WWE Monday Night Raw opened with Paul Heyman. He had a life-changing announcement, and that announcement was that he was handing in his resignation. After stating that he didn’t want to get in CM Punk’s way, the former WWE champion made his way out.
He soon talked Heyman out of leaving, and nothing life-changing actually happened. I just couldn’t get into this opening segment at all.
Heyman was good on the mic, but he dragged everything out. I sat there the whole time wanting the segment to be over. What I did find interesting, though, was their hug at the end.
During the hug, Heyman kept on talking while Punk just stared straight forward. The stare was quite intense. It probably means nothing, but Punk could have something up his sleeve.
Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali
Henry defeated Khali here with the World’s Strongest Slam in a squash match. Henry dominated the entire contest. That was good, though, to show Henry’s overall dominance in his quest to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship. Other than that, this match was just a squash.
Post-match, Henry delivered his finisher to Hornswoggle, and I found myself laughing as a result. It sounds mean, I know, but I thought Henry flattening Hornswoggle was great. I was never a fan of his, and his pairing with Khali isn’t really doing him any favors in my book.
Backstage, Paul Heyman entered Vickie Guerrero’s office to propose a stipulation for the Rock/Punk rematch at the Elimination Chamber. She blew him off, but all of a sudden got a call from Vince McMahon.
Heyman suggested that if The Rock got counted out or disqualified, then he’d lose the title. McMahon agreed, and then a dial tone sounded over a smart phone.
So The Rock’s championship advantage has been taken away. That’s intriguing, but what’s more intriguing is McMahon actually agreeing to Heyman’s request. I mean, he was seconds from firing him a few weeks ago. What has changed?
Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan
Before the match, Chris Jericho approached Booker T and Teddy Long backstage. He wanted in on the Elimination Chamber match since he was a former world champion and appeared in more Chamber matches than anyone else. Teddy gave Booker an idea, but Booker told him it was terrible and booked Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan.
Jericho really should have been considered in the first place. He is a six-time champion, and first-ever undisputed champion after all.
Booker’s little snap at Teddy surprised me. Is Booker simply trying to become his own man in terms of being general manager, or is he feeling threatened by Teddy’s suggestions? I just hope we don’t get another general manager versus general manager match at WrestleMania, or in this case, general manager versus assistant to the general manager.
Jericho would then defeat Bryan with the Codebreaker in a good match. With constant back-and-forth action throughout, Jericho and Bryan put on a solid contest. They have great chemistry in the ring together. I would love to see more from them.
I especially liked Bryan’s reversal of the Walls of Jericho when he turned it into the No Lock. That was well done.
I’m glad to see Jericho in the Elimination Chamber match. It’s something he could actually win. I wouldn’t mind seeing Alberto Del Rio defending the World Heavyweight Championship against a heel Chris Jericho. I have to wonder, though, what the status is of Jericho’s feud with Dolph Ziggler.
With Y2J in the chamber, could that mean Ziggler could enter the match now? He originally dismissed the possibility of competing in the match, but with his rival in it, things have certainly changed.
John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus vs. 3MB
After Ryback beat up Heath Slater, Sheamus dismantled Drew McIntyre and John Cena picked apart Jinder Mahal, they each hit their finishers simultaneously on the guy they beat up for the win. This was nothing more than a squash match.
Seeing Ryback hit Shell Shock, Sheamus deliver White Noise and Cena do the Attitude Adjustment at the same time was actually pretty cool, but the match as a whole was just a way to show they can work together as a team.
Post-match, Ryback said he couldn’t wait to feed on The Shield, while Sheamus and Cena declared that The Shield would show up later and that they’d be bring the fight to them.
I thought their little promos were kind of corny, but they got the job done. They want fans to be backing them in their match against The Shield, and they got their support by vowing to take them down.
The Big Show is Speechless
Before the segment, footage was shown from earlier in the day of Alex Riley and Yoshi Tatsu making fun of The Big Show after what happened on SmackDown. Big Show then appeared out of nowhere, knocked out Tatsu without touching him and all but killed Riley with the Knockout Punch.
I seriously didn’t see Big Show touch Tatsu. Did he get knocked out off-screen, or did he just faint? It was good to see both Riley and Tatsu on Raw; I just wish they were in a match.
