Hits & Misses 6/15 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Rollins, Ambrose-Sheamus, Owens-Ziggler, Lesnar
Jun 17, 2015 - 4:14:41 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist
Dusty Rhodes Tribute: WWE did a nice job throughout Raw of paying tribute to Dusty Rhodes. They showed various clips of his career and encouraged fans to watch the special documentary on his life after Raw on the Network. The announcers talked about him and even Ryback got in on the tribute when he was doing guest commentary. It was all done respectfully and the fact that they spread it out throughout the show helped to show how important Rhodes was to the world of professional wrestling.
Rollins' Promo: Seth Rollins was great early in the show with his promo about beating Dean Ambrose all alone at Money in the Bank. He continued his recent trend of saying that he doesn't need The Authority's help. I loved how he kept thanking Seth Rollins for all of his own achievements. The cheap anti-Cleveland heat obviously got a good response from the 15,000 fans in attendance (or whatever it was), but as with all case of this type of cheap heat, what about the millions watching on tv? As a Bay Area resident and a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors (I should say the World Champion Golden State Warriors), I was popping when Rollins said that LeBron James would not bring a World Championship to Cleveland. Otherwise, this was a real nice promo from Rollins and set up Ambrose to come out and interrupt.
Ambrose vs. Sheamus: This was a good match. We haven't seen much between these two against each other so this felt fresh (as opposed to the upcoming Sheamus vs. Randy Orton match that they are building to again). Ambrose and Sheamus worked well together. Ambrose needed the win to get momentum back after losing to Rollins the night before. I want to see WWE keep Mr. Money in the Bank strong while he holds that briefcase. I don't want to see Sheamus losing the way some previous MITB winners like Damian Sandow have in the past. But, at least here he had the distraction from Orton as an excuse. But, hopefully he will come out on top of their feud so that he actually looks like a worthy future WWE World Champion.
R-Truth: I don't always like what WWE does with R-Truth, but he does often make me laugh. It is funny when he calls Byron Saxton "Coach". It was funny last week when he thought he was in the MITB ladder match. This week it was funny when he thought he was doing guest commentary only to have JBL point out that he was actually in the match against King Barrett. I wish WWE was doing something better with Barrett. The king gimmick doesn't suit him and it feels like he is being saddled with the crown the way he once appeared to be saddled with the Intercontinental Championship. But, Truth was good for some laughs.
Owens Promo: Kevin Owens did a good job following up on his loss to John Cena by addressing his post-match actions. He was good in a heelish way in the manner in which he defended his attack on Cena for what he called Cena's disrespectful behavior. He has his fans who don't care to follow the actual storylines or the characters and just cheer for whichever performers that they like. But, he can't be accused of trying to get babyface pops despite being a heel as he is playing a heel. He isn't trying to be cute or cool to get those cheers. He is doing a great job, both in the ring and on the mic. And I liked how he has turned Cena's US Open Challenge into his own series of challenges, this one being accepted by Dolph Ziggler. I also loved how he interrupted Lilian Garcia's attempt to announce this as an NXT Title match, calling her "blondie" and saying that it was not going to be for the Title.
Owens vs. Ziggler: As I said above, Owens is doing a great job on the mic and in the ring. His ring skills were on full display here in this match against Ziggler. The match went over 15 minutes and was the highlight of the night from an in ring standpoint. It was fun to watch from start to finish. These are two very talented wrestlers and they worked well together to put on a good match. I like that Owens is getting clean wins. The match went back and forth nicely and built well to that finish with Owens finally hitting the pop up powerbomb after a few failed attempts to hit it. This is better than having him hit the move and have his opponent kick out of it. Have him almost hit it early in the match and build anticipation for what might happen if he actually hits it. That's what they did here and it worked.
Ambrose's Talk to Kane: WWE did a decent job of building up different possibilities for Seth Rollins' next challenger for the World Championship. Two of those possibilities were Kane and Ambrose. They had a very good scene together carried by Ambrose's strong promo. Kane was good in his role too contemplating what Ambrose had said. I loved how Ambrose said that for Kane this has just become a job, but for him it is his entire life. Obviously he will be out of the Title picture for awhile, but this made it clear that he is far from done in the main even picture. However, I'm hoping this won't turn into a series of matches between these two, but neither has anything else going right now so I have to assume they will be facing each other.
