Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane, John Cena says WWE's average viewer is nine years old, Chris Jericho mocks Cena, Big Show vs. Brodus Clay, Sid returns
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: Another good three-way style match with the added perk of the match being an elimination rather than a single fall finish. As much as I'm looking forward to the next Punk vs. Bryan match and even though I dreaded the thought of Kane being added to this mix initially, I must confess that part of me is disappointed to see him move on. Kane's story with A.J. was a lot of fun and he fit nicely into the three-way formula. Of course, I'll never complain about getting a Punk vs. Bryan pay-per-view singles match. The A.J. drama continues to be a weekly highlight of the show.
John Cena vs. Chris Jericho: A good main event match with a flat finish to the overall show. I didn't mind the DQ finish and I'm curious to see how much Jericho plays up that he was on the verge of finally beating Cena only to have Show's interference cost him the match. They may simply play that up to create the every man for himself vibe for Money in the Bank, but they could also take it a step further as an impetus for the Jericho character to turn babyface and feud with Big Show at SummerSlam. The flat finish came with Big Show locking Cena in the Colossal Clutch, but the actual match and the match finish worked for me.
Chris Jericho's mic work: I really enjoy this version of heel Jericho. He wasn't over the top in his responses to Cena. Rather, he played it cool while pointing out some of Cena's bad comedy and bad lines (more on that in the Misses section). His mocking over Cena's use of the word "fudging" was great even though it set Cena up to deliver a horrible response. I can't say I missed the Jericho character while he was away for the last month and I was lukewarm regarding his return simply because he was never given a meaningful win since he returned, but his mic work and attitude quickly won me over and left me looking forward to where things go from here.
Big Show vs. Brodus Clay: It was nice to hear the announcers take a moment to explain that Clay was allowed to return to Raw once Big Johnny lost power. It was also encouraging to see Clay get the out that Show went after his wounded knee. Show got the win he needed given his placement on the card, but they can still revisit this match again because they played up that Clay wasn't 100 percent.
Sycho Sid vs. Heath Slater: Quick and painless. He wasn't as over as Vader, but the live crowd remembered him and had fun with the segment. I have had people ask why Slater is in the doghouse. I honestly don't think he is. He's doing a good job on the mic while exchanging words with the legends or setting up their matches (though they could make it a little less obvious), and it looks like WWE officials trust him to go out and make the legends look good. It's not a headlining spot at WrestleMania, but it's a nice step up from losing on WWE Superstars and WWE NXT most weeks.
Overall show: A good episode of Raw with a nice mix of in-ring action, quality mic work, newsworthy announcements, and even a legends segment thrown in. This won't be remembered as a top ten Raw of the year or anything, but it was a quality effort that set the stage for Money in the Bank while looking ahead to SummerSlam.
WWE Raw Misses
John Cena's mic work: What goes through Cena's mind when he feels the need to remind viewers that Raw is a PG product? Worse yet, he actually said the majority of the viewers are nine years-old. WWE typically struggles to draw ratings with the teen demographic and having the top babyface tell the teens who are actually watching that they are watching a product watched by nine year-olds isn't helping. Does it seem backwards to anyone else that the guy who caters to kids is showcased in the late main event segment while the more adult storyline involving crazy A.J. is featured early in the show? I wasn't a fan of Cena's big Star Wars promo even though I'm a big Star Wars fan, but I must admit that his Yoda McMahon impersonation got a laugh out of me.
Santino Marella vs. Jack Swagger: I'm not even sure what purpose the U.S. Title has anymore. It's been established that Santino can beat undercard talent, but they've shown him lose to Alberto Del Rio and any other bigger name he's been in the ring with. His title reign means nothing. The fans like Santino whether he has a belt or not. Meanwhile, there are several wrestlers who would benefit from wearing the strap and could bring some meaning back to it if they were given some help from creative.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler: I cringed the moment I heard pole match. The bit at the end with both men struggling to pick up the contract to win the match was fun for a bit and then went on too long and even became farcical once Del Rio had to sit there with the contract in front of him and wait for Ziggler to come over and prevent him from picking it up. And then it turns out that we sat through all the nonsense only to have Sheamus announce that Vickie Guerrero had booked them in a Triple Threat match for Smackdown, which ended the match without a winner.
Diva's Battle Royal: This did nothing more than expose how thin the Divas roster is these days. Okay, so it exposed some flesh too, but you get the point. I must also confess that I got a kick out of Vickie Guerrero entering the match and then performing the grand unveiling of her swimsuit. It wasn't enough to make the match a Hit, though, as it took roughly a minute for the majority of the Divas to be eliminated. Granted, I'm all for quick and painless with these things, but I wish WWE would take the time to rebuild the division and do more with some of the talented workers and performers. A.J. and Eve are recent examples of how the women can play valuable roles. There's no reason that WWE can't give the actual Divas wrestling product some decent storylines to work with rather than just throwing them out there for two minutes every week or two on television and then expecting fans to care when they book the random Divas Championship match of the month on the pay-per-view.
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