By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Goldberg and Bobby Lashley: Goldberg really tripled down on the death threats, which is a big turnoff, especially heading into another controversial show in Saudi Arabia. So I can understand if that makes this a Miss for some viewers. As absurd as it is for Goldberg to repeatedly threaten the life of Lashley, he has shown good intensity and delivered better promos than usual throughout the build to their No Holds Barred match and I’m actually looking forward to their match more than I expected to. By the way, whatever happened to the story that Goldberg needed knee surgery?
Damian Priest vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship: There was no mystery regarding the outcome given that Hardy had already been drafted to Smackdown. Even so, this was a good television match and another nice win for Priest. I really liked the post match angle with Austin Theory babyfacing Hardy only to attack him. Theory has grown a lot as a performer since his last stint on Raw and I’m anxious to see how he’s slotted now that he’s been called up.
Big E and Drew McIntyre vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler: I like the story of Ziggler pointing out the way he helped launch Big E and brought the McIntyre character back to the main roster. It felt like we needed to hear Big E or McIntyre make claim that Ziggler used them, as it felt a little strange that two babyfaces couldn’t offer up a simple thank you. While there was no reason to see Roode and Ziggler as anything more than speed bumps, there was just enough tension between Big E and McIntyre to make this interesting.
Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke: Another squash win for Baszler, whose push surprisingly started on Raw in the weeks leading up to her move to Smackdown. The post match angle with Doudrop didn’t do much for me. Piper Niven is a talented wrestler, but the Doudrop gimmick is awful.
Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH vs. Natalya and Tamina for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: A solid television match with the champions beating the former champions. I guess we’ll be seeing some makeshift tag teams form now that the company separated the established teams via the draft.
Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo vs. Mustafa Ali and Mansoor: Blink and you missed it. As is the case with Shayna Baszler, I’m surprised that the Garza and Carrillo push started before they were drafted to Smackdown. WWE typically has wrestlers lose matches before they change brands, so it was nice to see them do something different by building up two acts before they were moved.
WWE Raw Misses
Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair in a non-title match: The match landed in the Miss section because the first meeting between the two should have been saved for something bigger than filling the Raw main event slot. The match concluded with the expected finish of Becky Lynch interfering, which felt a little too similar to Lynch getting involved in the Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks match on Smackdown.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin: Alexander and Benjamin’s return to The Hurt Business is off to a rough start. They were manhandled by Goldberg and then took this quick loss to the New Day duo. I would have been fine with Woods winning King of the Ring until he felt the need to obnoxiously yell “crown me” into the camera after winning the match.
Paul Heyman, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso: Roman Reigns telling the Usos to leave Heyman for dead if he didn’t get them drafted to Smackdown was an intriguing development on Smackdown. There was no reason to think the Usos would be moved to Raw, but I still expected more of a story than the duo simply being drafted to Raw with the brand’s first pick of the night.
Randy Orton, Riddle, AJ Styles, and Omos: All that just to hit AJ Styles with an RKO? The Orton and Riddle odd couple pairing has been unexpected fun overall, but I can’t remember the last time that Riddle delivered a truly funny line.