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Hits & Misses
4/15 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Ryback's Explanation, Ziggler's Promo, Champions Keep Losing, Lesnar Challenges Triple H, Cena - Ryback, C.M. Punk walks away

Apr 17, 2013 - 4:55:19 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist

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RAW HITS

Big Show vs. Orton & Sheamus: I was confused why the announcers ignored the fact that this was a rematch from Smackdown. I said in my Hits & Misses for Smackdown that it was odd how Sheamus celebrated like the feud was over and he had gotten his revenge on The Big Show after Show had walked out on their handicap match. After the way that match ended, this seems like the right move to have a rematch where he and Randy Orton could get more of a real revenge as they did here. I would have liked this match better if there was a different follow up to the first match on Smackdown and if the announcers hadn't ignored that match. At least this was a more fitting way for Sheamus and Orton to get their revenge, so I will give it a minor Hit.

Kingston vs. Cesaro: Kofi Kingston and Antonio Cesaro put on a good match for the United States Championship. They are talented workers and it showed here. A few moments stand out. The first was when Cesaro caught a leaping Kingston from the top rope and turned it into a devastating back breaker. The second was the ending sequence which was very strong and culminated in Kingston rolling Cesaro over to get him off balance to hit the Trouble in Paradise for the win to become the new US Champion. While the match was good, I don't care about the US Championship or Kingston at this point. WWE appeared on the verge last year of giving him a huge push as the Intercontinental Champion, but pulled the plug pretty quickly when he lost to Wade Barrett. Cesaro has gone through gimmick changes (the yodeling has got to go) as the Champ and in the last few months was treated as more of a jobber than a Champion. So, the Title means little, so I fail to get excited to see where they go from here. I hope this somehow leads to better things for both Kingston and Cesaro, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ziggler's Promo: Like on Smackdown, Dolph Ziggler did a nice job of owning his World Title victory and sticking it to the fans who want to cheer for him and claim some sort of a role in helping to make Ziggler. I'm still not a fan of Alberto Del Rio the babyface, but at least he was acting as a face in wanting his rematch despite not being at 100 percent. The interruption from Jack Swagger made sense in the storyline as well and to keep them from having to give away a World Title match.

Ryback's Explanation: I was happy to see Ryback is playing a total heel. I don't want to see him in some sort of tweener role. The WWE fans will cheer for him if they want to anyway. It was smart to do this as a pre-taped promo instead of live in front of the fans. It was long and Ryback hasn't had much experience talking in long format like this, so why not do it this way? Plus, the multiple clips he showed to explain his attack on John Cena work better in this format than we've seen in the ring when the wrestler has to keep pointing to the screen. I like the fact that his explanation was logical and followed well from the events that have happened over the last 6 months or so, but at the same time, he didn't come across as sympathetic. He seemed to be whining and making excuses and the announcers helped to make it clear that he was a heel at this point. Of course the end of the show only cemented that fact (more later).

Punk Walks Away: C.M. Punk did a great job of showing his emotions and acting conflicted in his promo about losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. He didn't actually say much, which worked well. He told the story with his body language and facial reactions. Ultimately, I'm giving this a Hit because it left me wanting to know more. Is Punk quitting? Is he taking time off? When will we see him again? I am intrigued.

Cena - Ryback: I enjoyed John Cena's come back to Ryback at the end of the show. While Ryback came across as heelish in his promo earlier, the fact as Cena pointed out that he had a chance to answer Cena's open challenge last week, but did nothing, instead choosing to attack Cena from behind really cemented him as a heel. And of course, after a good promo in Ryback's face from Cena, Ryback choose to walk out on a potential fight. The strange bit with the brief clip of The Shield didn't work for me, but it didn't really take away anything either. I didn't like how the announcers went way over the top in making it sound like Cena and Ryback would fight together against The Shield. This is the opposite of Bobby Heenan asking which side Hulk Hogan would be on. Here, it would have been logical to ask after what Ryback said if he would still want revenge on The Shield so he would fight them or if he would just leave. What happened was predictable, so why didn't any of the announcers predict it? But, other than one issue I had with this, it was a strong way to end the show (more later).

