Hits & Misses 5/19 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Cesaro vs. Sheamus, RVD vs. Del Rio, Stephanie McMahon, Rollins vs. Batista, Cena vs. Harper
May 21, 2014 - 3:59:35 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Sheamus vs. Cesaro: I appreciate the fact that Paul Heyman did his best to get the British fans to boo Cesaro, but it didn't work. They were clearly behind Cesaro over Sheamus, but I think WWE is at least trying to paint Cesaro as a heel and Sheamus as a babyface. On a side note also about the fans, please stop cheering for JBL. He is doing a terrible job as an announcer. Like last week when he was disgusted by the PDA from Layla and Fandango, yet this week he was talking about what a great couple they are. I used to be a fan, but not any more. The cheers for the announcers are not cool anyway and have long worn out their welcome, but it is particularly bad when the announcers are as bad as they are (not just JBL, but all three of them are horrible). So, stop chanting for them please. Moving past the crowd's reaction, Cesaro and Sheamus put on a good match. It went over 12 minutes and was fun to watch from start to finish. The finish gave Sheamus an out and the disrespect Cesaro showed him afterwards makes the issue between them more personal. I assume we are going to be getting a US Title match between them at Payback and that would be fine with me.
Stephanie: Stephanie McMahon did a nice job in addressing the WWE World Title situation in regards to Daniel Bryan and his recent neck surgery. Using Bryan's music was predictable. All the fans who actually thought Bryan was going to come out and didn't know with 100 percent certainty that it would be Stephanie should be ashamed of themselves. Stephanie's promo was strong. She addressed the Title situation. She teased possible scenarios with the Title. She also set up a cliffhanger to see what Bryan will do next week. It was pretty simple and well done.
The Shield Promo: The Shield have found a way to shift their voices from being heels to babyfaces without losing who they really are as characters. I am very glad now that WWE didn't break them up as they teased earlier this year. I am enjoying their babyface run. They each did some nice short mic work in the back addressing what Evolution has done to them in the past few weeks, while putting themselves over as being knocked down but not out.
Rollins vs. Batista: As soon as Michael Cole said that only official people would be allowed at ringside for the match between Seth Rollins and Batista, it was predictable that Triple H and Randy Orton would be added as guest ring announcer and time keeper to give them official ringside duties. Otherwise, Cole would have just said that Evolution and The Shield were banned without adding on the official capacity bit at the end. It still worked well. I was questioning how Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns could just add themselves as official guest commentators, but at least WWE addressed that by having them say that Raw GM Brad Maddox (remember him?) made that official. I also laughed out loud when asked why Maddox was in the training room and Reigns said "because I put him there." It was a great deadpan delivery from Reigns.
As for the match itself, Rollins and Batista worked well together and put on a good match. It went back and forth nicely and built to the end with some good nearfalls. Ambrose and Reigns added to the match on guest commentary. This may have been the best that Batista looked in the ring since his return. Rollins continues to just shine in the ring. The fighting at ringside during and then after the match worked well. I also appreciated how Rollins sold the pain of the match afterwards while The Shield celebrated getting the better of Evolution.
Opening Segment: Bray Wyatt is very good at delivering his promos. I wish they were better written. Too many parts of his promos make him sound like a babyface. He connects with fans who have been disenfranchised, who have been told they were nothing. When he talked about his teacher, I thought about some of the things my 3rd grade teacher said about me. He then goes on to say something more heelish. Last week he called himself a god. This week he called himself evil. He is a cult leader, so he has to have admirable qualities, I suppose, but WWE could do a better job of emphasizing the evil part of him. But, they encourage the fans to sing along with him. JBL always gets the final word from the announcers that makes it seem ok to cheer for Wyatt. A lot of fans have compared Wyatt to Jake Roberts, but in the early 90s when Roberts turned heel, he was a heel. He wasn't trying to get fans to cheer for him. My other problem with the opening segment is that we've seen Kane come from behind and attack Daniel Bryan instead of coming down the aisle recently when his music played. Another time, he came up from under the ring. That bit just seems to have been played out recently, so I didn't like seeing John Cena do it here. It works better when you haven't seen it recently. It is also a slightly heelish move, like when Kane did it. Yet, Cena is a babyface. Why was Cena smart for doing it, but Kane was despicable? I just wish this feud had more of a straight up heel vs. face feel to it as those are the types of feuds that I enjoy. That's part of why I am enjoying Evolution vs. The Shield. Triple H isn't playing a tweener.
RVD vs. Del Rio: I hope this was the last match we ever see between Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio. This was terrible. It was awkward. It seemed like Del Rio was in the wrong position to take Rolling Thunder twice in the match, and each time RVD did a very sloppy move, once a "leg drop" and once a semi-Rolling Thunder. It was bad. This also points to the problem with the Beat the Clock gimmick. The announcers did a very nice job of talking about how hard it is to beat an opponent of the caliber of RVD or Del Rio in five minutes, but the match only ended up going a little over four. Not that I wanted to see more of this bad match, but matches between two former World Champions shouldn't be this short.
Paige vs. Fox: I wish WWE would come up with a way to build a challenger for a minor title without having that challenger win a non-title match (yes, I know they did that with the Beat the Clock challenge for the Intercontinental Championship). Cesaro already won a non-title match against US Champion Sheamus. Here, Alicia Fox gets a non-title victory over Divas Champion Paige. I like what they are doing with Fox as a character. I liked what happened last week. But, Paige has not been booked to be a strong champion. She is trying to prove herself, and it is hard for her to prove herself when she loses. Even when she wins, she seems to get beat on for the entire match until she somehow pulls the victory off in the end, often only getting one or two offensive moves in an entire match. After being upset over losing to Paige last week, why not have Fox prove herself as being worthy of a title match by defeating the other Divas and earning that shot. She could have beaten Emma here and celebrated the same way. Give her a win over Cameron on Smackdown and then Naomi on next week's Raw. Have her interact with Paige who is also on getting strong wins. Then you can say that Fox came very close to defeating Paige and has gone on a winning streak since then to make her look like a threat to Paige's Title without making Paige look weak at the same time. You can continue to develop both of their characters also to make the fans want to cheer for Paige and boo Fox. Build their match up and give them 7 or 8 minutes on the PPV and they can deliver a good match that fans actually care about.
Cena vs. Harper: We've seen John Cena vs. Luke Harper several times now, and I'm just not into this match any more. Cena and Harper performed well enough, but it wasn't that long ago that we saw them face on Smackdown and then again three days later on Raw. When you take a feud like this over three PPVs, you are going to get a repetitive feeling and that's what I'm getting here. I like the idea of having the Usos in Cena's corner. I liked the physicality of Wyatt getting involved and hitting each Uso with Sister Abigail. However, it seems like they were knocked out for way too long from one move at that point. It wasn't realistic to me that after that they would not have recovered enough to come to Cena's aid after all that time. It took a long time for Bray to hit Cena with Sister Abigail, conduct the fans singing "He's Got the Whole World", drag Cena out of the ring, have Erick Rowan do a fallaway slam on the ramp, have Bray do another Sister Abigail on Cena, and then have him sing for a long time while Harper slowly counted to ten to get over the last man standing gimmick. The long time Harper counted also reminded me of how anti-climactic Last Man Standing matches are. I've been bored by both Cena vs. Wyatt matches so far, and I have no hope for a better showing at Payback.
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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