Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 10/1 WWE Raw: Overly Long Opening Segment, J.R. Appreciation Night, Sheamus vs. Sandow, Punk & Ziggler vs. Team Hell No
Oct 3, 2012 - 1:41:20 AM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist
Mysterio & Cara vs. Primo & Epico: This was a much better match than the first Tag Team Tournament match from Smackcown. With all four of these wrestlers able to go at a fast pace, there was plenty of high energy, high flying action. It was fun to watch. I'm not saying that every match has to be like this, but a change up from the slower more methodical matches is good. It was also nice to see Sin Cara in the ring with guys who are better able to sell for his style of offense. That hasn't often been the case in WWE. He is still sloppy at times and as a general rule, I'm not a huge fan of these very stylistic acrobatic crazy-ass looking moves that just turn out to be a fancy arm drag, but they were pulled off pretty well here. After the long boring talking segment to start off Raw (more later), it was nice to see this type of athleticism kick off the wrestling part of the show.
Antonio Cesaro: I have mixed feelings about how easily Antonio Cesaro defeated Brodus Clay. WWE has invested a ton of time into Clay, so I was surprised to see him defeated so quickly. This seemed like WWE was sending the message that they are done with Clay as a serious threat. I've never been a big fan of the Funkasaurus gimmick, so I'm personally ok with that, but after the time invested in him, was it the right move? On the flip side of that is that WWE is clearly getting behind Cesaro which is good. They gave him a moment here to show off his strength (he is stronger than he looks) and that helped him make a statement. Now, he needs to get away from the five language gimmick which really won't carry him anywhere. I am hopeful that WWE has plans for him, so I am giving him a Hit.
Sheamus vs. Sandow: This was the best match on Raw this week. This was the best match of Damian Sandow's young WWE career. He looked like he belonged in the ring with Sheamus. I mean that from both a character stand point where he was booked strongly to hang with the World Champion and have such a competitive match with him, and from a performer stand point where he upheld his part of the bargain and looked very good in the match. I have been very impressed with him so far. He and Sheamus really did put on a good match together. I liked how they played into the fact that he has run away from previous matches. Cody Rhodes' involvement was well done. I wouldn't have minded a few more brief Sheamus comebacks to keep things a little more interesting, but it was still a good match.
J.R. Appreciation Night: I was glad to see Jim Ross treated well in Oklahoma City for a change. Yes, C.M. Punk interrupted the proceedings, but this wasn't like Vince McMahon's Kiss My Ass club or any of the other b.s. that Ross has gone through in the past. This was a well written and well performed scene between Punk and Ross. Punk was so good at pushing Ross around. Ross gave a great promo on what it means to earn the distinction of being the best in the world by bringing up big names from the past. I still have some issues with this as Punk really does make good points about earning respect. I mean, if he isn't the best in the world, then who is? But, it was still a very effective segment. I wish I was a fan of Ryback. I wish he hadn't had the failed attempt to lift Tensai earlier in the show. I wish I could have been more excited when he came out at the end, because WWE did a very good job with that moment itself.
Punk & Ziggler vs. Team Hell No: I am giving this a marginal Hit based on the strong in ring performances by Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan and Kane. But, this highlighted how much WWE has to over expose their stars with the three-hour format. JR Appreciation Night should have been the last time we saw Punk on Raw. Instead, he was in the two-segment main event. It was a good tag team match which furthered the tension between Kane and Bryan, and furthered the tension between AJ and Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman, but what did this do for Punk or Ziggler? Punk taking the loss was a curious move considering he had to back down from Ryback earlier in the show. They didn't exactly make the WWE Champion look strong. I'm not sure if they want me to like Kane and Bryan or not. Or are we supposed to like Kane but not Bryan? I'm curious how WWE wants the fans to react to this duo. I look at them like heels, and clearly their opponents were heels, so who was I supposed to be rooting for in this match? The more I write about this match, the more it seems like a Miss, but it did involve the three best workers in WWE right now, plus Daniel Bryan (that is a joke) and had enough good wrestling action that I am still giving it a Hit. Plus, I'm too lazy to copy and paste it into the Miss column at this point.
Opening Segment: There were parts of Raw's opening segment that I liked. The mic work from some of those involved, particularly Punk and Heyman was good. I was thinking last week that A.J. wasn't supposed to put her hands on anyone, and wondered if WWE would just ignore that ruling from the Board, so I was glad to see it brought up this week. However, the segment really dragged. It went on forever with interruptions by Vickie Guerrero with Ziggler, A.J., Bryan and Kane. It tried to do to much with the Punk-Foley issue from last week and Punk continuing to say no to a Hell in a Cell match against John Cena, the Heyman proposal to A.J., A.J. needing a training coach, Vickie wanting to be in power, and Team Hell No getting involved for some reason I wasn't sure of. It was too much and got muddled and lasted too long. Whenever you have a segment with multiple replays from previous Raws, you know something is wrong.
World Championship Debate: Let's hope that this is the only political moments from WWE this election year (though that is probably a pipe dream). This was a pretty bad segment with a debate between World Champion Sheamus, and his top challenger The Big Show. I'm not sure why they were having a debate. I liked that Booker T started by saying it was traditional for them to have an opening statement, which made it sound like WWE does these debates frequently enough for there to be traditions involved. Sheamus didn't come off well here. He has been too silly and jokey recently (like the terrible scene a few weeks back in his deposition over the Brogue Kick) for my tastes. I like that he is likable, but that doesn't mean he has to be this goofy. The tout with him wearing the luchador mask was bad. Big Show kept complaining about how Sheamus wasn't taking it seriously, but then he was also acting kind of goofy too. They tried to get somewhere more serious at the end, but it didn't work.
Ryback Can't Lift Tensai: Ryback can lift Tensai on his shoulders for his marching finisher like he did last week. Clearly, he couldn't this week. I don't know why. Was he tired so he struggled to lift him? Did Tensai not cooperate? Did he skip an injection? What happened? It doesn't really matter. The problem is that all Ryback has is his power and his Feed Me More mantra. Take away the power and you take away half of who he is. Sure, he won't have that problem against most of the roster, but he had it here and it wasn't good. I give him credit for covering for it as well as he did, but to me this points out his limitations. It hurt his mystique which is such a huge part of him as a character. That was not a future main event moment.
A.J.'s Executive Coach: What was that all about? I didn't get what WWE was trying to accomplish with this guy. More stories and segments surrounding authority figures is not the way to go. We've seen it too much on Smackdown lately, and now we have this A.J. on probation angle on Raw. A.J.'s supposed to be a babyface right? But, she was a heel towards babyface Kaitlyn. After a heel Wade Barrett got in her face, she still acted heelish towards the coach who wasn't a very good actor by the way. By the end, she had so thoroughly disrespected her coach, thus thoroughly thumbing her nose at the Board, that it makes no sense that she would still have a job next week. She is on probation, and this is how she acts? That is fine if she gets fired, but something tells me she won't be, making the Board look weak for not enforcing their own edicts.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell's views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET's "Hitlist" section here.
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