By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins vs. Austin Theory for the U.S. Championship: I despise the idea of a Money in the Bank winner being permitted to cash in the contract for anything less than a world championship. It’s silly enough that the winners don’t save their contract for a WrestleMania main event, but it’s absurd to cash in for a secondary championship. Putting that aside, this was a strong closing segment. Bobby Lashley attacking Rollins and leaving him prone for the Theory attack was really well done. And I was truly surprised when Lashley pulled the referee out of the ring to prevent Theory from winning the title. It looks like Rollins has turned babyface and having him survive the MITB cash-in and overcome the Lashley beatdown was an effective way to get the fans even more behind him.
Nikki Cross drops the WWE 24/7 Championship in the trash: That was a babyface turn, right? Any chance Nikki can win the AEW All-Atlantic and Impact Wrestling Digital Media championships too?
Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Solo Sikoa vs. Matt Riddle, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods: A good opening match that played to a flat crowd (more on that later). Sikoa continues to be established as the badass enforcer of The Bloodline. While they could have gone with the formula finish of one of the New Day duo pinning an Uso heading into their tag team title match, I like that the company has pulled back on having their champions take so many non-title losses.
Mia Yim returns to help The OC: Yim’s return moment was awkward, as they missed the shot of her attacking Ripley at ringside. Worse yet, they acted like viewers should be totally familiar with Yim even though she worked as Reckoning when she last appeared on the main roster. Even so, I like the idea of Yim joining The OC to help counter Rhea Ripley.
Johnny Gargano vs. The Miz: A soft Hit for a good Miz match that was also an ordinary Gargano match at the same time. The Gargano character is still an early disappointment. I want to see the hard working underdog who overcomes the odds, not the guy who is way too proud of himself for comedically outsmarting The Miz.
Austin Theory vs. Shelton Benjamin: An in the middle match rather than a real Hit or a Miss. A quick showcase match for Theory and nothing more.
WWE Raw Misses
Baron Corbin vs. Cedric Alexander: I’m baffled by the early lack of tweaking to Corbin’s act. JBL continues to paint a certain picture of Corbin as a wrestling god that is immediately contradicted by Corbin’s smiling entrance and his bad hat.
Elias vs. Otis: It was a pleasant surprise to see Otis go over, but the Elias act continues to feel cold. I wonder if Elias losing due to a Chad Gable distraction will lead to Elias using heel logic by blaming Matt Riddle for not being in his corner. Elias is a fine undercard novelty act, but I really have no interest in seeing him team or feud with Riddle, who continues to lose steam. Riddle’s bongo drum joke was cute the first time and now it’s being run into the ground.
Live Crowd: I don’t know if I’ve ever given a live crowd a Miss before. We’ve all seen bad shows that understandably play to flat crowds, but this was a solid episode overall with some good peak moments. I don’t know if the fans were suffering a World Series hangover after the Phillies came up short or what was going on, but this crowd was just plain lethargic.