Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Batista returns, Randy Orton is a good hitchhiker, John Cena wants revenge so badly that he waited two hours and 59 minutes to get it, Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt, final Royal Rumble hype
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
The Shield vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, and Big E Langston: The Brotherhood got back on track after their extremely rare Miss last week. Everyone involved had a moment, and Langston especially showed really good fire for his offensive flurry. I hope they are setting up Langston vs. Rollins via the finish of the match, as that would help explain why the Intercontinental Champion took a loss that Goldust or Cody Rhodes could have absorbed. Am I the only one surprised we didn't see any signs of friction amongst The Shield members heading into the Royal Rumble?
Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt: The explanation was really the only one that WWE could give to try to explain away the Daniel Wyatt story. The logic that Bryan used for setting up his match with Wyatt was flawed, as he suggested he will get Wyatt alone in the ring because Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are in the Royal Rumble match. Are they taking place simultaneously? Anyway, I did sense that there was a bit of a letdown in that Bryan did not announce his entry into the Royal Rumble match. That's the real payoff that fans want. Fortunately, Bryan remains the most over guy in the company, and Wyatt delivered some excellent mic work.
Fandango vs. Xavier Woods: I was actually happy to see Fandango go over so quickly. I really believe Johnny Curtis can get over if he is established as an in-ring threat, whereas I don't see any sign that the Woods character is clicking with fans. Woods has talent, but I think it's time to go back to the drawing board as far as his persona is concerned.
Big Show and Brock Lesnar: A minor Hit. It didn't really leave me eagerly anticipating their match at the Royal Rumble. In fact, it left me wanting to see Lesnar face the the announcers' table in a rematch more than Lesnar vs. Big Show.
MLK and Mae Young video packages: Excellent work from the production team.
WWE Raw Misses
Batista returns: I don't know what I was expecting, but it was not Batista in a Justin Bieber-like jacket and skinny jeans hugging Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. I don't think major damage was done, but I just didn't come away from this excited about seeing Batista in the Royal Rumble or facing Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton hype: Are we meant to be wondering who was driving the car that Orton climbed into? Or do we assume that a kind Dayton driver was cool with picking up a nearly naked hitchhiker? Pervert. Either way, this was hokey. Even the broadcast team seemed confused as to how to sell it. WWE would have been better off having Cena cut a passionate promo about what Orton did to his father and convincing viewers that he can't wait to get his hands on him at the Rumble. Orton should have been the one to keep a low profile until the end of the night. I could have waited a week for the Batista and Orton confrontation, and the tired "are they with him or against him" garbage from The Authority. I felt bad for Kofi Kingston, who didn't even get a promo after beating the champion last week. I didn't expect him to come out of this as a featured player, but they could have at least made some effort to
Stephanie McMahon: The ball busting act is groan inducing. Can someone please make these emasculating segments stop? Yes, Steph, your character has a bigger dick than any male wrestler on the roster. We get it.
C.M. Punk vs. Billy Gunn: I'm cool with seeing the New Age Outlaws work tag matches, but they need to get away from Punk as quickly as possible. I know they need some followup after the Outlaws turned on Punk last week, but toying with the Outlaws feels like something his character would roll his eyes at while keeping his eye on the bigger prize - a championship or getting Triple H in the ring.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio: Great effort from both men. The problem is that fans have seen this match so many times and even making this the rubber match of a recent three match series wasn't enough to make this feel important. Both characters feel flat right now. Del Rio's character really struggles without a title belt, and Mysterio has just settled into a mid-card role. I appreciate the hard work they put in, but I also hope this is the last time we see them work together for at least a year.
Emma: It's cool to see her on the major WWE television shows, but I worry that WWE has convinced themselves that viewers know what her act is all about simply because she appears on NXT. I hope I have it wrong because I do enjoy the act and I am looking forward to seeing what her actual main roster role will be.
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