Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Triple H and Randy Orton, The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan in a gauntlet match, Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel attack C.M. Punk, Rob Van Dam earns a World Hvt. Championship match at Night of Champions
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Triple H and Randy Orton: I'm not a fan of heel authority figures, but now that they have taken this path they absolutely must put heat on this duo. They succeeded in doing that again this week. Both men are still getting some cheers and Orton got a lot of squeals from the women. They will get total heat eventually, but they could speed up the process a bit by going after the fans in their promos in addition to Daniel Bryan. Both men were previously cast as rebellious babyfaces and there aren't many differences between their babyface and heel acts. I still wish they would answer the obvious question of why fans should pay to see Bryan challenge for a WWE Championship that they've already screwed him. If they did it once, why wouldn't they just do it again?
Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield: A good main event segment that provided a highly entertaining Bryan vs. Seth Rollins match and a finish that made Bryan look strong, only to result in more heat on the heels. By the way, if WWE doesn't feel like getting the body work done on the Cadillac Escalade that Bryan destroyed I will be happy to take it off their hands.
Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel beat C.M. Punk: An intense beatdown from Heyman on Punk. Axel still comes off like a henchman and it even seems like Heyman is starting to treat him that way. He didn't look like he had any faith in Axel heading into the singles match with Punk, and the real heat for the segment went to Heyman rather than Axel.
A.J. Lee's promo on Total Divas: This didn't do the Total Divas cast any favors, but it did make for entertaining television. The person who wrote this promo should be watched closely by police due to some very transparent issues with women that boiled over when A.J. referred to them all as cheap, expendable, and exchangeable. By the way, someone should have told the heel trio to keep quiet, as their babbling no-sell at ringside was more distracting than helpful.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam: I'm not a fan of Del Rio continuing to lose non-title matches, but at least they built in the Ricardo distraction. This was an entertaining match that has me looking forward to their Night of Champions match. I still don't see any chemistry with RVD and Ricardo. I'm actually hopeful that Ricardo will get back in Del Rio's good graces by turning on RVD to save Del Rio's title. Del Rio doesn't need Ricardo, but Ricardo has and still could enhance his act.
Overall show: A good Empire Strikes Back edition of Raw in that they put some real heat on Triple H, Randy Orton, The Shield, and Paul Heyman throughout the show. There was good in-ring action, good mic work, and some newsworthy moments via the announcement of pay-per-view matches.
WWE Raw Misses
Titus O'Neil vs. Jack Swagger: I am trying to be excited about the developing Players vs. Real Americans feud, but this match didn't help the cause. Both undercard tag teams need meaningful wins badly enough that one of these teams beating the other isn't going to make them. It just feels like undercard filler, though I did have to laugh at Zeb Colter's line about welfare and breeding.
Brie Bella vs. Natalya: Another throwaway match with the Divas trading wins and no one really gaining anything. Total Divas has been successful for WWE on E! network, but they still haven't found a way to carry that over to Raw.
Fandango walks out again: The laziest finish in all of pro wrestling is Fandango walking out on matches. And that's coming from someone who defended it when it seemed like he was getting decent heat for his intentional count out losses. In this case, he split and left his tag partner to fall victim to a double team. The announcers tried to rationalize it by saying Fandango was upset with something Damien Sandow said, but the whole thing is just too repetitive. I continue to believe that Johnny Curtis has a high upside with or without the Fandango gimmick, but I view his program with Miz and Rosa Mendes (who went from jiggling to jumping) as mid-card filler.
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