What started flat ultimately ended strong and resulted in a solid show that absolutely flew by.
The first 16 minutes of this week’s Monday Night RAW was an undeniable bitch fest, with Dolph Ziggler, Christian and Cody Rhodes all voicing their disdain over Triple H’s tenure as WWE COO.
Things picked up rather quickly though, as the irate Triple H soon booked four great matches. The action then guided the show, rather than the mediocre promo that was prevalent last week.
Add in a few surprises, mainly the continued, feel-good push of Zack Ryder and this week’s RAW had a near perfect blend of matches, set up for Hell in a Cell and promo.
Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara, Sheamus, John Morrison, Ted DiBiase, Ezekiel Jackson, Alex Riley, Drew MacIntyre and Justin Gabriel in a 10-man over the top battle royal: This wasn’t a classic encounter, but it was a fun way to start the show. Sheamus made quick work of Riley and Gabriel after the “other” Sin Cara eliminated his doppelganger early in the contest. Jackson then eliminated two superstars all by his lonesome. As DiBiase and Rhodes joined Jackson and Sheamus as the last four, Rhodes quickly eliminated his former tag partner. A gaffe on Jackson’s part left Rhodes and Sheamus as the last two. Interference from Christian almost cost Sheamus the match, but Rhodes took the added time and hit Sheamus with his faceguard for the win. After the match, Christian took his frustrations out on Sheamus.
Eve Torrez and WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly vs. Natalya Neidhart and Beth Phoenix: One of the best Divas matches on RAW in quite some time. At first, it appeared Kelly Kelly was going to mount a John Cena-esque comeback, but luckily, the match ended when Phoenix nailed Kelly with the Glam Slam. Bonus points to Neidhart for an interesting submission move during the contest.
World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali: Henry hit Khali in the face with the belt before the bell rang and then quickly slapped him with the World’s Strongest Slam. The result? No match. The bell never rang. Say what you want about Henry, but you got to love how dominant he’s been.
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Christian in a non-title match: A fast-paced match which proves what a solid worker Christian is. Cena was at his routine solid, but again, it was simply his routine. Selling and using ring psychology, Christian brought some extra flavor to the contest. However, after Alberto Del Rio [who alongside CM Punk was doing color commentary] joined the party and hit Cena with a kick to the back of the head, the champ got the win via DQ.
United States Champion Dolph Ziggler w/ Jack Swagger and Vikki Guerrero vs. Zack Ryder: A quick match that saw Swagger interfere behind the referee’s back, which left Ryder wide open for the Zig Zag and the win. Air Boom [Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne] hit the ring after and made sure to have Ryder’s back. Soon after, Teddy Long came out and announced a six-man tag to take place right away.
Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and Mason Ryan vs. Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and Zack Ryder: A high-energy match that saw Ryan take out both of his teammates after a few minutes of quality tag action [Anyone remember what Ziggler said about him last week?]. Soon enough, Ziggler was the prey for Ryder and his Low Ryder leg lariat finisher. With another win over the US Champ, Ryder’s push continues.
Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk: These guys pushed a solid pace, but this isn’t the match anyone wants to see. If nothing’s at stake, this match was just a tease for the Pay Per View. Ultimately, that’s all it was. While Punk got the win, Del Rio got the best of Cena and Punk, destroying them with a steel chair as the steel cage lowered to the floor.