By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Becky Lynch: The most impressive performance of the night. Lynch delivered a hard-hitting babyface promo to set up her Survivor Series match with Charlotte Flair, and then pivoted perfectly into being the heel once Liv Morgan came out to confront her. It’s not ideal that Lynch is being asked to play both roles, but it was pretty damn impressive that she pulled it off so effectively. I didn’t include Liv Morgan in the Hit because it doesn’t feel like her character has fully clicked. She has fans and I suspect that a lot of them are the type of fans who have watched WWE’s shoulder content and know her story. Unfortunately, her story has never been told on Raw or Smackdown, meaning the vast majority of fans are only familiar with her generic on-air character. This needs to change.
Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor: A good match with a surprisingly clean finish. Owens was really good on the mic as he tried to establish that he had been sincere in recent weeks, yet no one believed him, so now he is going to be the monster that people think he is. While one loss won’t make or break Balor, they really need to get him into a meaningful program. It’s early in his latest Raw run, but he feels directionless at the moment.
Big E, Randy Orton, and Riddle vs. Seth Rollins, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso: I don’t even know why they bothered going with the tag match that preceded this when it was so painfully obvious that it would lead to a six-man tag match. Anyway, it turned out to be a good match with a lot of star power. This match didn’t feel like enough to justify WWE having the Usos use one of their allotted crossovers in the brand to brand invitational, but I honestly don’t even know if that’s still a thing. Even if it is, it’s not like the creative forces won’t just completely ignore it if they end up in a situation where they want to have an act cross over that has already burned through the allowed number of appearances on the other brand’s show.
The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy: A good television win for the Profits. As much as I would like to see creative get behind Chad Gable, he’s clearly cast as the fall guy of his tag team. Meanwhile, Otis is the protected powerhouse and one can only assume that the plan is for him to eventually challenge Big E for the WWE Championship.
Rhea Ripley vs. Carmella: The Ripley and Nikki ASH tag team can’t split quickly enough. If nothing else, at least the creative forces are booking Ripley strong even if she looks completely out of place while teaming with a kid friendly character. By the way, I enjoy Carmella’s work and her vanity gimmick, but that mask is an eyesore in a turn the channel kind of way.
Bianca Belair vs. Tamina: A solid showcase win for Belair. While the outcome was never in doubt, it wasn’t an all out squash match. It came off like Belair had to work for her win, and it’s good to protect Tamina to some extent since you know that they’ll try to push her as an in-ring powerhouse heading into the Royal Rumble match.
WWE Raw Misses
Survivor Series build: Monday’s Raw was a step back from the two previous episodes, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they were trying to serve two masters. They gave the Survivor Series the minimal amount of hype while also focussing on the regular feuds that will continue after Sunday’s pay-per-view. I like that they didn’t put all of their regular storylines on hold for this idiotic brand supremacy pay-per-view, but the build to Survivor Series has been abysmal. This was a bad go-home show and my only interest in Survivor Series is in seeing some of the champion vs. champion matches, not because of a single story that WWE has told to set up the pay-per-view matches.
Bobby Lashley vs. Rey Mysterio: We’ve seen better in-ring work from these two, but the match quality wasn’t the problem. This just felt out of place as the show’s main event. Lashley belongs in the main event scene. Rey is a legend and he should mean more, but he has taken so many losses that he needs a strong story to justify his place in a main event match. And, man, did they milk this out with entrances, commercials, and video packages to fill the last thirty minutes of the show, The post match angle with Adam Pearce replacing Rey with Austin Theory on Team Raw was fine in terms of putting a little heat on Pearce, but it’s only good for a small dose of heat due to the obvious lack of interest amongst fans in the elimination matches. By the way, where was MVP?
AJ Styles and Omos vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler: Which heel team did they want fans to root for? And why were Roode and Ziggler protected over the last two weeks only to become squash match fodder for Omos?
Nikki ASH vs. Queen Zelina: A grown woman dressed as a superhero facing a grown woman who thinks she’s a queen because she won a pro wrestling tournament. Need I say more?