WWE Champ CM Punk collides with Daniel Bryan.
Solid segment to kick off the show featuring John Laurinaitis, WWE Champion CM Punk, and World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk. Laurinaitis provided some good humor in his "glad handing" role, as well as successfully hype the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view that is only mere weeks away. Punk interrupting him was typical, but Bryan coming down was a pleasant surprise. They were able to get viewers about their upcoming match, as well as build towards Johnny's potential "firing" later in the night.
Regardless how many times they collide in the squared circle, I never get tired of seeing an entertaining match between Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler. Orton's victory was logical, but I was not at all bummed that Ziggler came up short. Wade Barrett adding his insight on the bout from the box seats was unique and a nice touch.
Quick squash match with Brodus Clay predictably defeating Tyler Reks in a decisive fashion. At this point, Clay is in need of a story, otherwise his act will get old fast. However, it was good to see Reks finally make his in-ring Raw debut, as he would make for a suitable opponent for Clay if a rivalry was in the works between the two.
Extremely awesome match between WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan that certainly lived up to my high expectations of being a classic. Without a doubt, these two former Ring of Honor stars are the best wrestlers WWE has to offer on today's roster, so I was a bit surprised this first-time-ever dream bout wasn't saved for a later date. With that being said, I was beyond satisfied with the match Punk and Bryan provided, and Chris Jericho's shocking interference was a smart move in both saving this for another day and setting Jericho's expected feud with Punk in motion. The American Dragon's disqualification victory is another great way to give Bryan something else to brag about from now on.
Kofi Kingston delivers a Trouble in Paradise to The Miz.
Fun match between The Miz and Kofi Kingston that was not only a nice follow-up from the Royal Rumble, but also building towards Raw's Elimination Chamber match in a few weeks. These two always work well together, so I'm hoping we see more from them at the pay-per-view. Kingston's upset victory over the former WWE Champion is an excellent way to help re-establish him as a credible mid-carder, while R-Truth's commentary was simple and effective.
Given the fact that we've seen Beth Phoenix vs. Eve numerous times in the last few months, I was glad to see it end so quickly to further push Divas Champion Beth Phoenix as a dominant title-holder. Although I was disappointed to not see Kharma appear, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her as we progress to WrestleMania. Anyways, the John Cena and Kane brawl was fine for what it was worth, but this feud isn't really as hot as it once was. Nonetheless, I do like to the fact that there is the possibility of whether Cena "embraces the hates" during the course of the rivalry.
Strong segment to close the show with Triple H addressing Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis, only for the returning Undertaker to interrupt. The Game's humiliation of Laurinaitis didn't do much for this viewer, but at least saving the pay-off to this angle for a later date. For the second year in a row, Undertaker's return was perfectly booked and the silence really added to the intensity of the stare-down. The pure shock factor that the Deadman came back this early was unreal, but let's hope they can find something for him to do so his build to WrestleMania 28 isn't dragged out.
Overall, a fantastic show that kept this viewer entertained all night long with its incredible action, effective segments, and build towards both Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania 28. On a side note, Mike Tyson's WWE Hall of Fame induction video was very well done, and I'm excited to see him enter the prestigious hall in March. The start of new feuds and storylines on this show gave it fresh feel, providing as a nice comeback from the lackluster Royal Rumble pay-per-view. If WWE continues to produce enjoyable shows of this caliber on the road to WrestleMania, you can be sure to expect even more exciting television in what lies ahead.
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