By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Braun Strowman returns: I didn’t care for the way he returned (more on that later), but this is a good re-signing for WWE. As flat as Strowman’s act was when by the time he was released, he was a successful main event level act at one time. The live crowd popped big for his return and it seemed like absence made the heart grow fonder. Hopefully the terms of his new deal include Strowman handing over his Twitter account to WWE. I’m only half joking.
Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory: Another strong week for Owens, who has been on a tear since Paul Levesque took over as head of creative. Owens seems to have turned babyface even though there was not an actual turn moment. I’m not a fan of that approach in most cases, but the fans love the guy and seem fully behind him. Theory continues to be an obnoxious pest heel and fans enjoy seeing him get put in his place. It’s working for him in his current slot on the card, but it still feels like he’ll need a character shift if he’s going to emerge as a reliable main event player.
Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz in a cage match for the U.S. Championship: They got another week out of Lashley vs. Miz when I didn’t think it was possible. The pre-match attack by Miz and Tommaso Ciampa was really well done in terms of at least trying to create the perception that Lashley could lose. The final bit with Miz climbing over the top of the cage only to find Dexter Lumis lying on his back and looking up at him was clever.
Rey Mysterio vs. Damian Priest: It was a good night for the the Rey and Edge vs. Judgment Day feud. It seemed like Dominik aged five years when he went from being his father’s babyface tag team partner to being Emo Dom with The Judgment Day. Rey did a nice job of trying to talk Edge down during the opening segment, and then went on to have a good match with Priest. I’m very eager to see how Dom works as a heel inside the ring. Working with Edge and his father gives him a great chance to succeed in his new role.
WWE Raw Misses
New Day vs. Alpha Academy vs. Los Lotharios vs. The Street Profits in a four-way for a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles: It felt like Vince McMahon was back in power when four tag teams were sacrificed to one monster. Why do this when Strowman could have destroyed security guards, hapless jobbers, or even the heroes of the 24/7 division?
WWE Women’s Tag Champs Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Nikki ASH and Doudrop in a non-title match: A flat match coming out of Strowman’s return. There’s no chemistry between Rodriguez and Aliyah, and hopefully the tag titles move to Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai next week so that the babyface duo can move on as singles wrestlers. It was encouraging to see the easter egg (which I missed originally) of ASH tossing her mask at Doudrop in frustration. ASH and Doudrop lost to the WWE and NXT women’s tag team champions on back to back days, so it feels like the time for their makeover is here.