By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The New Age Outlaws def. WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust (Non-title)
The New Age Outlaws continue to impress me in the ring and I surely hope they have an extended stay on the main roster. They worked a good match with the Rhodes brothers, but it felt like it never left first gear before it prematurely ended. The hype for the Royal Rumble match has left a lot to be desired thus far, but they choose to advertise it during a match instead? I understand it provided the Rhodes brothers with an out for losing, but it was weak and poorly executed. I hope the rumored tag team title match at the Royal Rumble is better than this bout.
Big Show Interrupted Paul Heyman
As always, Heyman cut a solid promo that effectively sold viewers on the upcoming match between Big Show and Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. He spoke of nothing new, of course, but you had to expect Heyman to promote the match quite a bit with Lesnar having limited appearances. Show showed good intensity in his promo as well. I am extremely glad that we have been getting the serious side of Show in recent weeks, as this is when he is at his best.
Rey Mysterio def. Alberto Del Rio
Mysterio's pre-match promo provided nice final build for Batista's highly anticipated return on the upcoming episode of Raw, making the connection that he has history with him. The match started out slow, but they picked up the pace down the stretch and definitely delivered in the final few minutes. The finishing sequences made the match exciting and Mysterio winning was a pleasant surprise. Sure, Del Rio should be the one with all the momentum going into the Rumble match (and with Batista's return if they are indeed going to feud), but his post-match attack got more heat on him than a win over Mysterio probably would have.
Naomi def. Tamina Snuka
There was one scary spot when Tamina botched a flapjack on Naomi (although I am not sure who's fault it was or if it was a mutual thing), but I am glad Naomi is okay. Aside from that, it was a fine match for what it was that gave Naomi a nice win. As I always say, she continues to improve in the ring and she showed that in this match by pulling out a split legged moonsault for the finish. I expect to see Naomi contend for the Divas Championship against AJ Lee at the Royal Rumble, which could be a fun match.
Bray Wyatt Addressed the WWE Universe
Bray's promo was excellent as usual, giving both more background information on his character and furthering his feud with Daniel Bryan. The "WHAT?!" chants are incredibly annoying, but the cadence of Bray's speech put those to rest quickly. He is so convincing in his character that it is so intriguing to watch. If Bryan's concussion doesn't prevent him from competing at the Royal Rumble, I would like to see these two face off in a singles match.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston def. Fandango (Non-title)
They worked a decent match, but it couldn't compare to their title match from a few weeks ago. Fandango looked like a threat to Langston's title in that match, yet he was treated as an enhancement talent here. The win continued Langston's recent strong momentum, but he needs new fresh faces to work with as opposed to the same people every week (Curtis Axel, Fandango, etc.). Whatever happened to his apparent feud with Ryback?
The Usos def. The Real Americans
I lost track of how many times these two teams have faced each other in the past, but their matches are always enjoyable. This was no exception, as both The Usos and The Real Americans put forth a strong effort to have a fun tag team bout. Zeb Colter getting thrown (or rolled, I guess) into Antonio Cesaro at ringside was humorous and justified since Colter tripped one of the Usos. The Usos have been on a roll as of late with their recent win in the main event of Raw and I surely hope this leads t a tag team title run for them.
CM Punk Called Out The Shield and The New Age Outlaws
It is cool to see Punk back to rebelling again company officials like he was in 2011, as the whole Authority angle seemed illogical without him involved. Rumors are running rampant that Punk will be facing Triple H at WrestleMania 30, so I suppose this is the early beginnings of that feud. This was a solid segment that seemed to hint at that match while also kicking off a mini-feud between Punk and Kane, which could been entertaining in the meantime.
While nothing about this show stood out as extremely impressive, it had its moments and was a quick two hours for the most part. The opening match was a disappointment, but Mysterio vs. Del Rio and The Usos vs. The Real Americans were entertaining and the main event segment was well done. There was also successful hype for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, but it is still mind-boggling to me that there hasn't been much build for the Rumble match itself.
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