This was a fun way to end the 2012 season of RAW, but it wasn’t exactly monumental. Aside from the announcement of The Rock’s arrival on RAW next week and the possibility of a Paul Heyman/Ryback TLC match, this week of RAW was simply entertaining enough to get by.
Although the in-ring work was far from terrible, most of the matches were far from stellar. More routine, they were good enough to get fans interested and were safe enough not to put anyone on the shelf before Royal Rumble.
At the same time, it was interesting to see how well received the full-face turns of The Miz and Alberto Del Rio were, as well as Mae Young’s child-birthing segment. The same thing goes for John Cena’s excellent promo work on Dolph Ziggler at the end of the show and his announcement that he’ll be in this year’s Royal Rumble. Not to mention the feces that came from the roof on AJ Lee and Ziggler.
It wasn’t exactly PG-13 programming, but you won’t hear anyone complaining about that.
John Cena and The Miz vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes: Miz and Cena worked well together in what was a solid opener. Both teams used quick tags and there was plenty of posturing to the crowd. The match ended after both Miz and Cena used their finishing moves and raised each other’s arms. A possible tag team combination might be in the works.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Sgt. Slaughter: A quick match that saw Cesaro narrowly escape a Cobra Clutch and hit a pair of Neutralizers on the WWE Hall of Famer.
WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater: Bryan was his technically solid self and Kane brought out the power moves. 3MB hung in there, but they were basically selling the whole match. Slater hit a neckbreaker and had a few moments of offense, but again, they were more an entrée for the Tag Champs. After a Kane Chokeslam, Bryan got the tag and hit the Diving Headbutt on McIntyre for the win.
Dolph Ziggler w/ AJ Lee and Big E. Langston vs. Sheamus: Well-worked match with a nice amount of counters and near-falls. A top-rope Fallaway Slam from Sheamus was the move of the right. Ziggler was also solid with a nice combination of speed and charisma. However, just when it appeared Sheamus had the match in hand, The Shield destroyed Sheamus and made sure he didn’t get up from a triple Powerbomb.
Ricardo Rodriguez w/ Alberto Del Rio vs. World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show: Rodriguez did a decent job of holding his own, but Show literally slapped him up something fierce. If it wasn’t for Del Rio’s interference, Rodriguez could have been humiliated even further.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett: Well there’s a new IC champion and it was a balls to the wall effort from Barrett. Kingston was stellar and sold at all the right times. There was plenty of offense from both competitors and the near-falls made it entertaining as hell. Barrett ultimately won with the Bull Hammer Elbow.
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Ryback: This could have been fun with The Shield taking it to Ryback, but Randy Orton and Sheamus joined the party and a mess ensued and the match got thrown out.