CM Punk is the best talker in the WWE, and many a Raw has been saved by one of his promos. As if by way of apology for the WWE's catastrophic performance last week, he was up first. While he didn't say much new, his skill is that he keeps you hooked on his words anyway.
I highly approved of the sequence leading up to the first match: Fandango entered for a match, Chris Jericho attacked him and then Dolph Ziggler came out as we were informed they were meant to face each other earlier and it was being brought forward.
It was a bigger surprise to me that Jericho won, and so quickly despite Big E Langston. It's been hinted that another Intercontinental Championship reign could be on the cards, and Mr. Money in the Bank should theoretically be above that. That the obvious victory of Ziggler with interference from Langston didn't result is a surprise all the more appreciated after the horribly vapid and predictable action of last week.
Speaking disdainfully in last week's article of being given a tedious repeat of Mark Henry squashing Zack Ryder, I said WWE should at least have Henry go through a handicap match Ryback-style to give him a bit more build and something different. Well by jingo, if that's not exactly what happened as he put away The Usos. Maybe they read my articles over at Titan Tower. Or, more likely, someone finally caught on to the obvious way of how WWE should be doing this.
Triple H's promos are usually intolerable, and his whole presence near the top of the card is self-indulgent. At least his promo here was short; indeed, it wasn't much longer than his entrance. Mind you, his entrance—while not an Undertaker-length horror—is exasperatingly long.
Just to be sure that there's no chance of me liking him, Triple H kicked Wade Barrett in an illegal area as they passed each other while Wade walked to the ring.
Unexpectedly, Barrett and The Miz then had a very good match. It looks like our next Intercontinental title match is confirmed; however, with Miz being the champion before last, it really shows how sparse the midcard is.
The Shield defeated The Great Khali, Justin Gabriel and Zack Ryder, a pretty pointless assortment if ever there was one. WWE could at least have had Kofi Kingston, R-Truth and one other to make for a more credible win. That of course still leaves room for Khali, if it really was so desperate to impress us with the big powerbomb yet again.
Ryback defeated 3MB, though it was good to see 3MB work together for an extended time. Drew McIntyre came out of it looking especially good—not that I think much is likely to come of it, though.
Raw closed on an interminably long segment among The Rock, John Cena and four "legends". It didn't sound interesting going into it, and dear me did I overestimate it. Had it been a normal-length segment, I'd have been happy to write it off as a misstep. However, it went on for 25 minutes, and that's a soporifically long time.
Raw was all right. It seemed all the better for coming after one of the worst weeks in the WWE's recent history. Even so, I can't honestly say it was very far above average.
I will add that the final segment was the longest we've seen The Rock on his feet for years. He's relatively unimpaired when it comes to standing there talking. Then, it's just five minutes into an actual wrestling match that he'll need a rest hold.
Still, if a rubbish segment like that is the toll we have to pay before we see Dwayne wrestle his very last match, then I say we're getting off lightly.