Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: John Cena vs. C.M. Punk, Brock Lesnar's bloody brawl with Triple H, Undertaker does not appear, Sheamus and Wade Barrett, Raw is Movie Trailers, Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
John Cena vs. C.M. Punk: An excellent main event that was certainly pay-per-view quality. The rapid fire near falls and submission teases work so well when you don't see them every week or even during the same show. Cena and Punk really do bring out the best in one another. This was better than either Punk vs. Rock match and the best match Cena has had in a long time. I also like the fire Cena is showing on mic again. I still wish he would have done more to show that his down year bothered him so that his rebound felt more significant, but he is showing that he can still flip the switch and cut passionate promos that make his fans rally around him. Likewise, Punk's promo earlier in the show was also strong and there was plenty in there that could play into the expected match with Undertaker.
Triple H and Brock Lesnar brawl: This was a great brawl and would not have been out of place had it closed the show most weeks. Lesnar's cut was unfortunate, but there's no denying that it added something to this segment. Triple H got the better of the brawl, but Brock regained his invincibility by looking back at the ring and smirking at Triple H. He didn't go over the top by acting as if he were in awe of what Hunter had done. Rather, he played it as if no harm was done and he has no fear of Triple H. I came out of this brawl more excited about their WrestleMania 29 match than I ever was for their SummerSlam encounter.
No Undertaker: A wise move. This night was about cementing the WrestleMania 29 main event and setting up the Triple H vs. Lesnar rematch. There was more than enough going on and Taker's return would have overshadowed it. The acknowledgement of Taker appearing on the live event was also a good move because it helps create the feeling that anything can happen on the live events and gets Taker's name out there and helps fan anticipation grow. It would not have made sense for WWE to play all of their trump cards in one night. There are five editions of Raw to go before WrestleMania 29. Giving away all of the major matches now would put WWE at risk of running out of gas before their biggest annual event.
The Shield, Sheamus, and Randy Orton: A good promo from The Shield, though Seth Rollins does sound like he's emulating Dean Ambrose on the mic. It was good to see the babyfaces get a little revenge on The Shield by having Sheamus distract them while Orton snuck in and RKO'd Rollins. It looks like they are building to a match with The Shield vs. Orton, Sheamus, and Ryback for WrestleMania 29, which could be a lot of fun. I'd like to see The Shield get a showcase squash win or two on Raw heading into the pay-per-view. If they can recreate the intensity that they have shown on pay-per-view while plowing through a three-man team it could only be helpful in further establishing them for the television audience.
Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler: More of the same with Ziggler losing to a top guy. Ziggler's big bumps made Ryback look better than ever. Dolph's selling will be so effective when/if he captures the World Hvt. Championship and starts defending it.
Jack Swagger vs. The Miz: It's surprising that Swagger isn't plowing through his opponents with ease in order to set him up as being more dominant heading into WrestleMania 29. Even so, this was an entertaining match and this show helped answer a lot of questions regarding Swagger's future as far as that WrestleMania match is concerned.
Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali: A quick and effective squash win for Henry. This should ease concerns about this becoming a WrestleMania 29 match. I am curious to see who Henry faces. He's been built up as a monster, yet there doesn't seem to be an obvious opponent for him to face.
Overall show: The bookend segments carried the show. There was a lot of filler, too many movie trailers, and bad product placement in between. As always, three hours is too long for Raw. Nevertheless, the big two segments delivered in a major way and there was just enough in between to make this a good and even memorable show. Has anyone checked on Jerry Lawler since he sampled the Sonic platter?
WWE Raw Misses
Movie Trailers: The trailers, the preview for Robot Combat League, and the Sonic product placement made me feel like I was watching an infomercial for something other than WrestleMania 29. Can't they spread these out so we don't have all of that in one show? Did Michael Cole really list "The Call" stars in the order of David Otunga and Halle Berry? I saw an extended preview at my local theater. Obviously, she's all over the trailer, whereas I must have blinked and missed Otunga. It's cool that he has a role in the movie, but they are overstating it more than Wade Barrett is supposedly overstating his role.
MizTV segment: The big loser of this segment was Alberto Del Rio. Zeb Colter is doing a great job with his mic work and the controversial act has set up Del Rio with a chance to step up and become a hero for putting Colter and Jack Swagger in their place. Unfortunately, Del Rio's mic work left so much to be desired. He comes off like a kiss ass and just isn't rallying people behind him despite having such strong heel opposition.
Sheamus and Wade Barrett: The writing for their program is so ass backwards. The problem is that Barrett never gloated in an over the top manner about his role in the movie to the extent that it required Sheamus coming out and putting him in his place. So it actually does look like Sheamus is jealous when he continues to mock Barrett.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro: Orton plows through a secondary title holder. Same script, different week, same negative effect on the secondary title holders.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. The Prime Time Players: Bryan was comical while blinded by the hood he wore. The setup for the match was silly and the Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox pairing got off to a rough start. The real negative is that Kane and Bryan look so far above all of the actual tag teams in the division. WWE doesn't even seem to be trying to build up one of the other teams.
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