Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Stephanie McMahon arrested, Brock Lesnar looks mean while Paul Heyman sets up the SummerSlam main event, Paige turns on A.J. Lee, The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler, Flo Rida, Xavier Woods
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella: A hot segment to start with Stephanie and Brie jawing at one another, and the red hot arrest angle that followed. Stephanie was great throughout this segment and Triple H was responsible for the best comedy of the night when he opted to stay at the building to make his announcement even though his wife was being hauled off to jail. It's a shame that Nikki Bella doesn't seem to be gaining anything from this. I am starting to wonder if she will actually agree that her sister is to blame for the tough spots that Stephanie is putting her in.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman: It's a shame that John Cena was filming movie scenes on Monday because there's only so much you can do to set the stage for a match when only one of the participants is present. Fortunately, Heyman is the best talker in the business and managed to make this a compelling segment. It was an easy night's pay for Brock, who had to make his entrance and then stand there and look menacing while Heyman did the dirty work. Maybe WWE should look into creating a Lesnar hologram for nights like this one. No? Anyway, we've known about the SummerSlam main event for weeks now, yet Heyman managed to make it feel even bigger than it did going into Raw.
Paige attacks A.J. Lee: The fans finally know who the heel is and now there won't be so much confusion when they work together. The attack was well done and it will be fun to see Paige work heel. I hope we get some mic work from Lee, who just skips around the ring and wrestles more often than not. By the way, is there a reason why Natalya's reward for carrying Charlotte to the match of her life at NXT Takeover has been an absence from Raw followed by taking the loss in this match? I approve of the company's recent attempts to create more storylines for the Divas, but I am surprised that she's still on the outside looking in. I hope it's by design and it will end up going somewhere.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler: A strong match with countless near falls that the live crowd reacted to. It was nice to see Ziggler get a rare win on Raw, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel like Miz is going to be just another new age secondary champion in that he will end up losing more non-title matches than he wins title matches.
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro: The recent booking of Cesaro, who announced he is no longer a Paul Heyman Guy, has been bizarre. I have no idea why they had him lose so many matches going into Battleground if they weren't going to put the Intercontinental Title on him. Whatever good they did with him before those losses took a real hit in the process. This was a good match and I would like to see more from these two at some point. Is Ambrose really a Triple H Guy now or was that just a quickie fix to create a reason for this match?
Xavier Woods rallies Kofi Kingston and Big E: I don't know where this is going, but I am intrigued, which is more than I can say about anything Woods has done in WWE. Woods showed a lot of potential when he worked as Consequences Creed in TNA, but his initial WWE character was doomed from the start. He delivered his lines well and I hope WWE finds better roles for all three men.
Roman Reigns vs. Kane and Randy Orton: A minor Hit for Reigns looking strong in the opening segment. Beating two longtime stars in a handicap match should pack more of a punch, but Kane and Orton have never meant less. Orton still hasn't recovered form the way he was booked last summer and fall, and both men feel like mid-card henchmen. Are they really going to show us Reigns beating both men in a handicap match and then expect people to care about Reigns vs. Orton in a singles match at SummerSlam?
WWE Raw Misses
Flo Rida performs: It's not him. It's not the type of music. They could have my favorite musicians in the world performing and I would still question the logic of having a live musical performance on a pro wrestling television show. History shows that these segments do not perform well in the ratings. Thus, I wonder how many viewers they lost to channel surfing while this was taking place, which would be a shame because the Stephanie arrest angle took place afterward. Maybe that's why they replayed the segment so many times.
Bo Dallas vs. Damien Sandow: I really expected more out of Sandow playing LaBron James in Miami, but the live crowd just wasn't playing along. Then I was left confused by seeing heel Bo beat heel Sandow in the match. Please tell me they're not going to turn Dallas.
Zack Ryder vs. Fandango: Sure, it was nice to see Ryder get a win, but I have zero interest in the ongoing spiteful ex-girlfriend routine that Summer Rae and Layla are playing. Where could this possibly go?
Rusev vs. The Great Khali: The usual rough Khali match. I did have to laugh at the way they teased Lana talking only to have Khali's music cut her off. I assume WWE is going to wait for the heat to die down following the silly controversy over her Battleground promo and also see where things stand with Russia following the Malaysian Airlines jet being shot down before going too far down this road again. I am actually hopeful that they will tone down the Vladimir Putin routine because it was getting repetitive and peaked with the photo of him shirtless while riding horseback.
Goldust and Stardust: Are those goofball backstage segments going anywhere? Both men play their parts well and all, but I caught myself letting out an involuntary groan when they first appeared on my television screen last night. I loved Goldust and Cody Rhodes as a tag team and still feel like they company didn't do right by them by minimizing their roles heading into WrestleMania. I would love to see this work out, but I'm just not feeling it.
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