Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: The Slammy Awards, John Cena and Randy Orton's ascension ceremony, C.M. Punk vs. Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan vs. Fandango, The New Age Outlaws, Brodus Clay, Natalya vs. Tamina
By Jason Powell
Prowrestling.net Live aired on Monday night following WWE Raw. Jason Powell and Chris Shore took listener phone calls during the free, 90-minute online radio show. Listen to the show at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
WWE Raw Hits
John Cena: A hell of a performance to close the show. He wisely used Daniel Bryan's popularity with his hometown fans to win over many of the fans who initially booed him, then cut a scathing promo on Randy Orton heading into their unification match at the TLC pay-per-view. Whether Cena improved with Bryan or that was planned because they were in Bryan's hometown, it was a great veteran move.
Ascension Ceremony: As great as Cena was during this segment, the live crowd stole the show with their passionate chants for hometown hero Daniel Bryan. It was fun to see the babyfaces play into it and to listen to Triple H try to shut it down with his reaction. The real fun came with the rapid fire finishers that involved many of the wrestlers in the ring. The show closed with John Cena standing with The Authority and looking down at Randy Orton, which raises some interesting possibilities for TLC. I don't expect a Cena heel turn, but it is interesting that The Authority has issues with Orton heading into TLC. I will openly weep if this somehow leads to Triple H somehow taking both title belts and declaring himself the unified champion.
C.M. Punk vs. Dean Ambrose: I still hate the idea of the secondary champion losing so many non-title matches on television, so the Hit is for the workrate and the story that was told. WWE planted the seed that there is friction amongst The Shield members. That could be foreshadowing a Punk win on Sunday, or it could be a red herring. Either way, it makes people more interested in one of the two handicap matches that will take place at TLC.
Daniel Bryan vs. Fandango: A very good opening match. Bryan delivered his usual crowd pleasing offense, and Fandango shined whenever he was on the offensive as well. This was a good, effective show opening match. It left me looking forward to Fandango's match against Dolph Ziggler that will kickoff the pay-per-view on Sunday.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. The Uso Brothers: A good back and forth match with the right team going over since they have the advertised match at the pay-per-view. The Uso Brothers continue to impress me and I definitely see a WWE Tag Title run at some point down the road. Meanwhile, it feels like WWE has to rebuild the Wyatt Family a bit following some of their unnecessary television losses.
Brodus Clay vs. Xavier Woods: A good showing for soon to be monster heel Clay. Tensai sold it well by asking Clay what he was doing when he continued his beatdown of Woods after the match. I am curious to see whether Clay is given a real push or if this is merely an undercard program.
Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes vs. The Real Americans, Ryback, and Curtis Axel: Just when it looked like they were setting up Ryback and Axel for a tag title shot, they had Axel take the pin in this match. Oh well, it was the weekly good match involving the Rhodes Brothers.
Slammy Awards: A minor Hit. The awards were mostly quick and harmless. It was nice to see most of the silly awards issued via the WWE website or app rather than on Raw. They limited the award count to eight and saved some time to promote the TLC pay-per-view rather than making the Slammys the only focus of the evening. I didn't agree with some of the winners and I am with the Dot Net Poll voters in questioning the legitimacy of some of the numbers (The Bella? Stephanie McMahon? Rock vs. Cena?), but at the same time I won't lose even a second of sleep about mostly throwaway fan vote awards on a pro wrestling television show.
WWE Raw Misses
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara: I'm not trying to kick Del Rio while he's concussed and down, but the live crowd was flat for this match and I had a hard time caring about it at home. I thought I would be a little more interested in the rematch considering that Sin Cara pulled off the upset last week, but it was hard to maintain any level of interest when the match went on longer than it needed to.
Natalya vs. Tamina: If Bret Hart is in the house, you can pretty much assume that Natalya is going to win her match with the Sharpshooter. I'm okay with that part of it, but this felt rushed even by Divas standards, and it did nothing to increase my enthusiasm for the Divas Championship match at TLC.
The New Age Outlaws: The tribute to Harry and Lloyd from "Dumb & Dumber" would have been a lot funnier if Christopher Daniels and Kazarian hadn't done the same thing on TNA Impact. That said, it was good to see the Outlaws and I still think WWE could make some money with the duo.
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