By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Matt Riddle vs. Damian Priest: An entertaining main event capped off by a clean win for Riddle despite the rest of Judgment Day being at ringside. It was refreshing to see a clean finish to a Raw main event. Riddle continues to be one of the most over characters in the company and I really like the edge that they’ve added to his character. He’s still comedically goofy in the way that made fans embrace him, but now he can flip the switch and become more serious when the situation calls for it. Edge’s latest return didn’t pack much of a punch because it feels like he has these big return moments too frequently.
Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins: A pay-per-view quality match. Rollins has great matches with everyone, and Rey is a freak of nature for still working at such a high level at his age and given the major knee problems he’s battled over the years. The interference with Dom distracting his father while Rhea Ripley hit Rey from behind was an example of good storytelling through an interference finish.
Kevin Owens and Johnny Gargano vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis: A fun tag team match. There was no real mystery regarding the outcome even once Austin Theory showed up at ringside and that’s only because Gable and Otis lose so frequently. While this wasn’t the time to put them over, Gable and Otis are really good together. It would be nice to see them pushed as a team that feels like a threat to beat anyone rather than as the pushovers of the tag team division that they have become.
Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles: Zayn’s act continues to be among my favorite things in all of pro wrestling. He’s going to have a hell of a babyface run once The Bloodline turns on him, but in the meantime it is hilarious to watch his ego soar now that he’s been officially declared as an Honorary Uce. Solo Sikoa interfering in this match was another example of good storytelling through an interference finish rather than just being a lazy copout. Plus, I wouldn’t complain if it leads to a Styles vs. Sikoa match. The story of Finn Balor attempting to recruit Styles for Judgment Day is solid, and I continue to wonder whether Styles has help on the way in the form of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.
Candice LeRae vs. Nikki ASH: A mild Hit for a quick debut win for LeRae. She didn’t get the rock star crowd reaction for her first appearance like her husband did, so there’s work to be done when it comes to establishing her act on the main roster. ASH crying in the corner of the ring while holding her superhero mask after the match is the latest example of her character showing frustration. For whatever it’s worth, Nikki played a great maniacal heel in Sanity, and a similar character could fit nicely in a Bray Wyatt faction. That’s just a shot in the dark, but it would explain why it is taking so long for ASH to be repackaged.
Omos in a handicap match: The match itself was par for the course when it comes to Omos squashes. The reason this landed in the Hit section was the line from MVP, who stated on commentary that Braun Strowman is the Monster of All Monsters, but Omos is the one true giant. Obviously, they are working toward a battle of the big men. A Strowman vs. Omos match won’t be pretty, but it is marketable and good use of both men.
WWE Raw Misses
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Iyo Sky in a non-title match: The match was solid and yet both wrestlers have had better outings. The Miss is more about the match going needlessly long following another flat verbal exchange between Damage CTRL and the chemistry devoid trio of Belair, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. WWE normally loads up the opening segment of Raw because they know it’s occurring before the Monday Night Football game starts. In this case, it actually felt like they put the least compelling segment on first. On the bright side, I am more interested in Belair vs. Bayley at Extreme Rules now that it’s a ladder match.