RAW MISSES

Lesnar Challenges Triple H: I probably liked Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H more than most at WM, based largely on what I felt was a very strong final 4-5 minutes. It was far from great though, too long, and not nearly good enough to make me want to see it again, or for a third time. Their WM match would have been better without the stipulation with Triple H's career being on the line as the ending would have been less predictable. It would have also been better to try and follow up on with a third match if you didn't have that stipulation. We've seen them fight for Triple H's career. Where do we go from there? A Steel Cage match doesn't get me excited either. Is it too much to hope that at some point in Lesnar's time back with WWE he gets a regular wrestling match (no stipulations) against a quality full time wrestler? He couldn't use weapons in UFC. Why do all of his matches have to be street fights, no holds barred, steel cage, etc?

Barrett Loses to R-Truth: I didn't like on Smackdown when Cesaro lost a random non-Title match to a guy who didn't seem to deserve being considered as a contender for the US Title. I feel the same way here with R-Truth beating the IC Champion Wade Barrett, especially in such a short match. Once again, WWE creative doesn't seem to know how to build feuds and challengers for the minor Titles without having somebody randomly get and then win a non-Title match, making him the #1 contender. Now, there is a battle royal on Main Event so we will see where this actually goes, but for now it just feels lazy.

Authority Figure Situation: If Booker T is supposed to have power over the World Championship like he used to when it was exclusive to Smackdown, then it would explain why he and his assistant Teddy Long have influence on Raw when it comes (only) to the World Title. But, if that is the case, then WWE needs to make that clear. It is still unclear who really has the power to run Raw. Is it Vickie Guerrero who is the Managing Supervisor? Is it the Smackdown General Manager? Is it one of their assistants? I don't like what WWE is doing at all with the authority figure situation on either show at this point.

Ziggler Loses to Swagger: And here again we have a Champion losing a non-Title match. This was much worse of a situation because it was the World Champion. And it was his first match on Raw since becoming the World Champion. Once again, WWE has started out a new Champion, specifically a new Champion after cashing in Money in the Bank, in a very weak manner. This is where Ziggler needs to be booked strong so that his Title victory doesn't look like a fluke. Instead, they have him lose in a clean fashion to a heel. I don't get trying to cement Ziggler as a heel with the words he spoke earlier in the show, only to set him up to get cheers when facing the heel Swagger. I get that they want to set up a triple threat match, but I don't want to see that match and I don't want to see more of Swagger in the Title picture for now after losing at WM and again the next night on Raw.

Kaitlyn Loses to Bella: The theme of the night was clearly weak looking Champions. The Ziggler situation is a bit different, but this is the third time a minor Champion has lost a non-Title match over the last two shows, once on Smackdown and now twice on Raw. Again, I will highlight the laziness and lack of ideas out of the creative team. The match between Kaitlyn and Nikki Bella was fine. There was nothing wrong with it and it was nice to see a Divas match last 5 minutes. This is just getting redundant.

I wrote about this in the past. I think it was over a year ago. I will reiterate some of what I said. WWE should strongly consider doing away with non-Title matches. The Champions should wrestle on tv very infrequently, only in Title matches, and mostly on PPVs (plus house shows). An occasional big well hyped in advance Title match as the main event (whether we're talking the US or IC Title, or the World or WWE Title, or the Tag Titles for that matter) of a Raw or a Smackdown would be fine. I would be ok with a Tag Champion being in a singles match here and there, or a singles Champion being part of a tag match here and there, but again only on rare occasions. Make seeing a Champion wrestle a special event. I put more respect into making the Champions feel special by always capitalizing the "C" in "Champion" than WWE seems to do.

Where Was Team Hell No?: Last week on Raw, Team Hell No came to Undertaker's defense against The Shield. On Smackdown, they came to Triple H's defense against The Shield. So, where were they at the end of Raw? They have a match along with Undertaker against the trio on next week's show. WWE did a nice job of announcing that match this week to get fans excited, but more could have been done. Now, I don't think they should have come to Cena's aid. Instead, the announcers should have anticipated them coming out, and then questioned why they didn't. Then after the beating, and after Ryback walked out on the arena, they could have cut to a shot of Daniel Bryan and Kane being checked on by medics, making the clear implication that The Shield had preemptively taken them out. Then, you have the announcers sign off on a shot of The Shield standing tall over Cena reminding the audience that Kane and Bryan will have a chance to get them some of The Shield when they team up with Undertaker next week.

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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