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3/28 RAW HITS
Styles – Jericho: Last week I gave the interaction between A.J. Styles and Chris Jericho a Hit despite some of the problems I had with it. I think I was probably being too generous with that Hit. Now, I may be too generous once again in giving this a Hit. I like the fact that Styles actually cost Jericho his match as opposed to failing to do so last week which made Styles look stupid for allowing Jericho to get the better of him in terms of distractions. After failing to get the fans to actually chant his name last week, he seemed to learn that a better way to go is to get the fans to do a mocking cheer for his heel opponent. So this was better than last week and got us to the match, so that’s something.
Paul Heyman: I am not a fan of what WWE is doing to hype Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania (more later). However, I did like the promo from Paul Heyman. It wasn’t close to Heyman’s best work, but even mediocre work by his standards is still pretty good. I just really enjoy listening to him talk. The way he crafts his promos and weaves his words together is so masterful that he gets me to care more about anything than I was before. When others come out to talk, I often start to zone out after a minute or so. But, Heyman always has me hanging on his every word.
3/28 RAW MISSES
Shane – Undertaker: I don’t understand any of this. Undertaker says that this won’t be his last WrestleMania so the fans cheer. But if that is the case, that means that The Authority stays in power, which gets booed. This whole thing is such a mess. Undertaker calling Shane McMahon his dad’s b—- just seemed like a five-year-old’s argument since that is what Shane called Undertaker a week or two ago. “You’re Vince’s b—-.” “No, you are.” “No you are!” WWE is selling this match as a spectacle on what crazy thing Shane will do to Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell. Don’t you want to tease that, without giving it away? Instead, we got to see Shane leap off the top turnbuckle to elbow drop Undertaker through the announce table. So, I got to see Shane do something crazy and I don’t really need to see more of it. And if the idea was to sell that Shane can beat Undertaker with that type of death-defying move, then why have Undertaker no sell it by sitting up shortly there after?
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: If WWE wants this to be a big deal, they need to fill the match with wresters that the fans actually care about. After Kane and The Big Show who don’t mean much, it is a bunch of jobbers from Main Event and Superstars. As I have said before, WWE didn’t do anything with Cesaro or Big Show to build upon their wins in this match the last two years. They could take away some of the bigger names from the Intercontinental Championship ladder match like Dolph Ziggler and The Miz and put them in this match instead. It shouldn’t just be guys like the Social Outcasts, Darren Young, and Jack Swagger.
Stephanie and Triple H Part 1: So if the only reason to watch WrestleMania is for the WWE World Championship match between Triple H and Roman Reigns, and I don’t care about that match, then should I cancel my WWE Network subscription now? I get selling that match and making it seem huge, but it makes no sense to me to say that it is the only reason to watch WM. And that’s exactly what Stephanie McMahon and Triple H said. The rest of this was just tired old heel authority figure berating the fans b.s. that we’ve heard way too often over the years. Then we got to see Roman Reigns beat up Triple H again, for the third time in three weeks.
New Day: I enjoy The New Day’s schtick less and less each week. I still enjoy much of what they do during their actual matches. Xavier Woods taunting Alberto Del Rio by playing “La Cucaracha” on the trombone was funny. Having them talk about Booty-O cereal and make up stupid other types of Booty cereals for the members of The League of Nations wasn’t funny. And I know they got a huge positive reaction when they came out and later on in the show there were more Booty-Os chants and chants for New Day in general. They are popular and were certainly over with that crowd. But, I don’t find them as entertaining as I once did. And having Coach come out to dance with them wasn’t helping, either.
Dean Ambrose’s Weapons: Does anyone remember why Dean Ambrose is facing Brock Lesnar at WM? Their initial feud started when Lesnar was upset that he had Roman Reigns beat in the triple threat #1 contender match at Fastlane before Ambrose came to break things up. The next night before Raw, Lesnar destroyed Ambrose in the back and sent him to a hospital. When was the last time that was actually brought up on Raw or Smackdown? The entire storyline was side-tracked by Ambrose facing Triple H at Roadblock and ever since then, WWE has fumbled getting this feud back on track. All we get each week is the notion that Ambrose can’t beat Lesnar without weapons, so every week he gets weapons. In other circumstances, WWE could have a good segment on their hands with Ambrose coming out and ignoring Lesnar and Heyman in the ring to fill up his wagon with weapons from under the ring. But I didn’t like it under these circumstances. For too many WM matches, WWE is focusing too much on the spectacle of weapons, Hell in a Cell or a ladder, and not enough time focusing on the story behind those matches, especially in this case.
Eva Marie: I don’t think Eva Marie (and WWE creative for that matter) understands the difference between legit heel heat and go away heat. She has go away heat. Period. I get that WWE wants to go with this idea of the Total Divas cast against the non-Total Divas cast, but that is a terrible idea to begin with. Most of these Divas shouldn’t be wrestling at WM, even if it is just on the pre-show. It is one more case of WWE’s attempt to get everyone on the roster a match in front of that big crowd. There is something somewhat admirable about that. But, it is more harmful to the overall product and doesn’t make for the best show which should be the real goal. The best show does not feature Eva Marie. Period. Again.
Six-Man Tag: This match just went on way too long and Stardust and Sin Cara are not at the same level as the rest of the guys in the match. The best heel in the match was Kevin Owens, who had the least amount of in ring time on his team. I did enjoy his antics, especially how he would refuse to get into the match while pretending to cheer for his teammates. There was good wrestling action during the match, but not enough to fill 21 minutes. The crowd grew very restless, and started to entertain themselves. Part of that is the long nature of the show, which was extra-long this week with a four-plus-hour TV taping, but some of the blame has to go to this match. They were excited at times to see Sami Zayn, but not enough to overcome their boredom with the match as a whole. I also don’t get having Zayn get the pin on Owens here. That is a moment that should have been saved and built to with Zayn over multiple months failing to get his hands on Owens before finally getting it done.
Triple H and Stephanie Part 2: It is very strange when the top babyface in WWE who is challenging for the WWE World Title at WM to not get any mic time to sell the match on the final Raw beforehand. What does it say about WWE’s lack of faith in Reigns’s talking ability that they wouldn’t let him talk on this show? And if you don’t have faith in him to talk and sell this match, then why are you positioning him in this way? I couldn’t believe that Triple H and Stephanie came out to end the show with another promo where they said basically the same crap that they said earlier in the show. We did see Triple H getting the better of Reigns in the back with the help of the Dudley Boyz earlier in the show, but here we got Reigns beating up Triple H again, now for the fourth time in three weeks. The pull-apart brawl was ok at best. But, it really didn’t make me more excited for a match that I wasn’t excited for in the first place. The crowd did pop for jumping over the top rope to crash into Triple H and his army of nobody heels, but then started up a “you still suck” chant, which made me laugh.
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.
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For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell’s views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET’s “Hitlist” section here.