Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 12/3 WWE Raw: Punk/Heyman and Miz, Cena/Sheamus vs. Ziggler/Show, Vickie and McMahon, Shield
Dec 5, 2012 - 2:59:53 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist
Punk, Heyman, Miz: After a so-so start to Raw, I enjoyed the segment with Paul Heyman, CM Punk and The Miz. It was overly long as these talking segments tend to be, but it was still enjoyable. The work from Heyman and Punk in particular was great. They are doing very good work together and make a wonderful team. I love Heyman's reactions to what is going on and his cheer leading of Punk as Punk speaks. The Miz was not as good as he is still finding himself as a babyface. However, this was a stronger effort from him on the mic than the other efforts we've seen from him since his turn. In fact, admitting to cheating as WWE Champion almost seemed like an official turn moment for him, at least more so than any other moment. As a general rule, I'm not a fan of lie detector segments, so I wasn't looking forward to MizTV, but the segment was still a Hit.
Cena & Sheamus vs. Ziggler & Show: While I'm tired of seeing Dolph Ziggler lose matches, at least this loss came at the end of a good tag match with him teaming up with The Big Show to take on the team of John Cena and Sheamus. This was a fun match that went a good length. It helped to hype two of the top matches for the TLC PPV, giving the fans hope that Sheamus will be able to defeat Big Show and become the new World Champion. Ziggler has little credibility as a winning wrestler at this point which is the major downside here.
Sandow Searches for an Apprentice: I loved this segment from last week's Smackdown and enjoyed it again on Raw. Damian Sandow and Cody Rhodes were really starting to form a good tag team, but with Rhodes on the shelf with this injury, Sandow is on his own for awhile and this is a good way to continue his quest to enlighten the masses in a new way. I thoroughly enjoy his work on the mic like the way he asks for silence when getting booed, or the way he tells his apprentice applicants that they are showing bad form when they do something goofy in the ring. I also love the two easy questions followed by a very difficult third question. I hope one day he asks someone what is the capitol of Assyria? or what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?. And his line about ignorance being curable, but stupid being forever was gold. What followed with Santino Marella wasn't nearly as good.
Cara vs. Del Rio: Sin Cara has failed to really click with the WWE Universe. He has had some injury issues, but that isn't the only problem. He also doesn't seem to click with many of his opponents in the ring. However, he did work well with Alberto Del Rio and they put on a good match. Cara looked strong in the match. He performed well. Even though Del Rio doesn't wrestle a typical Lucha Libre style, he clearly is more comfortable facing an opponent like Cara then most of the WWE roster.
Fatal Four-way U.S. Title Match: While I didn't like how this match came about (more later), I did like the match itself. Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro all looked good in the match. It was well booked to keep up the two separate feuds, while also giving Kingston and Truth a few moments to wrestle each other. Cesaro's power European Uppercut is becoming a move that I look forward to each time he wrestles. The one on Kingston on the outside was awesome. The turnbuckle sequence with a teased superplex, the huge arm drag of Kingston on Cesaro, and ultimately the tower of doom spot and the subsequent nearfall was very well done. I loved it when Cesaro broke up a pin attempt and held up two fingers to the referee to ask if he broke it up in time. That was a nice little touch. I also loved the ending sequence. These matches almost always end when a babyface hits a finisher on one heel, only to have the other heel throw him out of the ring and pick up the scraps for the win. That looked to be the direction they were heading after Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise on Barrett, so I was happy to see Cesaro lift Kingston out of the pin attempt and into his own finisher, the Neutralizer for the win. This was the best match of the night.
The Announcers: I was disheartened last week when Michael Cole seemed to be going back to his heel character. It was not good. This week he was mostly back to being a straight play-by-play announcer, but there were some vestiges of his heel self which is not a good thing. But, it wasn't as bad as last week. However, there were other problems with the announcing as well. Jerry Lawler should really learn the names of The Shield members. "Where's the other one?" was not a great moment in his career. The bickering between Cole and Lawler got annoying. At one point, Santino tried to hit Sandow with a microphone and Lawler complained that Sandow ruined the fun by blocking it and hitting Santino. Was he supposed to not protect himself? When Brad Maddox was about to face Randy Orton, Cole talked about how Maddox claims to be more entertaining than anyone in WWE and had a chance to prove it in the match. Shouldn't he be trying to prove that he can wrestle, not prove that he can be entertaining? And it wasn't fair that Cesaro had to defend his US Title without any warning, but Cole who of the two is the more heelish was complaining about it and making logical sense, while Lawler the definite clear babyface was just talking about how exciting the match would be. This plays into what Wade Keller has talked about recently in terms of WWE authority figures positioning themselves as just trying to entertain the fans, not trying to be the head of a fair, competitive sport.
The Shield: I loved what WWE did with The Shield last week. That interview was very good. Dean Ambrose in particular stood out. There is potential for greatness in this group. Whether it happens as a group, as individuals, or at all is yet to be known. But, my problem this week was that they seemed over-exposed. I also liked the idea that they were out for justice and the bit of ambiguity that we were left with last week. I would have preferred to see that side of the team explored more this week. It would have been interesting to see them attack a heel for instance. But instead, they were only attacking babyfaces, in situations where even Cole couldn't find a justice issue excuse. At least give them plausible deniability when they only attack babyfaces. This week they just were on too often and used in a way that failed to capitalize on the strong week they had last week.
A.J. vs. Tamina: This Miss isn't for the match itself, but for WWE having the match itself. I know they don't really care much about the Divas, and there aren't many Divas left on the roster at this point, but they could do so much better with this division. Last week, they had Tamina win a strong squash match. That was a good idea. It helped to re-establish Tamina with the fans considering she hasn't been on tv much in the last few months. Instead of following up on that with another squash to further establish her and make her look like a dominant Diva in the ring, they went right to a match against A.J., which she lost. Sometimes it seems like WWE has lost all patience is allowing storylines to develop.
Vickie - McMahon: I had many problems with this segment involving Vickie Guerrero and Vince McMahon. First of all, watching McMahon insult her looks wasn't fun. Watching him bully her into making the matches that he wants wasn't fun. WWE has had a problem for years with the murkiness of the power structure within the company in terms of McMahon, the Board, Triple H, and the various General Managers, assistant GMs, vice-presidents of talent relations, and managing coordinators of Raw, or whatever Vickie's title is. If McMahon can force the head of Raw to make matches or ad stipulations, then what's the point of having someone other than him run Raw? Plus, wasn't he fired as the chairman of the board last year? How can Teddy Long really have the power to turn a tag match into a fatal fourway US Title match? Those issues aside, my other big problem with this is making Ziggler vs. Cena a Money in the Bank ladder match. It makes a total mockery of the Money in the Bank PPV that Ziggler will have to once again win what he already rightfully one, and had to already unrightfully defend earlier this year against Chris Jericho. Why should I ever buy that PPV again if the ultimate outcome of the top match doesn't actually matter in the long run?
MizTv: As I said earlier, I am not a fan of lie detectors in wrestling storylines. I did like the set up with the computer screen on the Titan Tron instead of the annoying buzz/ding sounds that are usually used. However, the banter between Punk and Miz was unbearable. As good as the mic work between them had been earlier, it was just as bad here. Miz had made steps forward in his babyface presentation earlier, but took them right back sounding really obnoxious here. The Shield attack was predictable. I did like seeing Team Hell No coming out and then Ryback. But, as I said above, the group was over exposed here and having them take this beating and run away seemed to come too early in their development. The very ending with Ryback was strong, but it wasn't enough to save an otherwise poor segment.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at email@example.com.
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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