The WWE became a lot more unpredictable last night at Survivor Series. With the debut of three brand new stars in a shocking attack to help CM Punk, everything about the title picture has become a lot harder to predict.
Raw tonight had to deliver on that momentum. Given the weight of such a big night, it was possible that WWE had many more eyes pointed toward the show. It was important that WWE kept those viewers.
Did they? Well, let’s begin with the opening segment to find out.
Overview: Ryback started the show with one of his first real promos of his career, calling out Punk and his attackers as prey. Vickie came out to stop Ryback from causing chaos and forced Ryback to face Tensai who he defeated with the impressive Shell Shocked.
Analysis: Ryback’s character is not made to run his mouth. The way talks doesn’t lend itself to great promos; however, this was a decent promo. Ryback got his point across, and he set the stage for what was to come.
As much as Ryback will be moving a bit down the ladder soon, it seemed right to have him start the show. He is the central face in this struggle, and he continued to add to the mystique of the story going on. Seeing him hit the Shell Shocked on Tensai was nice as it made up for his previous botch on that move with Tensai.
Overview: Barrett dominated Kofi for the most part by assaulting Kofi’s eyes, partially blinding him throughout the match. After one final eye rake with the ropes, Barrett hit the Bull Hammer for three.
Analysis: This was a very solid match between two solid performers. They can do more together certainly, but this was a great way to start. Wade Barrett has been established as a threat to Kofi, and that means the Intercontinental Championship scene just got more interesting.
These two at TLC in a ladder match would be an awesome match for sure. I’m not sure if that is where they are leading here, but I hope it is.
Kaitlyn def. Aksana
Overview: Despite being a bit outsmarted by Aksana at times, Kaitlyn used her strength to outpower Aksana, finishing her off with a fireman’s carry dropped into a gutbuster.
Analysis: Aksana is a horrible wrestler. That has been clear since she debuted. She has very little in the way of athletic gifts. She has a decent character that she understands well which is a redeeming quality for her.
Kailtyn on the other side is not good enough to carry Aksana to a decent match, but she also did a good job of conveying her character, really putting over her anger and strength to destroy Aksana.
Overview: With R-Truth scouting at ringside, Cesaro put on a clinic against Clay ending with an impressive Neutralizer.
Analysis: Cesaro has dominated Clay before, and this was basically the same match with R-Truth on commentary. That said, I’m glad to see Truth hasn’t given up on Cesaro yet. Antonio needs a real competitor to challenge him.
John Cena Ends the Scandal with a Definite Kiss
Overview: Vickie Guerrero came out with two witnesses who were supposed to prove the AJ and Cena scandal. In response though, AJ came out followed by Cena who proceeded to make out. Ziggler tried to attack Cena only for Cena to chase him off.
Analysis: Finally this is over. Right? I really hope the scandal is now over. Cena and AJ are officially an item in WWE now. Vickie has no more case against them since they’ve confirmed everything.
Now we can go on to have AJ vs. Tamina and Cena vs. Ziggler without soap opera drama. Everyone wins. Not sure where Cena/AJ goes from here, but it gives both characters a decent side story.
Overview: In a two out of three falls match, Orton scored the first fall with a DQ when Del Rio refused to stop attacking Orton’s arm. The second fall went to Del Rio with the Cross Armbreaker. Finally, almost one armed, Orton ended the match with an RKO.
Analysis: What a match! As much as this story hasn’t been the greatest, these two have quite the chemistry. If this was a PPV match with more time, it could’ve stolen the show. Great action from both men even with the first falls being a bit too fast.
The main problem in this feud continued here in that Del Rio has yet to get a decisive victory over Orton. He keeps acting cocky despite never getting close to a W over Randy. That’s why I don’t think this goes any further as a story. Del Rio will never look good in this feud.
The Great Khali def. Epico and Primo
Overview: Thanks to a distraction from Hornswoggle who sprayed Rosa with water from flowers, Khali was able to beat both Primo and Epico.
Analysis: I promise to forget this ever happened if you all do. Deal? Deal.
