Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: The Wyatt Family debuts, C.M. Punk vs. Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, Curtis Axel vs. Chris Jericho, Ryback and Vickie Guerrero
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Wyatt Family debut: The reporter videos were great and the final line with Wyatt saying "We're here" was perfect and received a big reaction from the live crowd. Wyatt blowing out an electrical lantern looked a little silly, but I liked everything else about the video. I believe Wyatt told Kane "Now you can receive" after Harper and Rowan beat him down. It plays into the reader speculation that Kane could ultimately turn out to be a member of the family. Kane needs something new and falling in with a cult would be consistent with his warped character. Overall, the Wyatt Family debut lived up to the huge hype. Now I'm left wondering whether the beat down of Kane will lead to him being replaced in the Money in the Bank match.
Rob Van Dam video packages: The hype for RVD's return to WWE has been fantastic. It started with the hype video playing out of nowhere at Payback last month and built up nicely to all of the past RVD clips that aired throughout Raw. Van Dam has to look like a huge star even to younger fans who didn't see his last run. WWE unquestionably sold some pay-per-views based on the way they built up RVD as a major attraction.
C.M. Punk vs. Randy Orton: A good main event with a tough crowd. Was it a case of the fans not wanting to choose between the two babyfaces or fatigue from the three-hour format? I suspect both. Punk and Orton both went out of their way to pump up the crowd to mixed results. The clean finish of the match was a nice surprise and the post match attack by Bryan seemed odd since it was on two babyfaces, but the final image of him standing on top of the ladder and pulling down the MITB briefcase was a nice final image for the go-home show.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus: Another quality match between two babyfaces. I was even more surprised by the outcome of this match. Bryan was showcased nicely and it didn't involve any corny skits where he acted like a man-child. As entertaining as Bryan is in that role, he really needs to evolve in order to take a step forward. Let the speculation begin as to whether the big final push Bryan received on this show means he won't be the person who pulls the briefcase down on Sunday. Either way, I liked the build for the All-Stars version of Money in the Bank. Sheamus and Orton can certainly absorb losses, Rob Van Dam seems like a returning mega star, Bryan is coming off a big night, and there are questions regarding Kane. Oh, and Christian is in the match too.
John Cena and Mark Henry: Good final hype for their match with Henry shining throughout the segment. Unlike Ryback over the last two months, Henry was built up as a major threat to Cena's title reign.
Ryback and Vickie Guerrero: Are they setting up Ryback being managed by Vickie? WWE did absolutely nothing to hype the Ryback vs. Chris Jericho match for Money in the Bank last night, but I was left intrigued after the intentionally awkward backstage exchange between Ryback and Vickie.
WWE Raw Misses
Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler: The miss is for for Ziggler than Del Rio, who seems to be clicking more as a heel this time around. Ziggler's character was seduced by the top heel Diva and was later involved in a silly introduction angle that led to a fight with Del Rio. The fans didn't seem to know how to react to Ziggler during the final segment and I don't blame them. He has yet to deliver that crowd rallying babyface promo that gives viewers motivation to cheer him, he was manipulated by a heel Diva, and then he got his ass kicked by the heel Del Rio.
Curtis Axel vs. Chris Jericho: I was entertained by the match, yet left confused by the outcome. Jericho going over clean didn't seem to serve a purpose since they're not working together at the pay-per-view and with Jericho headed toward another apparent hiatus based on his Fozzy tour schedule. As I mentioned last night, this could be quickly forgotten if Axel beats The Miz on Sunday and then turns around and beats Jericho on Monday.
Vickie Guerrero, Brad Maddox, and The McMahon Family: Remember the buzz that was created when Vince McMahon's music would play? There was a time when fans felt like something big was about to happen when Vince made a rare appearance on the show. These days the music signifies that fans are about to sit through a McMahon family drama skit that only a USA Network executive could love. Stephanie telling Vickie to sit down was comical and Hunter "but mostly business" response to Vince made me laugh, but I just hate the way the McMahon Family appearances have become so watered down. Vickie being fired was somewhat newsworthy, but the shift to Brad Maddox in the general manager (or whatever the title is) slot tells viewers that the subservient heel authority figure routine is still in play. Maddox is a good talker and I hope they have something new in mind for him, but it's hard to be excited about the change right now.
Kaitlyn and Layla vs. Alicia Fox and A.J. Lee: A lousy match with another crazed Kaitlyn finish. Worse yet, the Bellas were babbling on commentary and taking their usual shots at Kaitlyn for being overweight. Apparently, someone in WWE feels that muscular females who aren't freakishly muscular like Chyna or Nicole Bass are actually fat. The only real positive I can find is that Kaitlyn throws a wicked spear.
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