John Cena stands across the ring from WWE Champion CM Punk.
Solid promo from Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to kick off the show. They were straight to the point and capitalized on Lesnar's momentum following his victory over Triple H at SummerSlam. It put him over as a force to reckoned with, which will be beneficial when he eventually comes back in a few months. Heyman was great on the mic here as always, and although the Scott Armstrong bit felt a bit long, it was effective and painless. Lesnar quitting the WWE didn't make all that much sense since from what I know, he wasn't hired back (in story-line) anyways following his initial quitting in April.
Fun six-man tag team match with WWE Tag Team Champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston and Sin Cara defeating Cody Rhodes and Prime Time Players. It furthered two respective feuds, but it didn't do much besides that. The heels here have been lacking momentum as of late, so they should have scored the victory instead. Rhodes hasn't been featured on Raw in quite awhile, so I'm glad to see his feud with Sin Cara exposed on Monday nights.
Typical match with Ryback defeating two local athletes by disqualification. Why not face an actual contracted jobber like he's been doing in recent weeks? This certainly felt like a step backward. I appreciate the fact they wanted to further his feud with Jinder Mahal by exposing it on Raw, but Mahal has gotten zero momentum. Mahal has no credibility anyways, so Ryback needs to look somewhat vulnerable in order for people to believe he might actually lose. If nothing else, this feud at least gives Ryback something to do for the time being.
Good match between Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. It was better than their boring encounter a few weeks ago on SmackDown, so I enjoyed this one a bit more. Sheamus involvement's doesn't help anyone, as Del Rio losing again doesn't make him look like a threat to Sheamus or the World title whatsoever. If they're trying to get Orton into the title picture, I understand that, but Del Rio needs to be built to look strong regardless. I initially wanted to see a feud between Orton and Del Rio at some point, but they've done the match so many times now that it would feel tiresome.
Decent match between Damien Sandow and Brodus Clay. I've been liking this feud since it started, but I'm also glad this match was featured on Raw and not SummerSlam. The action was fine what it was, but the crowd was flat throughout the contest. Sandow maintains his momentum with a victory, while Clay is protected and strikes back with a splash of his own. Smart booking here.
Fantastic promo from Shawn Michaels. He convinced the fans that Triple H could very well be done for good, despite the fact most of us already know that he more than likely isn't. Michaels has the tendency to make any Triple H ten times more interesting with his mic work, and this promo was no exception. The tears he nearly shed were a nice touch and really hit home for many viewers. This rivalry will obviously be put on the back burner for the next few months, but this promo from HBK was a nice cliffhanger going forward.
Dolph Ziggler defeats Chris Jericho, thus ending his career.
Brief match with Big Show squashing David Otunga. It was an effective way for Show to get his heat back after being pinned/submitted at SummerSlam, but I found it odd it was against another heel. Show was cheered for decimating Otunga, so I hope this isn't their way of turning Show face. Otunga never really meant anything anyways, so this quick loss doesn't help nor hurt him.
Strange match with Kane teaming with Zack Ryder against the duo of Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Daniel Bryan. It was made clear early on that both teams had past history (which was even mentioned at one point), so it's not like this match was defying all logic. However, it felt mostly random with a bunch of talents just thrown in. Of course, Ryder was made to look like a goof yet again, so there's no surprise there. I wouldn't necessarily call this a Kane heel turn, mostly because he was more of a tweener to begin with. It makes his character the most interesting he's been in months.
Throwaway Divas battle royal that saw Kaitlyn emerge victorious to become the number one contender to the Divas Championship. Obviously, there were quite a few botches and the typical Divas action, so none of that bothered this viewer. I was actually shocked to see Kaitlyn win, especially since Eve just beat her last Friday night on SmackDown to become the assistant General Manager. Nonetheless, Kaitlyn is a fresh face and deserves a shot at the title. I'm glad that they're finally getting a story-line in place for the Divas by featuring them on Raw more often. Anyone else find it strange they advertised Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix in the pre-match graphic but were nowhere to be seen in the actual contest?
Excellent Contract vs. Contract match between Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho. It might not have been as good as their matchup at SummerSlam the night previous, but this bout was still pretty great and enjoyable. For a contest of this caliber, it should've been made to be a bigger deal and not set up in a backstage segment at the start of the show, but it was logical and predictable since Jericho had to be written off television somehow. The most surprising aspect of this match was the fact that Ziggler won clean, which helps his credibility tremendously. This is a match I would've rather seen at SummerSlam, but I understand that it was done on short notice given Jericho's abrupt departure from the company. It's a feud waiting to resume when Jericho returns, as they could always battle over the World title at WrestleMania 29. I found it odd Jericho attacked Ziggler after that match like a heel would when Ziggler didn't do anything wrong, but he was cheered on the way and shook hands with the crowd, so I guess it wasn't a double turn after all. WWE better capitalize on Ziggler's major momentum by making him World Heavyweight Champion sooner rather than later.
Strong promo featuring WWE Champion CM Punk, John Cena and Jerry Lawler to close the show. Punk once again used logical reasoning to remain tweener, but he definitely showed heel qualities by attacking Lawler from behind. Cena is always at his best on the mic when he's serious, especially when he's in the ring with Punk. Of course, Cena will get his shot at the WWE title at Night of Champions one way or another, but this was an interesting way of going about it. Punk's slow heel turn once again leaves more questions than answers, which will draw fans into watching next week to see what happens next.
Overall, a pretty good show that was certainly newsworthy and featured excellent aftermath from SummerSlam. The night's action was solid as a whole, but it was really the strong promos throughout the evening that were the highlights for this viewer. While some things on the show could've been considered meaningless, most of the other matches and promos had a purpose and either started a rivalry or continued one, so it's good to see WWE have some direction for the foreseeable future. Nothing was officially advertised for next week, so I'm hoping that the suspense coming off the numerous angles will have viewers continue to tune in going forward.
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