Wade Barrett unleashes his fury of offense on Orton.
Strong segment to kick off the show featuring Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, Booker T and the returning Goldust. Both Cody and Booker did well here, and adding Goldust, otherwise known as Dustin Rhodes, into the mix added even more drama given the fact that Dustin is Cody's brother. Hopefully, this is only a sign of things to become between the two bitter siblings.
Interesting choice in having Jinder Mahal go over Ted DiBiase, as Mahal hasn't picked up any significant victories in quite some time. The match was fine for what it was, but it looks like they're finally getting behind Mahal as a credible heel. If not, then this was completely pointless in ruining DiBiase's recent momentum.
Brief Divas tag team match that was nothing out of the ordinary. The post-match attack with Tamina turning on Natalya left me confused as to which of the two will be turning babyface, but hopefully it's the former Divas Champion given how we're supposed to feel sympathetic for her losses.
Good match from Hunico and Justin Gabriel, but it needed more time in order to be considered something special. Obviously, both guys can work, so I'd thoroughly enjoy a program between the two high-fliers. Additionally, Hunico and Camacho's gimmick feels extremely stereotypical, as well as a combination rip-off of Cryme Tyme and Mexican America. At least Hunico can wrestle, so it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Painless match between Big Show and David Otunga that was a complete squash, but was able to establish Show in a dominant fashion. Mark Henry played his role well at ringside, but came off as foolish when he chased off World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. The World title picture isn't as intriguing as it once was, but at least they're killing time until Show's expected heel turn.
Dolph Zigggler hijacks the WWE Championship.
Fun segment to kick off the show with John Lauriniatis mimicking CM Punk's entrance that got a chuckle out of this viewer. The main event contest was successfully hyped for later in the night, as well as furthering the feud between Punk and Lauriniatis with a small teaser of a match between the two.
Good match between Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes and Booker T, but it didn't quite maintain the crowd's interest for a majority of the bout. However, it's always a blast to see Booker compete, which should have been advertised in advance to hype his in-ring return on Raw. Having the five-time WCW Champion pick up the victory here was a smart move in order to continue the feud as well as secure Booker a title rematch down the line.
Quick, painless mixed tag team match that saw United States Champion Zack Ryder and Eve finally teaming up to defeat the uniting tandem of Tyson Kidd and Natalya. It's sad to realize that Raw really has no credible heel mid-carders that Ryder is able to work with, but what we got was decent action. I like the idea of Kidd and Natalya back together again, as it good possibly help Kidd get the heat he needs to become a strong heel. Ryder's on-going relationship with Eve also seems like a good idea for the time being. On a side note, where the hell was Divas Champion Beth Phoenix on the show?
I'm glad the match between John Cena and The Miz never really came to fruition since we've seen it more than enough times over the course of 2011. R-Truth's return was well-done and was a pleasant surprise since I managed to forget all about it going into the show. It remains unclear as to whether Truth remains a heel or becoming a full-fledged babyface due to his ambush on The Miz, but it's a relief that Creative didn't revert him back to the go-happy rapper he was prior to this awesome psychotic gimmick.
Throwaway segment featuring Big Show, David Otunga and company. The match stipulation of having one arm tied behind Show's back didn't really do anything for me, in addition to the fact that the referee called for the bell to signal a disqualification on Otunga's behalf was premature seeing that Mark Henry didn't even make contact with Show yet. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan's appearance seemed a bit off and random, but I'm glad Henry did not end up getting attacked to once again lose momentum.
Daniel Bryan locks in a LaBelle Lock on Swagger.
Quality promo from Big Show, Mark Henry and World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan to kick off the show. Both Henry and Show staked their claim for the golden prize, while Bryan came off as a main event threat here as well. Additionally,. it successfully set up a TLC rematch for later in the night.
Great match between Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes and United States Champion Zack Ryder that was more focused on Booker T's feud with Rhodes rather than the actual bout. With this being the first time Rhodes and Ryder have collided, I'd like to see more from them at some point down the line.
Pointless segment between Mark Henry and Big Show with their advertised match being called off due to David Otunga that was used merely to kill time. It's not shocking not to see this bout come to fruition given Henry's injury, adding to the fact that this feud has run its course anyways. Both Henry and Show really need to move on to something much bigger on Friday nights.
