Powell's WWE Raw Hitlist: John Cena and C.M. Punk, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, Dolph Ziggler costs Chris Jericho his job, Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan and The Miz vs. Kane and Zack Ryder
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to an interview with ROH Champion Kevin Steen. Plus, they are listening to the 57-minute audio review of WWE Raw that Chris Shore recorded on Monday night, the 45-minute Quick Hits audio with Will Pruett offering his in-person perspective on WWE SummerSlam, and the 86-minute audio review of SummerSlam that Chris Shore and I recorded on Sunday night. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
WWE Raw Hits
John Cena and C.M. Punk: A strong closing segment that brought me back into their rivalry. I never felt it going into SummerSlam, but it appears they saved it for what appears to be a showdown match at Night of Champions. I still have my concerns about given Punk a heelish edge going into a program with the guy that half the audience dislikes, particularly when the fans seemed to have universally embraced Punk as a babyface character. That said, it was good to see Cena get a chance to sink his teeth into a storyline rather than going through the motions with the usual happy go lucky mic work. Cena was very good here, and Punk remains one of the best talkers in the business. The angle with Jerry Lawler was nicely done and gave viewers another reason to dislike him. Here's hoping we haven't seen the last of the Punk and Lawler exchanges.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho: Jericho's departure storyline felt extremely rushed with A.J. just throwing out those stipulations. The match wasn't as strong as their SummerSlam outing, but the near falls meant more since the match had more at stake. This is a big win for Ziggler, who can now boast about costing Jericho his job. There's also a chance that Ziggler will be World Hvt. Champion when Jericho returns. Either way, they should be able to pick up right where they left off.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio: I couldn't help but feel that this match was a little much for the way it was positioned on Raw. Granted, it was timed to be taking place at the same time as the traditional two hour shows would have been starting, but this could have been a pay-per-view match and certainly a Smackdown main event. Nevertheless, the match was entertaining and it seems to set up an interesting Triple Threat dynamic given the way Orton wasn't pleased by the way guest commentator Sheamus helped him by taking out Ricardo Rodriguez. Speaking of commentators, did Michael Cole think this match was being taped for the Saturday Morning Slam kiddie show when he called Sheamus a tattletale?
Kane and Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan and The Miz: Bryan was hilarious with his usual anger issue antics, and Kane's post match temper tantrum shows that the rivals have the same issues. I like the way Bryan got the last shot in on Kane before running away, which left the crowd wanting to see Kane get his hands on him. The finish was logical for television. The only negative is that Ryder just can't get a break. It's amazing to think of how over he was when they were getting behind him compared to where he is now that they've forgotten him. What a shame.
Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, and Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes and The Prime Time Players: A minor Hit for a solid high-energy opening match. Kofi and Sin Cara delivered crowd pleasing offense and got the show off to a good in-ring start. Cody going after the mask of Sin Cara feels like a total repeat of his fairly recent program with Rey Mysterio.
WWE Raw Misses
A.J.: The weekly bits of her getting upset whenever someone says crazy already feels tired and predictable. I miss the spunky A.J. The business suit wearing A.J. just isn't as fun or unpredictable, and the skipping routine now looks out of place. Her early run as the general manager hasn't been nearly as much fun as or creative as I imagined it would be.
Brodus Clay vs. Damien Sandow: I'm interested in this program and the development of both wrestlers, but his live crowd didn't share my enthusiasm. They were either flat throughout the match or just impersonating the way the Los Angeles crowd during the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar main event.
Big Show vs. David Otunga: Why was Big Show positioned in a way that would elicit cheers from the live crowd? They worked hard to make people care about him as a main event heel, yet they set this up in a way that made fans want to see someone rough up Otunga. Are they already turning him again?
Divas Battle Royal: What a mess. The pre-match graphic showed talent that wasn't even in the match, and the actual match was a train wreck. I still have no clue what management sees in Kaitlyn that I'm missing, and I've felt that way going back to her time on NXT.
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