By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. The Street Profits in a non-title match: A good tag team main event. There was no mystery regarding the outcome given that the Usos challenged RK-Bro to a title unification match, but it was still well worked with some very good near falls. It will be interesting to see if they follow through with the unification of the tag team titles and just how long it will last if they do. I’m not sure how serious the company is about sticking with the unification of their titles. There’s been no talk of doing it with the women’s singles titles. And it’s not like they’ve gone out of their way to raise the value of the secondary men’s titles, which would seem like something they would do if there’s only going to be one men’s world championship for an extended period.
Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz: The Miz TV opening was a great idea in that it established friction between the two characters rather than just rushing them into a match with no build. The only negative is that it led to Cody’s entrance being overexposed in that we saw it twice in an hour. The match went a little longer than it needed to given that Miz is positioned as a pest heel, but no damage was done and the Rhodes return is off to a good start. Meanwhile, Seth Rollins said all the right things to set up the rematch with Rhodes by talking about how he had the disadvantage at WrestleMania because he didn’t know he would be facing Rhodes until bell time.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Queen Zelina in a non-title match, Sonya Deville attack: The match was wisely limited to a couple of minutes, as no one in their right mind viewed Zelina as a threat to beat the new champion in her first match on Raw since winning the title. The post match angle with Deville getting Belair to sign the open challenge contract and then attacking her and revealing herself as Belair’s next challenger was effective. I like that match a lot on paper because while there’s no reason to expect a title change, Deville’s authority figure role makes her seem like more of a threat than most because of her ability to stack the deck against Belair.
Veer Mahaan vs. Dominik Mysterio: The dominant squash match win that Mahaan needs during his reintroduction. The post match angle with Dom being stretchered out was somewhat effective. I continue to hope that there’s more to the Mahaan gimmick than the grunting foreign menace heel that we currently see. And, no, that doesn’t mean I’m hoping for a more references to his baseball background that most of the audience is unfamiliar with.
Bobby Lashley, Omos, and MVP: A solid segment with an easy to follow explanation from MVP for why he turned on Lashley. I don’t have high hopes for this feud due to the in-ring limitations of Omos, but they established the foundation nicely.
WWE Raw Misses
AJ Styles vs. Damian Priest: The lights going out for a second followed by the Edge lighting turning and somehow causing this match to end without explanation was ridiculous. I really want to like Edge’s growing faction, but they’re not making it easy.
Raw Tag Team Champions “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis in a non-title match: Been there and done that. The matches between these teams are always Hit worthy from an in-ring quality standpoint. We’ve simply seen RK-Bro beat Alpha Academy too many times lately, and Alpha Academy have taken too many losses in general. Gable and Otis had a really good thing going before they dropped the tag titles. They are still a fun act, but all of these recent losses have defined them down.
Liv Morgan vs. Naomi: This oddball feud saw Morgan beat Sasha Banks on Smackdown because she wanted to gain momentum for her team heading into their scheduled WWE Women’s Tag Title match that ended up being postponed. They went with this match instead and this time Naomi beat Morgan clean to erase that supposed momentum. It all feels flat and Banks still feels horribly underutilized in the women’s tag team division that typically consists of two teams – the champions and whatever makeshift team they are facing. By the way, I had a brain fart while doing my audio review for Dot Net Members last night while assuming “the protocol” that Jimmy Smith mentioned to explain Ripley’s absence was concussion related. It could have been that, but the fact that the company is already advertising her return for next week may also mean that her absence was Covid protocol related.