For the fifth consecutive year, Monday Night Raw featured the annual WWE Slammy Awards as well as the follow-up from WWE TLC on Sunday night. On a night filled with monumental moments and shocking returns, this week's edition of Raw was surely one not to be missed.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of analysis and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
Rey Mysterio w/Sin Cara def. Damien Sandow w/Cody Rhodes
Brief match between Damien Sandow and Rey Mysterio. They work well together, so I would've liked to see this bout go a bit longer.
As always, I love it when in-ring action kicks off the show. I have no problem with Sandow losing since Rhodes avenged his loss later in the night.
The Boogeyman Returns; Kofi Kingston Wins "Tell Me I Did Not Just See That" Slammy Award
Awesome return from The Boogeyman. It happened at the most random moment, so it came as a huge shock to the live audience and fans watching at home.
Boogeyman has always been a fun, unique act, so it was nice to see him back for one night only. As for Kofi Kingston winning the Slammy Award, I couldn't care less.
Kaitlyn def. Divas Champion Eve (non-Title)
Fine match with Kaitlyn defeating Divas Champion Eve. We've seen this bout numerous times before, so there was nothing new here whatsoever.
Kaitlyn scoring the non-title victory ensures she gets yet another title shot down the line (preferably on Christmas Eve). Aren't there other Divas that can feud with Eve aside from Kaitlyn and Layla?
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston def. Tensai (non-Title)
Meaningless match with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston defeating Tensai. The match lasted a mere minute, so this contest served no purpose at all.
However, Wade Barrett's post-match attack on Kingston was well done and I'm glad to see the feud continue between them going forward.
AJ Lee and John Cena Win the Kiss of the Year Slammy Award
Intriguing segment with AJ kissing Dolph Ziggler. I've wanted hem to be a couple for quite some time now, so I'm happy to see it finally come to fruition.
Ziggler looked a bit shocked, though, so it doesn't appear as if they've been in cahoots all along. I found it mind-boggling as to why the Kiss of the Year Award was presented on Raw but the Diva of the Year award was presented on WWE.com.
The Great Khali w/Natalya def. David Otunga
Throwaway match between The Great Khali and David Otunga. Both guys are terrible in the ring, so why WWE would put these two together in a match is beyond me.
This is the third time we've seen it in recent months, and it's practically the same match every single time. Thankfully, it was over quickly with Khali as the obvious victor.
Ric Flair Returns and Challenges WWE Champion CM Punk to a Fight
Entertaining segment featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and the returning Ric Flair. First and foremost, WWE did an excellent job in creating hooks for these series of continuous segments and keeping the viewers in suspense.
Secondly, I realize that it's illogical to give John Cena the Superstar of the Year since he practically accomplished nothing in 2012, but the awards hardly mean anything anyway, so what's the point in getting mad over that? Flair did a tremendous job here and the live crowd was hot for his comeback.
He and Punk had a hilarious exchange and an enjoyable brawl that even saw Flair connect with the Figure Four leglock on Paul Heyman.
Ryback and Team Hell No Attack The Shield
Strong brawl featuring The Shield, Team Hell No and Ryback. The Shield received great heat for targeting Ric Flair, and it was a nice way of building off their victory from the night before at WWE TLC.
Ryback came out to an explosive pop when he made the save, and it was very cool to see him, Flair and Team Hell No all in the same ring together at the same time.
Brodus Clay def. JTG
Basic squash match with Brodus Clay dominating JTG. It was pretty pointless aside from the fact it was used to kill time.
Cody Rhodes w/Damien Sandow def. Sin Cara w/Rey Mysterio
Nice match between Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara. It was well wrestled and involved some fun spots.
Cool finish with Rhodes reversing one of Cara's maneuvers into a Cross Rhodes. Nothing much more to say than that.
John Cena Prevents Dolph Ziggler from Cashing in Money in the Bank on World Heavyweight Champion Big Show
Fun segment featuring World Heavyweight Champion Big Show, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and John Cena. Big Show's promo was fine for what it was, but I can't say I'm excited for the continuation of his feud with Sheamus.
Don't get me wrong—their matches have been great, but Sheamus has no reason to go back for the title at this point. As frustrated as I am that Cena prevented Ziggler from successfully cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, it keeps the feud alive and further builds toward the moment that Ziggler does eventually become World Heavyweight Champion.
The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Tommy Dreamer def. 3MB
Good match with The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and the returning Tommy Dreamer defeating 3MB. Being the major fan of Dreamer that I am, I loved his return and the live Philadelphia crowd seemed to as well.
This was the longest bout of the night and rightfully so, as it included some nice action that saw Dreamer score the victory. My only concern is that Del Rio's face turn seems lost in translation at the moment with it feeling a bit irrelevant, but maybe it will take form in coming weeks.
Ryback def. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro by Countout (non-Title)
Smart booking by having Ryback defeat United States Champion Antonio Cesaro by countout. Given how this is a fresh match and both competitors have major momentum, it would've been harmful for Cesaro to be fed to Ryback within minutes, so I'm glad the non-finish occurred.
On a side note, how is it that Ryback won three Slammy Awards and CM Punk didn't win a single one?
Triple H Returns and WIns Match of the Year Slammy Award
Solid promo from Triple H. He received a great returning reaction and he made his Match of the Year Award win feel prestigious, unlike the other awards given throughout the night.
Hinting at Undertaker's inevitable return was a nice touch and this was the perfect stage to announce that at.
John Cena and Vickie Guerrero def. Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee by Disqualification
Surprising debut from Big E Langston during the AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena and Vickie Guerrero mixed tag team match. Due to the teams not making sense, I didn't care all that much for the match, but Langston's attack on Cena was a shocker, to say the least.
It'll be interesting to see if he aligns himself with The Shield since he's also from NXT or if he'll form a friendship with AJ. Either way, this was an extremely intriguing cliffhanger to close the show with.
Overall, an incredibly insane show that featured many newsworthy moments that originally weren't expected. From an in-ring standpoint, this show was horrendous, but the various returns kept this viewer entertained and alert over the course of the three hours.
As you probably noticed, I didn't discuss every Slammy Award category because, quite frankly, they were meaningless or the wrong person won them. That aside, this was the kind of Raw that you either loved or hated, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed most of it.
Additionally, the Philadelphia crowd enhanced the electric environment of this Raw, and it certainly was a fun audience. The followup from WWE TLC the night previous could've been a bit better, but I'm highly anticipating where they're going with a number of their current storylines.
Watch my latest WrestleRant video for my full thoughts on the show.
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