Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: John Cena and Randy Orton build for TLC, The Shield vs. Big Show, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara beats Alberto Del Rio, C.M. Punk, Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, and Brodus Clay
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
John Cena and Randy Orton: There's simply no way that WWE can make a unification match feel like a major event in just three weeks, but they definitely took a step forward last night. I like the guarantee from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon that one man will walk away with both titles at TLC. I certainly understand the skepticism and I can only hope that the powers that be realize that they need to make good on that guarantee. Cena cut a brief, yet effective promo backstage and then came through with another strong performance during the contract signing.
Big Show, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose: The weekly strong performance from the tag champions and The Shield. It doesn't seem to matter what combination they go with or who they add to the mix, these guys come through with excellent work week after week. By the way, whatever happened to Big Show's head trauma issue?
C.M. Punk: It was a good night on the mic for Punk. It was cool to see him open the show, and I really liked his backstage promo later in the night. No, it wasn't his lovely rendition of "I Feel Pretty" that won me over (okay, so it didn't hurt the cause either). Rather, it was the way he flipped the switched and delivered the great line about how he knows he's going down but the question now is how many members of The Shield he will take down with him at TLC. I still wish Triple H and Stephanie weren't on television, but if they are going to be around then it's only logical that they would have issues with the anti-establishment Punk.
Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan: A good match with Rowan looking strong in defeat and Bryan delivering his usual strong work. Another week, another Hit for Bryan. I don't dislike the two handicap matches at TLC as much as some of you. As much as most handicap matches bore me, I am curious to see how these matches are booked. My guess is that one Punk or Bryan actually sneaks out a win since they won't want to book both matches the same way. The handicap match approach is different and certainly unexpected, and I think they can tell a couple of good stories in those matches.
Mark Henry vs. Fandango: The crowd was quiet during Henry's entrance, but he won them over with his personality and charisma during the match. I still believe there's more money in Henry as a heel, but I enjoyed the JYD headbutt last week and the dance taunting this week.
Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler: Finally, a match between these two felt meaningful. I got some negative feedback from viewers who were frustrated that Ziggler didn't go over to set up a match against his former protege. I actually believe that going with the heel Sandow makes more sense. Ziggler has no juice right now and Langston is still establishing himself as the Intercontinental Champion. Give it some time and we probably will see a more meaningful match between Langston and Ziggler than a premature TLC match would have been.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara: A minor Hit for the upset win. The followup was weak. It should have been treated like a bigger deal throughout the night and Del Rio should have been shown throwing an all out hissy fit backstage. I'm mildly curious to see where they go with new/old Sin Cara now that Hunico is under the hood, and what this means for Del Rio, who has really cooled off since losing the title.
R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. Brodus Clay and Tensai: It looks like WWE is finally going to pull the trigger on turning Clay heel. The Funkasaurus nonsense has overstayed its welcome and I am hopeful that Clay will be positioned as the monster heel character that so many of us envisioned he would play. Clay and Tensai would be a decent monster heel tag team, but I'd prefer to see Clay go the singles route.
WWE Raw Misses
Natalya and The Bella Twins vs. A.J. Lee, Tamina, and Summer Rae: I'm pretty sure A.J. Lee is still skipping somewhere. It's hard enough to care about Divas matches when they are positioned so poorly. I can live with Lee skipping around the ring as an attention grabber throughout the match, but I didn't care for the way she blew off her loss and skipped away afterward. I would like to view Natalya pinning the Divas Champion as a big deal, but it doesn't feel special when it happens so frequently. That said, I am looking forward to seeing if Lee and Natalya can improve on their last pay-per-view match.
Bad News Barrett: WTF? Wade Barrett is a talented guy with a good look, good in-ring skills, and the gift of gab. I will never understand how the company has dropped the ball on him ever since The Nexus days.
Kofi Kingston and The Miz vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel: The match held my interest as I along with every other viewer waited for the moment when Miz would turn on Kingston. The whole thing made Kofi look like a fool. Why would he team with a guy who alligator armed him the last time they teamed? Anyway, I wonder if this combined with the featured match on WWE Main Event will be WWE's way of fast tracking Ryback and Axel into a tag title shot at TLC.
The Real Americans vs. The Prime Time Players: A match built around whether Titus O'Neil would puke. Vince McMahon is 68 years old, but vomit gags will never get old to him.
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