By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Becky Lynch and Lita: The best segment of the night. Lita was one of the most over acts on the roster, and she’s one of the few wrestlers who can actually make a live crowd boo Lynch. They told a good story regarding their history together and Lynch had some strong lines. Only time will tell whether they can make this work in the ring, but they’ve done a really nice job of setting the table for their Raw Women’s Championship match.
Quiz Bowl with RKBro and Alpha Academy: The creative forces clearly put some thought into this segment. Chad Gable is thriving as an obnoxious heel, and the live crowd had some fun with the odd couple babyface team that continues to have a longer shelf life than I ever would have anticipated.
Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory: A Hit for the entertaining in-ring work, but the creative forces really need to give Theory a sustained push. At least it seems like they are trying to tell a story with Owens being upset that he can’t get in the Elimination Chamber match after avenging his loss in last week’s qualifier.
The Miz vs. Dominik Mysterio: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. They set up the need for a rubber match that nobody asked for.
WWE Raw Misses
Randy Orton and Riddle vs. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens: This started as Riddle vs. Rollins and became a tag match following a throwaway disqualification finish. Why? The tag team match struck me as being the more marketable match of the two, but why not just pick one and stick with it rather than using the tired WWE trope of having a bad singles mach finish set up an impromptu tag team match?
Raw Tag Team Champions “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins in a non-title match: The match was fine and I suppose the creative forces deserve some credit for not slipping into their old ways by having their champions lose non-title matches in two matches on the same show. But why did this match even take place? The Profits are taking too many losses for a team that will surely be booked as contenders to the tag titles again post WrestleMania if not sooner. It’s not that the Profits can’t lose, but it should mean something when they do.
U.S. Champion Damian Priest vs. AJ Styles in a non-title match: This match just happened with no storyline build. For that matter, Styles turned babyface randomly one week during the build to his forgettable one-off feud with Omos. And now it looks like Priest might be on the verge of turning heel given the death stare he gave Styles after taking a clean loss in this match. I’m open to the idea of Priest turning heel if that’s where this is going. I just wish they had done a better job of setting up the Styles babyface run because his character feels flat at the moment.
Alexa Bliss in therapy: These skits are starting to feel nearly as repetitive as the weekly Veer Mahaan “Coming To Raw” videos. Lilly or no Lilly (and I pray that it’s no Lilly), it’s time to cut to the chase with Bliss.
Bianca Belair vs. Nikki ASH: The match was fine, but did it really need to happen? Why not give both Elimination Chamber entrants separate wins rather than define one of them down heading into the match? For that matter, why didn’t they give a couple of television matches some meaning by going with a couple of Chamber match qualifiers like they did for the men’s match? There’s not much depth in the women’s division, but I assure you that no one would be looking at the 24/7 Title division any differently today had Dana Brooke and Tamina been booked to take qualifying match losses.
Liv Morgan vs. Doudrop: See Belair vs. ASH, and here’s my weekly complaint about the bad name holding back Piper Niven.