Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk and John Cena continue their feud, Jim Ross and JBL join Michael Cole, Kane and Daniel Bryan hug and defend the Tag Team Championships, Night of Champions fallout
By Will Pruett
- Paul Heyman did a great job opening the show for C.M. Punk. I like the choice to place Heyman with Punk, not because Punk needs a mouthpiece, but because he can use the heat that Heyman can bring. It's also just a fun combination to see react to each other.
- Chad Patton's defense of his call at Night of Champions was a good way to open the show. Having referee calls play such a major role in the segments concerning Punk and Cena seems to indicate a possible special referee situation going into Hell in a Cell. While I don't feel like the Cell needs another gimmick added onto it, I can see how this makes sense with this feud.
- John Cena's admission that he had his shoulders down was nice to see. Cena played the role of a competitor that made one error and was beat really well. There was a certain amount of humility that is not always present with Cena.
- Paul Heyman is the voice of the voice of the voiceless. Brilliant.
- Adding Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus into the WWE Championship segments and matches concerning Punk and Cena was very intelligent. Along with Del Rio and Sheamus getting the second to last match slot at Night of Champions, this does a lot to make the World Heavyweight Championship feud look important.
- Jim Ross and JBL did some great work backing up Michael Cole on commentary. I have wanted to hear those two together since 2007 and it was a joy to listen to them. While Ross seemed slightly rusty in the color commentary role he was filling (Michael Cole is taking the lead play by play role and doing great work with it), it was a good (sometimes great) three man booth.
- The WWE Tag Team Division has added two new teams of singles stars and suddenly it is actually compelling. Kane and Daniel Bryan have brought a ton of affectionate excitement with them. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara have formed a team built on exciting offense and masks! Add to that a possibly interesting move with the Primetime Players becoming vicious and I'm actually excited about this division.
- I like Eve as the Diva's Champion, but I question the call to continue to involve Layla in this picture. It isn't that Layla isn't a fine wrestler, but she needs character development. If they can do so through her chasing the title, that works for me.
- As much as I enjoy both Antonio Cesaro and Brodus Clay, I don't enjoy the idea of them feuding. It's always harder for a heel to get over with a larger babyface. It is also a matchup that I doubt will produce entertaining matches in the ring.
- MizTV debuting wasn't exactly awesome. The Miz is fine in verbal segments, but as a host, I don't necessarily see him as amazing. Much like his hosting gig on Smackdown in the 2000's, this probably won't last long.
- Booker T's ongoing story is slightly odd. I still don't understand what WWE is doing with Booker and A.J. as General Managers. They both could be great in their roles, but right now they are being used in very odd stories.
- Ryback vs. The Miz could be a fun match and feud to watch. Ryback will have to develop slightly more as a character for this feud to work, but it could have potential.
- Ryback is really good at throwing couches.
- Punk and Del Rio had a great segment together backstage. Both seemed like jerks and it was fascinating to watch them interact.
- It seems like whenever WWE doesn't know what to do with a heel, but they want to get them on Raw, they put them in the ring with Santino. This was the case with Dolph Ziggler.
- Wade Barrett in a squash match on Raw isn't interesting to the live crowd. It's going to take some time for fans to reattach themselves to him. I'd love to see Barrett given a little more mic time and for him to launch into a real feud quickly.
- Part of me wants Jared from Subway on WWE TV every week, just so Jason Powell has to watch him.
- Sheamus is just too happy. He can be funny, but I'd much rather see a World Champion that is likable, but still has an edge.
- Kofi Kingston and R-Truth challenging Kane and Daniel Bryan was another good match from these two teams. Kingston and Truth somehow became a fun tag team to watch right as they were losing the championships. I don't understand it.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan should be weary of hugging too often. I enjoy watching them hug, but it should be an occasional surprise, not a guaranteed moment. That said, they're awesome at hugging.
- Tensai is fantastic at having decent matches with the upper tier of stars in WWE. I know that someone else could fill that spot and not look so silly doing so, but Tensai isn't bad in this role.
- Randy Orton should be leaving soon to film his movie, right? I'm not begging for him to leave, but it feels like every story he is involved in is now so short because we're just waiting for him to leave.
- I enjoyed Daniel Sandow's back to school rant. It seems like a natural extension of his character to promote education. Granted, all wrestlers should support education, but the way he did so was abrasive enough to work.
- Zack Ryder and Sandow had a nice match together. It was at this point that Raw started to feel really long. It's a weekly occurrence now. I didn't disapprove of the three hour Raw idea at first, but it seems like WWE isn't capable of stringing along enough compelling stories to fill it. It's still early in its evolution, so I'm willing to give it more time though.
- Punk's extended pose with the WWE Championship is going to be something very fun to see develop. It's already pretty funny, but in a couple months it could be quite entertaining.
- The main event tag team match was very fun to watch. It didn't need to directly lead to another pay-per-view main event, so it was just a fun match with a little hint of story involved.
- I liked the referee controversy at the end of Raw's main event. Perhaps it is WWE's attempt to capitalize on the NFL's replacement referee debacle. It should be a fun story to tell, as long as the referee doesn't end up winning a major championship. I don't put anything past them, but I doubt this is where it's going.
This was not a bad episode of Raw, but it was also exceptional. It didn't need to progress stories along too far, but it seemed content without progressing anything. That was an issue for me. WWE has six weeks to fill to get to Hell in a Cell and I'm hoping Raw doesn't continue to feel as long as this did.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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