The show opened with John Cena on Miz TV, with interference following by The Rhodes Scholars. All four men are capable of being very entertaining on the mic, but Cena was on his most unbearable behavior.
In a positive change from the standard show progression, this led directly into a tag team match between the four men. I was expecting The Rhodes Scholars to win, making the No. 1 contenders to the tag team championships look pretty good (though pinning Miz, of course). But as usual, it was Cena with the pin.
That night's Raw was something a little different that was termed "Champion's Choice," in which champions could choose an opponent to defend their title against. In some logical booking, most champions chose to defend against opponents who had no chance of winning.
As such, Antonio Cesaro defeated Sgt. Slaughter, Team Hell No defeated 3MB and Eve Torres selected the usefully present Mae Young.
An overlong but still entertaining promo (entirely thanks to CM Punk) established that either Punk would defend his championship against Ryback next week in a tables, ladders and chairs match, or else Paul Heyman would face Ryback. Logically, Heyman would just not turn up in case.
Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler have had quite a few matches in recent times, but this week's was better than most, even if an inconclusive finish always disappoints me.
A fallaway slam from the second rope especially stood out. The Shield attacking Sheamus surprised me, mainly because I thought it had happened already—after all, they've attacked practically every other baby face.
Ricardo Rodriguez, unfortunately, did not defeat the Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship, and it all but confirmed Alberto Del Rio would be the next challenger for the Big Gold Belt—something I'm a little ambivalent about.
Kofi Kingston defied the evening's trend and put up his Intercontinental Championship against serious competition in the form of Wade Barrett, who somewhat shockingly won it. The match was terrific. It was very well-paced and close throughout. I'm pretty sure it's the best they've had this year.
Mae Young didn't ultimately face Eve, as a doctor diagnosed her as being pregnant, and she gave birth to Hornswoggle.
It was an absolutely astonishing segment. It's tempting to dismiss it as awful, but really it transcended good or bad. I can't fathom what the writers thought they were doing.
Ryback vs. The Shield lasted for about a minute until Sheamus ran in. Then Randy Orton made his surprise return after being put out of action by The Shield a while back, except we saw him wrestle at Tribute to the Troops, so that's a bit of a lapse in continuity.
Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee's New Year's toast was interesting. It started with Dolph employing the standard heel tactic of telling the truth by pointing out how the Superstar of the Year 2012 John Cena had had a pretty bad year, and then had some great promo work between the two men, with Cena much better than he had been during show's opening or in the previous week.
Cena then dropped what was purportedly excrement on Ziggler and AJ, as if it was a kids' show (which the cynical may claim it is). Classy.
Raw was an enjoyable show and, apart from the last few seconds, there wasn't too much wrong with it. Except Mae Young giving birth to Hornswoggle. We didn't need that.