Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Daniel Bryan and Triple H, John Cena announcement, C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman, The Prime Time Players, Bray Wyatt, The Shield, Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez
By Jason Powell
Jason Powell, Chris Shore, and Will Pruett hosted the second ever Prowrestling.net Live on Monday night and took phone calls during the 90-minute free audio show. Click here for the August 20 Prowrestling.net Live. If you enjoy our free audio, sign up for Dot Net Membership and listen to roughly six hours of exclusive audio content each week via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw Hits
Triple H promo: I am still not a fan of so much focus being placed on the McMahon family drama, but Hunter did a really good job with the story he had to work with. I was happy to see him address their past issues with Orton rather than act like nothing happened. I still dislike the end result of the heel authority figures and all of the tired handicap matches and other lopsided scenarios that come with it, but the promo was strong if you can get past the idea that WWE could crumble if Daniel Bryan wins the championship.
Daniel Bryan: The real positive of the McMahon family drama is that it puts Bryan in a top babyface role and requires his character to be more serious. The live crowd was very responsive to Bryan throughout the show. I just hope that the real focus is on Bryan chasing WWE Champion Randy Orton rather than on "Bearded Stone Cold" feuding with McMahon family. WWE may have painted themselves into a corner creatively. They may be able to come up with a way for Bryan to earn a title match much to the dismay of the McMahon family, but the hard part will be convincing the fans that the McMahons won't just screw him over again.
The Prime Time Players vs. The Real Americans: I got nervous when Zeb Colter opened his promo by mentioning that WWE has been making headlines lately. That's as close as anyone came to addressing Darren Young announcing that he is gay last week. WWE took a business as usual approach rather than turning Young's homosexuality into an on-air story. There's always a chance they could have a change of heart, but I am happy they didn't choose to exploit the situation on the air. I also found it logical for the Players to work as babyfaces and to get the win here, as the goal should be to showcase Young in a positive light.
John Cena announcement: I must admit that I was concerned when Cena came out in happy go lucky mode a night after losing the WWE Championship, but he played this very well. Cena made it clear that he wasn't using his injury as an excuse for losing to Daniel Bryan and even went so far as to say the better man who their match.
C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman promos: It's odd to see John Cena embrace the loud booing (and even the cheering from some fans after he announced he was undergoing surgery), yet Punk went after one fan who booed him. Say what you will about it not being a Be A Star moment, but I though the tongue lashing Punk gave the fan fit in nicely with Punk's anger and frustration over Paul Heyman. Speaking of Heyman, the promo in which he offered to reunite with Punk was unexpected and very good.
Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth: Wyatt carried himself well during his squash match victory. The Wyatts continue to entertain even though it feels like we are still stuck in chapter one of their story.
Overall show: A minor Hit. I didn't really enjoy this episode as much as the Hit count may seem to suggest. There were some strong individual performances, but there was also a lot of filler that didn't register individually as a Miss, yet combined made the show drag. WWE is in a transitional period with John Cena and even Sheamus being sidelined. Bryan is feuding with the McMahons, Orton, and apparently The Shield, and C.M. Punk needs an actual in-ring dance partner because I don't see money in Punk vs. Curtis Axel. Once Punk's next program is addressed, the company needs to come up with some strong mid-card programs to keep things interesting.
WWE Raw Misses
McMahons make babyfaces look bad: The final segment of the show made the babyface wrestlers look really bad, as they all stood on the stage and watched Daniel Bryan get roughed up by the The Shield and later Orton. I realize the idea is that the other wrestlers are afraid to go against their employers, but a good babyface should care more about doing the right thing more than his job. I'm not even sure why the wrestlers needed to be on the stage aside from trying to make this look like a spectacle. It's bad enough when the babyfaces don't run out to save one another, but it was really bad that all of the babyfaces stood on the stage and did nothing.
The Shield: I could have done without watching them get roughed up in three different three-on-one situations. Granted, they won their two handicap matches, but they did a lot of selling for Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, and Daniel Bryan. That said, the handicap match with Ziggler was actually very entertaining.
Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez: For all I know, this could turn out to be a great pairing, but my first reaction is that I don't see much chemistry between the two or a real need for the pairing. That said, I don't even remember what I thought about RVD being paired with Bill Alfonso initially, but that worked out just fine back in the ECW days.
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