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Hits & Misses
HITS & MISSES - 1/14 WWE Raw: 20th Anniversary, Orton vs. Barrett, Cena vs. Ziggler, Rock Concert

Jan 16, 2013 - 1:03:12 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist

RAW HITS

20th Anniversary Celebration: I may be in the minority here, but I like that WWE didn't go overboard with too much of a celebration for Raw's 20th Anniversary. It was just 6 months ago that they went all out for the 1000th episode. We didn't need a rehash so soon. I liked the video at the beginning highlighting the various intro videos that Raw has had. They did a fine job with the videos throughout the show, including tying some of them to current angles, like AJ's response to the wedding video. There were a few big guests in Mick Foley and Ric Flair, but they smartly didn't feel the need to go overboard with nostalgia. Instead they focused on today's product and hyped The Royal Rumble, particularly its two top Title matches (as opposed to the Rumble match itself which they need to really drive home on next week's show). One thing I didn't like about the celebration was Vince McMahon saying the most important thing about Raw is how much it has entertained the fans. They don't need to talk like that.

Orton vs. Barrett: Randy Orton and Wade Barrett have a good chemistry in the ring. This wasn't a great match (they have had better), but it was good enough to get a Hit. I was shocked that Barrett got the clean win over Orton. I felt for sure we were in for another Shield run in, or Orton would win, or Barrett would pick up a cheap win after some type of cheating. So, I give WWE credit for putting Barrett over clean like this after hitting his finisher and picking up the three count. I am hopeful that a few losses like this might fit into the larger picture of a heel turn for Orton, but time will tell. My big disappointment about this match is that Barrett's victory wasn't treated as the huge deal that it should have been. That is a lost opportunity.

Therapy Session: I have to admit to finding this amusing. I particularly liked how Daniel Bryan and Kane were going out of their way to act like they like each other just to pass the test from Dr. Shelby. The Rhodes Scholars were also amusing in the way that they questioned Shelby's methods and credentials. It fit in perfectly with their character. The brawl at the end was fine to continue the feud between the two teams.

Eve vs. Kaitlyn: This was a good Divas match and WWE gave them a good amount of time (at least for the Divas) to have the blow off to the top Divas feud over the last few months. I am far from sold on Kaitlyn's wrestling ability, but she looked strong here. The ending was clever with her sneaking in the ring to hit Eve with a big spear for the win. I have never been Eve's biggest fan, but she is yet another Diva to leave the company, once again shrinking the division. I think she will be missed. Kaitlyn as the new Champion sets up the possibility of a feud with her former friend AJ if WWE decides to focus more on AJ the wrestler.

Punk vs. Clay: I liked this match for a few reasons. For one, I liked seeing the more aggressive style from Brodus Clay. For another, I liked seeing a strong clean victory for CM Punk. I liked the set up for this match earlier in the show when Clay was interviewed responding to Punk's statement about him on last week's show. I laughed when Punk mocked Clay during and after the match with some bad dancing. And I like the fact that Punk reminded the fans about the Anaconda Vice.

Punk's Promo: After the match, the segment stayed strong with the post-match promo from Punk. It was short and to the point and very effective with the fact vs. opinion theme. Paul Heyman was great in the background as usual.

RAW MISSES

Team Hell No's Dominance: I have no problem with Kane beating Damian Sandow. After that win, I like the fact that WWE didn't go their usual route in terms of even-steven booking and give Cody Rhodes the win over Daniel Bryan. However, both of those matches were so short, it really made Team Rhodes Scholars look weak. They are the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Championship. They are facing Team Hell No for the Titles at the PPV. They shouldn't be jobbing out in 2 minutes or less like this. I don't understand this at all. WWE should have only had one of these matches on Raw, given it more time so that the loser didn't look like such a loser, and then hyped the other match for Smackdown.

Cena's Interview: That is the type of interview that makes certain fans hate John Cena. There are some words that Cena should totally avoid and most of them are synonyms for bowel movement (or the actual term "bowl movement" which he used here). The corny humor is so stale. It has been for so many years. The frustrating thing is that Cena can be good on the mic when he keeps things serious. But, he has a child's sense of humor which is part of why he appeals to kids who eventually get older and realize how lame he actually is.

Ziggler vs. Cena: I had problems with this match from the start and it all has to do with the booking, not the performances of Cena and Dolph Ziggler, both of which were good here. If Ziggler had defeated Cena last week after the interference from Big E Langston, then I would say having this match again in a Steel Cage would make sense to keep Langston out. However, Cena won despite the interference last week which made Ziggler look bad. Despite the Super Cena aspect of it, I gave it a Hit, but I can't do the same this week. Why was this match needed? Cena didn't need the cage last week to win, so why did he even need a rematch in the first place, let alone in a cage? WWE has totally forgotten how to properly book gimmick matches.

Moving on to the match itself, I did like a lot of the wrestling action. There were some good spots like when Ziggler gave Cena a dropkick while standing on the top rope and when Cena kicked the door closed from the outside to keep Ziggler from escaping. My problem with it starts with Langston's involvement. I did not buy that he could hold Cena's weight by grabbing his one foot and keep him from escaping. That was cheesy. Every time he kept Cena from escaping, I kept asking "if you go that far, why not just get in the ring and double team him?" He eventually did, but why not do it from the start? Clearly winning is all that matters to Ziggler, so why not? I also had issues with Super Cena, once again kicking out of multiple finishing moves from Ziggler, thus making them look ineffective. How am I to buy Ziggler pinning any one ever? The Super Cena stuff went totally over the top in this match. He kicked out of the super kick. He started climbing the ropes after appearing to pass out from the sleeper with Ziggler still on his back! He kicked out after having his head crushed by the door being slammed on it (a spot that has allowed multiple heels to win cage matches). Cena kicked out of the ZigZag. He also kicked out after a monster DDT from the top rope. Give me a break. How strong does he have to be? And of course, after all of that, one AA from Cena and Ziggler was finished.

The Rock Concert: I liked the very end of Raw when The Rock got serious, addressed CM Punk and put the emphasis back on kicking Punk's ass, defeating him at the Rumble, and winning the WWE Title. My problem was that the concert that proceeded that was pretty bad. It started out well with his self deprecating humor looking at a picture of himself from his first Raw appearance. But it went downhill from there. The song about Paul Heyman was ok at best. It seems like Rock spends way too much time focused on other men's genitals. The real reason I am giving this segment a Miss was for his song to Vickie Guerrero. Once again, we are back to making fun of the way she looks. At least he didn't make any fat jokes, but the over all tone was still so off putting to me. It was mean spirited and totally beneath what Rock should be doing.

As entertaining as Rock can be in these segments (he was good on Smackdown), maybe WWE should just focus on his feud with Punk next week and let him entertain the fans without trying to entertain them if that makes sense. This all goes back to what McMahon said at the start of the show. The stated on air purpose of WWE shouldn't be to entertain people. It should be to have wrestling matches to determine the best wresters in the world. We the audience should find that entertaining. We don't need Rock to entertain us by singing. Rock verbally sparing with the WWE Champion to build anticipation for their match should be entertaining enough.

Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at jmezz-torch@sbcglobal.net.

For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell's views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET's "Hitlist" section here.

[Torch art credit Travis Beaven (c) PWTorch.com]


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