Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Shawn Michaels and Daniel Bryan, John Cena vs. Damien Sandow, Randy Orton's WWE Championship celebration interrupted by Big Show, The Wyatt Family attacks C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
John Cena vs. Damien Sandow: A great match to kick off the show. Sandow stepped up to the plate and delivered in his big moment with the WWE Champion. In fact, I enjoyed this match more than the Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio match from the pay-per-view. Even though he lost the match and no longer holds the World Heavyweight Championship, Sandow looked really good in defeat and should have fans seeing him in a new light today. The key now is how WWE creative follows up on this. They have a real opportunity to do something with Sandow. Meanwhile, Cena gave the fans a feel good promo in his first night back and fought off a ruthless attack to get the win. Cena haters obviously won't like it, but it was a good night for the new World Heavyweight Champion.
Shawn Michaels and Daniel Bryan: The explanation that Michaels offered for attacking Bryan was pretty bad, but it was fun to see traces of the old HBK heel character when he demanded respect and a handshake from the guy he screwed over the night before. Bryan locking Michaels in the Yes! Lock was a satisfying moment. It will obviously get people speculating that HBK is returning for another match. If he does, then I'm sold on the dynamic between the two even though they took an awkward path to get to it. If not, then WWE could be setting themselves up for a letdown moment. By the way, I was thrilled to see Bryan stop smiling and leading Yes! chants. We saw way too much of that even though Hunter was screwing him out of the WWE Championship. Bryan's character needs to evolve and his mood needs to reflect everything that's been done to him, so this was a great start.
The Shield vs. The Uso Brothers and Big E Langston: The Shield needed a win after losing the tag titles on Raw recently and then dropping the Triple Threat match at Hell in a Cell. It was also interesting that Michael Cole played up Dean Ambrose stating in a pre-match promo that he's the only person in the group with a championship. I didn't read too much into it at the time, but Cole bringing it up made me take notice. Is this the first step toward the end of The Shield? Man, I hope not.
The Wyatt Family attacks on C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan: Strong high profile attacks by the Wyatt Family and you have to be excited by the likely Punk and Bryan alliance. It was interesting that Bray Wyatt said "the devil made me do it" after both attacks. The devil could be a number of people, but Dot Net readers Robert M. and Reg both raised the interesting possibility that it could be Paul Heyman, who referred to himself as the devil at Hell in a Cell.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Real Americans: A really nice win for Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro that helps erase the loss to Los Matadores the night before. If the Real Americans are going to be players in the tag division, then the only way they should work with Los Matadores right now is if they are going to squash them.
C.M. Punk vs. Ryback: A fitting end to a program that never developed much steam. Ryback just hasn't clicked as a heel so it was logical for Punk to beat him decisively to blow off the program. I don't know where Ryback goes next. WWE did him a major disservice by turning him heel in the first place.
WWE Raw Misses
Randy Orton's WWE Championship celebration: More of the same with Orton, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. They even brought back the gimmick where all of the other wrestlers are emasculated by standing on the stage. Big Show really did get a great reaction from the Orlando crowd. It's hard for me to get excited by Orton vs. Show, and it's really a stretch to think that viewers care about a fictional lawsuit. The more likely money match for Show appears to be with Triple H, which says a lot about the way Orton and the WWE Championship have been positioned.
Kane gives his mask and hair to Stephanie McMahon: It was an interest visual to see Kane pull off the mask and hair, but I can't say the possibilities of where is going excites me. I don't want to see Kane with either Daniel Bryan or Big Show, which I assume is where this is headed since he appears to now be a weapon for The Authority. Perhaps it will lead to a cosmetic overhaul and breathe some new life into the act, but the speech and even the odd squash match win over The Miz felt flat.
Dean Ambrose vs. Big E Langston: It felt like WWE was running hot when this match was announced as following up the Cena vs. Sandow match. I realize it was just a setup for the six-man tag match, but the second cheap finish in two nights did not leave me wanting to see more from these two, and it was a quick way to extinguish the hot show feel even though I enjoyed the six-man tag that followed.
The Bella Twins vs. A.J. Lee and Tamina; The idea that Brie Bella was forced to work the match when her fiancee was hospitalized was fine, but I can't get over how silly it was that she would act distracted and then start the match instead of her sister. Brie continues to show real in-ring improvement, but her sister looked very rusty when she was on the offensive in this match. I like the end result of A.J. and Tamina getting the win because Brie was distracted, but the logic gap left me shaking my head.
Natalya vs. Summer Rae: I lost interest in this match as it went on. I'm all for giving the established Divas who can work more in-ring time, but this just felt too long for Summer to be out there even though she does show in-ring promise. The dancing gimmick spots she worked in were consistent with the character, but she doesn't have the act down like Fandango does. The dancing combined with the gear she was wearing made it really hard to take her seriously as a wrestler.
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