Randy Orton delivers an RKO to Alberto Del Rio.
Decent opening segment featuring Big Show, Randy Orton, and Alberto Del Rio. I'm not intrigued by any of the three at the moment, but at least we're seeing fresh faces in the World Heavyweight Championship picture. Show did well with his promo and I liked the fact he mentioned his past history with the title after what occurred last year. Orton hitting Del Rio with an RKO so quickly felt unnecessary at first, but it later made sense after what transpired at the end of the show.
Fine match between Antonio Cesaro defeating Santino Marella to successfully retain his United States Championship. Most of the silliness we usually see from these two was left out, so I appreciated that aspect of it. Santino beat Cesaro last night, so it only made sense to give him a title show this week. It was a basic bout, but I hope this is the end of the feud between Cesaro and Marella, as Cesaro needs legitimate opponents so he can get over as champion.
Great match between Beth Phoenix and Natalya. It consisted of excellent reversals and nice story telling seeing that Phoenix and Natalya were once a part of Divas of Doom together. Phoenix's hometown crowd made for suitable environment and the roll-up victory for the Glamazon somewhat solidified her face turn. My only complaint is that it didn't go longer, but having it go for the five minutes that it did was still good to see. Obviously, this was the Divas match of the year thus far, but even that's not saying much. Eve suspending Phoenix didn't make much sense to me nor did Natalya's crying following the bout, but hey, at least they're giving the division something to do.
Nice match with Wade Barrett defeating Zack Ryder. While it was obvious Barrett would pick up the victory, Ryder was still able to score some offense and create some good chemistry with Barrett. Since this was a first-time-ever match, it also felt fresh. Only thing that could've made this more meaningful was if Barrett cut another awesome promo following the bout, but it wasn't meant to be apparently. Hopefully he gets entered into a feud soon before these squash matches start to grow tiresome.
Mick Foley scolds WWE Champion CM Punk.
Strong opening segment featuring WWE Champion CM Punk, Paul Heyman, and Raw General Manager AJ. Heyman doing the talking for the first portion of the segment was brilliant and really got over the fact that Heyman is his mouthpiece. Punk's verbal exchange with AJ was very well done and I'm surprised they actually acknowledged an angle from over two months ago. Heyman's "proposal" to AJ was just pure awesome and gave AJ an extra edge when she slapped him. Extremely enjoyable way to kick off the show.
Fun match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. No matter how many times these two face each other, they're simply incapable of having a bad match together. Their chemistry is unbelievable phenomenal and made for an entertaining back and forth match that also tied into their recent social networking feud, thus giving the bout some meaning. Ziggler needs credible victories, so I'm glad he scored the clean win here over Kingston. I also hope to see Kingston and Truth part ways soon to focus on their respective singles careers.
Brief match with the Prime Time Players quickly defeating Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. The latter duo isn't a consistent team, so it was fine booking to see them defeated so decisively. Darren Young and Titus O'Neil continue to come off as aggressive while their pending feud with Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio awaits. Bonus points to WWE for getting Ryder on Raw in his home state of New York as well.
Fantastic promo between WWE Champion CM Punk and Mick Foley. Punk has been shining as a heel in recent months and Foley only reinforced that. This was easily the best we've Foley perform and utilized since returning to WWE late last year, as his emotion and intensity only further enhanced the segment. Given the past history between Punk and Foley (both in reality and in story-line), this promo was undoubtedly the highlight of the night.
Decent match between Ryback and Intercontinental Champion The Miz. Seeing how their feud started only a week ago, I thought it was a bit too soon to be having a singles match between the two. The action was fine for what it was, but there was no real suspense since it was obvious from the beginning who'd emerge victorious. The Miz hasn't won a single non-title match since capturing the Intercontinental Championship, so this loss only hurt him. I liked Ryback scoring a major victory, but it should've been via count-out or disqualification at this point.
Fine match with Wade Barrett squashing Tyson Kidd. Kidd was allowed to get in some flashy offense against Barrett, so it wasn't a complete squash. Barrett continues to look more crisp in the ring with each match he competes in, but he should really cut a promo for the Raw audience to really take notice of him.
WWE Tag Team Champion Kane and Edge embrace in a hug.
Excellent opening segment featuring the returning Edge, WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan, and Damien Sandow. Edge is fantastic in almost every role he portrays, so he was of course awesome as always to kick off the show. It's been awhile since we've seen him on SmackDown, so it was certainly a nice surprise for the live audience and viewers watching at home. His altercations with Kane and Bryan were equally hilarious and made for entertaining television, while Sandow played his role to perfection here as well. Seeing how many SmackDown editions in recent months have opened up with either Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio, this was a refreshing change of pace that set the tone for the rest of the show nicely.
Fine match between Kane and Damien Sandow. It was nothing special, but it was something we haven't seen before, so it felt fresh. The action didn't last long, but it was still a strong victory for Sandow. It also put over the tension and animosity between Kane and Bryan, which would be a recurring theme throughout the show.
Decent match between Layla and Natalya. We've seen in plenty of times, so it was nothing out of the ordinary, but both Divas are still good workers that managed to provide a fine contest. Layla going over was expected, but the focus of the bout was obviously more so on Divas Champion Eve on commentary regarding her title victory at Night of Champions.
