CM Punk's year-long reign as WWE champ should have led to him being the big star of the night, but his celebration segment was short and unimaginative.
That missed opportunity left the door open for other wrestlers to become this episode of Raw's biggest stars.
Angry and powerful men made the most of their airtime.
Much of the talk of this episode may be about the lack of explanation of the NXT guys' motivations behind their Survivor Series attack, but that shouldn't take away from the following impressive performances.
The opening Raw segment is a prestigious one. Putting Ryback in that position without John Cena or CM Punk to lean on, displayed WWE's continued belief in Big Hungry.
Ryback's delivery on the mic sounded robotic at times, but his performance buzzed with intensity.
He then got yet another opportunity to assert his dominance over Tensai. A few power moves after the opening bell and Ryback once again stood in the ring as the victor.
He closed the night flat on his back, a broken table under him yet again, but having CM Punk avoid him so often is only making Ryback look stronger.
With the attention he's getting and the fact that he has yet to lose cleanly, we can likely expect Ryback to get at least one more shot at the WWE title.
Not only did Wade Barrett score a win over the Intercontinental Champion, he dominated him.
Barrett wore a sadistic smile as he tore at Kofi Kingston's eyes and continued to attack that area. He took elbows, fists and boots to Kofi's face.
The match didn't bury Kofi as he kept fighting back, even kicking out of a vicious tilt-a-whirl side slam.
The story was about Barrett.
The burgeoning feud for the IC title is going to display Barrett's amped-up level of violence and provide him a stage to perform while the other men occupy the main-event slots for now.
It's becoming a trend for Kane and Daniel Bryan to provide more than their share of Raw's entertainment.
Team Hell No was up to their usual dysfunctional but successful ways.
It was a bit hard to focus on the action with the commentary team and The Prime Time Players having such a good time talking about wash rags, pay windows and such. Still, Bryan and Kane received some of the biggest crowd reactions of the night.
Their match wasn't anything spectacular, but they put on a good show against Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara until Darren Young and Titus O'Neil interfered.
WWE may be cooking up a three-team ladder match for TLC with the tag champs, Mysterio and Sin Cara as well as The Prime Time Players.
Sheamus' victory over Damien Sandow impressed, but it might have been the aftermath of his actions at Survivor Series that really elevated his tough-guy image.
When Big Show came out to confront Sheamus, he limped, he hobbled, he even looked shellshocked.
Taking on WWE's resident giant so fearlessly is one thing, but leaving him in such disrepair is the feat of a true warrior. Add to that a trademark win where Sheamus takes a tremendous beating and recovers enough to deliver a Brogue Kick.
The Irishman came out of his Raw looking mighty.
A chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship match at TLC appears to be in the works.
Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio delivered the match of the night.
The two-out-of-three falls stipulation amplified the magnificent performance by both Orton and Del Rio. Orton was made to look insanely tough. Del Rio came off as a devious strategist.
Del Rio lost the first fall by disqualification when he refused to let go of Orton's arm in a painful hold around the ring post. The rest of the in-ring story centered around that injured arm.
Orton spent much of the match fighting one-handed.
WWE is clearly sending these two men in the direction of an intense match at the TLC pay-per-view, but for tonight, they stole the show from CM Punk.