WWE Raw's 20th Anniversary, Jan. 14: GSM's Analysis and Aftermath
In light of its recent milestone, WWE held its historic 20th anniversary of Raw this past Monday night live from Houston. While this show would've been entertaining any other week, it's safe to say WWE failed in terms of giving us what we wanted to on this monumental show, and that was a number of returns from various familiar faces.
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.
Decent segment to kick off the show featuring Mr. McMahon, Big Show and new World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. It was fitting to have McMahon kick off the 20th anniversary show as he did with Raw 1000, but it didn't come as much of a surprise since we saw him just recently.
It was nice to see WWE put over Del Rio's World title win from last week and make it feel meaningful, even if Del Rio is trying a bit too hard to get over with the fans using his Latino background. On a side note, I loved the clash of the opening Raw themes as well, which made for a very nice touch.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Randy Orton (non-title)
Solid match between Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and Randy Orton. These two always work well together despite the fact we've seen the bout countless times.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Barrett defeat Orton cleanly via pin-fall, a sight I thought I'd never see. This was a huge victory for Barrett, so here's hoping they continue with his strong momentum as Intercontinental Champion.
If you couldn't tell, all signs point to a Randy Orton heel turn at this point.
WWE Tag Team Champion Kane w/Daniel Bryan def. Damien Sandow w/Cody Rhodes
Brief match with WWE Tag Team Champion Kane defeating Damien Sandow. We've seen it before, so at least they kept it quick and painless.
As for the backstage segment involving Dr. Shelby and Team Rhodes Scholars, I found that absolutely hilarious. Fingers crossed Shelby returns as a regular fixture on Raw going forward.
Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus Brawl with The Shield
Smart booking by having Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus run to the aid of Mick Foley and fending off The Shield. I realize a similar segment a few weeks ago, but it was still effective nonetheless.
I'm ecstatic Mick Foley is finally being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, but I was disappointed to not see him cut a full-length promo. Perhaps that comes at the Hall of Fame ceremony the night before WrestleMania 29.
Kaitlyn def. Eve to Win the Divas Championship
Good match with Kaitlyn defeating Eve to win her first Divas Championship. Of all the times we've seen these two compete against one another, this was definitely their best outing.
Unlike most Diva matches nowadays, this contest had a story behind it with Kaitlyn in chase mode, so finally capturing the strap in her hometown was certainly a special moment and the live crowd reacted accordingly. It's sad to see Eve go, as she has been one of the best things in the Divas division over the last year.
I understand wanting to plug the WWE App, but Eve quitting WWE following her loss would've been perfect, as JBL did the same thing in Houston back at WrestleMania 25.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. Brodus Clay (non-title)
Fine match between WWE Champion CM Punk and Brodus Clay. It was logical following Punk's remarks made about Clay last week on Raw and Punk got the best match out of the Funkasaurus that he possibly could.
I was hoping this was going to be a turning point for Clay's character that would foreshadow a much-needed heel turn, but apparently not. However, Punk's subsequent promo was great and got straight to the point within a matter of minutes.
Heath Slater Lastly Eliminated Sheamus to Win a Four-Man Battle Royal
Throwaway battle royal featuring 3MB and Sheamus. Sure, I was shocked Slater won, but that amounted to nothing since Sheamus attacked all three members of the group following the match anyway.
The fact that this was the only hype we got for the Royal Rumble match in less than two weeks is extremely pathetic.
Miz TV Guest Starring Ric Flair and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Fun Miz TV segment featuring Ric Flair and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. Everyone played their roles extraordinarily well and although it felt like just one big mess, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Flair was hysterical at taking shots at himself while Miz and Cesaro furthered their feud as well. This was the best we've ever seen Cesaro perform on the mic up to this point and being in the same ring as Flair certainly gave him some awesome spotlight as U.S. Champ.
WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan w/Kane def. Cody Rhodes w/Damien Sandow
Typical match with WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan defeating Cody Rhodes. Similar to Kane vs. Damien Sandow, we've seen this bout countless times in recent months, so it was nothing out of the ordinary.
Team Rhodes Scholars' losses on this show took away from their non-title victory from last week, but one would assume that it signals a title change come Royal Rumble.
John Cena def. Dolph Ziggler w/AJ Lee and Big E Langston in a Steel Cage
Predictable Steel Cage match with John Cena defeating Dolph Ziggler. Don't get me wrong, the action was excellent, but it was the exact same thing we saw last week.
Despite interference from AJ Lee and Big E Langston, Cena still managed to win regardless. I was fine with it last week given the fact that Ziggler looked strong in defeat, but there was absolutely no point of repeating the same exact thing this week.
Please, WWE, just let the feud end here and move on to bigger and better things with both competitors.
Rock Concert as Hosted by The Rock
Entertaining Rock Concert to close the show. Unlike the Rock Concert from last year, this one didn't take shots at his pending opponent, but instead at Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero.
The live crowd enjoyed it and I laughed at almost all of Rock's lines. CM Punk's attack on Rock was well done and the fact that he was the first one to initiate the fight made him look incredibly strong as WWE Champion.
The brawl was incredibly intense and another great effort in hyping the WWE Championship match for Royal Rumble.
Although I enjoyed a lot of things on this week's Raw, this did not at all feel like a 20th anniversary show. I, among many others, was very disappointed to not see any Legends appear (Foley, Rock and Flair made frequent appearances) and any emphasis given to the anniversary aspect of the show aside from a few video packages.
I understand WWE didn't feel the need to make this as big of a deal as Raw 1000 from last July, but this was simply unacceptable. This Raw would've been successful as a normal show, but even if it was, hardly any hype was given to the Royal Rumble, which was simply inexcusable since it's in less than two weeks.
I sincerely hope the returns during the Rumble match make up for this poor excuse for an anniversary show.
Watch my latest WrestleRant video for my full thoughts on the show.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, like me on Facebook and listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Wednesday night at 10/9c for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.
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