Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman exchange, Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, John Cena and Mark Henry, A.J. Lee and Kaitlyn, Sheamus and Christian vs. Rhodes Scholars
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to my 57-minute audio review of WWE Raw from last night, and the 46-minute Q&A audio show that I recorded on Monday afternoon. If you enjoy our All Access audio, help support Dot Net by signing up for membership to the ad-free version of the website via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
WWE Raw Hits
Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho: A hell of a television match. I bought into the near falls because I suspected they were going to add Jericho to the World Hvt. Championship match at Money in the Bank. I'm still confused as to why they are establishing issues with him, Del Rio, and Ziggler since that's not the case, but I do like the dynamic and I hope we see that match before Jericho makes his expected (temporary?) departure next month. I didn't even mind the stupid bucket being used in the finish. As much as I bitched about a stupid bucket being added to the Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez act when they were babyfaces, it's fine with me now that they are playing heel characters.
C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman exchange: An excellent verbal exchange with Heyman offering his version of the events that led up to the Brock Lesnar attack and then manipulating Punk into giving him the benefit of the doubt based on their past history. The live crowd didn't seem to know how to react to Punk hugging Heyman, as they were quiet throughout Punk's disappointing match with Darren Young that featured Punk giving up way more offense than anyone expected. It seemed a little more logical when next week's tag match was announced. Speaking of which, I really liked Curtis Axel making the save as Heyman finds a way to stay connected to Punk.
John Cena promo: A good response to Mark Henry's rouse from last week. Cena didn't smirk it off or clown around. He responded with a straight forward and determined promo that helped establish for his fans why Henry's actions were so despicable. The focussed John Cena is so much better for business than the comedic Cena is. I actually enjoyed this more than Henry's followup promo. It was hard enough for Henry to follow last week's performance, and the What? chants from the live crowd were just plain annoying.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton: A minor Hit. Both men worked hard, but this did not come off like a major moment for Bryan. They played to a flat crowd that just didn't react to Bryan the same way we've seen so many other crowds. The biggest issue I had with the match was the street fight stipulation. They worked the hardcore style well, but it felt out of place and unnecessary for two babyfaces. Worse yet, I don't want to see Bryan climb the ladder by winning a hardcore match. Bryan is arguably the best wrestler in the world. I want to see Bryan beat other wrestlers in actual wrestling matches. That's where the money is in Bryan's act and I hope WWE figures that out quickly.
Sheamus and Christian vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes: A predictable match as far as the outcome went, but it had star power on the babyface side and didn't overstay it's welcome. I also liked the twist at the end with Cody shoving Sandow aside and telling him to get out of the way before he ate the Brogue Kick. The only negative is that the match did nothing to make me excited about Dublin Street Fight that will air on Friday's Smackdown television show. I know they are giddy about drawing nearly ten times the Twitter followers as 20/20 (because who doesn't like to watch 20/20 on a Friday night and tweet about it?), but have they checked Smackdown's actual ratings and viewership lately?
Overall show: Another solid night of Raw, yet with a tough live crowd. I don't know if there were too many talking segments for this group, but they really were tough to get a rise out of. I'm still not sure what purpose the McMahon Family really serves as their too frequent appearances make them feel less special with each passing week. I hope WWE has something big in mind for The Shield because it feels like they either don't know what to do with them or they are in a holding pattern until The Wyatt Family arrives.
WWE Raw Misses
Kaitlyn and A.J. Lee: This was one time when I couldn't blame the live crowd for sitting on their hands. It's hard to sympathize with Kaitlyn when it feels like she's overreacting to everything that's happened to her. It's hard enough to believe that a WWE Diva bought into a catfish hoax and now feels worthless. You know, because there aren't 10,000 lonely virgins on Twitter telling her how beautiful she is on a daily basis. Factor in Layla playing the sympathetic mother type and the whole thing generates nausea more than sympathy.
The Uso's vs. Brodus Clay and Sweet T vs. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal: This match served as a reminder of how much the tag team division truly sucks right now. It's nice to see them building up The Uso Brothers, but I do fear that they will end up being fed to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns quickly, making them nothing more than the challengers of the month. I'd like to see The Uso's get a really competitive match with the tag champs to help establish them as real threats to the tag titles. Kudos to Scottie Campbell for looking like the happiest guy who appeared on camera last night as he danced his way to the ring after winning the charity auction.
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