Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 1/28 WWE Raw: Punk, Rock & Cena promos, Raw Roulette, Heyman - McMahon - Lesnar
Jan 30, 2013 - 2:23:58 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Opening Segment: I enjoyed the start of Raw with C.M. Punk's impassioned promo about how he did not lose the WWE Championship to The Rock, but how Vince McMahon had screwed him in what will come to be known as "The Phoenix Screw Job." Punk was great in his delivery. This was a very strong way to start the show to catch up fans on what happened at The Royal Rumble and hook fans to stay tuned to learn the fate of Paul Heyman after McMahon promised to do a performance review including showing video proving that Heyman and Punk had orchestrated a plot with The Shield and Brad Maddox to keep the WWE Title on Punk. They also had Randy Orton coming out afterwards for the opening match which is a good move.
Orton vs. Cesaro: Speaking of that match, Orton and Cesaro had a good match with The Miz as the special guest referee. Orton and Cesaro have had some solid to good matches and this one was definitely good. Miz played his part as the referee well. I like the fact that he didn't go over the top in trying to stick it to Cesaro. The ending was particularly strong as Miz realized that Orton was stalking Cesaro for an RKO and pretending to apologize to Cesaro so that he would turn around and take the move. This was a good match that also continued the feud between Miz and Cesaro over the United States Championship.
Bo Dallas: I don't follow NXT, so I am approaching this from the angle of one of the vast majority of WWE fans who had never heard of Bo Dallas before The Royal Rumble (or Raw for those who skipped the PPV). I liked what WWE did with Dallas in the Rumble, giving him a long stretch in the match and giving him an elimination over a pretty big star in Wade Barrett (as in much bigger than anyone in 3MB, or Zack Ryder, etc.). I haven't seen enough of Dallas to know whether he deserves this push over any other NXT guy, but I appreciate seeing WWE giving a quick push like this to an underdog young babyface. Time will tell how well he performs in this opportunity, but I look forward to seeing where they go from here.
The Shield: While I wasn't a fan of John Cena's promo, I did like seeing The Shield come out to attack Cena afterwards. I like seeing The Shield involved with the top stars in the company. It was good to see Sheamus and then Ryback come out to try to make the save. The physicality between all three was very well done. Is this setting up a six-man tag at Elimination Chamber, or will these six be in an actual Chamber match? I'm assuming that the #1 contender for the World Title at WrestleMania will be in a Chamber match, but if Sheamus is involved with The Shield, that would take him out of that match which would be surprising. I am definitely curious to see how this all plays out over the next few months.
Rock - Punk: This was a strong exchange between Rock celebrating his WWE Title victory and Punk complaining again about being screwed. I appreciate that Rock and Punk are still going for the straight up babyface vs. heel feud. I loved how Punk claimed that he was going to give Rock a rematch for his WWE Title at Elimination Chamber. I quickly became a fan of this new off balanced character from Punk after finally losing the Title. A rematch should be good and further push Punk into a new place with his character and I can't wait to see it develop.
Sheamus vs. Sandow: I wasn't a fan of how this match was a Tables match in the silly Raw Roulette gimmick (more later). But, on a show with very little wrestling action, it was good to see a match go over seven minutes without a commercial interruption. Sheamus and Damian Sandow put on a good match. It was good to see Sheamus selling his shoulder injury after his beating from The Shield earlier in the show. The match was well booked to have Sandow take advantage of that injury, though he couldn't quite capitalize on it enough to get the win. I would like to see Sandow getting some wins, but at least he had plenty of offense in his loss.
Jericho - Ziggler: I was happy to see the surprise return of Chris Jericho in the Royal Rumble. I wasn't really sure at the time whether this was a one off situation, or whether he would return for a short run like he had last year, so I am happy to see that he is back for awhile, presumably through WrestleMania. His 2012 run ended after a quick babyface turn and a short feud with Dolph Ziggler. I think a strong feud between the two of them going into WrestleMania should be fun. The verbal exchange between them was fun. The Strange Bedfellows wheel spin was a bit too convenient but worked well with all involved.
