CM Punk and AJ confront Daniel Bryan and Kane.
Decent promo to kick off the show featuring Mr. McMahon, John Laurinaitis, and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. McMahon received a great reaction from the crowd and played his role well with Laurinaitis. However, the Celtic Warrior's part in this segment didn't make all that much sense, but it was a nice tie-in to his match that followed.
Good match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Tensai. Their styles meshed well and impressed me with how much they were actually capable of. While it was blatantly obvious Sheamus was going over, Tensai looked good in defeat. His post-match attack on his Sakamoto didn't mean all that much since he's been around for only two months, but at least it means they haven't completely given up on the Tensai character.
Throwaway mixed tag team match with Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez defeating Divas Champion Layla and United States Champion Santino Marella. While Ricardo may indeed be a talented athlete, he's forced to limit himself due to his gimmick. The main focus here was giving Phoenix the win over Layla to receive another shot at the Divas Championship, and it worked.
Solid promo featuring WWE Champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kane, and AJ. This three-way title rivalry hasn't been given all that much mic time since it started, so I'm glad they were able to further the feud in this segment. AJ was awesome as usual, and Punk's verbal change with Kane and Bryan was also very good. Much like the opening segment, it's main purpose was setting up the mixed tag team match for later in the night.
Entertaining Fatal-Four Way elimination number one contender's match featuring Intercontinental Champion Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Great Khali. Thankfully, Khali was out early, so it left the three best workers to finish the rest of the bout. I liked the extra layer of Ziggler eliminating Swagger, as it adds even more tension between the team. Suspenseful near-falls between Ziggler and Christian, a duo that exhibited their awesome chemistry last week on SmackDown and even more so in this bout. Cool finish with Ziggler capitalizing on Christian's injury to pick up the much deserved victory.
Typical squash match with Ryback dominating two local athletes. I found the jobbers' entrance to be pretty humorous, as well as their antics during the bout. Although I've said it time and time again, Ryback must be inserted into a legitimate feud sooner rather than later, as those tired Goldberg chants continue to grow louder and louder each week.
Christian, Jack Swagger, and Dolph Ziggler battle it out.
Fine Steel Cage match with Big Show defeating WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. Show's attack on R-Truth earlier in the night brought out good intensity from Kingston and gave reason to this match happening. Sure, Kingston took all the abuse, but it was designed to make the World's Largest Athlete look like a beast going into his pending match with John Cena on Sunday.
Nice showing from Sin Cara yet again this week against Curt Hawkins. I was shocked (and pleased) to see Hawkins get so much offense in, but I guess that's where Sin Cara's "underdog" gimmick kicks in much similar to Rey Mysterio. With this being the second week Hawkins has been featured on Raw, I hope to see more of him on the flagship show going forward.
Fun appearance from the returning Vader with a victory over Heath Slater. The live crowd popped big for Vader, which is a pleasant surprise given the number of children in attendance these days. Despite having not wrestled in a WWE ring in years, Vader still looked impressive here. I look forward to seeing more legends and alumni appear on Raw in coming weeks as we approach the 1000th episode in July.
Intriguing tag team match with WWE Champion CM Punk and AJ defeating Kane and Daniel Bryan. Since this was a handicap match for the most part, it allowed Punk to work with both Kane and Bryan without giving too much away for Sunday. AJ locking lips with Kane was yet another exciting twist in this love triangle, and his reaction was also golden. It seemed a bit odd that Bryan lost the match with a flying elbow from Punk, but that was quickly forgotten about after this contest.
Uninspiring segment to close the show featuring John Laurinaitis, Mr. McMahon, John Cena, and Big Show. It was pretty predictable to someone was going to interrupt McMahon before he fired Laurinaitis, so Show being that guy was a logical choice. I have nothing against Cena entering the fray since he had only been on the show once before this segment as well as the fact that Cena and Show haven't stood face to face in weeks. Show's punch to McMahon looked terrible and didn't do much for this viewer. However, it adds the hook to No Way Out whether he'll be appearing or not despite his "concussion" suffered at the hands of Show.
Overall, a strong and enjoyable show that was easily one of the better three-hour shows in recent memory. The broadcast didn't seem to drag on at all, and we were provided with some great action throughout the night. While some may argue Mr. McMahon was overexposed, I found his numerous segments on the show to be hysterical. Not only that, but some significant build was done for No Way Out, which successfully got me anticipating the show. With the three-hour Raws becoming permanent next month, it's shows like these that give me hope that it won't be a complete disaster.
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