Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Brock Lesnar destroys The Miz, Mark Henry returns, The Shield brawl with John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback, secondary champions continue to lose, Bruno Sammartino Hall of Fame video
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Bruno Sammartino Hall of Fame video: WWE rolled out the red carpet and made Bruno's induction feel like a major happening. Even fans who had no clue who Sammartino was going into this segment had to come out of it feeling like he's a larger than life figure. The live crowd at Raw certainly didn't appear to be filled with fans who were around for Sammartino's glory days, yet they were really into this and came through with loud "Bruno" chants. An excellent and classy video tribute.
C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho: A very good television match. I enjoyed Punk adding a new dimension to his act by arrogantly playing to the crowd and having it backfire as he stood on the top rope and ultimately missed the elbow drop. I'm okay with Jericho losing this early in his run. It was a very competitive match and I don't think he lost anything in the process. Punk needed a big win heading into his rematch with The Rock. Jericho's latest run is off to a strong start and it's cool to see him in babyface mode again after all these years.
Brock Lesnar: Great use of angry monster Lesnar. I don't think we were supposed to be happy that Lesnar destroyed Miz, but I know I did. Lesnar has an unbelievable presence that has carried over from his UFC days. Paul Heyman continues to play this perfectly by acting as though even he is stunned by Lesnar's actions and can't control him. I'm not a fan of babyface Miz, but I did like the way Miz stood his ground and was willing to fight Lesnar. Here's hoping that Brock destroying the set was the end of MizTV. Hey, I can dream.
Mark Henry returns: An impactful return with Henry destroying three men and then yelling into the camera that this is what he does. He's technically not in the Elimination Chamber match yet, but he is my favorite to win if Del Rio is going to retain the World Hvt. Championship to set up a WrestleMania 29 match between the two.
Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio: I was pleasantly surprised to see Bryan get the submission win. An entertaining television match with a surprisingly decisive ending.
Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella: Not as memorable as Henry's return to Raw, yet the overhauled version of Swagger is solid. I also liked that the ankle lock has been renamed The Patriot Act.
Sheamus vs. Kane: The live crowd didn't really know how to react between the battle of the babyfaces, but I liked the way they continued to
Overall show: A minor Hit. After delivering some horrible comedy segments last week, WWE took a more straight forward approach this week. The only real comedy segment was the video tutorial that showed WWE fans how to download an app via their phones. Oh, that wasn't supposed to be funny? Never mind. The show closed with a flat segment. It had it's moments as the Hits column shows, but I didn't feel it did a good job of forwarding the storylines heading into Elimination Chamber. This would have been the night to focus on the non-main event matches since The Rock wasn't there to hype his match with C.M. Punk. We got some hype for the other matches, but none of it really packed the type of punch that left me anxious to see the pay-per-view.
WWE Raw Misses
The Shield attack Brad Maddox: They spent the entire night telling us that John Cena was going to call out The Shield all by himself. When the time came, the former referee turned comedy squash match loser to the general manager's handpicked opponents was standing in the ring. I like Maddox and I think he can be a strong heel character for WWE. I just didn't know what we were supposed to feel during this segment. Maddox is unlikable so there was no reason to feel pity for him when The Shield attacked, yet we're also not supposed to like The Shield. We know Dean Ambrose is great on the mic, but I was also very impressed by Roman Reigns. He delivered his line with more confidence than he's shown in the past and I loved the way he rolled his eyes when John Cena's music hit. In general, though, it felt like this segment brought the crowd down and they stayed there once the six-man brawl occurred. Perhaps we'll find out that this segment was necessary to tell a bigger story involving Maddox, but I do question the placement.
John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback run off The Shield: If someone had told me Raw was going to close with a brawl involving these six wrestlers, I would have assumed that it would have been so much hotter than this was. It felt rushed and uneventful. I like the shaking camera gimmick WWE uses when The Shield attacks someone. I didn't care for it here, though. It didn't help make the segment feel more chaotic as much as it made it difficult to watch. On a positive note, it was good to see Cena taking more of a serious tone on the mic this week and I hope we'll get more of that going forward.
Secondary champions losing again: I'm done. I won't fool myself into getting excited the next time a secondary title changes hands. Those titles seem to do nothing more than guarantee that the belt holder will lose to top wrestlers repeatedly and those loses will never lead to an actual title program. WWE has two strong secondary champions in Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett. They should be protected because they are title holders, and they should be kept away from the top talent so that someday it actually means something when they finally meet.
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