Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: A.J. gets the spotlight, C.M. Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, Paul Heyman responds to Triple H, Alberto Del Rio destroys Sin Cara, Big Show vs. Kane
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Opening segment: This wasn't a newsworthy segment, yet it was effective in setting up the Raw main event, while providing good hype for the Raw Money in the Bank match and the WWE Championship match for the MITB pay-per-view.
C.M. Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho: A quality main event match that allowed the Punk, Bryan, and A.J. drama to take center stage during the final segment. They gave viewers a glimpse of how good Punk vs. Bryan can be before the focus shift to the angle. The lack of a finish didn't bother me in this case because A.J.'s antics worked for this viewer as an excuse for the match falling apart. I am curious if John Cena and Chris Jericho are still brawling somewhere in Laredo.
A.J.: It was A.J. overload week. They usually give us A.J. in small doses. I wouldn't want to see them overexpose her character this much on a regular basis, but it worked for me this one time. She continues to be the most compelling character on the show, and I hope they keep it that way by taking the less is more approach going forward. I enjoyed everything from the way she bit the flower to her main event antics. I was more annoyed by the overuse of the "Yes!" chants than I was by A.J. getting so much camera time this week. Again, though, here's hoping this is the exception to the rule. They have a good thing going and I'd hate to see them kill with overexposure.
Paul Heyman promo: Heyman continues to deliver excellent work. His dialogue is strong, his delivery is phenomenal, and his facial expressions are better now that they've been at any point during his career. I still feel like WWE made a mistake when they had Triple H punch him out. Heyman is doing such a good job of getting under the skin of viewers that they should have built to the moment when Hunter finally got his hands on Brock Lesnar's mouthpiece.
Tyson Kid vs. Tensai: It's nice to see the long wasted Kidd getting some moments of glory on the top two shows. I find myself looking forward to Tensai losing so that he beats the holy hell out of Sakamoto. It's ass backwards that neither Tensai nor Sakamoto actually talk, and that's clearly one of the reasons that Tensai hasn't gotten over in the way the company envisioned. It also makes it difficult for viewers to know what they're supposed to feel when Tensai beats up his man servant. Thus, I just go with the flow and enjoy the beating.
Alberto Del Rio destroys Sin Cara: The first thing I did this morning was visit the WWE corporate website to see if Sin Cara had been suspended again. This qualifies as a big hit for Del Rio heading into his title match, yet obviously sets Sin Cara back. It's nothing he can't recover from, though, as it's always possible they could feud after Money in the Bank. That said, it looked like a Sin Cara burial as much as something designed to help Del Rio get over. It will be interesting to see how Sin Cara is booked going forward.
Overall show: Don't let the Hit count fool you, this was a slightly better than average show. It wasn't particularly newsworthy and there wasn't anything that people will be talking about a week from now. Nevertheless, the show advanced the storylines and focussed nicely on the top programs.
WWE Raw Misses
Big Show vs. Kane: I'm not sure why this match needed to take place. Show has been well established as the dominant heel in WWE these days, and Kane rebounded nicely in his feud with C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan. One would think that they would have played up a Show and Kane collision as part of the Money in the Bank match hype rather than establishing that Kane can't hang with Big Show.
John Cena and C.M. Punk backstage: Did we really need to see Punk show arrogance only to have Cena smirk and pat him on the back while basically rolling his eyes at his behavior? Maybe we do for future storyline purposes. If not, then I really didn't care for the way Punk came across in this brief backstage bit.
Doink vs. Heath Slater: The Doink return received no response from the live crowd. I get that it was a setup for the return of Dallas Page, but the whole thing felt flat. It's odd to me that WWE is bringing back stars from Raw past, yet guys like Page, Vader, and Sid are better known for their work in WCW.
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