Raw opened by reminding us of Martin Luther King Jr., for those who haven't heard of him.
The show properly opened with Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero complaining about The Rock. Not on the quite legitimate grounds of last week's Rock Concert being embarrassing—and about as funny as losing a £20 note—but on the kayfabe grounds of being insulting to them.
We were treated to more of Dwayne's comedy as he was prevented from entering the building on Vickie's orders. For a man who quite famously had surgery on his breasts, you'd think he'd leave Heyman alone that way.
Matches don't end during commercials, so the excitement of a Beat the Clock challenge (seeing which match will end first) is subdued when they cut to ads. As the clock was over seven minutes before the show returned, you could be sure the one to select their place in the Royal Rumble wouldn't be Randy Orton or Antonio Cesaro.
Sadly, Orton won that match, thanks to an RKO anyone could have seen coming from a mile off. Considering how long Cesaro dominated beforehand, it was very much a one move of doom.
CM Punk delivered a typically engaging promo, which, without breaking or even pushing kayfabe, still had a slightly shooty aspect. I've had cause more than once recently to point out that heels are often good just by telling the truth, and such was the case here.
CM Punk's been putting on great shows every time he steps in the ring and has earned his current position over his career. The Rock, in contrast, has had two matches within the past eight and a half years, and is in the position he is on account of crowd reaction rather than wrestling skill.
I did say I would last week, so here I may as well address the issue of The Rock's in-ring ability: he's terrible.
He has a moveset so limited that he makes John Cena look like AJ Styles, his two finishers are rubbish (an elbow drop with silly hopping around and an unspecial-looking slam), he's a theatrical overseller, he does nothing especially athletic or technical and he doesn't take many bumps.
It's the issue of the bumps that, since hearing in July about his challenging at the Royal Rumble, sewed a seed of doubt in my mind about his winning the WWE Championship.
The pay-per-view following the Rumble is the Elimination Chamber, which is one of the bumpiest PPVs around due to the metal floor around the ring. If The Rock is competing for the WWE Championship there, you can bet he'll be entering the chamber last.
Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz more quickly than Orton's earlier win, though not by a great deal. It's good to have such long matches. There doesn't seem to be much point in Ziggler winning, as no one could expect him to win the Rumble unless there's a plan to unify the world titles. He is, after all, still Mr Money in the Bank.
Some churls booed Dr. Shelby at the start of one of the silliest things we've witnessed in recent times: Team Hell No's graduation. That said, what kind of anger management course has a graduation? Perhaps there was cause to boo Dr Shelby after all.
Silly though it was, I did laugh at the end as the three in the ring hugged while jumping in rhythm to Ride of the Valkyries.
In an unclever twist that simultaneously was easy to see coming and makes no actual sense, The Rock gained legal entry to the arena with the policeman's spare ticket.
It makes no sense because if the general manager banned him personally then a ticket should make no difference, but also, no one else with a ticket is allowed to stroll right up to the ring. Paul Heyman himself started to hang a lampshade on the fact before The Rock discourteously insisted that he leave.
The Rock claimed he'd worked his posterior off over the past 10 years to earn his title shot—if someone could explain this to me I'd be grateful—and tastelessly invoked Martin Luther King Jr., too.
The Shield then did their most welcome attack since Orton on The Rock, as if to try and disprove what I wrote earlier by delivering a solid bump. The Rock went down so hard that it made his jaw clamp down on a blood capsule inside his mouth.
Sheamus and Wade Barrett put on a terrifically well-balanced match that kept me guessing all the way to the end. I think we could have had the same result without Team Ziggler's interference, and it would have been better, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
The crowd saying along with Ricardo Rodriguez's ring announcement was quite fun. It's an absolute joy to see what an exceptionally over face Alberto Del Rio is. Tensai briefly looked like a danger to Del Rio, but not for long. Del Rio then taught us to count to 10 in Spanish, taking over Antonio Cesaro's long-discarded language-tutor mantle.
John Cena delivered one of the most contemptuously bad promos I can recall, and then Raw ended with the typical pre-Rumble mass of wrestlers talking and brawling.
Raw wasn't as good as the first two of the year, but I enjoyed it overall. The Royal Rumble might be the easiest PPV to get excited about anyway, but Raw certainly didn't diminish that excitement.