The QuickNotes version of my review is immediately below. For a segment-by-segment review, complete with predictions and questions, please Begin the Slideshow.
QuickNotes: Michael Cole's big mouth still gets him into trouble, and Cena is still easily baited into an obvious set-up.
Ziggler loses to Sheamus again, and ADR returns The Great White's post-match attack-from-behind from a few weeks ago.
Sin Cara coasts past Hunico, while Ryback coasts past two more jobbers.
AJ gets crazier every week, making eyes at Kane and attempting to seduce Josh Mathews, while Kane gets a pin over CM Punk after Daniel Bryan runs interference.
Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks job to the tag champs in WWE's attempt to remind us that they are rebuilding the tag team division.
When The Big Show fails to make an appearance, Super-Cena returns, pinning Tensai and Michael Cole in back-to-back matches.
Now, for a more in-depth, segment-by-segment review of these matches, please Begin Slideshow.
After a lengthy and tired recap of The Big Show's recent path of destruction, John Cena returns to the Monday Night Raw ring to answer to Michael Cole's regurgitation of what they just showed us, including the World's Largest Athlete destroying The Funkasaurus, Kofi Kingston, and R-Truth.
After Cole blames Cena, Cena goes on the expected rant that he was trying to rid the WWE of John Laurinaitis, which would have paved the way for The Big Show's return.
"I don't think you're interesting anymore. In fact, I think you're overrated." That line by Michael Cole to Cena would have been the line of the night, about a year ago. But I get why they're just now using it, since Cena has been on a "slump" lately.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Cena/Big Show feud is that everyone spends so much time in the ring reiterating what has already happened. As if the recaps weren't enough, we've had The Big Show, John Cena, and now Michael Cole all go into great detail to remind us exactly what has happened.
This long dialogue killed the opening.
As soon as Laurinaitis came out to announce Cena could pick any opponent he wanted, it was clear he'd pick Cole, even before Johnny Ace told him that Laurinaitis and Big Show were off limits.
Before the first commercial break, we are told that we get a rematch between CM Punk and Kane that will have a decisive winner, and we see Sheamus making his way to the ring for a rematch with Dolph Ziggler.
Prediction: Clearly, Cena vs. Cole will set up an interference from either The Big Show, Brock Lesnar or one of Big Johnny's other henchmen.
Question: Is John Cena so overused that the only fresh opponent they could come up with is Michael Cole?
When we return from commercial break, Cole is backstage trying to talk Big Johnny out of his match with Cena. Laurinaitis doesn't budge.
Then we get a recap of the Sheamus/Laurinaitis/Otunga drama.
"Excuse me!" A comical moment when Cole storms past Vickie, mid-excuse, angry and pouting his way back to the announce booth.
Dolph Ziggler is still trying to prove his worth as a singles competitor, so he gets a SmackDown rematch against Sheamus. I suppose a victory over Sheamus would put Ziggler back in the title picture sooner rather than later.
Vickie distracts Sheamus, and he ends up on the floor with Ziggler in the ring as we go to commercial break.
Prediction: Win or lose, Ziggler will start complaining that he's not part of the World Heavyweight Championship match at No Way Out.
Question: If Ziggler moves on to be a legitimate main eventer, where does that leave Jack Swagger?
Sheamus pulls a couple of signature moves out of nowhere to win a really solid match. I don't really understand the thinking behind having Sheamus defeat Ziggler two shows in a row.
Vickie does a great job as a manager. I'll say it again: give her a bigger stable. The Miz and Drew McIntyre both need character-refreshing. Even Ryback could be worked in after a while, as Vickie slowly changes his gimmick but keeps him on board as her angry, explosive big man.
After the match, while Sheamus is celebrating at the top of the ramp, Alberto Del Rio attacks him from behind. Quid pro quo. Ricardo Rodriguez joins the fight, and they give Sheamus a pretty severe beating. It made ADR look pretty badass, if you ask me.
Commercial break. Good segment.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler either makes it to the top this year, or he goes the way of the Miz, jobbing every single week.
Question: So no one is going to admit that what Sheamus did to ADR was as much of a "bully" move as anything else in the WWE? ADR is simply returning the favor.
The promos they are running for ECW: Unreleased, Vol. 1 makes that DVD look really sick. I want it.
When we return from commercial break, Big Johnny is ordering someone around to get him some coffee when David Otunga breaks the news that Vince McMahon will be returning to Raw next week to give the GM a job-performance evaluation.
Sin Cara makes his return to Raw tonight, sporting his new red gear, and faces long-time opponent Hunico.
These guys put on a solid match that really highlighted what Sin Cara brings to the game, as and far as I could tell, Sin Cara was botch-free. No post-match drama after Sin Cara wins cleanly, so apparently Sin Cara will have a fresh feud this time around with someone else.
Before commercial break, we find out that Ryback will make his Raw debut next.
