By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Big E vs. Austin Theory for the WWE Championship: This is in no way an endorsement of Theory being revealed as the person who stole Vince McMahon’s golden egg (more on that later). But it was a good night for Theory, who held his own in the backstage segment with Vince McMahon, and then had a good in-ring performance in his highest profile match to date. The bickering between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens continues to point to the two of them challenging Big E in a Triple Threat, so it will be interesting to see where Theory goes from here.
Damian Priest vs. Sami Zayn for the U.S. Championship: A soft Hit for the predictable, yet entertaining match. Priest showing off his “devilish side” is already making his matches feel formula in that nothing that happens seems to matter until he gets angry. I like that he’s added a mean streak, but hopefully it’s something that will be saved for key moments rather than becoming a fixture in all of his matches.
Seth Rollins and Finn Balor: A good beatdown angle with Rollins leaving Balor lying after a pair of Stomps. It put some heat on Rollins despite paling in comparison to some of the things that he did to Edge during their feud.
Bobby Lashley vs. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio in a handicap match: A Hit for entertainment value alone. Lashley has been well established as a badass heel to the point that it did more harm to the Mysterios to lose the handicap match than it did to help Lashley. Even so, this was one of the few matches that the live crowd got up for, so it worked in the moment.
Rhea Ripley and Nikki ASH vs. Queen Zelina and Carmella for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles: I’m all for the title change, as it make Zelina and Camella more relevant and ideally frees up Ripley to move back into the singles division once the obligatory rematches occur. Carmella’s new mask is far less disturbing than the last model, but it looks like something she made out of a Fruit Roll-Up. She plays the vanity gimmick well and the mask gimmick feels needless and just hasn’t caught on.
Bianca Belair vs. Tamina: A showcase win for Belair. The post match attack by Doudrop was logical given that she and Belair are feuding. I didn’t know what to make of Doudrop walking off with Natalya and Tamina considering that Natalya was merely on loan from Smackdown for the night.
WWE Raw Misses
Vince McMahon’s golden egg mystery: Vince McMahon actually returned to television for this insanity. No, really, think about that. And while it’s certainly possible that the whodunnit style story will give WWE a boost in the ratings this week, the story was such a letdown that it’s hard to imagine the company retaining any extra viewers who watched to see how it would unfold. And then there was the issue of Vince announcing that everyone from Smackdown had to be at Raw. Naturally, fans would anticipate seeing top acts such as Roman Reigns, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, The Usos, and Drew McIntyre. Rather, we got Natalya at ringside, and a bunch of Smackdown mid-card wrestlers chasing after the 24/7 Title and searching for a damn egg. And if the prize for finding the egg was a shot at the WWE Championship, why did Rhea Ripley and other women even waste their time by frantically searching for it? Believe me, I could go on. But the point is that WWE made a lot of fans get their hopes up for something special only to let them down again.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. AJ Styles and Omos: Dawkins’ big plan was to spray his opponents with a fire extinguisher and take a disqualification loss. I assume this will lead to another match where they simply put over Omos again, though perhaps we get the usual singles matches between the teams before we get back to the tag match. That seems to be the usual segment killing formula as WWE struggles to fill the three hours of Raw.
Riddle vs. Dolph Ziggler: Riddle dressing up like Orton to the extent that he wore fake facial hair felt more disturbing than comical. And perhaps this will end up taking a darker turn with Riddle becoming obsessed with Orton, but it seems like we already have something similar playing out on Smackdown with Sheamus and Ridge Holland. Orton showed no signs of being bothered by Riddle’s cosplay routine, so this appears to have been a comedic attempt that missed the mark with this viewer. Sadly, that’s been true of most Riddle segments over the last couple of months.
WWE 24/7 Title changes: Cedric Alexander won the title and then dropped it seconds later to Dana Brooke. While this may be the comedy title, the funniest thing about the segment was the way they tried to make this feel like a meaningful win for Brooke. The title is a joke and we’ve already seen them do the bit where the men don’t want to pin a female champion. We’ll see where this goes, but if they are out of new ideas, then why not pull the plug on this repetitive silliness?