Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: C.M. Punk steals the show, Mick Foley shows he still has it, Ryback stares down Punk, Paul Heyman proposes to A.J., Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan and Kane skits
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Mick Foley and C.M. Punk: I wish Foley was in his prime and this was leading to a big showdown match. This was an example of money Mick Foley. We've seen way too much of comedy Foley in recent years, but this segment is definitive proof that Foley can still deliver in a big way when he's given something to sink his teeth into. It was a treat to watch these two spar verbally again. Both men played their parts to perfection and this was one of my favorite talking segments of the year.
Opening with C.M. Punk, Paul Heyman, Brad Maddox, and A.J.: Punk and Heyman were fantastic while tearing into Maddox over his bad call the week before. Likewise, Maddox played his part well by looking nervous and intimidated. Punk is on fire on the mic. He's delivering truly memorable mic work in multiple segments on each show these days, and it was great to see him go after the fans who were supporting him rather than simply accept that some people are going to cheer for him. Heyman's proposal to A.J. was unexpected fun. I thought they were establishing her as a clearcut babyface, but they went right back to making her look heelish and unstable when she scolded Maddox backstage in the next segment.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston: A very good television match. We've seen these two work together countless times in the past, yet enough time has past that this felt fresh. It was good to see Ziggler get a clean pin on television, and I'm hopeful that Kingston is on the verge of breaking away from R-Truth and returning to the singles division. We don't need a Truth and Kofi breakup that results in a feud between the two. Here's hoping they just go separate ways and we're not stuck with a throwaway feud between the two.
Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, and Ricardo Rodriguez: Ricardo was the most entertaining guy in the ring. I get a huge kick out of watching him work and WWE has to find ways to spotlight his character. Mysterio appeared to be having some knee issues during the match. Here's hoping it was just an issue with one of his knee braces rather than an injury. As much as I yawned at all of the Brogue Kick banning segments, it was successful in making the move more meaningful.
Michael Cole and Jim Ross: I prefer the old school neutral play-by-play voice and a heel color commentator, but Cole and Ross are so much better together in their current roles than Cole was with anyone when he was heeling it up. Ross is not a natural color commentator, yet he brings a real sports feel to the show at the key times. Most importantly, it's nice to have Cole calling it straight rather than acting like a dork and putting over the heels. He's much more effective in this role.
Ryback stares down C.M. Punk: This isn't really a Hit or a Miss, but rather a TBD. It looks like WWE is setting up Ryback as a potential Hell in a Cell opponent for Punk just in case Cena isn't ready. Rushing Ryback into this role is a move that makes sense in the short term, but the concern is that it could hurt the new Goldberg over the long haul. I listed it as a TBD because I need to see where this is going before I can form a strong opinion on it. If nothing else, it made for an interesting cliffhanger at the end of Raw.
WWE Raw Misses
Jerry Lawler graphics: Obviously, the fact that Lawler is healthy enough to take part in an interview is a huge Hit. However, the graphics that showed Lawler while EMTs were performing CPR on him were an unnecessary turnoff. Does this mean a cameraman actually filmed the entire series of events as paramedics were frantically attempting to save the life of Lawler? Dot Net reader Ellana Davilla put it best in this brief email: "Why the hell did they put that pic of him like that? First question my six-year-old asks, 'Why is the King like that?' Ugh. Thanks, WWE." The company has handled this situation extremely well thus far, but this felt tacky.
John Cena: His serious tone and somewhat doom and gloom approach to his mic work felt a bit much for a guy who is slated to miss only six weeks of action. They really should have put heat on Punk by doing an injury angle last week. It just seemed odd that a guy who was standing tall at the end of last week's show then underwent elbow surgery and seemed so down on his luck this week. Fortunately, his final segment ended nicely with Punk threatening to attack the wounded Cena, who responded by attacking him with the lead pipe.
Daniel Bryan and Kane skits: I've enjoyed the hell out of some of the Kane and Bryan segments, but the latest round didn't click with me. They resorted to a loud burp sound effect and barfing. The only part of this I enjoyed was the Mae Young cameo and her "How Harry Met Sally" line.
Ryback vs. The Miz: There was nothing wrong with the idea of having Ryback beat the Intercontinental Champion clean in a non-title match aside from the fact that everyone beats this Intercontinental Champion clean in non-title matches. Thus, it made no impact whatsoever. This would have really packed a punch if they had taken care of Miz in the months leading up to this match.
Divas angle: I remain pleased that they are giving Eve an actual storyline and a character, but this was a mess. Kaitlyn suddenly remembers that her attacker had blonde hair. She took a shot to the leg, not to the head, yet it took her this long to figure that out? The fans don't seem to care about Kaitlyn let alone what happened to her at Night of Champions, and it isn't helping matters that it seems so obvious that Eve was behind the assault. Update: Multiple readers have pointed out that Kaitlyn said she saw security footage that revealed her blonde attacker. My apologies for not catching that.
No Sakamoto: It's bad enough that Sakamoto didn't get his ass kicked when Tensai was on a losing tag team recently. I can forgive that since Tensai didn't lose the match. It was worse when Randy Orton beat Tensai and Sakamoto walked away unscathed. What's unforgivable is that Sakamoto didn't even appear with Tensai last night. I don't ask for much from WWE, but I am on my knees begging them to give my my regular dose of Sakamoto being pummeled after Tensai losses. It's the only redeeming quality the Tensai act has these days. Do the right thing, WWE, or I will use my considerable political stroke to see to it that Linda McMahon is not elected. Fine, so I have no political juice, but consider this like a healthy middle aged man Make-A-Wish moment.
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