Paul Heyman opened the show on the mic, speaking about CM Punk rather than Brock Lesnar. As he did after SummerSlam, he called out the referee of the previous night's main event.
The nature of Punk and Heyman's relationship still hasn't been explained, and it isn't any clearer after this. I hope there's more to their connection than just what we've had so far; all Heyman's really done is talk, and Punk's one of the best at doing that himself.
Killing any intrigue stone dead, AJ's skipping, head movements and breathy speech were all on show as she came out to make a tag match "super main event." Cringeworthy.
JBL coming out to join Michael Cole on commentary made me happy. He did a great job the previous night and (as unfortunate a time as it may be to point it out) was much more entertaining than Jerry Lawler has been for a long time. Sadly, Jim Ross also made his completely unwelcome return (to me that is, I'm well aware I may be the only one who feels that way).
New Divas champion Eve Torres defeated Beth Phoenix easily. Raw has an hour longer than Impact and they give a Divas match a fraction of the time a Knockouts match gets. Eve may not be a terrific competitor, but given a little more time, surely Beth could have got a more entertaining match out of her than that.
Heath Slater unfortunately did not defeat Brodus Clay. Clay's music and dancing may have had renewed entertainment value because we'd not seen it for a while, but Heath Slater's more entertaining in pretty much every way. The sight of children dancing in the ring with him makes me long for Steve Austin to drive out in a beer truck—and I'm not one for rose-tinted Attitude Era adulation.
The Miz debuted a talk show. His guest was Booker T. It got a boring chant. The crowd was too kind. Ryback throwing sofas around was very "Goldbergy," but it was more interesting than the previous few minutes. Similar to last week's observation of Brodus Clay and Tyson Kidd, Ryback and The Miz sort of have the same face.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Santino Marella, though he still put him over far more than I liked. Ziggler should able to cough at Santino and have him down for the three count at this point.
Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel was longer than I expected. Gabriel's a fine wrestler, but if Barrett's going to mount a challenge for a world title, you'd expect him to make quicker work of someone that low down the card.
Kane and Daniel Bryan put in another interesting match against R-Truth and Kofi Kingston. Part of the ongoing appeal of their team (if it's not too soon to talk about ongoing appeal) is that you genuinely believe at times that they won't hold it together and they'll lose. Great stuff.
Of course, they were in what's usually the face corner (back left, facing the camera), meaning they're the ones we should be most interested in, so there wasn't really much chance of them losing. The post-match hugging and yelling went on for quite a while, but it was still miles better than Santino's routines.
Backstage, we have some acknowledgement that CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio did in fact have a feud last year, rather than just pretending they ought to get on as tag partners.
Damien Sandow came out to educate the audience, and the miscreant Zack Ryder disrespectfully interrupted. I don't understand why Ryder is the face and Sandow is the heel. It seems we're meant to boo Sandow for being intelligent and cheer Ryder for being a silly fool, and that's kind of anti-intellectualism that does the image of wrestling fans no favours. Thankfully, justice prevailed and Sandow won.
The main event of John Cena and Sheamus vs. CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio featured JR protesting that he might be a mind reader. Team Face won, sure enough, and confirmed that Punk now has the predictable weakness that all non-monster heels are cursed with in the WWE. And his foot was on the rope.