Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 3/3 WWE Raw: Paul Heyman, The Shield vs. The Wyatts, John Cena, Bryan vs. The Authority
Mar 6, 2014 - 4:10:03 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Opening Segment: WWE did a good job of hijacking the fans in Chicago's attempts to hijack Monday Night Raw. It started with Paul Heyman coming out to C.M. Punk's music. It was a good way to start the show, by addressing the Punk situation right from the start. I liked how Heyman began his promo as if he were pro-Punk, but ended up turning things around on the fans. He also did a nice job of turning the Punk promo into a discussion of Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. The segment ended with the impressive physicality from Lesnar man handling Mark Henry and putting him through the announce table with an F5. It was a good way to start the show in terms of the pro-Punk crowd, while also focusing on Lesnar vs. Taker, so it was a good opening segment.
The Usos vs. The New Age Outlaws: I wonder if someone on WWE creative read my Raw Hits & Misses last week when I said that the easy way to get heat on the New Age Outlaws was to have Road Dogg start to do his pre-match promo, only to stop because the local fans weren't worthy of hearing it, because that is exactly what he did here (by the way, I'm not suggesting I'm the only one to point that out). It was good. The Outlaws were actually portrayed as heels here. The match wasn't great, but it was good. The fans got into it despite the concern that they would only cheer for anything Punk or Daniel Bryan related. The match built well to the ending with the flying tag and the big splash for the win for the Usos to capture the Tag Team Championship. I liked the way that the Usos celebrated winning. It was a nice moment and the team that should be the Champions won.
The Real Americans: Part of me would like to see The Real Americans stay a team for a long time considering how good a team they've been. However, part of me wants to see Cesaro break out as a top singles babyface star. I also like Jack Swagger enough that I think he could make a strong singles heel if he stays with Zeb Colter. I'm not totally sure where WWE is going with the tension between them, but it has been well done so far with Swagger twice costing Cesaro a match against Big E, only to have Cesaro turn the tables later in the show. What I liked about this is that it drew out a potential break up with Colter playing peace keeper and getting his team to hug it out. I do want to see where this goes from here and hope that WWE realizes that when the break up happens, Cesaro has to be the babyface and Swagger needs to be the heel with Colter.
The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family: This match worked on a number of levels. It told a match story within a larger ongoing storyline, while also featuring plenty of entertaining wrestling action. The match got off to a crazy start with Seth Rollins flying all over the ring onto all three members of The Wyatt Family. They did a nice job of teasing more tension among The Shield members, starting early on when Dean Ambrose accidentally played a part in knocking Rollins off balance on the top rope. Later that theme continued when Rollins attempted a come back only to discover that Ambrose had left their corner to try to get his hands on Bray Wyatt with Roman Reigns following him, leaving the corner empty so Rollins had nobody to tag out to. He eventually got that hot tag to Ambrose and the match pace quickened. Then came the turn of Rollins walking out on Ambrose and telling Reigns that he has had it being the glue holding the group together. Rollins was very good here and at the end selling inner conflict at his decision to leave his team behind. There was still some crazy wrestling action as the match built to the end with the Wyatts taking advantage of the three on two situation to get the win. It was a good match and makes me want to see what will happen next.
Bryan vs. The Authority: This was too long a segment and it relied too heavily on insider terminology and backstage politics which don't generally interest me. However, the mic work from Daniel Bryan was very strong here in his challenge to Triple H. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon played their parts well too. This was another way that WWE smartly controlled the crowd reactions giving them plenty of chances to "hijack" the show with "Yes!" chants instead of "C-M-Punk" chants. They did a nice job of taking that crowd energy and focusing it on a potential Bryan vs. Triple H match at WM. As I said, it did go on a bit too long (which was the case with most of this show), but it was still a strong verbal encounter which continued to stretch out the issue between Bryan and Triple H. Obviously that theme was continued during the main event which was a solid match between Bryan and Batista with a lot of extracurricular activity with Randy Orton, The Authority and Kane all getting involved and the ultimate beat down of Bryan at the end.
Sheamus vs. Christian: This Miss isn't for this particular match which was solid. The Miss is for the feud between Sheamus and Christian. They have already faced three times on tv in the past few weeks. They also faced off during the Elimination Chamber and fought on Smackdown. Their matches are good, but too much of a good thing can get stale and they are at that point. The feud has also been repetitive. Sheamus beat Christian two Smackdowns ago, and Christian got mad and beat him up afterwards. Sheamus beat Christian on last week's Raw, and Christian got bad and attacked him on Smackdown. Here, Sheamus once again beat Christian, only to have Christian get mad and attack him during his post-match interview. Do you see the pattern? I like what they are doing with the desperate heel Christian, but at some point he has to win a match. I know that he eliminated Sheamus in the Chamber, but in this recent series of singles matches, Sheamus is up 3-0 on Christian. It isn't much of a feud in the ring with Christian only getting the better of Sheamus afterwards. I don't know where WWE is going with the feud, but it isn't over which means soon we will have to see match #4 and why would we think the outcome would be any different at that point?
Cena's Promo: I am far more sick and tired of these types of promos from John Cena addressing the reactions that the gets from the fans than I am of anything he does during a match. He spent way too much time talking about Chicago and not enough time talking about the Wyatts. His WrestleMania match isn't going to be against the city of Chicago or any of its citizens. He barely addressed his knee injury. I guess he doesn't blame Bray Wyatt for his knee injury since they played it up as a fluke accident last week and the Wyatts did very little to him after he hurt himself. So, I guess he didn't have a very good reason to get revenge on Wyatt in any way. This is not being well written so far to get me invested into this feud. John Cena, like him or not, is the biggest star in the company. His match at WM should be a big deal and in this case it should be a way to elevate a new talent. But right now, it just seems like an after thought.
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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