Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: C.M. Punk vs. Jerry Lawler, Triple H continues to tease retirement, Daniel Bryan and Kane in therapy, John Cena vs. The Miz, Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio

Posted in: Powell Editorials, MUST-READ LISTING
Aug 28, 2012 - 12:02 PM

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw Hits

C.M. Punk and Jerry Lawler mic work: Punk was gold on the mic during the opening exchange. He stayed true to his character by stating things that are factual from his perspective while tearing down Lawler in a manner that made the WWE Hall of Famer seem sympathetic while setting up his response for later in the show. A good segment that had to leave most viewers looking forward to Lawler's response. There was also a nice cliffhanger heading into the break with Cole asking Lawler if he was going to accept the match only to have Lawler once again say that he was thinking about it. It may seem like a little thing, but Lawler did a great job of looking truly conflicted. Lawler was just as good in his response and always knows how to build up to the big moment at the end.

C.M. Punk vs. Jerry Lawler cage match: A good main event in front of a crowd that seemed burned out by the three-hour format. There was never any doubt in my mind as to who was going to win the match, but they gave viewers a good television main event without giving away a pay-per-view match and managed to further the top storyline in the process.

Triple H retirement tease promo: A strong promo with an impressive crowd reaction since I believe the vast majority of viewers don't believe he's retiring. Using that theory, it says a lot about Hunter's mic work and stature within the industry that the fans were happy to play a long while paying tribute to his career. Having said all that, I will vomit if this leads to Stephanie saying, "There's one thing I want you to do for me, Hunter. Win!"

Kane and Daniel Bryan therapy: I was trying to keep an open mind to this segment before Kane entered the room. At that point, it immediately became too ridiculous. Much to my surprise, I changed my tune as soon as Kane started telling the group about himself. Everything from his childhood to burying his brother alive twice to Paul Bearer to Katie Vickie to his unhealthy obsession with Pete Rose was hysterical.

Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth: The Little Jimmy stuff does nothing for me, but I got a kick out of the play on R-Truth once mistakenly stating that he was in Green Bay when he was actually in Milwaukee, and how the finish of the match had Bryan snapping and getting counted out after trying to control his rage.

Brodus Clay and Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes: A good tag matches that showcased two feuds while not giving anything of consequence away on television My only critique is that it would have been nice to see the heels go over or at least do something to garner heat for their singles feuds.

Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio: See the Clay and Sin Cara vs. Sandow and Rhodes comments and apply here. They set up the television main event for Smackdown, so perhaps Ziggler will get his heat back.

Ryback vs. Jack Swagger: There was nothing particularly memorable about the match aside from the botched back drop that looked really dangerous for Swagger. Putting that aside, the announcers told the story of Swagger being down on his luck and I like the way he let out the primal scream when he had his flurry of offense as if to show that he was unleashing a lot of frustration. Swagger saying, "That's it!" after losing the match reaffirmed my belief that they are on the verge of pushing him again.

Layla vs. Natalya: A good, physical Divas match. I still don't get any sense that Layla is connecting with viewers as the babyface champion. Part of the problem is the bad comedy she adds, but the bigger issue is that we don't know anything about her current character. I actually didn't mind Vickie Guerrero rolling her eyes while waiting for the match to end. After all, she is a heel character and, more importantly, it gave the match a needed hook.

WWE Raw Misses

Announcement for C.M. Punk vs. John Cena: This should have been treated like a major announcement. Instead, it was pre main event fodder. It didn't feel more important than any other random pay-per-view main event. I'm sure Punk and Cena will make it feel important via their mic work over the next two weeks, but the announcement left a lot to be desired.

John Cena vs. The Miz: A Hit worth match in terms of match quality. Miz got plenty of offense and even some two counts, though I think even the youngest of Cena fans knew he wasn't losing this match. I don't understand why WWE continues to have their mid-card heels lose to Cena on Raw. If everyone knows Cena is going over, then why not just give him a squash match win over an undercard wrestler or even an enhancement performer? It's not worth the damage they do to his mid-card (and upper mid-card) heels. And don't even get me started on having the Intercontinental Champion lose repeatedly on television in non-title matches that don't set up pay-per-view rematches.

Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater: I can't be the only person who was hoping that Slater would follow up his rare win on Smackdown with a victory on Raw. I can live with Santino going over, but this Cobra having a mind of its own is nonsense. Worse yet, it appears to keep the program between Antonio Cesaro and Santino alive. I was hopeful that Cesaro would move on from Santino and feud with Christian, who beat the new U.S. Champion before he won the title.

Vickie Guerrero's promo: I love Vickie's work, but she was screeching so much during her promo that I actually had to turn on the closed captioning because I couldn't make out what she was saying.

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