Powell’s WWE Raw Day 1 Hit List: The return of The Rock, Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship, Rhea Ripley vs. Ivy Nile for the Women’s World Championship


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

WWE Raw Day 1 Hits

The Rock and Jinder Mahal: Wade Barrett’s over the top reaction in favor of Mahal being a satisfying surprise was great. Mahal delivered his promo well and set the table nicely for the real surprise of The Rock’s latest unadvertised appearance. They saved the major talking point for the end when Rock asked about sitting at the head of the table. All signs clearly point to Rock returning to the ring to face Roman Reigns. Is it as simple as that being the WrestleMania main event or do they have something else in mind? Either way, it’s great that it appears we will finally see the showdown match that feels like it has been in the works since the moment that Reigns declared himself the Head of the Table. The Rock was noticeably winded after doing a few basic spots with Mahal, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t put the time in to be ready for the match.

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship: A very good match aside from the Claymore Kick that came up short at the end of the match. McIntyre hooking the leg on the pin attempt that followed only to pull Rollins’ foot onto the bottom rope protected McIntyre nicely and gave his character another reason to be frustrated. As much as I typically want a clean finish, there are times like this one where it’s perfectly logical to protect the person taking the loss.

Nia Jax vs. Becky Lynch: A strong match with a rare clean loss for Lynch. This was the right move, as it elevates Jax and gives Lynch a mountain to climb. The company has struggled to come up with strong opponents who feel like a threat to beat Lynch clean. Lynch will eventually get her win back, but I like the move of building up Jax heading into the Royal Rumble regardless of whether she’s in the Rumble match or challenging Rhea Ripley for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Rhea Ripley vs. Ivy Nile for the Women’s World Championship: A solid match. They had a few hiccups, but there was more good than bad. Nile went 13 minutes with Ripley and gained something in defeat. This wasn’t a star making performance, but it gave Nile a nice boost even though she took the clean loss. Meanwhile, Ripley gave up a lot of offense and yet still came out of the match feeling like a dominant champion. I love the way Michael Cole puts Ripley over as a mega star on commentary.

The Miz and R-Truth vs. Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh: A soft Hit. We got the typical and effective lighthearted Truth comedy during the Miz TV segment, and Dom continues to be booed as loud as ever even though his character been less of a focal point lately.

Kofi Kingston and Jey Uso vs. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci: The Hit is all about the way the Vinci injury situation was handled. The doctor was in the ring quickly and they made the right call to end the match via ref stoppage. Vinci was able to walk to the back and later tweeted that he’s fine, but this was all handled professionally. Hopefully there’s a trickle down effect in that other companies and independent promotions won’t hesitate to call off a match if similar situations arise. Here’s wishing Vinci the best, as there’s just no telling how long a head injury will linger.

Raw Day 1 theme: There are too many theme shows in pro wrestling that turn out to be normal shows with a fancy title. These theme shows may bring in fans for a year or two, but the fans eventually lose interest if no effort is made to make those these shows feel special. In this case, WWE backed up their theme with a hot show. They established Day 1 as a big deal and I’ll be surprised if they don’t use it for the first show of every new year going forward.

WWE Raw Day 1 Misses

Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark vs. Tegan Nox and Natalya: They were put in the death spot of having to follow The Rock’s segment and it showed based on the live crowd’s flat reaction to the entrances and the actual match. Granted, I’m not sure how different things would have been had this match been slotted for another spot on the show, as these teams have struggled to connect with the fans. And even though it’s in the Miss section, the match was well worked and served a purpose in terms of giving the audience a chance to catch their breath.

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance celebrate at the club: The party girls gimmick feels forced. It felt campy that there just happened to be a camera crew present and that the former champions just happened to know where the new champions were hanging out. I like Carter and Chance, but I’m just not buying into their current presentation.


Readers Comments (6)

  1. Rock was blown up after 5 minutes at WM29 and got injured setting back his next movie. He’s 11 years older now. He’s a jacked up bodybuilder … he’s not capable of going 30 minutes in a main event.

    The segment itself … over 20 minutes to get to the inevitable spine buster and peoples elbow. Are they bringing Austin taker and hbk back for WM?

  2. He’s been eating at In N’ Out too much probably..

  3. So was there a World’s End hitlist?

    • The Rock conflating an Indian with an Iranian was *chef’s kiss* old wrasslin’ racism at its finest. That was the best they could come up with?
      If they were going to go the race route, why not have Jinder rip on the endless queue of Samoans in WWE that would have foreshadowed the head of the table comment? Have Jinder needle the Rock for not beating the length of Hogan’s reign. Rock could counter he beat Hogan, etc.
      No. They go for low hanging fruit. Lazy.

  4. As much as it seems that it doesn’t make box office sense, I can see The Rock costing Roman the title at Mania and Cody Rhodes finishes the story. And if Dwayne has filing to do in Europe, Backlash will fit nicely with that and that’s when we’ll get the match. Would it be the main event? Maybe. It won’t be the man for Mania. I’m still going for Cody v Roman and CM v Seth.

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