Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Brock Lesnar, C.M. Punk, and Paul Heyman, The Shield, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton, The McMahon Family, Alberto Del Rio destroys Ricardo Rodriguez
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Brock Lesnar, C.M. Punk, and Paul Heyman: Write something stupid, Jason. Another strong brawl between Lesnar and Punk. Michael Cole did a good job of telling the story of Punk holding his own in the brawl only to be distracted by the blind rage he feels for Heyman. Lesnar continues to look like a beast, while Punk looks like the fighter who just won't quit. I love the way Heyman continues to avoid the inevitable beating that Punk will give him. The longer they save that, the bigger it will be once it finally occurs. This is the matchup that has sold me on SummerSlam.
Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and Randy Orton: Remove the McMahon family from the mix and what we saw from the wrestlers was pretty damn good. Bryan and Cena both delivered good mic work that spotlighted the differences between their personas. Orton shined during the main event segment and it was good to see them remind viewers of the possibilities with the Money in the Bank contract in play. I hope the McMahon family has something really good in mind to justify their involvement in this program because right now it looks like they are just getting in the way of three great talents.
Alberto Del Rio destroys Ricardo Rodriguez: I had just accepted the role of the stupid bucket that Ricardo carried to the ring with him. It made no sense when the two were babyfaces, but I tolerated it once they turned heel. Apparently, Del Rio never got over his hatred of the bucket, because he used Ricardo's head to dent the hell out of it. I thought Ricardo could enhance Del Rio's heel act if he became more of a heel himself. I assume this is the end of their on-air relationship, though I can't entirely rule out the possibility that Ricardo will become the new Sakamoto-like whipping boy.
The Shield stands tall: The final segment of the night was effective in showcasing the Viper side of Randy Orton's persona, and it gave The Shield their most high profile moment in weeks. I think a lot of us would be wondering if there was some connection between Orton and The Shield had it not been for the trio standing in the way when he teased cashing in the Money in the Bank contract.
The Wyatt Family: I really question the idea of Bray Wyatt's first television match being an inferno match (yes, I know they've rebranded the match to mesh with someone's Johnny Cash fetish). Even so, the brief squash win over Tons of Funk followed by Wyatt's promo was an effective way to have them on television without exposing them too much.
WWE Raw Misses
The McMahon Family: I continue to hope that we'll all look back at the way the McMahon family has inserted themselves into the John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan storyline and feel like it was worthwhile. As it stands, they are taking away from a compelling matchup involving two of the most popular performers in the company. I don't know what sounds are made when baby seals are clubbed and I hope I never find out, but I suspect it sounds something like those noises that Stephanie McMahon was making while she cried.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry: Ryback was given the copout Fandango finish. Here's hoping this leads to a Rydango tag team that includes the two of them losing every single match via count out. It will never get old.
Kaitlyn vs. Layla: How is it that WWE can produce a contrived yet mildly entertaining weekly one-hour Divas reality show, yet they can't come up with a compelling two-minute weekly Divas segment on Raw?
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston: I think we're supposed to feel bad for Kaitlyn's character because bad things keep happening to her, but I just want her to go away.
We are looking for correspondents for the WWE Smackdown taping in Rockford, Illinois. If you are going to tonight's show and want to help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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