Hits & Misses 8/13 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Needless 1st Hour, Cena & Punk vs. Bryan & Show, Triple H - Michaels - Lesnar, Piper's Pit
Aug 15, 2012 - 3:40:37 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Miz vs. Jericho vs. Ziggler: After a skippable first hour of Raw and a poor edition of Piper's Pit (more later), Raw finally got going with this good triple threat match between The Miz, Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler. All three performed well in the ring and put on a good match. I am still sick of the triple threat format, but that doesn't mean that they can't be fun to watch like this one. Injecting Miz into the mix doesn't make much sense, other than just needing someone to have a triple threat to save Jericho vs. Ziggler for SummerSlam. What I didn't like was throwing out the fact that Miz will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Rey Mysterio at the PPV was a throw away line. They have had no interaction. Mysterio hasn't done much winning since returning, so I don't see why he gets to be #1 contender for the IC Title. But, that is really a complaint about WWE's approach to their minor Titles and to hyping PPVs then about this match itself which was quite good especially the final few minutes. The fact that Jericho lost to Ziggler would suggest that Jericho will likely win at the PPV, and then probably get injured by Ziggler the next night on Raw to send him off for his Fozzy tour.
Cena & Punk vs. Show & Bryan: I hate to use these terms, but it is a good way to describe this match. This wasn't a great match from a "pro wrestling" stand point, but it was good from a "sports entertainment" stand point. By that I mean that the match was more about the characters involved and the tension and storytelling, than the actual wrestling contest. I like how both teams had tension with times when the partners tagged themselves into the match. They all played their roles well and this was well booked in terms of the four characters involved. I laughed when Daniel Bryan tagged himself in and told The Big Show to leave his ring. I liked how C.M. Punk and John Cena mocked each other by doing each other's moves. I appreciate the fact that WWE didn't do what they've done so often in the past and had Punk leaving an injured Cena in the ring by refusing to tag into the match. I don't remember much of the wrestling action, but I was entertained. I wish WWE would go full fledged heel with Punk as he seems justifiable in his actions. He saved Cena from Big Show afterwards and it was Cena who refused to shake his hand. The tweener role for Punk isn't working for me right now, but I did enjoy this match.
First Hour: So far, this week's Raw was the first of the three-hour Raws to have what I felt was a totally inconsequential and skippable first hour. WWE needs to do a much better job of getting fans to tune in at 8:00 each week, but instead of doing that last week or this week, they put on such a blah hour of tv that they showed the fans who did tune in that they won't miss much if they skip that 1st hour next week. What happened in that hour? It started with Punk vs. Big Show in a boring match that was a set up for a match for later in the show which means you didn't miss much if you missed it. You had JTG getting squashed by Ryback which is fine, but nothing we haven't seen before. You had the start of the Shawn Michaels worrying about Brock Lesnar angle with him finding out Triple H wasn't there yet, but that played out so many times during the rest of the show that they didn't need as many scenes of Michaels in the back, so this could have been pushed to the second hour. R-Truth beat Heath Slater in under two minutes. The post-match attack was focused on the Tag Team Title match at SummerSlam which was fine. We got a Tout montage from Mark Henry at the Olympics which wasn't needed. We got the Smackdown hype with Booker T and Alberto Del Rio, which was okay. There was a bad Sin Cara vs. Tensai match which lasted barely over a minute and meant nothing. There was more of Michaels in the back worrying about Lesnar. Then you had the start of Piper's Pit. It wasn't all bad, but if you want me to tune in for three hours, then you have to give me a reason to watch that extra first hour and this week they certainly failed to do so.
Piper's Pit: I have enjoyed a lot of the special Piper's Pits that we've gotten over the past several years. Rowdy Roddy Piper can be an effective character to help out the product, by giving a legend's perspective on current storylines and wrestlers. That was unfortunately not the case here. Piper seemed more befuddled than usual (which is saying something). I appreciate that they didn't ignore his past with Jericho, but it didn't make for a smooth transition from Piper seeming to be against Jericho, to Piper seeming to be in favor of him by the end of the segment. It also continues to reinforce the notion that the votes for Raw Active are a joke, because who cares who the fans voted for, if all three choices are going to end up on the talk show by the end? I for one was voting for #LilJimmyPit even though that wasn't one of the choices. The segment itself felt more like children arguing over someone cutting in line than three wrestlers talking about a big PPV match. It was muddled. It was poorly written and poorly executed as well.
Kaitlyn & Layla vs. Phoenix & Eve: This was an ugly match. I'm not sure anyone other than Beth Phoenix in this match has the talent to be in a match on the flagship show for WWE. Layla was very sloppy. Kaitlyn hasn't been on much to really get a sense of her skill, but I haven't been impressed with what I've seen. I certainly don't want to see her wrestle Eve on Smackdown. AJ has become the most popular and interesting Diva, but with her as the GM, she isn't going to be in any matches. They need to do something to make the actual wrestling Divas more important and they should start by focusing on Divas who can actually wrestle.
Christian: I am hopeful that Antonio Cesaro will defeat Santino Marella for the U.S. Title before SummerSlam and then feud with Christian over the Title on Smackdown. That has potential for good matches while elevating Cesaro. However, that is hard to do with how weak Christian looked by losing so easily (even after a Brodus Clay distraction) to Damian Sandow. I am high on Sandow, but I don't think Christian was the right opponent for him in this match.
Lesnar - Triple H - Michaels: There was some good in the big angle that spanned what seemed like the final half an hour of the show, however I had plenty of problems with it, too. WWE went to the contract signing way too early with way too much time left to fill in the show. What exactly did A.J. have planned for the rest of the show after the contract signing? She didn't have a match planned or another in ring segment scheduled despite the amount of time left in the show. That type of thing just bothers me. The contract signing itself felt anti-climactic. That makes sense given the fact that the climax of the angle was to come later, but they built up all this anticipation for a confrontation between Michaels and Lesnar with the worry that Triple H wasn't going to be there, but instead nothing happened as Michaels came to the ring, only to have The Game come out moments later. They signed the contract and that was it. It was at least not the typical WWE contract signing, but it felt like nothing special. Afterward, there were still two commercials left in the show with nothing planned. We saw Touts on the Booker T - Del Rio situation. Then there was an awkward scene in the back with Michaels and Triple H. Then you had the lame set up with a back stage interview with Big Show and then the car incident in the back ground. The way the camera went black and then we heard Lesnar attacking Michaels was cheesy. The final part of the show with Lesnar breaking Michaels's arm was well done and generated the heat that they were looking for. However, it took a lot to get there and it really felt stretched and unnatural how they got to that needed point.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at email@example.com.
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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