By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Theory, Chad Gable, and Otis: The show peaked in the opening segment. Western gear Brock Lesnar is over huge, and Heyman continues to do great work by essentially cutting promos for Lesnar and Roman Reigns leading up their SummerSlam match. The creative forces are doing a great job of driving home the threat of Theory cashing in on the weary winner of Reigns vs. Lesnar match at SummerSlam. It works on two levels in that they are building up the match to be an epic battle that will take a lot of both men while also playing up the tease of the potential Money in the Bank cash-in. Lesnar’s carnage spot on Alpha Academy was great. Lesnar putting Otis through the table is what most will remember, but those chair shots on Gable looked vicious.
Bobby Lashley and Riddle vs. Seth Rollins and Theory: A strong main event tag match with good action from bell to bell. Dolph Ziggler showing up and surprisingly costing Theory the match was an intriguing development. There’s an interesting story to tell there with Ziggler, who could feud with Theory and later reveal that he did so for his own good because he didn’t want him to cash in and have a disappointing title reign like he did after he cashed in his own MITB contract and then held the world championship for the second and final time during a 69-day reign.
Bianca Belair vs. Carmella for the Raw Women’s Championship: The match went on a little longer than necessary, but I like that they didn’t just have Belair plow through Carmella again. The count-out finish gave them a reason to run this back one more time while also giving Becky Lynch gloating rights for costing Belair the match.
Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor: A good match that felt underwhelming considering that it was billed as their first-ever singles match together. Rey should be presented as the legend that he is, and Balor doesn’t mean nearly as much as he should. If nothing else, I am mildly intrigued by the story of Balor and Damian Priest recruiting Dominik Mysterio to Judgment Day. I assume it all comes to a head when Rey celebrates twenty years in WWE on the July 25 edition of Raw from Madison Square Garden. It will be interesting to see whether they go with the feel good ending or if Dom will turn on his own father.
WWE Raw Misses
Alexa Bliss and Asuka vs. Nikki ASH and Doudrop: A forgettable filler match with a predictable outcome. Corey Graves was back to telling the story that Bliss hasn’t been the same since she went to therapy. Oddly, it seems like Bliss wins whenever Graves is presumably told to take that approach. Whatever happened to ASH and Doudrop agreeing that it was time to take a more serious approach?
Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Omos vs. R-Truth, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins: The usual good action from a match involving the Usos and the Street Profits. This was a Hit until Dawkins took the pin. I’m open to the possibility that it was done for storytelling purposes that will make more sense next week, but in the moment it’s baffling that one of the Profits would take the loss heading into their tag title shot when R-Truth was in the match and could have taken the pin.
AJ Styles and Ezekiel vs. The Miz and Ciampa: A Miz TV segment followed by an eleven-minute match that resulted in a throwaway disqualification finish. It’s nice to see Ciampa involved in something, but he and Miz haven’t shown any initial chemistry as characters, and it feels like the program is in a holding pattern until Logan Paul returns next week.