Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Final hype for WrestleMania 29, C.M. Punk pours ashes from the urn over Undertaker, The Rock and John Cena final promos, Shawn Michaels added to the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar match
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to a 90-minute interview with former WWE creative team member Court Bauer of MLW.com, a two-hour interview with pro wrestling legend Les Thatcher, and they will be listening to the annual WrestleMania morning chat with Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com, and the WrestleMania 29 audio review on Sunday night with former WWE creative team member Seth Mates (Twitter.com/SethMates. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw Hits
The Rock and John Cena: The Cena promo drew boring chants, but it was the most provocative moment of the show. No, not that silly plays on the political names, but rather the edgier Cena and lines that seem to at least tease the possibility of a heel turn on Sunday. Rock lost me with his own political talk and this was not a home run by his standards. I am surprised that we did not get one last face-to-face confrontation between the two, but despite the two-week gaps while Rock was away, WWE succeeded in getting this viewer excited about the rematch main event.
Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, and Paul Heyman: I like the late addition of HBK to the WrestleMania match more than most people seem to. It would not have packed as much of a punch a couple weeks ago simply because fans have come to expect some involvement from HBK at WrestleMania. I was surprised because they waited so long to add him to the mix and it was a nice final push for the match. I had no interest in seeing a rematch after their bout at SummerSlam, but the build has been good enough that I find myself viewing this as the second biggest match on the show. Lesnar brings an aura of danger whenever he appears on the show. Former WWE creative team member Court Bauer nailed it in an interview I conducted with him this morning when he labeled Lesnar the Jaws of WWE. Heyman once again showed why he is the best talker in the business.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan: A good match with a logical finish with one of the challengers for the tag titles defeating one of the champions. Post match was all about building up Big E Langston and it was effective to watch him free himself from Kane's chokeslam grip and then put him down with his finisher.
Fandango and Chris Jericho: More heat was put on Fandango heading into the match with the popular Jericho. They have been consistent with their approach of putting heat on Fandango and showing that he has a mean streak in addition to all of the dancing. I am really looking forward to seeing what type of match Jericho can get out of Fandango on Sunday.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Zeb Colter: A good angle that made Del Rio look sympathetic via the stiff crutch shots he was taking from the heels. The Colter and Swagger acts seemed to peak in their first weeks in the company and my interest level in the Del Rio vs. Swagger match took a sharp decline shortly thereafter. They were in free fall mode for a bit, but I find myself a slightly more interested in the match today than I was before the go-home show.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: This was not a strong go-home show for WrestleMania 29. It never had me on the edge of my seat eagerly anticipating a particular Mania match or moment. If they had the luxury of eliminating an hour of the filler and turning this into a loaded two-hour show then perhaps we'd be telling a different story today. I am still looking forward to WrestleMania 29, but the go-home show did not increase my level of interest.
Undertaker and C.M. Punk angle: Taker, Vince McMahon, and even the Moody family may feel as though this is all paying tribute to the late Paul Bearer, but they have to know that this is viewed as cheap and tacky by many viewers. Punk pouring the ashes over Taker and on himself would have been major heat back in the kayfabe era. Those offended or just turned off by the angle today won't blame Punk. Rather, they see it as a sleazy way for the company to promote a pay-per-view. It's not as if the average fan at home knows that the Moody family has given this their blessing.
Mark Henry and Ryback: A minor Miss for Henry's clunky promo. I did enjoy the way Ryback worked around the no contact clause by using Santino Marella as a weapon.
Wade Barrett vs. Zack Ryder: Too little, too late for Barrett and the Intercontinental Title. I have no issues with the Barrett vs. Miz match appearing on the free pre-show. I am very high on Barrett, but creative has done too much damage to him and the Intercontinental Title for fans to take this match seriously.
Cameron and Naomi vs. The Bella Twins: This was the final match on the go-home show for Wrestlemania. If the goal was to bring down the already burned out live crowd heading into the final angle, then mission accomplished.
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