By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins for the U.S. Championship: The show peaked with the opening match, which was likely by design given that it was the only 30-minute period where the show would be opposed by only one of last night’s two NFL games. Rollins is on a magnificent run. I’m still not sure if even he could define his character, he loses more big matches than he wins, and yet the guy remains over and is among the most consistently reliable and entertaining in-ring performers in the business.
Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory: Another quality match from Owens and Theory, only this one was brought down by a distraction finish. If nothing else Johnny Gargano distracting Theory by taking the Money in the Bank briefcase before he could use it as a weapon furthered the issues between the two, and also helped set the table for Gargano teaming with Owens against Alpha Academy next week.
Matt Riddle and Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor and Damian Priest: Another good week for Judgment Day. The creative team continues to put the faction in heat drawing situations, and the Dominik Mysterio heel turn is off to a very good start. The backstage exchange with Finn Balor and AJ Styles left me wondering if we’ll get a Club reunion with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson returning to align with Styles in a feud against Judgment Day.
Ridge Holland and Butch vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins. A good match and the only match on the show that featured a truly clean finish. There was no mystery, as Holland and Butch needed a win heading into their tag title match with the Usos on Smackdown. Say what you will about the Butch character, but Pete Dunne plays the part well and is over, whereas Holland doesn’t have an actual character and has no connection with the fans. Meanwhile, the Profits are spinning their wheels. They are being to give rub to Hit Row on Smackdown, but it doesn’t seem like they have anything meaningful going on beyond that.
Miz TV with Dexter Lumis: An in the middle rather than a true Hit or Miss. This is probably a lot more fun for viewers who didn’t see the Lumis act in NXT. As someone who saw it and enjoyed it more often than not in NXT, it has a feeling of been there and done that on the main roster. Will Tommaso Ciampa ever be more than The Miz’s sidekick?
WWE Raw Misses
Weak match finishes: There were too many long matches that concluded with cheap and unsatisfying finishes. A fair case can be made for each of those finishes and yet they all added up to be the biggest negative of the show. I don’t expect clean finishes in every television match, but WWE needs a better balance. It feels like the creative forces are trying to protect everyone who loses. There are certainly times when it’s logical to protect a match loser, but when it’s done so frequently it hurts the show quality while also limiting the bump that the winning wrestlers should get from going over.
Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss: There was nothing about this match that felt main event. The broadcast team did their best to sell viewers on the history between the two, but it just didn’t register with me. Bliss, Bianca Belair, and Asuka are not good together. Belair is a strong champion who would be better off standing on her own. Bliss and Asuka’s characters are cold and undefined, though at least it feels like they are back to telling a story of Bliss struggling to rediscover the magic following her therapy sessions. Can she start by ditching the damn doll? I don’t care how many dolls they sell, it’s impossible to take Bliss seriously when she’s carrying around a child’s toy.
I would argue it’s impossible to take Bliss seriously because she is about the same size as her child’s toy.
Almost hard to watch these shows when they are shoving Bayley down our throats for the 4th time. After the viewership decline for this week, can we please keep her and DUD CTRL out of Smackdown?