By Jason PowellProWrestling.net editor (Tweet embed)
WWE Raw Hits
Kevin Owens vs. J. Uso: Tonight’s best match and my favorite WWE storyline blends in with the relationship between The Bloodline and Sami Zayn. It made sense to add Owens to the mix. Hopefully the creative forces will squeeze everything they can out of Zayn and Bloodline’s highly entertaining relationship, but when the time comes, there’s money in Owens and Zayn coming together to chase the Usos for tag team titles.
Hot verbal exchange by Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle: The interview portion of the exchange was powerful enough to serve as good publicity for their return home for their WWE Clash at the Castle match. The bonus scene with Rollins searching Riddle for his divorced wife and taking their children exacerbated this feud. That’s the kind of realism that’s been missing on the WWE main roster for years. It was also nice to see that Riddle got his first name back. Most importantly, he was able to add a new dimension to his personality by showing a more intense side of his personality.
“Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis: Strong sign match. These teams have worked together a lot, but enough time passed between their TV matches to make this match feel somewhat new again. Kurt Angle’s involvement was a mixed bag. The shoosh exchange with the Gable was basic and frustrating. I feel the distraction is more done with the creative powers than with the actual audience. The tried-and-true thing with milk was Angle’s favorite post-game drink that was a fun callback.
AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler vs. Finn Balor and Damian Priest: The match actually fell short of expectations, but it was a good win for the doomsday duo. The angle with Edge and Mysterios was the real hit. Interestingly enough, Rhea Ripley was able to convince Dominic Mysterio to hand her a kendo stick. Ray’s backstage conversation with Dom set the table for having Dom in the ring rather than working in the match on Saturday.
public view: The pace of the show was the best since the creative change. None of the matches exceeded the welcome time, and they had a better balance between in-ring action and verbal syllables. This was also a good homecoming show for the Raw side of Saturday’s Clash at the Castle event.
WWE Raw Mistakes
Raquel Rodriguez and Alia vs IU Sky and Dakota Kai for the vacant WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: Soft Miss The result of the match was surprising and not good. Rodriguez has a bright future on the main roster. And while the jury is still out on a high case, there is no harmony between the two. The trio of Sky, Kai and Bayley could have used the boost that tag team titles would have provided. On the bright side, I loved seeing this match in the main event box. Viewers were sure to see new champions crowned, and it sent the right message to highlight the undefeated tag team’s titles in the main event. It might not pay off for the company in the rankings this week, but it was a clear step toward the long-term goal of making women’s tag team titles look meaningful.
United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz in an Untitled Match: The match took place around The Miz who was traumatized after being kidnapped by Dexter Loomis last week. And while this was a fairly interesting story so far, I didn’t care how Lashley felt like an afterthought even though he eventually went. It was also strange to see Lashley struggling to get over the jittery Miz. Lashley would be fine getting out of this, but I didn’t really care about that at the moment, especially considering the company’s recent efforts to make minor leagues seem more important.
Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka vs. Danny Mo, Kayla Sparks, and Katie Arquette: I was fine with the booster match approach. My problem is with the cold team from Belair, Bliss and Asuka. Belair is a strong champion and would be fine to break out of the WWE Clash in the Fortress event. But something has to happen to breathe life into the cold Bliss and Asuka characters.
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