Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Stretcher match, vomit gag, Stardust, Roman Reigns wins the battle royal, Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett, Paige vs. Cameron
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler: The first hour of Raw was really strong and this match got the show off to a good in-ring start. Sure, we saw them on Main Event and Smackdown previously, but they work well together and the fans were responsive. It's just a shame that Ziggler has lost so many matches because these two could actually have a strong feud if fans had some reason to take Ziggler seriously. Granted, they can book the feud however they want to make Ziggler look strong, but the focus has to be on Rollins and having a back and forth feud with a guy who has lost so many matches lately isn't exactly the hot start that his character needs.
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose: This match kept the show's early momentum going. Ambrose continues to impress with his selling ability, as Barrett targeted his arm throughout the match. I didn't mind the second consecutive cheap finish. Ambrose attacking Rollins before he could win the opening match was logical, and the count out worked here, especially since Ambrose hit his finisher on Barrett afterwards.
Bray Wyatt vs. Sheamus: The third consecutive cheap finish was really pushing it. I despise the way WWE doesn't even bother to announce the outcome of the match, as it makes it seem like the matches don't really matter. On the plus side, the match was entertaining and the letdown of the cheap finish was quickly overshadowed by the big brawl with Sheamus and The Uso Brothers brawling with The Wyatt Family afterward.
Battle Royal: The hype for the match was built around Roman Reigns and then he was the only wrestler to receive a televised entrance. WWE might as well have flashed a graphic on the screen announcing that Reigns was going to win. Nevertheless, the live crowd was into the battle royal, particularly late. I liked that Bo Dallas hung around and had a little moment, and I really liked the way the match came down to Reigns and Rusev. I wish they would have had more time, but Reigns came out of the match looking strong and it felt like an accomplishment for him to eliminate Rusev. By the way, after the Royal Rumble and now this battle royal, Lana should probably refrain from booking her man in battle royals since they are clearly not his forte.
John Cena vs. Kane hype: I know, you hated this match and you never had a doubt that Cena would win. Some of you probably even turned off Raw and moved on with your night. I get it. And the Attitude Adjustment onto the stretcher looked about as tame as it gets. Still, WWE did a nice job of building up the stretcher gimmick throughout the evening in a way that would make it seem like a major happening for younger viewers and casual fans. I question the logic of booking a segment that caters mostly to kids so late in the show, but I did appreciate the way the match was presented even if the actual match itself was nothing special.
WWE Raw Misses
Stephanie McMahon and Vickie Guerrero skit: Last week we had a milk bath followed by a milk and kitty litter bath on Smackdown. This week we get the ridiculous bit with Roman Reigns spiking the coffee of Stephanie McMahon, which led to the Vince McMahon vomit gag special. This was as low rent as it gets and I was embarrassed to be watching Raw even though no one else was in the room at the time. And did they really have to show Stephanie with the coffee in her hand in that backstage interview? When have you ever seen Stephanie with a drink in her hand during an interview segment? When you treat your audience like morons you will eventually be left with an audience that consists only of morons. This was painful to watch and I hate that Roman Reigns, who is positioned as the coolest guy in the company, had any connection to it. I know Vince McMahon loves poop and vomit jokes, so I propose turning WWE Superstars into a full hour of poop and vomit. Let Vince get his rocks off for one hour every week on the show that means so little that WWE actually airs the finishes of its matches during the Raw Pre Show rather than protecting those for the actual airing of the weekly television show. Besides, the show needs something now that two of its three stars have been released and they can't give us our weekly WWE Superstars fix of having 3MB members lose.
Stardust: I am truly surprised to see the positive reaction to the character in our latest poll on the main page. Cody looked creepy and weird in the new gimmick and not in a good creepy and weird Goldust way. I agree with Dot Net reader Mark Sherry, who emailed to say he felt that Stardust should have had silver gear. I'm not particular about the color, but I think he would have been better off in some color that didn't make him look like a smaller version of his brother's Goldust character. I'm not writing off the character just yet because Cody is a talented guy and there's a chance he can make this work. It just didn't wow me on night one and the live crowd didn't seem to know what to make of it. I am actually hopeful that this will somehow result in Cody turning on his brother and ditching the Stardust gimmick.
Fandango and Layla vs. Adam Rose and Summer Rae: Renee Young and Kevin Hart both looked annoyed by Rose and his Rosebuds during a backstage segment. It worked out in the end since Hart and Rose had their moment, but I don't think it's a good idea to make it seem like people are rolling their eyes at the act unless a heel turn is in the works. I don't care what substance Layla and Summer use to humiliate one another, I still couldn't care less about two heel Divas feuding over a heel wrestler who loses all the time. Did I miss the Summer Rae babyface turn? By the way, Kevin Hart is a funny guy, but somehow he got on Raw and never made me crack a smile let alone laugh out loud.
Paige vs. Cameron: The exciting young Divas Champion's match was once again presented as show filler. What will it take for WWE to wake up and realize they have the right person to build the division around. If they spent half as much time trying to get her character over as they do in coming up with Double Dare skits for Layla and Summer then the Divas division would be in a much better place.
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