Powell's WWE Old School Raw Hitlist: Undertaker returns, The Rock and John Cena hype WrestleMania 29, Triple H challenges Brock Lesnar, C.M. Punk vs. Big Show vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton, The New Age Outlaws return
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Rock and John Cena: A money making segment that would have been the final segment on most shows. Both wrestlers established a strong desire to win. They didn't tip off the finish by having one wrestler dance around stating that he will be victorious. They weren't out to tear each other down or step on lines or do anything designed to get people backstage to say "You showed him." This was just a good piece of business that sold a lot of pay-per-views. It is a shame that WWE didn't go further with Cena's down year because Cena's redemption would be so much better. Cena may not have won the title, but he won a lot of big matches, including the Extreme Rules match with Brock Lesnar just a few weeks after WrestleMania 28.
C.M. Punk vs. Big Show vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton: I liked the setup for the match because we went from the expected Punk challenge to adding three wrestlers to the mix who were logical candidates to face Taker. The announcers laid it on way to thick by repeatedly calling this one of the biggest matches in Raw history. It was enough that a shot at The Streak was on the line. I didn't need the announcers to overstate it, especially a week after the John Cena vs. C.M. Punk classic. Speaking of which, this match gave Punk a chance to bounce back from that as well as the two losses to The Rock. Punk is fresh off a long title reign and got in a lot of offense in each of those matches, yet the bottom line is that he lost three high profile matches to two top names. He needed this win and I would give him more heading into WrestleMania.
Triple H promo: The man of a million nicknames delivered a strong promo that recapped his summer issues with Lesnar and tied them together with the current storyline. Both men are advertised for next week's show, so we won't have to wait long for Lesnar's answer to Triple H's challenge.
Undertaker's return: A minor Hit. Don't get me wrong, it's a major Hit that Undertaker is returning for WrestleMania again this year. The execution of his return felt a little flat. I was surprised to see WWE bring him out to start the show, though it was logical considering that they were going with the four-way match. The final
Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro: Okay, so the repeated losses of secondary champions to the top wrestlers is an ongoing Miss, but I enjoyed this match down the stretch. I really liked the uppercut into the Neutralizer tease. Ryback looked strong and Cesaro looked as good as anyone in losing to him.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler: A good competitive match with good use of Ric Flair. I got a kick out of Big E Langston no-selling Flair's chops. It was the right move for the monster sidekick at this point. Flair pumped some life into a tough crowd.
New Age Outlaws vs. Primo and Epico: Friends don't let friends appear on worldwide television with Billy Gunn's hair. Having said that, this was the best of the legend appearances. It was fun to see the Outlaws in the ring again and they worked pretty well at this stage of their career.
Overall show: A strong Hit. I really appreciate the extra effort WWE put into the Old School theme. All of the little things that WWE does makes it my favorite WWE theme show. Plus, it felt like a major kickstart to the WrestleMania season with the build for the top matches really kicking in. The use of most of the legends was disappointing. WWE opted to use them to sell the show and announced all of their names in advance, so the surprise factor was missing. I understand the goal was to leave people thinking about the top WrestleMania matches rather than a legend, but it was still uneventful. Fortunately, the WrestleMania hype was strong and the old school vibe was more than enough to make up for that. Did Mark Henry really sing happy birthday?
WWE Raw Misses
Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger: Swagger's attack on Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, and Dusty Rhodes didn't pack much of a punch. It also should have led to Del Rio racing out to save the day on the spot, not hitting him from behind in a quick and forgettable backstage angle. I also had no desire to watch Del Rio beat the Intercontinental Champion again. We get it, Del Rio, Ryback, and Randy Orton are superior to Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett. Can we move on now?
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