Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 3/24 WWE Raw: Triple H Interview, Cena vs. Harper, The Shield vs. The Real Americans, Undertaker - Lesnar
Mar 26, 2014 - 4:39:51 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist
Sheamus vs. Ziggler vs. Del Rio vs. Christian: This was a good fatal fourway #1 contender match for the Intercontinental Championship. It was fast paced and full of good wrestling action. It went nearly 12 minutes and was fun to watch from start to finish. I liked how Christian got the win in the end by actually hitting the Killswitch on Dolph Ziggler, instead of doing the normal heel move in these matches and rolling Ziggler out of the way after hitting his own finisher and picking up the pin at that point. On a bit of a side note, Dolph Ziggler needs to stop doing those high spots that should be his finishers if they aren't going to be his finishers. That super X-Factor from the top rope should be a finishing move. His huge swing DDT should be a finishing move. The Zig-Zag should not. It looks so week as opposed to some of the other extremely high impact moves that he does.
Cena vs. Harper: This was a good match between John Cena and Luke Harper. The match went about 15 minutes and built well until a bit of a disappointing ending. I am really becoming a fan of Harper. He has been fairly impressive in the ring and moves around very well for someone his size. The match went on too long for being so one sided. I get the idea of building up Harper and making Cena look vulnerable heading into his WrestleMania match against Bray Wyatt. But, I wish it would have been a little more back and forth to keep it interesting. It was still good and the sequence right before the lights went out was really strong. I loved that surprise hard clothesline that Cena hit out of the corner. My problem with the ending is that at some point the announcers have to address how the Wyatts have the power to turn off the lights like that. I don't think Bray Wyatt has supernatural powers like The Undertaker. So, why did the lights go out at that point? And why don't the announcers ask these questions?
The Shield vs. The Real Americans: This was a good tag match. I question having the newly turned Shield in a match against Cesaro who though a heel, has been getting big babyface reactions from the live crowd. This was a New York crowd. They are going to give a guy like Cesaro an even bigger reaction than the already positive reaction that he gets from other crowds. So, it was a mistake to have this match if you are trying to get the fans to cheer The Shield. That being said the actual tag match was probably the best match of the night. Seth Rollins is really starting to shine in the ring. I love how he flies around the ring and leaps out onto different opponents in different ways, always landing on his feet. I think WWE should be doing more to get the fans behind The Shield as a babyface act, but at least Roman Reigns and Rollins are getting pretty good reactions and I do like the dynamic that they are playing at this point.
Opening Segment: There were parts of the opening segment that I liked, but it was a bit of a mess. This was a long talking segment with three heels. Who were the fans supposed to cheer for? Daniel Bryan wasn't going to be showing up. Stephanie McMahon gets booed, so the person who interrupted her would normally get cheered. Instead, it was Randy Orton who also got booed. Then you'd expect the next person to get cheered, but it was Batista who also got booed. Maybe if Batista had made fun of Stephanie on his first night back in WWE like he did here, instead of hugging her and her husband, he would have gotten a more positive reaction from the fans. I laughed at that line and the slap was well done in the way it knocked his sunglasses off. But, the segment had no balance.
Sandow Loses in 1 Minute: I really hope WWE has a plan for this Damian Sandow losing streak, but I don't have much faith. Plus, regardless of what that plan might be (if it even exists), Sandow is going to look like the biggest loser in WWE at that point, if not already. I don't understand having him job in 1 minute to Sin Cara. I don't understand having him job out to anybody on the roster, but especially someone like Cara who has hardly been on Raw or Smackdown as of late. Sandow has way too much talent for this.
The Reality Era: My big takeaway from Triple H's sit down interview with Michael Cole was that Triple H is trying to name this era in WWE history as The Reality Era. That is lame. I don't even really understand what that means. We already had a long talking only segment about the WWE World Title situation at WrestleMania. That one also had heels talking about Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan. So here we get another long talking segment focusing on the same two matches that are strongly connected to each other. And again, there was no babyface in the picture. So between the two we got two and a half heel wrestlers and one and half heel authority figures doing a lot of talking, without a babyface voice in the mix. Throw in the lame Reality Era lines at the end and I wasn't really buying into this interview.
