By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Braun Strowman vs. Chad Gable: The most entertaining match of the night. I honestly thought there was a chance that Gable would be fed to Strowman quickly. Rather, Gable got plenty of offense, including that impressive German suplex into a bridge. Strowman was ice cold when he was released by the company, but the time away has done a world of good. Strowman seems more motivated and the fans are firmly behind him.
AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor and Damian Priest: A good tag team match that put more heat on the Judgment Day faction. The most interesting development was Styles taking issue with Rey getting caught up at ringside in the drama with Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley. It was surprising to see Styles shove Mysterio, and it seems like they want us to think that he could be turning heel. My best guess remains that he’ll be calling in some Good Brothers of his to help him in his feud with Judgment Day.
Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle face to face segment: Okay, so it was odd that Daniel Cormier acted like it was a surprise that he would be the special referee for the Fight Pit match. I’m guessing he taped this before they put the story out there. Even so, the intensity between Riddle and Rollins was strong and I’m looking forward to their match as much as anything on the Fight Pit card. All of that said, the creative forces have to know that it comes off really bad when Rollins says Riddle isn’t allowed to see his children and there’s no explanation given as to why.
Bianca Belair and Bayley contract signing: A solid segment. Bayley playing on her history as an adored babyface and then blaming the fans for rejecting her was a nice touch. For that matter, Belair stating that the fans rejected Bayley because she was inauthentic was a nice rebuttal.
Solo Sikoa vs. Angelo Dawkins: Sikoa continues to shine and The Bloodline continues to be the best thing going on pro wrestling television. The intensity between Jey Uso and Sami Zayn felt like it was turned up a notch, and their bickering made the match feel slightly less predictable.
Bobby Lashley vs. Mustafa Ali in a non-title match: A well worked match that was laid out to make Ali show a lot of heart despite taking the loss. The post match attack by Seth Rollins was an interesting development. It left me wondering if the plan is for Matt Riddle to beat him in the Fight Pit, only for Rollins to get his heat back with a title win the next night on Raw.
WWE Raw Misses
Iyo Sky vs. Alexa Bliss: Nothing about this match felt main event worthy. While I realize that the company doesn’t always save its biggest television match for last these days, there is a natural expectation from viewers that the show should close with something that feels important. Bliss’s character has been lousy for a long time and there’s obviously a lot of suspicion that she could end up aligned with a returning Bray Wyatt. Bliss may end up feeling like she belongs in television main events soon, but she’s not there now. On the bright side, the show closing angle with Damage CTRL standing tall heading into Bayley’s ladder match with Bianca Belair at Extreme Rules was nicely done.
Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai: They showed LeRae being chummy with Bianca Belair’s crew prior to the match and yet she still went to the ring alone and fell victim to the Damage CTRL’s numbers advantage. The two live crowds have not been very responsive for LeRae, so it will be interesting to see if she can win over the fans.
Johnny Gargano vs. Otis: Perhaps Gargano’s character would have been prepared for the outside interference had he paid attention to his wife’s match. It was strange to go from LeRae being outnumbered to the backstage shot of Gargano walking backstage with no sign of concern. The work in this match was fine, but it was a groaner to see back to back matches end due to outside interference. In this case, at least Austin Theory hitting Gargano with the Money in the Bank briefcase helped set up their match for next week’s Raw.
Maybe I am just being optimistic but I feel like these last 3-4 weeks have been leading to SOMETHING big.
I guess we ARE all waiting for the White Rabbit reveal and I am assuming it’s Bray and he is not coming alone. The seeds have been planted for some type of takeover – as there have been Bray hints (or red herrings I suppose) on all 3 brands
I am hoping that the end of Extreme Rules and the following RAW are the reset we have been awaiting since HHH took over
I really like Ali and I wish he would get a solid push as a face. Being a D bag towards Lashley is not very endearing to the fans. Also, turning him heel again, I feel, would be a mistake. After a few weeks of Retribution, no one cared about him. People need to see the positive, all heart Ali from 205 Live that captured the crowd, not a D bag slapping a man twice his size just for a match. I really want to see Ali flourish.
Riddle says he’s going to kill his opponent, wrestlers are making their own matches, and nothing mentioned about either….and the explanation for bringing in the “you dont get to see your kids” comment is “they should explain why.”
The hypocrisy in what’s ok and what’s not depending on the company involved is deafening.
The kids comment was also covered in audio. I tried to give you the courtesy of an explanation about the keyboard, Mike. But now I’ll just let you take it up with Greatest One, who has accused me of being biased against WWE. Can’t win.