Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Ryback explains why he attacked John Cena, Brock Lesnar destroys 3MB, C.M. Punk walks off, Kofi Kingston wins the Intercontinental Title, Dolph Ziggler and Wade Barrett lose non-title matches
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to my 53-minute audio review of WWE Raw and my one-hour Q&A audio show from Monday, as well as recent interviews with former WWE creative team member Court Bauer, Matt Hardy, Justin Credible, and Les Thatcher. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw Hits
Ryback explains why he attacked John Cena: Good, believable logic from Ryback. The decision to do this as a backstage pre-tape was a wise one. Obviously, it give him a chance to get all of his lines just right. It also kept the live crowd out of it and thus viewers had to focus on what he was saying rather than be distracted with potential mixed crowd reaction chants. The closing segment with The Shield attacking Cena while Ryback looked on tied everything together nicely and cemented Ryback as a heel with the Cena fans.
Brock Lesnar destroys 3MB: Heath Slater earned his paycheck for the next two months by taking two F5's onto the ringside barricade. Lesnar might be 1-2 since he returned to WWE, but it's amazing how quickly he makes viewers forget once the chaos of his Raw attacks begin. Nothing in wrestling feels even close to as real and brutal as a Brock beatdown.
C.M. Punk walks off: A good segment that left viewers wondering what's coming next for Punk. He's no longer advertised for the European dates on the WWE website (thought dated advertising on the various arena websites still have him listed) and it appears Punk will be taking some much needed time off. It appears to be needed physically and I think it's a good move for his character to get some time away from television following his lengthy title reign, two losses to The Rock, and high profile losses to John Cena and The Undertaker.
Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Big Show: I'm conflicted by this match. On one hand, it got the show off to a good start, as it was nice to see them shake up the formula by going right to a match rather than a long promo. However, I'm still lost as to why Orton and Sheamus are facing Show in handicap matches when they've beaten him in countless singles matches over the years. Sure, they had a scmoz on Smackdown, but it was an odd decision to put them all together in a three-way to begin with.
Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro: The Hit is for the match quality. I couldn't care less about the U.S. Title or Kingston's eight billionth secondary title reign. I like Kingston and I wish WWE would do more with him, but his character hasn't changed in years and he never seems to go higher than secondary title status. Meanwhile, Cesaro's yodeling is just silly, cheap heat. He's so much better than that. Wait, why did I give this a Hit again?
WWE Raw Misses
Presentation of Undertaker's Raw match: The Undertaker's rare wrestling appearance on Raw gets a simple graphic and some talk from the announcers? Really? This should have been pushed as the huge deal that it is, not treated with the same level of fanfare that they advertised the Main Event and Smackdown featured matches with.
John Cena and Ryback in-ring segment: They did such a good job with Ryback in the backstage segment, but they did some damage here. Ryback is supposed to be an unpredictable monster, yet Cena turned his back on him repeatedly during this segment. I also didn't care for the way Cena mocked the idea of Ryback being a big threat to the title by essentially telling him he is not in the same league as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Randy Orton. Cena should be selling Ryback as a big threat to his title, not making it seem like he's just another guy.
Fandangoing: Did they shove it down the throats of viewers so aggressively with the hopes of putting the craze to rest so they could get back to pushing Fandango as a heel? It will have one more week of glory in London, but it looks like the Fandango entrance theme phenomenon is fading fast. Fans are blaming the live crowd, but that crowd is certainly a better representation of the average Raw live crowd than the night after WrestleMania is.
Jack Swagger pins Dolph Ziggler: Will we ever get to the part where Ziggler starts to actually win matches or is he going to be yet another vulnerable heel champion who loses all of his non-title matches and either cheats to win or gets fluky wins when the title is on the line? You know, like every heel who holds one of the secondary titles. I guess the idea is that Swagger had to do something to earn a spot in Triple Threat match at Extreme Rules. I just wish that something had not been making the new champion look like 95 percent of the other heels in WWE.
R-Truth pins Wade Barrett: Really? I was hopeful that Barrett's non-title losses were exclusive to WrestleMania season. It doesn't even do anything for R-Truth since viewers have become so accustomed to watching Barrett lose lately. I assume this is the transition to Fandango eventually beating Kingston, but that's just a guess.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. The Prime Time Players: How many times do we need to see Team Hell No defeat The Players? Whatever happened to the renewed focus on the tag division? Why is Raw three hours?
Rhodes Scholars vs. Santino Marella and The Great Khali: Can we get to the part where Rhodes Scholars wins the tag titles?
Kaitlyn vs. Nikki Bella: Man, that was a quiet crowd and one blind referee.
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