Reaction Zone - Raw won't have it so easy this time

The teams are taking shape for the Mixed Match Challenge, kicking off on January 16. However, it's also a study in creative contrasts.

Take Raw, for example.

On Wednesday, GM Kurt Angle announced on that women's champion Alexa Bliss will be paired with the Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman, easily the hottest male babyface on the Raw roster at the moment. With all apologies to Brock Lesnar, this is the Brat & the Beast, because Uncreative gave Alexa someone else to hide behind, which, in truth, makes her the weaker half of the team. They're not going very far. I had suggested Alexa be paired with The Miz due to their mirroring attitudes (both are selfish, cowardly heels, and Miz is a stale act), because I can't see Miz fitting in with anyone else. Unfortunately, I can guess that he'll be teamed instead with Bayley, and that would be Miz-Daniel Bryan in 2010 all over again, for those who remember the "reality competition" era of NXT. What does that tell us about how Uncreative sees Bayley?

Then, on Thursday, Sasha Banks was matched with Finn Balor. Most fans would've preferred Balor & Bayley as the "dream team", especially since they had their little flirtation with each other in NXT in 2015-16 at house shows. With cruiser champ Enzo Amore announced as out, Uncreative had to scramble to find a partner for Nia Jax, and chose Apollo Crews as Amore's replacement. Another bad idea....!

On the other side, Smackdown is all about fan service.

First, you have women's champ Charlotte Flair coupled with Bobby Roode. A lot of folks were looking at that as a possible team. Then, Rusev and wife Lana were paired, despite the fact that Lana is no longer in her husband's corner, and he & Aiden English have become tweeners, on the way to face-dom. And, as icing on the cake, Jimmy Uso & Naomi have been announced as Smackdown's #3 team.

The best chance Raw has of winning, in this writer's opinion, is pairing Samoa Joe with Asuka. Let's see if Raw Uncreative screws that up. We'll update things in the next Reaction Zone.

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