WWE Raw: Immediate Reactions and Analysis for Nov. 26, 2012
Welcome to Bleacher Report's immediate analysis of the Nov. 26, 2012, edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, where we break down every angle of the three-hour block of sports entertainment.
We'll be analyzing the action in the ring, the promos on the microphone and the broadcast itself as we recap the show.
The buzz surrounding tonight's Raw was all about an interview between Michael Cole and the trio of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.
The three NXT upstarts have assaulted Ryback twice, seemingly in defense of WWE Champion CM Punk. Did we get any answers regarding the motives of Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns?
With CM Punk's title reign surpassing Randy Savage's stretch as WWE Champion, John Cena in the thick of things with AJ Lee and their alleged scandal, and Sheamus on a collision course with Big Show, there were no shortage of hot topics featured on tonight's Raw.
Browse the following slides to see what we thought of the show and sound off in the comment section to share your opinion on Raw with the B/R WWE community!
Ryback vs. Titus O'Neil
The show opened with Ryback taking on Titus O'Neil, which ended as you would expect, with Ryback looking as strong as ever. Titus put up a fight, which was refreshing, considering how he's one half of the Prime Time Players, who are on the come up.
When the thrashing was over, Ryback got the pin and addressed the crowd. He said whether he got CM Punk, the three men in black, or all four at once, he wasn't leaving the ring until he was fed.
He led the crowd in his signature "Feed me more" chant, taking us to commercial break.
Ryback Gets Another Title Shot
After the commercial break, we returned to find Ryback as he was before, yelling to be fed more.
Security came out to attempt to get Ryback out of the ring, but that plan was scratched when Ryback tossed the largest enforcer of the group right out of the ring.
Ryback was finally talked down when Vickie Guerrero came out and gave Ryback what he had demanded...a shot at CM Punk's WWE Championship at TLC, in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match.
Ryback scared off the rest of the security and made his way backstage.
Seems like a pretty terrible idea to ask for a match like this when Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are on the loose and seem to have it out for Ryback.
Rosa Mendes Voices Displeasure with Hornswoggle
This is the type of backstage segment that convinces people to change the channel.
Rosa Mendes was upset because Hornswoggle sprayed her with water last week. Alberto Del Rio showed up and insulted Hornswoggle, but he was quickly chased off by the Great Khali.
Obviously there is a place for these segments and characters on a three-hour Raw, but that doesn't mean the viewers are going to enjoy it.
Alberto Del Rio vs. The Great Khali
The most entertaining part of this match didn't occur in the ring, or feature the two men in the match. When Ricardo Rodriguez attempted to distract Khali, Hornswoggle bit him in the rear, causing Ricardo to take off running up the ramp with Hornswoggle firmly attached to him.
You're only going to get so much out of a match with a technician like Del Rio, and a giant like Khali. Del Rio forced Khali to tap with the cross-armbreaker.
Backstage, Rosa Mendes was elated.
CM Punk Confronts Vickie Guerrero
WWE Champion CM Punk was not at all pleased to learn that he was scheduled to defend his title against Ryback at TLC.
In Vickie Guerrero's office, Punk accused Vickie of being out to get him. He drove home the point that he was 2-0 against Ryback, and that putting him in a match with Ryback at TLC was putting the champion in great danger.
Paul Heyman, ever present at Punk's side, stepped in for Punk as the champion was growing frustrated. Heyman said he understood the politics, and that maybe Vickie wasn't thinking with a clear head because of the Cena/AJ scandal.
Vickie didn't right these alleged wrongs, and informed Punk that he'd be facing the winner of tonight's interactive poll. The options? Daniel Bryan or Kane.
Michael Cole Interviews 'the Shield'
A shield from injustice. That's what Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns declared themselves in their exclusive interview with Michael Cole.
The segment was money, with Ambrose taking the lead in most of the mic work. Seth Rollins wasn't shy either. Roman Reigns played the role of the enforcer, quiet and menacing.
They claimed they weren't working with CM Punk. In fact, Ambrose told Michael Cole that if Ryback's role was swapped with CM Punk, they would have attacked Punk instead.
Ultimately, the answers we received were few, but enough to keep the interest burning. The Shield has arrived, and it's likely that they'll be making in impact for quite some time.
Tamina Snuka vs. Alicia Fox
Tamina Snuka crushed Alicia Fox with ease in a match that served to remind the viewers that AJ Lee has a bone to pick with Tamina, after AJ caught a beating from her when Tamina came to Vickie Guerrero's defense.
Whether WWE actually intends to do anything meaningful with that angle remains to be seen, but it appears that the WWE Universe wants as much as they can get of AJ, whether it's outside of the ring, or in it.
Tamina serves as a way to get AJ in the ring and on WWE television more often, it all depends on when that feud picks up.
Vickie Guerrero Keeps Up with the AJ/Cena Scandal
The drama rolled on between AJ Lee, John Cena, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler when Cena was joined in the ring by Vickie and AJ.
After the bickering we've come to expect in these segments, AJ began making passes at Cena, mentioning how she should thank Vickie for costing her the role of GM, because she could now do these things without being punished.
