Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: John Cena addresses Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels, then teams with Mark Henry and Big Show to face The Wyatt Family, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman video, The Bella Twins bicker
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels segment: It's not so much what they said as much as it is that they said it. WWE made the Night of Champions main event feel special by having the three icons discuss and debate it. Here's hoping WWE will take it a step further by having members of the active roster chime in on this match or another big match in the future. There are certain matches that everyone on the roster should be talking about. Flair's involvement is worth keeping an eye on. While there were no red flags that jumped out at me in this segment, Flair is a 16-time champion and it's at least possible that his character could be scripted to prevent John Cena from tying his record. As for Cena, his speech at the end of the segment didn't do anything for me. I wasn't sure how they would approach his return for the first time since he was destroyed at SummerSlam, but this was forgettable and uninspired.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman video: WWE is finally getting the most they contractually can out of Lesnar by recording interviews with him to air on weeks that he is not at television. As much as I enjoy the great Heyman promos, it was cool to see Lesnar star in the sit-down environment he thrives in.
Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam: Sure, you had to know Cesaro was going over since they started setting up his program with Sheamus last week. Still, it was good to see this match given a little more meaning by making it for a shot at the U.S. Title. I'm really looking forward to Sheamus vs. Cesaro, as I have no doubt that they will work an entertaining physical style.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins: A minor Hit. Rollins' eulogy promo was a little flat, but the segment picked up as soon as Reigns' music hit. The handicap match was forgettable, but the post match angle went from appearing designed to put heat on Rollins to making Reigns look strong. I wonder how far they will go with Reigns and Rollins at this time. One would think that if the plan truly is for Reigns to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, then they would want Reigns vs. Money in the Bank contract holder Rollins to be as fresh as possible.
Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston: I continue to love the Dallas character to the point that it's probably unhealthy. Anyway, the match was nothing we haven't seen before, but I like the post match with Dallas delivering his cornball mic work and Jack Swagger coming out and putting him in his place.
Paige vs. Natalya: It's good to see Natalya change up her look. With the new gear and her two previous wins, I wondered whether she would get another upset win and challenge Paige at NOC. Paige ended up going over and her feud with A.J. Lee is still in full effect, which is a nice consolation prize. The post match bit with Lee hugging Paige is just the continuation of mind games between the two. I question the approach as the live crowd sat silently until the latest HLA tease.
Goldust and Stardust turn on The Uso Brothers: The Dust Brothers act did nothing for me when their goal was simply to be weird in backstage segments. I'm keeping an open mind to them now that they've turned. Cody is an effeminate Riddler, and we know how great Goldust can be as a heel. If nothing else, this fills a major need for a heel team not named Rybaxel.
The Miz has a stunt double: I've been as down anyone on the way the company has wasted Damien Sandow in bad comedy segments, but I got a kick out of this. Miz having a stunt double was perfect for his character and as much as I dislike what they're doing with Sandow, it was the perfect setup for him to do his Miz impersonation. Am I the only person who was hoping that Sandow would act like he didn't know how to apply the Figure Four?
Overall show: A minor Hit. Don't let the high Hit count fool you, this was merely a decent episode of Raw that lacked major storyline developments and anything newsworthy as far as NOC is concerned. They filled three hours. It really is baffling that they didn't do more to set up next week's show considering that the NFL returns the week after. Are they going to put up a fight or roll over and die for the Monday Night Football doubleheader?
WWE Raw Misses
The Bella Twins and Jerry Lawler: Brie Bella is a lousy actress. When Nikki used the line about how Brie was holding her back in the womb it hit home because Brie was responsible for holding this segment back. Nikki actually delivered her best promo to date and was much more believable than wooden and whiney Brie. It's a shame because Brie has improved in the ring and she comes off so well on Total Divas, but it's just not carrying over. Nikki showed some real personality here even if some of the lines were cheesy. Creative needs to keep Nikki out of these situations where she's required to do more than she's capable of as an actress.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt: Good fire from Cena with Michael Cole doing a nice job of telling the story that Cena was sending a message to Brock Lesnar via the early German suplex. I was happy to see Luke Harper and Erick Rowan run in for the cheap finish. Wyatt has yet to thrive since Cena won their feud and a clean loss here would not have done him any favors, nor would Cena have gained enough from beating Wyatt to justify that move. I just can't get past Cena returning to the ring eight days after the SummerSlam beating and looked more indestructible than ever.
John Cena, Mark Henry, and Big Show vs. The Wyatt Family: They want us to watch Smackdown on Friday to see Henry and Show vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Keep in mind that we watched the babyface duo win their first match last week, and we watched Harper drop this six-man tag match. I understand that Cena is the priority, but I have to question the logic of choosing the Wyatt Family to serve as the whipping boys. The Wyatt Family is simply too good to be treated like the mid-card act that they have become. Here's hoping that the destruction of the trio leads to a change for the better. I wonder how Chris Jericho feels about coming back to work with Bray Wyatt only to have Wyatt's first victory in their feud treated like a non-event.
Rusev vs. Jack Swagger: The loss to Rusev at SummerSlam combined with the verbal beating he took last week made me look at Swagger differently coming into the rematch. The good news is that he looked good during the match and had some believable submission attempts with the Patriot Lock. The bad news is that Rusev's repeated kicks showed more light than a pair of dollar store sunglasses and ruined the match for me. It didn't help Swagger's cause either given that the idea was that he was unable to continue.
Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil vs. Los Matadores: Slater's winning streak ends to Los Matadores? Ugh. Can we get to the part where Los Matadores and El Torito disappear, and Primo and Epico are reunited with jiggly Rosa Mendes? Will WWE look to sign Rockstar Spud so they can pair him with Heath as Slater Patater? You know it's time to wrap it up when you use that awful joke.
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