WWE Raw Results: Best Moments from the Oct. 1 Show
The show was without John Cena and Randy Orton, but it did have Larry King; not exactly the most even trade in history.
We learned (if we hadn't already) that debates and wrestling don't mix. Sheamus and Big Show squared off at prop podiums for one of the most awkward segments in recent memory.
The episode featured a number of forgettable, lackluster matches, but like any episode, it had its highlights as well.
Focusing on the high points and not its failures, let's look back at the latest episode of Raw.
Antonio Cesaro Hits Neutralizer on Brodus Clay
photo from fcwwrestling.info
On a night when Ryback struggled and was unable to lift Tensai for his finisher, Antonio Cesaro showed off his amazing strength by getting Brodus Clay up in the air and smashing him to the mat.
Judging by his quick victory over the big man, WWE clearly believes in Cesaro.
It was interesting to see how his move set worked with a larger foe. Cesaro impressed in the short match, looking like a worthy champion.
Should he ever face Big Show or Mark Henry, though, his Neutralizer finisher will have to be left out of his repertoire.
More of the Tag Team Tournament
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The Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. Primo and Epico match could have been a lot longer, and it could have done better to showcase that surplus of athleticism in the ring, but it's refreshing to see WWE commit to the tag division and incorporate a tournament.
The tourney allows them to spread the matches on all of their shows and to build up several teams at once.
During the Mysterio and Cara match, The Prime Time Players came out to watch and remind us of their existence.
Some of these matches will be better than others, but the sheer existence of a tag team tournament that would have sounded like pure fantasy a year ago has to make fans giddy.
Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus
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Given enough time to work with, Damien Sandow and Sheamus delivered the match of the night, complete with multiple momentum swings and a double Brogue Kick.
WWE demonstrated its commitment to pushing Sandow even if he is a part of the tag team tournament and tag division. He came off as part coward and part crafty in his bout with the World Heavyweight champ.
Most of the wrestling action on Raw was too short. If you grabbed a snack from the fridge at any point in the night, you may have missed a match.
Sandow vs. Sheamus, on the other hand, was great theater.
We saw both men grab the advantage at different points. Both men were tested, sweating, panting and likely left the arena with new bruises.
Throw in a number of two-counts, and Sheamus kicking both members of Rhodes Scholars simultaneously, and you have a legitimate show-stealer.
Dustin Rhodes gave the match his seal of approval:
Dont care what else comes after this match! Match of the night— DUSTINRHODES (@DUSTIN_RHODES1) October 2, 2012
Continuing Heath Slater Stable
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The formation of the jobber faction of Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater is admittedly random, but it's great to see WWE trying to find a way to use these guys.
They can create the narrative for these guys as they go.
For now, these three partners built on their attack of Brodus Clay on SmackDown by bullying Santino. It was entertainingly uncomfortable to see them stuff Santino's cobra into his mouth.
Where this is going is unclear, but Drew McIntyre was on WWE TV and it wasn't to get squashed. When's the last time we could say that?
This is an angle that could certainly flop, but letting these guys sit around idly backstage is a certain failure, while keeping this odd grouping around has potential.
Jim Ross and CM Punk Segment
photo by Steve Wright Jr.
CM Punk continued his trek of forcefully garnering respect by interrupting Jim Ross Appreciation Night.
He gained major heat by threatening JR and making it believable that he would actually hurt him. Punk stood at the doorstep of violence, and fans hoped that Stone Cold Steve Austin would be JR's savior.
It was a nice touch to have Punk make a direct reference to Austin, to assure all the well-informed fans that the Texas Rattlesnake would not be sauntering down the aisle.
Punk and Ross created a moment of deep, affecting tension.
Whether you believe it's too soon for Ryback to be pushed to his current status, there has never been a bigger reaction to him. WWE may have rushed it, but they've done a masterful job of putting Ryback over despite fans' initial negative reactions.