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Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso vs. Riddle and The Street Profits, Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. Finn Balor and Damian Priest, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley vs. Sheamus and Theory, Logan Paul hosts Impaulsive talkshow

By Jason PowellProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw Hits

Roman Reigns and Theory: “Your daddy’s not here anymore.” Reigns delivered my a strong candidate for the line of the year. As much as that led to the crowd taunting Theory, it was encouraging to see the Theory character show some balls by entering the ring despite being outnumbered by The Bloodline. It was even more encouraging when he hit Jey Uso with the Money in the Bank briefcase in response to Uso trying to intimidate him.

Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso vs. Riddle and The Street Profits: A good television main event with the logical outcome. It’s not ideal to have Riddle take another loss. WWE has been better lately when it comes to not having the Usos take too many losses in non-title matches, the Profits should not have taken another loss this close to their tag title match, and there was absolutely no reason to have Reigns lose before SummerSlam. Riddle was the only option. Still, I hope there’s a plan in place to heat him up again, perhaps starting with a win over Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.

Rey Mysterio 20th anniversary celebration: Rey delivered a nice speech and was able to mention some people that I can’t imagine he would have been allowed to mention a week earlier. It was a nice to have Rey and Dominik defeat Finn Balor and Damian Priest, and the backstage party angle was successful in giving the heels their heat back. It was also encouraging to see Rhea Ripley getting physical again following her layoff for some recent medical and dental issues.

Drew McIntyre vs. theory: I’d be lying if I said that the first match of the Paul Levesque Era ending in disqualification wasn’t disappointing. Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter long term unless you are into useless trivia. For that matter, there was really no reason to expect a clean finish from this match considering the wrestlers involved. This was simply there to set the table for the tag team match that followed.

Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre vs. Theory and Sheamus: And it was a quality tag team match. It was strange to see Lashley and McIntyre coexisting the long history of issues between their characters. Even so, the match effectively showcased Lashley and Theory heading into their US Title match, and McIntyre and Sheamus heading into Friday’s No. 1 contender match. I wonder if we’ll see more from McIntyre and Theory on Saturday. Are they crowning the next No. 1 contender before SummerSlam with the plan of having McIntyre (or Sheamus) step in and stop Theory from cashing in his Money in the Bank contract for some reason?

Overall shows: I get it. This was the first Raw following the retirement/resignation of Vince McMahon and the first episode of the Paul Levesque era as head of creative. Furthermore, Raw was held at the legendary Madison Square Garden. Some fans got their hopes up for a shock and awe style show that would send an immediate message that change has arrived. Intead, we got a fairly basic edition that felt like business as usual heading into SummerSlam. And that’s just it. SummerSlam is on Saturday. The card was set and the storyline build to the SummerSlam matches was in the home stretch. As much as I am anxious to see Levesque and his team turn the page, this wasn’t the week to blow up everything just days before the company’s biggest event of the summer. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t memorable. But it was the right play this close to SummerSlam. That said, I hope that the new powers that be in WWE management realize how much of an appetite there is for change. Any notion that they need to show the audience that things won’t be all that different without Vince McMahon as head of creative is misguided. A good portion of the audience is begging for change and the company needs to give it to them starting next week. Interest seems high because of Vince McMahon’s departure from him, and Monday Night Football season is right around the corner. Forget the gradual approach. Hit us with it.

WWE Raw Misses

Logan Paul hosts the Impaulsive talkshow: Vince McMahon’s final gift to WWE should have been using his Jedi mind trick that so many wrestlers have spoken about over the years to convince Paul that he’s a heel. Babyface Logan Paul and his talkshow about him are terrible. I enjoyed the cold open brawl between Paul and The Miz, and it did seem to be effective in terms of having the MSG crowd get most of their hatred for Paul out of their system during his pre-show entrance from him. But the hate came back by the end of the talkshow segment when fans were chanting “one more time” after Miz put down Paul with a Skull Crushing Finale. WWE shouldn’t need to resort to tricks so that the television audience doesn’t see the peak of the live crowd’s disdain for Paul. Being a heel has gotten him this far in life. Why does he want to stop now?

Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch: Belair’s repetitive EST lines and a brief pull apart brawl. That was it? That was the go-home segment? I enjoy the work of Belair and Lynch enough that I can get excited about seeing them wrestle one another without a proper build. I just shouldn’t have to. It’s crazy to think about how long they have been working their way back to the singles rematch and yet just how poor the home stretch build has been.

AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler vs. “Alpha Academy” Chad Gable and Otis: A good match with some cold acts. Gable and Otis are a good team that takes too many losses, in part because the company doesn’t have enough tag teams on the roster. Meanwhile, the makeshift team of Styles and Ziggler does nothing for me. When is the last time that the creative forces have come up with anything interesting for Styles? When is the last time that Ziggler has made any attempt to reinvent himself?

Alexa Bliss vs. Doudrop: Bliss declaring herself as next in line for the winner of the Raw Women’s Championship match was a solid development. The match that followed was basic formula stuff. The live crowd was as quiet as they were all night after Bliss scored the pin. Doudrop and Nikki ASH remain in dire need of gimmick overhauls. For once, there’s actually cause for optimism that it might actually happen.

Listen to “11/18 Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell (Episode 136): Court Bauer on the MLW restart, pandemic precautions, and more” on Spreaker.

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