Hits & Misses HITS & MISSES - 12/15 WWE Raw: Jericho, Lesnar's Return, The New Day, Roman Reigns, TLC fall-out, more
Dec 18, 2014 - 2:40:40 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Opening Segment: While the opening segment was far too long, I enjoyed most of it and am giving it a Hit. I enjoyed the mix of personalities involved with Chris Jericho, Paul Heyman, Seth Rollins and John Cena all playing their parts well. There were plenty of entertaining moments during the segment, my favorite being when Heyman told Jericho that he believed Jericho could beat him in a match. I cringe when I hear Heyman in particular use the term "sports entertainer." I also guess we have to just accept the fact that Jericho had the steel cage ready to go as he wanted to do a cage match main event of some type. The segment did announce two big matches for later in the show (though I wasn't a big fan of Jericho setting up a match against Heyman), so it was pretty good in the end.
Return of Lesnar: WWE has bungled almost everything that they have done with Brock Lesnar since his squash WWE Title victory over John Cena at SummerSlam. Not having him on to defend the Title at the last three PPVs was a huge mistake. They need to have the Champion around and they need to have Lesnar beating top stars so that he looks unstoppable heading into WrestleMania. Instead, he is only going to get a few wins over Cena and his beating The Streak has been wasted. So, I was at least happy to see him finally return. He did get to beat up a top star in Jericho. By the end of the show, he made his presence felt even more, but once again destroying Cena in a very heelish move taking advantage of a weakened Cena at the end of his steel cage match.
End of Raw: I'm not giving the main event steel cage match between John Cena and Seth Rollins a Hit. I'm not giving it a Miss either. It was pretty good. It certainly had strong moments. Cena and Rollins worked hard in the match. However, it felt too much like a replay of their tables match from the TLC PPV the night before, being another gimmick match with J & J Security often interfering. Just like at the PPV, it makes me wonder why Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury don't just get in the ring the entire time. They can hold down Cena while Rollins escapes the cage. There was too much of their involvement in this match, but in another way, there wasn't enough. And that's the problem with these types of matches. But, it was still a good end to the show with the solid main event with the above mentioned appearance by Lesnar. The announcers did a nice job of talking about how Lesnar had issues with both Cena and Rollins. It played out nicely where Lesnar beat up Cena with Rollins looking like he might be next. The handshake at the end between Heyman and Rollins worked well. It was very nice to hear the announcers speculate as to whether this was a plan hatched by Rollins or Heyman ahead of time, or something more spur of the moment. I look forward to seeing where WWE goes with this and what explanation we get going forward (assuming they actually follow up on this).
Voting Options: I don't understand giving the fans a chance to vote for a match stipulation and then giving them three options that are all the same. There is ZERO difference between Street Fight, Extreme Rules and No Holds Barred. Anyone who says otherwise, doesn't know what they are talking about. I was shocked when I heard Jerry 'The King' Lawler say that they should inform the fans about the differences in these matches. I thought we were finally going to learn the difference. But, then they moved on and he never did.
The New Day: This is terrible. I won't say that it is a waste of Big E. or Xavier Woods's talents, but it is certainly a waste of Kofi Kingston. It is such an annoying gimmick for these three. They make me want to change the channel every time I see them. Having Michael Cole talk about how great they are doesn't help. Having Cole trying to get John Bradshaw Layfield excited because of how positive they are wasn't helping either. The fans seemed to crap all over them on this week's Raw. And I'm glad they did. Part of me thinks that this has to be purposefully bad to set up an angry black man heel turn (they turn on the fans and get angry because their positivity never won them anything including the fans' respect) down the line. I mean, no professional writer can possibly think this is a good idea, right?
Highlight Reel: Chris Jericho was good in the opening segment, but not nearly as good during The Highlight Reel. He just seemed to go overboard in making fun of Lana's outfit and suggesting that she and Rusev are having an affair. Lana did her best with the material she was given, but it wasn't good. Their heat comes from their anti-America stance and it works. Now, maybe it can't work forever and at some point you have to have more depth. But, the anti-America stuff has to last until someone finally beats him for the United States Championship. This didn't really make Rusev and Lana look like heels. I am a bit intrigued by Ryback vs. Rusev, and the fans seem to be getting behind Ryback at this point (at least in terms of the strong "feed me more!" chants). However, don't both Rusev and Ryback need to be protected and kept strong for big separate WrestleMania matches? I'm worried that both of these guys will be over protected against each other which will totally water down the feud. Rusev has to get the ultimate win, but not in a strong enough way. And if the plan is for Rusev vs. Ryback at WM, then this was way too early to start the slow burn to that match.
Roman Reigns: Ok, so Fandango is kind of an ass and has Jericho's Slammy award. Does that mean he deserves to be interrupted, punched and speared? To me that made Roman Reigns look like a jerk. This is a complain about the writing, not the performer. WWE just hasn't done him any favors with how they present him. The interaction with Big Show as a follow up to their interaction at TLC the night before was fine. But, I'm not sure a feud against Show is the way to go for the returning Reigns.
The Miz and Naomi: I have not been a fan of this storyline with The Miz playing mind games with The Usos by trying to "help" Naomi's music career. As a general rule, I don't enjoy wrestling storylines that involve marital tension between a husband and wife. It is odd to me to put so much focus on a Diva wanting to be a big star outside of WWE. Naomi is a babyface. Her focus on WWE tv should be her WWE career, not trying to further some music career which seems more like a heel move to me. And this week you get this terrible scene where Miz "secretly" invites her onto MizTV and asks her not to tell her husband about it on camera as if nobody is watching.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at his NEW email address - 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.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**