Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan, Batista and Alberto Del Rio, New Age Outlaws vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes, The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Emma, and Titus O'Neil
By Jason Powell
Check out the Prowrestling.net Live audio show that Jake Barnett and I hosted after Raw (airs live every Monday at 10:30 p.m. CT) at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
WWE Raw Hits
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan: A very good, straight forward wrestling match in the main event slot. Unfortunately, it just didn't pack much of a punch. Michael Cole tried to sell it as a major happening that Bryan pinned the World Champion, but WWE has shown that Bryan can beat Orton in a fair fight, so it didn't feel special when he did it here. The post-match beatdown did nothing for me. Corporate Kane just hasn't clicked, but perhaps they can breathe some life into the character if they play on the history of the Bryan and Kane characters. My concern, though, is that while it could breathe life into Kane, a forgettable program between the two could also slow down Bryan's momentum.
The Shield vs. Big E Langston, Rey Mysterio, and Kofi Kingston: Good action and a notable finish with Dean Ambrose stealing the pin from Roman Reigns. The only question I have is why Intercontinental Champion Langston was once again the guy losing to The Shield in a six-man tag match. He may not be ready to be a main event player, but the fans are reacting to his big offensive flurries. He's quickly becoming the latest in a now long line of secondary champions who are booked as jobbers to the stars.
Titus O'Neil vs. Zack Ryder: A minor Hit for a logical squash win for the newly turned Titus. I have no idea what they were trying to do with The Miz, and I found it interesting that Darren Young wasn't out for revenge on the man who just turned on him.
Batista and Alberto Del Rio: A minor Hit, mostly for the fire that Del Rio showed. Batista continues to be a disappointment. He's usually cast as the guy who speaks softly and carries a big stick, but I believe one of the reasons fans haven't connected with him is that he never bothered to explain why he left or that he's back on more of a full-time basis than Rock was. He just showed up, hugged Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, and offered no explanation for where he'd been the last four years or why he was back now. I like the intensity that Del Rio showed, but he looked like he was out of character wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That said, moving away from the aristocrat gimmick and letting him be himself might be just what he needs.
The Wyatt Family vs. Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, and Xavier Woods: A minor Hit for the Wyatt Family showcase match. Yes, I was surprised to see Ziggler take the pin for his team, and it made his online promo seem worthless in retrospect. I liked the vibe of the Wyatt Family backstage promo from earlier in the show, but I thought it was an off night for Bray Wyatt in terms of the verbiage.
WWE Raw Misses
Overall show: Raw is Blah. It felt like WWE was just trying to get through this episode. The C.M. Punk situation, the John Cena eye injury, the absence of Brock Lesnar, and the lack of Paul Heyman surely didn't help the cause creatively.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon: As much as I got a kick out of the visual image of Triple H leading the "Yes!" chants, these characters remain one of the biggest problems on Raw. Their puppet master act did real damage to Orton, and I continue to get the sense that the average fan isn't intrigued by their characters as much as they are just left confused.
Emma and the dance-off: WWE continues to push her as if everyone watches NXT and is familiar with her dance. It really blew up in their faces last night because the live crowd just sat on their hands as she danced.
The New Age Outlaws vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes: WWE has to pull the plug on the Outlaws as the tag team champion. The Brotherhood were the most consistent performers on Raw. They may not have been in the high profile segments, but they could always be counted on to deliver a good, time consuming match during Raw. Dropping their titles to the tired Outlaws was damaging to Goldust and Cody, and watching them fail to regain the titles during slow, plodding matches is hurting the act even more. I liked the Outlaws during their peak years, and I was happy to see them return last time. It's just not working this time around and this shades of gray garbage with them playing to the live crowd before the match and then Road Dogg acting heelish during the match isn't helping. I felt like we were watching two babyfaces teams in a cage match, which is ridiculous. Cody's big moonsault off the top of the cage worked at MSG, but it was painful execution here with a major crash and burn.
Naomi vs. Aksana: WWE is trying to push Naomi as the latest challenger of the month for A.J. Lee. She's very athletic and performs some impressive spots, but she still doesn't look comfortable executing the basics. Worse yet, I don't sense that the crowds are taking to her. Sure, the fans like the Funkadactyls, but it doesn't seem like they are buying into Naomi as a real threat to the title. Meanwhile, Aksana dropping her knee onto the eye of Naomi was a scary, reckless moment.
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