Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a street fight, CM Punk and Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal, Rhea Ripley and Nia Jax, Ludwig Kaiser vs. Kofi Kingston

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

WWE Raw Hits

CM Punk and Drew McIntyre: The show opening verbal exchange was compelling. It adds a sense of realism to have Punk’s adversaries lean into his negative history while also playing up their surprise that he hasn’t self destructed and gone home by now. More than anything, I like the way the company is building up credible threats to win the Rumble match. Sure, most of us expect Punk or Cody Rhodes to win, but it makes for a better Rumble, particularly for younger fans and more casual viewers, when the company puts the work in to make several entrants look like viable options to win.

Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a street fight: This was a successful television feud that kept Cody busy with a solid program heading into the Royal Rumble. While the match went a few minutes longer than it needed to, it was nice to see the blowoff match get the type of time that it would have been given on a premium live event. I dig the new Nakamura heel act. I hope they have a plan for him to get a bounce back win over someone now he’s lost back to back feuds to Seth Rollins and Rhodes.

Ludwig Kaiser vs. Kofi Kingston: The double count-out finish was weak, but they made up for it with the strong post match angle. Kaiser showed a new level of intensity while gaining a measure of revenge for Giovanni Vinci’s injury. With Gunther coming back next week, it will be interesting to see if this attack earns his praise or if Gunther finds a reason to tear down Kaiser again. Either way, Kaiser continues to impress and he stands out as someone who is ready for a singles push once the time is right.

Rhea Ripley and Nia Jax: An effective follow-up to Jax beating Becky Lynch last week. That clean win followed by a a segment with Women’s World Champion makes Jax come off like one of the top candidates to win the women’s Rumble match. I don’t think she will actually win it, but she will clearly play a meaningful role in the match and it will pack a big punch whenever she is eliminated. It was also fun to see the fans react so favorably to Ripley during a segment where she was essentially a babyface for once. Ripley is really over now, but the next babyface run she has could be special.

Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal: It’s crazy that a guy who will celebrate the one year anniversary of his last win tomorrow is getting a title shot. I get the idea is that Rollins is a fighting champion, but I hope they take a moment to emphasize that he asked for this to be a title match. Putting that aside, I like that Mahal is being rewarded for doing good work during his segment with The Rock. The creative team has rejuvenated the Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura characters since Paul Levesque took over. Can they actually do the same for Mahal?

Ivar vs. Otis: Another good big man battle. They packed a lot into the brief match and it was nice to see a clean finish.

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Piper Niven and Chelsea Green for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles: A solid win for the new champions over the former champions. But that locker room shot of the other tag teams watching the match was a reminder of just how weak the women’s tag team division is.

WWE Raw Misses

Finn Balor vs. Tommaso Ciampa: The babyface winning due to outside interference felt flat. I’m happy to see WWE doing more with the DIY duo, but there’s still something about the Ciampa and Gargano reunion that isn’t clicking.

The Miz vs. JD McDonagh: A soft Miss. The involvement of R-Truth provided some levity. But it’s sad seeing Dominik Mysterio being portrayed as a Judgment Day junior varsity member. Dom still gets great heat, but it’s time to add some fuel to the fire once he and McDonagh are done setting up DIY for their eventual tag team title match.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. Hits and Misses for AEW include “its a hit but”, and misses are just…misses.
    Hits and Misses for WWE include hits where its all good, and misses with positive comments included.
    True story. If you know how to read, it’s obvious because its ON THE SCREEN.

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