Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Brock Lesnar's UFC style promo, Lord Tensai pins John Cena, C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston, Big Show and Great Khali squash the WWE Tag Champions


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Powell Editorials


Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: Brock Lesnar's UFC style promo, Lord Tensai pins John Cena, C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston, Big Show and Great Khali squash the WWE Tag Champions
Apr 17, 2012 - 01:40 PM


By Jason Powell

Check out my audio review of WWE Raw via the 50-minute All Access Podcast I posted this morning. If you enjoy our free audio, there are several hours of additional audio available exclusively to Dot Net Members every week. Join us on the ad-free version of the website, correspond with other members in the forum, and listen to my recent 100-minute interview with former WWE creative team members Chris DeJoseph (a/k/a Big Dick Johnson) and Chris Roach by signing up for membership now via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.

WWE Raw Hits

Brock Lesnar sit-down promo: This was so much better than the mediocre script reading we saw last week. Clearly, this was inspired by the UFC Countdown specials and it worked perfectly. Lesnar's lines were great and he said them in such a believable manner. This was so good that I hope this is the setting for Lesnar promos. It stands out as different from the rest of the wrestler promos and he's obviously more more comfortable and effective than he is staring into a camera and reading a script. Excellent work.

John Cena promo: He finally stopped smirking! It was cool to hear him admit that he's intimidated by Lesnar, yet also state that he's going to show up and fight. This was a great shift from the happy go lucky Cena character. We've seen so much of that type of Cena that it was very effective when he showed us something different. As much as I enjoyed the pull apart brawl last week, I felt WWE gave us too much of Lesnar and actually brought my interest level in Lesnar vs. Cena down a notch. They more than made up for it this week with good mic work from both men.

John Cena vs. Lord Tensai: WWE finally seems to be telling a story that involves Cena losing. Top babyfaces tend to have a long honeymoon period where fans are content to watch them slay every dragon. Eventually, though, the act becomes predictable and stale, yet most pro wrestling companies are too timid to mess with the formula even though it's no longer as effective as it once was. WWE has been guilty of that with Cena for far too long. I don't know if Cena showing vulnerability and eventually getting his redemption over the long haul will win over many of his detractors, but it does give his fans something fresh and an incentive to rally behind him. Meanwhile, WWE definitely made a statement that Tensai is a real player in the storylines by having him beat Cena. There should have been more focus on Tensai's shocking win from the announcers, but I do believe a lot of fans will look at him differently now that he pinned Cena.

C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry: A strong television match to open the show. I really enjoyed the way they countered each other's offense, and the way that Henry dominated at times only for Punk to come back strong and eventually beat him. As much as I enjoy the seemingly unbeatable Henry monster character, I don't think he lost much by losing a good, competitive match to Punk. Meanwhile, I'm finally feeling better about the Punk vs. Jericho feud. They had a good verbal exchange that increased my interest level in their feud and their Extreme Rules match. However, it was very odd to hear Jericho announce the Chicago Street Fight stipulation. That announcement should have come from Punk. Nevertheless, they managed to pull this viewer back into the feud again.

Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston: Another strong television match with some great athleticism from both men. The London crowd loved Bryan and it was fun to see him play to the "Yes!" chants and then have Jerry Lawler offer the new Bizaro World explanation. It will be interesting to see whether those "Yes!" chants pick up steam in more American cities. If so, WWE may be forced to give in and turn him babyface. I also like the way they are keeping the Bryan and A.J. dynamic alive. I still believe they are a good act and I'll be surprised if they don't put them back together, perhaps as soon as Extreme Rules.
Overall show: Three entertaining matches, good mic work from the wrestlers in the top two Extreme Rules matches, and a great London crowd made up for some of the nonsense listed in the "Miss" section. WWE delivered a quality show on Monday. It was nice to see so much quality wrestling on the show, and they mixed in some strong promos and good storytelling.

WWE Raw Misses

Big Show and Great Khali vs. Epico and Primo: What was the point of squashing the WWE Tag Champions? Perhaps there will be a storyline explanation, but if history is any indication it was just another case of WWE burying the tag division for no good reason. Did they really have Rosa express frustration with the lack of television time her team gets just to have this match serve as punishment for her character? The tag champs are good in the ring and Rosa adds a nice dose of sex appeal. They could be doing so much more with the tag champs if they'd just build them up and put together a good babyface team for them to feud with.

R-Truth as Sherlock Holmes: Who in the hell thought that was comical enough to get on the air? I don't mind some lighthearted comedy segments, but there was nothing even remotely funny about these skits once you got past Truth looking through the magnifying glass.

Kane: The bad horror movie one-liners are groan inducing. If WWE wants to breathe new life into the character, they should come up with a better mask that covers his chin and have him go back to being silent and destructive. He looked impressive while destroying Zack Ryder for the one millionth time, but he killed off whatever good he did with all of those Freddy Kruger reject lines in the promo that followed. His current look is rough. The character could feel timeless if he had a better mask and ring gear. Don't get me wrong, the character still has some appeal, but I think they could get more out of it with a few tweaks to his look and act. By the way, is there a good reason for burying Ryder as much as they have?

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