By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes: A very basic angle with a pull apart that wrapped up quickly. I was hoping for something that felt bigger for the go-home angle, but it’s not like I’m not already sold on their WWE Backlash match. More than anything, I wish creative could be bothered to come up with a storyline reason for Lesnar turning on Rhodes on the Raw after WrestleMania.
Rhea Ripley, Dominik Mysterio, and Damian Priest vs. Zelina Vega, Rey Mysterio, and Santos Escobar: What we saw of the match was fun, but a good chunk of it took place during a long commercial break. A big Hit for Dom continuing to get mega heat at a time when he’s not even the featured performer in his own faction. Dom has taken a backseat to Damian Priest during the build to Priest’s match with Bad Bunny and yet Dom still had more heat than Priest and everyone else on the show.
Matt Riddle vs. Jimmy Uso: I’m beyond over the Eddie Guerrero tribute spot that requires the referees to go against the basic rule that they can only call what they see. That said, the match was solid. I get a kick out of Kevin Owens being annoyed by Riddle. I’m just not sure that telling the other babyfaces are annoyed by Riddle is the right move.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Bayley and Dakota Kai in a non-title match: An upset win for Bayley and Kai that establishes them as a team while also putting them in line for a title shot.
Shinsuke Nakamura and The Miz: Miz’s tiny balls gag does nothing for me, but it continues to play well to most live crowds.
WWE Raw Misses
WWE Draft: WWE built the majority of the hype for this year’s draft around the possibility that tag teams and factions could be split up and yet not a single team or faction was affected. Aside from some NXT call-ups, this was an uneventful two-night draft. And with zero assurances that this time will actually be different, it’s hard not to assume that the brand split rules will be completely ignored within a matter of weeks. The draft is a ratings success for WWE. Imagine what type of numbers the draft shows could produce if the company actually showed discipline by following their own rules throughout the year so that the next draft felt like it truly mattered. Despite all of the flaws with the draft, having the legends announce the picks was a nice touch. But a big Miss for the Pretty Deadly duo making their first appearance on main roster television dressed the same NXT jumpsuits as the rest of the developmental wrestlers. It’s nothing that will affect them even in the short term, but it sure was annoying to see the flamboyant duo dressed in gear that their characters would never wear.
Solo Sikoa vs. Seth Rollins: The match was entertaining until the lazy disqualification finish that once again brought back bad memories of the dying days of the NWO. There was also a rare timing issue with the post match brawl just getting started before the show went off the air while Corey Graves was in mid-sentence.
Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis: A 150-second match. It feels like Alpha Academy can’t escape the one step forward, two steps back booking. Am I alone in thinking that there’s more to get out of Strowman as a singles wrestler?
Omos vs. Anthony Alanis: The usual Omos squash match. The bigger issue is that they didn’t do anything to set up his Backlash match with Seth Rollins at any point during the show.