By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Big E and Drew McIntyre vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler: I actually preferred where they left things last week coming out of the Big E and McIntyre tag team meltdown. They were back on the same page this week, yet they maintained some level of tension heading into their WWE Championship match at Crown Jewel. By the way, I’m surprised we didn’t get a segment with the full New Day trio together given that this was their last night on the same brand.
Randy Orton and Riddle vs. The Street Profits in a non-title match: WWE backed out of giving a clean finish to this match by instead putting heat on AJ Styles and Omos. The Orton and Riddle act has lost momentum, and a big part of the reason is the writing of the Riddle character. They seem to have lost their touch when it comes to writing good comedic lines for him. WWE typically drags out babyface acts that have clicked to the extent that the Orton and Riddle pairing has, but I still can’t help but wonder if the end is near for RKBro, especially now that the Profits have arrived to potentially serve as challengers if Styles and Omos regain the tag titles.
Bobby Lashley and Goldberg interview: As absurd as all of Goldberg’s threats to kill Lashley are, both men have done a good job of making this feel like an intense feud. And while Goldberg obviously can’t make good on his threats, I must admit that all of the kill threats are something of a hook, as I’d be lying if I said I’m not at least a little curious to see what his character is going to during the match to play into the over the top threats.
Xavier Woods vs. Jinder Mahal in a King of the Ring tournament semifinal match: A soft Hit for Woods advancing to the finals of the tournament that he’s dreamed of winning. I still wish he would speak on television about why the tournament means so much to him given that all or most of his KOTR talk has occurred online. Even so, at least we know there won’t be King Jinder for at least another year.
Austin Theory vs. Jeff Hardy: The actual match gets a Hit with Theory beating Hardy again. The post match parity booking with Hardy getting his revenge in the form of a Twist of Fate and a selfie felt counterproductive when it comes to establishing Theory.
Finn Balor vs. Mace: More of an in the middle than anything for the predictable finish with Balor going over, just as he should have. The post match angle with Balor not tolerating Xavier Woods’ obnoxiousness at the King of the Ring throne was a nice touch to establish some friction between the two heading into the KOTR finals.
WWE Raw Misses
Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship: The body of the match was a big Hit and the best thing on the show. The Miss is entirely for the latest lazy, cheap finish to a big match on WWE television. WWE has conditioned its audience to expect a cheap finish if a television match looks too good on paper. Sure, they might throw viewers a bone every now and again, but they have to know that these big matches they advertise for television don’t feel nearly as must see as they should because a good portion of the audience knows the game.
Shayna Baszler vs. Doudrop in a Queen’s Crown tournament semifinal match: Things were looking up for Baszler in recent weeks. She was dominating her matches and being booked to destroy her adversaries in post match angles. And that’s what made the way she was booked on Raw so confusing. If they wanted Doudrop in the finals, then why not play into Baszler’s recent antics by having her get disqualified for ignoring the referee while attacking Doudrop? It could have made Doudrop sympathetic heading into the King of the Ring finals while also protecting Baszler. Rather, they made Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch finisher look bad by having Doudrop sit in the hold for what felt like an eternity before she finally leveraged onto Baszler and pinned her.
Mansoor vs. Cedric Alexander: A quick win for Mansoor heading into his usual victory in Saudi Arabia. But why did it come at the expense of Alexander? WWE’s creative forces put Alexander and Shelton Benjamin back in The Hurt Business without explanation and continue to book them as the scrubs their characters became when they were removed from the group.