Only a mere 24 hours removed from WWE's spectacular Survivor Series pay-per-view event, the subsequent edition of Monday Night Raw felt more like a repeat rather than something fresh and exciting. Although the night had its fair share of highlights, the overall dragging over the course of the three hours made this show fall flat.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
Ryback def. Tensai
Impressive outing with Ryback defeating Tensai. It wasn't a complete squash match, as Tensai was able to score some offense on Big Hungry before being ultimately defeated, which was nice to see.
I'm glad they fixed this finish this time around with Ryback successfully hitting his finisher on Tensai and it came off very well. As for Ryback's promo to kick off the show, it was short and sweet, but he still has a ways to go on the mic before he can cut a truly threatening promo.
Wade Barrett def. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston (non-title)
Good match between Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett. It's been awhile since we've seen these two compete in a one-on-one match, so it felt fresh.
Not only that, but it was logical after Barrett's elimination of Kingston the night previous at Survivor Series. The finish was predictable, but it was still a smart move.
I still strongly believe that Barrett belongs in the World Championship picture, but with that occupied at the moment, a feud with Kingston over the Intercontinental title in the meantime should be fun.
Kaitlyn def. Aksana
Throwaway match with Kaitlyn defeating Aksana. I realize it made sense following the altercation between the two at Survivor Series, but what good did they think would come out of putting the the two worst workers in the Divas division together?
The crowd couldn't care less and it showed, but at least they popped for the finish. Also, where was Eve during all of this?
United States Champion Antonio Cearo def. Brodus Clay (non-title)
Fine match with United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeating Brodus Clay. The match was nothing more than a glorified squash match for Cesaro, but the action was still decent nonetheless.
The finish would've been more impressive had we not seen it a mere two months ago. I surely hope they aren't continuing the Cesaro vs. Truth feud and both guys can just move on, but it looks like they're heading in that direction.
John Cena and AJ kiss; Dolph Ziggler attacks an injured Cena backstage
Intriguing segments throughout the night featuring John Cena, AJ, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. Sure, the angle itself is absolutely asinine, but at least we saw some development over the course of the show.
Hopefully, Vickie presenting "evidence" of Cena and AJ will cease going forward since the two locked lips, which made for a cool moment. I'm not sure what part of Cena's injury was real and what wasn't, but Ziggler looked strong in attacking Cena backstage later in the night.
However, it still bothers me that the commentators made very little mention of Ziggler's huge victory over Orton at Survivor Series, but I guess they treated it like just any other win. What a shame.
Randy Orton def. Alberto Del Rio in a Two-of-Three Falls Match
Great Two-of-Three Falls Match between Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. Personally, I've enjoyed their feud since the start and this match was no exception.
Smart strategy by having Del Rio getting disqualified in the first fall only to force Orton to submit in the second. The final finishing sequence was susepenseful and well done.
I've got no complaints about Orton going over here, as Del Rio technically beat him at Survivor Series apart of the tag team match, so it made sense. I'd have no problem with a potential rematch at WWE TLC next month, but I don't see how they'd be able to stretch the feud out that long.
The Great Khali w/Hornswoggle def. Primo and Epico w/Rosa Mendes
Meaningless match with The Great Khali defeating Primo and Epico in a Handicap Match. Why wasn't Alberto Del Rio's infatuation with Rosa Mendes acknowledged here?
Absolutely nothing was furthered with this bout, and I demand that wasted thirty seconds of my life back.
The Miz def. David Otunga
Flat match with The Miz defeating David Otunga. While I love the idea of a Miz face turn, this wasn't the best way to establish it.
Hardly anyone cares about Otunga, so this match did nothing for either guy. The contest was longer than it should've been, as Otunga was painfully bad here.
Here's hoping they put Miz against some legitimate heels going forward if there's any chance of his face turn being deemed a success.
Sheamus def. Damien Sandow
Solid match with Sheamus defeating Damien Sandow. The promo that took place prior to the match between Sheamus and Big Show was intense and enjoyable.
Sheamus is finally getting his edge back, so that's great to see. We've seen this match a few times before, so this was nothing out of the ordinary, but Sandow still looked strong in defeat against a former World Heavyweight Champion.
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara went to a no contest
Entertaining tag team match with WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No taking on Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. You'd think they've hype this match in advance with it being for the first time ever, but it was sadly not meant to be.
That aside, the two teams meshed just as nicely as you'd expect and provided a fun tag team contest. Having the Prime Time Players interfere was good booking, and it allows their feud with Mysterio and Cara to remain alive.
One can only hope that we see these three teams clash in a Triple Threat Ladder Match at WWE TLC with the tag titles on the line. On a side note, Titus O'Neil was hilarious on commentary, so I'm glad to see his personality finally shining through on the mic.
Ryback interrupts CM Punk's WWE Championship celebration
Strong segment featuring CM Punk's WWE Championship celebration. As always, Paul Heyman was a gem on the mic and really made this monumental moment for Punk feel just as important as it should be.
Both guys were very entertaining on the mic, and I got a big kick of Punk saying he'd be champ until July 25, 2018. The Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns attack was once again vicious, but we saw the exact same thing at Survivor Series, so I guess this was just for the people who didn't order the show on Sunday night.
Punk did a nice job of appearing oblivious to the attack and teasing a potential alliance between them, which would be absolutely amazing. Of course, this celebration would've been the perfect night to debut a new WWE Championship belt, but it'll come in due time.
Maybe at the title's 50th anniversary (that just so happens to fall on a Monday night) on April 28, 2013? Only time will tell.
Overall, a disappointing show that didn't quite carry out the strong momentum from the Survivor Series pay-per-view the night before. Despite a few good matches, the night's overall action consisted of pointless matches and bouts we've already seen before.
Don't get me wrong, the show had its highlights, but they were overshadowed by the immense amount of dragging in the second hour. The ending segment was the only thing that was worth a second look, but it felt like Survivor Series on rewind for the most part.
With it being a holiday week, I'll excuse this edition, but hopefully they pick up the pace starting next week, as WWE has a number of entertaining angles they can capitalize on to make the show go by quicker.
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