Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the Women’s World Title, Finn Balor and Damian Priest vs. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso in a non-title match, Drew McIntyre vs. Xavier Woods

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

WWE Raw Hits

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions Finn Balor and Damian Priest vs. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso in a non-title match: The opening segment scared me a bit just in terms of it feeling like Owens was quick to forgive Jey. It was logical when Sami Zayn welcomed Jey with open arms because he tried repeatedly to convince him to leave The Bloodline, whereas Owens has never been pleased with Sami trying to keep that relationship alive. But my concern was all for naught, as Jey accidentally superkicking Owens during their match was a nice way to reignite the friction between the two. On a side note, I love the way that Judgment Day is pointing to their long recruitment of Dominik Mysterio to explain why they haven’t given up their attempt to bring Jey into the fold.

Shinsuke Nakamura: The subtitled video approach continues to do wonders for Nakamura. I couldn’t include Seth Rollins in this Hit simply because he lost me when he claimed that he’s now being himself. The over the top Rollins character is a big success, but I don’t think anyone actually believes that’s what Rollins is like once the show ends. Even so, I am looking forward to their expected rematch at WWE Fastlane.

Drew McIntyre vs. Xavier Woods: The best match of the night. I’m not sure what to make of Woods now that he’s more serious, but I don’t miss the tired trombone bit. The McIntyre character is clearly growing more frustrated and moving closer to a heel turn. Raw desperately needs top heels and McIntyre has the ability to be the top heel on the brand.

Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the Women’s World Championship: This was a better match than the one they had at WWE Payback. Even so, the flat reactions for Rodriguez continue. The presentation of her character is atrocious. The forced smiling and back flexing isn’t working. The return of Nia Jax was polarizing to say the least based on the social media reaction. Ideally, Jax can help Rodriguez get over as a babyface or even help with the transition of Ripley into a top babyface if they want to go in that direction. As much as I thought Rodriguez would be a great new Mami for Dom, I can’t even imagine the heat that Dom and Jax would generate if they become an on-air couple.

Tommaso Ciampa, Chad Gable, and Otis vs. Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci: A solid six-man tag match that gave Gable another win. Gable’s promo was better without the comedic “shooosh” and “thank you” bits, but he still came off a little too happy go lucky. I hope he finds his voice and a mean streak because he is so damn good in the ring. Gable swearing to God that he would win the Intercontinental Championship was an attention grabber, particularly now that Gunther has broken the record for longest title reign.

The Miz vs. Akira Tozawa: A soft Hit for the attempt to give Miz his win back by destroying Tozawa. I really hope we start to see more of these dominant wins from Miz over undercard wrestlers. He’s lost so many matches that while he can always draw heat because he’s such a great talker, the fans just don’t buy him as a threat to beat anyone who matters.

WWE Raw Misses

Cody Rhodes’ promo: This is actually due to the lack of a Cody promo. I was looking forward to him explaining why his character lobbied to have Jey Uso brought to Raw. I’m fine with them delaying it by a week, but that and the trade compensation were not big topics of conversation with the broadcast team. I sure hope this doesn’t become a situation like Brock Lesnar turning on Cody the night after WrestleMania and never bothering to explain why. That said, he still strikes me as the most likely person to move to Smackdown in exchange for Jey, so hopefully that angle is coming soon. On the bright side, Cody destroying Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh was clearly satisfying for the live crowd.

Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green: The live crowd didn’t seem to know who to root for and it’s hard to blame them. Baszler became the babyface by default in her brief program with Ronda Rousey, and it feels like they haven’t settled in on whether she’s a babyface or a heel. The most interesting part of this segment was Baszler and Zoey Stark allowing Piper Niven to simply leave the ring. I would love to see them form a heel faction because the women’s division is desperate for strong heels. My fear is that we’ll end up seeing Baszler and Stark feud with Green and Niven over the tag team titles. At this point, the need for strong heel singles wrestlers should outweigh having another two team tag team division. I’m still in favor of having an NXT team win the women’s tag titles and keep them on the NXT television show. They have a deeper pool of women’s wrestlers and actual tag teams, and having the champions defend against makeshift tag teams on the main roster isn’t helping anyone.


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