On the final edition of Monday Night Raw before Sunday's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, plenty of build was provided for the upcoming event in hyping most of the matches on the advertised card. Although this week's installment wasn't as historic as what we've seen up to this point, it still succeeded in getting viewers eagerly excited for Elimination Chamber.
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.
CM Punk interrupts Paul Heyman's resignation
Strong promo from Paul Heyman and CM Punk to kick off the show. I was extremely disappointed when hearing Heyman was "resigning" from Raw, but it appears he won't be leaving after all following his talk with Punk.
That being said, did this segment serve much of a purpose aside from convincing viewers to tune into the show? Nonetheless, Heyman's mic work was excellent as usual and made for an entertaining opener.
Mark Henry def. The Great Khali w/Natalya and Hornswoggle
Fine match between Mark Henry and The Great Khali. It used to put over Henry's sheer strength and dominance, so it was successful in that aspect.
Thankfully, the match was a mere minute long and limited Khali's in-ring skills. Henry has looked great since his return last week and I look forward to his performance inside the Elimination Chamber.
Chris Jericho def. WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan to qualify for the number one contender's Elimination Chamber match
Excellent match with Chris Jericho defeating WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan to qualify for the number one contender's Elimination Chamber match. As stated on-air, this was the first time these two have locked up since their initial meeting on the premiere episode of NXT three years ago, so it certainly felt fresh.
It involved some awesome action and hard-hitting offense from both competitors. Allowing Jericho to enter the Elimination Chamber was a smart move, as I hope for him to advance to WrestleMania to face Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship.
John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback def. 3MB
Predictable match with John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback defeating 3MB. The outcome of the bout was never in doubt, so why even bother having the match in the first place.
If nothing else, the simultaneous finishers in the match's closing moments made for a cool visual. Their post-match promo was well executed and helped hype their six-man tag team match against The Shield on Sunday.
Big Show knocks out Matt Striker
Effective segment with Big Show knocking out Matt Striker and not saying a single word. If he were to cut a promo, it would've been no different than anything we've heard up to this point, so I appreciated the unique approach they took with it.
Honestly, this probably did more to get heat on Show than anything else he's done in recent weeks, so it was well done. I just don't understand as to why Show is booked so inconsistently, as it seems like he switches from comedic heel to intimidating monster on a weekly basis.
Jack Swagger w/Zeb Coulter def. Zack Ryder
Basic squash match with Jack Swagger defeating Zack Ryder. I've taken a liking to Swagger's new look since returning, and his newfound aggression is also a significant improvement.
While I'm not all that familiar with Zeb Coulter, he cut a solid promo following Swagger's victory. Swagger still needs some work on the mic, so it's nice to see that he's finally got a manager who can fill that gap for him.
The Miz def. Cody Rhodes by disqualification
Good match between The Miz and Cody Rhodes. While the match didn't last very long, I enjoyed what we got and the disqualification finish protected both guys.
Antonio Cesaro's ambush on the Miz post-match was brutal, as he violently swung the Awesome One against the barricade. This feud has been on and off in recent weeks, but it's look to be headed for a rematch between the two at Elimination Chamber.
Brodus Clay and Tensai w/Cameron and Naomi def. Primo and Epico w/Rosa Mendes
Throwaway tag team match with Brodus Clay and Tensai defeating Primo and Epico. The match was basically what you'd expect and was over relatively quickly.
I don't mind Tensai's new dancing gimmick, but the crowd didn't seem into it on this show. Despite that, at least pairing Clay and Tensai together can add to the stagnant tag team division.
John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback attack The Shield
Standard promo from The Shield. It was only a matter of time before we heard The Shield cut another promo, but they didn't seem to say anything of importance for the most part.
Without a doubt, Dean Ambrose exhibited his fantastic mic skills with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns also kept their promos short and sweet. Team Cena getting the better of the treacherous trio at the segment leads me to believe that The Shield are going over on Sunday, or so I hope.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Damien Sandow (non-title)
Brief match with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defeating Damien Sandow. This was yet another first time ever matchup that could've easily gone longer than it actually did.
However, Sandow's promo prior to the contest was hysterical and made up for the subsequent match. Del Rio's promo, on the other hand, was mostly forgettable, but at least it built towards his title defense against Big Show on Sunday.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Kofi Kingston (non-title)
Nice match between Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston. We've seen it a handful of times before, so the action was nothing out of the ordinary.
It's a shame that Kingston continues to flounder, as I don't think he's one a televised match since dropping the Intercontinental title to Barrett two months ago. I'm anxious to see if Barrett goes one-on-one with Bo Dallas at Elimination Chamber or if they'll end up dragging out the feud until WrestleMania 29.
WWE Tag Team Champion Kane def. Dolph Ziggler w/AJ Lee and Big E Langston to qualify for the number one contender's Elimination Chamber match
Decent match with WWE Tag Team Champion Kane defeating Dolph Ziggler to qualify for the number one contender's Elimination Chamber match. It was pretty obvious from the start that Kane would be the one to advance, but they still delivered a quality match regardless.
Ziggler sold nicely for Kane, but the lack of reaction for the rest of the match was understandable. Kane was the more logical choice to enter the Chamber given the fact his teammate Daniel Bryan will also be competing and the falling out they've been having in recent weeks.
CM Punk attacks WWE Champion The Rock
Solid segment featuring WWE Champion The Rock and CM Punk to close the show. While Rock's Nashville was humorous, I just don't see how it did anything to help build towards his upcoming title match with Punk.
Thankfully, the subsequent brawl was enough to save this segment and end the night on a high note. Since Rock will more than likely be going over on Sunday, it was nice to see Punk get the better of him here and taking his title belt.
Overall, a decent edition that didn't feature as many monumental moments as we've been used to seeing in recent weeks, but served as a successful go-home show for Elimination Chamber. Most of the matches were kept rather brief, with Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan being the only bout worth watching a second time.
However, I found the lack of Divas on this week's Raw to be completely mind-boggling, especially since Kaitlyn will be defending her Divas Championship on Sunday. Nonetheless, all the other matches on Sunday's card were properly hyped over the course of the night and left me extremely excited for the pending pay-per-view.