Heyman - McMahon - Lesnar: I was thinking that The Shield would make another appearance to keep Vince McMahon from firing Paul Heyman. Instead, it was Brock Lesnar in a big time return. But, before I get there, I have to talk about the great performance from Heyman denying to the end that he had anything to do with Brad Maddox or The Shield. I loved his speech about how he has lied every day of his life. That was awesome. The video McMahon showed with Heyman confronting Maddox and having The Shield beat him down was not great. It was a little too convenient that after turning the camera off, that the camera just happened to come back on. But, that is a minor complaint in an otherwise very good show closing segment. You had to love when Heyman said after seeing the video that it wasn't actually him but a Paul Heyman impersonator on screen. Heyman was so good throughout the entire segment, including in his pleading with Lesnar not to do anything stupid and pleading with McMahon to get out of the ring. This clearly sets up Triple H to return to confront Lesnar to set up their WrestleMania rematch. Of course, there is the notion that McMahon could still fire Heyman even though he was momentarily stopped from doing so, but I can look past that after such a great segment.
Raw Roulette: I hate this concept. I have laid out my complaints about it in the past. The results are always so staged. I give them credit for finally having a match between men land on Lingerie Pillow Fight. But, why did we need three wheels? Was there any rhyme or reason to why Vickie Guerrero chose one wheel over another? Why did she spin the silly gimmick wheel for Ryback and not the regular match stipulation one? Why did she only use the Superstar wheel once? It cheapens stipulations when you just give a random match like Sheamus vs. Sandow a stipulation like a Tables match. I won't blame the show's theme for some of the crappy content on the show, since WWE would have found plenty of other ways to get that crappy content on the show, but this is a gimmick that I would love see go away all together.
Cena's Promo: I wasn't a fan of Cena's promo after his ridiculously short squash of Cody Rhodes. Cena should have done a better job of saying that he suspects that Punk will get a rematch against Rock before WrestleMania so that one of the two of them will be the WWE Champion at that point. I didn't like the idea that he has no chance to beat either of them. I get that they want to build the odds against him, but I wasn't buying it. It was disrespectful of the World Title in general and Alberto Del Rio and The Big Show specifically to suggest that they aren't as strong of competition for Cena. It would have been better for Cena to simply say that Rock is the Champion, Punk will get a rematch so he might be the Champion, Cena has a score to settle with both Punk and Rock, so he will be happy to face either of them at WrestleMania.
Lingerie Pillow Fight / Dance Contest: Earlier when I mentioned crappy content on Raw, this was definitely at the top of the list for what I was thinking about. This is just crap that doesn't need to be on my tv. I would hope that if WWE ever wizened up and went back to 2 hours, that this is the type of crap that they would start cutting out of the show. However, I don't have enough faith in WWE right now to believe that they would actually do that. I see this as such filler that isn't entertaining and isn't helping the wrestlers involved. It is hard to put 3 hours of content together without filler. But, can't they come up with better filler than this? Having the announcers talking about how bad it is doesn't make up for how bad it is.
WWE Karaoke: This is more of that same crap filler. Again, having the announcers apologizing to the WWE Universe for how bad this segment was doesn't make up for how bad it was. I do not accept their apology. I just don't want to see dance contests, joke contests or singing contests on a wrestling show.
Bodyslam Contest: I wanted to like this segment. I did. I like the fact that WWE was trying to get sympathy on Del Rio. I like the fact that WWE was trying to get heat on Big Show. The beating of Ricardo Rodriguez by Show was strong. The idea that Del Rio had to watch while the beating was taking place was a good idea. Having Show leave both Rodriguez and Del Rio knocked out was strong. The problem with this segment is that it followed the terrible ending to their Last Man Standing match at the Rumble. I hated the duct tape gimmick when Cena did it to Batista (Duct tape! Are you kidding me?!) and hated seeing it come back. John Bradshaw Layfield is the heel commentator yet everything he said rang more true to me than the babyface announcer Michael Cole. Del Rio looked bad for saying that the feud is between him and Show when Rodriguez was so heavily involved in their match at the PPV. With a different outcome to their match, this might have been a Hit.
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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