CM Punk’s celebration after a year as WWE champion was interesting and sets up what should be an interesting month of WWE programming.
That being said, the nuclear fallout from Survivor Series has left the WWE a vastly different place.
Ryback’s loss in the Triple Threat match with Punk and John Cena forces the youngster into the upper-mid-card for now.
It’s the best thing for the company, as Ryback can either develop or fade away like the flash in the pan many think he is.
Speaking of what’s best for the company, with finally some development in the AJ Lee and Vikki Guerrero angle, things can finally move forward. Lee and John Cena’s tonsil hockey session frenzied the crowd. It’s clear now that Cena and Dolph Ziggler will be the ones to settle this thing. Tamina Snuka’s appearance during the Survivor Series also assures that Lee will have her hands full as well.
Other storylines were on the backburner this week, as it seems Punk will hold on to the title for the foreseeable future. His party was a waste of time, but it’ll be hard to argue that it wasn’t time Dean Ambrose and his friends got an opportunity to prove they belong.
It’s too bad they didn’t have a real role in this week’s show until the very end, when they again, beating the living hell out of Ryback.
From the looks of it, Punk is not involved with Ambrose and his group, so things are definitely about to get shaken up.
With a host of stale matchups, this could be the best thing to happen in the WWE in some time.
Ryback vs. Tensai: This was probably Ryback’s biggest test thus far in the WWE. Tensai hit his senton backsplash and chokebomb on the rookie, but it wasn’t enough. After a meat hook clothesline, Ryback finally hit The Shellshock on Tensai after three matches for the win.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett: The contrast in styles worked well here. They both bring out the best in one another. They traded signature offense and near-falls for over 10 minutes, including kick-outs of Barrett’s Tilt-a-whirl sideslam and Kingston’s SOS. Barrett eventually got the win with his massive standing elbow.
Kaitlyn vs. Aksana: Aside from a nice arm-bar from Aksana and Kaityln’s Gutbuster finisher for the win, this match was far from special.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Brodus Clay: A massive European uppercut from the second rope and the Neutralizer was all it took to pin Clay. Cesaro is on a roll.
Two Out of Three Falls: Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez: Del Rio lost the first fall via DQ after repeatedly slamming Orton’s arm against the steel turnbuckle post. Orton tried to make a comeback but Del Rio won the second fall with the cross-arm-bar. Rodriguez then got involved, but got ejected from the match, enabling Del Rio to hit the backstabber. Orton kicked out though and eventually hit the RKO for the win after Del Rio missed his turnbuckle Enziguri.
Primo and Epico w/Rosa Mendez vs. The Great Khali w/ Hornswoggle: A waste. A Punjabi Plunge and Hornswoggle’s prank of Mendez made this a complete disaster.
The Miz vs. David Otunga: This was a decent back and forth encounter, but lacked storyline appeal. Surprisingly, Otunga held his own here and kept Miz on the ground with several big clotheslines. Miz fought back with some signature offense and even had the support of the crowd before he won via the Skull-Crushing Finale.
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow: Sheamus, pissed from his loss to Big Show at Survivor Series, clearly took it out on Sandow, in a long, drawn-out snoozer. Although the WWE’s champion of civility hit his share of strikes, Sheamus was the aggressor. Sandow didn’t job out, which is a testament to what the WWE thinks of him. In the end though, Sheamus won with the Brogue Kick.
WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio: The challengers needed this win to ensure a future title shot. It was a good tag team match overall, but this division is lacking in compelling storyline. Kane and Bryan’s antics, without proper context, get old fast and between Cara and Mysterio’s predictable movesets, this was lather, rinse, repeat. Just when it looked like Kane was going to end the match with a chokeslam on Mysterio, the Prime Time Players, interrupted the match to get the match thrown out. By the end of it, PTP was the one down and out, as both teams laid them out.