Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Final hype for TLC, Cody's Mustache, Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus, Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston, Big Show vs. John Cena, R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett, A.J. Lee vs. Vickie Guerrero
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus: A hell of a match. Ziggler can bump his ass off to make inferior wrestlers look good, but he's at his best when he has someone who can hold up their end of the match. Fans are talking about Ziggler's performance and rightfully so, but Sheamus also deserves credit for their match. Sheamus has had very good matches in recent months with Big Show, Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett, and now Ziggler. Sheamus and Ziggler are working as hard as anyone in the company right now, and it was good to see Ziggler protected via the DQ finish.
Cody's Mustache: It was one of the stars of Raw. The live crowd actually started chants for it and it was the subject of nonstop mocking from The Miz during Miz TV. Who would have guessed that a little facial hair would garner so much attention. As I mentioned in my Dot Net Members' audio review last night, I'd like to see Cody change his name to The Creeper and do his own version of Alberto Del Rio's entrance with a white windowless van instead of the sports car. No? Okay, fine, but I still got a kick out of the mustache.
Eve vs. Alicia Fox: A good Divas match. WWE should do more with Fox, who has been wasted in Divas purgatory for way too long. Meanwhile, Eve's post-match routine with the photographer was a nice addition to her act. Eve is doing a great job as a heel. She just needs the right babyface to work with.
Vickie Guerrero vs. A.J. Lee with Brad Maddox as referee: The addition of Maddox as special referee was a nice touch. It should lead to Vince McMahon being upset with Vickie, but my guess is they won't go there. Maddox did a good job of acting full of himself. He seems to be gaining confidence as a performer and improves with each television outing.
Big Show vs. John Cena: Sure, it felt like I'd seen this match before, but they do work well together. Still, WWE should be careful about booking Show with Cena. They do such a good job of making him look like a monster, yet he always looks vulnerable when he's wrestling Cena.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: This was not a strong go-home show. They had three hours to sell viewers on the new six-man tag main event, yet we didn't see the six wrestlers in the arena until the closing minutes of the show. They basically ignored the main event switch and the WWE Champion's injury during the first hour of the show. This wasn't a bad episode of Raw, it just failed as a go-home show.
Vince McMahon and Vickie Guerrero: Vince's appearance should pack a punch. His returns after an absence from television are ratings draws. Putting him out there in repetitive segments with Vickie on a weekly basis is watering down his act and the impact that it could have the next time the company needs a spark.
Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro: No, I didn't misplace this in the wrong section. They worked hard and had a good match that was certainly Hit-worthy from a quality standpoint. They managed to get a crowd that wasn't responsive to most of their match to care about the finish. The Miss isn't on them, it's on the three-hour format. This same match would have received a much better reaction had it taken place earlier in the show when the live crowd wasn't so burned out. It's the same story every week with the matches they air around the time this match went on. Antonio's slow offense early didn't help matters, but it really does feel like the longer matches that air in the late second hour or early third hour are doomed to get a poor response from tired crowds. If the crowd is burned out at this point in the show, you have to wonder how many television viewers are reaching for their remotes.
Miz TV: I was actually happy to see a verbal segment at this point in the show. As much as I love good in-ring work, it loses it's appeal when the live crowd isn't engaged. Sadly, this was one of the better episodes of Miz TV. Some of the one-liners about Cody's mustache were comical and I was surprised that Miz was able to dub them The Pink and The Stink on the PG show. The problem with Miz TV remains The Miz. He's not giving the fans anything they can connect with beyond a series of jokes at the expense of the heels. On a positive note, it was nice to see they moved the set out of the ring.
R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett: I hope this is a classic example of WWE having the heel lose right before he wins a title. They didn't do anything to put heat on Barrett heading into the pay-per-view. I have high hopes for his current character and I'd hate to see WWE kill his momentum with bad losses like this one.
A.J. Lee's tantrum: Her mental breakdown was painful to watch. It wasn't that I sympathized with her character. Rather, it's that I couldn't wait for her to shut up. Seriously, the screaming was annoying and over the top. I hope her interaction with Cena is leading to a Fatal Attraction-like storyline because I'm not digging A.J. as a babyface.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder: It was actually sad to see Ryder work in front of the Northeast fans because it was a reminder of how over he got himself via the online show. This live crowd would have been red hot for Ryder at one point, but most have lost hope because of the way he's been booked. The match itself was fine, yet because no one has any reason to take Ryder as a threat to win, this was one of those matches that dragged as part of the three-hour format.
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