JBL: John Bradshaw Layfield made a joke about the WWE writers room being full of stooges. I don't understand how anyone in WWE, especially someone who has been around as long as JBL, would think it is a good idea to mention WWE having writers. I know it was just a throwaway joke, but it was still a bad idea. During the same match, Fandango vs. Cody Rhodes, he made another lame joke in which he referred to Fandango as a heel. This didn't bother me as much as the other line, but insider terms shouldn't be used, though heel isn't a wrestling only term. Also, after that match, Summer Rae seemed ok after appearing to twist her ankle. That injury caused Fandango to get distracted and lose to Rhodes. But afterwards, she was acting like she hadn't gotten hurt, or that maybe the injury was fake as part of a plan that backfired. However, the announcers didn't talk about it much. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it seemed like part of an angle that needed to be discussed, but was ignored by the announcers.
Cena Seeing Things: The scene in the back with John Cena in the bathroom seeing the goat mask in the mirror and then turning around and nothing being there was very cheesy. I get the idea that WWE wants to show that The Wyatt Family is getting in Cena's head. However, the cameras are never in the bathroom like this. It seems reasonable that WWE has cameras in certain places backstage like The Authority's office, or an entrance, or a main backstage corridor. That way if something happens in one of those important or high volume areas, there is a camera to catch it. But, it was a really good thing that a camera happened to be on Cena in the bathroom when he thought he saw a goat mask in the mirror behind him.
Divas: With all due respect to the vast majority of the Divas, WrestleMania should be for the best performers in WWE, men and women. Every year at this time, the announcers make a big deal about how all the wrestlers are trying to impress the powers that be in order to earn a spot on the biggest show of the year. But this year, every man in the company is going to be on the card at the very least as part of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The only exception seems to be The Usos, Rybaxel and The Real Americans who will likely be relegated to the pre-show for their Tag Title match which will be a real shame. And now, every woman on the roster is going to be on the show as well as part of this Vickie Guerrero Invitational Divas Title match. I want good matches. I want WM to feel special. It should be a huge honor to be part of the show, which means that everyone on the roster shouldn't be given the same honor. I didn't even know that Layla and Rosa Mendes were still in the company. Why are they on WM? I get that Vickie is trying to screw AJ, but throwing every Diva into the match doesn't do them any real service as characters. Nobody can stand out. I'm sorry, but I want to see a good show which means that not everyone should get a WM pay day.
Short Matches: While the three Hits above were good matches that went a good length, there were several very short matches on Raw this week. I don't mind some squash matches. I don't mind an occasional very short match. But did we need so many in one show? Sandow vs. Cara was 1:10. Los Matadores vs. Rybaxel was 1:01. Rhodes vs. Fandango was a marathon at 2:45. Big Show vs. Titus O'Neal was 2:22. AJ vs. Naomi was 1:10. That is five matches under 3 minutes in one show, three of which went barely a minute. Instead of more wrestling, we got the long heel only talking segments. We got the long Hulk Hogan and special guest stars plus the Miz segment. And we got the long Undertaker - Brock Lesnar segment to end the show.
Undertaker - Lesnar: Speaking of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, I continue to be totally disinterested in this major WrestleMania match. Some of the mic work from Paul Heyman has been strong, but Lesnar has been booked to look very weak. Undertaker has gotten the better of him physically both times they've been in the ring together. Shouldn't they try to make it look like The Streak is actually in jeopardy. Is anyone buying that The Streak is in jeopardy at this point? After all these years, the druids and the casket tricks just don't impress me any more. I didn't like any of this. Lesnar looks weak, like he is afraid of Undertaker. I don't understand this approach at all.
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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