This set Vickie off, and prompted Dolph Ziggler to come out and address Cena. Ziggler said he knew what was bothering Cena so much. Ziggler claimed that AJ was thinking of him when she kissed Cena, and that set Cena off.
Before Cena could get out of the ring and get his hands on Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero informed them that they'd be facing each other later in the show.
Kofi Kingston vs. Tensai
Wade Barrett was at ringside on commentary for the match, hyping the feud between himself and Kofi.
Kofi looked strong as he dismantled Tensai, and Barrett mentioned that he'd be facing Kofi for his Intercontinental Championship at TLC.
After the match, Barrett handed Kofi the Intercontinental Championship and strolled out of the ring immediately. The moment passed so quickly that one has to wonder if the WWE intended for the moment to have more impact.
Daniel Bryan's Polls Were Slightly Skewed
Backstage, Daniel Bryan revealed to Kane that he was winning the WWE fan poll to determine who would face CM Punk later on Raw.
Bryan boasted as he showed his partner an entire map of the world that was leaning towards him as the choice to face CM Punk.
It was revealed afterwards that Kane had won the polling, sending Bryan into a fit of rage. Bryan was informed he did have a match tonight, and would face Rey Mysterio...next.
Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio
It was slightly disappointing to learn that Daniel Bryan wouldn't be facing CM Punk on Raw, but a match with Rey Mysterio wasn't too shabby.
The match had never before been seen in the WWE, and it served to fuel the Team Hell No vs. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara angle.
The finish came when Rey hit the 619 around the corner post, and he followed up by flying off the top rope. Not only did Daniel Bryan lose the popular vote, he lost the match. Bad night for D-Bry.
John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
This was quite the match, where the in-ring chemistry between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler was on full display.
Tension was high when Dolph went for a cross-body off the top rope and Cena rolled through, lifting Ziggler up into an Attitude Adjustment, only for Dolph to avoid it and counter with the Zig Zag. Ziggler only got a two-count for his troubles.
Cena eventually found himself at ringside, having his injured knee checked on by doctors. Ziggler attempted to take advantage of the situation by removing a turnbuckle cover, but AJ ran out and stopped him.
Vickie Guerrero in turn ran out to stop AJ. Ziggler attempted to capitalize on this distraction by hitting Cena with the Money in the Bank briefcase, but Cena dodged it and finished Ziggler with the Attitude Adjustment.
After the match, AJ and Cena kissed, further fueling speculation on just where this relationship between the two of them is heading.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Sheamus
This was a fun match between two brawling powerhouses. Cesaro stood out as a talent that could hang with main event-caliber wrestlers, despite losing the match.
Cesaro hit Sheamus with an uppercut as the Irishman went for his signature battering ram. Cesaro wasn't satisfied, and looked to hit the Neutralizer. Sheamus lifted his way out of the attempt and sent Cesaro flying out of the ring with a Brogue Kick.
Cesaro was counted out when Sheamus was distracted by Big Show stepping out with a steel chair. When Cesaro was counted out, Sheamus told Big Show if he was going to come out with a steel chair, he better use it.
Big Show left after Sheamus said he'd hit him with as many chair shots as needed to leave TLC as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
Woo woo...wait, Zack Ryder is still a thing?
Apparently, he is, and he made his presence known to Damien Sandow on Raw.
Well, that was before Sandow sent the Zack Pack home without a victory for their leader, Zack Ryder.
The sooner Cody Rhodes gets back and Rhodes Scholars is back in action, the better.
This was a time killer before the main event, but it had a little more integrity than Del Rio vs. Khali.
CM Punk vs. Kane
As it looked like CM Punk was in severe trouble, being hoisted up for a Tombstone Piledriver after eating a choke-slam. Kane was distracted by The Shield watching on in the crowd.
Punk took advantage of the big red machine's distraction, and flattened him with the GTS for the win.
Afterwards, The Shield entered the ring, staring down the weakened CM Punk, but pounced on Kane. When Daniel Bryan came out to save Kane, he was beat down as well.
Punk watched on from ringside, only to dive into the crowd when Ryback came out to take on The Shield. Ryback cleaned house, only for Punk to jump him form behind.
As it looked like Punk was about to suffer the same fate, Reigns hit Ryback with a spear, and Ryback was beaten down in the same fashion as The Shield had done twice before.
It's still not clear if Punk has no involvement with the group, but their beliefs certainly help the "disrespected" WWE Champion.
Tonight's Raw was mostly average, despite having a few highlights. The Shield is highly intriguing, and their loose-cannon nature will have the WWE Universe guessing for weeks.
Outside of The Shield, no promo or segment truly stood out. The in-ring action was solid, with multiple quality matches and a handful of forgettable filler matches.
Daniel Bryan took on Rey Mysterio in a technical match that felt like it was a long time coming. John Cena and Dolph Ziggler was easy on the eyes and wasn't short on drama.
Even though Antonio Cesaro's match with Sheamus had little bearing on the United States title picture, it showcased Cesaro's talents against one of the top babyfaces in the company.
Despite the quality matches, it isn't enough to get Raw into an above-average grade.
Raw's Grade: C