The Big Show then appeared in the ring with Matt Striker. Before Striker could get out a sentence, he got knocked out. Big Show then struggled with what to say before just dropping the microphone and walking out.
I take it The Big Show is angry. Alberto Del Rio may have poked the bear one too many times. It was good to see him act like an angry giant instead of a crybaby, so he’s looking stronger now.
I loved Striker getting knocked out! I am not a fan of his at all, so I literally cheered when The Big Show punched him in the face.
Zack Ryder vs. Jack Swagger
Zack Ryder had a burst of offense in the beginning, which included the Broski Boot, but Jack Swagger ultimately dominated him and made him tap out to the Patriot Act. Another squash match on Raw; this is disappointing.
I like Swagger’s intensity now, but his gimmick is starting to confuse me. That is because of the inclusion of Zeb Coulter. It took me a while to figure it out, but Coulter is Dutch Mantel. I recognized him when he came out with Swagger, but the Zeb name was throwing me off big time.
Anyway, Coulter was a Vietnam veteran who apparently does not like people crossing the border into the United States. So does this mean Swagger hates that, too? No matter what’s going on, this could be good for Swagger.
Coulter cut a really good old-school promo here that got some nice heat. If WWE has him say that in the right markets, the heat is going to be huge. Having him as Swagger’s mouthpiece is a great idea.
Have Coulter do the talking while Swagger gets it done in the ring. Zeb Coulter could turn out to be the best thing to happen for Jack Swagger in years.
Afterwards, backstage, Booker announced that Swagger was officially in the Elimination Chamber match. Dolph Ziggler then approached him and wanted in the match now that Jericho was in it. Booker said that he could, but only if he beat Kane.
I guess that solves that problem. It was great to see Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E. Langston on Raw, especially since they were nowhere to be found last week. Ziggler cut a solid promo here, while AJ and Langston served as good backup for him.
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
The Miz picked up a victory here by disqualification after Antonio Cesaro pushed him into the ring post.
This match was going pretty well. Miz and Cody Rhodes showed that they have some good chemistry with one another, and the action was good until the abrupt ending. I would like to see more from Miz and Rhodes, but hopefully without the interference.
It’s good to see the Miz/Cesaro feud back on track. This is the first time in years that I’m actually interested in a feud over the United States Championship. It was what happened post-match that’s an example as to why.
Cesaro would grab Miz’s legs like he was going to slingshot him, but instead he swung him back-and-forth into the barricade. That looked sick and painful! It’s been quite a while since a Superstar not named Brock Lesnar has shown that kind of brutality. I am loving Cesaro’s character, and I can’t wait to see what more this feud has to offer.
Brodus Clay and Tensai vs. Primo and Epico
Brodus Clay and Tensai literally just squashed Primo and Epico here. The former tag champions didn’t even get in any offense. The new and massive team of Brodus and Tensai is impressive. I’d like to see what they can do in a match that last longer than a minute.
Post-match, Rosa Mendes tried to attack the Funkadactyls, but she got thrown out of the ring, scared by Naomi’s impressive flip and hit with a Cameron baseball slide.
Ever since Main Event last week, I’ve been quite high on Naomi. She was incredibly impressive in that match, and while she only did a flip over the ropes, that flip was well done. She has a bright future ahead of here, but she has got to get away from the Funkasaurus.
Justice Is Served
The Shield then made their way out. Taking turns on the mic, they went into how John Cena has failed every day. They basically said that Cena fails just by existing, which is actually pretty harsh. They dubbed the issues with WWE as the “John Cena Problem” and that they were the solution to it.
The lights soon went out and Cena, Ryback and Sheamus appeared. After brawling with the The Shield, they were standing tall as the heels ran off.
I thought this was a well-done segment. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins gave strong performances on the mic, though I thought Ambrose was the best. The intensity in his eyes and in his voice just sold every word he was saying.
Roman Reigns was just kind of there. I wasn’t really too impressed with him, but Ambrose and Rollins did most of the talking, so that was good. It was about time The Shield actually spoke up. They’ve been quiet for too long, but this segment made up for it.
It’s a shame that this storyline may be over soon. When you think about, Cena facing a heel stable means the death of that stable. Look at what happened to the Nexus. The group may have lived on afterwards, but they were never the same after Cena took them all out one by one and defeated then-leader Wade Barrett.
