Powell’s WWE Raw XXX Hit List: The Bloodline’s trial of Sami Zayn, Austin Theory vs. Bobby Lashley for the U.S. Title, The Usos vs. Dominik Mysterio and Damian Priest for the Raw Tag Team Titles, Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Sonya Deville in a non-title match, Imperium vs. Seth Rollins and The Street Profits

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw XXX Hits

The Trial of Sami Zayn: A terrific segment. The only negative is that I felt like I missed an episode of WWE television between Smackdown and Raw. There was no reason for Zayn’s character to be on trial given that we saw Reigns apologize to him on Smackdown. Furthermore, Paul Heyman going after Zayn so aggressively also felt out of nowhere given that Heyman was responsible for convincing Reigns to keep Zayn in the fold heading into the Royal Rumble. Despite these flaws, this was a compelling segment with some great performances, including Heyman as the prosecutor. Jey Uso stepping up to save Zayn was a memorable moment. It feels like we’re nearing the finish line when it comes to Sami’s time in The Bloodline and I’m anxious to see how it all unfolds.

Undertaker, Bray Wyatt, and LA Knight: A torch passing moment with Taker forgoing the opportunity to chokeslam Knight and instead shoving him to Wyatt, who then put Knight down with Sister Abigail. Have the lip readers deciphered what Taker said to Wyatt afterward? Either way, this was the best job the creative team did of blending past and present during Raw XXX. While one can only assume that Wyatt is going to win his feud with Knight, I hope that there’s a plan in mind for Knight to bounce back. Knight has done excellent work as Wyatt’s foil and it would be a mistake to let him flounder after he’s fed to Wyatt.

Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Dominik Mysterio and Damian Priest for the Raw Tag Team Titles: Adam Pearce stating that protocol dictates that the match would have to be called off if Jimmy could not continue was nonsense. It got them where they wanted to be with Sami Zayn replacing Jimmy in the match and helping Jey retain the tag titles, but the logic gap is the type of thing that I hoped would disappear when Paul Levesque replaced Vince McMahon as the head of creative. As much as I rolled my eyes at the way they got to Zayn replacing Jimmy, it was still a highly entertaining match with some suspenseful near falls.

DX and Imperium: A cute skit with Kurt Angle comedically standing in for Billy Gunn. I got a kick out of the way that each DX member backed down from Gunther, and Triple H’s line that booking is hard was a gem that I actually missed the first time around. All of that said, it would have been really cool if X-Pac had stood his ground to set up even a one-off return to a WWE ring.

Seth Rollins, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins vs. “Imperium” Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci: An enjoyable six-man tag team match with a crowd pleasing finish for the anniversary show. I mentioned in my live review that the match left me looking forward to an eventual Rollins vs. Gunther match. I’ll add to that by saying that I also look forward to an eventual program between the Profits and the talented team of Kaiser and Vinci.

Kevin Owens and The Miz: A simple segment that gave Owens a chance to hit a couple of Stunners and stand tall heading into his title match with Roman Reigns.

WWE Raw XXX Misses

Austin Theory vs. Bobby Lashley in a No DQ match for the U.S. Championship: The creative forces have done a really nice job of turning Theory from being a goofball doofus into a real player, but the flukey way he beat Lashley felt like a step back. It’s nothing that Theory can’t overcome as long as they avoid doing these types of things too often. The match didn’t feel like a special anniversary show main event, nor did the latest Brock Lesnar return serving as the grand finale surprise. Perhaps it registered more with football fans who were watching Raw again for the first time since August, but it’s hard to imagine it packing much of a punch with the regulars. Lesnar is great and I look forward to his next match with Lashley, but we’ve seen him appear on television enough in recent months that it just didn’t feel special this time around.

Legends poker: Been there and done that. Give me the legends bowling or playing a game of cornhole. Okay, not really, but even those options would feel fresher than the tired ass approach of cramming in cameos during bad backstage poker skits.

Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Sonya Deville in a non-title match: Belair’s matches and overall act continue to feel overly choreographed. Do we really need the repetitive ass slapping taunt spots in every match? I also didn’t understand why Deville was fed to Belair if they still want viewers to see Deville as a threat to Charlotte Flair. While everyone is talking about the Bella Twins stating that WWE didn’t want to show footage of Sasha Banks or Paige, I find it equally interesting that that the list of opponents that Charlotte thanked for helping her did not include Becky Lynch or Bayley.

No Becky Lynch vs. Bayley in a cage match: The match was pulled due to the Bloodline segment running long, according to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com. It happens, it’s understandable, and yet it’s still disappointing to viewers who wanted to see the cage match. My guess is they’ll do a make good on Monday.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. “Lesnar is great and I look forward to his next match with Lashley, but we’ve seen him appear on television enough in recent months that it just didn’t feel special this time around.”

    The crowd went absolutely apeshit for his music and clearly popped for the F5s. It packed more of a punch than almost anything else on the show and he didn’t get stuck passing the torch to redneck Pee Wee Herman.

  2. Who is “redneck Pee Wee Herman?”

  3. Re: The Trial of Sami… I enjoyed the segment on its own for sure and that moment where Jay came in to save Sami is just epic storytelling – it’s the only thing in WWE that has me paying attention. I too, though, thought Paul Heyman (as great as he was) was suddenly not making sense given last week, and Sami sitting there to take a spike was kind of ridiculous.

    What I think irks me about this storyline right now – and this is actually kind of an extension of the point you made in that Reigns had already apologized and Heyman was defending Sami last week – is that after the Survivor Series and what happened there, I really thought we’d get maybe half a year or so of Bloodline clicking, Sami being a goof, everyone in the group getting a sort of kick out of it… and THEN we’d get to this kind of stuff. I’ve been really confused about how Sami definitely turned on KO and showed he was Bloodline 4L, (and even got hugs and acceptance from the ENTIRE GROUP because they all SAW IT) at Survivor Series, only for him to be distrusted again like, a day later. That lack of sense and realism has kind of taken me out of the story a bit, and that wouldn’t be that big a deal except that this has been a REAL standout storyline in all of wrestling.

    As far as I’m concerned after SS Sami should have been made full Uce and they played with that for a good half year or so. Or heck up to WM at least.

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