By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Chad Gable and Otis vs. Randy Orton and Riddle vs. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens in a Triple Threat for the Raw Tag Titles: An excellent tag title match that was given nearly thirty minutes. Everyone involved did a fantastic job and some of the near falls were outstanding. Orton using his version of the F-word and talking about how much fun he’s having while teaming with Riddle was cool to hear from his character. Was it a moment of sincerity or a way of setting the table for an upcoming RK-Bro split? More than anything, I hope that Gable and Otis won over the creative forces during their brief run with the tag titles. It would be a shame to see them slip back into undercard obscurity after they emerged as such a great act both in the ring and via Gable’s mic work.
Kevin Owens calls out Steve Austin: A good show-closing segment with Owens using fun logic for eliminating the other Texas legends from being his WrestleMania KO Show guests before extending the invitation to Steve Austin. Today’s video with Austin accepting the invitation was top notch with Austin making it clear that things are going to get physical between the two. They stopped short of labeling this a match, but the important thing is that it feels like something more than a throwaway talkshow segment.
Edge’s promo: Edge turned on AJ Styles last week and reinvented himself this week. The camera effect was unique and I’m anxious to see where Edge takes this new persona.
Bron Breakker and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode: Breakker’s Raw debut left me with mixed feelings. It was hardly the big night after WrestleMania style debut that we’ve come to expect from high level NXT talent. And I wasn’t a fan of the spot where Breakker was on the verge of being pinned by Ziggler and needed Ciampa to break up the pin. But Breakker did look good throughout the match and got the win for his team. The fact that he pinned Ziggler seems to suggest that I was on to something in my NXT 2.0 Hit List speculation last week that they could end up going with Ziggler winning the NXT Championship in tonight’s Triple Threat to set up Breakker taking the title back at the NXT Stand & Deliver event. I guess we’ll find out the about the first half of that tonight.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Queen Zelina and Carmella vs. Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan in a non-title match: Ripley and Morgan won this match to earn a spot in the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania. Their one win is actually more than the team of Sasha Banks and Naomi did to earn a spot in the same match. I wish the creative forces cared more about the women’s tag titles, but it is good to see Ripley and Morgan get an actual match on the show rather than being relegated to a battle royal. Ripley had a wheel spinning year coming out of last year’s WrestleMania, so hopefully the creative forces have real plans for her coming out of this year’s event.
Omos vs. Apollo Crews: The match was more of the same from Omos. The post match angle with Commander Azeez seemed to set up a battle of the big men for WrestleMania. It remains to be seen whether they will have a singles match or if this is something for the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal. And while I have no expectation that they will produce a strong match, it’s not all about match quality, as there are fans who will want to see these monsters collide.
WWE Raw Misses
Miz, Logan Paul, and Jerry Lawler homecoming: A soft Miss for a harmless segment. Miz playing to his hometown crowd and then turning on them was a cute house show style gag, but there really wasn’t much more to the segment. It was nice to see Lawler, but I was surprised that he wasn’t pegged as a strong defender of Cleveland once Miz turned on his hometown. I did laugh over Logan Paul trying to play to the Cleveland crowd and still getting booed. He’s made a lot of money off of people who despise him, and this WrestleMania payday is just the latest example of that.
U.S. Champion Finn Balor vs. Austin Theory in a non-title match: The match was well worked and the Miss is more about the weak follow-up to Damian Priest turning heel. Coming out of last week’s show, the biggest storyline developments were that turn and Edge attacking AJ Styles. The Priest turn was treated like an afterthought throughout most of this show, as it wasn’t even mentioned until the third hour. That said, I assume he’ll continue to get more heat as they create the need for Balor to bring out his Demon persona at WrestleMania.