Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Sami Zayn debuts in a U.S. Title Open Challenge match with endorsements from John Cena and Bret Hart, Dean Ambrose added to the Payback main event, New Day, Rusev and Lana, and rubber spiders


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Powell Editorials


Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Sami Zayn debuts in a U.S. Title Open Challenge match with endorsements from John Cena and Bret Hart, Dean Ambrose added to the Payback main event, New Day, Rusev and Lana, and rubber spiders
2015-05-05 13:02:58


By Jason Powell

Prowrestling.net Members are listening to my 39-minute WWE Raw television review and my 44-minute Q&A audio show recorded on Monday afternoon. Join us on the ad-free version of the website and the special members' section of our free iPhone and Android apps by signing up today via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.

WWE Raw Hits

Sami Zayn vs. John Cena: An excellent debut for Zayn. Sure, he lost the match, but he was also introduced in his hometown by Bret Hart, got his flashy signature spots in, kicked out of an Attitude Adjustment, and was applauded by the top star in the company for his efforts. The key remains what WWE does with Zayn in the followup. I must confess to having mixed feelings about the strong debut, though, as I like Zayn as the plucky underdog who slowly climbs the ladder. Still, this was a hot debut. Sure, Zayn and Cena are capable of having a better match, but first-time Zayn viewers are far more likely to remember the positive including those flashy spots than nitpick about the actual match quality. Obviously, we can only hope that Zayn's shoulder doesn't require major repair work. I'm anxious to see where things go from here. By the way, how cool would it have been if NXT Champion Kevin Owens had attacked Zayn in Montreal to help establish their NXT Takeover main event?

John Cena promo: Cena has mastered the art of turning the toughest of crowds with a couple of quick pandering lines. Montreal made him work harder than usual, and it was a treat to watch him think on his feet and continue to chip away until he won the majority of the fans by the end of the promo. Excellent work from a veteran star.

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose: Another strong match between Rollins and Ambrose. I like that Rollins lost here. Creative is doing a good job of establishing him as a guy who can hang with anyone, yet also showing that he is a vulnerable champion all at the same time. I have mixed feelings about the addition of Ambrose to the Payback main event. I naturally assumed that WWE was holding out on putting all three former members of The Shield in the ring together for a huge Triple Threat match. However, there's no denying that the addition of Ambrose to the match gives the Payback main event some juice.

Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. The Ascension: A good television tag match. I expected a squash, but The Ascension looked strong during their early offensive run. Kidd and Cesaro came back strong with a memorable stretch that led to their finisher. Here's hoping the duo remain babyfaces and this wasn't just a Canada thing.

Naomi and Tamina attack The Bella Twins: I really wish the Bella Twins would address their sudden nice girls act after years of playing the mean girls. Still, the team of Naomi and Tamina look like badasses. I like that Naomi tweaked her look again, and her family connection with Tamina is a nice touch.

Sheamus and King Barrett vs. Neville and Dolph Ziggler: A good match that ate up some television time and helped further establish the two singles feuds involved. I hate to see Neville lose, but you had to know it was coming since Barrett just became the latest WWE King. More on that in the section below.

Rusev vs. Fandango: I liked the brief backstage segment that set up the actual match. It didn't take much work and it made the match feel less random. I continue to hope that Lana's babyface flirtation is setting up a swerve because I don't have high hopes for her babyface persona having a long shelf life.

WWE Raw Misses

New Day vs. Randy Orton and Roman Reigns: I applaud the idea of the tag champions winning a handicap match rather than losing one as we saw Tyson Kidd and Cesaro do in a match with Randy Orton when they were champions. I also like New Day as heels. The problem is that their act consists of a clap and yelling "New Day" right now. That's fine in small doses, but it's certainly not enough for a 13-minute match.

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton: The crowd was spent by this point in the show and two of the companies top stars came off poorly as a result. The fans were ready for this show to end (even though it sounds like many of them stuck around and enjoyed the Pat Patterson appreciation ceremony afterward). It didn't help that the fans had already seen Reigns and Orton earlier in the night. This should have felt like a big main event, not a flat segment where fans waited for the interference to come. I did like the way the live crowd chanted for Dean Ambrose just seconds before he ran out to make the save.

Stardust vs. R-Truth: Rubber spiders?!? Truth's lighthearted comedy just isn't clicking with me. The Stardust character has potential, but not when he's cast as an undercard heel working with comedy acts. The character needs to have a vicious side to it to go along with all the out there cosmic talk.

King Barrett: A minor Miss. I don't know what I was expecting from WWE's latest King, but I know it wasn't just all the heel King cliche lines that Barrett delivered. I was hopeful that Barrett would be elevated with the win, but he came off like a mid-card King at best.

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