By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Drew McIntyre and Matt Riddle vs. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci: The show peaked from an in-ring standpoint with this opening tag team match. I hate to see Kaiser and Vinci lose so many matches when they could be having a strong feud over the tag team titles, but at least this one seemed to serve a couple of purposes. It obviously gave the babyfaces a quality win, and then the post match angle brought back taskmaster Gunther, who chastised Vinci for losing the match. They even followed up by showing Gunther continuing to berate Vinci in the background while Logan Paul was shown walking backstage.
Logan Paul and Ricochet: I went into this show with minimal interest in seeing Paul vs. Ricochet at SummerSlam. This segment was successful in that it increased my level of interest in their SummerSlam match. Ricochet still comes off awkward and uncomfortable on the mic, but Paul is such a natural heel that he made this work.
Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark: A quality match with a genuinely surprising outcome. Stark looked strong throughout the match to the point that I thought she was going to gain something in defeat. Distraction finishes are so overdone that they rarely do much for anyone involved. In this case, it actually felt like a big moment for Stark because her character was able to hang with a bona fide star before pinning her. This match didn’t make Stark, but it certainly gave her a nice boost.
Cody Rhodes promo: I could have done without him pointing out that his promos don’t come off as performative, but the rest was really good. The strongest part was when Rhodes explained that everyone has their own Brock Lesnar to overcome.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Miz in a No DQ match: A spirited brawl and rare win for Miz. It’s good to see Miz breaking out of his comfort zone by working a more aggressive style. I really hope the creative forces can rebuild him by giving him more wins. Ciampa was obviously protected with Bronson Reed interfering on Miz’s behalf. I hope the idea is that Reed is a gun for hire and isn’t going to be paired with Miz on a regular basis. Either way, I look forward to the Ciampa vs. Reed match that should come out of this.
WWE Raw Misses
Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey: I’m happy to see the return of the Queen of Spades version of Baszler. The problem is that the fans clearly have no idea which wrestler they are supposed to side with because it seems to change by the week.
Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance: A poor match with botched spots. The Buffalo crowd was a lively bunch throughout the night, but they sat on their hands during this segment.
Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn vs. Damian Priest, Finn Balor, and Dominik Mysterio: A sloppy main event. The wrestlers pulled it together at the end, but there were a surprising number of awkward and outright botched spots considering some of the wrestlers involved.
Lack of in-ring action: I’ll never be a matches, matches, and more matches guy. I enjoy a good mix of wrestling and promos, but it was too talk heavy during the first half of the show. I loved The Bloodline segment on Friday’s Smackdown and had no problem with how much time it took, but none of the early talking segments on Raw were strong enough to justify the long wait for matches.