One night removed from the historic event that was the WWE Royal Rumble, Monday Night Raw featured a number of monumental moments that kicked off the road to WrestleMania with a bang. Not only that, but the Raw Roulette theme made for some fun (and not-so-fun) matches and segments to add to what was a rather newsworthy show.
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 the coming weeks.
Great opening segment featuring CM Punk, Paul Heyman and Mr. McMahon. Punk was incredibly intense while claiming that his title loss to The Rock at Royal Rumble was a fluke and deemed it the "Phoenix Screwjob"
He was already aggressive before, but Punk's anger can intensify now that he's no longer WWE Champion. This was also successful in setting up the confrontation between Heyman and McMahon later in the night.
Randy Orton def. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro with The Miz as special guest referee (non-title)
Good match between Randy Orton and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro with The Miz as the special guest referee. Sure, this is the fourth time we've seen this match in the last few weeks, but it never gets old for me personally.
They have solid chemistry in the ring and Miz acting as the special guest referee here makes sense given his recent rivalry with Cesaro. I have no problem with Orton winning (again), as it furthered Cesaro's feud with Miz effectively.
Ryback def. Prime Time Players in a "Make Me Laugh" match
Fine segment featuring Ryback and Prime Time Players. The "Make Me Laugh" stipulation didn't do much for this viewer, and I saw it as a waste of an opportunity to use Ryback in his hometown of Sin City.
Although it was fun while it lasted, it amazes me that Ryback went from being one of the final two in the Royal Rumble match to this filler of a segment. I feel no sympathy for Matt Striker getting brutalized by Ryback, simply because he had it coming to him.
Bo Dallas def. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in a Player's Choice match (non-title)
Brief match with Bo Dallas defeating Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in a surprising upset victory. The match never really got started since it lasted a mere two minutes, but it was a nice win for Dallas and a great way to debut him on Raw.
It was very reminiscent of 1-2-3 Kid's victory over Razor Ramon in the early years of Raw and I'm hoping it has the same impact as that monumental moment. I'm interested to see where this goes from here, especially since Dallas isn't involved in the Intercontinental Cup on Main Event.
John Cena def. Cody Rhodes and announces his World Championship match at WrestleMania 29; The Shield attacked
Meaningless match with John Cena defeating Cody Rhodes. It was a quick squash victory for Cena that didn't do anything to benefit anyone involved. As Rhodes said himself, this was truly a waste of his talent.
As for Cena's subsequent promo, he delivered it well, but I feel as if this should've been hyped beforehand as a bigger deal. I'm glad he was in serious mode here and not giving away his gamer tag, but I would've liked to have seen this promo a little bit further down the road.
The Shield's attack on Cena, Sheamus and Ryback was very well done and I hope to see the six Superstars involved in some sort of a tag team Elimination Chamber match at the next pay-per-view.
Brodus Clay def. Tensai in a Dance Contest
Harmless dance contest between Tensai and Brodus Clay. It didn't drag on too long and I found Tensai dancing in lingerie somewhat humorous.
It seems as if they're trying to convert Tensai into a comedy act and possibly into a tag team with Clay, which I'd be with content with. Hardly anyone cares for Tensai as a heel, so why not turn him face and see what happens?
Big Show attacks World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez
Effective segment with Big Show attacking both World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. It played into the duct tape finish (which I still find stupid) of their match at Royal Rumble and put heat back on Show.
It managed to continue their feud, make Del Rio and Rodriguez sympathetic, and make Show look like a ruthless monster. Nicely done.
Kaitlyn vs. Tamina in a Vegas Showgirls match went to a No Contest
Throwaway Vegas Showgirls match between Divas Champion Kaitlyn and Tamina. The match was painfully boring and the involvement of all the Divas at the end was just one giant mess.
A Kaitlyn-Tamina feud has some potential, but it needs to be built properly in order for people to care about the matches.
CM Punk interrupts WWE Champion The Rock
Strong segment between new WWE Champion The Rock and CM Punk. Rock's championship celebration was everything it needed to be and wasn't completely over the top.
As always, Punk and Rock had an excellent exchange on the mic and I appreciated Rock not using any silly lines during the course of his promo. He remained serious, fired back at Punk, and gave us something to look forward to at Elimination Chamber: a rematch between the two for the WWE Championship.
Sheamus def. Damien Sandow in a Tables match
Solid Tables match between Sheamus and Damien Sandow. While it seemed a bit random (most of the matches on this show did), this bout was still well-wrestled and featured some quality action.
The outcome was never in doubt, but the finish with Sheamus hitting White Noise through the table for the win was still cool.
3MB interrupts The Great Khali and Zack Ryder's Karaoke Challenge
Horrendous karaoke segment featuring The Great Khali, Zack Ryder and 3MB. Of all the downright stupid segments on this show, this was by far the worst of them all.
It was simply painful to watch and served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. These segments are exactly why the Raw Roulette concept is extremely aggravating at times.
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No def. Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler w/AJ Lee and Big E Langston (non-title)
Entertaining match with WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No and Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler. The pre-match promo involving Jericho and Ziggler was hysterical and a great way to rekindle their ruthless rivalry from last summer.
As for the match itself, it was logical in the sense that both teams had their respective problems and the finish with Jericho tricking Ziggler to get attacked by Kane was smart booking.
I look forward to Ziggler and Jericho continuing their feud going forward and here's hoping the two face off at WrestleMania 29, preferably over the World Heavyweight Championship.
Brock Lesnar returns and attacks Mr. McMahon
Excellent segment to close the show involving Mr. McMahon, Paul Heyman and the returning Brock Lesnar. McMahon's review of Heyman as well as the exclusive footage he provided featuring The Shield and Brad Maddox was extremely intriguing.
It's awesome to see that Heyman truly was the genius behind it all these last few months with all the puzzle pieces slowly falling into place. Lesnar's return was well-timed and his F5 to McMahon was downright brutal.
Kudos to McMahon for taking such a bump at his elderly age. This was a hot angle to close the show with and I'm excited to see where this goes from here.
Overall, a great show that was easily highlighted by The Rock, CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Paul Heyman and the shocking return of Brock Lesnar. On a side note, it's great to see Trish Stratus enter the WWE Hall of Fame this year, as she's very much deserving of the honor.
Everything else on this week's Raw was mostly garbage, as the Raw Roulette concept is only used to pop a rating once in awhile and is apparently obligatory every time Raw is held in Las Vegas. Even still, the monumental moments made up for the rest of this show and gave me a sense of satisfaction as we now embark on the road to WrestleMania.
Watch my latest WrestleRant video for my full thoughts on the show.
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