Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Paul Heyman returns, John Laurinaitis and Eve featured prominently, Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio, C.M. Punk vs. Lord Tensai and Daniel Bryan, The Miz vs. Brodus Clay
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Paul Heyman returns: The majority of the fans in Greensboro didn't seem to remember or care when Heyman made his surprise appearance. In a perfect world, there would have been instant heat. Ultimately, though, Heyman is a strong enough performer to get under the skin of fans who aren't familiar with him. He will be a major asset when it comes to WWE being able to keep Brock Lesnar's storyline going in weeks when Lesnar isn't there. Likewise, Heyman's involvement will reduce the amount of acting that Lesnar will do. Brock is a strong promo at times, but his acting leaves a lot to be desired, and he's not going to shine in the back and forth verbal exchanges that WWE is so fond of. Less is more with Lesnar, who can let Heyman do the majority of the talking.
John Laurinaitis: Most of this show was dedicated to putting heat on the heel general manager. You can question the idea of putting Laurinaitis in the match with John Cena at Over The Limit, but the fact is that they are going with that match, so there's no denying the need to put that heat on him. They are also doing a better job creatively when it comes to finding the right balance between the comedic element of the character and making him a real villain. C.M. Punk gets a big assist for his role, particularly in explaining that Laurinaitis wants the match with Cena because he's angry that Cena took down his guy Brock Lesnar.
Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus and Randy Orton: A good tag team match that set up a logical change in the World Hvt. Championship match at the pay-per-view. I like the way they had Jericho get the pin to establish him being deserving of a title match, and had the babyfaces come to blows. Del Rio already had the title match so he didn't need to be the focus. I'm not a big fan of four-way matches, but this one makes a lot of sense because it adds more star power to a key match on a show that desperately needs it given the questionable main event.
Eve: I've definitely come around on the Eve character. She was damn near unwatchable when she was paired with Cryme Tyme and R-Truth, but she's doing a hell of a job in her heel executive role. It's nice to see a truly villainous heel in WWE again. Vickie Guerrero is a heel comedy figure and the woman that fans love to hate, whereas Eve is straight up heel.
Overall show: More of an in the middle, but I'll give them a slight nod on the favorable side because they had to put that heat on Laurinaitis now that they've committed to the match. It wasn't the most exciting Raw, but they accomplished what they needed to with the main event program, and the return of Paul Heyman made the show feel newsworthy.
WWE Raw Misses
C.M. Punk vs. Lord Tensai and Daniel Bryan: The match itself was fine. I didn't care for the way they focussed on Tensai rather than than Punk vs. Bryan feud. Granted, Bryan got some heat after the match, but it was all about Tensai during the actual match. I realize they are building him up and I assume he will play a big part in the Cena vs. Laurinaitis match so perhaps that's the logic that went into this, but WWE has one week left to promote Punk vs. Bryan and it feels like an after thought on the show at this point. In case you missed it, they flubbed the setup for this match by having Jerry Lawler mention the handicap stipulation before it was actually announced by John Laurinaitis. Oops.
Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler: I could give the match a Miss for WWE only giving these two talented wrestlers a little over two minutes of ring time, but the actual miss is because the segment felt flat. I'm all for Ziggler winning matches and getting a push, but this felt like it was simply a setup for an eventual tag title match rather than a meaningful match. I was more compelled by what was taking place backstage with A.W., the former WWE Tag Champions, and Mason Ryan.
Kelly Kelly and Layla vs. Natalya and Maxine: This one-minute tag match did nothing for me. It was interesting that Beth didn't want to talk about her ankle injury. Could that be a sign that they intend to play the "not medically cleared" card agin at the pay-per-view and give the title match to someone else such as Kharma?
Brodus Clay vs. The Miz: Maybe I don't want to see the next chapter for Clay after all. We finally saw him in a longer match and it wasn't pretty. The match dragged and the crowd was flat. I still wish that WWE would have the announcers make a big fuss over a former WWE Champion being pinned. That would have given Clay some credibility and gave the match some meaning. Instead, Michael Cole sold the finish by saying Clay "was impressive tonight."
Be A Star Video: Why are they showing a monster heel in Mark Henry acting nice and cuddly with the kids? Sure, it helps the cause to show a guy his size was bullied, but it also goes against everything we know about Henry's character. I'm all for Henry and other heels making these appearances, but the footage doesn't need to be shown on WWE television.
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