Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: 20th Anniversary, The Rock concert, Wade Barrett pins Randy Orton, The Miz and Ric Flair, Kaitlyn beats Eve to win the Divas Championship, The Shield interrupt Mick Foley
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Rock concert: I must admit that I groaned a bit when it was announced that Rock was going down this road again. It felt too soon in Rock's latest run to go back to the same well. Fortunately, I was wrong about this one. Rock serenading Vickie Guerrero was great and the live crowd absolutely loved it. Vickie sold it perfectly and it was topped only by the intense pull apart involving Rock and Punk that occurred moments later.
Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton: I think we all expected Barrett to either eat an RKO and be pinned or some type of cheap finish. It was a big win for Barrett on a big show. The win was big for Barrett and his finisher. It seems like they are establishing the Bull Hammer as being a WMD-like move that opponents don't get up from. I love it. I assume Orton is heading toward a heel turn. Either way, I hope WWE doesn't feel the need to give Orton his win back. My only complaint is that if Barrett was going to win this match, why not make it a title match? Why do they always feel the need to remind us that the secondary titles are beneath the top stars?
Kane, Daniel Bryan, and Dr. Shelby: Fine, I admit it. I get a kick out of Dr. Shelby's antics in small doses. Kane stating that Bryan sometimes likes to wear women's clothing created a disturbing yet hilarious mental image and got a good laugh out of me. I didn't care for Bryan and Kane handling Rhodes Scholars so easily in singles matches, but it left me feeling like there's a very good chance we'll see a title change at the Royal Rumble.
Kaitlyn vs. Eve: A strong Divas match that had the crowd reacting to multiple near falls. Kaitlyn was legitimately emotional after winning the title and broke down in tears while discussing it during the Backstage Fallout online show. Eve's departure from the company felt anticlimactic. She lost her title, threw a tantrum, and quit? That was all? I don't know what I was expecting, but I thought it would have been better than that. It's a shame she's leaving because she really was the highlight of the Divas division. She had a good character and was able to carry the younger Divas to passable performances in the ring and have downright good matches with the more experienced Divas. She will be missed.
The Shield interrupt Mick Foley and brawl with Ryback, Randy Orton, and Sheamus: I was surprised to see Foley since we normally don't hear much from the Hall of Fame inductees until the actual ceremony. The Shield interruption was a nice way of working around that. The big brawl with Ryback, Orton, and Sheamus was strong. JBL delivered one hell of a call when he said The Shield would be hellbent for revenge because they believe they are curing injustice. "And no matter what you believe about The Shield, they believe it."
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: Most fans had their hopes up for something special. WWE set the bar high with the Raw 1000 show and they failed to deliver enough surprises or even cameos to make this feel worthy in comparison. They just never captured the anniversary show feel despite a lot of silly clips. They never teased major surprises and I would have been okay with WWE taking the approach they did had they simply done a better job of hyping the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The hype for Rock vs. Punk has been very good, but the actual Royal Rumble match feels like an afterthought with only one episode of Raw remaining before the annual event.
John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler: A very good match, but I felt like I watched it last week. I get it. Ziggler can't beat Cena regardless of how much help he gets from Big E Langston and AJ Lee and no matter what he does to Cena. You can make the case that Ziggler is getting rub being in the ring with Cena, but the days of Ziggler benefitting from going toe to toe with top guys and still losing are over. We've seen it too many times. Here's hoping none of it will matter and Ziggler will eventually have a long and successful run with the World Hvt. Championship. The highlight of the match was actually having Jim Ross on play-by-play. He instantly brought the big match feel to it in a way that only he can.
Miz TV with Ric Flair: Chaotic nonsense are the best words I can use to describe everything that occurred before Antonio Cesaro came out. Flair is still great when he has a story he can sink his teeth into. In retrospect, WWE blew it by giving away Flair at The Slammy Awards. They really should have saved his appearance for the 20th Anniversary. I don't think viewers have the same high expectations for big things on the Slammy Awards show like they do for an anniversary show. The positive of the segment was that Cesaro's anti-American lines were a little edgier than usual. I didn't feel like I was listening to lines recycles from Nikolai Volkoff, The Un-Americans, or any other anti-American act that WWE has used during the WrestleMania era.
Alberto Del Rio and Big Show: It was a nice surprise to see the World Hvt. Championship change followup featured in the opening segment of a big Raw show. They didn't wait until 45 minutes into the show to casually bring up that a title change occurred on the other show. Show's performance was good at what they asked him to do, but the angry, menacing Show is so much more effective than excuse making, groveling to Vince McMahon version of the character. They really lost me with the bucket painted like the Mexican flag and the confetti in Mexican flag colors. It just feels like WWE is trying too hard to get him over with the Latino viewers. Throw in the announcement of his "fiesta" on Smackdown and it was just too much.
Brodus Clay: Monday could have been a turning point for the character. Instead, he told us that he was born to shuck and jive. That line led to an immediate disconnect for me as a viewer. It's a fun undercard novelty act that probably gets a nice reaction at the live events, but it's stalled out as a television act. I did like the way C.M. Punk made his own win over Clay feel meaningful by talking about how he made a 400-pound monster tap out. That line did more for the match even though it was over than creative or the announcers were able to do.
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