Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Vince McMahon vs. C.M. Punk, Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett, Punk has to choose between Ryback and John Cena, John Cena talks Antonio Cesaro's nipples, Ryback catching fire
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Vince McMahon vs. C.M. Punk: A very good main event that felt like a Raw moment. I'm brushing off fan concerns that Punk looked weak by selling for Vince. It would be different if Vince was roughing up Brock Lesnar or another monster type, but Punk isn't that type of a wrestler. This won't hurt Punk. He can absorb this. Rather, it was a hot match that was much more entertaining than I expected it to be. Vince proved he can still go at age 67.
C.M. Punk interrupts Vince McMahon: Punk's weekly interruptions are always among the highlights of Raw. This was no exception, and it was highly entertaining to watch him tear into Vince. The slap was a great touch and Paul Heyman's horrified reaction to it was great. I love that Heyman isn't like most managers. He doesn't gleefully go along with whatever Punk and Brock Lesnar do and by doing so it makes moments like these seem even more shocking.
Punk has to choose whether to face John Cena or Ryback: I like this move because it gets people thinking about both matches and leaves the fans wanting to see his match with the person he doesn't choose. The obvious pick is Cena due to his elbow injury, which will also make it look like he's ducking Ryback. It would be fun to see Punk spin it in a way that makes it look like he's a fighting champion when he selects an injured opponent.
Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett: A good, hard hitting match. This was likely a future pay-per-view main event preview. Once Barrett's act is established, I assume they will eventually work their way to a good feud between the two. Big Show remaining at ringside yet not getting involved in the match was a nice touch. I was happy to see a DQ finish in this case because it protected Barrett in that he didn't have to be pinned. The post match bump that Sheamus took was scary, as it appeared his head hit hard on the ringside mat.
Ryback vs. Primo and Epico: I give up on complaining about WWE not doing more with the Primo, Epico, and Rosa act even though I think it has potential. They haven't done anything meaningful with the trio since Rosa's airport incident, which is a shame. With that in mind, the live crowd was really into Ryback destroying both opponents, and JBL did a great job of trying to put over that Primo and Epico are quality wrestlers in an attempt to make the win seem even more impressive. Ryback is on his way to being a star for WWE. There's no telling how long it will last, but he's clearly catching fire.
Raw broadcast team: This is the most I've ever enjoyed a three-man booth throughout full broadcast. Cole playing it straight continues to be a huge plus, and I liked the conflicting viewpoints that he and Ross had with JBL, particularly when it came to Vince returning to the ring. How could you not laugh at JBL ripping on Mil Mascaras.
Overall show: I couldn't help but think of how hot this show would have been had the first two hours remained the same and then the Punk vs. McMahon match went on at the end of the second hour. It's going to be difficult for WWE to deliver red hot shows while trying to fill three hours, but they did a good job last night and it will be interesting to see whether it paid off in the ratings.
WWE Raw Misses
Vince McMahon and Jim Ross: The backstage segment that played on Jerry Lawler's heart attack was unnecessary and tacky. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised, yet I was still stunned that WWE used Lawler's heart attack to help set up Vince's match with Punk. I liked the way Ross and Michael Cole were concerned for Vince, but they should have completely avoided the heart attack talk.
John Cena promo: It was good once he got down to business by addressing his feud with C.M. Punk. The problem was the bad jokes at the beginning, most notably drawing attention to Antonio Cesaro's nipples. They've been doing a good job of establishing Cesaro as an in-ring power, and I just hope that joke isn't something they intend to play on going forward.
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