Hits & Misses 5/5 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Bryan/Brie/Stephanie/Kane, Bryan vs. Del Rio, Terrible Announcing. The Shield vs. The Wyatts
May 7, 2014 - 2:06:23 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
RVD vs. Cesaro: After a lackluster start to the show, Rob Van Dam and Cesaro had a good match. I had hoped that these two would face at Extreme Rules, but we got the solid triple threat match with Jack Swagger instead. But, we did get the one-on-one match between them here and they delivered. Given the ending with Cesaro getting himself disqualified, it appears we will be getting a rematch which is fine with me. I also liked how Paul Heyman stopped Cesaro from keeping the beating going after the disqualification. It was interesting to hear him warn Cesaro that he might get suspended. That's a nice little touch of realism into a show that really could use it.
Bray Wyatt: I have complained about the storyline between John Cena and Bray Wyatt despite the strong mic performances from Wyatt himself. Part of my issue is that we hadn't really heard what specific about Wyatt's message does Cena object to (and Main Event doesn't count). We still need to hear that on a bigger stage. But, what I liked about this promo from Wyatt is that he called himself a god. He said that he wants to burn down the world and recreate it in his own image. Those are heel things to say. Those are clearly objectionable statements. He did have more of a babyface message at one point talking to the outcasts of society like those who didn't get asked to the prom. That is a good message, but in the context of the larger statement, it came across like him pandering to people to get more followers. That part didn't come across as being sincere. Overall, the promo made me feel like he wants to be worshiped like a god and will say anything to achieve that as any cult leader would. We needed someone, whether Cena or an announcer, saying that Wyatt doesn't really care about those people, he only cares about getting more followers.
Bryan vs. Del Rio: This was a good match between Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio. It went 15 minutes and worked well to build suspense for a potential attack by Kane. Bryan and Del Rio worked well together and put on a good match. It went back and forth nicely and built well to Bryan getting the tap out victory with the Yes! Lock. I didn't enjoy the storyline involving Bryan, Brie and Kane for the rest of the show, but at least we got a good Bryan match in the middle of it all.
The Shield vs. The Wyatts: A poor episode of Raw had a good main event in the six man tag match of The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family. It started out well, but really got good after the commercial break. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins did the majority of the in ring work which is smart to limit Roman Reigns' time in the ring. Not that he isn't good, but he isn't as good and right now he works in the ring in smaller doses coming in and doing his cool spots. Ultimately he needs to get more time in the ring in order to develop and take that next step. But, I liked how this match was booked. It was fun to watch. The Evolution interference worked well to give The Shield an excuse for the loss and to have Evolution get some revenge for the PPV. It also allowed Bray Wyatt to get the pin on Reigns which elevates him further.
The Announcers: The announcing just keep getting worse and worse. There were so many moments to point out from this week's Raw that I can't list them all. The overall theme is that John Bradshaw Layfield is too strong a voice as the pro-heel announcer, and Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler who should have the two-on-one advantage let JBL walk all over them. He always gets the final say in favor of the heel, so the heel seems justified in his actions. Why should I boo Wade Barrett for cheating when the final word from the announcers is JBL saying that the ends justify the means? There has to be a retort from a babyface announcer at that point. That is just one example of JBL doing that and Cole and Lawler allowing him to do it.
There were other issues with the announcers this week too. The worst moment was when Michael Cole was shown dancing to Adam Rose's music after his Raw debut. If you wanted Rose to get over with the fans, that was the absolute worst thing you could do to have the fans actually want to cheer him. I have been worried that Rose's act would not translate from the small NXT arena to a larger WWE arena and that seemed to be the case. It is more of a heel character, and while his catchy music might get over with the fans like Fandango's music, the character itself feels more like a heel. But, WWE wants him to be a babyface, so they shouldn't have Cole dancing like that and making him look like the lamest person in the world. The announcing is just atrocious from top to bottom.
Battle Royal: This was a minor Miss. There were parts of the US Championship battle royal that I liked, but more that I didn't like. I did like how Ambrose came close to retaining his US Title. There were some nice moments here and there. They continued to tease a break up for the Rhodes Bros. which worked ok. I am fine with Sheamus winning as potentially the start of a heel turn. But, there was a little too much going on. I didn't understand some of the decisions that they made like why did Santino eliminate Dolph Ziggler? That didn't make sense to me. There really wasn't much good wrestling action in a 15+ minute match. That's a lot of match time for so little actual good wrestling which is often an issue in battle royals.
Cinco de Mayo Celebration: Having one Matador arguing with the other over the pronunciation of "universe" was not a good start to this segment. I don't care about this whole feud between Los Matadores and 3.5MB. This was a bad scene and not entertaining at all. It is just more proof of how bad it is to have 3 hour Raws when they have to use crap like this to fill the time.
Lana and Rusev: Why doesn't WWE like wrestlers having two names? Why did they drop Alexander from Alexander Rusev? It sounds stupid to me. My bigger issue is bringing in the pro-Russian anti-American theme with Lana's prematch pro-Vladimir Putin promo. It is cheap heat. I understand wanting to take advantage of the current situation in Ukraine, but it is feeling forced onto Rusev. And it fell pretty flat here, particularly Lana's line about Edward Snowden. It just isn't doing anything for me.
Bryan/Brie/Stephanie/Kane: I did enjoy some of this storyline that played out throughout Raw, but overall it was poorly done. Stephanie McMahon played her part well. Brie Bella was ok at times, not good at others. I didn't like the cheesy way that Kane's mask sort of appeared in their dressing room. Then later when the lights in the room went out, it was ultra cheesy how Kane's mask lit up. It was a good thing that Stephanie accidentally scared Brie and Bryan when they got in their car. If she hadn't stopped them from leaving, they would have driven to their hotel with a camera man in the backseat of the car. That would have been embarrassing. I wish WWE would get that kind of crap off of their tv. After Bryan vs. Del Rio, I didn't like how Bryan ran away. I understand that he is supposed to be selling the idea that he is trying to protect Brie, but he still looks like a coward. How about you man up and protect her by kicking Kane's ass like you did the night before? Why is running away the only way to protect her? And I know he has been doing things like that for years and years, but I am so over Kane's supernatural powers. I am over seeing him magically appear in a car. If this is really the "reality era" then why not inject some reality into the show? And I'm over his magical recuperative powers. I want to see something new. This is making Bryan look bad. Other than being in the main event of Extreme Rules, WWE has done nothing to make the WWE World Champion seem like a main event player since WrestleMania.
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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