Entertaining Miz TV segment to kick off the show featuring John Cena and Team Rhodes Scholars. I'm glad they acknowledged the history between Miz and Cena rather than forgetting all about it as they usually do with past rivals. The two had a fun verbal exchange with Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow that set up their subsequent tag team match nicely.
Solid tag team match with John Cen and The Miz defeating Team Rhodes Scholars. All four guys worked well together and produced an entertaining bout where everyone came out looking good. Most of the action was formulaic, but the finish with everyone hitting their signature spots was well done. Teaming Miz with Cena was a brilliant move if they hope to have the Awesome One get over with the audience as a face.
Brief match with Antonio Cesaro defeating Sgt. Slaughter to successfully retain his United States Championship. It was fitting given that Cesaro despises Americans and the location of this week's Raw was Washington D.C., so I was fine with it. I'm pleasantly surprised Slaughter can still somewhat go for a man of his age, while Cesaro garnered some nice heat from this segment.
Fine match with Team Hell No defeating 3MB to successfully retain their WWE Tag Team Championships. The crowd couldn't care less about 3MB, and I don't blame them whatsoever. The action was pretty basic, but it was strange to see Bryan and Kane bickering again after they had been getting along so well in recent weeks when feuding with The Shield.
Good promo featuring WWE Champion CM Punk, Paul Heyman and Mr. McMahon. Punk wasn't as strong on the mic as he usually is, but that's mostly due to the fact that he wasn't really given any new material to work with. Their verbal exchange with McMahon was solid and the WWE Chairman's announcement regarding next week's potential matches helped hype the first Raw of 2013.
Great match between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. We've seen this match countless times over the last year, so it was nothing out of the ordinary, but the action was still exciting at points. The disqualification finish protected both guys, although I would have rather preferred to see Ziggler go over here. The Shield's attack on the Celtic Warrior felt unpredictable and foreshadowed a future feud between them.
By Kendall Portis
We are hours away from Monday Night Raw, but we are also hours away from 2013. If you didn't know, Raw was pre-recorded Saturday night to give the Superstars and Divas a break for the new year. As you all recall, Jack Swagger took some time off from WWE under AJ Lee's management. He has now been competing at house shows for the past week. Hopefully we will see a return from the All-American American Jack Swagger!
Last week on Smackdown, The Shield said 2013 will be the year of The Shield. I predict they will interrupt the main event of the night and leave their mark on 2012. Also, The Miz stated just moments after his match with Dolph Ziggler that 2012 is going to end with a bang. Will The Miz get some retribution against Dolph Ziggler , AJ Lee and Big E Langston? I hope Dolph Ziggler and AJ cut another promo possibly to be interrupted by John Cena considering Cena hasn't confronted this trio yet. Or maybe Dolph Ziggler faces an random top Superstar.
The Usos have been on a winning streak for the past two weeks, so maybe they will build up a feud with Team Hell No and receive a title shot at the Royal Rumble or as predictable WWE can be , it will be on Main Event. I want to see the Usos on the mic and cut a promo, but it won't happen. Since CM Punk has not been able to compete, he has cut some awesome promos for the past few weeks. I predict that he will drop an infamous pipebomb before being interrupted by Ryback. Ryback then will announce that he will be the next WWE Champion.
I know this article has been all over the place, but most likely Dolph Ziggler will end the show.
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AJ and Dolph Ziggler lock lips over a fallen Miz as Big E Langston looks on.
Mediocre opening segment featuring Sheamus, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and SmackDown General Manager Booker T. Sheamus' happy-go-lucky promo did nothing for this viewer and his verbal exchange with Show was nothing new. However, Show made a good point when he said Sheamus doesn't deserve a title shot since he's successfully defended his title against him three times already. The "luck of the draw" seemed stupid and Santino Marella winning was wasteful since he ended up getting replaced anyway. Not the best way to kick off the show.
Meaningless match with Brodus Clay defeating Primo. It lasted a mere minute and felt completely random since they're not currently involved in a feud with one another. It's a shame how Clay is being utilized at the moment and I hope he turns back heel sooner rather than later.
Good six-man tag team match with Wade Barrett and Team Rhodes Scholars defeating Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No. The action was very well paced and they kept the action entertaining over the course of the contest. Everyone was able to hit their signature spots and I loved the finish with Barrett hitting his finisher on Kingston to score the victory for his team. This gives the heels a much needed victory and the opportunity to contend for their respective titles.
Nice match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Zack Ryder. Granted, it was all about Cesaro, but Ryder scored some minor offense before inevitably doing the job. These two work well together, so it's a shame that Ryder is nothing more than an enhancement talent for Cesaro more often than not.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Fine promo from Bully Ray to kick off the show. He basically recapped his relationship with Brooke Hogan and offered nothing more, but it seems as if Brooke is up to something in trying to make Hulk Hogan believe there's something going on. This had mildly interesting, but only slightly, so I'm glad this story-line was kept to a minimum this week.
Brief match with Samoa Joe defeating the Masked Man from Aces and 8s. It was so short that there's really nothing to discuss other than the fact that Joe completely dominated him. It's just a shame that Aces and 8s continues to lose matches, as their consistent losses don't help their credibility whatsoever.
Good match between WWE Tag Team Champion Kane and Cody Rhodes. I like how they used their back history with Kane injuring Rhodes last month on Main Event as the reasoning for this contest. The crowd wasn't all that into it, but the final few moments of the matchup were well done.
Fine eight-Diva tag team match with Kaitlyn, Layla, Natalya and Alicia Fox defeating Divas Champion Eve, Aksana, Rosa Mendes and Tamina. The action wasn't all that horrendous and every Diva was able to hit their signature spots in the finishing sequence. Kaitlyn pinning Eve for the win made sense if they wish to continue their feud over the Divas Championship going forward.
Solid Lumber-Jack Frost match between World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and Sheamus. These two have had some great matches in recent months, but this installment didn't feel as strong of an effort. The constant involvement of the lumberjacks probably played a factor in that and hindered the bout as a whole, but at least they were utilized to the point where they were necessary. Sheamus going over finally gives him the singles win over Show he's been looking for, but I hope this is the end of the road of this feud and both guys can move on to new things.
Decent match with Zack Ryder defeating David Otunga. While Otunga isn't the greatest worker in the ring, Ryder brought him to an exceptional match match here. It wasn't anything out the ordinary, but it was harmless and only lasted mere minutes. Sure, a win over Otunga may not seem like an extraordinary achievement, but it's still a nice win (and pre-match promo) from Ryder after being underutilized over the course of this past year.
Great match with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and The Miz defeating Wade Barrett and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. I felt as if it could've gone a bit longer, but it was very entertaining while it lasted. All four guys have excellent chemistry with one another and it made for a solid match. I also appreciated the fact that the commentators made reference to the history between Miz and Kingston, so at least that wasn't completely going against all logic. Barrett is in desperate need of a victory, but I'm fine with the faces going over given the fact this was a holiday show.
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