Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H segment, The Uso Brothers vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose, Elvis Cobra
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton contract signing: It was more of the same with Bryan and Orton, but the involvement of Shawn Michaels added so much to this. Regardless of what HBK does on Sunday, WWE took the right approach by making it seem like Shawn plans to call it down the middle while having Hunter tease the possibility that Shawn will side with him. Fans don't want to pay to see another screwjob finish, so having HBK defend Bryan told fans that he's going to do the right thing. Hunter's line about Chris Jericho, Edge, and Rob Van Dam didn't bother me. It played into what his character has been saying about Bryan, and he is a heel after all. I also liked the way he shot down the idea of facing Daniel Bryan in a match. It struck me as Hunter attempting to get the fans thinking more about their match. I could have done without Big Show driving the truck into the building. The visual was cool, but it really didn't seem necessary. Did he get a job as a truck driver now that he's been fired?
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. The Uso Brothers: These teams continue to work very well together. The non-finish was logical considering that they were trying to set up the need for a Triple Threat at the pay-per-view (even though I think they should have stuck with The Shield members getting a rematch). The only real negative was Cody Rhodes on color commentary. Cody was awful a while back when he tried to justify his character's reaction to Damien Sandow taking the Money in the Bank contract, and this time around he seemed primarily concerned with getting a laugh out of JBL via the comment he made about being better than the Brisco Brothers. I want to hear Cody and Goldust on Raw, but they need to get promo time rather than guest commentary roles.
Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose: I'm never a fan of secondary champions losing non-title matches to wrestlers who are too high on the food chain to chase their titles, but this was a very entertaining match. Sure, you knew Bryan wasn't going to lose heading into the pay-per-view. Still, Ambrose looked good in defeat by working a long, competitive match with Bryan.
Elvis Cobra: After suffering through Santino Marella, The Great Khali, and Hornswoggle dressed in Elvis gear, I must confess that I chuckled when I saw the Cobra with Elvis hair. I'm not proud of this. In fact, I'm downright ashamed. Just as you can't control who you love, you can't control what makes you laugh.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler: Another match with a predictable finish, yet still also another entertaining match. It's time for WWE to get Dolph back on track. I don't care what he did to deserve a spot in the doghouse, the guy works his ass off and has earned a better spot than he's been given. Stop finding reasons not to push the guy and instead focus on accentuating his many positives.
The Bella Twins vs. A.J. Lee and Tamina Snuka: Brie Bella stood out in a positive way during this match. It's a shame that creative never bothered to turn the Bella Twins because it's taking longer than it would have for fans to connect with Brie. She's working hard and is showing good babyface charisma, so I feel it's only a matter of time before she makes that connection. However, I hope they don't think the key to getting her over is putting the Divas Championship on her this weekend. Let the fans rally behind her rather than forcing it with a premature title win.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. Kofi Kingston and The Miz: A good showcase match for the monster heel tag team. I still wish the company would do more with Kingston, but it was a good win for Harper and Rowan. The fans pop big for the Wyatt Family entrance and it used to stop there, but now it seems like the fans are getting into watching Harper and Rowan's in-ring act.
Overall show: A minor Hit. Don't let the lopsided Hit count fool you, this was merely a better than average show with a strong angle at the end. Most of the Hits are minor and it wasn't until the last 30 minutes of the show that they managed to raise my enthusiasm for Hell in a Cell.
WWE Raw Misses
Opening segment: It was just more of the same. It didn't feel like this segment served a real purpose since Triple H and Stephanie McMahon just performed their usual act. Big Show's interruption was odd. Stephanie was questioning how Show was able to interrupt them via the big screen, yet she was also able to count down to the moment that he would be cut off.
The Real Americans vs. Tons of Funk: It was cool to see Zeb Colter reintroduce the bull whip, but I have a feeling that the fun ends there since he brought it back to counter the silly kiddy act El Torito. The show was dragging when this match went on and I had the urge to reach for my remote. I like The Real Americans as a team, but it's hard to be excited when their feud with Los Matadores is looming. Meanwhile, it's time to pull the plug on Tons of Funk. Brodus Clay needs to disappear for a while and return as the monster heel type that everyone envisioned before the Funkasaurus debuted.
C.M. Punk and Big E Langston vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel: The match set up the Axel vs. Langston match for the free preview, but they failed to heat up the Punk vs. Heyman feud. My guess is the idea was for Heyman to look vulnerable by having his team lose so that fans will assume Punk will get his hands on him inside Hell in a Cell. I liked Punk's straight forward promo earlier in the show. I just haven't been able to ignore the fact that we just saw Punk get his hands on Heyman at Night of Champions. Heyman won that match, but the beating that Punk gave him was satisfying enough that I don't think fans are clamoring to see him get his hands on Heyman again this quickly.
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