By Graham "GSM" Matthews
World Heavyweight Champion John Cena Confronted WWE Champion Randy Orton
This was the standard segment everyone expected to see following the conclusion of the Survivor Series pay-per-view. I, for one, am not in favor in unifying the world titles just yet, and I certainly don't agree with rushing into the match by holding it at the TLC event. If the titles were truly "prestigious", then it would go down at WrestleMania 30, but I have no desire to see Cena and Orton face off on the grandest stage of them all. Then again, I have no desire to see them face each other at all.
The Shield def. Rey Mysterio and WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Is it surprising to anyone that The Shield were the highlight of the night much like they were at Survivor Series? I didn't think so. They worked a highly entertaining match with a flurry of finishers toward the end. Everyone in the bout works so well together that they are simply incapable of having a bad match together. Roman Reigns once again shined with his Spears onto Goldust and Mysterio, while Dean Ambrose avenged his loss to Rhodes last night by pinning him for the win.
The Miz Hosted "Miz TV" with Michael Strahan
Admittedly, I chuckled at a few things in this segment, but as a whole it was completely meaningless. I have enjoyed Miz's tweener turn thus far, but having him revert from face to heel back to being a face confuses the fans beyond belief. Strahan was better than most guest hosts we have come to see on Raw, but we have had better hosts, too. I am not sure if Titus O'Neil is still babyface or not, but either way, this segment was a complete waste of time.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston and Mark Henry def. Curtis Axel and Ryback
This was a logical follow-up to the two matches that took place at Survivor Series, but the heels were doomed from the start considering the fact they didn't have an entrance. It was a good win for Langston and a nice way to reintroduce Henry on Raw. As much as I like the idea of a Langston/Henry tandem, it would be better to keep it an alliance and nothing more, as Langston should be focusing on his future in singles competition for the foreseeable future.
Team Total Divas def. Team True Divas in a 7-on-7 Elimination Tag Team Match
The match was bad the first time around, so what was the point in holding a rematch? I didn't think it could get any worse, but it did. The eliminations were done in even quicker fashion than they were at Survivor Series, Divas were getting taken out with the most random moves, and Eva Marie was a sole survivor. If that last one isn't enough to make this match atrocious, then I don't know what is. WWE officials must be really high on Summer Rae if she was eliminated after Divas Champion AJ Lee.
Damien Sandow def. Dolph Ziggler in a Hamptons Hardcore Match
Similar to last week, Sandow and Ziggler made the most out of an asinine stipulation. The choices available on the WWE App were all essentially the same, so that was pretty pointless. They utilized the extreme environment well and were given a substantial amount of time, so it still lacked meaning. Sandow picking up the victory made up for his loss from last week, but I don't know that throwing two overlooked talents in random hardcore matches every week is going to make people care about them.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan def. The Wyatt Family in a 2-on-3 Handicap Match by Disqualification
The pre-match promo from Bryan and Punk was very fun and set up the subsequent match nicely. Their tag match with The Wyatt Family was just as solid as it was at Survivor Series, but nothing spectacular. The Wyatt Family held their own against the former world champions and didn't give much away if WWE opts to go with a Bray Wyatt vs. Punk or Bryan feud. I would liked to see the feared faction go over here, but at least they lost via disqualification and not pinfall. I don't have hope that The Wyatt Family kidnapping Bryan will necessarily lead anywhere, especially after Kane returned exactly the same it last month. I am intrigued with The Shield targeting Punk, as it could very well lead to a series of spectacular matches between them.
The Miz def. Kofi Kingston
Miz was all over this episode of Raw. He first hosted "Miz TV" with Michael Strahan, then he had his "Christmas Bounty" movie plugged a number of times, and then he took on Kingston in a rematch from Survivor Series. I found their match from Sunday night to be a bit better, but this was still a fine outing from both men. The only issue is that it was basically the same thing we saw at the pay-per-view, so there was no real progression in their rivalry. In a perfect world, Miz would remain babyface and Kingston would be the one to turn heel, but I am not getting my hopes up.
Xavier Woods def. Heath Slater
As I mentioned last week, I am happy to see Woods finally called up to the main roster. He has crazy charisma and can go in the ring, so it was only a matter of time before he was brought up. He had an impressive outing against Slater and a nice first win in singles competition. It appears WWE doesn't have huge plans for him just yet, but pairing him with R-Truth for the time being is a smart move in getting him over with the audience. By the way, how random was it to see Woods enter to Brodus Clay's entrance music?
World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and Big Show def. WWE Champion Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio
I don't particularly care for anyone involved in this match, so I was bored by the action. The live crowd appeared to feel the same way, as they didn't react to much of anything in this contest. It was decent for what it was, but the finish felt rushed and the ending outcome felt predictable. If nothing else, it was nice to see Show sell the punt kick from Survivor Series and do so in a very convincing fashion. Orton attacking Cena was effective in putting heat on him going into TLC, but it wasn't the hot conclusion I expected to end this show.
Survivor Series was a bust, and this show was a flat follow-up. Sure, we got the announcement of a Champion vs. Champion match at WWE TLC next month, but that was the only thing of note that occurred on this show. Everything else was either inconsequential or downright stupid, with the exception of the handicap match. Needless to say, the product is in a very bad slump right now, and it is going to take a lot for WWE to get me excited about something any time soon. They need something huge to happen, and I don't think a Cena vs. Orton title unification match in the main event of a pay-per-view in 2013 is exactly what the doctor ordered.