Tonight’s theme is Raw Roulette! Vickie spins the wheel for the opening match between Cesaro and Randy Orton. It lands on Special Guest Referee.
^Seeing as Orton has nobody special to rival with at the moment, I’ll speculate that the ref could be someone who doesn’t like Cesaro. Obvious start, but it serves its purpose well.
CM Punk comes to the ring to complain about the injustice of losing the WWE Championship and demands his rematch. Vince McMahon comes out and tells Paul Heyman he will have a performance evaluation later tonight.
^I expected a more “Triple H 2003-2005” response here than a whiny rant. I guess I just thought the top heel would be more methodical and drawn out than this. Oh well; Punk is pissed and now the world knows it. I doubt Heyman will actually be “fired.”
Randy Orton defeats Antonio Cesaro with the Miz as guest referee. Miz nails the skull crushing finale on Cesaro after the match.
^This was a good opener, and I liked the fact that Miz stayed impartial right until after the match. I’m not sure what direction WWE will go in to set up the rumored Orton/Sheamus mania match, but perhaps we’ll see that develop more on Smackdown.
Backstage, Vickie spins her special wheel for Ryback. It lands on “make me laugh.” Vickie tells Ryback to go make her laugh.
Ryback cracks a joke with the Prime Time Players and Matt Striker in the ring. Then he lays out Titus O’Neil. Then he lays out Matt Striker. End of segment.
^Despite losing in the finals of the Rumble, Ryback is a nearly unstoppable force. WWE got the point across pretty well here. I don’t like Matt Striker much, either.
Bo Dallas defeats Wade Barrett in a non-title match.
^I was a big fan of Dallas in FCW and I enjoy his matches on NXT, but his mic skills leave something to be desired. In this match, he looked very green(which surprised me), but I think it might have been nerves more than anything else. Having a match with the IC Champion and winning as your first appearance on Monday Night Raw can definitely be a bit overwhelming. The match was worked pretty well, but the sloppiness of Bo leaves me hopeful that he’ll improve fast.
Vickie is backstage with Cody Rhodes and spins the “superstar” wheel. His opponent for tonight is John Cena.
John Cena defeats Cody Rhodes with the AA. After the match, Cena declares that he will challenge for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29. The Shield comes down and beats Cena down. Sheamus comes down for the save and gets beaten down as well. Ryback joins the party and we get the same result. The Shield leaves them laid out.
^Cena and Rhodes had a typical Cena match, but the Rumble winner was made to look strong as a followup to his big victory. The Shield doing what they did leads me to believe a six man match could be made with these guys at the Elimination Chamber(perhaps in the chamber itself?).
Vickie is spinning the wheel again and it lands on lingerie pillow fight for Brodus Clay and Tensai. Tensai gets pissed and walks away. Vickie says she will change it and lets Brodus spin again. It lands on a dance off and Brodus is to let Tensai know about the change.
Tensai wears lingerie in the ring when he takes his robe off, unaware of the change. He dances after Brodus and gets into it. Ron Simmons is shown backstage and he gives us a great big “DAMN.”
^It was somewhat funny to see Tensai wearing that, but the whole segment was a gigantic waste to me. I know WWE likes their comedy segments, but where the hell is the wrestling tonight?
Vickie is backstage with Del Rio and it lands on bodyslam challenge. His opponent is the Big Show.
Big Show knocks Del Rio down in the ring and duct tapes his wrist to the middle rope. Show beats on Ricardo and taunts Del Rio before eventually knocking him out.
^The segment was effective for setting up another match. I hope the World Title is contested in the EC with four other guys. Show’s time is up, and giving us ANOTHER match with just the two of them would be overkill.
The lumberjill match between Kaitlyn and Tamina ends when a brawl breaks out between all the divas.
^The divas had a mess, and it was most likely done to save Kaitlyn and Tamina for the EC ppv, or even WrestleMania.
