Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: John Cena cashing in his MITB contract for a WWE Championship match next week, C.M. Punk vs. Big Show, Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho, Raw 1000 hype
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
C.M. Punk vs. Big Show: Their show opening mic work was strong and effectively teased the possibility of John Cena cashing in later in the show. Show continued to plant the seed with Punk that he is overshadowed by Cena, which should come into play as part of their apparent program. The actual match was enjoyable. It was cool to see Punk use MMA logic in trying to chop Show down and keep distance between them with the leg kicks early. Show looked strong when he was on offense, and Punk's comeback was really hot with the high knees in the corner. The post-match angle with John Cena set the stage for next week and left me expecting a cheap finish involving Show next week, perhaps setting up a Triple Threat between them at SummerSlam.
Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho: A great verbal attack from Ziggler. It really hit home because Jericho has had such a lousy record in pay-per-view matches since he returned. I like the way Jericho played it straight and didn't just shift into babyface mode. He's been using some classic Y2J lines recently and it certainly appears that he's on the verge of turning heading into a likely SummerSlam match between the two.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder with Rey Mysterio's return: Sure, I'd rather see WWE give Ryder and actual push. After all, anyone could have been in his role on Monday. The Hit goes for Del Rio getting a decisive win coming off his pay-per-view loss. The return of Rey Mysterio was a nice surprise, though you always have to question whether WWE could have gotten more out of it had they advertised it in advance. I'm not down on them for having him return on Monday rather than at Raw 1000. After all, his return was overshadowed last night by the time the show was over, and I can only imagine it would have been completely lost in the shuffle on next week's loaded show.
Rikishi vs. Heath Slater: Another nice piece of nostalgia and it was nice to see Rikishi with his sons even though the dance number does nothing for me as a viewer. Slater has made the most of his run as a jobber to the veterans. His mic work is entertaining and I'm curious to see (a) whether they have a big name set to squash him next week, and (b) whether he'll continue to be featured on Raw in some way after the nostalgia matches conclude.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. The Primetime Players: A solid tag title match. However, I still feel like Kingston is being wasted in the tag division and could provide a spark to the singles side of Smackdown if given the opportunity. The Players and A.W. continue to be a Miss with me. I like the serious A.W. we saw when he was scouting talent, not the silly version Abraham Washington Show version that we're seeing now.
Overall show: A strong followup to Money in the Bank with even better hype for the Raw 1000 episode. They did a good job of emphasizing the key aspects of next week's show. Brock Lesnar doesn't seem like a big deal at this point, but hopefully that will change next week. I was ready for WWE to shake up many of the programs and they did that coming out of the pay-per-view. A good show that left me looking forward to Raw 1000. Perhaps most importantly, it was nice to see a WWE television show take place in Las Vegas and not feature the tired Raw Roulette gimmick for once.
WWE Raw Misses
Daniel Bryan and A.J. wedding: I suppose the quick wedding works due to the unpredictable and unstable nature of the A.J. character. I'm just not sure why they felt the need to rush into this for Raw 1000. If there's a storyline reason it has to happen next week then so be it, but I really think the WWE Championship match, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, DX, etc. are more than enough to sell the show. This is something I would have saved for a future episode. They've done a great of loading up Raw 1000, but they will have three hours of television to fill every week. A segment like this could have been a major hook for a future show.
Brodus Clay vs. JTG: It was actually nice to see JTG back on television with a better look than he had in the Cryme Tyme days. The minor Miss goes to the tired Clay dance number and the predictable outcome of the match. This just felt like filler, as Clay's dance number does whenever I see it now. It was fun initially and now it's just tiresome. I really liked Clay's serious approach during his short run with Big Show and I'd like to see more of that Brodus than the guy who dances with kids.
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