Hits and Misses from Raw and SmackDown ( May 21-27 2018)

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Certain Superstars and situations did prove to be going in the right direction
Alan John

It was another eventful week as we witnessed the picture getting more clear for the upcoming WWE PPV, Money In The Bank, on both RAW and Smackdown Live.

We saw the return of Stephanie McMahon, three female Superstars qualify for the Money In The Bank, the B-Team continue their unbeaten run and two first-time-ever matches as main events on both the shows.

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While certain Superstars and situations did prove to be going in the right direction, some of them still remain under a dark cloud.

So without making you all wait for much longer, let's look into the hits and misses from this week's RAW and Smackdown.

Hit: #5 Lana

Lana qualified for the MITB ladder match with a win over Billie Kay

Well, it could not have happened on a better day than Lana day! After making her return as a singles competitor, Lana had been struggling to get a win under her belt. And finally, she was able to get the job done.

Although the match with Billie Kay was not spectacular, qualifying for the Money In The Bank ladder match is surely a step in the right direction for the Ravishing Russian. What it also does is add to the unpredictability of the Women's ladder match as well.

Last year, Carmella was able to secure the briefcase and doing the same thing with Lana isn't a bad idea at all.

Obviously, Lana has room for a lot of improvement when it comes to in-ring skills, but with her husband Rusev already over with the fans, it would be ideal if she is given a good push as well.


Miss: #5 The IIconics and Absolution

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Is Absolution really dead?

It was certainly a disappointing week for both the teams. Members from both sides were involved in the Money In The Bank qualifiers and they came out short.

Ever since coming to SmackDown from RAW in the Superstar shake-up, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville have been left ruing the decision. Apart from a victory for Rose over Becky Lynch, the duo hasn't seen anything go their way, including getting any sort of help from their former mentor and current SmackDown GM Paige.

Deville's loss to Naomi in the most unconvincing fashion leaves us wondering if Absolution is actually dead?

The IIconics, on the other hand, had a brilliant start to their time on the main roster. They cost Charlotte her title on their debut on Smackdown and followed it up with a win over Lynch and Asuka. but since then they have been going in the wrong direction and this week was a testament to it.

It would have been better if one of the members from either of the teams were a part of the Money In The Bank ladder match as it would have meant that there are some plans for them down the line.

But for now, both the teams seem to be struggling.


Hit: #4 Stephanie McMahon

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Stephanie really grabbed the spotlight on RAW

What a return for the Commissioner of Raw! Stephanie McMahon hasn't appeared on RAW since the night after WrestleMania 34 where Ronda Rousey put her in the armbar once again.

But this week, Stephanie really grabbed the spotlight. First, she stole the thunder of RAW GM Kurt Angle and took away all his power over the show.

Secondly, in the contract signing for the RAW Women's championship, she played and was at her manipulative best with both Rousey and Nia Jax.

And the third and final masterstroke by Stephanie was announcing the main event match between Braun Strowman and Finn Balor, which was the best match of the night in my opinion.

If Stephanie is set to appear on a regular basis, then expect more mind games and top decisions from the Commissioner of RAW.


Miss: #4 RAW Women's title contract signing

The whole feud is looking bland at the moment

In what was expected to be one of the big segments on RAW this week, the contract signing for the RAW Women's Championship really missed the mark.

After the underwhelming announcement to the match last week, this was WWE's opportunity to give some credibility to the feud between Rousey and Jax.

WWE could have made Jax turn heel and attack Rousey. To sweeten the whole thing, just add Stephanie McMahon into the mix.

Stephanie would not have forgotten the humiliation she got at the hands of the Baddest Woman On The Planet, and she should have aided Jax in the whole scenario.

Also, Jax looks better as a heel than a face as the Irresistible force looks more dominant and a proper challenge for Rousey.

Let's hope that this feud picks up some momentum quickly.


Hit: #3 Elias

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Elias picked up a huge win over Bobby Roode

It's a fact that Elias is one of the most over Superstars on the main roster at the moment. The crowd cannot resist, but join in with him whenever he cuts his promo before each match. Sometimes I feel, he has to put in the extra effort to look as a heel.

