Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: The Rock's magical ticket, The Shield attack Rock while C.M. Punk watches from a luxury box, Beat the Clock Challenge, Alberto Del Rio is Hispanic just in case you missed it
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Shield attack The Rock: It was good to see The Shield given the spotlight again being background players since the holidays. However, I'm not big on their camcorder style promos with footage mixed in. It's too easy for viewers to dismiss them as highlight clips rather than new material. I'd like to see them do another sit-down interview because that first appearance remains the best verbal segment they've had. As for Rock, it was wise to give Rock a storyline injury heading into the match so that more people are questioning whether he will win on Sunday.
Brad Maddox: His "Hi, guys," interruption and brief run on commentary kept me interested in the obvious Big Show squash win over Zack Ryder. I was also left intrigued by Paul Heyman accepting Maddox and telling him he would make him famous. Now that The Shield seems to be out of the picture, does that mean Maddox will attempt to interfere in the C.M. Punk vs. The Rock match? Either way, Maddox has come a long way since his initial promos. His confidence has grown and he looks and sounds much more confident than he did initially.
C.M. Punk promo: A minor Hit. This felt like a cementing of things Punk has said in the past more than fresh material. Punk's slow delivery was Triple H and Chris Jericho-esque. The promo itself didn't wow me, but I continue to be impressed by the way Punk has been an all out heel during his three-week build with The Rock. He has not said anything to make fans turn against Rock and side with him. He's not trying to be cool, he's being a straight up heel.
Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett: They've had better matches, but I always enjoy watching these two in the ring together. There was good drama down the stretch with both men getting near falls. The interference at the end of the match was logical given the BTCC stipulation.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Tensai: Del Rio worked hard and broke out some unexpected moves. He's doing his best become the hero to the Hispanic fans that WWE obviously wants him to be. We know that's what they want because Del Rio now speaks in Spanish more than ever before, his gear is Mexican flag themed, Ricardo Rodriguez has a Mexican flag bow-tie, and Ricardo even has a Mexican flag bucket that he carries around with him. I still believe the guy would get over with all fans if he got to be didn't have all of the patronizing extras. WWE is just trying too hard and it's not necessary.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: I enjoyed the Rock and C.M. Punk hype even though I was hoping for another face-to-face confrontation between the two. The hype for their pay-per-view match has been excellent, though it feels like they peaked with that initial verbal exchange. The Beat the Clock Challenge felt like a waste of time once Vickie Guerrero announced that Dolph Ziggler's win meant he had to choose between No. 1 or No. 2. Granted, the explanation was fine since Ziggler was flaunting his relationship with A.J., yet it still felt
John Cena's promo: They spent the entire show building up to this moment. I was actually excited because I thought Cena would go into preacher man mode and give a much needed hard sell for the Royal Rumble match. Instead, we got a rambling Cena promo with a goal that seemed to be more about him being cute than selling anything. SkidMarks187? Don't even get me started. The most frustrating part about Cena's promo is that we know how good he can be when he drops the silliness and sets out to do good business.
Royal Rumble hype closing: I'm happy they finally hyped the Royal Rumble match, but I felt like I've seen this many times before and the setup was always more creative than this. Who didn't know where this was going as soon as the Prime Time Players walked out? It felt like one big Kane and Daniel Bryan segment with everyone announcing "I'm going to with the Royal Rumble."
The Rock and the cops: Rock was over the top throughout these horribly unbelievable backstage skits. I'm surprised he actually signed off on taking part in this nonsense. The idea that Rock supposedly stood there bickering with the cops for an hour made him look like less of a star. The excuse that he outsmarted Vickie by buying a ticket that magically granted him a full entrance and access to deliver an in-ring promo was half-assed and embarrassing storytelling. Nothing against the indy workers who took part in this, but they looked like indy wrestlers in bad cop costumes. It's great that WWE uses local indy wrestlers as extras on a regular basis, but they really should find professional actors and better wardrobe for something like this.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro: I expected a faster pace to the match given the Beat the Clock stipulation. Instead, even Jerry Lawler called them out on commentary for the slow pace they went with early on. As great as Cesaro is, why isn't he catching hell from online fans for using Randy's Chinlock of Doom in all of his matches? The match was entertaining once they got going and I like the way Lawler protected Cesaro with his commentary via the finish, but I couldn't get past the way they worked a normal match despite the stipulation.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler: The usual hard work from Dolph, but I can't get past The New Master of the Figure Four botching the hold. I found it fitting that the guy who many fans expected to get the rub from Flair was the recipient of Miz's pathetic attempt to apply it.
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