With only six days remaining until the highly anticipated TLC pay-per-view, Raw presented its go-home show on Monday night that did its best to convince fans to purchase Sunday's event. While the broadcast as a whole felt lackluster at times, it still featured some highlights that are definitely deserving of a second look.
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.
Solid opening segment featuring Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and World Heavyweight champion Big Show. Ziggler has improved immensely on the mic in the last year, and this promo was a prime example of that.
Having him sit atop the ladder was a cool visual and it's something I've always enjoyed seeing going into a Ladder Match. Sheamus and Show also played their roles well, but it was mainly to hype their title bout on Sunday and the other featured matches for later in the night.
R-Truth def. Wade Barrett
Brief match with R-Truth quickly defeating Wade Barrett. Barrett shouldn't have lost the match to begin with, but having the bout last a mere minute made it feel meaningless.
I'm hoping that this is a sign of Barrett winning the title on Sunday and not a case of making the heel look weak for no reason going into a pay-per-view. Intercontinental champion Kofi Kingston and United States champion Antonio Cesaro were fine on commentary, but it was nothing special.
Team Rhodes Scholars def. The Usos, Prime Time Players and Primo & Epico a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Elimination Match
Fun Fatal 4-Way Elimination Tag Team match with Team Rhodes Scholars advancing to WWE TLC. The Usos were certainly spotlighted here and received their most momentum in months by eliminating the tandem of Primo and Epico and the Prime Time Players.
It could've gone a bit longer, but the action was enjoyable while it lasted. Rhodes Scholars were the most logical pick here and I'm glad to see Rhodes back so soon from injury.
Their Tables match with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara on Sunday should be a blast. That being said, it would've been nice to hear from Mysterio and Cara on this show.
Divas Champion Eve def. Alicia Fox (non-title)
Fine match with Divas champion Eve defeating Alicia Fox. This was a better-than-average Divas match that received more than usual, which was nice to see.
Similar to Cody Rhodes, it was a pleasant surprise to see Eve back from injury this quickly, as she's been one of the biggest highlights of the Divas division this year.
WWE Champion CM Punk Gives an Update on His Injury Status
Strong promo from WWE champion CM Punk. Both he and Heyman sounded great on the mic per usual, and Punk successfully got his point across of not competing at the TLC pay-per-view due to his injury. Also, Punk teasing that he will be in fact at the show on Sunday was a nice teaser for fans contemplating not buying the pay-per-view due to his removal.
This should've been hyped in advance and made to feel more significant than it actually was, but I was shocked this would be the only Punk sighting we'd get all night.
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler by Disqualification
Great match between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. The fact we've seen this bout countless times in the last year somewhat spoiled it for me, but it was still a strong effort from both guys nonetheless.
They have such amazing chemistry that they're incapable of having a bad match together. I also appreciated the effort in protecting Ziggler by having him lose via disqualification, but it also felt predictable since we've seen that same finish to their matches in the past.
Alberto Del Rio def. Zack Ryder
Decent match between Alberto Del Rio and Zack Ryder. I was happy to see Ryder snag a spot on the show since they were near his hometown, hence why he received more support from the crowd than usual.
He had an impressive showing against Del Rio in a match that got substantial time, but the finish was never in doubt. I used to be fine with the weekly Del Rio squash on Raw, but by this point, I'm left wondering what they really accomplish.
He's not involved in any program right now, so what would've been the harm in letting Ryder get the upset victory here?
Vickie Guerrero def. AJ (Brad Maddox as referee)
Throwaway match with Vickie Guerrero defeating AJ with Brad Maddox as the referee. Obviously, this was never about the match itself but rather to fuel AJ's anger and pent-up frustration.
This was a good role for Maddox and it gives AJ the out for losing, so here's hoping this is the end of the line for the AJ-Vickie feud. Moreover, AJ's post-match meltdown could be foreshadowing a heel turn or at least an extra layer in her character.
Either way, she's stale in her current role and needs more character development to spark new interest in her persona.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston (Non-Title)
Good match with Antonio Cesaro defeating Kofi Kingston. They worked very well together and the right man went over cleanly.
The crowd wasn't all that reactive to it, but that was more than likely due to the fact it occurred so late in the show. My main issue with this bout was the fact it wasn't advertised at all despite being a champion vs. champion match.
The Miz hosts Miz TV featuring Team Rhodes Scholars
Entertaining Miz TV segment featuring Team Rhodes Scholars. As I said last week, The Miz's comedy may not be for everyone, but there's no denying that he seems to be connecting with the crowd quite well in his babyface role.
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes were both great on the mic, and their verbal exchange with Miz was hilarious. This was more about foreshadowing a feud between Sandow and Miz rather than hyping the Tag Team Tables match at TLC.
John Cena def. World Heavyweight Champion Big Show by Disqualification (Non-Title)
Standard match between Big Show and John Cena. I've never been a fan of their matches since we've seen it a number of times this year, but the action in this contest was exceptional.
The non-finish was smart booking and the post-match brawl that featured everyone from the top three TLC main events was a hot way to end the show. Ryback came off looking like a star yet again since he was saved until the closing minutes of Raw, and he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.
However, with the six-man tag team TLC match recently added to Sunday's card, I would've preferred to see that built up better and establish it rather than assuming the fans already knew about it.
Overall, a good show that featured some average action, but it didn't do much in terms of a go-show show. While most of the matches for TLC were mentioned and built toward, the fashion it was done in wasn't very efficient with the exception of the ending brawl.
This week's Raw didn't seem to drag all that much, but some parts felt underwhelming since we've witnessed many of these matches numerous times before.
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