Hits & Misses 6/8 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Owens - Cena, Owens vs. Neville, Miz TV, J&J Security, Reigns vs. Kingston
Jun 9, 2015 - 4:32:45 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Opening Segment: Raw got off to a good start with the verbal exchange between John Cena and Kevin Owens. I have enjoyed what WWE has been doing with these two. They have been delivering good performances on the mic. I liked how Owens demanded that he do an NXT Championship open challenge instead of Cena's US open challenge. It was good that Cena tried to accept the challenge, and that Owens backed down from that fight to wait for Money in the Bank. He understands that he is a heel and that he is supposed to get heel heat. He always does something to underscore that the fans should be booing him. This opening set up the NXT Championship match between Owens and Neville for after the first commercial break.
Owens vs. Neville: Speaking of that NXT Championship match, Owens vs. Neville was good. I'm not a big fan of having the NXT Championship on WWE tv. I think NXT should be kept more separate from Raw and Smackdown. If someone is good enough to be on the main roster and is appearing each week on Raw, Smackdown and each month at the PPVs, then they don't need to be appearing at Full Sale University NXT tapings any more. But if I'm just looking at the quality of this match, it was a Hit. It was entertaining. It went nearly 14 minutes. Neville got in enough offense, but Owens got the strong win as he should. Cena was solid on guest commentary. And afterwards, Owens was great in his bravado inviting Cena to get into the ring, only to once again reinforce his heel persona by backing down once Cena got into the ring. This was good.
Orton vs. Sheamus: This was better than their match last week. For one thing, it didn't feel random and forced like it did last week. After last week's post-match beat down, this match had something to it with Randy Orton wanting revenge on Sheamus. Both wrestlers seemed more engaged here than last week. They worked well together to put on a good hard hitting and physical match. The ending mirrored last week's ending with Orton getting disqualified this time for using a chair and getting his revenge afterwards with his own beat down of Sheamus.
Miz TV: I was not expecting to enjoy this segment, but I did. Ryback was fun to watch here. He did a good job of playing to the fans and interacting with them. They definitely seemed to respond well to him getting into the "Feed Me More!" chants. The Miz played his role trying to stir the pot well as he wanted Ryback to beat up The Big Show since he didn't want to do it himself. Big Show was also good in his role. I'm not really looking forward to Ryback vs. Show for the Intercontinental Championship at the PPV, and I'm not looking forward to a possible triple threat match with these three down the line. But I did enjoy this segment.
J&J Security: I have mixed feelings about what WWE has done the last two weeks in regards to Seth Rollins and the rest of The Authority. I'm glad it wasn't all a big ruse as we've seen that before, but I am concerned that it will still play out that way at the PPV on Sunday. I don't like casting some of The Authority in babyface roles while others are heels. And I think Joey Mercury's first words could have come at a bigger moment (though that's not a big deal). However, I did enjoy the work done by Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury throughout Raw. Noble is always great. They did a nice job in getting upset at what Rollins had said about them last week and then again to their face. The build to their main event handicap match was strong. They also performed well in that main event. It is always great to see Noble in the ring. The main event was fun with Dean Ambrose helping J&J giving Rollins his comeuppance.
Divas Division: The Divas division continues to be a mess. This isn't a reflection on the women wrestlers in the division, but on how they are presented. It is fine to have Paige make a strong statement about wanting to change the Division and take it away from the Bellas, but unless all the Divas have well defined babyface and heel characters, the storylines are going to remain muddled. I think Paige is supposed to be a babyface, but she doesn't always act in an admirable way. Nikki Bella is now a heel again (I think). Instead of reinforcing her as a heel by having her face a strongly established babyface like Natalya, they have her face another heel in Summer Rae. I know she is a heel because of what she recently did to Damian Sandow, but WWE hasn't followed up on that, probably because for some reason they have it in their minds that they don't want to truly define the Divas into the traditional wrestling roles. But if you don't give me a clear reason to cheer for Summer or boo Nikki, then why should I do either? Instead, I will just sit silently as the crowd in New Orleans seemed to do.
Money in the Bank Preview Segment: This was a drag. Roman Reigns was uninspired when he started this segment off with his promo. I can't blame him as he wasn't given anything good to work with and he was just another mid carder being ignored as the segment proceeded to put attention on guys like Kane and R-Truth. Kane was ok, but the segment went way down with Dolph Ziggler. This was very bad from Ziggler. Again, he didn't have much to work with. His speech about tools was horrible. I did laugh at R-Truth coming out to talk about what he was going to do in MITB. It was hilarious when Kane told him he wasn't in the match and Truth apologized and left. Unfortunately, that was the only entertaining moment in this long boring segment. At that point I guess the joke was supposed to be that Kane was upset about being interrupted, first by The New Day and then by Sheamus. But, it wasn't funny. None of them had anything interesting to say. None of it was entertaining. None of it made me want to watch any of them in MITB, and it didn't make me look forward to any of their matches for later in Raw.
Kane vs. Ziggler: I can hardly remember anything about this match. It was just there. It felt like filler. It felt like nothing special. It was two guys killing time in the ring waiting for Rusev to come out and distract Ziggler long enough to allow Kane to get the win. Considering that, then having them have to fill nearly 10 minutes was really a mistake.
Reigns vs. Kingston: WWE didn't do much to make the smaller MITB participants seem like they had a change against the larger ones. Ziggler lost to Kane. Neville lost to Owens (not that Owens is in MITB, but it was a loss for Neville against a larger opponent), and here, Kofi Kingston lost to Roman Reigns. When you have guys like that in a major match like MITB, it would be better to show why they deserve to be in the match. Instead, the only way he was even competitive against Reigns was by the distraction from his New Day partners. There were good things about this match. Kingston's performance was a good reminder of how good a wrestler he is. He has done an admirable job as a heel which I doubted he could pull off. Reigns was ok here. It was just his standard performance. I did like the superman punch to end the match as it reinforces that Reigns can win in ways other than just the spear. But, it was one of those moves that looked better in regular motion live than in the slow mo replay. I wish WWE would find a way to promote a match like MITB without having half of the participants lose on the final Raw beforehand, especially someone like Kingston who hasn't been presented as a threat to win the match, but just a guy in the match to have some holy shit spots.
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 - 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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