I actually hope that The Shield win on Sunday just to avoid that.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Damien Sandow
After Sandow bashed the Grammy Awards and country music, Alberto Del Rio took him down with the cross armbreaker. This was another squash match. What is WWE doing this week?
Like the majority of the matches on this show, the Superstar with no push got in a bit of offense before being defeated by the Superstar with a push. I would like to think that WWE has a master plan for Damien Sandow, but it must be a slow-moving one.
Post-match, Del Rio said that Big Show’s promo earlier was the best he’d ever given, but that the time for talk and games was over. Now he decides to stop playing games.
The giant is crazy angry right now, so he probably should have stopped playing games a few weeks back. Anyway, Del Rio gave a good little promo here. He continues to get over with audiences, so he’s getting the job done as a babyface.
I highly doubt Big Show will win on Sunday, so Del Rio will definitely be heading into WrestleMania as champion.
Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston
Before the match, Bo Dallas attacked Barrett backstage. It was good to see Dallas get the upper hand in this feud, but it would be better to see the storyline advance past backstage attacks. I’d like to see Dallas in the ring more, and not necessarily against Barrett.
Have him against other Superstars while Barrett sits at ringside and watches. This way, fans will at least get to see Dallas showcase his skills in the ring.
Barrett would then defeat Kingston with the Bull Hammer elbow after putting the ring curtain over his head. The ending was a nice touch, but this match wasn’t anything I haven’t seen from them before. The match also lasted under five minutes, so not much was really done anyway.
Thankfully this wasn’t another squash match, but it was too short to really get into it. They’ve had good matches in the past, so it would have been nice to see them get the chance to shine again.
Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler
After Ziggler accidently knocked AJ off the apron, Kane picked up the victory via the Chokeslam. I couldn’t really get into this match. It was slow and overall kind of boring. I don’t think Ziggler and Kane meshed too well in the ring. Their respective styles are so different that it would take them more than one match to develop a chemistry with one another.
I’m glad to see Ziggler not get into the Chamber. He already has the Money in the Bank briefcase, so he doesn’t need to be in the match. His feud with Jericho may stall without him in there, but does he really need to be in the match to keep the feud going?
Kane being inside the Chamber is great. The Team Hell No storyline is going to blow up big time in there. One will no doubt pin the other, while the eliminated one may cost the other the match before leaving. My guess would be Bryan pinning Kane and Kane chokeslamming Bryan for someone else to eliminate.
Either way, the Chamber will be the final nail in the coffin for Team Hell No before they lose the Tag Team Championship
Story Time with The Rock Turns into a Fight
The Rock then made his return to Raw with a story about when he moved to Nashville in 1987. With a Jeff Jarrett reference in the middle, The Rock told a story about how he bought a car from a crackhead in a bar only to just ditch it in a Burger King parking lot just in case it was stolen.
That brought out CM Punk and Paul Heyman, to which The Rock mentioned how they were reenacting a scene from Twilight earlier. Punk soon ran down to the ring, and the two brawled until Heyman tripped up The Rock and Punk hit the GTS. Punk would then steal the WWE Championship.
I thought this segment was well done. The Rock’s story was funny, so it started out strong. It led to him mentioning his dream of being WWE champion, which tied it all together. Punk staying silent was a great move. There was no need for him to say he was heading down to fight, and I’m glad they didn’t go that route.
Seeing Punk take the WWE Championship with him really adds to the storyline of Punk refusing to believe he ever lost the title. With him walking into the Elimination Chamber with the belt creates the illusion that he’s champion. That’s an illusion that Punk has been trying to create, and now that he has the physical belt, the illusion is complete.
Overall, I thought this episode of WWE Raw was a decent show at best. Out of the nine matches that were presented on this show, only one of them was actually any good. Storylines for the Elimination Chamber event were advanced nicely, but the show as a whole was a letdown.
Raw has been quite good for the most part this year, especially the past couple of weeks, so seeing a show filled with squash, or short, matches is quite disappointing.
If it wasn’t for the Jericho/Bryan match, The Shield’s promo, the final segment and the overall build for the Elimination Chamber, I feel that this show would have bombed.
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