By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. WWE Champion Big E vs. Bobby Lashley in a non-title Triple Threat match: WWE went all out with this main event. Reigns and Big E doing double duty definitely made it easier for the creative forces to fill the three hours of Raw. Lashley taking the loss was the right move given that the company is super protective of Reigns and because Big E just won the WWE Championship last week. All three men worked hard and this felt like a pay-per-view worthy main event. I’m just surprised that WWE didn’t announce this match a week ahead of time and instead opted to push The Bloodline vs. New Day as the featured match.
Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso vs. Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods: WWE has been better about enforcing the rules of the brand split, so it felt special to see Reigns and the Usos appear on Raw again. Big E moving to Raw breathed some new life into the New Day act. I can’t say that I’m excited about the idea of the trio staying together post draft, but I feel a little better about it coming out of this match. Bobby Lashley viciously attacking everyone with a chair was a good way to put some heat on him following his loss last week, and his loss in the Triple Threat main event didn’t feel like it was enough to cool him off.
Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss: The shift to Bliss being more about mind games than Lilly actually being a possessed doll is a welcome change. Flair and Bliss had some strong words for one another. The highlight was Bliss saying the “wooo” didn’t start with Charlotte, who then told Lady Fiend, “Let’s not talk about originality.”
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles: I enjoyed the way the finish of the match played off of past finishes used by Orton and Styles. Orton going over gave him a bounce back win after he lost to Lashley last week. That said, Styles takes too many singles losses and I continue to hope that WWE will turn him and give him one more big babyface push. By the way, I guess MVP being sidelined means the Tag Team Turmoil match that dominated Raw two weeks ago was a complete waste of everyone’s time since we won’t be getting the promised tag title match anytime soon.
Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo vs. Mustafa Ali and Mansoor: A nice debut for the Garza and Carrillo tag team. It’s frustrating that the company never got it right with the cousins as singles wrestlers and still haven’t figured out how to get the most out of Ali, but hopefully they will commit to Garza and Carrillo as a team.
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus: You had to feel bad for Sheamus when he ditched the face shield that covered his broken nose only to have Hardy bloody his nose again just a few minutes later. The match was entertaining and kept me guessing, as I figured Hardy was going to lose once Sheamus put his knees up on the Swanton. It feels like Hardy was added to the U.S. Title match at Extreme Rules to take the loss, but it’s hard to say for sure, as WWE is often less predictable when they are setting the table for a draft.
WWE Raw Misses
Natalya and Tamina vs. Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles: Ripley continues to be wasted in this odd couple tag team because the creative forces clearly don’t know what to do with her as a singles wrestler. Natalya and Tamina won over the WrestleMania crowd and were positioned as a good powerhouse tag team when they captured the titles. They’ve been booked terribly ever since with at least five non-title losses, including three to Nox and Shotzi, who never even received a title shot.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler: WWE took a long time setting up this match and yet I still felt like I missed a chapter when they officially announced it last week. They never established a babyface in this feud and it’s still unclear how they want viewers to react to these characters. Baszler viciously attacking her former partner’s arm was encouraging for those of us who miss the NXT version of Baszler, but I will left confused by the remorse that her character showed.
Eva Marie vs. Doudrop: The best thing about this match is that they indicated that this was the blowoff to their feud.