Great tag team match with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Randy Orton defeating Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. I'm glad this was featured mid-show and not at the start or end, as it felt fitting right where it was placed. The Del Rio-Sheamus feud has run its course, so I can't see any logical reason to continue it. After losing lately, the heels definitely should've gone over here, but I wasn't as frustrated with the outcome since the final moments of the bout were suspenseful and exciting. I hope they move onto new feuds sooner rather than later to avoid any further bad booking or staleness.
WWE Champion CM Punk takes control of World Champion Sheamus.
Great opening segment featuring Paul Heyman, John Cena, and others. Although Heyman made his case as to why the conclusion of the WWE Championship at Night of Champions was in fact not controversial, was it ever really that questionable to begin with? Cena's shoulders were clearly pinned, meaning the finish was definitive. Nonetheless, Cena played his role well here in admitting he was right, but deserved another shot at the title. Alberto Del Rio's involvement felt random, but at least he made logical points and it also effectively set up the main event for later in the night.
Fun tag team match with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeating Epico and Primo. The two teams had great chemistry and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. I've been loving the Mysterio/Cara combo in recent weeks and truly hope to see them in contention for the WWE Tag Team titles at some point. The Prime Time Players attacking the masked marvels following the bout was very well done, as they both displayed real intensity and came off as vicious. I'm glad to see an actual feud develop in the tag team division and hope the division continues to flourish going forward.
Fine match between new Divas Champion Eve and Beth Phoenix. The fact Phoenix didn't receive a televised entrance really doesn't make her come off as a threat anyway, so I think that's one of the few things wrong with the treatment of her character lately. The match was fine while it lasted, but as we saw from the two ladies last year, they're capable of much more. Even still, it furthered the feud between Eve and Layla since the Britain native was on commentary discussing the match.
Throwaway match with Brodus Clay defeating Heath Slater. We've seen it dozens of times, but the only real thing worth watching about this match was the fact that United States Champion Antonio Cesaro was on commentary. He did exceptionally well and put over the prestige of the title. Clay and Cesaro are both good acts, but it's not exactly the feud I had in mind over the star-spangled prize.
Intriguing segment with Intercontinental Champion The Miz hosting the first-ever edition of Miz TV. Miz has always been a great talker, so I'm glad to see him get his own segment. It could be used to further feuds and give himself more television time while doing so. However, nothing that he said here (especially to Booker T) had all that much significance. Ryback coming out and wrecking the set was a cool sight, and I'm completely behind the idea of putting these two together in a feud over the title. Both need feuds at the moment, so a rivalry between them could be fun while it elevates Ryback to the next level as well.
Meaningless match between Dolph Ziggler and Santino Marella. Sure, it helps get heat back on Ziggler, but does it make much of an impact when the victory comes over a guy like Santino? The match was a basic squash, but I liked the finish with Ziggler hitting his finisher twice on Santino and then getting the win. I'm hoping they either continue the rivalry between him and Orton or just attempt to rebuild him while he's still Mr. Money in the Bank.
CM Punk maintains possession of his sacred WWE Championship.
Decent pre-show battle royal that saw Zack Ryder become the number one contender to the United States Championship. I was ecstatic to see Ted DiBiase finally return, but why waste it by having him get eliminated so early? Tensai was made to look strong here and came off as a complete beast before being ultimately eliminated. His tease with Brodus Clay was also a nice foreshadowing of a potential matchup between the two at some point. I would've liked to see Tyson Kidd pick up the victory here, but Ryder was the next best choice, and the crowd seemed to be satisfied with the result as well.
Fun Fatal 4 Way with The Miz defeating Cody Rhodes, The Miz and Sin Cara to successfully retain the Intercontinental Championship. Everyone got their spots in and was made to look good. The clashing of Cara and Mysterio was cool, and I hope them to cross paths again at some point in the near future. Sure, Cara botched a few spots here and there, but the overall pace of the contest made up for it. The ending was unique with Miz pinning Rhodes despite being masked. The commentators made it seem as if it was a major happening, so I question whether they'll eventually turn either Rhodes or Miz face. Additionally, Miz picking up the victory in that fashion gives him yet another thing to brag about in coming weeks.
Entertaining match with Daniel Bryan and Kane defeating Kofi Kingston and R-Truth to win the WWE Tag Team Championships. The contest itself was well-wrestled, but of course the majority of the focus was on the tension between Bryan and Kane, as it should've been. These guys have been the single most entertaining act in WWE of the entire year, so it's nice to see them rewarded with the tag titles. Since both are former World Champs, maybe they can help bring back legitimacy to the straps. Truth and Kingston were champs for far too long, so the title change was certainly neccessary. The post-match backstage segment also including Dr. Shelby and AJ was also hysterical.
Good match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Zack Ryder. The fans were behind Ryder and gave Cesaro some good heat as well. The match was everything it needed to be and got Cesaro over effectively. As much as I'd like to see Ryder as United States Champion again, it's too soon in Cesaro's reign for it to change hands. I'd like to see the feud between them continue, though, as it could be a nice story to tell over the title with Ryder in chase mode.
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