Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, John Cena vs. Luke Harper, Christian earns an IC Title match, Triple H and Michael Cole, Scooby Doo, Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Something
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
John Cena vs. Luke Harper: A strong outing from Harper, who continues to shine in the ring and is starting to develop a personality with growing mic time. I never thought I'd see the lights go out followed by the reveal of a guy tied up in the ropes with a sheep mask covering his face somehow lead to a "This is Awesome" chant from a good crowd. Strange moment, but I like that Harper was protected. I just don't have a clue where all of this "Cena isn't the same" talk from the announcers came from. I'm really looking forward to Cena vs. Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 30, but the story they are telling feels really rushed.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus: Good effort from all four performers. Del Rio had the clunky moment where he slipped while going for his kick off the ropes, but it appeared to be caused by either Ziggler or Sheamus being on the rope at the time. All four men really turned it on down the stretch and for a few minutes actually made the Intercontinental Title feel important again. Here's hoping that feeling continues when Christian challenges for the title on WWE Main Event Live tonight.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro and Jack Swagger: Another strong outing for Rollins. I agree with the concern of Dot Net reader Jon Coniglio expressed in his onsite report regarding Rollins suddenly playing to the crowd. I'm cool with The Shield playing babyfaces if that's the plan, but I would also like to see them keep their cool factor rather than playing the parts of somewhat pandering babyfaces. I was surprised to see Cesaro take the pin for his team. Are The Real Americans suddenly back on good terms?
WWE Raw Misses
Overall Show: The only question that matters at this point is whether the show left you more excited about WrestleMania 30. In my case, the answer was a big no.
Undertaker and Brock Lesnar: A major Miss. I'm a lot more open to the idea of Taker revisiting his past bits when everything is clicking with his WrestleMania match build. That's just not the case this year. They have yet to put any heat on Lesnar throughout the build for this match. Paul Heyman has built up The Streak well, and I liked the video package they debuted last week that made Taker's recent WrestleMania wars seem like signs that he was struggling to win because age is catching up with him. At this point, the only thing we have left to hope for is a major injury angle next week that is designed to make viewers feel like Taker is wounded going into WrestleMania. I can't believe it's come to that. I really expected the build for this match to be red hot. In some ways, it's as disappointing as the urn bit they did during the build for Taker's match with C.M. Punk last year.
Triple H and Michael Cole interview: A minor Miss if only because it felt uneventful. I really expected Daniel Bryan to make an appearance, and when it just turned out to be a glorified promo I couldn't help feel letdown even though Stephanie McMahon told us Bryan wouldn't be there. By the way, Stephanie McMahon referring to Hunter as the most powerful man in WWE during her promo is a line that seems very likely to come up again when/if Vince McMahon returns to television.
John Cena has a panic attack: For the sake of my own sanity, I'm just going to pretend that someone held up the sheep mask to play mind games with Cena. My brain can't comprehend the insanity of having viewers see an object that only existed in Cena's mind. I'm having a hard enough time with Cena going from making Jimmy Buffett jokes two weeks ago to suddenly saying he fears Bray Wyatt last week to suddenly having panic attacks before he gets in the ring with the guy he just faced at Smackdown.
Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Manganiello: A bad segment, but I will admit that we've seen much worse involving the celebrities. At least The Miz didn't get up and take a bow like he did at the end of the Michael Strahan skit. I had to laugh at Hogan and even Schwarzenegger both botching Manganiello's name. I give Hogan more of a pass since he's not the one who filmed a movie and is doing a bunch of press work with the guy.
Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow: A person in a Scooby Doo costume? Jinkies! Sandow losing to Sin Cara in 70 seconds? Zoinks! I wanted to work in a Jeepers! too, but the match wasn't long enough. Hey, wait, I guess I just did!
Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores: Could they have brought the crowd down more for the Triple H in-ring interview segment that followed this match and the Sin Cara vs. Sandow?
Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango: Consider this my week complaint about how far the Rhodes brothers have fallen. Goldust is a great redemption story, he, Cody, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns breathed new life into the tag division. Now Cody needs a clunky ankle injury spot from Summer Rae to get a flukey win over Fandango.
Big Show vs. Titus O'Neil: Just a throwaway match for Show, whose character hasn't been the same since Brock Lesnar beat him with a chair at the Royal Rumble. I don't know if that post match attack is responsible as much as it doesn't seem like creative has a real plan for Show. If nothing else, I suppose one of the battle royal favorites was showcased on Raw. I probably wouldn't have been as annoyed by this match had there not been so much filler on the show.
A.J. Lee vs. Naomi: A lousy count out that was used to set up Vickie Guerrero announcing the awkward "get every Diva on the show" title match for WrestleMania. Whatever happened to Vickie's mega-heat? The fans didn't seem to care when she came out, and I was surprised to hear her get the "What?" treatment. All that talking and all those introductions and I still have no clue as to how the Divas Championship match at WrestleMania will work.
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