WWE Raw: 5 Things That Need to Happen on Dec. 3 Edition
With WWE TLC less than two weeks away, the company has done a stellar job in promoting the PPV thus far, with no less than four matches being given solid build. A quite remarkable feat considering the amount of throwaway matches that we have seen on PPVs this year.
In the Shield, the company not only has the chance to create one of the biggest stables in years, but the chance to build three bona fide main event-calibre superstars. Their feud with Ryback is must-see television, as is their (lack of) relationship with CM Punk and Paul Heyman.
It is imperative that they continue to thrive in the early stages of their career, while Ryback also can't afford to lose too much momentum after two straight PPV losses and three straight beatdowns from the threesome.
Therefore, the way this Raw is crafted is crucial not just to the aforementioned superstars, but other current storylines WWE is persisting with.
Ensuring Neither the Shield nor Ryback Lose Too Much Momentum
While the introduction of the Shield has provided one of the biggest positives of the year for long-time followers of the former NXT trio, their embryonic careers are at already at a crucial stage just weeks after their debuts.
In Ryback, the WWE has invested heavily in building the company's next main-event babyface, whether the fans like it or not. After two straight PPV losses, and three straight beatdowns from the Shield, somewhere along the line before WWE TLC, "Big Hungry" is going to have to reclaim some momentum if he is to appear to have a realistic shot of dethroning CM Punk for the WWE Championship.
Punk and Paul Heyman's denial of any relationship with the trio is fine for the time being, but surely on this Raw or the next, Ryback is going to have to get his hands on Punk without the Shield's interference.
Whether the Shield are sent away from the arena by Vickie Guerrero for their reckless shenanigans or they are barred from ringside during a Ryback or Punk match, it is imperative that Ryback gets his hands on Punk and looks like a contender for the title again.
In some respects, WWE has stomped a mudhole into themselves here by throwing together four of the stars that could main event the company in years to come.
At some point, someone will have to lose this battle, and with the potential of the Shield carrying so much weight, you could feasibly envisage another scenario where this Monday, even after Ryback looks his strongest by beating a tag team in a handicap match, the group will yet again get the best of him in one way or another.
Kofi Kingston Must Respond to Wade Barrett
While this feud does feel like it was thrown together simply to pass time, rather than creating a magical rivalry that fans will be reminiscing about for years, it has so far proven entertaining enough and perhaps more importantly, the Intercontinental Championship will at least have some prominence at a WWE PPV in two weeks.
With the title's meaning in 2012 blighted by unmemorable feuds (Rhodes vs. Big Show, Miz vs. Kofi, any others I've forgotten can be sent on a postcard), it is justice that the title that has seen rivalries such as Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho, The Rock vs. Triple H and even Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio in recent years be given at least four weeks build for a PPV.
While Barrett is surely destined for bigger things in 2013, he has looked strong against Kofi so far, and the champion could really do with triumphing in whatever confrontation they have this week to prevent the feud becoming too one-sided.
Create a Tag Team Title Feud for WWE TLC
It was pleasing to see Kane and Daniel Bryan find some rhythm again on Smackdown after their beatdown by the Shield on Raw, but with two weeks until WWE TLC, they have no scheduled opponents for the PPV, or any prospects of a rivalry emerging anytime soon.
The injury to Cody Rhodes really has hurt what looked a thoroughly promising feud between Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars, and it is clear that WWE is somewhat stuck over where to progress from here.
In the Prime Time Players, the WWE really do have a duo that could be credible, long-term champions - when they're not jobbing to Ryback of course - and by placing them in a long overdue title feud with Kane and Bryan, they could go on to have a heck of a match at TLC, especially if a stipulation was added (Ladder match anyone?).
The WWE has done a tremendous job in building up the tag team division from the ashes this year so let's hope they can continue its momentum and create an interesting feud for the titles again.
Give the Company's Top Stars Some Direction
Randy Orton, the Miz, Alberto Del Rio, Antonio Cesaro. Four of the company's big names that are currently walking a tightrope of anonymity need to be given something to do, especially with WWE TLC two weeks away.
Out of all the WWE superstars in 2012, few have had a worse year than Orton, especially when you consider that the man virtually carried Smackdown on his back during 2011. Whether it's suspensions, directionless feuds or a lack of faith from WWE brass, "The Viper" has endured a thoroughly miserable year.
Fresh off Orton's victorious feud with Del Rio, both now find themselves languishing in the upper-mid card and that needs to change immediately. Somebody like Cesaro, Damien Sandow or even the 3MB would be perfect for Orton to vie with in the short-term, while Del Rio is surely at the stage of his career now where putting over the likes of Tyson Kidd or Zack Ryder is the only credible thing he has left to do.
For the Miz, his face turn has bordered on disaster so far, and WWE really needs to rectify this if he is to gain the admiration of the WWE Universe. Give him someone like Cesaro or Sandow and a solid feud where Miz can fully flex his promo muscles in a crowd-friendly way.
Dolph Ziggler Must Make His Mark on John Cena
I understand why John Cena beat Dolph Ziggler cleanly last week. I didn't like it, but with the only explanation for the loss surely being that Ziggler will triumph over Cena at WWE TLC, that provided some solace.
Ziggler's year has been as topsy-turvy as it gets. going from title contender to jobber to Money in the Bank winner and now to a feud with the WWE's biggest draw in years.
Things have gone nicely so far so good as well for "The Show Off", whose beatdown of Cena in the bathroom two weeks ago was extremely well done, as was his berating of AJ Lee, although I fear if I wander into that AJ/Cena/Vickie scandal territory, I'm going to literally start crying all over my keyboard.
It appears the two will meet in some sort of stipulation match at TLC, and presumably this will be the victory that Ziggler needs to become World Heavyweight Champion shortly after.
This is WWE, though. Who would honestly be surprised if Cena dominates Ziggler for the next two weeks and then beats him cleanly at WWE TLC? I wouldn't, but hopefully they'll see by making this a personal, competitive feud that this could make this one of the better rivalries of the year.
At the moment, Cena has the momentum and while it's not essential in giving Ziggler the edge on Raw, a promo, victory or symbolic statement really should be made just to remind Cena that the Money in the Bank winner is still a major thorn in his side.