With CM Punk making Alberto Del Rio tap out to the anaconda vice to win the WWE Championship and John Cena experiencing the bitter taste of the Rock Bottom, Raw had many questions to answer following Survivor Series.
Live from Hershey, PA, this “Supershow” started off strong and remained that way throughout.
It’s not rocket science, things just made sense. That’s all it takes to have a good wrestling show and that’s all loyal fans ask for.
Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio: After losing to Punk, Del Rio was eager to release his frustrations on anybody. Unfortunately for Ryder, that meant him. It wasn’t all bad for Ryder as he showed some aggression himself, stealing the microphone from Ricardo Rodriguez while Del Rio made his way entrance and even almost had Del Rio set up for Rough Ryder Time, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Del Rio worked on Ryder’s shoulder/arm throughout and eventually caught him in his cross arm-breaker submission to make Ryder tap.
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger: These two were on opposite teams in the 5-on-5 at Survivor Series and Sheamus was disqualified for going ballistic on Swagger. Swagger wanted payback and was granted a match by Director of Talent Relations, John Laurinitis. Much like their encounter last week, these two took it to each other in this momentum-driven match. Sheamus missed the Brogue Kick and Swagger countered into his “patented” ankle lock, but Sheamus kicked himself free and put Swagger to bed with the Brogue Kick and picked up the victory.
Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella: The “unmasked, unbeatable” Cody Rhodes utterly dominated Marella in a squash and finished him off with the Cross Rhodes as Santino teased the Cobra. Afterwards, Rhodes approached Booker T at the announce table and told him he heard everything Booker said about him and threw a cup of water in Booker’s face and smirked his way up the ramp as Booker sat stunned.
Dolph Ziggler vs. CM Punk: Match of the night. This “Champion Vs Champion” match was a hell of a contest. Ziggler’s in-ring abilities have been stellar as of late and it was no different here. He looked like gold in this match as he countered Punk’s GTS several times and almost upset Punk with a few near-falls. He had an answer for every one of Punk’s moves. After several times though, the squirmy Ziggler finally succumbed to the GTS as Punk got the 3-count in an amazing bout.
Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston: “Natural Born Leader” Wade Barrett led his “barrage” to victory at Survivor Series over Orton’s team, but their feud was far from over. Orton took a seat at ringside during the match and observed the action. Kofi Kingston put up a good fight with his high-flying offense, but Barrett hit the Wasteland on Kofi and paused to look at Orton before executing the maneuver, sending a “message.” Orton responded by faking to enter the ring to attack Barrett and laughed as Barrett flinched.
Final Thoughts: This was a great show, as all of the matches that took place served a purpose. Del Rio, Punk, Rhodes, and Barrett looked good tonight (as they should) and even in defeat, Ziggler, Ryder, and Kingston lost no momentum. Punk set the show off with a fantastic promo about being an “agent of change” (as he’s preached all summer) and even Laurinaitis was good in his role. Rhode’s, Big Show’s, and Ziggler’s promos also got them over in the simplest way. Even the Kevin Nash and Natalya/Beth Phoenix segments were okay and Cena turning Miz and R-Truth against each other was predictable, but well-done and things should be exciting in terms of seeing how their feud will play out. There were also a few hints of what’s to come soon, first with the Kane mask teaser and the “distorted” URL on the “Twitter Feed” Ticker that read “youtube.com/itbegins2012.” Needless to say, this episode did a great job of following up on the events of Survivor Series. WWE has set itself up once again to create riveting television in the coming weeks.