Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Vince McMahon and Daniel Bryan, John Cena vs. Ryback, Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston, Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian, Natalya distracted by a duck caller, Fandango walks out again
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian: A good match with a fairly surprising outcome if you ignored the spoilers. Del Rio continues to deliver quality in-ring performances and Christian just keeps winning. I'd like to hear something new from the Christian character. Does he ever get to talk on Raw? If so, will he have something new to say?
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: This wasn't a gem like Bryan had with Antonio Cesaro last week, but he got a pretty good match out of Kane. The right guy went over and the post match with The Wyatt Family showing up and beating Kane down again was unexpected considering Brad Maddox said they weren't in the building.
John Cena vs. Ryback: A good main event that didn't get enough attention throughout the show. WWE lazily relies on the graphics and the announcers to sell their main events heading into several commercial breaks. Why not have the wrestlers actually speak about their main event matches. We saw Bully Ry rough up an unnamed man backstage and we saw Cena talk on the phone and bicker with Daniel Bryan, but neither man spent any real time setting up their match. It's a common theme on Raw these days and something that should change.
The Shield vs. Mark Henry and The Uso Brothers: A match I thought we would see at SummerSlam, but apparently The Uso's won't be involved in that match. It's a shame because I think they could get over if creative consistently pushed them. Henry looked strong despite his team losing.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston: Another match I thought they would save for SummerSlam, and they still could in this case given the non-finish. AJ Lee performs her meltdowns well, but they really need to put heat on her and Langston if this feud is going to have any juice. Dolph no-sold Lee taking his belongings on Smackdown, and he got the better of her again on Raw. Here's hoping Langston and Lee return the favor somehow so that fans actually want to see Ziggler get revenge rather than just play around with his former girlfriend and heavy.
Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett: I could piss and moan about Barrett being wasted, but I could sadly do that any week. The focus is on Rhodes and it was logical for him to go over. I have noticed that while he comes across like a star on Smackdown, he's not getting the mic time on Raw that he needs to establish his current character with the bigger Monday night audience. Rhodes is doing really good work on Smackdown these days. The video recaps help, but he just doesn't seem as important on Raw as he does on Smackdown as a result of the way he's presented.
Overall show: A minor Hit for the wrestling heavy pre-taped show. In fact, all of the Hits above fall into the minor Hit category. WWE did a good job of making this show feel like it wasn't pre-taped, but the fact that it was so straight forward without much in the way of storyline development or even newsworthy pay-per-view match announcements made for a long and mostly inconsequential evening.
WWE Raw Misses
Brie Bella vs. Natalya: Just when you thought you've seen it all in pro wrestling, a duck caller actually led to the finish of a match. Natalya is the ugly duckling. Get it? Good lord. Make it stop. Is there a normal babyface Diva in WWE? Kaitlyn has over the top mental breakdowns every other week, Layla is playing the concerned motherly role, and now Natalya was distracted by a damn duck call and mopes around because she's been labeled the ugly duckling. Can't Kaitlyn or Natalya show some level of self confidence rather than allowing even the lamest of insults turn them into sobbing crybabies?
Vince McMahon and Daniel Bryan: The Vince and Bryan segments hold my interest and don't make for bad television, but I am having a hard time caring about Vince's taste in champions. He suddenly dislikes John Cena and he doesn't think Daniel Bryan looks the part. Is this all setting up Randy Orton cashing in his Money in the Bank contract so that Vince gets his way in the end? I wonder if creative feels that attaching Orton to Vince is the safest way to ensure that the popular Orton is booed. By the way, what was up with the spontaneous combustion talk from Vince?
Rob Van Dam vs. Fandango: I've defended Fandango walking out before because I felt that his character was catching the heat rather than the company catching he heat for delivering a lousy finish. Now I feel like we've seen it so many times and it's being presented in such a half-assed manner that it doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. In other words, the company should get the heat for these flat finishes. It might be different if I felt they were building up to a cage match or a lumberjack match or something that would force Fandango to stay in the ring, but we've seen him split so many times and from so many different opponents and there's no sign of his character catching any heat over it from the authority figures.
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