Hits & Misses 1/6 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Old School Raw, Flair/Orton/Cena, Piper's Pit, Daniel Wyatt, Jake "the Snake" Roberts
Jan 9, 2014 - 1:33:36 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Flair, Orton and Cena: Old School Raw got off to a good start with the long (a bit too long perhaps) opening segment with Ric Flair, Randy Orton and John Cena. The mic work from all three was strong. I liked how Orton and Flair showed respect for each other which didn't last long. I'm glad that Flair didn't just say that Orton wasn't The Man, or named Cena The Man instead. He acknowledged Orton being The Man, but also the fact that he has to go out and prove it every night which is why he has to prove it again at The Royal Rumble against Cena. It was a nice way to start the Old School theme and hold up Flair as a legend, without having him do anything physical which I was afraid they would do.
Piper's Pit: This was a good use of Rowdy Roddy Piper. He did a nice job hosting Piper's Pit with his guests, The Shield. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Piper and Dean Ambrose square off with the mic. Piper was able to plant the seed for what would become the true theme of Raw which was what does it mean if Roman Reigns can defeat CM Punk in the main event, when neither Ambrose nor Seth Rollins had been able to do it. Would that mean that Reigns is the best member of The Shield? The threat of physicality at the end also worked well as part of The Shield's usual MO, and while The New Age Outlaws were a bit random as Punk's helpers, it still worked well to end a strong segment and further set up the main event.
Rhodes Bros. vs. The Real Americans: In case you are wondering, I'm refusing to use the team name "The Brotherhood" for Cody Rhodes and Goldust as it is stupid. I'm not sure if its their official name, or just what Goldust wants them to be called, but either way, I'm not buying it. As for the match itself, it was no surprise to me that this ended up as a Hit worthy match. I have enjoyed both of these teams. I would not mind at all seeing a long feud between them over the Tag Team Championship. All four are talented wrestlers. They work well as teams and the two teams work well against each other.
DDB, Booker T and Ron Simmons: I have always been a sucker for Ron Simmons' one word catchphrase. I have to admit to enjoying this scene with Diamond Dallas Page and Booker T discussing and demonstrating DDP Yoga and then Booker T Yoga. I got a kick out of it. I liked it more than the random hallway of weird WWE Legends that Big E Langston had to walk down earlier in the show.
Lesnar - Big Show: The mic work from Paul Heyman at the start of this segment was tremendous as usual. Hearing him link both Cena and Orton to Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin was interesting. I liked how he upheld his claim to Brock Lesnar being the #1 contender for the WWE World Title. I also liked the fact that Mark Henry came out to challenge Lesnar again. Even if he is getting a beating from Lesnar, it is good to see Henry stand up for himself like that after what happened the week before. I was trying to figure out who would come out before that, assuming it wasn't going to be Henry. I hadn't even thought of The Big Show, so that was a surprise to me when he came out. The moment between them was strong and the way Show threw Lesnar across the ring was great. My only issue is that Show hasn't been well booked over the last few months. With a stronger recent program for Show, this could have felt like a much bigger moment. I think using Show as a stepping stone for Lesnar makes sense though and I did enjoy their feud from several years ago when Heyman told Lesnar that he couldn't F5 The Big Show, only to have Lesnar prove him wrong.
Show Closing Angle: Punk vs. Reigns wasn't good enough to get a Hit. It wasn't quite bad enough to get a Miss either. However, it does show me that Reigns might have the look and the charisma and the athleticism to be the break out star that WWE believes he will be, but he isn't there yet in actual wrestling ability. I think he will get there, but he has work to do. However, I did like the ending of the match with Ambrose clearly wanting Reigns to win. I assumed that Ambrose would "accidentally" cost Reigns the match so I was pleasantly surprised with the ending. Reigns got the win, but Ambrose can claim some of the victory himself. Then came the surprise return of Jake "the Snake" Roberts. It was good to see him in such good shape. It appears that he is clean and healthy which is wonderful. I hope he stays that way. I also hope that we don't see him again in the near future. This was a nice moment, but I don't want to see him back in the ring. He shouldn't wrestle at his age. But it was good to see him in a nice nostalgia moment like this, even if Ambrose was trying his hardest not to laugh at the snake.
Daniel Wyatt: I am relieved that they didn't actually call Daniel Bryan Daniel Wyatt which they reportedly did at a house show over the weekend. I thought it was bad enough on Smackdown last week when the announcers asked if they needed to call him that. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are part of the Wyatt Family, but they have different last names. So, that was good. But, I am just not a fan of Bryan in the Wyatt Family at all. I understand that I don't know where this storyline is going, and it may end up becoming a Hit over time, but I don't like it now, so it is a Miss now. I don't understand why such a major angle would lead to this new team losing in their first match. I also didn't like how after the match Bryan said that he joined The Wyatts to learn how to be a monster.
Del Rio vs. Cara: I don't understand having Sin Cara defeat Alberto Del Rio twice recently, only to have Del Rio win so quickly here and move right on to talking about Batista and The Royal Rumble. It appears that WWE had plans to give Cara a push, but has changed their minds. It is hard to invest in any mid card program when you don't trust that WWE is actually going to take it anywhere down the line.
Khali vs. Sandow: Do we really need to keep seeing Damian Sandow vs. The Great Khali? Of all the old school WWE Superstars, did anyone actually want to see Runjin Singh (and I use the term "Superstar" very loosely)? How far has Sandow fallen when he is getting the same treatment that Heath Slater got a few years ago in the build up to Raw 1000? Since this match ended with more referee incompetence, doesn't that mean we will get a rematch next week? And again, who wants to see that?
WWE Legends: I wish WWE would find a better use for some of the Legends than they do. If they can't find a good way to incorporate them into the show, I don't see the point in having them on. They found a good way to incorporate some of them into the show like Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper. While I liked the DDP/Booker T/Simmons bit, it didn't really have anything to do with the show. They had Rikishi and Too Cool in a match which was fine, but it wasn't particularly good. It was a case of too much nostalgia in one show. I felt the same about The New Age Outlaws. They were too random as Punk's back up against The Shield. They don't really have a connection to Punk or The Shield. Having The Godfather lead out the Legends who had already been on to a very mediocre crowd reaction before being yelled at by Bad News Barrett didn't seem like a great way to go. Having Gene Okerlund make a joke about a 900 hotline from many years ago that went over the head of just about everyone in the arena and probably at home too didn't help either. What Barrett said about the fans not remembering the Legends felt too true to me in this case. Even Jake "the Shake" got a very light reaction from the crowd. I wonder if things would have been different if this show took place in Madison Square Garden.
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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