Hits & Misses 2/25 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Triple H - Lesnar, Punk & Cena's Promos, Miz TV, WWE and the Movies, Punk vs. Cena
Feb 26, 2013 - 3:11:30 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist
Opening Segment: Raw got off to a good start this week. It was very predictable, but very well executed. Paul Heyman was great on the mic and I loved the way he surprise tackled Vince McMahon mid-sentence. Of course Brock Lesnar and then Triple H were going to make appearances, but it worked well. Michael Cole screaming "Is it him?" when Triple H's music hit was very annoying, but whatever. I mean, who else would it be? I did like later on when the announcers speculated that this was all part of McMahon's plot. The brawl between Triple H and Lesnar was very intense and hard hitting. I like the fact that Lesnar didn't back down. The fact that WWE rarely has blood any more made this cut on Lesnar's head really stand out. I also like how Lesnar smirked after bailing from the ring to show that Triple H might have gotten the better of him for now, but he is still confident. It was all well done.
Punk's Promo: C.M. Punk's promo talking about his match against John Cena and going on to face The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania was a definite highlight on this show. I kept thinking that at some point Punk would refer to his long WWE Title reign as a streak which would obviously foreshadow The Undertaker and his WM streak. So, I'm glad they didn't go that route. His talk about being bigger than Cena, Rock, WM, the WWE Title, and WWE itself was very interesting. His use of terms like "icon" and "immortal" definitely made me think of Undertaker without being quite as obvious as if he had made several references to his Title streak. Hearing him refer to himself as God was eyebrow raising as it really plays into his egomaniacal character. This was a great promo.
Damian Sandow: R-Truth vs. Cody Rhodes was too short to amount to much, but the guest commentary by Damian Sandow was awesome. I loved when he said "he assailed the castle that is my body" and then when Cole asked him what that meant, he simply said "he assaulted me." His delivery continues to be spot on. I hope they get behind him for a bigger push soon (though probably not until after WM).
The Shield: This was a much better in-ring promo from The Shield than what they did a few weeks ago when they seemed lost. I still like their pre-taped hand held videos to these in ring promos, but as they get more legit and well established as more than just hit and run threats, moving them from the shadows to the middle of the ring does make sense. The group seemed more sure of itself than the last time we saw them in the same situation. Bringing Randy Orton back into the mix makes sense, though I was assuming they were setting up an Orton vs. Henry feud. I guess we will see where they go from here.
Cena's Promo: Once again, John Cena gave a strong well delivered promo when he was just being serious, wasn't trying to be funny, and simply addressed his match against Punk and vowed to win and prove that he is back and will face The Rock at WM for the WWE Title. He is good in these types of promos. If he had stuck to these types of promos over the years I believe there would be fewer "Cena Sucks" chants today.
Cena vs. Punk: I didn't like the set-up for this match from last week, but if I move past that, I was happy to see what will be a Match of The Year candidate (I would be shocked if there is a better match on Raw) between Cena and Punk. They have had many great matches against each other. They work very well together. They were given a long time with over 26 minutes and they set out to put on something special. There were two commercials, but the match was so good that they didn't take away from it. They got the second commercial out of the way early enough that the final several minutes of the match were seen without an interruption which was great. The match kept going and kept building with several counters and nearfalls. This felt like a PPV main event. I have to assume that if Rock wasn't involved in WWE, this would have been the WrestleMania main event. I would not have minded that at all.
I did have a few issues with the main event. The piledriver makes me nervous. I'm not a fan of how Cena waits until the last possible second to get back into the ring on a 10-count. I understand the drama of it, but he doesn't move at all as if he was knocked out until the ref reaches nine and then he magically jumps into the ring. I wish he would show a little more life earlier in the count to make it more believable. I like the idea of Cena pulling out all the stops, but his huracanrana looked bad. Those are very minor points in an otherwise great match. The announcers were good too, constantly stressing the importance of winning the match to get that WM main event. After the Undertaker tease, it was clear that he was not going to be on, which was the right thing to do. I was assuming like many that he would interfere in this match, but it was good to see WWE get this match out of the way. They can now concentrate on Rock vs. Cena and move Punk on to whatever is next for him, presumably Taker.
WWE and the Movies: There was too much talk about movies on Raw this week. Early on they showed a trailer for "The Call" starring Halle Barry and David Otunga. They had a sneak peak at the direct to dvd WWE movie "The Marine 3" starring The Miz. I liked the WWE Goes Hollywood movie spoofs to hype WrestleMania 21 back in the day, but why show such a long clip from 8 years ago of their "A Few Good Men" parody? John Bradshaw Layfield is retired. The other wrestlers Cena mentioned are long out of the company. It had a very flimsy premise of being an Oscar nominated movie the night after the Oscars, but why show that? It was a waste of time, time which could have been used better. Then came Sheamus' Oscar review, which was just an excuse to show another movie trailer, this time for "Dead Man Down" which does look good (I'm a big fan of Colin Farrell and Terence Howard, plus it was directed by the guy who did the original Swedish version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which was better than the American remake). It was also a way to continue the Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett feud that they have started (but what ever happened to Bo Dallas? If they aren't happy with him and want him to go back to NXT, at least give him a storyline write off with Barrett destroying him or something). This segment worked ok on its own, but at this point I was so sick of the talk of movies that I didn't want to see it no matter how good it might have been.
Miz TV: I want to see WWE get away from any political talk. I am not interested in seeing it on Raw. I don't think they ever handle it very well. I don't understand bringing up their feud with Glenn Beck on TV. It is one thing to do it online, but to bring it up on tv in this way made no sense from a character stand point considering Zeb Colter's character would agree with Beck's political views, so while he may have a problem with Beck behind the scenes, it made no sense to bring it up on camera. It is one of those cases where WWE gets a bug up their collective ass when Beck calls wrestling stupid, and they just can't let it go. The rest of the segment did nothing for me with Colter and Alberto Del Rio talking over each other. I continue to not be a fan of this angle. And I would like to see some sort of punishment for Swagger's arrest, but there was no sign of any type of discipline yet (though maybe there has been or will be behind the scenes). They could suspend him for 30 days and he would still be back by WM if they don't want to fire him and don't want to punish him in a larger way by taking away his WM pay day.
Orton vs. Cesaro: This Miss is for the fact that this match only went three minutes. Antonio Cesaro should be treated better than jobbing out to anyone, including Randy Orton in such a short match.
Team Hell No: I hope WWE moves Team Hell No onto something more serious soon. I know that they can do comedy well and there have been a lot of fun moments between them. But, Daniel Bryan is too good of a wrestler and Kane has too much history as a monster to totally throw all that away with this silly comedy stuff. I don't mind some comedy from them here and there, but WWE definitely needs to do something to rejuvenate the team, or break them up.
Tout: I had not missed WWE's use of Touts from fans after they had a period of going so heavy with Tout last year and then stopped for several months. It is just a waste of time. I don't care what fans have to say about it. I would be ok with it if they used the first hour of Raw as a special round table look at WWE, similar to what Primetime was before Raw debuted 20 years ago. I would like to see something more like that, or what AMC does with "The Talking Dead" instead of just another hour of Raw. They could recap last week's Raw and Smackdown, and even Main Event. They could have interviews and show videos like a We The People YouTube video. They could show a few Touts from fans about something upcoming on the live two-hour Raw. I still wouldn't care about the Touts, but would be so much happier with that format for the first hour of Raw that I would be fine with it.
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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