The Good, the Great and the Awesome from Raw 11/25/13
Just 24 hours removed from a Survivor Series pay-per-view that is better left unspoken about, WWE rolled into the historic Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. for Monday Night Raw.
After world heavyweight champion John Cena confronted WWE champion Randy Orton to close out Sunday's broadcast, fans speculated about the possibility of a title unification match between them sometime between now and WrestleMania.
Would they have their suspicions confirmed, and if so, would there be a definitive announcement about when that match will take place?
After watching his followers Luke Harper and Erick Rowan lose to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan at Survivor Series, what would Bray Wyatt have in store for the two Internet favorites?
With only three weeks until TLC, would any of the rivalries that will play out at that show reveal themselves and begin to take shape?
All of these questions would be answered on Monday's show.
What clicked and what did not on the final Raw before the holiday season officially kicks off?
Find out inside.
This is the good, the great and the awesome for the November 25 edition of Monday Night Raw!
Title Unification Announcement
The announcement itself lands in the "good" section of this week's article because the combination of the WWE and world titles has been a long time coming.
With so few legitimate challengers to one title, let alone two, it is a much-needed move. With one title at the top of the card, it will prevent one or the other from losing value because of its spot on the card.
While the participants in the unification match itself may be the subject of much argument, the result of the bout will go a long way in helping the quality of WWE programming and the flow of every pay-per-view card that follows.
Divas Tag Team Elimination Match
In a rematch from Sunday night's Survivor Series, the Total Divas cast took on the rest of the Divas roster in a seven-on-seven tag team elimination bout.
Monday's match featured a few rapid eliminations but also played up two of the stories from its predecessor.
The interactions between Divas champion AJ Lee and Natalya seem to be hinting at a title match between the two, perhaps as early as TLC on December 15.
The better follow-up from Sunday was the JoJo-Tamina story. At the pay-per-view, Tamina planted the spunky rookie with a Samoan Drop, allowing AJ to enter the ring and easily pin her. Just 24 hours later, JoJo capitalized on an attack by Natalya and pinned Tamina for an elimination.
Summer Rae being the lone remaining member of her team, then deciding to repeat her mistake from the previous night, followed by Nikki Bella repeating her shtick as well, was questionable but made for an entertaining final fall.
An inoffensive match that got all of the Divas on television (this writer still totally digs Alicia Fox) and served as suitable hype for Total Divas which, love it or not, has been a big success for the company.
Hamptons Hardcore Match
This lands here for the match itself.
Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow worked hard for the second week in a row to make chicken salad out of, well, you know. Some of the spots involving the various items around the ring were fun, but the DDT to Sandow onto the steel chair looked like it hurt Ziggler's back and the oar shot a few seconds later could not have made it feel much better.
Sandow picked up a big win after the You're Welcome onto a trash can. His removal of the can to ensure that Ziggler's shoulders were pinned on the mat was outstanding and one of the small things that sets some performers apart from others.
Main Event Tag Match
John Cena and Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton lands here rather than in the great or awesome section of the article because the match was largely uneventful for its majority, and the Big Show injury angle late in the bout really bogged it down.
The post-match activities, involving Orton blasting Cena in the face with the WWE Championship was lazy booking, but it did make for a cool visual as Orton stood over Cena's body with the titles held high overhead.
Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield
Anything involving the Rhodes brothers and The Shield is destined to be great. Add in one of the best wrestlers of this generation in Rey Mysterio, and the potential for something really special increases tenfold.
While Monday's match did not quite hit that level, it was an outstanding, fast-paced match that energized and continued Roman Reigns' hot streak from Survivor Series.
It was United States champion Dean Ambrose who gained a measure of revenge for his humiliating, lightning-fast elimination from Sunday night by planting Cody with the headlock driver and picking up the win for his team.
The win was an impressive win for the trio as it continues to recover from a bit of a losing streak leading into this past weekend's pay-per-view.
It would not be the last time the WWE Universe would see The Shield on this week's broadcast.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
In yet another rematch from Survivor Series, albeit with a slight twist, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan took on the Wyatt Family, including Bray, in a three-on-two handicap match.
The bout continued where Sunday's left off with an electric match that had the audience inside the Nassau Coliseum popping for all of Bryan and Punk's high-energy, high-impact offense throughout.
The disqualification finish was lame as the Wyatts easily could have used the win, but it set up the post-match activities, which we will get to in a moment.
It is a joy to see Harper and Rowan, in particular, improve with each passing show. The entire faction got off to a rather bumpy start in their feud with Kane leading into SummerSlam, but in recent weeks, matches against Cody Rhodes and Goldust, the Usos, the Prime Time Players and Punk and Bryan have gone a long way in helping the two big men gain confidence in WWE rings.
If they can maintain the momentum they have right now, both cold go on to do very special things for the company.
Renee Young Sort of, Kind of Interviews CM Punk and Daniel Bryan
The sheer amount of awesome in the ring as Punk and Bryan joined "chiquita baby" herself, Renee Young, for an interview was almost unfathomable.
The fact that Punk would go on to name drop the Bushwhackers indy tag team the Ring Crew Express and one-hit wonders the Dicks, not to mention his buddy Colt Cabana (three different ways), only added to the overall awesomeness of the segment.
Punk and Bryan, two former Ring of Honor standouts, are far and away the most over stars on the roster. Regardless of what the company may have you believe, they are consistently receiving the loudest pops of the night and have made exceptional partners in the few chances they have had to work together thus far.
Their dynamic has been stellar to this point and should be fun to see throughout the end of the year.
If that is the direction the company takes them in.
The Wyatts Abduct Bryan, and Punk...Pays for His Injustice?
The events following the two-on-three handicap match between Punk and Bryan and the Wyatt Family made for the most compelling television on this week's broadcast.
After the match, the Wyatts abducted Bryan in very much the same manner they did Kane. As Punk recovered and attempted to take off after the trio, Roman Reigns came from out of nowhere and obliterated the former WWE champion with a spear.
The Shield then rolled him into the squared circle and delivered a triple power bomb before making their way back up the entrance ramp.
Questions abound following the assault.
Is The Shield now in collusion with the Wyatt Family? What do the Wyatts have in store for Bryan? After repeatedly implying that the devil he speaks of is a she, will we find out that the puppeteer behind the attacks and abductions is, perhaps, Stephanie McMahon?
It is television that leaves fans wanting more, wanting to know all of the answers, that keeps them coming back. The creative team could adopt the formula with the rest of the show and consistently produce a much better product on a weekly basis.