Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Survivor Series hype from C.M. Punk and Mick Foley, John Cena, A.J., and Vickie Guerrero saga, tag team division concerns, Alberto Del Rio spinning his wheels, Ryback and Sheamus promos
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to my 46-minute audio review of WWE Raw, and the 73-minute audio review of the WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view that Chris Shore and I recorded last night. Join us on the new membership iPhone app and the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
WWE Raw Hits
C.M. Punk and Mick Foley: A solid exchange between the two early in the show that set up the main event segment. It wasn't a red hot verbal battle like we saw from them a month ago, but it set the stage for the Survivor Series match and was one of the better segments of the night.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: The worst show of the three-hour era. The lack of followup to the Brad Maddox pay-per-view angle was baffling and left me assuming that they booked the finish without a followup in mind. The overall show was boring, uneventful, and they never bothered to deliver an incentive for viewers to return next week. I don't know whether that was a factor in the piss poor quality of the show, but I sympathize with those involved in the creative process who were more focussed on issues at home due to Hurricane Sandy.
I do know that the three-hour format is a creative failure. I am curious to find out whether Vince McMahon and company will attempt to justify the move by pointing to a massive programming fee increase from USA Network for the third hour during the conference call on Thursday. At this point, it would need to be an astronomical figure to justify the negative effect it is having on the product and in the ratings. There were entertaining aspects of last night's show, but most of those segments were more effective in filling television time than doing what's good for business.
John Cena, Vickie Guerrero, and A.J.: This is an abomination that isn't doing anyone involved any good. The evidence Vickie showed had already been explained aside from the shocking finale that showed Cena and A.J. sharing an elevator ride. Really? An f'n elevator ride? I can't wait until next week when WWE reveals that they also took an escalator ride together at the mall. I don't want to spoil anything, but I hear the grand finale will be that they used the same moving walkway at the airport!!!
Survivor Series match announcement: As someone who endorsed the idea of going with a traditional Survivor Series main event, I was surprised at how flat this segment felt. WWE has to shake up the way they do things. The Raw live crowds tend to be burned out by the time the final segments rolls around. They can usually get up for a good main event. However, expecting them to be engaged in a ho-hum pay-per-view announcement when they are burned out and presumably disappointed by the lack of a meaningful television main event is foolish.
The wrestlers don't care about the titles: I didn't mind the Sheamus promo last night. He was likable and the ginger snaps line worked better than the usual groan inducing comedy reserved for Sheamus. The problem is that he seemed dismissive of losing his title belt. Likewise, Ryback's "Ode to the Ultimate Warrior" promo didn't include any hint of him being upset over the way he was screwed out of winning the championship. I know John Cena established that he's unsure whether Ryback even cares about the title, but he definitely should. If he doesn't care about the championship, then shy should his followers invest in his pursuit of Punk?
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett: A good match, but the problem is that Barrett's loss sets him back. He beat Orton last week, so he had to lose this week. This doesn't feel like a rivalry. It just feels like Orton avenged his flukey loss and proved his superiority.
Tag Division: The Team Hell No vs. The Prime Time Players, and Rhodes Scholars vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara matches were entertaining and all. And I know I should be happy that they actually have a tag division. The problem is that they have already given away most of the meaningful matchup combinations in the division on multiple occasions. There's still some steam left in Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and they can eventually go with Team Hell No vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, but they are burning through their potential matchups too quickly while scrambling to fill all these hours of television each week.
3MB: I got a big kick out of Heath Slater as the lovable loser, but the 3MB segments continue to be channel changing material. Even a mildly comedic moment with Jinder Mahal claiming he has the reputation for being the fun one doesn't justify the way their skits and matches kill the live crowds.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Justin Gabriel: Here we go again. Del Rio dominates undercard talent on Raw. He gets the better of his babyface pay-per-view opponent on the television shows. Del Rio loses to his pay-per-view opponent at the actual pay-per-view. Then WWE wonders why Del Rio isn't more over than he is. The wheel spinning continues.
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