By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins: I missed Cody’s initial promo due to a brief weather related power outage, and unfortunately that clip isn’t available on the WWE YouTube page. Nevertheless, I enjoyed what I saw of the verbal exchange and the spirited pull apart brawl that followed. Rollins came through with one of his better promos in recent memory to give one last push to their Hell in a Cell match.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Asuka in a non-title match: A good opening match with a clean finish that took me by surprise. Asuka took a loss to Becky Lynch last week, and with Lynch sitting in on commentary, I assumed that we’d get some type of copout finish. Rather, they put the champion over clean and had Lynch attack them both afterward. Belair had faded into the background a bit in recent weeks while the company scrambled to set up the Triple Threat in the wake of Sasha Banks and Naomi walking out. This was a good and needed win for Belair heading into what should be a strong match on Sunday.
WWE Unified Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Riddle in a non-title match: While Nakamura and Riddle lack the charm that Riddle and Randy Orton have together, this was a solid way to introduce them as a team on Raw. I actually liked the DQ finish in this case. The Usos have lost a lot of non-title matches in the past. It’s logical to make them look strong by not having them take too many non-title losses now that they are the only tag team champions in WWE. The match accomplished what it needed to by making Riddle and Nakamura look like threats to the Usos without having the Usos take a clean loss.
Mustafa Ali vs. Ciampa (and Ali vs. Theory): More of the same with Ali looking sympathetic while Theory wields the power that comes with being the protege of Vince McMahon. It was odd that Adam Pearce was booked to say that Vince wants a fair fight between Theory and Ali, but it could always be a swerve. While none of this sent Ali into the title match with a lot of momentum, he should benefit from the match taking place in his hometown of Chicago. Here’s hoping that Ali and Theory get plenty of time on Sunday because they could produce one of the better matches on the Hell in a Cell show.
Rhea Ripley vs. Liv Morgan: A quality match. Edge had the night off, so it was the babyface team’s turn to have the numbers advantage over Judgment Day. I wonder if a new member will join Edge’s faction on Sunday to help give them the win.
Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Ezekiel vs. Kevin Owens, Chad Gable, and Otis: Owens continues to work his magic. The Ezekiel gag is one note, but Owens having weekly breakdowns due to his obsession of proving that Ezekiel is actually Elias has made for some really fun television. Everyone else felt like they were along for the ride in this match from a storyline standpoint, which is fine considering that the other four are not advertised for Hell in a Cell.
WWE Raw Misses
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos and MVP contract signing: The forgettable contract signing made for a flat ending to Raw. Lashley really needs to move on from this feud, but I have a bad feeling that they are going to stretch this out at least another month.
Alexa Bliss vs. Doudrop: The match was fine and his was more of an in the middle segment. It’s refreshing to see Bliss working as something other than Lady Fiend. The negative is that Doudrop recently asked Nikki ASH if she was ready to get serious, and neither character has changed anything since then. Doudrop needs a new name and Nikki needs to drop the superhero schtick and take her last name back now that Karrion Kross is no longer with the company.
24/7 Championship: The tired comedy belt just won’t go away. I was disappointed to see Apollo Crews and T-Bar show up in this segment last night. It’s a big step down for Crews, and I really wanted to see T-Bar join Judgment Day. I suppose he still could, but one would think that they would keep him away from the comedy skits if they were going to repackage him by adding him to the heel faction. By the way, I also missed The Street Profits on Miz TV due to the power outage, and that’s another segment that’s unavailable via the WWE YouTube page. I’m sure it was a segment for the ages and my life will feel empty and incomplete until I find a way to see it (or something).