By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor in an elimination match for a shot at the U.S. Championship: A fun match that filled a lot of time and ended up telling an interesting story that appears to be setting up the return of the Hurt Business (plus Omos). It was interesting to hear Corey Graves acknowledge that things haven’t been going well for Corbin despite being aligned with JBL. Hopefully it’s a sign that a shakeup is coming. The only real mystery of the six-way was weather Lashley or Rollins would win. The match was laid out in a way to make Rollins look as strong as ever despite taking the final pin.
Dominik Mysterio and Damian Priest vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis: Prison hardened Dom continues to be an absolute riot, and Corey Graves gets an assist for adding to the fun with his color commentary in recent weeks. My main takeaway from the match is that while Gable and Otis came out to a flat reaction, they completely won over the crowd by the end of match.
Bronson Reed vs. Akira Tozawa: An outstanding showcase. Reed’s offense looked awesome. I honestly can’t remember the last time a wrestler shined in a squash match as much as Reed did.
“The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin: A good match despite the flub with MVP showing up late for a spot in the corner. Dawkins was over big and it’s still refreshing to see WWE babyfaces win in their hometowns. Unfortunately, we’re all left wondering how much longer that will last with Vince McMahon looming in the background.
Solo Sikoa vs. Mustafa Ali: Sikoa continues to rack up wins as the enforcer of The Bloodline. Meanwhile, Ali’s character has reached a new low in that not even Dolph Ziggler wants to be his tag team partner.
Overall show: WWE produced a quality show rather than phone it in due to facing stiff competition from an NFL playoff game. They filled the three hours nicely and did a good job of hyping Monday’s Raw XXX show.
WWE Raw Misses
Becky Lynch and Bayley: The segment overstayed its welcome and needlessly took a stroll down memory lane in a way that had to leave some viewers in the dark. The cage match will likely be a very good match, but it just doesn’t feel as big as it should. The Bayley character is the problem. She is just enough of a Karen to be annoying, but she hasn’t done anything to generate the type of heat to make viewers really want to see Lynch put her in her place.
Omos vs. Elias: It was hard not to wonder why Elias was so competitive in his matches with Solo Sikoa if he was just going to be fed to Omos in a glorified squash match. Anyway, the match was actually fine for what it was. My real beef is with the angle that led to it. Elias came off like a dimwit for being the only person who didn’t realize that MVP was referring to Omos when he said Elias would face the winner of the 2023 Royal Rumble. The creative forces in pro wrestling have seen to it that longest battle in pro wrestling is between babyfaces and referees over the title of being the biggest fools on the planet.
Michin vs. Iyo Sky: The live crowd’s flat reaction was telling. If nothing else, I suppose the match established an alliance between Michin and Candice LeRae, which will likely lead to a WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match.