Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins, John Cena and Ryback deliver final hype, Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose vs. Kane, Antonio Cesaro vs. Sin Cara
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins: A very good television match with both men hitting some big moves and working in some great submission teases. I love the way Bryan failed to get the surfboard only to have Rollins execute the move only to have Bryan slip out of it. Really good work. We should see a lot more from these two in the years to come.
John Cena and Ryback: A good, intense verbal sparring and pull apart brawl to close the show. If they had built up this match a little better, this would have been a money angle. Ryback had a good week on the mic. He sounds far less robotic when he's talking in the arena in front of the live crowd than he does the backstage segments. We also got good Cena, as he wasn't telling bad jokes or acting dismissive of Ryback during the go-home angle.
Chris Jericho promo: Jericho stated that he needs to beat Punk in his hometown. Does he need to beat him so badly that he's willing to do anything to make that happen, including joining forces with a bitter Paul Heyman? I guess we find out Sunday, but Jericho's words combined with his super happy babyface antics left me wondering whether the double turn is coming in Chicago. Perhaps this explains why we didn't hear much from Heyman. Even if none of that is in play, I still like Jericho making viewers know that the match is important to his character.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Sin Cara: Sin Cara had one of his better performances and it was cool to see him break out some flashy offense that we don't see from him in every other match. It was also nice to see Cesaro come out on the winning side for a change. Zeb Colter cracked me up a couple times on commentary, and his approval of Cesaro left me wondering if the two of them are about to join forces.
WWE Raw Misses
Go-home hype for Payback: WWE threw so many altered and new matches at viewers that none of them really stood out by the time the show was over. WWE took too long to put the full card together this month. WWE is doing a better job of making the longer matches less predictable, but this show still dragged. The live crowd seemed to fizzle out before a lot of the three-hour Raw crowds, though they did manage to perk up at key times. A minor Miss as a go-home show, and an average show overall.
The McMahon Family Hugs It Out: They may as well have just said they were on the show with the hope of popping a rating and didn't really have an end game in mind to their storyline. The parody of the Kane, Daniel Bryan, and Dr. Shelby silliness was a lousy payoff to all of the Triple H and Vince McMahon bickering. It also made Hunter's head trauma storyline feel like a joke, and none of this did any favors for Curtis Axel. And I certainly won't listen to the excuse that Axel benefitted just from being in the ring with Triple H when the focus always shifted to Hunter's head or his family drama. It may have drawn attention to Axel going into the matches, but in the end the viewers were never left thinking about him or his fluke wins. By the way, if your wife has to tearfully plead with you not to beat the shit out of your father-in-law, your character might need a Dr. Shelby visit.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane: A slow match that concluded with the all too familiar interference from other Shield members. Maybe there was a time when viewers were left feeling like the babyface would have won a match over a Shield member had it not been for that interference, but it's happened so many times that viewers are now left rolling their eyes at the lazy finishes.
Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns: I was looking forward to this match because it provided a rare look at where Reigns is as a singles wrestler. There was one awkward moment as well as some pretty forgettable action early on. The finish of the match didn't even make sense since the match should have ended when Seth Rollins interfered. I came away from it feeling like WWE didn't want to play The Shield interference leads to a DQ card twice in one night, yet they couldn't come up with anything better and turned it into a no-contest. On a positive note, the flat live crowd really came to life as Orton went into some of his signature offense down the stretch.
Dolph Ziggler's return: I thought he might get the sympathetic reaction for his return from a concussion. I would say it's good news that it didn't happen due to his heel status, but it's never good news when viewers simply sit on their hands when a guy returns like the Richmond crowd did. No major harm done, though, as Ziggler should get the fans popping again once he gets back inside the ring.
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