But still, WWE used him to put over Superstars like Bobby Lashley, Strowman etc. This week, however, Elias got a change from his usual role and won the supposed rubber match in his feud with Bobby Roode.

Elias is a Superstar who WWE should start investing in. Even though his in-ring skills are limited, the character he portrays is doing wonders for him. WWE should consider making him a champion soon and banking on the love he is getting from the WWE Universe.


Miss: #3 Bobby Roode

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Roode seems to have no momentum at the moment

The Glorious One is not getting any sort of momentum on the main roster. That was the case in Smackdown and the similar trend looks to be continuing on RAW.

After qualifying for the Money In The Bank ladder match, it would have been ideal for Roode if he beat Elias and gained some momentum. But losing the match means the Glorious One is again back to where he started. Similiar was the situation on Smackdown, as he won the US title only to lose it to Randy Orton.

I am one of the belief that Roode should actually take up the heel persona as it looks tailor-made for him. He worked it well in NXT and is capable of doing it on the main roster as well. But for this week, Roode failed to make any considerable impact on proceedings.

Hit: #2 Smackdown tag-team titles

Gallows and Anderson will have a shot at the SD Live tag titles

One general concern for heading into MITB was the situation surrounding the tag-team titles. On both brands, it seemed as if the titles would not be defended for the second time on the trot in a WWE PPV.

But thankfully enough, the blue brand cleared the clouds and had a No.1 contenders match between the Usos and the Good Brothers.

The match wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but giving Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson was a good decision.

Even though the Bludgeon Brothers could end up defending the titles successfully, it is good to see there is no repetition of feuds and the tag-team division is always kept interesting.

Now it's over to the red brand to see how they deal with the situation in their tag-team division.


Miss: #2 Jeff Hardy

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Hardy tapping out to Bryan has not helped his cause

Jeff Hardy coming back as a singles competitor something fans were expecting for a very long time. And after the Charismatic Enigma won the US title and made the switch to Smackdown, the WWE Universe was expecting big things for him.

But what has happened over the past few weeks have done little to establish him as a singles wrestler, let alone as US champion. Two clean loses to the Miz and Daniel Bryan has derailed Hardy's momentum and it reached its low point this week.

The match to determine Samoa Joe's opponent for next week in the final MITB qualifier was a pretty decent bout as two of the crowd favourites squared off. But what disappointed me most was Hardy tapping out to Bryan.

Even if Bryan was being put over, it should not have been in a way that they made one of their champions look like a mid-card talent.


Hit: #1 Braun Strowman and Finn Balor

It was surely one of the best matches of the week

Now it could be a surprise that I have included Balor also in this list along with Strowman, but it is simply because of the effort he put in during the main event of RAW this week.

Strowman as always was dominant from the opening bell and much like all his opponents till now, he dominated them.

But then a slingblade from Balor, when Strowman went for a tackle, changed the direction of the match and what we got was one of the best performances out of both competitors.

The bout, in my opinion, also gave both Superstars much needed momentum. Strowman already looks like a favourite to win the contract, but Balor's efforts show that it won't be a cakewalk for the Monster Among Men.

What started as a request for a tag-team rematch, turned out to be one of the best singles matches in recent times. Have to thank Stephanie McMahon once again for this.


Miss: #1 Zayn exposing the truth about Lashley

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The whole segment missed the mark.

Sami Zayn as a heel is something I doubted would work. He has been a face all throughout his time at WWE up until last year. But the Underdog from the Underground seemed to be a natural with his persona change and has provided us with some good moments.

However this week, it missed the spot very badly. The whole segment fell flat on its face. Even the WWE Universe were so silent throughout the entire thing and just wanted it to be over with.

Even Bobby Lashley came in and beat up his 'sisters' there was no huge pop from the fans, showing how much the entire thing failed.

With a match between the two looking imminent, let's hope that this was a one-off thing and in the coming weeks we would be able to see some solid confrontations between the two.

Edited by Kishan Prasad


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