Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: The Shield vs. John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Kane, Triple H and Brock Lesnar, Fandango attacks Chris Jericho, Jack Swagger vs. Big E Langston, final hype for Extreme Rules
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Shield vs. John Cena, Kane, and Daniel Bryan: A strong elimination match. Kane looked like a monster again when he worked over all three members of The Shield, and Daniel Bryan shined during his big offensive flurry. Cena looked strong down the stretch, while The Shield maintained their heat by using the numbers game to their advantage and preventing him from performing his finishing move at the expense of Romain Reigns being disqualified and eventually the team being disqualified to lose the match. The announcers made a bigger fuss over Seth Rollins being pinned for the first time (right after they told us he would work the feature match on WWE Main Event) than they did over the end of The Shield's streak ending, so it appears they won't be playing this up as a streak ending loss. The post-match attack by Ryback was a strong move to make Cena look vulnerable heading into their match on Sunday.
Brock Lesnar and Triple H: A good closing segment that gave viewers a taste of the cage match, just as Michael Cole said late in the broadcast. Triple H was strong in his wording and looked strong during their battle, so I assume Lesnar goes over strong on Sunday. It's the logical booking move since Triple H can absorb the loss, whereas Lesnar really does need to maintain (or even regain) the mystique that Hunter spoke of.
Chris Jericho and Fandango: The segment felt longer than it needed to be, but it worked in the end with Summer Rae faking an ankle injury to set up Fandango's big attack on Jericho. Fandango looked good here and I like that one of his dancers finally does more than dance. It still begs the question of why Summer danced with Jericho recently, but I do believe she can enhance the Fandango act. I was also very high on Jericho's serious promo later in the show and I loved the smart timing of delivering it on the go-home show, as it was a strong final push for their match.
Big E Langston vs. Jack Swagger: Swagger continues to look like a badass and Langston loses in a way that protects him. The live crowd didn't have a real rooting interest here, yet Swagger had heat. It seems like WWE is pulling back on the political talk of Zeb Colter, yet the Swagger and Colter act seems to be generating momentum without it. The announcement of the I Quit match was a big disappointment for those of us who were looking forward to the ladder match more than anything else on the show, but obviously it had to be done. The new match doesn't do much for me on paper, but fortunately WWE loaded up Extreme Rules with a good undercard.
Overall show: A solid go-home edition. Most of the show felt focussed on selling Extreme Rules and the three-hour show filler felt more limited than usual. I started the night feeling pretty numb to Extreme Rules, but the hype for the show and especially the new match additions really sold me on the pay-per-view.
WWE Raw Misses
Ryback vs. Zack Ryder: This was fine for the paint by numbers match that it was. I would have given the match another minute and had Ryback decline to pin Ryback several times in favor of dishing out more punishment. Ryback generated some heat later in the night, but this felt like a wasted opportunity to establish him as being ruthless.
The Prime Time Players vs. Brodus Clay and Sweet T: Production missed the hair pick of doom shot live. My biggest fear was that this was going to lead to a free preview match on Sunday. I like the Players, but they've lost so many times now that it's hard to take them seriously. The Clay and T dancing act just doesn't appeal to me. I'd love to see them ditch the dancing and the Funkadactyls in favor of becoming a monster heel tag team.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro: Just in case you missed it when Orton beat Cesaro on WWE Main Event, you were treated to the three-minute squash version of their match. So do Cesaro and Wade Barrett draw straws to determine which one loses to Orton or is there an actual scheduled rotation? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Orton's work and this has nothing to do with him. Rather, it's a case of watching the talented Cesaro and Barrett work as enhancement talent.
A.J. Lee vs. Natalya: The chaos of having The Bella Twins, Kaitlyn, The Great Khali, and Hornswoggle was even too much for Michael Cole, who had no clue why Khali and Hornswoggle were at ringside. In fact, one of the three Divas who sat in on commentary with the three-man broadcast team (think about that for a second) had to inform him that they were there for Natalya. I liked Lee's new submission hold, but the whole scene was just too chaotic.
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