By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Kevin Owens and Austin Theory: Outstanding mic work by Owens. The circumstances and dialogue were completely different and yet this promo reminded me of the great promo that Jon Moxley delivered on AEW Dynamite last week. Moxley did a brilliant job of putting over what he feels the AEW World Championship represents, while Owens showed similar passion while detailing the qualities required to be the face of WWE. Theory’s petulant response to Owens was a sign that the company is not flipping the switch on his character evolving from his current role as an obnoxious pest heel. Even so, Owens made this a great segment and did a terrific job of setting the table or his match with Theory while also offering a strong endorsement of Johnny Gargano.
Edge vs. Dominik Mysterio: The match was enjoyable and laid out in a way that made Dom’s offense believable. Dom didn’t turn heel and suddenly become a world beater in the ring. Rather, it took outside interference from Rhea Ripley and targeting Edge’s previously injured knee for Dom to maintain any offensive control. The build to the match was top notch in that we heard from all of the players involved. Rey Mysterio did a nice job as the distressed father who desperately wanted to make his son see the light, and then also making a late plea to Edge to give him more time to talk sense into Dom. Edge’s reasoning for going forward with the match was solid, and Dom and Ripley’s backstage pre-tape was strong.
Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor: Riddle’s feud with Seth Rollins continues to be one of the hotter programs in WWE. Rollins refusing to give Riddle a rematch is such a simple and effective way of building fan interest for the inevitable second match of their program. The creative team is showing a real commitment to making the Judgment Day faction successful. They were all over this episode and this was a rare case of a distraction finish that felt logical in that it put more heat on Rollins while giving Balor a needed win.
Johnny Gargano vs. Chad Gable: A hot match that was given plenty of time and a clean finish. Gable plays a great comedic goofball, but all of the comedy and his history of losing makes it tough to see him as a threat to beat most wrestlers regardless of how good his matches are. The “shooosh” thing just isn’t as over as the writers seem to think it is, and I really hope Gable eventually tones down the comedy and is positioned as the great wrestler that he is. Gargano is off to a good start on the main roster. Corey Graves and Byron Saxton put Gargano over nicely on commentary, and the live crowds are reacting favorably to him.
Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: A soft Hit. It wasn’t pretty, but the right team went over. In retrospect, I have no idea why they put the titles on Rodriguez and Aliyah in the first place.
WWE Raw Misses
Bianca Belair vs. Sonya Deville for the Raw Women’s Championship: Jimmy Smith’s overreaction to Deville crossing over from Smackdown to serve as the open challenger was hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The live crowd clearly didn’t feel the same, as they were a lively bunch for most of the night and clearly faded during this predictable match.
The Miz and Dexter Lumis: Lumis showing up inside the house after Miz and Maryse left felt predictable and flat. There was no sense of tension or mystery, and it just followed the usual formula with Lumis. That said, it will all make perfect sense if it turns out that Lumis is just a big fan of Miz & Mrs. and he is doing all of this because he desperately wants a selfie with the show’s true star Marjo.
Omos’s handicap match: More of an in the middle for a typical Omos squash match win. It seems like the creative forces have no idea what to do with Omos, so they’re just putting him on television every few weeks to keep him in the mix until they figure out something.
After Omos won I was waiting to hear Braun’s music to hit and him come down and there be a face off & MVP would then make Omos back away as they trash talked back and forth.
Might have to wait on that one. Strowman is apparently a Smackdown wrestler. But I’m sure they’ll get to it eventually since there’s nothing else or Omos.