Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: C.M. Punk celebrates 365 days as WWE Champion, Titus O'Neil's real personality catching on, Sheamus isn't smiling anymore, Seth Rollins, Dean Amrose, and Roman Reigns repeat
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
John Cena Make A Wish video: The mother of the late child who was the recipient of Cena's second granted wish was spectacular. Her story was heart warming and told the story of how important this charity work is in a way that a company like WWE and even Cena are simply unable to do. If you didn't gain some level of respect for Cena's work with the charity then you were either maxed out beforehand or you have no soul.
C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman: The over the top celebration was filled with great verbal moments. Heyman turning the heart attack spoof on the fans for not recognizing the Attitude Era and ECW when they see it was clever. Granted, I didn't love that era or that company because of legit heart attack mocking, but it was still an unexpectedly strong shot. My favorite line of the night came from Punk when he boasted that he will break Bruno Sammartino's record for longest title reign on July 25, 2018 on the 355th edition of WWE Main Event. The humor was great and, more importantly, the duo generated strong heat from the live crowd.
Sheamus promo: It was so nice to hear Sheamus deliver the "I'm not smiling anymore" line. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of smiling Sheamus, but it's good to see that his character's mood now matches the intensity of his feud with Big Show. Unfortunately, the live crowd thought this would be a good time to keep "What?" alive. Sigh.
Titus O'Neil: He showed a lot of charisma while on commentary with Jerry Lawler, and he's been a lot of fun in the WWE Raw Backstage Fallout segments. He seems very comfortable in front of the camera and his true personality is really shining through. WWE creative needs to take note that it's his personality that's clicking, and there's no guarantee it will work if they start trying to write word for word promos for his character.
Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston: I really liked this match and the story that the wrestlers told and the announcers conveyed. Barrett worked over Kingston's eye repeatedly before catching him with the Bull Hammer. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler did a good job of explaining Barrett's strategy. The idea of Barrett and Kingston feuding over the Intercontinental Title is a good one. I'd rather see Barrett in the World Hvt. Championship picture, but it appears occupied. Thus, a feud with Kingston and perhaps even a title reign for Barrett could give a big boost to the Intercontinental Title value.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio: It's hard to get excited about watching Orton beat Del Rio again so this is only a mild Hit. Had someone told me that they were going to get less than 14 minutes for a best of three falls match, I would have assumed Orton was going over two falls to none or I would hate the match because it was so short. It was still shorter than a best of three falls match should be, but they did they had a good strategy to explain why the match was so short. Del Rio taking the intentional DQ to work over the arm to set up Orton tapping out moments later was nicely done.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: This three hour show really dragged. The bulk of the first two hours of the show bored me. It was a night of repeats with the Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns attack on Ryback, Antonio Cesaro beating Brodus Clay again, and yet another Randy Orton win over Alberto Del Rio. Factor in several throwaway matches that served as time filler and it made for a long night. I had high hopes for this show and the first Raw appearances of Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns, but it felt like most of the stories that interested me were put on a hold coming out of the pay-per-view.
A.J. is mad at Vickie Guerrero: Much like the entire affair accusation storyline, A.J's anger with Vickie didn't make any sense. A.J. was upset because John Cena was injured when he tripped leaving the ring. She actually asked Vickie what she was going to do about it. What the hell did she expect Vickie to do? His knee buckled leaving the ring to chase Ziggler, not because of something Ziggler did to him.
John Cena and A.J. kiss: Consider this a Hit if it means we're finally finished with all of the awful Vickie Guerrero accusations. I felt the need to include it in this section because I could not let the actions of a few grown men in the crowd go unmentioned. It was one thing for the female fans to squeal and the kids to have whatever reaction they had, but I actually spotted more than one grown ass man jumping up and down in the live crowd because they were so excited by this. The camera doesn't lie. You know who you are. Turn in your man cards immediately.
Ryback promo: It's like an old school Ultimate Warrior promo with a reduced amount of gibberish. He needs to talk, yet his mic work seems to be doing more harm than good at this point. They haven't found the right formula yet. I'm also surprised that local advertising has Ryback challenging Punk at TLC. WWE is going to have him come up short three times in three title matches? I hope they have a really good plan in mind for making him look strong despite failing to win the championship again. Of course, I assume he will come up short as that's the right move to make with the Punk vs. Rock match coming up at the Royal Rumble.
The Great Khali vs. Primo and Epico: Was there a point to any of this? They buried a tag team while doing a silly angle with Hornswoggle shooting water in the face of Rosa Mendes. Whatever happened to Alberto Del Rio courting her? Am I the only one who didn't initially realize Primo and Epico were in the ring? I saw Great Khali standing in the ring and the next shot I saw was of Hornswoggle walking out with a bouquet of flowers. I thought things were about to get really funky there for a second.
The Miz vs. David Otunga: Otunga has no in-ring credibility. He's more effective as a non-wrestling character. Meanwhile, Miz doesn't seem to have changed anything about his act now that he's a babyface. His in-ring style is different, but he seems as cocky as ever. I would understand this approach if he had been a heel that the crowd turned babyface by cheering for him, but that just wasn't the case.
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