The Rock comes out and talks about winning the WWE Championship and how much it means to him. He calls out CM Punk. Punk wants his rematch and they set it up for the Elimination Chamber.
^I wanted to see the Rock inside the Elimination Chamber and have a good title defense against five other guys. That said, I’m not going to complain about a rematch between Rock and Punk. They had a decent match at the Rumble with solid chemistry, and a rematch between them can only be better the second time around(especially if they give it a clean finish).
Sheamus defeats Damien Sandow in a tables match when he hits white noise on Sandow through the table.
^This match was pretty good, and the chemistry between Sandow and Sheamus once again shined through. I wish there were better ways for WWE to push more rivalries, because I could use a long term feud between these two. Sheamus looks strong again with the victory, and you have to wonder what sort of year he’ll have in terms of championships compared to 2012. I don’t know if Sandow and Rhodes will continue to be paired together or not, but I would be happy to see both of them in main event matches on a regular basis.
Jerry Lawler is with Zack Ryder, Hornswoggle, Natalya and The Great Khali and it’s time for Karaoke. Khali has to sing HBK’s theme song. Before Ryder sings, the 3MB come out. Khali ends up hitting McIntyre with the chop and Ryder takes out Mahal. Khali takes out Slater and Hornswoggle hits the big splash on him.
^Let’s throw a bunch of guys onto the show and do something fun with them just because we have nothing else planned for them. That’s what this whole segment screamed. There’s a lot of talent between Natalya, Ryder, and the 3MB, but putting them out there with the jokes of Khali and Hornswoggle is just pointless to me.
Chris Jericho comes out to talk about the Royal Rumble. Dolph Ziggler interrupts with Langston and AJ Lee. Vickie appears on the tron and spins the wheel. It lands on “stange bedfollows.” She announces that they’ll team up tonight against Team Hell No. Kane and Dbry make quick work of this one and Kane pins Ziggler after a chokeslam.
^I would’ve enjoyed seeing Jericho and Ziggler work better together, but the fact that their rivalry will mean more quality matches is a very exciting scenario. I don’t expect Kane and Dbry to have the belts until Mania, but if they do then I’d like to see them in a really good feud for their match.
Trish Stratus is announced as the third inductee into the 2013 Hall of Fame class.
^I have a lot of favorite moments for Trish Stratus, and I’ll share them in March with a special column. Well deserved induction here.
Vince McMahon comes to the ring and calls out Paul Heyman. Heyman comes down and Vince asks him about the Shield and Brad Maddox. He also asks Heyman if he is a liar when he denies involvement with either. Vince shows the video of Heyman talking with Brad Maddox about Punk and Heyman working with the Shield and himself. The Shield beat down Maddox in the video. Vince goes to fire Heyman after Heyman says it’s an impersonator in the video, but Brock Lesnar comes out. Lesnar lays out Vince with an F-5. He stands over Vince while Heyman screams “what have you done?” The show ends.
^This was almost a carbon copy of what happened last year when Trips was going to fire John Laurinaitis and Undertaker came out. It worked. Triple H and Lesnar 2 is now in the works. Of course Triple H won’t be happy about Lesnar attacking his father in law, and of course Lesnar needs to lose the rematch this time around on the big stage of WrestleMania. I was hoping we’d get less hype for this match(that I’m not looking forward to) and more hype for the possible Punk/Taker match that’s been discussed. Looks like we’ll have to wait until after the Elimination Chamber for the Taker hype to begin. Anyone else think Heyman will keep his job now?
Six matches with three of them being good and one being decent; two were too quick for anybody to care. Two awful comedy segments. Good Mania build and setup for two of the top matches, and a potential third between Ziggler and Y2J. Compared to the Raw after the Rumble in 2012, this one stunk. Overall, it was just a slightly below average show with the hype that we were expecting for Mania.
I plan to have the Smackdown Analysis up on Friday night before the show. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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