Prediction: We'll find out within the first month or so what the WWE plans on doing about the fact that Sin Cara is unable to connect with the WWE Universe using his voice.
Question: When WCW had a cruiserweight division, not all of them were verbal, were they? Didn't they just get over based on their in-ring skills?
When we return from commercial break, we are treated to a standard Ryback match, with the impressive double-finisher that we've grown used to after his last couple of matches on SmackDown.
It's still a sick finisher, but there's not much else to Ryback at this point. He's got a lot of potential right now, but it's still just potential.
CM Punk vs. Kane is next, and there must be a winner (whatever that means, exactly).
Prediction: Ryback will get hooked up with a manager/valent/mentor before he really goes anywhere.
Question: Who will Ryback's first full-on feud be with?
CM Punk is introduced first, followed by Daniel Bryan who will be having a seat at the announce booth. He gives one of his Q&A sessions, with the final answer being that "Yes!" he will be the WWE Champion after No Way Out.
His "Yes!" chant is interrupted by Kane's intro.
Kane and Punk keep things really solid, making me believe that the triple threat match at No Way Out will be really good.
As we go to commercial break, Kane tosses Punk over the top rope and to the floor.
Prediction: No Way Out will be the end of Punk's long WWE Championship reign.
Question: Will Bryan or Kane leave No Way Out with Punk's belt?
This match is even better after the commercial break, with a few nearfalls and reversals from both superstars.
Before the match is over, Daniel Bryan gets in some shots on CM Punk, AJ gets involved and Kane eventually gets the pin.
After the match, AJ makes flirty-eyes with Kane before checking on Punk.
Prediction: AJ's involvement on Sunday will allow for Punk to lose the title without it really being his fault.
Question: Given Kane's romantic past in the WWE, how would you feel about Kane and AJ hooking up?
When we return from commercial break, Josh Mathews tries to get an explanation from AJ backstage for the look she gave Kane. AJ goes on to demonstrate that she's insane, that she loves when men look at her, that she likes aggressive women, and then attempts to seduce Josh Mathews.
They're doing a great job having her play the crazy diva, reminiscent of Mickie James' initial stint in the WWE.
Cole make another public plea to be excused from his match with Cena tonight, before we get another Big Show recap.
Recaps will be the death of me, but more importantly, the death of a 3-hour Raw if they don't tone it down significantly.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth make their way to the ring, but their opponents aren't announced, which sets my expectations low.
Prediction: By the end of the year, AJ will be over as much as any other diva who isn't Divas Champion.
Question: Seriously, will WWE ever cool it with the recaps?
In what I assume is an attempt to remind us that the tag team division is still growing, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth face off against Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks.
Nothing special happens, the match is all right, and of course the champs get the clean victory.
Cena is making his way to the ring for his match against Michael Cole as we go to commercial break.
Prediction: The transition to a three-hour Raw will actually result in a more deeply-stacked tag team division.
Question: Will Hawkins and Reks ever be serious contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship?
Cena makes his way to the ring after the commercial break, but Big Johnny comes out before the match starts. He says that the match between Cena and Cole will be no-disqualification.
That is, if Cena can defeat another opponent first: Tensai.
Tensai is getting quite the Cena rub, having defeated him once already, and now headlining Raw against him again.
I don't think anyone believes Tensai would ever win a match like this cleanly, but there's definitely potential to slow down Cena for his match against Cole.
Prediction: Tensai loses this match, then attacks Cena during his match with Cole. Sometimes, the WWE is too obvious.
Question: Now that he's received a double-Cena rub, what direction will they take Tensai?
When we return from commercial break, Tensai is clearly in control. But it doesn't last long.
As expected, within a few minutes, Cena turns everything around and gets the victory over Tensai. Next up: Michael Cole.
After trying to talk Cena out of the match, and then trying to run away through the audience, Cena tosses Cole in the ring, microphone-in-hand. Cole continues to plead.
Suddenly and inexplicably, Cole stops pleading and starts talking trash to Cena, saying he will embarrass Cena more than Cena was embarrassed by Big Johnny, and more than Cole embarrassed Lawler in their WrestleMania match.
Cena proceeds to tear off Cole's clothes until he is left with little more than his boxer-briefs. Then it begins to feel like Cena vs. Big Johnny at Over the Limit, as Cena has a mic and makes Cole apologize to Lawler and to Jim Ross.
After Cena pours JR's BBQ sauce on a topless Cole and then douses him with a fire extinguisher, Tensai returns to lay out Cena, nearly allowing Michael Cole to get the pin-and-win. But John turns on Super-Cena mode and pulls off the victory.
The show ends there, and SmackDown will resume with a bunch of Big Show recaps.
Prediction: Cena loses to The Big Show at No Way Out, continuing his streak of PPV bad luck.
Question: Does JR actually make any money selling his BBQ sauce?