Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman in-ring segment with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, Alex Riley upsets Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus is a car thief, Kelly Kelly returns
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan: A strong television main event. Bryan did a great job of getting the live crowd to focus on him when they were chanting for John Cena and C.M. Punk. I also like the amount of offense Bryan was given, and the fact that he was one of the few wrestlers who was able to counter out of the STF submission hold in a TV match. Plain and simple, this was a strong showing for both men.
Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels: A solid segment that established Shawn Michaels' role at SummerSlam, and that Lesnar is targeting HBK sometime between now and the event. I thought we would see that play out last night or even the day of the show because Michaels was going to be involved in the post-show ceremony with Vince McMahon and Undertaker. I also got a kick out of Heyman showing concern when Lesnar took the mic.
C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio: Another good match from Punk and Mysterio. They work very well together and it was no surprise to hear Punk mention Mysterio on his short list of favorite in-ring opponents during a comic con appearance. There was no denying that Punk was a heel last night. His character may be rationalizing his behavior in his own mind, but his actions and even words are all out heel.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show: I could have lived without the RKO afterwards since the focus of the actual match seemed to be about making Big Show look strong. Orton's character could have absorbed a lopsided match the resulted in a double countout, especially given the way Michael Cole was reminding viewers that it was only Orton's second match back following a two month layoff. Normally, I'd be fine with Orton standing tall over Show, but in this case Show is the guy in the high profile SummerSlam match, whereas we don't even know what Orton's role on the show will be. Nevertheless, it was another entertaining television match and it was good to see Show get so much offense on another top guy given his position heading into the pay-per-view.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley: The best part of the match was actually Chris Jericho's commentary. He did a better job of setting up that finish than Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler ever do in similar situations these days. Jericho repeatedly pointed out that Ziggler was easily distracted and too concerned with gloating. He didn't lay it on too thick, so I was still surprised when Riley went over despite the setup.
Damien Sandow attacks Brodus Clay: A good sneak attack that spared us from watching the tired Clay entrance routine. More importantly, it put good heat on Sandow and gave Clay a reason to seek revenge. I'm still concerned that we'll see parity booking with both wrestlers trading wins and not really gaining much from the feud, but the setup has been solid.
Overall show: Another entertaining three hour show. The alarming part is that they had to give away three big matches on free television to get there. None of those matches jumped out as pay-per-view headliners, but WWE has to know that they can't give away so many big matches on the show every week. However, just looking at this as an individual show it held my interest for three hours and didn't feel like a marathon. The major negative is that the show really didn't get me more excited about the SummerSlam pay-per-view than I was going in.
WWE Raw Misses
Sheamus steals Alberto Del Rio's car: I hate mind numbing angles like this one that leave viewers wondering why Sheamus wasn't arrested for grand theft auto, destruction of property, etc. WWE was actually proud of this nonsense because they kept showing replays as if this was some sort of a hook for the show. I'm not sure how any of this was supposed to make me want to see these two wrestle at SummerSlam. Furthermore, why is Del Rio suddenly treating Ricardo Rodriguez like Sakamoto Lite?
The Miz vs. Kane: They gave Miz the Intercontinental Title in an apparent attempt to rebuild him only to have Kane destroy him in a non-title match two weeks later?
Kelly Kelly vs. Eve Torres: I was surprised that Kelly's return didn't get a better reaction from the live crowd. She's usually the one babyface Diva you can count on to get a rise out of the live crowds, but they were just as quiet during most of the match as they would be for the other Diva matches.
Ryback vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins: I hate seeing Reks and Hawkins treated like jobbers. They're a better team than the Primetime Players, yet they're stuck putting over Ryback in handicap matches while the Players appear to be on the road to winning the tag titles.
Primo and Epico vs. The Primetime Players: I want to like the small effort that creative is giving to rebuilding the tag division, but I'm just not getting into the Players act or the way A.W. has quickly reverted to Abraham Washington mode after showing signs that he was going to take a more serious approach this time around. Most importantly, creative has to know that the key to rebuilding the tag division isn't just giving these guys in-ring time. They need to establish these characters so that people have a reason to care about their in-ring work.
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