Randy Orton successfully executes an RKO onto The Miz.
Entertaining opening segment featuring The Miz, Team Hell No, Big Show and Dolph Ziggler on Miz TV. Miz was hilarious on the mic here with the WWE Tag Team Champions, and the verbal exchange also including Show and Ziggler was well done. Miz calling out Booker T on making predictable matches was nice to see, which subsequently set up matches for later in the night. This is how Miz TV can be both entertaining and effective simultaneously.
Good match between Randy Orton and The Miz. Both of them scored offense on one another, thus making for an enjoyable opening bout. Sure, having Miz compete for the third time this week was a bit much, but I give him props for working a good match with the Viper that received great time as well. Alberto Del Rio watching from the box seats and being interviewed by Matt Striker was also a nice touch in making his rivalry with Orton feel meaningful.
Nice tag team match with Team Rhodes Scholars defeating Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. Their styles meshed nicely and made for a fun matchup while it lasted. Of course, Kidd and Gabriel deserve better, but they weren't completely squashed. Besides, the purpose of this contest was to further the momentum of Rhodes and Sandow, so the bout was successful in that aspect.
Great match with WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan defeating the tandem of Big Show and Dolph Ziggler. While it looked obscurely random on paper, it was given some meaning earlier in the night, so it was somewhat logical. The antics of Team Hell No have cooled off as of late, but they're allowing their amazing abilities inside the ring speak for them, which is a great change of pace. I didn't mind Ziggler taking the loss here since Show will be contending for the World Heavyweight Championship next Sunday, but it was still awesome as always seeing him sell like a champ throughout the bout. Having Rhodes Scholars attack Team Hell No following the bout was smart booking, as it helps build towards the pending WWE Tag Team title match at Hell in a Cell.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Great opening segment. Devon immediately turned the crowd against him with his strong promo. While I have never been a major fan of Devon as a singles competitor, he works much better in this role a part of Aces and 8s. Sting's promo was also well done and set up the main event nicely. I realize some people are against the idea of Devon being the leader of the stable, but they'll be glad to know he isn't since it was revealed that he is third in command of the group.
Brief match with Samoa Joe defeating Robbie E to retain his TNA Television Championship. It was nothing special, but still a decisive win for Joe. I'm glad to see they are following through on their promise to have the TV title defended every week on Impact as they should, and there's no guy better than Joe to feature more prominently.
Ryback lays out WWE Champion CM Punk at the end of Raw.
Fun match between Big Show and Daniel Bryan. The crowd loved Daniel Bryan and his antics, and Bryan told a nice David and Goliath story with Big Show. However, after losing to Alberto Del Rio decisively a few days ago on SmackDown, I'm not high on the move to have Bryan lose yet another match clean, even if it makes Big Show come off as a beast. Also, having Show kick off Raw was strange, as his promo was what we've been hearing from him for weeks now. Not the hottest Raw opener in recent weeks, that's for sure.
Standard promo from WWE Champion CM Punk. He generated good heel heat and continued to tease who he chose to face at Hell in a Cell. Of course, we'll never know now since Vince McMahon interrupted in logical fashion, announcing he'd make the decision himself later that night. We've seen better promos for Punk, but this was at least effective in setting up the contract signing later in the night.
Fine match between Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay. The Funkasaurus didn't receive an entrance, so that pretty much guaranteed we'd be seeing him job out to Del Rio here. However, Clay sold the offense well and Jim Ross put over Del Rio's recent ruthless aggression on commentary. Personally, I'm just disappointed they made no mention of Clay being Del Rio's NXT Rookie at one point last year.
Brief match with the Prime Time Players defeating Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. We've seen the match multiple times before, so it was nothing new, but it help Titus O'Neil and Darren Young regain lost momentum. They have great potential and I'm glad to see their push continue despite being eliminated from the WWE Tag Team Championship tournament. I didn't really care for the run-in from Encore following the bout, other than the fact that it felt random and stupid, but hey, at least they're being utilized on television.
Smart booking with Ryback defeating David Otunga and Dolph Ziggler in a Handicap match. Otunga and Ziggler are two (somewhat) credible stars, so Ryback scoring a victory over the two of the them makes him look credible. The best part is that Ziggler wasn't even involved in the finish and didn't have to take the pin, as he abandoned Otunga before that was made possible. A potential Ryback and Ziggler feud is intriguing, but it feels like filler for Ziggler as he awaits his eventual Money in the Bank cash-in.
Good match with United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeating Justin Gabriel. The finish to these Cesaro squashes on Raw each week are never in doubt, but they still contain good action that makes both him and his opponent look good. Gabriel hitting the 450 Splash but not scoring the victory was a nice tease, and Cesaro continues be dominant with this win. I appreciate the effort in building his gimmick via the pre-match vignettes, but he needs a legitimate feud with someone over the title for anyone to really invest in his character.
Throwaway match with Kane quickly defeating Matt Striker. This basically offered the story-line backlash from last week's SmackDown, but was the match even necessary? I, for one, like Striker and found Kane's post-match "interview" with him to be humorous, but it was merely meaningless. It's also interesting to note that Striker's last singles match on Raw prior to this episode was also against Kane in August 2008, right before he became a full-time broadcaster.
A returning Randy Orton ambushes Alberto Del Rio.
Throwaway opening segment featuring World Heavyweight Sheamus and Big Show. The "power of the punch" challenge gave me horrendous NXT flashbacks, and it wasn't even all that interesting. How this is supposed to get viewers excited for their World Championship match at Hell in a Cell, I have no idea, but Tensai attacking Sheamus was a nice tie-in to the opening match.
Decent match with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus defeating Tensai. We've seen it before, but Sheamus scored more offense than usual due to his frustration. Sheamus has already been established as a monster inside the ring in the past, but at least we didn't see his usual happy-go-lucky character here. The outcome was obvious and hardly did anything to help either guy.
Fine tag team match with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal defeating Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. The action was fine for what is was, but this match's meaning was mostly to establish "The Band" as a threat. Although they may not have much credibility, they're slowly garnering more and more heat each week and stacking victories will only help expose them more on both Raw and SmackDown.
Good match between WWE Tag Team Champion Kane and Dolph Ziggler. It was built to nicely with Ziggler's challenge made to Kane via Tout earlier this week, so it felt somewhat significant. It received good time and protected Ziggler by not allowing him to be pinned. I would've rather seen him get the better of Kane to make up for lost momentum, but Team Hell No attacking Matt Striker following the bout was fun stuff.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Excellent match with TNA World Champion Austin Aries defeating James Storm. It had a fresh feel to it since it was the first ever meeting between the two, and involved extremely entertaining action. Storm was protected after Bobby Roode interfered and allowed Aries to pick up the victory, so that made logical sense. Aries needed a victory going into Bound For Glory, so this was a fantastic way to kick off a wrestlingshow.
Forgettable match with Hernandez defeating AJ Styles. It wasn't given enough time and featured throwaway action. Styles and Angle haven't been made to look like a credible team going into Bound For Glory, but at least Chavo and Hernandez do. The Triple Threat tag team title match on Sunday has the potential to be great, but this was not a nice preview of it.
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