Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Brock Lesnar breaks Triple H's arm, Daniel Bryan wins the Beat The Clock Challenge, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston win the WWE Tag Titles, Eve fires The Bella Twins
By Jason Powell
Dot Net readers are listening to my 52-minute audio review of WWE Raw, and the 76-minute audio review of WWE Extreme Rules that Jake Barnett and I recorded on Sunday night. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar and Triple H angle: A strong opening segment. Triple H played his role well. He didn't get snarky. Rather, he played the part of an executive attempting to defuse a potentially combustable situation with Lesnar. The attack was also well done and both Lesnar and John Laurinaitis were effective in their roles. The only negative was that the announcers outrage over Lesnar attacking an officer of the company didn't register. The fans are fresh off of seeing Hunter working with Undertaker at WrestleMania 28. Sure, they've seen him in the executive role, but I think they still view him as a wrestler more than an executive, so this felt more like a wrestler attacking another wrestler.
The Miz vs. Santino Marella: A better match than they had the night before on the Extreme Rules preview show. It was a good to see Miz get his win back and potentially set up a rematch between the two. The negative is that it was a flat way to open the Beat The Clock Challenge, as I don't think viewers saw either man as a threat to actually challenge C.M. Punk at the pay-per-view.
Brodus Clay vs. JTG: Jerry Lawler did what a good broadcast team member should do by enhancing the match. His comments about JTG telling him that he was going to surprise Clay made me pay more attention to the match than I otherwise would have. The Hit is entirely for Lawler making it seem more relevant than it was. I was also happy to see Hornswoggle pulled from the act, but the live crowd didn't look any more excited about Clay's entrance than the Extreme Rules crowd was on Sunday. It looks like the honeymoon period is over for the Funkasaurus.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: The show peaked with the opening segment and the Beat The Clock Challenge was underwhelming. WWE delivered a hot pay-per-view on Sunday night and I was really hoping they could keep their momentum on Monday night, but this show left a lot to be desired. I was actually hoping for more from Lesnar after the Hunter segment. Why not show him flipping out backstage when security escorted him from the building? They left me wanting more of Lesnar last night. Normally, that's a good thing, but in this case I simply wanted to see more of him during this particular show.
John Cena attacked by John Laurinaitis, Lord Tensai, and Sakamoto: I also expected Laurinaitis to introduce Brock Lesnar as Cena's opponent. From a business standpoint, they made the right call in not rushing right back to Cena vs. Lesnar three weeks after their first encounter. I picked up on the fact that Laurinaitis never actually introduced Tensai as the Cena opponent, but I was surprised, and not in a good way, when he named himself the opponent for Over The Limit. The feud just hasn't been established enough. Laurinaitis spent more time feuding with C.M. Punk than he has Cena, so this just feels rushed. The fans still don't seem to care about Tensai. I did like the way Sakamoto got involved last night as he could add a lot to the act if he does more than just stand outside the ring and serve as Tensai's quiet manservant.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jerry Lawler: I wish they would explain what Lawler did to earn a spot in the Beat The Clock Challenge. It could have been as simple as it being revealed after the fact that Laurinaitis wanted Bryan to win so he gave him a soft opponent. I enjoy the hell out of Lawler wrestling in small doses on WWE Raw, but this unadvertised match had a highly predictable outcome. It all would have been worthwhile had Lawler been given a chance to cut the promo he delivered on WWE's Backstage Fallout. He did a great job of putting over Bryan and I hope he gets a chance to do that even on commentary next week. Of course I'm looking forward to Bryan challenging Punk like every other red-blooded diehard wrestling fan, I just wasn't crazy about the path they chose to get there.
Chris Jericho vs. Big Show: The finish was clearly botched and it appeared that the finger can be pointed directly at the referee. It looked like Jericho was supposed to beat the clock and win via count-out but the referee failed to time it right and had just counted to nine on Show when the clock expired. The referee than scrambled to make the ten-count and say that Jericho won the match. The dejected look on Jericho's face was also telling given that the referee was simultaneously claiming that he had won the match. This could have been edited and would have worked fine on Smackdown, but I guess that's the fun of live television.
Layla vs. Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella: At least it was quick and painless. The live crowd didn't care about the new Divas Champion. Part of the problem has to be that they've been given no incentive to do so aside from the big smile she flashes. She was part of the big heel duo before her injury, and it's not like WWE has tried to make her look inspirational after her long battle back from knee surgery. Meanwhile, Eve did a nice of heeling it up while firing the Bellas on the WWE website video. That's another video featured that really should have appeared on Raw for the full viewing audience.
Primo and Epico vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth: There was no build to the tag title change. The champs felt like non-factors because they've been losing non-title matches, and Kingston and Truth feel like two singles wrestlers that were just thrown together (because they are). The title change seemed like it had to do more with setting up something involving A.W. more than the actual tag titles.
Kane vs. The Great Khali: The big men battles appeal to younger fans. I'm not a younger fan, so this made me cringe. Hell, watching Khali walk to the ring on those bad knees makes me cringe. What has Khali done lately to warrant consideration for a title match? I suppose the same could be said for The Miz. I've definitely seen the Beat The Clock Challenge executed much more effectively than it was on Monday night.
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