Hits & Misses 8/20 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Paul Heyman, Jericho vs. Ziggler, CM Punk, Lesnar Quits
Aug 22, 2012 - 2:44:54 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch specialist
Paul Heyman: I haven't been a big fan of the Brock Lesnar - Triple H storyline, but Paul Heyman has been great and this week's Raw was no different. I thoroughly enjoyed his mic work during the opening segment talking about Lesnar vs. Triple H from SummerSlam and how Lesnar has ended Triple H's career. Lesnar was good in his reactions to what Heyman was saying as well. The bit with referee Scott Armstrong was strong too. The entire thing was over the top (as the entire angle has been), but Heyman makes it work with his great performance.
Orton vs. Del Rio: This was a solid match made better by the enjoyable guest commentary of Sheamus. Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio worked well together in the ring. I liked Del Rio mocking Orton's pounding on the mat. There was some nice wrestling action. It wasn't great, but the ending was well done to play into the ending of Del Rio vs. Sheamus from the PPV so it worked well and gets a marginal Hit.
Post-Match Interviews: The wwe.com exclusive videos from after matches at the PPV were a nice addition to this show. They had interviews will all three of the wrestlers in the WWE Title triple threat match, and showed R-Truth and Kofi Kingston celebrating after retaining the Tag Team Titles (Truth dowsing Lil' Jimmy with gatorade was hilarious). This is such a simple way to make matches feel important. I would like to see more reactions from wrestlers after matches on the same night, but in the case of a PPV, showing them the next night on Raw makes perfect sense. This is a way of helping to fill 3 hours without what I would consider filler. Seeing how angry Big Show was after losing made that loss seem more important.
Jericho vs. Ziggler: I didn't like the stipulations for this match (more later), and I didn't like what happened afterwards, but the match itself between Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler was good. It was easily the best match of Raw, though that isn't necessarily saying much. Considering the stipulation and the fact that it will be Jericho's last match in WWE for the time being, I would have liked to see the match go longer than 10 minutes. They could have easily found another 5 minutes on a 3 hour show to give these two more time to tell their story. They both performed well which is why I wanted to see more. It was good while it lasted and I liked the fact that Ziggler got the clean win after losing at the PPV. I didn't like the attack from Jericho afterwards. The fans booed and I'm guessing that wasn't the reaction WWE was expecting, but they should have considering Jericho had barely turned babyface after being a heel the rest of the year, and this was a total heel move. It was bad hearing Jerry Lawler trying to justify it afterwards. But, the match was still a Hit.
CM Punk: This was the first time since CM Punk attacked The Rock on Raw 1000 that I felt he was actually playing a full fledged heel. He should have been doing that from the start, but better late than never. He was still saying a lot of the same things he's been saying in what I would call a tweener role, but his whole performance just felt like he was more of a heel than in the previous weeks. Obviously, the big moment at the end of the show when he kicked Lawler in the head was meant to cement the fact that he is a heel. That was good to see, but even before that happened he was coming across to me as much more whinny than he had before.
Triple H Lovefest: This show was too Triple H centric. Even in his opening promo about how Lesnar destroyed Triple H and how he had quit on everyone, Heyman had to talk about what a great warrior Triple H was in terms of his torn quad many years ago. Considering The Game is semiretired as it is, I guess I'm just not that into whether or not he is actually retired at this point. I mean, he only wrestles like twice a year anyway, so what does it really matter? Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair were both active full time wrestlers when their WWE careers came to an end, so those felt like bigger deals. I'm not saying he isn't worthy of a big send off when his career actually is over, but this feels more like playing with the fans to boost his ego. Shawn Michaels was good in his performance, but I got sick of the Triple H ass kissing.
AJ: I get where WWE is going with AJ reacting to anyone saying the word "crazy" but it comes across like she is being unfair to the heels. What did David Otunga do to deserve being put into a match against Big Show? I felt bad for Otunga and that shouldn't be my reaction to a heel. I didn't like how she told Otunga that he would wrestle an opponent of her choosing as if that was a big deal. She is in charge of the show. All opponents are of her choosing. Doesn't she make all of the matches and therefore choose all the opponents? So, why does she make such a big deal about choosing Otunga's opponent? She even let Punk choose his own opponent for the WWE Title, but she had to approve, so she was really choosing that opponent too. I also didn't like her random stipulations that she added to Jericho vs. Ziggler. It was going too far for a rematch. I know they had to get to Jericho leaving by the end of the show, but this was a poorly written way to get there. It made a mockery of the Money in the Bank PPV that the winner of the briefcase could possibly lose it like that (yes, they did the same thing with Mr. Kennedy several years ago, but in that case, he decided to put the briefcase on the line against Edge, whereas Ziggler was forced to here which wasn't fair - another heel being punished for no reason).
Divas Battle Royal: The silence that the Fresno fans met this match with should be a sign to WWE that whatever they are doing with the Divas isn't working. They need to do something more to make the individual Divas stand out and connect with the audience. Shoving them all together in this type of a match isn't going to work. The fans were silent and I can't blame them. They just started doing something with Kaitlyn on Smackdown, but haven't done enough to establish her with the fans before making her the #1 contender. They haven't done enough with Layla to make fans care about her as Champion. So, they have a lot of work to do to make the fans care about this match, but I somehow doubt that they will.
Lesnar Quits: WWE knew what they had with Lesnar when they resigned him. He is only going to have a few matches in his year back in WWE and they needed to have reasons why he wouldn't be around full time like every other wrestler on the roster. I'm not convinced they fully thought through various scenarios to justify his time off between the few matches he is having. He quit because he didn't get his demands after wrestling John Cena. He came back reluctantly for a second match against Triple H, and now has quit again since he has conquered WWE. It seemed disconnected with the opening segment when Heyman called him the new King of Kings. All the fans have to bow down to him now, and then he quit. Presuming he comes back, it will be more of the same with him quitting, returning, quitting, returning, etc. which is already old. I also wasn't a fan of having the announcement on Tout which made it feel less important than it should have.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell's views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET's "Hitlist" section here.
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