Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Ryback and John Cena vs. C.M. Punk and Dolph Ziggler, Survivor Series changes, Sheamus vs. The Miz, Wade Barrett vs. Brodus Clay, Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio
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By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Ryback and John Cena vs. C.M. Punk and Dolph Ziggler: There was plenty of star power in the main event and they did a good job of getting viewers focussed on Ryback and Cena doing battle for the first time in the Survivor Series Triple Threat match. Unfortunately, that seemed to come at the expense of Ryback pinning the WWE Champion. Ryback pinning Punk should have been a big moment, but it was brushed aside quickly for the Ryback and Cena stare down. I guess that's what happens when there are only three weeks between pay-per-views and the first week of hype was essentially erased so that they could move in a new direction.
Wade Barrett vs. Brodus Clay: The live crowd was great in their support of Barrett. It was fun to watch them go from liking Clay during his entrance to completely turning against him the moment Barrett came out. Barrett finally appears to be getting past the way he was booked post Nexus. He's carrying himself like a main eventer both in the ring and on the mic. I'd like to see the new on-air relationship between Sheamus and William Regal lead to Regal turning on Sheamus and aligning with Barrett.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes: The Birmingham crowd was red hot for Daniel Bryan. That's the type of frenzy his entrance was creating in North America until they watered things down with too many Bryan and Kane skits. Don't get me wrong, Bryan is still really over, but the energy level for his entrances have been down prior to Monday night.
Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, and Sin Cara vs. Antonio Cesaro and The Prime Time Players: A minor hit for a solid opening television match. Normally, I would complain about Cesaro losing, but it was necessary here to get Truth over as a threat to the U.S. Championship. I'm also fine with their program, assuming it's designed to be a short run that will ultimately benefit Cesaro in the end. The Players seem to be finding themselves, as Darren Young has dropped the annoying elements of his act. Young and Titus O'Neil are starting to grow on me.
Sheamus vs. The Miz: The extended time filler match of the night. A minor Hit for the way they kept things interesting by having Big Show on commentary. Sadly, no one buys The Miz when he's in there with top guys these days. I'm sure WWE officials will point to his size or personality or something, but the truth is that he was damaged creatively after he dropped the WWE Championship and lost so many matches. They would be better off keeping him away from main event talent if he's not going over. The fans don't react to his near falls when he's in there with someone like Sheamus anyway, and the outcome of his matches with top stars is never really in doubt barring the possibility of some type of cheating. They'd be better of rebuilding Miz's in-ring credibility by protecting him as a mid-card talent.
Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio: Kingston didn't look overly strong considering he won thanks to a distraction from Randy Orton's music, but at least the Intercontinental Champion didn't lose the match. Meanwhile, they forwarded the Del Rio and Orton program heading into their match on tonight's Super Smackdown television show.
Overall show: The live crowd's energy made an ordinary show feel fresh. WWE also delivered a newsworthy show via all of the Survivor Series changes. It's encouraging to see that they recognized the Survivor Series elimination match wasn't main event worthy and the way the card was shaping up wasn't going to sell. The lineup changes are a big positive even though it essentially wipes out a week of television and leaves the Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler match without a real issue.
WWE Raw Misses
Brad Maddox promo: I actually sympathized with Maddox while he was talking about how hard he worked to get a shot with WWE. Granted, the path his character chose to get noticed wasn't admirable, but it's hard to hate Maddox when Ryback doesn't even seem to be bothered by the way he was screwed. I'd actually like to see Ryback lose the match to Maddox next week. It would be a nice twist if C.M. Punk and/or Paul Heyman interfered and then John Cena's attempt to help Ryback backfired. It would keep the question of whether Maddox was in cahoots with Punk and Heyman, increase the tension between Ryback and Cena, give the fans more incentive to want to see Maddox get his ass kicked, and give Punk bragging rights that he cost Vince McMahon a million dollars give the contract he promised to give Maddox.
John Cena, Vickie Guerrero, A.J., and Dolph Ziggler: I got a kick out of Cena mocking himself by saying the chances of Vickie running a clean show were as unlikely as him learning a new move. I'm not sure whether it was the right idea to draw attention to his limited move set, but it got a laugh out of me. The latest Vickie evidence was just as campy as the evidence she presented last week. I'm not sure where this is going and I'm not anxious to find out.
Kane vs. Damien Sandow: The energy level from the Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes match died once this match started. It seems like Kane needs Bryan more than Bryan needs Kane right now. I was hoping for a longer match between Bryan and Cody, and instead this match was nearly twice as long even though the outcome felt predictable from the start. That said, the Rhodes and Sandow team is clicking and I continue to suspect they will end up being the team that takes the tag titles from Kane and Bryan at some point.
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