Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Raw Is Beating Up The Elderly, Daniel Bryan attacks Bray Wyatt, Royal Rumble match hype, Kofi Kingston upsets Randy Orton, NXT Diva Emma appears in the crowd
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Daniel Bryan turns on Bray Wyatt: None of this made any sense. I don't know what they can have Bryan's character say to make this feel like anything other than an audible. Bryan joining the Wyatt Family was shocking and awkward, but the time he spent with the trio was bizarre and a huge letdown. The important thing is that WWE pulled out of the nosedive and somehow managed to turn this into a major Hit based solely on the crowd's reaction to Bryan. As much of a mess as this storyline was, Bryan somehow appeared to be as popular as ever last night with the live crowd. One real negative is that I fear that the Wyatt Family came out of this looking bad. They corrected course with Bryan, and now I'm left hoping that they can heat up Bray Wyatt and company even though Bryan destroyed Wyatt inside the cage to close the show.
Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kinston and post match angle with John Cena Sr. The bulk of the Orton vs. Kingston match was dull unless you focussed on Orton's facial expressions as I did. However, the upset win for Kingston was a nice surprise, and set up Orton for his over the top beating on John Cena's father. Sure, we've seen a variation of this angle before, but it was well done and the announcers did a nice job of putting it over. I enjoyed this beating of an elderly man much more than the other beating of an elderly man. More on that in the Misses segment.
John Cena vs. Damien Sandow: This match was not as good as the Money in the Bank cash-in attempt, but it Sandow still looked good in defeat. I still see him as a future star of the company and he has shined in his last two singles match outings with Cena. One of the issues with this match compared to the MITB cash-in was that viewers thought there was a chance that Sandow would win that match, whereas no one seemed to think Sandow was going over here with Cena challenging for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.
WWE Network hype: I think we all expected Raw to be an informercial filled with tutorials and nonstop plugs for the network. WWE took a rather subdued (by their standards) approach to the network hype. I assume that will change as we move closer to signup/launch date. There's no reason to go overboard right now when they are trying to promote the Royal Rumble, so I felt like they did a good job of making it seem important without beating us over the head with it like Twitter and Tout in the past.
C.M. Punk and The New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield: I didn't see the turn coming, but I probably should have given the Outlaws connection to Triple H. Punk vs. Hunter is a rumored WrestleMania 30 match and this certainly forwards that storyline. I was happy to see Punk added to the Royal Rumble match because there's another legitimate winner option beyond Batista.
Emma: Fans who don't watch the NXT television show are going to be impressed by the developmental Diva talent. I don't know if Emma's appearance in the crowd was a sign that she is going to debut on the main roster or if they are simply starting to give the NXT talent some exposure heading into the live NXT special they will be doing on WWE Network. Either way, I like it.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio: A minor Hit. It's hard to get excited about the renewed push that Del Rio is getting when all signs point to it being done simply to build him up to be fed to Batista. It's logical booking, though, and I just pray that the Rumble match doesn't come down to Batista and Del Rio because there's no mystery in who comes out on top in that scenario.
WWE Raw Misses
Royal Rumble hype: Where is the stats video? Where are the major announcements of the entrants? Sure, we got Batista's announcement and we saw C.M. Punk be informed that he was in, but the build to the actual Royal Rumble match has been a big letdown thus far. It's my favorite gimmick match of any year and it felt lost in the chaotic shuffle that was last night's Raw.
Big Show punches out Zeb Colter: I haven't seen this type of elderly abuse since Hal the Orderly offered Happy Gilmore's grandmother a warm glass of shut the hell up. Seriously, what has Colter done to justify being punched out by Big Show? It's not like he's been a thorn in Show's side who was just begging for it. He's been a mid-card comedic heel manager. This conjured up memories of Big Show blubbering over being forced to punch out Dusty Rhodes. Apparently, Show's character has no problem punching out the elderly, he just wants to pick and choose which senior citizen he gets to punch.
Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback: A flat match by the tag champions lofty standards. I'm probably being too tough on this because it ticked me off that WWE saved the Goldust and Cody angle regarding the Royal Rumble match for the app rather than air it on television. It's not just that I don't have a desire to watch the app during every commercial break, it's that I feel they needed to do more to promote the Rumble match and having Michael Cole recap Goldust threatening to eliminate Cody from the Rumble just as Cody did to him last year was clearly not as effective as the actual segment would have been had it been shown to the television audience.
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