By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Cody Rhodes vs. LA Knight: A well worked match and a momentum building win for Rhodes, who followed up with a strong promo that furthered the build to his WrestleMania main event. I remain hopeful that Knight is in line for a push coming out of WrestleMania. The live crowds are receptive to his act and he has the versatility to get over as a babyface or as a heel.
U.S. Champion Austin Theory vs. Angelo Dawkins in a non-title match: It was a bit of a bounce back night for Theory after his character was emasculated by John Cena last week. Theory turned the tables by tearing into the Street Profits in a pre-match promo, and then he picked up a rare clean victory as opposed to the pest heel style wins that he’d been getting. Will Theory’s promo and the recent losses lead to some type of character shift for one or both of the Profits?
Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio vs. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis: The Edge opening followed by him challenging Finn Balor to face him in a Hell in a Cell match was also a Hit. Their match needed an extra hook and it was given a one. The actual tag team match was well worked and served as an entertaining opener. It was a really good night for Dom, who came back later in the show and delivered another Hit worthy performance in the latest angle with his father. The highlight of the night was Dom complaining that Rey bought him a BMW rather than a Mercedes.
Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs. Chelsea Green in a non-title match: Another decisive win for Belair. I really enjoy Green’s new persona and I remain surprised that she’s losing so frequently this early in her run. The post match angle with Asuka toying with Belair didn’t move me, though I am looking forward to seeing whether the characters will continue to play nice when they team against Green and Carmella next week.
Brock Lesnar and Omos: Their WrestleMania match does nothing for me on paper, but the live crowd’s “holy shit” chants suggests that a lot of fans are buying into the spectacle. Even so, Omos failing to send Lesnar over the top rope on his first try didn’t make me feel any better about their match.
Bronson Reed vs. Elias: The dominant squash win for Reed that it needed to be. The Elias and Rick Boogs characters are really cold, so there was no reason to make this competitive. The Tsunami splash finisher is really over. Now it’s time to establish what the Reed character is all about.
WWE Raw Misses
Solo Sikoa vs. Kevin Owens in a Street Fight: The Usos attacking Owens felt as deflating and repetitive as an NWO interference finish during the faction’s fading days. It would have been fine had it felt like this was a necessary step toward the Owens and Sami Zayn reunion. But it’s hard to see it that way when Owens stated in his pre-match promo that he was expecting Bloodline interference and yet he still didn’t want help from Zayn or Cody Rhodes.
Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin: A soft Miss due to Corbin. I feel like I’m watching a rerun of the last time his character was down on his luck. Rollins’ pre-match promo was also odd in that he completely shrugged off being punched out by Logan Paul. If Rollins doesn’t care about Paul getting the better of him, then why would the fans care?
Chad Gable’s search for Otis: There’s some comedy value in the Maximum Male Models courting Otis, but I really hope they get Gable away from this as soon as possible. The silliness of him running around with “missing” signs and then wanting to pose with Otis felt overly corny even for this version of the Gable character.
Damage CTRL attack Trish Stratus: The attack angle was fine, but Stratus blowing it off later in the night erased most of the heat. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the six-woman tag match once the bell rings, but the build to the match continues to feel flat.