Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Daniel Bryan, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar video package, John Cena fears Bray Wyatt, The Shield and Kane
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Daniel Bryan: The Authority strikes back. A rare Mega Hit. A great heat building segment. Hunter's comments earlier in the show had me wondering whether they were planting the seeds for a babyface turn after WrestleMania. He laid it on thick during the in-ring segment with Bryan to the point that you had to know something was up because there was no way they were going to turn Hunter before the WrestleMania match, but it was executed beautifully. The attack on Bryan was about as violent as it gets in WWE in 2014. I had to laugh at Hunter dunking Bryan's head in the cooler water, as it made me feel like it's okay to drown someone on WWE television even though Bryan knows all too well that it's not okay to choke someone with a tie.
Again, though, I can't say enough good things about this angle. Bryan vs. Triple H feels like the true main event of WrestleMania. Stephanie McMahon was awesome throughout the show. Her ball busting of Hunter was believable, and her sadistic encouragement of Hunter's attack was perfect. I loved Bryan telling Steph that she hits like a girl because it's such a huge insult to her character who can't wait to remind viewers that girls can do everything boys can do only better, and even took offense when she felt Hunter was telling her she couldn't relate to Hunter saying that he wanted to meet Bryan face-to-face "like a man." The performances of all three performers was excellent and this was my favorite segment of the year so far.
Triple H gives himself a path to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Paranoid Daniel Bryan fans and Triple H conspiracy theorists everywhere cringed when Hunter announced that the winner of his match with Bryan would get in the Triple Threat for the title at WrestleMania 30. I still believe Bryan wins the match and goes on to win the championship. However, it plays on the paranoia of fans and makes each near fall in the Hunter vs. Bryan match that much more exciting. It also guarantees to viewers that the title match won't be the flat Orton vs. Batista match.
Undertaker and Brock Lesnar video: A great video that made it seem like Taker's recent wars at WrestleMania showed that age is catching up with him and he's been fortunate to escape with wins. Brock and Taker are both listed for the last two weeks of Raw heading into WrestleMania. Heyman has been the MVP so far, but they really need to put heat on Lesnar, show him looking more confident than ever, and perhaps even offer some indication that Taker isn't as confident as usual heading into the match.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan: A good No DQ match that once again showed viewers that Bryan can beat Orton. I don't know if anyone was really questioning that going into this match since we've seen it repeatedly, but it was still an entertaining match.
The Uso Brothers vs. The Real Americans: A minor Hit for a good tag match that left me wondering if the Real Americans are getting the tag title shot or if they will go with a big multi-team match.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt: Cena laid it on pretty thick while talking about how he's afraid of Wyatt and what he represents, but it beats the alternative of Jimmy Buffett comparisons and singing. Wyatt continues to shine on the mic, and that video package that aired for the match was very well done. I'm still very impressed by the way the match has come together.
Naomi and Cameron vs. A.J. Lee and Tamina: It was good to see Naomi back after that nasty injury she suffered when Aksana inexplicably dropped a knee on her eye. The post-match issues between Lee and Tamina felt like they came out of nowhere and, much like I mentioned in regards to the Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa meltdown on Impact, I wish they would take their time and build up to the moment when Tamina finally snaps. I don't think they made the fans really want to see it happen in either case.
Big Show, Mark Henry, Big E, and Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Ryback, and Curtis Axel: Was I the only person who was disappointed when they announced that all eight men and Christian would be in the battle royal? Are some wrestlers pulling double duty or do they intend to go with extremely long matches since we only have five advertised and only two or three that seem to be developing. The match itself was fine and that high energy finish with the wrestlers taking their turns hitting their finishers always seems to work with the live crowds.
Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston: A simple squash win for Wyatt. While it was predictable and didn't pack a big punch, it did give viewers a chance to see Wyatt look strong and hit his impressive finisher again.
WWE Raw Misses
The Shield and Kane: I have mixed feelings on their apparent babyface turn. On one hand, I'm an advocate for keeping the trio together longer and they could move some major merchandise as babyfaces. However, I really expected this to be a big night for The Shield that would set up something big for them at WrestleMania. Instead, I suspect that it's going to be The Shield vs. Kane, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan, which just doesn't pack the punch that The Shield vs. the actual Wyatt Family does. It would actually make storyline sense if Kane and The Authority forced The Shield members to compete in a Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship, but I don't know that WWE will be booking another Triple Threat match on this WrestleMania. Whatever they plan is, they are running out of time to make it feel like a major part of WrestleMania.
Sheamus vs. Titus O'Neil: The St. Patrick's Day match and even Hornswoggle's appearance at ringside were pretty tame compared to what we would have gotten in past years. Let's face it, though, the only reason the match took place is because Sheamus is Irish and someone thought it would be funny to go with Titus because of his Irish last name. I'm really surprised that Sheamus and Christian are both in the battle royal. They had a hell of a match last week and I was hoping to see a rematch of some type on the big stage.
Goldust vs. Fandango: The Miss is mostly due to my frustration with Goldust and Cody Rhodes appearing to be on the outside looking in. Sure, they'll probably end up in a multi-team tag title match, but all of the momentum they had was killed when they dropped the tag titles to the New Age Outlaws and creative hasn't taken care of them since then.
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