Quick match with The Miz challenging Sheamus to a match which should have been given more time in order to feel special. I enjoy Miz on SmackDown, so hopefully this was a test run for him to see how he'd do on Friday nights if they opt to move him next year. As I've said before, Sheamus is completely irrelevant without a credible heel to work with. He's in desperate need for a fresh feud that will last him until WrestleMania 28.
Awkward brawl with Randy Orton dominating Wade Barrett in the parking out. Barrett's promo prior to the attack was well done, while Orton's ambush didn't feel that it left much impact. The RKO on top of the car was a cool spot, but I personally felt playing the Viper's entrance music at the conclusion of the beat-down despite not being in the arena was unnecessary.
Painless match with Kofi Kingston quickly going over Primo. It's was shown a few weeks ago on WWE Superstars that both of these guys can work well together, so more time was needed in order to be effective. I would have preferred the victory for Primo, but Air Boom needs to regain the momentum they lost before Evan Boune's suspension a while back.
Good tag team main event with World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and Big Show defeating the tandem of Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. The previous bout between Bryan and Ziggler was going excellent before it was interrupted, but what we got in the tag team contest was fun for what it was worth, especially the ending moments.
Overall, a decent edition of SmackDown that was primarily the aftermath from TLC, which is to be expected given the holiday week. There was a bit left to desired as far as the action goes, but at least everything on the program served a purpose.
Zack Ryder, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan as champs.
Strong segment to kick off the show with WWE Champion CM Punk congratulating Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder on their respective championship wins at TLC on Sunday. It was a refreshing change of pace, as well as set up the main event nicely. Bonus points for the ECW chants heard all around the world from the Philly crowd.
Another solid match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett that served a great purpose following their Tables Match at TLC. The disqualification finish saved both Barrett and Orton, and the Englishman's post-match was not only a good attempt in regaining the heat he may have lost on Sunday, but a nice "extreme" flashback with a cool Wasteland through the table.
Horrendous Divas segment that was an absolute waste of five minutes for something else that could have benefited from it. Beth Phoenix was indeed injured during her match with Alicia Fox, but that's not excuse for the Glamazon to job to Fox within moments with a move that wasn't even a roll-up. Fox's promo that followed was just as horrible, but the only positive thing to say about this whole angle is that at least a new face will be contending for the Divas Championship.
Typical squash match with Sheamus once again dominating Jinder Mahal for third consecutive time in the past week. I was expecting some sort of an upset from Mahal in order to give some purpose behind this feud, but no such luck. Instead, it seems as if Sheamus is suffering from lack of credible opponents to work with while Mahal has been booked into the ground on numerous occasions that he wouldn't even begin to garner a legitimate reaction until he's used correctly.
Intriguing segment with Kane brutally attacking John Cena. Great swerve with Kane turning his attention to Cena rather than Mark Henry, further establishing the feud between the two. The Big Red Monster's ambush on Cena came off as intense, and gets me excited for their upcoming feud after Kane walked off with Cena's shirt following the attack, leaving fans with more questions than answers.
CM Punk, still your rebellious WWE Champion.
Excellent match from Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler over the United States Championship. Vickie's expulsion from ring-side allowed an exciting, dramatic finish as Ryder connected with the Rough Ryder onto Ziggler to capture his first major singles title in WWE. The clip of Ryder's father in attendance was a nice tough to add even more emotion to the Long Island Iced Z's title win celebration. Now, Ryder finally gets his well-deserved spot in the mid-card while Ziggler is elevated to main event status. Everyone wins.
Fun WWE Tag Team Championship match between Air Boom and the team of Primo and Epico that was originally rumored going into the show, so it's confusing as to why it wasn't advertised in advance. Nonetheless, it was a great effort by all the Superstars involved, and helps build the heat Primo and Epico need in order to eventually capture the straps.
Solid Tables match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. These two always work well together, and made the most out of the stipulation in order to make it enjoyable. Although I would had preferred Barrett to go over here to continue his strong push, it was logical to give the Viper the victory in a very cool fashion for the finish.
Boring Divas Championship match that we've so many times in the past few months that the fans didn't really have any incentive to care. The final minute was a suspenseful exchange of maneuvers, but if WWE really expects us to take the Divas division seriously, they must look into building fresh feuds and advertising the subsequent blow-off on pay-per-view.
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