The Miz def. David Otunga
Overview: Despite Otunga having Miz’s number for most of the match, Miz got a late flurry to take down Otunga ending in the Skull Crushing Finale.
Analysis: The Miz’s face turn is more or less official at this point. Now it is important that WWE starts him off hot. Don’t have him wrestle too many squashes. We need Miz to meet his foil. The easiest way to make a face is to give him a top heel to work with.
While the crowd is already partially behind Miz, it is very important that WWE makes sure everyone knows that they can be behind the Miz from now on. Beating Otunga doesn’t really help as no one cares about the victory.
Overview: Before the match, Sheamus with a chair in hand called out Big Show who came out and said that Sheamus wasn’t deserving of being World Champion. As the two were getting heated, Sandow interrupted them to wrestle Sheamus. Despite a hard fought match, Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for a three count.
Analysis: As they have shown in the past, Sheamus and Sandow can go in the ring together. Their characters clash perfectly in a way that makes for a very appealing match.
Even bigger in this part of the show was the intense back and forth between Show and Sheamus who both really delivered on the mic tonight. The intensity especially from Show tonight was awesome. As I said in my Survivor Series review, these two are building to a great finish at TLC.
AJ Causes an Absolute Brawl Between Cena and Ziggler
Overview: AJ Lee barged into the men’s locker room and confronted Ziggler about injuring Cena earlier in the night. In response, Ziggler slandered AJ, causing her to attack Ziggler. When Cena tried to pull AJ off, Ziggler attacked him and injured Cena more.
Analysis: This was my personal favorite segment of the night. Ziggler was put over like he hasn’t been in a while. Each week, WWE continues to push Ziggler forward, and his great promo and post-attack on Cena was huge.
I’m not sure if this means that Cena will be written off for a bit, but I hope not. I am really pulling for Cena/Ziggler, and it would be ridiculous if Cena was seriously injured by that minor bad landing trying to get out of the ring earlier.
Team Hell No vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara Goes to a No Contest
Overview: As Kane had Mysterio ready for a chokeslam, the Prime Time Players interfered and attacked everyone, causing a big mess of tag teams.
Analysis: The tag team division is still as hot as ever. Team Hell No are extremely over, and they have many different possible challengers going forward. Cara and Mysterio proved that they can have a great match with the champions which could be a precursor for a great PPV match.
By the way, this could be a hint at a multi-man tag match at TLC, perhaps in a TLC or a ladder match? I know that I’d be down for that.
CM Punk Celebrates and Ryback Gets Stopped Again
Overview: Punk came out with Heyman to celebrate his 365 day title reign with a video package. Afterward, Punk denounced many legends until Ryback came to feed. Instead he was intercepted by Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns again who destroyed the fresh Ryback again.
Analysis: This was a great segment in building up the suspense going forward. Punk got to gloat and put himself over with a great promo and video package. Then Ryback tried to make his presence felt, yet he still couldn’t beat the mysterious rookies helping Punk.
It seems for right now that Punk and Heyman have something to do with the three attackers, but how they two groups are connected is a complete mystery right now. It’s a slow build which makes sure that the audience stays tuned for what is next.
Final notes: The backstage segments with Punk and Heyman preparing for the final segment were great. Heyman ranting about getting balloons was definitely the funniest moment of the night. Beyond that, there wasn’t much backstage as there was a lot of wrestling tonight.
The crowd was hit and miss as they were loud for a few guys especially Daniel Bryan, but they seemed to fall out when the action wasn’t immediately pressing forward. They also were annoyingly against Sheamus with persistent negative chants.
Conclusion: Talk about a great all around episode. I don’t think there has been this much quality wrestling on Raw for months at least. There were quite a few matches that could be future PPV matches that were on this show.
Add this the improvement of storytelling with the great main event sequence, the exchange between Sheamus and Show, and the backstage work with Cena, AJ, and Ziggler, and there wasn’t much to dislike tonight (remember we are forgetting about that segment).
Overall, I was thoroughly entertained tonight. It was about wrestling, and the beginning road to TLC looks great so far. With several weeks before TLC, I hope they can keep this momentum.