Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: The Rock and John Cena, Shawn Michaels announces he's special referee for Undertaker vs. Triple H, Santino Marella wins the U.S. Title, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan vs. C.M. Punk and Sheamus

Posted in: Powell Editorials, MUST-READ LISTING
Mar 6, 2012 - 12:30 PM

By Jason Powell

Dot Net Members are listening to the 49-minute audio review of WWE Raw that I recorded last night, and Chris Shore's 61-minute audio review of the ROH 10th Anniversary pay-per-view. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via

WWE Raw Hits

Shawn Michaels and Triple H: The only negative in this segment was that the announcement of HBK as the special referee wasn't treated like a major happening. Rather, the announcers just kind of moved on to hyping the rest of the show. The actual segment was strong. Shawn taking exception to Hunter apparently being bothered by claims that he's not as good as Michaels was totally believable, and adding Michaels to the mix gives viewers plenty of scenarios to consider in terms of where his allegiances will lie on April 1.

John Cena sit-down promo: I liked the serious approach that Cena took in this segment and I hope we see something similar from The Rock in the weeks ahead. Cena did a good job of making it seem like he's in a must-win situation, and the match will feel even more important if Rock says something similar. It was great to hear Rock say that he's going to beat Cena, as that eliminates my concern that the outcome was foreshadowed because Rock was talking about kicking ass rather than winning.

The Rock history pieces: Rock shines in these pre-taped, put-down segments. The Yankee Doodle line was laugh out loud funny, and don't even get me started on the greatness of the John Cena garden gnome and the other WWE merchandise that was tossed into Boston Harbor.

Santino Marella vs. Jack Swagger: A good use of the general managers and their ongoing feud. I have no issue with them overshadowing the U.S. Title at this point because it has been devalued so much over the years, but they actually did a nice job of making the title seem relevant while telling the general manager story. I could see Swagger getting the strap back at the Smackdown taping while John Laurinaitis is in charge or keeping it and having a feud with Zack Ryder, assuming Long Island's hero falls into Eve's trap and turns heel.

Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho vs. C.M. Punk and Sheamus: I didn't care for the idea of putting Jericho and Punk in the ring together before WrestleMania 28, but I still enjoyed the match and the story that was told. Jericho got the win, and Punk was protected via the back injury they set up during the injury angle last week.

WWE Raw Misses

The Rock and John Cena closing segment: Cena's approach is obvious. He just no-sells everything The Rock says. No matter how serious Rock tries to make the segment, Cena stands there with a smirk on his face that damages the effect of what Rock is saying. Worse yet, Cena stepped all over Rock by talking as Rock was trying to get his closing lines out. The whole segment struck me as something that Cena can high-five any Rock hating wrestlers over, but it's just not as strong as it could be for the masses who aren't breaking down each frame in hopes of determining whether they are getting along behind the scenes.

Let's face it, The Rock's mic work requires his opponent to stand there and take it. Like anything in pro wrestling, it's not as effective when an opponent refuses to sell. I'm not saying Cena should stand there and take it all like a nobody, but there has to be some level of give and take, just as there is when Cena is tearing into his opponents on the mic. Sure, Rock can change his style, but should he have to? Is the point of all of this from Rock and Cena to get the better of one another or to sell WrestleMania 28? If it turns out this is all being done by design and it all makes sense when the hype ends a few weeks from now, then God bless them. At this point, though, it looks like they are in battle mode when they should be working together to sell the pay-per-view.

Big Show vs. The Miz: When did Miz become a jobber? The match lasted two minutes, but the majority of that time was taken up by Cody Rhodes and the worst of his embarrassing Big Show moments. I hope this is part of a story they are telling with The Miz that will eventually make sense, because at this point he's a modern day Rusty Brooks or Barry Horrowitz.

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