By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
The Wyatt Family vs. John Cena: A rare fan voting option that grabbed my attention and a match that held it from start to finish. The story of the fans turning on Cena has been told repeatedly as a case of him being a polarizing figure. Suddenly, the announcers are telling the story that it's getting to Cena, and Cena is doing a good job with his facial expressions of telling that same story. In a weird way, it feels like they are telling the WrestleMania match story in reverse. After all, the story told during the match didn't mesh with anything from the match buildup, yet the current story would have actually been a nice setup for the story that was told during that match. I'm not sure where this is headed. I am not getting my hopes up for a Cena heel turn because we've been down that road before and they haven't pulled the trigger. It would be a hell of a moment, but seeing is believing on that one. Props to Bray Wyatt for not panicking when the crowd didn't singing along with him. He never panicked and kept things interesting by laughing maniacally and caressing Cena's face.
Kane attacks Daniel Bryan: A strong beatdown angle that breathed some life into the Kane character and this feud heading into Extreme Rules. Bryan appeared to be understandably shaken as he made his entrance and he was a trooper for being there given the death of his father. The attack was vicious enough that it wouldn't surprise me if he was written off the weekend house shows or even next week's television. Stephanie McMahon's insincere congratulations to Bryan and Brie Bella was great. It was cool to see Brie out there, but her wardrobe choice was awkward. I never thought I'd be the guy saying a woman should wear more clothing, but it was odd to see her out there in a skimpier than usual outfit when they were putting over the wedding and apparently setting her up as an adversary for Stephanie.
Bad News Barrett vs. Sheamus: A good match with a clean finish. Heels need to cheat more often than not, but a clean win like this builds in-ring credibility for Barrett. I hope TNA was paying attention (and lord knows they are paying attention to WWE television these days) because maybe it will help them get over their apparent fear of having heels win clean. I suspect that the Sheamus loss is a step toward him eventually snapping and turning heel. His character has been lost since he returned from shoulder surgery and hopefully the idea is to make him a kick ass heel in the near future. Here's hoping that if Barrett goes on to win the title, his IC Title reign will go a lot better than this last one.
Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro: A minor Hit for a solid match that concluded with the right out for Cesaro. It got him out of the tournament while furthering his feud with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter.
<b>Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara:</b> The Rusev and Lana act continues to grow on me. My concern that Rusev was an old school heel who would only be strong until he was fed to a top wrestler has been erased. The MMA style approach is working for him and the squash match approach is perfect. The only thing I would have changed is the spot where Sin Cara knocked him off his feet. That should have been saved so that it could be treated like a big moment so that it benefitted the right wrestler. Sin Cara just isn't that wrestler.
Paige vs. Aksana: A minor Hit only because the finish was over with the crowd. As much as I like the way they are having Paige work with the lesser Divas (in terms of their push) and beat them clean, I don't think she really gained anything from beating Aksana, who rarely wins. The finishing hold is getting over and I am looking forward to the Paige vs. Tamina match more I have looked forward to a pay-per-view Divas Championship match in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I wish it was Paige vs. A.J. Lee, but hopefully it's only a matter of time before we see them feud.
WWE Raw Misses
Evolution vs. The Shield build: A minor Miss. The visual of Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton suiting up again was fun for longtime fans. The appeal of the angle ended there for me. Seth Rollins' promo overstayed its welcome, and the bit with the 11 wrestlers from the forgettable handicap match from last week coming out to help Evolution felt flat. The Evolution trio needs some real heat and I don't think hiding behind the numbers game is really doing it. Meanwhile, it was awkward for The Shield, as they just had to stand there with their dicks in their hands rather than backing up their words.
Los Matadores and El Torito vs. Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, and Hornswoggle: I think I enjoyed the Torito and Hornswoggle exchange more than the flat live crowd did. Yes, I'll admit that watching Hornswoggle do the 3MB routine got a chuckle out of me. I didn't get the sense that the live crowd shared my poor sense of humor (good for them). The big problems is that fans haven't been given any reason to care about Los Matadores or El Torito. 3MB can usually generate a reaction, but there's only so much the heels can do when the babyface act isn't over.
Emma debuts new Ms. Cobra: The Santino Marella act is stale. I guess in some way, adding Emma to his act is an attempt to breathe new life into it, but it just doesn't seem worth it. Santino can still deliver the occasional comedy gem, but he's way more miss than hit. Meanwhile, Emma is a fresh face in the Divas division and she's capable of so much more than simulated arm sleeve sex. I can't believe I just wrote those last four words.