Segment 10: Brad Maddox and Paul Heyman interview/Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal
Are Maddox and the Shield involved with Heyman and Punk? Stay tuned!
This segment is followed by another squash. WWE needs more jobbers. Sheamus with the Brogue Kick for the win.
Key Quote: "Crawl back underneath that rock you slithered out from," Paul Heyman to Maddox.
Grade: C. Filler.
Segment 11: CM Punk vs. Ryback—Table, Ladders and Chairs WWE title match
The WWE title hangs over the ring, as a true PPV main event is about to go down for free on Raw. As Punk climbs the turnbuckles, it's starting to look like his knee injury was just a big ruse. If so, I'm not impressed with his integrity. Ryback comes out, still the best Goldberg ever, and we are off and running.
Cole and King set this up as a battle of brains versus brawn. Maybe. To me, it just looks like carnage. Sometimes these matches are hard to watch. You know the effect it is having on each man's body, in truth just a collection of meat and water, so it's hard not to cringe at the most violent spots.
My personal preferences aside, this was a great match. Punk, as foreshadowed by the announcers, does indeed use his noggin, suckering Ryback into bad situations and using the tools of the TLC match to his advantage.
For Ryback, it continues to be all about physicality. He's a monster, and when you have that kind of raw strength, who needs a plan?
Just when it looks like Ryback is about to take the title and earn a match with the Rock at Royal Rumble, the lights go out. When they come back on, of course, The Shield is there. Did they beat the heck out of Ryback? You bet. Did Punk take advantage to retain the title? You guessed it.
Key Quote: "For Punk it's about respect. Because he believes, despite 414 days as champion, no one has believed in him." — Michael Cole
Grade: A. Tremendous action. I wouldn't have cared for the screwjob finish on PPV, but on Raw it works. Loved this match.