With TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs just days away, Monday Night Raw concluded in frantic fashion as an all-out brawl broke out between various feuding Superstars.
And though the rest of the show may have been somewhat more tame, it was exactly the end that we needed in order to give the upcoming pay-per-view that final push in the go-home episode of Raw.
The stage is now well and truly set for this Sunday’s extravaganza, but before then there are plenty of issues from Raw to be discussed.
Once again, this article analyses the pick of the action, assessing exactly what it could mean for the WWE with TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs so close on the horizon.
Capitalizing on the momentum of the Tag Team division and announcing an extra match for the PPV was a great call by the WWE.
Furthermore, the match on Raw to determine Sin-sterio’s opponents this Sunday was the perfect way to showcase the talent that the company now possesses outside of singles competition.
The Usos’ dominance gave them a much-needed push, and while I was surprised to see the Primetime Players play such a limited role, one can’t really argue with Rhodes Scholars emerging victorious; the duo proved later in the night they thoroughly deserve their spotlight in the limelight.
Regardless of who wins this Sunday, the WWE can take heart from the fact that there are now at least half a dozen teams on the roster who could quite feasibly win the tag titles.
Compared to months gone by, this marks a vast improvement on the standard of competition, and it can only be a good thing for the company and viewers alike.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus seemed all too likely to end in the Showoff succumbing to defeat at the hands of the Great White.
While such a result would have benefitted the Irishman heading into TLC, it would have been nothing short of disastrous for Ziggler, as he has already lost to Cena in recent weeks.
Thus, for the sake of his credibility he couldn’t afford to take another clean loss ahead of such a huge contest this Sunday.
In the end, this one was booked perfectly, with Ziggler’s DQ loss and his near-avoidance of the Brogue Kick ensuring he did not look weak for the umpteenth time on Raw.
As it now stands, a win for either man at the PPV would be entirely believable, though I must admit my instincts tell me it will be Ziggler, rather than Sheamus, who has the last laugh this weekend.
This one I certainly did not see coming.
Having Maddox return to his former role of referee may have been unexpected, but it adds a whole new dimension of mystery to the current state of the WWE.
Has he been affiliated with Vickie Guerrero all along? And have the Shield in turn been working with Maddox simultaneously?
There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer here, though it’s now entirely possible that Maddox, the Shield, Vickie Guerrero and CM Punk are all in cahoots in some massively long-winded storyline that would put last year’s “conspiracy” angle to shame.
It may of course be nothing, but I’m sure I’m not alone in suspecting that this could all be part of something much bigger in the WWE.
Continuing along the lines of unexpected twists, I was further surprised, though thoroughly pleased, to see Antonio Cesaro pick up a clean win over Kofi Kingston on Raw.
The US Champion was impressive once again against the high-flyer, and has now technically beaten Kingston two weeks in a row on Raw, putting the Swiss in great form heading into the PPV.
It’s a result that seems to point to one outcome at TLC: a new Intercontinental Champion in the form of Wade Barrett, and a continued reign as US Champion for Antonio Cesaro.
However R-Truth was of course victorious earlier in the night against Wade Barrett, which well and truly puts a spanner in the works when it comes to predicting the winners at TLC.
I stand by my prediction of wins for Barrett and Cesaro, but nonetheless, events on Raw have left these two feuds perfectly poised ahead of this Sunday’s PPV.
As mentioned previously, Raw exploded in the final moments before going off air on Monday night.
The Shield launched yet another surprise attack, this time on John Cena during his match with the Big Show.
However the introduction of Team Hell No and Ryback eventually turned the tides in favour of the faces, with the Shield ending Raw by taking a beating for the first time since their emergence on WWE programming.
Once again, it leaves this one wide open heading into TLC, but surely the WWE wouldn’t hand the Shield defeat in their in-ring debut after handing them such a strong push?
For the sake of the future of the company, I certainly hope not.
But either way the ending to Raw only adds to the anticipation surrounding TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs, and considering the damaging news of WWE Champion CM Punk’s injury last week, the WWE have done admirably well to recover and sustain the hype ahead of the PPV.
While everyone will have their own predictions ahead of this Sunday’s PPV, Raw did a great job of making such results all the more difficult to call this past Monday Night.
Furthermore, the mystery surrounding Maddox’s role within the company, and whether or not the Shield truly are working for themselves remains very much unclear.
With 2012 drawing to a close, we could be set for a truly game-changing announcement in the coming weeks, with the potential to change the complexion of the WWE entirely.
Of course, it could all amount to nothing, but that’s the beauty of the position the WWE have worked themselves into at present; anything remains a possibility.
As ever, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on Raw, as well as the issues raised in the article and any predictions you may have heading into TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs this Sunday.