Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: John Cena and Randy Orton build for TLC, Michael Strahan debacle, The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes, C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family, Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes: You can always count on these guys to deliver an entertaining match. Roman Reigns once again looked dominant and I was happy to see it's business as usual coming out of the Survivor Series rather than a radical shift for Reigns. The guy could be a singles star, but there's still plenty of good business left to do with The Shield.
C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family: The match was fine and the post match drama with Bryan being hauled off by the Wyatt Family and then C.M. Punk being taken out by The Shield was intriguing. Are Punk and Bryan now moving onto their own programs? I would be more even interested in the Bryan saga had WWE not forgotten the angle where Kane was hauled off by the Wyatts.
Big E Langston and Mark Henry vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel: A minor Hit. The fans were happy to see Henry's return to Raw and the match was logical based on the current programs. I am curious to see where they go with Langston and Henry. Was this a one-off or will they eventually get to a showdown match between the two powerlifters?
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: I would love to be able to chalk up the flat Raw to the company pulling back because it's a holiday week. I can't do that because this was the night after a pay-per-view and the show had all of the same flaws as other recent episodes. WWE is a creative wreck right now and I feel like so many fans are suffering through three hours just hoping for something to happen to jumpstart the product again. I don't see things getting dramatically better until WrestleMania season starts in January, and for the first time in a long time I actually fear that the company is so creatively broken that WrestleMania season could suffer.
Randy Orton vs. John Cena build: Viewers have their guard up. They've suffered through overbooked screwy main event pay-per-view finishes, so when they hear that two titles will be hanging above the ring during the TLC match rather than one undisputed championship, they naturally fear that another screwy finish will occur where each man will come away with one title. Maybe they flip flop championships or maybe they keep their respective titles. Either way, if WWE has something else in mind, they should guarantee fans that one man will leave with both titles.
MizTV with Michael Strahan: I settled in for a silly spoof and a Strahan rebuttal in the form of a pair of running shoulder blocks out of a three-point stance. Instead, we got silly hip-tosses followed by Miz essentially yelling "end scene" so they could have their big hugging moment followed by a three-man Millions of Dollars dance. This left me feeling like we are about two steps away from having Triple H close out the show while all the wrestlers stand behind him on the stage. The credits will roll and Hunter and company will all start hugging and waving to the camera just as every episode of Saturday Night Live ends. Stop trying to be a sports entertainment variety show and get back to the basics of pro wrestling.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow in a Hamptons hardcore match: I feel badly for both men. They are busting their asses and trying to make the best of this series of hardcore matches, but they are getting zero storyline support. Rather, WWE throws them in hardcore matches with comedic themes, and the broadcast team plays up the comedy aspect for their usual audience of one. Both wrestlers work too hard and have too much upside to be wasted in this manner.
Divas elimination match: WWE played with fire by booking this for Survivor Series and they really tested their luck by having the rematch on Raw. Surprisingly, both matches were better than I expected them to be, but I have no idea what purpose they served other than filling time. It looked like Natalya was showcased on Sunday, but now it seems like it was merely because they wanted her to use the Sharpshooter because Bret Hart was in the building. This time around, The Bella Twins and their Total Divas nemesis and Raw sidekick Eva Marie got the win. Please tell me that Nikki Bella doing the reverse worm is not going to become a regular part of her act. For that matter, please tell me that the focus will be on Brie as a singles wrestler rather than on her sister.
Xavier Woods vs. Heath Slater: Did Michael Cole really call this a "huge win" for Woods? I like Woods's work, but I don't care for his current look or the fact that he's just another smiling and dancing babyface.
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