Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Shawn Michaels returns, John Cena return announcement, Big Show knocks out Triple H, Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston, C.M. Punk and R-Truth vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to the 48-minute WWE Raw audio review I recorded on Monday night, and the 83-minute WWE Battleground audio review that Chris Shore and Jake Barnett recorded on Sunday night. If you enjoy our All Access audio, help support Dot Net by signing up for membership to the ad-free version of the website via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw Hits
Shawn Michaels named special referee for Hell in a Cell: It's great to see Michaels involved in this storyline. He has real history with Triple H and Daniel Bryan, so WWE can play up the mystery of whether HBK will side with one man or the other. I don't know whether the confrontation will occur before or after the pay-per-view, but I am looking forward to HBK standing up to Triple H, as I see no reason to turn the WWE Hall of Famer heel. Now that Michaels is established as the referee, WWE has to do more to build up the HIAC structure itself. I love the awesome video packages they put together for the HIAC matches, and I'd love to see them amp it up this year by showing interviews with wrestlers who have worked past HIAC matches.
Big Show knocks out Triple H: The crowd popped big for Show finally snapping and punching Hunter. I wish there would have been a better explanation for why Show suddenly blew off all of the reasons he was going along with the marching orders of Triple H and Stephanie in the first place, but it was a good moment that ended the show on a high note.
C.M. Punk and R-Truth vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel: A minor Hit. The in-ring action was entertaining and Punk was in Macho Man mode even more than usual when he performed the top rope elbow drop. I can't say the outcome left me looking forward to the Axel vs. Truth match that it set up for Smackdown. Furthermore, I don't think they did anything to breathe new life into the Punk vs. Ryback feud that I assume will continue at Hell in a Cell.
Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston: Another minor Hit. I was entertained, but I simply expected more considering the talent level of the wrestlers involved in the match.
Bruno Sammartino: They really should have found time on the live broadcast for Bruno getting the happy birthday treatment from his hometown crowd. The live crowd wasn't all that lively, perhaps due to the Pirates losing an MLB playoff game earlier in the day as our correspondent mentioned, but they came to life for this feel good moment.
WWE Raw Misses
John Cena return announcement: The lack of fanfare for the announcement of Cena's return was odd. Granted, WWE put itself in a tough spot by having all heel authority figures, but I still felt that the announcement was flat. Vickie Guerrero made the announcement and it left me wondering whether she was just messing with Alberto Del Rio. Whether you like Cena or not, he is the company's top star and this should have been treated like a major event. Instead, viewers were immediately distracted by Ricardo Rodriguez rolling up Del Rio, and then the post match beatdown that Del Rio gave his former manservant. I didn't even know if Cena's return was legitimate until later in the show when Michael Cole spoke about the Hell in a Cell match.
Goldust and Cody Rhodes: The Rhodes family was the hottest act at the Battleground pay-per-view and developed real momentum with their win over The Shield. It was nice to see them in the Raw main event, but they were nothing more than sideshow players while the spotlight was positioned on Daniel Bryan, Triple H, and eventually Big Show. What's troubling is that the duo didn't even get promo time coming out of their big win, nor was the win itself spotlighted as the major happening it felt like on Sunday. I assume they will get to talk on Smackdown, but WWE really should have done more to build their momentum on the show watched by more viewers.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow: I enjoy watching both performers, but I was let down by this match. The first ten minutes were slow with Sandow dominating so much of the offense. It picked up a bit down the stretch, but it was too little too late. I did like JBL's call that Sandow dominated the match only to have Ziggler step up and hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Natalya, Eva Marie, and JoJo vs. Alicia Fox, Aksana, and Rosa Mendes: Okay, we get it, the Total Divas cast is better than Alicia Fox and her random partners of the week. Honestly, the match could have been so much worse than it was considering how green Eva is. She showed it with her lack of facial expressions when she was supposed to be selling, but she didn't have any real in-ring breakdowns. JoJo didn't even tag into the match so I have no clue how far along she is in her development. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but Rosa loses so much appeal with this viewer whenever she dyes her hair blonde.
Los Matadores vs. 3MB: The miss is really for the El Torito character. I understand that it's meant to appeal to the kids, but WWE has to know that it's also the type of act that will drive away teenage viewers. Am I missing the boat on this one? Check out our latest main page poll and you can offer your take on the new mini character.
The Wyatt Family and The Miz: The Miz escaped all three men? That looked way too easy. I think the idea was to show that Miz is next in line for a Wyatt Family beating, but they made the Wyatts look a little dopey by having Miz escape them so quickly.
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