On a special New Year's Eve edition of Monday Night Raw, we saw a "Champion's Choice" night, where each title was defended against an opponent of the champion's choosing. So, as some wrestlers partied to celebrate the New Year, and others defended their belts, what was good and bad about last night's edition of Raw, in this writer's opinion?
1) John Cena and Miz took on Rhodes Scholars in tag action. It's a bit odd seeing Miz and Cena work together, even though they were WWE Tag Team Champions together at one point (however briefly). Still, pairing Cena with Miz during his face transition is a good option to get some fans on his side.
Plus, seeing the incredibly talented talker Damian Sandow go up against Cena in a battle of the words is always entertaining. The match between the four wrestlers wasn't that bad either.
2) Antonio Cesaro defending his title against Sgt. Slaughter. It wasn't a very long match, but Cesaro made sure that every person in the crowd hated him for picking the Hall of Famer as his opponent and delivering two Neutralizers. Cesaro is an old school style heel, and it's always entertaining to watch the bad guy in action.
3) Mr. McMahon announced that if Punk is unable to face Ryback next week in a TLC match that Paul Heyman will take his place. So whether it is Punk or Heyman, next week we get to see a TLC match on Raw. Mr. McMahon is bringing out the big guns for the first Raw of 2013.
4) During Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus' match, a confrontation between Big E. Langston and Sheamus was teased. A match up between the two has the potential to be very good and very physical. However, it is a good thing that Langston didn't interrupt the match to get involved with Sheamus as Sheamus is on a bit of a roll as of late. Squashing Sheamus like Langston has done to Cena the past few weeks would cause all the momentum he has been building up against the Big Show to come crashing to a halt. Having The Shield interrupt was definitely the better option. Save Langston VS Sheamus for 2013.
5) Ricardo Rodriguez got a chance to let some of his wrestling skills shine through against the Big Show. When he wrestled as Chimaera prior to coming to WWE (and briefly in FCW) he was actually pretty decent in the ring. We saw some of his in ring action briefly as El Local on Saturday Morning Slam, but other than that his moves against Big Show were the first moves the majority of WWE fans have probably seen him do.
More than likely Rodriguez won't be Del Rio's personal announcer forever, so it is good to let fans start to get accustomed to him as a wrestler.
6) Speaking of Del Rio, the new good guy version of Del Rio really shone through on Raw last night. After hitting Santa Claus with his car last week, it was a bit up in the air if Del Rio was still turning face. However, after last night it's safe to assume that Del Rio is still on track to turning good. Which is nice, because heel Del Rio has been stale for who knows how long.
7) Wade Barrett became the new Intercontinental Champion. Wade Barrett is definitely a future star for the WWE, and it's good to see him get another singles championship around his waist. As for Kofi, hopefully he goes up a bit higher on the card after his loss (he certainly has paid his dues). More likely than not though, he won't and will continue to be underused.
1) Mae Young had another baby. After last time, when Mae Young gave birth to a hand baby, most thought they'd never have to endure something like that again. Well, we were wrong. On Raw last night, Mae Young gave birth to a Hornswoggle New Years baby. Things like that are why a lot of wrestling fans have a hard time watching WWE anymore.
2) Alberto Del Rio tossing Ricardo Rodriguez the car keys when he apologized to him for treating him badly was very cheesy.
3) Orton, Sheamus and Ryback were able to fend off The Shield with a well-placed RKO. For the majority of the encounter between The Shield and Ryback, The Shield dominated. Then, when Sheamus ran out, they still dominated. Then, Randy Orton came out and the numbers became even, and The Shield wasn't some crazy, unstoppable force anymore. It was three on three and before long, the veterans came out on top.
To me, The Shield lost a bit of their Edge when Orton got that RKO and The Shield took off into the crowd. If they want to be considered a dominant group hell bent on destruction, then they should never have to face an equal force and without coming out on top. At least not yet. Their match against Team Hell No and Ryback showed what an encounter against an equal force should be like.
What did you think of Raw last night? What was good and what was bad? Comment below.
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