For the second straight week, WWE presented yet another solid edition of Raw that saw the three hours fly by quite quickly. On Monday night, we witnessed an excellent United States Championship match, two solid segments featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and The Miz and plenty more.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No def. Prime Time Players (non-Title)
Good tag team match to kick off the show with WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No defeating the Prime Time Players. While the focus of this bout was obviously on The Shield and when they'd attack, the match itself was very well wrestled.
I always appreciate the effort in having a match open the show, which is a nice change of pace. Furthermore, featuring The Shield in the opening segment felt unpredictable and set the tone for the rest of the night.
AJ def. Tamina Snuka
Decent match between AJ and Tamina. Seeing how this was first teased at Survivor Series a few weeks back, you would think they would've saved this match for a later date (preferably TLC), but that doesn't seem to be the case.
With Beth Phoenix gone, they're booking Tamina as the new powerhouse of the division, but she won't gain any heat if she continuously loses matches in the same fashion Phoenix did. Both Divas are good workers, so I was hoping to see more of a story here.
The Miz Interrupts WWE Champion CM Punk
Strong promo between WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman. I found it cool how Punk was able to mention the fact that he'll be surpassing John Cena's record-setting title reign in the next few days and plugged the new WWE Encyclopedia at the same time.
Sure, some of The Miz's lines may have come off as a bit corny, but he's still growing into his face persona, which I've enjoyed thus far. Only good can come out of putting two of WWE's best mic workers in one segment together, and this also helped hype Miz TV for later in the show.
John Cena and Sheamus def. World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and Dolph Ziggler
Solid tag team match with John Cena and Sheamus defeating World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and Dolph Ziggler. All four competitors hit their signature spots, and the crowd was certainly into it.
Unique finish with both Sheamus and Cena hitting their finishers simultaneously on Show and Ziggler, respectively. While I would've preferred the heels to go over, I'm fine with it seeing as how it's a sign that they'll be more than likely winning at WWE TLC.
Damien Sandow def. Santino Marella
Forgettable match between Damien Sandow and Santino Marella. Sandow cut yet another great promo prior to the bout and had an entertaining altercation with one of the "fans" at ringside.
While the crowd reacted to some parts of the match, they couldn't have cared less about the action. It was a nice win for Sandow, but Santino isn't as a over as he once was.
Alberto Del Rio def. Sin Cara
Fun match with Alberto Del Rio defeating Sin Cara. Their styles meshed very well and it made for some cool spots that the live crowd popped for.
The outcome was pretty predictable, but the win felt much more meaningful with it coming after such an exciting contest. On a side note, it was strange not to see Rey Mysterio in Sin Cara's corner.
Mr. McMahon and Vickie Guerrero Make John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler Official for WWE TLC
Boring promo involving Mr. McMahon and Vickie Guerrero. Both McMahon and Vickie played their roles well here, but this felt like an underwhelming appearance for the former.
I was glad to see them finally announce the Ladder Match between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler at WWE TLC in a few weeks, but it came in such a fashion that didn't get this viewer excited about it.
Randy Orton def. Brad Maddox
Brief match with Randy Orton squashing Brad Maddox. Although I wasn't all that high on Maddox a month ago, he's slowly but surely developing a character to my liking.
The action was basic with Orton getting the squash win within mere minutes, but it was 10 times better than having Maddox compete against The Great Khali, as originally expected. The Shield's attack on Orton following the bout was also well done.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett and R-Truth in a Fatal 4-Way
Great match with Antonio Cesaro defeating Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, R-Truth and Wade Barrett in a Fatal 4-Way to successfully retain his United States Championship. All four guys had excellent chemistry and the match had its share of fun moments.
The near-falls toward the end were intense and very suspenseful, and the finish with Cesaro hitting a beautiful Neutralizer on Kingston was excellently executed. Of course, having Cesaro pin Kingston here may seem a bit random, but keep in mind that they'll be going one-on-one this week on WWE Main Event.
Miz TV featuring WWE Champion CM Punk
Entertaining Miz TV segment featuring WWE Champion CM Punk taking a lie detector test. Miz seemed much more comfortable on the mic here and engaged in a solid verbal exchange with Punk.
I enjoyed the numerous historical references, and The Shield's interruption was an example of logical yet smart booking. It keeps fans guessing as to whether Punk is really aligned with The Shield or not, and Ryback finally gets momentum by demolishing Punk to close the show after being the victim of a number of assaults in recent weeks.
Overall, a good show that had its enjoyable moments and featured some solid action. Similar to last week, the three hours didn't feel like they dragged much, mostly due to the fact that more time was given to meaningful matches rather than wasted on pointless promos and whatnot.
They succeeded in building toward WWE TLC in two weeks and the advertised card thus far has potential to be great. There's very little to complain about coming out of this week's installment and I'm satisfied with the direction the show has taken in recent weeks.
Watch my latest WrestleRant video for my full thoughts on the show.
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