relationship had reached its breaking point when Deville started openly siding with Charlotte Flair. But now they are back to being on the same page again without any real follow-up. Worse yet, they called out Rhea Ripley for getting herself intentionally disqualified at Hell in a Cell. This would be fine if there was any sense of consistency with WWE’s authority figures, but they do nothing about the cheating that takes place in what feels like 90 percent of matches that heels win. And their solution to the problem of Ripley getting herself disqualified was to book a standard rematch without adding any type of stipulation that would actually prevent her from doing it again. Pearce and Deville are playing their parts well, but they aren’t getting much help from the writers.
Randy Orton vs. John Morrison in a Money in the Bank qualifier: The dreaded Drip Stick strikes again. This was another upset similar to Ricochet beating Styles because the powers that be wanted to have another acrobatic wrestler in Money in the Bank. I get it. I just wish they would plan this out and build these wrestlers up ahead of time so that it felt like they were actual threats to win and weren’t just in the match to perform big spots. On a positive note, I am intrigued by Orton and Riddle either ending up in MITB together or Riddle being in the match while Orton is on the outside looking in.
“…but they aren’t getting much help from the writers.”
This sentence sums up WWE for the last 20 years.