Where's the Wrestling?: WWE went about 30 minutes to start Raw without a wrestling match. I haven't gone back in the records to check, but my perception is that this is the longest they have gone without a match to start Raw in a very long time. I did like some of what happened in that half an hour, but it was still just too long to wait for actual wrestling.
Kane vs. Orton: This was a match that really didn't need to happen. I'm not sure why it was happening. Kane's character lately has been totally wishy-washy. He is supposed to be sympathetic in his role against Rollins. But, here he was back to his total heel character abusing his own power in making the match no DQ so that Sheamus could help him beat Orton. It got some heat back for Sheamus which was good, but that could have been achieved in better ways.
Big Show - Miz - Ryback: I don't like what WWE has done with Ryback since he won the IC Title a few weeks ago. I like Ryback. I like what he is doing. I enjoyed his work doing guest commentary for Big Show vs. The Miz. But, I didn't think it was a good idea to go right to a feud with Big Show the night after winning the Title. Ryback as a bit of a surprise champion should be protected and built up in a strong manner with a series of decisive Title defenses before facing a tougher challenge like Show. I also don't like the muddied waters with Miz being involved and I am not looking forward to seeing the inevitable triple threat between them.
Owens Kills Machine Gun Kelly: Now I must say that I am not a fan of MGK's music. And even if I was a fan of his music, I wouldn't want to see him perform a song in the middle of Raw. I do understand that WWE is trying to fill 3 hours, but I still don't need to see a concert in the middle of a wrestling show. So, I was happy to see Owens beat him up. I have praised Owens for playing a heel. But for part of Raw's audience, this might turn him babyface. And if this were a real situation (and as I always say, wrestling should always be booked as if it were 100% real), Owens would be fired for what he. Later in the show, Stephanie McMahon said that Owens would face disciplinary action. But, due to liability and the possibility of a major multi-million dollar lawsuit, there is no way he would still have a job in this company. So, they are setting up a situation which will undoubtedly have a very unrealistic outcome. There are better ways to get heat on Owens than this. And keep the concerts off of Raw.
Lesnar's Return: Let me make it clear that this Miss is not for the fact that Brock Lesnar returned. I am very happy to have Lesnar and Paul Heyman back on WWE tv. The shows are better when they are on and their presence makes me much more excited for the overall product. But, WWE painted itself into a corner in the way that they wrote Lesnar off of tv the night after WrestleMania. Stephanie justifiably suspended Lesnar indefinitely after he snapped and injured several workers including Michael Cole and a camera man. WWE needed a strong reason why The Authority would reinstate him and I'm not sure being annoyed by Rollins not acknowledging their help to his career is a strong enough reason. Maybe we will get a better explanation, but I doubt it. When he was suspended, I pictured Daniel Bryan becoming World Champion and the Authority being so annoyed that nobody could get the Title off of the B+ player that they would bring back a heel Lesnar to take the title from Bryan and we would get Bryan vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam. That probably wasn't in the cards even before Bryan's injury. But something like that (with Ambrose in Bryan's spot) would have made more sense. I'm not saying that Lesnar should be a heel, as he can work as a huge babyface. But, that would have been one way to go. Here, I am left forced to cheer for the Authority for bringing him back to take on Rollins. It was a mess. Another issue I had with this was Michael Cole's lack of a response. He acted like the suspension had nothing to do with Lesnar beating him up. What about his lawsuit against Lesnar? I understand it was addressed in a video after Raw, but that isn't good enough. He should have been very upset to see Lesnar back on Raw. They did mention that Lesnar had been reinstated, but ignored why he needed to be reinstated in the first place. I don't like a babyface Lesnar working with The Authority. I don't like the missed opportunity for a better storyline. And I don't like ignoring a major moment on Raw in the way they handled Lesnar's return.
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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