By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Logan Paul and Dominik Mysterio: The meeting of the D-Bags. Paul showed how good he is when the crowd let him know that they couldn’t care less about his rant regarding his most recent boxing opponent by serenading him with “What?” chants. The guy didn’t miss a beat as he seamlessly filled in their pauses with fitting words. We’ve seen some of WWE’s best struggle with the “What?” taunts, but he actually made the crowd stop with minimal effort. Only time will tell whether this segment was foreshadowing Dom getting involved in the U.S. Championship match at Crown Jewel or if the creative forces simply wanted to have these two characters play off of one another.
Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn: I was surprised that Zayn didn’t leave the ring on a stretcher given the ominous warning that McIntyre gave Jey Uso when he said that whatever happened during the match was on Jey. But they still had a quality match and the distraction finish actually served a purpose given the way that Rhea Ripley is courting McIntyre for The Judgment Day. It was also an interesting development that Ripley also made a pitch to Seth Rollins. It’s a shame that they already used the “shot caller” description for Jimmy Uso on Smackdown, because it actually sums up Ripley’s current role pretty nicely.
Becky Lynch vs. Indi Hartwell for the NXT Women’s Championship: A solid match that lacked any mystery regarding the outcome. The wrestlers did their best to change that by giving Hartwell some solid near falls, but there was just not reason to think that Lynch was going to drop the title to her. It’s nice that Lynch is having matches with some of the female wrestlers who haven’t been given much camera time on the main roster, but the creative forces need to a better job of using this time to get over the personas of those wrestlers. It’s not like a viewer who came in with limited exposure to Hartwell or Tegan Nox came away learning much about their characters.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Chelsea Green and Piper Niven vs. Natalya and Nikki Cross in a non-title match: The Hit is all about Cross’s deadeye daze. She was such a fun character when she was in the Sanity faction in NXT. The superhero schtick worked for a bit on the main roster, but I strongly prefer Cross playing a deranged character. I’m curious to see where this goes and I’m optimistic that it won’t be just another throwaway shift now that Paul Levesque is calling the shots creatively.
Bronson Reed vs. Akira Tozawa: A simple squash win for Reed coming off the strong showing in his loss to Gunther. I continue to hope that Reed will eventually be built up to come off as a strong threat to top babyfaces such as Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes.
Adam Pearce and Nick Aldis: As much as I cringe at the thought of a battle for brand supremacy at Survivor Series, I am enjoying the way the two general managers play off of one another. Aldis came off a bit heelish when he had Pearce removed from the Smackdown locker room last week, so it was a nice touch to have him issue an apology that Pearce accepted.
WWE Raw Misses
Damian Priest vs. Jey Uso: The match was fine until the lazy interference finish. This was a pretty slow edition of Raw and it felt like the least they could have done was close the night with a better finish to the main event. I also wasn’t a fan of Cody Rhodes hobbling out on one leg and beating up Priest and Finn Balor with ease. It’s great that Cody is portrayed as guy who always helps his friends, but it felt like they laid it on a little thick with the Superman routine this week.
“New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis: The match was fine from an in-ring quality standpoint. But New Day continues to feel cold and the minimal “New Day rocks” chants after the match shows that the act is stale.
Johnny Gargano vs. Giovanni Vinci: A brief match that was more about Tommaso Ciampa saving Gargano from Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser. The DIY reunion is nice for those of us who watched their epic run as friends and bitter rivals in NXT, but the recent crowd reactions suggest that most main roster fans either did not see it or are over it. It didn’t help that the announcement of their first match back as a tag team took place during the middle of a bad backstage comedy segment. On the bright side, DIY vs. the Imperium duo should be really good if they are given enough time.
Contract signing for the five-way match for Women’s World Championship match at Crown Jewel: The segment sent the message that three of the five wrestlers don’t matter and that we should be getting Rhea Ripley vs. Nia Jax in a singles match.