WWE RAW HITS & MISSES (4/8): Cody and Rock, Four-way for World Title shot, Judgment Day and R-Truth, Jade Cargill, NXT appearances

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch contributor

Cody Rhodes


Cody – Rock – HIT: Obviously, this was a very long segment. I don’t know when it started after the opening video, but I believe it ended around 8:45. But, it was very compelling and entertaining. It made sense given that WWE clearly wants the fans to know that this is a new era, the Triple H era if you will, to start the show with Paul Levesque. His performance was good. Cody Rhodes was also good in his role. The video package that Triple H presented was very well done. They drove home the point of the huge crowd without the big Tron. And of course, somebody had to eventually interrupt Rhodes, and The Rock made perfect sense. It was so much fun to watch him playing this heel character interacting with the fans. The fans were hot throughout the show. We don’t know what is immediately next for Rhodes as the new WWE Champion, but we know that The Rock is looming in the background and will return to face him at some point. I liked how Cody made Rock acknowledge him in a way, by calling him “his” Champion. And of course, you have the bit at the end. What did Rock hand Cody? And how did Cody break Rock’s heart? I don’t care how long the segment was. It was great.

Nakamura vs. Dragunov – HIT: This was sort of that buffer match to fill out the first hour of the show, which could go longer or shorter based on how long Rock and Rhodes went. They obviously went long, so this was a shorter match which was disappointing. But, it was still a good main roster debut for Ilja Dragunov. It also served as a backdrop to announce the draft for the end of the month, focusing on the fact that Dragunov would likely be drafted to either Raw or Smackdown. Shinsuke Nakamura deserves more after the strong work he did in the first few months of the year. So, I’ll call this a minor Hit.

R-Truth – Judgment Day – MISS: If Damian Priest hadn’t won the World Championship at WrestleMania, I would feel very differently about this segment. I liked how Judgment Day celebrated, and I did laugh at R-Truth sneaking into their celebration. But, that story needed to be over. Priest needs to be taken seriously as the new Champion. Having him in a goofy comedy bit with Truth and The Miz isn’t the way to start his Title reign. I’m glad that he wasn’t part of the six man tag that followed. It was a nice fun cameo with John Cena teaming with Awesome Truth and getting the triple five knuckle shuffle/AA finish. It was a good use of Cena for a surprise on the Raw after Mania. It was fun. But, it felt out of place due to Priest’s Championship.

Hartwell vs. Perez – MISS: I feel that Roxanne Perez is totally miscast as a heel. NXT seems to think that every wrestler on the card has to turn at least once before getting called up. I’m not into her heel character. It feels like she’s playing the part, not living the part. She does make mean angry faces well I guess. I would have waited on her Raw or Smackdown debut until she’s back in the right role as a babyface. Having her debut in a match that was more focused on the Indi Hartwell / Candace LeRae situation wasn’t the best idea either. I’m also not particularly intrigued by the promise of a Natalya vs. Perez match for NXT.

Zayn & Gable vs. Imperium – HIT: This was a good tag match that was a nice way to follow up on Sami Zayn defeating Gunther to end his history making Intercontinental Title reign. It was a great moment and a definite highlight of WM Saturday. Zayn’s pre-match promo was strong. Ludwig Kaiser & Giovani Vinci coming out to interrupt, only to have Chad Gable dome out to help Zayn all worked well. And then we finally got a good decent-length match which was definitely needed on this show.

Cargill vs. Green – HIT: This was a good way to get Jade Cargill on a show with a big audience. It makes sense to give her a quick squash win over an opponent like Chelsea Green. Green was great in the earlier backstage segment with the three general managers. She plays her role to perfection. It does seem like WWE could get more out of her, but this is her role and she has some value. Cargill will need to eventually show what she can do in longer matches, where she has to sell. But a string of squashes to start is smart. They are treating her like a huge star.

Hyping WrestleMania – HIT: As usual, WWE did a great job throughout the show of making WM feel like a HUGE deal. They had multiple video highlight packages all night. They effectively followed up on the biggest matches and moments. They touted the 200,000+ fans who saw a WWE show over the weekend. It was all well done.

Main Event – HIT: WWE did a nice job of hyping the main event fatal four-way #1 contender match for Damian Priest’s World Championship. We got promos earlier in the show from Bronson Reed and Jey Uso. Poor Ricochet didn’t get to talk. And then right before the match, Drew McIntyre cut a very good in ring promo. He continues to be a great character. He is a heel, but he also often makes sense, giving him an air of credibility that most heels don’t have. He actually acknowledged Seth Rollins (where was Rollins? That was a curious thing). He got over winning and then losing the Title. He wasn’t happy about Money in the Bank, but put the focus squarely on his ongoing feud against CM Punk. It is amazing how well he and Punk have carried on a feud where one of the wrestlers is injured and can’t wrestle.

Getting to the match itself, it was a good, long match to end a show that didn’t have a lot of wrestling. I was disappointed in the two commercial breaks. But, the wrestling action we saw was good throughout. It was well booked. I wasn’t sure who was going to win. I knew it wasn’t going to be Reed, and I doubted McIntyre, but I couldn’t rule him out. Given the recent push of Ricochet, I couldn’t rule him out either. Uso was probably the most likely, and he did win, but I still think the outcome wasn’t that predictable which added to the match. That table spot with Ricochet was amazing. The Punk interference made sense and worked well to further McIntyre’s anger. And Uso is a good first opponent for Priest. So, this was all well done.

Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Raw Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw each week. Email him at jmezz_torch@yahoo.com.

RECOMMENDED NEXT: WWE RAW RESULTS (4/8): Pomares’s alt-perspective report on Cody’s celebration with Triple H in the ring, The Rock, Draft announcement

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: The Raw After WrestleMania with Cody Rhodes and The Rock, Drew McIntyre vs. Jey Uso vs. Bronson Reed vs. Ricochet for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship

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